Are You A Prepper? A What?

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2019. I’m having trouble getting my head around that one. It seems like only yesterday, My wife and I were watching the fireworks as 1999 became 2000. I remember being so worried for about 4 months that the world was going to go haywire, because of computers not being able to cope with the New Millennium. We called it Y2K. Remember. People all over the world were storing up food, and water, and cash in case the modern world went off grid. In the States people stored up everything from guns and ammo to toilet paper. In a way, the fears over Y2K started the whole prepper movement.

Preppers are people who want to be ready for any emergency that hits us from a major problem with the grid to a zombie apocalypse. I was a prepper. I confess it freely. In my heart, I still am. I got to thinking about how easy it would be for something to go haywire. How would we get food, water, emergency supplies. I thought about it a lot and eventually came up with a plan. My wife and I made up a list and we went all out in getting it filled. We learned to grow our own food and eventually we became small farmers, like shareholders. We raised cows and goats, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and pigs. We stockpiled batteries and candles, soap, spices and toilet paper. We even bought 6 months supply of freeze dried food in case things got really bad. That stuff has a 25 year shelf life. I learned how to raise fish to eat. My wife learned to make soap. She turned that skill into a very profitable business. In the end, we had enough food stored up to last 2 years and I had enough seeds in storage to take care of us pretty much forever. We had a back up generator in case of long term power failure. I even had both a propane gas grill with 5 spare tanks of propane and a charcoal grill with several bags of spare charcoal in case we needed it for emergency cooking. I had spare fishing line and hooks, compasses, extra knives and knife sharpeners. We had a greenhouse. I could go on, but you get the point.

I my mind I was ready for anything. When I lost my job, and was unemployed for a long time, we had plenty of food and supplies. It turned an emergency into an inconvenience.

Why did we do it? Was I paranoid? Worried? Panicked? No, No and No. When you’re prepared you don’t have to worry. We had to eat anyway. We used soap and toilet paper anyway. By preparing, we were just being safe. I helped many people to also become preppers. I wrote articles for prepping websites. I had loads of fun. Like I said, Brittan turned her soap making into a profitable home based business.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because someday, all of us are going to die. We can’t avoid it. So far, death is pretty universal. Sometimes people live a very long time. Sometimes they die young. But I wonder how many of us look ahead and prepare.

For example, do you have a will? I know I need a new one. My life has changed a lot. I need to make some arrangements. I’m going to start on that tomorrow. Have you prepared your funeral arrangements? You could save your family a great deal of trouble, and heartache, that they don’t need, by making your arrangements in advance. You know, do you want songs? Which ones? Do you want certain people to offer eulogies? You know the drill.

What if you leave young children? What will happen to them? Have you made arrangements with someone for that likelihood?

Now, what about yourself? What arrangements have you made for your eternal destiny? Have you even given that any thought? When I look through history, and archaeological discoveries, I see very clearly that throughout the history of the human race, people have tried to make arrangements. From the ancient Egyptians to the Chinese emperors, we’ve found exquisite burial sites in their honor, with all kinds of things buried with people to assist them in their journey.

Oddly, many modern people don’t give it a single thought. We believe we’ve gone way beyond that kind of thinking. Yet, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, the one thing that most people wonder about, and frankly are afraid of, is what happens after death? Do humans have a soul? Do we go somewhere? Thousands of books have been written about it. Movies galore. Every time someone has a near death experience and writes about it, the book becomes a best seller. We know that mediums and psychics make loads of money from people asking questions. Heck, even palm readers and travelers can set up a caravan and make a packet off of people who are unsure of their future.

Oddly, people rarely ask the Church about it anymore. Sometimes that’s because the answers people are given sound so trite or religious, that we’ve assumed Christians know less or have less viable information than anyone on the subject of life after death. Or, it’s presented in such a “repent or perish” kind of a style that we’re either scared or bored off.

That makes me sad. Because the Bible has a lot to say on the subject, yet most of us never ask. For example, the Bible does talk about an eternal place called Hell that’s pretty much not on anyone’s destination list. It really is a place, where the worms never dies and the fire is not quenched. Or outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Lovely. But did you know that the Bible says God doesn’t want anyone to go there. Yep, both Paul and Peter say it in those terms.

But God is perfect. Holy. And He can only have that around him. And all of us know that that leaves us out. We know we’re not perfect. All Of Us Know That’s a Fact. There’s no surprise there. But that’s why Jesus came. He wasn’t just another religious fanatic. He wasn’t some Green tree hugging hippie spouting for us to love one another and putting flowers down the barrel of tanks and cannons.

I know that’s how a lot of people think of him. But, for example, in the Gospel of John, when John the baptist saw him, He called Jesus, “the lamb of God.” We think of lams as cute little animals playing and frolicking in the fields all over Scotland. We even worry about them when one of them is sick or injured on the Yorkshire Vet television show. But lambs were also, sacrifices. Animals that were killed, with their blood spilled out, to ask God forgiveness. It’s gory and horrific to think about. But when John the Baptist said, “Look there’s the lamb of God.” He’s not calling Jesus a little cutie. He’s pointing out the Jesus was the one who would die for us. He would eventually be beaten savagely and nailed to a cross with his blood running everywhere so that we could be sure of a home with God in Heaven forever. And he proved who he was by rising from the dead three days later. Hundreds of people saw him. Not just one or two. I don’t know about you, but when a guy shows up three days after a public execution, I’m going to listen to what he has to say.

He says, I know you’ve messed up. I know all the dark things you done, all the thoughts that run through your mind, all the places you think no one knows you’ve gone. I know about your broken heart and your family. I know about your illness, physical and mental. I know everything there is to know about you. The good, the bad and the ugly. And I love you. See here are my hands and feet. I have the scars to prove how much I love you. I want you to live forever with me.

He wants to prepare you for what’s coming after you die. See, we can all prepare for what’s could happen here, while we’re still alive. I can tell you all about it. But as for what happens after you die, Jesus has already prepared a plan. He says, Come to me all you who are weary and burdened. But for some reason, we don’t. I think that’s so weird. I want you to think about it this New Year time. Who is this Jesus guy. Why does he say the things he says. Why did he do the things he did. Over the next several weeks we’re going to investigate several of the things Jesus did and said. I hope you’ll come back each week to see how this story ends. It’s really rather remarkable. If you have any questions or thoughts on what I have to say, send them to me. You can email, me, you can use the comments on the website at www,, or you can send them via the radiofreebuckie FB page. I’d love to hear from you. I hope you’ll think very hard about these things. Until next week, Happy New Year. That’s all I’ve got for now. Talk to you soon. I’m out.

Do You Have Your 2019 Goals Ready?

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How close are you to being ready for a new year? I’m always excited for new year. Its always a new start. A chance to chase my dreams. How about you? Do you have dreams to chase? Do you set goals? I’m not talking about New Year’s Resolutions. Those aren’t dreams, and they’re not rooted in anything. Mostly, NYR are just ideas or pipe dreams. Wishful thinking. And they don’t last a week.

I’m talking about things you want to accomplish. Things you want to be. Places you want to go. Things you want to achieve. Do you have them? Would you like to?

I’ve found that over 90% of people don’t. They just let life happen to them. Some people are happy, or at least content with that. But millions, actually, billions, of people, end the year disappointed with what they’ve accomplished for the year. Are you one of the 90%.

You know that secretly, you have dreams. Sometimes you’re afraid to chase them, because of a fear of failure. Or of what people will say. Or of the work it will take.

I say, 2019 is going to be the year some of you break free from your chains of fear and begin to see your life and circumstances change.

My wife and I were just talking yesterday about the fact that she has a secret dream of playing the cello. She played it as a girl, and did pretty well, but just dropped it. Then a few years ago, she thought she would do it. I bought here a cello. Surprised her with it at Christmas one year. She cried. But, she didn’t play it. The next year I sold it. See, I mistook her longing for a dream. Was I mad. Of course not. She just wasn’t ready. Now she’s thinking about getting one and learning. She’s just deciding whether or not its just nostalgia or if it’s something she wants to turn into a goal.

Earlier this year, she decided she wanted to go back to University and get her bachelor’s degree. She’s thought that several times before. But this time, she did her research, set goals, financially, time, and classes, and she got signed up. She’s finished several classes already and is on a tremendous pace. The difference is, she turned it into a goal. I remember a few years ago, when she wanted to start a business, making and selling soap and candles. She worked so hard, she set goals, and paid the price and was extremely successful. A local magazine even came out to our farm in Georgia and did an article on her. She and her soap became the cover story. All because, she was willing to face the risks, do the work, and set the goals. She’s awesome.

As for me, I always have goals for the beginning of the year. Sometimes I set too many. And I accomplish about half of them.

This year I have about 5. I have them written down. I know that if I don’t write them down, then they aren’t goals, they’re wishes. Ideas. Passing fancies. But when I write them down. And have a way to measure them. Things change.

Here’s an example. I absolutely need to lose 100 lbs. I’m not making that up. 100 lbs is a lot of weight. I want to lose it because last year I had 3 small strokes, a heart attack and had to have open heart surgery. I assure you, that will get your attention. If I had lost the weight before, I might not have had the health emergencies. But if I say, I’m going to lose weight in 2019. That’s not a goal. But if I say, I’m going to lose 52 lbs in 2019, I’ve got to lose 1 lb a week. Then I have to find out how I’m going to lose it. Am I going to go on Weight Watchers, or another diet program. Am I going to the gym? How often will I weigh myself.

See, once you’ve set your goal, a bunch of how questions start. It’s fun to answer them. I do have an entire plan. And I’m going to keep you all in the loop on how I’m doing. I do plan to lose 52 lbs in 2019. It’s a goal. Its written down.

Now, what about you? What have you been thinking about? You want to lose weight? Run a marathon? Learn a musical instrument? Start a business? Write a book? Get out of debt? Read the Bible? Start attending Church? Buy a house? A new car? The sky’s the limit. It’s your life. It’s your dream. It can be anything you want it to be. Obviously, write it down. Make it big enough to force some effort. Make it measurable. Set a date. You can decide whether or not to tell anyone about it. Some of mine, I talk about. Some of them are between God and me.

If you want to get out of debt, for example. There are some things you need to do. You need to assess your debt verses your income. You will need a budget. You’ll need to know all that information before you set a time table on how long it will take you. You’ll need to do some paper work. I recommend, and I think I told you about this recently, a book I wrote a few year ago, called I Owe You No More. It’s now only available on Amazon as a kindle e-book. It costs about 2 quid. It will really help you if you’re serious about getting out of debt. And if you do get the book, I’ll help you by giving you a complete set of the forms you’ll need absolutely free. You can make as many copies as you need. And if there is enough interest, I’ll host a Budget Boot Camp later in the spring. Again the camp will be free. Just let me know if you are interested. Email me. Or use the comments on the website or the Facebook page.

If you want to read the Bible, write me and let me know. I’ll send you a step by step plan on the best way to read the Bible. Here’s a hint. Don’t start with Genesis. Seriously. Read the New Testament first. You’ll get so much more out of it. Anyway, I’ll send you the whole plan absolutely free. I’ve sent out about 15 of them in the last week. It’s incredible.

Now, I want to talk to you just a minute about attending Church. I know that some of you are faithful Church attenders here in Buckie, other parts of the U.K. And in America. Y’all can go get a sandwich while I’m talking. I also know that some of you can’t get to Church. You’ve written to tell me your stories. Thank you so much. It is such an honor to know you’re out there. But there are some of you who listen, who don’t attend Church anywhere. For a number of reasons. Perhaps because you’re afraid of what friends or family would say or think. Perhaps because you’re a casualty of a bad experience somewhere. I get it. In a place like Buckie there are no secrets. Word will get out. People will know. Guess, what. They already know you don’t go. And they know why.

Church is not like it used to be. Yes, we still sing songs. Yes, we still take communion, the Lord’s Supper. And yes, people still have to sit through a sermon. But like at our Church, some of us include some really nice videos. The sound is better than it used to be. And people aren’t expected to dress to the nines any more. You can come as you are. Sure, I want you to visit us at the Church of Christ on West Church and Pringle Streets. But mostly, I want you to go somewhere. I want you to get the support and encouragement that you can only get at Church. And if one of the reasons you don’t go, is because you didn’t receive support when you needed it, I’m sorry. I can’t change that. But I can assure you, that we’ll treat you with respect. You need to be in Church. Make it a goal. Come on, you can do it.

There, sermon over. I’ll stop begging.

Next week we’ll get back to looking at the Gospel of John. I hope you’ll tune it. It’s going to be fun and hopefully, you’ll get some insights you didn’t have. In the meantime, don’t miss your opportunity to think about this new year and all of the opportunities a New Year, and a new start can bring.

I want you to start making life happen for you rather than letting it happen to you. And you get started on that road by setting a few goals. I will help you any way I can. Just write me and let me know how you want help.

Have a great hogmanay. Have a great New Year. Be careful out there. I’ll talk to you next week. But that’s all I’ve got for now. I’m out.

Your Best Christmas Ever

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I’m recording this on Thursday, the 20th of December. That means, tomorrow is the Winter Solstice. The shortest day and longest night of the year. Then starting Saturday, the days start getting longer. Man, that’s an exciting day for me. Then I get excited on the Spring Equinox, because that means the days are longer than the nights. Yes, I’m easily pleased. But tomorrow night will be especially cool, because it’s also a full moon. Sadly, here in Buckie, it will be cloudy, so we might miss it. But in other places, the full moon on the Winter Solstice is just plain cool.

I hope you’ve got your Christmas shopping done. I have to go to Liddle’s or Tesco before Christmas. I’m not looking forward to it. The crowds will be insane. Everyone who has waited until the last minute to buy a turkey, or a Christmas pudding will be there rummaging through, in search of a bargain.

Aberdeen, Elgin and Inverness will be absolute pandemonium, as people look for last minute bargains. Oddly, one of my favorite memories of Glasgow, is going to the Barra’s on Christmas Eve at midnight. The crowds were crazy, and the deals phenomenal. It really was a magical place. I don’t know whether or not it’s still the place to be on Christmas eve, but I cherish those memories.

What are your favorite Christmas memories? Do you have some? I know some people don’t. Their memories of the Holiday, are bathed in thoughts of abusive parents, or of alcohol, or drugs, or poverty. Christmas has always been a day of dread, or even fear. I totally understand. I won’t go into detail, but one of the darkest days of my life was a Christmas, many years ago. The hurt, the pain, the discomfort that came with it, haunted the season for years. If I allowed myself, I could still feel the agony of those dark days.

Fortunately, that dark time is long ago for me. And, I promise, those memories, those fears, can become distant and faded. I’m not trying to sound like your counselor or like I’m just preaching like I do on Sundays. I just want to share with you something I know. Something that used to be prominent during the Christmas Season. And it Changes everything.

The Apostle John, says in Chapter 1 verse 14, The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. The Good News Bible, one of my favorite translations, says it this way, The Word became a human being, and live among us.

I want to kind of stop and think about that for a minute. If you remember last week, John started his Gospel with the words, In the Beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word Was God. That sounds kind of high brow and churchy to us in the 21st century, but basically, John says, Jesus, The Word, is God. You can’t deny he says that. He’s going to use his whole book to prove it, but he makes the claim. He says it directly, and boldly. I dare you to read the book of John and try to prove that Jesus and his followers believed anything different that that.

It’s a bold statement. Especially in our 21 century politically correct world. But it’s only part of the story. He completes his thought in verse 14. The word became a human being and lived for a while among us.

John is saying, that God became a human being. He didn’t disguise himself. He didn’t just look human. He was human. St. Paul says the same thing later in the Book of Philippians, chapter 2. He says that Jesus, although being in form, God, didn’t consider that something to be clung to, but he emptied himself, and became a human. That’s incredible.

I bet, when you think of God. Yo u think of Him as far off, as some kind of unknowable, maybe even judgemental person, who has know real idea of what your life is like. After all, He’s God. He lives in heaven, surrounded by angels. He can’t possible understand what it’s like to be you.

But the heart of the Gospel is something completely different. God became a man. He experienced the need to have his nappy changed. He knew what it was to be cold, or hungry, he knew what hard work was. He experienced the desire for friends. He knew what being rejected by people felt like. He actually understood what it felt like to lose people you love. He can tell you exactly what being arrested and kept in prison is like. He knows all about how fickle local government can be. He knows what it’s like when you’ve been beaten until you can’t stand up under your own power. And he knows what it’s like to be falsely accused and laughed at. All of the dark things you’ve felt throughout your life. All of the rejection, all of the unfulfilled hopes and dreams.

That’s the Christmas message. It’s a beautiful, romantic story of a baby born in a stable. Of a group of shepherds who came to visit and worship. Of Angels, and wise men, and an evil king. It has all the characteristics of a great movie. But is is much more that that.

Its the story of God becoming a man. To demonstrate his love for us. To show us how to live. How to have hope in a crazy, sometimes dark world.

I can’t speak for you. I can tell you, that my pain took a long time to heal. And that only happened because I surrendered it to Him, to Jesus. I realized that He understood, that He could give me a new start. That the God who became a man, could take my pain and build something new, and marvellous.

Christmas time, is so amazing. It’s a new beginning, at the very heart of the darkness of winter. It’s bright lights in the middle of December. How cool is that. What a metaphor. There is hope in Christmas. At just the right time, a hero arrived. He can, and wants to, give you a new life. The Bible calls it being born again. How appropriate is that?

I’m not going to spend all our times together trying to sound like a TV preacher. But sometimes I’ve got to. God loves you. He loves you so much that he became a human, just like you. And he want’s to make your Christmas, and all your Christmases to come, just like they are in the movies. Full of hope, and joy, and love.

Think about it. Next week, we’ll have some fun thinking about the year end and looking forward to what 2019 has in store. I can’t wait. I hope your Christmas is everything you dream it will be. Don’t eat too much. Or drink too much. Remember to leave some mince pies out for Santa. If you want, stop by the Church of the 23rd at 6:30 p.m. And join us in our Christmas Carol celebration. You’re invited, wanted and welcome. Merry Christmas to you. That’s it from me this week. I’m out.


Goal Setting For 2019 and Jesus At Christmas

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How are you holding up with all the Christmas stuff? Got all your presents bought, wrapped and under the tree. Or do you even have a tree? I’m all done. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for things for my wife, but I think I’ve gotten her everything I can.

I bought myself a last minute prezzie tonight. My smartphone died today, so I ordered a new one. Not a fancy one. Its last year’s model. I can’t possibly justify the price of a brand new phone. Holy Cow, they’ve gotten pricey. I’ve bought cars for less than some of these things cost. Yikes. But, I digress….

I want to say hello to everybody listening in in the USA. Thanks for dropping by. I hope you’re staying warm this winter. Boy howdy, some of you are getting snow. Fix yourself a warm cup of tea and stay a while.

For you all here in the Buckie region, I want to invite you to our Christmas programs at the Church of Christ on West Church Street. No pressure, but you are welcome. We’ll have a candlelight service on Sunday night the 23rd of December at 6:30. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ll be singing some familiar Christmas songs and blending them with some readings and testimonies from people in our Church family. And tossing in some great videos. It’s absolutely free. And its open to everyone, regardless of your Church background or none at all.

Then on Christmas Day, we’re going to have a short, special Carol and Communion service at 11:00 a.m. This one will be only 30 minutes and will feature music from Raemond and Ronald Jappy. Both well known popular and skilled musicians. And they are from right here in Buckie. We’re the home of the best. Right?

Are you thinking about 2019 yet. It’s just about 3 weeks away you know. Holy Cow. We all like the new year. Besides the parties and such, I mean. It’s a new beginning. A fresh start. A brand new year. Have you set your goals yet? I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions. I mean things you really want to accomplish. Do you really want to lose weight? Start a new business. Get a job. Get your family finances in order? Repair your marriage or relationship with your children? Go back to school? I don’t know, there are thousands of things. I could keep going, but I’m not you. I know that when I actually set goals, with dates attached to them and with end results, and write them down where I can see them, I have success. When I don’t, I end up floundering and discouraged.

If you are a goal setter and an achiever, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, you think I’m nuts. But basically, you have two choices. You can let life happen to you, or, you can make life happen for you. That’s it. That’s the list.

I want you to make life happen for you. I want you to be more successful than you ever dreamed. I want you to be happier than you ever imagined.

Here’s a simple plan for you to get started. No need to make it complicated. If you do, you’ll fail and think the whole thing is stupid. First, grab something to write with and something to write on. Got them? Hit pause and go get them if you need to. I don’t mind.

Now, write down a few things you really want to accomplish in 2019. No one’s watching. It’s ok. Now in my case, I start with categories: Physical, Spiritual, Financial, Educational, Family. That’s me. You may have different categories. In your first year, you may have none. You may only have one thing you want to accomplish. It may be a test to see if this stuff works.

Then just scribble down the things you really want to accomplish. Now, find the one’s that are most important to you. Let’s say it’s losing 50 pounds or getting out of debt. First note that losing 50 lbs by next Christmas is a goal, losing weight is a dream. Ending your debt and having a savings account of 1000 pounds is a goal, getting ahold of your finances is a desire.

See make your goals specific, make them measurable, make them realistic, write them down. When I say, make them realistic, losing 50 lbs, or 25, lbs is realistic. Don’t say, I want to lose 100 lbs by Easter. That’s just silly. Saying, I want to win the British fitness championship will probably take you a bit longer, especially if, like me, you’re totally fat and out of shape. That might be a realistic long range goal you should write down. If you write to me, I’ll tell you what I’m doing. It’s simple, and the cost is pretty cheap. Yay.

If you want to get out of debt and get on the road to success. There is a way to get started. It’s not a pipe dream. The first thing I will recommend is that you read my e-book, “IOU No More” It’s available on Amazon for a couple pounds or less. I noticed they had it on sale last week. I only make it available these days as an e-book to save you money. Why sell a high priced book to help people eliminate debt? It just seemed wrong to me. If you get it, you’ll notice that many of the references are American. I wrote it in America. But the principles are still the same. And the budget plans are worth the price of the book. Now, here’s my Christmas present offer to you. First, I’m not trying to get you to buy my book. If financial goals are not on your agenda, I get it. But, if you do decide to get the book, if you’ll write to me after you’ve read it, I will send you copies of the forms so you can make as many copies of them as you like. You’ll understand after you’ve read the book. If you don’t want to read mine, I get it. I totally understand. It’s weird to me anyway. I feel like a salesman. Yuck. You can get anything by Dave Ramsey. He’s also American, but his best seller, The Total Money Makeover is a huge help.

Anyway, you get my point. You’ve got to make your goals specific, make them measurable and make them realistic. So, go ahead. Make your list. Try just one. Maybe you want to quit smoking by June. Maybe you want to start a business. Maybe you want to go back to school, or develop a skill, or chase your dream of painting. Maybe you want to start going to church or reading the Bible. The sky’s the limit. Turn your wishful thinking into achievable goals. But do it now. Don’t wait for new year. Get them written down and fleshed out. Put them where you will see them. Maybe on a sticky note on your fridge. Or in a journal. But review them regularly. I want 2019 to be your best year ever. If you have any questions about how to accomplish this, or you want some help. Write me and I’ll assist you any way I can. I’ll be discreet. I promise

Hey, let me come out and ask you if you think much about Jesus during the Christmas rush? I’m asking because I don’t see much around town that suggests He has anything to do with the season. And, ironically, it’s when we celebrate his birthday. Probably he wasn’t born in December, that’s just when the Church long ago decided we would celebrate it. Besides, there were lots of other mid winter Holidays, so it would be a natural fit. Oddly, as time has passed, we’ve forgotten to celebrate Jesus Birthday, and just reverted to a midwinter Holiday.

So I want to take a minute, and talk about Jesus. I know you’ve probably seen a Christmas Nativity play. And you know the story of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus born in a stable. It’s such a great story. But the thing is, it’s true. Most of us think its just a fable put on in mid winter by children in bathrobes with towels on their heads. We laugh at their foibles, and clap and cheer at the end of the story. And we take photos of the cast and especially our own children and grandchildren because they’re so darned cute. But do we ever think beyond the childrens play?

The Gospel of John is the fourth book in the New Testament. John was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. And perhaps his best friend. So John’s memories of Jesus are very unique. He wrote about 30 years after Matthew, Mark, and Luke, so his stories are almost all fresh and different. You can feel it as you read through the pages. John doesn’t start with the Christmas story. In fact he ignores it altogether. That’s all been done. Matthew tells it from Joseph’s perspective and Luke tells the story from Mary’s perspective. No John starts like this: In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God. And the Word was God.

That’s completely different. He leaves the Nativity details to Matthew and Luke, and zooms right in on the actual identity of Jesus. He is not just the son of God. He is God. That’s incredible. That’s amazing. To think that God cared enough for humanity that he became human for us. Contrast the story of Jesus with Greek and Roman theology for a minute. It those stories, the God’s appeared as humans to fight monsters, have love lives with humans and play games with human hearts.

But Jesus is different. He doesn’t just appear human. He is human. He comes into life as a helpless baby. He can’t feed himself, change his own nappy, or even walk. He is raised like the rest of us. Dependent on others to meet his every need. That’s why we read in the Book of Hebrews, also in the New Testament of the Bible, that Jesus is a Great High priest who understands everything we go through. Because he was tempted in every way just like the rest of us, yet He was without sin.

John says in verse 14 of chapter 1, that the Word became human and lived for a while among us. That’s a short Christmas play. Very short. But he says so much there. Jesus didn’t just look like us, he was one of us. Whatever you’re going through, He gets it. He’s experienced joy, laughter, as well as heartache and pain. Remember, He was accused of Blasphemy against God. Which obviously he didn’t do. He was God. He was beaten to a pulp by the Roman soldiers and nailed to a cross. Crucifixion was a horrible death. And the Romans were very good at it.

But why did He do it? Why did he become a human at all? Why did he go through potty training and Primary 1. Why did he preach and heal. Especially why did he let himself be murdered?

I don’t want to spoil the story, but he went through every minute of it because he knew how your life was going to get so messed up and he loved you, thousands of years before you were born, enough to die for you.

So, I think its only right that we take some time and think about Him during the Christmas season. What a hero. Jesus is God. He’s not just a made up cartoon for entertainment. He was actually born during the days of Augustus Caesar and King Herod. He was more real than the lights in the square, than the turkey and stuffing you’ll have for dinner. Jesus is the best man, with the best plan you can ever imagine.

I sure hope you’ll think about all that this week. And I sure hope you’ll stick around while we look through the Gospel of John and discover some of the secrets about Jesus true identity. It’ll be fun.

If you have any questions, write them down and send them to me at, Or you can use the comments section of the website or the Facebook page. It’s that easy. Please remember our Christmas services at Church. Be safe out there. That’s all I got. So talk to you next week. I’m out.

Jesus’ DNA, And What It Means For Christmas

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Hello Buckie! How’s everybody doing out there today. After yesterday’s high winds, I hope you’re well and that nobody’s house blew to Oz. Wow, that was a wild day. Anyway, thanks for tuning in. You’re listening to Radio Free Buckie, and I’m your host, Sam Burton. Glad you’re here.

We’ve got a couple events coming up real quick that I want to take notice of. First of all, this weekend is the Christmas Cracker. Wow, can you believe it’s already that time of year? I remember last year, it was cold. Brr. But what a load of fun it was. Anyway, I do hope you get out and enjoy all the festivities. As usual, at our Church, the Buckie Church of Christ, on West Church and Pringle Streets, Glenn Campbell is having another fund raiser for the youth drama team and they’ll be hosting a luncheon. Brittan and I plan to be there for a good part of the day, so do say hello.

On Sunday, the Second of December, we’re hosting a movie night at the Church. We’re showing, I Can Only Imagine. It’s the movie about how the song came to be. It’s really a great film and you’re invited to come join us. The film will be starting at 6:30, but the doors will be open by 5:45 for everyone to come on in and get some freshly popped corn and/or get some fresh candy floss and find a good seat. The back rows fill up quickly, so get there early.

And finally, On Saturday, 8th December, we’re holding our second annual, Bake Off, cake competition. I’m sure you’ve seen some posters around town, but if not, it’s a baking competition for fun and prizes. Last year we had about 15 cakes. We’d like to double that this year. So we have some new categories. First, we have two categories for children up to age 15. We have one for adults. There is also a category for non cake bakers, like cookies, puddings, or other desserts. And we have an open competition for: The biggest cake disaster. It is only 5 pounds to enter, and all proceeds go to the Fishermen’s Hall. So please come and join the fun.

If you have any questions about any of those events just write me at

Have any of you noticed all the interest and hubub about tracing your ancestry? This whole DNA thing is really starting to catch on. For the low low price of about 49 to 100 pounds, a company will post a kit to you. Basically, you spit in the cup and post it back to the company. In a few weeks they will send you a complete DNA profile, including the names of relatives, racial background, where your ancestors come from, whether or not you have any Neandrathals in your family tree, etc. It’s all good fun and making these companies filthy rich. We’re fascinated by it.

At the same time, one of the parts of the Bible that drives most of us crazy are all the genealogies, sometimes called the BEGATS. You know. Someone begat so and so and he begat whats his name and etc. etc. They drive most of us crazy. They are boring and we can’t even pronounce half the names. So usually, we just skip over them. You know you do.

But I want to try and change your mind about the genealogies in the Bible. Today, we’re going to talk about the one that starts the book of Matthew, the very first book of the New Testament. I mean the book starts right off with it right in verse one. Most of us see that, and we close our Bibles right up, or we decide to skip to the book of Mark.

But Matthew was very smart in his genealogy, giving people a great deal to think about. In his day, this would have been thought provoking and controversial. He is showing that Jesus is the heir to the throne of Israel. No controversy there, the Jewish Messiah should be heir to the throne. But he mentions 5 women. 5 significant women. Nobody did that. Especially this list of women.

First there is Tamar. She is Judah’s daughter in Law. She’s a gentile. And Judah father’s twins by her. This is a long and sordid story. The short version is, She was married to Judah’s oldest son, he died before children, so as the custom was, she was then married off to his younger brother. He also died. Because Judah’s next son was too young, she was sent home to her family with a promise that she’d be married to his next son once he was old enough. That’s a tough thing for us to understand that custom. To us, it sounds weird and kind of gross. But to all of them, it was quite normal. Anyway, Judah in time forgot about Tamar. After his wife died, in order to get Judah’s attention, Tamar dresses up as a prostitute and slept with him. I know, it sounds like something straight out of netflix. Anyway, she turns up pregnant. There is a big scandalous showdown, and Judah admits they are his babies. But although its a huge scandal in town, She is in the family tree of Jesus.

The next woman is Rahab. She is also a gentile. And she is a prostitute. She ran a hotel and brothel in Jericho. We read about her in the book of Exodus. She protected the spies, and because of that she was spared when the Jews took the City by force. Then she marries a Jew named Salmon, and has a son named Boaz.

The third woman mentioned is Ruth. She has a whole book of the old testament that tells here story. She is a gentile. She is married and her husband dies. She moves in with her mother in law, Naomi. They are both widows and become very poor. Naomi has a rich relative who has a farm. She talks Ruth into working at his farm. Short version, she and the farmer fall in love and get married. The rich farmer is, Boaz. Ruth gives birth to a son, Obed, who is the Grandfather of King David.

The next woman mentioned is Bathsheba. Bathsheba may or may not have been a gentile. Her name means daughter of Sheba which could be her father’s name, or could mean she is from sheba in Africa. Either way, she was married to Uriah the Hittite, one of David’s most famous soldiers. He and Bathsheba were neighbors of David. David has an affair with Bathsheba while Uriah is away in the army, and she gets pregnant. As a result, in the end, David has Uriah killed and marries Bathsheba. Their son dies. It is a tragic scene in the Bible. Anyway. David does love her, despite all the scandal of tragedy. She has a second son, named Solomon. Yes, THAT solomon.

Would you look at that list of women. All 4 of them are gentiles. Three of them are of quetionable morality. Who would list them in their genealogy as the only women. Oh wait, there’s another. Her name is Mary. She is a young woman from Nazareth who is told she is going to have a baby, and her child would be the son of God. She can’t understand this message because though she’s engaged, she’s a virgin. The angel says, God will take care of that part so she will be pure when the child is born and still be a virgin for her wedding day.

See, Jesus is not the product of perfection. The family tree is loaded with liars, cheats, false religious leaders, adulterers and even murderers. His family is a mess. Just like yours and mine. He knows what we feel like, what we endure. He gets it. But you see, when the Bible mentions these women, Matthew is telling us, Jesus died for ordinary people, and he died for some pretty wicked ones. The gospel is for everyone. Whoever we are and where ever we’re from. The people who read his gospel in his day, understood exactly that. And he ends the same way, The book of matthew ends with these words from Jesus. “Therefore go and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the father, son and Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey every thing I’ve commanded you. Surely I will be with you, to the very end of the age.”

That is so awesome, Matthew declares at the beginning and the end of his memories of Jesus, that Jesus came, not just for the religious elite, or the rich and famous, but for every single one of us. Now that’s some good news to start of this Christmas season. Think about it.

That’s all I’ve got for today. I sure hope to see you at one or more of the events coming up. That’s the Cracker, at the movie, or at the Cake Off. If you have any questions to ask about any of the events or about the stuff in Matthew’s Gospel, write me at , or use the comments section at or pm me at the radiofreebuckie FB page. Until next week. I’m done. I’m out.

Who Is Jesus Really?

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First, because we have so many listeners from the USA, I want to say, Happy Thanksgiving, to all of you listening in from across the pond. I hope you have an excellent holiday weekend. And I wish everyone, on both sides of the Atlantic, a peaceful Black Friday. I know I plan to spend it, safely locked up inside my office. I am not headed for Aberdeen, Inverness, Elgin, or even down East Church street here in Buckie. So, if you venture out, good luck. Be safe. And I hope you find a bargain.

It’s really hard for me to believe that Christmas season is here again. It seems just yesterday I was filming the leaves appearing on the rose bushes, as a first sign of spring. And the appearance of daffodils. But here we are, with dark mornings, and the sun setting before 4 pm. And getting ready to decorate our houses for the season. Unless you live in our house, where my wife decorated the tree in October! I’m serious. Our tree was up in October. She loves the season.

What about you? Do you love Christmas? Why? Do you even remember, with all of the trees, and lights, and presents, and feasts. That its a celebration of Jesus Birthday. I ask, because, I don’t see it out in the open anywhere. You don’t see many nativity scenes anymore. At least not out in public. You can’t even find Faith Based Christmas Cards in the shops. At least not many. Seriously, it’s like we’ve just decided to have a mid winter Holiday Celebration for no reason at all. And that’s just weird.

In fact, I’m going to come out and ask you. Do you think of Jesus at all during this season? That’s not an attack, it’s an honest question. Actually, I’m going to take the question a step further, Do you think of Jesus really at all? And if I asked you Who is He? What would you say?

A few year ago, I knocked on thousands of doors in Buckie, and asked, among other questions, “Who do you believe Jesus is?” I got some very interesting answers. But the fact is, most people answered, “I don’t know.” Now, to be fair, I did make the mistake of starting the project on week nights during the World Cup, and got a lot, of answers like,’I’m watching the match, Mate. I don’t have time for this.”

So first of all, I should have known better than to do my survey when people were having another ‘religious’ service, but I was young.

But the world cup isn’t going on at the moment, and it’s been forever since Scotland participated, Besides, I never got to ask you, but Who do you think Jesus is?

There are 4 books in the Bible, that exist, just to answer that question. Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. In Church we call those the Gospels. Gospel is just an old word that means ‘good news.’ So that’s a hint about what those writers thought. They thought Jesus was Good News.

I’ve met lots of people who, quite frankly, scratch their heads at that. They might not think of Him very often, but rarely do they think of him as good news. They think, well the dude got killed, crucified, in fact, I’m not sure there’s a lot to celebrate in that. Or, they think Jesus came as the ultimate party pooper to spoil our fun and to make us live in a straight jacket.

I’m going to spend the next few minutes telling you who the Bible really says, He really is. And I hope you’ll stay plugged in.

First, about those gospels. One of the crazy things about them is, and not a lot of people look at them this way, is they are not biographies. First, not many people like biographies. I prefer to think of them as memories of Jesus. Highlights from his life. You know, kind of like when we get together and reminisce about someone. Someone tells a story, someone else says, oh yeah, remember when he or she did this or said that, and pretty soon we’re all absorbed in reliving a holiday, or family life, or the life of someone we cared about. Well, the Gospels are exactly like that. They are not a biography, they aren’t even always in chronological order. They are memories of things Jesus, did. Things he said, and places he went. And that alone makes them fascinating.

Because it’s Christmas time, I’m going to mostly stick to the gospel of Luke. That’s because, Luke and Matthew are the only two that even talk about when Jesus was born. Because these are ‘memories’ of Jesus, Mark and John don’t have any memories about when Jesus was born. Luke, interviewed people to get their memories, and he tells the story from Jesus Mother’s perspective. Matthew, tells the story from Joseph’s perspective. So you get some different’ stories. How cool is that. But anyway, we’ll mostly stick to what Luke has to say about who Jesus is.

In chapter 1, he tells about how Mary was visited by Gabriel, and angel, and told that she would have a baby in 9 months, and the baby would be called, the son of God. That’s in verses 32 and 35 of the first chapter if you want to check it out. In the chapter we discover that Mary is still a virgin, and she has questions about how the pregnancy is going to happen. See, Mary might have been from a small town, but she knew where babies came from. It’s a really cool interaction. You should read it. You can hit pause and do it now. I won’t be offended. I’ll wait. Or, you can wait till we’re done. That’s fine too.

Over in Chapter 2, we have the part where angels visited a group of shepherds the night Jesus was born and they told them, unto you is born, this night, in the city of David, a saviour, Christ, the Lord. Then they tell the shepherd where to find Jesus. So the shepherds, a whole gaggle of them, go to Bethlehem, to find the baby. And they raid the stable, and interrupt the whole experience. It’s pretty funny when you think about it.

For Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, their whole night is messed up, invaded. But for the shepherds, this is awesome. The angels had told them that this kid, was their messiah, their savior. And they just had to see him.

In chapter 4, verse 3, we’ve got the devil entering the picture. Jesus is a man now, and the devil is tempting him. He says…If you’re the son of God…. Hmm. Jesus seems to know who he is and what his role in life is, and Satan tries to get him to question it, or to lord it over creation and get whatever he wants.

From there, the rest of the Book of Luke, is a catalog of things Jesus said and did, during his ministry. All his teaching, and miracle after miracle. There were hundreds, even thousands of witnesses to these things. Luke just tells them, one after another. You’ll be amazed by the people Jesus helped and even saved. He’s not a party pooper at all. He makes people celebrate every day.

Then the drama at the end. Jesus is accused of blasphemy, arrested, goes through a kind of mock trial. A kind of kangaroo court, and sentenced to death. You’ll go, what? How can anybody get a death sentence for healing people, for feeding them, for loving them? But you see, it wasn’t because of those things….it was because he said he was God, in the flesh. And the Jewish leaders couldn’t take it. But, they were foiled, because they killed Jesus on Friday, but on Sunday, he was up. Alive. Risen. And everything changed.

I encourage you to read the whole letter Luke wrote. It’s amazing. You will have no doubt who Jesus is. Then read the book of Acts, also written by Luke for find out what to do about it.

But there are a couple of other things from some other gospel stories I want to call your attention to. In John’s Gospel, that’s the 4th book in the new testament, in chapter 3: verses 16 and 17 we read, ‘For God so love the world, that he gave his one and only son, and whoever believes will not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his son to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

That’s amazing. And it’s night and day different from what most people seem to think God wants. We think his whole plan is to through lightning bolts at our backsides and make us mind. But he wants to rescue us from ourselves and the consequences of our bad choices.

Another one of my favorite verses in in Matthew’s Gospel. In Chapter 11 verse 28 Jesus says, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Jesus sees us right where we are. He knows just how hard our lives have become. And he says, come to me. Don’t fight. Don’t turn away. Come to me, and I will give you rest.

I have to ask. Are you weary and burdened. Do you sometimes wonder what the whole point is, and when the stupid carousel is going to stop spinning? I want you to know, Jesus says, he will stop the spinning. He’ll give you rest.

If you are at a point where you want the kind of rest Jesus is offering. Just write to me and say so. I will get back with you. It’s that important.

So, If you want to know who Jesus is, read the Gospels. I recommend you start with Luke.

Next week, I’ll end this heavy stuff for a while. We’ll have some fun. Until then, take care. Stay warm. And spread the word about Radio Free Buckie. We’re here. We’re telling the truth. And we don’t care who hears it. For now. I’m out.

Life After Death? Really?


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A couple of weeks ago, I made some comments about people going to see mediums and psychics about what happens after death. And that’s really stuck in my head. So I thought I’d bring it up again and kind of think it through.

I’ve read that the subject of What happens after we die, is something that all of us wonder about, but many people absolutely obsess over. There are all kinds of reasons why we begin thinking about it, maybe someone we care about has passed, or someone famous, or we or someone close to us has a medical crisis of some kind. Or, often, it comes about through depression, or substance abuse, and we start to have thoughts of suicide.

I know that right now, even as I speak, dozens of people, right here in Buckie and surrounding villages, are struggling with serious thoughts of taking their own life and wondering what happens then. Man, that’s hard.

First, that’s going to get worse until the end of March. All the darkness and rain we have makes our depression worse. It’s one of the hazards of living this far north. I know that’s not much help, but force yourself to get out of the house on sunny days. Take a walk, go shopping, do something, anything. If yo u can afford it, buy a daylight lamp, or get a full spectrum light bulb of one of your lamps and sit under it to do your reading or watch your television. You can’t see it, but I have one right here beside me in the office. I really believe in them.

But I digress. I was saying that for a whole bunch of reasons, from time to time, and sometimes seriously so, we wonder, what’s going to happen when we die. What about our nan or pap? What about our little son or daughter or neighbor who passed unexpectedly? Is that it? Is there no more?

We are often told by people of influence that the answer is yes. When we die, that’s it, we’re done. It’s all over. But that just doesn’t seem true, does it? First its against everything we want to be true. We want to be able to see our loved ones again. We want to think that a person who has suffered with cancer has a chance at an afterlife of peace and pain free joy. We don’t want to think that one day, we’ll just cease to exist.

And we can’t bear the thought of Hell, either. Even the possibility of that horror, will keep us awake, and fill us with fear and dread.

We want life after death, but we only want what we want it to be. And we know, that Churches and Preachers talk about hell as a real place, so we look around for other answers. More pleasant ones, like the answers provided by psychics and mediums, where all our loved ones are ethereal, and happy and watching us and wanting our happiness.

I don’t want to sound harsh, but you are just going to throw good money away by going to psychic shows, or a private consultation, or buying their books. Its not real answers their giving. There is never anything solid to hang on to.

I would encourage you to read what the New Testament writers have to say on the subject. Books like the 4 Gospels, the book of Acts, 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians have loads to say on the matter.

Mat_19:29  And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.

Mar_10:30  who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.

Joh_3:15  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

Joh_3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Joh_6:47  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

1Th 4:13  But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 

1Th 4:14  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 

1Th 4:15  For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 

1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 

1Th 4:17  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

These are just a very few of the parts of the New Testament that talk about eternal life. It’s the whole teaching of Christianity. The idea that Humans were made to live forever. We messed things up through sin. We know we’ve sinned. I don’t need to prove that to anyone. And the consequences of sin are very great. But God loved us so much, that He became a man, and died to pay the penalty of our guilty verdict. But death couldn’t hold him, after all, he created life. And because of his death and resurrection, if we will come to him, repent and receive him, our eternal life is guaranteed.

Yes, there is life after death. Yes, heaven and hell are both real. We can choose today, right now, where we will spend eternity. We can end the worry, the stress, the fear.

I want to do something. Someone listening, wants to receive that assurance right now. I can feel it. I’m going to say a prayer and I want you to pray it with me.

God, I’m scared. I don’t even know if I know how to pray. But I want to stop fearing the grave. All these verses in the Bible say, you want to give me eternal life, and I want it. God, I’m sorry for all the sin that surrounds my life and I don’t want to live that way any more. I want you to drive. I give you the keys to my life , my heart, and my future. I have so much to learn. I don’t even know where to begin other than here. God I give up. I give in. Give me the eternal life you promised and the new beginning I keep hearing about. Thank you for Jesus. Amen.

If you prayed that. Please tell me about it right away. Write to me NOW. I’ll give you the next steps. If you’d rather talk to a different pastor, I get it. But go to your pastor right away. We are dying to help you.

For the rest of you, I challenge you to read the New Testament, and to take its message seriously.

I think next week, we’ll talk about who Jesus is and why he’s important. And why you can trust the Bible. That’s a tall order, but we’re going to tackle it.