Can I Learn from a Disciple of the "King?"

On Friday of this week, our church is honored to host the annual fall senior adult gathering and banquet for our Jacksonville Baptist Association (Engage{JAX} Network.) This annual event is always well attended and this year more than 300 tickets have been purchased.

As the host venue, we have little to do other than open the facility and provide some technical help. 

In fact, since this event is planned and organized by a volunteer committee of Baptists from throughout our city, the Network actually has little to do other than promote and provide financial accountability for tickets sold and honorariums for guests.

This is a fellowship event. I say that because sometimes we look down our pious noses at church events that do not seem to have a purpose. This event's purpose is fellowship. It's designed to be fun. There will be times of singing and eating and stories shared. In other words, in case it's not clear - this is good. Christians can gather and have fun. In fact, they should. This does not take away from the mission.

Now, if all the church does is casserole meals and fellowship events, it will eventually cease to be a church and become more of a club, but I digress. In an of itself, an event like this does not detract from the mission of the church and may just scratch an itch that often churches miss - the joy of doing life together.

What caught my eye regarding this year's event was the special guest. 


Fake-elvisThat's right. The senior adults of Jacksonville will be entertained by an Elvis Presley impersonator.

Just to be clear, based on the photograph I have seen, this is a 1970s Elvis impersonator, not a 1950s version. That means the white jumpsuit, sequins, mutton-chops and scarves. No "Jailhouse Rock" jeans or red "Teddy Bear" jacket.

And, just in case you're thinking I'm an Elvis hater. I'm not. I'm listening to "Burning Love" (hunka-hunka) as I write this.

Honestly, when I first saw this I thought, "Seriously? They're bringing an Elvis impersonator in for entertainment?"

I've heard that many often long for the "good-old days" of church, back when hymnals were used, pianos and organs were the norm, pastors wore suits and ties and bulletins actually had the order of service printed, but this seemed extreme.

Was this a throwback to the by-gone days?

Was this a not-so-subtle message of longing for the past? 

Are we now at a place where we have forsaken trying to draw crowds to see the King of Kings and have settled for a copy of the "King of Rock?"

No, I think the message is simpler than all that. I think someone thought "This would be fun." That's it. Fun. No message. No statement. No forsaking of the Gospel. Just a fun night listening to songs that take the crowd back to another time where music wasn't really as innocent as we'd like to think, but at least it wasn't Miley Cyrus, right?

Since we're committed and faux-Elvis will be here Friday, I started thinking about these people who entertain as Elvis impersonators. What an interesting hobby or career.

There are thousands of Elvis impersonators in the world. Most of them live in Las Vegas, but you can find one in just about every city in the nation. This is amazing because Elvis (according to most reports) is not actually alive. There's no new material, unless you count the version of "A Little Less Conversation" that came out in 2002. 

There's actually a network of impersonators that connects via the internet. There are conventions and gatherings and if you remember Nicholas Cage movies, you know they can sky dive as well. 

What does it take to be a good Elvis impersonator? Here are my thoughts:

  • It helps if you can sing.
  • It's even better if you can sing and sound like Elvis.
  • Having the right clothes is essential.
  • Depending on the era of Elvis you are impersonating (and this has to do with your age) you will either need the gold jacket, black leather 1968 special suit or the 1970s jumpsuit.
  • You need the Southern drawl and the curled lip.
  • If you are really into it, you need a Cadillac.
  • It helps if you take karate lessons.
  • Maybe a stint in the Army would be a benefit.
  • Hip action is needed, but depending on where you perform, be careful. If you're appearing on an Ed Sullivan impersonator's show, your hip gyrations will be edited and not viewable by the audience.
  • Peanut butter and banana sandwiches need to be a favorite of yours.
  • Watch the movies, all the Elvis movies. 
  • Study the movies, the documentaries, read the biographies, visit Graceland and maybe take a trip to Vegas as well.

You see you cannot be an effective Elvis impersonator if you do not study, prepare and do as best you can to act and perform like the real thing. I'm not saying you need to wear a WWED bracelet, but I do believe that while performing as a faux-Elvis, the thought "What Would Elvis Do?" needs to be running through your mind.

To be an effective copy of the real thing, you must be a fully devoted disciple of the King. So, yes, I can learn from these disciples of the "King of Rock."

The problem is that even if you are the very best Elvis impersonator in the world. I mean, even if Priscilla and Lisa Marie are convinced you're really Elvis, it doesn't do you much good. Oh, you may get to entertain in Vegas, or maybe even a Jacksonville senior adult event, but ultimately, being a copy of Elvis will never be enough. It cannot. There's no life in being a copy of a dead man.

However, there's another King, a true King, who calls his followers to impersonate him. Jesus Christ, the King of kings, has clearly called his followers, his disciples to impersonate him. It's deeper than a WWJD question. We have been called to live our lives as copies of the King who is not dead, but alive. In fact, in order to be his disciples, we must die to self. We will never be convincing impersonators of the King if our lives look more like "ours" than "His."

Elvis may have left the building, but Jesus remains. He is still alive and his version of Graceland is far better than the house in Memphis.

The Grammys Are Over. And You Expected What, Actually?

The 2014 Grammys are over. When I first saw who was nominated and going to appear on The Grammys this year, I thought someone had accidentally pulled up the roster from 1986 - Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Chicago, Black Sabbath, and even Led Zeppelin?

GrammyThen, Mr. Roboto showed up and won. They may go by Daft Punk, but as any fan of Styx knows, they are really just the next generation of Mr. Roboto. (Domo arigato.)

The annual ceremony intended to honor and celebrate those who have excelled in the music industry, but left many wondering "What just happened?"

No, I didn't watch much of The Grammys. I wasn't so much a personal protest as it was the fact that our small group was meeting for Bible study and playing games and we just didn't think about it being on. (This statement makes me sound really super spiritual, but is soon negated by the fact I know the words to "Mr. Roboto", right?) The other reason I didn't record the broadcast or watch the entire presentation is that, for the most part, I'm just not a fan of the artists being highlighted. . .and I was tired and ready to go to bed. However, once our small group left, we did turn on the television just in time to see Queen Latifah oversee a ceremony where thirty-three couples exchanged rings, declared their love for each other and entered into holy matrimony. It was a spectacle for sure, and while Macklemore and performed his popular anthem for gay marriage "Same Love," couples of many varieties (heterosexual, biracial, old, young, gay, lesbian, etc.) were married before millions.

The culture shift is immense. Ed Stetzer wrote clearly about this in his excellent post from yesterday. You can read it by clicking here.

Christians are appalled, and I get it. Sin is appalling and yet, the vitriol I am hearing based on this awards ceremony from many seems to be affirming a false stereotype of Christianity as a religion of hate and anger. 

To be clear, that which was done on the stage of the Grammys was appalling. It was ungodly and worldly. In many cases, it was sinful. Katy Perry's "casting of a spell" and jumping in the fire while dancing with a broomstick illustrated anything but godliness. The performances and ceremonies of the night were mostly social statements and were strategic and intentional.

And. . .it shouldn't surprise us at all.

Without sugar-coating what is happening and white-washing sin in any way, the church is faced with a decidedly different cultural landscape than even just a few years ago. Each year the statement "It's worse than it's ever been" continues to be a banner we gather under to lament and weep, but at the same time, we often miss the reality that God is ever-present and still sovereign.

Was God at the Grammys? Well, of course He was. 

Dr. William Brown of Cedarville University stated it clearly here. . .

Screenshot 2014-01-28 23.00.59

The Christian Response

"What are we to do?" many cry out. 

For starters, we must be "in Christ" and live as His disciples.

That means many things, but primarily it is a calling to die to self and live for Him.

It entails loving God and others. It involves being able to discern sin, but not just the sin of others. . .and not just the "obvious" ones. It means to love in spite of sin - not overlooking it, not affirming it, not accepting it - but seeing the person, the image-bearer of God as His lovely creation in need of rescue and a relationship. 

When the "marriage" took place on the floor of the Staples Center, like many, I tweeted my thoughts. 

Screenshot 2014-01-28 22.36.51I stand by that tweet because it is true. That is why the matrimony entered into last Sunday evening would not be categorized as "holy."

This ceremony was a mockery due to the fact that a miraculous relationship created by God and defined in Scripture became little more than a social statement. Was God there? Well, He's everywhere as Dr. Brown stated, but I don't think He was invited to the wedding, per se.

It occurs to me that not only was this wedding little more than a show and a facade of that which God designed, but so too are other weddings that take place outside the limelight and awards ceremonies when God is not honored. This could be the wedding between non-believers, between a Christ-follower and one who is lost, and maybe even between those who wrongly believe themselves to be the "star" of the wedding and utilize the church as little more than a backdrop for wedding photos.

The Grammys show us that culture has shifted, but maybe not as much as some would think. Oh, it's true that which was appalling just a few years ago is not the norm, but all is not lost.

Even in a world where it appears most have forsaken biblical truth, it is becoming evident that God is raising up a generation of men and women that He will use as His ambassadors to a culture far from Him. A hunger for Truth and God's Word is growing and, while it may not be easy for all to see, rest assured. . .the best is yet to come. That's becoming clear through my small group where the vast majority of attendees are in their young twenties.

How do we respond to a culture so far from God?

With grace, love and truth. 

This much has never changed.

Maybe the more things change, the more they stay the same? Since the 1980s are now the "good old days" of nostalgia, I think I'll go listen to my "Chicago" Greatest Hits CD.

We May Have Missed An Opportunity

You know the old saying, "When opportunity knocks, open the door." It's often after the opportunity has passed by that we realize it and think, "Oops."

Missed opportunities abound and we often read the stories of these and shake our heads thinking of what could have been.

IMG_1720Last Sunday evening, we once again hosted a concert for Ridgeview High School's Band. The band director, Arnaldo Colon, is an active member here at First and serves in our worship ministry. His predecessor as Band Director, David McGuffin, is also a member here at First and prior to his retirement from the school, we hosted numerous Christmas concerts for the band.

We have been intentional in allowing certain groups in our schools and community to use our facilities at times. We continue to open the doors for these organizations when we can. However, over the years we have declared this to be a "missional expression."


When I arrived Sunday evening, I noticed that other than a few  parents of band members who also happen to be members of First, there were only a handful of church members or attenders in the building. The concert was good. The music was presented well and Christmas carols and traditional songs were perfoemed for the audience. Carols that we would sing together on a Sunday morning during worship as well as some fun songs like "Hot Chocolate" from The Polar Express and the theme from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" were also part of the program.

In other words. . .the church, for this evening, was simply a venue. The people were not here. Oh, there was a good crowd from the school. Parents, grandparents and friends came to experirence the concert. They were greatly appreciative to me for the use of our facility. Shelvin Lamb, our Worship Pastor was a gracious host for the band and others. 

All in all, it was a good concert and a fine event.

It just wasn't missional. It was just an event.

It wasn't missional in that it took place in the church's facility and the church wasn't present. I'm not saying we should have been here, preaching between songs or handing out tracts. I'm not even trying to make people feel guilty for not attending. In fact, for many who are part of the church at Fist, this was not viewed as something they were necessarily supposed to attend. 


As I sat in the foyer before, during and after the concert (I was the lone usher and security on duty - I'm sure they all felt safe) I began thinking about what could've been done.

Here are some ideas that I penned during the hour:

  • Encourage small groups to move their annual Christmas party to Sunday evening, following the concert. Have the groups meet at church to attend the concert together and then go to their party following.
  • Have a group within the church (small groups again?) to bring gifts for the young men and young ladies in the band. There were about 70 students on the stage. While some have church homes, based on current trends, I'd say that most do not. Have a gift for each one with their name on it waiting for them. It doesn't have to be big, but needs to be significant.
  • Have hot chocolate available for parents and others in the foyer.  This, of course, would bother some who never want to see drinks allowed in the "Worship Center." However, since there were no church members here Sunday evening, we won't tell them that many brought their Starbucks into the building with them. We have tile floors - we can mop spills. We have dark carpet - stains will look like modern designs. It's not that big of a deal.
  • Greeters could be at each door welcoming people to the event. These don't have to be men who serve on the usher team. It could be teenagers, moms and dads and families. There's something about being welcomed upon entrance to a venue that makes one feel more comfortable. There should be a real excitement that hundreds of unchurched people (I know, some of the crowd are active in other churches and we desire they remain active, but not all are. . . and those need a good experience with the church) would enter into our facility willingly.
  • We need a photographer here. As people were leaving, numerous families would pose in front of the Christmas tree (the Chrismon Tree) in the front foyer for a family photo. We should be taking pics there and throughout the concert. Just as we did with the elementary school Christmas party last year, we take the pics, give the folks a business card with our church website on it and information on where to find their pictures. They can then go to our site and click the link to find their pictures. Who knows? They may just look at some other items on the website as well.
  • Serve the guests. This is key every time we open the doors, whether it be for a special event or on Sunday for our regularly scheduled worship services. They are guests - not visitors. They are honored guests and should be treated as such.
  • Pray. Yes, the church should be praying that this first contact event would be missional in that, even though the event is in our building, the people attending would experience the church (the people) and the One we serve through our love for them.
  • Etc. There's more, but you get the picture.

God has blessed us with a facility that can house such events. Not every church has this privilege. We must be strategic and intentional. What church wouldn't love to have an event where hundreds of lost people plan and schedule to attend? 

It's here.

This year. . .well, that's a missed opportunity.

I pray we will not miss the next one.


I Am Resolved

On a day where resolutions are made by many, this old hymn came to mind. Not sure I ever really contemplated the lyrics. This is a good day to take a look.


Words: Palmer Hartsough (Cincinnati, OH. Fillmore Brothers. 1896.)

Music: James A. Fillmore, Sr.

I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.


New-Years-Resolutions-480x256I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I will hasten, hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.

I am resolved to go to the Savior,
Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One,
He hath the words of life.


I am resolved to follow the Savior,
Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth,
He is the living Way.


I am resolved to enter the kingdom
Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me,
Still will I enter in.


I am resolved, and who will go with me?
Come, friends, without delay,
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We’ll walk the heav’nly way.


Baptism by the Holy Spirit

01 2 - Baptism by the Holy Spirit 4

In Acts 1 and 2 it is clear that Jesus is preparing His followers for an amazing event. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was to come. It was incredible. It was something the disciples had never experienced. It changed everything. 

Yet, today, there's confusion, even among followers of Christ as to what this means. Is this baptism by the Holy Spirit a "second blessing?" Do you get more of God later? Sometime after you surrender to Him?

Take a moment to listen to the attached file, or download it from our iTunes podcast or listen from our church app.


The clouds had not yet lifted

Jesus tombThe tomb was sealed and dark.

The cruel cross had crucified

The hope of every heart.

The Son of God,

The Lord of life,

By death had been destroyed.

Then in the silence of the tomb

He heard His Father's voice.

"Arise. Arise, first Star of the morning skies,

Come forth, my anointed One

Into eternal life.

Arise. Arise.

Cast away death's dark disguise.

My glorious Son,

Victorious One,

In majesty, arise!

The earth began to tremble.

The ground began to quake.

The mighty stone that sealed the tomb

Of death began to shake.

Then suddenly, the darkness

Was shattered by His light

As Jesus Christ, the Son of God

Burst through the doors alive.

Arise. Arise, first Star of the morning skies.

Come forth, my anointed One

Into eternal life.

Arise. Arise.

Cast away death's dark disguise

My glorious Son,

Victorious One

In majesty, arise!

Arise. Arise, first Star of the morning skies.

Come forth, my anointed One

Into eternal life.

Arise. Arise.

Cast away death's dark disguise.

My glorious Son,

Victorious Son

In majesty, arise!



"Arise" by Luke Garrett from the album Ever Constant. . .Ever Sure copyright 1987 as featured in the musical "The Promise.

Performed by Julio Arriola and choir.

Death Always Surprises - Whitney Houston (1963-2012)

The news reports came out yesterday and many, like me, who grew up in the 1980s listening to the smooth, powerfully soulful voice of Whitney Houston were shocked. Whitney Houston - Dead at age 48.

In 1985 when her debut album "Whitney Houston" was released I was in high school. This album sold millions and spawned hit after hit such as "Saving All My Love for You", "How Will I Know", and "Greatest Love of All". The music world and fans knew that Whitney Houston had arrived and would make an impact for years to come.

For a while it seemed to be the case. More hit records, such as her second album "Whitney" which released in 1987 solidified her standing in the music world and ensured she would be no one hit or "one album" wonder.

She faced criticism following her pop music success. According to AP Music writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody, her foray into the pop music world left some believing she had sold out her black roots to reach white audiences. She was even booed during the Soul Train Awards in 1989.

Houston stated in a 1996 interview with Katie Couric, "Sometimes it gets down to that, you know? You're not black enough for them. I don't know. You're not R&B enough. You're very pop. The white audience has taken you away from them."

The inner turmoil, sometimes spurred by public perception seemed to be getting to her even then.



Most know how Houston's story began to shift. She had ups and downs. She found love with musical "bad boy" Bobby Brown and they wed in 1992. Their marriage was a popular celebrity gossip story. The wedding shower for Houston featured friends and relatives such as Dionne Warwick, Jasmine Guy and Gospel singer CeCe Winans. The news stated the gifts as being "contradictory" with the strangest item being a Bible given by Winans.


Houston and Brown stayed together for a number of years. They had one daughter, Bobbi Kristina. Their marriage became tabloid fodder and with stories of domestic abuse as well as alcohol and drug use, the pop princess soon became the butt of comedians' jokes and just another subject for celebrity voyeurism.

Houston's story is tragic. Her beautiful voice was changing due to alcohol and drug use. No longer were the high notes hit smoothly. While her 2009 hit "Million Dollar Bill" was good and album "I Look to You" sold millions of copies, it was obvious that the voice just wasn't quite the same. Yet, there was a sense of hope for her fans. Maybe Whitney was coming back?

Then, the news from yesterday. Even though the ups and downs of Houston's public and "almost" private life had been known for years, the fact this 48 year old woman was dead was shocking. While no cause of death has been released, speculation is that it was drug or alcohol related. I hope this is not the case. 

The death of Houston is especially shocking to people of my generation.

All around the nation men and women in their 40s (like me) look to this and are reminded once again of their own mortality.

No one likes to talk about death.

Most people do not like to attend funerals.

Consequently, we are most often surprised by death. Life seems to roll on as routine until a death notification comes. Houston's death impacts many, but mainly as a "I can't believe she's dead" moment. There is concern and prayers should be offered for her family, especially her daughter, during this time. However, most of us will respond by listening to some Whitney Houston songs, maybe Redbox will restock "The Bodyguard" or "The Preacher's Wife" for rental, but by and large, most fans will just get back to living their own lives.

Life moves fast.

So fast that a woman in her twenties that hit the pop scene seemingly just a couple of years ago is now no longer here. Could this be the woman who wowed the world with the best rendition of the Star Spangled Banner ever at a televised sporting event during the 1991 Super Bowl? Sadly, yes.

Therefore, a generation of 40-somethings are forced to think about death.

So, I am taken back to the wisdom of Solomon as expressed in Ecclesiastes 7.

Ecclesiastes 7:2-4(ESV)
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 

Funerals and surprising death notices serve to remind us that no one, not even popular celebrities, are promised tomorrow. "The living will lay it to heart" - this means we recognize that each day is a gift. Each relationship is important. Each moment matters. We are only here for a little while. 

While I have no idea about Houston's spiritual life, her untimely death serves as another great reminder to us that putting off for tomorrow that which should be done today is foolish. 

Some are putting off thinking and dealing with Jesus Christ until later. 

The love and grace of God and chance at life that has been offered is here now. I pray for those who are waiting until tomorrow to get things "right with God." I pray for you if you have not considered your life at this level.

James 4:14(ESV)
Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 

Whitney Houston's story is so very sad. I pray for her family. I also pray that her startling death will serve as a reminder to all of us of the fragility of life and that God offers hope. He offers life. He offers a way. That way is Jesus Christ alone.

Really Bad Christian Songs

Sometimes during the day, I will hear a comment or a statement that just resonates. I guess that's why I have this blog, so I can think through most of these things.

This morning I watched a DVD featuring sessions from "The Elephant Room: Round 1." The Elephant Room is a discussion group featuring prominent pastors (James MacDonald, Mark Driscoll, Greg Laurie, Steven Furtick, Matt Chandler and David Platt) that was aired live via simulcast last spring from Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago. Pastor James MacDonald leads this multi-campus fellowship and is the host and moderator for The Elephant Room. By the way, Round 2 is being simulcast on January 25 at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville. You can still register online here

Anyway, that's not what this post is about. I was looking for some clips on YouTube of some of the other Elephant Room sessions not included on the DVD and found this clip featuring James MacDonald. It's titled "James MacDonald on Songs They Don't Sing at His Church." Watch it below.

I can't say that I disagree with his comments. However, like most folks, I don't agree completely. I do love where he says "We don't sing 'Jesus is my boyfriend' songs." That was the phrase that resonated today.

This has made me evaluate songs and hymns I enjoy and that I've sung in church for years. Many of these old hymns, choruses and new worship songs are incredible, but I remember a statement made by my music professor at seminary. Dr. Reynolds said, "You can determine a church's theology before the service ever begins. Just open up their hymnal and read the words to the songs."

Of course, many churches (ours included) do not use hymnals anymore, but the point is the same. To determine what the church believes about doctrine, about the Gospel, about God. . .listen to the words of the songs.

Oh, and even though some new praise choruses were referenced, poor theological songs are not relegated to the new worship movement.

There are ancient hymns that miss the point.

There are many Southern Gospel songs that basically re-write Scripture.

There are gospel songs that are embarrasingly misleading.

Sometimes I fear we sing songs that just have a good beat, are mixed well, easy for the choir to do or are the latest popular worship song without considering the theology.

Worship_guitarThis happens often (not all the time, but often) when soloists bring their own accompaniment CDs for their performance or presentation. I'm sure songs are chosen based upon style and range and what sounds good, but if we're not very careful, we will be presenting a theological concept through a song that then must be either ignored or carefully deconstructed by the Pastor.

Just to be clear, this is not a post accusing anyone of anything. In fact, my friend and Worship Pastor, Shelvin Lamb has often nixed songs simply because of the theology. We've talked at times about certain songs that seem to be making the rounds in churches and have decided that while the song is enjoyable, it is wrong and therefore, we cannot use it.

We (the church) have traditionally, and most likely legalistically, been all over our young people for listening to "bad" music. Of course, there are some bad songs that are very popular, but the kids always say "I just like the beat. I don't listen to the words." We know that's a cop out because even now, if I hear a song on the oldies station (which means they play songs from the 1980s) I can sing along, even if it's been 25 years since I owned the cassette of that artists. This was proved when I heard Prince's "1999" on the radio the other day. Seriously. . ."Two-thousand, zero, zero, party over. Oops! Out of time." Yeah, I can sing it. What a dumb song.

Anyway, my point is if we are telling our kids that they can't just hear the song and not hear the words, we need to listen to our own advice.

Even if the song is in a hymnal, on Christian radio or sung at the latest camp or rally, we had better check the doctrine. Otherwise, we will be singing more "boyfriend" songs about ourselves with really poor doctrine.

I do believe we will be held accountable, especially as pastors and leaders, for teaching sound doctrine. That includes what we teach through our songs as well.

On a lighter note, check out Tim Hawkins "corporate" worship songs. It's good to laugh! Even at ourselves. 

Veterans & Active Duty Military - Take Advantage of These Specials. . .and Thank You So Much for Your Service

Veterans Day is coming up. It's November 11 (just like every other year.) 

Yesterday I saw a commercial for Golden Corral advertising their Veteran's Meal on November  14 (why, not the 11th, I don't know) in honor of Veterans Day. A friend of mine sent me a list of restaurants and stores who honor our vets and offer special discounts. Thought I'd pass it on to you. Oh, you'd better double-check these, because some may be "participating venues only." In most cases, you will need to provide a military ID, a photo of yourself in uniform or some form of proof you served.  Here is the list. . .


  • Applebee's - All veterans and active duty military eat free from a limited men on Veteran's Day.
  • Chili's - Veterans and active duty military dine for free from a special, limited six item menu on Veteran's Day.
  • Golden Corral - Military Appreciation Monday on November 14 features a free dinner from 5pm - 9pm for all military retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reservists.
  • Kripsy Kreme - All active-duty, retirees and veterans get a free doughnut on Veterans Day.
  • McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant - Complimentary entree to veterans from a special menu on a space available basis. Online reservations are highly recommended.
  • Outback Steakhouse - Veterans and active duty military get a complimentary Bloomin' Onion and non-alcoholic beverage on Veterans Day.
  • UNO Chicago Grill - UNO is offering a "Buy One - Get One Free" offer to veterans and active duty military on Veterans Day. The Veterans Day BOGO offer includes a free entree or individual pizza with the purpose of an entree or pizza of equal or greater value.
  • Texas Roadhouse - Free meal from opening until 4pm on Veterans Day.
  • T.G.I. Friday's - Veterans and active duty military "Buy One - Get One Free" from November 11 - 14. 


  • - Free Veterans Day Honor MP3 album download. Album includes 12 songs by The Bands and Ensembles of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Build-a-Bear Workshop - Members of the armed forces including Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Reserve Officer Training Corps will receive a 20 percent discount November 11-15 on any one transaction at the store.
  • Cabela's Outdoor Store - Offers their employee discount to all veterans, active duty military and Reservists, police, fire and EMS personnel on November 11 and 12. Discounts vary from 5 percent to 50 percent, depending on the item.
  • Dollar General - Veterans, active duty, National Guard, Reservists, and their immediate families will receive a 10 percent discount with a Veterans Day coupon. The coupon may be found in store circular ads or by asking a sales associate.
  • Fashion Bug - 20 percent off all plus-size and misses clothing purchases with copy of military ID or spouse's military ID.
  • Foot Locker - Veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reservists and their immediate families with a Foot Locker Veterans Advantage Card receive a 20 percent discount every day of the year. This offer is good online and at any store location (including Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Footaction, and Champs Sports.) This discount is good even on sale items.
  • The Home Depot - 10 percent discount to all veterans on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day
  • Lowe's - 10 percent discount to all veterans on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day. Offer available in stores only and limited to in-stock and special order purchases of up to $5,000.
  • Sam's Club - Give away 36,000 collapsible Hugo Canes on Veterans Day to military veterans in need of mobility assistance. Sam's Club membership required.

Again, double-check with these restaurants and retailers. Some sites may not be offering the specials. I'm sure there are others not listed here, who offer specials as well. Feel free to comment with add-ons.

Does Laughing at This Mean I'm Getting Old?

It's Wednesday. I've taken a couple of days off to help (i.e. watch) my father-in-law replace our rotted back doors at home and build a cover for our back porch (Actually, it's not a porch. It's just a slab of concrete.)

I remembered I had a 3pm meeting today to help plan a wedding next summer, so I came into the office for the meeting.

I am prepared for my Bible study tonight.

Then, I checked Facebook and found this picture posted on a friend's site. 

I laughed out loud. 

I'm now listening to my Lionel Richie Greatest Hits CD on iTunes. So far, I've said "Hello" am "Dancing on the Ceiling" and remembered that "Sunday Morning is Easy." 

I also received a message from an old high school friend regarding our 25th reunion happening this weekend, which I will not be able to attend.

Amazing how you can be going through a day and in just a moment be thrust back to the mid-1980s.