Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tactics by Gregory Koukl Chapter 7: Suicide: Views that Self-Destruct

The first 6 chapters of Tactics looked at the game plan. This week begins part 2, Finding the Flaws. You will begin to identify different flaws in the arguments that people use against you. The first flaw Greg discusses in his book is the suicidal view. These views are self-refuting and will defeat themselves. You don't need to waste much time on these. They will literally destroy themselves. My personal favorite is, "My brother is an only child."

That statement is easily proven wrong by itself. If he is my brother, than he cannot be an only child. The problem with these views is simple. They fail to meet their own criteria of validity. Here are some examples that he lists:
  • There is no truth. (Is this statement true?)
  • There are no absolutes. (Is this an absolute?)
  • No one can know any truth about religion. (How precisely, did you come to know this truth about religion?)
  • You can't know anything for sure. (Are you sure about that?)
Basically, the suicide tactic can only work due to a rule of logic called the law of noncontradiction. That law states that two contradictory statements cannot both be true at the same time. All views that are suicidal make claims that are at odds with each other. "A" cannot be the case if "A" is the case.

Imagine someone tells you, "You should never impose you values on other people." Has he not just imposed his values on you? That is why your very next question should be, "Are those your values." When he says yes then ask, "Why are you imposing your values on other people?"

Another example is the following conversation Greg gives in Tactics:
 "You think that God is on your side but you are wrong. God doesn't take sides."
"Let me ask you a question. In this disagreement that we are having on whether or not God takes sides, what do you think God's opinion is?"
"I just told you. God is against taking sides."
"Right. So in our dispute God would agree with you, not me."
"That is right."
"He would side with you in this issue, then. I guess God takes sides after all."

Simply by stating that God does not take sides implies that he has taken sides. The same is true when someone says that the Bible is flawed because people make mistakes. Could they not be mistaken themselves, about the Bible being flawed? If people don't always make mistakes, then the Bible can not be ruled out just because people wrote it.

Another common argument is that religion cannot be true as follows:
"I don't believe in religion."
"Why not?"
"There is no scientific evidence for it."
"Then you should not believe in science either."
"Why not?"
"Because there is no scientific evidence for it."

In this instance, people feel that only science can give reliable truth. If that were to be true, then were is the scientific evidence that proves only science can prove the truth? This is not a testable scientific claim. Instead, it is a philosophical statement about science that is unreliable because it cannot be proven by the scientific method.

Anyone that states all religions are true can be no more right than someone who states all religion is false. When someone dies they may go to Hell, they may go to Heaven, they may go to Valhalla, they might go back in the ground simply turning to dust, they might even be reincarnated but the last thing that they can do is all of these choices at once.

Next you have the pseudo-questions. It would be a question such as "Can God's power defeat His power?" I have heard this asked  before as, "Can God make a rock so big He can't pick it up?" Of course that is a nonsensical question. How can omnipotence defeat omnipotence. Can you ever win a fight against yourself? Logic would tell us no. W can only use the phrase "stronger than" when there are two subjects, not one. Asking if God is stronger than himself is at best an incoherent question.

In closing, Suidical Views are awesome. We have to do very little work to refute them, we need only do several things. First, listen to the claim or premise. Then ask if the claim applies to itself. If it does, does it meet it's own criteria or is there a conflict. IF there is a conflict, rather than pointing that out in a statement use a question to point it out (The Columbo Approach).

Thanks for reading, see you next time when we delve into Practical Suicide!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2 Years Ago I Married My Queen

This is just a little blog that I had to write today. Two years ago today I married my best friend. We had met a year previous, so we have actually known each other for 3 years. If not for eHarmony, we never would have met. I can guarantee you that the service works. We have been nearly inseparable since our second date. In fact, I knew after our second date that she was the girl I was to marry.

A lot has happened in the two years we have been married. For starters, she has been an amazing step-mom to my 4 year old son DJ. She has even gone out for dinner on several occasions with his mother. That's right, they get along. How awesome is that!! We have built our relationship with Christ first, which has impacted every other part of our life positively. That is the best thing I have found to keep a marriage healthy and strong!

The three (Me, Julie and DJ) of us have taken several family vacations to Disney and to St Louis. We have also taken two cruises, just her and I. You can do that when you have joint custody of a child. Those romantic vacations are soon to stop, as we will be adding to our family on August 7th. That is when our daughter, Addison Grace is due!

We have so much excitement going on. My wife is doing more freelance work as a videographer, from weddings to commercials to book trailers to church videos. If you have a need, contact her and she will do amazing work. We are also working on a documentary and a non-profit both entitled Better Life in Recovery. I am writing a book, sharing my testimony where ever they will hear me and writing this blog. We stay very busy.

Most exciting of all, though, is two years ago I got to marry my best friend. That friendship has just grown stronger, from the first date at Bambino's almost 3 years ago to the anniversary lunch at Bambino's that we had today. I love her, and when I think of her the song that she picked out, Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath and Waltz for Jennifer by FFH play over and over in my mind. If you have never heard them, give them a listen and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

From Shack to Temple - Week 2 (Down 13.3 Pounds)

This week was not nearly as good as last week, which is what I figured. I lost 10 pounds last week, and only 3.3 pounds this week. Did I say only???? Never mind that, I LOST 3.3 POUNDS THIS WEEK!!!!! Come to think of it, that is pretty awesome. That said, it was a very rough weekend, for sure. I keep forgetting that food is an addiction for me, and I need to watch and control it. I swear, it doesn't have to be drugs. One Ruffle's Smokehouse Style BBQ chip is too many, the entire bag is never enough!

For starters, I had a cheat day that lasted several hours longer than it should have. On my cheat day I am supposed to stop eating at 7. All started off well, waffles and turkey sausage with my first cup of coffee in a week. Then lunch after T-Ball practice of a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit. Then we went to Silver Dollar City, and it was Bluegrass and BBQ. I had a rack of ribs, baked beans, apple pie ala mode and a large frozen coke! Yum!!! That was  great day! It should have been over, but it was not.

Then I got to Springfield and it was almost 10. I did a Frisco Thick Burger with Bacon Cheese Fries from Hardees and several scoops of neapolitan ice cream with Reese's Shell on it. It actually started off as a double scoop, but then I had to finish off my son's for him. Next day should have been back to my diet, but I came in from mowing the lawn to my wife, sister, son and niece eating meatloaf and home made mashed potatoes. I did not pass it up, which I should have.

I am feeling very fortunate to have lost 3.3 pounds this week. I have continued the exercise, which is making me feel amazing. I am doing compound exercises that combine several muscles in each set, other than chest and back day. I am also doing cardio. I had someone talk to me about joining a running club, and I need to talk to him at church on Sunday and see what that entails. To be honest, it scares the living day lights out of me.

I continued to be impressed with the customer service at Supplement Superstore. I got a handwritten, page long card from the guy who has helped me, Jake, asking to be kept informed of my progress. I also have a friend, Michael, that is doing the Visalus 90 day challenge. I am keeping an eye on him and the program. I may have to try their products if I hit a sticking point in my routine. If you have never heard of the program, check his website out at

I am still looking for a work out partner for several mornings a week. If you are at the Meyer Center and don't mind early morning workouts shoot me a message, email or text. I would benefit from somebody to push me at the gym. Next week I will put up the actual workouts that I am engaging in. Thanks for reading the update. Talk to you next Tuesday, when my goal is to lose another 3 pounds!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tactics by Gregory Koukl Chapter 6: Perfecting Columbo

So you are wanting to be able to defend your faith rationally and well, right? When you have tried that in the past you have probably noticed that it is hard to be successful in discussions that you have had. You tend to be unable to do anything that you are unprepared for. If you are faced with new problems you generally have trouble coming up with well thought out solutions on the fly. The reason for that is simple. It takes time and practice to develop any new skill, let alone perfect it.

At first, you will not be able to come up with responses rapidly. Due to that there are 3 specific things that you can do to better prepare yourself:
  1. Anticipate in advance what could come up in conversations
  2. Reflect after the discussion on what took place
  3. Practice the different responses that you are able to think of when you reflect to better prepare you for the next time
Anticipate  ways that the conversations you might get into could go. Look at common themes and/or questions that people tend to ask or use. You will want to look up information on the questions that you have had issues with in the past. The you can come up with several good responses for each of those scenarios. Give yourself several different ways to insure you are in the driver's seat when you have future conversations.

Reflect on each conversation after it happens. Make sure to ask yourself several questions each time. Could I have asked better questions? Could I have steered the conversation in a more beneficial direction? Did I plant a decent sized rock in their shoe? Where did I make mistakes? What could I have done differently? Did I represent myself as a good ambassador for Christ? Do I need to learn more about the topic we discussed? Did I act with enough kindness and grace?

Practice the new information that you find and ideas that you come up with out loud. If you can think of things that someone might possibly use to combat what you say, practice what you will say back. And do it out loud. Work on repeating comebacks, and if you have a friend to help you can even role play the conversations. Remember, do it out loud and often. If you want to get better at anything, the only way is to rehearse it and practice, practice, practice.

There are two things that must happen in order to meet a challenge. You must be prepared and then take action. Preparation gives you the confidence you need, but only through interaction with others will you truly be able to improve your abilities to the level they should be for you to truly be an ambassador for Christ.

Occasionally you may run into someone who tries to use the Columbo on you. Always remember that you  control your side of the discussion. If they are asking leading questions, don't answer them. Ask them why they are using questions to explain their points. Let them know that you want to know their views.

Sometimes you may also be asked a question that is not a question and you must always be prepared for it. It will sound like, "What gives you the right to .....?" or "Who are you to say?" If this happens, let them know that you are confused by the questions. "I get the impression that you think that I've made a mistake. Where did I go wrong?" That, or you can ask them to clarify their question so that you can understand it.

Today we took a look at what we have discussed in the earlier blogs as well as how we can begin to get better and prepare ourselves to be not only ambassadors for Christ, but apologists. This is done by remembering 3 words: anticipate, reflect and practice. Join me next week when we begin the second section of the Tactics and start learning how to find the flaws in others arguments.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Today Spiritual Spackle is 1 Year Old!!

As of today, Spiritual Spackle has existed for one year. What that means is that one year ago today I began a blog that bears the same name of the book that I am currently writing. Spiritual Spackle the book and the blog are both dedicated to 2 things: Christ and Recovery. There are other things that I do talk about, but in reality all that I write about boils down to being in recovery and being Christ-like. Everything else is truly secondary. Do I write about being a husband, father and counselor. Yes I do, but without recovery and Christ I would suck at them, so the theme permeates all that I do!

When I first started the blog, I had hopes that it would be read at least 100 times a week. That would be 5,200 hits over the last year. You broke that, and it has been viewed 11,512 times. That is 221 times a week. I find it awesome that so many people care about reading what I have to say about Christ and Recovery. I just hope that what I write can help teach some, lead others and give hope to all who spare me several minutes of their time to stop by and read something I have written.

I did not even really think about the other countries that would visit this site. I would have thought maybe 10 or 20 if I would have been asked. Instead, there have been 84 countries that have stopped by Spiritual Spackle. You can see all of them at  The top 10 are:

  1. United States
  2. Russia
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Germany
  5. France
  6. Brazil
  7. Canada
  8. Slovenia
  9. Australia
  10. Philippines
I have had some blogs that have had more hits than others. The top one that I have ever posted had over 650 hits and it was not written by me. The top blog that I posted was viewed by over 200 people, and it is one of my testimonies. I am grateful that my finding recovery through Christ was interesting and hopefully inspirational enough that over 200 people have watched it. The rest of the top 10 are written by me or about the non-profit that I am forming. Here are the links to the top 10 blogs in my first year:
What has disappointed me is the number of likes that I have gotten on Facebook. I have only had 142 like the site so far. It is found here and I would have figured that I would have at least 250 likes by now. Truth be told, if you want to like the site than like it. If not, at least continue reading. In the end, reading what is on this blog is much more important than clicking like. That said, feel free to share this blog with all that you know and I look forward to sharing more about Christ and Recovery with you in the years to come! Here is to Finding A Better Life Recovery!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

From Shack to Temple - Week 1

Can you lose 10 pounds in one week like they do on The Biggest Loser? I don't know if you can, but I found out that I could. I seriously doubt that the double digit loss will continue into the second week, but in the first 7 days I lost exactly 10 pounds!

I am pretty excited about the results so far. In my opinion, they have been nothing short of amazing. I know that the first week tends to be a big week for loss, so judge what I am doing not by this first week but by the end results. That said, the first week was an awesome start. Here is how I have gotten off to such a great start:

  1. I drink at least 120 ounces of water daily, although it has been more like 160-200 ounces
  2. I exercise every morning for an hour. Next week I will talk more about the exercise that I am doing!
  3. I eat a healthy breakfast (2 eggs, 98% fat free ham or turkey, two pieces of toast and a banana)
  4. I eat a healthy lunch (can of tuna, mustard, two pieces of bread, immense salad with a lot of different colors and balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing)
  5. I do not eat solid food after lunch. Once I get to where I want to be weight wise I will add a healthy dinner.
  6. I have 2 or 3 protein shakes daily (1 after workout in the morning the others in the evening)
  7. I have a 1st Phorm Level-1 shake before bed. I have a sweet tooth that strikes late. Level-1 has chocolate chip cookie dough and ice cream sandwich flavors. They take care of my sweet tooth with only 2 grams of sugar.
  8. I stack 1st Phorm's 1-Db Overdrive with Thyro-Drive on a 5 day on, 2 day off cycle. They are a combination thermogenic that so far have not made me jittery like the products I have used in the past.
  9. I eat and drink anything and everything that I want one day a week from the time I wake up until 7 PM
That is how I have made the changes I have made so far. I have had to use several methods to work around some of the problems I have with eating. I use the late night shake to curb my sweet tooth, and the promise of eating what ever I want one day a week to help me avoid temptation like you see on the right (this was actually in the break room at work yesterday and I ate none of it).

In order for me to get to where I need to be, I have to watch what I take into my body. If I can say no to cigarettes, drugs and alcohol I should have no problem with food. But I did. I had let food become my new addiction and it was killing me just like my old vices had been. Now, I am not having those same problems because of the changes I am making.

I also have to be fit and active every day. My sedentary life style was killing me. I am doing everything: cardio machines, weight lifting, racquetball and bicycle riding. One night I went to the park and took a walk. It is about being active every day. In my last job I waited tables, and walked probably 5 miles plus every day. Now I sit behind a desk and it has been showing. Between being more sedentary and eating comfort food my waist has been increasing. No longer, will that happen. Thanks for following along with me as I turn my shack back into a temple!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Better Life in Recovery - Documentary Trailer and Non-Profit Update

This is the trailer for the upcoming documentary Better Life in Recovery. We are letting people tell their stories who have struggled with alcohol, substance abuse, cutting and eating disorders. That is an incomplete list, for in the stories of all of these people you find out that there were struggles with depression, anxiety, Bi-Polar, isolation, peer pressure, childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, rape, parents/siblings who abused drugs, legal issues, not fitting in, suicide attempts, hopelessness, etc.

All of these stories have many things that are peculiar to each person, but there are also commonalities. The one common theme that we are wanting to get as many people to hear as we possibly can is that there is a Better Life in Recovery. All of the people in the documentary are Finding A Better Life Exists. They all have found hope that they want to share with others, and that hope was found after they struggled with life controlling issues and overcame them.

This is only the trailer after our first round of filming. We have filmed another round since then, and they too were very powerful stories. From dealing dope to dealing hope, people are discovering that they can gain control of their lives after thinking that they were beyond help. By sharing these stories of Real People with Real Problems we are going to make an impact. We have several more rounds of filming that will be done before editing begins.

After this documentary we will be filing another one of parents who have lost children to addiction. It will share their stories, what they have learned and statistics on youth. We are not only trying to reach our youth, but their parents and the people who interact with them as well. I am tired of seeing people die due to the consequences of their addictions and mental health, and we are going to help put an end to this with your help.

We are going to take these documentaries as well as mentor training and teaching people how to spot addiction and mental health issues before it is too late into communities. We want to reach as many people as possible, but we are going to need your help to do this!

In order for us to make an impact on as many people as possible, we have needs. So far my wife and I have fully funded this, and that has gotten a little expensive. If you can help in any way, please let me know. Here are the areas where we really need some help:

  1. We need $1,000 to file for non-profit status so that we can begin fund raising to take this into communities: schools, colleges, churches, seminars, conferences, rehabilitation centers, juvenile centers, youth groups, etc
  2. We need a web site designer to help us with the web design. We know what we want it to look like but do not have the expertise to create it.
  3. Volunteers aged 18-25 who have struggled with alcohol, substance abuse, cutting and eating disorders and overcame them that would be willing to share their story. We are in dire need of ethnicities. 
  4. Parents who have had children who have struggled with addictions and either overcame them or have passed away to share your knowledge with other parents and community members who want to make a difference so that they know what to look for and better ways to deal with struggles when they see them occurring.
  5. Board Members -  Must be passionate about what we are doing and willing to introduce us to those you know who can help. If interested contact us for a board member packet so you can fill it out and get it back to us. 
  6. An attorney to help us file for the non-profit and look paperwork over for us when needed.
  7. An accountant to help us keep track of everything financially
  8. Grant writers
  9. Community leaders, politicians, administrators, parents, teachers, professors, principals, pastors and youth leaders to help get us in to begin showing the documentary presentation when completed. We are hoping to be ready by Spring or Fall of 2013. We will have questionnaires that will be filled out, pre and post, that will allow us to see if there are changes in the attitudes of those we show it to. This will help us validate why we should receive federal and foundation grants. 
  10. Graphic Designers for logos, posters, pamphlets, DVD covers, etc. 
  11. Internet technology to design stunning Facebook page and other social media to attract attention to the program.
  12. If you would like to donate anything: works of art, restaurant and other business gift certificates, hotel/resort rooms and gift certificates, season and one day passes to shows/museums/plays/amusement parks, tickets and season passes to games, movie tickets, dance lessons, free tans, autographed books/cds/posters/dvds/musical instruments/sports memorabilia, gift baskets, massages, hair cuts, martial arts lessons, you having dinner with the highest bidder, etc for door prizes and silent auctions contact us. 
  13. Original music or music that you give us permission to use for the documentaries as well as a possible fund raiser CD.
  14. We need bands to donate a set or two for fundraisers. 
  15. We need sites donated for a concert and silent auction.
  16. Politicians, radio media, television media, pastors, youth ministers, teachers, principals, school counselors, substance abuse counselors, administrators, bloggers, authors, actors, musicians, parents and professors: WE NEED YOU!! We are here to help you and you can help us by fundraising to bring us to your community and by word of mouth. We need you to speak up to your congregations, student bodies, viewers, reasders parents and constituents. Contact us and we will gladly do interviews or talk at community events, seminars, colleges, businesses, clubs, small groups, schools and churches. Let them know what we are doing and get them our information so that they can help. My goal is for this to be the most viewed blog that I have ever written so that thousands of people hear about what we are doing. PLEASE SHARE THIS ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER, IN BLOGS, ETC.!! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

From Shack to Temple - The Journey Has Just Begun

Today was my first day in some time that I went to the gym after hurting my back months ago. I was just starting to get into a regular pattern of exercise when the injury occurred. That said, the exercise I was doing was just enough to keep my weight stable, which was still very over weight. I was holding at around 230 when I got hurt. Now I am up to around 250 pounds. Not a bad weight if you are 6 foot 5. Unfortunately, I am 5 foot 6. It is a very unhealthy weight for me. 

At one time I weighed 160 pounds and wore 27 inch jeans. That was in my addiction to methamphetamine. I have gained 90 pounds since I got off meth and my jean size is now up to 40 and 42. A large part of my initial weight gain was that I was skinny to an unhealthy level when I was using meth. The first 20-30 pounds that I gained was healthy weight. Then I started working out and gained more. Then more and more and more. Eventually I realized that there was a problem and through becoming an alcoholic and not eating I began to lose weight. I got down to around 205 from 220. Then I stopped drinking and the weight came back to me. 

Initially I put down the drugs and started eating. Then I put down the food when I found alcohol. When I stopped drinking and smoking at the same time I put down the alcohol and nicotine and found food. I swapped addictions. I am an addict to escape problems. When I have a stressful day, (which is pretty often because I have a stressful job and I am starting a non-profit while writing a book, blogging and speaking) I eat. I crave meat and sweets. Not lean meat, either! I mean half pound burgers, 24 ounce steaks and full racks of ribs with all of the starchy trimmings. Due to that, I have found myself at 250 pounds.  

Over the weekend while I was attempting to keep up with my 4 year old, God started talking to me. He told me that it was time to get serious and lose weight. The reasons are pretty apparent from a health standpoint. My uncle died from a heart attack at 58 last month due to his weight being more than his heart could take. That alone should be enough, but I already knew how unhealthy my weight is and that has not stopped me yet. Not to worry, God was not done convicting me yet. There was a lot more!

"It is time to lose the 50 pounds of fat," I heard a voice saying over and over again to me during the weekend. It isn't just your health. "You can't even keep up with your son any more," that voice shouted. It was true, I get tired and worn out just from playing with my son. I have another baby on the way. It is getting ready to be twice as active for me. If I have trouble keeping up with him, what will it be like when there are two of them? God was not done with me yet. He reminded me Sunday during service at church of something else.  

I am beginning to get out and speak more. I am talking to people who struggle with life controlling issues. I am wanting to give them hope that they can overcome their struggles. A voice told me Sunday that no one wants to hear someone who is fat telling them how to deal with their struggles and overcome them. A lot of people that I will talk to struggle with weight issues and self image problems. They use meth to lose weight, force themselves to throw up after eating or simply don't eat at all. If they are in the audience that I speak to, my message will fall on deaf ears if I am not in better shape. I need to reach those people and the voice in my ear screamed that I can't do it looking like I do now! I have to take control of my eating problem and no longer let it rule my life. "The time is now," the voice told me. 

God spoke, I listened! I need to hear God's whisper in my ear and feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I may not want to hear what it has to say, but I love it when I hear God's voice so clearly! Immediately after church I sat down and made a list of what I was going to eat and the changes in exercise that were going to occur. Monday I went shopping for what I needed and this morning (Tuesday) I started back at the gym and the eating habit changes have began.

I am going to share a few things with everyone. I am now working out multiple mornings a week as well as the occasional cardio/exercise in the evening. I am eating a full breakfast and a full lunch; full but extremely healthy. I am then having three protein shakes daily and a minimum of 100 ounces of water. The water may increase, but it will not decrease. I am doing this 6 days a week and one day a week will be my junk food day. I can eat what I want from the time I wake up until 7 that evening. Once 7 P.M. comes, the fun stops. 

I will follow this and tweak it as the time progresses and I see what needs to be added. I am excited. My goal is to drop from the 247.6 pounds that I weighed today (see picture above) down to no more than 190. If that is still unhealthy, I will drop more weight. I will not know until I get there. I will be back down to no more than 34 inch jeans from the 42 inch jeans I find myself wearing now. I have taken a couple of before pictures of myself, but they will not be shared until I have a decent after picture to show. 

I tell you this for the accountability piece I need. I will write a weekly series that will bear the title "From Shack to Temple." Each week I will have a picture of the scale after weighing on Tuesday morning. I will also outline the diet that I followed that week as well as the exercise regimen that I followed. I do all of this for a reason. We are told that our bodies are the temple of God, and lately mine has been an amusement park. That will happen no longer. God spoke, I listened and now I comply! Please follow this journey with me and feel free to ask me how it is going when you see me in person. If you do not see me in person, leave comments on my blogs, call me, e-mail me and/or talk to me on Facebook/Twitter. I would ask that everyone of you become an accountability partner for me. 

The journey has just begun, hope you enjoy reading about the ride!

P.S. If you happen to be a member at the Meyer Center and are looking for a work out partner and don't mind early morning workouts, get a hold of me. If you are a bicycle rider or a racquetball/handball player get a hold of me also. Thanks in advance!