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  • February 2014


    Most of the time when I write about Depression I do so hoping that it will help someone who is going through a place I have been. Other times it is to come alongside people who are in recovery and just share experiences. Today my article is for me. I need to write this. I’ve needed to do something with this subject since the day I reached out to a pastor in my area and was absolutely floored (and crushed) by his response.

    Why I’m Writing This

    Jenn and I were in the market for a new place to do church. I searched the internet for a local place that we might be able to heal in. I was a pastor who had stepped down due to complications with depression, anxiety and bi-polarism and needed a church that could accept who I was and what I and my family were still going through. I emailed this pastor a brief overview of our story and what we were dealing with. I wanted to see if he would accept us. We’re going to go through the reply he sent me.

    I do not wish to single out this pastor. I see him as a type of person rather than a particular one. He has come to represent all of those in the church who feel the same way as this man, but haven’t had the platform to share it. They say when you see one roach that there are hundreds more behind the walls. In the same way I operate daily believing that most people in the church view depression, it’s cause and cure as this man does. This is my attempt to answer their condemnations one-by-one. We’ll see how it goes. [click to continue…]

    The Difference Between Being Depressed and Having Depression

    Most people don’t realize that there is a difference between being depressed and having depression. I know this because when people find out that I have struggled with depression they often ask, “What were you depressed about?” or have suggest a simple remedy: “You should get out of the house more!”. I don’t blame the people. We only have one word for depression after all. Thankfully the dictionary reminds us that the same word can mean two different things:


    : a state of feeling sad

    : a serious medical condition in which the person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way.

    Most people don’t realize there are two definitions for depression. I hope this post helps to change that. Maybe this will become a place to which the depressed can refer friends and relatives who don’t seem to understand what depressed people are going through. [click to continue…]


    My daughter made my day today by believing in me. This episode we’re celebrating the following moments that made my day: My son did his English paper correctly, Having to get rid of a Facebook friend because of the Suggested Friends that were being presented, Had a good friend respond very well to the news that we were coming to visit, Guest-hosting on It’s Just Us podcast, Singing “Sail” with the kids and wife, I dropped my son J into a trashcan to retrieve my keys, Guest hosted the Westside of Mars podcast, Got an email from a depressed teen that I really related to, My family enjoyed the Valentine’s stuff I got for them, I wrote out the story of how my wife and I met, I found Microsoft Office CD’s I’d been missing for months, Read the first chapter edits from my editor Lauren.

    Plus your MMD moments! Send in some more to mmdcast@gmail.com.

    Mentioned on the Show:

    Follow James on Twitter: @nlcast

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    Our Love Story

    February 14, 2014 · 4 comments

    Okay, so it’s Valentine’s Day so I’ll do this:

    Jenn and I met after a youth group activity in Saint Simon’s Island at a McDonalds.

    I wasn’t even supposed to have gone to the event. The people I was going with left me but my sister and her friends gave me a ride. I’m sitting with them at McDonalds wearing a light blue Fernandina Beach fishing cap with the front flipped up and I see this girl. My first thought, “That is the cutest girl I have ever seen.” Not fine (they say “hot” now)… cute. Cute as all get out. Like the standard of what cute is measured by. A strong cuteness. It was better than “fine” it was real. I had to talk to her.

    I never would have except that she was in line to get food and happened to be with a friend of mine. I went up and started talking to Shannon, or whatever her name was, and soon enough I had met Jennifer. [click to continue…]

    I can’t believe I’ve written four of these How I Podcast articles. It’s interesting to go back and see how things have changed. Most of those changes have been in equipment and procedure. [click to continue…]


    I put the word out a month ago that though I wasn’t ready to go full-out podcasting on my own, I’d be happy to get my feet wet again with some guest-hosting invitations. Here is a short list of interviews I’ve done if you’d like to check them out. [click to continue…]


    Last time I said we would talk more about the importance of, and methods for, getting Biblical scripture in into yourself. So today we’ll be focusing on the point and purpose of scripture study… Life Application.

    If you haven’t yet read Look At Your Fish and A Text Without a Context Is a Pretext as this is a continuation of those two articles.

    The Bible seems clear on the point that what you believe matters, but what you do matters more. James 2:19 says that even the demons believe in God (and it freaks them out). They naturally don’t allow that knowledge to affect their lives or put into practice anything they learn of him. James doesn’t equate a person with no actions with a demon, but he does say “You want ‘Christian-Cred’ for believing? Heck, the devil believes.” Believing only apparently doesn’t give you something that I’ve now coined as Christian-cred.

    We downplay life application. Works don’t save us, we say, and that is true, but works are how we show our faith. I often say that works won’t save you, but they’ll keep you saved. [click to continue…]


    This week’s episode, just to be a little different from the usual, will be focusing on the little, tiny wonderful things in life! Things like:

    Donna’s husband reaching out, Writing 20,000 words in my book, Waking up at 3am and writing, Had lunch with a friend and made his day, Gameboy Color vs Gameboy DS, A trip in the car to Disney World, When God takes, Will looking out for me via Twitter, Writing all day, Guest hosting on Pop Mockers, Finishing the rough draft on my book, Joking with the kids, Talking with my wife about her life after my depression, My son’s prayer, Getting through a to-do list, Framing Bird Man, Truth or Dare with my son, Kennison Trivia part 2, Editing my book, Podcast cover art gig, Whatever it is, yes, Reading my first chapter to my daughter.

    Plus your made my day moments and emails!

    Mentioned on the Show:

    Follow James on Twitter: @nlcast

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    Welcome to part two of what is now a series on the basics of studying scripture. There are so many who do it wrong. Some very famous personalities regularly take scriptures out of context to make a point they decided was true in advance. It’s called a Topical Sermon, and I was taught that pastor’s should only preach one a year, and ask forgiveness afterward. Entire cults are formed based around a single scripture taken out of context. It’s good to read the Bible. It’s better to read it and understand what is being communicated. [click to continue…]


    Today I am going to perform an exercise I learned from a class called Exegetical Studies. Exegesis is a fancy, scary word that means to find the meaning in a passage or portion of a text, especially the Bible.

    The exercise does not in anyway full encompase the proper exegeting of scripture, but it is a good start. My professor, Pastor, and hero Dr. George W. Westlake introduced me to the concept he called “Look at Your Fish!” taken from a story by Samuel H. Scudder, and American entomologist who studdied under zoologist Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (read the short article here). In a nutshell Professor Agassiz forces his students to make observations about a fish in a jar, for days and days.

    My Professor Westlake urged us to start our studies by making observations about the text itself. Not based on other supporting scripture. Not personal experience, but really digging in and writing out every single detail that the verse communicated with no outside influence.

    It was the first step in a process that resulted in a greater understanding of how to study and pull the truest meaning from Biblical scripture. I hope you enjoy my little experiment and will give it a shot on one of your favorite verse… and just when you think you’re done… “Look at your fish!”

    For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.
    Psalm 33:4-5 NIV

    Here we go:

    • The word is the Lord’s.
    • The Lord’s word is right.
    • It is also true.
    • The Lord’s word is not wrong. It is not a lie.
    • It’s not just right. It’s right and true.
    • The Lord is faithful.
    • The Lord does not stop what he is doing halfway.
    • Everything the Lord is doing is dependable.
    • The Lord does a lot of things. All done faithfully.
    • The word of the Lord is dependable because He is dependable.
    • His word is supported by his actions.
    • The rightness and trueness of his word is due to the faithfulness in all he does.
    • If he were not faithful, his word would be wrong and a lie.
    • The Lord loves righteousness.
    • He loves rightness.
    • He loves justice.
    • He loves just-ness.
    • He does not love wrongness.
    • He loves them together.
    • The earth is full of his unfailing love.
    • His love does not fail.
    • The Lord does things. He is active.
    • He Lord’s love fills the earth. Fills is the verb.
    • His love fills. An action. Therefore a faithful action since he is faithful in all he does.
    • The love of the lord is unfailing // faithful.
    • The opposite of faithful would be failure here.
    • The word of the Lord is right and true – as is apparent from his faithfulness
    • He loves rightness and just-ness – as is apparent from an earth full of unfailing love.
    • His faithful actions prove his word is right and true.
    • His unfailing love proves he loves rightness and just-ness.

    Now try it with your favorite verse or better yet a verse you are unfamiliar with. Pull as many truths from the text as possible. See what “Looking at the Fish” can do for your bible study.

    Read the next entry in this series on studying the Bible: A Text Without A Context is a Pretext