"Where then is thy glorying? It is excluded. By what law? Of deeds doing? Nay, but by the law of faith. For we deem a man to be justified by faith, without works of the law." - Romans 3:27-28 (Wycliffe NT)


"Anytime the Christian makes sense in a Bible study or sermon, you can almost bet your life you're not hearing Christianity."
Pastor Tom Baker



It's ridiculous. I like metal. Always have. Always will. And when it came to my son's first guitar, I couldn't have him just have a plain ol' guitar. It has to look cool, right? You gotta feel like a rock star if you're gonna play like one. I ain't talking bout love...I'm talking bout being in Panama, looking for the ice cream man, being hot for teacher, being unchained, barely seeing the road from the heat coming off it....you know what I'm saying?? I'm talking about Mr. Eruption...I'm talking about some dude named Alex's brother....I'm talking bout a lover of a Bertinelli....I'm talking bout jump suit, leg splitting, chain smoking, armadillo trousing, Roth hating, singer changing, Wolfgang naming, Eddie Van Halen and his 'little guitar' (heh! See how I got another one in?) transformation project affectionately known as Franky! Frankenstein! Here it is:

(Click here to see a fairly accurate pictoral evolution of the real thing on YouTube!)

Cost for a replica like the photo above made by "professionals"...........$25,000!! Somebody get me a doctor!! I'd have to be runnin' with the devil for that kind of cash! (that's not going to get old is it?) So I found a nice friend willing to part with a red guitar for a delightful price of $60 and I set out to tape it off, paint it with cans we already had and have the pride of doing it myself on the cheap.

Here's the before:

Shaking the paints, although a bit early. I had to give him something to do!

They never actually DO anything. They are just around for entertainment!

I had the pic of the replica, shown at top, displayed on my iPad. First step was taping the white sections off. In reality, and if you watched the YouTube link, Mr. Van Halen's guitar started out black and white and the red was laid down later. I'm doing it completely backwards.

I am using a combination of thick and thin blue plastic tape that my father down in the Alabamia region shipped out from the body shop. 3M all day long, baby! (I don't really talk like that, just for the internet)

More details coming in...I just kept looking at the reference pic on the iPad and trying to get it as close as I could. Some things didn't quite come out right.

The final white stripe details go in including the weird 'H' shape on the left.

There was an ongoing process of tape, cut, tape, cut. I used an X-Acto knife to make the delicate cuts.

All the sections to remain red are covered in blue painter tape. Again, I just covered it generally with the tape and cut out the shapes.

I took a little square piece of a grey scuff pad and sanded the strips for the white paint to stick.

Let it dry and removed the tape. Starting to shape up pretty good. If there was any bleed from the paint, I scraped it with the blade.

Now it was time to tape off for the black stripes. This part was like Jenga or trying to solve a Rubik's Cube without taking the stickers off! Because I was doing this backwards, I was putting my last layer on which really should be the first layer because in reality, this was the first layers of his guitar. You see, he only had to put tape stripes on his guitar ONCE, I mean besides the first time when he striped it black and white, and paint it red. Then when he pealed the tape off, he got the three layers of black, white and red pattern that you see on his guitar. But I had to tape off three layers to his one layer. What? To relax my mind from this daunting parabola, I went into a self-induced quantum physics coma, whispered a poem to a candle and generally cussed a lot.

There were a few instances where I had to tear the painters tape across the surface to create a jagged appearance. This was fun for the "detail passenger" that lives inside me. Sorta like Dexter's "dark passenger." Sort of. I did put plastic drop clothes on the floor of the garage while spraying the colors, but that's where the similarities end!

I'll admit it, I sprayed the black too thick. No runs, but it was THICK. But by this point, I'm getting really excited about how it is turning out. I feel like I'm standing on top of the world! (there it is)

Now, a little more tape is removed to reveal the electronics and bridge. (where the stringys go throughy for you non-guitar types.....it's the silver rectangle thingy)

On the original guitar, he had a black pickguard. (The pickguard protects the guitars finish from being scratched while you're striking the pick across the strings but it also keeps the wires to the electronics hidden and gives it a clean look, etc.) But after a while, Eddie cut the pickguard so that only enough was there to cover the large hole where the pick-up selector and volume/tone knobs go. Doing this left him room to get to the electronics and change things out or around to get the sound he wanted. I didn't think this was a wise choice for my kids. Especially the little one. He would see a loose wire and go MacGyver on it, or really, MacGruber. It'd explode. No doubt. So I decided to just paint that section black under the knobs and leave the rest white. (See finished pic)

I had some lettering so I customized the back for him because I didn't take the stripes around the back like it is in the original. Call it laziness. Yeah, you really got me now. Go ahead and say it...You're no good! (boom, two for one)

For all you guitar realists out there....or is it snobs?....fun stealers?....good time takers?......can't leave well enough aloners?....I know this isn't the right neck, headstock, etc. BUT, I tried to stripe it up with some silver-metallic auto striping tape that dear ol'Dad had also sent out. A little custom addition to a rip-off copy!

Drum roll, please......drum roll?......
Like the blog is titled...It is finished! I am real pleased with the turn out. I even drilled a quarter to the body next to the bridge. I asked my son if he wanted me to scuff it up for true authenticity but he declined. He said he wanted it to be new for a while!

Here he is enjoying it for the first time! And there's MacGruber, or MacGoober, back there bout to mess something up. Lil' atomic punk. (last one)

Let me know what you think. Comment away! Now I'm gonna go get me some poundcake. (liar)


On A Scale From 1 to 10.....

Do you follow the commands found in the Bible? How are you doing with that? Let's look at a just love and see how it's going.

"Loving your neighbor as yourself." On a scale of 1 to 10
"Loving your enemies.". On a scale of 1 to 10

Read 1 Corinthians 13 On a scale of 1 to 10.

How did you grade yourself? Pretty low? What is the solution? Try harder? No! If Christ is in you, you should have scored yourself a 10 on all of them. Jesus did them all perfectly. And if He lives in you, then His perfect actions are credited to you as if you did them alone. That way, when you find yourself loving your enemies you can be sure it's the Christ within you and when you aren't, you know it's you!

Remember, it's what you've been declared that matters, not how you think you are doing.


When A Child Understands the Gospel

Tonight my son delivered to me one of the greatest sermons I've ever heard. For a six year old, he preached what most "seasoned" pastors can't seem to do from their own pulpits week after week. He was frightened tonight thinking about scary things. I told him to think of fun things fom the day or of Bible stories or verses he liked. I suggested, in a very elementary way, John 3:16. He interrupted with his own verse - John 15:5. Then he said verbatim: "I am the vine. You are the branches. If any man abides in Me and I in him, he will bare much fruit." In that moment, I was silenced to tears. This sweet, scared little boy summed up the Gospel from memory - a memory I didn't even know he had - so beautifully and timely. Instead of me coming to his comfort, he came to mine and reminded me that our Savior abides in us and produces every good work. He reminded me that Christ's only requirement of me is to rest in His vine-ness and He will take care of everything else. Thank you son for understanding a truth that gives us life and is our only hope unto salvation. Thank you Lord for my son as I am thankful for yours. Amen.

- Laboriously typed from my iPhone!



Here's what I heard today at a church I visited in a nutshell. I've added my thoughts to the pastors statements in parenthesis: You cannot work your way to heaven. (Yep, that's right.) There isn't a list of things you can do to earn salvation. (Uh huh! That's true!) You have to believe the Gospel and trust the righteousness of Christ. (Yes! Keep it comin'!) You have to live the Gospel. (Ok, where is this going?) What does your life look like? What changes can you make in your life to set you apart from the world so that it is evident that you believe in the Gospel? (Oh well, it started off good.)

If you aren't listening carefully, you'll miss it! He says, there isn't a list of things to earn salvation. Then he tells us we have to "live" the Gospel and asks if our lives look any different than the unsaved. Well, how do you do that without looking at a list of behaviors? This is a contradictory message. Instead of telling us to trust Christ for HIS VERY OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, he tells us to trust Christ and THEN strive to do different things in your life to look "set apart" from others. This is subtle but it's so profound! If Christ lives in you and you trust Him for every good work, you won't LOOK different you WILL BE DIFFERENT. You ARE changed. You don't need to do the changing. He HAS DONE it for you! Stop trying to be different and start trusting that you are different.


What Else Do You Need?

I love being visited by various religous groups at my door. I once talked to two young LDS fellows so long that they actually looked at their watches and said they had an appointment to get to. I was just visited by a lovely Jehova's Witness couple who I wish I had more time to talk wirh but this time I had the appointment. But I invited them to come back and I'm sure they will. Anytime someone comes to my door I focus solely on Jesus. I don't let it stray into doctrines and practices. This is frustrating for them because while they say they agree about Christ's sacrifice, they have something else to offer. This thought process isn't limited to those front door evangelists. We find this in our churches and denominations at an alarming volume. It's the "Jesus Plus" Gospel. It goes like this: Yeah, yeah. Jesus did a good thing for us and it is soooo important....BUT (and this is where it goes awry) we are here to tell you about His Kingdom...or we must listen to more modern prophets with another testament of JC...or
we want to teach you about end times events...or tithing...or doing good...or quiet time...or tongues and spiritual gifts get you closer to God...or, or, or. These are all modern inventions and have nothing to do with the Gospel. My response is only this: If I have the Creator of the universe - that very Jesus who died and rose again - THE Alpha and Omega living in me....then what else could I possibly need? What do you have to offer me outside of that truth? I say you have nothing for me. I always ask Paul's question to the Galatians when someone brings up a plus to Jesus: You foolish people! Who has bewitched you into a different Gospel which is in fact, NO Gospel at all! We need to ask this question of our pastors, evangelists at the door and any who claim to be Christians: what else do I need besides Christ? What could you possibly have to offer me that is better than Christ Himself living in me? If they answer that question with something other than "nothing", I believe you have found the bewitching kind.

- Laboriously typed from my iPhone!



We will never be able to keep the Law to it's full extent. We break one, we break them all. However, many Christians still try and pursue the 10 commandments, straining their best attempts to do it. Now Christ, He did the Law perfectly. No mistakes. And now that we have Him living within us, He passes this righteousness on to us as if we had done it alone. Could Christ only do 10 good things? Is He limited in His goodness? Surely Jesus could do 10 million laws and more. Christ within us will move us to show His goodness to others and He will animate our lives to manifest His total goodness. He won't limit it to 10 commandments or 600 commandments. If we are living by a few commandments then we are limited by that law. If our goal is to complete a small list of law, we will never experience the true boundless righteousness that God offers us in His Son. The law is a tiny fraction of what Christ accomplishes. So why yoke yourself with that limitation especially when knowing full well that you can never do it anyway? Instead, rest in Christ and let Him pour through you all the possible righteousness He promised you which is all of it, perfectly!



Most atheists insist that if God would just appear to them they would believe. If He could just stand before them they could finally put to rest all of their doubts and truly bury the question "Does God exist." It's very easy to empathize with this. Wouldn't it be much easier if God would just appear before unbelievers and convince them once and for all that He was real? Wouldn't that make trying to convince them easier? At first this may seem like a good possibility but then the reality sets in as you begin to ponder back through Scripture. You could go back to Moses when he received the big ten from God Himself and no sooner was he gone, conversing with God with a multitude of witnesses below, were those witnesses constructing a giant golden calf to worship. There they stood with some kind of vision of the Lord, although veiled to some degree, and didn't believe and arrogantly making their preferred idol. Skip forward to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke. The rich man, in torment, asks if Lazarus, who was carried away in death by angels, could come to him and dip his finger in water to cool the flame. When this isn't a possibility, the rich man pleads for Lazarus to go to his five brothers and warn them to not go to this place of torment. But he is told they have heard Moses and the prophets so they should know already. But the rich man insists that if they see a man raised from the dead come and tell them, they will surely be convinced. However, the parable states that if they aren't convinced by the words of Scripture, not even a man raised from the dead and speaking directly to them could do it. How could this be? I would think that would be the most convincing evidence possible! But another remembrance comes to mind - the very people that walked with the physical Jesus could not even recognize His resurrected body!
I think the human nature of self-righteousness rears it's ugly head here. We actually think enough of ourselves that by seeing Him we would believe. If you can't recognize Him in Scripture, you would look right past Him even if He stood directly in front of you. Scripture shows this time and time again. If you can't look at the wonders of His creation in your children or in the beauty of nature that surrounds you, His physical appearance will do nothing to you.
This offers no comfort to the atheist because they MUST see to believe. But you'll never see Christ if you first don't see your need for Him. You need no proof if you are good enough as you are. Christ doesn't seek the good, He seeks the sinner. You'll never see Him if you are good. I have all the proof I require for the existence of God - me and my clothes of unrighteousness, the flesh.