Become A Dog Breeder? Or, Stick To Rescue? Tough Questions.

Tuck, the wonder dog.

There are only a few things in life I consider myself especially knowledgeable about: The Bible, Food (growing it and eating it!), small farming, and dogs. That’s it. That’s the list. Sure, I’m fairly educated, and can talk, I hope intelligently, on a variety of subjects, but the list above pretty much covers the limits of my expertise.

With that in mind, I follow a lot of groups and individuals related to these areas on Facebook and Instagram. I love reading other people’s insights and opinions. A recent matter came up in a German Shepherd group on Facebook. I responded to it, as did many other people. But reading the responses made me decide to write this piece as an extended answer. I might even link to in on the group in FB.

The original question was, in essence, “I want to become a breeder, what advice do you have?” The answers came pouring in, for days. Some of them were funny. Some were helpful. Many were written to discourage him from his dream. And several went as far as to say, “There are too many dogs in rescue already, don’t breed anymore!”

I have experience in several breeds, and have a history in both breeding, and in rescue, so I’d like to address the gentleman’s question, AND, perhaps offer some thoughts to the skeptics out there.

First, I believe every single person had the best interest of German Shepherds in mind, regardless of how aggressive some of them sounded. I believe the gentleman who asked the original question was sincere, and asked with only pure motives.

For 32 years I operated a racing, and show, Siberian Husky kennel. I qualified three dogs for Crufts Dog Show in England, and bred show champions. I am very proud of that. I raced competitively for. many of those years. And I trained sleddogs even longer than I raced them. I have a much better eye for dogs than I have for competing with them myself. I have owned dogs that have run the Iditarod, and I have trained dogs that have run the race, as well. I raised many of my race dogs, and I bought many of them. I rescued even more than I raised or bought.

Additionally, after my racing was done, my wife and I got very involved with Mastiff, Smooth Collie, and Belgian Sheepdog rescue. We have adopted, and fostered, many dogs over the years. We also owned a well bred, and brilliant, Cardigan Corgi, that would have won many obedience crowns for me, had she not had problems with dysplasia. That’s a sad story, and one I may come back to another day.

Oh, one final thing. I’ve been a member of many breed and general kennel clubs around the U.S. And the United Kingdom. I have been a judges steward in more shows and for more breeds than I can name. I’ve talked to many judges and observed many breeds. I’ve also worked at many premier sleddog races in the U.S. And the U.K.

I only mention my ‘qualifications’ to show that I’m not a a quack who wants to mouth off about dogs. I love them, and genuinely care for their well being.

For someone to desire to become a breeder, that is a noble venture. That’s a million miles away from someone just trying to make a buck or two by getting a male and female together to sell pups. I think that kind of behavior needs to be discouraged. It takes a long time to do the research to want to improve your chosen dog breed. But a desire to improve, or maintain, a dog breed is a noble effort that should be encouraged. And I will heartily do so. I will offer advice to any novice breeder. I will assume the best of intentions.

There are a lot of dogs in rescue. Some of them are because of loss of a job, a divorce, a death, or one of any number of tragic events. We’ve had several dogs come to us as re homes or fosters from situations like that. Stuff happens. When I was a breeder, I had a policy to take back any dog from my breeding that needed to be re-homed. I thinks that’s responsible.

I’ve seen a lot of poorly bred dogs coming through rescue. Dogs that didn’t meet even a shadow of their breed standard. Most often bred by back yard breeders who wanted to make a quick buck. We’ve had some brilliant dogs come out of that kind of situation.

It doesn’t compute, that people should avoid becoming breeders simply because there are so many irresponsible breeders. But it should make us think very carefully about whether or not our dogs are worthy contributors to a breed’s future. In the 32 years I was in Siberian Huskies, I had 3 litters. A breeder once told me, “As long as you can improve your team by buying over breeding, buy. It’s always cheaper.”

Go to working competitions. Go to shows. Look at dogs. What are the things that make a dog great? Take notes. Study hard. Then buy the best dogs you can afford that fit into the criteria you’re looking for.

Ask to look at the buyers contract from a number of breeders. Explain that you want to create a good buyers contract yourself. Most will be happy to help, because most good breeders want to maintain and improve the breed.

Price your pups appropriately. Working and/or show prospects are worth more. I’m not going to suggest a price. That’s up to you.

For those who don’t want to become breeders, I strongly recommend buying from good breeders. But there are some amazing dogs in Rescue. My wife and I have had many wonderful pets, guardians, and even working dogs, come to us via rescue. I’m thinking of three Alaskan Huskies that had been born in Alaska and were living in less than optimal conditions near us. The owner begged us to take them or she would have to put them down. We loaded them in our truck and took them away. They were absolutely amazing recreational mushing dogs. The two males were as strong as bears, and the female was as loving as a dog could be. They were not pretty, but my heart still pounds when I think of them.

And then there was Lady, our first Smooth Collie. She was living in a puppy mill. She had once been a show dog, but because of poor nutrition and too many litters, that stunning beauty was gone. But she lived with us many years, and she became the queen of our household. Her death, due to cancer, when she was 12, still haunts me. I cannot tell you how much I loved that dog.

Let me tell you about Tuck. Tuck was our first Mastiff. I called him a Canadian Mastiff, because he was half Labrador Retriever. He had spent the first years of his life chained up under a trailer. When we got him, his teeth were all broken from gnawing on concrete. He was covered in scabs, and had to be dragged into a car.

The rescue agent said he’d never been inside a house and wouldn’t know how to deal with it. When we got him home, after he’d had a roam around the yard, we opened the door, he ran inside and leaped straight onto the couch and fell asleep. He is the most special dog. I made him the hero of two of my Novellas, “Isitoq’s Hound”, and “Night of the Rougarou”. I’m working on a third one about him now.

I could go on. I have a hundred or more stories about dogs I’ve bred or rescued, that have changed my life.

The point is, for those of you who like rescue, there are opportunities galore out there. For those of you who want to breed, that is noble too. I know the joy of breeding a dog, raising him, and have him win major prizes in dog shows, and become a top lead dog in a dog team. I could have never bought a dog like him in a million years.

This post has become much longer than I anticipated or intended. I just want to see breeders and rescuers recognize one another as both working toward creating and maintaining a healthy future for
their favorite breed. Thank you to those who want to become responsible breeders. I wish you every success in your endeavors. And to those of you who want to devote your time, and your hearts to the dogs nobody else wants, I tip my hat to you. And I wish you every happiness with your pets.

Confessions and Evolution of an ‘End Times Prepper’

In late 2008 I became a Prepper. A Prepper is someone who wants to be ready when disaster comes. It was fun, hard work, and extremely exciting. But I must confess, I did it for some bad reasons. I did it for some good reasons. I’m going to lay it out here. Judge me, if you must, but please recognize that sometimes people do the right things for the wrong reasons.

We moved from Maine to Georgia in January of 08. Later that summer, the economic world started melting. First, the housing market blew up. Our house lost 25% of its value the first 6 months we owned it. That was tough to swallow. Especially since we had bought a big house with a half an acre yard.

The next thing was the stock market. It crashed and burned. My 401k turned to dust. At the same time, I was a senior manager in a publicly traded company and began to see the ugly side of those companies. My attitude went from trust, to disillusionment, to outright disgust and hatred. Someday I’ll tell you all about it. But by the beginning of 2009, I wanted nothing at all to do with the stock market.

Thirdly, Barack Obama was elected president. I believed that was going to produce a disaster for America. Before you go there, race played 0 part in why I thought he was a mistake. Anyone who knows me, will vouch for that. I believed his extreme left wing policies would take us down a hole from which we might never recover. Frankly, I believed his was a nice person. I loved the way his family was presented. He was someone I would like to go to dinner with and talk about things. I think it would have been great to go to a basketball game with him. He loves basketball and I’m from Kentucky. Instant room for rapport. But as a conservative, I found his fiscal and foreign relations policies a nightmare.

Finally, my wife and I had begun to be concerned about GMOs, the issues of highly processed foods, big Agra, the severe cruelty in the meat industry, and other health related matters. We began thinking about growing some of our own food.

Then, I heard about the Prepper movement. People, some like us, and others for different reasons, were starting to take matters into their own hands to make sure they could survive anything, from an economic meltdown to a zombie apocalypse. I was attracted and jumped into the pool head first.

First, I bought guns and ammo. I bought lots of both. I bought a huge gun safe for my basement. I filled it with hand guns, shotguns, rifles, a crossbow, two sling shots, and thousands of rounds of ammo. Each pay day I purchased ammo.

I bought it all for hunting, for self defense, and as an investment. As I already said, I was no longer even remotely interested in the stock market. The morality in that industry was directly opposite of my core values. For those who care about such things, I never purchased an AR, although I wanted to. Prices went through the roof and I didn’t want one that badly. Besides, hand guns, shotguns and hunting rifles were still extremely affordable.

In the spring of 2009, I planted my first garden. My wife was, I think in Florida, and I planted. The first year was tomatoes, peppers, kale, cabbage, and green beans. Later that year, we bought a freezer and my wife also learned to can. We were on our way.

We had a few problems. Primarily because we lived in a Home Owners Association. The rules didn’t allow for livestock. Heck we weren’t even allowed rabbit hutches. We figured out a way to keep rabbits without making a scene. We bought 6 of them and cages. We set them up in the basement of our house. I wheeled them out in the mornings about 6 a.m to empty the cages and clean them. Rabbits are great, but you have to keep them clean or the stink will run you out. All the waste went into a compost pile in the garden. The rabbits had a duel purpose. One, there is no fertilizer like rabbit dung. It’s the best. Secondly, rabbits are a phenomenal protein source. They reproduce quickly and the meat is really good for you. Some people can’t get past the cute factor and that’s unfortunate.

We also put bees in the Garden. That was against the HOA rules too. But bees are essential to pollination and honey is so good for you. They are also easy to hide.

I began to learn about aquaponics and hydroponics. Our basement and garage became home to several tanks of Tilapia, catfish and bluegill. I was having the time of my life. And breaking every rule of the HOA. I was such a rebel.

In the spring of 2010, a friend from Church offered to rent us some land for grazing livestock. I was ecstatic. The price was cheap and the place already had a barn, electricity and water. We installed some fences and brought in chickens, turkeys, sheep, goats (dairy and meat), Dexter Cattle, pigs, donkeys as guardians, and our biggest mistake two beautiful, huge, draft mules.

When the goats had babies, we took the babies home and kept them in the basement for about 8 weeks to care for them. Yep, at one point we had 8 baby goats living in our basement. See the land was about 5 miles from where we lived, and we had to bottle feed them, because we were milking the mothers. So to make that easier, we build a stall in the basement.

In 2011, we raised 150 chicks in our garage and the HOA never suspected a thing. Obviously, we took them to the farm once they got big enough. What a rush, keeping goats, rabbits, bees and chickens right under the noses of our Home Owners Association. We bribed our neighbors with fresh veggies, eggs and meat.

I was blogging about it, and writing articles for online magazines. We had people contacting us about eggs, chickens and ‘how to’ advice. We had a group of teachers come out and visit the place to see what we were doing. It was all great fun. We even had a national television program ask to come out and film at our place. We were having discussions about it, but 5 days before the cameras were scheduled to show up, we backed out. First, we didn’t want our secret to become public and secondly, the program was pushing me on some things that we weren’t ready to do. And I didn’t like their pushing. Especially since it was going to cost me some considerable coin to do it. So I missed my chance at television fame.

By 2012, we had gone from Preppers, to suburban homesteaders, to small farmers when we found a repossessed farm in a nearby county. We purchased it, moved there, and sold our big home in the suburbs. We didn’t make any money. In fact, we had to take $5,000 to the closing table. Our house was still slightly underwater.

But out in the country, we weren’t breaking any rules and life was great. We loved our simple, sustainable life. We had blankets, bandages, tents, extra fishing lines, knives, matches, candles, light bulbs, batteries, lanterns, heck we even had toilet paper. We had bug out bags for each of the cars. And we had very large dogs. Dogs who were big enough to defend the homestead, or to backpack with if we had to walk away. We provided most of our own food. We had stored up 2 years worth of supplies, seeds, and cash. Life was good.

Then in 2014, what we were prepping for came to pass. I lost my job. Its a long story. It wasn’t personal. I hadn’t done anything wrong. The company was making all kinds of changes and I was let go. For that matter, so was our boss, and his boss. It was devastating. Except my wife and I were prepared. We had food, seeds, livestock, supplies, and cash, and we kept right on going. During that time, my wife had begun making goat’s milk soap because of the excess milk our girls produced. That business became our primary source of income. We also sold eggs, pork, vegetables, rabbits, goats, and starter plants.

In 2017, we decided to move to Scotland. I had lived here in the 1980s and we had a chance to come back, so we sold off everything and moved in July. We live in a 2nd floor apartment with no yard at all. I miss my animals, my land, and sometimes my life. But, I still have seeds in the freezer, candles in the drawer, and have all the knowledge we gained stored on flash drives and my memory.

I’m still a Prepper. I have learned all about how to live off the land. I can do plumbing, electricity, and other basic maintenance. My wife can make soap, fix a car, milk animals, and a hundred other things. We learned those skills. We are still prepared. If society goes crazy, we can take care of ourselves. And we can help others do the same. I am not afraid.

Prepping is not much of a thing these days. It has run its course as a fad. A lot of Preppers have become homesteaders. Some have become strong voices in animal management, gardening, and care of the environment. A few have gone off grid. And a small minority have become end of the world hermits.

The U.S. Election in 2016 oddly killed off the Prepper movement from public view. Frankly, that’s odd to me, because the choice between Trump and Clinton scared me senseless. I didn’t vote for either one. I wrote in my choice. He wasn’t elected. Prepping, though, is not about presidents or congress or the supreme court. It’s about taking responsibility for yourself. Its about budgeting and being wise with your money. Its about being able to adjust to the circumstances of society and thrive.

What would happen to you if you lost your job tomorrow? What if you lost your house? What if the economy collapsed? What if something went wrong with the grid and you didn’t have access to the supermarket and were forced to rely on yourself. Could you do it? Are you sure? That’s what prepping means to me. Developing the skills and resources to be able to do more than survive a crisis. I sleep well.

ReActivate!

Image result for 'reactivate' public domain images

Hey, I don’t know whether or not anyone still looks at this page, but I’m reactivating it. I’m going to post a variety of blogs, mostly about farming, gardening, homesteading, dogs, and budgeting/personal money management. I just realize I have a lot to say about each of these topics, and rather than having a blog for each of them, I’ll try them all here and see what happens. I know it sounds a bit weird, but that’s how I roll. Just wanted to let you know. And, I’ll be cleaning out some of the back posts. I’ll keep them for future reference. If you used to listen to my podcast, thanks. I have a new one. These episodes are shorter. the site is called Radio Free Buckie. You can find it at http://www.radiofreebuckie.com. or look it up on Stitcher.

You all are awesome. Thanks so much for reading, listening, and commenting. You Rock.

If You Think A Budget Doesn’t Work, You’re Doing It Wrong

Budget

It sounds so trite, but no one gets ahead financially without a budget. It’s like a law of nature. If you are not getting control of your money, I bet you don’t have one.
I can hear the complaints going up now. “Budgets are crap. They don’t work. I tried one once and it was a disaster.’ I believe you. But the problem was with you. You did it wrong.
I’ve worked with hundreds of people. I know what I’m talking about. Most of the time, it goes something like this. One member of the family makes a budget and presents it to the family. Usually it starts with the house and car payments, then credit cards, electricity, gas, maybe gasoline, etc. At the end, after they total everything, what’s leftover goes for groceries. And it’s usually about $25 a week for a family of four.
Even though groceries were budgeted last, they go grocery shopping early in the week and spend over $100. On Friday or Saturday, they go out to eat and blow another $60 and the budget is over.
If that describes you, don’t beat yourself up. You’re in good company. It happens to most people. The problem isn’t with budgets, you’ve just done it wrong. When you do a budget the right way, it’s much easier to make it work.
First, sit down together if possible. Even if one partner does the budget, get the other person’s buy in. If a couple are not together, it won’t work. Write the budget down on paper. Write it in pencil in case you need to erase. Don’t put it in your laptop, phone or tablet. Write it out. You’re trying to master your finances not practice your typing or software skills. Besides, writing this stuff down makes it feel more real. It really does.
I created a set of forms for my wife and I to do our budget. I had two budget forms in that set. I had a basic budget form to use while we were in debt. Then I had another one for after debt. Each of them had everything on a single page. I believed then and believe now, that if I can’t do my budget on a single page, I’m not going to do it.
Note: If you want one, I’ll send you a free .pdf of the basic form. You can make as many copies as you need. Just do one of two things, either use the Contact Us button, and ask for a budget form, or send an email to me at sam@samburtonpresents.com. Make sure you include your email address.
The method to doing a budget begins with a 4-category plan. It’s that simple.
1. God. I really believe that unless we give first, before we spend, we’ll never get control of our funds. B and I are Christians. We believe that God gets the best of the first and the first of the best. We give 10%. We started with 5% because our debt load was so bad. I’ll tell that story later. If you don’t believe in God, I urge you to consider Him. Feel free to email any questions you have, and I’ll try to answer them. But, find a charity, some cause you believe in and give.
2. Food. You’ve got to eat. You’re going to eat. If you don’t you’ll starve. And if you don’t eat right you’ll be unable to function properly at work. If you’re in debt, make it a basic budget. Don’t be buying T Bones and Lobster if you owe big car payments and Credit Card companies. Make your budget more basic until you break the debt trap. I’ll share details of how we did it in a future post.
3. Household expenses. Your family, you know, spouse, children, your dog Muffin, they all like having a roof over their heads, so budget your house payment next, followed by electricity, gas and insurance. Don’t budget things like phone bill, cable, and internet at this time. They are luxuries and don’t count yet.
4. Transportation. You must get to work to earn money. You need a car. You don’t need a car payment. If you have one right now, so be it. You have to put gas and oil in it and have it insured. You don’t need a new car. I don’t care who you are, you don’t need a new car. Go ahead, argue with me, but you don’t need one.
These 4 things occupy what I call your perimeter. These things are the must haves. And they should be budgeted in this order. These are must haves. Netflix is not a must have.
If you will begin your budget with these items, in this order, you’ll be way ahead of the rest of the pack. And, like I said earlier, just contact me if you want my basic family budget form absolutely free.
You rock. You can totally win.

Cryptids – A Big Risk

Dogman

Every once in a while, we have to take a risk, a gamble in life, or we don’t make any real progress. This is one of mine. I’m going to spend some time in this space telling you some pretty weird stuff. Things that many people would choose to be quiet about. I’m not going to do it all at once, but along with more traditional stuff like my usual Bible related stories, and things like gardening and money management, I’m going to tell you about UFO’s, ghosts, dogmen, bigfoot, and more.

I know it sounds crazy, but I’m doing it because more and more people are having encounters. I hear them. And folk are scared and confused. They are often disbelieved and made fun of. I want to change all that. In fact, I want to change your mind about these things too. I’m going to tell you about several of the adventures my family has had with the unknown. I know these encounters are real. As you’ll see, most of them happened to me or my parents. I won’t try and convince you. I’m just going to tell you what happened and what I think it means. You are totally free to call me a crazy nut, but most of you know me well enough to know that I’m not lying to you.

I hear podcasts and see the folk on YouTube and I know people are scared and scarred. I want to tell you, I believe you. And I believe that what you have experienced seems so odd to you because what you have experienced is a supernatural or transdimentional event. Because of it’s nature it won’t make sense on many levels. Back when I was in High School, which wasn’t yesterday, I coined the phrase, ‘a demonic practical joke’ to explain my own interpretation of these events.

UFO encounters, hauntings, attacks by cryptid creatures, are all designed to frighten us and cause us to question truth and reality. To take our eyes off of God. And I believe that as we get closer to Christ’s return, these events will increase as part of ‘a great delusion’ that’s going to draw a great many people away from Him.

Anyway, I hope you’ll stick around and read some of my posts. I’m giving you fair warning today. I know that mixing words like Jesus, Bible, and Faith with UFO, Ghost, and Bigfoot will seem weird and contradictory, but when all is said and done, I think you’ll get it.  What I’m hoping is that those of you who have followed my podcast and preaching ministry won’t panic or worry about my orthodoxy with some of these stories. And I’m hoping that some of you who are comfortable with talk about Dogman or UFOs won’t write me off because of my faith. Stay tuned. You rock.

 

Nic At Night

Episode 45

Listen HERE

Once again, John tells us Nicodemus was a Pharisee.  From this we can infer that he is a well respected member of the community.

Why at night? – Down through the centuries, scholars, lay people and skeptics alike have debated why Nicodemus came to see Jesus under the cover of darkness. Many have speculated that this was because Nic was unwilling to risk being seen openly praising Jesus because of the risk to his status and reputation. While this interpretation cannot be discounted, I tend to reject it because in chapters 7 and 19, Nicodemus is overt in his support of Jesus. In my opinion, it may very well be nothing more than the Pharisee wanting some private conversation which was unlikely to happen during the daytime.

Jesus being obscure….again. – After Nicodemus pays Jesus a nice compliment, Jesus takes over the conversation.  He goes right into, ‘unless a man is born again…’  There are a few times in the Gospels where Jesus comes across like one of the old Shao Lin masters in 1970s Kung Fu movies. He makes these obscure declarations that blow up the conversation and take it in a direction He wants it to go.

In this case He says, Unless a man is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God, which naturally confuses Nicodemus. This idea of Rebirth is new. It’s not an extension of the Mosaic covenant.

Jesus clarification is just as cloudy, even 21 centuries later. He reply, Unless a man is born of the water and spirit, he cannot ender the Kingdom of God.

Jesus words born of water and Spirit…. Have thrown generations into bewilderment. Several, though not all, scholars have tried to make born of water refer to physical birth , as in the amniotic fluid that accompanies a baby during birth, while Spirit refers to rebirth.  For the life of me, I cannot see it that way. Both contextually and grammatically, both water and spirit refer to the second  or rebirth. I read this passage in multiple translations and even went back to the Greek and translated it myself.  Admittedly, my Greek skills have atrophied over the years, but fortunately, verse 5 is in rather simple Greek so it wasn’t difficult. It is clear that a natural reading suggests water and spirit and are a phrase in themselves.  There are no definite articles separating the nouns, or any other differentiators. Also,  the human birth experience called born of water does not exist in Greek literature. This is an invention of the Church to try and explain a very difficult and obscure declaration.

It is my conclusion that Jesus is foreshadowing conversion, which would not be fully understood until Pentecost.  The conversion experience, called here a birth, refers to our human response to the Gospel which is summed up in our obedience in Baptism while Spirit refers to what is unseen, the hard part, as it were, that can only be performed by the Holy Spirit. In Romans 6, Paul also uses baptism as the picture of the human response to the Gospel and describes it as death, burial and resurrection. Here Jesus is foreshadowing conversion by comparing baptism as birth rather than death.  In light of the Book of Acts, the understanding is simplified.

Jesus explanation of New Birth does not clear up Nicodemus’ confusion. The Pharisee asks, How can this be?  At first, Jesus reprimands him for his lack of understanding, then He shifts gears and makes simplifies the subject by going way back to basics. He spends the verses 11-21 by saying, it’s all about me, Nicodemus. Just like Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:9), so the Son of Man will be lifted up.  Again, this is a foreshadowing of His crucifixion, that Nicodemus would simply not understand at this time.

But He makes it a bit easier by saying He came as an expression of God’s love rather than His Judgement. He has come to bring light to the world, but in our attraction to sin, and it’s associated darkness, many will reject him. But there will be others, and revelation tells us it’s a multitude that cannot be numbered, will literally come to the light.

And with that, the story ends. Abruptly, and to some degree incomplete.

That’s because at this point in the Gospel, the whole story is not yet known. It’s not until after the resurrection that the story is complete and the pieces of the puzzle can be fit together.

We have the benefit of the Bible. We can figure these things out. Salvation requires a conversion, a new birth than can only be achieved by coming to Christ, the light of the world. He came to offer light and light in place of darkness and judgement.

You don’t have to understand all of it to get started. You can simply start with John 3:16-18

Joh 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Joh 3:17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Joh 3:18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God

Probably most of you listening, have already accepted that promise and followed him, but there might be a few who are sitting on the fence. My challenge to you today is JUMP. Take Jesus at His word and ‘Believe in Him.’

I’m going to pray for you right now.

If you took that first step into Jesus arms, well done. I’m so excited. Please let your Pastor know right away so he can guide you into your next steps. If you don’t have a good Church, email, tweet me or  use the comments feature on the website with the show notes and I’ll get back to you right away with some material and with the name of a good Church in your area.

Next week, we’re going behind the curtain of one of Jesus most remarkable miracles and what it means in a lesson called, ‘Fish Sandwiches all round, no coupon required. No limit.’

Until then, be blessed and be a blessing.

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Herding Gluttons

GluttonEpisode 32

Titus

Listen HERE

I’m in the studio on Monday. Yay, I love being back on schedule.

I need a favor. Prayer Network for Scotland. If you believe in Prayer. If you believe in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, If you are Scottish, If you love Scotland, If you are a friend of this show I would really appreciate it, if you would join our network of prayer partners. There is no catch. There is no gimmick. We are simply seeking to gather a circle of Christian Scots and Albafiles together to pray for Scotland; her Believers, her Churches, her Leaders and her needs, both physical and spiritual. Here’s how to get started. 1. Go to Points North Scotland on facebook and like the page. 2. Send me a PM, an email or comment on the show notes page and let me know you want to Pray for Scotland. Please include your email address.  I will soon announce a private Facebook group and send you a personal invitation to join.  Thanks. Also, send me any questions. I’m delighted to answer.

Ok, commercial over, let’s move on to our topic.

Titus

Titus is a little known, but obviously important protoge of Paul, much like Timothy. When I say, little known, I truly mean it. He is only mentioned 13 times in the New Testament and 8 of those are in 2 Corinthians.

We know absolutely nothing about his background. He is never mentioned by Luke in Acts. His name is a gentile one, and we have that confirmed in Galatians 2:1, which is the first time he is ever mentioned.

In that chapter, Paul mentions that Titus traveled with Paul to the council in Jerusalem that is recorded in Acts 15. I find it interesting that Luke, another Gentile companion of Paul, makes no mention of Titus in his account of the council. It’s not a big deal, but I do find it curious.

Since the first mention of Titus is in the letter to the Galatians, it indicates the Churches are familiar. Also, since the visit to Galatia is the beginning of the end of the first Journey and the beginning of the second journey, and that Titus travels to Jerusalem with Paul, I’m going to suggest, that like Timothy, he is from one of the Galatian cities.

It is very interesting to me that the trip to Jerusalem as all about stopping the Judaiser attempts to force Gentile converts to obey the law, which is the primary theme of Galatians where Titus is first called by name. Then as we read through the letter to Titus, we will discover the same topic is a major theme it Paul’s letter to his young disciple.

The letter is very similar to 1 Timothy, albeit a much shorter. After studying the book this last week, I now believe Titus was probably written about the same time as I Timothy and possibly right before. The primary reason I say that is it appears from I Timothy 1, Paul seems to be on his way FROM Macedonia and is planning to meet Timothy in Ephesus. In Titus 3, he asks Titus to come to him in Nicopolis, which is a town in Macedonia. In episode 30, I suggested Timothy was written first. Now I think Titus may be a few months earlier than I Timothy. Still, the similarity in their content is so similar that they were very likely written near the same time.

Crete is an island south and slightly east of Greece, and virtually due west of Cyprus. In today’s vernacular, the insult, “Cretan” is a derisive term with historical roots in the decadent, immoral past of Crete’s cultural. Here in Titus, Paul mentions that one of the poets of ancient Crete, called the inhabitants of the island, ‘Liars and lazy gluttons.’

If you do a little digging, you’ll discover that the poet mentioned was also a philosopher named, ‘Epimenedes’. He lived in 600 B.C.

As an aside, he is also the indirect source of the altar ‘to the unknown God’ in Athens that Paul describes in Acts 17.

By the first century A.D. Crete is home to a large Jewish population. Acts Chapter 2, says there were Jews from Crete in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and were among those who heard the Apostles speaking in tongues and were exposed to Peter’s Gospel Sermon that day. Seeing that it was not unusual for celebrants at Pentecost to have been residing in the city since Passover, it isn’t a stretch to suggest that many of them were witnesses to the Passion and Resurrection events of that earlier holiday.

It would be my educated guess that some of them were among the 3,000 baptized on Pentecost and that they became the nucleus of the first Christian congregation when they returned home. That would make the Church on Crete one of the oldest congregations in the Roman Empire.

The only time Luke records that Paul visited there was on his journey to Rome. According to Acts chapter 27, the ship was first on one part of the island, where ‘we spent a long time’ and then left for a safe harbor along the coast to winter in. It was while sailing up the coast of Crete they encountered the storm that blew them out to sea and after two weeks hit a sand bar and shipwrecked off the coast of Malta.

I guess this would be a good time to fill in some of the blanks related to Paul’s history and imprisonments. The book of Acts ends with Paul in Prison in Rome. Most conservative scholars call this his ‘first’ imprisonment. In piecing together the timeline of his letters, it appears that Paul was released briefly and made some short trips, including the visit to Macedonia mentioned here and in I Timothy. Some ancient legends say he even traveled as far as Britain in between imprisonments. I think that would be cool, but I just don’t believe there was enough time in between for such a long journey. Anyway, sometime after AD 64 he is arrested and was executed between 65 and 67. II Timothy was written during this second imprisonment.

If you have any thoughts or questions about that, by all means email them or use the comments section of the show notes.

Based on Chapter 1 here in Titus, Paul apparently went to Crete another time, or he left Titus there during his voyage to Rome and Titus was there a VERY long time. The former idea is more likely.

Again, from chapter 1, it looks like there were several congregations on the island. Titus is going to ‘set things in order’ and appoint elders to oversee the congregations. It looks like from that, and the doctrinal challenges, in all likelihood the churches were rather loose and disorganized. Titus was tasked with fixing that. I bet that was fun….not!

Paul goes on to give the same instruction to Titus about the characteristics of Elders that he gives to Timothy. He does not, however, include anything about deacons here.

Verse 10 in chapter 1 sets the major tone for the rest of the letter. He finishes the chapter with this subject then returns to it in verse 9 of chapter 3.

Chapter two is focused on relationships with other people; older and younger, just like Paul writes in I Timothy, but then that shouldn’t be too surprising if he wrote them about the same time.

Let’s go back to chapter 1, verse 10 and look at the problems the Cretan churches were facing. Paul says the Churches are dealing with all kinds of false doctrines and money hungry preachers. The thing these rogues have in common is they all have a Jewish heritage.

One of the banes of Paul’s ministry was that group called the Judaizers who followed the Apostle from town to town, stirring up trouble trying to coerce Believers to follow the law of Moses in addition to the Gospel. Paul devotes large portions of his letters to Galatia and Philippi to them; and even alludes to them in both Ephesians and Colossians.

It appears that because of the large Jewish Population in the island and the loosely organized nature of the Churches that these false teacher are pretty much running amok. Poor Titus has the unenviable task of shutting them down.

Having been in the position of confronting false teachers myself, it’s a scary, nerve wracking, and exhausting experience. And dealing with families who have been influenced and victimized by false teaching (and just like with Crete, it always goes back to money), there can be a lot of work and healing to do.

Here in chapter 1, Paul calls it rebellious, deceitful nonsense. He also says it’s shameful and that they must be silenced.

Over in Chapter 3 he calls it, Stupid, worthless and useless.

Pay very close attention to verse 10 in chapter 3

Tit 3:10 Give at least two warnings to those who cause divisions, and then have nothing more to do with them

here in the 21st century, in our culture of ‘tolerance’, we’re not supposed to ‘judge’. Paul has no such compunction. If the teaching is false, he says, shut it down. Peter and John are going to make similar statements in their letters. Stay tuned; no spoilers today.

Doctrine is important. Eternity is at stake. There are many things that are open for discussion, but some things like the Deity of Christ, His death and resurrection, salvation by Grace through faith rather than by obedience to the Law of Moses are not among the debatable. And those who try and spread false doctrine are to be silenced, not tolerated.

In our day, it’s a risky position to take, but we absolutely must. There is a lot of goofy stuff being taught out there and not all of it is harmless. This is why it is mission critical to have strong, capable, knowledgeable, faithful leaders, who can defend the truth and train the next generation so that God’s Church is full of GRACE and TRUTH. We need both if we’re going to be a light in dark places as we await Jesus return.

And that’s all I got. Go back and read Titus as soon as you can. This tiny letter was not merely written to a young preacher 2k years ago. It’s written to you…and me.

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