Sunday, July 30, 2023

Florida Recognizes Niceville's Rich History

Florida Recognizes Niceville's Rich History

By Pastor Doug Stauffer
Faith Independent Baptist Church
Journalist for Bay Life Newspaper
November 2022--Article 32 (2022-11-032)

The City of Niceville celebrated the community’s rich history with the unveiling of three Florida historical heritage markers.The dedication and unveiling took place at Lions Park in Niceville on October 6, 2022. State Representative Patt Maney was the keynote speaker.

The event was moderated by Niceville Councilwoman Cathy Alley with Mayor Dan Henkel offering the opening remarks. Niceville Police Department Chaplain, Doug Stauffer offered the invocation. The presentation of the colors was performed by the junior ROTC followed by the national anthem by Opus One from Niceville High School.

The three current markers are the “Old Maritime City” marker, the Boggy Mill Company Site marker, and the Niceville Fire 1934 marker. The attractive, informative signs are located at three locations on historic Bayshore Drive. The stories cover the places and people who created the Niceville community.

The project has been in the making for years. The Old Maritime City marker is located at the Niceville Landing (old fish company site), the Boggy Mill marker at Lions Park (part of the old mill site), and the Niceville Fire 1934 marker is near Katie’s House of Flowers (the site of the fire).

The Niceville Historian, Elisa Mitchiner, said the Old Maritime City marker depicts that all commerce in the area was by water until the advent of the automobile. Products from local sawmills, shingle mills and turpentine stills were transported across Choctawhatchee Bay to Pensacola. In 1911, the steamer Belle sank with the loss of four lives including local Capt. Noah Edward Burlison. The Niceville Fish Company operated by Claude Meigs and the Spence Brothers Fish Company were the leading commercial fishing industries of the Choctawhatchee Bay region maintaining fish warehouses and fleets of boats.

The Boggy Mill Company Site marker highlights the timber and lumber industry during the early 1900’s. The complex consisted of 40 acres, one of the largest lumber-mills operating in the area in the early 1900’s.
The Niceville Fire 1934 marker tells of the fire that destroyed three grocery stores, a dry goods store, creamery, post office building, hotel, drug store and fish warehouses, estimated at $100,000 (worth $2,000,000 in 2021). There was no running water with which to combat the flames and it appeared for a time that the town would be completely destroyed until the forest firefighters and CCC workers took charge.

The historic markers are part of the state’s historical markers program. Mitchiner said, The text for the markers is based on warranty deeds and period newspaper accounts. Currently, there are seven markers in Okaloosa County with three of those now located in Niceville. Check out the Niceville history website at 

 Read the newspaper (page 13 West)

Saturday, July 29, 2023

A Pastor's Ponderings: Do the Ends Justify the Means?

  A Pastor's Ponderings: Do the Ends Justify the Means?

By Pastor Doug Stauffer
Faith Independent Baptist Church
Journalist for Bay Life Newspaper
October 2022--Article 32 (2022-10-032)

The “ends” in this cliché represent a good outcome, while the “means” refer to the method or actions used to achieve the desired result. When a person says, “the ends justify the means,” this implies that a noble enough outcome justifies whatever measures taken to achieve the objective. The Bible teaches the exact opposite approach. For instance, the Apostle Paul vehemently denied following this godless way of thinking.

“And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.” (Romans 3:8).

Paul never encouraged anyone to do wrong so long as good followed. Godly decisions are determined by what we do and how we do it. Does God care only about what we accomplish for him, not how we achieve it, or do the means and the outcome concern him? God doesn’t just want us to achieve a good outcome regardless of cost. He wants us to bring glory to him in how that good materializes.

When we strategize independently of God, we rob him of his rightful place. Interestingly, God may lead us to do the very thing we were going to do on our own, but when we do it without God’s leading, our self-reliance becomes sinful.

It is essential to recognize that achieving a good idea is not necessarily God’s design. The path God desires for each person to take is the path where he is the pilot. God’s work must be done God’s way. Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., once famously said, “It is never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right.” Oh, if this could be the world’s mantra or, at a minimum, the church’s protocol.

Two biblical points encapsulate these truths:

(1) God rewards only those who endeavor to live, work and function biblically. “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Timothy 2:5).

(2) God expects us to keep our passions under control so that all the good we have does not end up being for nothing.

“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

History reveals some horrid examples of things done in the name of God and religion. The means used to bring about religion’s goal of converting others to their way of thinking at all costs has no basis in scripture and no place in societies. Some religions have lied, cheated and even killed to accomplish their goal of converting people. Just like God never sanctioned this behavior in the religious sphere, He never approves this methodology in our everyday lives. Small immoralities are wrong even when used to achieve larger moralities.

The problem with the “ends justify the means” philosophy is that it puts the standards of morality into the hands of human beings and makes right and wrong subjective based on outcomes. The Bible warns against this repeatedly:

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

The ends-justify-the-means philosophy offers an excuse to do something we know is wrong when we view good outcomes as the pinnacle of success. Yet, true success must never be measured by results alone. Let each person endeavor to do right and live right so we may ask God’s blessing upon our every undertaking. 

 Read the article