The problem of sports

A political writer thinks that sports might be the solution to keep the USA from falling apart. LeBron the savior. More likely, the sports industry is part of the problem, or a manifestation of the American ailment, at least. Sports figures can’t even provide a proper model for children, must less can sports serve as a unifier.

Used to, sports was touted as a means of helping youth learn self-discipline and positive values.That was before the screaming parents, I suppose, ready to abuse coaches and sponsors of teams. In spiritual terms, youth do need self-discipline, now more than ever, but with athletes resorting to doping, that doesn’t seem to work out so well. Continue reading

#corollaries, #friends, #sports, #time, #travel

God loves you, regardless. His commands permit fellowship.

white-gloveGod loves you, regardless. His commands are conditions to enjoy his presence, for he is holy and whoever approaches him must be purified through obedient faith in the blood of Christ. His commands are not requirements for love. He loved you before you sinned, and after. It is his love that reaches out to you and invites you to obedience. His love comes before your obedience, not after.

Humans make behavior a condition of love. To earn love you must do this or that, or be perfect in some way. God does not do this. His commands put us in a position to receive forgiveness. His commands are themselves an expression of his love. Continue reading

#books, #corollaries, #love-of-god, #poetry, #success, #travel

Prayers for trip welcome

In a bit we take our car to the mechanic, who will keep it during our trip and do some work on it. He’ll leave us at the bus station, where we’ll catch a bus to the airport. We get there quite early this way, but that’s better than more expensive options. Then we catch a plane tonight for Atlanta, then on to Nashville. Then starts the fun. Prayers are welcome for safety and smooth ride.

God bless you all in your service to him.

#prayers, #travel

A few randomly ordered thoughts

Earlier this week I took a work-related trip to Memphis for several days. One small blessing of the trip? I drove West in the morning and in the evening I drove East. Think about it.

Last Sunday morning we worshiped with the Great Oaks church of Christ just outside of Memphis. I found them on the Internet. It was a larger congregation (400+) but I was impressed by the fact that several people noticed we weren’t members there. I thought that was a good sign. The people who sat around us were also friendly and talkative. If you ever find yourself in the area I would suggest dropping by and spending some time with them.

More in the Middle Tennessee area than West? Near White County? If so, the Findlay congregation of Sparta, TN is hosting the fall session (West Sparta will host the spring session) of the White County Christian Training Series. You don’t have to live in White County to attend. I don’t live in White County and I’ve been there several times. If you go, tell Joe Neal or Dwight Fuqua that I said, hello. The classes are held each Monday night in November and the topics will be “Faith Under Fire” and “Growing in Grace”.

If you live in Tennessee (or anywhere else that does daylight savings time) don’t forget to set your clocks back 1 hour before you go to bed tomorrow night (and by tomorrow night I mean the date of 11/01/2014).

Speaking of tomorrow, I will be celebrating my daughter’s birthday with a party. Mostly just standing by and watching I guess. I’m so grateful that she’s healthy and growing like a kid her age should – but that growing up part…that’s what I don’t look forward to. Just saying. Know what I mean? Life, right?

I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past.” (Ecclesiastes 3:14-15)

#random-thoughts, #travel

Long roads in a small car

After a great visit with the overseeing congregation (as usual), we made another trip today from central Arkansas to Nashville, back to our son’s house.

Somewhere along the way the rental agency goofed or the travel agency in Brazil failed, and we wound up with an extra-small car. None of our suitcases will fit in the trunk. It runs well enough, but it’s a bit cramped. So I’m still unfolding my body after the several hours in the sardine can.

Good thing we’re not making any of the longer trips out to Texas or up to Illinois.

We can still be grateful that we’re not in the horse-and-buggy days.

#gratitude, #missions, #travel

We have a young lady here like family…

We have a young lady here, like family, going to Boston this month for a week-long course at Babson College. Does anyone know of a good, strong congregation in that area? We’d also like to have someone she can contact in case of any unforeseen situation. The college will have a bus picking her and other students up at the airport, so it seems she’s set there.

#boston, #travel

I’m leavin’ on a jet plane …

“I’m leavin’ on a jet plane.” Except, Lord permitting, I know when I’ll be back again. We’re traveling to a big lectureship, but I doubt we’ll have internet access. So y’all play good while we’re gone. Blessings on you. Prayers appreciated.

#travel

Rolling down the highway

We’re in Arkansas today, headed to Texas tomorrow, then to Oklahoma Sunday afternoon, zipping back to Tennessee on Monday, to get ready for a trip to Illinois the following Sunday. So you may not see me on the Internet as much over the next few days.

I probably have mentioned somewhere that it seems harder to set up appointments to present the GoSpeak work to congregations, elderships, or missions committees. Maybe we’ve just run through our gamut of contacts, so the problem may be on our side of the coin.

We refuse to hit the emergency button with brethren, as I’ve seen done. “If you don’t support this work today, it will all go down the tubes, souls will be lost, and ground that we have gained (through this ministry, or in this place) will be lost.” No, the work will go on. God will continue to use every situation for his work and will. It might just be in spite of some of us, but he will do it.

Funds are needed, but more than that, prayers and faith in the hand of God among us and through us.

#missions-support, #travel

States in common

At the moment, the TFR site has reached the top number of hits ever. Let’s see how far it gets at day’s end.

• Beautiful day in Denton TX and a blessed time with the Weylan Deaver family. Tonight, we’ll enjoy a moment with the Sherman Drive congregation and share updates (video link) on our work.

• Thanks to the Deaver’s for providing me time and space to write the first draft of the article, “Being a Family in a Strange Land,” for The Jenkins Institute’s magazine, Hope and Expectation.

• What do Texas, Illinois, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida have in common? They all have churches regularly supporting our GoSpeak/Forthright ministry. God bless them all!

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#housekeeping, #missions, #travel

Traveling man

I ask your prayers today as I travel to the US. This afternoon I’ll catch a bus from here to the airport, which will take about an hour and a half. Then check-in and that long wait for the international overnight flight. Then the domestic flight to Nashville. Not a bad routine, much better than some, in terms of time and changes. Much better than a couple of hundred years ago, when, by the time, Lord permitting, I reach my destiny, a ship would still be in sight of shore, likely.

Safety, first, then schedule. Those are the two we usually pray for on our trips. And comfort? Can we pray for that?

#travel

Here, there, and back again

Our weekend and First Day with the Contagem church, to speak on the eldership, was a blessing to us, as I hope we were to them. We arrived home last night and are in a frenzy to get The Missus and The Maiden on the plane tomorrow night headed to the US. I will follow them next month.

• I hate doing this separation thing from The Missus. Remind me again why we did this.

• The Fellows have carried on swimmingly without me. So glad to see you doing such a good job. Site visits continue to be up, thanks to your united efforts.

• With all the electronic wizardry, it ought to be easier to get to your money when you need it. Not necessarily so, however. In one instance, with all the travel and leaving bills paid ahead of time, we’ve had to resort to … the U.S. Postal System. Now that’s a throwback if I’ve ever seen one. Continue reading

#american-citizenship, #separation, #social-security, #travel

Trip Essentials

The Bible and a GPS – they both help you to know where you’re going and how to get there!

The Family and a Camera – what’s a trip without the free souvenir photos?

A great Attitude and Snacks – nobody wants to be trapped in a car with a “grumpy bear” for 400 miles.

#travel, #vacation

Nudge: Road-trip essentials

Road tripAnswer if you dare: List your must-haves for a successful road trip, especially if it’s unusual. Why do you consider it essential?

With the hassle of air travel, perhaps the road trip is experiencing a revival, would you say? Unless fuel prices are keeping people home.

Thanks to plinky for today’s Nudge question.

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#nudge, #road-trips, #travel

Anywhere on earth in an hour

air travel• Mike Benson is back writing his Fidelity column on Forthright Mag. Glad to have him contributing there again. He continues with his KneEmail devotional, mostly edited articles from around the net.

• A nighttime cityscape for the new TFR header. Opinions? Ferreting these out on the web are always a challenge.

• Larry M. and Weylan D. are off to Polishing the Pulpit, in east Tenn. Any others?

• Summer series, held mostly on Wednesday nights, we presume, are winding up for many American churches. These were unheard of a few years ago. Now it seems most congregations have joined the bandwagon. Why their popularity?

• Barbara Ann was to have returned to the U.S. today from Central America, after several months in Honduras and Costa Rica. We hope she’ll be more connected and able to be around a bit more.

• Volume 5, as it is styled, of World Evangelism’s Global Harvest magazine is now available online.

• Get to any point on earth within an hour. That’s the mission of DARPA’s HTV-2 plane (photo above), flying at Mach 20 (not 2.0 but twenty) today. The test didn’t go so well. But if they perfect it, I’m ready to fly in it. Think about it: from Houston to São Paulo in, say, 20 minutes.

UPDATE: This is post number 5,100 for TFR.

#travel, #updates, #writing

Travel tips

We’re having fun with family, already drove from Tenn. to Miss. and back since Tuesday. Next week, to Ark. and back.

• Today is the grandbaby’s first birthday, with full rights to Brazilian-style party, churrasco cookout, vinagrete (Brazilian version of galo de pico, much superior), brigadeiro chocolate sweets, passion-fruit mousse. The thunderstorm has blown over, we hope the ground dries before 5 p.m.

• In the photo, the daughters-in-law and daughter (middle) are fixing the brigadeiros and the other sweets with coconut. They have to be rolled by hand.

• An incentive to keep my gray-speckled beard: the other day I got the Senior drink discount at Jack’s Hamburgers. Any squeamishness at people thinking I’m old is overcome by this Scottish-blood satisfaction at saving a penny. Nothing comparable to this in Brazil.

• When flying with family, the good-looking daughter gets x-rayed. One gets this suspicious feeling it’s not a coincidence. Maybe I’ve been in Brazil too long, where people generally don’t trust officials with badges and clothing patches.

• I’m keeping up with the Portuguese and English devotionals so far, if but a bit later in the day than usual. No images for the webpages, but the essential text is there.

• During our 25+ years, we’ve never taken a vacation. We’re considering this our first. On the flight to Houston, the Lord gave each of us an empty seat next to our economy straight-jackets. More room, more rest.

• Oh, the travel tips: travel light, don’t carry valuables, be flexible, go during off-season, take plenty of sunscreen, fingernail clippers, and patience. And enjoy. Like me.

UPDATE: The Missus says we’ll have the fantastic, unique Brazilian cheesebread, pão de queijo. Life just went up another notch.

#family, #travel, #vacation