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  • J. Randal Matheny 11:46 am on 2016-06-29 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , travel   

    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. (More …)

    • Wes Dawson 3:01 pm on 2016-06-29 Permalink | Reply

      I agree that preaching the gospel is the only real solution to the problems of the world. I find it disturbing when a Christian’s solution is “vote the rascals out”. I learned the hard way that campaigning and voting simply exchanges one set of rascals for another. I no longer campaign or vote, but I do preach the gospel.

    • James McFerrin 9:28 pm on 2016-06-29 Permalink | Reply

      I also visited the GA Store for the first time about six months ago. If you met Melissa McFerrin, you met our granddaughter-in-law. She is a welcome addition to our family.

  • J. Randal Matheny 10:34 am on 2016-06-02 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , 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. (More …)

    • According to Greta 12:30 pm on 2016-06-02 Permalink | Reply

      Glad to have stumbled upon your blog. It is something that most of us struggle with, the guilt of our sins- not being able to feel loved when we sin. I guess it is something that we learn as our faith increases.

      • J. Randal Matheny 1:48 pm on 2016-06-02 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Greta. Guilt pretty much kills a feeling of self-worth, which impacts our view of what God must think of us, doesn’t it? Growth in faith will certainly help us work through this. Thanks for the comment.

    • ofhisgloryblog 11:22 pm on 2016-06-02 Permalink | Reply

      AMEN. Hallelujah
      God Bless you friend.

    • Danielle Smith 4:47 pm on 2016-09-26 Permalink | Reply

      “Two common misunderstandings diminish the love of God. One, that we must earn his love through our perfection. Two, and perhaps the more common one today, that God’s love is permissive of any action and dismissive of obedience. Both are deadly to our relationship to him, turning his love into either pettiness or permissiveness.”


  • J. Randal Matheny 11:24 am on 2015-04-21 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , 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.

    • Tim Hester 11:30 am on 2015-04-21 Permalink | Reply

      If you should be traveling into east Tennessee and you have the time stop and say hello as you pass over the Plateau.

    • John Henson 1:37 pm on 2015-04-21 Permalink | Reply

      Praying for you, brother. The Lord will be with you and protect you.

    • J. Randal Matheny 6:31 am on 2015-04-22 Permalink | Reply

      Arrived US safely, waiting to board flight for Nashville. Thanks for your prayers!

  • Eugene Adkins 7:06 pm on 2014-10-31 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , 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)

  • J. Randal Matheny 10:05 pm on 2014-09-08 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , 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.

    • Eugene Adkins 6:32 am on 2014-09-09 Permalink | Reply

      And think about all the gas you saved! 😉

      • Randal 9:43 am on 2014-09-09 Permalink | Reply

        I expected great mileage, but the car’s measurement was at best 32.3. Disappointing for that size.

  • J. Randal Matheny 8:23 am on 2014-07-08 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Boston, travel   

    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.

  • J. Randal Matheny 11:27 am on 2014-01-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: travel   

    “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.

  • J. Randal Matheny 11:07 am on 2013-09-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , 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.

  • J. Randal Matheny 5:42 pm on 2012-05-23 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , 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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  • J. Randal Matheny 6:54 am on 2012-05-06 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 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?

  • J. Randal Matheny 4:45 pm on 2012-04-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: American citizenship, , Social Security, 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. (More …)

  • Eugene Adkins 7:02 pm on 2012-03-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 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.

  • J. Randal Matheny 8:57 am on 2012-03-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , road trips, travel   

    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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    • Weylan Deaver 9:04 am on 2012-03-23 Permalink | Reply

      Coffee is good (though not as good as the kind Randal drinks in Brazil). And a sense of humor, especially in a mini-van full of teens.

      • Chad Dollahite 11:10 pm on 2012-03-24 Permalink | Reply

        Agreed, Weylan…it’s nearly a must! I’ve had some of that Brazilian coffee (via David Fowler), & it’s pretty stout stuff. I did discover, quite by accident, that to get the best flavor out of it, you have to use an old-school percolator. It was pretty good before, but when I used that old percolator, it was really good!

  • J. Randal Matheny 4:52 pm on 2011-08-11 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 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.

    • Don Ruhl 6:24 pm on 2011-08-11 Permalink | Reply

      Not only would I fly a plane that could go Mach 20, but I would be a passenger in it if they would not let me fly it.

    • J. Randal Matheny 6:41 pm on 2011-08-11 Permalink | Reply

      I meant fly as a passenger. But I wouldn’t mind taking a turn in the pilot’s seat.

  • J. Randal Matheny 12:08 pm on 2011-07-30 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , travel,   

    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.

    • Mike Riley 2:11 pm on 2011-07-30 Permalink | Reply

      Randal, You mean they didn’t x-ray you to see whether or not you were carrying a WMD? By the way, never say, “Hi Jack” on an airplane, cause that’s an immediate dead give away! HA!

      And all of this bread and stuff is making me very hungry. You are one lucky man to have all of those good cooks at your beck and call.

      And you’re not old yet! HA!

      Enjoy your vacation – you and your family deserve one after 25+ years!


    • Ron 6:44 am on 2011-07-31 Permalink | Reply

      I enjoyed reading this, especially the portion about the senior discount. I am not sure when it will APPEAR that I need one (I think I am a couple-three years behind you), but that discount will be nice.

      • J. Randal Matheny 7:40 am on 2011-07-31 Permalink | Reply

        Mike, it was all tasty, wish you could have been here. It’s been great thus far.

        Ron, I trimmed the beard back to the nub, so I’ll probably not get another discount for a while. 🙂

    • Chad Dollahite 4:44 pm on 2011-07-31 Permalink | Reply

      Sounds like a lot of fun…hope you enjoy your time here & have safe travels

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