First Issue of Gospel Gleaner is Available for Preview

Click to access January-2013.pdf

An issue covering a variety of Bible subjects and activities in the churches of Christ may be yours each month for a nominal subscription fee. Information and address are available at:

#bible-study, #church-of-christ, #family, #gospel, #jesus-christ, #magazine-in-print, #missions, #news, #writing

Thursday Thor

Soul bread

A generic picture of bread like that The Missus makes

Is it because Thursdays have been a day off of sorts that the mind today doesn’t want to get into gear for writing? After several attempts, I turned to other concerns, like eating some zucchini-nut bread and drinking some hot tea. No special concentration needed for those.

• Our home Bible reading group was not large last night, but Titus 3 seemed to have good effect on us all. We five adults, three of whom are disciples, were impressed by the call to live, not as pagans, but as the people of God, thanks to his mercy. Amazing little letter, Titus.

• Some Christian friends are coming either tomorrow or Saturday to spend a few days with us. This out-of-state couple are recent empty-nesters, like ourselves, and long-time friends. After so many years, it’s an easy friendship, no special effort needed to keep up conversation or to entertain. (I’ll not be online as much during their stay.)

• For my birthday last week, a friend gave me a book on writing style in the Portuguese language. He knows how much I write, and how much I like writing. He made a big disclaimer that he was giving me the book, not because he thought I wrote badly, but because he knew I always wanted to improve and grow in the craft. But I confess that I picked up the Brad Thor thriller that his wife gave me before the writing book.

• Speaking of writing, in an undiscovered corner of the Internet, I posted day before yesterday what I thought was one of my best pieces of poetry. Like sermons and Bible classes, it’s often the case that what the writer or speaker considers the best is not always the readers’ or listeners’ favorite. And, vice versa, the items one might wish to fall away into history forgotten can become among the most admired or preferred. Who’s to judge who’s right?

Enhanced by Zemanta

#friends, #portuguese-language, #preaching, #writing, #zucchini

Recent posts, articles, prayers

Here’s another devotional just posted this morning:
If you’re not signed up to the devotionals (or my website as a whole), feel free to do that while you’re onsite, since not every devotional gets linked to from here.
Also, be sure to read my editorial from yesterday on Forthright Magazine, “What Everybody Knows About Religion.”
It’s gotten more comments than usual.
And, if your a glutton for punishment, there’s also the poem/prayer posted recently, “O Boundless Love.” (With another coming up shortly.)

I don’t often post links to my writings here, but once in a while I figure your patience can endure my self-promotion.

#articles, #prayer, #writing

Inspiration and squeamishness

Fixed a problem on the FMag site, with blank space at the top. Thanks to Eddie Watkins of Preachers Files for his guidance.

• Have been sending out a lot of invites to Facebook pages for FPress, Quick Bible Truths, my author page, and others. You’ve probably been invited. Or will be. Hurry over and “Like” them now before you get the invite.

• Inspiration (that humanly debatable kind, not the unquestionably divine stamp on Scripture) struck in the midst of reassembling our Brazilian life: a blog post giving my take on SCOTUS’s support for ObamaCare, a travel tip and missions option for booking airfare, two items (by others) to BNc, most notably, a book review of an impressive conversion story.

• Then, there were the usual FB posts, comments, a QBT on God’s Wrath, and not a few likes, tweets, recommendations, and other signs of mental life.

• Now to get back to writing the Daily Bible Devotionals. That remains.

• The Missus and I interrupted a movie tonight. I’m squeamish about certain things, and this dealt with one of those.

• Some things I’m not squeamish about (speaking vaguely, for obvious reasons), but I seldom talk about them to avoid offending others’ sensibilities. Other things I belabor, and people probably think I ought to be squeamish, or more guarded, about them. This is probably not making sense, so let’s move on.

• If anybody finds a digital voice recorder out there, it’s probably mine. Unless it’s hidden in some of our stuff still. I hope I didn’t leave it behind. Like I did my cap, Father’s Day gift. That was cool.

#squeamishness, #writing

Tidbits and Prayer Requests

Hello! I hope all of our readers are doing well. I wanted to share a potpourri of thoughts with you this Friday morning. We appreciate you very much.

  • It is a beautiful sunny day in Southeast Georgia. We ask your prayers that we can get some rain. Our drought is nothing like the Southwest has suffered, but we are double digits below normal for three years. It is sad to see so many ponds dry. Also, continue to pray for rain in the Southwest, they desperately need it.
  • I also ask your prayers for me as I continue battling a neurological condition. The pain has been especially bad, lately. I see a new neurologist in two weeks.
  • I read that the Baptists in Kentucky are having a symposium on Calvinism. They say that only one of the speakers is a Five-Point Calvinist. I wish they would figure out that the Baptist doctrine of salvation is Calvinist-Lite and return to the truth of Scripture on how to be saved.

BTW, here is a shameless plug for my book on how to be saved.

  • On a lighter note, the 17 year-old son of one of my cousins didn’t know who John Wayne was. Moments like these seriously make you feel old. Likewise, I recently realized that in 2014 it will have been 20 years since I finished graduate school at Freed-Hardeman University. Time flies much too quickly.
  • I am listening to the Bible on digital audio. As I write, I am listening to Acts 11.
  • I am privileged to develop a manuscript on John 21 for the Southeast Georgia Lectureship at Richmond Hill. The lectureship is October 27-28. The last chapter of John is a fascinating study and I look forward to taking it apart and finding the treasures there.

This Sunday morning I will be speaking on James 3:1, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”

Of this passage, Burton Coffman writes:

“James did not seek to discourage any who might have been qualified for such work. As Harper suggested, ‘His words were meant to remind us of our responsibilities, rather than to deter us from our duties.'”

We must not allow this passage to be a path of rationalization to avoid evangelism. We must all become more knowledgeable about Scripture. What thoughts do you have on this verse?

For your reading:

#books, #forthright, #gossip, #prayers, #rain, #reading, #salvation, #writing

Improved writing

“Writing improves in direct ratio to the number of things we can keep out of it.” —William Zinsser, On Writing Well, quoted in “Lessons I Learned Reading Over 200 Books“. h/t Grat Tucker


Enhanced by Zemanta

#conciseness, #writing

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

Clockwork and emotion

Back home again! Our trip — yes, let’s call it a vacation — was really great, spent with family. And getting home is always good as well. For the first time I can remember, in a long while, I returned home feeling rested. And it’s good to be back on TFR. Missed you guys, though I’ve been reading a good deal, so I’m not entirely out of the loop.

• During our trip, I’d decided to keep up only two, yeah, three things: my Forthright Magazine articles on Mondays, and the Portuguese devotional which I’ve also been translating regularly into English. I’m glad to say I didn’t miss a lick during the entire time.

• I’m not always so clockworkish. Writing has its creative, moodish element, though it is eight parts persistence. Not all my material written during our trip was of the highest quality, but I trust it was all true, understandable, and amen-able. (And even amenable.)

In the news. Is it justifiable to connect emphasis upon emotion with the modern evangelical praise movement? Could the music minister who tased his pastor, after getting the pink slip, be cited as a case in point? (Ironic the church name, New Welcome. Maybe that’s the new wave way of doing things.)

• Colossians 3 is the NT reading for today. Maybe the New Welcome folk might want to read it next Sunday. I need to, I know.

#colossians, #contemporary-worship, #praise-worship, #writing

Fresh Way to Present the Word

I am enjoying using Christian fiction to teach the Word of God in a personal, intimate way.  Today’s story is about Jose, whose courage, faith and love led him to his physical limits to reach someone whose soul was in need. If we only had his resolve and persistence in the area of evangelism. I hope you will read, The Road to Valencia and that you will be moved by Jose’s story.

#christian-fiction, #forthright, #short-fiction, #writing

A sudden change of tone

How can somebody suddenly change his tone? ask many a theologian and commentator of 2 Corinthians. Paul strikes a different sound starting in chapter 10, an almost strident voice as he deals with false teachers.

From their high ivory tower, and full of theories to please publishers and employers, the academics imagine the work of a redactor who has spliced two letters into one. (If someone thinks this portrait overly harsh, consider that some scholars see as many as six letters or fragments stitched into one.)

But watching any young mother deal with small children in the middle of a conversation with an adult ought to solve the mystery quickly. People can change their tone at once, depending on any number of factors, such as audience and circumstances.

Today’s New Testament reading is 2 Cor. 10. Paul ended the previous section with thanksgiving, with confidence in the Corinthians, with high principles of sowing seed come from God and of righteous fruits. Then, suddenly, talk filled with irony and sarcasm, of war, boasting, and comparisons.

Maybe that strong language influenced the FMag editorial today, “God 2.0 Tweaks Grace, Deletes Hell, Updates Heaven.” The Missus said it differed in tone from the usual articles. But if Paul can do it in the same letter, can’t an editor do it from one week to the next?

If you’re signed up to the email list for FMag, the service is slow today. You’ll get it soon in your inbox.

#2-corinthians, #new-testament, #writing

Godly friends and potential friendships

• I started this morning about 4:30 a.m. Posted, I think, on all sites in English and Portuguese, except, of  course, on Forthright Mag, since it’s not my day. I’m going to bed down early tonight.

• Took a break tonight to watch a movie with wife and daughter and eat some non-vegetarian pizza. Mike Hughes would be proud.

• The comments are still a problem. No word yet from WP staff. Not a good sign. I’m considering changing themes, again, since it seems to be related to the P2 theme we use.

• Did I mention — I’ve written so much lately everywhere, I don’t remember — that online business cards are getting popular? So I put mine up, where I’d had something similar long time ago. Check it out here. [UPDATE: See the new and improved one here.] There are sites that do this, but I wasn’t impressed with them. It also has a vCard for automatic download of information.

• I was counting my blessings today, among them so many godly friends who just by their example and dedication inspire and encourage me. Many of them are Fellows here. I wish we had more opportunity to spend time together. But such is the nature of this earthly life. I look forward to eternity with them all.  With you all.

• Some potential friendships never turn out. Ever have one of those? It seems to start out wonderfully, then somewhere along the way it sours. Maybe I wasn’t what they expected. Maybe something in their lives went awry. Maybe it was just distance, time, priorities, or other factors. The feeling of disappointment lingers.

• Here’s a last thought, and best, considering the source: “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD” (Psa 89:15 NEB).

#friendships, #ministry, #writing

Can't They Make A Pen That Writes?

If folks can put a man on the moon, why can’t they make a ball point pen that writes (every time)?

When I buy groceries and begin to write a check – the pen doesn’t write, or the ink skips where you can’t read the writing. It’s always been amazing to me, that the more simple a thing is, the more complicated man makes it.

Do you think that’s the reason why folks seemingly can’t understand the Bible — because they make something that is relatively simple (the gospel) complicated?

#amaze, #ball, #check, #folk, #grocery, #ink, #man, #moon, #pen, #point, #reason, #simple, #skip, #understand, #write, #writing

Thoughts on Writing

I wanted to share two recent articles on the subject of writing. As writers, we need to be working to improve.

In the first article on Randal’s website, I discuss my love and passion for writing. Excerpt: “I am one of those people for whom writing is not optional. The urge is within me and it has its own mind, body and force of will. Holding it back would be akin to wielding a spoon against a flood. It will flow whether it has a voice or not because it is relentless and resilient.”

In the second article, I share my thoughts on why writers must dig deep within themselves to move our readers. Excerpt: “If our writing doesn’t turn us inward, we will never truly reach the personal and protected areas of our readers.”


Writing about armadillos

I usually have a notebook, spiral or loose leaf, to write notes on. I prefer to type but usually find myself with pen in hand taking notes on paper or, as last Sunday morning, in my Bible.  As I type this morning I have a burning question in my mind. Have any of you ever eaten armadillo?

As a member of Weight Watchers I have learned about power foods they encourage us to eat. They power us up and make us full longer. Armadillo is a power food. Right now I am not interested in tasting armadillo but very interested in knowing more about it from those in the know. How does it taste? How is it cooked? What area of the country is it eaten?

Armadillos have not been in Alabama many years. I remember Daddy hating the way they dug holes in the yard at night. I wonder if he knew they were edible?  The Bible says “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving” (I Tim. 4:5).

#nudge, #writing


Like several others have mentioned, I try to keep paper in my Bible (and pockets, etc. when I don’t have my Bible), since I never know when an idea may come to me or when I may hear something I want to write down.

Other than that, I always write down daily “to do” lists, and I often write down prayer requests and prayer lists. Many times, I write down outlines, then later transfer them to computer file (like Paula, I’m one of those who remembers something much better if I write it down).

Oh, and I’m a big fan of hand-written notes to potential contacts for the church, erring members, sick, etc. And, I often hand-write love notes to my dear wife!

I’m not ready to give up my pen and paper just yet!

#nudge, #writing