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Showing posts from November, 2018

Trimming the Tree!

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The Kepplers decorated the house this week for Christmas! We put up the tree. Actually, it is always up and sits in readiness downstairs on its stand under a plastic cover all year long. All we have to to do is bring it up the basement stairs and put it in its place (and that is getting to be a greater chore for us older folks each year that passes!). Then, we fluff it a little, re-position the star at the top, plug in the lights and after adding the ornaments and red beads, it is good to go!

I had charged into this year's decorating responsibilities full bore, but was throttled back when Monique said, "Let's do everything except the tree. Just leave the ornament storage boxes upstairs. I want Chloe to come over after school and help me trim the tree. This is her favorite part of the Christmas season." While I had hoped to get it all accomplished in the morning, I deferred to the Madam of the House because I know that when "Mimi is happy, everyone is happy, too!…

Is "No" An Answer? "Yes!"

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When it comes to prayer, I have always been taught that there are three answers to prayers: yes, no, and wait. A "yes" answer hardly needs explaining. If we were honest, most of us would admit that we expect God's affirmatives to each of our petitions. We like getting what we want when we want it. That brings me to the third aforementioned answer of "wait." Wait feels like a no because of our impatience with God. I know that we have heard, "God is always on time and in time." But that's our problem... the matter of timing. If the wait was short in duration, then perhaps we would not have so much trouble receiving God's answer, "Wait, my child. It will come about in time, My time!" Our microwave mentality fusses about how long it takes to get what we want. We would rather push the "minute button" as we try to politely demand that God give it to us a lot sooner than later! Did you hear any contradictions in any of this prayer…

The Digital Era!

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When I was a boy, we received information through the local and regional newspapers, the county and area-wide radio stations and the bi-state television stations. These entities had names and call letters like: The Leader-Union, Decatur Herald, WFMB, KMOX, KSD and KPLR. And then there was the weekly little "rag" that I delivered - Grit Magazine. Grit was purchased by a 25 year-old immigrant in 1885 who started with a circulation of 4000. When I was in junior high in the mid-sixties and pedaling Grit throughout my neighborhood on a red Schwinn bicycle with two rear side baskets, circulation had soared to over 1.5 million subscribers. The core demographic for this newspaper was and is today, rural America. Grit still targets its information piece to families living in farm communities. Although no longer delivered door-to-door, you can still get a subscription to Grit and it can also be accessed online.

Things have certainly changed in this digital age. I can receive the news …

Lessons at a Literary Contest

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I was so proud of our granddaughter and her close friend who recently participated in a county-wide literary contest for junior high students. Chloe and Luisa shared a duet dramatic piece by Ken Bradbury called "Teen Age Idol." that involved the interaction between two good friends, Brittany and Cydney. Cydney, played by Chloe, is star struck, but insecure and lacking confidence. Brittany who is well-grounded, calmly reassures her friend that she has a good heart and is valued for  more than her successes.

Parents and grand parents laughed and smiled with pride in all the appropriate places as these two budding thespians acted out their story with enthusiasm and expressive gestures. I looked over at one family member during the performance and saw her teeth clinched with nervous anticipation. It had me wondering if this competition was more stressful for the spectators than the performers!

After the presentation was over, these two young ladies stepped forward to hear the fe…

A Snowy Surprise!

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We woke up to a surprise this morning in Sherman! Nearly three inches of snow covered the trees, grass and outdoor patio furniture! It's not supposed to snow in early November, but it did... again! Twenty-seven years ago the first of November, our family returned to Illinois after living in Texas for fifteen years. It was my calling to a new church field that brought us to Illinois after seminary and service in two good Baptist churches. Since three of the family members had been born on Texas soil and were thereby, and forever more, true blue Texans, we were technically only moving three back. Over those years in the Lone Star State, we never brought up the matter that our oldest was born in the Land of Lincoln. He was only thirteen months old when we took him to Texas and now, as a fifteen year-old, it could be expected that he was not altogether happy about our return.  By this time in adolescence, his whole identity was Texan and no one could persuade him otherwise!

On our ca…

The Tuesday Study Session!

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A few years ago, I was mentoring a new adult Bible study teacher and suggested that we meet each week for an hour to go over the lesson. At first, my friend protested that while he welcomed this one-on-one time with me, he thought I did not have the time to spend with him in this way. I quickly told him that this kind of partnership in study would be just as helpful to me. And so, the Tuesday, 1:00 PM "Study Session" was born. Today, there are four or five of us that weekly commit to this preparation time to get us ready for our Sunday teaching responsibilities.

What do we get out this study time? Several things come to mind...

1. This study session disciplines us to study our lessons earlier in the week to allow the truths of the passage under consideration to season for insights and application. There is nothing worse than procrastinating in our preparation and spending late Saturday night cramming or getting up early Sunday morning with panic setting in just hours before …