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Weeky E-News

Weekly e-News June 22, 2018

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Hope you’re having an awesome one, altho’ I know it may be crazy at work and super tough to get anything done today. I bet it’s that way every June 22!
Because it’s…

National “Take Your Dog To Work” Day!

I mean, who comes up with this stuff? 

At some point in reading this, you’ll probably have to take a break to take Barfy out to “go”!

I’m just thankful I work up at church and we don’t have to bring a dog to work today! 
Or any day! 
Because the Bible says, when it’s talking about the Kingdom of God…
“Outside are the dogs”! (Check it out! Revelation 22.15!)

Altho’ we did have a dog in our church in Milan, Italy. It belonged to Olga, who was blind. It would be calm and quiet until the last “Amen” and then it’d go nuts! How it knew that was the end, we never knew but since “Amen” is a Hebrew word, we used to say it was the only dog who spoke biblical languages!

A coupla years ago, I had to give the sermon at St. Andrews Church of Scotland in Lisbon, Portugal (who knew?)…

I dressed up a little for the occasion ‘cause I didn’t knew their church ways, and a British guy came in wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt and he had a little fluffy dog on a leash…

“Hope you don’t mind the dog, Rev,” he said. “Won’t make a fuss…”

“It doesn’t bother me,” I replied. “But I have a rule. If there’s a dog in church, I’m not wearing a tie!” And I took it off!

Today is also National Chocolate Eclair Day! (I wouldn’t know where to get one to celebrate!)

And National Onion Ring Day! (Only thing that’ll make your breath worse than that dog’s breath you’ve got at work today!)

I didn’t realize that every day of the year is National Something-er-other Day…

Why, just this month…

June 1 was National Heimlich Maneuver Day! (“Give someone a hug they’ll never forget!”)…
June 8 was National Upsy Daisy Day (?!)…
June 3 was National Repeat Day…
June 3 was National Repeat Day…
June 10 was National Herbs Day…(I didn’t have thyme for that one!)

So…


I think we need National “Don’t Call Anyone A Name Day”!

Seems like to me, that even tho’ there are loads of things that we could (and should!) be upset about…

more than ever before…
thru posts or tweets…
with lips or thumbs…

Folks are speaking about each other and AT each other in ways that are increasingly unkind.

If I need to express my opinion to someone or someones…
to “friends” or “followers”…
there HAS to be a way to do it without using the words “idiot!”…or “moron!”…or “*&^%#@!”

Lately, I’ve been going thru the prophets at the end of the Old Testament…Obadiah…Amos…Micah…And there are lots and lots of severe criticisms of much that is in our papers today. Plenty of warnings and judgments. 

But no insults. No personal name-calling. No “you stupid jerks!”

One scholar at Georgetown said that the increasing incivility in our society is “infectious like a bug or virus…Not only do people reciprocate, but they tend to stoop lower rather than higher…It’s putting us in an unfortunate place…”

Ephesians 4 has a perfect word for the followers of Jesus (Not His twitter followers! His real followers!)…

“Do not let any unwholesome word come out of your mouths…And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the Day of redemption. ..”(Ephesians 4.29-30)

The word “unwholesome” means “rotten”. The Greek word is “sepros” It’s related to the word “septikos”… It’s where we get the word “septic”… As in, septic tank! Phuuuu!

Let other people do it. Let other people say that stuff. You can’t stop ‘em any way. But not Jesus followers!

Because we’re being prepared for “the Day of redemption”! 
When Jesus is King of all the world!
And when that happens…
When He rules every heart on earth…
King of all lips and thumbs…

National “Don’t Call Anyone A Name Day” will never end!

That’ll be the day!

Weekly e-News June 15, 2018

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Hope you’re having a blessed, joy-filled day! That’s what Freddy Smith always wishes us at the end of his shift of bluegrass music from six to nine in the morning on 89.9 WDVX…He plays about three Gospel songs (“…to kindly tune up your heartstrings”) but right before, he always signs off with, “Have a blessed day!”

And if there’s something you think you really need, just ask!
Jesus said, “Ask! And it’ll be give to you!…Whoever asks, receives!” (Matthew 7.7)

Sometimes all you have to do is ask!

Once a mom packed a lunch of a few fish sandwiches for her little boy ‘cause he was going on an outing in the country with some friends to listen to Jesus and would be gone for most of the day. “As fast as he’s growing, he’ll be starving by eleven!” she thought.

But somehow, loads of folks hadn’t thought ahead as far as lunchtime, and after listening to Jesus’s longer-than-expected talk, thousands of bellies began to grumble in unison. But one of the friends of Jesus named Andrew somehow got the kid to give up his lunch to Jesus! The Lord blessed the lad’s few fish and pitas, and miraculously and exponentially, multiplied them, so that more than 5000 folks were invited to an unexpected picnic!

“How’d you get that kid to give up his only lunch?” his buddies wanted to know.

“Sometimes, all you have to do is ask!”

The other day, a friend in Missouri emailed me and asked me to video a personal message to surprise our own Bill Reazer to celebrate his 20th(!) year on Young Life staff…

So, Thomas made a silent video of Lee, Pottsie and me sittin at a table at Panera chatting. Slooooowly, the camera scanned to the table beside us where, all by itself, a loaf of french bread sat…

The end!

Y’see, one morning maybe eighteen years ago, Lee, Pottsie, Bill and I were sitting down at that same table, talking about the Book of Romans and other intense stuff. Next to us, this older dude in an open-buttoned shirt (Tom Jones-style) and a big gold chain was chowing down and reading, totally ignoring us. Then, seemingly done, he got up…and left. Not only that but, he left…a big, untouched hunk of that awesome French bread they sell down there.

“Seems a shame to leave that,” Bill said. He looked at me (always hungry). “If I snag it off his plate, will you eat it?”

WITHOUT HESITATION, I answered, “You know it!”

Bill looked this way…then that way…and sloooooowwwwwly leeeaaaned over and just as he reached out to grab that bread with my name all over it….

“Wow! You get up for a second and folks are stealing your food!”

It was him!

“Oops!” said Bill.

“Oops!” said I.

“Ha!” said Pottsie

“Uh…we…uh…thought that you were…um…maybe…uh…gone…”

“Well, my son’s a manager here! I’m calling him over!”

I immediately realized that I didn’t know anything about how that whole posting bail thing worked. Just then, his son came over.

“These boys are so hungry, they’re having to steal food. Could you bring them a whole loaf of that French bread?”

“Sure, dad. No problem.”

As the son threw it down before our unbelieving eyes, the dad looked at us and said, as he was leaving…

“All you have to do is ask.”

 

Weekly e-News May 25, 2018

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Wow! If you’re like me, even a week after last Sunday night, you’re still…
…tappin’ those toes…
…snappin’ those fingers…
…hummin’ stuff to yourself that makes no sense at all…(“…Bop bopa-a-lu a whop bam boo!”)

…or puffin’ on those candy cigs…

(Actually, I had to pass on those…When I was about nine, I skipped the candy ones and went straight for the Winston Filter Kings with the flip-top pack I stole from my dad…So I thought it was best to just avoid the temptation altogether!)

Last Sunday night of “50’s rock ’n roll” was just the grooviest! 
All those cool cats dressed like greasers! 
Wearing those 50’s threads! 
Guys’ hair slicked back in a D.A.! I even think I saw one cat’s hair in a jelly roll! 
There wasn’t a square in the joint! 
And those tunes were really cookin’!
(I was just glad it didn’t get so loud that the neighbors called the heat and the fuzz showed up!)
Lots of folks were really goin’ ape and I dug it so much! 
Crazy, man, crazy! 
So glad everyone decided to not stay at the pad but go ahead and make the scene!
It was so nifty!
Like, buzzin’, cuz!

You know, one really dopey thing I said in church that morning was that our “50’s night” was going to be “just for fun” with no one trying to “sneak Jesus in on anyone…”

(And what I meant was that we weren’t going to offer an evening of fun and music with the unspoken intention of, once we’d corralled everyone into one place, slipping in a gospel sermonette to our unprepared guests…Which really isn’t very cool,man!)

It was a dopey thing to say because Jesus slipped in anyway!

I’m not quite sure how He did it, but in my heart, after an evening of pure joy and fun with those I love, all I could think and feel was…

“Lord Jesus, You are so amazing!”

Instead of “bop bopa-a-lu a whop bam boo!”, I was thinking, “Jesus, I love You so much!”

And I’m not quite sure where THAT came from!

Except that…

Wherever there is pure love and pure joy, it’s because the Maker of love and joy…Who is the God of love and joy…is there! 

The reason we feel love and joy is because the loving, joyful Maker of all, made a world where love and joy could be! 

Because they live in His heart! 

They live in the world that He made because they live in the Maker of the world! 

The Maker of love and joy is the God of love and joy!

One time, St. Paul told a crowd of folks who knew nothing of God, that our God had not left us without evidence that He is there…or better, here!

Check out this awesome verse!!

“Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven…he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” (Acts 14.17)

Did you get that?!

He’s giving you rain from Heaven to prove He exists!

He made you to need water to live and He sends it to you from the sky! See? He there!

He made you to need food to eat…and He gives it to you! Get it?

When you chomp into a juicy burger with a HOME-GROWN tomato’s juice is running to your elbows…

or when you scoop up and shovel in that HOME-MADE peach ice cream…mmmmmm!!!…

you can almost feel Him say, “I thought of that just for you! I am here!”

And when you get a whiff of pure joy…
just a  moment of “This is soooo fun!”…

you can almost hear the Maker of joy say…

“I am!”

Jesus’ first miracle was making enough wine at a wedding so that the music and dancing could go on and on! And He didn’t want anyone to know He was the One Who made it! 

“Huh?! Why not?”

No need! Because in the end…
in the heart…
everyone knows (whether they admit it or no)… 
there wouldn’t be music…
or dancing…
or love…
or a sweet marriage…
or joy…
without Him!

When you have an unexpected moment when you feel so happy that you want to burst…
just be still…
and listen…
You just might hear Him say…
“I’m right here!”

And then you can say with confidence…

“…Well, Bop bopa-a-lu a whop bam boo!”

Weekly e-News May 11, 2018

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone.

I found out last night that I’ve had a sadder week than I thought I’d had.

So did you.

I lost a friend and didn’t know it.

Until last night when someone told me.

Curtis use to walk (slowly!) everywhere he went. I’d often see him walking along the turnpike, hair slicked back, thick glasses on, with his buttoned up vest, and often carrying something that turned out to be a fiddle. 

And he was good at it! 

He used to play it at the flea market and outside Jefferson Drug store and at pick-up bluegrass sessions when he could find one. 

So, one day it was kind of rainy and I saw him walking (slowly!) along and I stopped and asked him if he needed a ride. He had a sweet and gentle country voice because he had a very sweet and gentle country heart. I always felt he wasn’t quite looking at me when he talked. I could tell he struggled to see. I didn’t know he was born…on Christmas day, 1942…almost completely blind. 

We found out we both loved bluegrass music and Jesus and we were immediately friends. He was hoping to come the Triple C and play someday for us. When I’d see him walking and I had space in the front seat of my truck (that is, when it wasn’t crammed full with all the books, backpacks and piles of junk I need through the day), or if I wasn’t late to something (as I usually am!) I’d stop and ask Curtis if he needed a ride home. He lived with his brother down on Hwy 61 by Mike’s small engine shop in Marlow. We’d talk and laugh, share Scriptures and plan on when we were going to try to get folks together who liked to “pick” (as bluegrass musicians say). We exchanged numbers (he held his flip phone super close to his right eye after taking his glasses off, to punch my number in) and I had his number in mine. 

He’d call me from time to time to tell me that folks were playing somewhere and “…d’ya think you could come and pick the banjo, Tom?” 

I never was able to. Always had something more important I needed to be at. 

That’s what I thought at the time.

Wednesday morning Curtis was hit by a truck crossing 61 by Old Bately Rd. 

Our world is a little dimmer for not having him in it.

He never had anything really. 
Except the beauty, humility and “aroma of Christ”.

No home of his own. 
Except the Father’s house, his Heavenly home. 

No titles or degrees. 
Except “saint in Christ Jesus”

“St Curtis of Marlow!”

I wish I had taken…found…made…the time to pick with Curtis.

But one day…
in Heaven…
I will!

Turns out…amazingly…in less than a week, Curtis was going to receive the honor of a lifetime! He was going to be one of the featured guest musicians…along with many of Nashville’s best acoustic music stars…at a concert called “Crossing the Cumberlands” at the Nashville’s Tennessee Performing Arts Center, put on by “Friends of the Cumberland Trail”.

On their promotional ads, it said of Curtis…

““His only profession has been singing on street corners, at flea markets, churches, diners…But he carries the compelling, holy, last-of-its-kind repertoire and style of a grand tradition.”

Wow!

Finally, people would have known who he really was!

But today…
in Heaven…
they do!

Weekly e-News April 27, 2018

CCC Admin

Hey everyone!

Hope you're having an awesome day! 

Or maybe I should say, "I hope no one's having a non-awesome day!”

Or maybe, "Hope nobody's not having a non-awesome day!" 

I'm a little confused on how to say it because the other day I was going down the ol’ turnpike near Melton Lake Drive and I wound up behind a Sara Lee truck. On the back it said…

 "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee!"

I thought, "Is that right?" 

"Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee…" hmmm...

Shouldn't it be, "Nobody doesn't NOT like it"?
Why does that sound righter to me? (Or is it "more right"?)

It’s saying, “Someone doesn't like Sara Lee. That person is Nobody".  
There is someone who doesn't like it but that person doesn't exist.

Huh?

How's this?…"There is nobody who does not like it"

Wouldn't it be simpler to say, "Everybody likes Sara Lee!" 

It's kind of like this lady who came up to us in the old Atlanta Bread coffee shop in Turkey Creek one morning around 7:15…

"Excuse me but I'm from Massachusetts and I'm here for a conference. Last night I asked a person from here in Tennessee if he would give me a ride to the meetings this morning. He answered, 'I wouldn't care to.' Does that mean he's coming, or not coming?" 

We assured her that it means he was on his way!

I remember once one of our awesome friends spilled some ketchup on his shirt and he felt that this was something that happened with regularity almost every time he ate out. A little blob of something on his shirt. "That does never NOT happen! I should just wear a T-shirt with a target on the front that says, 'Never Not!' "

Reminds me of some verses in the Letter to the Hebrews. It's in chapter thirteen…Verses five and six…

"…Be content with what you have, because God has said,'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid…' "

Actually that verse has a lot of "double negatives" in it. In correct English, you shouldn't really use them. For example, you shouldn't say, "I ain't never seen nothing like that before!" 

You should either say, "I have NEVER seen…" Or, "I ain't EVER seen…"
But to use two negatives together, as in, "I ain't never seen…" strictly speaking, ain't correct.

You know, the person who wrote Hebrews was writing to folks who were having really difficult times because they had come to follow and love Jesus. To know Him makes your life and days so much better in a million ways! But following Him also makes life and times tougher for millions of our brothers and sisters in Jesus around the world! Surrounded by families and societies that don't understand or appreciate His love and His beauty, they often find themselves alone or hurting because of their new and amazingly "stubborn" faith in Him.

A person who is new to the walk with Jesus and confused by problems that not only don't vanish but in some ways even multiply since they have trusted in Him, might ask themselves…
”Has God left me! 
What did I do? 
Why is He so…
far away?…
Hello?…
Are You still there?"

It is always super confusing when life gets tough even though you have Him. There are tons of questions that have no answer that would make sense to us. No one knows why such tough things happen, really. I think it's probably more complicated than we could understand. But there is one thing we can be sure of! The whole entire time…
He loves you more than you could know…
more than you love yourself! 
And He is doing things that are amazing and couldn't have happened in any other way! 
And He has never… 
will never…
NEVER EVER leave you for one moment! 

In fact, just so there's no doubt about it, in the Greek language (which is the language they wrote those New Testament letters and stories in) Hebrews 13:5 literally says…

"Indeed, He Himself has said, 'No not will I leave you, not even, no not will I forsake you!' "

Wow! "Not even, no not!" That's not a double negative! 

It's a triple!

I guess it would be easier to just say, "I will always be will you!"
And He did say! 
Right before He went up into the sky and clouds and out of sight as they wondered, "What?! Is He leaving us?" He said, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of time!" (Matthew 28:20)

But there will be difficult moments when it's super important to know that…
not only is He with me…
but…
He has NOT…
will NOT…
will NOT ever…
won’t NEVER NOT leave us! 

NOT NEVER!

Among those who love Jesus, nobody doesn't like knowing that!

Weekly e-News April 20, 2018

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

 

What a beautiful day ahead! The only way to make it better is to just add praise and a bucket full of thankfulness!

 

I almost ruined an awesome day recently tho’…

 

“How could you ruin a day as beautiful as this?!”

 

So, the Knoxville Covenant Health Marathon was on a Sunday a few weeks ago…

 

You have to go to the Knoxville Convention Center on Saturday and pick up all the stuff they give you…Your number and four safety pins, your T-shirt with “Knoxville Covenant Health Marathon 2018” on it, a ticket to a Smokies game(!), granola bars (for some reason)…

 

And there was this stuff called “Utterly Smooth” and it came in this little poach-y thing.

 

I learned a secret to running those long-ish races a few years ago. After eleven miles or so, if you stuff a half’a banana or a cookie in your face every three miles, it really helps keep your energy level up so you don’t “hit the wall”, which means “run outta gas”. Lots of times, instead of a banana, they have this stuff called “Goo” in various flavors. It’s somewhere between runny fudge and pudding you left out of the fridge overnight. Chocolate’s the best, and it comes in a little poach-y thing like ketchup at McD’s. You just rip the corner off, shove in your mouth, and squeeze!

 

So, with a thankful heart, I slipped that “Utterly Smooth” in the pocket of my shorts for the right moment along the course…And forgot about it.

 

Since they had tables with bananas, jelly beans, and goos, I didn’t need my secret
‘pick-me-up” and didn’t think about it till Tina and I were walking (slooooowly!) to the car when it was all over…

 

I thought about my “Utterly Smooth”, reached for it, and thought about slamming it, when Tina said…

 

“Wait!!”

 

“What?!”

 

“You don’t EAT that!”

 

“You don’t!?”

 

“NO! It’s ‘Utterly Smooth body lotion’ !!”

 

“Whoa!”, I thought! “I don’t know what ‘body lotion’ is, but it doesn’t sound tasty!”

 

Then we both thought together…

 

“What if I’da pulled it out without knowing it at…say…mile seventeen, and scushed it into my mouth? And swallowed it?!”

 

We both thought of the image of a tired, sweaty me, leaning over losing my cookies…and bananas…and body lotion…by the side of the road. And not making it to Neyland and the finish line…

 

Thank you, Lord that I forgot about it! And that Tina knew what “Utterly Smooth” is for (I still don’t completely understand what you do with it!), and that she stopped me at just the right moment!

 

These are the lessons I learned…

 

1) If you’re going to make “Utterly Smooth” such that it could wind up in a runner’s bag of junk they give out before a race, don’t put it in those poach-y things that ketchup…AND GOO!…comes in. And don’t use brown, chocolate color letters on the package…

 

2) The words, “Utterly Smooth” are big enough, but the words “Body Lotion” shouldn’t be in tiny, little letters. Those words should be WAY bigger! People running races aren’t wearing their glasses…

 

3) Jesus said “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you, but what comes out of  your mouth that defiles you…” (Matthew 15). What He meant was that there isn’t anything that you could eat that would make you “defiled”…ie., morally worse. Some people believe that eating certain types of food can contaminate your heart. 

 

Jesus says, “Not so!”

 

But He told us that what matters is what comes out of that mouth! What comes out of my mouth…and not what goes in it…can make me a worse person. 

 

F’r example…

 

Complaining! Complaining is an implicit confession of faith. Or “unfaith”. I’m saying…without saying it…“God doesn’t know what He’s doing! And/or He doesn’t care about me!” You can’t believe that without being the worse for it!

 

Or if subtle bragging about myself and my #blessed life comes out of my mouth (or thumbs on instagram!)…or self-righteous and opinionated criticism of someone pops out of my face (or on a FB rant!)…

 

…Peter says “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble…” And my prideful words send me over to the opposing side! I can’t say that mess without being the worse for it!

 

The stuff I say can hurt not only other people, but also…and mostly…me! 

 

It’s the stuff that comes out of that mouth…

and not the stuff that goes in it…

that make a person worse for it!

 

But, I bet if you eat body lotion, something bad WOULD happen.

Weekly e-News March 2nd, 2018

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Hope today is an awesome one! 

Yesterday was!

There was a nice thing I was kinda hoping (and praying!) would happen sometime ago…
And then it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen…
I even forgot about it…
And then…out of the blue… it did! 

Nicer than I was hoping it would be! 

It isn’t always that way, I know. 

I’ve had loads of times when I’ve asked God for things and He has had to say, “No, son”. 

If I ever pushed and squirmed and schemed to make it happen anyway, I usually would find out why it wasn’t a good idea.

I’m kinda like the kid who was saying his prayers with his mom and dad before bed…”And God, bless mommy and daddy…”

Then he yelled as loud as he could, ‘“AND GOD I REALLY REALLY WANT A BMX BIKE FOR CHRISTMAS!!”

“Honey, you don’t have to yell. God isn’t deaf.”
“Yeah, but Grampa almost is and he’s all the way downstairs!”

But sometimes…

Sometimes…

After you’ve waited for something from God…

and waited…

And maybe even kind of forget about it…

Sometimes…

He does something that is more than you asked…or even hoped for!

I can’t stop thinking about old memories living up there between my ears about Billy…

I loved Billy Graham so much! 

And Ruth was such an amazing person! Honest, gifted, super compassionate, funny…

They asked her what she wanted on her tombstone when she was gone. 
“I want what it says on the sign at the end of road work they’re doing on the interstate after you’ve been sitting in long delays in your car”

“What’s that?” they asked.…

Billy’s body will be laid by hers today. By the tombstone that says…
“End of construction. Thank you for your patience!”

Ruth grew up in China where her dad was a missionary surgeon. Once time in 1980, as she and her sisters and brother were returning to China to visit their childhood home, they stopped at the US State Department to see if there was finally an answer to a request they’d made for a Chinese Christian woman to get her son and daughter out of China so they could join her in California. Every effort proved unsuccessful.

But the mom told her she could wait on God. 

She told about a penny-less little kid in China who stopped and stared at cherries on a sidewalk fruit stand. 
The kind grocer looked down. 
“Want some?” 
The boy nodded. 
“Stick out your hands.”
He wouldn’t.
“C’mon! Stick out your hands!”
Wouldn’t again.
Frustrated, the grocer scooped up two handfuls and poured them out into the boy’s shirt that the kid held out by the hem.
“Why wouldn’t you put your hands out?” an old lady asked the boy.
“His hands were bigger than mine.”

“Unto Him Who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we could ask or even think…”

(The kids made it to the Golden State!)

Weekly e-News February 2, 2018

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Hope you're having an awesome Friday! Hope it's filled with thanks and praise as loud as the cheering we'll hear from U S Bank Stadium in Granted, Minnesota on Sunday! I remember seeing a cartoon once where two pastors were at a game and one asked the other, "Who are you for?" The other said, ""I don't even know who's playing. I just like to be somewhere where folks are excited about something!"

Soooo thankful it's not that way at Triple C!

Here's a thought…

If you run a 5K race in 30 minutes, that's pretty good! Ever run one? It's a loooong way!! About three miles! What if you could threw a football almost three miles? 

Like Tom Brady did this year!

“What?!”

That's right!  It took Tom 581 tries, but of those throws, 385 were caught for 4,577 yards of completions! That’s 2.6 miles of completions! And, if you took all the throws he threw just this year, including uncaught balls, he probably threw like five miles of passes! Unreal!

In Tom Brady lifetime stats…
beside his two punts(!), all on surprise third down plays…
his two pass receptions (!) for a total of 30 yards…
and 11 tackles (!)…
he has completed in his NFL career over 37.59 MILES of passes!!

Thanks, Teddy!
(Or "TR" as he liked to be called)

Who?!

You know…Theodore Roosevelt. He's the one who really saved the game.
I read something about it the other day…

If you think football's rough today…whoa! It's nothing like back "in the day"! No helmets or pads except mops of hair guys would grow to protect their heads when they hit the line. As for plays and strategies, Harvard used the "flying wedge", which was a V-shape formation of guys who would zone in on one defensive lineman or back. 

“Think of it—half a ton of bone and muscle coming into collision with a man weighing 160 or 170 pounds!” wrote a guy for the New York Times in 1892. 

They got the idea from a book about Napoleon's war tactics!

They didn't have a passing game back then. The forward pass didn't exist yet. What they'd do was grab the guy carrying the ball and throw HIM! 

Literally! 

Bodily! 

One running back got the idea of sewing the handles of a suitcase into his jersey so they'd have something to hold on to when it was "launch time"! 

In 1905, 18 guys died playing high school and college ball. Something like 137 players were critically injured. President Roosevelt loved the game. Once in a speech he encouraged young men to be citizens of America just like they played on the gridiron…

"Don't flinch! Don't fold! And hit the line hard!" 

But he knew that it couldn't go on like this. The game was on trial and about to be convicted for life if something didn't change. So he called the deans and presidents of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton into the White House to tell them that the rules had to change or football was done. Those guys didn't like it but TR insisted…

He wanted a neutral zone at the line of scrimmage between the teams before the play started to give the defense a fair chance to be ready for “what's comin’ “…

He insisted on penalties for what they called "unsportsmanlike conduct”…

And the biggest change was the institution of the "forward pass". 

It's where you throw the ball, not the guy! 

They found it spread out the action across the field, reducing injuries. And they discovered that they could threw the pigskin a whole lot farther than a person! 
And if you dropped it, nothing broke and you didn't need the stretcher!  
And a diving catch is cool. 

Football was saved!

So, if football is like the game of life (who knows?), what have we learned today?

Let's say there is someone and you want that person to make decisions that Jesus wants from them. And you want that person to give their heart to Him. You want to "move them down the field”…

Sometimes, if you want to keep the action going, you have to be kinder and gentler than folks have customarily been. 

The Apostle says that we should be "kind and tender-hearted". He told his friend, Timothy that we "must be kind to everyone". He says that when the Spirit of God really coaches a person, one of the first things they become is kind.

Kindness is a HUGE deal in the New Testament! You don't want any penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Sometimes I think folks like us underestimate the sheer power and force of gentleness and kindness…

Jesus only really described Himself one time. Only once did He say, "Wanna know what I'm like? I'll tell you…" Wanna know the power of His heart to move people down the field? "I'm gentle and humble in  heart." 

The kind and gentle people that you know…Aren't they your favorite people? 
Wouldn't you be more likely to do something they might ask of you? 

Kindness keeps you in the game. If life's like football, here's the uniform you need in the locker room…"clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness!" (Col 3)  You can deliver your "hits' when you're the kindest person they know!

And never try to pick someone up and throw them! They outlawed that stuff! 

And it's a good thing they did!

(Philadelphia 37, Patriots 24)

Weekly e-News January 26, 2018

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Wow! What an awesome day!! 

“Sunny and warmer with highs in the upper 50s! Lows will be in the middle 30s Friday night!”

Thanks, Todd Howell!

And another reason today’s an awesome day is that I was almost totally killed yesterday!
So today…and every day after…is a bonus and a gift for me!

Here’s what happened…

I always go down Key Spring Rd to my house just because it’s prettier than any other way. So, I got to the bottom where it intersects with the two-lane Hwy 61 near Marlow. Sun was kinda setting in the west and in my face but I could still see that someone was coming east in my direction. Still, I calculated that I had plenty of time to turn left. 
Which I did do. 
One thing I didn’t calculate was that there was a guy coming up behind the guy coming towards me… And he was going about 100 mph!
And he decided at the last minute to pass the person coming in my direction!
So, as I turned into the westbound lane, there was someone who believed “the faster, the funner!”  in my lane! 
Coming my way! 
We could see the whites of the other’s eyes! 

But somehow I just pulled on to the shoulder, kept myself from going in the ditch, and after he blew by, headed home. 

“Wow. That was close!” I reflected later. 

But at the time, I thought, “Hey. This feels familiar! Almost normal…
Where have I been in this situation before?…
OH! I know! In italia!”

In Italy, folks pass (and drive!) on sidewalks…
they blow their horns from behind as soon as the stop light turns green…
and they pass you on two-lanes going the speed of sound with someone coming towards you in the other lane, all the time! 

Everybody just scoots over to the shoulder on either side while he passes thru, one or both give the “Hook ‘em Horns!” gesture out the window (it means somethin’ else over there), and yells, “Che str*#&zo!!” 

I guess I felt surprisingly unrattled, but as I drove toward home on our beautiful Mahoney Rd, I reflected on the lessons I learned in 2.7 seconds…

First…
You never know when lessons you learned in stressful situations will be helpful one day…

Second…
God has my days numbered and stuff for me to do, so nothing’s gonna happen until His will for me is done!
As someone once quipped, 
“My life won’t end until my work God gives me is done. And I’m so far behind, I’m gonna live until I’m 130!”

Third…
Today could be the last one you get so live it like it might be! 
Besides making sure you have clean underwear on…
Tell people you love that you love them! 
Ask God to give you someone to care for in His Name everyday! 
Have loads of joy today! …

Jonathon Edwards, that awesome Connecticut Yankee reminded himself every week of his life of 70 “Resolutions”, or ideas he was determined to live by. Some of them would really help whoever drives on Hwy 61…

"Resolved, Never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life."

In other words, remember that you don't want to die with regrets! Here's another like that one...

"Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump."

You don't want to forget that! And this one may be my fav...

"Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live."

In other words, ”Go for it! With all your heart!” As Psalm 90 says, “Teach us to count our days!” Make every one of them count!” We don’t get that many days here!

Number four…
If it had been my time to go, I would have been in Heaven in a blink! Wow! That’s a “win win”!

Weekly e-News January 12, 2018

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Hope you’re having an awesome January 12! 

So many things have happened on this date!

On January 12, 1904, “Henry Ford set the new land speed world record, hitting 91.37 mph on frozen Lake St Clair in Michigan…”
Hey! 
That’s not on land! It was on a frozen lake! 
When he hit the brakes, he probably didn’t stop until January 14!

Remember this one? January 12, 1969…
Broadway Joe Namath and the New York Jets beat the Colts in Super Bowl lll (final score-16 to 7) The former Crimson Tide quarterback had promised that the 19-point underdogs would win…”I guarantee it!”

And eight years ago today, an event that changed my life…

On January 12, 2010, at 4.53 pm a 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti, leaving 200,000 dead and over a million homeless. Our youngest, Emily went down with a group from her church in NC, to serve as a nurse for several days. I remember the fear I felt…and the prayers we prayed…in having a child so far from home. It wasn’t the first time or the last that I would fear these fears and pray these prayers. But to see those pics of all those babies in her arms…them holding on to her and she to them…and the sweet smile on both faces…somehow I knew it wouldn’t be the last time that I would see those scenes. 

And Haitian hugs became African grand babies.

I remember reading someone who also headed to Haiti after the quake to help. And she wrote that what impressed her most wasn’t the rumble or the chaos or the smelly air or nasty water.

It was singing.

Their singing and praising.

The singing and praising and faith of the grieving…the homeless…the devastated.

“Almost every night since I've been here, and it's been almost a week now, when darkness falls you would think it would start to get violent or people would start to be uncomfortable, but the sound I hear is singing. And I asked one of the staff members when I first heard it, because I thought maybe there was a church nearby. She said ‘No, they're singing a hymn.’ They were singing, in French, ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ They were singing it over and over again, and it was profound to hear that. I knew they were in camps, many of them were homeless and had lost family or friends and they were still praising the Lord, singing hymns…”

One American wrote that upon arriving a week after…

“At the end of a particularly busy day, I heard singing…The familiar strains of ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’ wafted over the concrete wall and into the parking lot where I was standing…

‘Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!…’

What kind of mercies had they seen that morning? Fewer bodies on the street? One fewer child crying out for missing parents? A family finally ‘safe’ under the shelter of a plastic tarp? I wondered how I might respond if the earthquake had hit my home here in Boston, and destroyed my town, killed my friends, and orphaned so many children…”

Another who arrived just four days after the quake witnessed the same…

“CNN called it a ‘developing story’. A large group of people walking around Port-au-Prince singing, ‘Tout bagay deja byen’, ‘Everything is already fine…’ It is an evangelical Protestant hymn that says because we’re saved and Jesus is on His throne, all is well. Wolf Blitzer talked about the resilience of the Haitian people but no one seemed to understand why…Another report on NBC stunned me. A woman named Janette, who had been trapped in the dark for five days, was pulled out of the rubble singing! Janette sang in French, “Ne pas avoir de la mort’ (‘Do not be afraid of death’)…”

There is a lot of talk in the news today about how some don’t believe people from certain
“countries” should be allowed to come to ours. 

As a follower and lover of Jesus, I personally hope more and more can come here. In 2018, I hope God allows me to know and be friends with more of them. It will help me be ready for Heaven. For there will be “thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand” there from countries like those! Maybe even more than from countries like ours. 

And I’m trying to get ready for my Heavenly family! 

And home!

“And they sang a new song, saying:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’” (Revelation 5:9-10)

Weekly e-News December 22, 2017

CCC Admin

Merry Day-before-the-day-before-the-night-before-Christmas, everyone!!
 
It’s gonna be a beautiful Christmas!
 
Tho’ there’s not going to be snow this year! 
 
Sorry.
 
In the song about “…dreaming of a white Christmas”, Bing shares the wish at the end that “…all your Christmases be white”. Since 1884, we’ve only had twelve white Christmases in East Tennessee (and that even includes 1989 when we got 0.1 inch!) And this year ain’t gonna be one of ‘em!
So…if that’s your song…

dream on!
 
Sometimes on Christmas, hearts wake up with huge expectations and go to bed with Christmas disappointments…
 
Remember not getting what you asked for? 
 
Remember getting a gift you didn’t ask for? 

Remember the puppy you asked for but didn’t get? 

Remember getting the water-pik dental hygene system you didn’t ask for?

Remember the Warren Commission Report on the assassination of JFK you got when you were ten? (What ten year old wouldn’t want that?!)
 
Remember when Calvin sent in boxtops from his cereal Chocolate-Coated Sugar Bombs, waited six weeks for a beanie with a propeller on it and it wouldn’t fly? At all! Not even an inch off the ground!
 
Remember when you prayed for snow at Christmas?
 
Remember when you prayed everyone at home would get along from now on?
 
Remember when a young mom was going to be the mother of the Messiah and no one would believe her?
 
Or help her?
 
Maybe you won’t get what you wanted at Christmas. Or maybe what you wanted won’t be what you hoped it would be.
 
But unto us is born in the city of David, a Savior Who is Christ the Lord!!
 
He knows why it’s not going to snow on Monday when we wanted snow…and why His way’s best!
 
He knows that sometimes things we wish for at Christmas…or any other day…aren’t best for us…or even good for us…or what we really need right now…or ever.
 
He knows that He always knows and cares and gives us what is best when we need it…
 
And one day, we’ll have all we could ever dream of! And things so wonderful, we could never imagine them!
 
Having Him, we always have hope! 
 
Having hope, you always have enough!
 
Hope is the most wonderful gift of all!
 
Once there was a young, tall, strong but broken-hearted pastor in Philadelphia. He dreamed of being used by God to do great things for Him. But during the Civil War, in a church full of young widows of soldiers and everyone wearing black for someone dead…
 
and finding that his dreams of ministry had vanished in the grind of trying to answer questions with no answer and walk countless hearts through seemingly endless sadness…
 
and finding that his greatest moment of fame and prominence would sadly, be preaching the funeral for the President who would have guided a wounded nation to healing…
 
This pastor had to get away!
 
Christmas. 1865. Jerusalem.
 
Pastor Phillips Brooks borrowed a horse on Christmas eve and rode the dangerous, robber-infested road to Bethlehem. Looking for he-wasn’t-sure-what…
 
“It was only about two hours when we came to the town, situated on an eastern ridge of a range of hills, surrounded by its terraced gardens…Before dark we rode out of town to the field where they say the shepherds saw the star. It is a fenced piece of ground with a cave in it… . . . Somewhere in those fields that we rode through, the shepherds must have been.
 
 As we passed, the shepherds were still keeping watch over their flocks!”
 
 Leaving the field, Brooks rode into the village of Bethlehem…
 
“I was standing in the old church in Bethlehem, close to the spot where Jesus was born, when the whole church was ringing hour after hour with the splendid hymns of praise to God, how again and again it seemed as if I could hear voices I know well, telling each other of the Savior’s birth…”
 
Maybe he didn’t know exactly what he was looking for.
Rest?
Healing?
A change?
 
But he found what he needed to go on.
 
Hope!
 
Because of Jesus, he found the greatest gift!
The gift he needed that helps you make it when you don’t get the gift you wanted!
 
So…
 
Christmas. 1868. Philadelphia.
 
Remembering that night, he wrote this…
 
“O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie;
above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in Thee tonight!”
 
Your fears meet your hopes in Him!
 
And hope wins!
 
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Weekly e-News December 15, 2017

CCC Admin

Merry “Week-Before-Christmas”, everyone!

Isn’t Christmas the best?! All the music we love so much and know so well!!

“Hark! The Herald Angels sing! Glory to the New-born King!…”

“I saw three ships come sailin’ in on Christmas Day! On Christmas Day!…”

“Joy to the world! The Lord is come! Let earth…”

Whoa. One sec…

“Three ships”?

“On Christmas Day?” …“On Christmas Day?” …“Come sailin’ in?”
I’ve never seen ships at Christmas? 
What verses is that in?! 
Is that song about Columbus Day?

I’ve gotta look this up a minute…Be right back after these brief messages…

“Glo-ooooo-ooooo-ooooo-ria! In excelses Deo!…If you want to spend your Christmas eve reflecting on the true meaning of the coming Christmas Day, come share with us ‘A Christmas Eve at Triple C’ starting at 7:00 pm Sunday, December 24…”

Ok. I’m back! Thanks for holding!

Wow! That Christmas carol is kind of…(‘Scuse me!)…nutty! It seems that it comes from the idea that three ships carried the bones of the three wisemen to Cologne, Germany in 1162! 

“There comes a vessel laden…
Mary holds the rudder,
The angel steers it on!”

What!?

In Milan, they say that those bones were originally in the Church of Saint Eustorgio and that in 1162, Frederick Barbarossa stole them and whisked them away to Germany! Free shipping! But no ships!

Speaking of not quite knowing what we’re singing about…

“Hark! The Herald Angels…”

“Hark”? 

It comes from Old English (“heorcian”) and it means, “listen!” Because the angels are singing! (I’m not sure that if the skies were filled with angels singing, you’d have to tell anyone to hush and listen!)

“Joy To the World” wasn’t about Christmas at all! It was about when Jesus comes to rule our world! 
“Let Heaven and nature sing!” 
And they will!

Speaking of Christmas music that really ain’t…

I love to listen to Handel’s “Messiah” this time of year! They play it on the radio and you can hear it in church concerts…But it wasn’t written for Christmas at all!

After taking only 24 days to write 240 pages, it was first played in Dublin on April 13(!) 1742 to raise money for helping guys in prison! 

The first time it was played in London for the Royal family, when the first chords of the “Hallelujah Chorus” sounded, King George ll stood! 

So did everyone else! And have every since!

Altho’ many believe he was just getting up to use the bathroom! (It’s a loooong concert!)

Others are convinced that he stood because he mistakenly thought he was hearing the “National Anthem”! (Not ours! Theirs!)

(I remember a few weeks ago, I was watching a game of the NFL and I was curious to see who was standing and who was kneeling during our anthem…Suddenly, I realized that, during our nation’s national anthem, I was lying on my couch! On my back! With my feet up! In my PJs! Yikes! Whether you think it’s right to stand or kneel, at least no one was lying on the back in their PJs! So apparently I’m not the one to judge!!)

And speaking of standing or not, there are those who don’t feel it’s right to stand during the “Hallelujah Chorus”. And they don’t.

The Boston Globe says there’s “…a silent showdown between the secularists who resolutely refuse to stand . . . and the traditionalists who rebuke them with looks of poison.’’

Those who remain seated say they love the music but don’t stand because they don’t believe the words.

I guess I don’t think they should stand.

If a person doesn’t believe in Jesus, it isn’t helpful…
and it’s only confusing…
for them to pretend like they do. 
Maybe the day will come when they need to…
and will!…
because they were allowed the freedom to say… 
when they didn’t…
that they hadn’t! 

In the “Messiah” Handel put to music all of the Scriptures about the promise and coming and life and death and resurrection of Jesus. The Hallelujah Chorus doesn’t come from the Christmas verses.

It comes from the Book of Revelation!

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said…
(Here’s the chorus!)
‘Hallelujah! The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever!” (Revelation 11)

It’s about the coming Day of all days…

When Jesus will come from Heaven for us! 
And every eye will see Him!

And when we hear those words sung…

No one will sit!

And no one will stand!

“Every knee will bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth!”

We’ll ALL…kneel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly e-News December 8, 2017

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!
 
Hope you’re having an awesome, praise-filled, peace-filled week before Christmas!
 
I was reading this article that said that if Santa’s reindeer were going to hit every home in the world in one night (calculating for all the time zones changes) they would still have to travel at 650 mile per second! But if anyone could do it, they could! Reindeer can outrun humans when they’re only one day old!
 
And I say, let ‘em do it!
 
I remember one Christmas eve when our kids were all at home, worried about the disparity of piles around the Christmas tree, I was dashing to West Town at 3:45 in the afternoon…of Christmas Eve!.
 
And I started to scream!
 
Screaming at the traffic? 
At the pressure? 
Out of fright because of an unexpected visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past?  
I never figured out!
I just decided, “Wow, dude. You’re losing it…”
 
You know that song, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”? 
It’s really kinda true! 
In some ways, Christmas-wise, the littler, the merrier!

I don’t even remember what I was speeding to K-town to get! Somehow it was worth risking my life for at the time, but I can’t even remember what it was! As a matter of fact, one in three Americans can’t remember ONE THING they got for Christmas last year!
 
I do know Someone Who will never forget some Christmas presents, tho!
 
I’ve been hearing a lot this year, “Why all the shopping for everyone? Why all the wish-lists? It’s not your birthday!” 

I guess that’s a good point.
 
Christmas is to remember the birth of our Lord! In lots of carols we sing about bringing Him gifts at His birth.
 
“What can I give Him, Poor as I am? If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man I would do my part, Yet what I can I give Him, I will give my heart.”
 
Or how ‘bout…
 
“I have no gift to bring. Pa rum pum pum pum…
I’ll play my drum for Him. Pa rum Pum Pum pum…”
 
But when it gets down to it, how do you buy something for Him?
What do you get for the One Who truly has everything?!
 
In Matthew 25, our Lord, said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink...Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

When you give to those who have little…or all they have is trouble…you give to Him! 

Jonathan Edwards believed that God has left poor people in the world to be His “receivers”. Giving to them is giving to Him! 

They accept presents and our Lord Jesus’ heart is merrier for it! 
 
This Christmas soooooooo many of y’all give Christmas gifts to Him by giving gifts for India! 
69 orphan kids will get clothes and backpacks for school this year because of you! 
350 widows will have new clothes this Christmas because of you!
 
Victor wrote me this the first year we bought these things for him…
 
“My dear brother Tom,
I am so thrilled to hear this news from you and I thank the Lord so
much for giving such a friend like you and the church who loves the
Lord and especially the love that they have for me and the ministry in
India….
When I saw your letter I am so happy and my eyes with tears to see the love you all have for me and the ministry here in India.  Thanks so much once again.
Please convey our heartfelt thanks and wishes to all the members at triple C.
Affectionately yours in His ministry,
Victor”
 
Wow!
 
How thankful I am to have the honor of working at a place like C3! 
To walk through this life with folks like you all! 
With hearts sooooo big and love sooooo deep for Jesus and His “least of these”, so dear to Him!
 
And He will never forget what He received for Christmas from you!!

Check this Christmas verse…
 
“God will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them!” (Hebrews 6.10)
 
In your heart you can almost hear Him say, “Gifts for My orphans! And for My widows! Just what I always wanted!”
 
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Weekly e-News November 10, 2017

CCC Admin

Hey everyone!

Wow! Today is gonna be Awesome Friday! Sun's comin' up at 7:07 and going down at 5:32! Just last Friday it came up at 7:05 so our days are getting shorter and it’s darker longer…But, Hey! think on the bright side (or the sunny side!)! Even if the sun does come up a smidge later tomorrow than today, it's gonna be about freezing in the morning so you wouldn't want to be out there much anyhoo! Wouldn't it be awful if the really cold days were like in July when the sun is up the most? You'd have plenty of daylight but it'd be too cold for swimming or softball! I think it's better this way.

(Wait a sec. Maybe that's why it IS warmer in July…)

But mostly, no matter what happens, it'll be awesome, spiritually speaking! *

(*Romans 8:28)

Y'know, usually on these Friday Triple C emails, I try to have a thought or two to encourage us for our day before we get to the announcements for the week (and I do  have one for today!) but we have an important reminder, so I thought I'd give you that news first…

Sunday is the second Sunday of the month and that means "Fellowship Meal!!"

"What is the 2nd Sunday Fellowship Meal?"

Well, ever since CCC started, we've been doing this thing where everyone (mostly) brings food from home and after worship, we put it all together, grab a plate, and we just eat together! Sometimes, folks can't stay for whatever reason, but if you can, it's a bunch of fun!

"How do you make sure everyone doesn't bring the same thing by accident? What if everyone brought green bean casserole and that would be all we had? Or what if everyone brought banana pudding and we just had banana pudding to share?

Well, I know some who would consider the banana pudding thing a sort of miracle…but just so it doesn't happen, we have a plan! There is a list. and usually, on the week before, this announcement goes out…

“This Sunday, November 12
is our monthly covered dish luncheon
immediately following the Worship Service.

Please plan to stay and eat!
Bring 2 dishes to share from the following categories:

meat / veggie / salad / bread / dessert

The refrigerator is available to keep cool things cool
and the oven is ready to keep warm things warm,
so come on early and put your food
in the kitchen until after Worship Service!”

So, you just pick two total from whichever categories. When we put it all together, it's always a balanced diet! Tho' not always a WeighWatchers diet! You're on your own, as far as that goes!

"Why do we do this every month?"

That's a great question! There's a simple answer and a complex one! 

Simple answer? We're hungry! 

Complex answer? Turn in your Bibles to the Gospel of Luke.

"What chapter?"

Wow. You could just read the whole thing! 

It's amazing how much food and eating together is in there! in Luke's Gospel Jesus loved eating together with people! The super religious crowd was upset with Him constantly because, not only was He friends with folks they considered "less than acceptable", but He ATE with them!  "Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.  But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law complained to his disciples, 'Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?'” (Luke 5)

Jesus told the story of the Prodigal Son to some people who were upset with Him and said, "Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1)

I remember hearing about a girl named Edith who was afraid she had been too sinful for Jesus to welcome her into His family (of course, He would welcome her!!) but she was encouraged when someone read in church this verse from the ol' King James…"This man receiveth sinners…and eateth with them!" She thought he said “and Edith with them" and…well, you get it!

Our Lord did miracles so people could eat together (Luke 9).

He raised a child from the dead and first thing, got her something to eat (Luke 8)

He promised we'd always have food (Luke 12)

He told stories about food (Luke 17)

He shared His deepest secrets at the table, eating with His friends (Luke 22)

And two folks were shocked and amazed to find He was risen from the dead! Because He was at their table, eating with them! (Luke 24: 30-31)

One super interesting thing is that the Book of Acts was written by Luke as well! It's kind of "Luke vol. 2" And IT'S full of food! 

Luke says the first believers in Jesus… "studied what the apostles taught. They shared life together. They broke bread and ate together. And they prayed. Everyone felt that God was near… All the believers were together. They shared everything they had.. Every day they met together in the temple courtyard and in their homes they broke bread and ate together. Their hearts were glad and honest and true. They praised God!" (Acts 2: 42-46)

The word Luke used for "shared together" is the Greek word (Luke's language) "koinonia" We often translate it, "fellowship". It means…uh…"to share together"! They shared tons of stuff! 

Including their food!

Eating together is a way of saying, "You're important to me! I like being with you and knowing you better! You're like a family in Jesus to me!"

And, amazingly, verse 47 of Acts 2 says, "…They praised God. They were respected by all the people. Every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved!"

People wanted in! 

Because lots of hearts want to be in something that makes them feel that someone thinks they're important…

That someone likes hanging out with them and knowing them…

That someone thinks they're family!

Fellowship Meal this Sunday!

Now for my thought of the week…

uh…

I can't remember what it was…

Well, rats!

Weekly e-News October 20, 2017

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

And “Good morning!”,  brother and sister of Jesus!

“What!? Don’t you mean ‘brother and sister IN Christ’? What does ‘brother OF Jesus’ mean?!”

I’m not totally sure what it means but I know that Jesus Himself calls us that! And He’s “not ashamed” to do it!

It says right over there in Hebrews, chapter two, verse twelve that He isn’t “ashamed to call us brothers!” and sisters! And that chapter quotes a couple of Scriptures to prove it! 

And He calls you loads of other things that you might hesitate to call yourself! He calls you…

His very own sheep (John 10.27)…
His bride (John 3.29)…
His kids (John 13.33)…
His friends (John 15.15)…
His treasure (Matthew 13.44)…

Wow! He thinks WAAAAAAAAY more of me than I think of myself!!

He watches you during the day…and while you sleep…and His heart is bursting with love over what He sees! Even when you’re pretty bummed or down about yourself, He sees you in a whole other way! He sees what others don’t! Including you! 

Once, when someone very special was having a yucky day of doubt and discouragement…in fact, maybe his worst day up to then… Jesus said about him, “behind his back”, if you will…

“He’s more than a prophet! In fact, there’s never been anyone greater!” (Luke 7.28)

On your worst day, He says, “There’s nobody like that one!”

Wow! 

It’s amazing to ponder that He thinks more of me than I think of me! And He says things about me that I wouldn’t dream of saying about myself!

I was asked to write an official letter of recommendation for the parole hearing of one of my students at the prison. He’s a young man who has only known a life of hurt and hate, gangs and crime…until Jesus came in! Now his love is uncontainable and his joy is “inexpressable and full of glory!”

So I wrote it out. The inmates collect these and put them in a folder for their hearing. So I gave it to him. And I know he went to his cell and read these words…

“…Nick is a man of positive attitude, cheerful disposition and genuine faith. Nick is very serious about his own spiritual growth and development and all can see how sincere he is about seeking the will of God for his future. I truly believe God is working in Nick’s life. He is a good and eager student and is learning all the time. I know that his desire is to follow the path God has for him. He is becoming the man God wants him to be and the man his studies have shown him that he can be…”

And I bet he’s never had anyone say stuff like that before.

At the prison, he’s known as 37591.

But Jesus calls Nick,  “My brother, My son, and My friend!”

I read one time a reference letter a woman wrote for her friend’s daughter, named Liberty for an application to Pepperdine University. I kept it because…well…you’ll see! Check this…

“We met Liberty when she was born on leap-year day of the bicentennial year, 1976. She was born on a special day of a special year, and she is a spectacularly special addition to the universe…

As a child she was the most adorable, charming, bright-eyed beam of starlight that ever hit the earth…

If you are blessed to have Liberty on your campus, the light level will suddenly increase. Other students who are going through darker times will be helped by Liberty…
Liberty is creative, innovative, well-organized, hardworking, goal-oriented, socially adept, outgoing, sensitive, and aware. She’s the kind of person who will achieve her goals in life, the more challenging, the better….
She stands out as a flamingo among pelicans, a gazelle among porcupines, a human among amoebas…
I hope this commendation isn’t too glowing. That’s what happens when you’re around Liberty. You get a little stardust in your eyes. We love her very much. You will too.”

Wow! Wouldn’t it be amazing to have someone who thinks stuff like that about you?

In Heaven, you do!

Weekly e-News October 13, 2017

CCC Admin

Hey everyone!

Hope you’re having an awesome day! Looks like the 40’s are on the way! 

(Temperatures, not the decade! I personally blew past those long ago!)

I was looking up to check the weather when I saw something amazing! A “V” of geese flew overhead (well, not directly overhead, thankfully!) honking and flapping in perfect formation!

Ever wonder why geese fly in a V formation? Scientist have been studying this for years and years. All they know to this point is that somehow geese know that it’s a whole lot easier that way! When geese fly in a V, they can fly up to 71% further than one goose can, flying alone! And the heart rate of a soloing goose is 40% higher while flying than a goose flying in formation!

How do birds know that it’s easier to fly together? How do they know you can fly further and with less effort when you “V-up”? How do the geese know this if scientists have just discovered these facts?? All you can say is…

…they just do! 

It’s instinctive!

Y’know, we’re like geese in some ways! Sure we don‘t have feathers or lay eggs (some honk when they travel more than they should..) but as we sail through this world toward our heavenly home, it’s easier when we “flock” together! When we fly in a “V”, if you will.
When we get together… to encourage each other… 
to tell each other that “You matter to me!”…
to pray for each other…
to travel our journey together…
it just makes it easier and you can go further! 

How do we know? 

We just do! It’s just instinctive!

Paul writes to us in Romans 12 10, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” See the word, “devoted”? In the Greek language Paul wrote this in originally, this word is “philostorgos”. It’s really two words put together. “Philia” means “love between friends” and “storgos” is the love that you instinctively feel in a family for your parents or your kids. Some believe “storgos” is related to the word “stork”. Storks fly in formations, too! 

“Philostorgos” means something like “having that love close friends feel for each other…instinctively!” If you love Jesus, it is just instinctive to want to be around other people who feel about Him the same way you do! It’s just natural to want to have that “philia”…that “love between friends” with others who love Him!

That’s why we have what we call “community groups” on Sunday mornings at 9:30. It’s a time to just be together with and encourage those who love Jesus like you do. It’s a time when we share how our week and our life is going. It’s a time to share around God’s Word…to share what it means to each one. It’s especially a time when, just by showing up, you’re saying to all of us, “You matter to me! There’s no place I’d rather be this morning than with my church family…’cause I care about you! You’re important to me” 

When you’re not there, we have to flap harder.

I guess Paul’s saying, “That’s something that you ought to just instinctively feel if you have Jesus in you. Not only does the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures tell you this, but flying in a flock ought to just be instinctive! We need each other! Others need you! 

If you’re not in a community group, follow your instincts! Join the formation! 

HONK! HONK!

Weekly e-News October 6, 2017

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Hope you’re having a day filled with “peace in the Valley”…the East Tennessee Valley, that is! That’s what Todd the weather guy always calls where we are on the map…as in, “we can expect cooling temperatures tomorrow here in the valley…”

Y’know, it doesn’t seem like there is a ton of peace these days! In our valley, or anywhere else! 

Even at a gathering as peaceful and fun-loving as a pro football game, there is tension during our nation’s national anthem! 
Wow! 
Some feel that it’s a perfect opportunity to express their deep feelings by kneeling during those moments. Others feel that this is disrespectful and that we should always stand to respect the Banner spangled with stars.

That’s why the internet is SO awesome!!

On the internet in a variety of ways, anyone can express their opinion about who is right and who is wrong in this… or any other!…controversy! Whether tweeting, blogging, or FBing, we can all share our thoughts about why we’re right, and help others know how they should think about this! 

“And I say to myself, What a wonderful world!”

Since this is my little corner of the blog-o-sphere here in our Friday CCC email, I thought I’d take advantage of this moment to give you “my take” on the National Anthem question! But I don’t want to just tell you MY opinion. I’m going to include some Scriptures to provide real Biblical support for my view! 

Because what matters “most in my post”, isn’t what you or I say, but what GOD has to say about what we say…and write…and post…and tweet…and blog! 

Right?!

So, if you’ll excuse me for just a few minutes, I’m gonna look up some verses I’ve found in the Bible that will really support my opinion that I’m going to share with you! 

I’ll be right back!

(Ok….Let’s see…What were those Scriptures I was thinking about?…Was it here in Matthew? I think I remember it was in chapter 7, maybe?… 

Oh! There it is!…Matthew 7, verse 1…“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you…”

No, that’s not it! 

How am I supposed to say my opinion about people without judging! Good cow! 

Hmmm….I must have been thinking of another Scripture…Was it over here in Matthew 15?…

Ummm…Was it this one? Yup, I think that’s it…

”Jesus said, ‘Listen and understand. What goes INTO someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes OUT of their mouth, that is what defiles them….Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach…But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile the one who says them!  For out of the heart come evil thoughts…These are what defile a person!’ ”

Yikes!  That’s not the verse I was thinking of! That one says the opposite of what I thought! 

That one seems to be saying that if I say my opinion alot, it might be less than awesome! 

It looks like Jesus is saying in that Scripture that if I say my opinion about evil things I see in others, I’m nourishing and cultivating evil things in MYSELF! Things like…
my growing anger about everything…
and my thinking I’m always right about stuff…
and my thinking I’m smarter than others…
and better than others…

What!?  

I thought it was a healthy thing for all of us to share our opinions! That CAN’T be the Scripture I was looking for!

I need to find the Scripture I was thinking about! Where did it go?…

There it is! I knew I’d find it! It’s over in Paul’s stuff! Not Jesus’s words! No wonder I couldn’t find it! 
It’s Colossians 4! 

“And pray…that God may open a door for our Message…Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always seasoned with grace…”

Heck! Now it doesn’t seem to be saying what I thought it said! 

That seems to say that whenever I think about whether or not to say my opinion, the most important thing I need to remember is that lots of people don’t know Jesus! And our job…our mission in the world… is to tell everyone about HIM!…

If I say my opinion too much about things that don’t really matter…that don’t matter eternally…about things that won’t matter at all  100 or 200 years from now in Heaven…I might alienate someone on either side whom I’m supposed to love for Jesus’ sake and for their eternal good!

Wow! 

I forgot that my job is to help others know how they can find the love of Jesus! How they can find the love He offers them, no matter whether they kneel or stand! The love He offered to sinners… like ME! 

And I’m not supposed to say anything that doesn’t smell or taste like GRACE! 

How on EARTH did I forget THAT!?

Maybe there really aren’t any verses to back up me sharing my opinion after all!!  Good grief!!)

Hey, guys! I’ve been thinking…Maybe so many others have already shared their opinion about this football thing, y’all don’t really need another one!

Have a great day!

Weekly e-News September 29, 2017

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Hope you're having a praise-filled, peace-filled, joy-filled week! In fact, if your week is filled with those, there isn't much room left for anything else!

It's been an eventful week around here! Well, actually, it's been uneventful.
What I mean is, something happened that I don't remember…

I mean, I remember that something didn't happen…

I mean…

Yikes! I'm confusing myself! Lemme explain…

I was in this conversation on Tuesday, and I thought of something smart-alecky to say. Actually, it was dumb-alecky. It would have been probably hurtful and stupid in other ways. Normally, that doesn't stop me for a second. I'll just say whatever and than feel cruddy for a while and wish I hadn't. Y'know how you're deciding, "Should I eat this? It will be awesome for a few minutes, but will probably make me feel gross for most of the afternoon…What the heck! Let's go for it!" 

And I do. 

And it does.

But our Lord said what's even worse for feeling polluted and cruddy, isn't what goes in that mouth but what comes out of it! Check this! 

"Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them…Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them…" (Matthew 15.11)

Wow. I know that feeling!

Anyhooo, for whatever reason, on this day I stopped just for a second and prayed in my heart, "Lord Jesus, should I say this? What do You say?" 

Immediately I knew.  

"Nope! Don't!"

And I didn't.

"Hmmm…How does that feel, buddy?” He said.

 “Good!” I said.

I don't even remember what we were talking about or what I was fixin' to say. But if I'd have said it, I guarantee I'd remember what it was! And why I still feel cruddy about saying it!

This morning I was reading in Luke, chapter 22 when our Lord was arrested. And, with the soldiers gathered, Peter pulled a sword out and whacked a dude's ear off! 

Yow! I hate when that happens! 

Jesus said, "He who has an ear, let him hear!" That soldier (John tells us his name was Malchus) still had his ear…but in his hand! He would have struggled to hear about Jesus for more than one reason! 

Billy Graham's wife, Ruth once wrote a poem about him.

"I knew a Malchus once.
Severely wounded by Peter's sword;
Crazed by anger, dazed by pain,
he thrust aside with awful pride
that Gentle Hand whose touch alone
could make him whole again."

One thing, tho'…
This morning I was reading over there in Luke 22 and I noticed something…
Just before the blade flashed
and his ear splashed, 
the guys yelled, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 

What?! They asked?!

"Wait for the answer, Pete!!"

"But one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear."

Way t' go.

If he'd waited and listened, he would have heard, "None of this!"

Instead he heard, "No more of this!" (Luke 22.51)

Instead of, "Don't do it!", he heard, "Don't do it anymore!"

The difference? A couple of seconds and an ear, bloody-side down in the dirt.

Y'know how many of the Gospels in the New Testament tell the tale of the bloody ear? All four of 'em! And if Peter had waited just a few seconds more, it would have been told in…none of them!

I guess, when it's all said and done (or, all NOT said, and NOT done!), my favorite quote of the week was the one I didn't say!

And some of my best memories of the week are the things that I don't remember because they didn't happen!

I'm gonna try to make that happen more!

 

Weekly e-News September 22, 2017

CCC Admin

Mornin’, everyone!!
 
It’s 6:13 in the am…
 
Wow! 
 
Sun’s coming up…The birds are chirping…Down here in Oliver Springs, I’m looking out over fields and cows with coffee in my hands…Ahhhh! My favorite morning smell!
 
Not cows! Coffee!
 
I always like coffee better at my house on my porch than at Starbuck’s or wherever…
 
Mostly because if I haven’t had my coffee yet, I can’t face all those questions they ask you at Starbuck’s! 
 
Like when you order your double caffe mocha frappucino or your iced espresso misto Americano (it’s too early for all those choices!), they ask, “What name should we put on this order?”

Not only do some people have trouble remembering their name before they’re sufficiently caffeinated, but some folks, especially from other countries, have complicated names that can create traffic jams in the line. 
 
One girl in New York City named Shefali Kulkarni, was saying that when they ask her what name they should put on her order, and she answers, “Shefali”, they go, “What?! How do you say it?”
 
So she says it. Slowly. "Ssshheefaallii."
 
“How do you spell it?”
 
“S-h-e-f-a-l-i”.
 
“Could you do that again?”
 
“Could you people hurry up?”, the folks in line begin to mumble (we’re in New York remember)…
 
So she came up with a simpler name just for Starbucks. 
“What name on the order, Ma’am?”
“Sheila.”
No questions.
No waiting.
No complaining down the line.
 
Shefali calls “Sheila” her “coffee name”.
 
She said that she noticed that a lot of people from other countries have coffee names.
When they ask, “What name for the order?”, instead of “Gulliermo”…or “Bohuslava”…or “Evdokia”…she heard names like  “Sue” or “Tom” or “Jill”.
 
I just wondered what it was like the first time Shefali was in Starbucks with her friends…or her mom…and she got up when they called “Sheila?”
 
“Sheila?!”
 
“It’s my ‘coffee name’. Don’t ask.”
 
Did you know Jesus has a special name just for you? Listen to this…“I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it…”(Rev 2.17)

He has a special name that He calls only you. It’s not because your real name is hard to say or spell. He called someone “Hephzabah” in the Old Testament. That’s harder to spell than “Shefali”. 
 
It’s just a name that says something special that He sees in you. Something special that you mean to Him. One of the weirdly hardest but sweetest things you could ever do for yourself is to learn to see yourself in the special way He sees you. 
 
Learning His name for you. 
 
And when we’re all together in Heaven and He calls that name…
and you answer Him…
and your friends say, “What?! Why’d He call you that?!”
 
…just tell ‘em, “It’s the name He used to call me to wake up my heart in the morning…
 
It’s kinda my coffee name”
 

Weekly e-News September 15, 2017

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

 

Hope you’re having an awesome, praise-filled, fright-free day! That’s what I hope for you! And as Paul says, “I think I have the mind of the Lord!” I mean, I think that’s what He wants for you too! I think He doesn’t really want us to be afraid all day! It ain’t good for us!

 

I can remember three years ago when I was at home by myself while Tina was off in Africa and I went out to the barn “to feed them chickens” and I opened up the huge garbage can we kept the chicken food in and up rose a gigantic terrifying…SNAKE!! It was all shiny and “strike-y” (in my opinion) and I almost had “the big one”! I clutched my chest, slammed the lid back on, and tried to think of the next thing to do…A hoe! “I’ll get a hoe and whack it!” So I armed myself and slowly lifted the lid with the handle and…THERE IT STILL WAS!! A SNAKE IN THE CHICKEN FEED!! 

 

“Is this 911 appropriate?” I pondered. 

 

And then I decided to dump the whole bin over, snake and all…which I did. And which solved nothing! But it forced a crisis confrontation which I was not prepared for emotionally or mentally. Anyway, to make a stupid story short, it ended with a lot of wiggling, wriggling, and shaking. And that was just me! 

 

After the shock and terror calmed down, I decided to figure out what kind of snake it was…

 

“The king black snake is your best friend. It eats mice, rodents, and poisonous snakes. If you see one, leave it in peace as it is one of your best helpers around the farm…”

 

Dang it!

 

I read the other day an old resident of the Smokies talking about the “old days” when he was a kid, and about his friend, Sam who was really freaked out by all snakes. As they walked into the barn to milk the cow, the black snake who lived there (they’d named it “Snidely”) was basking on the hay in a ray of sun beaming thru the slats in the barn. Sam screamed and dropped the pail HARD on his foot!

 

“I yelled, ‘Sam! It’s a black snake! It won’t hurt you!’ 

 

He yelled back, ’Yeah, maybe so, but it can make you hurt yourself!’ ”

 

Y’know, I was noticing the other day how “fear-filled” the news we watch or read is! 

It always seems so…

“what-you-need-to-know-to-be-safe”…

“hair-on-fire”!…

“breaking-overnight”…

semi-panic mode. 

 

Just today, looking around,  I saw these news reports…

 

“Fanged demon fish washes up on shore in Texas…What does it mean for you?” (Nothing?)

 

"If you sit more than 12.5 hours a day, you have a higher chance of dying from ANY cause, a new study finds.…” (Except a heart attack during your marathon race!)

 

“A line of thunder storms is crossing America. 137 million are at risk!!…” (Of getting wet?)

 

There are studies that show that sometimes the news might even be intentionally presented to try to scare you so that you get dependent of them for warnings, heads-ups, and any “this-just-ins” you need to be alerted about. As they say, “if it bleeds, it leads”

 

Most of the scary stuff you read about doesn’t have anything to do with you in any way and isn’t going to harm you at all. Except…if it gets you all nervous, sweaty, and panicked! Research shows that the fear evoked by too much news causes you to be in a state of constant “fight or flight” which “deregulates your immune system… keeps your body in a state of chronic stress…impairs digestion, and causes nervousness and susceptibility to infections…”

 

Or as Sam put it, even if it can’t hurt you, it can make you hurt yourself!

 

This is what I read this morning before I checked the day’s news (which I ain’t doi’n much these days…) 

 

“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long!” (Deuteronomy 33:12)…Ahhh! Deep breathe!

 

Before I read that tho’ I read this from a book I have and read everyday. It’s a book of the letters written by John Newton, author of “Amazing Grace”…Check this 

 

“I will tell you then, though you know it, the Lord reigns! He who once bore our sins, and carried our sorrows — is seated upon a throne of glory, and exercises all power in heaven and on earth! Thrones, principalities, and powers, bow before Him. Every being and event are under His rule. His providence pervades and manages the whole, and is as minutely attentive to every part — as if there were only that single object in His view.

From the tallest archangel, to the meanest ant or fly — all depend on Him for their being, their preservation, and their powers! He directs the sparrows where to build their nests, and to find their food. He overrules the rise and fall of nations; and bends, with an invincible energy and unerring wisdom — all events! … He restrains with a mighty hand, the still more formidable efforts of the powers of darkness; and Satan, with all his hosts, cannot exert their malice a hair's breadth beyond the limits of His permission. Satan may rage — but he is a chained enemy!

 

(Clip and save!)

 

Wow! 

 

If you believe that, you don’t ever have to be afraid again! 

 

So don’t worry about thunder storms or fanged demon fish in the news! They can’t hurt you! They can just make you hurt yourself!