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Weeky E-News

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!

Weekly e-News September 8, 2017

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Hope you’re having an awesome praise-filled day! It’s gonna be absolutely beautiful!!

(I don’t think that I can take it…)

I think the temp is supposed to be like 74 at Neyland for the 4 o’clock Saturday kick-off!

(…’cause it took so long to bake it…)

It’s already been an amazing week for tons of reasons!

(…and I’ll never have that recipe again! Oh, noooooo!)

Wait a sec…I’m sorry, everyone. I’ve got an ear worm. 

An ear worm is that song you can’t get out of your head no matter how hard you try. Psychologists tell us that 90% of Americans get one at least once a week!

Do you remember that song?
“MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain…”

Whoa. That’s is awful! In fact, it’s on a recent list of the “worst songs of all time, destined to become an ear worm”. Just after “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney and “It’s a Small World After All” (“THE ear worm of all ear worms!” experts say)

So, what do you do if you get one? Well…

Seems that the best cure for an ear worm is to sing a different song! A substitute song! Slow ones are best. Some say the British national anthem is perfect! 

“God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!

(Is it gone?)

Y’know, I really like that idea of substituting one song for another! I use that very principle to help me with worse worms! 

Like a complaining worm! Ever just feel like complaining about something that’s REALLY bugging you…or, worse…ever feel like complaining about…everything? Even tho’ the Apostle tells us to “do all things without complaining”? You just can’t get it out of your mind!

What to do?

Substitute!

Thank, instead! Think of about seven reasons you have for being thankful and thank God for them! Complaining? Gone!

Ever had one of those days where you just feel super “judge-y”? You just feel like noticing what’s wrong with everybody and, if you can’t see somethin’, just judge their motives, or something sneaky like that…The dreaded judge worm!

What to do?

Substitute!

What if I just started confessing instead? Confessing to the Lord things that haven’t been so great about me lately? Starting with my judging! Everyone starts to look just a little better!

Judging? Poof! 

What about that nagging, looping anxiety? Ya just can’t stop worrying about that worrisome worry that is worrying you to distraction! The kids…”Oh,no! My boss is calling!”…your up-coming surgery…”it’s that a kidney stone?”…that weird-looking spot on your ear…Kim Jong-un? 

How do I stop?

Do somethin’ else instead! 

Pray about it! Just turn that anxiety into a prayer! Give it to God and leave it with Him!

So, here’s what you do. Substitute…

Praying for worrying…
Confessing for judging…
Thanking for complaining.

You might want to write that down.

You may never get that recipe again.

Oh, noooooooo!

Weekly e-News September 1, 2017

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone…

 

“And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?… Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.’ “

(Luke 17)

 

Thankfulness…

 

As I lie there in the middle of the night thinking of those in Houston shelters, grieving the loss of their homes, of the life they’ve known, and for some, of those they love, I’m filled with many thoughts and questions…

 

How will they…?

 

How would I…?

 

What will they…?

 

Is there someone near who loves You who can…when someone is crying…in the dark?

 

What must it be like to lose all…you’ve ever known? 

 

I AM thankful for where I am. I’m embarrassed somehow to admit it, but I’m thankful tonight that I’m in my own bed with the one I’ve loved my whole life (except for the time before I met her).

 

I’m thankful for our house…

 

For our awesome neighbors…

 

for my old truck…

 

for our barn where the hay is kept for our (her!) goats…

 

I’m even thankful tonight for our goats.

 

But if I were there in Houston…

 

or if “Houston” were to happen here…

 

If I were to suddenly find myself in a shelter in a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, lying there with 5000 or 9000 others I don’t know but who are without a home like me…

 

Would I be thankful then?

 

Would I be thankful to You? For a dry spot…for a cot…for donated food prepared by friends I’ve never met…for Romans 8:28??

 

Could I be thankful?

 

Would I be thankful in Houston?

 

Lord, You say to give thanks in all things for this is Your will in Christ Jesus. 

 

Could I? 

Would I?

 

I know there are some who are! I’ve heard them on TV. How are they doing it?!

 

My thinking is that the ones who are thankful today, were the ones who were thankful yesterday…and last week…and the weeks before that.

 

I bet they are the ones who maybe didn’t have as much as others but who have loved You, praised You, and thanked You daily for years and years. The practice of the heart becomes the habits of the heart becomes the fabric of the heart. 

 

I wasn’t so sure but now I think it’s good that seeing the news today, I’m thankful for my house, my bed, my home, my life. 

 

As long as I’m thankful tomorrow also.

 

And everyday after! 

 

Thankful everyday, and not just on this day. 

 

So that if or when we’re all in shelters one day…or in hospital beds…or in the nursing home…I’ll be the one who’s thankful THAT day. 

 

Because I learned to be thankful today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly e-News August 25, 2017

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

 

Well…

 

It’s over.

 

We made it thru Eclips-o-mania.

 

After all the talk, the traffic to get there, the tears (“Seriously!? Tears!?” Yes, some had tears!) and the traffic getting home, you probably thought the eclipse was…

 

(Check one.)

  1. __Amazingly and unbelievably awesome! 
  2. __A once-in-a-lifetime experience (which is true f’r us elderly Vols! Next one close to Tennessee is     May 11, 2078! In North Carolina!) 
  3. __Very, very cool!!! 
  4. __Very cool! 
  5. __Cool. 
  6. __Maybe a little less than I expected…
  7. __A dud

 

So, maybe it was a teenie-weenie bit less amazing than I thought it’d be. But I believe we were not as much in the path of totality as I thought we were going to be. We were in the path of semi-totality. Or the path of partiality. I just thought it’d be totally dark and you’d be able to see all the stars…

 

One person said on the radio that “this may be the greatest day of my life!” Well, shoot! I’ve had four days better than Monday just this week! I kinda thought it was a dud, honestly!

 

Until I thought about what I was looking at…

 

Then I realized I was looking at the pure love of God!!

 

I remember reading in this book that explained how geophysics and astronomic science show how our life on earth is possible only because the sun, moon, and stars above are perfectly, amazingly, and almost miraculously situated and orchestrated in size, placement and qualities…just for us! Life like this one we live is virtually impossible anywhere else in the universe that we know of! 

 

Scientists always thought that our sun was just an ordinary plain, ol’ star, no better than the kabillions of other stars out there…

 

But they don’t say that anymore!

 

Turns out our sun is among the top 10% of the biggest stars in the Milky Way! (Kinda makes you proud!)

 

In fact its the perfect size for human life! Any bigger and the Earth be unable to spin each day ‘cause the gravity of the sun would “lock us in” and one side would face it the whole time and burn up (the “sunny-side up”) and one would face away and freeze. 

 

And our orbit around the sun is a perfect circle (almost), which is extremely rare among planets! And life would be impossible if it weren’t! If it was an oval, we’d freeze on both the ends of the egg!

 

Did you know the gravity of Jupiter protects us from comets smashing into our beloved planet and wiping us out?! They slam into it instead and hey! who cares? Ain’t nobody home there!

 

And we are the exact, perfect distance from the sun! Turns out 93 million miles, give or take a few, is perfect! Change it 5% either way, we’d all be dead! Froze or burnt. Dead either way!

 

So, the earth and sun are perfect for each other! There’s not a pair out there like the two of us!

 

And how ‘bout the moon!? Wow! 

 

It’s gravity pulling on us, keeps us at a perfect 23.5 degree tilt ( which is exactly what we need for our mild seasons) and our tilt is the engine of the cloud circulation and the hydrologic cycle! Without the moon we’d tilt wildly and erratically between zero and 85 degrees! (I feel sick of my stomach thinking about it!) And the gravity of the moon runs our tidal system which recycles minerals all thru the earth and perpetuates the ocean circulation system which regulates heat distribution over the planet!  Also the moon’s gravity slows the earth from spinning too fast! Without the moon, there would be hurricane winds covering the earth 24/7! 

 

Btw, our earth is just the perfect size! If it was just a little littler, it wouldn’t have enough gravity to keep our atmosphere all snug up to us! if it was bigger, the gravity would be so much, it’d flatten all mountains (which would fill the oceans!) and the smooth earth, rather than the bumpy one we have, would be covered with water at about a mile and a half deep! (How long can you tread water?)

 

And here’s something amazing! Even tho’ there are nine planets and sixty-three moons in our solar system, the only place total eclipses happen (where a moon perfectly passes between the planet and the sun) is…guess where? 

 

Good ol’ Earth!!!

 

It’s almost like the earth was placed here uniquely in the universe in the perfect conditions…with the perfect sun and the perfect moon… just for us! So we could live and love and be loved by God!

 

In fact, it was!

 

So, on Monday, for just a minute, we could look with our bare eyes, at the sun…

and our moon in front of it…

and behind it, the love of God!

 

Wow! That eclipse really was…

 

  1. __Amazingly and unbelievably awesome!!

 

Weekly e-News August 11, 2017

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

 

Wow! What an awesome weekend it’s gonna be! I LOVE “baptisms in the Smokies”! 

 

(Not quite sure why I put those quotation marks…It’s like it makes it seem like more of a thing…Which it totally is!!)

 

For last year’s “baptism in the Smokies”, the weather was chilling and drizzly/rainy, but it was a beautiful day just the same!

 

This year we can expect…let’s see… 

 

“The chance for rain remains, as we will see another system move through on Saturday. So far… don’t cancel any of your outdoor plans, but pack an umbrella, just in case…Highs in the mid 80’s…”

 

Not bad! 

 

Y’know it’s so amazing, now that we have the ol’ internet, that you can just click and…BAM!…You know the weather!

 

You don’t have to wait for the paper to bang into your front door to find out the news of the day! you can just…click! and BAM!…You’re up to date! In fact, let’s see what’s happenin’ in the news today…

 

Click!…Well, I’ll be! By mid August, you’ll be able to buy the “ready-to-drink Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte” in Krogers! Ain’t that a fall thing? Seems like it comes earlier every year…

 

And…Click!…Hey! This is cool! Black bears in the Smokies are being fitted with a GPS device so rangers can track ‘em and see where they go to get human food! So, if you see a bear along US 321 looking down at his paw, close the lid of your cooler really tight! I wonder if it tells them how many calories they eat in a day…

 

One cool thing about the news on the web is that you can check out news from other places as easy as the news here at home! Like…

 

F’r example…Click!…Here’s some local news from Wichita Falls, TX…Someone painted a beautiful bird (an egret!) on the wall of the spillway along Lake Wichita! Some say it’s art (it’s really good!) and others say it’s grafitti and whoever did it should get a ticket! The unknown mystery artist hasn’t stepped forward and claimed it yet. Maybe they’re waiting till the town makes the call…Fine art? Or fined art?

 

Let’s see…Click!…And in International Fall, Minnesota, the ifallsjournal.com says they’re offering an 8 hour trapping class at 4361 County Rd 97. Minimum age is 11. 

 

Eight hours? I caught a skunk once with a fifteen minute lesson from Michelle and a Honey Bun! (Skunks love ‘em! Cats don’t!)

 

Click!…This from the latest news in Altoona, Iowa…The Altoona-Herald Index online says the Iowa State Fair will take a different route this year!  The state’s largest parade (!) usually goes down Grand Ave but this year it will start at Finkbine Street and go straight down Walnut…and then right on East 7th…It’s because River Bridge is closed ‘cause they’re working on it…

 

Wait! “Aug. 9”! I’m sorry! That was on Wednesday! It’s already happened! 

 

Well, that was a waste of news!

 

You can even find out what the news is in…say…Barcelona, Spain where I was last week! 

 

Let’s see…Click!…Wow! Check this out! “A finales de mes entrará en vigor un decreto por el cual el gobierno de Ada Colau prohibirá el uso de patinetes y ruedas electricas por el centro de Barcelona. 

 

Hmmm…If you can’t skate downtown, where are skaters supposed to go?

 

And in the international news, let’s see…Click!…Well, not good. World leaders are talking about blowing each other up. Some are worried about what this might mean for their investments…Others are having trouble sleeping because of what they’re hearing in the news. Our Secretary of State says we should sleep well but some aren’t so sure…

 

After that last one, let’s see if I can find some good news somewhere…Hey! Here it is! On biblegateway.com!

 

Click!!…

 

“YOU WHO BRING GOOD NEWS TO ZION, LIFT UP YOUR VOICE AND SHOUT! 

LIFT IT UP! DON’T BE AFRAID! 

SAY TO THE TOWNS OF JUDAH, ‘HERE IS YOUR GOD!!’

 

SEE THE SOVEREIGN LORD COMES WITH POWER AND HE RULES WITH HIS MIGHTY ARM!…

HE TENDS HIS FLOCK LIKE A SHEPHERD! 

HE CARRIES HIS LAMBS IN HIS ARMS! 

HE CARRIES THEM CLOSE TO HIS HEART!…

 

SURELY THE NATIONS ARE LIKE A DROP IN A BUCKET TO HIM!…

 

DO YOU NOT KNOW?

HAVE YOU NOT HEARD?

HAVE YOU NOT UNDERSTOOD SINCE THE WORLD WAS FOUNDED?

HE SITS ENTHRONED ABOVE THE CIRCLE OF THE EARTH, AND IT’S PEOPLE ARE LIKE GRASSHOPPERS!

 

HE BRINGS PRINCES TO NAUGHT AND REDUCES RULERS OF THE WORLD TO NOTHING…

NO SOONER ARE THEY PLANTED…AND TAKE ROOT…AND HE BLOWS ON THEM AND THEY WHITHER…

 

‘TO WHOM WILL YOU COMPARE ME? 

AND WHO IS MY EQUAL?’ SAYS THE HOLY ONE.

LIFT UP YOUR EYES AND LOOK TO THE HEAVENS; WHO CREATED THESE?

HE WHO BRINGS OUT THE STARRY HOST ONE BY ONE AND CALLS FORTH EACH BY NAME. BECAUSE OF HIS STRENGTH NOT ONE OF THEM IS MISSING!

 

WHY DO YOU SAY…

WHY DO YOU COMPLAIN, ‘MY WAY IS HIDDEN FROM THE LORD? 

MY CAUSE IS DISREGARDED BY GOD’?

DO YOU NOT KNOW?

HAVE YOU NOT HEARD?

THE LORD IS THE EVERLASTING GOD, THE CREATOR OF THE ENDS OF THE EARTH!

HE WILL NOT GROW TIRED OR WEARY AND HIS UNDERSTANDING NO ONE CAN FATHOM!…”

 

That’s Isaiah 40…verses 9 thru twenty eight!

 

After all we’ve read in the papers and watched on the news lately, that’s really, really good news!

 

Awesome good news about God! 

 

Promises that are 2700 years old.

 

And just a click away!

Weekly e-News August 4, 2017

CCC Admin

Hola a todos!
Oops. 
I mean, Hey, everyone! 
 
So, here I am, your roving reporter in beeeeeautiful Panta de Sau, by a lake a couple of hours outside of Barcelona, Spain helping an unbelievably amazing team of Young Life staff and volunteers during a week of training and preparing for another week of kids coming to have the "best week of their life" and hear talks everyday about Jesus and His amazing love! If some open their heart to Him (and they will!), it'll be one of "the best weeks of their eternity"! 
 
I love getting to do these things!
 
Except that I don't always love GETTING to these things! 
 
Thinking about climbing into an aluminum tube and spending nine hours a mile above our earth, can fill my heart with various "concerns"...
 
Huh?
 
Ok. You're right. They're not "concerns". Just plain ol' worries.
 
 "Lord, what if we have turbulance ? You know I hate when the "Fasten Your Seatbelt" sign comes on! And whatif they lose my bag and it doesn't come up the shoot at baggage claim? Remember when that happened traveling to that retreat in italy and I had to wear other people's clothes for three days? You just don't feel like yourself in other people's clothes!!..." (Btw, it made it this time!) "...What if the guy beside me on the flight snores like crazy? What if he's asleep and leans over on me? Or worse, drools on me! Lord, what if..."
 
As you can tell, I pray a bunch when I am on these trips! I pray most getting to them! I said one this time in the little, teeny, tiny bathroom on the flight! "Lord, peace! I need peace! In my heart! Please!" Then I thought, "This is ok, right? It's ok to pray in the bathroom, right?"
 
Actually, some great prayers have been prayed in there!
 
The other day I was reading that this woman who is a frequent attendee of Alcoholic Anonymous meeting was talking with a young Latino construction worker she met at AA. He said that many of his colleagues on the job drink a lot. Since he was striving for a life of sobriety from the alcoholism that was destroying his life, he spends a lot of time in the port-a-potty at the jobsite. He goes in there to pray and ask God for minute-by-minute help!
 
“There is a tiny mirror inside of the port-a-potty door,” he explained. “I go and look in the mirror and I say, ‘Hector, you no want to drink or do drugs. Think about your wife. Think about your baby.’ And I ask for God to help me.”
 
The port-a-potty becomes his sanctuary!
 
You can ask God to help you anywhere!
 
And I thank y'all for praying for me while I'm here in Barcelona!
 
Even if you do it... well, you know where! 
 

Weekly e-News September 9, 2016

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Hope this is a day filled with joy…
filled with thanks for all God gives…
filled with praise for all that He is…
filled with the peace Jesus promised us…

As He said, “Peace I leave you! My peace I give you…”

It’s gonna be a great day!

Even tho’ it’s just a little tougher for us Oak Ridgers today as we move about town. 

We could drive just a little faster today (since we don’t have to watch out for him), but we’ll be driving just a little slower (because we won’t be seeing him)…

I’m gonna miss Dimitri.

“Chello, my young friend!!” he’d yell at me.

When we used to have an office in Jackson Square, he’d stop in almost daily, during one of his interminable walks. (He used to walk a few hours starting before sun-up and a few hours every afternoon and evening, he’d tell me) Often he was bare-chested and bare foot, offering me old bread he’d gathered from the Soup Kitchen, or buckeyes that he’d distribute in the halls and even rooms of the hospital…

(“Dimitri, why don’t you become a volunteer at the hospital?” I asked him once. “Too many rules! You have to wear shirt…You have to wear shoes…”)

And he’d freely offer advice about so many subjects!

“I’m writing a book called, ‘Religion As a Way of Life’ because religion should change how you live your life…”

True.

Because he was Greek, born and raised there until he came to the University of Minnesota in 1955 at age 21 (where he got a Ph.D in engineering!), I used to ask him things about the Greek words of the New Testament and then I’d just wait for the gems I’d collect.

“ ‘Give us our daily bread’…’Epiousios’ doesn’t mean ‘daily’. It means what we need for life…just the necessities we need for life…like me! I am healthy! I have food! I can walk all day!!”

“Dimitri, what does ‘fear of God’ mean?”

“ ‘Phobos’ (the Greek word for fear) does not mean ‘I am afraid of God’ No! I am not afraid of God. In my country, it’s the word that is written on high current electrical wires and railroad crossings. ‘Be careful! Pay attention!’ With God…Attention! Be careful!”

Kind of sounds like Mr Beaver.

“ ‘Safe? Aslan, safe?’ said Mr. Beaver; ‘don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’ ”

Once, he brought me a set of LPs of Greek Orthodox worship to listen to. He often would spend Saturday nights listening to them..

Sometimes, because of his unique and honestly, eccentric ways, I never knew if I was really connecting with Dimitri in any real way. We would talk about trusting in Jesus loads of times and I would wonder what he was really hearing. Then one day, I just happened to see him in the Civic Center parking lot as I was going into the library. He was talking to a man in his 30’s maybe…

He called me over. 

“Chello, young friend! Come over here! Let me introduce my family to you! This is my son. He has a wife and kids in Atlanta. He is an engineer there…” 

“Who knew?” I thought.

Turning to the man, he said, “And this is my friend! He has a lovely wife and four wonderful kids…”

“Wow! He does listen to me!” I thought!

“Dimitri! How you doin’ today?” I’d always ask.

“Super duper!”, he’d always say, adding a little Greek dance with his answer.

With all the joy Jesus gives…
With the peace that He has promised to leave us…
With all “the necessities we need for life"…

If someone asks you today how you’re doing…

will you answer, “Super duper!”?

Will you do a dance?


So long, friend. We’ll miss you.

 

 

 

 

Weekly e-News September 2

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Hope you’re having an awesome day!

Well, I do know of one person who is having a day that must be less awesome than it could’ve been.

I don’t actually KNOW this person. But I know something about this person, I think.

Y’see, I was walking into Panera and I saw this photocopied sign (in color!) tacked up on the bulletin board. There was a picture of a parakeet. 

The sign said that this bird was lost in the Woodland area. It’s name is “Axel”. It’s mostly gray with a yellow crest. “It answers to ‘Axel’ “ (Really?! It does?)  Then there was a number to call, written out about thirty times on the little tabs the person had cut at the bottom of the page, so you could just tear the tab off, slip it in your pocket, and call the minute you see a bird that has a yellow head and apparently answers to “Axel”. 

The sign had been up there a while  ‘cause I had glanced at it a few days before. I noticed that no one had ripped a tab off.

Several thoughts ran through my thinking…

No tabs gone…hmmm…

…Maybe not that many people care about birds the way this person does. Maybe it’s a child’s bird and a parent is trying to tell this little heart, “See? I’m doing all I can to find Axel! He’s on the Panera board! If it doesn’t work, we’ll look into renting one of the big digital billboards along Solway!”

…Or maybe no one had taken a tab because not that many people really have much hope that this person and this bird will ever renew their relationship. A parakeet that flew away. What really are the chances that you’d ever see it again? Best case scenario…it’s gone home to Argentina. Worst case…it was lunch time for kitty. As tough as it is to accept, it’s the ol’ “Circle of Life”. And cats have to eat. Cats are people, too.

As I looked at the sign and meditated on it…there in front of the bathroom door…I wondered about this broken-hearted one. 

I know some might wonder how a person could care about a little bird so much. Some might think parakeets are small, useless, and at times, annoying. On the other hand, I’ve often wondered why God would care for me so much. In His universe, I’m so small and often annoying. 

But He DOES care for me! In fact, He even cares for Axel! At least, Jesus said He cares for all sparrows. There are 7000 varieties of sparrows in the world. He knows and cares for each one! Matthew 10 says that they’re so common, you could get two for a penny! Luke 12 says you could get five for two pennies! Buy four and we’ll throw one in for free! 

But…amazingly…not one falls to the earth without the Father knowing and caring for it! 

I remember the Wednesday after Sept 11, 2001. I was brokenhearted and confused, walking on the sidewalk at Jackson Square. There on the sidewalk was a sparrow. It was dead. 

“The Father knows,” I thought.

He knows, loves, and cares for you! ‘Cause you’re worth tons more than a bird to Him! You’re His precious child! (Luke 12.7)

Now the…

Oh. By the way…if you DO see a gray parakeet with a yellow head that answers to “Axel”, call 235-3754.

Weekly e-News August 19

CCC Admin

Hey everyone!

Hope your having an awesome day! You might be planning on catching some Olympics today. I read that 40% of all Americans watch some Olympics at work while they're supposed to be working, so…
if you're a member of the "Sporty Forty" here's what's ahead for your day…

If field hockey’s your thing, today’s the biggest day of your Olympiad! Gold medal match at 4:00!…

Then there's the modern pentathlon in full swing…The pentathlon is a five-skills event, including horse riding, running, shooting, swimming and fencing! Wow! If the Brits ever decide they want the colonies back, it’ll be good to have those folks around! 

Wrestling?…Mens 55k and 74k finals…(Let's see…what's 2.2 lbs X 74k?)

And, WOW! the Russian synchronized swimmers Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina just took their fourth Olympic gold medal!!

By the way, you know the feeling when you watch stuff like synchronized swimming and you say to yourself, "Well, dang! I could do THAT!" 

Hold your nose-plug a second! 

Here's the truth about synchronized swimmers. They practice more than any other sport! Paddling, twirling, puffing, kickin' n' grinnin', six days a week, eight to ten hours a day! Talk about prune-y fingers!

Btw, while we’re talkin’ about the up-coming football season, the chief exec of American Synchro says that an estimated 100% of synchronized swimmers will get a concussion at some point in the sport! Because, if you mess up and wind up in the wrong spot, you don’t get just one knee in the noggin! You get seven!

Synchronized swimmers regularly are under water for a whole minute at a time and are holding their breath three out of the four minutes of their routine! They can swim 75 yards under water! And hold their breath for three minutes!! Try that at home! In fact, let's try it right now!

I'll keep the time. Ready? One…two…three…GO! uuuuuhhhhh…. …..pff ….. ppff… …pssss….. … ppffffsss…..HHHHUUUUUU!!! Seventeen seconds!

Whoa. Harder than it looks.

When they do the famous "stack lift" move, the "pushers" lift the" flyer" completely out of the water without touching the bottom (of the pool!). And a "throw" is where they send her flying through the air, all while just kicking their feet under water! 

Dang! I don't think I really could do that!

Its easy to have an opinion about the dorkiness of synchronized swimming 'til I realize I couldn't do it for 30 seconds no matter how many nose clips I was wearing! 

Loads of things are like that! 

Lots of things look and sound easier than they really are to do! 

Fer instance…

“Be completely humble and gentle…” (Ephesians 4)

Or…

“Give thanks for everything…” (1 Thessalonians 5)

How ‘bout…

“Do all things without complaining…” (Philippians 2)

“Well, heck! Who can’t do that?! Quit complaining? No problem!”

Really? Give it a whirl. Try to go one day without…

You find out that being completely humble and gentle (which includes never subtly promoting thyself on Instagram or FB)…

or…

Having a thankful heart always…

or…

spending a complaint-free day…

is like synchronized swimming.

It’s harder than it looks.

2) Most of what is happening is under the surface where no one sees. (Try to not complain without having private, undisturbed and unobserved time with Jesus! Good luck on that one!)

and 

3) Not everyone appreciates the skill and beauty of it.

They make fun of synchronized swimming on SNL. And loads of folks think gentleness is weak and stupid. And you might never complain all day and no one notice.

Y’know who does appreciate synchronized swimming? Coaches do. TV commentators do. 

Know why?

They’ve done it! They know how hard it is!

And you have a Savior Whose done it! He called Himself “meek and lowly”! On the night He would suffer the worst, He “gave thanks!”

And in thirty three years of waking up in the morning and falling asleep at night, He never complained one time!

Even tho’ He was tempted to, just like you! (Hebrews 4.15)

He knows how hard it is! And He’s watching you! Over on one of those seven Olympic channels that nobody watches, where the pinp-pong and teakwondo is on, He watches you in your quest for Olympic victory in “Uncomplaining”.

And you hear Him say, “Gold!”

And the reporter stops you and asks, “So, do you think you’ll be back in four years?”

And you say, “For the Savior’s smile, I’ll be back tomorrow!”

Weekly e-News August 12

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Hope you're having an awesome day and I hope this Olympic fever is super encouraging you to just "go for the gold" today! When you stand on the podium and hear…

Wait a minute.

I need to start over.

I'm not so sure that "Go for the Gold", "Be Numero Uno!", "Be the best in the world at what you do!" way of thinking is any way to have an awesome day! 

It could be a really quick way to give yourself a yucky day!

I noticed this while watching the women's gymnastics from the Olympics. They are so amazing, unbelievable, graceful…

Until they're not! 

One Olympic hopeful was going to do the "run-down-the-runway-jump-on-the-jumping-board-do-a-handspring-upsidedown-off-the-cushiony-thing-flip-a-bunch-of-times-twist-also-and-land-bam!-right-on-her-feet" event. She’s done it a kabillion times…

So, here it is!

We're tense but pumped to witness this amazing moment.

She breathes…

She runs…

She jumps on the jumping board!

She's upside down on the cushiony thing!

She's flying thru the air!

She's really flipping into a blur now!

She's coming in for her landing…

Bam!

And then another BAM!!

Opps.

Before the watching world, she had two landings. One was kinda on her feet. The second was when she landed (with feet almost over her head) on her…I better not say it, but it rhymes with the last word in the phrase, "Yes, dear, but…"

So, what happened?

Well, f'r one thing…

She was trying to do something really difficult and incredibly graceful in front of the watching world. And, as I said, it was. 

Until it wasn't!

And when it wasn't, it REALLY wasn’t!

And she was trying to win the gold medal! 
To be the best in the world! 
THIS had been her goal everyday for four years!

Wow! That’s a TON of pressure to put on yourself! 

“I think I can! I know I can! I CAN do this! I CAN!!”

Then, WHAMMO! she’s sitting there on her can.

I have a goal I try to remember every day. 

My goal isn't winning anything. My goal is simply to please the heart of my King.

Like at Triple C on Sundays or when I go to teach my classes at the prison on Tuesdays…

I have my goals.

My goal is to encourage everyone.
I want to help everyone go home with joy in their hearts. 
I try to do my job well.
I want to do my best.

But I’m not trying to win anything! 
I’m not trying to win the gold!
I’m not trying to win a medal! 

I just want to win His smile!

Every day I try to remember these simple things…
“My time is today” (this is the only day I need to think about)
“My fight is for joy”…
“My strength is weakness”…
“My job is to serve everyone”…
And…
“My goal is to please Him”…

I love how our athletes with their gold medals watch tearfully as our star-spangled anthem is played!

But when it's all over, I'd rather have a gold crown given by my Savior, instead of a gold medal given by some judge.

And I'd rather hear, "Well done!"

Weekly e-News July 22

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Whew! “Hot enough f’r ya?” 

Todd the weather guy says “the heat is ON! Highs will remain 5 to 8 degrees above average through Friday and the weekend reaching the lower to middle 90s each afternoon…”

So, I’ve got a tip for keeping cool! How ‘bout a nice cup of HOT tea?!

Amazingly, Italian soccer players have been drinking it on the sidelines at halftime since Michelangelo was a middle school goalie! Like so many folks “over there”, they have always believed that drinking iced tea with actual ice in it ain’t wise and probably down right dangerous! And they’ve always believed that if you drink something piping hot when you are, it cools you down!

Kinda like on “Cheers” when Diane asked Cliff, the mailman why people drink cold beer on frosty Boston nights…”It equalizes the internal and external temperatures.” 
“Well, why do they drink cold beer on hot summer days, then?” 
“What else are you going to do with it?”

Well, turns out they did a study at the University of Ottawa’s School of Human Kinetics and my Italian friends are right! “Una bella tazza di te’ caldo” will cool you off…eventually! Professor Ollie Jay says “What we found is that when you ingest a hot drink, you actually have a disproportionate increase in the amount that you sweat… the hot drink is hotter than your body temperature…but the amount that you increase your sweating by, more than compensates for the the added heat to the body from the fluid.”

Sounds counterintuitive! And sweaty!

But loads of things are like that! To accomplish something, do the opposite of what you’d think you would! 

Like last night…

Lee, Christy and Thomas all came into the Morgan County prison with me so we could have an evening of worship with a room full of guys! It was soooo awesome to hear them sing the songs you love! And sing them as loud as you!! 

I met a later middle-aged gentleman from Mexico for the first time last night. He was so soft-spoken (very little English) and dignified. Sometimes I can’t help wondering why guys are in there. “What’s his story?”, I can’t help asking myself. He seemed to have such a deep love for Jesus. 

“Dios les bendiga por haber vendido,” he said. 

“God bless you for coming”

And I felt blessed! Deeply blessed! And close to Him! As always when I leave that dark place.

It makes sense that if you want to feel close to Jesus, you should go to church. Who would have thought that if you want to feel close to Him you should go to jail?

But He said this crazy counterintuitive thing once…

“I was in prison and you visited me…”

Jesus in prison?!

“When did we see you in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.’ “ (Matthew 25)

If you really want to have a time when you feel closer to Jesus, you could not find a better way to do it than deliberately look for a regular time when you reach out to someone who is sick…

Or help someone who is hungry.

He is never either of these, but counterintuitively, as you reach out to them, He says you do it to Him!

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat… I was sick and you looked after me… whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.”

“I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…”

If it’s a day like today, try a cup of something hot!

Weekly e-News July 17

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Hope you’ve had a week filled with praise, singing, and, above all, hope! Isn’t THAT what we need most lately? It just seems like everyday, the news they share is heartbreaking and sadder. It’s almost the daily sadness. Our country has not been this full of tension and hate in a long time, it seems. But…

Things in America are getting better this week!

I know, because I saw it happening!

I decided to scoot up to a lovely place called “Carolina Point”, just past Brevard (which is just past Asheville). It’s a Young Life camp where Devon and Erin Accardi have spent the last month (almost) along with our own Molly Waddell and Mattie Livengood, serving our Lord Jesus (tirelessly!) so that high school kids can know things about Jesus many of them have NEVER heard before!

Devo is the one who stands up every night, in an auditorium decorated to look like a huge country barn. And after loads of singing and laughing together, he gets up there and gives a talk about Jesus, progressively “dialing in” on the specifics of who He is, why He came, and what He offers each of them!

WOW!! It was amazing to witness it all! If you could only see our people in action! Again, I say…WOW!!!

And that includes ALL the ones we have (and will have!) at Young Life camps across the country (and our own Lee in Spain!)…I feel about all of those guys the way I’d feel if I were at the airport watching various athletes waiting for their flights to the Olympics in Rio…

They look normal…
They’re just sitting there chatting and reading…
Just ordinary folks, I guess…

Until you see them in action!!

Whether it’s watching that guy leaping , dashing, and splashing his way through the 3000 meter steeplechase…

Or that girl sticking her landing after a backwards triple flip off the unparallel bars…

Or that decathlete spinning across the circle and heeeeeaving the shot put thru the air until it thuds into the turf…

WOW! They look like ordinary folks, but they ain’t!

And to see normal-looking Erin, leading a huge room of kids in singing “full volume”…
Or normal-looking Devo, standing up there making kids laugh out loud and then turning the room to seriously consider Him…

WOW! They look like ordinary folks, but they ain’t!

And America will be better for them! Because by the end of their time there, I bet there’ll be 300 kids or more who will have come to know Jesus as their Lord and Love of their hearts!

And multiply that times all the other 32-plus YL camps around the world, doing the same things every day, all summer long…

Well, America (and the world!) is a better place!

Because the only thing that will really change anything about this painful, hurtful, hate-filled world is a heart coming to know Him! And hearts coming to love Him! One heart at a time!

Would you like to make America a better place?

I have a “Seven-Step Plan”! One step for each day of the week! If you follow it faithfully and diligently, you’ll make America better! 

Ready?

Monday- Wake up. Open the Scriptures. Read some of them. Write down a few things that encourage you specifically and a few reasons you are thankful for what you find there. Thank Jesus for these out-loud (or in writing) until you feel your heart fill with love for Him.*

(* The reason this is so important is that your love is what Jesus wants from you. Also, you’ll be a happier person. And since you’ll be happier, people who don’t know Him will wonder why you’re so happy and ask you about it. Then you’ll be able to tell them.)

Tuesday- Repeat what you did on Monday

Wednesday- Repeat what you did on Tuesday.

Thursday- Repeat what you did on Wednesday.

Friday- Repeat what you did on Thursday.

Saturday- Repeat what you did on Friday.

Sunday- Repeat what you did on Saturday.

If you follow these seven simple steps, there will be one more person in America who is in love with Jesus!

And since what America needs more than anything else, is more and more people who love Him…

America will be better!

Good job!