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Weeky E-News

Weekly e-News September 22, 2017

CCC Admin

Mornin’, everyone!!
It’s 6:13 in the am…
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?”
“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?”
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?”
“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…




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!)




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?


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?


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)




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!




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 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!




































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!
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"...
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…”


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)


“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)…


Having a thankful heart always…


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!)


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…


And then another BAM!!


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”…
“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! 


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!

Weekly e-News June 17

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone,

Wow. It’s been a tough week. 
A tough week for America. 
A tough week for hearts that are heavy and hurting. 
A tough week for…us. 

What do you do in a world of people shooting at others?
What do you do in a world of people shouting at others?
What do you do in a world of more and more hate and the pain it leaves?

What do I do?

What can I do?

What do I say?

Is there anything I could do or say that would change anything or anyone?

In confusing times, I always think this way:

“When you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do.”

In confusing times, is there anything in God’s Book that simply and plainly tells me, when I’m uncertain about how to respond or react, “At least, do this.”

I can think of a few things…

1) “Be quick to listen, slow to speak…” (James 1)

Before I say, tweet, or post anything…stop. I need to be slow to speak. I need to ask myself if this is helpful or hurtful. 
Does what I want to say reflect the heart of Jesus? 
Would He have me talk this way? 
Would my Lord have me feel this way? 
Does He feel this way?

Jesus said that things I say can adversely affect, no only others, but me. 

Jesus said…and listen closely…”But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile him.” (Matthew 15.18)

Things you say that you shouldn’t, hurt you the most. In saying it, you reinforce and strengthen the worst of your heart and you're a worse person than you were before saying it. 

You never have to wonder if you shouldn’t have said something you never did say. 

2) Pray. 

Pray for families in pain. Pray for the grieving. Pray for hearts to know His love if they don’t. Pray for those who are skilled at love and who love Jesus and who are in touch with those who need His loving touch.

When you pray, you can be sure that, ”in all I did today, I know that I did at least one thing right.”

3) Love.

We are called to love. 

We are called to love and kindness. Kindness is increasingly rare in our world. Let us be rich in it.

If you’ve ever wondered what you’re are supposed to do in this world…
If you’ve ever wondered what God has for you to do…
If you’ve ever wondered what you should do with yourself…

It is this:

“Be imitators of God and live a life of love” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

God wants you to live a life of love. The whole thing. The whole time.

Listen to these…

“The only thing that counts is faith expressed through love” (Galatians 5:6)

“…For you yourselves have been taught by God to love.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9)

“ May the Lord make your love overflow and increase for each other and for everyone…” (1 Thessalonians 3:12)

Overflowing and increasing love…
for immigrants.
for refugees.
for your neighbors.
for the undocumented.
for those in traffic.
for gays (those you may know and those you don’t).
for Latinos.
for Muslims.

Or, as the Apostle puts it, “Overflowing and increasing love… for everyone.”

1) Be slow to speak.
2) Pray.
3) Love everyone.

When you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do.

Let us do what we’re told to do.

Weekly e-News June 5

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Yikes! I’ve had so much going on, I almost forgot to get my Friday email ready! 

In fact, the other day I had something important I had to tell someone and before you know it, I forgot what and who!

Forgetting stuff…Isn't it crazy when that happens? And to me, it's happening more and more!

I'm not talking about forgetting the names of all the Presidents in order. (Anyone know who came before and after Millard Fillmore?) And I don't mean forgetting where molybdenum comes in the periodic table…

It makes me nuts when I forget stuff like…

"Oh crud! What's that person's name? I KNOW I know it! I've heard it a kabillion times!
"Hey! How's it going? Good to see you, uh…er…Mr. B…b…b…Barnes!" 
"No. It's Mr Farmer." 
("I knew it was a farm name.")

I don’t mind, memory-wise, when I can't remember the capital of Nova Scotia. What bothers me is when…

I can't remember where I left the keys…
Or, "Why did I just come in this room?"…
Or, "Rats! Where did I put my glasses?" 
Or "I was gonna say something but I lost my train of thought. And it was a good thought, too!"

I was reading this study that said that one of the reasons you forget simple stuff as you get older is that after thirty, your brain shrinks 0.5% per year. My brain is more than 15% smaller than it used to be! 

I thought I heard some rattling around up there the other day! 

If I forget someone's name, please forgive me! There’s not as much room up there in the ol’ noggin  as there used to be and you might have just gotten squeezed out! 

Experts say that names are the first things you forget, apparently. So, they suggest that, to remember someone's name,  you associate that person's name with, say, where you met them. They say you can remember the name if you remember that "I met that person at the zoo", for example. 

I personally see problems with that system. 

If you met someone near the ape house…"Oh! Hello, Monkey! Uh…I mean, Monica…" 
"Well, Hey! there, Babboon! Opps…I mean, Bobby…"

My first memory is remembering when I learned left from right. My right index finger has a burn mark on it. I burned it on a hot steamer they used to use in "steam tents" when kids got bronchial congestion. I don't remember the moment I touched it 'cause I was about one year old, but I always remembered the burned place on my finger. My right index finger. 

I also have a scar on my left shin. I remember exactly when it happened and where…A Saturday afternoon. Pine Valley parking lot. 7th grade. Riding my 26" bike that I'd "chopped out" with a banana seat and high-rise Sting Ray handle bars. Couldn't reach the brakes anymore tho'. Ran into Ms. Knight(!), my teacher. Dented her car, snapped my bike frame. Seven stitches in my left shin. 

I bet if a person has a mark left by an injury, they never have trouble remembering when it happened. It leaves a scar on skin and memory.

In Psalm 25…in the sixth verse…there’s a prayer…

 "Remember, O Lord, Your steadfast love…"

"Remember, God, that You love me!"

How would God EVER forget that?! 

He doesn't forget things, like we do! 
He doesn't forget where He left stuff or what He was getting ready to say or His kids' names! 
He would NEVER forget that He loves us! 
He think about you all the time! 
He LOVES your unforgettable name! 
He doesn't EVER forget where He's left you! 

In fact, in Isaiah, our Lord says that we might… on some difficult day... think this thought: 
"The Lord has forgotten me." 

But, He assures us…

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!"

He NEVER forgets you! Then He adds...
"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands!" (Isaiah 49:14-15)

When Jesus found Thomas, after He was risen from the dead, He said, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe!” (John 20)

Jesus, Risen and Glorious! Perfect in His victory over death and the grave…

Except for one thing. He still has His scars!

Scars. You never forget how you got them if you have them.

He got them in His love for you! 

And He kept them! 

Not so He wouldn't forget how much He loves you, because He never could or would forget that!

He kept them so you wouldn't forget!

…how much He loves you!

Oh! I just remembered that important thing I was supposed to tell someone!
It was this!
To you!

Weekly e-News May 27

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!
Hope you’re having an awesome, praise-filled, joyous, heart-full-of-thanks day! And if you’re not, maybe I can help! Just by reminding you that you are a child of the living God, the King of kings! And that He is working out a beautiful plan for you because He loves you so much! You’re His because He wanted you before the world was ever made! And what Jesus came to do was to buy you (that’s what “redeem” means) so you could be His! He really and specifically wanted you!
Feel better?
You’re welcome!
Seriously, don’t you just need from time to time for someone who loves you to remind you of how Jesus sees you?
You had a hard day at work and maybe got someone upset without meaning to…you remember something you shouldn’ta done but you done did…something you should’ve said but didn’t…maybe there’s an old memory rattlin’ around in yer noggin of something that somebody said about you that you can’t seem to shake…and we have an invisible enemy who doesn’t help at all, always trying to remind us of famous failures and flops of the past…
It helps when someone simply tells you how the One Who matters most sees you!
Y’all know Joni Earickson Tada, right? She became a quadriplegic at seventeen and has had a world-wide ministry to the disabled (and the rest of us!) for forty years. She is th’ bomb! Insightful…encouraging…She’s what the last book of the Bible calls, an “overcomer”!
One of the million ways God has used her is to distribute wheelchairs around the world in countries that are so poor, paraplegics and others who need them don’t normally have them. Once Joni and her amazing team were doing a wheelchair distribution in a tiny village in Uganda called Nyarushanje. A Ugandan woman explained that her husband, Sema, had fallen from a tree and broken his right leg and hip. He had also suffered a severe brain injury in the fall. While she told his story, he just sat there with his face pointed down, his chin sunken into his chest…silent. He was almost in a catatonic state, Joni observed…non communicative, ”shrunken and frozen”.
He hadn’t spoken…or been spoken to…in years. His wife didn’t even try anymore. She cared for him but didn’t converse with him.
“What’s the use? He isn’t talking back.”
One the team, a guy named Dana,  shared with them that those with brain injuries really need what they seem to care least about. They need someone to talk to. Or at least, someone who will talk to them.
Dana, the Joni and Friends volunteer, lifted Sema’s face and began to speak to him. He told him things everyone who loves Jesus needs to hear…
…that he was a man like anyone else…
…that he was an equal and a brother…
…that God loved him and that Jesus died for him…
…that he wasn’t disabled because God was angry or punishing him, but that God valued him deeply…
People thought Dana was nuts. Until…
Sema woke up! He began to move his hands, look around and smile at everyone! He even laughed! And he spoke! He broke his silence and spoke for the first time in years! The two guys were hugging and the tears were flowing!
As Sema began to try out wheelchairs, he reached over once more for a hug. He pulled Dana close and whispered in his ear in perfect English…
“You are my brother and my friend, and God loves me!”
You know, Joni figured that initially, Dana spoke encouragement to silent Sema for two  minutes before the miracle happened. I was having a crummy day yesterday for a little while. Then on the phone somebody spoke encouragement to me and told me God loved me and that I was precious to Him.
Probably lasted two minutes. Best two minutes of the day! Which got decidedly better after that!
 It made me want to tell him, “You’re my friend and my brother…”
“And God loves me!”

Weekly e-News May 20

CCC Admin

Hey everyone!

Hope you're having an awesome day and I hope it's sunny in your heart, because I just checked the forecast and it’s gonna be…
“…cloudy with rain showers increasing by afternoon and heavy rainfall possible into Friday night. Highs in the lower to middle 70s for the valley…”

Yikes! Then what?

“…Spotty showers will linger into Saturday…”

Wow! I’m really sorry! It’s gonna be a rainy weekend and this is the weekend for the retreat for our high schoolers and…

Wait a sec. I think I need to rephrase that.

I was reading back over what I just wrote  and somehow I said, "I'm really sorry”, together with, "it's gonna be a rainy weekend". 

Wow! That was a slip-up! 

I mean, it's too bad in some ways that the weather won't be great, but I'm NOT sorry about it! 

When you tell someone you're sorry for something, you're taking the blame and assuming responsibility for a situation and for things that went wrong with it. You're saying "It's my fault. I'm sorry."

So, I'm NOT sorry that the weather may be yucky in the days ahead! 

It was not my decision! 
I'm not responsible for it! 
It's not my fault! And so…
I'm NOT sorry!

Y'know, it's a super important life-skill to know how to apologize, ask forgiveness, and say, "I'm sorry. Please forgive me." You need to learn "early and often" how to do it quickly, clearly, and directly! But…

It's also super important to know when you're NOT wrong, guilty, or at fault! It's super important to know when you're NOT sorry! 

You may not be aware of this but, as far as guilt and blame go, the instant you opened your heart to Jesus, you were declared absolutely, positively, eternally, totally, juridically, thoroughly, constantly, consistently, hygenically, spiritually, legally, retroactively and forever-ly…NOT GUILTY!!

More than not guilty and forgiven, you were justified ("pronounced once and for all, righteous!!!") because of what Jesus did for you! I bet if we all believed this as much as it is actually true, we'd all be joyfully "jumping for joy", always bright n' sunny, maybe even a little nutty! People across the globe would be asking, "What do those people have that gives them so much joy!? I want it!!"

To keep this from happening…and to keep Christians under control…there is an Enemy who wants you to feel guilty, dirty, blamed for things that aren't even your fault! He can't really do it by putting your picture in those little papers they sell in the 7/11's of all the folks locked up in the slammer that week (What's the deal with those, anyway?) He has to be more subtle than that. Sometimes he uses "church folk". It's an old trick. He tries to make you feel guilty for things you didn't do …or for things that aren't even wrong!

Back when I went to the Anderson Co. jail (before I started going to the “big house”), there used to be some "church folk" from up in Scott Co. or somewhere, who would “visit” in OUR unit, telling OUR guys that there's only one real, "authorized" translation of the Bible (canst thou guesseth which one they meanteth?) and if you read any other, they’d say “it's sinful”! Guys would ask us in their confusion, "I'm reading this Living Translation and I finally understand the Bible! What's wrong with that?!" 

Really! What could possibly be wrong with that? 

Those guys had tons of problems, but reading a Bible they understood was NOT one of them! They needed to say, "Hey! I like this modern-day, normal language Bible. And I am NOT sorry!"

One day somewhere, I saw one of those church marque signs that said, "Is your time with God well-spent?"

I thought, "Wow. Many who drive by that sign don't spend time with God ever because they don't know Jesus at all. Many who believe in Him don't spend time with Him because they don't feel the need or don’t want to. But I bet someone who is having a hard time got up before the sun to be with the One he or she loves and needs. And even if they fell asleep in the middle because it was such a sacrifice to get up so early to be with Him…and even if their Bible has drool stains on it from where their face landed and stuck as they nodded off while telling their troubles to Him…even then, the Father loved that time so much because a heart was looking for His! And He rejoiced over His child ‘with singing and delight’, the prophets say! Being with Him…even trying to be with Him…is the most beautiful and beautifying thing about them!”

But someone wants to know, "Sure. But was it good enough?"


Thanks…for nothin'.

Why would anyone want to make someone feel guilty about the best part of themselves?

I wondered if someone who had just spent time alone with Jesus…
someone who is trying to take care of her kids on her own because she's alone…
or maybe someone who just heard news he didn't expect about his job or his health…
wished they could say to the sign guy, "Hey! My time with God is not an Olympic event I'm competing in! It's not a test I'm taking! It's sure not a grade you're giving me! It's a relationship of love that I am…and that He is…enjoying! I spent time with God this morning. And I am NOT sorry!"

There are plenty of times when I have to say… quickly…clearly…directly…without hesitation or trepidation…”I’m sorry. Will you please forgive me?" It’s a super important skill to have! “Don’t leave home without it!” 
(Or come home without it, for that matter!)

On the other hand, and at other times…

I know I'm clean!
I know I'm loved!
I know I'm His!

And if I laugh a lot, and maybe more than someone feels is appropriate, at things that are really funny because God has filled my heart with joy…
I'm NOT sorry!

And if I eat stuff that "God has giving me richly to enjoy" (1 Timothy 6.17) tho' some might think is not sugar-free enough, or not meat-less enough, or not whole-wheat enough…
I'm NOT sorry!

And if I fall asleep during my prayers at night in my bed (because that’s how I go to sleep when I’m troubled)…
I’m NOT sorry!

And this weekend, if it rains all weekend, I may be wet, but…
I'm NOT sorry!


Weekly e-News May 13

CCC Admin

Hey, everyone!

Hope you’re having an awesome day!  And if you’re not…
if it’s just a tough one…
if you’re struggling to get through it…
if you feel weighed down with more than you can deal with…
why not stop right now, right where you are, and take these simple steps…

Step 1) Take a deep breath…

Step 2) Read these words: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you!!” (1 Pet 5.6-7)

Step 3) Read them again…

Step 4) And again…

Step 5) One more time…with feeling!

Step 6) Try to figure out specifically what it is that is weighing on you, bothering you, worrying you…

Step 7) Do what Peter says! Cast that trouble, anxiety, bother, problem, whatever… on Him! (verse 7 of 1 Pet 5) “Cast” is the same word translated “throw upon” in Luke 19.35…When Jesus was almost to Jerusalem, and got ready to ride a donkey into town, ”they threw their cloaks on the colt”…

Whatever is bothering you…throw it on Him! Say to Him, “Here it is. I don’t know what to do about it. I can’t solve it, resolve it, fix it, or make it go away. I’m giving this problem to You. You take it!”

Seven easy steps to a more awesomer (“awesomer”?) day! Aren’t you glad you get your weekly Triple C email?

While we’re on the subject…

This dude was reading a book on praying and the author said that you shouldn’t pray about trivial things like parking places, as in, “God, give me a parking space.”

He shared this author's thoughts about "trivial prayers" for things like needing a parking place with his mom. She had raised five kids, and then went to be a missionary in the slums of Uganda and Dublin, and at 82, was living in London, reaching out to South Asian women, still a full-time missionary. 

Her answer? 

“How you supposed to find a parking place?”

Weekly e-News May 6

CCC Admin

Hey, Everyone!
Wow! Guys!
I just saw peonies in a yard off ol’ Johnson Rd, O.S., TN, USA...blooming! Totally in bloom! I couldn’t believe it, but it’s true! I thought we were a ways away (like June-ish!) but…NOT!
I guess Tina and I weren’t jumpin’ the gun a few weeks ago when we were planning where our veggies are goin’ to go in the garden this year. We were trying to figure the best way to keep our ‘maters off the ground. Y’know, trellises...stakes...those wire cages (what works fer you?) and some the articles we were reading said consistently that it depended.
“Are your tomatoes determinate or indeterminate?”
“Huh? Who knows? How do you tell? Where do you check?”
“I wonder what determinate tomatoes are?” Tina asked.
“Let’s find out! I’ll Google it!”
“Dear Google, what are determinate and indeterminate tomatoes?” (I didn’t actually put the “Dear Google” part)
BAM! There it is!
Determinate tomatoes are bush tomatoes and only grow to be two or three feet high. Good for pots. Indeterminate (Big Boys, Beef Steaks) grow continually to six to ten feet high. Need staking.
You’re welcome.
It’s amazing what you can find out nowadays! 
Ask your computer a question and...there’s the answer! 


I remember a girl trying to explain to her seventy-something aunt who had never even held a computer, how to Google something. “Go ahead, Aunt! Just type in a question!”
She wrote, “How’s my sister Mary Sue in Boise feeling this morning?”
Here’s some more info Google doesn’t know.
“What does God want me to do in this situation?”
“How can I know what I should say?”
“Should I talk to them about this or not?” 
“Would it be good to react or not?” 
“What is His will in this problem?”
How do you know what God wants you to do in a sticky...or touchy...or hurtful...or complicated situation? 

Maybe you’ve looked up all the Scriptures you could find and you’re still stuck. You don’t want to do nothing, but nothing’s better than the wrong thing. Here’s a suggestion…

And a promise.

Ask God.

It’s simple, I know. Just ask God to tell you what to do or not do…What to say or not say… 
And I have a promise for this!


James 1.5 “ If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

“Wisdom” is a word that means, “Just knowing what to do in a tough moment”.

 “...and it will be given to you”. 

If you want to know what He wants and you’re determined and decided to do what He says...nothing else...nothing less...nothing more...He’ll let you know in your heart what is best! That is an awesome promise!
So, if you want to know what’s the best for  you to do or say in a difficult or delicate moment, ask God.
If you want to know the population of Slovenia, ask Google.


Weekly e-News April 29

CCC Oak Ridge

Hey, everyone!

Wow! What a day, “for goodness’ sake!” “In my heart of hearts” I believe that when you start your day with worshiping our Lord, and you continue to praise Him “the live long day”, even if you’re “at your wit’s end”, in a “twinkling of an eye”, all your problems just seem like a “drop in the bucket” when you just focus on “His lovingkindness and tender mercies”! Just knowing that you’re the “apple of His eye”! 

Y’know, there was a time when I really couldn’t talk like this. 

Neither could you!

Not much more than 400 hundred years ago, I couldn’t have said any of the things that I just wrote! 

Because most of those words and phrases in that paragraph weren’t in our language yet!  They had just been been invented!

The first three phrases in that first paragraph were made up by William Shakespeare! He died unfortunately 400 years ago last Sunday (I guess you don’t have to really say “unfortunately” if it’s been four centuries since the tragic event…) Did you know he invented the phrase “Knock knock! Who’s there?” Along with “break the ice”, “in a pickle”, “heart of gold”, “the milk of human kindness” and loads more! Plus, he invented 1700 of the English words we use!

The rest of those phases came from the version of the Bible that was ordered by King James 1 of England (or King James VI of Scotland. Same dude). Everyone used the Geneva Bible back then, and the king didn’t think it emphasized enough the verses that talked about kings and how important they are! He wanted a royal Bible! (The Scottish king of England had some insecurity issues…)

This year, the KJV is 405 years old! And it’s amazing how much we still talk in the King’s English (and in King James English!) without even knowing it!

TONS of words really came into the English language through the King James Version! Words that weren’t really used before until they showed up there. Loads of words and phrases were invented by the brave brother who translated most of the Bible into English for the first time. William Tyndale wound up losing his life for having the courage to get the Scriptures into a language normal folks could understand. But almost all of his work was adopted fifty years later directly into the King James Version. In fact, the King James Version is mostly not a “version” (translation) but a revision of the work of Tyndale. 

Speaking of “adopted”…that’s a word that was invented by William Tyndale and the KJV scholars! So was “mortgage”, “glory”, “worship”, “beautiful”, “mystery”, “horror”, “fishermen”, “feel”, “advertise”, and “suburb”…

All those phrases I put in that first paragraph…

at your wit’s end (Ps 107.27)…

like a drop in the bucket (Is 40.15) …


tender mercies…

the apple of His eye (Deut 32.10)……

in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor 15..52)…

You guessed it! They all come from the original 1611 KJV and it’s “uncle”, William Tyndale! 

Most English speakers who read the Scriptures everyday usually read a more modern translation that is easier to understand, like the NIV or the English Standard Version. But lots of folks still really love the antique sound of the words of the old King James Bible., even if it is a little old-ish to modern ears. (“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth…” John 3). 

Some are really glad we don’t have use the “Thee” and “Thou” anymore when we talk to God! It seems so formal, distant, and cold! 

But wait! Actually…

Our English language used to have two kinds of the word, “you”. 

“You” was originally the plural form. It’s like our “y’all”.  Or as some say, “y’uns”. The singular form of “you” was “thee”. But to show respect and honor to important or powerful people, you were only supposed to use the plural (“you”) when talking to those with a greater social status than yours. You could use the singular, more familiar form (“thee” or “thou”) with your family, friends, or your dog. But you could never use “thee” or “thou” with people more important than you! The Quakers were always in trouble for insisting on using the “thee” form of “you” with everyone. They believed that no one was better or more important than anyone else, so “thee” was good for me and thee! 

So when the guys who translated the version the king wanted done…

a version that was ordered to bring more respect and honor to kings and those destined for the throne…

it’s amazing that when verses talked directly to God Almighty, King of kings, they used…not “You”…but ”Thee”! And “Thou”! 

It was their way of saying, “Lord, You are mighty and holy…but Thou art our friend! Thou lovest us! We’re in Thy family! We are Thy kids! Thou art our Dad! Praise Thee!”

Psalm 23 says He isn’t ruling far away in a distant place we could never enter. He’s our shepherd and friend who will never leave you alone! You can even say to Him,  “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me…!”

You didn’t have to call Him the more formal “You”!

You could call Him…”Thou!”