Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Christmas Verse

Have you come across a familiar scripture or heard someone speak on a verse that punched you in the gut?  I heard a sermon on John 1:14 a few months ago that hit me like a Stone Cold Stunner.  
It hit me again this Christmas season in this verse from the Christmas classic, Joy to the World.

He rules the world with truth and grace 
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness
And wonders of His love 
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love

The wonder of His love is that in all of the stories found in scripture of Jesus interacting with people, He fully expresses truth and grace.  The woman at the well, calling the Pharisees and Lawyers "You brood of vipers", all of his conversations with Peter.....
 I've always been pretty good with the truth part, but struggled with showing others the grace that Christ has shown to me.  Just this morning while reading the paper I came across this article...

My initial reactions were: She should have made a better choice of a mate before she started making babies, She should get a job, Oh great, one more welfare case has moved to Texas.....Then I remembered He rules the world with truth AND grace.  The message of Christmas should bring joy to her world too.  Yes, most of those things I was thinking were true, but if I am to be a Christ follower I should confront those truths with grace rather than bitterness.
Now just as much as I struggle with lots of truth and not enough grace, there are lots of folks who go heavy on the grace and neglect the truth.  As a result we get a culture that says anything goes like in the book of Judges where "In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes."
We can rejoice this Christmas that a King has come and that He has come full of truth and grace.  
St. John's gospel doesn't begin with a Nativity, but it does proclaim Joy to the World.

The Gospel of John Chapter 1

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcomea it.
6There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”) 16Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ18No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God andb is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Quit Yelling At Me!!!

This post could also be titled "Embracing Social Media" or "I'm Getting Old".

Over the years here at TOTP I've tried to not be a whining and complaining blogger, but rather to be an observer.  Sometimes probably usually it's pretty easy to figure out where I stand at the end of an observation, but I still try to do my best to observe without the groaning and moaning that I see in many forwarded emails and or facebook check-this-outs.

I remember throughout my growing up years occasionally coming across my dad's old 8-track tape case. It's probably still at my parent's place if you want to check it out.  It held Johnny Rodriguez, John Denver, Charlie Pride, and Fleetwood Mac among others.  His cassette tape collection included Hank Jr., George Strait, and the Maines Bros Band.  (Thank you, Dad, for introducing me to good music.  Thank you to Dad's dad for introducing me to Willie.)  When I continued to come across his collections through my high school and college years I began to wonder why and at what point in life a person stops caring about what's new and stops buying music (This is strictly a music discussion, nothing more) and wondered if and when it would happen to me?    Well, I'm there.  There was a time in my life when I'd buy 1 or 2 albums a week.  Now it's 1 or 2 a year.  My life is far from music free though.  Thanks to new stuff like youtube, Pandora, and the mp3 player that holds all of those hundereds of albums I bought back when, my life is filled with a limitless supply of the old good stuff.

This remainder of this post may contain some trace amounts of whining and complaining and I may sound like a grumpy old man.

I confess I'm not a very good texter.  I've had a facebook account for almost 2 years now, but rarely post anything other than links to TOTP.  I don't twitter.  I don't hashtag, pinterest, or instagram.  Most of my texting is with my wife and thankfully she doesn't yell at me, but it seems like everyone else does. Why is it that folks are always exclaiming things?  I've heard English teachers say that a person should only be allotted three exclamation points for a lifetime, and that most people should finish life with one left over.  I find it easier to forgive grammatical idiocy on facebook, but when someone is sending me a text it's personal.  I feel like they're yelling at me.  I feel like I'm being bullied and the 87 posters at my kids' school say that is very bad and that I should tell someone so I'm telling you.  
I guess the thing that really has me baffled is that the same people who refuse to use any other form of punctuation in any of their texting feel the need to use four exclamation points in one text.  In one text they've used up their lifetime allotment plus one of someone else's.

In Other Justin Explores the World of Social Media News.....
The preacher down the road posted a question on facebook recently and I came up with a theory.  His question asked why he should check out the Duck Dynasty show and he received the expected responses for and against it.  After thinking about it I came up with a theory that goes like this.......If you like JenHatmaker's blog you will probably like Duck Dynasty.  If you like RachelHeldhyphenatedEvans blogs you probably won't, and you probably take yourself too seriously, voted for Obama twice, and need to be on some sort of laxative/antidepressant cocktail regimen. 
If you aren't familiar with those blogs they are kind of like Time of the Preacher except they post regularly, go viral via facebook, and produce income.  But the best chance at an education you've got is listening to me talk so stick with me here at TOTP.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wisdom vs. Foolishness

I've spent a lot of time over the last couple of years reading Proverbs to my kids.  I also listen to a lot of Dave Ramsey and Andy Stanley, both of whom often teach from Proverbs, so the theme of wisdom vs. foolishness has been on my mind continually. 
The Bible is a pretty thick book.  It could probably be boiled down to John 3:16, but by the Providence of God it also contains lessons to help us through this temporal world.  Even beyond the Proverbs, just about every Bible story has a wisdom vs. foolishness lesson.  It seems to me, in our 2013 world, that there are lots of folks who love the Gospel message, but eschew the wisdom that is there for the taking.  Wisdom that if it is sought after and acted upon, can result in blessing. 
Of late, I've tried to avoid the hot button issues of our day here on TOTP, (which has contributed to my infrequent posting this year) but regardless of your political persuasion or emotional investment in certain issues there are wise and foolish paths to choose.  All to often I've seen foolish choices dressed up and labeled with love, compassion, fairness, or righteousness and seen wise choices ridiculed as hateful, intolerant, too liberal, or too conservative.

Is it sinful to be a fool?  No, I don't think so, but I do believe that whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. 
"I have the right to do anything," you say- but not everything is beneficial.  I have the right to do everything, but I will not be mastered by anything.  - I Corinthians 6:12
I can't help but think how it much it must grieve our heavenly Father when we choose foolishness over wisdom, curses over blessing. Jesus came and died for me even though I'm a moron.  I've played the fool.  I've made foolish choices.  I've been blind to wisdom, listened to foolish advice, acted on foolish desires.  But He came to redeem me and wants me to be transformed by the continual renewing of my mind. I want to seek wisdom and I want to plant the seeds of wisdom in the hearts of my children. 

I'd like to challenge you to read through the Proverbs.  There are 31 chapters so you can read one for each day of the month.  Keep in mind what you've read as you live your day to day, read the paper, or watch the news. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Adventures of Wilder Good

 A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  Proverbs 18:24
We meet thousands of people in our growing up years of childhood and adolecence, but I've discovered this about life:  When you come out on the other side you'll find that there just are a handful of true friends that stick.  
S.J. Dahlstrom is one of those friends of mine.  He speaks truth into my life.  He's a man's man and inspires me to be a better father.  Now my friend is releasing his first book and I think you should buy a few. 
If you want to teach your kids about nature and care of the environment without all of the political baggage of Earth Day, buy this book.
If you want to be inspired to raise your kids in the spirit of Deuteronomy 6, buy this book.
If you want to inspire your boys to authentic manhood, buy this book.
If you want your girls to form a true vision of what to look for in a man, buy this book.
You can pre-order now at Amazon or check out the website at
Here is the official description....
The Elk Hunt: The Adventure Begins (number one in The Adventures of Wilder Good series) is a book of fiction for young readers. Twelve-year-old Wilder Good goes on an elk hunt with his mentor in Colorado. The narrative is classic adventure story, in which an idealistic, modern ethos of hunting evolves—one in which hunting is not just harvesting a mature animal for food, but is a process for developing relationships with others and for becoming a stronger, more courageous individual.
As Wilder attempts to keep up, he seeks to prove himself a worthy companion to his older male mentor, Gale Loving. Gale takes Wilder on outdoor adventures because Wilder's mother is struggling with cancer and his father is occupied with her care.
The two characters live in rural Colorado. They drive to the San Juan Mountains for a one-day hunt for elk. During the hunt, Wilder is trusted with a rifle of his own. Both the narrative and the accompanying illustrations emphasize the importance of gun safety. During the hunt they have to face their fears and the limits of their strength as they deal with threats from fatigue, injury, and a wilderness predator. The story ends positively, and while The Elk Hunt is written with young readers in mind, readers of all ages will recognize and appreciate the characters and delight in the adventures of Wilder Good.
S. J. Dahlstrom is a writer in west Texas. In his writing he draws on his experiences as a cowboy, minister, husband, father, and boys ranch founder.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2nd Quarter Update

Under Construction....
Father's Day...

In Athens at BeltonVBS...
 Getting autographs from the Go Fish Guys....

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Quarterly Report

Three months since my last post.
Leslie and I are often asked about the busy-ness of having a pile of young children.  Perhaps it is the ages of our kids or that we have some in school now.  Not sure what it is, but Leslie and I have come to the conclusion that since Loden came we've been constantly busy.  We live in a perpetual state of incompleteness.  The dishes are never all clean, the laundry is never all done, the day is over before we've done all we'd planned to do.   Blog posting has fallen to the bottom of the priority list.  But.....
We are enjoying our busy life.  We have a roof over our heads, clean water to drink, and more than enough food to eat.  The kids are growing, learning, and maturing.
Here are a few pictures from the last month.....
 My little Comanche riding in the pick-up.
 Bank fishing/ playing with the bait and the mud.
 Sweet Georgia Brown getting down and dirty at the lake.
 View from the creek bottom behind the lot where we will be building our new house.  Yes, we're going to build a house.  Details to come in the next post.
 Jonesy after an afternoon of fishing with MJ.
 Blacker just celebrated her 1st Birthday.
Annie, Loden, and Hot Mama.
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