The singing evangelist

Crowds gathered in breathless expectation to hear the “Singing Evangelist.” In mostly small towns and congregations he would mix sermons, delivered with great fervor, and hymns, led with great skill. His name was Knowles Shaw (1834-1878), and he was one of the most effective evangelists of his day.

He was born in Ross Township, Ohio. His father, who died when he was 12, left him a violin, which he learned to play. Soon he was playing at parties and dances around the region. Oddly, it was at a dance while he was playing that he was struck by a thought from Amos 4:12: “Prepare to meet thy God.” This was the turning point of his life. He left the dance immediately and spent the rest of the night in anguish and prayer. He began attending the Flat Rock Church of Christ and was baptized on September 13, 1852. Continue reading “The singing evangelist”


The nice, soaking rains that came to our middle Tennessee gardens this month were more than welcome after the heat and drought of this brutally long summer. Along with the rains came the return of all kinds of fungus, including those pretty yard mushrooms arranged in a darling little fairy ring on the lawn.

One of my friends wondered if they were good to eat. They certainly looked it! They even smelled nice. I warned her in no uncertain terms about eating mushrooms without proper identification. Another friend chimed in that some of them are delicious…for one time only! Continue reading “Pro-choice”

Bearing others’ burdens

“Bear one another burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NKJV).

Some jobs are difficult if not impossible to do alone. Loading bundles of roofing tin and steel pieces intended for framing into a truck is one of those, at least if it is to be done by man-power alone. Things for which one is not strong enough can be easily managed by two or more working together. Continue reading “Bearing others’ burdens”

Further consequences of David’s sin

“As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! Because he committed this cold-hearted crime, he must pay for the lamb four times over!” (2 Samuel 12:5-6 NET). So said King David when Nathan told the story to convict David of his sin with Bathsheba. I don’t think it is a coincidence that this is exactly the price David paid: he lost four of his children.

The first child to die was the one who had been conceived the night he spent with Bathsheba. God struck him with an illness and a week later the child died (2 Samuel 12:15-18). Continue reading “Further consequences of David’s sin”

Inventing the reason why: Galatians 3:28

As they opened their front door, immediately their eyes fell upon the shattered vase on the floor. The babysitter was sleeping soundly upon the sofa. One of their two young boys greeted them with, “the dog broke it.” At that moment their other son was nowhere to be seen.

Like most parents, an innate detective gear kicked into action. The dog was still in his doghouse in the backyard. In spite of the rain, no muddy dog prints were on the kitchen tiles. The babysitter had slept through the crash and could offer no insight.

Explanatory stories are powerful. Accurate explanations answering “why” empower attitudes and action. Continue reading “Inventing the reason why: Galatians 3:28”

Tossing the trash

“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21 NKJV).

As the world’s population increases and manufacture of goods continues to rise, the problem of where we put the garbage becomes a most pressing issue. The environment cannot continue to absorb millions of tons of waste annually without harm. Something major is going to have to be done, or else the earth will perish. Continue reading “Tossing the trash”

Sin has consequences

In Acts 13, as Paul was speaking at the Jewish synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, he made this statement about King David: “God raised up David their king. He testified about him: ‘I have found David the son of Jesse to be a man after my heart, who will accomplish everything I want him to do.’” (Acts 13:22 NET). What higher praise could anyone have than for God to describe them as someone who is “after my heart.”

Yet David was far from perfect. We read in 2 Samuel 11 about his affair with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his inner circle of warriors (he was one of the thirty listed in 2 Samuel 23). But that wasn’t the end of the story. Bathsheba became pregnant and when David couldn’t get Uriah to sleep with his wife to cover up the pregnancy, he set it up so that Uriah would be killed in battle, in reality committing murder. He then sent for and married Bathsheba who, in due course, gave birth to a son. Continue reading “Sin has consequences”

I am a father who does not know everything

When I was little my father appeared to me to always be strong and wise. Of course, that was merely the perspective of a little boy. Now that I am a father, I know better. I am a father who does not know everything. I can relate very well to the biblical writer who said our fathers disciplined us “as it seemed best to them” (Hebrews 12:9-10). There were times I wondered if I should have been stronger. At other times I wondered if I should have been more lenient. Kids, give dad a break! When you were a kid he had to make decisions on the fly, decisions no one else was willing to make, and he did it out of the very best of intentions Continue reading “I am a father who does not know everything”