Decades ago I read church bulletins and missionary reports as a student worker in the Missions Information Office at a Christian college. My work entailed compiling relevant notes and data into an occasional report for interested faculty, students and staff.
As might be expected, some reports and bulletins were more engaging than others. I always looked forward to what John Gipson would write.
I have never met John nor do I know much about him. I doubt he knows I exist. Yet, he impacted at least part of my life. Your influence as salt and light might be greater than you think.
Continue reading “Your impact as light”
By Johnny O. Trail — A few months ago, I was asked to write a biography for a notable person in the history of the church, N.B. Hardeman. As I read about his life and wrote a brief biography, I wondered what biographies of the future might look like.
You might not realize this, but you can give another person control over you Facebook page at the time of your death. I have made provisions for my wife to have full authority over what happens to my page at the time of my passing. In all honesty, I would love for future generations to have access to my page for the purpose of letting them know about my religious convictions—to potentially help them in finding Christ and other truths revealed in scripture. Continue reading “A futuristic autobiography”
“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6 ESV).
This statement introduces an episode concerning a Levite from Bethlehem who was looking for a different place to live. He ended up in the hill country of Ephraim, just north of Bethlehem. There a man named Micah hired him to be his own personal priest. This man had made an idol and his own shrine for worship. Originally one of his sons served as his priest but when he had the opportunity to have a Levite as his own personal priest he jumped at the chance (see Judges 17). Continue reading “They did what was right in their own eyes”
The scientific name for yeast used in making bread is Saccharomyces Ceremisiae, which means “sugar-eating fungi.” This fungus loves sugar. As it eats sugar, the fungus produces alcohol and carbon dioxide. The gas cannot escape in the dough and causes the batter to rise.
This process is not visible to the naked eye. The fungus is only one cell and is seen only with a microscope. The result of the process is very visible. Bread dough can grow visibly larger because of the presence and appetite of the fungus. Continue reading “Invisible and visible influence”
Do we realize the influence we have on those around us? Although we may think that no one pays attention to us, we influence more than we realize. Notice this parable of Jesus.
“The kingdom of God is like this,” he said. “A man scatters seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how. The soil produces a crop by itself—first the blade, then the head, and then the full grain on the head. As soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4:26-29 CSV).
This is how it works in God’s kingdom. Seed is scattered. As the Parable of the Sower is in the same context (Mark 4:1-20), and it identified the seed as the word, the seed that is scattered would make sense to still be God’s word. We scatter seed by teaching people about Jesus. Continue reading “Our influence”
In the few garden notes that I manage to keep, it is understood that the “corner garden” refers to a small patch of ground bordered on three sides, and having three corners.
It started out as the pointy space where the driveway meets the sidewalk going up to the front steps, and eventually was extended to include the whole triangle bordered by the sidewalk, driveway, and the west wall of the house. In it is buried our first pet, Muffin the cat, beneath the aging crape myrtle tree.
This was the first flower garden that we planted after we moved in, Continue reading “Brighten the corner where you are”
One of the most important elements in landscaping is also one of the most neglected, the concept of creating a good backdrop for our featured, prized horticultural specimens.
Picture a colorful drift of tulips in a nicely mulched three foot wide garden bed. Now picture that same vignette with a backdrop of lush evergreens, possibly interspersed with the contrasting browns, tans, and whites of a pretty stand of birch trees. Continue reading “In the background”
It may come as a surprise that gardens are not always methodically planned and executed. Some plants may not thrive while others overgrow their intended borders. The scene is constantly changing, even with diligent effort. Continue reading “Influenced, or influential?”
“And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God'” (Genesis 35:2-3 NKJV).
Many today insist that they not be judged on the basis of appearance. Clothing is, in their view, unimportant, and they should not be evaluated on the basis of wardrobe, hair style, or other cosmetic and physical factors. Continue reading “Change your garments”
“And again he said, ‘To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened'” (Luke 13:20-21 NRS).
Societies, like recipes, are a blend of various ingredients. One does not bake bread from meal or flour alone. Neither does any nation consist of completely identical citizens. There is diversity of race, age, gender, education, economic status, religious commitment, and cultural development, to mention only a few of the vast differences which distinguish individuals. Continue reading “Active ingredients”