“And again he entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that he was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And he preached the word to them. Then they came to him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where he was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying” (Mark 2:1-4 NKJV).
Some years ago while visiting churches in the mountains of Nepal I fell from the steps leading into the house in which I was spending several days. The floor level was two or three feet above the ground and the steps were makeshift at best – a few rocks stacked loosely on each other without mortar and without much level matching surface. My fall was not serious and I was uninjured, but as I sat on the ground catching my breath I saw one of the Church’s leaders taking apart the steps and beginning to level and relay them to be more secure. I thought at the time, “This is not his house (he was not actually even a resident of that village); what is he doing working on someone else’s house?” Continue reading “Whose house is it?”
With the jumbled mess in the side yard that used to be a somewhat neat portable shed, this is not the garden in which you will want to take pictures this week. Other messes include buckets filled with weeds, headed for the compost and various tools scattered around the yard.
A few weeks ago, some friends of mine began posting pictures on social media of their not-so-perfect spots in their yards. Did I participate? Well, no; I had too many to list! Besides, I’ve done that on a few occasions.
Our gardens are never like the ones in the pictures in the magazines, with everything blooming at once. How do they get that to happen? And what does that same garden look like a month later? Or a month earlier? Continue reading “Better Homes and Gardens”
Beautiful gardens don’t have to cost much unless you count “sweat equity” as a cost.
This year, thanks to some bargain shopping, we were able to plant a majestic Dawn Redwood in the front yard to replace the almost-dead Red Haven peach tree. Well, it will be majestic in a few years, we hope. It’s only five feet tall now, but it’s a beauty!
It joins a redbud seedling planted to memorialize a beloved cat, the original redbud and a magnolia that came with the house, and a crape myrtle over the grave of another cat. A few years ago we added a very nice $3.00 sugar maple. A very ugly swamp maple will not be missed once the “good” maple grows big enough to replace it. Continue reading ““Corban” garden budget”
I guess it’s not a very well known song these days. It makes use of archaic verb endings, and is as “contemporary” as a Mozart sonata. It is the first phrase that sticks out like an iceberg in the Kalahari:
“Lord of our highest love, let now thy peace be given,
Fix all our thoughts on thee above, our hearts on thee in heaven” (Gilbert Tickle).
It is a “Communion song,” the following verses a study on the emblems of the Lord’s Supper. But that first phrase still calls us: We might love many things, family, country, or music, or the out of doors, not bad things in themselves, but the Lord is, or should be our highest love. Continue reading “Our highest love”
The tomato seeds are still sitting on the kitchen counter, waiting to be planted. Here it is, way past the last expected frost date, and all the genetic material for juicy deliciousness is still in the form of tiny round, dry discs in paper packets.
This has been a busy spring for — it seems — everything BUT gardening. The delays in planting were begun in February, when a bad case of bronchitis set in. Given the choice of scrumptious heirloom tomatoes and continuing the privilege of breathing, I chose the latter. Continue reading “Garden first, house second”
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).
The Christian assigns proper value, and prioritizes accordingly. The most valuable things in life are spiritual things. Worship, prayer, study, goodwill, example, influence, sharing the gospel.
These are easily lost in the mix of life’s activities.
These are easily shuffled to the bottom of the deck.
These are easily forgotten or misplaced. Continue reading “Attaching or detaching the heart?”
A compass points toward the earth’s magnetic north. However, the true geographic north pole lies several hundreds of miles away.
Kenny, a friend of mine, recently told me about an international trip where his flight passed between the North Pole and magnetic north. At such a place, if someone were to use a compass to locate the geographic north pole it would point in the exact opposite direction! If we can assume the compass would even function.
To accurately use a compass to discover true north, you must also know your latitude. In other words, to navigate the earth requires both good instruments and the knowledge about how to use them well. For the church to reliably chart its path through difficult scenarios requires understanding how to use well the tools God has supplied for his people. In 1 Corinthians, Paul tackled a rough situation by providing some of these reliable tools for the journey. Continue reading “True north: finding a reliable path forward”
Randomly grab part of a child’s hot air balloon mobile and you are likely to hold a collapsed tangled mess. However, if you pick up that same mobile using the center string securing the upper most support, the entire mobile falls into place displaying the proper relationship between its various components.
Each part of the mobile is important. Yet priority is built into a mobile’s proper functioning. The church can learn a lot from a child’s mobile. Continue reading “What a child’s mobile can teach the church”
It seems that no matter when or where people live, they worry. Sometimes you get the idea that people like to worry – and possibly wouldn’t know what to do if they couldn’t!
Last year, The Independent newspaper in Great Britain interviewed 20,000 people to discover what it was that people in 2015 worried about. Surprisingly, or maybe not, the list is not too different from what Jesus talked about in Matthew 6. Continue reading “What do you worry about?”
The bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich was absolutely delicious. The thing that probably made it taste especially good was the fact that most of my tomato plants had just been planted last week. No, they didn’t bear tomatoes that quickly! I had purchased one large plant in April and put it directly into the garden among the weeds. Continue reading “Planting in the weeds”