God's Grace: It Just Isn't Fair!

Posted Jun 14th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


God’s Grace: It Just Isn’t Fair!
By Curtis K. Shelburne
A surpassingly strange story it is, and enough to make a math or accounting major bite nails. I’m talking about Jesus’ Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16).
Here’s the story in a nutshell: It’s grape-harvest in Palestine. A vineyard owner goes out early to hire men to work in his vineyard, and he agrees to pay them a denarius, a normal day’s wage. They go to work.
At 9:00 a.m. he...

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What Will Happen Next in the Adventure of Life?

Posted Jun 7th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


What Will Happen Next in the Adventure of Life?
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I don’t remember ever quoting that famous philosopher Forrest Gump, but here you go: “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’”
That’s true, isn’t it?
Noted Swiss psychiatrist and Christian of deep faith Paul Tournier wrote a book about that truth and summed it all up in the book’s title, The Adventure of Living. Life, he writes, is, by definition,...

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Our Souls Need Real, Not Counterfeit, Rest

Posted May 31st, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Our Souls Need Real, Not Counterfeit, Rest
By Curtis K. Shelburne
For many of us, one of the hardest things we ever do is doing nothing. Incredibly difficult, disciplining ourselves to find some regular time to do nothing is the best way to make the doings that we do, when the time is right for doing, worth something once the doing’s done. When we never really rest, we just end up done in, and much of the doing becomes dry dust bereft...

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The Stars Speak Loudly, Wisely, in Silvery Silence

Posted May 24th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


The Stars Speak Loudly, Wisely, in Silvery Silence
By Curtis K. Shelburne
The yard mowing was finished. One more time. A personal best, by the way. Two hours. Mowing our 10,000 square foot yard usually requires almost three hours.
The last part of the job had pretty much been accomplished in Braille. It was a Wednesday evening. We’d gathered, as usual, with our church folks for a meal, etc., 6:00-7:00. (I am so very glad we meet that early.)
But Daylight Saving Time, a...

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When God Posts a Warning, It Pays to Pay Attention

Posted May 17th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


When God Posts a Warning, It Pays to Pay Attention
By Curtis K. Shelburne
It had to be a government production, the sign I saw. Only a glassy-eyed bean-counting bureaucrat with common sense completely and laboriously expunged by years of mind-numbing training could have produced it. (Your tax dollars at work.)
Posted above a busy tramway, the sign proclaimed in large letters: TOUCHING WIRES CAUSES INSTANT DEATH. Good information, that.
But then in smaller letters was posted this message: “$200 Fine.”
Well, fine indeed. But...

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Knowledge and Wisdom Are Not the Same Things

Posted May 10th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Knowledge and Wisdom Are Not the Same Things
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Knowledge and wisdom are not the same things. As has been wisely observed, knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put a tomato in a fruit salad. On a deeper level . . .
Knowledge has to do with knowing about created things; wisdom means knowing the Creator.
Knowledge means knowing facts about the past in order to make a good grade on your history...

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"Wednesday's Meeting Has Been Moved Forward"

Posted May 3rd, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“Wednesday’s Meeting Has Been Moved Forward”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Good morning.
Forgive me for even considering such, but I almost planted an exclamation point at the end of “morning.” It is indeed morning as I write. I’ve eased into light, speech, and a little thought, but that I would even consider assailing your mental ears this early in the day with the kind of volume implied by that loudest of punctuation marks, well, I apologize for almost falling into such brutish behavior....

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Third Birds, Trampoline Mats, and Early Mornings

Posted Apr 26th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Third Birds, Trampoline Mats, and Early Mornings
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Third bird. That’s the term author Daniel Pink uses, in his book When, for folks who aren’t by nature larks (morning people) or owls (night people).
Having taken the analysis he recommends for determining where one nests on that feathery continuum, I was a little surprised to find myself perched in the third bird category. I’ve always thought I followed in my mother’s footsteps as the very definition of a night owl....

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"The Word 'Good' Has Many Meanings"

Posted Apr 19th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“The Word ‘Good’ Has Many Meanings”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“The word ‘good’ has many meanings,” writes G. K. Chesterton. “For example,” he continues, “if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.”
Certainly a true observation, as far as it goes. I, for one, would like to know more about the character of the fellow’s grandmother before rushing to judgment.
Nobody before or after...

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Wisdom and the Times of Our Lives

Posted Apr 12th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Wisdom and the Times of Our Lives
By Curtis K. Shelburne
According to the wise man writing in Ecclesiastes 3, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
I like the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases this in The Message: “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth.”
Yes, and the sage continues in those famous words, “There is a time to be born and a time to die, . . ....

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The Good News Is That "Jesus Paid It All"

Posted Apr 5th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


The Good News Is That “Jesus Paid It All”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Here’s a tale of two sweet songs and, with them, a life-crucial lesson.
The first song is a heartwarming ballad performed by Phillips, Craig and Dean, one of my favorite singing groups.
“A scene so familiar at the old five and dime / A little boy waited his turn in line . . .”
With excited eyes twinkling, he’s holding in his hand the candy he’d been saving his money to buy....

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The Shortest Distance in the World

Posted Mar 29th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


The Shortest Distance in the World
By Curtis K. Shelburne
The shortest distance in the world is the space between hero and heel.
On that first Palm Sunday the cheering crowd lay palm branches in Christ’s path as he entered Jerusalem. By that Friday we call “Good,” how many of those same voices were crying, “Crucify him!”?
Jesus was not surprised. The prophet had said long ago that God’s servant would be “despised and rejected” (Isaiah 53:3). And we’re told that Jesus “knew what...

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Comma Placement, Panda Character, and Bible Translation

Posted Mar 22nd, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Comma Placement, Panda Character, and Bible Translation
By Curtis K. Shelburne
A useful and delightful aid for anyone who, attempting cogent communication, might like a rule or two about punctuation marks such as apostrophes or commas, Lynne Truss’s best-selling Eats, Shoots & Leaves really is balm for the souls of English language “sticklers”—English majors, copy editors, writers, etc.—the sorts of folks who, lest the world fall into chaos, hold serious opinions as to whether or not the possessive of a proper noun ending...

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"We've Made It Through One More Time Change"

Posted Mar 15th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“We’ve Made It Through One More Time Change”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Well, we’ve just made it through one more time change. 
I’ll check in a minute (note the subtle time reference), but I always have to think about whether we’re going ON to Daylight Saving Time or going OFF of it. ON is the spring thing, right? We seem to be doing one or the other pretty much all of the time, or at least every ten minutes or so. About the...

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"No Statute or Regulation Shall Be Enacted Into Law Unless..."

Posted Mar 8th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“No Statute or Regulation Shall Be Enacted Into Law Unless…”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
As I write this week’s weak column, Texans are one day away from the 2018 state primary election. I’m too late to add one more ill-fated proposition to the list of mostly D.O.A. propositions already on the ballot.
But I’d like to submit this one: “No statute or regulation shall be enacted into law unless two existing laws or regulations are rescinded, removed, deleted, trashed, shredded, deep-sixed, done away...

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