Hymn-tinkering. Just Say No.

Posted Oct 9th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Hymn-tinkering. Just Say No.
By Curtis K. Shelburne
It was none other than the venerable Charles Wesley, writer of hundreds of grand hymns, who in the preface (1779) to one of his hymnals pronounced a word of stern warning against anyone who would mess with the words—and thus the theology, not to mention the beauty—of one of his hymns. He had little use for “hymn-tinkerers.”
During most of my growing up years, my home church, and most others of our brand, used a...

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Is the Tweeter a Twit? That Is the Question!

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


Is the Tweeter a Twit? That Is the Question!
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
Twits.
Twitter is for twits.
That has been my opinion pretty much ever since I learned several years ago that birds tweeting sweetly in the sky had been joined by twits tweeting, sweetly or not, in cyberspace.
It just seemed like a very lucrative, very bad, idea. I found it hard to believe that our world would be improved by folks, many of whom are incredibly short on impulse control already, suddenly...

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A Wise Answer to a Thought-provoking Question

Posted Sep 28th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


A Wise Answer to a Thought-provoking Question
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Surely everyone who spent much time growing up in the western world in the 20th century knows a universal law which is almost as time-tested as the Law of Gravity. It is this: Thou shalt not throw out old National Geographic magazines. Doing so may not be illegal; it is just not something that civilized people of good upbringing would ever do.
In fact, I can’t remember who I heard propounding this...

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A Storage Philosophy for Garages, Closets, and Hard Drives

Posted Sep 21st, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


A Storage Philosophy for Garages, Closets, and Hard Drives
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“I might need that.”
Step into my garage, my office, my shed, or my closet, and you’ll quickly discover that those four simple words are the guiding philosophy of most of my life and all of the spaces I occupy. 
Those four words are the reason I’m convinced that the best rental property imaginable these days is not made up of lots and houses folks have acquired to rent to other...

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Good Hearts Have Room for Lots of Good Songs

Posted Sep 18th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Good Hearts Have Room for Lots of Good Songs
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I keep thinking that the folks up, way up, at the Red River Community House (Red River, New Mexico, elevation 8,650 feet) will one day wise up and get tired of us, but they haven’t yet. So this Sunday morning my wife and I were at RRCH on yet another of a nice string of Labor Day/Red River weekends.
I helped lead worship at the Community House this morning, and...

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"I Wish My Smart Phones Were a Little Smarter"

Posted Sep 18th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“I Wish My Smart Phones Were a Little Smarter”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
I wish my phones were a little smarter—both the smart phone that lives in my pocket and is too often screwed into my ear, and the landline phone whose cordless babies are strewn all over our house.
Both phones are pretty amazing. The one in my pocket will do math calculations, connect to the Internet, check my email, give me compass headings and altitude, show me star constellations and planet...

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"I Wish My Smart Phones Were a Little Smarter"

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


“I Wish My Smart Phones Were a Little Smarter”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
I wish my phones were a little smarter—both the smart phone that lives in my pocket and is too often screwed into my ear, and the landline phone whose cordless babies are strewn all over our house.
Both phones are pretty amazing. The one in my pocket will do math calculations, connect to the Internet, check my email, give me compass headings and altitude, show me star constellations and planet...

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Good Hearts Have Room for Lots of Good Songs

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


Good Hearts Have Room for Lots of Good Songs
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I keep thinking that the folks up, way up, at the Red River Community House (Red River, New Mexico, elevation 8,650 feet) will one day wise up and get tired of us, but they haven’t yet. So this Sunday morning my wife and I were at RRCH on yet another of a nice string of Labor Day/Red River weekends.
I helped lead worship at the Community House this morning, and...

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"The Mountains Sing Together for Joy"

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


“The Mountains Sing Together for Joy”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
My wife and I were in Colorado recently. Living on the aptly named “high plains” of Texas, at a tad over 3,800 feet in our particular part of those plains, we’ve got a pretty good start on altitude already. But I discovered long ago that my soul requires regular doses of much higher altitude, the kind that comes only with mountains.
I love mountains in general, but I was ready for a good...

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"What About Folks on the Other Side of the Fence?"

Posted Aug 20th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“What About Folks on the Other Side of the Fence?”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
“Teacher,” John the Apostle said to Jesus, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us” (see Mark 9:38).
The disciples were royally ticked. They were absolutely indignant, and who can blame them? They’d discovered a fellow casting out demons without a license. They’d uncovered a do-gooder doing good without a permit.
Now John was reporting...

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"Short Words Are Best" and Three Are Best of All

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


“Short Words Are Best” and Three Are Best of All
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
“Short words are best,” asserted Winston Churchill, “and the old words when short are best of all.”
So may I suggest three—very short and very old which when lined up and strung together are the best three that could possibly be.
GOD IS LOVE.
These words are chiseled into the rock, woven into the fabric, of the universe. More than that, if anything could be more, they are living and implanted...

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"I Will Lift Up My Eyes to the Hills"

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


“I Will Lift Up My Eyes to the Hills”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Something about the mountains my soul needs regularly and loves always. There’s just something about gaining altitude, heading up!
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills,” writes the psalmist as he beautifully affirms that all of his “help comes from the Lord” (Psalm 121).
Reading the Gospels, I feel some sweet altitudinal affirmation when I read about Jesus “going up on the mountainside” to pray. Of course, we can...

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Repeat Regularly: "There Is One God; I Am Not Him"

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


Repeat Regularly: “There Is One God; I Am Not Him”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“Oh, I guess I’m just a perfectionist,” I opined, in an “Aw, shucks!” sort of feigned shame tone, as I tried to hide the weird contortions required to pat oneself on the back.   
But twisted pride is one of perfectionism’s pernicious symptoms. Perfectionists like to think they are a cut above ordinary folks. We have, we think, higher standards, work with more diligence, and see more clearly than pretty...

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Wonder of Wonders, God Signed on the Dotted Line!

Posted Jul 27th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Wonder of Wonders, God Signed on the Dotted Line
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
How long do you have to live to learn to be really careful before you sign anything on that famous “dotted line”?
It seemed so easy at the time. That new ride was cool. But we were just a few “easy payments” into the seventy-for-darn-near-forever of them before we realized that they weren’t much fun and not very easy. Now we’re wondering if we’re working to one fine day finally...

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Only Broken Disciples Find Grace to Be Whole

Posted Jul 25th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Only Broken Disciples Find Grace to Be Whole
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” said the servant girl.
Peter, standing near the fire, startled, began backtracking. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and slinked over out into the entryway.
But the girl is speaking again, not keeping her opinion to herself: “This fellow is one of them.” Again Peter denies it, but the meddlesome girl has struck the match, and the flames are spreading. Others chime...

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