Real Holiness Is Deeper Than "Don't Taste! Don't Touch!"

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


Real Holiness Is Deeper Than “Don’t Touch! Don’t Taste!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“I’m in a twelve-step program for recovering ascetics,” I explained to my missionary nephew. I knew he’d get it.
More than a little conversant in theology and church history, Ian had joined his dad and uncles at the old “home place” at Robert Lee, Texas. We had been dining quite well out by the fire pit when I felt led to confess.
In case the humor misses you, let me explain....

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"Friends, I've Got, Like, a Favor to Ask"

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


“Friends, I’ve Got, Like, a Favor to Ask”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Hey, friends, I’ve got a favor to ask.
Like, if you, like, catch me using, like “like” in a sentence or, like, even in a phrase, like, I’ve thus far used “like” in this sentence five senseless and indefensible times, please, please—I’m begging you—slap me hard across the face. And the sooner, the better, before the worm digs into my brain’s neurons and embeds itself so deeply that it can’t be...

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Jesus Christ Was a "Sinless Friend of Sinners"

Posted Aug 1st, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Jesus Christ Was a “Sinless Friend of Sinners”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Of all of the many astounding qualities of Jesus, one of the most amazing and winsome is that, as Philip Yancey has written, Jesus was “a sinless friend of sinners.”
I keep being drawn back to this amazing fact. This is not the first time I’ve tried to write about this quality of Christ’s life. It will certainly not be the last. A thousand pages would not be enough to adequately...

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"The Gracious Become More Gracious"

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


“The Gracious Become More Gracious”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
How’s this for the setting for a series of mystery novels? It’s twelfth-century England. Following a long career as a soldier and later as a ship’s captain, a short but sturdy Welshman, who still rolls a bit when he walks as if he were still at sea, has “taken the cowl.” Kind and wise, he has taken vows as a monk in a Benedictine monastery where he is in charge of the “herbarium,”...

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A Big Problem Brewing "Down Under"

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


There’s a big problem brewing down under.
Free speech. Religious liberty. Political correctness. Employees’ rights. Employers’ rights. Contract law. If those are just a few of the spokes on the spinning wheel, picture a monkey wrench being shoved right into it. Yep. It’s a wreck.
According to a Wall Street Journal article by Rhiannon Hoyle (Monday, July 1, 2019), Rugby Australia has fired one of the most famous sports figures in Australia and shredded his multimillion-dollar contract.
Why? Because Israel Folau, a Christian,...

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"Ready or Not, Welcome to Leadership and Center Stage"

Posted Jul 11th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“Ready or Not, Welcome to Leadership and Center Stage”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“Preaching with you in the congregation made me nervous!” my younger friend laughed after worship a few years ago. Completely surprised, I laughed back: “Are you kidding?”
It was a rare Sunday for me, one when I was both away from my own pulpit and not preaching or singing elsewhere. My friend had done a great job preaching, and I don’t know any pastor whose work in a community I...

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Genuine Freedom Must Be Cherished--or Lost

Posted Jul 4th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Genuine Freedom Must Be Cherished—or Lost
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Freedom. It is not a gift any government benevolently bestows upon its citizens; freedom is the gift of God to everyone created in His image. It is the responsibility of governments to recognize and protect the freedom that is already the birthright of those given life by their Creator.
It’s a blessing to be able to celebrate on July 4th the birthday of a nation “conceived in liberty.” It’s good for us all...

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One Thing Is Still Marvelously Full and Free

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


One Thing Is Still Marvelously Full and Free
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
I still miss Andy Rooney. Where’s the old curmudgeon when you need him?
Rooney’s commentary at the end of 60 Minutes was always the cream of the show. (Speaking of dairy, I still thank him for pointing out that milk that a cow would claim is just 3.2% fat; I’ve never touched 2% or “skim” since.) After his death in 2011, five weeks after his last television commentary (number 1,097), the...

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"Swimming in a Sea of Selfishness"

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


“Swimming in a Sea of Selfishness”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Believe me, I write this column as no sort of spiritual giant; I don’t know my own weakness as well as I should, but I surely know it enough to see warning signs pop up everywhere when I’m tempted to feel self-righteous.  
And here comes that dangerous word: but. But surely anyone with any spiritual sensitivity at all doesn’t have to look long at our society to see that we are, as I...

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To Be Truly Meek Is to Be Truly Strong

Posted Jun 13th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


To Be Truly Meek Is to Be Truly Strong
By Curtis K. Shelburne
To be truly meek is to be truly strong.
The Bible says regarding one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known that the man Moses was the meekest of all the men on the earth. But in the Hall of Fame of Meekness (call it the Hall of Fame of Humility, if you wish), I’ve been privileged to know several individuals who deserve to be included. Among the...

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"I Dreamed a Strange Dream"

Posted Jun 6th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


“I Dreamed a Strange Dream”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Everybody dreams. Or so the sleep experts say.
I feel most refreshed when I wake up with no memory of dreaming during the night. I feel most exhausted when I had a bad or intensely frustrating dream, got up a time or two in the night, and each time was launched right back into the same past-midnight mess.
If I remember what I learned in some long-ago psychology class—maybe I just dreamed this—we all dream...

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

Posted May 30th, 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....

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A Real Question: "How Much Is Happiness Worth?"

Posted May 23rd, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


A Real Question: “How Much Is Happiness Worth?”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“Happiness is worth a lot to me,” a good friend, colleague, and mentor once told his boss as he made a decision that would lead to his leaving the company.
“Well, so what? Isn’t happiness worth a lot to everybody?” his boss replied.
“No,” my friend replied truthfully and I think with unusual wisdom, “it is not—not to everybody.”
I’ve thought of that exchange often. My friend’s words may mean more when I...

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Some of Life's Best Moments Must Be Savored--or Lost

Posted May 16th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Some of Life’s Best Moments Must Be Savored—or Lost
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Some moments in life are golden. And some of the best of all are precious precisely because they must be savored immediately or forever lost.
Oh, as long as God is our Father, and that’s forever, beautifully sweet moments, joy surprises and cloud bursts of delight will come again. But never again the same one, for much of their rich sweetness and deep joy sparkles in the diamond-truth that no...

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"Thank You, Mom, for Being Glad That God Made Me"

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


“Thank You, Mom, for Being Glad That God Made Me”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Sunday is Mother’s Day. May I hasten to say that having a Mother’s Day is a good thing. I am sincerely pro-Mother’s Day and pro-moms. Good ones deserve far and away more honor than they receive, and I’m happy to have some part in helping bestow some of that honor. 
But as a preacher who has stood in the same pulpit now for 34 years, I’m finding that preaching...

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