This Alligator Bites Your Wallet and Won't Stop Chewing

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


This Alligator Bites Your Wallet and Won’t Stop Chewing
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Warning: This column might be called a rant. You might be wise to wave off now.
I cannot imagine why we put up with it. I’m thinking about the sick state of healthcare in America.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been to Third World countries and seen misery and need. I’m genuinely thankful for what we have. I have good friends in all sectors—physicians/providers, hospital administrators, insurance folks, attorneys, etc. I’m...

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Cemeteries Help Keep Life in Perspective

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


Cemeteries Help Keep Life in Perspective
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I’m weird, and I know it. But I sort of enjoy spending some time in cemeteries. I’m talking, of course, about the times when I want to be there, not the times when I have to be. Big difference. There’s been way too much of the latter recently, it seems to me.
But I find cemeteries peaceful and interesting. Strolling among the tombstones (since I don’t have to mow around them, I much...

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God Writes His Love in One Word

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


God Writes His Love in One Word
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I love words. Perhaps I’ve not fallen into epeolatry yet, but it’s always fun and interesting to meet a new word. (Like “epeolatry,” which is “the worship of words.”)
One of the best places I’ve found to discover new words and interesting things about words of all sorts is through the free e-mail publication “A.Word.A.Day” offered at www.wordsmith.org (since 1994). Last time I checked (which was years ago), their daily subscriber list...

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Grace Is Amazingly Hard--and Amazingly Wonderful

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


Grace Is Amazingly Hard—and Amazingly Wonderful
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Grace is hard. It is almost incomprehensibly wonderful. It seems almost too good to be true because it actually is almost too good to be true. It is amazing! But it is hard.
Grace is hard because accepting it means nothing less than death to our pride.
If the sacrifice of Christ really is, as the New Testament claims, all-sufficient to save me, that not only means that I am powerless to save myself...

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"Are You Considering Buying a Light Bulb?"

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


“Are You Considering Buying a Light Bulb?”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Are you considering trying to buy a light bulb? Good luck to you.
A few evenings ago, my wife and I were in Amarillo baby-sitting (playing with, laughing with, snuggling with, rollicking and frollicking with) some sweet grandkids.
At some point, I discovered both that my phone was needing a charge and that I’d forgotten the cable charged with supplying that need. Eight per-cent left. Red light blinking weakly. Screen dimming to conserve...

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Talking About Paint Is More Fun Than Painting

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


Talking About Paint Is More Fun Than Painting
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Let’s talk about paint.
My wife and I have been involved in an upstairs bathroom renovation. She was mostly involved in, uh, “reminding” me regularly for several years (or maybe a decade) that we really needed to do something along this line. She seemed to hold something against antiquated fixtures and, particularly, their color. (If you savvy Pantone colors, plug in PMS 1625.) Or just picture something in the peach/apricot/salmon/pinkish family.
For...

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A Pastor's Job Description: Point Out What God Is Doing

Posted Oct 2nd, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


A Pastor’s Job Description: Point Out What God Is Doing
By Curtis K. Shelburne
All honorable work is God’s work, a calling, and anyone serious about doing a good job in his/her work derives priceless benefit from the example of respected mentors. Surely teachers and doctors, business folks and farmers, all need mentors to encourage them to “soldier on.”
One of my most influential mentors passed away almost a year ago, and I never met him. Eugene Peterson, best-known for his amazing paraphrase...

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A Week with Two Sundays Two Days in a Row

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


A Week with Two Sundays Two Days in a Row
By Curtis K. Shelburne
We had two Sundays this week at our little church. Two Sundays two days in a row.   
Well, not really. But it seemed like it.
The first Sunday this week was Saturday as we held the funeral of a fine man and good friend, a well-loved and faith-filled member of our church. We sang and prayed and shared God’s good news of hope. Sweet melodies and rich tones rose in...

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


“How Are You? Good! I’m Fine!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
People can be maddening, frustrating, bull-headed, mean, dumb, astonishing, resilient, weak, strong, gentle, loving, perplexing, bitter, graceful, resentful, hateful, merciful, and . . . pick any adjective and stack ’em up. Any one of those will apply to a few someones, and lots of them will apply to the same folks at the very same time.   
None of that is news to anyone.
Having said that, and having lived for six decades, I must...

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"Grace Sparkles with God's Love Like a Diamond"

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


 
“Grace Sparkles with God’s Love Like a Diamond”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
In his fine book What’s So Amazing About Grace, author Philip Yancey writes that at a British conference on comparative religions, scholars from around the world were discussing the most basic beliefs of Christianity. One important question in particular led them into pretty serious debate.    
That’s when C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. When he asked, “What’s the rumpus about?” he was told that they were asking what Christianity’s unique...

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"Do You Remember the Search for the Holy Grail?"

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


“Do You Remember the Search for the Holy Grail?”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
You’ve heard, no doubt, of the legendary search for the holy grail?
In everything from tales of medieval knights, legends of King Arthur, the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and even Monty Python satirical sketches, the grail, supposedly the cup or chalice from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper, has been a precious object searched for, longed for, even lusted for.
I don’t have space to describe it,...

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"In This Decision Our Lives Are Our Vote"

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


“In This Decision Our Lives Are Our Vote”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. . . . I believe in the Holy Spirit . . .”
Yes, I do. With all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength, I do.
Some of you will quickly recognize those words and phrases as coming from what is traditionally known as “The Apostles’ Creed.” The actual words...

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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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