"It's No Secret: I Love the Church!"

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


“It’s No Secret: I Love the Church!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I love the church! Not just (just?!) the church universal, that marvelous, amazing, and miraculous Body of Christ composed of all of God’s children, everyone who ever has or ever will wear Christ’s name, all the sons and daughters of God. Oh, I love “that” church, too.
But I also love the smaller local expressions of that Body, the little bands of disciples—all of them small indeed, whatever their size, compared to...

Read More
 

"You Must Read and Understand These Instructions"

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


“You Must Read and Understand These Instructions”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I’m considering buying a new weed-eater. It’s an extravagant thought. The old one, older than five of my grandkids, is still working fine but taking longer on first start. My patience is wearing thin, but my memory is still good. I remember when I bought that machine.
It was also an extravagant purchase. Its predecessor was sputtering along just fine in two-cycle engine form, but a couple of my sons had just...

Read More
 

When God Walks with Us in the Fiery Furnace

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


When God Walks with Us in the Fiery Furnace
By Curtis K. Shelburne
One of the finest of many great gifts my mother gave me when I was just a little guy was reading to me. Most of all, she read me Bible stories.
Since I wasn’t a declared English major in my youngest days (that came later), and since Mom was smart, she didn’t, when I was little, read the stories straight from the King James or any other Bible version; she...

Read More
 

Trouble Comes with This World, But Drama Is Optional

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


Trouble Comes with This World, But Drama Is Optional
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Some people live life with their sirens running. They are either creating wrecks, running Code 3 toward emergencies, or chasing ambulances to be sure to have a front row seat to view the carnage. Right in your living room. If you allow it.
My question is, why would you? Offhand, can you think of any way that a siren wailing in your home or church or business can be conducive...

Read More
 

A Rule That Will Bless Us: No Whining Allowed

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


A Rule That Will Bless Us: No Whining Allowed
By Curtis K. Shelburne
[Note: One of the sweetest and best ladies I’ve ever known, Vernell Cotten Nance, my mother-in-law, just passed away. Maybe this is a good time to reprise this column from August 2012.]
My mother-in-law has just moved from her apartment down and around the corner from our house, where she moved around five years ago, to assisted living in a community about 75 miles away.
I don’t like it much. I...

Read More
 

Amazing Is What Real Grace Always Is

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


Amazing Is Exactly What Real Grace Always Is
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“Amazing grace.” 
Amazing is exactly what real grace always is.
On the other hand, the many counterfeits are pretty much what we should expect—“do-it-yourself” schemes focused on our power to occasionally strike a tiny spark rather than on God’s power to always create a nuclear reaction. Do-it-yourself “grace” is an impostor every bit as dangerous as the real thing is amazing.
The Apostle Paul points to real grace in everything he writes, most...

Read More
 

God's Grace Is Amazing, But It Is Not "Easy"

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


God’s Grace Is Amazing, But It Is Not “Easy”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
God’s grace is wonderful. But if we think grace is easy, we need to think some more. 
One of Jesus’ most famous stories was told in response to a religious lawyer’s question: “Teacher, who is my neighbor?”
The question was blatantly self-serving. Luke prefaces the lawyer’s question: “But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked . . .”
The greatest temptation we all face is to try to “justify” ourselves rather...

Read More
 

Nearest the Axle, the Spokes of a Wheel Are Nearest to Each Other

Posted Aug 30th, 12:00 by Focus on Faith on Christian Living


Near the Axle, the Spokes of a Wheel Are Nearest to Each Other
By Curtis K. Shelburne
My favorite columnist, Charles Krauthammer, passed away in June. When I (very often) miss his wit, wisdom, common sense, and uncommon command of the English language, I pull out his book Things That Matter, a compilation of some of his best columns.
One of those was written in 1999 shortly after Time magazine had named Albert Einstein as the “Person of the Century.” An “interesting...

Read More
 

"What Are You Waiting For?"

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


“What Are You Waiting For?”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
What are you waiting for? The truth is that most of us spend the vast majority of our lives waiting for something.
Maybe it’s a birthday. A vacation. A holiday. A graduation. A wedding. An anniversary. A retirement.
Maybe it’s when the baby is finally born, or the student loan (good luck waiting that out!) or car or house or business loan is eventually paid off.
You waited—even as you were working all the necessary hours...

Read More
 

"Sensdistra Is Good for What Ails Ya!"

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


“Sensdistra Is Good for What Ails Ya!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
A good commercial can be a lot of fun. I’m thinking about the TV sort. You know—cave men, lizards with British accents. That sort of thing.
But I am full to overflowing (yea, verily, to nausea) with two other TV ad-types—those pumped out by slime-oozing lawyers and those peddled by drug pushers. Let’s tackle the latter.
I am very thankful indeed for the availability of needed medications that make our lives much better....

Read More
 

Tripping Over a Logical Fallacy Can Cause Bruises

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


Tripping Over a Logical Fallacy Can Cause Bruises
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I don’t have a clue what the rules are now at most universities regarding graduate/teaching assistants. I do know that when I was working on a master’s degree and serving in that capacity, teaching assistants actually taught. A lot.
It was not unusual for me to teach three or more sections of English 101 (Freshman Composition) per semester. The departmental goal for English 101 was that each student write ten 500-word...

Read More
 

When "War" Comes to Worship, All Sides Lose

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


When “War” Comes to Worship, All Sides Lose
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I try to avoid ever firing any shots in what have been called the “worship wars.”
“Worship” and “war.” Those two words together, not held at arm’s length from each other by a conjunction, form a jarring contradiction.
We know what the Apostle Paul would say because we know what he did say in Philippians 4:2 to two squabbling gals named Euodia and Syntyche (who some wit has christened Odious and Soon-touchy)....

Read More
 

"So, Bob, Would You Hand Me That Thingamajig?"

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


“So, Bob, Would You Hand Me That Thingamajig?”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
Thingamajig. Doohickey. Dillybob. Whatsit.
Those are, of course, all words we use to refer to things for which we are unsure of the actual word, if there is one, for the thingamajig in question.
There. I’ve written “thingamajig” twice now, and my spell-checker has thus far resisted the impulse (do spell-checkers have impulses?) to squiggle a red line under the word, thereby calling my spelling into question. “Thingamajig” is evidently now a...

Read More
 

"Trendy," By Its Very Nature, Can't Last

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


“Trendy,” By Its Very Nature, Can't Last
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“Trendy” never lasts.
Whether you’re talking about clothing and hair styles, the latest instructional “cure-all” in education, technological whiz-bang devices, automobiles (think Pacers and PT Cruisers), tattoos still affixed to one’s epidermis long after the tatt has sagged past its coolness date, “cool” marches on.
No surprise, words and phrases also have a shelf life; the trendiest end up the moldiest most quickly.
For years, no mission statement (speaking of trendy) was complete without some...

Read More
 

A Home Renovation Is Easier Than a Soul Upgrade

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


A Home Renovation Is Easier Than a Soul Upgrade
By Curtis K. Shelburne
It was a joy last week to finally come out of the closet.
Well, perhaps I’d better rephrase that lest you get the wrong idea. And, to be completely accurate, I probably should say “out of the closets.” Two of them.
For clarity, maybe I’d better back up and take another run at this.
One of my sons and his sweet family are moving into a new old house. New to them....

Read More