That God Loves Ordinary People Is Extraordinary Indeed!

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


That God Loves Ordinary People Is Extraordinary Indeed!
By Curtis K. Shelburne
God loves ordinary people, and that is one of the most amazing and hope-filled truths of the Christian faith.
It is a truth no other world religion is strong enough to handle. What kind of God would so lower himself?
It is a truth that religion of the self-centered, do-it-yourself, toxic type, as opposed to that which focuses on a real relationship with God, can hardly afford to consider lest its true...

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The Best Father Is the Father of Us All

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


The Best Father Is the Father of Us All
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
Christians are commanded to confess their sins “one to another.” So, here goes. I hereby confess that I have at times succumbed to the temptation to be a kind of Father’s Day answer to Christmas’s Ebenezer Scrooge.
As a father, I’m perfectly pleased to see the day coming; it’s as a preacher that I can get grinchy about it. Father’s Day is tough.
Every year, here comes May, and here comes...

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A Court Can Judge Actions, But Only God Judges Hearts

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


A Court Can Judge Actions, But Only God Judges Hearts
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Being very suspicious of our own motives is wise. Not only are we not qualified to judge others, as we easily evaluate them too harshly, we often do a poor job of judging even ourselves, tending to give ourselves way too much slack. I’m trying to keep that in mind in what follows.  
In the news recently was the report that someone painted a racial slur across the front...

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A Lesson from Sloth, Adultery, Murder, and a Water Tower

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


A Lesson from Sloth, Murder, Adultery, and a Water Tower
By Curtis K. Shelburne
The list of what we know as “The Seven Deadly Sins” dates back to the fourth century and, of course, has its basis in the teaching of the Bible.
One of the seven was Sloth. A one-word paraphrase is inadequate but useful: laziness.
We’ve all known some folks beset by such, people who begrudge the effort it takes to breathe, much less to do anything resembling work. Like all sins,...

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Genuine Happiness Is Never Found By Focusing on Self

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


Genuine Happiness Is Never Found By Focusing on Self
By Curtis K. Shelburne
One In C. S. Lewis’ account of his early life, Surprised by Joy, Lewis begins by writing about the two family strains that had come together to give him life. On his father’s side . . .
By the way, Dr. J. D. Grey, for many years pastor of New Orleans’ First Baptist Church, used to tell the story of a little lad who lived a long way from his...

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"A Time to Mow, a Time to Rake, a Time to Shovel, and a Time to Sow"

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


“A Time to Mow, a Time to Rake, a Time to Shovel, and a Time to Sow”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Well, here we go again.
I’m talking about firing up the lawn machines, mowing, trimming, fertilizing, weed-spraying, weed-eating, weed-picking, and the whole nine yards of yard and lawn care.
Actually, in my part of the country, we’ve been moving slowly back into mowing for at least a month. An April 29th snow which, I admit, I had hoped might slow the grass down...

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"My Mother Was a Daughter of Encouragement"

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


“My Mother Was a Daughter of Encouragement”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
One of the most important leaders, and one of the very finest men, in the early days of the Christian church was a man named Barnabas. This good man’s name meant “son of encouragement,” and he blessed the church by living up to his name.
If Barnabas was the “son of encouragement,” I’m quite sure that encouragement’s daughter was my mother. Mom died twenty-five years ago (hard as that is for me...

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Who Do We Trust When Life Goes Off the Rails?

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


Who Do We Trust When Life Goes Off the Rails?
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
I still remember the movie, even though I’ve forgotten its name.
It’s been several years now since I watched it. I know this because it was a Netflix flick that actually came in the mail. Part of their movie sales pitch back then was “no late fees,” which was nice, but which also meant you could stack up a DVD or a few and let them sit around unwatched...

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"Shaky? Nauseous? Pale? Oh, You Turned Off Your Cell Phone!"

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


“Shaky? Nauseous? Pale? Oh, You Turned Off Your Cell Phone!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Face it. More than a few of us are addicts. For all addicts, the first step toward recovery is summed up in one word: honesty. That means admitting we have a problem.
And we do. Nomophobia. That’s the official name for cell phone addiction. The term actually means “no mobile phone fear.” Of course, a phobia is an irrational or excessive fear. And “no mobile phone” means, in this...

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Mustard Seed Faith May Often Be Faith Enough

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


Mustard Seed Faith May Often Be Faith Enough
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
One Easter years ago (almost two decades!), I got to play the Apostle Peter in a community Easter cantata. I enjoyed it. For one thing, the music was really good; for another, I like Peter. I think everybody likes Peter.
But, another apostle really high on my list (I suppose it’s okay to have favorite apostles?) might not make the top slots on many folks’ lists. He does with me! I’m...

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Even the Rocks of Creation Praise the Creator's Son

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


Even the Rocks of Creation Praise the Creator’s Son
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, and for centuries many Christians have let that Sunday before Easter carry their minds back to the amazing scene of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the Sunday before he would die.
Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey no one had ever ridden, a beast his disciples found just as he had said they would. Our Christmas cards invariably depict Mary, Jesus’ mother, riding a...

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Habakkuk: A Hard-to-Spell Prophet Points to Hard-to-Beat Faith

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


Habakkuk: A Hard-to-Spell Prophet Points to Hard-to-Beat Faith
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
So, tell me, have you read Habakkuk lately?
You know, in the Bible. The Old Testament. One of the prophets.
The English major part of me has paid attention to this prophet only rarely and then only to try to remember if his name, which sounds vaguely like a variety of something legal in Colorado but federally frowned upon, includes two Bs and two Ks or one B and three Ks.
It’s the...

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Storms on the Sea of Galilee and in Robert Lee, Texas

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


Storms on the Sea of Galilee and in Robert Lee, Texas
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
“Quiet! Be still!” 
Those words from Christ did the job that day in the midst of the raging storm on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4). Jesus was sleeping peacefully in the stern of the boat when his terrified disciples had disturbed his repose.
“Master,” even the seasoned seamen had opined, “don’t you care that we’re about to head to the bottom and drown?”
It certainly sounds as if the...

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A Tweet From the Apostle Paul: #WhateverIsAdmirable

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


A Tweet From the Apostle Paul: #WhateverIsAdmirable
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
If, like most folks, you deal with email and its accompanying blessings and cursings, you know that the first step after you open your inbox is to obliterate 90% of it by clearing out a ton of junk and deleting a few nefarious attempts to set a hook in you through phishing. 
I’d love to change email addresses to try to buy 30 seconds worth of a cleaner inbox, but my trusty...

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To Lose Faith's Focus Is Both Dangerous and Tempting

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


To Lose Faith’s Focus Is Both Dangerous and Tempting
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
When I was a little lad, old enough to ride a bicycle but not nearly old enough to drive a car, somewhere in the pre-teen larva stage, my family and I (those of us who were still at home) spent some evenings doing what families now almost never do: we rode bicycles together around the block, around the neighborhood, for fun and a little time together.
I know it’s hard...

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