A Confession of Unfaithful Behavior

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


A Confession of Unfaithful Behavior
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I guess I’d better confess.
Before I do, may I just say that I thought I could live with the guilt. I tried to convince myself that the transgression was not particularly serious.
But now I feel unfaithful. I feel dirty. Like I need a shower.
It was Monday afternoon. I’m never at my best on Mondays. I was tired. I was out of town. Temptation is always harder to resist when you’re weary and miles...

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"Count Your Many Blessings"

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


“Count Your Many Blessings”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Here’s a modernized hymn for Thanksgiving (with apologies to Johnson Oatman, Jr., whose over-a-century-old lyrics I’ve messed with):
Count your many blessings;
Name them one by one!
Giving thanks for all good things,
To whom it may concern.
As most of you know, the first two lines are the originals; mine are the last two. I like Mr. Oatman’s original words much better. (He wrote lyrics for over 5,000 gospel songs!)
But, as Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been thinking also of...

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True Love and Love's Extravagance

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


True Love and Love’s Extravagance
By Curtis K. Shelburne
A brand new washer and dryer. That’s what, as the fervor and devotion of forty-six years of marital bliss burst into full flower, radiant color, and indescribable beauty—such that it could no longer be contained but must be expressed in utter extravagance and proclaimed anew—I recently bought for my wife.
May I hasten to say that I have not shackled my soul-mate to any laundry-room mechanisms. She is absolutely free and completely liberated....

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When Is a Win Not a Win?

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


When Is a Win Not a Win?
By Curtis K. Shelburne
When is a win not a win?
If we don’t care how we win, we won’t ask the question. If a W is a W is a W, and we don’t care how it finds its way into our life’s “win-loss” column, the question above is nonsensical, not worth the breath it takes to be uttered.
A coach, at any level, can win an incredible number of games and still be a loser...

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Privacy Settings and Souls

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


Privacy Settings and Souls
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I’m about to send $20 as a donation to my granddaughter’s volleyball team. I just thought you’d want to know.
I don’t know why you’d want to know, but evidently people are interested in these kinds of things.
Just so you’ll know, I am also wearing sandals as I am writing this (at home) rather than my other footwear alternatives. Don’t worry. I’ll let you know the moment I change shoes later, lest you be left...

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"My Cell Phone Has Been Stolen--Again"

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


“My Cell Phone Has Been Stolen—Again”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I’ve just had another cell phone stolen.
It’s not really a big deal; it happens at least once a day. I think the thief who keeps stealing it is one guy working alone. I have no idea why he is so persistent and why he bears me such ill will.
To be accurate, the miscreant is not actually a thief; he’s more of a prankster. Yes, he does take my cell phone, but he...

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"I Wonder What They Were Fussing About"

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


“I Wonder What They Were Fussing About”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I wonder what they were fussing about.  
Before I pondered the possibilities, I began wondering if that first sentence needed to end with a question mark. Come to think of it, same question regarding the one I just wrote.
I’d answer, no and no. Both of my questions are technically “indirect questions” which, punctuation-wise, are more akin to statements than to questions. No question marks.
As an English major, editor, and sometime copy-editor,...

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In a "Deepfake" World, Who Can We Trust?

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


“In a ‘Deepfake’ World, Who Can We Trust?”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I never thought this could happen, but I know now that it could. Imagine for a moment.
Imagine the losers of our last two presidential elections calling a joint press conference and apologizing to the American people. First of all, you’ll have to imagine politicians sincerely apologizing for anything, but stay with me on this.
Imagine words expressed with deep feeling: “We lost. We just flat lost. We ran lousy campaigns and...

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"You Kids Close the Door!"

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


“You Kids Close the Door!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I confess.
I just committed three killings, and I enjoyed each one. Even as I write, I’m planning another. Maybe more. [Update: Yes, now four. Make that five.]
It’s barely 10:00 a.m. Murder and mayhem before lunch. And I’m still far short of Friday’s serial killing count: almost 100 shot and killed while I was grilling burgers.
When I stop to think about it, I have to admit that the creatures I delight in killing are...

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"Our Father Wants to Give Us the Best"

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


“Our Father Wants to Give Us the Best”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
“Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man will not take it.”
So writes the wise old Scottish preacher and author George MacDonald.
It’s true, isn’t it?
Our Father tells us that happiness lies in learning to be content with what we have, whether we have a little or a lot....

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Sniffing Out Real News From the Garbage

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


Sniffing Out Real News from the Garbage
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I’ve never considered myself to be much of a prophet—not in the popular sense of the word.
If you read the Bible books that bear the names of the prophets of old, you’ll find, as my Old Testament professor was fond of saying, “The Old Testament prophets were more ‘forth-tellers’ than foretellers.”
Yes, indeed, some amazing foretelling, by God’s power, is certainly there. But much more involved was “forth-telling,” proclaiming whatever message God...

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"Step Out of the Traffic!"

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


“Step Out of the Traffic!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
 
“Be still, and know that I am God!” says our Father through the psalmist’s words in Psalm 46. And he continues, “I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world” (46:10).
As usual, I love the way Eugene Peterson captures the feel of this in his Bible paraphrase The Message: “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”
If...

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Red River Rocking and the Community House Porch

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


Red River Rocking and the Community House Porch
By Curtis K. Shelburne
It’s so good to be back!
I’m sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of the Red River Community House, Red River, New Mexico. It’s a Sunday evening, Labor Day weekend. This morning I sang and preached at the RRCH. Usually we’d do a concert in the afternoon, but COVID-19 resurgence concerns made that probably unwise this year. I’m just glad to be back at all. No surprise, Labor...

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"That's Good, But Let Me Help You Make It Better!"

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


“That’s Good, But Let Me Help You Make It Better!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
My good friend Darrell Bledsoe, whose list of incredible accomplishments as a music producer, musician, choral director, songwriter, arranger (and the list could go on) is more than impressive, was my friend before he was the producer of my own four albums of music.
Early on in our really enjoyable journey together, as we were beginning work on the first album, Darrell smiled and said, “Curtis, I’ll have a...

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Compound Interest and the Health of Souls

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


Compound Interest and the Health of Souls
By Curtis K. Shelburne
I’ve got a fascinating fact for you, but first, a question. (Stop me if you’ve heard this.)
If someone (with money to burn or semi-truck loads of pennies) were to give you the choice of taking either one million dollars in cash right now, or a penny, one cent, that would be doubled every day for one month (30 days), which would you choose?
Let’s stipulate that no calculators are allowed. Take all...

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