A person once said that all through grade school, he sat behind Charlie. When Charlie didn’t come to school, He would go over to his house and sit behind Charlie. This reminded me of my childhood school days. Students were seated alphabetically. This was the seating arrangement for the year. Attendance was called before the start of class every school day. It was the duty of your parents to get you to school in all kinds of weather. A foot of snow could close schools. At the end of the year, attendance awards were given.
After worship service years ago at Great Falls Church of Christ, a lady visitor asked if I would write in her journal that she had attended the church with us that day. I directed her to one of the elders, and whether he signed, I don’t know. I had never heard of a church that demanded proof that you were in worship on a Sunday morning.
Church attendance has become a concern, not only in the U.S.A but beyond our shores. Total commitment programs, care groups and other good ideas to improve attendance do help but eventually peak and level off. Many are placing the blame on the numerous secular activities that overlap or happen at the same time of worship. We could also add cell phones, television,and the Internet that have their tentacles into our prime time. Sports place stress on members to enjoy seeing a good Sunday game in person. Our fast paced society calls for many to have a varied work schedule. and often Sunday is the only day off to rest up for the next work week. Shopping centers and many stores are open most days even 24/7. Newspaper chains are crying the “blues” that people are not reading. we are getting the television news from our recliners.
This is interesting! An issue of U.S. News & World Report stated that Europe may be Islamic by the end of the 21st century. This is linked to the banning of religious symbols and the failure to mention the effect of Christianity on the populace. Humanism has given rise to the worst ideologies of the 20th century. Spiritual boredom has given rise to hyper individualism and lack of confidence in the future,. Many have turned away from the faith of their forefathers and have become involved in mystical ecstatic forms of spiritual experience. Populist Christian movements have claimed hundred of thousands of youngish followers who are seeking to make Christian beliefs real in their lives and work. Christianity has become diluted with many diverse issues.
This is supposedly happening in Europe, should we be thinking it cannot happen on this continent? Time will tell. God knows the future.(Matthew 6:34)”Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”
Satan exists;… eternal salvation is possible only through God’s Son… Jesus lived a sinless life on earth…God is all-knowing, all powerful, the perfect deity who created the universe and still rules today. Psalm 144:15b …Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord!
The Cracked Acorn: Boys Into Men
Nearly thirteen, I contracted a viral flu-like disease that kept me bedridden for two weeks. I was delirious and kept a high temperature,, causing a loss of my hair. The doctor came to our farm house and administered a new drug on the market, called penicillin. It saved my life; I did not realize how close my life was threatened I went on living due to this miracle drug.
BLUE RIVER is a movie definitely not aimed at amusement. It will leave you disturbed as I was. Ninety minutes about disturbed young “men” are not often on the mark; this one caused me to reflect on my school years because I have seen two examples that this movie could have used. Boys in the wonder years, a time when youth enter the maze or sieve to emerge on the other side transformed into an adult. During this period, you may hear, “Boys will be boys!”, “He’s really a good kid.”, “Mischief is a part of it, he’ll grow out of this.”, “Give him space and you’ll see him amount to something.”, and the “Military will straighten him out!”
Franklin was our comic on the long school bus rides; we laughed when he could imitate others: teachers and our drivers. Adults were often not amused. He could be very serious, taking parts in school plays, like the role as the father of a juvenile delinquent -Deno. After graduation, he was accepted into NROTC. This was brief, the navy decided that they did not need any future officers with lots of humor and no openings for a standup comic. He married and started a family. I saw him at one of the early high school class reunions. He came in late and appeared to be eager to leave. I barely had a passing moment to say “Hello!” A few months after I had returned to Virginia, I heard that he had committed suicide.
Donnie was a nearby farm buddy. His mother was in poor health; Mom took me along for visits. He had a fascination for the big kitchen matches, used daily to start the kitchen stove and fireplaces. I think he liked the sudden explosion and the bright flame. At other times, he could do crazy things on the farm equipment. From this it was a trip to Florida in a ‘borrowed’ milk truck. He began to travel the roads and liked being a part of a crew that was fighting western forest fires. He died in his early twenties of tuberculosis.
The world missed out on having: a comic, great actor, a NASCAR driver, a smoke jumper or a possible expert on explosives. Today, I am sure things would have been different; we will never know!
When they came to many people, a man came up to Jesus and got on his knees. He said, “Lord, have pity on my son. He is very sick and at times loses the use of his mind. Many times he falls into the fire or into the water. I took him to Your followers but they were not able to heal him.” Then Jesus said, “You people of this day have no faith and you are going the wrong way. How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” Matthew 17th chapter, 14-17. (from TODAY’S ENGLISH version)
The Cracked Acorn: Love
This is a true story. I know personally the party, involved. Love dwindled, unhappiness and dissatisfaction grew, daily fussing and fighting characterized the relationship of husband and wife, ultimately, a divorce wrecked the home, leaving two bewildered, emotionally scarred children in its wake. The father gained custody and the mother went her own way, doing her own thing.
The children loved their mother. Strange thing about love – it’s so often blind to the faults of those we love. Months went by and the mother longed to see her children. She mustered up the courage to visit. Leaving her car at the curb, she walked to the front door only or find no one at home. But posted on the door was a note from the youngest of her two boys, the seven-teat-old. It read, “Mother, I’m at the park. Please come to the park.” She hurriedly made her way to the park, and there, sure enough, was the little fellow. After the preliminary hugs and kisses, the mother, still amazed by the note, said, “Honey, how did you know I was coming to see you today?” He answered.
“Oh, I didn’t, but what made you put the note on the door if you didn’t know I was coming?”
In response the love-starved little one said, “I put a note on the door every day, every time I leave, ’cause I knew you’d be coming to see me.”
“I knew you’d be coming to see me!” I wonder if there are not those OUT THERE, life’s rejects, those hurt by cruel circumstance, those whose life seems to be hopelessly going nowhere, those groping for some spiritual meaning in their lives, who are daily placing a note on their door which reads, “I’m not at home just now, but please – PLEASE – come find me..” by David Ladd, preacher.
Facts and Statistics
Around the world, there are an estimated 153 million orphans who have lost one parent. There are 17,900,000 orphans who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages or on the streets and lack the care and attention required for healthy development. According to the U.S. State Department, U.S. families adopted more than 7,000 children in 2012.
Last year, Americans adopted the highest number of children from China followed by Ethiopia, Ukraine, Haiti, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. No child under three years of age should be placed in institutional care without a parent or primary caregiver, according to research from 32 European countries, including nine in-depth country studies, which considered the “risk of harm in terms of attachment disorder, developmental delay and neural atrophy in the developing brain.
“Children raised in orphanages have an IQ 20 points lower than their peers in foster care, according to a meta-analysis of 75 studies (more than 3,800 children in 19 countries). In 2012, 23,396 youth aged out of the U.S. foster care system without the emotional and financial support necessary to succeed. —American Surveys Digest—
Student A: I can spell my mom’s name!
Teacher: Oh yeah? How do you spell it?
Student A: M-O-M.
Student B: That’s how you spell MY mom’s name, too!
(From THE WAYNESBORO VISITOR, Church of Christ…March 15, 1998)
Title: THE NOTE ON THE DOOR 1 JOHN 4:19 KJV “We love him, because he first loved us.”
The Cracked Acorn: Sheep and Amazing Facts
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me”— John 10:14
Sheep! I don’t have much knowledge about sheep, I just know that my father raised hogs and cattle and avoided the idea of sheep; it could have been that there was no real sheep market at that time in central Kentucky, also that there was not any for soy beans…like today. There was a couple of incidents with two farmers that entered this business; one was shut down by marauding dog packs and the other farmer closed his sheep business when he did a chemical dip on the flock in the middle of a Kentucky winter. These were the days that a person discovered a tall mountain grass and named it Fescue – this became the cash crop.
While waiting in a local restaurant for a carryout, the waitress confided in me that she was from Texas. There was a morning that they ( the family) woke up to strange noises form the back of the house or as we would call it ‘a deck.’ They went to check and there crammed in as close as could be, sheep. Yelling at them to go away or tugging or any kind of hands on just did not work!. Telephone calls were made and one of the ranchers showed up and claimed them, he made some clicking sounds and turned and left followed by all the sheep. I was so reminded by John, the 10th chapter.
In my working travels, I was sent to New Zealand to do satellite tracking at the South Island airport. The countryside is filled with sheep, some say there are 37 to every New Zealander. You may see occasional cows and wonder why the bovines are so thin; the reason is that after the sheep nip the grass off close to the ground there is not much left for the cows. I assumed that daily mutton is sometimes replaced by a hamburger…and a very slim one…low fat!
Humor: A policeman stopped a pickup truck with sheep in the back. The driver was told that the sheep should be taken to the zoo and then asked why the sheep were wearing sunglasses. “Sir, I took the sheep to the zoo yesterday and today I am taking them to the beach.”
• There are over 1 billion sheep in the world.
• China has the largest number of sheep in the world.
• Sheep have a field of vision of around 300 degrees, allowing them to see behind themselves without having to turn their head.
• Sheep are herbivores that eat vegetation such as grass.
• The digestive system of sheep features four chambers which help break down what they eat.
• Sheep like to stay close to others in a herd which makes them easier to move together to new pastures.
• In 1996, a sheep named Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned from a somatic cell.
• Domesticated sheep are raised for a number of agricultural products including fleece and meat.
The Cracked Acorn: Derby Day
The first Saturday of May is the KENTUCKY DERBY. It is a nostalgic event from my childhood when we traveled in our Kaiser to Louisville to my uncle and aunt’s home. From there we drove out to Churchill Downs to make a day of it. I was probably 12 years old at the time. I recall that the crowds were large and I was small lost in the adults out on the infield. The men wore brimmed hats and the ladies had their flowery hats to keep the sun off. When the race was over, there was quite a flow of people using the tunnel under the track to reach the parking lots. It was not a time to get separated from your parents.
The band always strikes up the state song MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME. I have noticed that it appeared that most are not singing, maybe the lyrics are not on the program sheets or many are not from Kentucky. The old tune has bittersweet words – By ‘n by hard times come a-knocking at the door, Weep no more my lady, oh, weep no more ,today. We will sing one song for my old Kentucky home far away. When Stephen Foster wrote it in 1853, there surely were days of hard times for everyone. While some lived lavishly, others barely made it from day to day. Typhoid fever, tubercular disease, cholera, smallpox, malaria, yellow fever, syphilis, and consumption stalked and carried away the rich and poor alike. Life was short, but 153+ years later we only read about such a time shortly before the Civil War. Today there is only good times. The Lord has been good to everyone.
Our parents remembered the Great Depression when jobs were nonexistent and you were fortunate to live on a farm. My dad often told the story of the man who went to see his doctor. He told the doctor he was feeling poorly. The doctor asked him what he was eating. “All we have to eat is peas.” The doctor said. “That’s your problem, your blood has turned to pea soup!”
The song of that day was –THEY USED TO TELL ME I WAS BUILDING A DREAM,AND SO I FOLLOWED THE MOB,WHEN THERE WAS EARTH TO PLOW,OR GUNS TO BEAR,I WAS ALWAYS RIGHT THERE ON THE JOB. THEY USED TO TELL ME I WAS BUILDING A DREAM,WITH PEACE AND GLORY AHEAD,WHY SHOULD I BE STANDING IN LINE,JUST WAITING FOR BREAD? SAY, DON’T YOU REMEMBER,I’M YOUR PAL? BUDDY,CAN YOU SPARE A DIME?
I doubted that there were many in the crowd May 7th at the 131st running that really knew what a “a hard time-come knockin at the door” meant. We truly live in the greatest country on this green earth. It is humbling to remember when times were not so good. God has surely brought many of us out of poverty. See Psalm 65:4
In closing, I saw this wise adage posted in a store, DO NOT RESENT GROWING OLD. MANY ARE DENIED THE PRIVILEGE – (IRISH BLESSING)
The Cracked Acorn: Old Age
Now Israel’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see… Genesis 48:10.
Lately, I have been observing older people…Here are my conclusions!
1) We take our time–I have seen older gentlemen come out of the grocery store with many plastic bags and take their time placing them into the trunk of a car. It is one bag in and then turn around and then another bag and move the cart, the whole loading sequence can take several minutes-then to return the cart. Young people throw the stuff into the car and away they go at super speed.
2) Try to talk to us in a public parking lot– We first look up as though God had spoken, then a glance around the lot with Pearl Harbor radar to zoom in on the speaker. Then it is the often quoted Hollywood line,”Are you speaking to me? I see no one else around then you must be speaking to me.”
3)Youth–I am definitely not part of the younger generation and cannot be loaded into a school bus. I always make the long walk to the mail box , I could be yanked into a passing car(but I doubt it!) if I am taken, I would just talk and talk–they would let me go after an hour or so. Most of the cars that stop when I am walking are asking for directions to Fredericksburg. “What’s going on in Fredericksburg?” (I should say – Down the road 30 miles and take a left!)Ah! Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.
4) Food labels—everything listed is probably bad for me! I know I could live a little longer or it would just seem that way! I was always thin and now I can drive through the McDonalds and get a large chocolate milkshake. The days of pegged trousers are far behind and I now wear casual clothing that is comfortable but not too baggy or else someone will ask if I am on a diet or now many months do I have left.
5) Bamboo–I see these tiny sprouts in small pots for sale at WalMart. Many do not know the danger of these Middle Eastern plants. Older people do not fear them. With our limited time we can set them in the back yard and watch them take over everything and threaten the lawns and open spaces of our neighbors. This is amusing if you are tired of watching television. These durable plants will even defy ROUNDUP.
Old age is the fruition of a moral life and God’s favor. (Deuteronomy 5:33)
Old age is a general part of God’s purpose for a normal life. (Genesis 25:8)
Old age is one reward of those who honor their parents. (Exodus 20:12)
An elderly woman decided to have her portrait painted. She told the artist “Paint me with diamond earrings, a diamond necklace, emerald bracelets, a ruby broach, and a gold Rolex.”
“But you are not wearing any of those things” replied the artist.
“I know,” she said. “It’s in case I should die before my husband. I’m sure he will remarry right away, and I want his new wife to go crazy looking for the jewelry.”
The Cracked Acorn: Yoga
You are experiencing lots of stress in your life. The pluses are not balancing out the minuses. An alternative doctor suggests that a yoga class could help you past this difficult time. Friends are already involved in a yoga program and think this is the “high” that brings happiness and completeness with yourself. I would have thought like this until a few weeks ago. A radio talk show asked a woman why she did not believe in or take yoga. She replied that it was not for the Christian and would never let her children become involved with yoga. (Why would a Christian not want to derive the supposed health benefits from yoga?)
Everyone is probably acquainted with Yoga; it has been around for ages. Yoga is a form of religion and its roots are in Hinduism. It is a means of relaxation and is a form of exercise that promotes physical fitness. It is being taught in schools, nursing homes and city recreation programs. It started in India during the Age of Gold, over 26,000 years ago.
Today, you can find yoga in denominational churches that offer many activities outside worship to the young and the old. Used this way, it is often referred to as “Christian Yoga” which is an oxymoron that cannot be true any more than being a “Christian Buddhist.” There are several eastern mystical influences in our society today; yoga is one! It has gained strength and captured the attention of over 18 million in the USA. According to internet sources, yoga is treated like a sports activity. This means that there is a market for clothes,time and place for these exercises. Who would go without the proper yoga pants,shorts, tops, shoes and jacket. Here again is the present trend to be identified through dress,especially if it tells everyone that you believe in the popular fad of spiritual relaxation exercises
The word Yoga means “union” or “yoke” and has deeply entrenched its teaching into the New Age Movement that emphasizes “self.” If we fill ourselves with “self” what is left? “Do not be yoked with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” II Corinthians 6:14; Matthew 11:29 Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Here it would indicate that there is to be only one yoke and that is the one given to us by Christ. Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.” This would go for a Hindu god. The Old Testament still stands for the truth about God and that He is a jealous God. The New Age people are over looking these facts. They are saying that “now is the time to bring relaxation and meditation techniques into the church to help revive a strain of spirituality that has been filtered out of Christianity over the years. This will lead to a healthier congregation.” (from Yoga Stretches Traditional Christian Boundaries)
The bottom line is that we would all agree that there is nothing wrong with exercise and attainting good posture. The method and the activities should be Christian guided and based on the Bible. Be careful that the “it is no longer I that lives but Christ lives in me,” and is perverted through New Age thinking to become “it is no longer Christ that lives but I live in me.”