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The Cracked Acorn

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)

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: 2 or more




Memory took me back to 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. Two-foot snow could close schools. At the end of the year, attendance awards were given.

After worship service long 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. 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 as 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 every day and even 24/7. Newspaper chains are crying the “blues” that people are not reading, and 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 hyperindividualism and a 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 hundreds of thousands of young followers who are seeking to make Christian beliefs real in their lives and work. Christianity has become diluted with 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. “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.” (Matthew 6:34)


Satan exists and eternal salvation is possible only through His 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. “Happy is that people, in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 144:15)

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Silence




A fellow lady employee has severe hearing loss. When she got married, and the children came along, she had to resort to an aid to hear the children at night in their bedroom. She was so adapted to silence that the least sound now kept her awake; she could hear all the household and neighborhood noises. (She was willing to take a giant step to have a family and children!)

We live in a noisy and busy world. Places that promise peace and quiet are almost nonexistent. Out of the turmoil of “Why can’t we pray in the public schools” has come “the moment of silence.” I am all for it. But it cannot last since silence is defined by the absence of speech or an agreement not to speak. We are warned that this interferes with our country’s right to free speech. One poll brought out that it was “cool,” it brought into the school a sense of unity among the students, and that it was a good time to reflect on nice things.

Those against the “moment” say that it is an open field to spread religion during the silence and bring their own materials that could conflict with school policy. If prayer in any form is allowed on school grounds, then all persuasion groups must be allowed to pray in their own ways at some time during the day. We worship God but find out that it is not the same God to some. What happened to ONE NATION UNDER ONE GOD?

Paul tried to reason with the Greeks on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-31), drawing their attention to their noted “unknown God.” If I have fallen off my soapbox and can’t get up, it is because the “moment of silence” is a speeding bullet deflected into the public school system that should have stayed in our homes. If we had turned off the TVs and stereo systems and enjoyed the “silence” with our families, this would never have become a national issue.

“To sit silently takes a lifetime to learn. It seems that only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young must break the silence. Silence is pure and holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. ” (from The Notebook)

And the people bowed and prayed;
To the neon God they made,
And the sign flashed out its warning

In the words that it was forming, and the signs said,
‘The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls.
And whispered in the sounds of silence! (Simon & Garfunkel)

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: The Foot Step



The day had been busy and very rewarding. Uriel’s talent with wood had finally begun to pay off with work that took several days to complete. The latest was to start repairs on one of the Jerusalem city gates. The advance of money for materials had enabled him to hire an extra man to help to hew the rough wood before placement. Sunup till sundown was about all the body could stand. Uriel was all smiles when he saw his young son and daughter run to meet him. Ezra and Naomi liked to be around the shop but never were allowed inside during the busy hours of the day.

There were always plenty of wood chips and bits of leftover lumber to grace the home fire. Days were very hot but could be chilly after dark. Yes, they were having a fun time hurrying about the shop sweeping and tossing cedar bits at each other. Life was good.

Uriel’s wife Mary had never felt better. She had overcome her illness of several months. One day she was near collapse, and the next day, humming about the house. Busy with the shop’s work, he had never asked and was never told if the doctors had found a cure for her mysterious sickness. Yes, God was good to his family, and Uriel thought he should offer up the proper sacrifices at the temple to express his thanksgiving for all their blessings, but why at the moment – soldiers at the door?

“Uriel, the carpenter?” asked the soldier in charge.

“Yes, I am he. ”

“I have been sent to ask you to prepare three crosses to be used on the morrow to crucify two thieves and a condemned man.” The soldier, his stare, was telling Uriel that it would be done without question.

Uriel did not know why his shop had been singled out for this odious task, a waste of energy and time. “Yes, I will do my best. I think that I have some rough timbers that can be sawed and nailed together within a few hours.” He would have contributed to the cause of ridding the area of criminals.

“Sergeant, may I ask who the third man is?”

“Carpenter Uriel, the man is the Nazarene who preaches that he is the son of the Jew’s God, known as Jesus by his followers.” The soldiers left.

“Ezra, would you help your father and bring back one of the workers. We may have to burn the oil lamps into the night to finish this extra work.” The son was glad to help his father with the important task.

Uriel felt a tug on his arm. It was tiny Naomi, upset and close to tears.

“Father, the man Jesus is the one who helped mother. She got through the crowd at the market and pulled on his robe. Jesus turned and saw her and healed her.”(Matthew 9:20-22)

“Naomi, are you sure ?” Uriel had never known his daughter to bend the truth.

“I am sure I was right behind mother and saw him. The touch of his clothing healed her. Isn’t there anything we can do?”

Uriah was not sure what he could do. “Jacob, do we still have the extra cedar logs we smoothed for my house. Please bring those out and make sure that there is not one splinter or rough edge to be found on them. I don’t wish to add to this man’s pain and make a small wide footrest. (This may have happened.)

“And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple from Him, and put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him. And they compel one Simon, a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear His cross.” (Mark 15:20,21)


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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Three Crosses




On July 7, 2022, I drove to see one of the remaining Cross Clusters south of Culpeper. The history of this landmark is:

On October 6, 1993, Bernard Coffindaffer died. He was 68. This was the end of an ambitious project that came out of “a genuine, marvelous, glorious vision” to plant crosses throughout the world. He obediently spent 2 million dollars in the last years of his life, putting these clusters in 29 states, the District of Columbia, Zambia, and The Philippines. There are at least 1,864 and may be more since he listed their locations on small pieces of paper.

The Cross Clusters represent the two thieves and Christ. Coffindaffer said that the crosses infer, “Not for saints or sinners but everyone that Jesus died for our sins and He’s coming again.”

These California Douglas Firs stand at 20 and 25 feet. The outside ones are angel blue, and the center is Jerusalem gold. At the erection of each Cross Cluster, a service was held. He said unto the people and His disciples, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34)-was often quoted. Prayers for repentance and forgiveness of sins were offered. Coffindaffer once said, “The Crosses speak peace within as we struggle without.”

Mr. Coffindaffer was born in West Virginia and was left an orphan at an early age. He graduated from high school at fourteen and spent six years in the Marine Corps in the Pacific theater and was at Iwo Jima and Nagasaki, Japan. He graduated with a business degree from the University of Charleston. He massed a fortune in the oil and coal businesses. At forty-two, he declared himself a minister and served seven small churches in West Virginia. The Cross Clusters have been the subject of a documentary “Point Man for God” and part of a public television series “Different Drummer.”

On this foggy morning, I thought of pictures I have and visioned what it would be like to be crucified and lifted 25 feet in plain view for anyone to see.

Like all plans of “mice and men,” the crosses are being lost now in the hustle and bustle of our world. This cluster is fighting to stay visible among commercial motel and restaurant signs. I saw how hard it must be to appreciate it at 55 mph. You can easily miss this one set in a low valley.

The center cross is gold, while the outside ones are white. All three are peeling. Christ’s cross is wrapped in strings of small lights that may have been on during the Christmas season. If you mention crosses today to someone, they will talk of the recently made roadside memorials where fatal accidents have occurred.

The original statement of the Clusters was to remind travelers to never forget the OLD RUGGED CROSS. The problems of our society have attempted to “fog over” the Crosses, but if you know where to look, there’s still hope, and the ONE who hangs there still loves you and cares. It will always be the first thing you will see when the dew and fog have gone away for a new day.

“To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).


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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Memories




“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” – 1 Peter 5: 8

Long before politicians paved the county roads, I was in grade school, on the Kentucky farm, walking the mile across the fields to catch the school bus, rain or shine. I eventually had several years under my belt and I talked my father into a visit to the Western Auto hardware store that sold bicycles. My father soon saw that the price for a new one was too much, fortunately, a used one was there taken in on a new one. I didn’t care new or old if it rolled, I wanted it. It may have been $30 dollars. Now the way to the school bus was at least a mile and a half but easily conquered on my bicycle. Father told me to chain it to the utility pole at the bus stop and never be out on the road, and I did.

When the school bus left me at the end of the day, I was on my bicycle and down the county gravel road, there was a small hill with a steep grade where I would get off and push the bicycle to the top and off down the farm road to the house. It happened that one of these afternoons, I was off, pushing the bicycle and a car came along on the other side and stopped. The driver was eager to engage me in talking about what was my day at school and so forth, and kept mentioning that I was probably in a rush to get home and have a sausage biscuit and he talked on, returning to the sausage biscuit.

I was getting leery of the vocal routine, so I jumped on the bicycle and willed all my might to spin back on the gravel and up the hill, never looking back and never, later, mentioning this event to my parents. Kids do that for fear that this could lead to tightening liberties. Thereafter, when I was off the bus, I pumped as hard and fast to spin up the hill and a left onto the home farm road; in later years, the school bus route changed and then stopped at the farm road . by that time I had moved to a used motor scooter. I never forgot why the man kept talking about the sausage biscuit, my parents and I never ate between meals, no sausage biscuits, obliviously this motorist was not well acquainted with farm life.

The wheel of time spins rapidly to Herndon, I am now married; a wife and son, a nice home, and a new VW bus. It’s the end of the school day, I am grilling steaks outside. I look up and a small school girl with her backpack is coming down the driveway. Her words, ” I think someone is following me!” She had seen the Red sign inside the window that we are a “safe” place for children. “Go inside, my wife and son are watching TV, give me a few minutes and we will take you home.”

Have times changed, “Maybe, but play it safe!”

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Years Pass




Doing car repair, I began to take naps in the garage, while under the car. Dad replied that he had been doing this for years; it could be under a tractor or the combine. (He once told me that when he was old; I would also be old. I just hadn’t realized that it had happened this quickly.)

The Bible tells us that people lived into the 900s before the Flood, Methuselah, at 969. This declined till about 1000 B.C. and then maybe 70 or 80 (Psalm 90:10).

Starting in 1900 U.S. life expectancy has risen from 47 to an average age of 83, today. In this added time, we should “number” our days (Psalm 90:12). We should discern the future. (Deut. 32:28-29). We should consider how life will turn out. (Psalm 39:4-5) We will live even longer if we consider our speech/behavior. (Psalm 34:11-14; I Peter 3:10-11) We should love the Lord. (Psalm 91:14-16) Obey the Lord. (Proverbs:3:1-2,4:10) We should fear and grow in the knowledge of the Lord. (Proverbs 9:10-11; 10:27)

Humorous remarks from people of the past:
All would live long, but none would be old. Age is something that doesn’t matter unless you are cheese. The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents and the second half by our children. No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement. The older I grow the more I distrust the family doctrine that age brings wisdom. None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm. Age doesn’t protect you from love, but love to some extent protects you from age. Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative. Perhaps one has to be very old before one learns to be amused rather than shocked. You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come into contact with new ideas. (My favorite!) How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young?

Recently there have been several specials on TV about the NEW AGE and evangelistic movements supposedly sweeping our nation. I am not sure if we are looking at this from close-up or from afar. I do not see within these vast audiences a sea of grey hair. Has the present generation forgotten that ‘An aged person loved is winter with flowers’ (an old German proverb)? The older generation is the “splendor” of today. (Proverbs 20:39) Psalm 92:13 and 14 says, “These who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in an old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing.” Older people are the bearers of fundamental human values. When this is lacking, people become rootless. People lose hope in the future and live within the limits of the present. (from the Dignity of Older People)

To the heart that’s aching under a load of care, Lend a hand of comfort. In the name of Jesus gather the sheaves of today, Read the precious promises, wages, He will pay; Go with rejoicing gleaning from the fields of sin, Thrust thy glowing sickle, bring in the harvest. (BEAUTIFUL GLEANINGS-from Sacred Selections)


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Upcoming Events

6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Aug 10 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
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Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
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Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
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Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
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Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Picnic Area Join Kim Strader, ANFT Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide, for a gentle walk (no more than a mile or two) where we will wander and sit. Through a series of invitations and[...]
11:00 am Monarch Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Monarch Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Monarch Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area Habitat loss has caused Monarch butterfly populations to reach dangerously low numbers. Join the Park Naturalist and Virginia Master Naturalists as they set out to collect Monarch caterpillars and[...]
2:00 pm Pregnancy Center’s Community Bab... @ Living Water Christian Church
Pregnancy Center’s Community Bab... @ Living Water Christian Church
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Pregnancy Center's Community Baby Shower @ Living Water Christian Church
The Living Water Christian Church of the Shenandoah Valley is having a “Community Baby Shower” in support of the Pregnancy Center of Front Royal. We are inviting the public to attend and bring wrapped gifts[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
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Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
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Appalachian Chamber Music Festiv... @ Barns of Rose Hill
Aug 18 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Appalachian Chamber Music Festival - Opening Night @ Barns of Rose Hill
The Appalachian Chamber Music Festival is delighted to be returning to the Barns of Rose Hill on Thursday, August 18, at 7pm, for the opening night concert of our 2022 summer season. The festival celebrates[...]
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Aug 19 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
…and be sure to attend our Fourth of July event!
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National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
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National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area The bees are buzzing at Sky Meadows State Park! Meet the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah as they perform a honey extraction. Learn about beekeeping, honeybees and the art of apiculture. Support beekeeping and[...]
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Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 21 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program series examines all aspects[...]