Celebrating Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, the Beginning of Lent

Pancakes for Fat Tuesday - small

Want more joy in your Christian life? God ordained special days in Scripture for His people to focus on Him and enjoy His goodness. This article provides one way to discover our Lord more fully and bring more contentment into life…to celebrate the beginning of Lent.

Jesus died on Passover, the perfect sacrifice to wash away the sins of man. He rose from the dead, the first and only man to ever do so, on the third day. Forty days later, on Ascension Day, Jesus ascended into heaven.[1] Fifty days after Passover, which is ten days after Jesus’ ascension, the Jews celebrate the Feast of the First Fruits, also known as Pentecost (Leviticus 23:9-14).

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Fighting Fires

Fire fighting and other volunteer work is important for the community and rewarding for the individual. Churches, schools, hospitals, political parties, and lots of other organizations need help. Help them!

I miss active duty in the US Army. Not that retiring was a bad thing; God certainly seemed to direct it. But having a global mission every day, regardless of where you are stationed, is exhilarating. God plants each of us in a specific place and time, and expects us to serve, love, and enjoy Him there. In September 2018, I joined the Volunteer Fire Department in Beaver, WV. Fire service was a new venture for me, but has five major appeals:

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Ballad of the Corona Virus

A medical musical tale of love and survival between an American man and a Chinese woman in the world of the new corona virus.

The Ballad of the Corona Virus (tune “Open Arms”, Journey)

Verse 1
Lying beside you, here in the dark
Feeling your fever so high
Weakly you touch me, pain so severe
Why did I stay for the night?
I thought it was true love, I wanted some fun
But now, I just want to run

Chorus
Cause it’s Corona virus, twelve thousand cases
It has got you, will it get to me too?
Oh why, did I, visit China?
Can I catch a plane, or a boat or a train, outta here?

Verse 2
In California, hospital bed
Aching and coughing up blood
In isolation – gloves, gowns, and masks
Chills come on me like a flood
Nurses and doctors, don’t know what to do
There’s no vaccination for me.

Chorus
Cause it’s Corona virus, often fatal
Waiting for doctors, insurance won’t cover
But soon my lady will arrive from Wuhan
I’m fading away, but we’ll beat you someday, Corona

 

In Praise of Hymns

Choruses in church are great, but let’s not lose our powerful legacy of hymns in Christian ministry.

Last night I led a Hymn Sing and Soup Supper in the Fellowship Hall at our church. Between bowls of vegetable soup, chicken soup, tortilla soup, bean soup, and a host of others, we sang To God Be the Glory, I’ll Fly Away, Victory in Jesus, and more favorites. Elderly women in the back, members of the choir when we had one, harmonized to tunes they had known as children, while teenagers in the middle sat in silence. We had no slides with words on a screen as we do in our sanctuary, but used white hymnals with gold embossing, small letters, and cryptic little symbols called notes along with the lyrics on each line. The piano was a little out of tune, but we all carried on, singing at the top of our lungs. There was no sound of strumming, drumming, or picking. Having grown up in church singing hymns, I appreciated the change.

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The Purpose of Prayer

When prayers don’t seem to work, and we doubt God, what do we do?

A few days ago, our family dog, Serena, found wrapped chocolates that my sons had left in their bedroom. Within minutes, truffles, peppermint patties, and a host of other delectables were gone. The same day, close friends visited from northern Virginia. The chocolate and excitement were too much for Serena, and she couldn’t go to sleep. Instead of sleeping, she barked and barked and barked.

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A Conservative Letter on Black Friday

Being true to conservative ideals on the biggest spending day of the year.

I hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving, doing typical conservative things like enjoying family and friends, eating well, and giving thanks to God and others for the amazing blessings that we enjoy.

Let’s be sure that we celebrate Black Friday in the same conservative manner:

1. Don’t spend too much, because we fiscal conservatives are concerned about personal debt. Fiscal responsibility, after all, starts at home. 

2. Don’t spend too much, because the government already takes away too much of our hard earned money. Purchases come with sales tax, and many other taxes. 

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Simple Sabotage

How many of the things that we do sabotage our ability to do anything, and everything

My son and a friend were exploring the Internet a few days ago and came across a US Government manual from World War II called Simple Sabotage. The book is written to teach ordinary citizens in the occupied territories how to do simple things to impede the operations of the Nazi war machine. The Chinese form of torture and execution, Death by a Thousand Cuts, is a related idea. By inflicting a thousand delays, confusions, frustrations, and small obstacles, the common folk in the occupied territories could help drive out the Germans.

Workers and bosses today use “The Manual” in every organization in America, and the bigger the worse, without even knowing it. People are afraid to do anything without authorization from the Boss, and no one will take responsibility for their words or actions. Continue reading “Simple Sabotage”

Message Bearing Marching Bands

High school marching band shows reflect our priorities and our insanities. How can they help make us better?

Ours is a marching band family – three of our five children have been in marching bands at the high school and/our college level. Of the other two, one was in orchestra and one will be in marching band when she gets to high school. Our kids have been at Hayfield and Thomas Jefferson (TJ) High Schools in northern Virginia, Collierville High School in Tennessee, Shady Spring High School in West Virginia, and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. We have enjoyed parades, pep bands, and shows at football halftimes and band competitions. Dance teams, color guards, drum majors, and lines of marching and playing students entertain us every week in every autumn.   

High school marching band shows have themes, ranging from the musical (the Music of Queen), the cinematic (Illusion, including Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), and the historical (the Transcontinental Railway). Bands compete before judges, who score them on such measures as musicality, marching/dance, visuals, guard, pit, and drumline. At the end of every competition, the band with the highest score in their division wins a trophy. But what do judges find worthy of acclaim? Continue reading “Message Bearing Marching Bands”