I have made an administrative change.  The url for The Grain Bin is now  Click here to be re-directed to that site.  Thanks for following!

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Travels – and more new stuff in The Bin

No, there have not beeen any posts lately.  We spent most of last week in Texas with family, so I was too busy visiting and playing with the grandson to do any writing.

This morning, I put more sermon recordings in their appropriate hoppers; click on over to the “Sermons” page and have a listen.  I also added a new page; this one is a place for me to scatter some previously-written bulletin articles that might still germinate something good.  Click on the “Articles” tab under the banner photo and choose something to read.  I’ll add a few more periodically, so keep checking.

And – fear not:  Other seeds have been dropped in my bag that are trying very hard to become new posts.  I’ll let you know when something sprouts…

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Free Speech and Hate

I quickly typed up the following lines yesterday after reading a report about how the Supreme Court overturned the Lower Courts’ decisions that had favored the Snyder family:

The Supreme Court’s decision yesterday gives me pause for a couple of reasons.

1) More and more, any word spoken against the act of homosexuality on the basis of Biblical prohibition of the act will cause the speaker to be lumped into the same category as Fred and the Phelpsigans (combination of “Phelps” and “hooligans” – my own word creation).

2) At some point, someone is going to react violently to one of these funeral protests.

I stopped typing at that point, thinking that last statement might have been too strong, not wanting to be perceived as an instigator if my “observation” was taken as a “suggestion” (which it certainly is not!).   Interestingly, it is almost exactly what Albert Snyder said to reporters later in the day.  Snyder is the father of the fallen Marine whose 2006 funeral was protested by WBC members.

The first point actually is my greater personal concern, since it speaks to what I am (a Christian) and what I do (teach and preach the Bible).  Of course, Christians have been hated and misunderstood by non-Christians since the events recorded in Acts 2.  It’s nothing new, and the problem won’t disappear before Jesus comes again.  Jesus himself told his followers they would have “trouble” in this world (John 16:33), and that they would be “hated” because of him (Mark 13:13).  But it’s still disconcerting to be misunderstood and hated.

That we are actually, presently, hated was not all that clear to me (aside from the obvious evidence of hatred from extremist Muslims) until I ventured, almost accidentally, into CNN’s “Belief Blog.”  For example, yesterday’s post is written by a New Testament scholar and responds to another post asserting that the Bible provides no clear message on the subject of homosexuality.  The NT scholar, Robert A. J. Gagnon of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, wrote a very good article and briefly pointed out some flaws with the previous writer’s arguments.  (

The disturbing, and revealing, element in all this comes in the “SoundOff” section following the blog post.  At last glance, there were over 3500 comments in just over 2 days.  Granted, a lot of these are replies to other comments.  What is striking, though, is the vitriolic nature of many of these comments.  These people hate Christians, and they don’t mind saying so.  They view anyone with a view Biblical point of view as intellectually and morally stunted, and they freely splash their notes with nearly-personal attacks that sound a lot like something the Phelpsigans would write.  It’s more than a little disturbing.

Still, “freedom of speech” is the thing that allows us to preach and teach the Bible in this country just as freely as they argue against it. 

 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.  For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.” (Luke 6:22-23, New International Version).

Lord, please help me to teach the truth of your Word, in the face of hatred, without becoming hateful of those who don’t understand.

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No Punishment?

Mars Hill Bible Church “pastor” and author, Rob Bell,  has a new book coming out later this month.  I see that, even in pre-pub, it has already ignited a fire-storm.  The book is Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.  The fire-storm is over Bell’s universalist point of view which, apparently, is made even more clear in this book.  This one should be interesting to read, but I already know what the Bible says about it:  Heaven is real, and it is the place where those who have believed that Jesus is the Christ will live forever with God and his Son (John 14:1-6); Hell also is real, and it is Satan’s forever-dwelling-place, and all who have denied the deity of Jesus and not availed themselves of his saving power will exist forever in that place, away from God’s presence (Matthew 25:41-46; Matthew 5:22, 29, 30).

Watch for more when the book comes out (more firestorm as well as more from me)…

Here’s a link to CNN’s Religion Blog where I first read the story:

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New stuff in the Bin

I have added some pages to the blog (look under the banner photo above).  I wrote a little about myself and the family and added some photos to the “About” page.  Click on the Sermons page and choose a series from the drop-down menu and you will be taken to a page where you can choose a sermon (currently, the Sunday morning series is from 1st John and the Sunday Night sermons are from the Gospel of Luke).  The other page is for me to post the occassional Winfield church bulletin, but I’ll probably only add the ones in which I have written a fresh article.  Read, listen, and enjoy.

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>Something about the light…


Ezri spends a lot of time looking at lights.  If she is lying on her back, she looks up at the ceiling light, gets excited and kicks, sometimes even appears to talk animatedly to it.  If she is “reclining” in someone’s arms, she looks at the nearby floor lamp, staring endlessly at the light.  I do wonder if it is the light itself, or if it may be the bright brass fixtures themselves, or the textures of the various parts of the lamps that are, of course, accentuated by the shining light.  Maybe it’s all of these things, but I’ll stick to the light itself for a moment.
She’s attracted to the light.  That’s what I think.  And aren’t we often, sometimes necessarily, attracted to light.  I am often the last person up in our house at night.  Age has diminished my ability to see in a darkened room; after turning out the living room light, it’s a little difficult to get moving in the right direction.  After I stand still for just a few seconds, though, I see the little slice of light sliding under the bedroom door where a light is still on, and I know immediately how to get there.  I am attracted to the light.
Darkness can be frightening, distressing.  Darkness is the place and time for bad things to happen.  Violent crime occurs less in the daytime than at night; darkness is a cloak for uninhibited activity.  In the light, evil and selfishness have to slink in the corners lest they be seen for what they are.  They are attracted to the dark.
On a character level, people are usually either light or dark.  Some people are attracted to the light, maybe because they have nothing to hide and only want to do and be good.  Others are attracted to the dark, seeking the place in which they can do and be whatever their sensual selves desire; it has nothing to do with goodness, because the desire is only to please self.
It should be no surprise, then, that God himself is described as “light,” that his presence, as it is described in the Bible, is always a matter of “brightness” and “glory.”  Jesus, John told us, is “light,” and the business of Christians is to “walk in the light.”
I don’t know about you, but I want to always be attracted by the Light.
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>Slow Down and Listen

>I teach a regular Bible study each week at a nursing home here in Winfield.  I told the group (all older ladies) that this study is the high point of my week – and it really is.  Some of these ladies are over 80 years of age, several of them have been Christians longer than I have been alive – and they still come to the study with fresh desire to learn and to be encouraged by some time spent with the best Book of all.
We spent over a year working our way through the Psalms, a study requested by one of the ladies in the group.  Every week, I expected to hear, “Okay, Bobby, we’ve had enough Psalms; let’s move on to something else.”  But it never happened.  So we covered every single Psalm, and we spent about 6 weeks on Psalm 119.  They enjoyed it, I relished it – I probably read more deeply in this wonderful section of scripture than ever before.
Now, we are studying Proverbs (logical, isn’t it?), and I am once again in awe of God’s powerful communication with us.  This study won’t take as long, obviously, as the Psalms study, but I’m still not in a hurry.  And neither are they. 
Maybe that’s a lesson for me to take away from this.  Most of those in this group have been through the Bible dozens, maybe hundreds of times, but they are still eager to go through it again.  They know personally what I am only just beginning to understand – every time we study a passage, if hearts are open and minds are willing, something yet unseen may be found, and it will probably be the very thing I need to hear from God today.

The Wednesday morning class at Winfield Resthaven (we had a few special guests that day).

Lord, help me to slow down and listen to your word over and over until I can hear what you are really telling me today.

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>Writer’s Block

>Nancy and I went to the “Writer’s Workshop” at the FHU Lectures.  It was an appropriate choice – after all, each of us has written articles and other things.  We listened to Aubrey Johnson talk about “why” and “how”, and Neil Anderson talked to the group about many things from the publisher’s point of view.  One thing that came up over and over was the importance of just making oneself write “something”.  So, here I am, just writing “something”.  I suppose that was the reason for reviving the blog – I need to write, and I need someone “looking over my shoulder, so to speak, pushing me on.
I don’t know what causes writer’s block, but I know it is real.  A few years ago, there was always something bouncing around in my head that I needed to write down; lately, there seems to be very little.  Is it “life” that gets in the way?  Have difficult experiences whittled down the confidence I once felt that what I wanted to say was worth saying and worth someone’s time to read?  Or did I just get tired?
No answers surfaced when I posed those questions.  So, I’ll go back to the workshop suggestions — I’ll just write, and trust that something sensible will arise from the jumble of thoughts that trickle out.
Oh, and thanks to all who “blog” and don’t seem to mind letting other people look into their heads and hearts.  I appreciate the example!

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>Important People

>Nancy and I will attend a graveside service later today.  Bessie Hardin Chenault is an important person in our history.  She was an encourager to dozens of college students in Abilene, often inviting large groups into her home for lucious curry suppers and other get-togethers.  After her first husband, John, died, she made a trip to Southern Africa to visit the places she and John had worked.  We were so honored that she took several days out of her time in South Africa to travel up and visit us in Zimbabwe – our first visitor from “home” (and, incidentally, the only visitor from our sponsoring congregation…!).  Bessie and John together helped influence us to go to the mission field in the first place, and I know their example challenged and encouraged many others in our “circle” to do the same.  Thank you, Lord, for giving us Bessie!  Please comfort her sons and their families today as they tell her, “good bye.”

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>Proof for the previous post


The Charmer

The Handsome Boy
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