Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hustle and

Here at the cabin it is so restful. There are times when I want to "get away" from the hustle and bustle of the fast-paced life of the city. For ten years of my life I lived in a city of two million plus population. For the next ten years I was in and out of metropolitan airports all over Europe and Africa and America. I do NOT miss it. Here, I'm watching bumble-bees hang suspended in the air. I'm watching the birds catch insects. I'm watching honey-bees suck nectar from spring buds and butter-cups splashed over a greening lawn. I feel a cool breeze on my cheek and listen to the quietude of the mountains as the music of the wind-chime plays rich tones on the corner of the front porch. There are those who would not like this simple life-style but God knew that I loved it, therefore he gave me a choice spot here in the Cherokee Forest that I have named Pumzika (You Rest) Acres.

I was thinking ... Over the past fifty years I have gained some skills which could be useful - especially in small country churches. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to offer yourself to small churches and them not have to feel any burden to give you an offering? Just go to a church, maybe park nearby, pull out the multi-media equipment, bless that pastor and church for a service or two - or a week if they wanted it. Take the Pastor and wife out to eat (and pay for their meal). Pull out the hammer and saw if needed...the with cleaning the church and making it ready for worship on Sunday. All at no charge to the pastor and church. No obligation. Sure - there would be times when a pastor would not want your help. Others might fear "the strangers". However I'm convinced it would be a blessing to many. I know what something like that would have meant to me when I pastored small churches and could not afford a guest speaker. I have a great friend (Jack Darnell) who, with his wife, Sherry, does this. He also does "chalk talks" and draws pictures for churches, youth groups, and for seniors in retirement centers.

However -- Another part of the plan though would be to teach the people the Holy Bible. In the Bible we are taught that we must learn to give if we are to receive. Scripture teaches in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." This applies to everyone, regardless of the ability of the individual. I love giving. I have been embarrassed a few times when the offering plate came by because of the small amount I was able to give. I've never believed that God expected that I should give more than I could reasonably expect to receive. I certainly don't promise to give more for a car that I can reasonably expect to receive. I don't promise to pay more for a house than I can reasonably expect to receive. Could it be that the violation of the principles expressed in those last sentences is why we in America are having the current financial crisis? People, businesses, and the government have over-extended! Just as I believe that the government and big corporations should proceed with sound financial planning, so I believe that giving to the Lord's work is to be well thought out, planned, and consistent with sound financial principles.

For us (Frances and me) we placed a priority on tithing when we first married. From whatever amount we made we "paid" our tithes to the church where we were members. We have never suffered because of that practice. In fact, we believe God's Word is true when it says in Malachi 3:10, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." We never expected an immediate return on our investment in God's work. There were times when we had troubles financially. What I did was take an extra job. At other times (like when I first started in ministry) Frances worked as a school-teacher so that we would be able to have adequate food on our table.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Day Out In The Sun

This is the road to the cabin near the spot which I call "Cell-phone Hill" because this is the area where you can usually get good cell phone connection. Snow must have been very deep here and the shade of the trees prevented the sun from melting it. I'm glad I was not trying to negotiate the hills while that snow was falling for this is a one lane road with steep drop-offs of 100 to 200 feet in places!

The view from the front porch showing the recently built new bridge. This is three miles from the last utility pole, so there is not much traffic.

This is Loss Creek. It runs by the front porch. Three years ago there was a footlog we had fun crossing and trying to maintain balance on. A couple months back the rain swept that log out of sight - has now broken two more trees and this tangled mess of branches is the result.

A view of the cabin from the road. When I was trying to sell the idea of our buying this cabin, this is the view I showed Frances which won her over. When she saw it I saw the look on her face change and I knew we were going to own this lovely get-away! She is not near as fond of it as I am but does enjoy going out there and taking family or friends for a day-trip.

I topped off the lunch with this fresh "red grapefruit" from Florida, bought at our local foodstore. I had opened a can of rice and chicken and set it on the gas stove eye...then poured it into a bowl. I had some sliced bread, and and apple plus a whole pot of fresh coffee to drink with my peanut butter wafer cookies.

This picture is the view from the backporch! Here is where my son-in-law Rick Durham and I saw three turkeys scratching in the leaves on a visit this past fall. Turkey season opens April 1st and I had so looked forward to doing some hunting. Now - it seems - I will be having cataract surgery during that time and may not be allowed to shoot the shotgun.

This is the view OF the backporch. Well, actually the corner of the porch where I sat to eat lunch and to enjoy the warmth of the sun beaming down on me. I had a heavy corduroy coat with fleece lining that I had to use to cover my knees because the sun began to burn them through my clothes. I've got a rocking chair on the other end of the porch, but I chose these chairs because I worked on the Sunday School lesson using my laptop.

WhatFun! It was a gorgeous day in East Tennessee. The sun and blue sky overhead were wondrous to behold. I'm sure that the earth, trees, creeks and all the critters were also glad for this reprieve from the cold we've had in recent days. Yesterday was the first time I've been here for about two weeks and it felt so goooooood!