A Periodic Posting on Various Topics – Issue 360 – August 22, 2017
Gee, it was awful nice of Mother Nature to try to make us feel even more at home here on the coast of central Florida. Why, back on July 30th we had a furious thunder storm. It surprised everyone — including the weather forecasters (who, bless their hearts, are just not as good as back home in Oklahoma). And it contained a tornado. It touched down briefly in northwest Bradenton, probably eight or ten miles away from our homestead. It did some damage to a couple of businesses then lifted back into the sky. Later, the National Weather declared it had been an “F-0” tornado, of “only” 80 mph. That is just a baby, by Oklahoma standards, where we were only about 20 miles away from two different F-5 funnels ripping up miles of communities (both in Moore, Okla.) at over . . . 300 mph. Now that will scare the peewaden and the bejeebers out of you.
Oh, by the way, if you have not clicked on that little button to “Follow” my blog, I sure would appreciate it if you would. That way you’re automatically notified when I post something here. Much obliged.
My revised schedule for performances at the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock, Texas now looks like this:
Friday, Sept. 8 – 1:00 pm, Civic Center Room 107 – Poetry Session with Carol Glover (Amarillo, TX), Jim Cathey (Marlin, TX), and me.
Friday, Sept. 8 – 4:00 pm, Civic Center Banquet Room 1 (West) – Music session with Bob Miller (Decatur, TX), Don Nix (Texarkana, AR), and me.
Saturday, Sept. 9 – 11:00 am to 1:50 pm, Park North, Outdoor Stage (across the street to the north from the Civic Center) – Music Session with Craig Carter & Zack Casey (Marathon, TX), Allan Chapman & Rodeo Kate (Fort Worth, TX), Stan Mahler (Olney, TX), Sid Hausman, Billy (Cleburne, TX), Mary Kaye (Escalante, UT), and little ol’ me. As you can see, I am “riding drag” on this outfit. On cattle drives long ago, they usually put the most inexperienced cowboys at the rear of the herd. Herds going up the old Chisholm Train to the rail yards in Kansas often included 2,000 to 50,000 cattle. So the cowpokes who rode at the rear of the herd got the worst view of all — looking at the south end of north-bound cows and inhaling all the constant clouds of dust.
However, in my case in Lubbock the entertainer who immediately precedes me is a mighty pretty lady with a sweet, sweet voice. So I’m hoping I can get on and off stage before the aura and glow from her performance fades. I suspect my time will come about 1:20 or later.
Here are the schedules for the Friday daytime shows and for the Saturday daytime shows. The shindig starts on Thursday night, Sept. 7th, and concludes on Sunday, Sept. 10th with a cowboy chuckwagon breakfast near the Outdoor Stage. followed by the popular cowboy church service until about noon .
By Robert J. Hastings
[This is said to be a poem, but being non-sophisticated in such matters it looks like an essay to me. Whichever one it is, read it and you will be inspired and blessed.]
TUCKED AWAY in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We’re traveling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.
But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination–for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the Station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the Station.
“Yes, when we reach the Station, that will be it!” we promise ourselves. “When we’re eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450SL Mercedes-Benz. . . have a nest egg for retirement!” From that day on we will all live happily ever after.
Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no Station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The Station is an illusion–it constantly out distances us. Yesterday’s a memory, tomorrow’s a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset, tomorrow’s a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.
So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather the regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.
“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along. The Station will come soon enough.
Loud Music in Worship
By Stan Paregien Sr.
I enjoy good Christian music at worship, whether in a large group or at my home. My personal religious heritage involved being reared in congregations where vocal music (i.e., a capella) was not only the standard but where most attendees firmly believed it was unscriptural and unthinkable to accompany that vocal music with instrumental music. Hey, if I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’.
Actually, of course, there are several other denominations which use only vocal music. And I don’t remember a single time in my decades of such worship where anyone complained about people singing too loudly. Usually, folks who visited from other denominations often complemented us because we had so many people actually singing and about how wonderful the four-part harmony was.
About 40 years ago, after studying the scriptures and church history and such, I reached a personal conclusion. I believe God himself must not care much, one way or the other about this issue, since his inspired writers in the New Testament gave no clear instructions about it. I know all the standard arguments, pro and con, and have neither the time nor the desire to revisit the matter. Just as I am a free man in Christ and able to differ in opinions and behavior from others, I freely grant that liberty to them.
Having said that, the last four years Peggy and I have worshipped with a group of fine Christian folk who use vocal music, only, in worship. That is their tradition and they like it, but the leaders do not believe the use of instruments in worship is wrong. Our leaders are quick to extend the hand of fellowship to people in other congregations, both in our group and out, who use instruments. And Peggy and I often visit other groups who use instruments, most of the time without an issue.
However, there is one fly in the proverbial ointment. It seems increasingly popular in some of those groups to have the instruments play with their amplifiers on maximum. Even when I preached for congregations which used instruments, I sometimes reminded them that the words of the songs were the heart of the music and should not be drowned out.
And I recall a few years ago when our congregation in Oklahoma decided (as many others of our heritage have) to add a service where instruments would be used. The music director, a talented and wonderful man, went around to the adult classes to assure everyone that the vocal music (i.e., the words) would always receive the priority. On the Sunday that change was made, we arrived a few minutes late. But the minute we stepped inside the lobby area the sounds coming from inside the sanctuary sounded like a rock band going full tilt. We really had trouble hearing our own singing and staying on key because of it. I didn’t like it, and still don’t. But, to repeat my earlier point, diversity is part of the Christian life.
Well, now you know why the following statement caught my attention. In the July, 2017 issue of THE KNOWLESLETTER, edited by friend Victor Knowles, he quotes a letter to him from Dr. Willard Black of San Jose, Calif., regarding a previous article from a reader complaining that their congregation no longer used hymnal books. Dr. Black said: “The five losses mentioned demonstrate a regression in thoughtful worship and richness in harmony and volume variations. Emotion only, body movement, and rhythm now dominate with less than 25% of the congregation actually singing. And when sound decibels exceed 85 (normally about 90 or 100 in our worship service), permanent hearing loss occurs, according to a Mayo Clinic audiology report. Is it being spiritual when we inflict permanent Sunday by Sunday destruction of part of the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’?”
Hmmm. Good question, don’t you think?
Gospel Singing Convention in February
in Bradenton, FL
This wonderful six-day event draws thousands of Christian music fans, many of them traveling hundreds of miles from dozens of states. If you love the Lord and terrific singing, harmony and musicianship, then make plans to boogie on down to the Bradenton Convention Center located across the Manatee River in Palmetto, Florida.
Yes, in case you’re wondering, a few of the groups do crank up their amplifiers more than we like. But if a group sound is especially offensive, do as we do and use that time to step just outside the main auditorium until they are through. There are plenty of exhibitors selling CD’s, DVD’s, books, Bibles, t-shirts, baseball caps, . . . and lots of jewelry for the ladies. You can stay out there until that sound is replaced by a group with a more acceptable decibel level.
A Coffee Shop with a Mission
Francios Biori, Stan & Peggy Paregien & Jean Marie Ndayisaba at the “Drink Coffee. Do Good” restaurant in Bradenton, Florida.
I’ve never been in favor of spending a pile of money on an elegant church building, but this may be carrying the idea of a “house” church too far. I don’t remember reading anything in the Bible about The Outhouse Church.
The image above and those immediately below are from a pamphlet written by a group of independent Christians who meet in our congregation’s building on Sunday afternoons. Most of them speak Russian . . . and maybe a little better than they speak English. Occasionally we have joint worship together.
Frankly, they and we don’t agree on all points of doctrine or how we “do church.” That’s okay, too. The congregations in the New Testament — in Jerusalem, Corinth, Ephesus, etc. — were in much the same situation. Yet they were one in their love of Jesus the Christ and sought to please God, even when they did not believe exactly alike. Today we call that unity in diversity, but the practice of Christian unity is as old as the first congregation started in Jerusalem in about 30 a.d.
So, yes, we love these Christian friends and fellow children of God with Eastern European roots. They are an encouragement to us and a blessing to us, as we hope we are to them.
My Cordial Invitation to You
I am “test driving” a new emailed newsletter titled, “An Encouraging Word.” My plan for this periodic newsletter is to send it out once or twice per month, but no more. My mission will be to come up with materials — essays, poems, stories, photographs, etc. — that will be upbeat and positive. I want to encourage each of us to dream big about improving our own attitudes and behaviors. Partially inspired by Bob Goff’s wonderful book, LOVE DOES, the goal will be to live life with more spontaneity and a spirit of adventure. And, just as important, to motivate ourselves to actually get out of our comfortable ruts and look for ways to help others.
So if that appeals to you, please send a short email to: Stan Paregien at paregien@gmail..com. In the “Subject Box” just say, “Encouraging Newsletter.” And in the “Body” of your email please let me know your first and last name and in what city and state (and nation, if you’re outside the USA) you live. You may UNSUBSCRIBE the same way, with no explanation necessary. None of your information will be shared with any 3rd party, ever. Thanks for considering this invitation.
How Do I Deactivate My
I recently placed my Facebook account in a deep, dark dungeon where it will stay for an indefinite time, but I really have no plans to resurrect it. Too much uncivil, discourteous and often vulgar remarks for my personal tastes. I certainly approve and sometimes engage in some spirited discussions on this subject or that, but such can be done without criticizing the other party’s honesty or intelligence. And it can be done without resorting to a barrage of four-letter words to demonstrate how limited your vocabulary is. So I put my account on “Deactivate” and have moved on to use my time more productively.
You can deactivate your account temporarily and choose to come back whenever you want. To deactivate your account:
- Click the account menu at the top right of any Facebook page
2. Select Settings
3. Click “Security” in the left column
4. Choose “Deactivate Your Account.” When you hit that button, then it will require you to enter your password. And then it will ask you a few “exit questions.”
5. Then you have the choice of “Opting Out of Emails” from Facebook, which I chose to do.
6. And you have the choice of “Opting Out of Messenger.” If you do NOT select this option (and I did not), then it will still be possible for your friends and you to communicate through that app (or whatever it is).
7. Click on the big blue button “Deactivate,” and another screen will pop up asking “Are you sure you want to deactivate.” If you’re sure, click on the “Deactivate Now” button and you will be finished. If you deactivate your account, your profile won’t be visible to other people on Facebook and people won’t be able to search for you. Some information, such as messages you sent to friends, may still be visible to others.
If you’d like to come back to Facebook after you’ve deactivated your account, you can reactivate your account at anytime by logging in with your email and password. However, keep in mind, if you use your Facebook account to log into Facebook or somewhere else, your account will be reactivated. This means your Facebook profile, including things like your friends, photos and posts, will be completely restored. Remember that you’ll need to have access to the email address you use to log in to reactivate your account.
To permanently delete your account: Permanently deleting your account means you won’t ever be able to reactivate or retrieve any of the content or information you’ve added. If you’d like to permanently delete your account with no option for recovery, please contact FB.
See ya next time. — Stan