Archive by Author

Crawlfish Caper

Sneaking up to the corner of the house, the scrawny eight year-old boy carefully peered around it into the carport. His lips, perpetually separated by buckteeth, broke into a grin as he saw the car was gone and the object of his desire was where he knew it would be. Sitting there on the step by the door, magnified into lobster-sized proportions by both the afternoon sun shining through the water in the mayonnaise jar and his own imagination, was the crawlfish. His barefeet slapped across the concrete as he hurried over to the jar, picked it up with its glorious contents, and replaced it with a jam jar bearing a crawlfish less than half its size. The guilty pangs that arose as he took off around the corner were surpressed by the thought of how Terry had practically stolen it from him in the first place.

The thin boy had caught the crawlfish earlier that day. He and his older friend by four years, Terry, had spent that morning as they often did, hunting for crawlfish in the two creeks that ran down the borders of the boy’s yard and joined into a Y to form a larger creek as […]

The Question

Over the past several years I have run into “the question” ever so often, just infrequently enough to forget it is there. The experience is much like the one I have when I run into my mother-in-law’s sliding glass door, her dedication to cleanliness causing me to forget that there is a piece of thick glass between me and the great outdoors. “So how is the controversy in your congregation going?” one pastor friend or another from across the nation asks me when I see them after a long period of time. WHAM! I stand there momentarily stunned, a dumb look on my face, rubbing my forehead, feeling remarkably similar to my encounters with the sliding door. “What controversy?” I’m thinking. Then just like I start to laugh when I see my face print on the glass, a knowing smile comes over me as I realize to what they are referring. Oh, yeah, the wine.

Several years ago some godly members of our church, their consciences bothering them, asked our elders to study whether wine should be used in communion or not. Their reasoning to us was that it seemed to be the temperance movement in the history of our church, […]

Reformation Society of Men

Last night, June 7th, the first Reformation Society of Men’s meeting in Kokomo was held in the Fellowship Hall of the Sycamore RPC. We had 17 men in attendance. The men were told that these type of meetings were held during the time of the Reformation, and in recent years, primarily through the ministry of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Reformation Societies have been popping up around the nation. One of the strongest of these is located in Indianapolis which our “grandmother” congregation of Second RPC has been fundamental in founding and supporting. Our “mother” congregation in Lafayette was also instrumental in beginning one in their city two years ago. Good fruit has been developing from these ministries as a result.

The RSM here is slightly different in that it was designed to help us meet a need that exists in our own congregation of discipling the men. Thus, we are focusing currently on developing our men’s ability to hear the Lord speaking to them through the studied and preached Word of God from our worship the Lord’s Day prior to the meeting, as well as building mentoring and accountability relationships. We pray, however, that others will be led to join […]

The Coming of Gowf

Well over four hundred shots rang out on the Deer Track Golf Course located near Frankfort, Indiana, on Tuesday as three other men ventured out on the golf course with moi for my semi-annual golfing outing. I call it semi-annual because I usually only go twice a year, once in late spring and another time in early fall. Golf is too expensive and my playing too erratic to give much more time to it than that, but I do relish it when I can play. What can be more therapeutic for a pastor who has to be in the study quite a bit than strolling along green fairways (in my case it is across them as I go side-to-side looking for balls with a mind of their own), seeing woods and water beautifully placed (and spending a great deal of time in both of them), and enjoying the wildlife (we did not see any deer tracks, but the deer flies kept biting our necks, leading us to consider a new name for this particular course)?

Anyway, my blog title comes from a story by the English humorist P.G. Wodehouse, who tells a funny tale of a king who has a strange […]

A Distaff Laugh

“She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle.” -Proverbs 31:19

While having family worship at our table one morning this week with Miriam’s parents (affectionately known as Papa and Hoo-Hoo, the latter tag bestowed upon Grandma by young grandchildren for her habit of calling “Hoo-Hoo!” when entering the house), we were reading the last chapter of Proverbs about the excellent wife and came upon the above verse. The question arose over “What is a distaff?” Given that the context is talking about the industrious nature of the wife and mother spoken of in this passage, and the obvious reference to weaving or sewing in the second part of the verse, we concluded that the distaff must have been a part of a loom for weaving and went on.

This morning Miriam’s mother told us she had looked it up in the dictionary, and this is the interesting definition as given by Merriam-Webster:

distaff – “1 a : a staff for holding the flax, tow, or wool in spinning b : woman’s work or domain 2 : the female branch or side of a family.”

As we discussed especially the “1.b.” and “2” definitions, we reasoned that so associated […]

Announcing….MRS?

At our session meeting Wednesday night, our elders decided to begin a Men’s Society at Sycamore Reformed Presbyterian Church. Having seen a need to help men grow in the grace of Christ, and becoming excited in what he is seeing in church history through his study with Dr. Roy Blackwood, Jason Camery gave a presentation of how the Reformation spread as men had rigorous studies and discussions with one another over the Scriptures. John Calvin referred to these meetings as “prophecying” and John Knox called them the “Exercises.” They followed a certain format. Our particular meeting will have the following structure patterned after these Exercises:

Have a twenty minute study on the passage preached in the previous Lord’s Day sermon.
Have an elder give a ten minute presentation on his own study of the passage, stressing application.
Give time for questions and further discussion.
Pray together in accountability pairs.
Conclude with some robust psalm singing.

In recent years “Reformation Societies” have been popping up in different communities based on a similar format which have transcended denominational lines. Our hope is that others will join us in due time.

The only hitch? Jason proposed that we call this the “Men’s Reformation Society.” Later that night when I got […]

No Creed but Christ’s Creed

Often people and even congregations boast of “No Creed but Christ” or “No Creed but the Bible,” meaning they are downplaying the importance of having formulated doctrines of the Scriptures. A while back I wrote the following letter (edited slightly for the blogosphere) to a man named Tony living near the church to whom I had been witnessing. Tony had stated this belief to me and said he did not need to go to church. Perhaps some of the thoughts contained in this letter might be of help to you.

Dear Tony,

Thank you for the letter that you sent me at the beginning of the month. I thought about visiting you, but then decided to write back so you could think through my answers to your concerns. Then if you would like to talk personally about these things, I would be glad to meet with you.

A statement you made in your letter seems to be a good summary of your concern: “Having been associated with a legalistic church one thing I don’t need is much more doctrine.” You asked if the Reformed Presbyterian Church is big on doctrine. I can understand the concern you are expressing here.

What I would like to […]

A Doctrine to be Whispered

I do not often shout at my wife. If not for some foolish moments of indiscretion in my youth, I could even say I never shout at her. Why? Well, I would like to convince you of how noble I am, but that’s not really the truth in this situation. The bottom line, I would have to say, is that it simply just does not work. I always lose, and I hate losing.

For some reason, every time I have shouted at Miriam it has failed to move her to see things my way. Can you believe that? The Proverbs say, “The anger of man does not accomplish the purposes of God.” The few experiments where I have tried to prove the opposite hypothesis have ended in dismal failure. I have pulled a few Mount Merapis on her, which I think I could count on no more than my own fingers (though I am sure Miriam, being the sweet helpmeet she is, would lend me hers for the ones I have forgotten). At those times, I have only succeeded 1) in convincing her how utterly wrong I am anyway, 2) in making it nearly impossible to communicate further, and 3) in […]

The Glory of Old Men

Despite the fact that I re-sprained the arch of my left foot doing so, and had to hobble the rest of the way through it, I thoroughly enjoyed getting out on the basketball court with my two oldest sons last night at the spanking new YMCA in Flora. We played with dads and sons associated with our local home school team. When the local yoga class dismissed after the first hour, we were able to go full court. Someone had the idea of letting the young bucks on the team play together against the rest of us, which meant mainly us dads. I thought they would run us into the ground, but was surprised that, well, actually the opposite occured. As I scratched my head afterwards wondering how we pulled it off, it came to me when I remembered the ancient proverb:

The glory of young men is their strength, but the glory of old men is they know how to pass.

A Reminder Outside My Window

While I was in the Philippines in 2004, Miriam orchestrated, with the help of several friends in the church, the redecoration of my office. I had worked in it for months with it looking like a bomb shelter that had taken a direct hit. Two walls, invaded by outside moisture, had to have the plaster knocked completely off, with the west wall having only lath left and the northern wall being a rough, ugly brick of several varieties. The gray indoor-outdoor carpet was worn through in spots, stained, and dust-ridden. The two windows were both stained glass, but the glass had been broken in spots, the wood was rotting around the frames, and the lack of light was depressing. On the very day I arrived, Miriam took me that afternoon to the church, where I was met by a surprise party of dear friends and family in my new office, whch had been utterly transformed. It had freshly dry walled and painted walls, all color-coordinated with the new carpet and office chairs that were recovered in a sharp royal blue. New bookshelves lined my walls, where my books could finally display themselves appropriately rather than being double-stacked or […]