When the Frost is on the Punkin — A Poem

It’s been pretty warm up until a few days ago, then it snowed a foot and got cold. I thought maybe now would be the time (or, I guess, past time) to post one of my favorite poems.

I found this video of it; the words are below. I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I do.

When the Frost is on the Punkin
by James Whitcomb Riley

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! …
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me—
I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Love Your Enemies — a Quote

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

— Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 5:43-45)

Our Journey to Europe — Debi’s Journal

Europe 2015Last month my wife and I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a ministry trip to four of the SEND International fields in Central Europe. It was a great trip, however exhausting, where we were able to see what the missionaries of SEND (and Teach Beyond in Hungary) are doing on the ground in these four areas.

Debi is posting about our trip on her blog with descriptions and pictures, so I’ll direct you over there for that. It’s in four parts, one for each of the countries we visited: Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, and Macedonia.

The only thing I’d like to add to what she’s already said is a personal note. There were two times over there that I started to feel overwhelmed at the need in these areas. I don’t mean the physical need, though there was a lot of that also; I mean the massive level of spiritual darkness that is so pervasive in these places. The people in these locations, indeed all over Europe and the world, are truly and profoundly lost. It seems that the mandate given by Christ to take the Gospel to the world is so huge, and the number of Christians who are serious about taking up that mandate is so small, as to make the job seem impossible. Hopelessness in the face of such an impossible task can easily take over one’s soul. Twice during the trip I felt that sense of hopelessness.

But God is a very big God. The task is not ours, at least not in the sense that we are on our own to complete it. The task, ultimately, is God’s. He planned it from beginning to end, and he will see it through. Though all true Christians are called by God to take the wonderful Good News to the world, it is God who causes the growth. The responsibility for that belongs only to him. Our responsibility is to tell the Good News of Christ to the lost everywhere. The job is impossible for us, but nothing is impossible for God!

In Romans chapter 10 Paul quoted the Old Testament when he proclaimed, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” He then followed that up with these four questions:

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?
And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
And how are they to preach unless they are sent?

He concluded the thought by quoting Scripture again: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Will you consider your part in the mandate to take the Gospel to the world? If it seems impossible to you, that’s not a bad thing. It is impossible apart from God. But God is in the business of accomplishing the impossible and inspiring awe in the hearts of his people along the way.

Here are a few ways you can obey that mandate:

  1. Pray – Everyone who knows Christ can pray. Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Here are some ways you can pray every day (here, here, and here).
  2. Give – Though God is ultimately in control of his work, he commands that his people be personally involved. That includes doing what we can to use his money to finance the work. I believe most Christians can give a lot more to missions than they give currently. Will you consider and pray about how you can give more to the work of God? What are some things that you can give up in order to increase your giving to a missionary or missions organization?
  3. Go – I would ask that you not dismiss this too quickly. Please ask God if he would have you and your family go to the mission field yourselves. The needs are many:

    Are you a teacher?
    Are you tech-savvy?
    Are you a sound engineer?
    Are you good with kids?
    Are you talented in logistics or organization?
    Do you have leadership skills?
    Do you know music?
    Are you good with cars?
    Do you have skills with electrical circuits or electronics?
    Do you have legal training?

    If you answered yes to any of these (or any other skills you can imagine), there is need for your skill set in missions. Please pray about it. Research needs around the world. Look for missions agencies that serve the places in which you are most interested. If nothing else, you’ll gain a lot of new understanding of the world and missions in general.

Thank you for considering how you can be a part of God’s work around the world. If you have any questions at all about this, including where you might find resources or information about any area of missions, please let me know. I’d be glad to help you in any way I can.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
— Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 28:18-20)

Bible Study Approaches — The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

NarcigesisThere are three basic approaches to Bible study. Which of these three approaches you use will greatly determine the meaning you get from your study of a passage.

The Good
Exegesis = The process of discovering what the text says in its context and what the original author meant when he wrote it, and accepting that as its meaning.

The Bad
Eisegesis = The process of imposing one’s own views, interpretations, and preconceptions onto the text making it mean whatever one wants it to mean.

The Ugly
Narcigesis = “Narcissistic Eisegesis”, The process of inserting oneself into the passage to make it mean something related to oneself or one’s own personal journey of faith.

The only correct approach to Bible study is exegesis; the other two lead to false interpretations and, therefore, false applications.

It Can Never Mean What It Never Meant
A good rule of thumb when trying to find the meaning of a passage is, “It can never mean what it never meant.” If you want to know what a passage means, and therefore how to properly apply it to your own life (if there is a direct application to you), is to ask what the original author meant when he wrote it and, secondly, how the original audience would have understood it. This takes study and effort and there’s no shortcutting the process. Sadly we have become very fond of our lifestyle of fast food and quick-acting pills to cure our ills, and we’ve allowed that mentality to affect our study of Scripture. Consequently, we grab a verse, rip it from it’s textual, historical, and cultural contexts and make it say what we want it to say. Or we allow our preconceived notions to dictate its meaning. It’s a much easier and quicker process, but it will almost always lead to a wrong interpretation.

If we want to find the true meaning of a passage, we have to do the hard work of applying sound study techniques and allowing the text to speak for itself (exegesis) within its textual, historical, and cultural contexts.

What are these sound Bible study techniques? I’ll be talking more about those in future posts.

The Humanists’ Creed and its End Results (only slightly satirical)

Humanists’ Creed
by Steve Turner

We believe in Marx, Freud, and Darwin.
We believe that everything is OK as long as you don’t hurt anyone, to the best of your definition of hurt, and to the best of your definition of knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery’s fun.
We believe that sodomy’s OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything is getting better despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated and you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there is something in horoscopes, UFOs, and bent spoons.
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha, Mohammad, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher although we think that his good morals were really bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same, at least the ones we read were.
They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes Nothing because when you ask the dead what happens they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then it’s compulsory heaven for all except perhaps Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn.

We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What’s selected is average.
What’s average is normal.
What’s normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed.
American’s should beat their guns into tractors and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good; it’s only his behaviour that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly; the universe will readjust; history will alter.
We believe there is no absolute truth excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds.

If Chance be the Father of all flesh, disaster is His rainbow in the sky.
And when you hear “State of Emergency”,
“Sniper Kills Ten”, “Troops on Rampage”,
“Youths Go Looting”, “Bomb Blasts School”,
it is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.

—Steve Turner

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

(Psalm 1 ESV)