In Between Sundays

Calvin & the Christmas Star

main image

A couple of weeks ago that special day on our office calendar rolled around again.  It’s called “Christmas Decorating Day.”  Believe me, I’m a fan of good environments that reflect great values, but putting up Christmas decorations?  C’mon.  (Eye roll) Can I be honest?  I tried to come down with the flu on that day! In fact, three years ago on “Christmas Decorating Day” I had a detached retina and had to have emergency eye surgery.  To this day some of the staff STILL believe I faked the surgery to get out of decorating!!  U n r e a l.

So now you know, Christmas decorations don’t flip my switch.  But, there’s one thing that blesses my heart:  the innocence and wonder of children at Christmas time. 

Ryan and Aubrey Knight’s youngest son, Calvin, was helping us decorate the church.  We’d just finished putting up the big tree in the main lobby.  Calvin, with his little fingers, pointed upward to the top of the tree and said, “Where’s the star?”  (As you read this, the cool thing about Calvin is he still talks with that cute, boyish lisp; read it again.)  I asked, “What are you talking about Calvin?”  He repeated the question and pointed again, “Where’s the star?  Every Christmas tree needs a star.”

Great truth, Calvin.  “Every Christmas tree needs a star.”  As we walk through these days of December – whether we’re standing in lines at Silver Dollar City, sitting in traffic on E. Sunshine, buying presents or balancing bank accounts – let’s make certain Jesus is the “star” and hero of our homes, our hearts, our relationships, our worship.  

Posted by Ted Burden with

Fly-Fishing at Roaring River

main image

This past weekend was one I won’t soon forget.  I’ve filed it away in that special place; you know, the “file” where memories are made and kept?

My grandson, Quin, was in town for Thanksgiving.  He’s a typical 14-year-old; has his head in his iPhone, not much of a conversationalist but knows a lot about everything (except girls), and is at that awkward . . . well, let’s just say, “goofy” stage.  There’s nothing wrong with goofy.  In fact, I’ve been awkward and goofy most of my life.

This past summer, Quin and I found our connection point:  fly-fishing!  This past weekend as Jo, my daughter, and grand-daughter were hitting up the Black Friday sales, “Mr. Q” and I grabbed our fly rods, slipped out the side door, and headed to Roaring River.  It was an incredible day!  The trout were biting & the day was sunny and warm. 

Quin really enjoys trout fishing, but, there was just one little habit I noticed as he cast his new fly rod.  Quin threw the line so much that the “fly” was in the air more than it was in the water.  I watched him for a while, pondered whether or not I should say anything, and decided to offer him a quick pointer.  “Quin, you’re great at casting.  I love your style.  But, remember this little fact, NO fish are ever caught out of the water.”  He gave me that goofy 14-year-old “Huh?” look.  “Quin, your rate of catching fish will actually double when you leave your line in the water.” 

And, sure enough.  Quin caught sixteen trout on Saturday.

On the drive home, I pondered our day at Roaring River and thought about my own casting technique.  It dawned on me; no matter how good, or bad, the technique, the most meaningful measurement is “Am I catching fish?”  The more I thought about it I realized there were ministry implications as well.  In fact, Matthew 4 points to three simple factors as Jesus went fishing for men:

  • Location - He went where they were
  • Observation - He saw them
  • Invitation - He caught them & invited them

What did I learn last Saturday?  The blessing is not in found in my personal style or technique, or even how hip or cool we are as a church!  The real blessing is found when I’m faithfully “casting the Gospel” in waters to those who are ready and waiting. 

Posted by Ted Burden with

12345678910 ... 1314