Shepherd's Heart by BOB STEWART en-us Choose radical love As I write this, I am still reeling from the news that 58 or more concertgoers were killed, and at least 515 (and counting) injured, when a lone gunman opened fire from a hotel window on the strip in Las Vegas. I am, once more, wondering what our world — our nation — has come to. Law abiding citizens are getting to the point where those places and events that used to be sources of comfort — churches, concerts, athletic events — are now times and places of extreme... Fri, 06 Oct 2017 10:04:21 -0500 Fan the flames I don’t mean to sound overly sentimental, but I can say that my heart felt extremely heavy recently as I watched Internet reports (because television news wasn’t covering it) of so many wildfires burning out west. Our family has driven through the same places that were burning and spent a lot of time enjoying others. Places along the Sierra Nevada Range in California were ablaze. The giant trees of Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park were all being... Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:57:16 -0500 The folks ‘behind the curtainÂ’ If there is one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s this: things are never exactly as they seem. It’s like the carnival midway setting up outside my office in preparation for the annual street fair. If you walk down the middle of Main Street, all is colorful and bright and inviting, especially for young people. But from the sidewalk, on the backside of the vendor trucks and food wagons and carnival games, things don’t look so marvelous; so festive; so alluring. There are... Mon, 11 Sep 2017 10:56:35 -0500 What love do we celebrate Last week we celebrated St. Valentine's Day -- a time when all thoughts turn to love and sweethearts and hearts, flowers and candy. But many do not know that San Valentino was a real man who lived, probably, in the third century and was martyred sometime between 296 and 273 A.D. Legend has it that a priest named Valentino was in the bait of marrying couples in secret so the husband would not have to go to was in the Roman army. Little else is known about the man, so we use his "day" to... Fri, 24 Feb 2017 06:29:19 -0600 Don't just pass them by We all know someone, or lots of someones, who might be considered "elderly". They've lived long lives and raised their families. Some have had the pleasure of meeting, holding and loving their children's children, and even their children's children's children. They've also lost loved ones and old friends ... to distance and war and time and accidents and disease. While their memories are sharp, they remember the old days: jobs they've held, homes they've lived in, friends they've know, cars... Fri, 17 Feb 2017 07:11:39 -0600 As believers do we really believe I recently was reminded of one of the songs I used to like as a young teenager, and one that has been re-written countless times to make it more "Christian." The song was made famous by a group named The Monkees, and the name of the song "Hey, I'm a Believer." But sometimes I wonder if we "believers" really believe what we say we believe. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The word abundance is key in this particular passage of... Thu, 09 Feb 2017 15:24:04 -0600 First things first As we enter into a new year, let's remember to put first things first in our lives. In the sixth chapter of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus instructs those who believe in him to focus on what is necessary to be a success as a Christian. Note, he does not tell us to focus on those things that will make us a success in the world. But, rather, a success as a Christian. He says we are to "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." Many people put other things first. Some put their job... Wed, 04 Jan 2017 13:07:15 -0600 Back around . . . again Last week I wrote about coming "full circle" with my music and getting "back in the saddle" where performing publicly is concerned. This week I've been blessed with the opportunity to come "back around" in another area of my life. I was asked to get back into the news business as a lead reporter/editor for an area newspaper. And I am glad to report I accepted the challenge. When we first came to the Marshall area in the summer of 1996, I was traveling fulltime in the ministry. As things... Thu, 27 Oct 2016 10:08:17 -0500 The origins of wisdom In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, we are encouraged to seek after wisdom. Likewise, in the New Testament we are exhorted to walk in wisdom. However, in the epistle of James we learn that there is more than just one kind of wisdom; heavenly wisdom and earthly wisdom. James explores the differences between these two types of wisdom by making several contrasts. He begins with earthly wisdom, which is not from above. This is wisdom that follows the world's standards and is, therefore,... Wed, 07 Sep 2016 10:10:55 -0500 The challenge of taming the tongue In Chapter 3 of the Epistle of James, we find a discourse on that part of our body that seems to be the must unmanageable -- or untamable -- the tongue. James talks about how small but powerful the tongue really is. He reminds us that although a horse is very large, that strong and sometimes stubborn animal can be controlled by such a small instrument as a bit. He also speaks of a ship. These large seagoing vessels, though pushed across the waves by strong winds, are controlled by a... Wed, 31 Aug 2016 09:48:53 -0500 What kind of faith? Faith is certainly an essential element in the Christian life. The Bible tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God; that the Christian is saved by faith; and that whatever we do apart from faith is sin. We must realize, however, that there are different kinds of faith, and that only one can "save" us. In the second chapter of the book of James we find a discussion about the different kinds of faith, with an emphasis upon that faith which works to the saving of the... Wed, 24 Aug 2016 09:17:10 -0500 Our Citizenship I recently spent a couple of days in a town considered one of our nation's biggest tourist attractions. As I walked around observing the sights, I was struck, once again, at how many of the folks milling about were from other countries. It would be fair to say there were people visiting from all over the world. Though the United States is a melting pot, a land made up of folks from around the world, it was fairly easy to pick out those who were "not from around here." After all, we are... Wed, 17 Aug 2016 10:56:15 -0500 Now what? Well, the primaries have concluded and now we look forward to the general election in November. Throughout the past couple of years we have heard a couple of words thrown around from all sides of the political realm. They are "cronyism" and "rigged." Cronyism -- Cronyism is the practice of partiality in awarding jobs and other advantages to friends or trusted colleagues, especially in politics and between politicians and supportive organizations. For instance, officials may appoint "cronies"... Fri, 05 Aug 2016 08:54:16 -0500 A might have been by Bob Stewart The Shepherd's Heart I might have been a carpenter With a hammer and some nails Or maybe a southbound engineer With my eye upon the rails I might have been a teacher Working for a noble cause Or maybe an officer of the peace Enforcing the nation's laws But I'll always be just what I am Never running with the herd Putting ink on paper A writer of simple words I might have been a chemist Creating wonders in my lab Or maybe a tractor salesman Or the driver of... Fri, 29 Jul 2016 10:41:38 -0500 Just about 'over it' This week, we get to "enjoy" the Republican Party's celebration/slug-fest/nominating process played out on our television screens and mobile devices 24-hours a day. And then (say it isn't so) next week we get to see the Democrats do the same thing. Promises will be made. Personalities will be lifted-up, canonized, knighted and crowned. Lies will be told. Speeches will be given. Side events will be hosted. The liquor will flow. And when it's all said and done we should have a couple of... Wed, 20 Jul 2016 10:18:14 -0500 Big shoes to fill I know Father's Day has already come and gone, but I just had to give a shout out to the man who brought me up. He was a hard working man as far back as I can remember. He worked for 42 years at a steel mill in Kansas City, changing shifts every week and sometimes working double shifts several times a week. In fact, I can still remember that old rotary dial phone ringing and him telling mom he was going to work an extra shift again. He was a union man through and through. His crew at the... Wed, 22 Jun 2016 09:59:48 -0500 Collections I remember that long line of tea pots lining the wall atop the "sideboard" in my grandmother's dining room. There were pots that looked like chickens and milk cows and all different types of farm animals. Some were beautifully floral in design; some had gold trim and a shiny surface that looked polished and refined. Others, like the corn teapot, had salt and pepper shakers and a corn cob shaped butter dish to go along with them. We've all seen collections from time to time. Some folks have... Wed, 11 May 2016 11:40:46 -0500 Collections I remember that long line of tea pots lining the wall atop the "sideboard" in my grandmother's dining room. There were pots that looked like chickens and milk cows and all different types of farm animals. Some were beautifully floral in design; some had gold trim and a shiny surface that looked polished and refined. Others - like the corn teapot - had salt and pepper shakers and a corn cob shaped butter dish to go along with them. We've all seen collections from time to time. Some folks have... Mon, 09 May 2016 11:15:37 -0500 Peace ... Be Still Last night I was watching and listening to reports of storms, tornadoes, flooding and large hail in a variety of locations across the country and, later, listening to the storm blow through here at home. It always leaves me with a feeling that tends to be hard to describe. On one hand, we all know such storms can be devastating, even deadly. We pray for the safety and welfare of those in the path of the storms. On the other hand, there's something quite calming - yet exhilarating at the... Wed, 27 Apr 2016 07:51:08 -0500 Every Now and Again Every now and again, I get a little frustrated with everything going on in the world - the election mess, the terrorists, the wars, the earthquakes - and I take a little break by going to what is known in the modern day vernacular as my "happy place" in the hills of north-central Arkansas. Once there, I find myself sitting on the front porch of the cabin at Shiloh, looking out across the hay field toward the giant Sycamore tree. I survey the timber around the home site to see what might need... Wed, 27 Apr 2016 07:44:06 -0500