Once upon a time, there was a creature known as the Portuguese toothfish. When American seafood started trending, it seemed like a natural fit. The toothfish was large, tasty, and relatively easy to catch. A perfect pairing. One problem, though — turns out, no one wanted to eat something called a toothfish. So the powers that be decided it would be known instead as a Chilean seabass. Problem solved.
Thank you for being here today. You had options. There are churches all over, offering all sorts of incentives and enticements. For instance, the Castle Church Brewing Community in Orlando bills itself as “Orlando’s newest destination brewery.” If you are asking yourself, “Is that what it sounds like?”, the answer is yes. They actually brew, sell and drink beer. Not in the actual assembly, mind you — at least, not as far as I can tell. But immediately afterward, and pretty much any other opportunity that affords itself.
I have a new favorite eatery in my lunchtime perimeter. I have been three times now, and every time the same manager was on duty. And she is amazing. Let’s be honest, I’m there for the food. If the food were terrible, I wouldn’t care if Bruce Springsteen, LeBron James and Scarlett Johansson were dishing it up. As it happens, the food is great. And I’m prepared to believe this woman gets a lot of the credit.
I figured out why she impresses me so much.
She is always there.
She is always knowledgeable.
She is always busy.
And she is always smiling.
The whole point of s’mores is fireplace, firepit or campfire entertainment with the family. You roast the marshmallow on an actual flame, then use the residual heat to melt a chocolate bar, grip the gooey goodness between two graham crackers, and go to town on it. Making them is far more enjoyable than eating them. Watching your children make them is even better.
You can do it in the microwave instead, if you like. But the crackers lose their crispiness, the marshmallow slides everywhere, it’s just a mess. There is, however, a device that will make the best microwave s’mores ever.
Purists insist that a “kolache” with sausage inside is actually a klobosniky. And strictly speaking, it is not Czech in origin, as is the kolache. It is a native Texan. Word has it the klobosniky was invented in West, Texas (which, ironically, is not in west Texas) at the Village Bakery in 1953.
If you are not from Texas, you don’t care. If you are from Texas, you probably still don’t care. Frankly, I’m not sure how much I care. I just like saying klobosniky.
I love my life in Florida. But I must say, trips back to Texas remind me of what I have left behind. Bluebonnets in March, and prickly pear flowers in May. Beef brisket barbecue so good that is actually better without sauce. Two dozen varieties of peppers in your local grocery store. Mexican food that is worth eating.
But one of the least-appreciated Texas delights is a pastry called a kolache.
Advocates for a capella (or non-instrumental) music in worship frequently turn to Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. Neither of these prohibits instruments in so many words; rather, they describe the actions of worshipful, thankful hearts as they address their Father to offer Him praise. That said, these and every other passage in the New Testament that refer to music in the assembly mentions and emphasizes singing. Instruments are not mentioned at all.
This constitutes a pattern.
A Facebook “preachers” group that I somehow became attached to (you social media types know how easily that can happen) brought a preacher in Tuscumbia, Alabama, named Jesse Winn to my attention. After e-mailing Bro. Winn and exchanging a few thoughts and pleasantries, I decided (with his permission) to include his name and a link to the article in question. You can find the article here. I encourage you to read his article with the same prayer, spirit and consideration I ask when you read mine. The gist of his article was this (his emphasis):
I believe that, generally speaking, as a movement, we (the churches of Christ) need to be less afraid of change when necessary and more willing to question things.
They held a “Beyoncé Mass” in San Francisco a few weeks ago. It was what it sounds like — a religious service centered around the music, politics, and general awesomeness of Beyoncé Knowles West. A good time was had by all.
The deer, birds and squirrels weren’t enough wildlife for my mom and dad, evidently. Now the creek behind their house is a duck habitat. With the waterways full again, ducks seem to have found their way to the Texas Hill Country again. (Calm down, all you hunters out there; my mom’s back porch is a…