My New Book Will Be Available Next Week – Thank the Lord!

 

FrontCoverImage

 

 

Createspace says it should be available on Amazon in 3-5 days. The Kindle ebook is in progress and I’ll have more info on all of this soon.

Here’s the back cover info -

What Biblical lessons can you learn from falling out of your uncle’s pickup truck, accidentally hitting your cousin in the eye with a paddleball, or watching toads patiently wait for tasty bugs? Bill Jones pondered those, and other memories and observations of everyday life, and found the lessons God gives in them. Such thinking crystallized his understanding  that God’s goodness and greatness are all around us, and He is with us every step of our journey through life.

The stories told in these devotional readings illustrate how God uses the happenings in our life, both the good and bad, and the small and large, to show us His love and mercy, and teach us how we should live. Mixing touches of humor and unconventional perspectives, the author gives us the opportunity to do some thinking about our great and gracious God, and, hopefully, get a little closer to Him.

Bill Jones and his wife, Sharon, live in a rural area of southeastern Georgia where they attend a small community church. He has had inspirational articles published in Evangel, Keys to Living and The Christian Journal magazines.

 

 

Angel Trumpet Topiary Blooming Update

I posted this picture earlier when I was trying to get the Angel Trumpet topiary going. Just wanted to post an update and declare a success (at least in my opinion).

 

Angel Trumpet Trees

Angel Trumpet Trees

Angel Trumpet Topiary Blooming

Angel Trumpet Topiary Blooming

In the previous post I also wrote about starting new plants from cuttings. I had a successful season for that, too, and gave away several plants – always a fun thing.

God’s wonderful creation – it just keeps amazing me.

Follow God’s Standards, Not Man’s

Bill Jones:

I checked my statistics and found this one was my all time most read post – thought I’d reblog it in appreciation of the folks who took the time.

Originally posted on I Was Thinking the Other Day About...:

Blueberry Netting Frame Completed

My biggest Christmas present last year was a sturdy frame for the bird netting around our blueberry bushes. Some design and assembly was required.  I decided nine posts would support it – some would be eight feet out of the ground and others eight and a half feet. As the assembly began, I dug the holes and placed the posts. Since in total I had dug 21 feet of hole, it was time to take a break and save straightening the posts for later.

As I walked away I turned to review the progress. Some posts were catawampus to the inside, others slanted out, and a couple looked like leaning tree trunks growing up out of the bushes. When I reached the house I told my wife, Sharon, to look at the sculpture I had made. I declared it to be “art”.

She smiled and said…

View original 516 more words

More on Extras in Movies and God’s Purposes – was this cricket a Columbo star?

 

Cricket Extra

Cricket Extra

 

I watched an old Columbo TV show the other day, and as a car drove by in an outdoor night scene, you could hear one of the cast members making noises in the bushes. The sound of a cricket’s chirps rang out, trying to convince the viewers they really were outside at night.

I’m sure he wasn’t listed in the credits, but, he was probably the cricket cast member for Columbo. If there was a nighttime chirping part to fill, I imagine the sound effects editor  pulled out the same “cricket 101″ tape and over-dubbed it on the soundtrack. Perfection every time. Never missed his mark or had to do a re-take.

I wondered if this cricket was featured in other soundtracks. Had I heard him before but didn’t recognize him? Maybe he was a mega-star among crickets and recordings of his chirp were shared among the studios, and his “voice” heard in hundreds of shows and movies. Or was he even an international star – you wouldn’t need subtitles for that, because they all seem to speak the same in any language. (Actually not speaking, of course, but rubbing their wings together.)

I don’t know the answer to those questions or to the cricket’s stardom status. As you see, this relates to my last blog on “extras” in TV and movies. Slightly different because this one isn’t human, and we don’t see him but only hear him. Either way, his purpose is the same as other extras – to improve the quality of the environment, or as one comment said, to enhance the ambience of the scene – to make it more enjoyable.

Again, like my last post, that gives another aspect of being an “extra” that relates to our responsibility as Christians. Like the cricket who was heard and not seen, and perhaps noticed by only one person out of hundreds, we are to make life for others more enjoyable, without searching for praise and glory.

Jesus gave us instructions to enhance the ambience of any scene we’re a part of when He said “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13) and “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Then, He made it clear that we are the extras and the glory goes to where it truly belongs:

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 ESV)

The Parts and Purposes of Extras in Film, and in God’s Plans

Crowd of Hollywood Film Extras in the 1930's

Crowd of Hollywood Film Extras in the 1930’s

 

Sometimes, I notice an “extra” on a TV show – someone in a quick shot at a table in a restaurant, or, someone who walks by in a street scene, and I pause the show. I especially look for scenes that have the stars up close and the extra is off to the side or behind them. (You’ll see why in a minute.)

I check to make sure my wife, Sharon, is reading or on the computer, and not paying attention, then rewind it a bit. I excitedly ask “did you see that?” and start the action again. As she looks and the extra comes into view, I exclaim “See! See! There I am, There I am!”

She knows I’m pretending to be that person who has this very small part in a program, but still gets excited and wants to show someone. That’s why the scene with the star up front is most effective. Viewers hardly notice anyone but the stars in those shots (“See, you can see the back of my head over her right shoulder!”). But, that extra has a part and a purpose, and I imagine their excitement bubbling over. Even though they won’t even get into the credits, there will be a sense of triumph.

Sharon and I usually then talk a bit about “extras” – their motivation and how they might get a particular part, the large quantity needed for some scenes, etc. (And, she’s so sweet, she’s never told me to stop bothering her with such silliness).

There are stories around about many big stars’ early “extra” days in show business. However, the vast majority of extras remain extras. And, because they do have a part and a purpose, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The same goes for us as Christians. Most of us won’t be famous. Most of us won’t be “stars”, especially in the world’s eyes. But, the Lord has given each of us a specific part and purpose. It won’t be just sitting at a table – but, it might be sitting at a table praying and studying His Word; or sitting down with your family to enjoy the meal you just prepared for them; or having a cup of coffee with someone who needs a good listener or comforting words.

It won’t be just passing by – but, it could be going out of our way to give someone physical assistance; or visiting at the hospital; or it could be figuratively “walking a mile in another’s shoes” to help us develop compassion for their burdens.

We can, and should, get excited about the parts God gives us. But, announcing it to the world with a “See! See! There I am!” isn’t an appropriate response. Simply and humbly telling others how God has blessed us to glorify Him is always correct. And, we should remember where our parts and successes come from.

            As the Psalmist says, all of our triumphs are through the work of God’s hands. “For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work. I will triumph through the works of your hands” Psalms 92:4

The Beatles Came and Went – But, the Word of God Will Remain

The Beatles Come to America - 1964

The Beatles Come to America – 1964

I remember we were at recess at Sallie Zetterower Elementary School, in November, 1963, when our sixth grade teacher called us into the classroom and told us President Kennedy had been shot. Strangely enough, I also remember a few months later, in early 1964, when a fellow student, Lee Driggers, told us during Civics news-sharing time that the beetles were coming. That’s the way most of us heard it and thought it, at least.

We all laughed and it took a little explaining that the bugs weren’t coming. Lee said a rock and roll band was coming from England to visit the US, and they spelled their name: The Beatles. We laughed again at someone misspelling a word on purpose.

I’m sure I could remember more events from elementary school if I concentrated, but overall, the other things I remember are the teachers, and the smell and taste of the cinnamon rolls in the lunchroom.

Yet, I know I was there and apparently paid attention to the teachers at times. I can read and write and do arithmetic (although, I do still have to think about it to remember that 7 times 9 is 63.) So, someone was doing things correctly, and I’m sure it wasn’t me most of the time.

Makes me think about Sunday preaching. I can usually remember some topics and points of the last few sermons I’ve heard (at least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) But, I couldn’t list out the sermon topics and points for the last three months. And, certainly not for the last six years – relating that length of time to the six years I spent in elementary school.

But, I can think back on the last six years and say that I have learned from and been affected by many sermons. Someone was doing things correctly, and I’m sure it wasn’t me most of the time.

I (and we) do need to pay attention and think about what is being said in order for a sermon to affect us. And, in my opinion, the preacher needs to spend time in prayer and study in preparation for the preaching. However, while those actions are doing things correctly, they’re pretty much useless unless the One Who does all things correctly is involved.

In the praying and studying. In the hearing and thinking. In the preaching. Without the presence and power of God, it is all foolishness. Yet, with God’s power and presence, our hearts are opened up to Him, and His Word is opened up to us and, yes, we grow spiritually.

We can look back over a sermon, and a month of sermons and six years of sermons, and remember specifics of only a few. But, we also find it has become more common that a verse of Scripture or something said about a verse of Scripture comes to mind at just the right time. We realize we have grown stronger in our faith and knowledge through God’s power and presence.

The Beatles did come and did have an effect on the country, but, my memory of Lee making that announcement isn’t much more than a bit of personal trivia. Some elementary school classes (and news sharing times) may stick with us through time, but it’s the overall process that’s critical. If we have good teachers leading us, it makes for good results – and we learn reading, writing and arithmetic, along with other life skills.

Specific sermons may stick with us through time, but, it’s the overall process that’s critical. If we have our Lord and Savior leading us, that’s fantastic, and we learn and follow His ways and His paths through life – and those are the most critical life skills.

Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.” Psalms 25:4

Beautiful Blooms – Blessings From God

Pink Hibiscus

Pink Hibiscus

Day Lily

Day Lily

Coneflower adn Devil's Trumpet

Coneflower and Devil’s Trumpet

I’ve missed a bit on the blog posts the last couple of weeks, but thought I would show a few blooms from the backyard. At the moment it has been dry and the last few days were super “wet” – not from rain but from humidity.

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow ; they toil not, neither do they spin : And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”  Matthew 6:28-29 KJV