Tom with kids in Kuwait

Tom with kids in Kuwait
Tom with kids in Kuwait

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Christmas Spirit has Left the Building

The Christmas spirit has left the building.  Acrimony has returned to the online world.  People have returned to being divided and divisive.  The love of many has truly grown cold and it seems that we will only listen to what our itching ears want to hear. 

Can we as a nation no longer converse without bitterness?

Our greatest enemy is not ISIS.  It is our own selfishness and cold heartedness and short sightedness.  Where are the men and women who long to preserve the blessings of liberty not only for ourselves but our posterity?

As a pastor and a Christian, I knew this time was coming.  We have it in black and white.  As a Marine officer and an American, it breaks my heart to see us self destruct from our own selfishness. We would rather see this country crumble than give up insisting on our own way.

We must replace politicians with statesmen.
We must replace our vitriolic posts with conversations.
We must be Americans first while cherishing our ethnic roots.
We must respect our authorities while ensuring they are worthy of our respect.

For those of us who profess Christ as Lord and Savior, we must be a light unto the world.

We must be the salt of the earth—a chance for people to have a little taste of God’s goodness in their every encounter with us.

We must be the people who ignore the tactics of the world and choose to love one another over being right every time.

We must be the people ready to spring into action every time and every place where God’s Holy Spirit is being poured out in these last days.

The love of many has grown cold, but we are the few who live by the law of love.

God loved us first and still loves us.  Let us love one another.

Love one another.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Top 10 happenings of 2015

Don’t look now but 2015 is almost in the books.  What do you do when the year is about over?  You recap the highlights, of course.  I have listed the top 10 highlights of 2015 below.

How can you pick the top 10 of anything?  You just have to pick, knowing that you have missed something; but here is the great thing.  You can add what I missed in the comments section at the end of this article.

Let’s start the countdown.

#10 Come home!  This was our year round message.  Some came.  We are still calling.

#9 Tom preached in the local bar.  He went in to put up a poster for the spaghetti supper that would raise money for the Back to Africa mission and ended up proclaiming the good news, witnessing a customer reciting John 3:16, and left with a small offering.   He returned with a few Bibles and Gospels of John a few minutes later for those who might be hungry for the bread of life and thirsty for living water.   All things to all men so that some might be saved—works for me.

#8 Tom and Rick returned to Africa.  This time they trained pastors and church leaders in Kenya and Uganda and shattered part of the leadership model used by senior church leaders, offering instead one given by Jesus.  Are we ready to be the servant of all?

#7 Rain!  We prayed for it.  We got it.  Lakes and ponds are full again.  Welcome to the land of the faithful.  As a result of coming out of a seemingly never ending burn ban, local youth celebrated with hotdogs and marshmallows by a fire after a November football game.

#6  Whosoever Will was unanimously voted the best hymn of all time by the ordained clergy of the Burns Flat CPC.  Whosover will may come!  Okay, it might only be Tom’s favorite but we did, with the help of Kristy Denbo, add a few more songs to the children’s repertoire.   Why yes, the monkeys in the jungle do say, “Thank you, Lord.”

#5 Garrett Stegall in the pulpit—yes, you heard it right.  Garret preached not one, but two sermons in 2015.  He is on tap for yet another message in early 2016.  Mom may get her wish after all.

#4 VBS!  It’s always great.  This year it was scientifically great.  Great job girls!

#3 Disconnect Notices went out throughout Burns Flat during the Walk A Block for Jesus.  Connecting the Disconnected became a local mission in 2014 and got into gear fully in 2015.  There is still much to be done.  And #3A—we did a walk a block in Canute blitzing the town with Gospels of John.

#2 Chewy Tuesdays!  This simple sack lunch has become the epitome of God’s Love in Action.

#1 F4 Revived and Revitalized!  Wow!  What eyes to see the mission field we have with these children that find love in God’s house on Wednesday nights.  What a blessing to have the adults that we need to guide these young ones in the way they should go and do it with love!  What started  a decade ago as a gathering for fellowship and education has become the most important of missions in the life of this church and in this community.

Thank you Lord for trusting your servants with these most worthy assignments and for being your witnesses to your mighty acts!


Don't forget to add your highlights below..


Monday, December 7, 2015

All things being equal...

All things being equal—wait!  Let’s not go any further.

We use the expression casually without ever thinking, that all things are never really equal.  God is above all things.  People trying to make sense out of this world try to do so from an “all things being equal” standpoint.  They are not.

God’s ways and thoughts are higher than our thoughts.  To make sense of the creation without regard for the Creator brings us to confusion not clarity.  Before science fiction and fantasy authors can tell their story, they must first get their audience to suspend their disbelief.  Whether the story is about zombies or aliens or zombie aliens, the author must first get his or her readers to “buy in” to whatever universe must exist for the story to continue.

This can happen with words scrolling across the screen Star Wars style or with a simple, once upon a time; but it must happen or the story never gets off the ground.  That’s the life of the fiction writer.

Unfortunately, it is also the life of many people living in what they believe is the real world.  They think that all things being equal, this thing or that way is the solution.  All things are not equal.  God reigns.  His law and his love prevail.  Those who go against it are not going to prosper.

We take the walk and profess our faith as Christians and then we break out the world’s rule book and wonder why being a Christian doesn’t seem to change much.  We have a different walk to walk than does the world.  We have become strangers in this world.

To believe that all things being equal, this is how things should work is to suspend our disbelief and live by the rules of the world when we know better.

God wove his wisdom into the fabric of the universe.  Reality for the Christian is God’s wisdom.  Why do we spend so much time trying to make the world’s wisdom work when it is based upon a false reality?

Jesus didn’t come to turn the world upside down.  He came to put us right side up again.

As we continue in this Advent season, let’s get ready to have our world placed right side up again.  Let’s stop suspending our disbelief and believing the story that the world wants to tell.   It’s fiction.  It is time to believe the truth.

God is love.
Real life is in Jesus.
We are to love one another.

Let’s get ready to celebrate the birth of our King into this world and ready to embrace his return and live in the truth in this time in between--a time when the world would have us believe everything but the truth.

All things are not equal.  Let's follow the One who is above all things.

Friday, December 4, 2015

God isn't fixing this--okay, then what should that tell us?

It’s not the New York Times asking, Is God Dead?  It is not the Time Magazine take on the same query.  It is something of a headline that hopes to generate the same sort of controversy and paper sales that the Daily News, a New York City publication, has put forth.

It might sell a few more papers, but God Isn’t Fixing This, is indicative not of the violence in America but of our propensity to need someone or something tangible to blame.

Gun owners, lobbies, legislation, and legislators will be the targets again for a while.  So long as we keep them in our sights, we don’t have to deal with the real issues.

What issues?
We don’t value the sanctity of life.
We like being the most selfish people on the planet.

Yes, this is generalizing, but it is painfully accurate.  We can blame politicians and lobbyists or even God, but we are responsible for the current state of affairs in our nation.

Yes, many Christians pray daily.  Some try very hard to follow the teachings of Jesus.  Some try to love one another, but what the few are doing is not indicative of the direction that the country is heading.  The love of many has truly grown cold.

The history of God’s Chosen People is full of examples of a nation turning away from God time and time again.  We could look at what happened to them and learn or we could just find a target to blame instead.  We have chosen the latter.

So what can we do?

Turn back to God.  Really, what we need to do is turn back to God.

Let’s take the headline and just for the moment assume that it is valid on its face:  God is not fixing this.  The word God presumes some things even outside of the Christian community—all powerful, righteous, holy, just, and some non Christians will even add loving.

Very few picture God as the mean kid with a magnifying glass focusing sunlight on his creation until they burn.  In the premise of God is the understanding that God is good.

So if God is not fixing what is wrong with our country, then maybe, just maybe we are the ones that need to do the fixing.  We need to be the ones to make the course corrections.

These corrections won’t begin with our laws and law makers.  They must begin in our hearts.  We must turn away from the evil and wickedness in the world and turn back to God.  Let’s throw in a Bible term—repent.

We must repent of our wickedness.  We are the most narcissistic society on the planet.  We don’t value life in the womb.  We don’t value lives until a dozen are lost in some mass shooting.  Killing sells video games.  Life seems to be about what we can get for ourselves.

This whole store up treasures in heaven line of thinking falls on deaf American ears.  We have rejected God and still wonder why he isn’t fixing the problems of these horrific shootings that seem to come one after another these days.

Well, we are a special sort of stupid.  We want the benefits of being a godly society without having to be a godly society.

That dog don’t hunt!

We can turn to God—for real and not just in speeches—and he will help us break away from the wickedness that we know in this self gratifying, narcissistic, and blame prone society; or we can do nothing different and expect nothing different.

God isn’t fixing this, but he stands ready to fix it, heal us, heal our land, and bless us more than we can imagine if we will just turn back to him.

Those who currently seek God, his kingdom, and his righteousness are strangers in this world.  We don’t fit into the mainstream.  Our hope is in the Lord and our mission is to bring people to God through the good news of Jesus Christ.

We minister to a godless world.  We get that.  We don’t try to fix blame.  We try to lead people to the One who can fix hearts and lives and lead us to abundant and eternal life.

The answer is Jesus Christ!
The answer is Jesus.
Jesus is the way.

To follow him, we must first stop following the god of this age.  We must repent and give Jesus lordship in our lives.  One day he will reign in this world and we will know nothing but peace and love and righteousness. 

For now, each of us must turn away from the wickedness of the world and accept Jesus into our hearts.  The world will always have trouble, but we must take heart:  Jesus has overcome the world.

Let’s stop blaming God or guns or laws or lawmakers.  Let’s fix the condition of our hearts.

Let’s turn to God and put him first in everything.

God will fix this!  Are you ready to do things his way?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A perfect day or pondering providence

Perfect Day
Grace A. Bounds
The smell of coffee awakened me even before the alarm went off, which now would not be granted its privilege of making that mechanical ringing sound.  Why don’t they make clocks with a more pleasant sounding alarm?  That’s right, they do.  It’s just that I didn’t need any training in how to sleep through them.  Thank God for annoying sounds, well, at least on most mornings.  There was a little less than the half pot that normally greeted me on my morning trek to full consciousness.  Jim must have needed the extra caffeine.  No, that wasn’t it at all.  How could I forget our house guests so quickly?

There’s a thought that will wake you sooner than espresso.  Jim came home with a young couple and their two children and introduced us for the first time as he seated them in the living room.  As we both walked into the kitchen to get them some iced tea, actually the kids wanted Kool-Ade but were thrilled with ice water all the same, Jim told me that they needed a place for the night.  I about dropped the six drinks that I had placed on a makeshift tray when I asked my husband how he knew these people and he said that he didn’t.  They just needed a place to stay for the night.  It was a good thing that the only 6 matching glasses we had clean were plastic Eskimo Joe’s cups.  My mind raced with thoughts of why, why now, drugs, axe murderers…with children—ok that was a stretch—but it could happen.  If he wants to be a Good Samaritan he can just cart them off to the Lucky 7 Motor Inn and Suites a few miles down the road and pay the $29.95 himself, but while my mind cataloged endless fatal possibilities, my body just delivered the drinks, with a smile I might add.  The night was uneventful though it was sort of fun entertaining people that we didn’t know.  I didn’t know they were coming and never had a chance to get anxious about getting the house ready for them.  As it turned out, I wasn’t such a bad hostess after all and we enjoyed the company.  I really need to ask Jim how he ran into these nice folks.

My arthritis in my left elbow was trying to get the best of me again.  Sometimes, it seemed that every time I was off to a perfect day, the pain would return.  I guess everyone has a thorn in their side.  With a deep breath, I savored the smell of the coffee, took my first sip, and said aloud to the empty room, “Yes, Your grace will be sufficient for me.”

It was at that time that I noticed that Paul was still in the screened in porch and had surely been there all night.  We had put him out there so he wouldn’t get too excited with children in the house again—something he wasn’t used to as ours had been long gone when we got him.  Jim named him after looking at his records at the animal shelter and told me that he had been kicked out of several good homes in many different cities and that he had probably been beaten more than once, but he seemed eager to go on one more journey upon his release from prison, which by the way was on Rome street and we live in Spanish Heights.  I submitted to what surely my husband believed to be his exclusive domain and Paul of Tarsus—yes; Jim went the whole nine yards in naming him—has been with us for eight years now.  This morning, I wasn’t as concerned with his title as I was with why he didn’t have that panicked look on his face and wasn’t barking at me to let him out.  It could only be one thing.  He had managed to find a spot to relieve himself inside.  I decided to finish my coffee before venturing beyond the French doors into whatever odors awaited me this morning.  Paul just stared at me wagging his tail as if all was well in the world.  Well, perhaps for him it was.  He didn’t have to clean up whatever mess he had made.

I walked back to the coffee pot to top off my cup, really to delay the inevitable cleanup, when I noticed a sticky note on the counter next to the coffee pot.  I put Paul out last night after you were asleep but brought him in because of the storms.  Storms?  There were storms last night.  I must have slept really well.  Usually it takes at least an hour for my mind to wind down and let go of enough stuff that I can finally get to sleep.  Wow!  I did feel like I had rested more, even with the evening’s activities. The note continued, I figure that by now you have mentally kicked Paul out of Thessalonica and sent him packing for Berea.  How does he know?  And must he continue with the Pauline metaphors.  OK, the answer to the second question is a rhetorical yes.  I also guessed that by your second cup of coffee you would be awake enough to find this note, let him out, relieved that he had not relieved himself indoors, and all would be right again with the world.  Love, Jim.  There is no one in the world any better at getting that much on to or out of a sticky note.  I’ll bet that he is still smiling about it.
I hadn’t even made it to the shower when the realization hit me that I had just gotten a great night’s sleep following what turned out to be a relaxing evening at home with guests that felt like friends, awoke to fresh coffee, had my anxiety over a crises that didn’t exist curtailed by a little sticky note that couldn’t have been better if it was a poetic love letter--ok, maybe that last one was a stretch.  Love letters are good too.  Looking upward, knowing that I could not gaze far enough to see how close He really was to me, I said only, “God is Good.  Praise God!”

I put my car keys on the counter next to my Invitation CD that I promised myself I would give to Becky today at work.  Getting the right time and place to witness to her has been tough.  I feel that she is ready, but don’t know that I am.  I know what to say, but don’t know how to start.  Maybe the CD will get her to ask me some questions, then I’m off to the races.  I was surprised that there was still hot water for my shower, not knowing how many people had been up and about and bathed before me.  It felt good and my arthritis paid faded for the moment.

As I backed out of the driveway and put the car into drive, I realized that the CD was still on the counter.  How did I pick up my keys and miss getting the CD.  Oh well, back up the driveway.  Guess that God is going to let me pay the price for losing my memory or maybe for thinking the worst this morning.  As I re-entered the house and grabbed the disk, I noticed Paul still shut up in the porch.  This time he was whining—a clear signal that he couldn’t hold it much longer.  I guess I would have been cleaning up Paul’s mess if I hadn’t had to come back in.  What a lucky break.  Sometimes I think that there really are no coincidences, then I come to my senses and realize that God probably doesn’t worry too much about what I have to clean up around here.

As I backed out of my drive for the second time, Linda was just walking past our house on the other side of the street.  I had wasted enough time and really needed to get to work and thought that I might pretend to talk on my cell and not notice her, but I rolled down the window instead.  “Car break down again?”  She nodded.  “Hop in.  It’s not too far out of my way to drop you at work.”

Linda was in the car in an instant.  “Thanks.  It’s not broken, we just didn’t have any gas money, but I get paid tomorrow so it will be ok.”

“How about you stop by at the same time tomorrow and I will give you a ride then?”
“That wouldn’t be too much trouble?”

I’m not sure what got into me.  Why wasn’t I coming up with some conditions or something like, you had better be here 10 minutes early so I don’t have to wait on you or something like that.  Instead, I just said, “No trouble at all.  If you can make it a couple minutes early, we could go through the drive through and get a biscuit.  My treat.”

“Really?  I prayed a lot last night asking God to just get me through another day and He sends me you.  Too bad He can’t help me with my homework.”

“You’re going to school too?”

Nodding her head in the affirmative, “Might be able to get my degree in about another year.  This college literature is sure tougher that I thought.  I’m still not getting this whole metaphor thing when it applies to something more than just an article or short poem. “

“I might be able to help.  I married the Sultan of Metaphor, which I think would be a metaphor.”

We talked and laughed all the way to Linda’s work.  She thanked me again as she got out of the car, though this really wasn’t much of a detour for me at all.  This was hardly a morning with which the words routine, normal, according to plan, or any derivative of those meanings would apply.   I was running late and needed to get a move on, but for some reason, felt compelled just to stop for a moment in the parking lot and be still.  God didn’t say anything out loud, but I felt His peace.  It was only for a moment, then I was on my way again.

I also never saw the large stakebed truck in time to do anything.  I’m no mechanic, but the look in the driver’s eyes said that he had control over neither his steering nor brakes.  The truck sped by the front of my car with no more that a new coat of paint’s worth of distance between our vehicles.  He ran off the road only a few hundred yards down the road into some sand that road crews had failed to clean up from the winter storms months ago.  The sand brought the speeding hunk of metal and produce to an abrupt, but upright stop and I saw the driver get out of the vehicle, look to the sky, and kiss the ground.  Had I pulled out of that parking lot a second sooner, Jim would have had only the Apostle Paul to keep him company tonight and probably for the rest of his life.  Maybe there are no coincidences.

I was still a little pale when I arrived at work only a few minutes late.  Becky met me at the door.  The word about my close call had preceded me as someone had obviously seen most of what transpired, though they were certainly unaware of my divine pause in the parking lot.  “I’m fine” calmed her a little, “except for one thing.”  We made eye contact.  “I’ve been meaning to give you this for a week now.  I’m beginning to believe that there are no coincidences, that my days are just as they should be, and that everything that appears to be meaningless is only meaningless if I am not being purposeful myself.”

“That’s a mouthful…and thanks for the disk.”

“Becky, I’m sorry that I waited this long.  If you will listen to it tonight, I would love to talk to you about it tomorrow.”


As I settled into my cubicle, I noticed another yellow sticky note affixed to the side of my monitor.  This wasn’t from Jim, it was from the boss—read my first email as soon as you get in.  On some days my mind would have raced through the absurd possibilities of yet undone tasks—probably would have used the term harebrained thoughts--that might be contained in this electronic missive that awaited me to exhaust myself in yet another senseless cause in response to its beckoning, but today was the day the system ran a virus scan on boot up.  

That meant at least five minutes before I could get to work.  Instead of giving in to my multitasking nature that seems to govern my day, ok, sometimes my life, and start revising my lists; I just decided to be still for yet the second time today.

I looked at my desk calendar and flipped the page to today’s date.  The picture of the sunrise was overlayed with Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.   Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.   Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.   If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.  I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.   Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts.  The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.   To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless.

I heard a series of tones from my computer that told me the scan was completed and that my email program was running.  On most mornings, these tones would have been commands to quit wasting time and get to work.  Today, I thought for just another moment on you have preserved my life and on the last words…to all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless.  Wow.  I had been preserved that very morning.  There are no coincidences.  This day is exactly as it is supposed to be.  It’s perfect in all of its apparent disorder that somehow has been ordered for me.  For the first time in a long time, I thought with clarity.  Send me in, God.  Use me for your purpose, shape me in your image, shine your light through me, humble me so I don’t fall victim to self-pity, keep me strong for as long as you want me to run this race and fight the good fight.  I have been mistaking all that goes on around me as a distraction, when I am the one that needs to throw off my entanglements with my selfishness and put your perseverance in my heart.  Send me in, God.  What a perfect day you have made for me to show your glory to those around me!
Time to open that email.  It read only, thought that you would like these.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'    This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'    All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the 
Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
Heb 13:2-3; Matt 22:37-40; Matt 28:18-20; Matt 25:40; Ps 46:10; 1 Cor 12:4-6;Matt 25:21
You guessed it.  Grace A. Bounds is used as a pseudonym for this article.  For more articles by Tom Spence, follow these links:

 Here are some articles that look at the very challenging book of James.

How about something from the Gospel of Matthew

Number 3 seems to preach to itching ears...I hope not, but have to address it!

Having a hard time getting any response from the folks at Promise Keepers so I will do what you do when you live in the 21st century; blog it.

Headed to Dallas tomorrow for another PK gathering.  I always love it but this year I am a bit concerned about some of the promo that has preceded it.  I am wondering if somewhere in the mix, PK has begun to preach to itching ears.  I will find out over the next two days, but here is my concern.

Considering the current times, as Promise Keepers, we must boldly and courageously stand for truth. We must defend biblical marriage, champion the life of the unborn and protect religious liberty. We cannot stand back and allow moral relativism, cultural decadence, spiritual apathy and ecclesiastical indifference to hinder us any longer. We must draw our battle lines without compromise.

Hey guys, it’s time to get grounded.  We are about following Jesus.  While I love the fact that we have religious liberty in this country, take care in including it when you [we] draw our lines in the sand.

Jesus said that we would be persecuted.  The prophets before us were persecuted.

Biblical marriage -  Yes!
The sanctity of life—all life—yes!
Religious liberty—This is an American thing not a biblical command.

Don’t get me wrong, I love America and I love our liberty.  Having served as a United States Marine Corps officer for over 20 years; I love our constitution and our liberties, but if you intend to defend something, you need to know what it is.

Religious liberty is an American concept not something that we as men of integrity, Disciples of Christ, followers of Jesus need to have as our rallying cry.

This is not well grounded.  I ask that you reconsider the mantra you have put forth.  We may very well lose the battle over religious liberty [I pray that we don’t] but we must never concede our allegiance to Jesus.  Faithfulness not liberty is what we must stand for.

We have been blessed for decades not to have to wrestle with this issue but now that we do, we as Christians must know that the battle cry is not for religious liberty but for faithfulness to our commander—Jesus Christ.

Religious liberty provides freedom for all faiths—even those that are offense in some way to us.  Religious liberty is a wonderful freedom provided by our constitution. 

Faithfulness in the face of religious persecution should be your third area of focus.  I hope this is clear to you and you have a receptive spirit and not just a polished routine that you don’t want to revise.

Please prayerfully consider this.

I look forward to hearing you this weekend in the Dallas area.

Semper Fidelis,

Tom Spence

Post Script...  Don't get me wrong.  I will love this weekend and won't let this one point disrupt what promises to be a blessing to many, including me!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's not only news, it is good news!

You won’t find this in the Cordell Beacon.  They will only run it as paid advertising.  We are bombarded with killers—make that a single escaped killer—on the loose in the northeast, controversy over the Confederate flag, and woe mixed with celebration over gay marriage.  You can’t get away from it.

You would think that in small town America that Vacation Bible School would be news.  Well here is the news for the news media large and small:  it is news.  It is big news.  VBS has become a significant landmark in the lives of many children who otherwise may not know that there is another way to live than what they hear on television or the internet.

Many parents may just drop off their kids to get rid of them for a couple hours, but the children will be blessed in the process.  There is love in God’s house today.  And that is not only news.  It is good news!

Here is the VBS announcement for those who didn’t see it in the old school print media.

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church announced today that Vacation Bible School will be from Monday, 6 July through Friday, 10 July 2015.  This will once again be an evening format with registration beginning at 5:30 pm on Monday while the remainder of the week will have a 6:00 pm kickoff time.  Sessions end at 8:00 pm each day.  Parents are required to come into the sanctuary to claim their children.  No children will be released to walk home.  Children may not register themselves.  Parents must be present.

This year’s theme is SonSpark Labs VBS and will use a science theme as the kids go from Genesis to resurrection and life in Christ.

The Burns Flat Cumberland Presbyterian Church is located at 205 State Highway 44 in Burns Flat, Oklahoma.  That is just a hundred yards north of the town’s only traffic light on the east side of the highway.

The SonSpark Lab Techs eagerly await leading area children to a relationship with Jesus and helping them to understand the ongoing g relationship that leads to abundant life.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tom's books - Updated March 2015

Tom Spence has been writing with passion for the past few decades.  Recently that writing has moved from traditional periodicals to online publications and more than a few books

How do people know about these books?  They are usually not listed in the USA Today or New York Times, so most folks discover them in blogs such as this.

Most of Tom’s books are listed below.

Non Fiction

Acceptance of Authority  --

Forced Confessions --

Christianity for Marines  --

God Loves You  --  (Children’s book)

The Profanity Problem  --  (Lesson Plan and Student Handouts)

Acceptance of Authority  --  (Lesson Plan and Student Handouts)

Heaven and Hell  --

Technology Acquisition and Front End Analysis for the Small Church  --

Rebaselining America  --

The Best of Out of the Box  --  (Brain Teasers)



Tough Day at the Plate  --   (Children's book)



Salt of the Earth  --

9 Encounters of John 9  --

Clipboard Christmas Skits  --

The Conversation  --

In the Beginning  --

Tom also maintains 3 blogs and when so inclined publishes the local newspaper.
Tom’s trials, tribulations, and timely thoughts  --
This is Oklahoma  --              

Saturday, March 21, 2015

May you live in interesting times

They say there is a Chinese saying that says, “May you live in interesting times.”  Supposedly it is a curse, but no such Chinese quote seems to exist.

Yet, we do live in interesting times.

In the middle of a service for a high school classmate who died earlier this week, I received a text that the brother of one of our elders had passed.  We had prayed for him for some time and are praying for the family now.

Yesterday on my way back home, I stopped to visit members of the congregation in 3 different Oklahoma City hospitals.  I had been to 2 of them before but only 1 for visitation purposes.  I was born I the other almost 59 years ago; at least that’s what my birth certificate said.  I don’t remember the experience.

I also affirmed that it is good to have a prayer blanket or two prepositioned in my truck.  You can’t always swing by the office first.

The last hospital on my rounds was to see my mother.  She was at a fairly new facility in Yukon.  It was, of course, after visiting hours.  Things usually work out that way.

My mother was to have gone with us for a few days in Branson but wasn't up to the trip.  It seems she had a couple of ambulance rides in store for her that week instead.  One of them she still describes as a taxi ride.  Meds without food make for revisionist history.

My visit to St. Anthony’s—the hospital where I was born—was a week too late to have had one last prayer with my class mate, who passed away on those same grounds this past Monday.

Sometimes life is one of those puzzles where the pieces don’t always fit where you think they would; yet, we live in interesting times.  Were it not for the assurance of our Father’s love that never ends and his peace that goes beyond understanding, we might find ourselves trying to make all of the pieces fit together.

The times are interesting.
God’s love is certain.
His peace is essential to seeing us through the day.

May the peace of God that goes beyond our understanding guard you heart and mind in Christ Jesus.