Devotion in Motion: Words from the wedding

8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” ~ 1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV)

Note from the mamas: One of the perks of being a minister is that you have the opportunity to speak during your own child’s wedding ceremony. Below are the incredibly touching words that Brother John said during his son Seth’s recent wedding to his new bride, Leanne. Grab some tissues, mamas. You’re going to need them. (And congrats to the newlyweds.)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Seth and Leanne, it is your wedding day! I’ve put together some thoughts for you. Don’t worry. There are only a few.

Dear Seth, it’s hard to believe the time has passed by so quickly. Do you remember that whenever we had to divide the family up for some reason, you always went with me? When you were a toddler, it was MY job to rock you to sleep at night. Your mother said you and I are a good pair; she said we’re very “simpatico,” and I agree. Other people always have to be GOING and DOING exciting things as they live their lives. But Seth and Dad a very sweet boycould always just BE. We could BE together and BE happy. And because of that, I have lots of happy memories, and I hope you do, too.

When you turned 15, we didn’t get along at all for a while; I don’t know the reason, but you and I didn’t “chime.” Fortunately, I’ve grown up a lot over the past 6 years. ;-) But even though we’ve gone through “rough patches,” there has never been a time when I have not loved you. And I love you even more today. I’m so very proud of you and the fine young man you’ve grown up to be.

I have sensed that you’re worried to be starting out without a lot of money. Don’t worry! A lot of people start out without much money. Your mother and I started out with just a little. My father and mother started out with even less. But the Lord has blessed us in our lives and prospered us. When Spencer was little, he said “We aren’t rich. We aren’t poor. But we are MEDIUM.” He was right, and MEDIUM is the best thing to be.

Just use your Pappaw Leonard and your Peachie Elizabeth as an example. Take the little bit of money God has given you, and manage it well. Give your heart to the Lord, and serve Him in His church. And always give your tithe FIRST to the Lord. If you will do these things, and always love Him, I believe you will always have ALL the things you need and SOME of the things you want. That is the happiest life of all.

Something you will see as you live your life is that there are people who start off with a lot of things — but they are not rich toward God. For them, life doesn’t always go well. Other people start out with fewer things, but they have the blessing of God. Because of this, their lives are full of blessing. I will pray that this is what the Lord does for you.

And now, to your wife:

Dear Brenda Leanne, we love you so very much. When you and Seth went on your first date, we looked you up on Facebook and thought you went by your first name, Brenda. So that’s what we called you, and still do! You seth and leanne2are good to put up with that….

When our younger son was a baby, Miss Susan began to pray God would send the perfect wife for Seth. How does it feel to be the person we asked God for? We believe you are the perfect wife for Seth. Your family did a wonderful job in raising you to be a lovely girl. And we are glad to be joining our families together.

Brenda, you know I’m always preaching about Martin Luther. He lived 500 years ago in Germany and reformed the Church. He said that God is the Trinity — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is like a family. God the Father is like the father,  Jesus the Son is like the child, and the Holy Spirit is like the Mother. (This analogy isn’t perfect, so I won’t bind this on you.) But it seems like there’s a lot of truth in what Luther said about how this relates to human homes. The Father (Husband) CREATES the home. The Son (Child) obeys the Father and the Spirit.

But the mother is like the Holy Spirit in the home. She helps to determine the SPIRIT within the home. In Mississippi we say, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy!” (Miss Susan has figured this out. Twenty-five years ago we would have had a fight on your wedding day from all the stress! But today, she has been trying to promote a peaceful spirit, and we’ve had a wonderful day.)

You will have a happy home (if Seth does his part) and you remember that YOU are the SPIRIT of the home. The people of Antioch tell me, “That Leanne is a ray of sunshine.” Live for God, and fill your home and the world with sunshine.

It is sad when your children get married and leave home. But it wouldn’t be good if I wanted you to stay children forever. As your parents, we all wanted to have our own lives in the world, and it’s good and holy and right that you want to go out on your own, too. It’s a comfort that you live nearby where we can see you.

So, go with God…and rejoice! You are dearly loved.

rp_john-l-cash-212x300.jpgDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 30 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the honeymooners stopped by for a visit when they got back from Pensacola.) Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21) and his wife Brenda Leanne (age 20). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.

Devotion in Motion: A flood of blessings on this wedding weekend

38 “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,

39 “and they did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  Matthew 24:38,39  (NKJV)

seth engagement

Brenda Leanne Weir and Seth Madison Cash
May 14th, 2016

By Bro. John L. Cash

Just a quick thought today. I’m writing this on Friday, and today’s a busy day. You see, my younger son, Seth Madison is getting married tomorrow. The rehearsal dinner is tonight. As you can imagine, everyone is in high gear.

I haven’t written too much about Seth’s fiancée, Brenda Leanne Weir. I’ve always worried about saying too much when my sons were dating. After all, they might not want their “business” on display for all the world to see, and fathers are pretty famous for causing havoc in their kids’ relationships. But once you’ve married into the family, that all has to change. It’s just an occupational hazard of being a part of the Cash family; there is a good chance that you’re going to be mentioned in a column or that you’re going to be the topic of a sermon illustration. So, I’m sure you’ll be hearing all about her in the future.

happily ever after married signThat being said, I just want to say I adore Leanne and give thanks to God for her. We all adore her. She’s a ray of sunlight — everybody says so. And she’s “just the girl” for my son Seth. The Lord has answered my prayers.   He sent me two wonderful sons. And now He has sent me two wonderful daughters. My cup runneth over.

I don’t have words to tell you everything I feel, so that will just have to wait for another time. Because, you see, we have this rehearsal dinner tonight. And we have that wedding tomorrow.

I think the Scripture lesson (at the top) is a good one for today. The disciples asked Jesus what the sign of His Second Coming would be. Jesus said the sign of His coming would be the same sign that was given to Noah. But the people in Noah’s community were getting married on the day the flood began.

Given that I’m writing these words on the morning of what will be a busy wedding weekend, that verse is hilarious to me. Do you see the “punch line”? If the people in the time of Noah had known the world was coming to an end, they wouldn’t have planned a wedding for that day. If you knew the world was ending in a flood, you’d build a raft instead of a cupcake display. There’d be no point in going through all the stress and strain if you knew in advance that it would all be washed away. It makes me want to laugh out loud.

It also reminds me that none of us know when the end is coming, which is why it’s so important to live for Jesus this week and every other week. The Bible says that the only sign of His coming is that “there will be no sign.” The only way to be ready to meet Him is by staying ready.

And if you don’t understand the humor about weddings, don’t worry. Before you know it, it’ll be your turn to plan a wedding. And then the joke will hit you…. :-)

rp_john-l-cash-212x300.jpgDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 30 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where, hopefully, everybody is eating leftover wedding cake today.) Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21), and his wife Brenda Leanne (age 20). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.

 

Devotion in Motion: Meet the mother of Rufus

mothers day 2016

 13 “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.”  ~ Romans 16:13  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I’ve been preaching at the same country church for 30 years. Every one of those years has had a Mother’s Day sermon, and it’s beginning to get a little hard to come up with something entirely original. After all, I’ve preached all of the “classic Mother’s Day texts.”  Over the years I’ve preached a lot of sermons about baby Samuel and his prayerful mother Hannah. I’ve preached sermons about the young preacher Timothy, and his devoted grandmother Lois and his godly mother Eunice. I’ve preached sermons about the virtuous mother of Proverbs 31. But this year, I feel the need to preach about a Biblical mother I’ve never preached about before. That’s why I’m preaching about the mother of Rufus.

Rufus is a man we don’t know too much about. I’m guessing he probably had red hair because that’s what “Rufus” means. The Bible tells us Rufus had a brother named Alexander, and evidently both of the men were well cross carryknown in the early church. Their father was kind of famous. He was Simon the Cyrenian, who was compelled to carry the cross for Jesus when He was on the way to the crucifixion. (Mark 15:21) We don’t know who the mother of Rufus was, but evidently the Apostle Paul thought a great deal of her; He said he felt like Rufus’ mother was his own mother. (Romans 16:13)

There are a lot of good lessons we learn from the brief Biblical account of Rufus.

Number One: If you take up your cross for Jesus like Rufus’ father did (even if you don’t feel like it), there’s a good chance your kids will become followers of Jesus, too. Goodness, that thought just makes it easier to get started in the morning, don’t you think?

Number Two: It pays off when you’re a good mother to your kids. Rufus’s mother was a godly woman, and Rufus got his name mentioned in the Bible. How awesome is that?

Number Three: Rufus’ mom extended her motherly influence and care to others besides her own children. So, follow her example and be a good mother to your own children. And then be a Christian “mother” to as many other young people who need you. Isn’t that what this world needs most?

Number Four: Rufus’ mother was like a mother to the Apostle Paul. Paul had an immensely hard life as he carried the Gospel message throughout the whole world. He was helped and comforted by this woman who cared for him as if he were her own son. You, too, can extend your influence into the world by nurturing those who preach and teach God’s Word.

It makes me feel sad that so many good Christian mothers feel bad about themselves. I think a lot of that comes from the media, which holds up impossible portrayals of  “Supermoms” who are perfect in every way. That idea is not realistic, and it’s not Biblical, either.

What God wants is for you to be the mom you are, loving the people who are close at hand, with the strength the Lord gives you each day. You’re never a doofus when you’re a good mom to Rufus.

(Have a Happy Mother’s Day. :-) )

rp_john-l-cash-212x300.jpgDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 30 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher had all his kids home this weekend.) Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.

Devotion in Motion: It’s a matter of taste

By Bro. John L. Cash

Pork chops are not my favorite food. I don’t hate pork chops. If I sit down to a meal and the main course is a pork chop, I’ll eat it. No problem. But if I were going through a buffet line and the two choices of entrée were pork chops or something else, I’d probably choose the something else. It’s just a matter of personal taste.

That’s kind of the same way I feel about contemporary Christian music. It’s not my favorite style of music. I don’t complain when other people play it. I sing it when our choir director picks it out. But—just to give you an example–we used to have two Christian radio stations on satellite radio. One station played contemporary Christian music, and the other played hymns. I always listened to the one that played traditional church songs and hymns. It’s just a matter of my personal taste.

guitar-1343160_640Lately, however, I’ve become a bigger fan of contemporary Christian music than I was in the past. I’m a public educator, and I’m in and out of a lot of classrooms all over the place. I’ve been in two classrooms lately where the students were allowed to listen to the radio while they were working on written classwork. The students chose the station, and the one they picked was K-LOVE Radio.

I noticed that the kids really knew the Christian songs, and they’d learned the words. The other thing I noticed was that these teenagers are very loving, kind, and respectful kids. Their classroom had a peaceful ambience and a joyful vibe. The world could use a whole lot more of what these young people have.

I’ve been working in the Church a long time. Something I’ve come to realize is that the world is a big place, and Christianity is a really big religion. There are as many difference ways to express love for Christ as there are individual Christians. Because of that, I’m trying to be careful not to let my personal preferences discourage another Christian from enjoying something that is not my first choice. This modern Christian music still isn’t my favorite. But I hope and pray that the world gets a lot more of it.

rp_john-l-cash-212x300.jpgDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 30 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church. Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.

Devotion in Motion: Thou shalt eat a chip

44 “For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. ~ Luke 6:44  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I’ve had so much success these past two weeks writing about store-brand foods that I just had to write one more before I switch to another topic. Spencer and Madeline were home from University of Georgia the other day, where he is teaching school and she is finishing a Master’s degree in social work. They spent Friday night with us, and then we enjoyed a leisurely Saturday morning.

smiling-face-with-heart-shaped-eyesI’m really enjoying having grown children because it’s so evident to me how much they all love me. I mean, every one of them is so good to me — and it’s almost like when they’re looking at me I can see valentine hearts coming out of their eyes. Nevertheless, I sometimes get the feeling they’re “humoring” me a bit, the way you do when you’re dealing with a cranky elderly person. Clearly, they truly have love for me. But for my generic brand options? Maybe not so much.

About noon on that sunny Saturday, I found my new bag of “Always Save Brand Barbecue Potato Chips” in the kitchen pantry.  These are my favorite.  I buy another bag every time we run out.  When we all sat down at the table for lunch, I began extolling the virtues of my generic chips, insisting that they are clearly a premium brand of potato chips dispensed in a plain, perfunctory sack. All those present at the table politely smiled and slightly nodded their heads. They were being nice. But clearly they thought I had rocks in my head.

I opened the bag and offered them around the table. Everyone said they wouldn’t care for any. They made up a variety of unconvincing excuses. I persisted, but they persisted, too. Finally I did something I almost never do. I decided to “pull rank” on everybody at the table.

AS_FeaturedProducts_PotatoChipsI said, “Look. I am the father in the family, and that means I’m the head of the house. So, because of that, everybody has to eat a potato chip.” Reluctantly, and only to please the aging pastor who’s entering his dotage, everybody ate a chip.

My wife Susan was the first one to speak up. “John, these are really good. They really are barbecue-chip-perfection. They must be repackaged Lay’s Potato Chips. You can’t eat just one.” Spencer and Madeline didn’t make any formal pronouncement, but they each began to eat handfuls of chips, too. They were so delicious that we all ate the rest of the chips with lunch. (Actually, we sort of ate the rest of the chips INSTEAD of lunch. Sometimes barbecue potato chips are just that irresistible.)

There’s a profound life lesson here. When it comes to store-brand foods, people might not believe the words on the ugly yellow bag, but they can’t argue with the deliciousness of the potato chips.

And, in life, people don’t always believe what you say, but they can never deny what you are and what you do.

Be something great this week. And do something good.

rp_john-l-cash-212x300.jpgDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 30 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.)  He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where springtime is beautiful this year.)  Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.