Preacher’s Blog Page
John McCranie’s blogs are what he calls “Visuables” which is a compound of the words “Visual” and Parables”.
John shares, “As I journey in life and ministry I tend to notice things that remind me of spiritual principles and insights. These blogs are designed to encourage greater trust in the God who reveals Himself to those looking.”
Design      9-24-2017
 
Jim Putman leads a mega-church in Post Falls, Idaho that …
 
has an amazing history of growth and impact.
Years ago, I went to a seminar at New Life Ministries on discipleship and part of the requirements for attending was to read beforehand Putman’s book,  Church Is A Team Sport . In it he shares a vivid “visuable”.

“Imagine for a moment that you built a muscle car in your garage. You spent hours building, tinkering, sanding, and painting it until it was beautiful. Not only was it beautiful, you spared no expense to make the engine as powerful as …                                                  More

One Another       8-24-2017
The Word of God gives a great deal of attention…
 
to the subject of strengthening relationships. The primary relationship it focuses on is the one between God and His people. The Bible helps us to see that nothing is more important than learning to know God personally which can lead us to giving Him our full trust. This relationship does more to enhance our daily lives than any other influence.  The secondary relationship the Scripture seeks to improve is between people. We see it in the law and prophets of old telling folks how to best treat each other. What about the New Testament? In which way does it improve relationships between individuals? How can the Turlock Church apply its teaching to…                              More
Can a Smart Person…      8-1-2017
If you know me, I study statistics.
 
Unbiased polls and surveys reveal what people in America believe and hold as moral value. Over the decades there are two sources I have learned to trust.  Barna Group (www.barna.com) reveals the spiritual/social landscape from an evangelical perspective. Gallup Poll (gallup.com) is secular and politically neutral with many eye-opening religious surveys.
Over the past 50 years, the percentage of Americans who believe in God has never dropped below 90% and is currently at 94%. Here is another astonishing finding: a recent poll revealed…                                     More
Do Something       6-25-2017
In his book, Improving Your Serve, Charles Swindol…

shares a parable.  He says, “To make the value of obedience just as practical as possible, why don’t we play “Let’s pretend.” Let’s pretend that you work for me. In fact, you are my executive assistant in a company that is growing rapidly. I’m the owner and I’m interested in expanding overseas. To pull this off, I make plans to travel abroad and stay there until the new branch office gets established. I make all the arrangements to take my family in the move to Europe for six to eight months, and I leave you in charge of the busy stateside organization.                                                                                      More…

Why a Newsletter?       6-8-2017
Did you know that we have a church member who…
 
volunteers weekly at the Emanuel Cancer Center? Did you know she has never had cancer herself?

 Did you know that there are two different teams who go out as pairs to visit shut-ins and hold Bible studies with those who don’t attend church? Did you know we have another team that ensures Christians are able to partake of communion when they are unable to attend the services at the building?     More….

Inspired       5-21-2017
It is a big blessing to live in Turlock, California.
 
The particular blessing I’m referring to is geographical. Two hours to the west and you are in Monterey/Carmel. You’ll be very hard pressed to find a more beautiful coastal strip anywhere in the continental U.S.A. Three hours southeast and you are driving through the largest living things on the planet as you meander through the massive redwoods in Sequoia National Park. Two hours northwest and you are in San Francisco with its amazing geography and architecture on the Bay. In two and one-half hours to the east you are in my favorite spot in the contiguous forty-eight states – Yosemite.         More…
Statue       5-14-2017
 

The majestic Statue of Liberty towers above…

Liberty Island near the entrance to New York Harbor. Titled by the French as “La Liberté éclairant le monde” (“Liberty enlightening the world”), the monumental gift from France is a symbol of the freedom enjoyed in America. The famous French sculptor, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, gave 20 years of devoted effort to the work, personally superintending the raising of the subscription of four million dollars with which the French nation gave the statue to the United States.             More…

When Giants Fall       5-7-2017
Rick Chromey, of Group Publishing, recently wrote this blog:
 
“The news was shocking.
On March 21, 2017, retailer Sears and partner company Kmart announced a full-blown financial pickle. Two days later USA Today chronicled the demise of a ‘giant of its time.’

Sears was founded in 1886 as a watch company and two years later launched a catalog that created customers.  Within six years, the catalog was advertising ‘everything from sewing machines to sports equipment.’  America was largely rural, and Sears…         More

Words from God       4-30-2017
 
In her book, The Story of My Life, …
 
Helen Keller tells of the dramatic moment when Annie Sullivan first broke through her dark, silent world with the illumination of language. “We walked down the path to the well house, attracted by the fragrance of the honeysuckle with which it was covered. Someone was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over one hand, she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a …          More
God Confusion      4-23-2017
 
In today’s secular society where talk of God is …
 
viewed with distrust or disinterest it’s no wonder most people (especially younger ones) don’t know who God really is. Many theologians blame educators for this. They see an inept system teaching more obscurity than clarity. It’s frustrating that the primary attributes of the God of the Bible  cannot be taught in public K – 12 schools. I am equally annoyed that when a student goes to secular college they are finally allowed to study Christianity but often taught only the negative side of our history.                       More…
Lift Their Lives       4-9-2017
When Jesus was risen from the grave…
 
it proved that everything Christ said about Himself was true because God would not resurrect a liar, right? It also proved that God is in the lifting business. During His three years of ministry on earth Jesus was busy lifting people who were down. He lifted paraplegics to walk,  He lifted people from illness and from spiritual depression.

On Easter morning…   More

Hope       4-2-2017
 
 
My best friend is John W. Smith. Those who have attended…
 
the Tahoe Family Encampment may remember John as a very popular and powerful preacher as well as story teller. John recently published a book Catching Fire With The Holy Spirit.*

This book is beginning to catch fire in our fellowship. In it, John bravely explores passages and texts long ignored and yet hold great promises to empower our congregations and our lives in Christ. John regularly emails his thoughts to his friends. I want to share with you excerpts from his most recent “Thoughts” email.     More…

Blossoms       3-26-2017
I am excited to see Turlock transform into a gorgeous city of blossoms.
 
Trees are in flower. Lilies of all colors announce that Easter will soon be upon us. As I drive through Stanislaus County streets, there is a constant reminder of how well things grow here. Because of our mild climate, our growing season is nearly year round. Gardening chores are burdensome, and many are really rewarding. The following story is a good example of this truth.   More…
Winning       3-19-2017
Don McCullough writes in Waking from the American Dream …
 
that during World War II, England needed to increase its production of coal. Winston Churchill called together labor leaders to enlist their support. At the end of his presentation he asked them to picture in their minds a parade which he knew would be held in Picadilly Circus after the war. “First,” he said, “would come the sailors who had kept the vital sea lanes open. Then would come the soldiers who had come home from Dunkirk and then gone on to defeat Rommel in Africa. Then would come the pilots who had driven the Luftwaffe from the sky.”
More …
Perseverance       3-12-2017
Oswald Chambers was virtually unheard of…
 
while he lived as a Bible instructor. He died at the age of forty-three in 1917 of complications following an emergency appendectomy. To honor her husband, Mrs. Chambers began compiling his teachings for publication of a daily devotional. My Utmost for His Highest was first published in 1934 and has never gone out of print. It remains in the top 5 all-time best selling Christian books. Millions turn to one of its 366 entries for inspiration and reflection. Since I am wrapping up my Fixer Upper series with the final Beatitude…               More
God During Chaos      2-26-2017
Editors love sensational headlines.
 
Whether it’s on the cover of a magazine in a rack at the check out
or it’s a sidebar on a website shocking headlines grab people’s attention.
Imagine if you saw the following headings:

“FAMILY FEUD LEAVES 69 BROTHERS DEAD!”

“POWERFUL GOVERNMENT LEADER CAUGHT IN ‘LOVE NEST.’”

“GANG RAPE LEADS TO VICTIM’S DEATH AND DISMEMBERMENT.”

“GIRLS AT PARTY KIDNAPPED AND FORCED TO MARRY STRANGERS.”

“WOMAN JUDGE SAYS TRAVELERS NO LONGER SAFE ON HIGHWAYS.”     More…

Holiness       2-19-2017
Years ago I attended a preacher’s retreat …
 
at Tanda Bible Camp in Big Bear, CA. John W. Smith was the featured lecturer. John is a renowned author known for his “Hugs” books. He is also popular story teller in our fellowship. He has a powerful gift of weaving a story into the hearts of his audience. Stories help make tangible the invisible biblical principles that guide our lives. Tales of drama and laughter connect the hearers to a point. That’s what preachers want to do . . .  make a point.       More …
The Player       2-5-2017
I really enjoy the fact that…
 
this congregation dedicates itself to the public reading of Scripture (1 Timothy 4:13). Last Sunday night, we read the latter half of Romans chapter one. When I heard verse twenty-two read it triggered a memory of a parabolic story that appeared in The London Observer about a family of mice who lived all their lives in a large piano. To them in their piano-world came the music of the instrument, filling all the dark spaces with sound and harmony.  At first the mice were impressed by it.  They drew comfort and wonder from the thought that there was an invisible Someone who made the music — above, yet close to them.  They loved to think of the Great Player whom they could not see see.         More…
Gentle       1-29-2017
When asked, “Hey John, what is your favorite…
 
all-time movie?” Without difficulty I reply, “Lord of the Rings.” The power of the story, depth of acting and immersive cinematography is simply unmatched in my estimation. The trilogy totals more than ten hours and all of that without a sex scene or any profanity. Amen! My kudos to director Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema for their allegiance to adopting J.R.R. Tolkien’s creation to the cinema without folding in  modern, and popular, offensive elements.             More…
 
Grieving       1-22-2017
In the Highlands of Scotland…
 
sheep love to wander. A Scottish sheep will often stray off into the rocks and get into places from which they can’t get out. They say the problem is that the grass on these mountains is very sweet and the sheep like it. They love it so much they will even jump down ten or twelve feet to reach some, but then they can’t jump back up again. They may be there for days, and they won’t even mind that much as long as there is grass to eat. But once it’s all consumed they regret their actions. The shepherd then hears the sheep bleating …                More
Manifesto       1-15-2017
 
 
Whereas the wisest and best man the world has ever known

changed history with the point of His words rather than by the edge of a sword, and, whereas He declined to accept political power, even when it was within His grasp, and, whereas He taught us to live by the way He died,

Be it resolved that we will seek to change ourselves and our own world by the spirit and attitudes we have found in Him. To that end we confess that our Lord gave us a new way of seeing ourselves and seeing others when He looked at the crowds of hurting people who were following Him and said:         More…
Fixer Upper         1-8-2017
I must confess…

I personally enjoy watching movies on my home entertainment system and even making trips to my local Redbox for the latest releases I missed in the theater. I don’t like most of the programming on cable channels yet there are a few series I record on my DVR or view on demand that are fun to watch. But when it comes to what my wife, Becca, watches it gets very simple –  HGTV. She loves watching reality shows. When I come home and the TV is on I am looking at either a flip or a flop, twin brothers or maybe a couple pickers. But Becca’s favorite is Fixer Upper. And, she is not alone, Fixer Upper is currently the number one reality TV series in production and is touching the American heart.        More…

Prepared       1-1-2017
Are you an armchair prognosticator?
 
Do you like to predict what lies ahead in our future? I know that many of us dwell on such things on New Year’s Day.
Well, I must warn you that State Section 899 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the State of New York states, “persons pretending to forecast the future” can be considered disorderly as defined by subdivision 3, section 901 of the code. Such disorderly people are liable to a fine of $250 and six months in jail. So, you might want to avoid posting your predictions on Facebook.              More…
Rattled        12-4-2016
When my family moved…
 
to rural eastern Arizona in 1992, the locals in the little mining town of Morenci felt obligated to instruct this city boy how to deal with life in the high desert. It wasn’t long before I was told how to get untangled from cacti or where to look for water when out in the wilderness, or how to handle a startled javelina. The most serious – and by far the most animated  – teaching concerned rattlesnakes. I learned a lot about these deadly demons. Did you know there are thirteen different kinds of rattlesnake in Arizona? I was told many fascinating stories about the encounters…          More
Giver       12-25-2016
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Do you want to know how wonderful this church is?
 
I’d like to share some of the good done by humble servants in this congregation.

During the Christmas season there are people who have very little and really don’t have anyone who cares. I can’t help but feel that James, the half-brother of Jesus, had a soft spot for people who had it hard in life. If you read his short letter in the New Testament, you cannot miss that James wanted people of faith to be more than Scripture students (1:22; 2:14). He wanted them to be givers.      More…

The True Meaning      12-18-16
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It struck me
 
that it must be getting tough for people to separate the reality of Christmas from the clutter that surrounds it.  If it were not for the church reinforcing the true story of Jesus’ birth, our friends and neighbors would remain confused. Who could blame them?  They see scenes on television of  Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. They see ads featuring Menorahs, Hanukkah bushes or Kwanzaa kinaras. And then there are Christmas trees, lights, and of course, presents!  Lots and lots of presents!          More…
Sweet Gift        11-27-2016
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At the turn of the 20th century…
 
a certain farmer owned land that was a far distance from the big city.
He would only go there if absolutely necessary. He disliked the crowds and the rude manner in which way people treated each other. The busyness of the streets often made his horse nervous as it pulled the buckboard wagon. But, it was the only way to do certain commerce and carry out any legal obligations.
 
It came time to head to the city again. The farmer’s son was 10-years-old and the man decided it was time to introduce the boy to the world outside the farm.    More…
Aroma of Guilt      11-20-2016
It was the day after…

Simon was tired. He didn’t get much sleep the night before. He had tossed and turned yet couldn’t get those words out of his head. Besides, the house still reeked from that woman. The pungent odor of her perfume invaded his nostrils the same way the Teacher’s words invaded his mind.

It was all so embarrassing. This rabbi from Galilee accepted his invitation to dinner, which somewhat surprised Simon because he had heard…  More

Unwrapping       11-13-2016
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I have to admit it …

I love to try to find out what is in a wrapped present before I open it. Shaking, shifting, listening and testing for weight distribution is my scientific approach to guessing what wonder is hidden inside. Due to my adept skills, my family has had to resort to some drastic measures to thwart my diagnosis. One year my wife, Becky, sealed the item in a water tight canister, then placed that in a container filled with water and then put that in an oversized box and finally wrapped it. I had no idea what it was until I opened it Christmas morning.         More…

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