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.”
POSITIVE
July 2020
Negative. If there is word that captures…
 
our current quandary, that’s the one.  I know the news media thinks good news is boring news. It’s obvious the reason “human interest” stories featuring selflessly, kind acts are inserted into the final moments of the televised news hour are there to silence those who complain that everything reported is negative. Well, to news hounds everything important is negative. This is how it works: conflict, violence, injustice, scandal and disaster are sensational. Sensationalism draws big audiences. Big advertisers pay big bucks to have big audiences be swayed to buy their products or service. The motives for …                    More
HOLEY QUILT
May 2020
Turlock Church has…
 
some wonderful kingdom quilters. They are busy little bees in their homes and in the fellowship hall (when allowed). Perhaps we should call them “Q-Bees?” They make quilts for people who really need them. I donated some to Julien Elementary to help impoverished students stay warm. Our sisters also give quilts out of their love. The following story, of unknown authorship, causes me to appreciate my “sewing sisters” even more. Enjoy.

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord …        More 
PASSION OF  THE CHRIST
April 2020
Dear Visuables reader,

Last Sunday morning in my online sermon, I opened with remarks about Mel Gibson’s PASSION OF THE CHRIST movie. Since then I have been surprised that so many of you have never seen it.  Perhaps you are like like my wife who heard how people’s hearts were crushed by the realistic flogging and crucifixion scenes and decided not to go through that. Perhaps you have given up on any Hollywood depiction of Jesus being faithful to the gospels (rightfully so). Maybe you read reviews that pointed out Gibson’s movie is biased by his Catholicism (true).  More

I WAS A FATHER TO THE NEEDY
March 2020
On St. Patrick’s Day…
 
I often think of Clinton Storm, an elder friend of mine, who was a minister in Ojai, California twenty years ago. His shepherding heart and wisdom is shown in the tale below of how he dealt with a frustrating situation and how God was glorified in it.

A homeless man came to the church office for assistance. He was given food and discovered the building had a breeze-way that could provide a nice sleeping spot. One morning, the elder encouraged this “guest” to tell him his story of how he ended up begging for sustenance and sleeping on church property. The man was Irish. He left his parents, brothers and sisters in …                                                                                                     More
LOAD CARRIERS
February 2020
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
COUNTER CULTURE
January 2020
It has never been easy…
 
to remain faithful to the Lord. There have always been influences and forces both internal and external seeking to undo our relationship with God. Deciding to be saved is critical but remaining in His grace is crucial as well.  Peter warns, “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.” (2 Peter 2:20).

Being a true disciple of Jesus doesn’t just happen.  It is not built solely on emotion or sentiment . . .  it is built on determination. If we have the goal to be acceptable to God when we face Him then we have a fighting chance of being with Him forever.                                         More

AUTHORITY
December 2019

In my most recent sermon…

in the series, “FAMILY PORTRAIT: Building a Better Home” I spoke of the reason God has placed children under the authority of their parents. I mentioned that there is a natural inclination of kids to rebel against that authority and hence the reason God commands kids to obey their parents.  As an adolescent I had a serious problem accepting my mother’s authority over me due to my lack of respect for her.                                                                              More

FAMILY PORTRAIT
September 2019
There simply is not anything on earth…
 
more powerful than family. Family is definitely a God-thing. Family is where the Lord heals, lifts and saves. This world is harsh on families and the best way for Christians to remain healthy is to first understand and then follow their roles as revealed in Scripture. When men love their wives and are actively involved in their children’s faith, God blesses. When women respect their husbands and nurture their kids in wisdom, God blesses. When children honor their parents (flaws and all), God blesses. My Sunday morning sermon series this fall will explore the biblical roles we are to fulfill in our families. Bring your Bible and let’s look at our “Family Portrait.”                                                                More
BACK TO SCHOOL
August 2019
The backpacks bounce up …
 
and down as the children run to class for the first day of school. They contain new pencils, binders, portfolios and lunch boxes. The summer break has ended with the anticipation of going back to class and seeing friends and meeting new ones.

The parents give hugs and admonitions as they depart. The statement “I love you” is mixed with “listen to your teacher.” The teachers are preoccupied with the final details in order to start their first day. One thing is very clear across campus–school is very important. Education is vital. Learning is paramount.                                                 More

MANY HANDS
July 2019

Romans 12:4-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:18-20…

[italics mine] “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”  “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they …                  More

Sunday Summer Nights
June 2019
 
In last month’s article …
 
I shared a painful reality that is affecting the church in the USA. Statistics reveal that the number of Americans involved in church is in steep decline and all major fellowships are seeing fewer attendees. Just last week I read an online article in the Chicago Tribune noting that the nation’s largest evangelical denomination, Southern Baptist Convention, in the last ten years is down more than 100,000 baptisms.  Churches of Christ are experiencing a similar trend.
                                                                                                                    More
DECLINE
May 2019

This graph from www.barna.com/research/state-church-2016/ is telling.

These are challenging times for churches. . .
 
all kinds of churches. The surveys are in and the results are worrisome. The research makes it obvious that the number of Americans involved in church is in marked decline.
All major fellowships are seeing fewer attendees.

Thirty-five. That’s the percentage of those in the USA who attend a house of worship regularly.

We know in certain regions that number fluctuates dramatically. In the Bible Belt area the number is higher. But in areas that are called “secular” the number can be surprisingly low. Why the decline?     More

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