Sunday, July 25, 2010


Jesus Stirs Everyone Up, preached @ Tinney Chapel today

Click on any image above to view it in larger format or click on the arrow below to view Pastor Sue's sermon, "Jesus Stirs Everyone Up."

Jesus Stirs Everyone Up

American culture has had more than its share of luminaries who were known for stirring up the populace: Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley come to mind for our own time, as modern secular examples.

During First Century Israel, Jesus was one who managed to do that.

Think, for instance, of the cheering crowds at Palm Sunday, just days before the crowds turned sullen and violent, in search of Crucifixion.

After that, Jesus was abandoned even by many of those closest to Him, reminded Pastor Sue Gross, during her sermon at Tinney Chapel on this 9th Sunday after Pentecost.

When Jesus was brought before Pilate, He was asked: Are you the king of the Jews? Jesus' answer was a deliberately ambiguous: So you say. And, although Pilate claimed to find no fault in Jesus, the crowds were sufficiently stirred up to demand Crucifixion. Crowds, it seems, may be stirred to action, both positive and negative.

But, even today, Jesus has the power to stir up people, and make no mistake: There are still people today who feel threatened both by Jesus and by His teachings.

Some sociologists say that we are living in a post-Christian world today, but you and I know that we actually live in a pre-Christian world.

How many of us today love as Jesus loved? How many of us sacrifice as Jesus sacrificed? Pastor Sue could only think of one at the moment: Perhaps Mother Teresa?

Then, she mentioned another woman, from the days of Nazi Germany during World War II. Her name was Irena Sandberg, a social worker of that era who worked selflessly to help smuggle children and babies out of the Nazi hands, where they would otherwise have been exterminated in Hitler's "final solution," the horrible plot to kill as many Jews as possible. It has been estimated that she saved more than 2,500 Jewish children and babies.

But she paid a terrible price when eventually captured and tortured by the Nazi officials, who broke her legs and feet, making it difficult for her to walk again.

This great lady died only a few years ago in a Polish hospital, where she was being cared for by one of the Jewish children she had saved during World War II.

We might never have known this great lady's story had it not been for a group of students in Uniontown, Kansas, who discovered her during a research project and eventually wrote a play about her exploits.

If we want to be like Jesus ourselves, Pastor Sue reminded that we must be born again and seek to adopt the Mind of Christ.

Jesus' thoughts were far ahead of His time, she explained. Thus, we must find a new orientation as well. Jesus became obedient to death, even death on a Cross, with a mindset that called for His Father's will to be done, and not His own.

If we want to be the person we believe we want to be, a similar radical mindset, the Mind of Christ, must first be our goal. For Jesus came to live among us not only to get us into Heaven, but also to get Heaven into us!

For all of us, this means getting rid of things like envy, resentment and anger. We must seek not to be restless, but rather to cultivate the Peace of the Lord which is the key to true happiness.

This means nothing less than a New Beginning.


Sunday, July 18, 2010


Christians As Optimists Preached @ Tinney Chapel

Click on any image above to view it in larger format or click on the arrow below to view Pastor Sue's sermon on why Christians should be optimists.

Christians Should Be Optimistic

After reading Psalm 121, verses 1 through 8, Pastor Sue Gross asked, rhetorically, how anyone could read that and be a pessimist. Every Christian should be an optimist, she declared.

When trials intervene in life, there are those who react by wanting to lose their religion, while true Christians react by wanting to use their religion.

Among other things, this Psalm assures us that God will provide for us, preserve us and protect us, added Rev. Gross. This applies to all of our problems at home, at church and in the entire nation or even the world. Such answers, assured Pastor Sue, are found only in the Heaven of the Holy God.

Three things we can count on from God in helping us to overcome the fiery trials of life: Security, stability and serenity.

We are reminded in Proverbs 26:10 that our God formed all of Creation, a power sufficiently great to impress anyone. God can do anything in the world, through the world or with the world that He chooses.

He will not allow us to fall. We need not fear sudden panic attacks. Proverbs 3:25 reminds us that God will provide the confidence we need to keep from falling.

The Bible says that the God of Israel will not slumber, so we may be sure that He watches over us 24/7--all the time. He preserves our going out and our coming in.

Like the armor of the warriors of old, God is our protector, literally our shield and our shade. He preserves us from evil, if we love and obey Him, especially the evil that we ourselves might otherwise commit. He protects us from burning heat and blinding light.

Who can doubt that Christians should be optimistic?


Saturday, July 17, 2010


Searching For John Wesley in Dallas, Texas

Tinney Chapel Group Photo by Rev. Jim Ozier
Click on any image to view it in larger format

Searching For John Wesley in Dallas, Texas

WESLEY THE MOVIE was worth the four-hour round trip to Dallas’ Lakewood Theater for nine pilgrims from Tinney Chapel UMC on Saturday, July 17, 2010. The fellowship alone, much of it during the drive, was enough to justify the trip. Not to mention a great meal at the nearby Dixie House restaurant, less than a block from the historic Lakewood, a culinary event that brought Dallas singer/songwriter Colin Boyd to our table to share a brunch meal. All this was well before entering the movie theater.

REV. JIM OZIER happened along just in time snap our group picture pose in front of the Lakewood. Some of us had not seen him since he visited Tinney Chapel during the DNA evaluations of several months ago. For some readers of this column, the picture will be posted nearby, showing, left to right: Joe Dan Boyd, Pastor Sue Gross, Roger and Sharon Schneider, Nyla Gross, Jenna Nelson, Linda Hallman, Ronny Ellison and Joe Mathews.

ONCE INSIDE THIS UNIQUE THEATER, the Tinney Chapel delegation found an entire “pew row” to seat all of us together. We were 20 minutes early, and the lights did not dim until perhaps five minutes after 2 pm, the scheduled show time, which was followed by a half hour of Q and A, hosted by Wesley director John Jackman and (briefly) actor Keith Harris, who played Charles Wesley in the movie.

WESLEY IS A FULL-LENGTH FILM, lasting nearly two hours, and does provide an informative introduction to the early career and ministry of John Wesley, who is justly regarded, worldwide, as the founder of Methodism, although he never relinquished his Anglican Church of England credentials. During that early ministry, as a young man, John Wesley sailed to America, then still part of the British Empire, a perilous, stormy voyage which tested his courage and his faith, also exposing him to a group of Moravians on the same voyage. It was the Moravians’ perceived serenity in the face of danger that helped Wesley deal with his own fears.

DURING HIS TWO-YEAR STAY in the area of Savannah, Georgia, young John Wesley was involved in a real-life, but ultimately ill-fated, romance with a young girl named Sophy Hopkey. Unfortunately, the movie devotes far too much footage to this event, a decision which precludes coverage of later Methodist historical development in the United States. In fact, after Wesley leaves Georgia, the balance of the film takes place entirely in England.

ON THE PLUS SIDE, the film does present an overview of John Wesley as a relatively indecisive young man who is, for some time, not entirely certain of his own faith or his future as a member of the Anglican clergy.

WESLEY’S WELL-KNOWN Aldersgate experience, at which he received an assurance of salvation during a reading of Luther’s commentary on Romans, is presented in a low-key, but entirely convincing scene, after which he becomes a much more decisive and confident cleric-innovator. It’s a touching moment, during which his heart is “strangely warmed,” handled well by actor Burgess Jenkins.

FROM THE STANDPOINT OF METHODIST HISTORY, we see signs indicating meetings of The Methodist Society and an explanation of what has come down to us as the Wesley Quadrilateral of scripture, tradition, reason and experience, a method of interpretation and proclamation still in use today.

WHAT WE DO NOT GET in this film is any sense of what a John Wesley sermon was about. At most, we get a few sentences which are apparently intended to typify his theology and delivery, but fail to present his complex understanding of faith and salvation, much of which still undergirds United Methodist doctrine via the full texts of many surviving sermons by John Wesley, himself a prolific writer and journal keeper, which provided the basis for much of this film’s dialog.

ONE POSSIBLE EXPLANATION FOR THIS OVERSIGHT might have been suggested by the film’s director, John Jackman, during the Q&A which followed this showing at Dallas’ Lakewood Theater. There, Jackman described himself as also a Moravian pastor. Perhaps Jackman’s primary motivation with Wesley The Movie was to emphasize the Moravian influence on Wesley, rather than Wesley’s historical influence on the development of Methodism as a doctrine and a denomination?

In any case, whatever his primary motivation, we are indebted to director Jackman for his interest and the final product, Wesley, a movie which apparently surpasses any previous attempt to capture John Wesley on film, and raises the bar for any future attempt.

For this, director/pastor Jackman we thank you.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Saturday is the day to leave for Wesley The Movie

Click on any image to view it in larger format.

Tinney Chapel Will Caravan to Dallas' Lakewood Theater
For special one-day-only showing of
Wesley The Movie, Saturday, July 17.

If you would like to be a part of something very special, the Tinney Chapel UMC caravan to see Wesley The Movie, then show up tomorrow, Saturday, July 17, at the church at 9 am for the car pool caravan to Dallas & the Lakewood Theater. This assumes you either have a ticket in hand, on reservation or that the showing is not a sellout and that you may be able to get a ticket on site at the Lakewood. There is a second showing Saturday evening, at 7 pm.

The car-pool caravan leaves Saturday, July 17, in time to arrive in Dallas for lunch (no later than noonish) at the Dixie House (near the Lakewood) before the 2 pm matinee showing at the Lakewood, located at 1825 Abrams Parkway.

But this is a one-day only event, and seating is limited, so call now if you don't already have a ticket or a reservation. This may be the only chance any of us will get to see the movie on a big theater screen.

This is a full-length movie, based on the private journals of John Wesley, founder of Methodism. Below are some comments from Circuit Rider Review:


MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Directed by: John Jackman

Reviewed by Matthew L. Kelley, pastor of Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Clarksville, Tenn.

John Jackman’s new “Wesley” biopic depicts the life of Methodism’s founder from his early days at Oxford through his unsuccessful mission to the Georgia colony, and the growth of the Methodist movement back in England. These three eras in Wesley’s life show the three “rises of Methodism,” as Wesley later termed them in his journals, which makes sense because the writers and producers of the film consulted John and Charles Wesley’s journals very closely throughout the production.

Previous attempts to put Wesley’s life on film have often strayed into hagiography, depicting Wesley as an otherworldly saint who never made mistakes and was free of emotion or struggle. Not so with this film. John Wesley (Burgess Jenkins), while remaining a very proper British cleric, is passionate about his faith and struggles mightily with how to live it out. This passion often leads him to doubt himself, make mistakes, and find himself in conflict with others, but it also leads him to make some bold and unorthodox choices to include those who were left out by the church establishment. In other words, “Wesley” gives fantastic insight into the man who would shape the face of Protestant Christianity for centuries to come.

The film begins with a flashback to Wesley’s childhood and the Epworth rectory fire, an experience that convinced John that God had something special planned for his life. We also see Susanna Wesley (June Lockhart, of “Lassie” fame) instructing her children in the faith and forming strict habits that would last throughout their lives.

A significant amount of time is devoted to John’s experience and struggles in the Georgia colony. He also grows in his appreciation for the virtues of the Native Americans, who he observes living very Christian lives even though they know very little Christian doctrine.

When John Wesley returns to England, he feels like a failure, even though Peter Boehler (Bill Oberst, Jr.) and others try to cheer him up and assure him that God truly is with him. In portraying Wesley’s Aldersgate experience, the filmmakers are careful to show that Wesley received an assurance of salvation, and not portraying it as a conversion experience. Anyone familiar with Wesleyan history and theology will be extremely grateful for this.

The rest of the film shows John Wesley growing bolder and going outside the box more often as the Methodist revival grows. No Wesley film would be complete without seeing him “resolve to be more vile,” as he put it, going out to preach in the fields to those outside the established church, and, of course, the scene where he tells an angry bishop that “the world is my parish.”

Wesleyan theologians may be disappointed by the scene where John systematically lays out the “Quadrilateral” of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. Wesley himself never formalized his methodology that way; this framework was theorized in the twentieth century by Albert Outler. If one can put the historical fiction aside for a moment, however, they can appreciate how the scene demonstrates how Wesley was an innovator and a fantastic model for practical theological dialogue in our day.

While “Wesley” may not achieve the box office success of a summer blockbuster, it is a great film for church groups. There are a number of well done scenes that serve as launching points for discussion about things that make Methodism unique, both in theology and practice. It would be especially useful in a confirmation or new member class setting.

Learn more about this film at

Thursday, July 15, 2010


When the bloom is on the sage in the Tinney Chapel Community

Click on any image to view it in larger format and to hear Gene Autry sing the song, click on the title of this post at top of the page (it's a live link to a You Tube video).

When the Bloom is on the Sage

For most people there's a spot that lives forever,
Deep within their fondest memories.
Tho' I have been a rover I have never
Seen anyplace that I would rather be than---

When it's roundup time in Texas and the bloom is on the sage
How I long to be in Texas just a ridin' on the range
I can smell the bacon frying, hear it sizzlin' in the pan,
Hear the breakfast horn in the early morn drinkin' coffee from a can.

Just a ridin', rockin', ropin', poundin' leather all day long,
Just a seatin', swearin', smokin', listen to a cowboy song.
Though I know I'll never go there, I would work for any wage,
To be again, be free again, where the bloom is on the sage.

When it's roundup time in Texas and the bloom is on the sage,
How I long to be in Texas just a ridin' on the range.
Those purple hills are calling, calling to me from afar,
I'm back again to the Rio Grande and the lonely Texas star.

How I long to be living where the prairie flowers grow,
I'd be willing to start walking to the place that I love so.
It beckons and I reckon I would work for any wage,
To be again, be free again, where the bloom is on the sage.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Tinney Chapel Worship 07-11-10

Click on any image to view it in larger format. All photos this post by Angela Wylie.

Today's Worship @ Tinney Chapel

Joe Dan had to be elsewhere today, but Angela Wylie was good enough to make the great photos above, to which I add only the following:

Inside, Pastor Sue proclaimed the Word,
Molly Mathis played the piano,
David Stanton reported changes from
Annual Conference, Cheryl
Newton read Scripture and
her guest was Kathi Daniels.

Outside, butterflies floated,
St. Francis stood firm, an
open Bible called out from a bench, as
Zonnie & Carl Griffin greeted.

Photos by Angela Wylie.

Memorial Day Devotional & Song @ Lee Cemetery today

Click on any image above to view it in larger format or click on the arrow below to view the video of the speaker and one song by the musicians. Please be aware that this video contains substantial wind noise, reflecting atmospheric conditions of the day, but is nevertheless worth watching via Windows Media Player.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


2010 Memorial Day @ Lee Cemetery is Sunday, July 11 @ 10 a.m.

Click on any image to view it in larger format.

Public Invited to Lee Cemetery Memorial Day,
Sunday, July 11, @ 10 a.m.

Winnsboro Lee Cemetery Association's annual Memorial Day
observance is Sunday, July 11, at 10:00 a.m. under the old pavilion.

A devotional and musical entertainment will be provided by the B.G. Polk family.

Other participants include Lee Cemetery board members Cindy Vest, Sue Hamm, Gailya Gearner, Elizabeth Martin, Dr. Henry Frank Cannaday, Ronnie Lee, Bill Jones, Gray McWhorter, and Joe Dan Boyd (see photo above).

Sunday's program will conclude with the Association's
annual business meeting immediately following the devotional and musical program.

Adjournment is anticipated at approximately 11:00 a.m.

The public is invited.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


The Last Farewell To Tinney Chapel's Danny Lake

Click on any image to view it in larger format.

The Last Farewell To Danny Lake,
A Man of Authority, Artistry and Honor

The flag-draped coffin dominated the cavernous chapel at Beaty Funeral Home in Winnsboro, Texas, on this first day of July, 2010.

At least one of those who came to pay final respects to Danny Lake was late, and was speeding en route to the funeral when he spotted a police car in his rear-view mirror: Oh no, was the disappointed response to an expected ticket for driving 80 in 60, but suddenly it became apparent that the officer was driving a police car from Mesquite, Texas, nearly a hundred miles west of Winnsboro.

Soon the officer, also speeding, passed by, and the Winnsboro resident breathed a sigh of relief as he realized: I know you are going where I'm going, and I'll stay right behind you.

He was right. The Mesquite Police Department, where Danny spent much of his career before moving to Winnsboro and Tinney Chapel, sent a large honor guard to this event, including several squad cars for officers to use in directing traffic at the five turns required by the long funeral procession to Shady Grove Cemetery. (See photos above.)

Danny's Pastor, Rev. Sue Gross, of Tinney Chapel United Methodist Church, officiated at the funeral, entering the Beaty Chapel as she read Scripture aloud. Her main Scriptures were Isaiah 40:28-31 and selected verses from the Gospel of John, much of it from Chapter 14. Following Rev. Gross into the Beaty Chapel was the large family contingent of the late Danny Lake, rancher, cowboy poet, gunsmith and stalwart churchman.

The three songs chosen for this event, Sanctuary, Amazing Grace and Here I Am Lord, were all familiar to Tinney Chapel's rural congregation, which sang along at times during the funeral renditions.

All of us at Tinney Chapel knew that Danny had been a peace officer most of his adult life, and that he had spent more than a little time in the Armed Forces of the United States. But Pastor Sue expressed surprise that Danny had also spent some time as a Fireman before becoming a policeman, which included time as both a State Trooper and a tactical policeman, who was also called on at times to be a firearm instructor.

We learned that Danny had spent time in the Navy and the Army Reserve. That he had met his wife Patricia in a Seven-Eleven store.

It was no surprise to any of us that Danny was a cowboy poet, since he was the permanent MC for our church's annual cowboy poetry gathering and always read some of his original work at those events. That he was also a rancher who herded his cattle virtually in the shadow of Tinney Chapel was nothing new to us either.

Perhaps some of us were a tad surprised that Danny's artistic bent went rather deep: He had also been a painter and a whittler, a descriptive term that has always seemed inadequate for those who are really good at whittling. What is the difference, say, between a good whittler and a sculptor? In any case, Danny had been good at whittling, and once carved a Native American totem pole, then painted it and personalized it for his daughter Christine.

Danny's life had emphasized a lot of outdoor activities. He liked to camp and cook outdoor meals on camping trips. Soon after locating his ranch near Tinney Chapel, Danny supervised the building of a tight fence around his 80-plus acres and was usually out working cattle most days.

As a gunsmith and gun collector, Danny enjoyed keeping his skills honed and was on the firing range as often as he could manage. It did not seem to bother him that his daughter Christine was a better shot than his son Ray: After all he had trained both of them well!

As a true patriot, Danny was proud of his grandson Jeremy, who is currently serving in the Armed Forces, deployed to the Middle East. Danny and Jeremy enjoyed hanging out and swapping military stories, said Pastor Sue.

Most of all, concluded Pastor Sue, Danny Lake was a loyal family man, very protective of his family and his friends. And, of course, he led a full life as a true cowboy.

He was just 67 years old.

Reluctantly and sadly, we all bid him a final farewell. But he will not be forgotten.


Tinney Talk, July, 2010

Click on any image to view it in larger format. One of the two front yard Chinaberry trees partly visible at right in photo. Note dense leaf cover.

Tinney Talk: Observations by Joe Dan Boyd

I THINK OF IT NOW AS “THE CHINABERRY REDEMPTION,” even if it happened a long time ago, when I was perhaps 10 years old, a mere boy with much to learn about everything, especially about life and the living of it, when my brother Tommy and I were being raised in the Old Tinney Home Place that our grandfather, Ambrose, had located and acquired soon after the arrival from Alabama of his growing family.

THREE CHINABERRY TREES DECORATED that homestead, one in the back yard, two in the front: All three were ancient and tall, with heavy trunks and strong boughs that easily held grown men intent on agrarian acrobatics, such as the manly art of “chinning” contests.

ON A LESS JOYOUS OCCASION, I approached one of those chinaberry trees in full leaf: oval, thin-veined, sharp-tipped, serrated leaves, reminiscent of keen edged knife blades, yet sleek, satin and gently wind-whipped, thickly gathered, deeply green, obscuring branches with dark shade. Nothing inside was at all visible to a young, eager eye.

SUDDENLY, A SOFT RUSTLE cleft a bright hole into that green night, fluttering on unexpected wings of morning: It was a majestic mockingbird in solitary flight, diving into the cover of that lush leaf, and just as suddenly disappearing, out of sight. No sound betrayed its lonesome presence: There was everywhere, yet nowhere, for it to hide!

THE BIRD NEITHER SAW NOR SENSED the inexperienced hunter, the small boy armed with stone and sling, sending a smooth pebble with the force of tightly drawn rubber strands to break a stout bird’s heart: death’s instant sting!

SUDDEN AND SHARP was the hunter’s shock, eyes filled with remorse, guilt, grief, as he retrieved the innocent, the fallen; his flowing tears were no real relief. So, with his brother, plans took shape to find a mourning box and resting site, a small spot under the tree, a hole to fill with prey and prayer contrite.

FALLEN TO FRESH EARTH was the now flightless bird: Its song silent, forever stilled; a mockingbird killed; but perhaps, like the soft spoken words of avian funeral sorrow, the hunter’s redemption was divinely willed. Amen!

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