Monthly Archives: October 2016

November issue of The Skirl

piperRead in this month’s edition of The Skirl:

  • Robert’s Ramblings about Reconciliation
  • Thanksgiving celebration
  • An Evening with Mac Frampton
  • A message from the Endowment Committee
  • TT Weekday School – what a great place to be a kid
  • Consecration Sunday is coming!
  • Calendar, prayers of the people, other interesting articles.

Get your copy of The Skirl for November now.

The End Is Near

The human brain is designed to focus on potential problems and dangers. In many circumstances focusing on what might go wrong can be very helpful, even lifesaving.

However alerting too easily can have unintended consequences. First Responders see this when called to an accident. Passing drivers readily focus not on where they are going but on the disaster that has fallen on another traveler. I too have had this experience wondering: What happened? Was anyone severely hurt? Instead of watching where I was driving giving only second thought that I needed to watch for responders dashing to and fro with rescue equipment.

The End Is NearApocalyptic literature has that same effect. Consider the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel. Here the prophet has recorded for us a vision he had of four horrific beasts that emerge from the sea as the four winds churn into a violent storm. Immediately we want to know: What is the meaning of the the lion-eagle beast? What is the significance of the bear gnawing on three ribs? Who gave authority to the winged leopard with four heads? Almost before we can consider those questions a fourth beast emerges with iron teeth and ten horns trampling what the other beasts had left. Begging more questions about what those horns might symbolize.

Even when “an ancient of days” appears seated on a blazing throne, Daniel remained focused on the boastful words of the horned beast. His description of the “one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven” lacks the details given to four beasts and the storm from which they emerged. Was he too distracted by the impending disaster to nearly miss the Salvation of the world?

I will have more to say about Daniel’s apocalyptic vision (Daniel 7:1-18) on Sunday, October 30th, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church. We will also celebrate All Saints Day a few days early, providing a religious context for Halloween.
Robert Shaw, Pastor

Faith Keeping

Many people have a will, and those who have not written a will have a legal framework provided by the state the live in that will dispose of their assets and liabilities among their heirs.

But far fewer people leave a Testament to their Faith to their children. At one time a will and testament were frequently one document: frequently a Last Will and Testament. Alas today these are frequently separate documents: A testament telling one’s heirs the theological basis for one’s financial decisions and a will telling one’s heirs who gets what.

Charles Dickens in 1849
Charles Dickens in 1849 (photo by Antoine Francois Jean Claudet)

One of the treasured books in my collection is a little book by Charles Dickens entitled
The Life of Our Lord. The story of the publication of this book tells us much about the faith of Charles Dickens. He had written this book, a synopsis of the Jesus life, and had read it every year at Christmas to his children and later also to his grandchildren. Perhaps because of the skewering of his faith by those reacting to his novels, Dickens forbade publishing this little book, forbade copying the handwritten manuscript, forbade even removing it from his house during his lifetime. Yet his family continued to read that one manuscript every Christmas. Only following the death of his last child did one of his grandchildren publish that manuscript to share a glimpse of Charles Dickens’ deep abiding faith with the world.

Today we have many ways of recording our faith story to share with our children and grandchildren: written essays, audio recordings, video showing places and events. Someone with artistic skills might paint a picture or form a sculpture. I hope that my musings in these posts and in posts on my personal blog will leave a lasting record of my faith. When I have the privilege of delivering a funeral message, I attempt to gather stories of the person’s life then sort them and relate them as evidence of that person’s faith. The Apostle Paul shared his faith story through his final letter to his young friend Timothy.

Take a moment today to provide a record of your faith for your heirs.

I will have more to say about the apostle Paul’s letter to his young student Timothy (2 Timothy 4:6-18) on Sunday, October 23rd, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor


Life is like sailing a ship. Sometimes to get to your destination you need to change course, even back track, to avoid sandbars, to utilize prevailing winds, or to avoid heavy seas.

When coming back from the Philippine Islands, our navigator had planned a great circle route directly to Seattle. But a storm arose putting our course parallel to the waves, rolling the ship we were on from side to side. Hence we changed course and headed due east until reaching the coast then headed north adding a full day to our trip. But keeping our destination in mind we arrived safely.

Paul reminds us to continue in what we have learned so that we will reach the destination God has planned for us, our salvation.

Thumbs UpBut Paul also warns us of other voices calling to us, distracting us from our destination, like the Sirens that distracted sailors of Greek mythology from their destinations. Unlike foghorns that warn us of the dangers of rocks and sandbars to steer around, the voices Paul warns us of are pleasant to hear, suiting our desires. Much as Facebook and Twitter, and to a lesser extent, the news media in general, chose articles to present to their audience based on which articles they have liked in the past. This assures the reader of a pleasant experience that they will choose to return to at a future date. However, truth that lies outside of a reader’s preferred experience will not be shown, leaving every available inch to that which tickles a reader’s ear.

Paul warns us to see that we attend to sound doctrine rather than doctrine that sounds good. Fortunately, God has given us in the Holy Scriptures a lighthouse and channel buoys in the teachings of thoughtful Christians. Scripture calls us towards our destination and the sound teachings guide us between the rocks and sandbars along the way.

I will have more to say about the apostle Paul’s final letter to his young student Timothy (2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:5) on Sunday, October 16th, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor

Hear Mac Frampton in Concert

Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church presents

An evening with

Mac Frampton


Playing everything from Gershwin to Billy Joel to J. S. Bach
Learn more about this talented performer at

7:00 PM, Saturday, November 12th, 2016

Proceeds to benefit Trinity Café

Trinity Cafe, a Tampa non-profit, restores a sense of dignity to the homeless & hungry while serving a nutritious meal.

Advance tickets $25 or $30 at the door, if not sold out.
Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church – Cash or Check Only
Online through – Credit Card

Chocolate Ice Cream Sodas

My father’s favorite treat is under attack.

Shortly after I turned 14 his cardiologist put him on a high fiber low fat diet. Chocolate ice cream sodas with zero fiber and gobs of fat did not make the cut. Fortunately his cardiologist also told him to cheat, to live a little, and thus make this severe diet livable.

soda-jerkThe intervening years have not been kind to chocolate ice cream sodas. Drug store soda counters have nearly disappeared. These oases were once staffed by a soda jerk, who knew from memory  just the right amount of milk and chocolate syrup to add to a tall glass before squirting in seltzer water while leaving room to drop in two scoops of chocolate ice cream.

Further dietitians have launched an attack on sugary drinks, noting connections between those who regularly consume such and obesity, diabetes, and heart disease as they favor fruit smoothies that at least have some vitamin value.

If not for the celebration of chocolate ice cream soda day, may father’s favorite treat would soon disappear.

I fear that the gospel is under a similar attack. While some would attack Christianity head on, calling it foolishness or the opiate of the people. Culture has a more dangerous weapon: creating alternative events and tasks that draw people away. At first only for an occasional Sunday, which eventually becomes every Sunday.

The apostle Paul may have written what we know as the Second Letter to Timothy during his final imprisonment. In it he wrote that he suffered “hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.”

What do we endure everything for the sake of the elect?

I will have more to say about 2 Timothy 2:8-14 on Chocolate Ice Cream Soda Day, Sunday, October 9th, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor