O Bluegrass! Where art Thou?

I love bluegrass music.  Something about those twangy metal strings.  Even though I grew up in KY, I didn’t listen to it much and didn’t have any friends or family who listened to it.  I acquired the taste in the last 10 years or so.

If you have some interest in the music and like it enough to want to learn more and maybe even start a collection, here are some recommendations in order.  You can download some or buy a used copy off Amazon.

Appalachian Stomp
Good variety from early pioneers like Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs then through Del McCoury and JD Crowe up to Alison Krauss.  Also has highly recognizable stuff like “Dueling Banjos” from that awful film and Beverly Hillbillies TV theme.

Hand-Picked: 25 years of Rounders (major bluegrass label)
2 CD set for cheap with great stuff on it. “Old Home Place” and “High on a Mountain” are two of my favs. “Barrel of Fun” makes my instrumental list.

Home on the Highways: Band Picked Favorites by Alison Krauss and Union Station (available at Cracker Barrel.  The Ricky Scaggs “High Notes” is really good, too) Her voice, her fiddling, plus Dan Tyminski are simply awesome.  Also a good intro to Alison, some tracks are more of a pop/country sound than pure bluegrass.

For the Advanced:  If you are already a fan and like the high, twangy voice and great picking, download “Deeper Shade of Blue” by Del McCoury today!

Now on to some of My Favorites:

  • “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn” by Alison Krauss and Union Station
  • “The Old Home Place” by JD Crowe and the New South
  • “Rain Rain Please Go Away” by Alison Krauss and Union Station
  • “Bright Sunny South” by Alison Krauss and Union Station
  • “High on a Mountain” by Del McCoury
  • “True Love Never Dies” by Del McCoury
  • “A Deeper Shade of Blue” by Del McCoury
  • “Big Rock in the Road” by Del McCoury

Great Gospel Bluegrass songs:

  • “I Know His Voice” by Del McCoury
  • “Every Humble Knee Must Bow” by the Nashville Bluegrass Band
  • “Recoverin’ Pharisee” by Del McCoury
  • “On the Sea of Life” by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver

Instrumentals-Awesome pickin’!

  • “Unionhouse Branch” by Alison Krauss and Union Station
  • “Choctaw Hayride” by Alison Krauss and Union Station
  • “Barrel of Fun” by Country Cooking
  • “Crazy Creek” by Bill Keith
  • “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” by Earl Scruggs and Foggy Mountain Boys
  • “Nine Pound Hammer” by the Kentucky Colonels
  • “Quicksburg Rendezvous” by Del McCoury

More about the De Kalb Church of Christ

Congregations this young usually don’t have a history written about them but I wanted to share a little of the story.

My aunt Johnnie moved to De Kalb Junction, New York, after marrying Jim while they both lived in Arkansas.  They each took their youngest child and moved back about 15 years ago to where he had grown up.

After Jim was converted, they began worshipping with the Massena Church of Christ which is on the Canadian border, about 50 miles away.  The winters are horrendous up there.  It is a rural area (reminds me of Ballard County for you western KY readers).

For numerous reasons, they decided to begin worshipping in their home, and with the blessing of the Massena congregation began meeting around their dining room table.  When they realized it was going to stick, they cleared out and fixed up one side of their two-car garage and met in there.  From Monday through Saturday, it housed a van.  On Sunday, it was the church building.

Finally, they began considering building and got a good deal on 8 acres of property less than a mile down the road.  Because they didn’t have much money, they were going to build as they had money, and do as much as they could by themselves.

They have been worshiping in the building for about a year.  The building itself is paid for, but they do pay monthly for the property.  My uncle does a lot of the teaching and preaching.

My cousin’s husband did most of the electrical work and they finally got it all hooked up last week.  They had been meeting in the building for a year already without electricity (using kerosene heaters in the winter), no plumbing, no bathrooms.  My aunt and uncle’s house was used for the restrooms.  They rented a porta-potty for the big weekend.

While we were there, they announced they had received $5,000 from a church in Plattesburg, NY,  (also by way of a church in Arizona, I think) that would be used for the septic tank and water well.

We enjoyed being with them, were inspired by their faith, and invite you to pray for them as well.  They are far from supporting a local preacher.  Maybe you know a self-supporting preacher who would like to work with a rural church plant in upstate New York.

If anyone would like to send a donation to help with their expenses, I know they would appreciate it.  They haven’t asked me to spread the word but I feel compelled to after being with them last weekend.

They will now have an electric bill and a water bill will start once they install the well.   They hope to also get heating installed before this winter.

You can send donations for their building fund to:

De Kalb Church of Christ
c/o the Larues
3397 US 11
Dekalb Junction, NY 13630

Make any checks out to “De Kalb Church of Christ”

De Kalb Church of Christ Gospel Meeting/VBS Report

Hopefully, you can see some fotos by clicking HERE!

We had a great time this past weekend with family and the church in De Kalb, NY.  Here’s how it went down:

Thursday wasn’t a great day for travelling.  It was rainy, we hit some construction, we needed lots of potty breaks.  We left home around noon and arrived at Aunt Johnnie’s around 9:30.  The kids were wired and we enjoyed visiting a couple of hours before crashing.

Friday was a laid back day.  There was some preparation to be done for the weekend, but we mostly rested and the kids played.  Aunt Johnnie searched all over and finally bought Eva a tea party set because she said she wanted to play tea party.  At dinner, my cousin Gina was there and I got to meet her boys and husband.  We haven’t seen each other in 19 years.

Saturday was the big day.  A group from the Massena Church of Christ (about 50 miles away) came, plus the De Kalb group and over all we had about 35 for the day, including some who were there part of the day. The Massena congregation has many Canadian members and was where most of the De Kalb members worshipped before beginning the work in their area.

They had tents up because of the threat of rain, but the rain held off.  I taught three lessons on Jesus, and we had a potluck for lunch, and a cookout with leftovers for dinner.  The kids had a blast with VBS.

On Sunday morning we realized why Marisa and I had been having headaches.  Marisa felt real bad on Friday evening and most of Saturday.  My aunt and uncle only drink decaff.  We don’t drink coffee all day but assumed we were getting a dose with 2-3 cups each morning.  Nope.  Ouch.

There were 23 present for worship on Sunday morning.  Four of them, including a toddler were from the Massena congregation.  And our family is included in that total, so the church has about 15 members.

I taught Bible class and preached on Jesus again, and we came back at 6:00pm and even though I didn’t leave NJ prepared to speak Sunday evening, I was able to preach on Faith from Hebrews 11-12 and concluding the weekend of preaching on Jesus by reminding us all to “Fix our eyes on Jesus.”

Monday morning we gathered and packed and then walked across the street to the Amish farm.  My aunt and uncle know and are friends with many of the Amish.  The kids come over and visit them often, usually wanting to watch a John Wayne film or I love Lucy.  Sam and Eva loved seeing the dogs, roosters, calfs, horses, bunnies, etc.  I loved the apple butter we bought.

We had a great time.  I don’t get to see my aunt Johnnie often.  She is my father’s sister (father who died when I was 4) and it is great to keep in touch with the Nicklauses.  We want to go back and see more of the area and visit again and probably will some day.  If it is over a weekend, I will probably preach for them again.

Travelling was easier on Monday with clear skies and less traffic.  The same Cracker Barrel was even better going in the opposite direction.

dekalbNY 002

When Jesus Walked the Earth

I will be waaaaay up in New York this weekend preaching for the Dekalb Junction Church of Christ.  My aunt and uncle helped to start the congregation after driving 50 miles in either direction to worship for awhile.  They are located between Massena and Watertown (northeast of Syracuse).

They renovated their garage at first and turned it into an auditorium.  Now thanks to some land being donated they are building a building.  They have completed part, but not all of it.  The work is being done by volunteer labor for the most part.  They don’t have electricity or indoor plumbing yet, but they are paying as they go, doing what they can afford.

They asked that I preach about Jesus and I was glad to comply.  There will be a cookout, games, VBS type stuff for kids during Saturday along with my lessons.

Here is my outline for the weekend.  Please pray for me and this small congregation.

When Jesus Walked the Earth

Session 1—Jesus was and is Passionate

  • God is an emotional being
  • God the Father and Jesus the Son both experience a range of emotions.
  • Jesus is passionate and we should be, as well.
    • Passionate about the Kingdom
    • Passionate about Truth (right and wrong)
    • Passionate for the Lost
    • Passionate in Worship

Session 2—Jesus was and is a Compassionate Healer

  • Jesus healed people from all kinds of illness and disease
  • Jesus also heals relationships
  • Jesus still heals today
  • Jesus is the Great Physician and we must bring all our brokenness to Him

Session 3—Jesus was and is Lord

  • Power and Authority
  • Jesus has authority over every aspect of my life
  • Discipleship involves taking up our cross daily

Session 4—Jesus was and is Savior (Bible Class)

  • Salvation explained in 7 Words
  • Romans 3:21-26

Session 5—Jesus was and is Love (sermon)

  • Jesus’ Love is Immense
  • Jesus’ Love is Sacrificial
  • Jesus’ Love is Passionate

Just checking in and reporting

Hello.  I am home after spending a day and a night in Kent, CT, at the annual NE Men’s Retreat.  It was a great time as usual.  If you ever get a chance to hear brother Howard Wright from Atlanta, go for it.  He spoke about being a “point man” for God/Jesus.  Also talked about the friendship we have with Jesus and mentoring.

One highlight was hanging out with Frank Bellizzi.  Last year, we randomly happened to meet each other at the Library Book sale in the town where the retreat takes place.  This year we got to visit and talk more.  We talked about church stuff, connections, FHU, ourselves, books, etc. over coffee with Henry Kissinger and then ended up eating lunch together as well (Hank couldn’t make it for lunch).  We covered everyone from F.D. Srygley to Benson to Foy to Rubel in chatting about Harding, FHU and books.


For those who are wondering, Frank is a real human, not a scamming Ivory Coastan or Nigerian pretending to be a Bible Chair in Amarillo, TX, in order to milk you out of millions of dollars, and he is really cool.

I want to visit him in Amarillo someday and attempt to eat the 72 oz steak.


On a completely unrelated sidenote, I am disillusioned with the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.  After all these years of admiring the accomplishments, consistency, and greatness of many a pro ball player from Ty Cobb to Cal Ripken, I find out that all it takes is $30 for an individual and $50 for a family to become a member.


That’s right, I am in there with Ruth, Mantle, and Sandberg (who will be on my membership card). I get free admission for a year, I already received my map and guide and plan to go there and spend a day later in the summer, and hopefully at least a second time during the winter.