Shackled — The Stonepoint Blog

Mark Johnston, Connections Pastor My doctor in Canton has his office on Buffalo Street, a few blocks from the courthouse. I don’t know if he has some deal worked out with the county or what, but on more than one occasion, when i’ve been in the waiting area, a sheriff’s deputy or constable has brought […]

via Shackled — The Stonepoint Blog

Washes Whiter Than

The Stonepoint Blog

Mark Johnston, Connections Pastor

A few months ago, the wife and i were at one of those little shops where people sell things that you don’t really need, but buy anyway. She liked the way this big bar of soap smelled and thought it  would be good to use in our shower, so she bought one.dove

Now, we’re Dove people. “Dove is ¼ cleansing cream and will never dry your skin the way soap does,” the old commercial promised, and we believe it. My knuckles don’t dry out as badly in the wintertime when i use Dove. I know it’s ‘girl soap’ and being a guy, i should be taking layers of skin off every morning with Lava or at least using Irish Spring or something, but i don’t care. I like it.

We buy the stuff by the pallet at Sam’s, since my wife has this weird, Howard…

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An American (Sort of) in Paris

The Stonepoint Blog

Mark Johnston, Connections Pastor

Last night i had a dream that my wife and i were on a vacation in Paris.

We’d apparently met some people there and were about to have lunch at this outdoor café. We were seated at a long table and Angie, miraculously recalling her one year of High School French, was suddenly fluent in the language and deep in conversation with some ladies at the other end of the table. Paris-restaurant_2360820aShe was probably asking questions about this annoying French detective show she used to watch on Netflix while i was trying to sleep, or maybe if there was a Kohl’s on the Champs-Élysées.

I, who do not speak French, was sitting next to a surly man in a red sweater, feeling alone.

The people we were with spoke English really well, with only slight hints of the Inspector Clouseau accents that i expect Parisians to…

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Poison Control

The Stonepoint Blog

Bottle of PoisonMark Johnston, Connections Pastor

When he was little, our son, like a lot of kids, had a habit of sticking things in his mouth that didn’t belong there.

He was our only boy, and he was just…different than the girls had been. Years later we found out that his older sister, who had not wanted to give up her ‘binky’ when the proper time came, would snatch his from his mouth every chance she got, use it herself for a few seconds, and plop it back in his mouth when we looked around. He was not the type to complain, but, in hindsight, we think this trauma led to him wanting to eat & drink things he shouldn’t.

Angie was giving him a bath once, and he burped out a gigantic soap bubble. Turned out, he’d drank a glug of shampoo while her back was turned, and after a frantic…

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The Grave: What Are You Working For?

The Stonepoint Blog

Mark Johnston, Connections Pastor

The day we moved into our house in Edgewood, the real estate lady who represented the sellers came by to pull her sign out of the yard. We exchanged pleasantries for a minute, and then she said something that no new homeowner wants to hear.


“Did they tell you about the grave?”

My immediate thought was ‘oh, gosh…we bought the Poltergeist house.’

I said something like “no—i don’t remember seeing anything about that on the disclosure notice and i really think i would have noticed something like that on the paperwork and we’re getting out of here before sundown ‘cause blood dripping down the walls is not something i’m prepared to deal with right now!”

She then pointed to a solitary tombstone across the road from our pasture and explained that the previous owner had gone over with his weed eater periodically and cleaned up around…

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The Faith of a Child (Eternal Optimism on the Oregon Trail)

The Stonepoint Blog

Mark Johnston, Connections Pastor

When she was six or seven, our second oldest daughter had a game on our computer called The Oregon Trail. It was an educational game, which simulated the hardships of 19th century pioneer life. She played as a wagon leader guiding a group of settlers from Missouri to the Willamette Valley in a covered wagon in 1848.

She loved playing the game, but it always made her cry.


See, she would always name her people in the game after all the members of our family. And, as the realities of pioneer life set in, some of ‘us’ would die from various causes. One would get the measles, or typhoid, or cholera and kick the bucket halfway through the trip.

She’d come in to our bedroom, upset because her little brother or sister had died of dysentery, snakebite or drowned in a flood, and we’d have to…

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It’s Not You…It’s Me


The Stonepoint Blog

hand-with-pointing-fingerMark Johnston, Connections Pastor

“Lights will guide you home

And ignite your bones

And i will try to fix you”

— Coldplay

Great song. Awesome arrangement. When the electric guitar comes in, breathing life into the quiet ballad, it is one of the magical moments in rock music, up there with Roger Daltry’s scream and that first chime-y chord of A Hard Day’s Night.

But bad theology, though. And a really, really bad idea.

We heard it a lot when Stonepoint first started re:gen. “Oh, i wish i could get my husband/ wife/ son/ daughter/ uncle/ friend/ neighbor to come to this.” It happens sometimes when we start advertising a new relationship series, as well. People sincerely wanting their significant other, friend or loved one to come to a saving faith in Christ and get their scattered lives in order. Which is fantastic—that’s why  Stonepoint exists, and what keeps…

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The Stonepoint Blog

ToiletMark Johnston, Connections Pastor

A while back I got sick in the middle of the night.

Really sick.

We’re talking drunk freshman in college, ‘i’m never eating that again,’ lying on the bathroom floor in the fetal position, looking like one of those really awful extras in The Walking Dead, crying out to God kind of sick.

I’ll spare you the details, but believe me, it was bad.

I made all kinds of promises to the Lord while lying there, and i did live through it, although i haven’t had the chance to tell my two youngest kids that they’re going to have to be missionaries to Africa. I’ll try to find an appropriate time for that in the future, maybe one night over pizza.

What’s my reason for telling you this?

Over these fifty some-odd years, i’ve learned a few things in this life—never keep your bottle…

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