Sunday, June 27, 2004


Today at Downtown one of the Shepherds of that congregation, Rusty Meadows, came forward requesting we pray for his struggle of not trusting God enough. about a foot-washing!
I grew up in an era when it was communicated that Shepherds were expected to be PERFECT, and nothing but PERFECTION was accepted.
If they weren't perfect, then what business did they have being an Elder? That was heresy and legalism.....and the scary thing is that it wasn't challenged. I was at the congregation I attended before going to Downtown for over 20 years, and not once in those 20 years do I remember a leader of that congregation asking for prayers for a struggle they were having.
That doesn't mean they weren't confiding in other leaders or somebody else with these struggles.....but think what it would have meant to the other members and the young people to know that one of their leaders was human too! What did it communicate to the young people when no leaders EVER had any struggles? So I know what you are wanting to ask..."Did YOU challenge that mind-set?" Not really, and I confess that with much regret. I did share those feelings with the high school classes that I taught. I don't know if they shared them with their parents or not. They are typical teenagers, so I am guessing they didn't.

I pray that we learn to seek men with hearts like Rusty for roles of leadership in our congregations. Why? Because Rusty's heart is calling him to have the heart of Jesus and the Father.
Jesus said to Paul "My grace is sufficient for you, for my POWER is made PERFECT in WEAKNESS". (emphasis mine) Paul's response to that was this "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my WEAKNESS, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake, I delight in WEAKNESSES, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. Fot when I am WEAK, then I am STRONG". I Cor. 12: 9& 10 (emphasis mine again). Thank-you Rusty for washing our feet today.

I will not be blogging much this week or next week because of travel. I just didn't want you to think I was quitting. As long as it is bugging Keith, then I am going to be blogging! :)

Please keep me and my family in your prayers as we travel. Thank you for that blessing!

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Loving Little

Last week I referred to the line in the Waylon and Willie song that says: "Maybe it's time we got back to the basics of Love".
Love is the central theme of the Bible. Love is talked about more in our Bibles than any other subject. It is the filter that you receive all the other scripture through. If you had to define God with one word, "love" would be that word. It is the most controlling influence in the world. All the good in the world has love at it's root, and all evil has a lack of love at it's foundation. Love is the motivation for more songs being written than all the other songs put together....both secular and spiritual. I could "blog" for days, weeks, and months and NEVER write all that could be discussed revolving around the subject of love. It's that deep and wide.

Do you remember the phrase "loves little" from scripture? It may appear several times, but the time I am pointing you to is in Luke 7 when Jesus is talking to Simon the Pharisee. Jesus is defending the sinful woman, and basically tells Simon that the reason he "loves little" is because he perceives himself as being forgiven of little. Do you have a "loves little" problem? Do I? If so, let me suggest the truth that applied to Simon applies to us.........we aren't humble enough to acknowledge our need for forgiveness for the sins in our lives. Forgiveness is something everybody else needs.....because their sins are greater and more numerous than mine. Forgiveness is something you need, because you don't hold the same doctrines that I do.......and mine are the RIGHT ones. Like Simon, until we come to grips with our NEED for forgiveness.....we will continue to "love little". I don't think that means just loving God little.......I think it means the ability to love ANY and EVERY person. That should get our attention really quick.

I probably can't quote you chapter and verse, but I believe this has another twist to it also. Because we "love little", we don't perceive ourselves as being forgiven of very much. Remember, that is the reason Jesus told Simon he was a "love little" individual. Here is the twist.......feeling like we don't need to be forgiven of anything then influences us in our ability, or lack of ability, to forgive. I truly believe we forgive to the level we PERCEIVE WE have been forgiven. It's really easy to forgive when you see your sins as being greater than those of the people you are having to forgive. Isn't it? Wasn't that what captured Paul's heart.......knowing EVEN he, the "Chief of Sinners" was loved enough to be forgiven? Knowing his past, how hard do you think it was for Paul to forgive or to offer Grace freely? How did he have any other choice? We are all Paul....we've ALL been lost to the same level he was. What keeps us from grasping that truth? Is it pride? Is it fear of acceptance? Is it ignorance? It should motivate us when we read Jesus telling us that we will be forgiven at the same level we are able to forgive! I pray with you that I too will see the log in my own eye, and see how MUCH I am forgiven on a daily as to help me be able to be a loving, forgiving, and Grace-filled disciple. The other option keeps me from being the very light and salt that I want to be.

I believe in HIM!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

"I believe in YOU"

I was blessed a few weeks ago to be able to sit at the feet of Monte Cox as he spoke to the flock at Downtown here in Searcy.
Like many others, Monte ALWAYS blesses you when you listen to him witness about God. This particular message focused on the sisters Mary and Martha. He pointed out their very different personalities, and called us to see the "Mary and Martha" in all of us. The deeper part of the message was Martha's response in John 11: 27 when Jesus, after having just been rebuked by Martha for not getting there quicker, has just asked Martha if she believes in his teaching that the disciples are never really going to die. This is extremely personal and not theology to her, because her brother is lying dead in a tomb not very far away. Her response is "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God who has come into the world." In other words, "I believe in YOU". Monte went on to point out how often we should be like Martha and just say "I believe in Him" when we don't know the answers so many times to life's questions. Usually we come up with all kinds of theological explanations to hide our fear of seeming spiritually ignorant because we don't know the answer. Isn't not knowing the reason we walk by faith?

The reason this message is on my heart this morning is because I just got an update from Bonnie Roper Ward, the wife of Dave Ward. Dave was diagnosed with liver cancer a few months back. Dave is around 50 years old, and was in perfect health. He has just been blessed with his first grand-child. As you know, statistically the chance for recovery from liver cancer are not in his favor. What do you say to Dave and Bonnie and those who ask where God is in all of this? Like Martha I say "I don't know nor do I understand, but I believe in Him." When people ask "WHY" concerning the innocent American who was murdered last week in Saudi Arabia......I believe in Him. Why you see friends and families destroyed by divorce......I believe in Him. Why so MANY suffer from hunger and poor living conditions, especially in third world countries........I believe in Him. Does that remove any responsibility we have to help? Of course not....but it can help us with the "WHY" part of it. I wish that I could turn back the clock and be able to have this mind-set when Phil and Judy lost little Jay......and come to think of it, even when their house burned down. Looking back on it, they responded by living lives that thunderously proclaimed......"I believe in HIM!!!"
What a foot washing that was.

The answer was there all along......I just needed a Monte Cox to shake these cob webs loose. Thanks Monte........and with Martha and with all of you, I shout with all my being "I believe in HIM".

Monday, June 21, 2004

Religious vs Spiritual

First, let me start by saying I had a WONDERFUL "Father's Day" yesterday. I had both of my boys with me, so life was as good as it gets. I also got to talk to my wonderful dad, who modeled what a great dad is to me. I also got to spend some time with Jan's dad, who also was a wonderful father to his 3 special girls. So it was a special day because of so many special people in my life. I am blessed beyond words.

Just a quick thought's a Monday after all. Do you know people who are religious, but not very spiritual? By that I mean you see them at church or other religious activities, but in their life you don't see the fruits of the Spirit. Why is that? We all know plenty of examples of what I am talking about. For that matter, we all ARE that person from time to time! So again I ask, why is that? I have some thoughts, but will share them later. Right now I think I will just lay it out there for you to digest for several days or weeks.

The scary thing is THOSE are the individuals that Jesus despised. It wasn't the sinners he couldn't stand being fact those were the very ones he WANTED to be around. The "religious" crowd were the folks he tried to stay clear of. Kind of scary huh? It should be.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Morgan Freeman

If you get TBS or TNT, you have probably seen "Shawshank Redemption" more times than Jennifer Lopez and Elizabeth Taylor have been married. It's kinda like watching Andy Griffith in that you KNOW what is going to happen, but you have to watch it anyway. Morgan Freeman, playing the part of "Red", has one of my favorite lines in the movie.

Red: "These walls are kind of funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, gets so you depend on them. That's INSTITUTIONALIZED. They send you here for life, that's exactly what they take. The part that counts, anyways."

The part of that quote that comes at me like neon lights is when he says that you can get to where you DEPEND on the walls of an institution, and because of that dependence, have your life taken away from you. Any life you feel you have because of an institution is not REAL LIFE. You are settling for a Zircon stone when HE wants you to have the real Diamond.

John 14:6 "I am the way, and the truth, and the LIFE. No man comes to the father except through me."

I hope you never feel like Red. I did once, but I don't ever plan on feeling institutionalized again. Why would I want to go back to Cubic Zirconia when I have the Diamond?

Wednesday, June 16, 2004


In the previous entry, I meant to say "30 hours of football per weekend in the fall". I didn't want to offend all you junkies by implying we only watched 30 hours for the WHOLE season. DUH!
Speaking of, it won't be long! The pre-season mags are already on the shelves. Can you believe this is Jeb's senior year? I hope he goes beyond Zebra this year on the field. He already has with his character.


Ok, I am probably going to step on some toes....but seeing as to how I am only aware of one female reader of my blog (my sweet sister-in-law) maybe it will be only 10 toes. Here is the question of the day......Why is it that women CANNOT park a vehicle? Is it in their DNA or what? When they pull in the parking space, if their posterior is sitting in between the white lines.........well the rest of the vehicle must be ok also. Yesterday I tried pulling into a spot where a woman was in the adjacent space, and sure enough her back right tire was partly over the line, which put the back of the car behind the tire entirely in my parking space......but the driver seat was in-between the white lines. If they take this cloning stuff serious, I hope they can delete or change that particular gene in our wonderful females. If space travel happens during my life time, you can bet I won't be buying any tickets for Venus. And as Mark Benton pointed out to me yesterday, most of these offenders are driving aircraft carriers on wheels. The sticker of new SUVs ought to read as follows...."for men only until parking school certificate obtained". What were the engineers thinking that drew up the plans for these B-52s? Safe to bet they don't get out least in parking lots.

Ok, you get the point. I suppose their response would be that as soon as we learn to lift the lid, they will learn to park.
Fair enough. As long as they don't equate it with watching 30 hours of football on TV in the fall, we're ok.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Waylon and Willie

I just spent this past week on the road. I miss being home, and at the same time I love being with wonderful people that bless my life tremendously. Every trip is unique, and the unknown is always intriguing. Each trip is a new journey, with both blessings and challenges.

As I travel, I love to listen to Spiritual talks that challenge me. In my most recent trips, I have been listening to talks from the Pepperdine Lectures that were held a few weeks ago. Some are better than others, but there has not been a single talk that I regretted listening to. The folks at Gaylor in Nashville provide a wonderful media ministry, and I appreciate their effort to offer these talks on CD or tape. If you are interested in purchasing either, go to
and check out what they have to offer.

It just so happens this past week between talks I was listening to a country music station on the radio. One of my all-time favorite country songs came on......"Let's go to Luckenbach, Texas" by Willie and Waylon. This is not some song that we will be singing anytime soon on Sunday morning, but as I listened one line kept jumping out at me......"maybe it's time we got back to basics of love". Wow, does that have any resonance with you too? It sounds like it could be the theme for several Biblical passages, especially the book of First John. I John was not preached much from the pulpits of the churches that I grew up in...I am not sure it was in our Canon. In one section of this book, Chapter 4 verses 7-21, John uses the word "love" more than 25 times. That is just one small section of the entire book. In that section is a 3 word sentence that probably is the most powerful sentence of that size, or any size, ever written. "God is love".

We use to sing "and they'll know we are Christians by our love". Maybe it's time we got back to the basics of love.

Monday, June 07, 2004

President Reagan

George W. Bush is the 10th president in my lifetime. Kennedy is the first that I remember. Probably because of his untimely death and the events that surrounded his killing....the funeral, Oswald, Jack Ruby, etc. I remember the Goldwater vs Johnson election year, and my folks voting for Goldwater. I associate Johnson with Vietnam. Nixon had a great foreign policy, but he will always be remembered for his role in Watergate. I don't remember much about Ford.....except he was always hitting people when he played tennis. Carter was probably the most moral president in my lifetime, but as a President I just remember him being unable to get anything significant done.

That brings me to Ronald Reagan, who passed away this weekend. I am not big into politics, but I remember President Reagan as someone who was able to bring our nation together. I remember him as being genuine. When he talked, it was as if just you and he were sitting down on the couch for a nice visit. I believe he was by far the most "down to earth" president we have had in my lifetime. You trusted him, and believed in him.........and because of that you believed in America again. Come to think of it, I am ready for another president like him! This sounds negative I know, but I don't see it happening in this election year. Let's pray God causes another great leader among us to rise up and bring our nation back together.....and more importantly, back to HIM. I am not meaning to infer that our nation has EVER totally been a nation of Godliness, but I firmly believe that there were times when we were closer to that than we are now. I sure hope there were times where we were closer to Him as a nation than we are now.

My faith and hope are in God, not the United States of America. At the same time, I pray that Christians can have an impact on the laws and policies of our Nation.

For the good things he did, I am thankful for God allowing Ronald Reagan to be the leader of this country for 8 years.
God bless his family.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Smarty Jones

What is it with us Americans that causes us to love an underdog?
In other countries, they think we are crazy for taking such an interest in what they consider a "loser". Is it because our original 13 colonies were an underdog against mighty England?
Who knows, but most of us love to see the upset. We love to see those who have lept huge hurdles or overcome tremendous handicaps to achieve greatness. Is it a national thing, or a spiritual one? Or is it a combination?

All I know is that I am a HUGE Smarty Jones fan. We are having a "Smarty Party" at our house on Saturday.......and I am counting the minutes. Some might ask why I am for Smarty, when he obviously is NOT the underdog in this race! I won't relate the whole story here, but go back and read about what all he overcame to get where he is, and that will explain my feelings for Smarty. He is not a quitter. Smarty is a galloping example of perseverence. I have always had a special place in my heart for those who overcome handicaps. I was modeled perseverence from the day I was born by a dad who was handicapped, but didn't know it. He was my stiff legged, short legged, stiff hipped example of perseverence on a daily basis. So forgive me if I am somewhat prejudiced towards's in my genes!

May the best horse win, and I hope it is Smarty! I will be thinking of you, dad.