Thursday, July 22, 2004

Northwest Trip

I am off to the great Northwest tomorrow, and I will be gone for a week. I won't have a chance to be blogging. I saw on the Weather Channel that they are having a heat wave up there at the present time......just my luck! But, I can take that over the constant rain and gloomy skies....which is the way it is up there much of the time.

I leave you with this comment I heard the other day in the context of a discussion concerning the bad news some friends had gotten about their health.

Sorrow looks back
Worry looks around
Hope looks up

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

F.W. Mattox

In July of 1999, Bro. Mattox was celebrating his 90th birthday.   All of his extended family were in Searcy for this special time in his life.  Because he was so loved and respected, he was asked to make a few comments from the pulpit at College Church on that Sunday.    In light of the fact that it is the 5th anniversary of that celebration, I went back to read what he said to all of us on that Sunday.  He was thoughtful enough to have his comments printed.

Here are his 5 main points from that short talk:

1.)   Stay active by finding important things for which to live.
2.)   Keep your stewardship in mind.  He reminded us that we are a steward of life, time, money and opportunities.   He told us of Brother A. M. Burton who made sure he gave all of his money away BEFORE he died.
3.)   Feed your faith.   He had just completed a "restudy of evolution".   He told us to "help your faith to grow in God until all doubt is removed".
4.)   Realize that there are great basics that you must hold to.    The two he mentioned that morning were sin and grace.
5.)   To forgive and love reflect the nature of God.   "If there is anyone that you are holding anything against, forgive.  If there is anyone who doesn't have your total commitment of love, then you need to realize that there is another opportunity to share in the great qualities of God".

He closed by saying "My ninety years seem mighty short.  I'm going to meet the Lord pretty soon, but you might beat me there!  And so we ought to live each day as if that were our last day".

Brother Mattox did gain the victory not long after that Sunday, and I still miss him.   Like many others, he will be followed............but for sure never replaced.

Friday, July 16, 2004


In his weekly church bulletin, Dale Pauls wrote the following:
"The signature statement of Christianity, and possibly the most remarkable statement ever made by anyone, is Jesus' teaching   'Love your enemies'.   (Matt. 5: 43-48)    Moreover the examples he gives are unmistakably concrete.    Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. When struck, turn the other cheek.  When anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back."
I thought of Dale and Jesus' words last night as I was reading about a 26 year old Californian, Amy Biehl.  Amy was a Stanford grad, and was living in South Africa as a volunteer in voter registration for the upcoming free elections of 1994.  One evening she was driving three African friends home to their township as a favor.  Seeing her white face, a mob of African boys screamed in eagerness, for this was a black township and she was white prey.  Her car was showered with stones and stopped, and she was dragged from it.  Her black African friends pleaded with the mob to spare her by saying "she's a comrade!"    Amy herself pleaded to her assailants.  She was harried viciously, beaten to the ground,  her head smashed with a brick, and she was stabbed in the heart..........killed like an animal.      Defying death threats, some women who had witnessed  the crime came forward and named Amy's killers.  Four young men were convicted of the murder and sentenced to eighteen years in prison.    After three years of imprisonment these murderers appeared before the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" that was set up for the purpose of bringing some healing to South Africa after several hundred years of racial injustice.   The commission had been authorized to give a general amnesty to any individuals who had been convicted for crimes that were of a political nature if they showed remorse.   These young men testified that this murder was political ( which makes no sense in that Amy was helping them politically, and everybody knew that) and they said that they were remorseful for the crime.   Ok, here is the amazing part of this whole story.............the murderers' freedom could ONLY be given if Amy's parents agreed to the amnesty.   Peter and Linda Biehl were at the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" hearings and heard all the testimony.  One of the mothers of the killers was so disgusted and ashamed by her son's description of what he had done to Amy that she could not face him.     I am sure you are way ahead of me.   Amy's parents not only agreed to the amnesty, they offered jobs to the young men to work at a Foundation that was set up in Amy's honor and memory.  Two of the young men accepted the job offer, and still work there today.    The Foundation is "dedicated to the empowering  of people who are oppressed".      
The intellectual concept of "loving your enemies" is one thing,  to see it lived out in the lives of believers is going to a completely different level.   I can only imagine that EXPERIENCING it
puts you in a whole different galaxy.     I have opportunites to go to that galaxy with the Biehls, do you?

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Sunny Singh

People tend to get irritable when they are under stress, and traveling by air these days is pretty stressful. From the long lines, late arrivals and departures, security checks, and crowded seating amongst obnoxious can test your ability to "Do unto others". That is why I am thankful for Sunny Singh and others like him in the world of air travel. Sunny is an American Airlines employee at the Burbank airport in California. I have no clue as to his religious affliations, or if he even has any. I have never been able to talk to him that long. But Sunny is ALWAYS kind and helpful, and goes out of his way to make sure you get what you want.....or die trying. You feel better for just having been around him, even if it is only for a few minutes.

So, the obvious application is........"is that they way people feel when they come away from dealing with me?" I sure hope so, but probably not all the time. Our definition lots of time of being "faithful" is whether or not we attended church on a regular basis. I think our every day walk is a much better litmus test for faithfulness than church attendance. Does that mean I am advocating "forsaking the assembly"? No way. I think we probably ought to have more of them. What I am saying is that I am going to know who you are by your daily walk more than I am by counting how many assemblies you attend. "True Religion" wasn't defined by assembly attendance.

I thank God for Sunny........and many more like him who bless me every day with their servant heart and mind-set. I want to be one of those people too. If you are ever travelling thru Burbank, be sure to look Sunny will be glad you did!

Friday, July 09, 2004

On the Road Again

We got back from California last night around 11ish, and today head to East Tenn. for a nephew's wedding. I am getting too old for all of this! But, with each trip comes new experiences and new relationships that are wonderful blessings.

I look forward to blogging next week.......lots to share with you! God bless you this weekend!

Friday, July 02, 2004

The 4th

Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL 4th of July! Like you, I am thankful for the freedoms that we have on a daily basis. The older I get, the more I cherish them.

May God continue to bless our leaders and our beloved nation.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Identity Theft

One of the hottest subjects in the public and corporate sectors at the present is "identity theft". The cost to consumers is in the millions of dollars each year. Some of you may have insurance to protect you from such a scam as this. When I worked with the credit card deparment at First Security back in the mid-90's it already was a big concern, but not anywhere close to what it is today.

Mark Moore(Uganda)spoke to the High School students who came to Harding for Spring Sing this past year. He used this current situation to address a deeper crisis, which is this: "where do you get your identity?" He asked the students if they were allowing Satan or the world to perform "identity theft" in their spiritual lives. In this age of total access, our young people are being bombarded by everything from Brittany Spears to Ludicrous. Yes, that is a performer's name. Mark is a powerful communicator, and if you want to hear these talks you can call Barbara Martin in the recording center here at Harding to order the tapes. The number is 501-279-4439.

So, where do you get your identity? For me, that can be a very indicting question at times. Does my profession identify who I am......or is it my church affiliation? Or maybe it is my family. No wait, it is my country and the good ole "American Way" of life. Could it be my view of politics? I can get pretty excited about that discussion with you or anybody else.
How about which team I am a fan of? And then there is the my income level the final straw in determining who I am?

Check these two verses out when you get the chance, and they in no way exhaust the verses that cover this topic. The first is I Corinthians 3: 19......and the second is Colossians 3:3.

As the song says, I hope I can see you thru "My Father's Eyes".
I hope to see myself thru those same eyes as well. When that happens, I won't have to wonder about my identity anymore.