Friday, December 24, 2004

Twas the Night Before Christmas

We can't BELIEVE it!! It is Christmas eve and the snow is still here, so we are going to blessed with a WHITE CHRISTMAS in of the few I can remember! We feel really special about this unusual happening! Matt made it in from Memphis took him almost 3 times as long to get here as usual, five and half hours. So, we have all our chickens in our nest, and life doesn't get any better than that. Now we wait for Santa.

I had a friend impact my life today. Some of you remember Larry Beck who was here at Harding at the same time some of the rest of us the mid 70's. He is now divorced, and lives alone with an adopted son. He called me this morning to wish me a "Merry Christmas", so I asked him what he and Chris were going to do tomorrow.
He said that tonight he was cooking turkey for some homeless families so that tomorrow they would have a nice Christmas Dinner. WOW! Instead of being bitter about his wife leaving him, and his girls not coming home for Christmas.....he is caring for those less fortunate than he is. I think he has discovered the TRUE meaning of live a life like the one who's birth we celebrate.

Larry will never know I wrote this.........he never gets on a computer. He has an aversion to them. But I love him, for his kind heart and Christ like generosity.
I'm a better person because of his example.

Somebody gave a shelter that night a little more than 2000 years ago to a couple in need. People like you and Larry are STILL helping those in need on this day!


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Poor Alvin

Yesterday I drove nine and a half hours coming back from a funeral in the Dothan, Alabama area. I love Christmas music, so it was a blessing to get to hear it being played during the whole trip back home.

Here's the deal..........there is no way Mr. Bagsdasarian, aka David Seville, could have gotten away with yelling at Alvin the way he did in our ACLU world of 2004! Of course you know I am referring to Alvin the Chipmunk. That kind of yelling will certainly cause stress and trauma that can only be helped thru deep therapy and counseling. Alvin would have required it for sure, and Simon and Theodore would have probably been victims too, because of the collateral damage that would have been inflicted on them.

So next time you hear our beloved Chipmunk's singing, be glad they recorded in the 50's and 60's. If they recorded today and wanted to do it in the form of a "rap" filled with four letter words, that would be fine.........but you can forget the part where David yells out "A-L-V-I-N!!" Go figure.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Jesus's Birth

I am blessed to get to sit at the feet of Monte Cox each Sunday morning during Bible class! Here are some things we discussed today in class. Feel free to comment on some or all of them.

A) Why did God choose Jesus to be born under such humble circumstances?
B) Why come as a baby? Why not come as a 21 year old?
C) Why did our fellowship have such an aversion to Christmas for so long?

I am not sure that we will ever know the answers to A and B, and I'm ok with that.
I believe we will understand someday.....but only when HE is ready for us to understand. There is probably more than one answer to C. I'll go out on a limb here and say most of the answers for C are not good answers. Then again, "good" is relative, huh?

All I know is that it is now the week of Christmas!
"Let heaven and nature sing"!!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

A Christmas Song

I love Christmas songs. I can't sing one in church without a huge frog jumping up in my throat. I know I would probably get tired of them at some point, but I wish we sang them more often. How about you? In the blogging world I have read quite a bit about Herod today. It reminded me of one of my favorite songs to listen to this time of year. It is a song by James Taylor, and the name of it is "Home by Another Way". As you probably guessed, it is about the wise men and the threat of Herod capturing them. Obviously I don't agree with his phrase "the Gods saying play the odds", but the rest of the song is pretty good. Wait a minute, maybe he was talking about the Father, the Son and the Spirit! Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. In case you are interested, this song is off of his album "Never Die Young".

Here are the lyrics:

Home By Another Way

Those magic men the Magi
Some people call them wise
Or Oriental, even kings
Well anyway, those guys
They visited with Jesus
They sure enjoyed their stay
Then warned in a dream of King Herod's scheme
They went home by another way

Yes they went home by another way
Home by another way
Maybe me and you can be wise guys too
And go home by another way
We can make it another way
Safe home as they used to say
Keep a weather eye to the chart on high
And go home another way

Steer clear of royal welcomes
Avoid a big to-do
A king who would slaughter the innocents
Will not cut a deal for you
He really, really wants those presents
He'll comb your camel's fur
Until his boys announce they've found trace amounts
Of your frankincense, gold and myrth

Time to go home by another way
Home by another way
You have to figure the Gods saying play the odds
And go home by another way
We can make it another way
Safe home as they used to say
Keep a weather eye to the chart on high
And go home another way

Home is where they want you now
You can more or less assume that you'll be welcome in the end
Mustn't let King Herod haunt you so
Or fantasize his features when you're looking at a friend

Well it pleasures me to be here
And to sing this song tonight
They tell me that life is a miracle
And I figured that they're right
But Herod's always out there
He's got our cards on file
It's a lead pipe cinch, if we give an inch
Old Herod likes to take a mile

It's best to go home by another way
Home by another way
We got this far to a lucky star
But tomorrow is another day
We can make it another way
Safe home as they used to say
Keep a weather eye to the chart on high
And go home another way

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Well, the Beryl Markham post was a big hit! :) I thought maybe out of the 3 of you at least one would make SOME kind of observation. Note to self: No more posts about interesting women aviators.

Ok, let's move on to a topic that is almost taboo in our culture today....the demise of the NBA. Is it just me, or do you like me believe the character of the average professional basketball player is not what it was 15 or 20 years ago? Or is it that the media covers them closer now? Or is it that the media only tells you about the thugs, without ever giving you the stories about the David Robinson caliber people?
All I know is that during the winter I only watch College hoops, and pray for Spring to hurry up so baseball can get here. I NEVER......repeat N-E-V-E-R watch NBA games. With one exception, the play-offs.........and then probably only the finals,
and that is like pulling teeth. I would rather watch Australian rules football where the guy with the white hat looks like he is pulling his gun to draw on somebody in an ole signal a score. I would watch that crazy crocodile dude before I would watch an NBA game. ANYTHING on TV-Land gets the nod over the NBA.

So, am I a loner on this one or are others out there fed up with the National Thugball Association?

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Beryl Markham

Beryl Markham was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic east to west. Yes, Beryl is a she......not a he! She grew up in East Africa and was a friend of all the characters from the book and movie "Out of Africa." The only book I know that she wrote was "West With the Night", and it contains one of my most favorite quotes of all time. Most of you won't be able to relate, but a few will. Here it is:

"Looking back on my life in Africa, I feel it might altogether be described as the existence of a person who had come from a rushed and noisy world, into a still country. A country so lovely, as if the contemplation of it could in itself be enough to make you happy all of your life."

Thanks Beryl!

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Let's pretend a best selling book comes out about Michael Jordan, and a friend and I both read it. The book tells in detail all of his accomplishments, awards, and honors. That is the whole essence of the book, a testimony to his ability as a basketball player. It doesn't include just facts, but it has eye-witness accounts and testimonies by credible witnesses that saw him do the things the author writes about. The author himself, a well respected author in all circles, is a witness also.

Several days after both of us have completed reading the book, we are together and I make the comment: "Man, that Michael Jordan was a great basketball player" and my friend's response is "where in the book does the author say that?". At first I think he is teasing, but to my horror I realize he isn't kidding. So I say "what do you mean" "Well, exactly what I me in the book where it says the actual words that say Michael Jordan was a great basketball player" is his reply. Trying to keep my face from showing how incredulous I feel, I say....."you have GOT to be kidding! THE WHOLE BOOK is about how great a basketball player Michael Jordan was, wasn't it?!?!?!?! " "Well, all I know is that if those words aren't actually in there, you can't say the author ever said Michael Jordan was a great basketball player"....and my friend turns and walks away in manner that is very smug.

Could that conversation really ever happen? Probably not.....not on that subject. Guess happens EVERY day, with subjects and topics a LOT more important than how good a basketball player Michael Jordan was. And there are people who will take the EXACT approach to scripture that my friend took in the conversation above. There can be an overwhelming amount of scripture addressing any number of subjects, but if the EXACT words are not there, then the legalist pronounces it untrue.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" Galations 5:1

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

A Song

If you haven't been to Keith Brenton's blog today, go there PLEASE! Sing the lyrics he has put to a familiar tune we have been singing since we could walk.

I don't know if I should laugh or cry.......maybe both.

Sunday, December 05, 2004


One of the individuals involved with the major league baseball steroids scandal made the following comment: "it isn't cheating if everybody else is doing it". Again remember, that is a direct quote.

Each generation has one lie that is so pervasive that the whole group is defined by that one untruth. For my generation, it was Timothy Leary's "Turn on, Tune in, Drop out". Those younger and older can comment on what lie each of your own generations
communicated as truth.

I think we just heard this generations lie. Let those of us who know better expose it for just that.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Christian Education

Jan and I TRY and have kids over to eat one night a week. We don't always succeed in meeting that goal, but that is what we shoot for. We know that if Luke or Matt had gone off to school some place, we would have loved for somebody to give them a good home cooked meal and a couch to kick back on sometime. We tell the kids that they were invited the first time, but after that they need to come ANY time they want to if they need to "chill". It sounds nice for the kids, but guess who REALLY gets blessed.......yep, Miss Jan and I. Our lives have been blessed SO many times and ways these past seven years from having students in our home! We miss the ones who graduate and move on! We have received MUCH more than we have given.

But I said that to say something we may not say enough because we take it for granted. Isn't Christian education wonderful!?! I just appreciate all the board members, administrators, professors, coaches, cafeteria workers, dorm parents, security folks, staff employees, and EVERYBODY that has ANY thing to do with minsistering to our kids who attend Christian Universities! ALL the students who attend any Christian University are some of the most blessed people in the world!
And those of us who get to work with and minister to these students are blessed even MORE! Our Chrisitian Universities are producing christian ministers for every profession you can they can be light and salt to a world that desperately needs to know about a Savior. Is there a more important work than that? Are these schools perfect? Not any more than any of us as individuals are perfect. All of them have presidents and leaders that I firmly believe God put there for that purpose, and I have faith that they are leading in the way HE would have them to lead. I feel the same way about all the professors and Deans, and without going thru the whole list again........EVERYBODY!

So, in this thanksgiving season, I just want to be thankful for ALL those who serve in Christian matter what their role is. I believe these are some of the greatest servants among us. We also should be very thankful for those who went before us in the field of Christian education. We are standing in the shadow of some trees we did not plant. We have a TREMENDOUS legacy to uphold. We can only get that kind of strength and courage from above. I pray we continue to look to him for our guidance and strength. Thank you to all of you currently working in Christian education, and thank you to all of the special ones who have gone on to the other side ahead of us. Let's all be faithful in prayer to the Father on behalf of ministering to young people thru education. May he continue to bless our work!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


The following is from an SIM (Seving in Missons) news-letter, written by Sally Brading.

A Night on Call in the Bush Story List

It’s about 2:00 a.m. on a warm night in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa a few days before New Year’s 2004. I’ve just put my head down when the bleep goes (unfortunately this technology has reached rural S. Africa). Inwardly groaning, I go to the maternity unit in my shorts, worrying whether I will be able to deal with the sick newborn baby who has just arrived only hours after being born in the village. The baby is pink but is making odd noises. It is premature, born around 28 weeks. There is no anxious couple leaning over the incubator; instead the teenage mother lies alone and asleep in the neighboring room.
I feel unsure of what to do. The only thing familiar is the uncertainty. A token gesture, I listen to the baby’s heart and lungs, my adult stethoscope taking up most of the baby’s chest. It sounds horribly tight.

With mounting disappointment, I call the second. I am not prepared to blunder through this alone, relying on distant student knowledge when the baby’s life is at risk. The “second” is Nic who is a "Comm-serve" doctor a year more junior but far more experienced. With great difficulty he gets a line into the umbilical cord. I "bag," squeezing oxygen into the baby’s lungs, and watch the monitor showing the amount of oxygen in the blood (another rare piece of technology which actually works). Nic calls the nearest hospital with a ventilator two hours away. They are willing to take the baby. This is his only chance. The next painstakingly frustrating challenge is organizing the ambulance and then waiting. It may take up to 24 hours to arrive. I continue bagging, and Nic returns to bed. Perhaps an hour later the monitor alarm goes off. The oxygen levels are dropping low.

The baby is going a mottled color. Inside is a rising panic I’ve never known. The baby is dying in front of me. I cannot do anything about it. Knowledge and experience may have reassured me that this was the likely outcome. As it is, I feel guilty and inadequate. I call in Mum and ask the midwife to tell her the baby may die. She looks sad but displays no other emotion and returns to her bed. I reluctantly call Nic to discuss the situation. I feel guilty for disturbing him but desperately need his reassurance. He agrees we stop. I walk back to bed in the early morning light, with the sun rising over the plains of Kwazulu Natal and wonder why I came out here.

I’ve come out for six weeks to taste medical mission but have learned far more than this. In this rural South African hospital God has brought me to my knees, overwhelmed by the enormous human need and my weaknesses. At the same time, I am aware of God’s character displayed in these people--the small, trusting prayer of an African child, the powerful singing of hymns in church, or early morning on the wards, the tiny baby strapped securely to his mother’s back, and the family attending the emaciated relative dying of AIDS.

Many tears are shed as I struggle with daily frustrations with stretched resources, communication difficulties, and the limited scope for treating the numerous people affected by AIDS (approximately 80% adult inpatients). I am constantly aware of my lack of knowledge and skills to deal with the breadth of medical problems from difficult deliveries, malnourished children, to broken legs or tuberculosis.

My perfectionist nature is a hindrance. God would rather we do something poorly than not at all, and this is a lesson which I continue to learn back in the NHS. This is a difficult lesson if it means someone dies because I do not have sufficient knowledge.

The friendliness and smiles of the local people despite their poverty contrast with my material richness. I am challenged to simple living, generous giving, and holding onto the importance of people, not things.

God has used this rich South African experience to continue His work in me. As I land in a snow-covered England, I try to hold onto the warmth of God’s love that I have experienced in my work. And I realize that God wants me to share it with others.