Sunday, January 30, 2005

Christian Chronicle

Over the past year I have really gained a new respect for the Christian Chronicle. They have written some really objective articles, and have not dodged any of the "hot topics" going on within our fellowship (hope you noticed how I am trying to stay away from the "B" word). From my view point, they have been doing a good job of just analyzing the different topics, and trying to give all the perspectives of the topic they are discussing. Evidently being objective is offensive to some people. A few issues back they did a feature on the present discussions going on between folks from our fellowship and folks from the "Christian Church". Folks from each group have met to try and begin a dialogue focused on the things we have in common, rather than what our differences are. These brothers in Christ are trying to see if we can have unity in some areas so that we can work together to defeat the enemy, which is Satan. I thought the coverage the Christian Chronicle gave the talks was very unbiased, and very informative. I know I am only one person, and not everybody is going to read the articles and have the same response I had. In the latest issue, a person wrote a letter in response to that article. I won't quote the whole letter, but here are a few gems. "With all the liberal problems the church of Christ has had over the last 30 years this is no time to think we are going to convert the Christian Church leaders. As long as Genesis 4 is in the Bible, a weak compromising position with the Christian churches is error and wrong. God's word should be calling the shots, not the intellectuals among us."

Ok, I's pointless to respond to that ludicrous of a statement. I am sure the author of that letter is a Godly man, and will be in heaven with you and me. But isn't it kinda discouraging? I wish the Chronicle wouldn't publish negative letters like that, but then again maybe they are trying to expose the fact that there are people out there with that warped of a view. CONVERT? Convert to what? And in case you don't remember and don't have a Bible handy, Genesis 4 is about Cain and Abel. Hmmmm......I wonder which group is Cain and which group is Abel? :) I think the parable of the two men going up to pray would have been a better passage to site.

May God give us the wisdom and faith to love others the way he loved us.

FYI, I will be on the road all of this week, so no blogging for me! I hope I have a lot of wonderful stories about some special people to tell you about when I get back.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Emergent Hearts

One of the series Mike did here at the College church in the 80's was "Righteousness Inside Out". The whole series caused me to have a paradigm shift in my concept of righteousness! It completely blew me away, along with several hundred other families and thousands of college students. It was a study of the "Sermon on the Mount" and the foundational verse was Matthew 5:20 "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven". Mike got in our face (it was ok because we knew he loved us) and made us realize Jesus was more concerned with who we were BECOMING as opposed to what we were DOING. He affirmed to us that God is not calling us to do more Holy THINGS, he is calling us to a deeper relationship with Him that will result in DEEPER HOLINESS. You don't have righteousness by doing, it is imputed to you by becoming. It rocked my world, because Jesus always does, doesn't he?

As I indicated, that study impacted a lot of individual lives......and I think it is safe to say it impacted that fellowship, and therefore this whole community. Jesus always does, doesn't he?

Greg Taylor's post on his blog yesterday and Chris Gonzalez's post today concerning the "Emergent" church caused me to reflect back on "righteousness inside out" and how it looks as a body of believers who are committed to BECOMING........ transformed. Put any name on it you want to, but that is a group I want to be a part of. So did Paul. "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, BECOMING like him in his death, so somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead." Emphasis mine. Paul wanted to be transformed with a righteousness from within. He had a close encounter with Jesus, and his life was changed. Jesus always does, doesn't he?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Walking Guy

I really don't even know where I am going with this post for sure. I just wanted to share something with you that is interesting to me. For those of you who have never been to Searcy or haven't had the blessing to visit in a long time, we actually have a four lane that runs from one side of the city to the other. This is relatively new.........probably within the last 10 years. It has relieved a lot of the congestion of other smaller streets in town........and to tell you the truth IT has become too crowded during certain times of the day. I don't know how we made it before!I take my hat off to the people involved for planning this "bypass", as some call it. They had the vision to put a sidewalk on one side so that those who like to walk could do so without the risk of walking on the street and getting hit. On parts of Beebe-Capps(the name of the four lane) there is a side walk on BOTH sides of the street!
Ok, here is where the title of the post comes in. There is a guy that walks pretty much every morning on the section of Beebe-Capps where I have to drive to get to work. If I don't see him in the morning, I will see him in the evening on the way home. Get this........from my vantage point, I think this guy tries to look at everybody that drives by him. EVERYBODY! And if you wave, he waves back! I don't know him from Adam, and my guess is that MOST people who are driving down the street don't know him either. I am not kidding, I have worried that he was going to step off the sidewalk into the street because he was so intent on seeing each person in their car. I don't walk like that. I look down or straight ahead like any "normal" person would. I would feel like an idiot if I tried to look at EVERY person who drove by me when I was walking. I think that is what this whole post is coming to the realization of who the real idiot is. Is it because I am shy that I wouldn't look at people? Probably not. More than anything, it would have to do with me not wanting to make people feel uncomfortable by looking at them.
How did we get there? I saw a show on TV a few weeks ago that was supposed to be based on a true story. A man was stabbed to death because when he got on a city bus, he didn't divert his eyes from another man who was looking at him. In other words he had the gall to look someone in the eye, and it cost him his LIFE! Yea it's sad, but it is even more sick. How did we get there? Our kids are more apt to want to watch a movie together than sit down and play a board game while looking across the table at each other. How did we get there?

If we are going to impact our communities, if we are going to be light and salt, we better be willing to look people in the eye and tell them that they have a Savior who loves them. Thanks "walking guy" for getting me out of my comfort zone, and for showing me who the real idiot is. I get to look at him every day in the mirror.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Bye Johnny

Can you believe it? I can't. I would bet that 10 out 10 people of my generation could hum the first few notes of the theme music to "The Tonight Show" even if they had a gun to their head fixing to shoot if they didn't answer correctly. I can still remember my dad being upset that Jack Parr had been replaced by this "new guy". That "new guy" won us over pretty quick, and was a nightly fixture in most of our living rooms for 30 years or so. Do you remember Tiny Tim's wedding? I loved the fact that he had young comedians on there that were trying to break in to the big time.....Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, and some guy named Jerry Senfield to name a few. He was always so gracious and encouraging to them. I watch the two L brothers from time to time.......Leno and Letterman. I usually laugh some when I do. But you know what, it's never been the same since Johnny left. It never will be. How does the old saying go......."you can follow a star, but you can never replace him". How true! I don't know if Johnny was a believer or not. I sure hope he was. We'll miss you Johnny! Goodbye.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


I did this post once, and something happened to it. So if it shows up twice, just "HOYT" me.

A few weeks ago I was in a group setting where we were singing comtemporary worship songs. Out of the blue, the person leading our singing led an oldie goldie that I had not sung in YEARS. I mean 10 years at least. It was great to sing it again, and it had a very positive impact on everyone there I think. Here is what jumped out at me......I knew every word to every verse. I can't remember what I had for supper last night, and I know every word to a song I haven't sung in ten years!! What's up with that? Well, I think we learn better with music. DUH! How did you learn your ABC'S? How did you learn the books of the Bible? How did you learn Jacob's sons? Need I go on? Are any of you able to quote scripture the way you wish you could? I know that it is more important to know God than it is the scriptures that tell us about him........but I believe scripture is very important.
It's the word of God, his Spirit, and Son. So why don't we learn scripture by song? Don't the Jewish people have their children sing scripture? Don't the Muslim people learn the Koran by learning chants?

I've heard all my life that you don't bring up a problem unless you have a solution.
Ok, why not have someone like David Campbell, who is a creative genius, and others like him to come up with some songs of scripture? Wouldn't you love to hear "The Zoe Group" sing Romans 8? How about "The Hallal Singers" doing the Sermon on the Mount? I would love hearing either one of them singing "Hickory Dickory Dock", let alone beautiful scripture. Our children could learn them from an early age, and it would be with them for the rest of their lives. If this is already being done, forgive me for being ignorant about it. It wouldn't be the first thing I was ignorant about.

I lived in Nigeria in 1965. I never learned to speak Igbo, except for a few greetings. I DID learn to sing the complete first verse and chorus of "Send the Light". Guess what, it's 40 years later and I can still sing it.

And I can't tell you what I had for lunch today.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Bound for Italy

I said good-bye to my baby boy, a niece, and a nephew today for 3 months. Luke, Blair and Alex are all going to the Harding campus in Florence, Italy for this semester. I know it will be a wonderful experience for them, but as they say in Alabama........"that's a fer piece"! Goodness. I hope the end of April gets here quick. I do feel blessed that they are being provided this wonderful opportunity to see the world that God created. At the same time, it also gives me a whole different perspective of how those parents must feel who send their sons to Iraq. I'm not sure I am that strong. And yes, I do think about the Father who sent his Son a lot further than Iraq or Italy......knowing he WOULD die. It is humbling, to say the least.

Hurry home kids!

P.S. If any of you millions who read my blog have an update on Chris Cope, I sure would appreciate hearing it!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away

Stevie Wonder wrote the song above in the mid 70's, and I am not sure what motivated him to write it. All I know is that with all that has happened NATURALLY with the tsunamis and the mud-slides and hurricanes a few months ago, this song has been on my mind. He never released it as a single, but it was always one of my favorite songs of his. Stevie has had a resurgence lately, and it couldn't have come too soon.
For those of you who may think that I should have some "church" song on my mind, I wouldn't argue with you. I would just request that you remember that in my day we didn't have contemporary Christian music to choose from.......therefore we were left with the Stevie Wonders of this world.

Here are the lyrics:

They say that heaven is 10 zillion light years away
And just the pure at heart will walk her righteous streets someday
They say that heaven is 10 zillion light years away
But if there is a God, we need Him now
"Where is your God"
That's what my friends ask me
And I say it's taken Him so long
'Cause we've got so far to come...

Tell me people
Why can't they say that hate is 10 zillion light years away
Why can't the light of good shine God's love in every soul
Why must my color black make me a lesser man
I thought this world was made for every man
He loves us all, that's what my God tells me
And I say it's taken Him so long
'Cause we've got so far to come...

I hope all of you get to hear this beautiful song someday. Don't we have so far to come?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Forgiveness Part Two

Thanks for the comments from the post yesterday. All of them were good.

Where I am going with my thoughts is in this direction: Why do our actions reveal that we will forgive someone for individual sins and also believe that God has forgiven them, but when we perceive a sin of theology or doctrine has been committed, we treat that differently. I am not talking about Satan worshipers or those who deny Christ, I am talking about other believers. It's as if we believe God will not forgive those who have different traditions and doctrines from us, even though we acknowledge that these are not what Christ defined as "weightier matters". Not what WE defined, HE defined. Some may ask for some tangible examples of what I am talking about. Ok, how about not participating in different outreach programs in the community because we don't want to be associated with "that group"? We don't want to be grouped with some of those who are "in error"....even though the work is for HIS glory. I have known people who would not ask a person of a different fellowship to pray publicly. It wasn't because of any individual sin the person was involved in, it was simply because of his membership with a different fellowship. I am sure you could go on and on.

Did Jesus address this in Mark 9? "For whoever is not against US is for US". Satan is our enemy, not other believers who are trying to be servants in His Kingdom. What kind of impact of light and salt could we have in our communities if unbelievers saw our unity instead of us not being united in delivering the Good News to them?

We had a community wide service here a few days after September 11, 2001. We had around 5,000 believers of LOTS of different fellowships together that day, and it was one of the most impacting events I have ever been a part of. It brought the community together. One of my friends was sitting behind an Elder of the College church, and my friend said that the first thing out of that elder's mouth after the service ended was "Isn't it a shame that it took something like this to get us all together in prayer and praise." Yea, it is.

So, back to my question. Are we not to forgive groups for their "sins", as we do individuals? I believe God does. For OUR sake, I sure hope He does.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Grace and Forgiveness

I'm not sure I get it. If not, it wouldn't be the first time! I hope some of you can help me out.

What has been communicated to me is that God's grace will cover my individual sins, and I will be forgiven. All because of my Savior, Jesus. Does God's grace cover sins of a corporate nature? I have been taught that it won't. Individual yes, corporate no. Maybe there is not such a creature as "corporate sin"? Can a body of believers make a wrong "group decision" wrong that only God's grace could restore their relationship with him? Does the Old Testament show a God who sees both individuals and groups when he deals with his children, the children of Israel?
I believe he did...........therefore he does.

Does it matter? In many ways, I think it absolutely does matter.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

License Plate

In Arkansas, the State allows you to have personalized license plates. Most of the ones I see have to do with the "Hogwild" or "NO-BOWL" or something of that nature. Every once in a while you will see one with the drivers name, so that you will know who to be mad at for almost taking your front bumper off. You don't have to say "idiot", you can say "Suzie, Jennie, Tommy, or Shaniqua". Wait, did I just use more women's names than I did men's? My bad. :)

Yesterday I saw one I like. Some people don't think this is appropriate, and of course they have the freedom to think what they want. I bet it impacts some people on the street and highways........everyday.

The plate said: HEDYD4U

Monday, January 10, 2005

Del and Mr. Jingles

Luke had never seen "the Green Mile", so our family watched it over the holiday. I don't think I will ever grow tired of seeing that movie. The cast and their acting abilities just blow me away. IMO, everybody in the movie should have won some kind of Academy Award! Tom Hanks is great, but this time he was surrounded by LOTS of wonderful actors.

Any of you who know me won't be surprised to know that my favorite character in the movie was the "cajun", Del....because of his love for Mr. Jingles. If you haven't seen the movie, Mr. Jingles is a mouse. A special mouse, who can do all kinds of tricks. Del knows his own fate, and is very worried about what will happen to his little friend. The guards on "the Mile" assure Del that Mr. Jingles will be going to a "mouse city" down in Florida where they have a special circus just for mice. Mr. Jingles will be able to perform everyday for little children and make them happy.
Knowing that Mr. Jingles will be taken care of, Del is then at peace and can handle the huge hurdle that awaits him. There is not anything Del would not have done for Mr. Jingles.......he loved him that much.

I don't think you have to find analogies in every movie you watch. Having said that, I do believe Christ had a huge hurdle waiting on him also, but he knew that we were going to be taken care of. That is, if we choose to be. Mr. Jingles didn't have a choice about going to his "mouse city" and I do. Would Del have died for Mr. Jingles? I don't know. In the paragraph above I said Del would have done "anything"....but maybe he wouldn't have died for him. We know Christ did love us that much.

Let's be transformed because he saved us, not because we want to be saved. There is a huge difference!

Don't you know Del and Mr. Jingles would have thrown a huge party if they had ever been able to be reunited? How big a party are we going to throw? Can't wait to find out, can you? See you there!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Ross Cochran

This past Sunday, Ross brought a message concerning the "New Year" to our fellowship. If you have never had the blessing of sitting at Ross's feet, I hope that opportunity comes to you soon. I wish I could glean from his wisdom more often.

I just wanted to share one thought he communicated to us. This is usually the time of year when people make resolutions and intentions for a "new" year. Nothing wrong with that. But isn't it wonderful how God made it possible for those of us who believe to be able to start over ANYTIME we choose to? Ross communicated he believes that is one reason God created us to need that each morning we could seize the opportunity to start over if we wanted to. Isn't that what the writer in Lamentations 3 was saying when he said "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." I don't know about you, but most EVERY morning I do need to start over.......and several times during the day. Because of Jesus, I can. That is good news........that is Gospel.

Thanks Ross!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


I usually don't blog "twicet" in one day, but today I can't keep from it. I don't know Chris, but I see his comments from time to time on various blogs. Keith Brenton mentioned that this week Chris has been talking about the concept of "essentials". I went to his blog and was blessed for doing so.......and I hope all 6 million of you will also choose to read what he has to say about this whole shooting match. Be prepared to be challenged.

Thanks Chris for taking the time to challenge us!

How about those computer rankings?

Weren't the Sooners ranked #1 by the computer rankings used by the BCS? If so, that should be enough embarrassment to cause them to donate every hard drive they own to some needy charity. HELLO!!! Computers are wonderful, and I don't ever want to be without one.........but they lack one very important ability, COMMON SENSE!
Remember the expression, "he is as smart as a whip, but he doesn't have enough sense to get out of the rain"? That comment was made in reference to your beloved lap-top. All along I have been against computers giving us rankings, and last night is all the evidence I need. End of story.

As to who is #1? DUH! Since we don't have a play-off, I think USC deserves to take home all the trophies. I don't think I am going out on too thin or high of a limb here to state that Auburn would have given them a MUCH better game than the Sooners did. I think maybe Sister of Saint Mary's would have also. That was like watching a train wreck in slow motion......I actually felt sorry for Oklahoma. I am a Sooner by birth, so that was not easy to watch.

Hey, there is always next year! Is there any sport better than football....especially High School and College football? I haven't found it.
Here is a prediction from someone who bleeds Crimson and out for the Tide next year! :) Shouldn't we all feel that way about our teams this time of year?


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Natural Evil

The utter destruction of lives and property by the Tsunami in southeast Asia has brought the discussion of "natural evil" to the table again. I would assume most unbelievers can grasp our explanation of why and how evils exist.....the consequences of sin, Satan, etc. "Natural" deaths of innocent people and destruction of homes and property that are not the consequence of any choice or action by those people requires a different explanation. An unbeliever wants to know what kind of God is this that we are believing in! Although it is a truth that God is Sovereign, I doubt that causes an unbeliever to step back and say..."oh, now I get it". Faith is not easy, nor is it suppose to be. At times like this when I can't seem to understand or explain the "why" to myself....let alone anybody else.....I tend to go back to Martha's statement to Jesus, "I believe in YOU". I have to communicate to the unbeliever that although I can't explain everything right now, I have faith that one day it will all be made clear to me, and everybody else also, as to why this had to happen.

If we could explain it all, what level of faith would we need?

Father, we don't understand......but we believe in You and have confidence that You are in full control of this world and beyond. Help us to be light and salt by doing what we can for the victims of this horrible disaster. We have seen over and over again how you take the worst and make it a blessing. We anticipate with great eagerness how you will work all of this out for good.....because our faith calls us to expect it. Come quick, Lord. Amen

Saturday, January 01, 2005


Our family had a WONDERFUL Christmas and Holiday Season! It just went by WAY too fast. We had the cold weather and snow, and now it feels like Spring. I received some really nice gifts, but the best gift by far was the time spent with my family. The gifts will wear out or get lost.......the hours with family will just gets more precious with time. I hope all of you got to spend special days and hours with your loved ones also.

Now it is time for a New Year! Where in the heck did 2004 go? :) Do I have any resolutions? Yea, but you are going to hear them. Sorry!

One highlight of the time together with my boys was we got to watch "Napoleon Dynamite"......what a HOOT! If you get a chance, rent it. No cuss words or nudity or blood......what other movies can you say that about?

May 2005 be the best year of your life!