Sunday, February 27, 2005

A Bull Named Fumanchu

I sincerely like a LOT of different kinds of music. I have already confessed to all of you several times that I do not listen to "Contemporary Christian" music like I should.....but I DO like it. Promise! I guess there are only two types of music that I refuse to listen to, and they are Hard Acid Rock and Rap. I don't have any use for either one. I won't judge you if you like either or both, but I also don't understand what there is to like. I don't think I am alone.

Last night coming back from Memphis, Jan and I were listening to what I would call a soft rock station. It's called "the River".....104.5 for any of you folks traveling thru the River-City any time soon. Anyway, Tim McGraw's song "Live Like You Were Dying" came on. I had heard the song several times before, but it REALLY hit me between the eyes last night. I don't know if it was because we were coming from having been with Matt and he just had his 25th b-day, therefore I MUST be getting older, or if it is the awareness that my dad is not in good health, or Jan's dad and mom having health problems, or Keith Brenton talking about his dad passing.......but WHATEVER it was, it got my attention last night. How would you live if you KNEW you were dying? I think of Barbara Moore and Barby Smith, and how they lived once they knew they were dying. Dirk Smith shared with me how some of his mom's perspectives changed after she was sick. Many of you may have lost loved ones who knew the time was short. Did you see a change?

I love the line from the song that says "One day I hope you GET A CHANCE to live like you were dying". McGraw went on to sing that the effect it had on him was that he "loved deeper, spoke sweeter, and gave forgiveness I'd been denying". Guess what......we each DO have that chance, don't we?!? We get our "chance" every day to live like we are dying......cause the truth is we ARE dying.

In closing, it hit me that I have read about one person who lived every day like he knew he was dying. He was a from a far away place called Nazareth. Yeah, EVERYDAY he lived like he was dying. And like Tim, he loved deeper, spoke sweeter, and gave forgiveness where some were denying it. If we take the admonition of the "Hebrews" writer and "fix our eyes" on this one from Nazareth, I am convinced we will live like we are dying also. And that will be a good thing.

It might even motivate me to ride a bull named "Fumanchu". Some of you would pay good money to see that, huh? Don't hold your breath! :)

I'm off to Tulsa the first part of this week, so no more bloggin for me. Maybe I'll hear some more good ole country songs. Ya think?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Two Heroes

I have two of my heroes on my mind today. One irony is that I met both of them in 1980. For one it was instant hero status. For the other, it was a process.

Matthew David Underwood was born February 24th, 1980. Yes, my first born turns 25 today! And yes, that makes me feel somewhat ancient. It was a dreary Sunday morning (both of my boys were born on Sunday) and Dr. Citty got in the delivery room just in time to literally catch him! No foolin. Doc had a big smile on his face and said "Herb, you have a boy!" I will never forget how Matt looked so much like his grandaddy (who was in West Africa at the time) when he came was unreal! He was like a minature toy figure of my dad. He still looks very much like an Underwood. He probably looks more like my dad and brother than I do. Whatever. Anyway, Matt has been a blessing every single day of these 25 years. Jan and I could not be any prouder of who he is. I didn't realize until that day how much our father in heaven loves us.....loves me. Up until that time I had not realized that our children are the first people in our entire lives who do not have to EARN our is instantaneous! I would have died for him that Sunday morning. So duh, it finally wedged thru this thick skull of mine that our Heavenly Father loves us the same way! It was a Spiritual awakening for me, as I am sure it has been for many of you. God loved me instantly, because I am His. Matt is a coach and teacher at Harding Academy in Memphis. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SON! I thank God daily for my two boys! What a blessing!

My second hero is Roscoe Lee Fouts. I met Lee at the girl's softball complex in the summer of 1980. His oldest child, Marcie, was playing as a 5 or 6 year old. Lee was a giant of a man physically, but I grew to know him as even more of a Spiritual Giant. Some people write text books on raising children........Lee and Becky Fouts lived it. They raised 5 kids here in Searcy, and I challenge ANYBODY to show me a family with 5 Christian servants like Lee and Becky have produced. Their son Nick is a missionary in Uganda, and I have blogged about him before. If I could have picked someone for my two boys to emulate, it would have been Nick Fouts. All 4 girls have fine Christian husbands any dad would be proud to call a son-in-law. As I stated, I met Lee thru athletics, and that was a common bond that we have had for 25 years now. But our bond goes much deeper than that. We both were members at the same congregation for many years. Lee was a very active deacon and leader of the youth at that congregation. But our most meaningful relationship grew out of being in an accountability group together for around 10 years. During those 10 years together we met once every week. I cherish those years together, not only because of Lee but because of the time spent with the other wonderful Christian men who challenged me weekly, if not daily. We don't meet anymore, but there is a tie there that will be for eternity! I love all those guys from the depths of my heart, and I owe them a debt I can't pay. As I have already said, Lee had been one of my heroes for a VERY long time, but last night he went into unchartered territory in the hero category. During a time of sharing and witnessing about transformation with Becky and one other person, Lee told several hundred people about how by God's grace he had overcome a 20 year addiction to pornography just recently. PRAISE GOD! It was as powerful a confession and witnessing that I think I have ever been a part of! TWENTY YEARS of being chained by Satan. Can you imagine the guilt? Have you experienced that level of being broken? Can you imagine the burden that was lifted when it was shared with those who loved him? Lee said last night it was a very painful time, and a very sad time as he and Becky and the kids walked together during this time of recovery. But, he also said his and Becky's relationship is as strong as it has EVER been, and that he had never really felt the Grace of God as he does today! VICTORY! Satan loses again! :) If you want to encourage Lee, please feel free to do that. If you feel he can help you get thru a present struggle, he is there for that also. His cell phone is 501-207-3931. I hope he hears from several of you!

So, I am on cloud 9 today. I am celebrating the birth of my first born, my Matt, who is impacting the lives of young people on a daily basis. What more could a father want? I am also celebrating the rebirth of a good friend, Lee Fouts. He is on a new walk, and I hope to walk along side him. I am humbled to be able to have the blessing of walking with him.

Aren't I blessed? I think I have two pretty special heroes today!

By God's grace I have them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Dick and Rick Hoyt

I like to share moving Spiritual moments with all of you. This past Sunday was one of those times I wish I could have shared with my two boys, all my relatives, and all my friends like you. Tim Curtis was speaking to us Sunday, and in his lesson he told the story many of you are already aware of concerning Dick and Rick Hoyt. If you are not aware of their moving story go to:

For any of you who don't know, Rick is an invalid. His dad, Dick, is a tri-athlete who enters triathlons with Rick as his partner. When swimming, Dick pulls Rick in a boat by use of a harness. When running, he pushes Rick in a little chair. When riding a bike, Rick is beside him in a side-car. It is an amazing thing to behold.

Tim showed a video of this on Sunday, with the song "Redeemer" sung by the Zoe group in the background. I had the blessing of hearing Sheryl and the other Zoe singers perform this special song last spring at Pepperdine. There was not a dry eye in the place last spring, and this past Sunday the same result happened. He was not scheduled to talk, but after the video Ross Cochran got up and witnessed as to how most of his life he had pictured himself as the one pushing instead of riding. Becoming aware of God's grace in his life, he realized that he had been riding the whole time. So have I. So have you.

Thank's Tim. Thank's Ross. Thank you Dick and Rick for your example and encouragement. Thanks most of all to our wonderful God, for his saving Grace.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Arizona and Jeb

Well, I'm back. It is good to be home! I was sick with a cold the WHOLE time I was in Phoenix, so that was not any fun. On top of that, it was overcast and rainy everyday that I was there, so that was kinda a bummer also. You expect it to be sunny ANY time you go to Arizona, don't you?

As always, the highlight of my trip was being able to spend time with wonderful people who have Harding connections. As I have communicated before, I feel SO blessed to get to sit at the feet of these kind servants who are interested in the ministry we call "Harding". I always come away encouraged by just being around them. I wouldn't trade positions with anybody I know!

If I had to pick a particular visit that stood out from this trip, it would be the time I got to spend with Jeb Huckeba. For those of you who are not familiar with him, Jeb grew up here in Searcy and both of his parents work here at Harding. His dad, Ronnie, is a Bison football coach and his mom, Peggy, is Dean of Women. Jeb was an All-American High School football player here at Harding Academy, and then played college football for the University of Arkansas. He played his last season this past fall, and was honored as an All-SEC performer. Jeb is currently in Phoenix training for the NFL draft with several other young men who hope to play at the next level on Sundays this fall. For all his football abilities, those pale in comparison when you talk about the character of this Godly young man. Jeb knows football is temporary, and that his spiritual walk is eternal! Just to give you an example, we probably talked for close to 2 hours over supper one evening. Of those two hours, he wanted to talk about football about 15 minutes, and the rest of the time he wanted to talk about spiritual matters! With all the thugs and low-lifes you read about in association with the NFL and Professional sports these days, it is refreshing to know that there are still some Jeb Huckeba's out there! Maybe not many, but there are some. I know that Jeb is going to be light and salt for which ever team is lucky enough to draft him in a few months. He won't be perfect, but he will be a blessing to a lot of coaches and team mates! Isn't it fun to see people whom we love be able to be in high profile positions and impact the world for the Lord? The world will call him a "Success" if he makes it in the NFL. Jeb will tell the world he became a success long before he made it to the NFL, because of what took place 2 thousand years ago on a cross at Calvary......which is when we all became a success also.

Jebber, we are praying you get a chance to witness to the world what the "Good News" is! GOD BLESS YOU BROTHER!!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Arizona and Tony Timms

For all you hordes of readers, I just wanted to let you know I would not be blogging any more this week. I am headed west to Phoenix. I hope to come back with lots of stories about wonderful people and super experiences! Am I blessed or what? I wouldn't trade what I am doing for any other profession or ministry out there! I hope all of you feel the same way about what EVER it is God has called you to do.

In closing, I want to share a note I got from a brother. A brother that I love more than he knows.....which is my fault. He sent it a LONG time ago, ten years or more, but I keep it taped just above my desk (remember the scene in "A Beautiful Mind" when he had all those newspaper clippings up?) so that I can be reminded of what he asks me from time to time. Here it is:

Are you living life worthy of the calling, or are you just living life? Please pray that I will live a life worthy of the calling.

Your brother,
Tony Timms

I Thessalonians 2:4

Sunday, February 13, 2005


I really can't tell you why I have this on my mind.......maybe I have some inner battle going on that is haunting me. Maybe Phillip Yancey's book is leading me in this direction. Maybe I have it on my mind after having been to an assembly for praise and worship this morning.....a very positive one I may add. Maybe it was something Craig, Bobby or Monte said in their class dealing with the Psalms this morning. Maybe something I have read in the Blog community got me going here. Maybe it was something Patrick or Rich said last week at OCU. I confess I don't know. All I know is that it has been on mind today, and so I want to share it with you.

It's an excerpt from T.S. Eliot's "Murder In The Cathedral".


Ok I know it's not scripture, but scripture teaches us the same principle or truth.
Yes, of course I have done it. Maybe that is why I have it on my help guard me from doing it again, and again, and again.

Thanks for allowing me to share.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Phillip Yancey

I think I have mentioned my love of reading. I confess that I need to be in the Word more. It's not that I am not in it, but I need to be in it MORE! Having laid those cards on the table, I want to let you know that I love to read ANYTHING that Phillip Yancey writes. He is one of my heroes. His book "What's So Amazing about Grace" REALLY REALLY impacted my life. If you haven't picked it up, get ahold of it somehow. I am currently reading one of his latest books "Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church". I am only about a third of the way thru, but it has impacted me. He talks about different people that were positive influences on his life, to counter the negative experiences he had with church. One of these people was Dr. Robert Coles. I don't have the time to relate what an amazing person Dr. Coles is........get the book and read for yourself. But I did want to tell one story he tells. Dr. Coles wanted to see if the theory that says religion dulls the moral and political indignation for things that are wrong was true or not. He concluded that this theory was a myth perpetrated by irreligious social scientists who had very little actual contact with people. One example he gives is the witness of a young man from the Civil Rights era of the mid 60's. Here is this young demonstrator's account. It is important to remember this person is from the deep south.....Birmingham, Alabama.

"I don't know why I said no to segregation. I'm just another white Southerner, and I wasn't brought up to love integration! But I was brought up to love Jesus Christ, and when I saw the police of this city use dogs on people, I asked myself what Jesus would have done.....and that's all I know about how I came to be here, on the firing line."

What firing line is Jesus calling you and me to? Doesn't true discipleship demand it?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Patrick Mead

Ok, this is one of those "post twice" days that come around once in a blue moon. I didn't want to wait till tomorrow to share something this exciting with you. I just found out thru his son-in-law that Patrick Mead has a new blog site. I can promise you that I have ALREADY saved the site as one of my "favorites", and will be faithfully checking it as I do many of yours. Patrick will bless you, because he will be emulating Christ in his posts. You can take that to the bank. Here it is:

You owe me one! :)

Napoleon Dynamite

Yeah, I am taking a break from the serious stuff for a day. Have all of you seen "Napoleon Dynamite"? If you like dry humor, rent it. I made the mistake of urging my 40 year old (going on 15) brother to rent it, and now when he calls all I hear is him gasping for breath as he is attempting to quote lines from the movie. He has like become ADDICTED to it! I know among the college crowd here in Searcy, it has a cult following. Ross Cochran even worked it into his sermon a few weeks ago.
Bobby Garner made some kind of covert reference to it Sunday in the college class, and I thought we were going to have to call the paramedics in. I heard the other day that the star of the show only got paid ONE THOUSAND dollars for his role in the movie. I guess he will MORE than make up for it in the sequel.

Jan and I are HUGE "King of Queens" fans, so we are going with some friends to see "Hitch" with Kevin James and Will Smith. I hope we are not dissapointed.

I want to tell you about the Phillip Yancey book I am reading, but today I needed to chill out a little. Laughter is the best RX for chillin that I know. I'm glad the Father gave us the ability to laugh at ourselves. I get lots of chances to do that!

Have a funny Thursday!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Negative That Became a Positive

Ok, I've kept you in suspense long enough, huh? I'm devious that way at times. Seriously, I have not posted this story because I have been dreading telling about it. A funny thing has happened though.....the more I contemplate what I witnessed the more convinced I am that what I witnessed impacted me for the good much more than it did for the bad that was there.

Remember I told you about having the blessing of hearing Patrick Mead at the OCU Lectures and his lesson on "Be Prepared to Give an Answer". He proclaimed that JESUS is the answer, and it was a powerful presentation! I had never heard Patrick before and I was impressed very much by his heart that he exposed as he was talking to us. He loves the Lord! Ok, so after the last amen had been said I spoke to some old missionary friends that had been in West Africa the same time my family was there (Wendell Kee) and then I made my way down to the front to meet Patrick and tell him how much I appreciated his lesson. I got there just in time to hear a man from Texas introduce himself and then in a very calm voice begin to verbally abuse Patrick in a very hateful manner. He never raised his voice, I guess thinking that if he did then that would somehow make it acceptable to say the things he was saying. At first I had to pinch myself to make sure I was not in the middle of a horrible nightmare. When I realized that I had all my senses, my first thought was something like "man, I can't wait till this idiot gets thru and Patrick puts him in his place". I guess I just exposed my heart and priorities, huh. Anyway, when this "preacher" finished, Patrick just smiled at him and patted this guy on the shoulder and said kindly "go with God". I didn't realize it at the time, but Patrick was giving a living lesson on "Jesus is the Answer". It gets worse. When that yea-hoo left, a much more younger full of fire preacher was ready to take his turn at the plate. His venom was much more adversarial, and he didn't even try to disguise his anger by talking in a civil voice. Very quickly he was almost yelling at Patrick, and speaking very hatefully at him. As Patrick would respond very calmly in love, this guy (oh how I wish I could tell you what I really call him in my mind) would just get more angry! :) I started looking around for a camera for some reality TV show, or better yet for Jerry Springer to jump out from behind the crowd that was gathering. You see, these men didn't want Jesus to be the answer. They were all hyped thinking Patrick was going to go old-school on everybody and tell us what we needed to be ready to defend to give an answer to all those "in error". Patrick continued to walk the walk, and just kept saying things like "I understand, go with God" which just about caused this fella to look like one of those cartoon characters where he starts turning red at his feet and it moves up his body to the top of his head and smoke starts coming out the top. It was a living, breathing foot washing........and this guy didn't want any part of it. It finally got so bad that Shon Smith (dean of Bible Dept at OC) finally stepped in and was very kind and Christ like himself, but he escorted this young want-a-be away. I was the closest person to Patrick as they walked away. Still speachless, all I could do was just reach out and give him a big ole bear hug. I did find the words "stay the course" coming out of my mouth into his ear. He was very gracious and said for me not to be concerned, he had encountered much worse. WORSE!?!?!?! Are you kidding me? They were about an inch from beginning to try and look for stones on the floor to start chunking at him! And you know what the irony is.........if you asked them about it, they would probably very pridefully tell you that they were doing it in the name of the Lord. The LORD! Patrick never quit showing them he was prepared to give an answer, and the answer was to walk in the steps of his Savior, Jesus Christ. He turned every cheek he had that night. He spoke with grace and truth. He acted in love.

I heard a great lesson that night. I witnessed in action a much more impacting lesson, a more powerful I shall never forget. I know I am called to love and forgive those two brothers who were full of hate, because I am no better.
Can I confess to you that it isn't easy? But I know He will give me the grace I need to do that. He gave it to Patrick, so I know He will give it to me also if I allow Him to.

Jesus really is the answer. No matter the question, no matter the situation.
Just Jesus.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Inspirational Story

If you want to read a story that will inspire you, check out today's blog of my good buddy Keith Riley at:

You will be blessed, I promise!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

"Isn't it Nice to be Home Again"

The above title is from one of shortest songs James Taylor ever recorded. You can find it on the "Mudslide Slim" album. Yeah I still say "album". Sorry, it's a generational thing. Anyway, after driving 1150 miles this week, I had that song on my mind and heart. It IS always nice to be home again! No bed sleeps as good as the bed you have at home, I don't care WHERE you are. The environment might be nicer or more luxurious, but the bed just ain't the same.

I confirmed one thing by leaving town. I am a bonified Blog junkie! I thought I was going to have to go thru some detox therapy while I was gone. So my confession is that this blog world is addicting. But it is a good addiction. I've had worse.

As always, I was with some wonderful people and had some great experiences. I had one REALLY REALLY negative experience that I will blog about later next week. For now, I wanted to share with you two things that I heard that encouraged me while I was on my trip. One came from Patrick Mead of Rochester, Michigan. I had never heard Patrick before, but I for sure want to hear him again! He is of British decent, so just hearing him talk is an experience. He had been given the topic of "Be Prepared to Give an Answer" as his key-note address at the OCU lectures.
Growing up, this scripture had been used like a sledge hammer to pound into us the concept that you better know your doctrinal stances on EVERYTHING, so you could be "prepared to give an answer". So, I was not going into this with the best attitude. Patrick blew me away, and everybody in there. The message was this: Jesus is the answer! Amen? I wish all of you could have heard it. If you want to purchase the tape, just contact OC and I am sure they can tell you how to purchase it. It would be well worth your money. The negative experience that I mentioned above took place after Patrick's talk, and I will tell you about it later.
I want this post to be a positive one.

The second encouragement I received was from a minister at the Alameda Church in Norman, Oklahoma. I don't recall his name. That night they were beginning a series on Job. The whole lesson was really good, but one part really stuck with me. This minister made the observation of how many times we turn our back on God because of suffering. The minister could not have been over 30, and he reflected on the fact that he and his wife had already lost a child. So, it became evident that he was not talking about the theory of suffering........he had been there up close and personal. It was experiential to him, not intellectual. And isn't he right? Many have lost their faith because of "bad" things that have caused them to suffer.
You and I both could name people that we have known that have made this choice. Then he made his point.........isn't it ironic that when God wanted to communicate how much he loved us, he did it thru the avenue of suffering! His suffering was our greatest blessing. I know that is not all that earth shattering, but it impacted me that night. I came away knowing and convicted that instead of running from suffering, I ought to embrace it. Easier said than done, huh? You bet it is.

So there you have it. Two ways I was blessed this past week. I will also tell next week about a third that came from Rich Little. He was at OC also, and it made me realize how much I wish he was back in Searcy. I know the folks in Naperville would not give him up without a fight! :)

It is indeed nice to be home again.......with all of you friends from my blogging world. You all are a blessing to me! Thank-you!