Thursday, October 27, 2005

Special Friends and Brothers

The celebrating continues! Last night Jan had a very special group of men over for a surprise b-day party because of my 50th. You may be asking "why", knowing that my b-day was last Thursday. Well, these guys came last night probably because for 12 years Wednesday night was THE night we got together as a small group Bible study.
I like to think we were a "Band of Brothers" before HBO came out with their series.
Over those 12 years we had a lot of deep study, lots of arguments, plenty of tears, and probably more than anything else......a boat load of laughter. Ahh...the laughing! The stories we could tell! I am indebted to Dennis Rine, Lee Fouts, Robert Ross, Keith Riley, Rusty Meadows, Phil Hoggard, Craig Jones, Steve Kell, Phil Brown, Jeff Mclain, Bobby Stokes, Dennis Davenport, Jim White......and last but not least, Tony Timms, in more ways than you have the time for me to tell. You hear this all the time as a cliche, but I REALLY don't know how I would have made it if not for these Godly brothers and their influence in my life. I don't think I would have made it. So, thanks again my brothers! You made my 50th worth remembering, and more than that you made my life more than it would have been without your love, support and influence. I love all of you very very much!

Another VERY special surprise was when on Saturday Matt walked thru the door to come watch the Bama vs. Tennessee game with me! Hey, it don't get any better than watching the Tide play with your two boys on hand. It was ugly, but it was a win! After losing 9 out of the last 10 to the Vols, it was about time! :)

Congrats to the White Sox! I don't think my Cards could have handled them. Isn't it nice when a team that hasn't won in a long time does it again? Maybe there is still hope for the Texas Rangers! :)

This week I listened to a CD of one of the most powerful talks I have EVER heard. That is a mouthful I know. But Jerry Morgan, one of our HU board members, spoke at his home congregation in Amarillo concerning discipleship. One of the penetrating questions he asked was this: "if we were to be transported by a time machine back to 35 AD or so, would people recognize us individually as a disciple?" WOW! Jerry's main point was that maybe the energy we have spent on trying to restore the New Testament church should have been spent on trying to restore being New Testament disciples, who themselves were trying to follow Jesus......period. Can he get some AMENS? I hope we hear more pleas concerning our individual walk as opposed to our church affiliation. Jerry's talk was FULL of scripture. Guess what.......there is a TON of scripture about discipleship, and very little about doing church. Especially the specifics of corporate worship. Hmm......seems like Matthew 25 even has some words to that effect. If we are going to be light and salt in this world, if we are going to impact our's going to be because of our discipleship. Having the "right" name on the sign outside of our building or the "right" kind of worship service isn't going to do it. It NEVER has done it!
Thanks Jerry for reminding us. Thanks for your leadership!

It's Homecoming week! Both in Searcy and Tuscaloosa. Maybe the Bisons and Tide will both get em one!

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Dreaded Vols

It's Tennessee week! Most people think that Auburn is the biggest rival to Alabama, and for some people that may hold true. But for folks from North Alabama, there is one team you grew up learning to hate.......the Vols. Auburn fans are your neighbors.......Vol fans are from that other state up north with the Hound Dogs and Coon Skin caps. And ORANGE.......what' up with picking ORANGE for your school color? Giving them their due, they have whipped us 9 out of the last 10 years. Not good. If I can only have one win........let it be the Tennessee game, PLEASE! So I will be on pins and needles until about 6 tomorrow night. By the way, we had a blast watching the Tide win on the last play of the game last week in Oxford. Hey, a win is a win! :) ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!!

Colorado was unbelievable beautiful! I had never been in October, and the Aspens were turning and it just looked like something out of a post card or Hollywood production. You can count on me going back in October from now on.

Thanks to all of you who commented here, sent emails, sent cards or called me concerning my 50th! American Airlines even let me fly first class on my big day. I had a wonderful day, and I still am walking without a cane....barely. :) The best gift I got was the gift of friendship from wonderful friends like you! Thanks for making me a rich man and blessed far beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of.

How many people do you know that won't listen to contemporary Christian music because they think it is wrong? I'm not talking about in church, I'm talking about on the radio or CD's. Or do they not listen to it because they know if they do, they will be very inconsistent in their theology? I have no doubt some don't listen because they think it is wrong, but I think there are a BOAT load who don't listen NOT because they think it is sinful, but because they see how ludicrous they would look to accept it one way, but not the other.

Remember.....worship is a 24/7 deal. Or is it?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Tennessee, Mississippi, Colorado

I know what song you are singing...."One of these things is not like the other ones!"
And you would be right! But here is why I mentioned those 3 particular states, I am going to be in all three within the next two days. We leave tonight for Memphis and Matt's ball game at Harding Academy. Tomorrow he, Jan and I are going to watch Ole Miss vs. Bama in Oxford. YEAH BABY! :) Then we come back to Searcy tomorrow night and I get up Sunday morning and fly to beautiful Colorado. Those of you watching the weather know it has already snowed there, so the Rockies should already be snow capped. Am I blessed or what? Weekend with blood family, then the next week with my bigger family in Christ. Don't get much better than that! I think my lap-top is staying in Searcy, so I won't be bloggin next week. Yeah, withdrawal symptoms for sure will be in play.

If you get a chance, check out the good discussion going on over at Greg Kendall-Ball's blog. I'll give him one thing......he knows how to push our buttons and get a good discussion going. Nothing wrong with that!

Have a great week next week, bloggin family!

P.S. Not everything is going to be rosy next week, in that your's truly turns a HALF CENTURY on Thursday. FIFTY!!!!!!! Why do I still feel 18 in my mind? Don't answer that, Craig or Keith Riley!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Invisible Children

The scenes won't be easy to forget. I believe they will stay with me for as long as I live. If you have not heard about this DVD, please check out the web site above. I am endebted to Bobby Garner for sharing it with me. I plan on sharing it with LOTS of folks.

Three young men went to Sudan to check out for themselves what was going on, and ended up in northern Uganda. They documented what 17 years of revolution can do to a country, especially a third-world nation. They didn't know what they would find when they got there....... in other words, there was no hidden agenda. This is not Hollywood, and it for sure is not for the faint of heart. It's real unedited footage of the carnage and the effect of anarchy caused by rebels who want to overthrow the govt. of Uganda. Mostly, it's about the children. Thousands and thousands of children, and it will tear your heart out. Knowing how Jesus felt about children, it makes me wonder how he will accept our turning a blind eye and ear to their cries for help. I think I already know. You do too.

But hey, lets keep arguing over IDENTITY issues. That's what will make a difference in the lives of these precious children! Yeah, I went into default mode. Maybe for once I was justified.

I am not sure who Hell is going to be hotter for.......those who caused this, or those who stood around allowing it to continue. The ONLY way you and I are NOT guilty is if there is NOTHING that we can do. And you know that is not true. Of course we can pray.........but we can do more than that. I plan on sending some funds to help out, how about you? Maybe some of you can write your people in Congress. Maybe you know somebody involved with the UN. Just do SOMETHING!

And they'll know we are Christians by Not any other substitute. Not by the sign on our door, or by our worship style or other traditions. Just love.

Friday, October 07, 2005


I guess it's kinda ironic that I should follow my previous post with this one, because what I am posting about today will FOR SURE make me want to go into default mode. I will promise to try my best to not go there. Just know it won't be easy.

I found out today about a congregation that has pulled their support from a health ministry because there are also funds coming from fellowships or individuals outside of churches of Christ to help that ministry. I am blown away. If there had to be an example given in the dictionary when you look up the word "sectarian", I think you would be hard pressed to come up with a better example. Can these people go to scripture to show examples of this kind of mindset? Can they go to scripture to show where they are commanded to have this approach to good works done in HIS name? I would love to ask one of those responsible for this decision how this lines up with what Paul says in Philippians 1: "the important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice." If Jesus were here today, would he say to these people the same thing he said to John when John stopped a guy from doing good works because "he was not one of us"? If so, Jesus would say "for whoever is not against us is for us".
Again, here is an example of a group of people who have chosen their identity over doing Godly works. Identity over impacting the world for Christ. Identity over bringing a cup of water.

I can't help but think of a Carole King song I heard recently. This is not from one of her old classic 70's albums, but a more recent one. The title of the song is "An Uncommon Love". Here are the lyrics to this powerful song:

Why do we isolate each other
All the walls we build between us
Make it so hard to be together

How can we tear at one another
When the thing we have in common
Is an uncommon love

Walls can fall, tears can mend
So why can't we reach across the line
And touch each other

Here on two sides of the truth
We've a middle ground in common
We have an uncommon love

Time can heal, hearts can mend
So why can't we reach across the line
And touch each other

When will we ever learn
That the thing we have in common
Is an uncommon love
We have an uncommon love
An uncommon love

Which do we value more, the uncommon love we have been shown and told to share.....or our identity. One group has spoken loud and clear.

I choose the uncommon love. How about you?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

What Do You Default To?

Take a step back today and ask yourself this question.........."When I am in a discussion with someone I disagree with, what do I usually default to?" Gotta say, I usually turn to sarcasm. Maybe not the best choice, but it for sure could be worse. At least it's not anger, hatefullness, disrespect......etc. In my disagreement, I am called to still remember who I am, and WHOSE I am. I am called to speak the truth in love. I can see where sarcasm could be interpreted as NOT being very loving! At the same time, we can see times where Jesus used the same method. "Oh that's want to tell somebody to get the eye-lash out of their eye, and you are walking around with a 2 x 4 sticking out of your eye socket".
My paraphrase. But if that is not sarcasm, I don't know what is! Of course, Jesus had all wisdom.........therefore could afford to use sarcasm. I don't think any of us have attained wisdom to that level least I haven't.

Because of my use of sarcasm, someone this week referred to me as "Erasmus". I wanted to quote one of my all time favorite philosophers, Earnest T Bass, and reply "I got an Erasmus, I bet you ain't never got no Erasmus!" :) But, I refrained. Probably best to err on that side, huh?

So, bloggin community.........what do you default to? C'mon, put the dirty laundry out there for us to see. Mine is hangin there already, and needs some company.