Sunday, October 29, 2006

Dr. Joe Pryor

Dr. Joe Pryor died Friday night. Simply known by everybody as "Dr. Joe", he impacted this community we call Harding to a degree very few have ever matched, or ever will. I don't know if I have ever met a more humble man, or a man with more integrity. I know he was probably the most intelligent person I have ever known. He was so smart, it was scary. He had an endearing laugh, and he loved to laugh at himself as much as anything else.

I'll miss the bow tie. I'll miss the jet black hair. I'll miss the servant leadership. I'll miss just knowing he was there if I ever needed him.

Heaven is a happier place today!

I loved you Dr. Joe.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Jesus's Sarcasm

I gotta confess, and those of you who know me well know this about me already, but I LOVE sarcasm. Probably too much. I realize sarcasm can be hurtful if it used in the wrong way. I have no doubt I have used it in that way before. I don't use it as much as I once did, so I am trying to do better. But sarcasm can be used in a way that gets people to see something that they may not have seen before, and I think that is a good use of sarcasm.

Jesus must have believed that, because He used it from time to time. My favorite example of Jesus's sarcasm is in Luke 7 when Jesus is at the home of Simon the Pharisee. You know the story.........Simon is offended because Jesus is letting this woman who is a "sinner" kiss His feet, and then wash his feet with both tears and perfume. Simon never said anything to Jesus about it, but Jesus knew what was going on in Simon's mind. Jesus then told him the parable about two men having debts to a moneylender, one great and one small, and having those debts cancelled. He asked the simple but deep question: "Now which of them loved him more?" Simon answered correctly, and somewhat sheepishly: "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt cancelled." Jesus told him he was correct. Then Jesus pointed out to Simon how the woman has smothered him with love from the second she had been with him, and how Simon had done NOTHING. He concluded his remarks about her by saying "Her many sins have been forgiven.....for she loved much".

If the story had ended there, it would have been a great story.........right? Ah, but it doesn't, and it gets even better. Jesus puts on his sarcasm hat, and really zings Simon. Jesus says:
"But he who has been forgiven little loves little". Have you ever been forgiven "LITTLE"? Do you have any LITTLE struggles? Forgiveness is ALWAYS big, and never "LITTLE"! That is the only way God knows how to do it, because He loves us so so much. Jesus, God in the flesh, only forgave big when He was on the earth. It's impossible to be forgiven little! The Pharisees were arrogant folks, and Simon was one of them. In his mind, he had no need for God's forgiveness.........or if he did, it was very "LITTLE". Jesus knew Simon felt that way about himself. Because of Simon's arrogance and self-righteousness, he didn't have the ability to love anybody...........not even Jesus. Oh he probably loved one person, himself. But he knew in his heart of hearts how sinful he was, and that he had been forgiven BIG.......even if outwardly he acted like he had "little" to be forgiven of. It had to zing him. It has to zing us.

Do you want to be able to love? Then you better acknowledge how much YOU have been loved and forgiven! I don't know that I can prove it, but I believe with all my heart the same principle applies to grace. If you are not a grace giving person, you probably have never acknowledged how in need of grace you are........and how God smothered you with His grace.

I wonder how sarcasm affected Simon? I wonder how it sits with you and me?

In closing, let me ask our fellowship or movement............are we known for our outpouring of grace and love for other believers? See, that is who Simon was with.......another believer......and he wasn't loving her very well. Is withholding fellowship an expression of love and grace? Of course it isn't. We for sure at times have been like Simon, and been guilty of loving "little". Why? Maybe because we had the heart of Simon..............a heart of self-righteousness and arrogance.

God help us to not need His sarcasm to realize that.

May we seek to have the heart of the sinful woman. "For she loved much".

Monday, October 23, 2006

New Blogger

I hope everybody had a great weekend. I for sure did. Even though they lost, I was proud of my Tide. They still have 4 games left, and 2 really big games........LSU and Auburn. Maybe we can hold on for a win instead of losing at the very end in those 2 games. I would say we are due! :)

I can't wait to see what my Cards do at home. I am tickled to death with a split in Motor City.
I like our chances!

I want you to check out a new blog by my friend Shannon Spears. I have known Shannon since the early 80's, and I am sure he is going to bless us with his insights and wisdom. Welcome to the bloggin community Shannon!

While I am mentioning bloggers, if you haven't read Keith Brenton's last 3 or 4 blogs, you have missed a FEAST! The guy is amazing, and I love his heart. If you don't read ANYTHING else today, go read his latest post. I promise, you WILL be glad you did!

This is Homecoming week at HU! It will be a busy week, but a very good week as we get to see folks we haven't seen for a while. May God give all those coming to Searcy this week safe travels! GO BISONS!!!!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Third Saturday in October

Yeah, that's FIRST picture on my blog is of Bear Bryant. Why not? A) It's the third Saturday of October, which means it's Tennessee week. B) My very first blog post I ever did had a quote from Coach Bryant in it. So hey, I'm just being consistent! :)

I didn't grow up hating Auburn like a lot of Bama fans do. In North Alabama, the Vols are pretty much the sworn enemy. Florence is 15 miles from the Tenn. state line. At least the Auburn folks were from God's country too. And let's face it.......during my growing up years, even until I got to college, Auburn only had a couple of good teams. You remember don't you, Pat Sullivan and Terry Beasley and that bunch? The Vols had good teams just about EVERY year, and gave Bama a good test just about year in and year out. The same couldn't be said for Auburn. So to this day, the Orange Nation are the folks I want to see Bama beat MORE than anybody else..........well, at least in the SEC. I probably would enjoy a win over Notre Dame or Miami just as much, but we don't get to play them as much. Don't get me wrong, the Auburn/Alabama rivalry is one of the best, if not THE best, in the nation. Everybody in the state is one or the wishy washy stuff allowed. But most of the fans are good natured about the game, and it's your neighbors and family that you are pulling against. NOT SO with the Vols! They are know, from way up yonder. Far away places like Oak Ridge, Nashville, Cookville, and the likes. They for sure ain't family!

So I am pumped for the third Saturday in October! If history holds true, it will be a close game no matter how much better one team is than the other. This year, Tennessee has a better record, and probably has a lot more to lose with a loss than we do. Therefore, probably more pressure. I like our chances. Bama is coming off an overtime win, which is the first overtime win we have had in a while. The offense is beginning to click on all cylinders. And we have Joe Kines. I wouldn't swap him for any Defensive Cord. in the country!

Do I miss the days of Coach Bryant? Of course I do! In the 70's he had one streak where the Tide went 33-3, and another where they went 34-2. That is called DOMINATION. From 1971 thru 1980 (10 years) the boys in Crimson won 107 games. Do the math. By the way, they only played 10 regular games a season back then. Did they lose any? Yeah.......1.3 games a year. You can understand why we got spoiled, and why NOBODY has been able to replace Coach Bryant. Coach Stallings was close, in that he won a National Championship, but it still wasn't the same dominance. And my guess is that with the parity there is today in college football, no team will ever again dominate the SEC like that. But you know, I'm glad I was there to see it, experience it, and love it. Every DOG GONE minute of it! :) And thru thick and thin, missed extra points and field goals, coaching scandals, and NCAA restrictions..........I'm a Bama fan! I went to my first game at Legion field with my Dad to see Alabama beat LSU on November 9th, 1968. Tennesse was going to play Auburn on the same field that night. It's been nothing but fun from that day till now. Isn't college football great?

Thanks for indulging me. After all, it's not everyday you turn 51.

In closing, let me say I still miss Coach Bryant. I got to talk to him one day, and got his autograph. He had his shortcomings, but he was the greatest Coach that ever walked out on a football field, in my book. Win one more tomorrow guys, and be proud to wear the Crimson and White!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Freed, Miami, and Other Ramblings

Somebody sent me the link to read the Christian Chronicle article concerning the events at Freed on Oct. 14th. One section at the beginning of the article really caught my attention:

But the purpose this time was not to tout the common beliefs and heritage of two groups that split 100 years ago. Instead, organizers of a "Contemporary Discussion" on unity at Freed-Hardeman University made it clear their focus would be on what still divides the Restoration Movement churches.

WOW! How sad is that? To focus on the negative.......division.

I think the biggest difference in the views of the two participants was their view of what doctrines or issues are the most important. The guy from Freed is quoted as saying:

We are not in fellowship because of one big, obvious thing.

The fellow from the Christian Church responded by saying:

I may not agree on some points, but because we are brothers and sisters in Christ, we do have fellowship.

Could the difference be MORE obvious? Which view models New Testament discipleship?
Which view seems more Christ like? Which view seems to be following John when he said:

For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

I know some will respond by saying, "He didn't say he didn't love the other guy". Please.
Actions speak much louder than words...........and the world is looking at what we do, not what we say. Again, the biggest difference is that one person is focused on "church", the other is focused on following Christ.............real discipleship. I know which camp I am in. How about you?


Were you like I was when I saw the Miami football team in an all out brawl? I was like "what did you expect"? It has been a rogue program full of thugs since Jimmy Johnson was there in the early 90's. The only difference is that these guys aren't any good, and those early teams were. Good in the since of winning games, that is. The administration has no character or integrity if they don't handle this latest fiasco with stiff measures, such as a LOT of players losing their scholarships. I also hope the NCAA comes down hard on them. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of thugs. Ex-coach and current ESPN commentator Bill Curry has an OUTSTANDING article on Here is a link:


My Memphis HA Lions are 6-2 now. It's hard to win when your stud QB is hurt. I just hope we get him back in time for the play-offs! GO LIONS! You are having a GREAT season!


Will you be as happy as I will be when this voting season has passed? "Politics" is a very nasty word these days. Could it get any more hateful? It makes me DREAD what all is going to take place leading up to November 2008. It may make all this seem like a love-fest. God help us. Help us to remember who we are FIRST.


HU Homecoming is next weekend! I hope all you Alums will plan on coming to be with us and see all the new sites on campus. Most of all, I hope you get to see people that you love, and may not have seen for some time. Come to Searcy, the place where thousands live like millions wish they could! :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

When I Was In Great Need, He Saved me

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice: he heard me cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me: I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.

Then I called on the name of the Lord: "O Lord, save me!"

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalm 116: 1-9

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Holy Spirit, College Football, Distinguished Speakers, etc

We concluded several weeks of study on the Holy Spirit today at Downtown. Monte Cox, Ken Neller, and Dave Mathews did a tremendous job of bringing presentations on this topic. If any of you are interested in hearing them, contact the DT office at 501-268-8583 and request the tapes. You won't be disappointed......promise. I applaud our leadership for the vision and wisdom to take on this sometimes avoided study. God has blessed DT with Spirit led and Christ-like men to Shepherd us. We are RICHLY blessed by them!


Congrats to the Arkansas Razorbacks. They went to the plains of Auburn and destroyed the Tigers! Is college football crazy or what? I guess that is what makes it so fun and intriguing. I must remind all you Hog fans of a recent phenomenon..........Houston is a much better coach when he is the underdog. That could spell trouble. It wouldn't be the first time it has happened to you. Don't expect it to happen this week though with mighty S.E. Missouri State coming to town. The Harding Bisons ( yeah, BisonS!) are on a winning streak! Congrats to coach Tribble and the rest of the Bison staff and players. Keep it going! My Memphis Harding Academy Lions came from 17 down to win in Nashville this past weekend........they are 6-1 now! GO LIONS! They play their biggest rival this week........ECS of Memphis. Of course I am SO there already. :)


It's been several weeks now, but people keep asking me for my take on the Sean Hannity speech here a few weeks ago. My view is that the "Distinguished Lectureship Series" has been just that.....distinguished. I didn't think Hannity was distinguished before I heard him, and I still don't. Mind you, I have voted Republican almost exclusively my whole life. So it's not like I have a hidden agenda as a liberal Democrat......or a Democrat of ANY stripe. It's just that we have a rich heritage of inspiring speakers coming to take part in this program, and he just didn't meet that criteria in my opinion. He has not earned the right to be listed along side folks like Colin Powell, Barbara Bush, Margaret Thatcher, and other great leaders or diplomats. Sean is not in that league. As Cliff Ganus III wrote in "The Bison":

Rather than resonable political discourse, the evening consisted of the lobbing of jibes and accusations from an extreme representative of one party against extreme targets on the opposite side. Although some seemed to consider that this was some sort of educational event, it wasn't. Entertainment is was. Cheerleading it was. Propaganda it was. Education it wasn't.

I concur with Cliff. It was pretty sophomoric, and not to the level we have come to expect and stand for on our campus. So yeah, I was disappointed. But I am only one voice, and many others probably enjoyed it and thought it was a wonderful evening. Hey, to each his own.

Lastly, what was the deal with microphone? That never used to happen when David Woodroof was around. Why did you leave, Dave?


I hit the road headed to Tulsa tomorrow. I am ALWAYS blessed by the wonderful folks there! Everybody have a BLESSED week! Roll Tide! Go Lions! Go Bisons! Go Wildcats!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Peter's Deja Vu

It seems to me I have had Peter's experience in John 21 on my mind a lot lately. Sometime in the last month somebody was reading from John 21, and it hit me that Peter had hit the water before.......alone. I went back and read the Matthew 14 experience, and compared it to the John 21 episode. Wouldn't it be interesting to be able to read Peter's thoughts as he hit the water that second time? Remember, he evidently had not had any words with Jesus since the night of betrayal. I don't think he hit the water with as much enthusiasm or confidence this time, do you? He for sure was not up for making a request to see if the water would hold him up, as he did the first time. Been there, done that. My guess is that this Peter was a lot more humble than the guy we read about in Matthew. I'm thinking he would have felt a lot more comfortable with the algae and snails on the bottom. But you know what I like about this more humble Peter.........he still knew WHO to go towards! He didn't swim away, or try and get the other guys to help him row the boat away in the opposite direction. Nope, the account says as SOON as Peter heard John say "it is the Lord", he hit the water. I gotta think it was a Deja Vu moment for him. He didn't cry out this time "Lord, save me!" , but I gotta think it was in his eyes. Not because he was drowning, but because he felt estranged from the One who can save. He probably remembered Jesus's question from the earlier fiasco......."you of little faith, why did you doubt?" What would be His first words this time? Would he get another scolding? Would he get a look of disappointment? Would he get the exact same words again? I'd give a dollar or two to know what was going on in Peter's mind during this second water experience. Maybe someday I will get the chance to ask him. We don't know if Jesus said anything to him before the others got there, but the first 12 recorded words we have Him saying to Peter are "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" We could get into a discussion about who the "these" were.........and that is a good discussion. But for now, I think it is interesting at the end of this banter back and forth where Jesus is asking Peter how much he loves Him, Jesus ends the discussion with the same words he said to Peter the very first time He ever met him....."Follow me!" Reading between the lines here, you have to hear Jesus saying "yeah, Peter, I know you screwed up........and screwed up bad. But I know you love me, and that's what really counts. Keep following me, trusting me, and believing in me. You are still one of mine, and I love you! You are forgiven! I have big plans for you! So quit worrying about my love for you, it's always there. In turn, take care of my sheep.....the way I took care of you!"

Is there a word in there for you? Gotta say, there is for me. Every year? Every month? Every week? Try every day. Probably every minute. See, I've hit the water before too.