Sunday, April 29, 2007

Our Weekend

We have had a VERY blessed weekend at Downtown! Rick Atchley spoke twice on Saturday, and four times this morning. He still has one gig to do...............he is speaking to the University students that come for the 8:30 communion service tonight. Whatever we are paying him, he's getting ripped off. It's been invaluable.

When I hear Rick, these five characteristics about him leave a lasting impression.

A) His humbleness. I know a lot of people with a lot less talent that he has who have a much bigger ego. In fact, I haven't seen him show ANY ego. What a model for our younger generation!

B) His passion! You don't have to wonder how Rick feels about something..........he is passionate in his faith walk. How refreshing. I know a lot of people who seem to only get passionate about sports. No, that's wrong. They get passionate about one other thing................religious traditions.

C) His boldness. God has not called us to a spirit of timidity, and you can tell he believes that........because he practices it. This one may be tied in with passion, but I really think they are two different qualities. Rick is not going to let fear control his life. I know he fears God, but I am not aware of any other fear he has.

D) His heart of grace. Jim Woodroof said "Jesus is grace with clothes on it". I see Rick trying to walk in the Savior's steps in everything, but especially in the area of grace. As much as he is attacked, heaven knows he gets more opportunities than most of us to offer grace. I've yet to see him fail to do so.

E) His love for the Lord and the church. It exudes from his heart every time I hear him speak. He loves God, he loves our Savior Jesus Christ, and he loves the bride of Christ.......the church. He loves other Christians, hence his untiring efforts for unity.

I praise God for the talented evangelists He has given to our generation. No doubt, Rick Atchley is one of those!

Thanks Rick for pouring out your heart to us this weekend. We love you for it!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

It's Still True Today

I went back this morning to see when the anniversary of my first post was. It's almost been 3 years of blogging now.........the first one was in May of 2004. WOW! Time flies when you are having fun. I went ahead and read some of those earlier post, and ran across this one. I am even more passionate about this three years later. See if you agree.

Morgan Freeman
If you get TBS or TNT, you have probably seen "Shawshank Redemption" more times than Jennifer Lopez and Elizabeth Taylor have been married. It's kinda like watching Andy Griffith in that you KNOW what is going to happen, but you have to watch it anyway. Morgan Freeman, playing the part of "Red", has one of my favorite lines in the movie. Red: "These walls are kind of funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, gets so you depend on them. That's INSTITUTIONALIZED. They send you here for life, that's exactly what they take. The part that counts, anyways." The part of that quote that comes at me like neon lights is when he says that you can get to where you DEPEND on the walls of an institution, and because of that dependence, have your life taken away from you. Any life you feel you have because of an institution is not REAL LIFE. You are settling for a Zircon stone when HE wants you to have the real Diamond. John 14:6 "I am the way, and the truth, and the LIFE. No man comes to the father except through me." I hope you never feel like Red. I did once, but I don't ever plan on feeling institutionalized again. Why would I want to go back to Cubic Zirconia when I have the Diamond?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Simple Truths

My good friend Rod Cheatham sent me this link. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Sometimes the most simple things DO have the greatest impact.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Barbarian Way

Steve Smith (Tulsa) and I exchange books just about every month. A couple of weeks ago he gave me one with the title "The Barbarian Way" by Erwin McManus. I already had several books that I had planned to read before he gave it to me, so I put it on the back burner till I got thru with the other ones. I picked this one up a few days ago....................oh my GOODNESS!!! As most of you know, I am a pretty consistent reader. This is the FIRST book in my life that the MINUTE I finished the book I started back at the front reading it April fools. So, get it and read it and then tell me what you think. I am going to give it to both of my boys and ask them to please read it. I hope it causes them to evaluate their faith walk, as it did me. I look forward to your feedback. Here is just a taste:

Somewhere along the way the movement of Jesus Christ became civilized as Christianity. We created a religion using the name of Jesus Christ and convinced ourselves that God's optimal desire for our lives was to insulate us in a spiritual bubble where we risk nothing, sacrifice nothing, lose nothing. Yet Jesus' death wasn't to free us from dying, but to free us from the fear of death. Jesus came to liberate us so that we could die up front and then live. Jesus Christ wants to take us to places where only dead men and women can go.


I had a good trip this week! As I have said before, I get to be around the most wonderful people in the world in my profession. I consider it a special blessing. I was talking to a dad this week who has two boys at Harding, with two more on the way. He made this comment to me:

"I know Harding is not perfect, but I can't imagine my children being at any other college in this country. Their experiences there have had such an impact on who they are as
Christians, I don't how how we can put a value on that. We feel like we have been blessed way beyond our expectations".

I know ACU, Lipsomb, Freed, OCU, Pepperdine and all the other schools within our fellowship have parents who feel the EXACT same way...........and isn't that wonderful? I hope those very special Universities enjoy hearing comments like that as much as we do here in Searcy. God has blessed all of us!


The news about the killings at Virginia Tech broke while I was on the road. People gathered around public televisions to catch the news, and became very quiet. I guess we aren't beyond being shocked after all. Like you, my prayers are with all the hurting families involved.

Another prayer is "Lord, come quickly".

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Harmony Part III

Sorry this is late in coming. Seems like I have more to do than I can get done. Having two weddings coming up, Spring Sing, Easter, Rick Atchley weekend, and then trying to work can get in the way of blogging. Plus, you folks are way ahead of me on this anyway. The day I thought of this "Harmony" theme, I was driving down the road listening to some beautiful harmonies coming from my car radio. I happened to think about what maybe God considers to be beautiful music. I couldn't help but think that when we LIVE in harmony, it must be a beautiful sound not only to His ears.........but to His whole being also. When we argue, fight, disassociate, speak bad of, act judgementally, or just plain ole don't get has to be like those sounds that hurt our ears to Him. The fingernails across the blackboard kind of sound. But even more important than that, it breaks His heart. No, it really does. You want to really hurt the Father? Say something negative about one of His children. You want to really please the Father? Love somebody and everybody. Nothing earth shattering new in this WOW factor at all. But try living it. If you are successful, then you can give yourself a WOW!! :) Our community is going to be testing this in the next few weeks with Rick Atchley coming. I have already heard some outrageously negative comments. Fingernails on the ole chalkboard kind of talk. It makes me sad. I know it makes Him even sadder.


Craig Jones called me Wednesday and told me that his Jan has pancreatic cancer. Jan whipped breast cancer 15 years ago or so, and we are praying that she can whip this also. Please keep Craig, Jan, Rees, and Elaine in your prayers.


I was able to attend the debate on campus this past week concerning "Just War vs Pacifism".
Mark Elrod and a student took the "pacifist" position while Kevin Klein and another student took the "just war" view. I went in with some convictions of my own, and I left the debate with my same convictions. I believe this is a Romans 14 issue..................I will have my convictions and hold to them strongly with a clear conscience, but I don't have the right to bind those convictions on you. I am to respect your view and convictions, as you equally respect mine.
I will tell you that I was VERY impressed with one really important aspect of the debate...........and that is the respect that each participant showed for the participants who were taking the opposite position. It was really amazing, and I appreciate so much the humble spirit that was shown to all those in attendance, most of which were college students. I don't know if the students will remember much about the arguments made, but my guess is they will always remember the respect and humble spirit of the participants. Thanks guys for that example!


Hitting the road this week............Central Oklahoma and South-Central Oklahoma. One of these days I am going to stop and take a picture of me beside the exit to Duncan, my birthplace. My dad was preaching at Comanche at the time. Do you know who else was born in Duncan? Come back and find out! :) Whoever guesses it wins the prize..............strawberry short-cake from the Bulldog in Bald Knob!!!!!!!

Have a great week! Two weeks and two days till Pepperdine 2007! UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Herr Zeller

No, I'm not thru with the "Harmony" theme. I promise to get back to it by the end of the week.
As if all 5 of you are sitting on the edge of your seat! :) Whatever.

Do you ever get tired of watching "The Sound of Music"? I still remember the first time I saw it............the Paramount Theater in Memphis in 1965, just before we left to go to Nigeria. Why am I bringing it up? It was on "ABC Family Network" over the Easter weekend, and I watched it once completely and caught scenes several other times. If you are between your mid to late 40's and 100, you probably can just about quote every line in the movie. I usually am not a fan of musicals, but this movie is part of my DNA.......and the DNA of America. At a time when things weren't going so good, we needed a feel-good movie. It was a small reprieve, but at least it WAS one. I'm glad we couldn't see what the next 5 or 6 years held for us........gracious.
So call me sappy, call me a wuss..............but I LOVE "The Sound of Music"! Hey, I guess this DOES go along with my "Harmony" theme after all.

Do you remember Herr Zeller in the movie? He reminds me of some authoritarian church leaders I have known. :) No, you're not getting any names...............but you know them too.
Speaking of DNA, sadly they are a part of our fellowship's DNA. It's not just our fellowship, it's everybody's fellowship. They were there in the Gospels. I guess like the poor, they will always be with us. Ahh, all we have to do is think of our favorite things, start singing..........and then we don't feel so bad.


I hope your Easter service was as powerful as our midnight service at Downtown! AWESOME!
We had around 2,500 folks worship with us at DT this weekend..................what a blessing. Now it's the backstretch getting ready for Rick Atchley to be with us. We are expecting another big turn-out for that weekend. I just hope everybody's motive will be pure for coming. Am I wishing for too much? Sure hope not.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Harmony Part II

Thanks for all the songs with great harmony! It was fun to see which ones you enjoy listening to. I still don't think we exhausted the list, so feel free to continue adding songs.

Let's go a different direction for just a little bit. If harmony is one of the most beautiful sounds there is, then what are some of the most unpleasant sounds? I'll go ahead and mention what a lot of people think of first.........the ole finger nails down the chalkboard, right? UGH! Does that make your skin crawl like it does me? Remember the part in "Dumb and Dumber" where Lloyd does that annoying sound for the Mafia guy? It WAS pretty annoying, but also hilarious! What are some other sounds that we can't stand to hear? This should be interesting.


For those of you who know my dad, he turned 79 yesterday. He is pretty much bed-bound, so he would love to get any belated birthday cards or communication of ANY kind. His address is:

2004 Saxton Drive
Florence, Alabama 35630

I drove over and suprised him yesterday, and took an old friend of his with me...........Eddie Davis from Memphis. Dad had impacted Eddie's life as a teenager, and I thought that would be a neat reunion and present for Dad. It was!


It's Easter weekend, so you know what that means for us Harding folks...............SPRING SING!
I hope many of you can attend this year. Our students will blow you away with their talent and creativity. It's also the only time you can watch them dance legally. :) Campus is beautiful as always this time of year. I get to play in a President's Council golf tournament tomorrow at Red Apple resort in Heber. I think I better bundle up! I hope it doesn't effect my 45 handicap very much. :)


The Rick Atchley weekend at Downtown is less than a month away. We are prayerful and excited to see what God is going to do thru Rick that weekend. As you might expect, Downtown is taking some shots............but we have AWESOME Shepherds who have a passion for the Gospel instead of church politics.