Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Kickin it in Colorado

Yeah, it's a tough job.........but somebody has to do it. Especially during our annual heat wave in Arkansas. The mountains refresh my soul, even when they don't have snow on them. My first trip for Harding in 98 was to Colorado, and it's held a special place in my heart ever since then. WONDERFUL folks out here, and they bless me tremendously.


If Jerry Morgan suggests something to me, I do it.......no questions asked. He suggested a couple of weeks ago that I pick up "Metamorpha: Jesus As A Way of Life" by Kyle Strobel (Lee's son) and read it. I am about half way thru it now, and I want to encourage everybody out there to get it also. Thanks Jerry for the heads up!! I can't hardly put it down.


As far as race relations in the USA, we have quite a ways to go. We've come a LONG way, but we have MANY miles to go before we can rest. When people want to convict Michael Vick simply because he is black, that is pathetic and wrong. It's equally as racist and pitiful when some want him to get away with his crime simply because he is black. Both perspectives are driven by racism, and that racism damages our country, and our world.


"Field of Dreams" has to be in my top 10 movies of all time. We all, yes EVERYBODY, wants to be affirmed, validated, and acknowledged. That's why I think my favorite line in the movie is when Archie "Moonlight" Graham is about to walk back in the corn field and Shoeless Joe Jackson stops him by saying: "Hey Rookie, you were good". That scene always gives me chill-bumps, no matter how many times I watch it.


Last but not least, college football begins this week. You didn't think I would let that go without a mention did ya? Good luck to all of your teams. My Tide takes the field Saturday night, and I will be in Florence watching it with my dad.
Ain't it fun?!?!?!??!?!?!? :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

10 Most Influential

What 10 people influenced or impacted the world to the greatest degree during my lifetime so far? If you can do the math you have already figured out I am talking about the years 1955 to present. Here is my list, with those who made the honorable mention list following. IMPORTANT POINT: Both groups are in NO PARTICULAR ORDER. Here goes:

1. Mother Teresa
2. Muhammad Ali
3. Ronald Reagan
4. Bill Gates
5. Martin Luther King
6. Lech Walesa
7. Nelson Mandela
8. C.S. Lewis
9. Elvis Presley
10. Osama Bin Laden

Honorable Mention:

1. Margaret Thatcher
2. Richard Nixon
3. Pol Pot
4. Billy Graham
5. Mao Zedong
6. The Beatles
7. Steve Jobs
8. Saddam Hussein
9. Albert Schweitzer
10. Jonas Salk

FYI- Einstein died 6 months before I was born, so he barely missed making the list!
And yes, it was hard to leave Bear Bryant off! :)

Give me your list. There are no wrong answers.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Unscriptural Part II

Thanks for all your comments about "unscriptural". Here is what I have observed over the years. MOST.....not all, but most.....of the time I have heard the word "unscriptural" being used, it was used in one of the following three ways:
A) to talk about something having to do with worship
B) to talk about something having to do with the church building itself
C) a divorce or marriage situation

I can see where there would be legitimate times to talk about A and C in that context. Mind you, not as OFTEN as our fellowship normally has, but still.....I can see how that discussion could evolve. Right now I can't think of a situation involving item B when that discussion would have been appropriate. Call me naive, but I am just not aware of a lot of scriptures addressing our church buildings.

But this is what I find interesting..........you almost NEVER hear the word "unscriptural" used when talking about everyday life and discipleship issues such as attitudes, anger, lack of love, exclusiveness, arrogance, being judgemental,
being un-Christ like, etc. Have you noticed that, or is it just me? Let me know what you think.


This is from an op-ed piece from a daily newspaper in a large city in the USA. Granted, this guy writes about the most hatefilled and vile secular stuff you can find. It's evident to me he hates Christians. He is an extreme radical, and so you take what he says with that in mind. I wish I could ask him why he feels this way, and I just hope and pray that nothing in his answer would indicate that Christians have done ANYTHING to give him this perspective of us. This paragraph is taken out of a piece he wrote concerning the new "God-Tube" internet site, which has become popular and was modeled after the "You-Tube" site. Give me your take on what he has to say.

"Witness, in other words, the thing that modern Christianity seems to do best, and I don't mean help justify brutal unwinnable wars or slam gay people or bash women's rights or promote ignorance of stem cell research or science or music. Because oh h*## yes, that's there for you, in heaps and droves and mounds. I mean the other thing: to fracture. To splinter and divide and segregate. You know, to exclude."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I have been hearing that term ALL my life......."unscriptural". How about you?
If so, what do you perceive that it means? If you can think of some ways you have heard it used, please share them with everybody.


I can tell you this.......the heat in Arkansas is for sure unscriptural! :)
GOODNESS! The other afternoon I got in my car and the temperature gauge said "115".
No foolin. I know that the parents who arrive in Searcy for the first time must feel like they are dropping their kids off in Hades. I hate for that to be their first impression of Harding. I'll never forget waking up the first morning I was here in 1974 and my sheets being wet from sweat.....and I am not even a heavy sweater. The best thing (best thing?) about this heat is that we for sure will appreciate even more the wonderful fall weather we will have in a few weeks. It can't get here soon enough for me. I think that must be another reason I love knowing football season is not far away.......I subconsciously associate football with autumn weather.
How many days till your team has it's first game? The Memphis Harding Academy Lions play a week from this Friday, which is August 24! Bama wins their first game Sept. 1. :)


My Cardinals are making a comeback! Is there a better story in sports right now than the Rick Ankiel one? I don't think so. This has Hollywood written all over it.
WAY TO GO RICK!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Don't Do It Again, John

I am not a huge golf fan. Don't get me wrong............I'm for sure a fan. Just not a huge one. Having said that, I AM a HUGE fan of John Daly. I'm not for sure what the draw is, but my guess is that it's a couple of things. A) As Americans, we love stories of comebacks and underdogs becoming champions. He for sure fits that bill. B) I think if we are transparent, we all have to admit we see ourselves in John Daly to some degree. How? Well, how about the concept of having struggles?
Hmmmm, can you relate to that? I sure can.

So what happens lately is that John does really good for a round (or even for just a few holes) and I get all excited for him.......and me. Then the inevitable happens, and he implodes. "Tin Cup" type stuff. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. So I'm begging you John, stay within yourself this time! Make the cut, and just play Saturday and Sunday and let the chips fall........literally. :)

Speaking of sports, college football is just around the corner! It's just 22 days until my Tide takes the field for their first game under Coach Saban. It's a new day in Bama Nation!!!!!!! ROLL TIDE ROLL!!! Notice I didn't say anything about professional football. Except for golf, I am pretty much washing my hands of pro sports. Daly, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Spurs, and Tony Dungy are the only aspects of professional sports I care about anymore. Greed took over a long time ago, hence the hiring of thugs for players, referees gambling, steroids, etc. etc. They can have it. Give me college or high school sports ANY DAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Roll Tide
Go Bisons
Go HA Memphis Lions
Go HA Searcy Wildcats

Those are my 4 teams, good times or bad.

Who do you cheer on?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Who Would Have Thunk It?

I was never a Michael Irvin fan. In fact, I've never really been a Dallas Cowboy fan. I have been a huge fan of certain players and coaches for the Cowboys(Coach Landry, Staubach, Cornell Green, Lilly, Leroy Jordan, Bob Hayes) but never the team itself. I guess it goes back to the 70's when they were winning so many games and getting so much hype.....America's Team stuff......and were playing in the NFC, which at that time was pretty much a patsy conference. While they were playing the mighty New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions (remember my temptation to default to sarcasm) my Raiders were playing the Steelers, Jets, Chiefs, and Dolphins.
Kinda like college teams today that get to play in the Pac-10 as opposed to the SEC.
I just perceived them as being WAY WAY overrated. In more recent years, I for sure didn't care for Jimmy Johnson and his Cowboys.....with Irvin being the main cowpoke.
I appreciated Emmit's work ethic, and Troy Aikman's class. Other than those two players, I could have cared less as to them winning or not.

Then came the inductions into the Pro Football Hall of Fame yesterday. Michael Irvin went last, and even before he got up to give his induction speech I found myself feeling sorry for him because he was having to follow some GREAT speeches by some of his fellow inductees.......Bruce Matthews and Charlie Sanders especially. I didn't think there was any way he could match the heart wrenching speeches they gave, especially Sanders. Then it was Michael's turn. He started with a prayer, a very moving prayer. His speech came from a man who had been broken, and this was not a private breaking.......his was one that millions had witnessed. Cocaine busts, hookers, etc. You name it, Michael Irvin's name was associated with it......that is if it were bad. But he told of coming out of that darkness into the light, the light of the Gospel. He mentioned T.D. Jakes, and if any of you have watched Pastor Jakes or read any of his books, you know why Michael was impacted. The old Michael Irvin is dead, and a new one is now alive because of the power of Jesus Christ and His saving grace. Irvin encouraged the crowd there and the millions watching on TV to do these things when they find themselves flat on their face: A) Look up to God B) Get Up C) Never Give up . He had tears streaming down his face as he spoke. He didn't have any notes.........this was coming straight from his broken heart. He was very passionate and transparent. And he influenced a lot of people for the Lord last night!

I remember Jim Woodroof talking about David in the Bible once. He said David had two distinguishing characteristics about him. David was a great sinner and David also was a great worshipper. He went on to comment that you don't HAVE to have BOTH characteristics to become a great worshipper, but you also can't discount how often the two go hand in hand. It's hard to appreciate God's wonderful loving grace if you don't feel like you've ever needed it. David had no doubt he did........Michael has no doubts either.

Michael Irvin has a new fan today. I think I may have interpreted passion for showboating when he was a Cowboy. I think he will forgive me, in that Jesus told us that those who have been forgiven much also love much.

You go Michael!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Christians, Anyway

Rees and Patti Bryant go a long way back with my family. Rees and my dad were room-mates at Freed and then later at Harding. In the 60's our families served on the mission field together in Nigeria, along with the Farrar family. During their college years Patti's father, F.W. Mattox, had been a big influence on my dad when he was a student at Harding. This week I was blessed to get to read an article that Rees has written for the "Christian Standard" magazine, and I was so blown away by it that I asked if I could post it here on my blog. He graciously gave me permission to do so. This is the kind of fruit that is produced when you never quit searching, or ever feel like you have arrived. Thanks Rees for these powerful thoughts, and for having the heart of a searcher. You are one of my heroes!

Christians, Anyway . . .
by Rees Bryant

It is what Leonard Allen and Richard Hughes call an “illusion of innocence” to think or proclaim that any local church, group of churches, tradition, heritage, or fellowship can totally transcend its culture. For all churches have cultural baggage.
Let me elaborate. When I was young, I sincerely thought that the acapella Churches of Christ were the only Christians on the earth. Others might think they were Christians or call themselves Christians. Others might be willing to die for the Lord Jesus Christ. All of that made absolutely no difference. We, the acapella Churches of Christ, were the only Christians. Had our leaders not taught us the proper doctrine on conversion, worship, and church organization? Had they not proved that instrumental music in worship was wrong? Wherever any person or church disagreed with us, they were wrong and we were right. After all, we were the only Christians.
Later on I thought, “No, we are not the only Christians, but we are Christians only.” That was a much more irenic and inclusive view. I still think this is a good goal in a certain sense. We can say, “We seek to be Christians only,” in the same sense in which we say, “We seek to be humble, united, loving, sacrificial, obedient, and submissive Christians,” or “We seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). It is proper to say we seek after all of this.
But, if we say we have attained any of this, it is a very arrogant view. To say we are Christians only is tantamount to saying that we are Christians through and through. It is to say that there is nothing in us or about us that fails to be Christian. If we say we are Christians only—humble, united, loving, sacrificial, obedient, submissive Christians who have found the kingdom of God and submitted to it, then we are sadly mistaken. This is a false claim which can nauseate other Christians. Why? Because the truth is that we are not Christians only.
Instead, we are Christians and many other things. We are Christians and our hermeneutics. Our hermeneutics was not let down from heaven. One Bible scholar’s method of interpretation differs from another. We are Christians and our Stone-Campbell heritage; and, even well-versed scholars within the Stone-Campbell movement disagree on some issues. We are Christians and our Western worldviews. As Neil Gallagher has pointed out in his book, Don’t Go Overseas Until You’ve Read This Book, we are Christians and our cultural baggage of rugged individualism, romantic optimism, hatred of authority, and views of time, humor, activism, cleanliness, and food preparation. We often trip over these as we try to carry the gospel across cultures.
Well, if we are not the only Christians, and we are not Christians only, what are we? We are Christians anyway. We are Christians anyway! Just like the church in Jerusalem. If we could visit a gathering of old First Church in A.D. 33 to 37, the ways in which this church differs from a Jewish sect “might be hard to discern” (Mark Noll, Christianity Today, 3/3/97, p.44). They honored the seventh day. They met in the temple. They read from the Hebrew Bible. They circumcised their sons. They ate kosher foods. They still were zealous for the law. Earliest Christianity was Jewish Christianity. They were Christians anyway.
When the gospel spread to Syrian and Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Berea, Athens, Troas, and Rome, the church was becoming more Gentile than Jewish. But, they were Christians anyway. When the gospel spread to Germany, Ireland, Russia, India, Africa, North and South America, and to the islands of the sea, it crossed many cultural boundaries. But they were Christians anyway.
The church today differs over many peripheral issues as it responds to the gospel. Yet, God loves His imperfect, weak, blemished, frail, and fallible church. He loves us even with the cultural baggage we trip over. He loves us not because we are the only Christians or Christians only, for we are neither. He loves us because we are Christians, anyway. Praise be to His Holy Name!