Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Malibu in September

Yeah, I'm here, and it's just as beautiful as it always is. I am here to see a few HU alums......James Wiser, Gary Selby, Mike Murrie, Don Shores Jr., Emily Smith to name a few. I know these folks aren't going to get the beautiful fall colors and change in weather that we will get at home in the upcoming weeks, but the trade off is not that terrible! It's about 75 degrees here today and not a cloud in the sky.
It makes me get excited to be here the first week of May in 08 for the PU Lectureship. The theme next year is the Sermon on the Mount, and we have 3 Harding Alums doing key-note talks.........Gary Selby, Donnie Mclaughlin, and Randy Harris.
It will be a great week, and I look forward to seeing all you HU alums here. We will have our annual reception again, and I hope all of you will attend as you have in the past. We have had over 100 folks at the reception the past 2 years.


Well, up to now I haven't said anything about the Tide for a couple of weeks......out of respect for my Hog friends. We won that game in the last seconds, then lost in overtime to Georgia this past weekend. If they keep doing this to my heart, I will be in ICU this week after we play Florida State!!! :) This week should be fun, with all the hype that comes anytime you play Bobby Bowden.
Added to that you have the sub-plot centered around the reunion of Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban, pupil vs teacher. I'm thinking it will be another great college football game! Two great programs meeting for the first time in a LONG time. I think Coach Saban will have the boys in Crimson and White ready to play. Who does your team play this weekend?


I got word while I was out here that Billy Ray Cox died. Please keep that family in your prayers. Many from my generation will remember attending Billy Ray's Sunday morning Bible class while we were at Harding.


I didn't get to attend PraiseFest this past weekend in Searcy. I know it was a blessing to all of you who were able to go. Somebody who went please leave a comment and share your thoughts about how the event went. I hope I get to go with you next year.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Not Seeing Jesus

At some point this past weekend I was in John 20 and came across the amazing verse that says: "At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus". The "she" in this verse is Mary Magdalene, someone quite familiar with what Jesus looked like. She was not the only person who experienced this phenomenon. In the next chapter, the same thing happens: "But the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus". We can't know for sure WHY these people who were very familiar with Jesus didn't recognize Him. Two explanations I have read have been A) He very well could have looked different after His resurrection or B) He intentionally prevented them from recognizing Him. I don't guess we will ever know. I guess what hit me was this.......how many times have I not recognized Jesus? I guess I am in some good company, but that still doesn't make me feel any better about it! I'm sure it has happened more times than I would like to know. Like these followers we read about in John, maybe I thought I knew what Jesus was SUPPOSED to look like......and He has shown up looking like someone entirely different. Even before His resurrection, there were many folks who didn't recognize Him for this same reason. They were expecting a great King, not a humble servant from Nazareth. Not such good company to be in this time, huh? There are a lot of applications we could all make, but I will just state the most obvious.....don't expect Jesus to meet your criteria as to what He is supposed to look like.

I love the way the incident with Mary ends! What happens to finally cause her to recognize Him? She has her back to Him, but hears His voice say ONE word.....her name, "Mary". That's all it took.........hearing without looking! See, she had already heard His voice, but that voice was skewed by the fact she was also looking at Him, and He didn't fit the bill for the Jesus she knew. It took hearing without seeing. Application? You might want to listen for Him instead of looking for Him. Didn't He tell us that the Sheep know the voice of their Master? If He said your name, would you know it was Him? Mary did. I'm convinced we can too.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Gospel of God's Grace

Paul talks about it in Acts 20:24. Paul was driven by the passion to preach the gospel of God's grace! Is it worth noticing and mentioning that we never read about "the gospel of God's law"? It's just not in there. There is no good news or joy related to law. I'm not talking about THE law.........I'm talking about a law mindset.

Because of a hurting family, I have GRACE on my heart today.

Many of you know Dirk Smith. Dirk works here in the Advancement Office with me at Harding. Dirk's brother Chuck is in prison in Pennsylvania. Dirk was there visiting Chuck last week for a couple of days. Dirk related a powerful insight Chuck gave him while he was visiting. Chuck said he had come to the realization that in the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, these words spoken by Jesus are NOT the highlight point of that wonderful story: "Lazarus, come out".
No, the pinnacle of the story is the next admonition Jesus gives: "Take off the grave clothes and let him go". LET HIM GO! Most of time when we encounter dead people who are trying to live again, we lack the faith to BELIEVE that God can actually raise someone from the dead, therefore we don't help them shed their grave clothes. Why would we? In our eyes they are still dead! And LOTS of times even if we do believe they have come back from the dead, we FOR SURE don't want to let them go. For some, there is a lot more gratification in keeping someone under the bondage of guilt than there is in witnessing the freedom that comes with grace.....the grace that comes with letting go of our past by the power of the Gospel of God's grace.

We have a dead family walking in our midst in the Harding community. Do we have the faith to believe God can take this family from the grave and make them live again? Are we going to help them take off the grave clothes by loving them in a lot of different ways so that they will feel "let go" into His grace........or are we going to be judgemental and legalistic with them? The choice is ours.

I love the gospel of God's grace, because I need it daily. I know Chuck feels like Lazarus. I do also. I pray this family does too!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

30th Anniversary

Yep, Jan and I got married THIRTY years ago today! And yes, I married WAY over my head and I am the luckiest guy in the world. If she's willing, I'm ready to try for another thirty. It sure flew by.........I guess time DOES fly by when you are having fun. How bout you all? What number are you on?


I'm not sure I ever remember it raining this much in September. We need it I know, but goodness........surely the sun will shine sometime this month. My freshman year at Harding in the fall of 74 we had a DELUGE of rain that year also. The area behind Keller that you have to walk thru to get to Armstrong was like a lake.


Ahh........football season sure makes my weekends interesting. I love keeping up with my HA Memphis Lions, my HA Searcy Wildcats, my HU Bisons, and some other team I hear referred to as the Crimson Tide. They all seem to be off to pretty good starts.
This upcoming week is always a tough one for me, in that this is the week the Hogs and Tide play. For some reason a lot of folks around here like to talk smack BEFORE the game instead of after it. I was learnt better than that. Bear Bryant demanded class from his players and the fans, and that is the era that influenced me. So, good luck HOGS! Talk to me after the game.


I know we could fill blog posts for pages and pages talking about prayer request, and maybe we should. But I do have one request, mainly because so many of you know this family. Please continue to pray for Craig Jones's wife, Jan. Her cancer does not seem to be getting any better. Craig and the kids have an AWESOME attitude and spirit about this, and seem to be at peace. Please remember that family in your daily prayers.