Saturday, March 31, 2007

Harmony Part I

I am not sure where the Spirit is going to lead me in this discussion, but I felt it's push to post about this topic. If the Spirit leads this discussion, I know it will be one that blesses me. I hope it blesses you also.

Is there anything more beautiful about music than harmony? I'm not sure there is, but then again, I am not exactly the one to be talking about the ins and outs of everything musical. I sang in the Mars Hill chorus for several years, and of course you have to consider I have been singing in church since day one. I love the history of singing in our fellowship. I can't imagine the singing being better ANYWHERE! I am also blessed to get to hear the unbelieveable singing of our college students here at Harding. It's off the charts. Going back to my musical abilities.......or lack of...........I also learned to play the guitar a few years ago. Well, "play" may be giving me too much credit. I can strum most of the basic chords and play along to most country songs. My good friends Craig Jones, Jimmy Behel, Chuck Hicks, Ken Pulley, Don Eudaly, Klay Bartee, Tom Alexander and some folks I am probably leaving out helped me tremendously in learning to play. We used to get together one Sunday night a month to play, and I still miss those fun nights. Several of us formed a little group and we even got a few gigs there for a while. American Bandstand was on the horizon! :) Sorry for that tangent, but I wanted you to know my musical pedigree. Do you have to be a great musician to appreciate beautiful harmony? I sure hope not........and I don't think you do.

Before I close this portion, I want to give you some of my favorite harmonies that I have come to appreciate over the years. I LOVE all kinds of music!! When I think of harmony, this is what comes to mind for me:

At the very top, it has to be "Pure Praire League" singing "Amie"! I don't think I could EVER get tired of hearing them sing those beautiful harmonies with the acoustical instruments in the background. How about these others?

Crosby, Stills, and Nash singing "Suite Judy Blue Eyes". Or really, CSN singing ANYTHING!
Hey, I even enjoy Neil Young joining em.

Eddie Kendrick and "The Temptations" singing "Just My Imagination". Does that ever get old?

We didn't get to hear them together enough, but James Taylor and Carole King harmonized on several songs in the early 70's. One being "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow". I'll never get tired of hearing those two beautiful voices together.

Another harmony from the mid 70's was Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway with songs like "Where is the Love". Snuggling music at it's best! :)

How about Simon and Garfunkel? "The Sounds of Silence"........those two guys were put on this planet to harmonize with each other. Both have been successful alone, but not to the degree they were together. I loved it when they went on concert together a couple of years ago.

How about the Motown sound of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell? If she hadn't passed on at such a young age, they may have gone on to have been the greatest duet of all time! Their harmonies were glorious.

Have you heard Natalie Cole harmonize with her golden throated dad Nat on "Unforgettable"?
He may have had the most beautiful singing voice of any male in history, and to hear them sing together is a musical feast.

The Beatles. Period.........nough said. The greatest band of all time, with two geniuses writing the lyrics and harmonies. Probably three geniuses. didn't think I could leave out African music did you? :) Have you heard "Ladysmith Black Mambazo" sing? Those guys bring my eyes to tears just about everytime I hear them. I can't imagine the angels being able to harmonize any better than those guys do.
They also remind me of the most beautiful singing I have EVER heard in my life..........yeah, I mean EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRR..........and that is the singing by Christians in Nigeria. I am going to sit in the Nigerian corner of Heaven just so I can hear those folks 24/7 for eternity!
I'll save you a seat if you like.

Ok, there are some of my favorite musical harmonies. Do they effect you like they do me? I just can't get enough of them. I gotta believe it's one of God's greatest gifts, but let's save that for the next post. Tell me your favorite harmonies. I left PLENTY on the table for you to grab up........and I can't wait to hear about them!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Tulsa Reception

I am headed out of town for the first part of the week. We are having a reception in Tulsa at the home of Bruce and Kim Binkley. It should be a wonderful evening, and Dr. Burks is even flying in for it. Seeing HU alums, President Council members, prospective students, and folks I have never met is always fun! And I get paid for this..............go figure.


If Florida wins today, I will still have two team in the NCAA..................North Carolina being the other one. My only prayer is that Ohio State and Florida DON'T play in the Championship game. I can't take ANOTHER Gator-Buckeye National Championship game.


Our corporate worship at the 8:15 FLC service this morning at Downtown had to be a little slice of Heaven! Dave Mathews preached on the first part of Mark 9........both the Transfiguration and the healing of the boy with an evil spirit. The lesson was great, and the singing was amazing. James McDuffey does an incredible job of leading singing and getting everybody to participate. We sang "There's a Stirring", and I can't sing that song without coming to tears. I think we shook the roof rafters this morning during that song! :)

"Is he calling me?"


I promise I WILL come back to the "unity" discussion again. Until then, be thinking about this question. What attitude difference do you see between those who seem to come from an institutional perspective compared to those who come to this discussion with a relational perspective? Or maybe you haven't noticed a difference. Give me your feedback.

Have a blessed week!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Book Reports & Other Thangs

Because Chris Smith talked about how it impacted his life so greatly, I wanted to read A Testament of Devotion by Thomas Kelly. It is a really rich, deep book about the Spiritual Disciplines. It will go on your shelf beside your Richard Foster and Dallas Willard books. It's not my favorite kind of book to read, but I know I NEED to read them more than I do. You can pick it up really cheap on-line at Amazon, and no doubt you will be blessed by it.

Rob Bell has a new book out............Sex God. No joke. I read it in 3 sittings. I really liked Velvet Elvis, but this book WAY WAY surpasses my opinion. I have two boys getting married in less than 3 months, and I am going to insist they both read this book! The section he does on "submission" is the best material I have EVER read on that topic, and second place is no where in sight. Rob is an amazing speaker, producer of videos, and I think his writing is off the charts. This is not like your everyday discussion on sex and marriage, and I wish I had been able to read it prior to September of 1977. I hope I would have been a better husband for it. Pick it up at any bookstore, and give me your feedback on it.


I found out this past weekend that Paden Timms, who is the son of one of my closest and dearest friends Tony Timms, will be shipped to Iraq sometime in late summer or early fall. Paden, Tony and I were talking about it and Paden said something that had a familiar ring to it. He said: The Marines prepare us to go and die..............that is the best way to make sure we come back alive. Dying so you can really live..........and abundantly. Who would have ever thought of that concept?!? Please remember Tony, Katrina, and especially Paden in your prayers. Remember ALL our service folks in your prayers, please.


This is redundant I know, but check out Patrick Mead's latest post on "Joy". The guy is amazing!


I will talk more about unity in some later posts. Thanks for all your comments concerning that topic. I read a recent editorial where the editor talked about "enemies within". I would imagine it would be hard to strive for unity if your perspective was that the folks you wanted to have unity with were your enemies........adversaries of God. Your thoughts?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Spring is Springing

Searcy is coming to life again! The Bradford Pear trees around the campus are robed in white as they begin to bloom. It is quite lovely! In a few weeks, the dogwoods and azaleas will break out, and campus will be just unbelievable. I offer a challenge to show me a more beautiful campus in the spring time! It ain't happening. And I am not in the least biased. :)


I hope you will check out the blog of a dear and precious friend that many of you know, Lisa Carr. Tommy and Lisa moved back to Searcy a few years ago so that Tommy could take over the administration of "African Christian Hospitals". It has changed names several times, but I hope I got it right. Tommy and I were Galaxy greasers together, and I have loved him a long time. Last fall Lisa was diagnosed with cancer. She has approached it as you might expect she would if you know Lisa.........full of prayer, faith, hope, love and graciousness. Please check out her blog, and please take the time to send her some encouragement from time to time. She will bless you, if you will provide her with the opportunity.


After the first day of NCAA tournament play, I only had missed picking two correct winners. I think my boat got sunk yesterday though. I love the underdog winning, don't you? What is it about Americans that we love the underdog to win? Folks in other parts of the world think we are stupid for being bent that way. My pick for winning it all? THE JAYHAWKS of KANSAS!!!!!! :) I know...........I really went out on a limb on that one, huh?!?


Can "unity" be reached thru doctrine............or is it a heart issue? I believe it is a heart issue.
What say you? Think about unity in other areas besides family, sports, on the job, etc. What keeps unity there?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Love the One You're With

No, not in the Stephen Stills way....................and I just lost a good portion of you referring to Stephen Stills. I mean in the Jesus way. Yeah, I got him in a lot of trouble. When you love the unlovable, it can get you into some deep poop. Especially with the "religious" crowd. I talked with a friend this week who was relating how the congregation he attends is handing the fact that some "shady" folks have started attending their congregation. Some folks don't like it, and have let it be know they don't. Is it a stretch to say that some of our churches come closer to being a "country club" than they do a safe place for the hungry, poor, and hurting among us? I don't think it's a stretch at all. Because we have the name of Christ on the sign in front of our building at Downtown, I hope the thing we are best known for in this community is that we love the ones we are with, and show the love of Christ to anyone and everyone we come into contact or poor, hungry or full, clean or dirty, decked out or in rags, Lexus or bicycle, addicted or clean, drunk or sober, prostitute or virgin, green or purple skin, PHD or Dr. Seuss, liar or take it to the bank honest, Democrat or Republican, Memphis School of Preaching alum or Harvard Divinity School alum, fat or skinny, loud or quiet, rap or classical, smoker or environmentalist, Type A or Type B, earring or non-pierced, tatoo or neat freak, etc. Why? Because we are ALL God's children, therefore we are ALL brothers and sisters. Some of them are probably estranged from the Father, but we can love them back to Him. We are them, they are us. We are on the same team. We are the same family. We have only ONE enemy.............Satan. Period. Not the Muslims, not the Hindus, not the Baptist, not the Liberals, not the Conservatives, not even Rick Atchley. Every living male and female has a big G stamped on their heart as a claim we are His, you just can't see it sometimes for all the dirt and junk Satan has covered it with. And He doesn't want to lose a single one. Peter told us that when he said "not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance".
Anyone and everyone.........Peter's words, not mine. If you have a problem with it, take it up with him. Or better yet, take it up with the one that loved him out of the fishing boat.

Love the One You're With!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

"the New York Times said God is Dead"

Remember that line from Elton John's song "Levon"? I researched that a little, and I am not sure it ever happened......"it" being the NY Times running a headline like that. Time magazine did have these words on the cover of it's April 8th, 1966 issue: Is God Dead?

I guess the image of that cover and the lyrics to the song came to mind because of all the hubub
and hype surrounding the news of James Cameron's declaration that the remains of Jesus have been discovered. Here is my prediction...........there will be MORE people celebrating Easter this year than any year in recent history! Truth loves the light, so I hope the spot-lights keep shining. I don't like untruths being told, but I DO like the attention Jesus is getting. I hope that this ends up being a wonderful opportunity for evangelism, and the Gospel to be shared.


This past weekend I was blessed to be able to attend a "Sexual Addiction" workshop we had at Downtown. Some of the presenters were Robert Channing, Jon Shelton, Lee Fouts, and Curt Baker. WOW! The witnessing these men did to the power of God was AWESOME!!! I wish we could have had more men there, and we plan on doing more of these in the future..... so those who didn't attend this one will have the chance to attend one later on. It was VERY humbling to sit at the feet of these Godly men as they shared their heart. It was a weekend I'll not soon forget.


Headed to Kansas next week. Lots of good folks in the heartland and breadbasket of our nation! I like to get in and out of there before the prime tornado season hits. Of course, living in Arkansas is not exactly the safest spot on the earth either. With the dangers of tornado season comes the beautiful Spring weather, and the flowers & trees budding with new life! I've said it many times before, but if there is a more lovelier campus in springtime than Harding's, I want to see it. This place looks like something out of Disney World in the spring! I never get tired of seeing dogwoods. What are your favorite plants or trees to see coming to life in the spring?


2 months................TWO MONTHS! Two months from today I will be getting on a plane with several other guys to head to the 2007 Pepperdine Lectures. Why don't you plan on meeting us in Malibu? If you EVER go once, you won't miss another one. Just ask Keith Riley or Charles and Nannette Roberts. Like Ken Cope said: It's the closest thing to heaven I can imagine!


I have recently listened to a sermon by Chris Smith from the Harpeth Hills congregation in Nashville. The sermon was from the January 21st morning worship service. The title of the lesson is "Whoever Is Not Against Us Is For Us", taken from the words of Jesus in Mark 9. Call the church office there and order the CD TODAY!!! If it doesn't bless you, send me your receipt and I will pay for your CD. Is that a deal or what?