Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Faith Challenges, Abortion, and Casey Kasem

Danny Campbell is good to give me CD's to listen to or books to read. Last week he came in my office and handed me a CD of a sermon by a minister speaking about Heaven.
Jan and I listened to it on the way to Tulsa this weekend, and I want to share a comment this preacher made during his lesson. This is not a direct quote, but pretty close.

"If your faith is not strong enough to cause you to be transformed into living discipleship, then it's probably also not strong enough to save you."

I don't know that I understand everything about that statement, or if I even agree with it.......but I can tell you one thing. I haven't gone too many minutes without thinking about what he said since I heard it. I will be anxious to hear your response to it.


In my last post I made mention to abortion, and not one person commented in response to what I said......disagreeing or agreeing. Is it that taboo of a topic, or does apathy rule the day?


On the way home from Tulsa we were listening to the radio and ran across a replay of an "American top 40" with Casey Kasem from May 22, 1976! :) Talk about fun! If somebody had told me that Elvis, Jimmy Dean, and Johnny Cash would have had current hits from that week in 76, I would have lost my house betting they were wrong. Granted, they were hits that may not have made it past the #30 position in the charts, but they did break the top 40. It would be interesting to check and see how high up those songs DID actually make it. But, it was really fun to hear some songs that we had forgotten about. It also made me think about what was on the horizon back then that we weren't aware of........and therefore led me to thinking about what is on the horizon NOW that I am not aware of. What were you doing in May of 1976? Some of you youngsters may not have even been born. Shut-up! :) If anybody can guess what the #1 song was that week in 76, I will send you a free copy of Keith Brenton's new study guide to "Pilgrim Heart" by Darryl Tippens. NO CHEATING! :)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Question Time

"The Barbarian Way" really rocked my world, and I haven't really been able to escape some of my initial reactions to reading it. As you can probably tell from my lack of postings, it has numbed me somewhat. Even while I was reading the wonderful Dallas Willard book, I still had "Barbarian" on my mind. If any of the rest of you have read it, I would welcome you to comment about how it affected you. Hopefully you won't feel as indicted as I felt while reading it. Without any doubt, I am for the most part what he calls "a civilized Christian". I gave the book to each of my boys, and on the inside I wrote each of them an apology for raising them to be civilized Christians, and I hope and pray they won't put another link in that chain with their children. I'm counting on them not to. I am both excited and scared as I start the process of trying to become "uncivilized" in my discipleship. Excited because I know God is going to surprise me with a lot of challenges and blessings. Scared because I've been domesticated for so long, I know it's going to be an uphill battle. I won't be able to make it on my own. Yes, I know HE is faithful, and will be there every step of the way with me. I hope some of you will go along on this journey with me too! Oh what a journey!


Here are some questions that I have been wondering about the last week or so.

1) Do we REALLY need to be in Sunday School class THIS MANY YEARS?!?!? Is there anything I could be doing that hour that might further the Kingdom better? I don't mean to sound critial.........I'm just brain storming with all of you. Does anybody else feel this way? Oh, and by the way, I am in the BEST Sunday school class I have EVER been in my WHOLE LIFE.......taught by Monte Cox. I LOVE IT!!!!!!
I can't imagine being in a better class anywhere. But, I still have that question in the back of my mind.

2) Do I really need to be watching a TV show with the word "Idol" in it? I know, it's a clean show, and probably has some redeeming qualities. People are using their God given talents, and their voices for the most part are a blessing to listen to. There is no violence, sex, or cursing on the show......which is pretty hard to come by these days. I just wish it had another name besides "IDOL" in the title of the show. Or maybe that's EXACTLY what it should be named? Your thoughts, please!

3.) Why can't we stop ALL abortions, except when the mother's life is in danger? When I was teaching history, it never failed that when we were studying the Holocaust a student would raise their hand and ask the following question: "Mr. Underwood, how did people let that happen?" I never had a really good answer. My fear is that WE will be the people the kids will be talking about in 30 or 40 years when they ask: "Why did people not save those babies........those MILLIONS of babies?" Heaven help that teacher to know what to say. At this point, I think prayer is the best answer. No doubt it's been the best answer all along.

4.) Besides a human baby, is there anything more beautiful that a new little foal? Each spring Jan and I get to go love on a new one just a few blocks away! I'm addicted. If my ship ever comes in, I'm getting a brood mare and having me a little filly or stud colt EVERY year! I think Heaven will have to have horses, don't you?

I'll end on that upper, cause the rest of the post was more a stone than a diamond. Just being transparent with ya!

Hey, I could have ended by asking you what a "change agent" is? I was kinder than that. :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Last night I happen to catch Christopher Hitchens talking on the TV. Here is my question........if he had the accent of Gomer Pyle, would people consider him to be the intellectual he is considered to be today? Seriously, if he spoke the EXACT same words but had the sound of Gomer, how would it come across? I believe we have some bias when it comes to accents. I get the impression that if someone speaks with a British accent, it's assumed they have a high I.Q. There is NO doubt Mr. Hitchens is very intelligent, and I find myself being impressed with his use of the English language. Would Jeff Foxworthy be as funny if his accent was British? I just can't help thinking he wouldn't be as I am accent prejudiced then aren't I? What if Snoop Dog spoke with the accent of Mr. French? What if Hillary could speak in ALL accents.........wait, she does already doesn't she?

Excuse my shallow post today, but I just wanted to see if I am the only person that thinks British folks get more respect JUST because of their accent.

Bonus question........can you hear the difference in the accents of people from England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa? Not I!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Weekend and Dallas Willard

The wedding was one of those story-book least in my eyes. Everything was just perfect! It doesn't get much better than Saturday night. I was surrounded by family (except for my dad who couldn't make the trip because of health issues) and friends in a beautiful church watching my son marry a lovely, sweet, Christian young woman.........with my favorite preacher doing the ceremony! The whole evening was just one big blessing. Thanks to all of you who were able to attend, and thanks to all the rest of you who were there in spirit. A special thanks to Steve and Kathy Stevens for making that evening possible! Luke will be blessed to have such special in-laws. And me............I GET A NEW DAUGHTER!!! YEA! :) I will go from having no daughters to having TWO within a month! Am I the luckiest guy in the world or what? Yeah, I get to do this whole thing over again in about 3 weeks! :) So, when you see me walking amongst the tree tops, just let me stay there.


At present, I am reading Dallas Willard's "The Great Omission". Willard's constant theme in most of his books is discipleship. I consider him to be this generation's Dietrich Bonhoffer. Here is an excerpt:

"The overshadowing event of the past two centuries of Christian life has been the struggle between orthodoxy and modernism. In this struggle the primary issue has, as a matter of fact, NOT been discipleship to Christ as a transformation of soul that expresses itself in pervasive, routine obedience to his 'all that I have commanded you.' Instead, both sides of the controversy have focused almost entirely upon what is to be explicitly asserted or rejected as essential Christian doctrine. In the process of battles over views of Christ the Savior, CHRIST THE TEACHER WAS LOST ON ALL SIDES. Discipleship as an essential issue disappeared from the churches, and with it there also disappeared realistic plans and programs for the transformation of the inmost self into Christ-likeness. One could now be a Christian forever without actually changing in heart and life. Right PROFESSION, positive or negative, was all that was required. This has now produced generations of professing Christians who, as a whole, do not differ in character, but only in ritual, from their nonprofessing neighbors; in addition, a massive population has now arisen in America who believe in God, even self-identify as spiritual, but will have nothing to do with churches......often as a matter of pride. What has in other days been called 'NOMINAL' Christianity now has become 'NORMAL' Christianity, even among those whose tradition had prided itself in not being just nominal Christians. We are seeing that the church betrays itself and its world if it fails to make clear and accessible the path of thoroughgoing inner transformation through Christ."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wedding Bells

Well, my baby is getting married in two days! Luke is marrying Juliana Stevens in Little Rock Saturday night. Juliana is the daughter of long time friends Steve and Kathy Stevens. Jan and I feel so blessed that Luke found what we have been praying for all along........a fine Christian woman to be his wife and the mother of our grandchildren. We couldn't be happier! Luke and Juliana are going to live in Memphis, where he will work for the accounting firm of Ernst & Young and she will be a public school teacher. Yeah, BOTH of my boys will be in Memphis, which we count as another blessing. I'm glad also that their Uncle Bryan is there close by in Bartlett.

So far, I think I have handled pretty well all the emotions and stresses that come with the wedding of a child........but who knows what Saturday night holds?!?! :)
My good friend Mike Cope, who also just happens to be Steve's cousin, will perform the wedding. As you can guess, I am thrilled about that also. Mike was the first preacher of Luke's life, and now he is doing Luke's wedding. Luke and Megan were in the same Sunday school class when Mike and Diane were here in Searcy.

So, I would appreciate your prayers for everybody involved, but especially Luke and Juliana. I will try and post some pics of the wedding at some point. Hey, miracles still happen! :) Please remember my dad also, as he is not going to be able to attend for health reasons. I know not being able to come will be hard on him.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Impacting Words

After having Rick Atchley here for a weekend, and then spending the following week at you might guess, my cup is FULL! :) I wish I had the whole 10 days or so video taped where I could just relive it. Instead, I have to rely on my memory.......and yes, that is scary. I do have CD's that I bought at PU, and I plan on wearing them out. I think Downtown taped Rick's presentations, and I look forward to hearing them again also. Here are some of the thoughts I have heard these last few days that I hope I never forget.

Rick- I will always remember his words of encouragement to "get out of the boat".....following the example of Peter, so that we don't become a "boat-potato". Sunday night he said something to the college kids that I don't think I will ever forget. He was talking to the kids about how our culture is addicted to "acceptance". We live in fear of not being accepted. That part I had probably thought about before, but here is the jewel he said next. Jesus had NO FEAR of rejection or of not being accepted.........which allowed him to LOVE SO GREATLY and UNCONDITIONALLY! THAT was powerful, and you could see it in the faces of the young people there that night.

Donnie McLaughlin- To me, Don had the best class at PU....and that is a mouthful.
I will never forget him repeating the words of Paul in Galations: "What has happened to all your joy?" Don talked about us recapturing our passion, and not allowing others to squelch it. His first class alone was worth the plane ticket.

Mike Cope- "Her love me" If you want to know the significance of that line, you will just have to buy the CD. I have heard Mike more times in my life than all the other speakers combined, and I don't think I have EVER heard him speak with more heart and passion than he did at these two classes this year! He must have taken a que from Donnie. Combine that with Zoe, and you get a Holy "WOW"! A good friend sat beside me and wept hard the second day when Mike told the story of his sister-in-law saving the slave children in Ghana. It's a powerful witness to what one person can do with faith in the Father.

Monte Cox- Monte had the best key-note in my opinion, and several of them were very good.....especially Harold Shank's. Monte just has a way of communicating that not many folks have. His dry humor cracks me up! His topic was "The Plans I Have for You" from Jeremiah 29. I am not sure there was a dry eye amongst the 4,000 to 5,000 folks in there after Monte sang Michael Card's "I Will Bring You Home". I ordered the Card CD this morning.

As I said, my cup is full.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Pepperdine Week

The Bible Lectures here in Malibu are as they ALWAYS are..............AWESOME!!!
Today I heard Donnie McLaughlin, Prentis Meador, Randy Lowry, Darryl Tippens, John York, Mike Cope with Zoe, Randy Harris, and Harold Shank. Ask me if my cup is full.
There are tons of Harding folks here, and lots of bloggers. The weather, the fellowship, and the love could NOT be better. The only thing I can think of that would make it over the top is if all of YOU were here also. Folks, I hope ALL of you can make it next year! I can promise WILL be blessed.

I will try and post again while I am here, but if not I will post as soon as I get back.

Signing off from Pepperdine,