Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Preaching the Word


As kids, we used to sit up front during gospel meetings.  Up-front was where the action was, especially during the invitation song.  It was exciting to see the pews fill up as people came forward for baptism or prayer.

Dad often recalls a meeting at the College Church, sometime in the 1970s, when over 100 people were baptized.  The responders included several members of the Harding College basketball team.  I have this memory—maybe it’s real or maybe it’s imagined—of men as tall as trees, walking down the aisles.


 ***


In the past couple of years, people have told me about “preachers” who've had a positive impact on their lives.  The list includes:

·         Francis Chan
·         Gabe Lyons
·         Jim Bill McInteer
·         Jim Woodroof
·         Joe Beam
·         John Ortberg
·         Kristy Thomas (see below)
·         Landon Saunders
·         Mike Cope
·         Rod Stafford

Who would make your list?

***

Cheryl writes:
During my high school years, Kristy Thomas led the women’s prison ministry at our church. We went to the jail week after week, and I saw the Holy Spirit at work in the life of Kristy and in the lives of the women she was teaching.

Kristy died 10 years ago on my birthday. I’m sure Jesus was glad to finally meet this woman who’d told so many other people about Him.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

National Christmas Tree, Washington, DC.

     Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”

Monday, December 19, 2011

Home Alone


Up early on a Sunday morning, I decide to attend the early service at the College Church.  By myself.  I like going by myself sometimes.

Service starts at 8:15 sharp, so I gotta leave the house by 8:05.  Mom drops me off at the side entrance to the church building.

I sit through the service with a couple of other kids my age.  The auditorium is warm and stuffy, and I feel drowsy in the middle of a crowded row.

After the service, I meet more friends for Bible class.  We’re out by 10:30.  Set free!

I walk and jog home, cutting across the Harding College campus.

I enter my house through the carport.  I don’t need a key; we never lock the door.

I whip up some lunch, a grilled cheese sandwich and some potato chips.  I scarf them down and turn on the TV.  The house is quiet, and I’m all alone.  I like the quiet.  I like the alone.

I slip further down into the recliner.  Ah, this is the life …

Thump.

I freeze.

What was that?

The noise came from the back of the house, down a long dark hallway.

My ears perk up.  I hear the faint rattle of a bedroom doorknob.  Instantly, I jump up and run outside in my sock-feet.

I play in the yard—on the hard cold ground—until my mom returns from the late service.  She smiles at me as she gets out of the car.  We walk into the house together.

It appears to be empty.

St. Louis Cardinals football fan and sometimes scaredy-cat.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Jerome Williams, Our Hero


By the mid-1990s, my wife Cheryl and I had a baby son, Cal, who absolutely positively hated his car seat.  HATED it. Just about any trip, be it five minutes or five hours, Cal would be screaming his lungs out from the backseat.  Cheryl and I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. It was a miserable existence.  Until one day we found…

Jerome Williams, a cappella singer.

His soulful voice, pouring out of our Volkswagen cassette player, took the cry right out of Cal.

…You Are The Song That I Sing…
…I Want To Be Where You Are…
…God Is So Good…

When other families told us about their screaming babies, we’d always say, “You gotta try Jerome.”

We lost the cassette and now have the CD.  (You can borrow it sometime, if you need it.)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Age Rules – Part II


In our home, and somewhat in our community, there were a couple of unwritten (but sometimes spoken) “age rules” for youngsters.

Rule #2:  A person who grew up in the church should be 16 years old before going out on a date.  (My wife grew up with a variation of this rule which allowed for double-dating at 15 and for single-dating at 16.)

One night, early into my sophomore year of high school, I stood on the sidelines before the start of a Harding Academy football game.  My arm hung in a sling from a separated shoulder.  I smiled and struck up a conversation with the nearest cheerleader, “Mary.”

It was a crisp and clear autumn evening, and I could see my house off in the distance.  Talking to Mary, time stood still and time flew by … and I thought, “I may have found myself a Homecoming date.”

We chatted again a few days later, and I asked her out.  She said, “Yes!”  I floated through the rest of that day, until I realized I had broken The Dating Rule.  Four months shy of my 16th birthday, I passed the bad news along to my mom who, in turn, told my dad.  He, in turn, told my mom to let me know it was okay, but that this would be my absolutely positively last date until I had reached the age of 16.  I nodded and said mostly nothing, because I knew in my heart I liked Mary and that I’d ask her out again.

And I did … two or three more times that fall.

Please don’t tell my dad.

On a date with (future wife) Cheryl.  We were both over 16.