Monday, February 27, 2012

Dr. Pepper vs. the Bible

Sometimes I drink a diet Dr. Pepper on the way to church. I can be a little crazy sometimes.

Yesterday, before we left for church, I placed my Bible on the corner of our flat bannister. I also carefully balanced my diet DP on the railing, while I put on my jacket. Actually, the top of my Bible would have made a perfect drink tray, but I wouldn’t dare do that.

A few seconds later, my wife made her way down the stairs, and the vibrations from her (gentle) footfalls caused the DP bottle to fall off of the bannister and roll across the floor. In that moment, I was strangely reminded of something that happened long ago …

Dad was holding a gospel meeting somewhere, and the two of us were staying at a local motel. I was maybe 8 years old or so.

After the church service one night, Dad and I stopped by the “Coke” machine for a can of Dr. Pepper. (This was pretty much our every-evening ritual.) Cold DPs in hand, we returned to our room. Since my hand was starting to “freeze,” I quickly placed my can on top of a nearby Bible. (I had been instructed at home, SEVERAL TIMES, not to put my drinks directly on top of any piece of furniture.)

Dad looked at me … sternly … and said, “Get it off. That’s not treating God’s word with respect.”

And that was the last time I set a beverage on the Bible.
And I think about it all now—especially in light of recent events in Afghanistan—and I wonder … Does God really care how we treat his written word?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Remembering Uncle Claude

On Saturday, I attended a funeral service for my Uncle Claude in Searcy, Ark.  He was a minister of the gospel for a long, long time.  He loved the church, his family, and music.

My cousin Tim shared a story about Uncle Claude.  It went something like this:

During Claude and Madge’s early years of marriage, my aunt would say, “Claude, I love you. Now tell me those three words I want to hear.”

“Fix my supper!” my uncle would jokingly reply.

But later on, in the final years of their marriage, my aunt would say, “I love you,” and my uncle wouldn’t give her three words … he’d give her four.

“I love you more,” he’d reply.
Finishing the race.

Keeping the faith.

And, mostly importantly, loving to the very end.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Things that make me smile

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve come across a couple of things that made me smile.

One ... this video from a church in Brazil where my brother-in-law Kevin and my sister-in-law Benay serve as missionaries.

Kevin and I belonged to the same “social club”—I love that term—at Harding U.  Here we were, the men and women (“queens”) of Sub T 16, back in the day at the old Harding swimming pool.

Also, last week I worked the “night shift” at my job, which freed up my mornings to do other stuff.  I’d usually drop off Cheryl at her school (where she teaches 3rd grade), and then I’d walk for awhile on the Washington and Old Dominion trail.  One morning I noticed a white steeple off in the distance and veered south for a closer look.

I do like a church with a sense of humor, even if it’s a little corny.

Seem’s like there’s a good spirit here.  Welcoming.

A stack of brochures out front said:
loving God
loving Others
loving Life
Sounds pretty good to me.  Maybe we’ll check out a service one of these days?

Monday, February 6, 2012

I Always Hated Pep Rallies

I always hated pep rallies.  Hated them.

In 7th grade, pep rallies were the worst.

Cheerleaders spinning.  Cheerleaders screaming, “LET’S HEAR THE SEVENTH GRADE BATTLE CRY!”

7th grade battle cry?  Are you kidding?  You want us to yell a silly chant in front of God, the seniors, and everybody else?

Well, okay.

V-I-C-T-O-R-Y … that’s our 7th grade battle cry.”

This is followed by moans and laughter from the rest of the audience and disappointed looks from the cheerleaders.  They quickly forget about us and shout:  “OKAY EIGHTH GRADE, LET’S SHOW ‘EM HOW TO DO IT!!”

Dozens of students to our left immediately jump out of their seats and scream, “V-I-C-T-O-R-Y … THAT’S OUR 8TH GRADE BATTLE CRY!!!”  They sit down again with arched eyebrows and smug expressions.

The cheer continues its journey around the auditorium, and we discover that the only group lamer than the 7th grade is the faculty.  They are always scattered about and somewhat concerned with protecting their vocal cords.

 “… and that’s our faculty battle cry.”  What?  What did they say?

Even as I eventually figured out all of the cheers, handclaps, foot-stomps, and other appropriate moves, I still hated the pep rallies.  You see, my father handed me a last name that started with “A”, which meant for about 180 days in 7th grade and about 180 more days in 8th grade, I sat in an assigned seat on the front row of the auditorium.  This meant that, during every rally, the cheerleaders invaded my personal space with pompoms and spirit sticks.  How was I supposed to look cool when I was constantly avoiding arm thrusts and jump kicks?

But I survived, somehow, against all odds.  And I made it on to 9th grade where the cheerleaders stood farther away.  And I went on to college, where there were cheerleaders, but no pep rallies.  And then one day I strode off into a world filled with ties and briefcases and PowerPoint presentations.

And sometimes, now, especially during an extremely long meeting, I wouldn’t mind for someone to jump up and lead us all in a battle cry.

HA chapel, 7th grade.