Monday, August 29, 2011

Coaching ’til The End, ‘My Man!’ Says Goodbye

(Sunday's effort in The Times and the News-Star)

In this Jan. 30, 1981 file photo, Detroit Pistons coach Scotty Robertson gives directions to his players during an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. Robertson, a former Louisiana Tech coach and the first coach of the NBA's New Orleans Jazz, died Aug 18. Robertson, who had battled cancer in addition to a stroke five months ago, was 81. He coached 10 seasons at Tech but also served as head coach with the Chicago Bulls and Pistons and was an assistant with six other NBA teams. (AP Photo/Richard Shenwald, File)

SCOTTY ROBERTSON lived by the rule that you can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.

He bought a lot of tickets. He was the kind of guy who walks up to the counter and tells you he’ll take one of those and three of those and five of those, then asks if you’ve got anything else in back.

A pro baseball player for a year, Coach Scotty took his hacks, went up there swinging. A basketball coach in parts of six decades – including for C.E. Byrd High, Louisiana Tech and eight NBA teams -- he lived out the old saying that you can’t score if you don’t shoot. He shot.

Five months ago he was enjoying retirement in Ruston and his 81st year, working out each morning, drinking coffee with the guys, driving to Simsboro once a week for lunch on a Styrofoam plate at the gas station, helping local basketball teams, and talking smack.

The usual.

Then the unusual happened. A stroke from nowhere, a cancer diagnosis two days later, a fall at home, and Aug 18, the end of an earthly road filled with wide lapels, platform shoes, long Cadillacs, nylon nets, embroidered team logos, plane tickets, rubber chicken and lots and lots of tall people. It was always gametime. The preacher reminded us at Sunday’s funeral that Coach Scotty’s prime, his heyday, lasted 81 years.

Last week with the pastor praying and his family gathered around his bed, Coach Scotty opened eyes that had grown weak and, looking at one of his three daughters, barked suddenly during mid-prayer: “What in the world did you do to your HAIR?!”

You had to stay on your toes. Coach Scotty kept shooting, right ’til the end.

He’s in eight, maybe nine Halls of Fame, the most recent one the Ark-La-Tex Sports Museum of Champions in Shreveport. He got there the hard way. His dad was killed when he was 14 and J.D. Cox, his coach at Byrd, became a father figure. He learned how to tackle today’s task. He walked with confidence. He perfected scrapping. Motivated by ego, never afraid of the fight.

He took a high school job coaching football, baseball and basketball, teaching five science classes and P.E. “But it paid me well,” he said; $2,000 a year. By the time he retired, he was making almost that much a day in the NBA.

“Don’t make it about money,” he told a classroom of want-to-be coaches last winter. “It’s an opportunity to enjoy what you do and to do some good with people.”

At his funeral were a half-dozen rows filled with family, including his wife of 61 years, Betty Lou, the newlywed who drew the line and said no when he was offered a high school job featuring five returning starters – but no indoor plumbing at the only house in town for sale.

Former players filled another four rows, guys he was tough on, guys who heard him say more than once, “I’m with you, win or tie.”

My son summed up how a lot of people felt about Coach. “If the day was going bad but you looked over there and saw Coach Scotty, you just went to him or he’d come to you, and you knew the rest of the day was going to be good.”

“My man!” he’d say. And he’d make you think you were his man, THE man. But really, he was.


Friday, August 26, 2011


As an Orioles fan, I'm now used to disappointment and sadness and grief. But this is too much.

Mike Flanagan. Dead at 59. Sick about it and sorry for the way it all happened.

Here's an example from a blog of how funny he was (after he'd left Baltimore as a World Champion and ended his career in Toronto)...

"Here's an example of Flanagan's humor. On Aug. 16 1989, Kelly Gruber of Toronto hit a homer, a double and a triple. His next hit was a double but he stopped at first, becoming the first Blue Jay to hit for the cycle. After the game Judge Flanagan presided at a kangaroo court where Gruber was fined five bucks for "stretching a double into a single."

Don't know where everything went wrong. Hurts me. God bless him...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The 'Real' Reality Show

Notes from Sunday and Dr. Chris' sermon at FBC Ruston.

Luke 16: 19-26

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

* More than 700 references in the Bible to judgment/hell
* Christ talked more of hell than of heaven
* If you accept the bible as the world of God and Jesus as the son of God, and Jesus as your intellectual superior -- hell is real

a) torment (v 23-25) we should feel hell for ourselves and for everyone we love
b) a place of consciousness "Son, remember..." Hell is a place of clearly seeing what we could have been
c) hopeless forever v 26 -- no one can cross over

Matt. 25:46 "...eternal punishment" ... a duration without end. Hell isn't annihilation. It's as Dante said, "abandon all ye hope who enter here..."

Matt. 25:41 -- "depart from me into eternal fire, prepared for the devil..." Hell was never intended for us. And none of us has to go.

* Don't roll the dice on your eternal fate...


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Paul Bunyan and the ... Bible?

(Today's ethoughts...)

For more than 10 years, no one had cut back the trees and weeds along the fence line in the house I moved in to. So…I’ve started. My own personal Urban Renewal project.

It’s a bear.

So many weeds and vines have grown into the trees that even most of the good limbs had to be cut. Other good limbs had to take detours through everything else, so even clean and cleared and free, they were bare and twisted. Those had to be cut off too. As did the limbs in the service wires. My mess was affecting my neighbor.

What I’m left with is 13 stumps.

It’s not much to look at today, but at least it has a CHANCE to be presentable if I keep it clipped and clean.

My own life was a lot like the fence line. You don’t clean up that much mess without some pain – cuts and bruises, nearly falling out of trees. Rip a few shirts. Smell up the place. Almost roast to death. Personally, we are not Yard of the Year or even close. But we’re no longer a place for animals to nest and snakes to sleep and thorns to grow in the dark.

Nothing good can grow in that mess. Things had to be cut back to the basics. Once you’re willing to bring out the big ax, God is faithful to restore. That’s the start. No garden grows on cruise control. Adam was put to work in the garden. So are we.

“The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matt. 13:22-23 (NIV)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

'The Help' is a Good Story, for Any Age

(reprinted from today's Times and News-Star)

Southern and funny but more serious than sentimental, “The Help” opened No. 2 at the box office last weekend.

In kindergarten vernacular, “No. 2” actually plays a big role in the movie. But I don’t want to spoil anything, but “The Help” at No. 2 seems maybe a mild form of poetic justice, all the way around.

The movie is set in Jackson, Miss., in the Civil Rights Era of the early 1960s and adapted to screen from the 2009 novel of the same name. It serves as a cinematic reminder that any of us who grew up in the 1960s in the South didn’t leave the decade without stepping in something.

“The Help” spotlights the life of the aspiring writer Skeeter, a young white woman home in Jackson the summer after her graduation from Ole Miss, and her sudden unrehearsed calling to write a book, anonymously, about the black maids in town and what their lives are like while working for white families, often raising white children. The races are intimate, yet divided.

The stars of both book and movie are characters Aibileen Clark and the scene-stealing Minny Jackson, career maids, the “help.” I have known them both – on the surface. I have known everyone in the movie, at least on the surface.

For more than a year I’ve been told to read the book. “It’s when we grew up,” a friend said. “I mean, you’ve GOT to read it. It’s history. You were there.”

I trusted the author, Kathryn Stockett, because, though she grew up privileged, she did grow up in Jackson. So she was there. With a maid. And I was there too, although in a tiny town and with no maid. Our maid was me and my sisters and my mother.

In tobacco fields back then, we – blacks and whites, of which there were only a few -- all drank out of the same green plastic cup, with tobacco gum all over it. We were friends. And as I grew and then moved from that town, I thought I had a good understanding of what it was like to be black. This was stupid. I was there, but I didn’t know a thing and still know very little about what it was like to be black in the South in the 1960s. “The Help” reminded me of that.

So two weeks ago, I started the book. Finished on the movie’s opening Saturday and squeezed into a packed house to watch the show with an audience mixed, both in race and age, and a bit unusual for my theater experience in one respect; I haven’t seen this many white senior citizen females together since the church potluck.

When the movie was over, the audience clapped with enthusiasm, a rarity these days.

In the book’s afterword, Stockett notes this passage from Howell Raines’s “Grady’s Gift,” his Pulitzer Prize-winning essay about his family’s maid when he was a boy in Alabama:

“There is no trickier subject for the writer from the South than that of affection between a black person and a white one in the unequal world of segregation. For the dishonesty upon which a society is founded makes every emotion suspect, makes it impossible to know whether what flowed between two people was honest feeling or pity or pragmatism.”

But wisely we keep trying, and to do that, to continue to try to understand each other, stereotypes and reality, we can all use some Help.


Saturday, August 20, 2011


(sermon notes from Dr. Chris, FBC Ruston)

Steps lead to a destination...
What steps lead to revival?

Jonah 3:1-5
1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

1. BELIEVE ... despite a wishy-washy preacher (Jonah), the Ninevites believed the Word of God. They were
a. coverted
b. stood firm, convinced (v. 5: "...the Ninevites believed God..."
* What is God telling me I should be doing?

2. HUMILITY v 5 -- fasting..the King sat in the dust ... they all sat in sackcloth
* God detests pride, responds with love toward humility.
a. before God ... 1 Peter 5:6 "Humble yourselves before God's mighty hand..."
b. before others 1 Peter 5:5 "...coothe yourself in humility ... God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

3. REPENTANCE v. 8 -- "Let all give up their evil ways and their violence."
Turn swiftly and surely and decisively, as you would from a snake or skunk

4. PRAYER v. 8 'call, cry out urgently on God."
Storm the gates of heaven; Jesus told us his house would be called "a place of prayer."

5. OBEDIENCE -- v. 10 "...they turned."
"The slightest request of my supreme ruler is a supreme command to me." Gen. Stonewall Jackson to Gen. Robert E. Lee, after Jackson had ridden all night to get to Lee, who had asked for a visit.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Golden Nuggets From Rome (Part 8 of a series)


Romans 12:9-16
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position Do not be conceited.

How we love others says far more about us than it does about them.

1 John 4: 7-8 ... "7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

Qualities God Uses to Describe Real Love

1. Sincere, v. 9 -- let love be without hypocrisy
2. Devoted, v. 10 -- a WARMTH -- (One day Snoopy told Lucy, "I'm bugable AND I'm loveable.")
3. Honor v 10 -- outdo each other in honoring; have a desire to serve
* One of the elements of much mental illness is self-absorption
4. Hospitable v. 13 -- chase after opportunities to serve; you might be entertaining an angel unaware (Hebrews 13:1-2)
5. Understanding v. 15 -- Rejoice with others, weep with others; be involved and caring.
6. Unifying v. 16 -- love brings people together. "Live in harmony."
Prov. 10:12 -- Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.
7. Humble v 16 -- Do not be proud. A person walking with Jesus will have friends of ALL types, not just friends who are 'like' he is.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Golden Nuggets From Romans (7th in a series)

(sermon notes from Dr. Craig, FBC Ruston)


The Roman Road to Life -- the most dangerous road in the world, but forks into what can be the most beautiful road.

1. We Are All Sinners
Rom 3:23 -- "For ALL have sinned and fallen short)
There are five words for "sin" in the Greek...
a. sin of unbelief
b. of breaking God's law
c. of unrighteousness
d. desire for bad things
e. concept of missing the mark with God
* We all fall short of God's standard; nobody can be saved until they realize they are lost; we are sinners both by nature and by choice.

2. Sin Leads to Death
Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death..."
death of joy, effectiveness, witness...and pyysical death, a physical and spiritual eternal separation

3. God Has Intervened
Rom 6:23b .. "...but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord..."

4. We Must Respond
Rom 9:10 -- "If you confess..and believe..."
Rom 10:13 -- For everyone who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved..."

James 2:19 "You believe there is one God? Good! So do the demons..."
The Christian/biblical word for 'belief" here means an intellectual understanding and a burning of the heart, a surrendering...
confess -- declaring Jesus is my Lord, declaring an agreement with God about who He is and about my responding with allegiance

Mat 7:21 "Not every who says to me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom..."

The Bible says that you can know you are saved
John 3:16
Rom 10: 9-10
1 John 5:13

Safety, certainty, and enjoyment in Christ



Sunday, August 14, 2011

'Taint Much Fun To Be A Turkey

(Reprinted from today's Times and News-Star)

Man the poor turkey just can’t catch a break. I’d almost rather be a catfish than a turkey, and the catfish gig’s no day at the park.

I was eating a Sloppy Joe, one of the world’s truly underrated and underappreciated foods, when someone brought up the most recent recalled meat fiasco – 34 million pounds of recalled turkey meat. “Tainted,” meat inspectors declare.

My mania for Sloppy Joes is such that this line of conversation did not bother me. The buns were soft, the secret sauce ingredient (Spicy Hot V8!) was kicking in, and the meat was, thank goodness, hamburger.

But between bites, I felt bad for mister turkey, and for several million of his brethren.

They have that stuff hanging from their necks. They walk funny. Talk funny. The beady eyes, the chinless stare. A turkey could be the only entry in a beauty pageant, and still come in eighth, tops.

As if the cards weren’t already stacked, my buddies in the National Wild Turkey Federation are dressing up like shrubs and hunting them even though the turkeys are – unless you count ‘ugly as a weapon – unarmed. They call the turkeys, then shoot them.

So the turkeys in the news this week are double losers. They get called, shot, cleaned, packaged, then RE-called.

Is it any wonder that a guy who’s tabbed “a turkey” is a dud. An inept loser. Dumb as a chisel.

Turkey’s a tough row to hoe.

So if all that’s not enough, 34 million pounds of bird that will never gobble again was recalled. Punched out for nothing. Spoiled by salmonella, a word I never heard growing up. If you’re a turkey, you just can’t win.

Caught up in these poultry-based current events, my friend Doctor Pickles gobbled, “Here’s a question: what number do you have to get to in the Tainted Meat Game before it’s recalled? Before it’s Big News? Eight pounds? Eight million pounds? Twenty mil? If it’s just one box at the Jitney Jungle, do you keep it quiet? How many turkeys have to go bad before somebody squeals?”

And how do you know it’s 34 million pounds? Was it really 52 million? 75 million? Who is the quality control person in charge of keeping up with millions of pounds of spread-out tainted turkey meat?

Larry at the Tainted Meat Department: “Man, 52 sounds like a lot.”
Joe: “Well, let’s make it 18.”
Larry: “18? Who in their right mind would believe 18? We can’t say 18 million pounds. What are you, crazy? Are you insane, with the 18?”
Joe: “I’m just sayin’!, for cryin’ out loud. Make it 36 then.”
Larry: “We’ll say 34.”
Joe: “Fine. 18. 36. 34. Whatever. Let’s break for lunch.”
Larry, opening his pail: “Dang. Turkey again…”

In the tainted turkey racket, nobody wins.

Never do I hear the phrase “tainted meat” that I don’t think of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple,” and the opening scene card game at the apartment of sportswriter Oscar Madison, who stares into his ice box and offers the guys some snacks during a break.

Oscar: “I got, uh, brown sandwiches and, uh, green sandwiches. Which one do you want?”
Murray: “What’s the green?”
Oscar: “It’s either very new cheese or very old meat.”
Murray: “I’ll take the brown.”-30-


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Where There's A Will, There's A Way

(notes from July 24 pm, Dr. Chris, FBC Ruston)

Exodus 3 and 4

God asks Moses to lead the people out of captivity. Moses not very excited about it! And says no. At first ....

1. God Will Lead Us To Do Some Things that Seem Impossible
Ex 3:10 God: "Lead my people"
Ex 4:10, 13 Moses: "Send someone else!"
Like Moses, the first thing WE see is the problem or problems, when God asks us to do anything.

2. Wherever He Leads, He'll Enable
* Ex 4:11 -- God, "Who created man?" God has the tools He'll give us to succeed, and the power (v 12).
* NEVER is it about you and me; it's always about God
Luke 18:27 -- "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

3. Our Part: Find His Will and Follow. How?

a. Closeness: Rom 12: 1-2 "offer yourself a living sacrifice...'' Get close to Christ

b. Faith: Ex 4:10 "Lord, I'm slow..." Moses is scared. BUT, Ex. 4: 18 "Moses WENT..."

Prov 3: 5 "Trust in the Lord...Lean not unto your own understanding..."

Heb 11:6 -- "Without faith, it is impossible to please God..He rewards those who earnestly seek Him..."It's ok to shake and be scared, but remember that The Rock never moves.

c. Victory - Moses is an example of the victory Christians win in God's steps each day


Friday, August 12, 2011

Hey Jude (3rd in a series)

(notes from church, Dr. Chris, FBC Ruston)

Jude 8-11

8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”[d] 10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.

11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

How Does One Deal With Authority? ...

1. With the Lord? (v 8 and 11)
Lord = master or boss
What happens when you have a rebellious heart against your Master...

2. With How We Use Words (v 9-10)
slander -- to hurt, defame someone; rail against.
* Even Michael did not slander Satan
* Phil 4:8 -- "What is good...dwell on these things."
* The slanderers attempt to make themselves better by gossipping about the 'haves.'

3. These Are Dangerous Signs (v 11)
a. Cain, a murderer
b. Balaam, prophet who led people into immorality
c. Korah, rebelled against Moses
* These are harsh examples in the Bible because God takes these matters seriously.
* Create space between me and ones who show these signs of not being under god's authority, those who walk in the way of Cain.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hey Jude (2nd in a series)

(my notes, from Dr Chris Craig at FBC Ruston)

Jude 3-7

3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to CONTEND FOR THE FAITH that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord[c] at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

* "...contend for the faith ..." agonize, struggle, strive for the faith

I. Problems in the Body of Christ Come in Several Forms .. v. 4, 'godless men crept in...' ... So how do we spot the junk?

Beliefs ultimately determine behavior
Theological hiccups grow into big problems; we have to be doctrinally sound

We all have equal access to God, not just a certain few
"knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.." 1 Cor 8:1

3. TONGUE -- gossip. Hearing gossip is seeing junk

4. BEHAVIOR -- we can't change grace into a license for immorality (v 4)

II: God Takes This Seriously, So We Should TOO v 5-7

* PAUL'S WARNING ... 1 Cor 10: 6-10 ... "6Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10nor grumble, as some of them did and(K) were destroyed by the Destroyer.

* Rev 12:9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

* Luke 10:18 - He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

Stand up and contend for truth, for Christ, for all people, for the church


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Golden Nuggets from Rome: (6th in a series)

(my notes from Dr Chris at FBC Ruston)

Rom 12:4-8
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

God Wants to Make You a Gifted Person
1 Cor 12: 7 -- "to each one he gave gifts ... for the common good."
"Gifts" are mentioned four times in the New Testament

What's your SHAPE
S piritual gift
H eart -- what excites you?
A bility -- What can you do well
P ersonality
E xperience

You Can and Should Use Your Gifts (it's not a gift you sit on the shelf; this is a gift you use.)
1. To bring honor to God
2. To reach people for God (v 6)
3. To help people (v. 7-8)
4. To make your church great (v. 4-5)
5. Personal Fullfillment

Many are Crabby Christians because they won't use their gifts; we are built to be in the game; don't shine or store your gifts -- use them.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Healing Stream

(ethoughts published today...)

“Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?”
Jeremiah 8:22 (NIV)

Jeremiah did not have an easy life. What prophet did? God kept sending them, and people kept killing them. It was no different with Jesus.

The lost souls of Jeremiah’s time couldn’t hear or see the one thing that would heal them. But when God sent The Word in the flesh, most people didn’t see or hear Him, either.

We are no different than the people we read of the Bible, the crowds who ignored the faithful Jeremiah. We are surrounded by false prophets, by knockoffs of the truth. We are held at bay by ourselves, even by a refusal to admit that we are sick at all.

Same as then, we feel satisfied, at least for a while, with a temporary fix to an eternal problem. Alcohol. Pornography. Fame. Even clothes or money or the best house on the block. The world offers something for everyone. But that Bible teaches that every fix is a Band-aid, an ice pack, a stitch that won’t hold or heal.

“I am the LORD, your healer.” Exodus 15:26 (NIV)

The one thing that can change hearts like ours is radical love. The Word. God shows us what that looks like in the life of Jesus, The Word become flesh.

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” John 1:29 (NIV)

John and others saw, first the life lived and then the life-changing love, on Calvary. The balm of The Great Physician. The healing stream of blood.

The healing stream of love.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Golden Nuggets From Rome: (5th in a series)

(From Dr. Chris Craig, FBC Ruston; these are my notes.)

Romans 1:21-25
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.

1. When We Begin to Neglect God, We Area Headed Toward a Slippery Slope
* v. 21 -- we don't have a knowledge problem -- we have an acknowledge problem
* 80 percent of Rustonites don't go to church, which is important only if you believe the Bible

2. We Fail To Honor Him -- We're not grateful; we feel entitled; we should recognize that we are too blessed to complain.

3. Our Mindset and Hearts Become Cloudy -- "they're thinking became futile" .... our hearts, our spiritual center, can be darkened ..... v. 22, they became morons, academic wise guys but actually fools.

4. We Begin to Worship Other Things (v 23-25)

5. God Lets Us Go Our Own Way (v 24) -- the diseased condition of the soul, our sinful desires ...."God gave them over," a type of judicial abandonment/tough love. He does this not to abandon us, but to cause us to TURN...


Sunday, August 7, 2011

As The Platters Sang In That Hot Summer of Long Ago, 'Sweat Gets In Your Eyes'

It’s so hot, I saw a camel carrying an umbrella and a water bottle.

Yesterday I saw a lizard in a tiny cotton wife-beater, drinking an Icee. In the shade.

I saw a gator in a visor.

It’s so hot the fire extinguishers are begging the dogs to stop by.

For more than 30 days this year, the temperature here has reached more than 100.


And dry as moldy bread.

The other day I pulled a patrolman over and asked him to waterboard me.

It’s not been cool weather.

You know those times when people around here say, “It’s not so much the heat, it’s the humidity”? This is not one of those times. It IS the heat.

(Secretly, it’s always the heat. The heat’s what makes the humidity so, for lack of a better term, humid. And the weather so hot. But that’s another story. So we’ll move on. Besides, I’m hot.)

This is the hottest year on record since 1981, when it was more than 100 for nearly 50 days. Nearly 50 hot, blazing, scorching days. Africa hot days. Hotter than seven hells, I heard a guy say.

1981. Those were the hot ’ol days, the ones I’ve always called “The Summer of Herb.”

Mr. Herb let me work for him that summer, as I was a college student who owned the one thing money can’t buy – poverty – and he was a foreman of various work crews. Somewhere in there was a soft heart, so he threw me a bone.

And a shovel.

It was the summer Mr. Herb told me and my shovel to help grade a new Arkansas road. We know it now as the Camden Bypass. We knew it then as Hell’s Kitchen.

There is not a lot of shade in your road building ventures, as eliminating shade is sort of the point. Fortunately, we were taken off that job after a few weeks and taken to an Interstate 20 rest area near Haughton. Unfortunately, we had to build it.

West of the building still standing there today, north of the westbound lanes, for a solid hour one afternoon I feel asleep while leaning against my shovel, standing, napping like a horse. Didn’t even mean to.

That rest area is closed now, a shame since I found it so easy to rest there, especially if you were hot, and limp-dishrag tired, and it had been more than 100 degrees for three weeks straight. And Mr. Herb had had to “run to Shreveport” for a minute. Sweet dreams.

Mr. Herb was not a truck air-conditioner guy. He liked to keep me acclimated, which I’m actually thankful for. We sort of stayed on a low boil every day. Our sweat rings had sweat rings.

My dad’s generation was more conditioned to heat than I am. And I’m more conditioned than the two generations since. That the National Football League has recently done away with two-a-day practices is no surprise; the players grew up with air conditioning. Mine might be the last generation that’s spent more time outside than in.

I love the heat. Love working in it. But I found out last weekend that we all have to make concessions to a summer like this one. I did yard labor in anti-poison ivy gear and nearly got heat stroke. I know because my head hurt and I slept from 6 p.m. until 8 the next morning.

I dreamed of sprinklers, of shovels and shade.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Golden Nuggets from Rome: (4th in a series)

(from Dr. Chris Craig, FBC Ruston, these are my notes.)

Romans 1:18-20

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

1. God Never Approves of Wrong (v. 18)

Wrath = 'controlled anger' in the Bible times and a common word then; a sad, rational, proper anger
a - "against all godlessness" -- a lack of reverence toward God and the things of God
b - wickedness - toward others

2. Wrong Behavior Supresses Truth

3. We Are Without Excuse (19-20)
Nature points us to God
Ps. 19: 1-3 -- "the skies declare..."

4. What Does This Mean?
a - God judges men on the knowledge we have (Luke 12:47 -- the servant who knows vs. servant who does not)
b - John 14:6 -- "no man but thru me..."
Ps 19: 7-8 -- 'special revelation" ... we have the Bible
Col 1:15 -- "He is the image of God..."

You and I have heard clearly and are without excuse

Friday, August 5, 2011

Golden Nuggets from Rome: (3rd in a series)

(from Chris Craig, pastor, FBC Ruston -- these are my notes)


Romans 1:16-17
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[a] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Jesus can do great thing for you and for everyone else

1. God's Power is Mighty, vs. 16
* Power = inherent, within himself
* The gospel is the power of God
* We all need the power for God, "the power for salvation," to save, to forgive...

2. God Can Make You Right With Him Forever... (v 17)
* righteous = justified = to be made right

3. If We Believe (v 17)
* Faith -- a placing of my life into His hands

4. Dads And All, Live Loudly for Christ
"I am not ashamed of the gospel..."
Paul, writing to the greatest city in the world, of a Jewish carpenter from a conquered city in a counquered country, proclaims he is not ashamed.

5. It's Natural If You Really Know Him, and ...

6. It's Part of the Deal --
*Salvation is personal but not private. (Luke 12: 8-9 ... "Whoever owns me, I acknowledge..."

7. We've Got What The World Needs
A swimmer can/has power to save somone who is drowning. We have the power to share the saving grace of the gospel.
*Think of what you can do for people ... We have the cure for what people suffer from; we have what people need.
*When we live loudly, our influence can be immense
* "The greatest thing I have ever found is in Christ; I'd like you to find Him too."


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Golden Nuggets from Romans (Part 2 in a series)

(From Chris Craig, FBC Ruston)

Romans 1: 8-13
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,[a] that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

You can be an impact player as Paul was. HOW?


vs. 8 -- your faith is reported all over the world.

"When you're shouting so loudly, I can't hear what you say," said Emerson. Live it.


vs. 8 -- I THANK GOD for you.

Be an encourager. Praise and thank people, and thank God.


(v 9-10) Am i disciplined in my prayer life? Do we KNOW about prayer but don't pray? Who is "in trouble' in your world: are you praying for them?

It's easier to criticize than to pray.


v. 11-13 -- Paul is mostly interested in the TEAM.

Oswald Chambers says it is "a spiritual honor and duty to spend life for the sake of others, not self." Paul says God has given him/us new life, so He has obligated us to take Jesus/The Gospel to everyone.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One of the Greatest Toys in History

My little sis is trying to hunt this game down. Just like it used to hunt her down. I chased my sisters everywhere with a bear like this, back in the day.

Below is a description of the game off the Web. One auction site is even selling this thing WITH AN EXTRA BEAR! An extra bear? To have one would be joy, to have two --- I can't find the words! Anyway ...

Bop A Bear Motorized Target Game - Marx 1960s

Large 14" long, 10" tall, 7" wide Motorized Bear takes 4 "D" batteries. He has "bump & go" action. When you shoot him with the dart, he changes direction, growls and moves on. Also when he hits something, he changes direction. Most are missing the battery cover, which is large and covers the whole motor compartment. Set originally came with a double barrel shotgun type dart gun and the 6 rubber tipped darts. Box is large display type with great graphics.

Marx also made a Rabbit Target game called Rabbit Hunt. This was a windup rabbit.
one auction site selling it WITH AN EXTRA BEAR!!!

If you happen upon this bear and you don't want him, well, please let me know!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Every Man Dies Alone

Liked it much more than I thought I would.

This book was written in the mid-1940s in Germany by an author, then famous and well-read and acclaimed, who died in a sanitarium in 1947. Drunk/Drank himself to death. Long story.

Hans Fallada was such a stud that one of his books from the 1930s was made into a hit movie with big stars and everything by Universal. "Little Man, What Now?"

"Every Man Dies Alone" was recently translated and made several Notable Lists in 2009.

Setting is 1941 Berlin. A regular working man and his wife launch a covert operation against the Nazis. It's a resistance, thought small. A cast of characters surround their lives and efforts. It ends up being as much a romance story, in an odd sort of way, as a "war" story. If you've ever wondered what life was like in Berlin in WWII, here's your picture. The Gestapo. Meal tickets. Regimentation and whatnot.

He wrote this book in 24 days. It's 500 pages long. Ouch. I cannot begin to tell you how hard that is. Small wonder he drank himself into oblivion.

Now I'm reading the exact opposite: "The Help." Trying to finish before the movie comes out.