Monday, April 30, 2012

To Louisiana: Happy Birthday, with love

(From Sunday's Times and News-Star)

And now we celebrate the bicentennial of Louisiana, 200 years of duck calling, fish catching, squirrel shooting, jazz playing, Mardi Gras parading and creole eating, along with a bit of malfeasance, misappropriation of funds and, at rare times, even professional football.

Louisiana’s not a perfect state, but it’s OUR not-perfect state, and I love it, warts and all. Where else can a cypress tree, a clarinet, a gar and a garter belt all live in harmony, more or less, for two centuries?

With the aid of several historical sources, we’ve compiled highlights here to help us celebrate our “prehistory” as well as the most recent 200 years, with hopes of a better 200 to come:

1519: Alvarez de Pindea discovers mouth of the Mississippi.

1534: Suffering from strep, Bubba de Boudreaux discovers uvula of the Mississippi.

1541: Hernando de Soto discovers the Mississippi River; de Pindea is hereafter known as Alvarez “I Should Have Rowed On Up A Little Farther” de Pindea.

1600: Nobody claims to have discovered Louisiana yet, even though it is sort of just RIGHT THERE. Sigh…

1682: Between beheadings, France takes time out not only to discover Louisiana but to claim it for France and name it for King Louis XIV.

1683: King Louis XIV sends chocolates.

1700: Future Louisiana governor Jimmie Davis born.

1712: Bubba “Three Fingers” de Boudreaux, as he comes to be known, discovers the alligator.

1714: Fort St. Jean Baptiste founded on Red River at site of present-day Natchitoches, the first permanent settlement in Louisiana.

1715: Natchitoches meat pie discovered, growing wild.

1718: New Orleans founded. (It’s about time!)

1723: New Orleans becomes capital of Louisiana, superseding Biloxi, which still wonders what it did wrong.

1751: Sugar cane introduced to Louisiana.

1753: WeightWatchers introduced to Louisiana.

1764: Year of “The Great Migration.” Citing a lack of religious freedom, unfair labor practices and tyranny in general, every crawfish in Arkansas jumps on a raft and heads south to opportunity in crawfish-free Bayou Country. (Oops!)

1782: New Orleans Saints fumble four times, even though they won’t be founded for another 185 years. In keeping with the theme, a grand jury indicts four future Secretary of States, two governors and Bubba “Three Fingers.” And Biloxi.

1812: Louisiana admitted to Union. (Uh, winning!)

1814: General Andrew Jackson kicks some butt and takes some names; Johnny Horton sings about it.

1833: Captain Henry Miller Shreve begins clearing Red River for navigation.

1834: Shreve sends back to the shop for more stuff to move stuff with because this is like, well, really a mess.

1837: Shreveport founded.

1840: Antoine’s established in New Orleans; Saints picked off three times in loss to not-yet-established Chicago Bears.

1849: Baton Rouge becomes capital of Louisiana; Greater Bernice becomes unofficial “little letter” of Louisiana.

1867: Shrimp first canned commercially at Grand Terre Island; shrimp rebounds the next weekend with solid reviews after its revamped comedy stand-up show at Harrah’s in Lake Charles.

1872: Rex, King of Carnival, debuts.

1888: Quite by accident, Ethel Boudreaux rubs a wooden spoon over her washboard while multi-tasking – marinating a duck and putting suds in a load of diapers. By autumn, her new “Cajun sound” rendition of “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ If You Want Extra Starch” is selling like meat pies.

1900-2000: Three words: Trials. Oil. Hunting. The taxidermy and legal professions draw the best and the brightest.

2012: Bubba Boudreaux, whose exploring ancestors came and never left, discovers the gizzard of the Mississippi – and deep-fries it.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

God's Thoughts On Singleness and Marriage ('To Corinth With Love' Series)

(from my notes Sunday night, 4/22, fbc ruston, dr. chris)

1 Corinthians 7

Singleness and Marriage are Both from God

1. The Single Life Can Be From God
* Jesus and Paul were not married as ministers
v. 1, 6-8 ... singleness and celibacy is a gift of God for a lifetime or for a season
* Acts 26:10 -- Paul likely marrried to Jewish woman when he was a Pharisee
* v 25-26 -- "the present crisis" .. (? -- could be one of several things) .. but in v. 32-37, he continues speaking of singleness as the easiest way to devote time to the Lord

2. Marriage Can Be From God
* Gen 2:18, 24 -- God invents marriage
* v. 26, 36 -- marriage is from God

3. Marriage Is A Serious Committment!
a. When married, you are not your own
* v 3-5, do not defraud your spouse
* The best thing that can happen in some marriages is a metaphorical funeral, a dying to self
b. The Marriage vow Is Very Serious
v 10-11 .. don't divorce, as much as it depends on your, and form this point on... If you do, remain single.
v. 12-16 -- Try to make it work, a novel idea in Corinth then, when a man might be divorced 20 times. If the unbeliever leaves, let them go; you are free
v 39-40 ... 'Til death do us part

Make right choices today in your singleness and in your marriage

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Getting The Nod Of Approval ('Mentor' Series)

(From notes 4/22, Sunday morning, fbc ruston, dr chris)

2 Timothy 2:14-21

Paul shares with Timothy how to get God's nod of approval

1. Do Life With Excellence v. 5
* Cut a straight path, a clean path
* Col 3:23 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for me."
* Excellence : way above average (John Maxwell's definition); it's not perfection.

2. Live Out Your Faith v 15
* 'correctly handle'' the truth ... live out practically. Knowledge without practical application is useless -- do what the Bible says. We do good arguing and debating the Bible, we just aren't so good at LIVING the bible.
* James 1:22 "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

3. Guard Your Tongue Closely v 14, 16
"Warn them about quarellign about words ... avoid godless chatter." ... it leads to disrespect of God in other areas.
* Your words can cause others to turn from God
v. 14 -- "The ruin of the hearers ..."
* v 17-18 -- "...they destroy the faith of some."

4. Strive To Be Usable By God v. 20-21
* You can be the 'fine china' for the Lord, used for a noble purpose.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

'Man Up!' (Mentor Series cont.)

(If needed, notes from Sunday, 4/15/12, FBC Ruston, Dr. Chris)

2 Timothy 2: 6-18

6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
(Examples of Disloyalty and Loyalty)
15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.
16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.

* Written by Paul to Timothy, the young pastor at Ephesus, around AD 66-67, probably Paul's final letter. He's in prison, probably for the second time, and chained
* Do you have fears today?

* Paul asks Timothy to "fan the flame of the gift" he has, to not be timid in the faith ( v. 6-7)

1. We All Have Fears

2. God Makes Available To Us Great Internal Resources
(v 6-7) .. a spirit of power, love, self-discipline
a. courage
b. power
c. love
d. self control, a sound mind, a rational, reasonable manner
All these come through the Spirit, to help us to do what we are called to do

3. Live Rightly And Boldly

a. Live and share your Christianity boldly
v. 8 -- 'dont' be afraid to testify'
v 9-12 -- I know whom I have believed

b. Stand By Others Proudly
v. 8 -- Timothy, don't be ashamed of me in my chains
v. 15-18 -- Some friends bailed on Paul, and one stuck close

Stand for others ... this isn't 'good advice' .. this is 'biblical principal' ... it made it into the Bible for a reason.


Monday, April 23, 2012

AARP: Not The Same Old Thing?

(From Sunday's Times and News-Star)

I am a half-century old. If my money math is correct, I can retire, somewhat comfortably, when I am 107.


By “somewhat comfortably,” I mean I’ll have to work only half-days by then.

Or teach myself how to get by without a few things. Like food.

(Air’s still free, right? Except at the gas station? Where is the gas station importing this air from that costs money?)

But that’s OK because I recently bit the prune and joined the American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP. I have the $16 cancelled check and a membership card to prove it.

It would seem odd that a man would join a retired persons organization when that man plans to keep working for a while. But that is one of the beautiful things about AARP, besides our red, white and gray team colors and the fact that our shuffleboard squad is undefeated this season -- you do not even have to be retired to join! Do you hear what I am saying, you AARP members out there with hearing aids turned up to “Say WHAT?” You don’t even have to be retired!

The AARP has been recruiting me with a vengeance for several years now. They’ve wanted me. Badly. It’s a good though unfamiliar feeling.

First they sent random mail. “We’re keeping up with you. Good luck this year.” That sort of thing.

Then there were phone calls, first from AARP marketers, then from some of the higher-ups. I remember a particularly poignant call from one of the vice presidents on my 50th birthday. “Boy, you really are getting UP there!”

At first it was bothersome. But dogged sincerity won me over. A couple of guys in suits came to recruit me, to see how long it took me unravel myself and stand up straight on my way to the bathroom on any of the six trips I make there a night. They saw me take naps on Sunday afternoon, fall asleep in a drive-thru line, have trouble lifting things, like myself.

With each limp, I impressed. You can’t coach this stuff, really. A lot of it is just natural aging ability.

Finally there was the free swag, probably illegal, like my canvas “travel bag” that has “AARP” on the side and a pocket for cell phone, loose change, wallet, passport, contact information for my primary physician and next of kin, dentures and Depends.

They beat me down, is what I’m saying. Made me an offer I was getting tired of refusing.

So last week, I made the call. “I’ve decided,” I said to the toll-free operator, “to take my talents to AARP.”

Somewhere, a dog barked.

So, I am in, at least until “Feb 2013,” as my official membership card reads. And so far, I like it. My card scans for discounts at restaurants and movies and the drugstore, and the association sends me a monthly magazine called “Geezer Illustrated.” (I’m joking! We old folk, we like to joke, we do.) It’s called “AARP The Magazine” and Harrison Ford (Indy Jones!) was on a recent cover that included stories like “Live Your Motorcycle Fantasy!” and “Your Doctor Is Stumped: Now What?”

Not bad for 16 bucks. Plus, online I’m kept informed on money matters and retirement issues, freeing me up for things I want to do in my never-able-to-retire state.

Anybody up for a game of shuffleboard? Or Stump the Doctor?


Friday, April 20, 2012

Hurts Me: Levon Helm

Nobody names their kids "Levon" anymore. That's a shame.

Levon Helm died yesterday at 71. Drummer, instramentalist and often the lead singer for The Band. "The Remedy" is only one of the great songs ever. Loved Levon.


Monday, April 16, 2012

The Bubba-ization of America in Full Swing

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

It's a trend we can no longer ignore.

In a world where redneck reality shows are as popular as the drive-thru lane, it's only fitting that a guy named Bubba would win The Masters in Augusta last Sunday.
We're taking over! The stars have lined up just right or something. Soon kudzu will eat Idaho.

Bubba's don't win golf tournaments at Augusta, as former University of Georgia golfer Bubba Watson did on Easter. Bubba's win the city am in Laurel, Miss., or Smackover, Ark., but not at Augusta National, which is just another golf course like Chicago's just another town.

''Bubba Wins In Georgia'' is the next-day headline after they run the Atlanta Firecracker 500, not after they play The Masters. But, it's been that kind of year in America, and it was a Bubba kind of Easter afternoon that had everything Augusta advertises. He even beat a Bubba sort of South African, the likeable Louis Oosthuizen, who is as nice as his name is hard to spell.

Bubba Watson reminds us that it's OK for Bubbas to cry, which he did with no reservation after winning last week on the second hole of a playoff. He hugged his mom, his friends, his caddie, and would have hugged you if you'd been standing there. I mean he cried and then re-cried. Usually you don't see a Bubba cry in Georgia unless his momma passed, somebody stole his boat, or the Bulldogs lost to Georgia Tech.

I decided at that moment that he is now my second favorite Bubba, right behind Bubba Smith, the late NFL-player-turned-actor, and Pvt. Benjamin Bubba Blue of Forrest Gump fame. (''Shrimp's the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, bake it, sauté it...)

This week's tour stop is the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head Island, which is no slouchy joint, let me tell you. Still, how do you follow this act from Easter Sunday? How would YOU like to be the tournament that comes the weekend right after The Masters, a tradition like no other and all that?

''Ladies and gentlemen, we hope you enjoyed Elvis Presley. Now make welcome Herman's Hermits!''

Incidentally, The Masters has always had a genuine politeness about it, something I hadn't experienced firsthand until this year's tournament. My phone was accidentally picked up with some trash early Sunday morning in Augusta National's press room. (It's not a very good phone, so I guess that's appropriate. Cost ten bucks. I'm a holdout.) Anyway, Monday a friend called me and a lady answered. It was the cleaning lady who found my phone, which was on its way back to me in the mail. That's a sure 'nuff Bubba trait right there, like giving back the lost wallet while it's still got the money in it.

But that’s one of the things about Augusta. Even though its exclusive membership has more money than it can count, that doesn’t count during Masters week. During the year, those grandstands and scoreboards aren’t up; they’re stored in a warehouse.

All this is staged for golf and its fans, and the members say, “Come right on it.” The only thing that matters during tournament week is whether or not you have a badge or ticket to get in with. It’s all level ground for princes and paupers during Masters Week. Nobody cares if you’re worth $6 thousand or $6 million.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Anyway, if even the golf world is getting more Bubba-fied, then we've conquered one of the last genre holdouts. I don't think you'll see a lot of Tour players firing at pins while wearing tank tops with beer and power tool advertisements embroidered on them, but Bubba's victory is a step in the direction of making golf OK for the average good ol' boy. Tiger's popularity boosted the appeal of the sport for young people everywhere, kids of all races and nationalities. Bubba Watson's dramatic coming-out party might get the more rural contingent fully involved in swinging the sticks.

And from there, we have only one world left to conquer: a Bubba for president. Think it'll ever happen? Hide and watch.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Three No. 1 Draft Picks

These are three of the best people I have ever known. Favorites. Craig Durrett, Kathie Rowell and Mike "I Love the Saints, I Hate the Cowboys" Silva. This picture is from inside the newsroom at The Times in Shreveport today. This is the final week for this trio at the newspaper. The ol' -30- on the Times career...

We had a lot of fun in that room putting out the newspaper, and a lot of fun outside it too. Funny, I was outside the newspaper the most with Silva. Most of my time with Craig and Kathie was indoors. You've got to really like a person a lot when they are one of your favorites and you see them only at work, not at play. But they helped to make work fun. All three of these people made you better if you worked with them. I will miss their touch in the newspaper, and that hurts me; I'm selfish that way. I'll always have them as friends. This really is a trio that rocks. I will have to tell you more about them someday...


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Another classic Sunday At Augusta National

(A little sidebar from Sunday night at The Masters...)

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Louis Oosthuizen helped give Masters' fans something they'd never seen before, and something they had.

His historic double-eagle, a Masters' first on No. 2, set the tone for something more familiar, a Sunday horse race on Augusta National's dicey back nine.

Bubba Watson won it on the second hole of a playoff, picking up speed late to catch Oosthuizen on 16 and beat him on the second hole of the playoff to end an Easter afternoon that had everything Augusta advertises.

Like that double-eagle, the one that shot Oosthuizen from two back to one ahead and got things cooking Sunday: it was a 4-iron, 210 to the front of the green and about 235 to the pin, from a bit right of center and just past the fairway trap. The ball rolled up between the two green-guarding traps. The patrons applauded politely. On the green in two.

Except the ball kept rolling. And rolling. A half-moon it made, deliberately, doing everything but stopping for gas until finally finding the cup nearly 10 seconds after hitting the green. This time, the crowd exploded.

Oosthuizen, who had to wait like everyone else, seemed as surprised as everyone else. And about as shocked. Since no one knew what to do -- again, this was a Masters' first -- he sort of awkwardly double-high-fived his caddie and started walking.

"Bubba said later he felt like running over and giving me a high-five," Oosthuizen said. "I wish he had; that would have been fun."

"Like nothing we've ever seen," said Bill Alexander of Charlotte, N.C., who sat three rows back on the pin side of green 2. "I kept saying the same thing as the crowd: 'It's gonna stop, it's gonna stop, it...' NOT gonna stop, it's NOT gonna stop.' It just kept coming."

Alexander had his own double-eagle of sorts. Less than an hour before Oosthuizen's heroics, the rookie Masters patron had witnessed the ace at 16 by Brad Van Pelt on his way to a tournament-low round of 64.

"It was the most unbelievable thing," Alexander said. "I mean, I might as well go home."

Well, no. Probably best not. Go home and you miss Oosthuizen, the likeable South African and winner of the 2010 British Open, duking it out with the equally likeable Bubba Watson, a former Georgia Bulldog, three-time PGA Tour winner and golf's equivalent of a NASCAR driver. In Wednesday's Par 3 Tournament, Denny Hamlin even caddied for him. Really.

And like the speedy Hamlin, Watson, four strokes back after his bogey on 1 and King Louie's magic at 2, finally caught up just before the finish line with a birdie on 16.

It was actually Oosthuizen who had to rally on 18, making a testy putt to force the playoff after Watson had parred. The solid putting was vintage Oosthuizen on this afternoon, who had similar putts for par on 3, 5, 14, 16 and 17 -- and made them all.

The last two hours-plus over the storied back 9 were all jab and weave, punch and move. With Oosthuizen leading at 11, four players were two back, one was three back. After 13, one was three back and three were one back. Going into 15, Watson was alone in second place, three were two back and three more were three back.

You get the picture.

"This is a great golf course for great finishes," said Oosthuizen.

When it was over, Watson had his first major and Oosthuizen had his best finish in four starts at Augusta. He never made the cut here before.

King Louie took the lead Saturday and held at least a share of it Sunday until right about the time his tee shot on No. 10, the second playoff hole, handcuffed him. Watson didn't drive it better, but his shot from the trees to 10 green to set up his winning par was one the Masters will remember.

"I hit a bad tee shot; should have put a big one down the middle," Oosthuizen said, moments after hugging the 2012 champion. "The I left myself an awkward little chip, didn't get it as far up as I'd have liked. But I can't be angry. I played really well today.

"And Bubba was brilliant," he said. "I had no idea where he was after his tee shot on 10, but when I saw his ball coming out through the trees, it looked like a curve ball going to the right side. Brilliant shot. It won him the tournament."


Friday, April 6, 2012

Jesus Did All That For Me

(Notes from ChristChurch in West Monroe, Sunday morning, April 1. Was visiting daddy, in from Georgia, and went to church with my bro-in-law and little sis. It was great! Tom Lowe offered this message from Phillipians.)

Philippians 2:5-11

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In a world of bad news, Christ brings good news
How do we deal with inner chaos?
Not the best sports program or school or extracurricular activity can give your child what he really needs.

1. Jesus Gave Up His Rights
We are more into defending and demanding our rights.

Isaiah 14:12-14 ... The fall of Lucifer. Satan says I WILL
How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” 15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.

v. 5 .. Let Christ's mind be in your ... service, submission, servanthood, compassion

2. Jesus Didn't Consider Status Something To Be Grasped v. 7
God made himself of no reputation

John 13 (Passion Weed begins) ... Jesus knew where he was from, where he was going, and that he was about to die. Jesus had a lot of security in knowing who he was ... he didn't have to grapple for identity

3. Jesus' Humanity Never Gained The Upper Hand
What a level of MERCY He has ... he never gave up on me, or on others.
You will not escape the love of God
Jesus went the distance for me
Once his love is evident, you will have no peace or joy until you serve Him

(Illustration of The Saint of Auschwitz, a priest who died in the place of another prisoner)

Like the woman who wished to touch the hem of Jesus' garmet, fight your way to him. Go to where Jesus is.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

To Augusta: Thanks For Sharing

AUGUSTA – If this comes off as a bit of a love letter, it is.

I write in Louisiana, where the deer and gators play, where pines grow tall and rednecks of all shapes and sizes roam in a God-made Sportsman’s Paradise. I know about beauty and outdoors.
But Augusta National, even wind and rain-beaten and azalea-less, is enough to make anyone’s head turn.

Wednesday was my first day on the course, after half a century of waiting. Today is my second. I think it got even more impressive overnight.

Did I say thank you, Augusta, yet?

One azalea behind 15 green. That’s the only thing blooming. But not everybody needs makeup. This real estate has enough green and blue and history to carry the day, even without “flowers,” as I heard a girl from Scotland call the azaleas yesterday.

“I’m not a golfer,” she said, a bit overwhelmed by the siren song of Augusta National, “but The Masters is so much more than just a game.”

White Dogwood. Yellow Jasmine. Amen Corner. Magnolia Lane. The Big Oak and Rae’s Creek and all that. You dip up lore by the buckets around here.

It’s easy to take a place for granted when you see it all the time. Diamondhead turns into just a nice rise in the land when you lived in Waikiki for a few years. The Grand Canyon is a big hole when it’s in your backyard, the Rockies another hill to climb when Denver’s your home.

But if you come here every year and you haven’t looked around in a while, pretend again that it’s the first time. Not many things make my jaw drop anymore. This place does.

First thing Thursday, we watched 13 Masters champions tee off in just three swings: Jack Nicklaus (6 green jackets), Arnold Palmer (4) and Gary Player (3). The I walked the back 9 with only a few hundred of my closest new friends while the first groups went off the front. Shady. Pine straw. The sand on 11. The narrow green on 12. The chute on 13. TV shows you a lot, but it can’t show you everything, like the perspective beneath the rise and facing 15 green or how much is demanded off the tee at 10 and 11 or how cozy 18 green is.

Your children are always prettier in real life than they are in pictures in your wallet.

Took me 15 hours to get here because half the trip was like driving in a clothes washing machine. I’d sign up to do the same thing again today if it meant making tomorrow’s tee times.

I don’t think people in Augusta take this place for granted. You’re proud of it and it shows. When you signed on to help God cut this place it, it was a good day’s work, and I thank you.

A couple of weeks ago I told a golf pro in Louisiana I might be going to The Masters but wasn’t sure.

“You crazy? You’ve GOT to go."

He was right. I might be crazy, but I'm not stupid.


To Sue Or Not To Sue? ('To Corinth, With Love' Series)

(my notes from sunday night, march 25, 2012, fbc ruston/dr. chris)

1 Corinthians 6: 1-11

1 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1. We Will Have Problems With Others
* Because we all have a sinful nature v 1

2. Try To Work Out Problems Out In Private v 2-6
* Paul is not anti-legal system; he appealed to civic law often. What he says here is Greeks are airing their disputes publicly, and therefore harming the name of Christ.

3. Sometimes It's Better To Take One On The Chin
v 7-8
* Be aware of how sensitive I can be to the smallest slight; character is more important than competitivenes
* The cause of Christ is greater than you and me ... sometimes it's better to lose than win

4. These Are Symptoms Of The Real Problem v 6-11
Heart problems...
Examine your heart
Ask God, "Help me to know what's worth fighting for and what's not."


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Valuables (Mentor Series)

(my notes from sunday morning, march 25, fbc ruston, and dr chris)

1 Timothy 5: 1-13

1 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. 8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

11 As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.

People are the second most valuable thing, behind Jesus, in the world.

1. vs 1-3 Treat People With Respect
Give particular attention or consideration to a person or thing = respect (v 17-18 in this chapter talks of respect for the elders and ministers in the church)

2. Priortize People v 4-8
Think ahead, to help and care for your family and world
Do we priortize, value and love people as we should

3. Treat Them Well
a. be faithful to them (v 9) Be loyal
b. Be a good do-er ... v. 10, be aware of children and strangers
c. serve people .. v. 10 .. washing feet
d. Do not hurt them .. v 11-13 ...Don't play marbles with diamonds


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Should We Kick Them Out Of The Church? ('To Corinth' Series)

(notes from Sunday night March 18, fbc ruston, dr chris)

1 Corinthians 5

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

* There is a time when someone should be removed from the church (2, 13)

For what reasons?

Sinning in a way that visibly hurts the body (v 1-4)
Paul is saying that sin without repentance must be dealth with
v. 13 -- God will deal with those outside church; but we are responsible for addressing the evil in the body ... notorious, unrepentant and destructive sin must be addressed.

Why should this happen?

1. To cause repentance possibly, v. 5, to benefit them
2. Because if left unchecked, it hurts the church body.. v 6-8, sometimes you may have to lose a hand to save the body
3. It hurts the name of Christ

How do we do this?
1. Somebody talks to the person, then a group talks, if necessary, to the person (Matthew 18: 15-16)
2. The church makes the ultimate decision (Matthew 18:17),1 Cor 5:4-5
3. Always with love and redemption in mind v 5; God is always saying "turn and come back"

Monday, April 2, 2012

Three Keys ('Mentor' Series)

(notes from Sunday morning, March 18, fbc ruston, dr chris)

KEYS that will make a difference in every area of your life

1 Timothy 4: 12-16
12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1. Earn Respect v 12
You can't change others; 'worry' about yourself and be conscious of earning respect. Be worthy of respect. How?
* Be the right kind of person ...
Set the right kind of example, the right model or pattern
In your speech, be uplifting
With your hands and what you do
Be a loving person
Faith -- let others see your trust in and faithfullness to God

2. Use Your Gift v 13
Get your gift out of the trophy case and use it

3. Be Consistent v. 15
Be deligent and absorbed in the mission ... 'give yourself entirely'
Life is more about farming than it is about instant gratification
GAL 6:9 -- 'Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Redneck Network: Now we’re gettin’ somewhere!

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

I can’t remember which Christmas it was when small white lights in the outline of a deer about to be field dressed hung in festive holiday fashion from my sister’s front porch in Swartz.

God bless us, every one.

My oldest sister and her ever-expanding gang – the six children she bore are all grown and fertile – are not rednecks in the way the great unwashed would define it. But they ARE rednecks in the way that America is coming to accept and love this most authentic and all-American backbone of the country.

Who knew that in this new millennium, where third-graders carry cell phones and commuters read novels on electronic notepads, that the modern world would find fascination in the simple life of Redneckdom?

There is beauty and excitement in simplicity, if it’s the right kind.

In the bell-bottomed 1970s and anything-goes ’80s and all points until recently, it’s unlikely My Big Redneck Vacation or Hillbilly Handfishin’ would have made it on TV. America was being told by electronic media that we were too cool for rural.

Of course, we’ll never know if those shows would have made it after 1971, when CBS executives axed “Green Acres” the “The Beverly Hillbillies,” though both were still popular. “Petticoat Junction” and Uncle Joe had been deep-sixed the year before; only “Hee Haw” was left to carry the banner. Not only were Mr. Drucker and Jed Clampett hurt, but so were people like me. American wanted urban shows, we were told; you see where television has gone since.

Now, the thrill is back. Swamp People draws 4.5 million a week; 1.6 million tune in for Lizard Lick Towing.


My friend and former Times sports magnate Nico sent me a note this week reminding me that in two seasons as Louisiana Tech’s starting quarterback, “a guy named Phil Robertson guided teams that went 1-9 and 3-7. In the 1-9 season, the star of the victory at home against Southeastern Louisiana was a freshman named Bradshaw. In their last game together, Robertson and Bradshaw combined for seven interceptions in a 58-7 Southern Mississippi victory at State Fair Stadium to close the 1967 season.

“I guess Robertson's career fell apart after that,” Nico said. “Wonder whatever happened to him.”

Nico was joking, of course. “Duck Dynasty” premiered on A&E Network last week, a show about the Duck Commander’s “outdoors empire,” as it’s been called. The founder of the family business?: steady Phil Robertson, king of cammo, loaded with dough and ducks.

Hello! “Redneck reality TV” never had it so good.

How far might we be from a Redneck Network? A RedNeckwork, I guess it would be.

Rednecks Gone Wild: In the season’s final climatic episode, Jess shoots the big buck that has eluded him all season, fills the deep freeze, then naps a winner’s nap on his front-porch couch.

Redneck Fashion Idol!: In the pressure-packed semifinals, Dickies squares off against Red Wing, Carhartt meets Red Kap.

The Girl With The Chicken-Fried Steak Tattoo: This week the surprise sitcom hit features BettyJo frying truck-stop bacon while she studies for her bar exam. Order up!

Kay’s Hair Here: Between perms and rinses, Kay polls her customers on which special new pocketknife she should get Bubba for their 40th wedding anniversary.

There’s something endearing and patriotic about the resourcefulness of folks who are willing to work at something they love to make honest dollars. I would say it’s inspiring. You’ve got to appreciate people who are exactly what they ought to be.