STACKING STONES

IMG_3427I just read a monthly newsletter from some missionary friends in Alabama.  They call their letter “ The View From the Porch” and had a picture from their chairs looking out thru the Alabama pines and manicured yard. I couldn’t get a picture like it but from where I sit to type this I’ll insert a view FROM my porch and then   this one of my porch:IMG_3426

The Christensen’s who gave Eleanor and I the use of their bunkhouse last summer offered it to us again. But this summer they are vacationing in Alaska for a month and asked if I’d stay in their house while they are gone. This is the most beautiful log home I have ever seen and to be able to stay here is a great privilege!  God keeps His promises! “There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” *Luke 18:29-30

God has given me the privilege of preaching in Idaho and Oregon this month. For the next four Lord’s Days I will be preaching in our McEwen Bible Fellowship here in Sumpter.

McEwen Bible FellowshipThis is my ‘home away from home’ church and such a great fellowship of God’s people. Pastor Dan & Julie Martin will be taking a mini-sabbatical and using this time for his own study as well as making some repairs on his home. The Lord has impressed me to preach a series from the Book of Joshua: “Stacking Stones”.   Our Sumpter valley has rock piles over 8 miles long. These “tailings” are from the gold dredge that took over $180,000,000 out of the valley in 40 years of operation.

Eleanor has been busy at home in Georgia this summer. I miss her and look forward to being back together after Labor Day. Please pray that we will both be faithful witnesses and have fruitful ministries this summer.

…FOR JOSEPH’S SAKE

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…the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.” Genesis 39:5“

This was the testimony of what God had done for Potiphar and his life and business just because he had been good to his slave Joseph.  He learned thru Joseph’s testimony and his life that he was a servant of the Most High God.

I have taken this statement of historical fact to realize even more of the nature of our good God.  It pleases Him to care for His servants and His blessing extends on thru them to those who help them and bless them.  And I have taken this Biblical precedent to make it my prayer for those who are such a blessing to me.  Will you join me in praise and thanksgiving for the many folks all across this land and from lands afar who have helped, encouraged, supported and prayed for me as I seek to serve the King of Kings?

 I dare not start calling names because the page wouldn’t hold them.  And I am certain that I would neglect some because it started long before I was aware of what was happening in heavenly places when so many folks in the Wynnton Baptist Church prayed for “that trouble maker” in the Sunday School and the Vacation Bible schools.

But I want to point out a couple that are right now blessing my life in such a great way because of their love for our Lord and for His work. Wade and Shelly Christensen, Robbie and Meranda opened their “bunkhouse” to Eleanor and I last summer and again this summer they have made this beautiful cabin my “home away from home”.  Wade and Shelly both work hard at full time jobs in town as well as running the Rock Bottom Ranch. Meranda and Robbie are both away in college.

Please pray that our Lord will bless them especially good.  Maybe let Wade find a big nugget in his “diggings” (at an undisclosed location).

I will be preaching in Prineville, OR this Lord’s Day and then in several churches in Oregon and Idaho, and in the youth Camp Elkhana of the Blue Mountain Association this month.  Pray that I will be a blessing, not because I deserve it but for the sake of all of those who love and support me for Jesus’ dear sake.

TIGHTWAD or PECULIAR?

IMG_2949There are some interesting places in the “Show Me” state of Missouri.  After I left my friend Dave Meyers in the sprawling metropolis of ROACH and headed west I found some more little towns that merited a stop and see.  The locals claim that Roach was named for a Frenchman whose name was something like ‘Roache” but if you have been in the area you know that it was most likely that crawling bug the Mexican sing about- “La Cucaracha”.  The devilish black cussed crawler we call a cockroach!

I can’t help but wonder how these towns got their names?

IMG_2969I hope you don’t mind being called “Peculiar”.  Somebody was willing to give it as the name of their town. It does make you want to know the origins of the moniker.  I wonder if it was a bunch of Christians who settled there and just took God at Word and admitted to the world that “the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself,” in Deuteronomy 1:2.  Peter applied to Christians in his letter 1 Peter 2:9: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;”  And as I read my Bible, if we act like New Testament Christians we will be a peculiar people.

IMG_2954And where did the town of Tightwad get it’s name?  I’ve had a number of responses to this one when I posted it on my Facebook page.  Usually from folks referring to their spouse and some even to themselves.  I suppose they are referring to the miserly tendency to hang on to their money.  Like the fellow they talked about when I was a kid who would pinch a penny so tightly that ‘ole Honest Abe would squeal!

But as I drove away, the Lord seemed to challenge me that I was often a real tightwad.  A miserable miser when it came to hanging on to that treasure in my earthen vessel.  That great and precious truth of the Wonderful Word of God and the glorious light of the Gospel whereby we are saved.

God, please don’t let me be a tightwad when I meet my fellow citizens who desperately need the Love of God.

“TARES AIN’T PURDY”

Neither are Sons-in-Law.kelly-280x220

The ole’ fellow who used to advertise his Auto Tire business on TV was not quite as much a ‘redneck’ as he seemed to want to portray himself.  And I don’t think he was as old as he looked.  But he has “re-tared” now and I miss his commercials.  He always ended by reminding folks that “Tires are not pretty” – but he pronounced it so us real rednecks could understand.

I don’t know why I thought of him this morning as I was thanking God for my two sons-in-law.  Lord knows “they ain’t purty neither”.  But I couldn’t ask for better fathers for my GRANDkids than Joe Girello and Franz Martens.  I knew when Julie and Kristie picked them out that they were not good enough for my girls. And if they thought the two were good-looking, time and nature have really eroded that.

But time has also proven that these two men are great fathers to my precious GRANDkids.  Thank you, Lord for Joe and Franz!  And thank you men for loving your wives and your children!

BABIES IN UNIFORMS

Dun in Navy

They take babies into the Army these days!

That was what I thought as I said goodbye to my 17 year old GRANDson Jacob last week.  He left today with his US Army National Guard unit for Basic Training in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO.

But as I prayed for him this morning, the Lord reminded me that 57 years ago this month, I ‘shipped out’ with my US Naval Reserve unit for Boot Camp training in Bainbridge, MD.  I was 17 years old!

Mother sent the Navy a baby in 1957.  And after boot camp and a cruise aboard the USS Bowers that summer, the Navy sent her back a man.  Of course, we thought we were men before bootcamp. But our Drill Instructor was able to correct our thinking before the first week was completed.  He and his henchmen were able to peel off the ‘baby fat’ and reshape what was left into a man -proficient as either a swabbie with a mop or a gunner with a 20mm anti-aircraft gun.

God is not the only One performing miracles today.  He can still make a fruitful father out of a man that the bottle has made into a bum.  And the United States military can still take babies and make them into fighting men, ready, willing and able to defend our nation!

God bless the USA.  And God bless some drill instructors in Ft. Leonard Wood!

I’m sure looking forward to meet the man that the United States Army sends us back from Missouri.

How’s This For “Multi-generational”?

IMG_2801We Southern Baptist are about as traditional as our Lutheran and Catholic friends are liturgical.  But in a slightly different way.  One of those traditions we have held dear for more generations than I have been a member, is the “graded Sunday School”. We offer different classes for every age and each sex.

I was born in a unisex class.   Actually, I started attending Sunday School in a “married ladies'” class.  Didn’t’ realize it at the time since Mother didn’t deliver me for 9 months. I was then promoted to the Cradle Roll and finally the nursery.

They herded us together with the girls until we were old enough to know that girls have ‘cooties’ and smell sissy. From that day on we have been separated into boys and girls, men’s and ladies’ classes. This promises to persist  until the rapture and  as long as we are able to hobble or roll our chairs into separate senior saint’s classes.  We are not trusted to study the Bible with  our wives.  They have their own class.

And sure enough, when I attempted to attend the Bible Study portion of the morning ceremonies with my bride, I was informed that I could not integrate the “Senior Ladies’ class.”  I could sit with my wife in ‘big church’ but not in Sunday School.  So after a couple of Sundays with some ancient old geezers (many of whom were chronologically younger than me), I wandered down the hall and found a Sunday School class that fit my age level.  “Multigenerational”, the sign said.

How is this for an age spread?   75 year old cowboy and 1 year old sweetheart- in the same Sunday School Class with many male and female students between our ages.

Thank God for Marty Harbin and Bible teaching that meets the needs of all of us!  And thank God for First Baptist Church of Fayetteville who will trust us to learn together.