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Tuesday, June 08, 2021


Time to say something here. So I shall.

First, the "Mantra" goes on. Evangelism, evangelism, evangelism! I've been in the SBC for 40 years now, and that's been a constant.

We teach courses on how to do that. Strangely, we don't study how to describe our homes, yet we are willing and able to do so with very little encouragement. And we do not let what we don't know about our house interfere with telling someone what we do know.

Telling someone about our faith is no more difficult than that!

I am about to differ with the consensus about problems in the SBC. It's not evangelism!! It is about discipleship! And that's where the failing is, now!

Every attendance report I have seen, reports attendance (which included visitors) hangs around 1/3 of membership. Of course I have seen folks arguing about illness, invalids and the like. But that does not explain why things are the way they are.

It seems to me that, in most of the SBC churches I have seen, if you walk the aisle, say the prayer, get baptized and sign the membership card, you're now a member. To me, that's woefully inadequate. I've been a member of a church (not SBC) that had the Elders meet with new members and hear their testimony. I think that is as it should be! And the church to which we belong one time sent a "Letter" to a church in Texas saying and ex-member was acceptable for membership, when he had not been in a church for 15+ years!

Alternatively, some churches I know of require attendance at Membership Classes prior to allowing someone to join the church. That's a great idea! I know that is done by a local church here, that is one of the biggest churches in the nation, now! I suspect it's done in others, as well.

The part I think the SBC has lost sight of is this: it's not our programs and activities that bring people in the door. It is GOD Who sends them to us, to make disciples! And it's hard to say that's happening with the 2/3 +/- who aren't there on Sunday!

So .... why doesn't the SBC gathered ever deal with this? My occasionally mean-spirited self thinks it has the answer!

Evangelism falls on the shoulders of the membership. Out & about, at work, seeing friends and neighbors, things of that sort, 6 days a week. Discipleship, on the other hand, falls on the shoulders of the Pastors! And I think the Pastors are reluctant to admit that!

Like I said, my mean-spirited self.

So, unless the SBC, as an entity, sees Discipleship and the problem, and deals with it, I see no reason for God to send us more people for us to see one third of them every week. You wouldn't hire an employee who came to work 1/3 of the time, why should God have lower standards than employers do?

Wake up, SBC!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Have you ever written something that, in later years, you've wished you'd never written? Well, that's not the case with this post, but I do wish the need hadn't arisen.
Peggy Sue, my bride of 61 years, died last Friday ... 7/17/2020. The result of pneumonia and leukemia. 

Two weeks earlier, she'd felt so bad she called Brian, our older son, and asked him to take her to a freestanding emergency place (a/k/a "Doc-In-A-Box). Now, she's always been a "suck-it-up-buttercup" sort of gal, so when she did that, I knew she really felt bad. And it's no wonder ... she had come down with those ailments, unknown to either of us.

Oh, there were signs ... a pain in the chest ( which she attributed to a pulled muscle ) and a general overall feeling of punkness. When I asked if I couldn't take her, she said she'd rather have Brian do it. He's a now-retired 39-year medic, who retired as Chief of EMS Services of the Pelham Fire Department. 

The Doctor's Office immediately sedated and intubated her, and sent her to a local hospital via ambulance. They'd discovered the the two-pronged illness mentioned.

When they discovered the leukemia, they gave her some doses of oral chemo ... it was apparently that bad. That inhibited her marrow's production of certain blood ingredients, to which the doctors responded by giving her all the appropriate bloodstuff.

The doctor told Brian it would take one to two weeks to redevelop her bone marrow, and turn what corners were available. There were, apparently, none to be turned.

The 9 days later, we had a family meeting in our home. We discussed everything I could think of to work out, and the consensus was to wait until the following Friday ( the end of the two weeks ), and then make the necessary decision.

There was no improvement by the Friday; they called Brian and told him, and .. in accordance with her Living Will ... treatment was discontinued. And she died within an hour.

The "funeral" was yesterday, and was as much of a Celebration of Life as I have ever seen, or could ever ask for.

I have a lot of thoughts, but let me just emphasize a few points: 

1) Talk with your spouse, about what will happen on that day. Get it all covered in advance.

2) If you don't have a pre-arranged funeral service, do it yesterday ( if not sooner ). When death has already knocked on the door, it's not the time to make decisions and spend money.

3) Talk it out with the whole family. Listen to their input, then tell them your preferences.

4) Think about others until all the services, dinners, and hoopla are over. They may not have handled it as well as you, and they need your encouragement. And encouraging others encourages us.

5)  BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN where your spouse is going when he or she dies. That way, you'll know that you'll see them again.

There are other things I could write, but I'll just say those things for now. 61 years are not easy to condense.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Church On An Airplane

Back in 2005, I took Peggy to Las Vegas for a brief vacation. Hey now .. there are lots of things to see there besides gambling!

We drove through the Valley of Fire State Park, which is incredibly beautiful. We went from there to the far end of Lake Mead, and followed it back to Hoover Dam. Such incredible sights!

The most impressive thing we did was to go to the North Las Vegas Airport. There, we got onto a small commuter-type airplane and flew to the Grand Canyon National Park Airport, near Tusayan, Arizona. We flew over a little of the canyon, but not a lot; mostly across it. We then went a few miles North to the rim of the canyon, and the visitor center there.

The canyon is simply overwhelming!

After, we went back to the airport, and flew back to Las Vegas. Only this time, the pilot flew to the canyon, and then flew down the center of it. That was simply incredible to view!

As I was gazing into the magnificent canyon and rock formations, the Intercom was droning on about how nature had formed it over millions of years. The song "He Hideth My Soul" kept echoing in my head, and when the Intercom said nature had carved the canyon, I got one of the few messages from God in my memory. In the message, God said


That did it! I could not speak; all I could do was cry. So in the middle of the bigtime spell, I grabbed the Barf Bag, and started to write. Here it is:

I don't even know if I got all the words right, but it doesn't matter. It says what was in my heart. And it should be in your heart, too, because he did and does.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Things I Never Heard.

At least, not in church....

Let's consider a couple of things:

For one thing, Baptism. We are, after all, Baptists, so we should understand the real significance of that event in our lives. We should understand the magnitude of what it represents.

I've heard Jesus was Baptized, and we should be, too. Well, He walked on water and healed the sick, but we do not seem to do those things.

Jesus also walked on water, but I haven't seen that happening among us, now, in 38 years in SBC.

I have also heard that Baptism represent the first confession of our faith. That always grinds on me; if that's so, then those in the congregation that morning (around 33% of the members, at that) are the only ones to whom our faith is confessed. I have a hard time thinking that's really His plan.

 Then there's Holy Communion. We do that because He did say " often as you do this ...".

So we take Communion fairly regularly, most likely on some "special occasion" ... like the 5th Sunday of the month (at least when it has five Sundays).

But is that all it means? I realize it represents the Body and Blood of the Savior, but is there more? I think there is....


When we are baptized ... by immersion, the only real form of baptism ... we place ourselves in the hands of someone else. They then lower us into, and under, the water. Backwards, in a position from which it would be difficult for us to recover.

In a very real sense, we are placing ourselves in a very difficult position, placing our lives in someone else's hands.

To continue living, we must be rescued.

Isn't that like the Christian life? One from which we'd have difficulty leaving (think Eternal Security of the believer) and one which we really have no hope, outside of being rescued by Someone.

I am 81 years old. My last day here is a lot closer than my first day. And on that day, my sole and soul hope of "rescue" is my security in Jesus.

Then there's ......


All throughout the animal kingdom, "upward mobility" is always initiated within the level above. Dirt cannot become grass, but the grass can send down roots and part of the dirt can become part of the grass.

The same is true for Grass & Cows, for Cows & Man, and Man & God. (Check Hebrews 9:27 to see what God did about that). But then we come to Jesus and Man. Jesus tells us that we must consume His Body and Blood, or we have no part in Him! There's a lot of symbolism in that!

For one thing, He wants to be part of our lives! That's an awesome thought all by itself, and let's add His guidance to the mix .... IF we listen to Him. And pay obedient attention. PLUS: Some of the things He wants done here need some flesh, and methinks HE wants to commandeer ours! Talk about an HONOR! 

Those things ... those thoughts and conclusions ... are things I have never heard anyone say.

Well ... at least not man .... 

Wednesday, August 07, 2019


Hebrews 9:27 tells us " it is appointed unto man, once to die ....".

The word "appointed" is "Apokeimai" ... laid away, in reserve.

The word for "man" is "Anthropos" .. a human being.

That's right ... you and I have an appointment to die. And considering the expanse of time, I must think that it was God Himself, Who made that appointment.

The picture there is Mrs. Karen Scott, wife of Dr.  CB Scott, who is an Associational Missions Strategist in Eastern Kentucky. This past Friday afternoon, Karen succumbed to many years' effects of MS, and died quietly at home. And from what I understand, she died exactly as she would have preferred.

I first met CB at the SBC Annual Meeting in Greensboro, NC, in the summer of 2006. We met that very next week, over lunch, and in that one  meeting he became my best friend. And he still is, from 400 miles away.

He's the one guy I want on Speed Dial.

Not long after our first meeting, Peg and I went to Westmont Baptist Church, in suburban Birmingham, for a Sunday evening service. He invited us over, after the service, for coffee. That was when I first met Karen, who was suffering from MS all those years ago.

I used the word "Suffering", and I am sure she was.  Even then, she was confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk, but I do not recall her ever, not once, complaining about her condition, her pain level, or the many infirmities brought by the disease. Or, for that matter, anything else. She was, in all respects, a ray of sunshine in a difficult time, and in difficult conditions.

At that time, they had 4 children in their home, taken in by their choice, from the Alabama Baptist Children's Home. While there was much she could not do, owing to the illness, she and CB saw to their upbringing. To their nurture and admonition. And they did it superbly. One of their foster sons went on to attain high, high honors in the United States Marines, serving as a Guard on Marine One, and the other became a Pharmacist in the Birmingham area.

The two daughters are still at home, and I am confident that they will carry the traits of their "Nan" with them for the rest of their lives.

Here's a picture I took about 8 years ago, at lunch with the Scotts, in our favorite Chinese Restaurant. As we were sitting there, he got a phone call from the Clerk of the Court they'd petitioned for the formal adoption of Ashley and Carrie; the Clerk told him the girls were now theirs, the Judge having signed the Interlocutory Decree.

The girls were now Ashley and Carrie Scott!

IF you'd like a further indication of how well the boys turned out, catch this: While Stephan was still in Pharmacy School, at Samford, he went to the Courthouse, paid the fee, and had his last name officially and formally changed to Scott.

Peg has lost a good friend, one with whom she shared innumerable telephone hours. Karen used to refer to that as her "Peg time", and that is and was precious to us both.

Over the years and years of fellowship with Karen and CB and the kids, I have personally been left so much richer for the experience. And I am quite sure that those memories will continue to grow and prosper and bring fruit in my life.

At least, until I see her once again.

Where there's no more MS.

Friday, August 02, 2019



While doing some cleaning the other day, Peg ran across a  plastic sandwich bag full of Silly Putty we'd gotten for the kids many years ago. It was stored in a Ziploc bag somewhere.

Silly putty hadn't been invented when I was a kid, so I'd never had a chance to play with the stuff, back then. So .... it was fun!

When I got done messing with that kids' stuff, I laid it down on the glass surface of a Lazy Susan which sits atop our kitchen table. The next day, I noticed it was now a nice big puddle, as opposed to the ball it had been a day earlier.

And that gave birth to a thought or two in my alleged mind.

Silly Putty is good for lots of things. Things like making small statues .... my younger son used to make excellent dogs from the stuff ... rolling it out into snakes ... making a bunch  of little spheres .. playthings like that.  What I noticed that day, however, was that it conformed itself to its surroundings. Put it in a little cup, and it quickly adapts to the shape of the cup. Stick it in a plastic bag ... where my wife found this little batch, and it adapts to the space it's stored in.

In this case, put it on the glass top of a 40+ year old Lazy Susan on our Breakfast Table, and it oozes out into a shiny puddle shaped exactly like the glass surface it's lying on.

On the other hand, the rocks in the picture stayed exactly as they were when they were in the planter area alongside our fireplace. And that sparked a couple more thoughts in that elusive brain space.

As Christians, we're called to be different from "the world". But that's not easy for us, as we seem to be a gregarious sort that wants to fit in with those around us. So, in a world where casual sex, little white lies, cuss words ... and all that sort of thing ... are increasingly acceptable, we're not supposed to be like that world, or society.

It seems to me God would have known what the society was going to be like ...  all the many things society deems acceptable ... the general downward drift in societal mores .... the tendency of some outside our Churches (and maybe some inside), to refer to a devoted Christ follower as "goody-two-shoes'.

Well, He did! And He warned us, and gave us the antidote for it:

Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind ...".

And I just now noticed something I had never seen before! He tells us "do not ... any longer ... ", which indicates to me that He knew that conformity would be our natural tendency! And in the last half of the sentence, He gives us the remedy for the dilemma: A renewed mind!

That is something only a sovereign God could accomplish in us! And if He tells us to do that, He's saying (to me, at least) that (1) We must be able to do that on our own ... Hint: We can't, or, (2) He can, and will  ... if we will allow Him to do so.

And that  will allow us to be transformed and not conform to the world.

We can be Rocks, not Silly Putty. 

If that's what we want. And will allow Him to do for us.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Insurance and Race?

Yes indeed. A lot of my philosophy as to race relations come from my 45+ years in the insurance industry (not Life & Health, but the kind you buy to protect your car & house).

Here's how:

The insurance industry is tasked with sorting people into classes, for the purpose of rating, etc. You wouldn't expect the Fire-Resistive bank building to pay the same rate as the frame Dynamite Factory, for instance. And the snag comes in as to just how to do that, while following an industry principle of non-discrimination Discrimination is interpreted as charging a rate for some people based on factors unrelated to what's referred to as risk exposure.

Example: you could not charge a different rate for left-handed people, than for right-handed people. Unless you could prove statistically that one's "handedness" actually affected the exposure.

The trick is knowing that what's true for the masses is not necessarily true for the individual. I happen to be a Pentecostal, Calvinistic Southern Baptist, and those descriptions are handy, conveying a lot of information. But anything you have seen in people who fit any of those definitions, does not necessarily apply to me.

There's a noted tendency for youthful drivers to have more accidents than older ones, but that tells me absolutely nothing about your son or daughter and what kind of driver they are.

I have heard Pentecostals who believe every person should speak in an unknown tongue. I do not believe that.

I have heard ... and read ... some Calvinists say that some children are not elect. That they are doomed to hell.  I do not; at least not those too young to know right from wrong.

Remember Isaiah 7:14? Let's see what it says, including the ensuing verses...

ISAIAH 7:14-16: Therefor the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste." 

Catch that? There would be a time in the life of the offspring of the virgin who would conceive, in this promise of the Savior, that he would not know enough to choose what's right and reject what's wrong.

If it is important that we know that about Jesus, then it's important that we know that about us, too.

I also do not believe that Calvinists, such as Presbyterians, are lax on evangelism.When Covenant Presbyterian Church was founded 40+ years ago, our budget for missions was 50% of the budget for normal operating expense. 1/3 of the church's total budget! But as of today, I don't know of any SBC churches with a similar missions budget.

Now, as to race: we all see the TV shows such as "COPS", and noted that the race of the criminals ... at least the ones they show ... is plain to see. But even if crime is skewed toward one race or the other, that does not tell me anything about any one person. None of the black preachers I've met, for instance, has anything in common with a black criminal. 40+ years in the insurance business taught me that I cannot make that leap in conclusions.

If you're tired of people judging other by their race, or any other generalized factor  you've noticed, my suggestion is to remember the lesson from the insurance industry. And the principles we'd all do well to remember.

PS: Think of piano keys. When a black key gets out of tune, we wouldn't dream of tearing out all the black keys, would we? Goodness, no ... we'd tune up the black key so it could do its job And the music would be better once we'd done that.