Memorable Sermon Moments

In a recent blog post, Dusty Rush asked who would make our list of the top five preachers. His list is hard to beat, and I would likely have to put his top five on my list as well. I’d like to put a twist on that subject and list some memorable sermon moments … and I’d like to hear yours as well. As I think about this I’m finding it a little hard to get started. For one thing, many of my friends are preachers and I would be happy to hear any of them anytime.  In another way, this could turn of a ‘best of’ list of moments at Tulsa Workshop. For two decades I’ve been traveling to Oklahoma for this great gathering of believers. But, be that as it may, there are some moments that stand out in my memory. It may not have been as much what was said … as the condition of my heart … and the setting … and God’s work where it was needed.

The first one I want to mention wasn’t even live. I was a senior in college and my friend Glenn Jarrett handed me a cassette that was worn and obviously had been in his tape player numerous times. The sermon was called, “Reach Out or Fade Out“. I had a two hour trip in front of me and so I plugged it in and hit the road. I really wasn’t prepared for this super-fast-talking hyper preacher with a funny accent that tied together an Oklahoma drawl with an aussie influence. Marvin Phillips was preaching at the Darby Drive Church of Christ in Florence, Alabama when the soul-winning workshops were the rage. Many years later Marvin Phillips is my friend and he has made several trips to Pascagoula to encourage the people here. He’s still hyper.

I don’t remember where I was when I first heard it, but I heard it more than once. And each time, it was a masterpiece. It was a simple concept, but it truly built my faith and drew me closer to God’s word. It was a sermon tracing the presence of Jesus Christ in each of the books of the Old Testament. I have heard Cecil May, Jr. preach many sermons, but this one stands out in my mind. Brother May has always been a mentor … and more… to me. My admiration has grown for his ability to present pertinent and bibical lessons with relevant points without belittling other believers. He finds himself in a variety of settings, I think, because his interest is in teaching Scripture, and not tearing others apart with his words. I learned a lot from brother May, and I wish I had more of his temperament.

Wow…these descriptions are getting long…let me throw a few more and let that be that!

I cried all the way through Craig Hicks’ message at Tulsa Workshop one night as he talked about growing up in the church of Christ, when the church really was his family. His love for Christ was just blazing that night and even though I had never met him, I felt like I knew him when it was over. Craig has something special … gotta love that guy. I’m glad to say that these days I claim him as a friend, although we’re way overdue for a phone call.

One night at Youth In Action in Birmingham I was sitting there with the youth group from Central. Dusty Rush was introduced and walked out on that big stage. He started talking and looked up suddenly … right at me … and in front of 1200 people pointed and said, ‘There’s John Dobbs’. I’m sure 99% of the people were saying, ‘who’? But then they forgot about me as he told his famous sausage story. It’s a great story. I love that story. I request it when he comes to do retreats at Gulf Coast Bible Camp. However, he has now surpassed that story with a new one. One that he got down here in Pascagoula. Figuring out how to tell it in a sermon will be a challenge.

My buddy Danny Dodd and I were at the Spiritual Sword Lectures at the Getwell Church of Christ in Memphis, TN many moons ago. I’m thinking … 20 years ago? 25? I honestly can’t remember the brother’s name … but he ascended the pulpit and blandly and boringly read through his manuscript. I have no idea if the content was good or not, he was boring us out of our skulls. However, once he got through with that, he slapped it down on the pulpit and started animatedly shouting about Rubel Shelley and the other liberals. He happily gave them a one way ticket to the eternal flames. I think that was one of my first steps away from hateful legalism and graceless religion in my heart. Two other interesting things happend that same week. I met Ira Y. Rice Jr., then editor of Contending for the Faith. Also that week we all watched Garland Elkins’ appearance on The Donahue Show. Those were interesting.

Terry Rush throwing down his referee’s flag, demonstrating how some brethren object to every change was classic.

Don McLaughlin’s salad sermon was a good one.

I have a title to an old sermon of Danny Dodd’s in mind, but I think he’ll prefer me to keep that to myself.

I know I’m rambling now. Dusty’s idea was probably better, because he kept it short and sweet. And what’s up with him posting more than one blog a day? I don’t understand that.  I appreciate you reading. Check out a few links below.


I think everyone should listen to Gary Kirkendall’s latest podcast called Why We Fight. There’s a second part coming next week!

Danny Dodd wrote about pacifism and got good responses on his latest blogpost.

John Alan Turner wants to know how many churches have been killed by unemployed members?

Larry James makes a real difference in the lives of 50 homeless people in Dallas.

Jim Martin asks if we really want an Honest Church?

An Assortment of Thoughts

The Original Theatrical Trailer for JAWS.


MOVIES. I don’t know what came over me. I sat down this evening and no one was at home. I turned on the television and watched the TV Guide channel for a minute. There’s just nothing on that I’m interested in. So I started flipping through the channels and there was the beginning of JAWS. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this movie all the way through … probably only a few times. Mostly I catch it in mid stream. It’s not a complicated plot. But I started watching tonight and for some reason I just watched it all the way through. Maggy came in about an hour later and wanted to know if I was bored enough to watch JAWS, and then she watched the rest of it with me! I think JAWS will always be one of my favorite movies. It’s just so cool. Even Richard Dreyfuss, whom I normally do not like, was great in this film. It is still exciting, still has a charge when that familiar music begins to build as danger lurks nearby. Excellent. A half-way decent sequal, and two dismal follow-ups to that may make JAWS seem passe, but Steven Spielberg did a masterful job of creating an adventure / terror movie for all time.  Does anyone remember SNL’s skits on the landshark? Hiliarious. I was hoping that YouTube had a video of that posted, but I couldn’t find one. Anyhow, I never read Peter Benchley’s book, but I did read some of his other novels. When’s the first and last time you watched JAWS?

RELIEF WORK. We have two groups here right now, and they are getting a lot done. We happen to have several preachers here right now from various locations. One of the preachers is the home-town preacher of Paul and Elsie England, back in Paducah, Kentucky. I haven’t had a chance to meet him yet. Maybe tomorrow. I do not get much time with them, because they are staying very busy with their work crews. Today Paul England’s crew worked on the north side of our roof at Central. We had some issues there, but I think they are now repaired.

PRAYERS. Please pray for one of our elderly sisters, Sue, who is in the hospital tonight. She is a wonderful woman of faith with a great spirit. She has lived with poor health for many years, but never fails to smile and to serve. I have been amazed at Fred and Sue as they have come to the hospital to sit with someone while a family member has surgery … and the truth is that they should have been at home with some of us serving them. They are exemplary Christian people. Please also offer up prayer for Tex Nolan from Monroe, LA. He had a massive heart attack last night. He is stabilized and we pray that the next few days will find him growing stronger.  Tex has been an awesome partner with us in this recovery effort. One big thing he did was acquire the delivery van that has now delivered countless appliances, beds, and supplies to homes throughout Pascagoula. Even though there is a considerable distance between the Coast and North Louisiana, he has continued to come down bringing supplies, always with a big smile. His positive attitude and at the same time a humble spirit have made us happy to see him whenever he walkes in the door.  He is a member at University Church of Christ in Monroe…

UNIVERSITY. And speaking of University, I have had an opportunity to preach for this congregation and they are a great bunch of people. Tammy Matthews is one of their deacons that has been down to the Coast several times, and has told me he often reads the blog. My friend James Guy recently moved up there and forgot all about me. He hasn’t called me except once since his move. I didn’t even know he had accepted the work until I heard it from someone else. So James Guy, if you’re out there, holler sometime!

DIET. I’m doing good on the South Beach Diet. The end of today represents the end of the first week. SBD isn’t like some other diets I’ve been on where everything is spelled out in specifics. It’s more a philosophy of food choices … and it’s something you study and learn. The first two weeks are the toughest, and I’ve got another week to go. Eating isn’t as much fun when you’re watching it all … so much of our socializing centers around food (and the wrong kind of food!). I was good at our church fellowship last night, though!

THANKSGIVING. What are your Thanksgiving plans? Is your church using this holiday as an outreach of any kind?

Hope you have a good night and thanks for reading!

Continue reading “An Assortment of Thoughts”

Sunday Night Ruminations & News

My Sunday is nearing an end as I get ready for a (prayerfully) good night’s sleep. We had one fantastically beautiful day on the Gulf Coast. It got down to about 40 last night, and close to 70 today. A clear blue canopy stretched over our day, with not a cloud in the sky. We had a good number in services this morning with community visitors and hurricane relief workers. Our friends the Scruggs’ from Eva, AL were back. They have been here so often we’ve lost count. We also had the first few workers from Faith and Works Ministry come in. Two are from Kentucky, and Butch is from Virginia. The rest should arrive late tonight, including Lance Ladd. Lance will speak for us Wednesday night. In both worship and Bible class the focus was on Philippians 1, and there was a good response to the messages.

This afternoon I fell asleep for a while watching the Atlanta / Cleveland football game. Then we went to the Boswell’s for our Family Fellowship time. We had a good meeting and Butch Dillenger shared some of of his life story with us. He is very inspirational as he talks about how in God’s mercy he was recsued from his life of sin. He shed tears when he talked about how quickly people in this world are dying without Jesus. His mission works typcially carry him to Mexico, but he decided to join this trip to the Gulf Coast. Butch preaches for a church in Virginia, and is a talkative and likable brother I enjoyed meeting today.

Tonight we had some conversation with Maggy’s sister and cousin, who will return to the Delta in the morning. They have spent the weekend helping Maggy decorate some in the house. Things are looking good, and we are thankful for their input and help.

A few news items that caught my attention today …

Would you change your name to win an election? Ask Andy Griffith! More corrupt things than this have taken place to secure the winner’s seat!

Did you ever stick your head in a plastic pumpkin and get it stuck? Well, there was this deer, see…and he stuck his face right into that jack-o-lantern…and it wouldn’t come off. News is reporting now that the deer has rid himself of his unintended halloween mask, but may suffer further consequences. Maybe he should use the same counselor as Rudolph…. they wouldn’t play games with him after that red nose incident.

Dobson to Haggard: I really don’t have time to help you. Genuine reason … or not wanting to be closely associated with the fallen leader?

Hurricane Katrina Mississippi Recovery Update: FEMA

Happy People Are Healthier. Doesn’t the Bible tell us something like that?

Worst Mosquito Outbreak On The Coast In A Decade.

Bond is Back. Any 007 fans out there? Who is your favorite Bond, and what’s your favorite Bond movie? It’s really hard to pick. I like Goldfinger and Dr. No probably the best. Although some of the newer ones are more action packed, I think they have less mystery. 


We have company for the weekend. Maggy’s sister Kathy and cousin Brenda are here for a few days. Already they have brought a lot of joy and smiles to our home. I’m thankful that they can be here. Tomorrow is a bridal shower for our daughter who was married a few months ago. Saturday night a new crew of workers arrives for the week. It’s Day 4 of South Beach Diet and all is going well. And that’s what’s going on in my world.

Here are some blogs that caught my attention today.

The Volunteer Villages of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance are proving very popular, a fact which is evident in just how many work teams traveled to the Gulf Coast last month.  While many people think that things are winding down, the work continues all along the Coast.

Here are some online Bible study resources presented by Matt Dabbs.

Dusty Rush Identifies Some True Heroes, and Makes An Appeal.

Mike Cope speaks of the challenges of ministering to different kinds of people.

Terry Rush weighs in on Ted Haggard.

Thanks for reading!

A Little Lighter

I’ve been pretty serious on the blog lately and I’ve been very grumpy today. I just want to lighten things up a bit tonight. I’ve spent today with this grim look on my face feeling all serious and sullen. What’s up with that! My wife suggested that I might need some medication. I think it’s because I’m on day three of South Beach Diet and I am no longer cruising through my day on a sugar high. I have said goodbye to sugar before, and I know that this too will pass. But until then I reserve my right to growl like a bear now and again. grrrrr. All of this in the pursuit of being a little lighter. OK, a lot lighter, as the Doctor ordered. I’m going to fix some decaf and be back in a minute.

 There. That’s better. The local news is on. There was a report of some thievery at some Mobile churches. They had photos of the vehicles the perpetrators were driving. One was a dark Honda. The other… a Ford Exhibition. It was not just an audio gaff, it was actually worded under the picture of the Expedition. Try to find that one on your local Ford car lot. A nice laugh at just the right time.

 It’s a sad time to be on a diet. I just discovered Paula Deen. Maggy has the Food Network on at various times when I come home. I thought Rachel Ray was the bomb. And while Rachel is younger, and some might say prettier, looks just do not count in the kitchen folks. Although let me hasten to say that Paula is a true Southern Belle and doesn’t fall short in her appearance! Paula cooks food like every man wants to eat. I think every recipe starts with two sticks of butter. I know that makes all nutritionally-aware-people cringe, but the way Paula says it you can just see the calories and fat running away. I really want to order Maggy some of Paula’s cookbooks, but I think this will work against us. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a South Beach friendly cookbook. But she does have a restaurant in Savannah, and I’m thinking I may have to go for a visit sometime. Yes, some people plan vacations by the ski trails, or by the scenery, or by the rides, or by the friends and family they can see. I plan a vacation to Paula Deen’s restaurant. I like that about me. Anyway, enough of that torture. I think I still have a piece of string cheese I can eat tonight. But if anyone will take down this recipe and make it for me, just give me a holler:

Now I guess I’m just rambling. It’s a little early to post the blog for tonight, but who knows…I may come back and add something to it. Yes, I know it’s a lot to ask if you read all of this AND watch up to ten minutes of video (thanks, You Tube!). But I figure you’d only do it if you had the time. I’m not sure I know why everyone reads my blog … they certainly do not all leave comment. Over a hundred people looked at yesterday’s post. I know some people are just friends who want to know what’s up with John. Some are looking for something about Central that they can gossip to their church buddies about. Some come here accidentally and promise to never land on this page again. Some are just addicted to Dobbs.  I’m feeling better. I think I’ll get another cup of decaf and see if that helps me feel even better.


Blogger Lindsey’s husband will be on the Oprah Winfrey show FRIDAY.

Carrie Dublin reflects on what life could have been like if her mother had lived longer.


So I’m going to leave you with a smile. Here’s something from Weird Al Yankovic just for fun. I don’t know if fat people or Michael Jackson should be more offended. I’m not offended. I just needed to lighten up.