Saturday on the Coast

Early this morning our new friends from Danville, Kentucky left for home. I pray that they had a safe journey as they rejoined their families. I appreciate so much what they brought with them … willing and capable hands … big smiles … and the love of Jesus Christ. After 15 months and thousands of these precious souls, I’m a bit repetitious when I speak of them. How many ways can we say ‘thank you’? Well, I don’t know. I just know that we have been surrounded by angels of mercy sent from the Father’s hand. I don’t know of any workers this coming week until Saturday night. Tom Hixson, a friend from Pennsylvania, will arrive with a crew of ten skilled workers for the week.

Heavy on my mind is the Seab family. Many of our volunteers will, no doubt, remember Debbie Seab who helps in the kitchen so much. Debbie’s mother-in-law, Sue, is in the hospital and not expected to live much longer. Sue is 80, has lived the past many years in pain, and yet has always been present to worship in the assembly with a smile. She truly lived to serve other people, and in that way has endeared herself into many hearts. Pray for her family as she prepares for her victorious entrance into a new life. Were we not Christians, there would be no hope. But since we trust Christ we believe His promises. His grave remains empty. We are only sad for our loss, not for her gain in Jesus.

Today we had a work day at our building. A few people showed up to help. Remember – a ‘few’ were saved on the ark – you’re getting the idea! We enjoyed working together, though, and a lot was accomplished around the church building. We are ready to put some wood flooring down in two classrooms. The carpet is here and hopefully will be installed before too long. Things are progressing rapidly at Central’s meeting place.

Thirsty For God is the theme of an evangelistic outreach at Central for 2007. Plans are currently being made for a kick-off week January 28-February 4. Only my friends (who know I’m a sports ignoramus) will believe me when I say that I was using this ‘kick-off’ terminology long before I knew that February 4 was ‘super Sunday’. Anyway, we hope to have a week where we can stir up some Bible studies and interest using the contacts we already have. Following that, we would like to keep two – four people here at all times who are only going to be following up, continuing studies, and working with those we have reached. They will also be mentoring people in our church by taking them with them on visitation and study efforts. If you are interested in participating and being in on the ground floor of the planning, please feel free to join our Yahoo! Group called GodThirst.

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday with God’s people. Find someone who looks lonely and sit by them. Give someone a warm smile and listen to what they have to say. Give a call to someone you noticed was missing. Seek opportunities to reach out … they are all around you. God bless you and thank you for reading.

Kingdom Come: Chapter Four

I do apologize for the long delay, and hope that those who have read the book or are reading will take a few moments to share their reflections.

Chapter Four is The Holy Spirit: God’s Redemptive Presence in the World. It concerns Harding’s appreciation for the indwelling Spirit in a church climate that was largely rejecting this vital teaching.  After a brief introduction of the subject, readers are informed of influential writer J. C. Hollowway and his attacks against Harding’s stance. Those who are familiar with the arguments, still presented today, will not be surprised by them.  (The Spirit works only through the word, etc.) Holloway actually thought that Harding was “a danger“. Harding thought that Holloway was “an example of rising deism among churches of Christ.”

The Holy Spirit in Harding’s theology was the Christian’s enabler. The Spirit is the secret to living in the shadow of the second coming.” Far from viewing this as an inconsequential matter, the indwelling Spirit was a centerpiece of Harding’s apocalyptic worldview. Harding and Holloway regarded each other with pity, each believing the other was treating the Word of God disrespectfully. As a result of their differing views, Holloway and Harding also disagreed on subjects such as special providence, grace and prayer. By the 1930’s Holloway’s view had emerged as the dominant tradition among churches of Christ.

The next sections identify aspects of this discussion and present Scripture that teaches the same. God is presented as relational – seeking intimate communion with His creatures. “The narrative of Scripture reinforces the longing of God for relationship with his creation.” Both in the Old and New Testaments The Spirit of God plays a predominant role in the Father’s relationship with humans. In the life of Jesus, the Spirit is present at baptism and birth. He is also present in the re-birth of those who have faith in Christ. The church is “God’s new community ….born and baptized of the Spirit.” In an excellent manner Hicks and Valentine lay out a theology of the Spirit from the pages of the New Testament.

In a following segment of the chapter, Living In The Spirit is the subject. Readers are encouraged to “learn to enjoy God.” “Prayer and worship, as means of being filled with the Spirit, bring us into intimate communion with the triune God as a foretaste of the new creation.” Living by the Spirit also means that we are longing for transformation. In our ongoing participation with God in life we are also equipped to serve God, using gifts that He has given to us.

 In conclusion Hicks and Valentine write, “Though surviving in pockets in the Churches of Christ, Harding’s perspective was soon eclipsed by rationalistic and symbolic views.”

***

What do you think…. is the Spirit actually the Word … or is the Spirit of God alive within the Christian?

In your experience, what is the view of most people with whom you have been associated?

Does it matter to you if the Spirit indwells via the word or personally? Why?

How important is this issue in regards to fellowship?

Why could it be said that our culture is more open to the personal indwelling today?

What does the Bible say?

***News***

NC sees tornadoes; 8 die in the storms.

Doctors in Biloxi are studying inhaled insulin … good news for diabetics.

Elderly Gulfport Storm Victim Gets New House!

700 People Sick On Cruise.

Ongoing Relief Work In Slidell, Louisiana.

***Blogs***

What happens when someone who knows nothing about the Bible starts reading it … and Blogging about it?

Danny Dodd’s discussion of Should We Fight continues…

Wednesday

Lance Ladd of Danville, Kentucky

 This morning began with a blustery series of thunderstorms that created some tornadoes in the county. We are supposed to have a very windy afternoon as a cold front makes its way through. Tomorrow should be very chilly. Yay for me… although some people do not enjoy the cold weather, I do. Of course this is pretty warm for some of our Yankee friends. I spent most of the day in the office preparing for Sunday. Tonight we had a guest speaker, Lance Ladd. He is the minister for the Indian Hills Christian Church in Danville, Kentucky. As you can see from his picture above, he is a Kentucky Wildcats fan. He is also a very devoted student of the Word. He had a great message that I wish all of our churches along the Coast could have heard from Philippians chapter one.

There are a group of ten or so from that church working hard this week. Their picture is below. Another group is here also from Padukah, Kentucky, but they are still associating with the Ocean Springs church of Christ at worship times… friendship is such a strong tie! So I don’t have their picture, but they have my love and appreciation. Their picture is on Al Sturgeon’s blog, linked below.

Tomorrow has several activities in store for us. At noon it is Grandparents Day at Central Elementary. I will give you a report. Also The Crabb Family is performing in Mobile tomorrow night. I am not all that big on Southern Gospel, but I like this group. I hope to get over to hear that.

***BLOG LINKS***

Is this guy serious? What do you think?

Make lasting changes in your diet.

Al Sturgeon has relief workers in this week … unity is to be found in a common cause!

***STORM NEWS***

Tornadoes rip across Louisana and Mississippi.

Avera Baptist Church in ruins.

Taconi Elementary School in Ocean Springs was damaged in Katrina, now damaged by a tornado. Video.

Biloxi Soaked With Seven Inches of Rain. Water in newly remodeled homes.

1 Killed As Storms Rage Across the South.

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.