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. 

Company

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:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2CoxTLtJRk]

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.

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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.

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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.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvHnmo499_Y]

Next Steps

The countryside of Athens, Tennessee.

I left yesterday’s post with a cliffhanger:  I’ll speak for myself, and what I see Central doing ‘from here’. Tomorrow. I’m sure you’ve all lost sleep over what Dobbs was going to post next. Actually this may not have been a cliffhanger for you, but it certainly is one for me. It’s one I’ve been anxious about for well over a year now. I wish I could just be the medium and channel a Word from the Lord here on the blog and wake up to find the trek given by divine guidance. But since that’s evidently not going to happen (I’ve been waiting here for a few minutes), then I’ll share a few thoughts. These are not going to startle you with originality, but I think they are self-evident in importance.

*Central Must Love the Hurting. On his first trip to Pascagoula (or ‘Pasky’ as he likes to call it), Marvin Phillips suggested a slogan: This church wants to be the best friend this community ever had. It really did fit, and it really is right.  The post-Katrina needs will be here for at least a decade. But many of these same needs existed before the hurricane. They are just the needs of humanity…needs Jesus did not overlook in his ministry. This attention to the community not only touches those who live here, but also the hearts of those who come to volunteer. Often they tell us that they have decided to go home and serve there in some capacity.  It would be easier to ignore the needs around us and exist to simply repeat our beliefs to ourselves, but we would not be Christ’s church.

*Central Must Love The Lost. The mission of the cross must always cast a shadow over everything that we do. Humanitarian efforts are wonderful, but when a lost person finds Jesus Christ in their lives, it is a glorious moment! This is not always comfortable. It demands that we spend time with lost people. It calls us to be more concerned about others than we are about ourselves. Our hearts should be driven to reach those who do not know Jesus. We must always reach out, even when it is a struggle, to show our neighbors the love of Christ that would not let us go.

*Central Must Love Without Bias. Love must be genuine. We can love people because they are created by God! I’ve met a lot of different kind of people since Katrina destroyed the Coast. I have met homeless people – and actually gotten to know them – for the first time in my life. I have now made friends with drug addicts. I know people who function somehow in society with barely a mental connection to real life. I have met people of every color, various languages, and different nationalities. I have spent time with people who do not know where they will sleep tonight. I know people who have been in jail a few times since the storm. I have talked with people who, from all evidence, do not know what deodorant is and do not regularly bathe. Some can’t. I have met some really old grouchy ungrateful people, and I have met some really old  sweet, delightful, beautiful people. I’ve met some young bucks who thought they shouldn’t have to work in order to live, and I’ve met some hard working young people who work too hard, make too little, and need some help. Reaching out to all of these kinds of people is not easy. I’m not saying that I’m good at it. This requires a demonstration of divine love. Many may disappoint us, and many may never consider being a part of us … but we love them without bias … we choose to love them all.

*Central Must Die and Christ Must Live.  Our aim cannot be to restore the Central Church of Christ. Whatever glory or good that was done in the past is now in the past. God is here and now. Our job is here and now. It is God who is recreating Central into something new, yet ancient. The message is the same. The Gospel is still being rehearsed, lived, and shared. The population of the church has changed. It changed before the storm. It has changed since the storm. People searching for only God knows what come and go. There will be those, though, that are reached who become a permanent part of our lives. These precious ones are God’s gifts to our church. Being a church of Christ is much more than what is printed on the sign out front. A submissive spirit and willingness to yeild to God’s will is what makes a church ‘of Christ’.

As I said, these are not startling in their originality, but I think these are some areas that we could overlook by placing our focus elsewhere. A Long post, I know. Thanks for hanging in there!