Saturday On The Coast

It’s a soggy Saturday on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A line of severe storms and drenching rain is moving across the Southeast, so we’re not alone. I’m looking outside my dining room window as I compose this post. My headphones are in place as I listen to some great contemporary Christian music. I’ve got a hot fresh cup of french vanilla flavored Community Coffee beside me. It is in my ‘On The Record with Greta Van Susteren’ cup given to me by Donna Kirkendall. My mother will fuss at me if I joke that every  time I take a sip some spills out the side. I don’t have a big subject for today … just spending a few minutes with my weekend readers!

Just after noon today I met the group of five from the Nichols Street Church of Christ in Bay City, Texas.  Joe Wrape is the preacher for this church, and has been for several years. When my dad and brother moved to Bay City many years ago the minister was Rod Tate and associate minister was Ronney Wheeler. Rod was an important part of our recovery effort here, making three trips to the Coast and helping me with some supplies for my home (flooring). Rod is now in Chatsworth, Georgia. Ronney was at Magnolia Bible College when I entered there at age 17. He and Sylvia are now in Arizona leading lost people to Jesus. Anyhow, Joe has done a marvelous job at Bay City. He is what I call a throw-down-get-in-your-face-and-love-you-while-he-tells-you-the-truth kind of preacher. He is plainspoken, but loving … and they love him there. I’ve enjoyed some of his sermon tapes. He will retire in June and the church there is actively looking to replace him. He will be missed in Bay City. The youth minister and wife are Jeff and Kera Hubbard. I just met them today. Kera is a great organizer. They are here to work for a few days, take in the operation, and go back home to get a crew ready to come for an entire week in the summer.

Arriving this afternoon will be a crew led by Ross Jordan of the Central Church of Christ in Dalton, GA. This is Ross’ fourth or fifth trip down. He is an amazing man … energy levels approaching those of David Jordan (most everyone who’s been here understands that reference!). Ross will speak for us Wednesday night. If you’re in the area, plan to drop by. It’ll be a great message.

Sunday morning I plan to continue some thoughts from Colossians with a message called “Rescued By The Cross“. We will do an introduction to Colossians for Bible class. I may visit Meridian Street in Moss Point on Sunday night. I enjoy visiting this great family of believers.

I’ve been thinking some about undenominational Christianity this morning. I really do think that many of ‘our’struggles in the churches of Christ is rooted in our desire to be undenominational yet at the same time maintain a distinctive personality from the rest of Christendom. I can recall sermons on ‘The Distinctiveness of the Church of Christ’ (yes, I preached a sermon like that a few decades ago). One of the ‘distinctives’ is that we are not a denomination. Surely I am not alone is seeing the irony of those two ideals. True enough churches of Christ do not have some of the trappings of denominational structure, and I’m so thankful for this. I love the Church of Christ, but I believe we are called to love the church of Christ more. Maybe we’ll explore that more in the coming days. Feel free to comment on it if you want to.

My friend Ray Hawk has a great faith journey you can start reading about on his new blog located HERE. Be sure to read the first post … he only has three on there now. I happen to know that he is out of town for a few days and it would be great if he came back to several comments. If you have time, let him know you’ve been by. He’ll be one of my ‘must reads’. By the way, I only know Ray because of the internet. He was on staff at the Campbell Street Church of Christ in Jackson, TN for many years. Maybe he still is, I’m not sure.

Blogger Phil Sanders touted the value of the latest issue of the Spiritual Sword recently on his blog. Bogger Gary Kirkendall takes issue with a point made (one of many that could be made, I’m sure). As for my copy of the latest SS, I thought it was a brilliant piece of work by an attorney who is building his case. But it is not sufficient to dismiss the other person’s point of view as if it is meaningless, which Highers does to Atchley. At the end of the day, Judge Highers dismissed Romans 14 and became also jury and executioner. Personally, I’m satisfied that acappella singing is our heritage, tradition, and for many of us a preference. To make this a law, however, implies that those who break it will be lost. Opinions are excellent, even strong ones, but the eternal destiny of a servant of God is not ours to decide. The entire issue of the Spiritual Sword is a legal document designed to close the case on Rick Atchley and the Richland Hills Church of Christ elders. This is simply not our prerogative. It also stands as a testimony against us from the larger church of Christ. I would love to see Spiritual Sword, Judge Highers, and Phil Sanders devote some time to the bigger issues facing the Christian Community. They are much smarter than I am. I believe they are well equipped to deal with the philosophical issues being faced by this generation. I don’t know if any of them will read this, but I suggest some time listening to Ravi Zachariaus – also a brilliant man – who is presenting on college campuses the kind of information for which this generation is starving. At the very least, it would be good to read their opinions without the mean spirit that charaterizes the Spiritual Sword.

Well, I ended up writing much more than I meant to. Maybe a few will read it all! Here’s a contemplative video / song to enjoy from Hillsong Church in Australia. Yes, there are instruments. I do not know of many acappella videos on YouTube. Thanks for reading.


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