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June 2012 entries

Historic Day in New Orleans

This afternoon at 2:50 a historic event will take place in New Orleans. For the first time in its 167 year history the Southern Baptist Convention will elect a black president. Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. Pastor Luter  be elected without opposition.

The SBC began in 1845 when a northern based mission sending society refused to appoint a southern slave owner as a missionary. Many churches in the south gathered in Augusta Georgia and convened the first Southern Baptist Convention for the purpose of appointing missionaries.  This group has spread the gospel of Jesus Christ around the globe by becoming the largest evangelical mission sending society in the world.

The election this afternoon has garnered the attention of secular media unlike our convention has for many years. Both conservative and liberal media outlets are gathered in New Orleans for this historic event. My prayer is that they not only stay for his election, but that they will stick around for Pastor Luter's acceptance speech. I have heard him speak many times and I am certain he will present a powerful gospel presentation.

The love of Jesus Christ is color blind. While this event in New Orleans today is big news, men and women someday will stand around the throne of God without regard to race or nationality. If our eyes are on Him then we become unconcerned with the color of the person who stands beside us.  I pray that God uses Fred Luter not to direct the world to see his color but that he continues to direct their eyes to Christ.        

Be Fruitful and Multiply

Recently Marilyn and I were able to announce to our friends and family that we were becoming grandparents. It was two of the most difficult weeks of my life. It was almost two weeks after Kate had gone to the doctor with some stomach pain that I was allowed to tell anyone. The doctor told her it wasn't a bug but a baby. I got a phone call from our son. I was elated and immediately began to update my Facebook status when I was told that I had to wait. They wanted to hear the heartbeat first.. So in less than a week Kate and Adam went to hear the heartbeat and all was well. I asked, "Can I update my status now?" I received another no. They wanted to personally tell the family and then on Sunday they were to announce it to their Sunday School class. So immediately after church I sent out the good news on my Facebook page.

The response has been great. So many people telling us how happy they are for Kate and Adam and the prospective grandparents. The messages from those I know who have already joined the grandmaw and paw club have been the sweetest. Evidently this grandparent thing is a whole lot better gig than parenting. It's like having your cake and eating it too. You have a baby, but no labor pains. You get to do all the fun things with the grandkids that you got to do with your own without the headache. Awesome. You get to ride flying elephants, eat breakfast with Mickey and Minnie, and battle it out on the Toy Story ride. (I actually still do the last, small children or not.)

However, I've been surprised that almost everyone has the same question for me. "What will you be called by your grandchild?" Evidently, that's a big deal. I never really dealt with that as a child since my grandparents had all passed away before I was born or shortly thereafter. And with our own two boys I don't remember that being a big issue. But it seems to be huge now. I know Marilyn does not want to be called Grandmaw or Grammie. Says it makes her feel old. All I can say, "If the shoe fits..." No, really, Marilyn that was tongue in cheek before you rip aforementioned tongue from my aforementioned cheek. She wants to be called "Mee-Mee." Honestly,does Mee-Mee sound better or younger than Grandmaw? Well we all know, "What Mee-Mee wants, Mee-Mee gets."

I didn't have to think long for my grandparent name. It just follows since Marily refers to me as Dr. Honey that my grand baby will call me "Dr. Papaw." It has a nice ring to it like Dr Pepper.

I have a feeling this child is going to call us whatever he or she wants to. That's alright with me. What a blessing to know the little boy that so many prayed for through his struggle with cancer is going to be a dad himself. That's all that really matters. PTL :)    

Thanks Ray

My son just texted me that Ray Bradbury has died at 91. I'm aware not all of you will know of whom I speak. If you haven't read his books, you probably have at least heard of them. Some of his more popular books were; Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Illustrated Man and Fahrenheit 451. He also published scores of short stories. It was his short stories that captivated me.

I have a lot to owe to this man I never knew. When I was just a kid I would read his short stories. They were a way of escaping my surroundings. I heard the whirring flying contraptions on Mars, the ghostly melodic rhythms of a carnival ride or the rusty hinges creak as the door to some mysterious deserted house opened to be explored.  When I put the book down I was awakened to the uncomfortable rattlings of a broken home in a poor neighborhood. I'm not sure how I would have survived those years if it weren't for my adventures with Ray Bradbury. I consider his work a gift from God to a boy who still would not give Him my heart.

I also learned to speak more effectively from reading short stories. Most of them were written by Mr. Bradbury. The use of adjectives and the ability to create a mood with words always fascinated me as a kid. No one was beter than Ray. Now as I have the wonderful opportunity to share from the world's greatest book, I try and use what I learned from those stories to cause stories from the Bible to come alive to my audience.

Sometimes people will approach me after a message and say, "I never heard that story that way before." I always give the credit to the Lord. For it is Christ  that gave me a love for literature.  From that love I have learned to appreciate all writing, even if it isn't sacred in nature. I'm not sure if Ray Bradbury ever accepted Christ as his Savior. I sure hope he did. I would love to meet him in heaven and tell him how his work changed my life.  It may surprise some people that a Baptist pastor would read anything accept his Bible or the likes of Billy Graham or Max Lucado. But it is my humble opinion that all gifts are from above.

So thanks Ray for how you helped me through some tough times. Thanks for your God-given talents that He has allowed me grow as a communicator so that I might help others too. I hope to see you some day.