Thursday, January 28, 2010

You're Invited

I think I am similar to everyone else in our community in that I like to be invited to something special, weddings, birthdays, graduations, and celebrations of a variety of events. I think you probably like invitations as well.

Consider this your invitation. Specifically, this is your invitation to our Series of Lessons on the Family,  February 5-7. Ted Burleson will be with us and will speak on the following topics:
Friday, Feb 5 at 7:00 - - - Family Development
Saturday, Feb 6 at 7:00 - - - The Stages of Family Life
Sunday, Feb 7 at 9:00 a.m. - - - Preparing for Marriage and Dealing with Family Problems.
Sunday at 10:00 a.m. - - - How Can the Church Help the Family
Sunday after Lunch - - - The Church Leader and His Family

When you visit with us, we want you to know that you truly honor us with your presence. You will find us to be a loving, family oriented congregation of people trying to serve the Lord in our public worship and in our daily lives. As an assembled group we are trying to be the church for which our Lord Jesus Christ died – nothing more, nothing less. Toward that effort, we follow the Bible as our only rule. We consider ourselves and call our selves Christians and nothing else. We seek to teach our community, state, nation, and world the simple gospel message that is the good news of the reign of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords. Our plea is that our efforts will lead you to obediently submit your life to Him.

Again, we offer you an invitation to join us during this series as well as any of our regular assembly times. If ever we can assist you or help you find Bible answers for your life, please let us know when you are here or by contacting us through our website HERE.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Three Year Old Saves Grandma

Children are amazing.  Watch the following video and read the comments below:

9-1-1 Call Video

What can we say?  This child listen to what his parents taught him, and was cool under pressure.  Verbal reports state that he even locked the dog in a room before he unlocked the door for the paramedics to come in.  He did not want the dog to get in the way.  WOW!

Children are capable of great things. Yet we sometimes downplay their importance. Consider the following suggestions:
  1. Parents, be sincere in encouraging your children.  Say things to build them up.
  2. Teachers, challenge children to learn and to grow intellectually.
  3. Parents, help your children be better students, by supporting the school they attend and assisting the teacher by teaching at home.
  4. Churches, do what you can to involve children and to use their energy. 
  5. Parents, lead your children in the way of the Lord (Deut 6:4-9).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What Paul Tweeted

I read this blog about Jesus's tweets during Holy Week.  I began thinking about what other Bible characters might post as their updates.  This is what Saul of Tarsus might write:

SaulofTarsus: Held coats while others stoned that blasphemer Stephen.  He was way off.  Said he saw God's throne.
SaulofTarsus: On way to Damascus.  Plan to pull those of that New Way out and stone 'em.

SaulofTarsus: WOW,  That's a bright light!  What? Whos said that?
SaulofTarsus: Ananias just left.  I was blind, but now I see!
SaulofTarsus:  Barnabas is a great guy!  Stood up for me again!
SaulofTarsus:  Folks are calling me Paul.  Barnabas and I on a mission to herald Jesus as the Messiah.  Taking his nephew John-Mark along.
SaulofTarsus: Changing profile to @ApostleOutofSeasonBTW John-Mark got homesick.  What part of Self-denial did his miss?
ApostleOutofSeason: Ol' Barney makes me so mad!  I refuse to take J-M back out.  Taking Silas instead.
ApostleOutofSeason: Philippian Prison has great acoustics.  When Silas and I sang, we brought down the house!
ApostleOutofSeason: For me to live is Christ.  To die would be gain!
ApostleOutofSeason: Rejoice in the Lord - ALWAYS!  Again I say REJOICE! 8-)
ApostleOutofSeason: I think, I'll write Timothy once more.  I miss that boy!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Surviving Tragedy

Saturday, January 23, 2010, hours after Haitian officials called off search and rescue efforts, volunteers found a survivor.  Eleven days after the magnitude 7 earthquake destroyed Port-au-Prince, rescuers removed Wismond Exantus from the wreckage of the hotel where he worked.  Inquired about his survival, Wismond said he lived on “Coca-Cola and tiny little things” he found in the cramped remains of the hotel grocery store where the earthquake trapped him.

Mr. Exantus remained alive 11 days.  His amazing rescue occurred only a few hours after workers were giving up hope of finding anyone else alive.  I do not know how he continued to live even, while those trapped with him apparently expired days ago.  Maybe he thought of reasons to survive. Maybe he continued to trust in the hope of rescue.  He did have family members who were looking for him, there is the possibility that he knew they would not give up.

When we read through Scripture the tragedy of mankind is not only apparent, but also expected; Job says, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1). The apostle penned, “. . . our outer self is wasting away . . .” (2 Cor 4:16).  There is a depressing thought in both of those verses; If we live long enough we will face tragedy.  

How do we wrestle with the sad events of life?  How do we face tragedy?

In one word: HOPE!  Paul continues, “. . . our inward self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” (2 Cor 4:16b-17).  There is our answer.  When we know Christ is waiting for our homecoming, we can survive.  When we know there is a reunion of the saved, we can survive.  When we know that we will be with him eternally, we can survive.  When the temporary tragedies of life blow as hard as they can, we can stand steadfast and sure, because our anchor of hope is deep.  We survive, because, “we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal..” (2 Cor 4:18).


Thursday, January 21, 2010


This past month, after 5 years and 3 months, the congregation at Parrish paid off our mortgage on our mortgage. In 2001 we located and purchased 17 acres of hill, hollow, and creek on the new road between Parrish and Oakman. In 2004 we completed construction on our current building. Then in 2007 we added a second building for fellowships. This month we paid the last payment on our mortgage. This is a year of Jubilee. This will open the door for us to do more in the way of missions and outreach. The elders planned to pay off the mortgage by 2014, but the "people had a mind to work." Below are pictures of our building, and mortgage burning last Sunday night!

Our Main Building in Parrish, Alabama

Denny Pugh, Sr. one of our elders reminds the congregation that in 2001, We began with 70 active members, and now have more than 150.

Charles Earnest who has served as Treasure for 49 years starts off the burning.

Elders, Ed Earnest and Denny Pugh watch the mortgage burn!

 Roger Minor, another of our Elders is happy to see those flames!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Parrish Gospel Meeting / Revival

This is a TV commercial -- color screen and countdown included -- for our Gospel meeting.  We will run this on two stations (Jasper TV 16 and the CW network affiliate in Birmingham (CW21).


Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday's Sermon on Slideshare

Here is my sermon from Sunday.  This is the PowerPoint.  Maybe you can build a lesson from this snippet.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Removing Evidence

The following list claims to be actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews.  A number of years ago, I shared this list with someone who works in USAF maintenance at Eglin AFB, and one who worked at a maintenance facility in Vietnam during the war. Both admitted that they had seen and made similar replies to similar maintenance requests.

Problem: "Left inside main tire almost needs replacement."
Solution: "Almost replaced left inside main tire."

Problem: "Test flight O.K., except 'autoland' very rough."
Solution: "'Autoland' not installed on this aircraft."

Problem #1: "#2 Propeller seeping prop fluid."
Solution #1: "#2 Propeller seepage normal."
Problem #2; "Propellers #1, #3, & #4 lack normal seepage."

Problem: "Something loose in cockpit."
Solution: "Something tightened in cockpit."

Problem: "DME volume unbelievably loud."
Solution: "Volume set at more believable level."

Problem: "Dead bugs on windshield."
Solution: "Live bugs on order."

Problem: " IFF inoperative."
Solution: "IFF inoperative in OFF mode."

Problem: "Friction lock causes throttle lever to stick."
Solution: "That's what they are there for."

Problem: "Number three engine missing."
Solution: "Number three engine found on right wing after a brief search."

Problem: "Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear."
Solution: "Evidence removed."

The last one gets my attention.  I estimate that this is exactly how many of us try to deal with our spiritual shortcomings.  There is evidence of sin in our lives, but instead of trying to correct the problem, we try to remove (or at least hide) the evidence. But we must remember that we will only find forgiveness when we are humbly honest and contrite before God.  Consider the words of the Psalmist:

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me." Ps 51:1-3.

No more hiding of evidence as there had once been in David's life.  Now he comes to God with an honest remorse about his actions.  He comes with a desire to once again be right in God's eyes.

Let's live with a heart like Davids.  Stop hiding the evidence and truly fix the problem with God's gracious help (Heb 4:16).


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Book Review - The Shack

I received a copy of the book, The Shack, by William Young for Christmas.  I delayed reading it until I had finished a couple of other books.  I started The Shack Sunday evening and finished Tuesday night.  This was a book that kept me interested.  I completely enjoyed learning the theology within the book.  The Shack is a story of one man's struggle with ongoing tragedy in his life and his ensuing struggle with God.  Much like Job, the book's main character, Mack, has an opportunity to confront God.  Mack walks away with a renewed reliance upon God and a new theology of God.  Through his encounter with God, Jesus, and their Spirit, Mack has to give up his long-held beliefs to understand God in a way that is new to him, and I think would be new to many who read this book. 

There are concepts and underlying notions within the book that I take issue with.  I will not comment about those other than to say for the most part they have to do mostly with 1) what William Young records as Mack's vision of God's appearance, and 2) a tendency for the story to seem somewhat reactionary to the abuses of mankind in the name of religion.

The theology that Mack comes away with has merit and is worthy of consideration.  Specifically in three areas.

  1. God is interested in a dynamic relationship with man.  There are many passage of Scripture that emphasize this same point, beginning at the beginning.  In the Garden of Eden man had free access to God and God to man.  Man however acted independent of God and broke the relationship.  He began to hide himself from God.  God walked in the cool of the day looking for man.  Knowing that sin damaged His relationship with man, He, through Jesus, began to provide a way for the restoration of that relationship.  In the prophets God says what He desires is for man to "do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly" with Him (Micah 6:8).  In his second epistle to Thessalonians, Paul tells them that those who KNOW God will escape condemnation.  Knowing God is having relationship with Him.
  2. Jesus is God: Mack's previous concept of God was that God the father was mean and controlling whereas God the Son was gracious, loving and understanding.  This changes for Mack when he really gets to know God and see the scars on His wrist match the scars on Jesus.  The words of Jesus plainly speak the same.  In words of comfort to His disciples, Jesus says, "If you have known Me, you would have known the Father . . ." Jn 14:7ff.  A real relationship with Jesus is a real relationship with God and the Spirit.  They are truly one in purpose, emotion, and action, even if they sometimes seem to act independently.
  3. God and suffering.  Mr. Young and Mr. Philips record words as coming from God, and they summarize the understanding of God's involvement in the world in a way I cannot, but in a way that I believe to be accurate in many ways. God says, " . . . just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrate the tragedies.  Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I needed it to accomplish my purposes.  That will only lead you to false notions about me.  Grace does not depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors." (pp. 187-188).
There is one more thing worth noting, and that is the role and value of forgiveness in our lives.  Not only the forgiveness we need from God, that He freely and lovingly offers in Christ, but also the forgiveness we extend to those who hurt us.  There are people Mack has to forgive so that he might begin to heal. Mack struggles with the process, but learns that forgiveness is not simply for the forgiven, but also for the offended.

Overall this book was a great read.

Scott McCown

Monday, January 11, 2010

Marriage Builders

I found the following list or a version of it while looking for information on unity.  This advice list of eight suggestions will help in marriage and any relationship.

  1. No matter how you feel be courteous.
  2. Do not interrupt each other.
  3. Value each other.
  4. Share the work load (housework, etc.)
  5. Spend time together.
  6. Work harder for each other (in your marriage) than you do for your career.
  7. Accept your differences and celebrate them.
  8. Express love daily in concrete ways.

Image courtesy of Daniel Howell Photography
Have a great week.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Building a Great Marriage

I have read a lot of blogs about marriages this week.  Maybe with a new year folks are trying to focus on relationships, that is a good thing.  Last year our oldest niece married and this summer our second oldest niece has a date picked (and a guy) for their wedding, so I have them in mind as I give a little marriage building advice.

Bricks that Build Marriage
  • Love: Eph 5:25,28, 33.  Love includes Trusting Each Other and being worthy of that Trust.
  • Leaving Parents: Gen 2:24.  Consider Marriage Permanent as you enter in.  Do get married thinking about divorce if it doesn't work out.  Plan for and work for success.
  • Learning: Titus 2:4-5.  Learn from those whose marriages are successful.  We have a couple at Parrish Church of Christ who celebrated 73 years of marriage in September.  Her comment, "Tell young couples to stay together, love gets sweeter every year."
  • Letting: 1 Cor 10:24.  Accept the Imperfections and Unchangeable in your spouse. Those annoying habits in marriage were cute, adorable characteristics when you were dating.  Let them remain that way.
  • Lift: Gal 6:2. Appreciate the dependency of marriage.  God made man and woman as each others' companion and helper.
  • Lord: Amos 3:3; 1 Pet 3:7.  We need to make God the center of our lives and of our relationship.  If we are individually trying to please the Lord we will be the spouse we should be.  When we serve the Lord as a couple, then our marriage and family will be what God wants it to be.
Have a great marriage!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I am easily distracted by noises, movement, and other things that happen aroun . . . sorry a Cardinal flew by my window, where was I  . . . oh yeah, distractions.  I can be reading a good book, watching a game or TV show, talking on the phone, studying, or in a conversation with someone and something simple will happen and my focus changes. 

This interrupt driven nature can get in the way of relationships.  I learned early in our 20 year marriage, that when Amy wants to talk, I mute or even turn off the TV.  I do the same when our son, Andrew, asks a question.  If I am on the computer (working or researching) I choose to completely turn away from the keyboard or screen.  People are more important than technology.

This characteristic also can inhibit effective study.  I am struggling this week especially, there are roofers on my house, where I am working this week, so I can be here if they need to ask a question.  The hammering, scraping, the sound of falling debris, and their banter keeps getting me off task. (What was that noise? - brb . . . They dropped a load of shingles in the trash truck.)  See what I mean?!

I am sure I am not the only one easily distracted.

There is one other area that distraction can cause great harm; the realm of spiritual focus.  Many of us find the things of the world way too distracting.  The world pulls at us, flashes pretty lights, makes beautiful music, and paints beautiful scenes that lead us to at best momentarily lose focus on God and at worst lead us completely away.  That must be why Peter penned the following warning: "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Pet 5:8 (ESV)


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Gospel Bees - an Old Sermon Outline

Edward Earnest, one of our shepherds at Parrish Church of Christ recently shared an old pocket sized book with me.  The book's title is simply: Sermon Outlines: Over 150 sermons by A. J. Bachman.  McQuiddy Printing, Nashville, TN 1921.  The first sermon makes for a good study and reminder, even though it may need a few less points:   
Gospel Bees . . .

1. Be Peaceful - Rom 12:18
2. Be Ready - Matt 24:44
3. Be Contented - 1 Tim 6:8
4. Be Steadfast - 1 Cor 15:58
5. Be Faithful - Rev 2:10
6. Be Unmovable - 1 Cor 15:58
7. Be Holy - 1 Pet 1:16
8. Be Reconciled - 2 Cor 5:20
9. Be Strong - Eph 6:10
10. Be Patient - Jas 5:7
11. Be of the Same Mind - Rom 12:16
12. Be Transformed - Rom 12:2
13. Be Baptized - Acts 22:16
14. Be Zealous - Rev 3:19
15. Be Doers - Jas 1:22
16. Be Temperate - Titus 2:2
17. Be Sober - 1 Thess 5:8
18. Be Wise - Matt 10:16
19. Be Worthy - Phil 1:27
20. Be Kind - Eph 4:32
21. Be Long-suffering - 1 Thess 5:14
22. Be Obedient - Titus 3:1
23. Be Gentle - Titus 3:2
24. Be Watchful - 1 Pet 5:8
25. Be Merciful - Lk 6:36

I think I will post this on my mirror, refrigerator, (bind to my hand, put on the doorpost, place as frontlets before my eyes - Deut 6:8,9) so I will remember what I should BE.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Visual Awareness

The above video is a public service announcement from Great Britain to remind motorists to watch for cyclists.  This is good advice for a new year. 

Better advice is to see some spiritual applications from this awareness test.  Paul might point us to what he penned in 2 Corinthians 4:18, " . . . as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

As you and I Focus Again in 2010, may we look not so much at the things of the world, but the things of heaven.  If we are looking to the visible world, we may very well miss the invisible God.  It is easy to miss what you are not looking for . . .