Out Here Hope Remains

There is hope for the helpless ... Cry Out To Jesus. -- Third Day

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Moving On Up

Thanks for being a faithful reader here at my blogspot blog. Unfortunate changes in Blogger's performance has sent me seeking new ground. Out Here Hope Remains can now be found HERE. C'mon over to my new home and leave a note letting me know that you'll still come by! Blessings to blogger Blessings to you.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Shadows of the Second Coming is the title of the second chapter of Kingdom Come. Here we are introduced to the apocalyptic vision that drove Lipscomb and Harding's vision of the Kingdom. You can purchase the book HERE. At the turn of the 19th century there was a strong sense of American patriotism that was embraced by evangelical religion. Lipscomb did not embrace patriotism, and even regarded civil government as a tool of Satan to draw our full devotion away from God. Harding was in agreement. "With one foot in the primeval age and the other squarely in the shadows of the second coming, Harding believed that only God's government reigned from the first and only his will reign in the end" (p. 29) So how are Christians to live in a world ruled by the kingdoms of men? They accept the role of being foreigners in a strange land, with ultimate allegiance to Jesus Christ. H & V describe a kingdom vision that draws its purpose in being distinctively devoted to God in a world that will ultimately be ruled again by God's will. This apocalyptic vision was the driver of life decisions and doctrinal understandings of both Harding and Lipscomb. H & V do a superb job of leading us through the world view that begins with the "paradise of shalom", tracing it's loss in the garden, and leading us to our day that is "characterized by death, anguish, lust and violence. But God purposed to restore creation to its original blessedness, to restore shalom upon the earth." Using Scripture and descriptive terms, a beautiful picture of the intended kingdom is presented through these pages. A danger that is presented is our willingness to conform to the world rather than live counter culture. Our ammunition against such seduction is to keep in view the second coming of Christ. "To live in the shadows is to live in anticipation of God's ultimate victory" (p. 35). And so God calls us to the life of aliens...Foreigners on a sojourn. But this is often rejected by Christians of today. "Through the years, however, this kingdom vision was lost through the instituionalization of the church. Church, here, does not mean the people who have been called out of this present age by grace into covenant with God. Rather "church" became concern for proper doctrine, and rather esoteric doctrine couched in Greek philosophy. "Church" became involved in power struggles within itself and in time even secular government became enmeshed in what was once a small brand of rag-tag believers in a Messiah who was killed by that very government" (p. 39) That paragraph alone deserves a book. If we are to embrace this apocalyptic kingdom vision, we will face taking unpopular stances, resist the temptations of materialism, and sink our hopes deep in the power of prayer. The questions, challenges, prayer, and resources listed at the end of this chapter are very valuable. What stood out to you as you read the chapter? What are your observations?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Late Tuesday Night on the Coast

Today I was to be found yet again in the pages of The Mississippi Press. You can read the story HERE. It's not so much about me this time, but they did print a full color picture of me. This time they put it on the back page. I guess I wasn't too good for sales. I think I'll get a break tomorrow unless there's some surprise! I spent most of today resting off of my leg and trying to keep it elevated as much as I could. I saw Dr. Paul Fineberg this afternoon and he was able to give me something to help. He is a good doctor, but you only see your doctor when you're sick. So it's hard to say, 'nice to see you'. Anyhow, I hope to have rebounded from this in a few days. It is not as severe a case as the one in May, which took a month to overcome. Jeff Campbell left for Nashville today. I understand he has an appointment to talk to someone tomorrow about the work we are doing down this way. He hopes to recruit skilled workers to come and spend time with us rebuilding the community. Watch HIS BLOG for updates that I hope will be coming soon! I heard through the grapevine that a friend of mine has accepted the preaching ministry at a new church, but he hasn't called me to tell me. Some friend! So what's up with that, James? Thanks, Charlie, for contributing to the KINGDOM COME discussion... the first post netted one comment. And it was a mighty good one! The next installment is coming soon. Hurry to John Alan Turner's Blog to get an early copy of his new book Hearts and Minds. Hint: This is the next book in John's Book Club! Get your copy now! Patrick Mead offers up some morbid humor just for fun. You MUST read Gary Kirkendall's post on the Cat in the House! Robbie Woods updated his blog with further insights into his life.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Introducing A Spiritual Legacy: Strangers At Home is the title of the first chapter of Kingdom Come. It is here that we are introduced to the two title characters and the perspectives that will be compared and discussed throughout the book. You can purchase the book HERE. Hicks & Valentine (H & V) offer a critique of the contemporary churches of Christ that is accurate, as far as I can see. "For the most part, we are historically blind. We don't know our history and our sense of spiritual heritage is distorted. On the one hand, some believe the Churches of Christ have been bereft of spiritual vigor since their emerence in the early twentieth century. ... On the other hand, some find their spiritual identity in church practices. They believe this is their spiritual heritage. Their spiritual life is shaped by debates with 'denominationalists.' Their spiritual vitor is found in their exclusive identity as the one true church." (p. 15) It is a big mission to take on both of these perspectives and try to help bring light to the mistakes each makes. However, it is through the lives of Lipscomb and Harding that H & V hope to bring some perspective. History is offered of the Nashville Bible School and Potter Bible College, as well as Harding and Lipscomb themselves. Other names of the day are mentioned as well, giving notice to the prominence of R. L. Whiteside and R. H. Boll in particular. Lest anyone think that Lipscob and Harding are being held up as perfect specimens of Christianity, admission is made that both men had significant faults. "Indeed, we regret that they both embraced the 1906 division between the Churches of Christ and the Christian Church as a lamentable good..." (p. 23). Other failings are mentioned as well, but it is pointed out that these men were attempting to follow Jesus Christ in their lives. This introductory chapter did what all good introductories do; it makes me want to read the rest of the book. Comments of others reading the book are welcome. For this first post, I think it would be good for those who are reading along to leave a note letting us know that you are going along with us. Bobby Valentine will be checking in after his preacher's retreat is over later in the week. I do not know if John Mark Hicks will check in or not. But it will be good to read together and to discuss the ideals of this important book. Thanks for reading!

Monday on the Coast

We had a good worship time Sunday morning and the podcast should be up in the next few minutes. You can hear this week's message, "An Open Door Church" by clicking HERE. Sunday afternoon brought unexpected illness. I had tremors, nausea, and fever. I've had this before so I knew what was next. Sure enough this morning my left leg was bright red from the knee down...phlebitis. I just suffered an attack of this in May. Anyway, I'm trying to stay off of my leg for a while and keep it elevated. This morning brought quite a surprise in that my picture was on the front page of The Mississippi Press. You can read the story HERE about my podcast, blog, and website, and how they are used for mininstry. Also friend Al Sturgeon is mentioned a good bit. I also know Johnny Beavers, as he is a pastor around the corner at Calvary Baptist. I thought it was a good article by newcomer to the Coast, Veto Roley. If anyone in Jackson County is reading my blog for the first time today, thanks for stopping by! Come back often. I am supposed to start my book club reading of Kingdom Come today. The book club posts will be in separate posts. Watch for KINGDOM COME: CHAPTER ONE. There are no real rules, but posts may be deleted if they start off with, "I haven't read the book, but..." The point of the book club is to read the book! Tonight many will be watching the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints play the first post-Katrina game in the Superdome. Things like this may be more symbolic than anything, but they do remind us that we are coming back little by little and progress is being made. Saints fans are excited about the comeback. Real "Saints" are Fixing Homes in Mississippi. The person interviewed for that article suggests that people in Seattle do not know that Mississippi was hit by Katrina as well as New Orleans. That may be so, but interestingly I talked with a construction worker from Seattle today who called to say that he wanted to come down and work. He heard about our work from someone who had been to New Orleans. Word of mouth is great advertisement! Thanks for reading. Hope your days are going well.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Change Is Good ... And Sometimes Painful

Things have changed at my house. A month or so ago my daughter got married and I guess she felt that the had to move in with her husband. That means she took her daughter, Claire, off with her. Thankfully they live in the same town as we do and we get to see them often. But when you remove an eight year old from the house, the noise level goes down quite a bit. And my son is about to turn 17. He has a job and is quite independent. Independent. I don't like that word. He is often occupied away from home these days with friends and work and school. That leaves me and Maggy in a house that's pretty quiet. I understand that this is the way of life and that nothing unusual has happened. In fact, Maggy and I spend more time together now than we used to. Change is good, and sometimes painful. Today Maggy and I drove over to Mobile and had a late breakfast with Chris and Susan Lockhart, and Hayden (who is quite an entertainer!). As it usually goes when Chris and I are together, the talk is non-stop. The waitress thought we were brothers. Well...we are! It was a great breakfast made even better when Chris picked up the bill! Thanks, Chris! I hope they had a safe journey back to Atlanta and will have a great Sunday at their church. After breakfast we went over to Old Time Pottery. I had never been there...wow... tons of items for home decor. Maggy picked out some items to place in our home. It's so big I think we spent about 2 hours there! Then we stopped by the Book Rack (used books) and looked around for a few minutes. We decided then to go see a movie.

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Jude Law and Kate Winslett from All The King's Men
This afternoon we watched ALL THE KING'S MEN. ATKM stars Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslett, Anthony Hopkins, among others. Kathy Baker (Picket Fences - one of my favorite TV series) also has a role. This is a fictionalized account of a Louisiana politician (Penn) rising from small town roots to become the Governor of the state. He begins as an idealist promising to defeat the back-room deals of the rich elected officials that only work to appease the affluent. Penn does an oustanding job of delivering rousing political speeches and also of portraying the slow but deliberate slide into the very kind of politics he once despised. The story is told from the point of view of a reporter, played by Jude Law. Law is excellent in this dramatic film and helps string together a tale involving generations of corrupt politicians that culminates in a predictable but just ending. I enjoyed the movie very much, in spite of the fact that it is a tad too long, running a full 2 hours (plus 20 minutes of previews today!).
After the movie we had supper together and then came home. It was a good day spent together.
A Reminder: Monday we will begin John's Book Club! (original name, huh!) We plan to read and offer some thoughts on one chapter a day (probably five a week). The first book I want to read in this way is Kingdom Come: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding by Bobby Valentine and John Mark Hicks. If you can join with me, let's read it together! If you are from Central, let me know and I'll get a copy for you - but you have to read it!
Thanks for reading today. Just a few links ...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday on the Coast

I spent most of today getting things ready for Sunday. Bible class, power point, bulletin, sermon ... it was a quiet morning and I was able to get a lot of it done. This evening Maggy and I are watching a few movies at home and just relaxing. Will Collins and Brittany Fish are in town working with our teens. They are both students at Faulkner University that helped us during the summer. They plan to come back 6 or 7 times before the end of the year to follow up and keep things going. Tonight they are cleaning out the youth classroom and tomorrow will paint it...along with the teens. They also plan to pass out several bags of groceries and invite people to come to worship Sunday. They do need some funding for these trips down, if that is in any of our reader's interest. I appreciate so much their interest that extends beyond thier summer mission. Our teens love them and appreciate them as well. Tomorrow Maggy and I plan to have breakfast with Chris and Susan Lockhart. They are in Mobile to finalize some business left from their move to the Atlanta area. It will be good to see them. I have missed my friend Chris very much, although we do stay in touch via telephone. I will never forget his weekly trips over to help me during the height of the recovery effort. David Kilbern Jr has had significant health problems from his childhood. David Sr and Elaine have taken him to doctors across the country to ensure that he had the best care and the most effective treatments. In spite of his illness and missing enormous amounts of school, David Jr was able to graduate with his class. He went on to college at Mississippi State, and ended up working for Northrup Grumman. I think it is fair to say that without David Jr, the computer systems of that company would be in jeopardy. David never did find the right girl to marry. There was no way he could have predicted what would have to happen for that girl to walk into his life. It actually took a 'girl' named Katrina to come in and destroy the lives of everyone on the Coast. Volunteers started pouring in, enabling the recovery effort to operate at full steam. I received a call from a college student in Oklahoma named Karen Potter. She wanted to come down and spend the summer volunteering, and she would write a paper about her experience for college credit. Karen didn't back down from any job that was placed before her. She toted sheetrock. answered the phone. helped with deliveries, ran orientation for new groups, and fell in love. With David Jr. And even better, he fell in love with her. Tomorrow David and Karen are going to be married. Both of them have been on quite a journey through life to get to one another. I rejoice with them that God has brought them together, weaving together an intricate answer to prayers spoken long ago. Larry James leads the compassionate from relief to renewal. John Alan Turner talks about the top five shortstops. Danny Sims contemplates Starbucks. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Not Only Jail, But A Beating Too! Some people just deserve it. Tornadoes Destroy Homes, Kill One Person in Arkansas and Missouri. Pascagoula Shows South Misssissippi How It's Done! Manatees in Mobile! God's Kitchen May Be Moving. Robbie Wood's New Blog.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hanging Out ... or Ministry?

Today didn't really turn out at all like I planned, but I think it turned out better. Before I got to the office Mike called and wanted me to go with him and give him some moral support with an errand he had to run. I realize that we are all going to die, but when a doctor tells you that the end is immanent, I'm not sure what you do about that. Mike is handling his illness with a beautiful spirit of faith. He believes that God can heal him, but he is prepared to accept God's will in the matter. After running a few errands we went to Waffle House and imbibed on hot coffee, omelets, and hashbrowns. While going to get gas, I asked Mike if he wanted to accompany on some stuff I had to do, and he agreed. We went to the hospital and visited Keith for just a short moment. They came to get him so that he could walk down the hall a bit. His knee operation seems to have been a success. We then went to Fred's and got a few pictures for Mr. Milligan's room. He is the man I wrote about yesterday. We found a couple of masculine prints and cheap frames and bought them to brighten his room. We were nearby Robbie's place and so we stopped to pick him up. He needed a pick-me-up. I won't go into the details here, but some things haven't gone well with him in the past week or so and we decided to spend the afternoon with him. I think he welcomed the company ... and we headed to the nursing home. Though it was a short visit, we left Mr. Milligan's room a little brighter. I told him I would be back soon. I think I would like to get to know some of the other residents there ... it's like stepping into a third world country. Mike, Robbie and I headed over to Hudson's Treasure Hunt (my idea) and we spent an hour or so looking around, laughing, enjoying each other's company. I was able to pick up some children's classics for Claire, some cologne and Tony Tiger sleep pants for JR, and a few other items. We got Robbie something to eat and headed over to Dough Joes, because Mike wanted a smoothie. My friend Danny says I mention Dough Joe's about every other post. Perhaps I need to get an advertising fee! While at the coffee shop Robbie attempted to set up a blog, but I'm not sure he was successful...the firewall made it difficult. Then I took Mike to the church building so he could help a few other people, and Robbie and I ran an errand and I dropped him off a little later. I don't know what your estimation of my day is. I suppose some would say that it was a day of loafing. It was enjoyable! I tend to think of it as ministry. I spent some time with two people who have significant hurts in their lives. We talked about these things seriously at times while we were driving from place to place. We encouraged one another in heart. I love these two brothers and I hope that our time together was a blessing to them. Tonight we had a birthday dinner for our daughter Nicole, who turned 30 yesterday. For dessert we had a cake from Dean's Cake House in Andalusia, Alabama. Now it would be worth it to drive to Anadalusia to get one of these delicious seven-layer cakes, but we can buy them in Moss Point at Four Seasons. Wynona Harris introduced us to these cakes, and they make a special occasion even more so! I'll have to get back to watching my food intake tomorrow! Later we watched BE COOL with John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer and a bunch of other well-knowns. There were some funny moments, but it was much too long and it moved much too slowly. One of the highlights was a music video segment in which Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in cowboy gear singing Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man." I'm sure that wouldn't play well on a WWE stage! Meanwhile back at the ranch.... Mrs. Betts and Mrs. Bowers have been volunteering at the front desk, greeting people and accepting their paperwork. David and Elaine are in Oklahoma for David Jr.'s wedding and will return in a few days. We look forward to having more voluteers as a result of Jeff Campbell's recruiting trip, which begins Sunday. He will be spending a month in the Nashville area, and is still looking for accomodations. And Monday we will begin John's Book Club! We plan to read and offer some thoughts on one chapter a day (probably five a week). The first book I want to read in this way is Kingdom Come: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding by Bobby Valentine and John Mark Hicks. If you can join with me, let's read it together! If you are from Central, let me know and I'll get a copy for you - but you have to read it! What about preachers doing blogs? My friend Paul says that preachers can reveal too much about themselves and create friction in the church. My philosopy is that it isn't a sin to 'think out loud' and for people to realize that preachers are real people who are not all cookie-cutter. On the other hand, Danny Dodd's latest blogpost suggests that preachers can use blogs for sermon preparation, discussion, and discipleship. I think that's useful, but I prefer for my blog to be more personal than academic in nature. I tend to think of this as a kind of conversation around the table while we drink coffee. Of course it's pretty one-sided if you do not comment! As I have said before, these are my thoughts and do not represent the Central Church. In addition, I reserve the right to be wrong sometimes! I may not even agree with myself at a later date. We usually call this 'growth'! I noticed that Dee Andrews has a similar theme in a recent blog. Twentysomethings put faith on the shelf. Scot McKnight turns to the Barna Research Group for answer. Much of the ministry to teenagers in America needs an overhaul – not because churches fail to attract significant numbers of young people, but because so much of those efforts are not creating a sustainable faith beyond high school. It's a long post, but worth the time. The question is, what do we do about it? Thanks for reading! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Cool Morning On The Coast

We woke up to cool temperatures along the Gulf Coast this morning. I am grateful for the cooler temps and looking forward to the Fall, my favorite time of year. I did a lot of small and uninteresting, though important, errands today. Tonight we took a look at the beatitudes in our Wednesday night devotional. We had a good number present and I was thankful for each one. This morning I thought for a while about how many books I have that I want to read, and how I let a lot of things get in the way of reading. One solution I thought of is to start a new blog (surprise) and use it as a book club type thing. Then I came to my senses - who has time for yet another blog? But this is what I'm going to do. I will invite you to join me in reading a book. I'll give you enough time to get your hands on it. Then I will present a few ideas and thoughts from one chapter a day until it is read. Then we'll start another one. There's nothing to sign up for, and if you choose not to do it, there's no worries there. This will help me! The first book I want to read in this way is Kingdom Come: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding by Bobby Valentine and John Mark Hicks. I know I'm behind and several have already read it, but I haven't. I hope by Monday or Tuesday to begin posting some thoughts from one chapter a day....right here on Out Here Hope Remains. If you can join with me, let's read it together! I just have a couple of links for this post: UMCOR's Spiritual Care in Disaster Response online. DVD: Mormonism - Has Anything Changed? Have a great day! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

8 x 6

She called me yesterday because of her concern for her brother. After a long life of living away from God, he is dying and wanting to ask God to forgive him. I got the information from her and set out this morning to make the visit. He lives in a nursing home that I have never had opportunity to visit before today. This home is, unfortunately, sub-par even for nursing homes. The hallway was narrow and the floor dangerously uneven. The residents stared off into space for the most part, except for one man who was anxious to help me find my way to the right room. In a small room that I estimate to be 8 x 6, was a small bed, a broken down dresser, a night table, and a chair. There was one picture on the wall, and a ceiling with two different textures, reflecting a poor renovation job at some point. The bathroom is in the hall, shared by everyone. I walked in and introduced myself to my new friend. I think he talked for close to two hours, with only a few words from me to let him know I understood what he was saying. He didn't try to hide his life without attention to God's will. I reckon there's no need to go into his lifestyle on this blog. In a sorrowful moment of reflection, this 80 year old said, "I never thought I would end up here....Now that I want to go to church I can't go." Physically he is simply not able to do much more than sit up on his bed for short periods of time. We prayed together and I promised to return. He was on my mind the rest of the day. ********************** Clay Aiken's New CD is Released Today! Yes, I am an American Idol fan, and Clay is one of my favorites! My birthday is coming if anyone needs an idea! New Modular Homes Going Up in Pascagoula. Larry James Receives A Special Thank You! Gratitude is a beautiful gift all by itself. Minnesota Cleans Up After a Deadly Tornado. 28 Habitat Homes to be Built in Gautier. John Alan Turner's Thoughts on Joe Beam's Controversial Remarks about S-E-X.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Visit to Grand Bay

Image hosted by Webshots.com Grand Bay Church of Christ Yesterday at Central we had a good crowd with community visitors - including some who were there for the first time. We also started a series of Bible classes on the subject of discipleship. A highlight of the day was when eighteen of us joined the Grand Bay Church of Christ for an evening worship time. They were kind enough to provide refreshments. Image hosted by Webshots.com Anita Riley Anita Riley is a member of that congregation. She owns and operates Hendrix Trophies in Moss Point. The Rileys became members of the Central Church of Christ in Pascagoula somewhere around 1952. Over the years they moved over to Grand Bay. My special appreciation for Anita is that for many many years she supplied trophies to every session of Gulf Coast Bible Camp and would never send us a bill. Her children and grandchildren enjoyed the ministry of GCBC over the years, and we are all thankful for her contribution to the camp. Image hosted by Webshots.com Grady Weston David Kilbern Minister for the Grand Bay church is Grady Weston. Brother Grady was the preaching minister for Central in the ten years prior to my arrival. He is known throughout this area as a man of conviction, fairness, love, and devotion to Jesus Christ. He is also on the faculty (or has been in the past, I'm not sure about currently) of Mobile Christian School. More pictures of our trip to Grand Bay can be found HERE. Today I uploaded both my Wednesday night devotional and Sunday sermon on the Podcast page located HERE. Tonight I'm #112 on the Godcast site. Click me! I had both jail and hospital visits to make today. This afternoon we had a torrential downpour - just as I was coming out of the hospital. Ah well, I guess it didn't hurt anything to get soaked! We have no relief workers scheduled for this week. People of Pascagoula (and elsewhere on the Coast) continue to need help. If you can get a crew together to come down and work, get in touch with me as soon as you can! Ok... let's take a run through the blogs... Jeff Campbell declares some lessons learned from the military that help him in his Christian life. Gary Kirkendall illustrates how to chase your dreams. Al Sturgeon shares some home-grown poetry, but it's not frilly and nice. It's gritty and real and about his dad. Bobby Ross celebrates long term marriages. Read Danny Dodd's homage to Balance. Danny Sims offers some ideas on how values play an important role in our success. Mark Elrod asks excellent questions about 1 Timothy. Bobby Valentine Continues His Vision of the Kingdom.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Weekending On the Coast

Well, it's the weekend and that's a great time to take in a movie. Maggy and I went to D'Iberville yesterday to the Grand to see Invincible. We both wholeheartedly recommend this as great family entertainment and inspiration! This movie stars Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, and Elizabeth Banks. It is an account of the true story of Vince Papale, a 30 year old substitute teacher, part time bartender who finds his way onto the desperate and losing Philadelphia Eagles in 1976. He still holds the record as the oldest rookie in the NFL! He played for three seasons for the Eagles before a shoulder injury ended his career in 1979. Now I have to be honest, I'm not a sports fan. If I didn't admit that, several of my friends would point that out in the comments! However, this is not so much a sports story as it is a tribute to the vitality and success that come when we give our hearts to a great task. I know, it sounds schmaltzy, but I promise it doesn't come across that way in the movie. I found the movie entertaining and inspirational, and I would also mention it has a fantastic soundtrack. Maggy's sensitive ears didn't detect any profanity, at least none that we could remember. Mark Wahlberg does an excellent job portraying Papale. He's come a long way since his Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch days. According to the Wikipedia, the new HBO series Entourage, is loosely based on Wahlberg's experiences in Hollywood. I don't have HBO, so I can't personally attest to that! Greg Kinnear once again proves his versatility as a character actor. At first I wasn't sure he was going to be able to pull off being a football coach. I remember him from his Talk Soup days and as Jack Nicholson's homosexual neighbor in the outstanding movie, As Good As It Gets. Of course he's played many roles since then. So take a break from your busy schedule and enjoy this movie - but do it quick. It had a great start at the box office, but competition is tough. Maggy and I were the only ones in the theater - a private showing! This one probably won't be at the movies much longer. Below: Real Life Papale and Wahlberg. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting What else is happening? We picked up Jeff and Shari today off of the Holiday cruise ship. Is that the one that was a FEMA rental parked in Pascagoula? I think so. They had a great time and encouraged us to take a cruise sometime. We'll see. (That's man-code for "I don't think so.") We are having the parents of our church teenagers over tonight to talk about some Fall plans. So we're busy getting ready for that. Mobile is now home to the tallest tower on the Gulf Coast, except for buildings in Houston. I hope there will be some video placed online of the spire being put into place. The Pope made the Muslims mad. I'm sorry, but I do not think this is very hard to do. The ones we see on television are always yelling and looking angry. I'm ignorant of their culture I guess. I often wonder why they don't just go back to work or home and love their families? Instead they scream and shout and carry flags in the street. Do they not have anything to do? I know, that's insensitive and not very politically correct. But it's the weekend edition of Out Here Hope Remains and we're all just relaxing around the keyboard. I'm sure there are many more Middle Eastern folks who are trying to raise their families, earn a living, and keep from being killed by extremists... we just don't see them on television. That sounds like a good project for Katie Couric in her new role. Can they do that 'slimming' thing on Al Jazeera? Nevermind. Spinach is making people sick. E-coli is very serious business and one person has already died, 94 others seriously ill. That is really bad. Don't worry about me, though. Any ingestion of spinache on my part is totally accidental. Never liked it. Mike King wants to prepare some dish with spincahe in it for me. Now I have a reason to say no. Just Say No! (Thanks, Nancy.) No More Talking On the Cell Phone ... in California. Everywhere I go people are cutting in front of me, making illegal turns, stopping when they should go and going when they should stop. And all the while one hand is holding that little communications device closely to their ear. I seem to be the only person who can talk and drive at the same time. Just ask the woman who honked her horn at me this morning on the interstate. I interpreted it as a honk of appreciation for my driving skills. Gas is going down. I bought gas for $2.47 a few days ago. I saw it in Mobile for 2.43 this morning. What are you paying for gas where you live? Another Columbine-type shooting planned, but foiled. This time in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This one included the use of NAPALM. How do high school kids get napalm? Adolesence is a time of anxiety all alone, but add into the mix the fear for their very lives and things are getting scary for teenagers in the United States. Wisconsin has had it's share of creepy teenagers in the news lately. Well, dear readers, it's that time again. Thanks for wasting a few minutes with me. If someone asks if they can use your office to film part of a movie, Just Say No! Gallatin, TN Mayor Don Wright decided to say 'Yes!' To his surprise the title of the movie was 'Thong Girl 3' about a superheroine who flies over Nashville in a thong saving country singers who are in danger of turning into rappers. I think that's one movie Maggy and I will decide NOT to review! Have a great Sunday. Let's all learn to relax and smile more. God has been good to us!

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Do You Believe In Love

It's late night Thursday night and I'm blogging to the groovy tunes of Huey Lewis and the News. I digging into some older CDs and remembering why I enjoyed this music so much! Today was a full day and a good day. I tried to visit a friend in the local jail, but I haven't done all the paperwork they require. My thanks to Garvis Seymore, President of Magnolia Bible College for helping me get a letter that will help. It seems I have to be 'ordained' and show proof! Well, I think a letter from the President of my alma mater did the job. I have not talked about MBC very much on the blog. Garvis is doing a great job as President. They have a lectureship coming up in October. You can check on the schedule HERE. I'm pretty sure that I can say that my thoughts about some things do not match what I was taught at MBC, but even so whenever I am on campus I have been treated with warmth and kindness. (I don't want anyone to blame MBC for my ideas!) And if you desire a fully accredited four-year degree in Bible, be sure to check into MBC as you consider which school you are going to attend. I have many wonderful memories of my years in Kosciusko. A group of students came down and did a lot of work in our community last year, and fellow alumnus Danny Dodd spoke several nights in a row. I hope the school does well and the work done there leads to many lost souls finding their way to the Kingdom of God.
Image hosted by Webshots.com Mike King and David Kilbern
I spent the afternoon with Mike King. Mike is a Pascagoula resident for many years. He really has an incredible story to tell of being raised in various foster homes, facing nightmarish adversities, and ending up in Pascagoula. I think Mike knows everyone in town. He has the kind of personality that reaches out to people and blesses them with joy. After Katrina Mike's life, like so many others, was moved into a FEMA camper. Mike's health is very poor at this time and he faces each day with considerable pain. When he was in the hospital a few months ago for a week, his camper was regarded by inspectors as abandoned. They removed his belongings (he still doesn't know where they are), and removed the camper. Mike spent some time staying with the Salvation Army, but he worked with us all day long. After a few weeks we invited him to come and stay at Central. He has proven to be an invaluable helper, in spite of his illness. We also rejoiced to witness Mike being baptized into Jesus Christ one Sunday morning. I took Mike to the doctor today in Biloxi to see a specialist. He was one of those doctors who doesn't want to spend much time with you, and gave Mike a pretty bleak report. We spent the rest of the afternoon in America's Thrift Store, visiting Keith in the hospital, and going to Wal-Mart. And walking around Wal-Mart with Mike is an adventure. Like I said, he knows EVERYBODY in town! He also invites everyone he sees to the Central Church of Christ. I left Mike in pretty good spirits this evening. During the day today I said, "Mike we can get on the internet and do some research about your illness." He said, "Let's do some research about the Lord, that's what I'm interested in." An overcomer, an optimist, an encourager, and a hard worker. I admire this man very much.
And about Keith, well, I know this post is getting long but I know he needs your prayers. Keith came down a few months ago from South Carolina to find work. The "friend" who brought him dropped him off at the church buildng, left, and didn't come back. We at first agreed to give him housing for a few nights, but we found out what kind of man he was and he stayed with us longer. He got a great job and was saving his money to get his own place. With no motorized transporation, he rode his bike to work each morning. Earlier this week while riding across a parking lot a young man driving too fast in a pickup truck hit him. He is still in MICU, but is recovering well. He will have surgery on a broken knee this Monday. He is in good spirits and gives thanks to the Lord for his life. I think I counted 17 staples in the back of his head, and he has a fractured backbone. The first thing on his mind? "When can I go back to work?" And also on Keith's mind is a desire to see the young man who hit him so that he can release him from his guilt. He is concerned that the driver may be carrying around a burden that Keith does not want him to bear. I'm impressed.
I believe in love. I've seen it today in a man with a terminal illness that wanted to spend his afternoon visiting his friend who is in ICU. I've seen it in a man suffering at the hands of another, who wants to offer forgiveness for the pain inflicted. I've seen it from ages ago on the hill of Calvary. There an injured man prayed for those who were killing him. May our hearts be filled to overflowing with sacrificial love for those in our surrounding communities.

Look Who Is Watching. Gary Kirkendall reveals that other groups are watching our unity efforts between Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. What they see could lead to quite a revival of the restoration ideal ... or it could lead to a sad testimony to the reality of sectarianism. Read the post and leave Gary a shoutout!

Bewitched! is the title of Danny Dodd's new blog post. You can even get involved in a theological debate in the comments!

What was your conversion to Christ like? John Alan Turner wants to know.

What if your church could no longer meet in their building? Les Ferguson, Jr. would like to share that experience with you.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Can't Get It Out Of My Head

I'm writing this at the end of the day on Wednesday, relaxing and listening to some ELO just a little too loud in my headphones. I have to say I enjoyed the humor and support in the comments to yesterday's posts. Sometimes we just have to grin and move on. God has surrounded my life with wonderful people and I appreciate you. I enjoyed a good conversation on the phone with David and Elaine this morning. They have enjoyed their visit to Kentucky so much. They were able to visit with our friend Elsie England while up there. On the way home they hope to connect with a former elder from the Central congregation, Hugh Lee Lauderdale. Hugh Lee and Carlene were here for less than a year after I arrived, almost fifteen years ago. Carlene has already gone to be with the Lord. I've missed them for a lot of reasons. One of those reasons is that their absence has robbed me of one of my favorite sayings: Ask David. Anyway, they have been able to relax some and see plenty of deer, which makes David's trigger finger spasm. Today was also marked by a special visit from L. T. and another brother (I'm so bad with names) who have both been here working in the past year through Hope Missions and the Cogan Station Christian Church in Pennsylvania. L. T. has my deepest respect and admiration as a hard worker and a devoted man of God. It was great to visit with them both and hear about some of the places Hope Missions is involved. They placed a Hope Missions flag in our foyer several months ago and it still hangs there as a tribute to the volunteers who have made their way to the Coast to give so much of themselves. We had another afternoon thunder boomer and heavy downpour like we did yesterday. Unfortunately Jeff had planned a nice cookout and bonfire on the beach to thank the Americorps and Project Recovery people with whom he has been working closely. He did get to cook for them, but the rain prevented the activities he wanted to do. He did bring some of the Project Recovery folks to worship tonight, so that was nice. I was happy to thank them publicly for their excellent work. I would say that the rain was justice for Jeff's linking my name with a clown and a poor elvis impersonator on HIS BLOG today. But, given the fact that I laughed at both of those references, I doubt any justice was served. You know Jeff, it's easy to catch him trying to be funny. LINKS & COMMENTARY Montana Wildfire Doubles in Size. TD8 Becomes Tropical Storm Helene. Likely no threat to the U. S. if Dr. Jeff Masters is correct! Mother of Missing Boy Commits Suicide after being grilled by Nancy Grace on her nationally viewed cable news program. Ms. Grace is the same woman who allowed the churches of Christ to be labeled as "cults" on her program. Perhaps some inner searching is in order for this over-the-top program host. "Toxic Soup" In New Orleans Less Serious Than Initially Believed. Still, the situation whether toxic or not is an awful mix of bad politics and helpless individuals. North Carolina Volunteers Build Habitat Home in Pascagoula. Two Dead, 19 Injured at Montreal College Shooting. FROM THE BLOGS Bobby Valentine proposes a splendid vision of the Kingdom. Ben Overby reminds us to Rejoice because we are in Christ! Charlie Whitfield reminds us to think about how we talk about ourselves. more later...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rain, Fire, Clouds, and Sunshine

This afternoon brought big thunder booms and heavy rain to Pascagoula. The picture is taken from the front porch of the Central Church of Christ about 5:30 p.m. - long before dark. I'm reminded of the old positive statement that the sun is always shining above the clouds, and that is an encouragement. It is an encouragement in church work and relief work as well. We certainly face our fair share of 'dark clouds'. Misinformation, gossip, half-truths, and outright lies have been told all along the way. It is fairly disheartening to hear from someone a statement that begins with those awful words, 'I heard ....'. Or even worse, 'We will not come down and help you because we heard ...' I think there is a dual responsibility here. The first responsibility is that we should not be passing along this kind of misinformation based upon faulty observations. Scripture is clear that the tongue is a fire that needs to be tamed. The other responsibility is upon the hearer. I do not have to receive gossip as true. In fact, I think it is probably our responsibility to the bearer of gossip to reprove them and let them know that we do not care to receive that kind of information. Recent "I heard ..." statements that have come to me are: "I heard that Central uses instruments in the assembly." (Never have.) "I heard that Central has a female song leader." (My son would beg to differ! He did have really long hair for a while, but no one mistook him for a girl!) "I heard that Central's relief effort is being operated by a non-profit organization and cannot even spend their own money." (Now who would agree to an arrangement like that?) There are others, but those serve to illustrate the point. When in question, call. As this relates to Central and the operation here, it is very easy to find out what you would like to know. A call or an e-mail is very simple to accomplish. Both my phone number and David Kilbern's are to be found on our website located HERE. As this subject relates to this blog, please understand that this blog was not created as a source of hurricane relief information. It BECAME that after Katrina, but ultimately it was my take on what was going on. The opinions expressed here are not the opinions of the Central Church of Christ. In fact, given the diversity of our congregation I doubt that anyone could claim to speak for every person's beliefs. But I do maintain the privilege to 'speak my mind' here on the blog. It's a voluntary read, and everyone reads it willingly! It is easy to make leaps of 'logic' when we feel critical toward another group of people. It is always best to clear up these kinds of things with a call or a visit, rather than simply believe the words of someone else. Sometimes that someone else seems credible and trustworthy, but that does not mean they know what they are talking about. As I said, the sunshine is there. I will always say that we have met the best people in the world. We continue to be blessed with work crews coming down (and we could use some more skilled workers, honestly). We have recieved funding. Gifts have come in at just the right time. Souls have been saved. The assembly is populated each week with guests from our community. We have seasoned evangelists who will make their way to Pascagoula in the coming months to help us reach the lost. I have friends who tell me that they read the blog every day, and that makes me feel good. I do not think there is any way to squash all rumors. They are more interesting than the truth sometimes. There will always be those who live in a fantasy world who like to make up things and pass them on as truth. And God will take care of everything in the last day. But on this rainy afternoon I just wanted to point out one of the many difficulties that we face from time to time. Sometimes these kinds of things have big consequences. At other times they are simply a nuisance. But in all, God's will cannot be thwarted. 'There is sunshine in my soul today!' LINKS Tropical Depression Eight a Hurricane By Friday? Washington Wildfire Threatens Rural Community. Florence Weakens, Gordon Gains Strength. Neither are a threat to the U. S. mainland. Most Katrina Evacuees In Houston Plan To Stay There. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, September 11, 2006


This morning began in the company of old friends. Yesterday Jeff and Shari Frank came to visit us. They live in McComb, Mississippi and go to the same church as Maggy's brother and his wife. I first met Jeff when he was in high school and I was a recruiter for Magnolia Bible College. We had an event on campus and he attended. Believe me, he was just as loud and hilarious as he is now. Jeff did not attend MBC right out of school, but eventually our paths did cross again. By that time I was Campus Minister at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. Jeff enrolled at DSU and spent a few semesters in the music program. He later transferred to MBC and I reminded him that I could have saved him the trouble of skipping from school to school if he had only listened to me way back when! Our paths crossed once again when Jeff served as a youth intern with Central several years ago. Ten years ago I had the privilege of marrying Jeff to his young and beautiful bride, Shari. Now a decade later they have three beautiful girls and are heading to Cozumel on an anniversary cruise. We took them to the Port of Mobile this afternoon and said 'bon voyage'! It was a joy to see my old friend. This morning also brough a special joy as I was able to spend some time with Don Yelton and his wife Harriet. The Yeltons have spent a lifetime being a blessing to others in ministry. Their work with the AMEN program is a blessing to Christians in the military. Their extensive work with Whites Ferry Road Disaster Relief has also blessed an untold number of people. This organization was instrumental in helping Central maintain its ministries for 2006 and allowing me to stay on board as minister for the year. I have corresponded with Don over e-mail, and always enjoyed gaining his seasoned perspective. I appreciate so much their work, but especially so since I have experienced firsthand the effects of a disaster. I would have enjoyed spending the entire day with them, but it was not possible this time! This afternoon I was able to stop by my favorite coffee shop for a nice English Toffee flavored coffee. I did a little reading on the front porch and watched the storm clouds pass by. There was a very pleasant cool breeze. I enjoyed the quiet moment and took advantage of it to speak with my Father. I saw one of our young people, Haley, who we have nick-named 'Lil Sis' because she is the youngest girl in the group. Then I went back to the office and had a long talk with Jeff about some of the things he wrote in his blog yesterday. It was a good conversation and made even more enjoyable when Robbie came in after his day of work at Signal. I appreciate the spiritual progress made in the lives of these young men. Today the TLC Volunteer Center opened. Now there is room for 150 relief workers to be housed in Pascagoula. This facility will accomodate people from all of the various relief groups. Housing is essential to having skilled labor come to the Coast to work. In the ribbon cutting ceremony, they thanked several industries and also the Central Church of Christ and Jeff Campbell and David Kilbern in specific. It's great to know that the community appreciates our efforts. Margie Kieper Describes the Katrina Surge in Pascagoula. The surge in this coastal area ran from 18 feet on the west to 16 feet on the east, with wave runup fairly far inland. This area, like many areas along the Mississippi coastline, was completely inundated almost up to Interstate 10. Surge ran up the river estuary, with bayous of Gautier receiving a maximum of fifteen feet on the west, and areas of Moss Point and Escatawpa receiving from nine to fourteen feet. Flooding was extensive well up the river basin, and also along the Escatawpa river and the many bayous. Pascagoula and Moss Point, which are surrounded by water features on all sides, were almost completely inundated, except for small areas of high ground. Larry James Remembers 9-11. Rare Earthquake Stirs the Gulf of Mexico. A strong tropical wave with impressive rotation and plenty of intense thunderstorm activity has emerged from the coast of Africa today. Several of the reliable computer models are forecasting that this will develop into a tropical storm or hurricane that heads westward across the Atlantic. - Dr. Jeff Masters A Teenager's Katrina Story. 100 Year Old French Tiles Exposed by Katrina Used by High School Students to Create Labrynth. The Rent Goes UP on The Coast. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting TROPICAL DEPRESSION EIGHT FORMS. A strong tropical wave with impressive rotation and plenty of intense thunderstorm activity that emerged from the coast of Africa yesterday is now Tropical Depression Eight. ... this should be Tropical Storm Helene by Wednesday night. America's Religious Beliefs - new report from Baylor University. New Homes For Pascagoula Residents. Governor's Storm Fund May Cut Checks In Next Two Months. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

9-11 Tribute Videos

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunday Afternoon on the Coast

We had a lot of people out of town this Sunday, so our crowd was down a bit. But, it was a good service and class following. It was great to have our old friend Dot Killingsworth with us. She brings sunshine wherever she goes. Last night Margaret and I went to see The Wicker Man. For some reason I do not understand, she is a real Nicolas Cage fan! It can't be his looks! (I'm glad Maggy doesn't have a blog to response to this!) Anyway, we both thought the movie was pretty good, though surely not the best we've seen. Ellen Burstyn is appropriately creepy in her role. There were a few tense scenes, but in it, which is good for a thriller. I did not like the ending at all. More later... some friends just came in to visit! Well, we had a delightful visit with old friends...ate together...played Phase Ten, and watched TV and talked. It was great. I'll tell you more about them tomorrow. I thought an Earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico was pretty big news! Well, it's late so I'll blog some more tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Saturday on the Coast

It's a rainy Saturday on the coast. I thank you for taking a few moments to read on your day off. Saturdays are usually busy days for preachers. Well, let me say SOME preachers. There are some preachers who manage their time in an excellent manner, have well thought-out sermon series, are able to have their messages completed by Tuesday, and they probably are doing something fun on Saturday instead of scrambling to pull it all together. That's not me. I keep thinking that one day it could be me, but after fifteen years of this I'm beginning to accept who I am. That doesn't make me a procrastinator! A procrastinator is someone who puts off things they should do now and leaves them for later. I have simply located the time slot to do some things at the last minute. On purpose. That's not procrastination....is it? Tomorrow I will be speaking from Acts 8 about the power of faith to survive and thrive under pressure. By the way, do preachers always have to have words that rhyme, or points that spell out a word, or nifty puns in their titles? No, but they try. I do not have a title for tomorrow, so I'll try to think of something cool and attention getting that no one will remember. I take the word of God very seriously, and preaching is also very serious. Myself? Well, I learned to laugh at myself a long time ago. Anyhoo, the message will be posted on my podcast sometime early in the week. If you came to find hurricane relief updates, I will remind you that the relief center is closed for the week. But we continue to field requests to come and work and we have a nice lineup of workers coming. I received a call from a Dallas couple that have planned to spend their vacation week helping out here on the Coast. Bravo! We really have met the greatest people in the world. LINKS OF INTEREST CENTER TO HOUSE VOLUNTEERS TO OPEN IN PASCAGOULA. "Until now, volunteers have slept in churches and homes throughout Pascagoula, Damazio said. Church members, including David Kilbern of Central Church of Christ in Pascagoula, will continue to provide meals for the volunteers...Funding for the Operation TLC center comes from the Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund and the generosity of area businesses and groups." Dr. Jeff Masters says that El Nino is Coming! Bermudans Prepare for Florence. Sixty Active Wildfires in the West. 33 Million People Displaced Due to Violence. Mississippi Drought Conditions. 40 New West Nile Cases in Mississippi. Al Sturgeon has a fun experience at the library! Jeff Campbell's New Blog. Charlie Reminds Us of Three Things God Has Called Us To. Bobby Valentine posts positive and negative reviews of his new book. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Temporarily Closed...No, not the blog!

There are a few minutes left of Thursday, so I decided I better get in a blogpost! A lot of things have happened over the past few days, and I often think "I need to blog about that." But by the end of the day they are just dusty memories that I am unable to retrieve. I've been to two funerals in the past several days. One was an elderly lady in our church, Leola. She was a dignified lady who always had a smile on her face, even though she faced significant health problems. I was able to share a few thoughts at her funeral, and was grateful for that opportunity. Her husband is suffering a great loss after 60 years. I cannot even imagine what he must be feeling. Today I attended the funeral, a son-in-law of one of our members. He suffered tremendously over the past few years with dibilitating health problems. I really did not know him, but I was moved to tears by the tribute of his step-daughter during the service. Also, I had never met the preacher, but I could understand how his church must love him, from the message he delivered today. Central's hurricane relief effort is closed until around September 17th. Volunteers have slowed down quite a bit, but we are getting calls daily about those who are planning to come and help soon. We have not outgrown our devastation here on the Coast, but recovery is slowly happening with the help of volunteers and the grace of God. We are temporarily closed, but have a crew from Hope Missions to get us kicked off when we open back up on the 17th! Out Here Hope Remains ... the podcast ... has slipped to #9 at Godcast! Now I really do not have any great interest in this, but it is fun to watch it happen. To out-run the competition I need to have 9 visitors tomorrow. Right now I have my Sunday sermons on there, but I hope to do more with it as time goes by. The tropics are quiet, and I am thankful. I know, there's Florence, but it looks as if she will be no threat to land. There are tropical waves, but so far no other named storms. Well, it's getting late. I really do thank you for checking in. I'll have something new tomorrow...probably! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Links for Today: Please Be Sure To Read This Post from Larry James. He is calling upon the community of bloggers to help him with the Central Dallas Ministry. We can all do a small part....and if enough of us do, we can accomplish a big dream. Read about it! Several Hundred Illinois Homes Flooded. Montana Fire Burns Homes. Florence Nears Bermuda. New World Trade Center Plans Unveiled. Shrimp Boats Pulled Out of Bayou La Batre after One Year. 9-11 Reflections. DRUGS: 17 Drug Pushers Arrested. Drug Problem Growing. Ruleville High School Football Player Paralyzed. Faith Stronger After Katrina. Jim Martin ponders the importance of replenishing ourselves. John Alan Turner contemplates religious experiences. Keith Brenton turns out a poetic post with plenty to think about. Dee Andrews posts about inspirational lives that change our lives.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My Katrina

Photos of Gulfport and Biloxi before, during and after Hurricane Katrina. Set to 3 Doors Down's Away From the Sun. www.seawitch.observationdeck.org

Interrupted Or Not

Image hosted by Webshots.com Today was one of those days when I went to the office with certain things in mind to do, and didn't get a one of them done. I might say I was interrupted continuously, or I might say that God had other plans for my day. I might say I didn't get anything done, or I might say that I was blessed to spend some special time with special people. You know, the things I intended to do were not nearly as precious to me as the people God has put in my path. Thank you for the encouraging comments both on the blog and privately about my work here with Central. I really do believe that God will open doors ... I'm just not sure which doors. How do you get a sneak preview of your life? I guess you can't do that. I had a good phone call today from Sarasota, Florida today about a group that wants to come help in October. I also had long talks today with Mike King, Robbie Woods, and Jeff Campbell. Robbie begins his new job with Signal International on Wednesday. I am so happy for him, because it represents an awesome chance to get his life on track in a great way. Image hosted by Webshots.com Jeff Campbell is looking for some churches to visit and give a slide show and appeal for workers. If you would like to have him come, let me know. He is about to head back to Virginia at the first of November and wanted to use the time in between to tell others about the work here. I encouraged him to do a blog about his plans. If he does, I will point you that way. It was also a joy today to visit with Ralph Coles and his wife as they travel across the Coast. They are associated with Churches of Christ Diaster Relief Effort, Inc. He told me that they have visited 13 other church relief efforts, and none of them had volunteer groups present. I think everyone needed a break, and the peak of hurricane season looked like a good time. But one thing's for sure, we cannot stop now. There remains more to do than we can imagine. In The News.... Florence is born. Huge Montana Wildfire far from contained. September is National Preparedness Month. FEMA Aid Tops $9 Billion. In the Blogs... Margie Keiper's latest blog on the destruction in East Ocean Springs and Gautier. Patrick Mead Offers One Idea As To Why We Are Afraid. Mike Cope Asks Why We Have A Hard Time Finding Refreshment...Sabbath. How Deep Can You Go? Try Bobby Valentine's Recent Reading List! Steve Thurman ponders the verbs of the Great Commission. If God Wrote a Poem...Rusty Peterman contemplates. Rick needles us by pinpointing God's desire to have what we do not want to give.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Prayer Matters

We had a good Sunday with about 90 in attendance, including a team of 10 or so from the Hillsboro Church of Christ in Nashville. Will Vance, one of the elders of that church came down with the team, led us in a prayer during our worship time. After worship and class we had a great fellowship meal together. A funeral for one of our members was in the afternoon. In the evening we had a Sunday night fellowship together. It's been a busy day, but a good one. IMPORTANT. I've decided that today is a good day to tell you a little about our history, and one of our current needs. Before Katrina was ever a named storm, our church was facing some difficult decisions. Two families retired and moved away from Pascagoula. It so happens that these were some very generous givers, and between them we lost $700 a week in our contribution. In a church our size, this is a serious shortfall. The elders at that time gave me permission to seek employment in the community, as they were forced to slice my salary in half in order to make budget. It really was the only thing that we could do. I began applying at various places, and then came Katrina. I do not have to tell anyone who has been reading this blog what a catastrophe that was. But thanks to two grants - one from Whites Ferry Road Disaster Relief and one from Gateway Church of Christ in Pensacola, the church was able to pay my salary during 2006. As 2007 approaches, I again face the same situation from a year and a half ago. My salary will be cut in half as of January 1. If the church continues to pay me fully, they will be outspending the contribution in a significant way. None of us wants to see this happen. My strategy for dealing with this situation is to simply let this need be known. If anyone would like to contact our elders, I will be happy to provide their phone numbers. I may write a few specific congregations and let them know of this situation as well. The "plan B" part of my strategy is to get a job in the community after the first of the year and become a bi-vocational missionary here in Pascagoula! At this point, moving to a new church ("plan C") is not on my radar, although one never knows what God has in store for the future. He may have all of those plans in different order! So, that's our situation, and we ask you to join us in prayer about that matter. If you choose to share it with the leadership of your church, I would be appreciative. I hope your Labor Day gives you a needed rest. That's what I plan to do after a very busy weekend! NEWS THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION Tropical Depression Six. Florence on the way? No Electricity in Apartment Leads to Tragedy in Chicago. I do not know why this family did not have electricity, but no doubt they could not afford it. With the cost of living rising but wages remaining low, should we look for more of this? Church Services Pay Tribute to Kentucky Plane Crash Victims. Kentucky Churches Packed After Air Crash. Kentucky Church Members Killed in Crash. Ernesto Drenches East Coast. 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin killed by manta ray. 180,000 Acre Montana Wildfire. Five Years After 9-11: Could It Happen Again? Teen Suicide. One mother's attempt to use her daughter's suicide to help others. Katrina Missions Put Faith Into Action. BLOGS THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION My Friend Al Sturgeon Begins a New Blog! Even he wonders if he has time to do this! An important matter was brought to my attention by friend Margo Reed. You can read about this matter HERE. That's from a blog called GOD BLESS MISSISSIPPI. I didnt know about that blog, so I'm thankful that Margo pointed it out to me! Experiences from the Count gives us a peek into the plight of the homeless, and those who are reaching out to help them. Bobby Cohoon draws some spiritual lessons out of his encounter with Ernesto. Brian Neal begins his second mission in China. Charlie and Linda celebrate an anniversary. See what he wrote to her! Wow! Jim Martin Contemplates The Importance of a Name. Preacherman asks, 'What Are We Trying to Restore?' Scot McKnight contemplates the value of Bible Camp. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, September 01, 2006

Saturday On The Coast

I know that my weekend readership goes way down, so I especially thank you for reading today. This morning I prepared the Sunday bulletin and power point for this coming Lord's Day. I spent a good bit of time this afternoon with Margaret. We enjoyed running a set of errands that had accumulated, lunch and, later, coffee. We took Claire, along with her parents, to the movies tonight and saw Barnyard: The Original Party Animals. I really thought it was funny and enjoyed it. When we got out of the movies, I checked my cell phone messages and was saddened to learn that one of our elderly sisters had passed away during the day at some point. Greg Williams and crew from Hillsboro Church of Christ in Nashville were to arrive last night. They will meet David Kilbern at Central this morning to get their assignment and get to work. I'm looking forward to seeing these good folks! I didn't know it, but Tim Archer pointed out that OUT HERE HOPE REMAINS: THE PODCAST is #6 on the Christian Podcast Directory called Godcast 1000. These are currently my Sunday sermons, but I hope to do more with it later. Pascagoula today: Partly Cloudy, Hi: 92 Lo: 67 NEWS THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION Hilltop Rescue Mission, New Orleans, Shifts Mission. Announcement in .pdf format. System has the potential to become a tropical depression by Sunday. Dr. Gray Predicts 2 Intense Hurricanes in September. Ernesto Drenches Mid-Atlantic. BLOGS THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION Tim Archer ruminates about women in church. John Alan Turner poses a sports question. Jim Martin wonders if you've ever felt taken for granted. Bobby Valentine invites you to consider Hebrew Grace. Dee Andrews' Blog Moves. Chris Lockhart now has a podcast from Calvary Christian Church.

Friday Morning on the Coast

Yesterday I ate lunch with Al Sturgeon at La Fiesta Brava in Gautier. For those who do not know, Al Sturgeon is the minister for the Ocean Springs Church of Christ - still active in hurricane relief in their community. In the old days (pre-Katrina), we met every Thursday for lunch. I am unsure how many years we had enjoyed this ritual. When the storm hit and our days became filled with new adventures, we couldn't maintain this weekly meeting (although I'm sure it would have been beneficial to both of us). Four months after the storm, in January, we decided it was time to start meeting again. And we met once. Yesterday we met the second time. It's always a joy to spend time with Al. We are alike in enough ways that we are comfortable talking to one another about the important issues of life, and we are different enough to keep things interesting! He's a good friend and that is always a gift from God. I think we can start those weekly meetings again. We'll see. I also spent a few hours making some visits with one of our elders, Jim Ingram. Since Jim retired, he has spent a good deal of his time working with the church. We meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays to visit, and we have a great time. On at least one of those times, we usually end up at Dough Joe's for extended conversation and beverages. He usually gets a smoothie (which he drinks too fast and gets a 'brain freeze'). But I'll lose my visitation partner for a month as Jim heads to New Zeland and Australia with his brother for an extended trip. I wish them well and they will remain in my prayers as they travel. Around Central. Thanks for any prayers offered for Mike King. He is now out of the hospital and healing up pretty good from that spider bite. Robbie Woods was helping out around the church yesterday and put together a filing cabinet I had bought for my office. Jeff Campbell is set up in the office next to mine, attempting to put together a travel itenerary to speak to churches about the relief effort. One of our newer helpers is Sherry Betts. She stepped right into place as Karen Potter stepped out. I'll try to get a picture of her soon. She is a wonderful volunteer and friend. Speaking of Karen Potter, I hear through the grapevine that she may not be a "Potter" very long. Tonight a group from Nashville will arrive to work for a few days. We look forward to this return visit from the Hillsboro Church of Christ. Paul and Elsie England are back in town, and it's always good to have them back. Both of them have struggled with the health concerns of their parents, and it seems have made some progress in that regard. Please remember them in prayer. Image hosted by Webshots.com Today is Elaine Kilbern's birthday! Happy Birthday Elaine! I really think one of the heroes of our effort has been Elaine. She has been a steady volunteer, an essential part of the team making things happen. This has not been easy for her, but she has shown exceptional strength. Before the storm, Elaine spent her time caring for the elderly and sharing Jesus Christ with strangers through our correspondence course ministry. After the storm, she found ways to care for the elderly affected by Katrina and to minister to them in the name of Christ in a beautiful way. It is her leadership that has kept the kitchen going smoothly now for months. At times when it is down to just a few people, Elaine is always one of those people. Her steady devotion and love for David, her husband, is a tribute to what the partnership of marriage is all about. I am often inspired by the tenacity of Elaine Kilbern, and I hope she has a wonderful birthday! WHERE HOPE REMAINS Bobby Valentine writes on how to use Scripture as Prayer. Bobby and Tamie Talk About The End. Wade Offers Tulsa Workshop Audio for IPods. Ernesto Has Now Moved Inland. We are thankful that at neither landfall had Ernesto reached hurricane strength. 46.6 Million US Residents Do Not Have Health Insurance. Evidence in Oklahoma City Bombing Goes on Display. Casinos Bringing In Almost Same Revenue They Did Pre-Katrina. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting