Thursday, September 27, 2007

That family relationship.

In our Romans class, we are asked to write an answer to an application question at the end of each chapter. Out of six possible questions, this is the one I picked:

"Paul says he is a 'slave of Christ.' If you wrote a self-introduction what words would you use to describe your relationship with God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit?"

This is how I answered:

I think that there are a number of words I would use to describe my relationship with Christ. Words like 'family,' 'mentor,' 'counselor,' and 'savior,' among others. However, if we are to focus on just one, I think 'family' is the one I'll choose. By way of explanation, I need to start with a story.

There was once a young boy who was born into a family of strife. His parents were constantly at odds with each other--fights and arguments were the currency of his world. When his parents divorced, the four year old boy went with his mother to Colorado while his father stayed in California. While with his mom, he was in and out of foster care.

When he was seven years old, there was a hearing to see who would get custody and, since his mom never showed up to court, his grandparents ended up getting custody. His dad asked if he could have the boy for a half hour for lunch, and his grandparents agreed.

He never came back.

His dad had spirited him away, managing about 15 minutes for lunch.

The boy stayed with his dad until he was nine, when he showed up at school with bruises on his hands and arms. The principal had a police investigator take pictures of the bruises on the rest of his body that day...

The boy ended up in group homes from nine years old to 18 years old, when he graduated high school. After high school, it was off to the Marines (a little bit of adolescent rebellion, as both parents were Viet Nam War protesters), and a spiritual search commenced. He bounced around from denomination to denomination, much like his family life had been.

When he got out of the Marines, he came back to Santa Cruz, California. He went to a swimming pool party put on by a high school friend, where he met Tommy Thompson. Tommy took the young man under his wing, but killed him by drowning a month later on July 31, 1989.

When I came out of the water, my old self having died, I found that I had a family. This family is so large that it would not be possible for me to meet every living member of it. I have many spiritual parents along with brothers and sisters worldwide.

Jesus is the one who gave me that family. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Boy. What A Weekend.

A couple of weeks ago, I got to visit with my cousins from Montgomery, Alabama. My cousin Michael Henig plays starting Quarterback for the Mississippi State Bulldogs, so I was in Starkville, Mississippi for a Thursday night LSU game. It was wonderful to stay with the family and tailgate a bit.

The game was enjoyable, even though the Dawgs got blown out pretty bad. (It's okay, Michael led the Dawgs to a really good game the next week!!!)

As wonderful as it was, the family visit was only the beginning of an extraordinary weekend.

On the way back home on Friday, my car started making some funny noises. It was like the fan had gotten loose somehow and was rattling against the housing. Since there was no indication of any other problems like overheating or lost oil pressure, I started looking for an exit rather than pulling over immediately. Well, I heard a "pop" underneath the car, and immediately found that I had zero power, so I pulled over. I was about a mile from exit 81 on Hwy 78 in Tupelo.

I took a look underneath the hood and found that I had very little oil on the dipstick. When I pulled the dipstick though, there were still no signs of overheating to be found. So I decided to walk to the exit and over to the nearby truck stop. I hadn't made it but about 25 yards before a motorcyclist stopped for me. Since he didn't have an extra helmet, he couldn't give me a ride, but a man in a pickup truck stopped less than thirty seconds later to give me a ride to the truck stop.

Amazing but true, no one in the truck stop could give me any ideas as to where I might find a good mechanic. I made my way across the road to Belden Baptist Church, where I met a man by the name of Kelly McGinnis. This kind man gave me a ride to a reputable mechanic's garage--Tri County Auto Repair--just a few short miles away. Nick and John Hazel were more than gracious and helpful. They took me out to my stranded car to find the problem. When it sounded like the car wasn't gonna' make the drive, they got a tow truck for me. When I got back, Kelly was waiting for me with money for an overnight motel stay. He couldn't stick around very long, but he had Nick and John drive me over to the motel and he called in the bill on his card.

After a good night's sleep, I started making some phone calls to try to get home. My first shot was trying to find a Harding student in the area who might be going home. So I called some area churches, but didn't have much success. However, the folks I talked to were more than helpful, many offering a place to stay the night, or to help find one.

I finally ended up staying in the household of Mark and Julie Halbert. What an outstanding couple! The two of them and their three boys made for an exciting stay, playing Wii games and talkin' and jokin' the whole time. They took me out for dinner that Saturday night and brought me to worship on the Lord's day the next morning.

Lee Acres church of Christ
. Now THAT'S a good congregation, right there. Their hospitality knows no bounds. Brad Carman preached that morning and taught the auditorium bible class--a class on benevolence. Kirt Hunt, Glenn McCullough Jr., and Jerry Grammer, among others, were quick to step in and lend a helping hand. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the loving kindness you showed me.

That Sunday, Jeff Montgomery drove out with his Suburban from Searcy, AR to pick me up and tow my car on a UHaul trailer. Boy was THAT an interesting ride. For those who have never towed a car on a car trailer, let's just say that you have to get used to swayin'! We got back in time to drop off the trailer and get back to the jail by 7:30 that night--and Jim Galyan came back to his ministerial stomping grounds to cover for us early, so we wouldn't be behind the eight ball that night.
Since this blog entry is already rambling, I'm gonna' go ahead and cut it short, but not before I thank a few people by name:

Chad and Beverly Ramsey, and Russell and Rennie Smith. These two couples helped a lot by just being able to direct me to someone to stay. Both Chad and Russell were out of town, so staying in their homes wasn't gonna' work for obvious reasons, but they gave me Marlin Williams and Mark Halbert to talk to. Marlin was out of town, but he came up with Mark's name as well. Guess what, Mark, you came highly recommended! I also want to thank Anita Llewellen for her help. Jeff Kreh, you came up with some good ideas as to locating folks in the area.

Thanks especially to Jeff Montgomery, who went well out of his way to help a friend in need. Thanks, bro!

Boy. What a weekend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We MUST remember.

I'm not feeling particularly eloquent today.

In the midst of my pity party over financial issues, my broken-down car and school pressures, I received a visual reminder of the need for a rearrangement of my priorities.

I was clearing my mind to write a paper for school by doing a li'l web-browsing. I do that a lot. Maybe too much. However, I came across Michelle Malkin's website and her tribute/coverage of the sixth anniversary of 9/11.

Yeah, it's been six years. Six years since 3,000 folks lost their lives in a grisly real-life version of Towering Inferno. Six years since New York City and the Pentagon irretrievably lost these precious souls. Six years since a visit to an elementary school was interrupted by national tragedy. Six years since impact, concussion and burning jet fuel overcame concrete, glass and steel. Six years since we saw the results of people having to make a decision to die in pieces on the pavement rather than burning to death. Six years since a brave group of passengers stopped another attack with the words, "Let's roll!" Six years since time stopped and our hearts beat as one nation. Six years since 285 million people cried with one tear.

And six years since an entire nation prayed to God with one voice.

I read a wonderful news article today in the Christian Science Monitor via Yahoo News. In the article, mention was made of making September 11 a day of service and self-sacrifice every year. I second that motion. Instead of allowing September 11 to resemble December 7 and fade out of our collective memory, we need to remember it with the things we should be doing anyway but don't.

Here's to remembering.

There is some strong language in this video, and it'll probably ruin your day. But I reckon you'll remember.

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