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I’ve read all of Ayn Rand’s novels. Like many Rand readers, I discovered her work in college. I consider The Fountainhead to be her best work. It’s a much better novel than her final and more famous book, Atlas Shrugged. Below is a link to an analysis of Rand’s philosophy, as presented in Atlas Shrugged, by David Brin, a libertarian science fiction writer. He wrote the novel The Postman, which Kevin Costner adapted into a film. I recommend the novel (the movie was just okay). If you’ve read Rand, I think you’ll enjoy Brin’s insights.

http://www.davidbrin.com/aynrand.html

 

Lawler AWA

I don’t think one more Memphian could have crammed into the Mid-South Coliseum.

Our hero, the King of Rasslin’, Jerry Lawler, promised us that he would either become AWA World Champion or retire.

We had no choice but to be there.

For years, fate denied Lawler a World Championship. He had faced the best: Nick Bockwinkel, Harley Race, Ric Flair, and others. But circumstances, usually interference from a “bad guy,” overcame Lawler’s opportunities.

This night was his last shot.

My dad and I sat in our usual spot in the risers. We normally went to Monday night wrestling once a year, near my birthday, but this night brought us out two months early.

What if this was the King’s last match?

I don’t remember Curt Henning’s ring entrance, but I’ll never forget Lawler’s.

He came out on a camel.

Twenty five years later I can’t recall many specifics about the match. I’ve watched it a few times since, but my memories of the night center on the final moments.

Lawler polished off Henning with a finishing move I’d never seen him use. He catapulted the future “Mr. Perfect” over the turnbuckle and into the ring post. When Henning landed, Lawler covered him and the Fabulous One Jackie Fargo, the match’s special referee, moved into position.

Fargo raised his hand and we all counted “one” as he slammed it against the mat. The hand shot up again and we all counted “two.” Our chests thumped. His hand extended one more time and the entire crowd called out “three.”

Eleven thousand fans launched from their seats, exploding with shouts and cheers.

I can still feel the Coliseum floor vibrate under my feet.

The wrestlers poured out of the dressing room toward the ring to congratulate the King. They lifted him on their shoulders, and he held up the championship belt.

Memphis’ King was King indeed.

That night was a special one for a kid who grew up absorbed in and obsessed with Memphis wrestling. It’s the highlight of that part of my childhood.

I began thinking about this match just the other day, on May 9, 2013. A pastor friend shared on Facebook that it had been twenty five years since Lawler vs. Henning. I couldn’t believe it.

What happened that night? When I look back, the moment’s emotions dominate my memory.  Why was the crowd so united? Why so much joy?

Professional wrestling works like any good story telling medium. It allows us to suspend our belief and be swept into the story.

On Lawler’s victorious night, the crowd was swept into a story that had built for years. Each one of the King’s close calls during his career slowly pushed the fans towards desperation. Whoever created the angle that Lawler would retire if he lost (I suspect it was Lawler himself), knew the storyline was ripe.

And for a few moments, we all believed.

Even though we knew it wasn’t real.

We all agreed to believe the story, and our belief created genuine emotion.

We united around our hero.

My life is now very different than the life of my almost eleven year old self. I’m now a pastor; and as a pastor, I often think about church unity.

To be united around a professional wrestler is fun, mindless entertainment. But, to be united around the person and work of Jesus Christ is the eternal calling of every Christian and church body.

In Acts 1:14, Luke wrote of Jesus’ followers, “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers (NASB).”

After Pentecost, Luke summarized the early church in Acts 2:46–47 by writing, “46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved (NASB).”

Christians impact the world with the gospel when united.

If the church is going to be effective with lost people, then we must be more excited about Jesus than any wrestling fan is about his favorite grappler.

Our personal passions and hobbies make little eternal difference.

But, if we allow ourselves to be swept into the story of eternity, our unity will produce churches that cannot be stopped.

The floor of the Mid-South Coliseum no longer shakes with the cheers of thousands, but the truth of the gospel continues to unite and inspire each new generation to reach the lost.

I believe we can all jump to our feet about that.

John L. Sullivan (Heavyweight Champion 1882-92)

John L. Sullivan (Heavyweight Champion 1882-92)

I recently presided over my first Lord’s Supper service at Meridian Baptist Church. My sermon that day, as with every Lord’s Supper service, focused on Christ’s work of redemption and the seriousness of the ordinance. I preached from Luke 22:14-20 and emphasized the sacrifice of Christ.

In these verses, Jesus describes the relationship between the elements of the Lord’s Supper and His suffering. It says, “19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood (NASB).”

As I studied the passage, I thought through specific areas of application. I’ve put together a sermon preparation form that lists application topics. Here’s its current form.

Application:

  • Theological (What does this passage say about God?)
  • Universal (What does this passage say about Man?)
  • Relational (What does this passage say about how we relate with others?)
    • With God
    • With our spouse
    • With our family
    • With our church
    • With those at work/school/activities/neighbors
  • Individual (What does this passage say about you?)
    • Attitudes
    • Actions

As I walked through the list, I considered how Jesus’ teaching about the Lord’s Super applied to marriage.

I reflected on a foundational marriage text. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:25, “25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her (NASB).”

That verse, when combined with Jesus’ words in Luke 22, should challenge every husband to examine his commitment to his wife and family.

Jesus gave himself completely for the church. He took on physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering. He turned away the wrath of God through His shed blood.

As husbands, we must live with same attitude toward our wives that Christ demonstrated when He died for us.

Consider the physical aspect of Jesus’ suffering. He was beaten, scourged, and nailed to cross. On the cross he slowly died of asphyxiation. He experienced brutality.

Men, we must be willing to give ourselves physically for our spouses. Males can endure much more physical hardship than their wives or children. While we may not be called to sacrifice our lives, we must be willing to do the little things, such as sleeping less, so that we are available and ready to fulfill our roles as husbands and fathers.

As husbands we are also to give ourselves emotionally for the sake of our wives. Jesus suffered and persevered under great emotional stress as He approached the cross—and then, once there, things really became difficult.

Men, we must protect our wives and children emotionally. God has placed us in a leadership position and we must be the tower of strength our families need. This role brings difficulties, but we find our strength in our relationship with Christ. If your wife has some area that causes her emotional stress, such as the family finances, you can protect her by handling that particular duty.

Our main role is to give of ourselves spiritually. Jesus took our sins on Himself and satisfied God’s wrath on the cross. No greater spiritual act ever occurred.

We must, as husbands and fathers, take the spiritual reins in our families. Our job is to lead our wives and children to grow in grace and knowledge of God. That job means more than simply going to church. Church augments the teaching of the home. To give ourselves over to this role takes the most commitment, as our not-yet-glorified selves resist every move towards spiritual leadership.

So guys, it’s time to man up.

Put your wife and family first.

Jesus put you first.

I dare you to be like Him.

FBC Picture

Thank you.

For eight years you have allowed me to be your pastor. You have supported my ministry, loved my family, and opened your lives to Donna and me. We have become more of a family than a church.

Because of you, we leave better than we came.

In November 2004, Donna and I were twenty seven years old and complete new comers to ministry. Emma (who will be ten in August) was fifteen months old. Sarah (soon to be eight) was due in April. We leave with the additions of Brenna (almost five) and Tessa (just about two). You have loved our children as if they were your own. We will always be grateful.

I’d have to say that the major milestone in our time together was the joining of FBC with Amazing Grace Baptist Church. God guided that process and used it to build the strong church we have today. I don’t know where I would be without the influence of David Bock in my ministry. Fellowship is in steady hands.

Over the years we’ve experienced life together.

Tough times have come to many in our congregation. I’ve watched as the people of Fellowship united to help one another. We’ve seen illness, addictions, death, and financial problems come into our lives. My proudest moments as pastor have been watching you show the love of Christ.

Good times have also come to our congregation. People have been saved. Saved people have grown in their relationship with the Lord. Couples have married. Babies have been born. It was my privilege to share those moments with you.

We leave this place with heavy hearts. No pastor could ask for a more loving and caring congregation. Through your faithfulness you have provided for my family. As a husband and father, I can’t tell you how much that means to me.

I will miss all of you.

I will miss looking out of my dining room window to see if Danny’s car is in the parking lot.

I will miss talking college football before Sunday school.

I will miss our almost never ending welcome times during morning worship.

I will miss watching my children run to you when you walk in the front door of the church.

I will miss sitting around the foyer and talking after Sunday and Wednesday night service.

I will miss watching Happy the Clown at Christmas.

I will miss teasing Raymond about his hand, Bob about his age, and Brenda about her card playing.

I will miss watching the men of our church (all ages) line up in the front of the sanctuary to pray before our offering.

I will miss watching the faces of the children when they sit around Kim on Sunday morning.

I will miss other things as well, but most of all, I will miss being your pastor.

Enoch Family Photo

I don’t know if you suffer from this problem, but I constantly get songs from my childhood stuck in my mind. Specifically, old country music songs show up.

One particular song meanders through my mind. Old Hippie, by the Bellamy Brothers, will hang out for days. I sing it in the shower, while shaving, driving, or whenever.

The song tells the story of how a former hippie, now thirty five years old, deals with his transitioning life. The song says, “He’s an old hippie and he don’t know what to do. Should he hang on to the old? Should he grab on to the new? He’s an old hippie. This new life is just a bust. He ain’t tryin’ to change nobody. He’s just tryin’ real hard to adjust.”

One line declares that in the sixties the old hippie thought everyone was hip. I can remember asking my parents what it meant to be hip. Once I cleared up that question, my next was to ask what it meant to be sent “off to Vietnam on his senior trip.” That answer introduced me to the draft and the Vietnam War.

The song was released in 1985, making the old hippie the same age as my dad. (In the interest of full disclosure, it’s also my current age.) While my parents didn’t fall into this category, I’ve met several from their generation who, like the old hippie, were “consuming” what they grew in “a little garden in the backyard by the fence.”

The old hippie smoked his stash to rebel against pressure to conform, but he did compromise in a few areas. He loved country music, “because disco left him cold.” And while he had mostly left the party scene, he still dreamed about Woodstock and mourned the death of John Lennon. One of the song’s most poignant lines says, “he thinks of John sometimes, and he has to wonder why.”

But until a few days ago, I was unaware that there is more to the story than the original song.

Ten years after we first met the old hippie, the Bellamy Brothers dropped in on him again.

At forty five, he is still adjusting to life and trying to move on, but things still aren’t quite right.

His love of country music is tested by a new generation of singers. The radio doesn’t play Merle Haggard or George Jones anymore. Instead, “he don’t know Billy Ray from Garth.”

Marijuana appears again, this time in the line, “he just don’t trust a president that never has inhaled.”

A glimmer of happiness, however, shines through in his family life. After getting home from work he “takes some time up with the kids.” He’s trying “to teach them right from wrong, hope they don’t learn it the way he did.”

Despite his progress, the old hippie is still out of sorts. The chorus says, “Yeah, he’s an old hippie, even older than before. Wondering what to pay attention and to what he should ignore. He’s an old hippie, still adjusting to the change. He’s just trying to find some balance in a world gone totally insane.”

The Bellamys left him for another ten years.

The next time we hear about him, at fifty five, he is a new man.

He’s found salvation through Christ.

The chorus says, “He’s an old hippie, getting older every day. But his eyes are on the prize and his faith ain’t gonna stray. He’s an old hippie; he knows what his life is for. Tryin’ to get right with the man before he goes knockin’ on Heaven’s door.”

The old hippie can’t believe that he’s lived so long and is grateful for God’s love in his life. Part of the opening says, “But now he hangs out with the grandkids, instead of tokin’ on his bong. He still thinks about the crazy days, but thanks his God above, that he traded in the love-ins for a greater kind of love.”

His love for music has evolved. He still loves country and rock, but now “he’s partial to the melodies that saved his soul.”

He’s come so far that he’s not even concerned with being cool anymore: “he don’t care, and that’s a fact.”

He does care about faith and family. His evangelism is straightforward: “He’ll just tell you about the love he’s found, deep within his heart.”

Our friend found joy in the Lord: “His family is his universe and Heaven is his home.”

I don’t know if the Bellamy Brothers plan to visit their buddy when he turns sixty five. If they do, I think I know what they will find.

He will be a man faced with his own mortality: high blood pressure, prostate health, aging joints, and weakening eyes will bring new adjustments. Caring for aging parents and dealing with the death of a spouse may dominate his life. Living in a world increasingly hostile to his beliefs may stir up his old rebellious ways.

But I believe our old hippie will be just fine. He’s learned that life boils down to his relationship with Christ.

His journey was long and winding, but he got there.

I’m not a songwriter, but let me suggest a chorus for the old hippie at sixty five.

“Yeah, he’s an old hippie, but he’s trusting in His Lord. His old joints, they start to creak, his blood pressure, he ignores. He’s an old hippie, and the world has gone insane, he finds comfort in the truth that his Jesus will never change.”

Peace, man.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Batman

Donna and I are big fans of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

The series, beginning with Batman Begins, continuing with The Dark Knight, and concluding with The Dark Knight Rises, grounds Batman in reality.

Adam West would never leave the Bat Cave in Nolan’s world.

Nolan’s gritty realism calls on ordinary people to behave heroically.  (Non-super people normally just flee in terror from the bad guys in this genre.)

For instance, Jim Gordon, played by Gary Oldman, fills the role of heroic everyman.  He is caught in a war and he responds by partnering with Batman.  Gordon is flawed, but valiant.

Gordon

Gordon

For me, another character from the final film stands out.

Foley, who I assume to be the police chief, played by Matthew Modine, develops into an everyday hero as the story unfolds.

Foley

Foley

At first, Foley is a promotion hungry and politically minded officer.  When Bane, the film’s antagonist, makes his first major move, Foley attempts to arrest Batman and allows Bane to escape.

Later, with Gotham under siege, Commissioner Gordon pleads with Foley to lead the police in an attack against Bane.  He refuses.  He believes the situation to be hopeless.

Bane

Bane

As events unfold, and Foley fulfills his commitment to protect and serve, he overcomes his fear and leads his men.  The sight of three thousand officers, walking in formation toward the enemy, is one of the film’s most striking visuals.

Ultimately, Foley gives his life for the people of Gotham.  The promotion happy officer dies a selfless hero.

You and I live in a world that is constantly under attack.  While supervillains may not be taking over our cities, a truly evil force attacks daily.

Satan and sinfulness render this world hostile towards God’s truth and God’s people.

Like those ordinary people in the film, we are at war.  But, we are a world full of Foleys—regular people, often self-centered.

God, however, calls on us to be His army, His heroes.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:26–31, “26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord (ESV).”

God rarely uses Super Christians.

He uses ordinary people, who are extraordinarily committed to their Savior.

Don’t worry about being super.

Just be committed.

You’ll be a hero.

I never knew Dr. Adrian Rogers, but I have several friends who knew him well and they all speak highly of him.  I did, however, research Dr. Roger’s life and ministry for a PhD seminar.  I started my presentation with something like, “I didn’t know Dr. Rogers, but after putting this presentation together, I miss him.”

I now feel the same way about Abraham Lincoln.

I’ve become convinced that the best way to study leadership is not to read books about leadership, but books about leaders.  So, I’ve just finished reading a biography of Lincoln.  I plan to read a biography of every US president.  This book is my third.

I learned much from Lincoln.

I learned that people, leaders in this case, can master new skills through dedication and tenacity.

Lincoln taught himself to be a lawyer, how to use proper English, and how to lead the nation.  No one instructed him.  His formal education was sparse, but his determination vast.

David Herbert Donald, the author of the biography, described Lincoln’s approach to mastering English grammar:

Lincoln’s real interest was in the structure and use of language, and he decided that he needed to learn grammar.  Samuel Kirkham’s English Grammar was considered the best guide, and when Lincoln learned that a farmer named John C. Vance had a copy, he willingly walked six miles into the country to get it.  He set himself systematically to master this detailed text, committing large segments to memory.  Then he asked his friends to test his mastery, and when challenged to provide a definition of a verb, could recite, “A VERB is a word which signifies to BE, to DO, or to SUFFER; as I am; I rule; I am ruled.”

As I read that account, I asked myself if I had the kind of determination it takes to master something on my own.  The pastorate demands constant spiritual growth and sharpening.  I found Lincoln’s resolve to be convicting.

I also learned that a leader’s viewpoints mature and develop over time as they make decisions.

Lincoln erred.  He made wrong decisions and held on too long to plans best laid aside.  He only slowly realized the necessity of freeing the slaves.  He put his faith in several weak generals before finding Grant.  As a leader, he learned from mistakes and adjusted.

As a pastor, I am constantly called on to make decisions.  These decisions may be simple (Preacher, where do we put the candy for the trunk or treat?).  Or, these decisions may be complex (Brother John, is it biblical to . . . ?).

I pray, that like Lincoln, I learn from my mistakes.

While learning and decision making are important, leadership is more about character than content.  Lincoln’s life proved this to be true.

As commander-in-chief, he had the power to decide what would happen to the Confederate troops after the war.  His approach was simple: let them go home and live their lives.  He was more interested in rebuilding the nation than exacting retribution.  People were more important than power.

My calling is to pastor people: God’s people.  If my life does not reflect God’s character, then I will not be the example I am called to be.  Relationships trump results.

Lincoln was not perfect.  Like all leaders, he was a fallen man living in a fallen world.  But, during his tenure, Lincoln sought to do the right thing.  He came to believe that God was using him to bring about the restoration of the Union.  That battle, though won, cost him his life.

In Romans 13:1 Paul wrote, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God (ESV).”

God brought Abraham Lincoln into the White House exactly when needed.  Leaders need to understand that God has placed them into leadership positions.  All who have such responsibly must remember that they ultimately answer to God.

The church that I lead is not my church.  It is the bride of Christ.  It is not about me.  It is about Christ and His glory.

Your responsibilities are not about you.  Those duties are about glorifying God through faithful service.

If we keep that in mind, someone may look back and say, “I didn’t know them, but I do miss them.”

Calvin Miller

His handshake is what stood out.

I met Calvin Miller as he came out of the sanctuary side door at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. He had preached in chapel that day and I stopped to introduce myself and to thank him for the sermon.

He shook my hand, placed his left hand on my shoulder, and looked in my eyes to say thank you.  I walked away with the sense of a genuinely warm man who loved people.

A few hours later, Dr. Miller spoke to the PhD students.  We were a hypercritical group, ready to roast him when we returned to the carrel room if he slipped up.  Instead, he brought an evangelical breath of fresh air.  The man who addressed us the previous semester spoke in circles and didn’t seem to believe anything.  Calvin Miller spoke with humility, humor, and an obvious love for the Lord and His Word.

I don’t remember all that he said that day, but a throwaway sentence changed my entire approach to preaching.  While discussing narrative and story in preaching, Miller mentioned that his sermons were mainly one-point sermons, with subpoints.  That single sentence started a journey that forever changed my preaching style.

After hearing Dr. Miller at MABTS, I bought Preaching: The Art of Narrative Exposition.  His ability to combine content with humor and insight impressed me.  I became a fan.

Since then, I’ve read several of Miller’s books.  His memoir, Life is Mostly Edges, touched me as deeply as any book I’ve read.  Letters to a Young Pastor encouraged me beyond expectation.

I sent an e-mail to Dr. Miller, on January 12, 2012, after reading Letters to a Young Pastor.

Dr. Miller,

I want to thank you for your book, Letters to a Young Pastor. I found the book encouraging and insightful. Your stories remind us young pastors that we are not in this thing alone; we all share similar experiences, successes, and failures.

I have to confess that your story in letter 35, about your experience at the urinal with a difficult church member, had me laughing out loud. I was the only one in the church building at the time, so I’m glad no one walked in to see me laughing all by myself in the office.

I heard you speak a few years ago at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. Since then I’ve read and greatly benefitted from several of your books. Thank you for your ministry.

 John Enoch

Pastor – Fellowship Baptist Church

Bartlett, TN

 

Here is his response from the following day.

John I am ever so thankful for your letter. I do hope the book which has been on the market for a very short time, will find a readership as open as you have been.

It does mean so much.

Thanks,

Calvin Miller

It is a simple note of thank you that encouraged me.

I have a Bible, given at my ordination, in which I record ministry milestones.  I write down dates, events, and thoughts on the blank pages in the back.  My e-mail with Calvin Miller now sits between two pages of that Bible.

I will never again meet Calvin Miller in this life.  Ironically, the only time I met him was before I appreciated him.  His influence and ministry, however, continue through me and those he taught.

I believe the world would benefit from a few more Calvin Millers.

I will be forever grateful for the one we had.

Most of you have never heard of Verne Gagne.  If you have, then you just made two admissions.  First, at some point in your life you watched professional wrestling.  Second, you were born before the 1980’s.

Last week, I watched a fascinating documentary about Gagne and the AWA and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

Verne Gagne was a professional wrestling superstar in the late 1950’s through the 1970’s.  He owned and operated the AWA (American Wrestling Association).  He is a legend in the fake world of pro wrestling.  In the real world of amateur wrestling, he was one of the best, winning state high school, NCAA, and AAU titles.

In the late 1950’s, after the NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) refused to make Gagne champion (Lou Thesz was their man), he formed the AWA and operated out of Minnesota.

The AWA trained and developed many legendary wrestlers. Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat came out of Gagne’s training camps in the 1970’s.  Hulk Hogan finally figured out what it meant to be The Hulkster in the early 1980’s with the AWA.  Scores of others trace their success to Gagne and the AWA.

Flair and Steamboat

Hulk Hogan with the AWA Title Belt

By the late 1980’s, however, after riding high for almost thirty years, the AWA began to crumble.  Vince McMahon, the owner of the WWF (now WWE) signed Gagne’s wrestlers to large contracts and built a continuing empire.

What happened to the AWA?  The simple answer is that they never moved on with the times.  While the WWF created exciting shows with interesting and loveable characters, the AWA pushed technical wrestling (even though it was fake—funny, huh?).

Holds and counter-holds could be found in the AWA.

In the WWF, the Honkytonk Man smashed guitars over his opponent’s head.

The Honkytonk Man and “The Mouth of the South,” Jimmy Hart

You can imagine the difference.

People turned off the television and stayed away from the arenas.  The AWA died.

Okay, I hear you.  What does this have to do with anything?

Well, as I watched the story of the AWA’s fall from dominance to irrelevance, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels to the church in North America during the same years.  Times changed, but churches didn’t.

The “million more in 54” campaign ended when Eisenhower was president.  Roundup Days rode off into the sunset.  The wheels came off of bus ministry.  Saddleback Sam has become AARP Arnold.

While the truth of the gospel and man’s need for Christ never change, culture and context do.

I’m sure horse and buggy companies went out of business when Mr. Ford came along. Churches died, or are on life support, because they ignored changing culture.

Verne Gagne did not understand that he needed to build a bigger, louder, fancier product.  The church made the same mistake, but in the opposite direction.  We built congregations around “come and see,” instead of “go and tell.”  We entertained, rather than worshipped.  We became bigger, louder, and fancier when we should have become relational, reverential, and real.

Programs and events are not the answer. People are the answer.

God has placed a group of lost people around you. They may work with you, attend school with you, or share some of your DNA. You know these people and they know you.

Tell them what Christ is doing in your life. Tell them about the cross. Tell them how your sins were forgiven through the blood of Christ. Tell them about eternal life.

Nothing is more relevant than a relationship.

Do we want to see the church become the force for Christ that it has been? Do we want to see lives changed, worship renewed, and God glorified?

Go to the lost that you know. Tell them about Christ.

Let’s show them that there are no counter-holds when wrestling with the truth.

Andy Griffith has passed away.

In elementary school, I would come home every day and watch The Andy Griffith Show.  That show is second only to The Beverly Hillbillies in my mind.

I loved to visit Mayberry.  I still do.  In my Instant Queue on Netflix you can find Andy, Barney, Aunt Bee, and Opie.

I have one rule about the show.  I don’t watch color episodes.  It’s just not same.  (The opposite is true for The Beverly Hillbillies.  The black and white episodes can’t compare to the color.)

I’ve learned a lot from Andy and the gang over the years.

I’ve learned that there is no such thing as half a boy (see this blog’s title).

I’ve learned that you can’t feed dynamite to a goat.

I’ve learned that you can spook mountain folk with disappearing ink.

Most of all, I’ve learned to be aware of the feelings of others.

For all his faults (and they are greater than we remember), Andy Taylor was always sensitive toward others.  His relationship with Deputy Barney Fife (also his cousin and high school class mate, but the show only mentioned the cousin thing once), showed Andy’s concern for the dignity of others.

He teased Barney in good fun (remember the buffalo nickel?), but when Barney’s pride was truly on the line, Andy stepped up.

Once, Barney accidentally caught a dangerous criminal.  Later in the episode, after the criminal escaped again, Barney was ready to confess that his hero status was not deserved, but Andy stopped him and then arranged for Barney to recapture the fugitive.  Through Andy’s ingenuity, Barney caught the bad guy, with pride and self-confidence intact.  He did swallow his gum, though.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:12, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (ESV).”

We should all pay attention to those around us.  They just might need a bit of support and understanding.

We all do, from time to time.

Thank you, Andy, for showing us how it’s done.