Today is October 31. So, it’s Halloween. An annual holiday celebrated in the United States as well as some other countries.
The word “Halloween” literally means “hallowed evening” or “holy evening.” It appears Halloween has its origin in ancient Celtic harvest festivals, with possible pagan roots. Later the Catholic Church, as decreed by Pope Gregory III, designated November 1 as a time to honor saints, so October 31 became known as “All Hollow’s Eve.” Continue reading
This week Norma Jean and I are in Hillsboro, Ohio, in a gospel meeting. While each meeting with different churches has its own story, character, and meaning, this one is special. Extra special.
We are returning to a church where I began my first full-time work in May of 1970. I was fresh out of Florida College and ready to convert the world. And of course, greatly improve the brotherhood. I was ready to preach the gospel and impart to these brethren my years of experience and vast knowledge of Scripture as a 22-year-old neophyte to full-time ministry. Continue reading
Norma Jean and I were recently in the Smoky Mountains for a short get-a-away. It’s been one of our favorite places through the years to visit and relax.
We were wondering how the Mountains would look since the fires last November burned over 17,000 acres of forest, destroyed or damaged more than 2000 homes and buildings and took the lives of 14 people, as well as injuring 145. Continue reading
On Tuesday Baylor University began a new initiative on faith, ethics and public policy in Washington D.C. They kicked it off with a panel discussion on “faith and the challenges of secularism.”
The “Triaolgue,” as it’s called, is named after Robert P. George, an American legal scholar, Princeton University Law Professor, and considered by many as “one of the country’s leading conservative intellectuals.” George has defended traditional marriage in his book, “What is marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.” He is also in favor of banning abortion as he argues in his book “Embryo.” Continue reading
Phillips Brooks the 19th century New England Preacher, author and writer of the song “O Little Town of Bethlehem, was noted for his poise, patience, and dignified deportment.
Brooks, however, suffered moments of frustration and irritability in his ministry. One day a friend saw him feverishly pacing the floor like a caged lion. “What’s the trouble, Mr. Brooks?” he asked.
His response was classic. Continue reading
Ivan the Great was the 15th-century czar of all of Russia. He brought together the warring tribes into one vast empire–the Soviet Union. He was known as a brilliant general and a courageous fighter.
The story is told that Ivan was so busy waging war that he had never married. Soon his advisors were concerned there would be no heir to the throne. The great czar agreed but said he had no time to find a wife. So he commissioned them to find a suitable bride. Continue reading
Last Saturday while returning from Nashville to Dallas on Southwest airlines, I picked up a copy of their magazine and saw a headline that caught my eye “The Ultimate Team Sport” by their Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly.
In the article, Kelly was comparing Southwest to a football team. In it he talked about the value of every team member, sticking together through wins and losses and how to treat others on the team. Continue reading
My meeting in Grayson County Kentucky followed by a couple days in the mountains has put me in a reflective mood. So, here are some thoughts from a column 4 years ago that seem appropriate today.
For as long as I can recall, going back to my childhood days, ingrained in my memory is the period of worship when we partake of the Lord’s supper.
I remember the solemnity of the occasion before I totally understood what it meant. A song was sung “to prepare our minds.” The men would go forward in suits and ties. The one presiding would often read from I Corinthians 11 or one of the gospel accounts where Jesus instituted the supper. Then make a few appropriate remarks.
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A Pew Research Center Poll revealed that for the first time a majority of Americans say it is possible to be a good person without religious beliefs.
The poll conducted in June and July surveyed 5,000 American adults and found that 56% said that “God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality,” according to Greg Smith, Pew’s associate director of research. Smith attributed this response to the increased number of Americans who are religious “nones,” that is they have no religious affiliation. Continue reading
An Indiana preacher, Fred Sigle, tells an incredible story that occurred in the lower east side of NYC several years ago.
Two teenagers with a long history of crime and delinquency robbed a YMCA and as they were leaving saw a young man at the telephone switchboard. They were frightened and assumed that he must be calling the police. They seized and beat him savagely with brass knuckles and a blackjack. Thinking that he was dead, they hid him behind a radiator near the swimming pool and escaped. Continue reading