Monday, April 30, 2012

The Temple of the Holy Spirit

I have always known that it is important to take care of my physical body. There are some things that are just inherently known. But just because we know something, doesn't mean that we take it seriously or that we put into practice the things that we know about that thing every day. Sometimes we need somebody else to push us. So here goes my best shot...

When I developed cancer almost 8 years ago, I begin to look at my physical body differently. From a spiritual standpoint, I saw a great responsibility to take care of the flesh that God had given me. Maybe I had not been taking care of it like I should. Perhaps it was just genetics or perhaps it was just bad behavior. But I realized with great reflection what most people will never look deep enough to see. It was time to do things differently.

I don't really want to preach about alcohol or cigarette smoking. I don't really want to preach about drugs, or bad eating choices, food addictions, and the like. I want to preach about Jesus and the church and God's saving grace. People are willing to listen to the things that will help them spiritually. But people excuse themselves from the reality that they are losing to Satan when it comes to the flesh. I have found that people take it personally when you challenge them to stop making bad choices when it comes to carnal, temporal things. They want to redirect! They simply don't want to take a long look in the mirror and admit they are a mess!

After having cancer, and being forced to deal with the issues I had with the care of my flesh, my perspective changed and I can praise God for humbling me. Now that I realize what a great gift life is and how important good health is, I admit that it is hard for me to respect people who are being destructive or negligent when it comes to taking care of their bodies. I pray that they will see what I have been given the opportunity to see myself.

So rather than attacking one issue so that you can point to those who have problems in another issue, I want to challenge you to take a long look at yourself. Because, "...he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him...or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Cor. 6:17, 19-20).

Therefore, make this resoltuion:
"I am going to take care of the body that God has given me. I know that He dwells in me and that this body is the temple of His Spirit. I am going to treat my body with respect as a vessel of God. I am going to be a good steward with my flesh. I am going to eat differently, I am going to excercise, and I am not going to let substances that will harm my body to enter. My motivation for all of these things will be spiritual. I am not taking care of my body to get praise or attention or to be attractive to others. I am not working on my body to stroke my ego. I am taking care of my body because I love God and I want to serve Him. I am going to live in such a way that God is glorified not only in my spirit, but also in my flesh."

"I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." ~ Galatians 5:16

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Living in Glory

When I was a child, I would visit my grandparents in Greenbrier, Arkansas. When we worshiped with them, we would hear lessons from their preacher, Ted Knight. Ted and Barbara Knight have been family friends for years. My mother even went to Romania with them to do mission work.

After moving to Cookeville, and meeting Roy Brown, I learned that he and his family also had a relationship with the Knights. Ted had come for several meetings at Willow Avenue, all the way back to 1969. He had known Fred and Alma Brown since that time. Roy Brown also served as an elder for several years at the church in Levy, Arkansas where brother Knight preached.

Ted wrote this note to Roy, and I asked Ted if I could use it in the funeral and for our bulletin. I hope you enjoy it.

April 23, 2012

Dear Roy,

You probably already know all of this but I thought that we would send it on to you anyway and maybe some of your family that hasn’t heard much about it would enjoy hearing it. When we learned of your mother’s death yesterday, Barbara said, “Alma is now in her Glory Hole.” I asked, “What in the world are you talking about?” She told me the following story that I had not thought of in a long time but Barbara will never forget it.

I was sitting at Alma’s kitchen table and I told her that she had a beautiful lamp and asked her where she got it. Alma said, “I got it out of the Glory Hole.” I said, “Really, I want to go to the Glory Hole!” Alma laughed and said, “You can’t."

"When my father married my mother he built her a new home. The house was a two story house with three gables on the roof. On each side of the upstairs were bedrooms and in the middle was the attic, which we called the Glory Hole. Everything that we didn’t want we pitched into the Glory Hole. One time later I needed a lamp and my mother had taken her old coal oil lamp and put it in the Glory Hole. Fred and I went and got the lamp because when we needed something we went to the Glory Hole and dug it out. Fred got the old lamp and had it converted into an electric lamp for me and I have had it ever since.”

My Lady speaks at a lot of Ladies Day programs and she sometimes speaks to the ladies about Alma Brown’s Glory Hole and they love it. Alma doesn’t need anything now, she’s in her Glory Hole and My Lady is still looking for hers.

Your Mother is gone from among us but she and your Dad will certainly never be forgotten by us.


Ted & Barbara Knight

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Tribute to David Pinckley

My life was profoundly affected from the moment I met David Pinckley. When I was 29, I came to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee to try out for the Pulaski St. church of Christ. On the evening before the tryout, we met some people for dinner at a steakhouse there in town. David and Frances Pinckley were among them. It was day one of our relationship.

After moving to Lawrenceburg, I saw David nearly every day of my life for almost eight years. We spent a lot of time at the Parkes House together (our office at the church). David lived at the Parkes house more than his own at times, and I can say the same. I even saw him and Frances on Saturday afternoons on a regular basis.

Everyone in Lawrenceburg knows David Pinckley. He and Frances were so well connected to the community. David and Frances are Lawrenceburg. David and Frances ARE Pulaski St. They made beautiful music together with their voices. They made beautiful music in their home and in their community. They made beautiful music in the church. They made beauiful music in our lives.

Nobody will ever know how much money David gave away to strangers when they would come asking for help. David used to say whenever we had a good Sunday offering, "Somebody opened their pocketbook and their heart fell out." If that is true, David's heart fell out every day. I bet he gave away 500 twenty dollar bills just in the time I was at Pulaski St. It didn't matter their story. If a needy person came, David was too full of compassion to say no.

"Ha! Ha! Ha!" - This booming laugh - it was David's and it was special. An infectious and wonderous laugh that filled the building and it belonged only to David. This laugh will never be duplicated or improved upon. I would hear this laugh from my upstairs office and I would have to stop what I was doing, go downstairs and find out what it was about. Trust me, this laugh changed my life. We laughed for 8 years together, and I needed his joy. David's laugh filled me heart and my mind with the wonder of what it means to be a Christian and live in happiness. I will be able to listen to this laugh in the windows of my mind as long as I live. I can't wait to hear it again in heaven.

David was talented. He was diligent. He cared immensely about the church. We could talk about anything and we agreed on about 99% in every subject. He was my sounding board, my county roadmap, my spiritual father and one of the reasons I wanted to go to work every day. He wrote amazing and powerful articles every week in the church bulletin. It never hurt my feelings when I would be told all the time by people how much they enjoyed David's articles (I had articles in the same bulletin). David's articles were sound, mature, loving, disciplinary, frank, and truthful. They took people back to a generation past and made them feel like they were there again for a moment.

David taught me how to adore my wife. Some men are slow on this but David was truly devoted to his wife and family. Frances Pinckley was loved by David Pinckley. They were true companions in every way. David would not ever let anybody say anything negative about the people he loved. He defended and protected them and made no excuses. He was loyal and no person could fault him for it.

DAVID PINCKLEY KNEW HOW TO FORGIVE PEOPLE...(this sentence deserves its own space)

David loved my wife and kids. He was so good to them all of the time. Many times I told him, before my dad moved to Lawrenceburg, that he was my in-town father. Being so separated from my parents was softened by his presence.

David changed peoples lives over the phone. He called people all the time and was their only link to the outside world sometimes. The shut-ins and older folks who were depressed...he made their days special by being an ear. Hours and hours of selfless phone time with people who needed someone to love them. David will have so many stars in his crown.

You don't share your innermost thoughts with just anybody. But David and I shared. We talked about anything and everything. We talked confidentially to each other. We fought and made up again right away and apologized to each other. We laughed and cried and told each other that we loved each other.

Since moving from Lawrenceburg I have greatly missed David. When I told him I was leaving I broke down and cried in his office about how wonderful he was and how much I was going to miss him. That was a special moment and I still can feel the emotions of that news. The last few times we have talked on the phone, we have expressed our feelings and I will never regret our open communication.

I don't know how to end this short tribute. I could write a book. I could talk about "the house on the hill", his love for animals, his special glow over his nieces or 100 other things that you get to know about somebody you spend every day with. I think I am writing this because I know just how big the void that "Hoss" has made by leaving us for a little while. I know that Pulaski St. will never be the same minus David Pinckley. I know that I lost something very special in my life today.

A few years ago we started "Coming Home Sunday" at P. St. - a tradition they have continued and I have also carried on at Willow Ave. Both churches had their "Coming Home Sunday" today. It is no small coincidence that after David worshiped the Lord this morning, that he laid his burden down and went home to his reward. I am happy for him, but I will miss him more than I can ever express in words.

I feel so blessed. David Pinckley's laugh fills my soul. And nothing can ever take that feeling away.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Crying Out for Daddy

I was eating lunch with my wife and daughter when suddenly a child began to scream. This was no ordinary scream. It was a sound of horror, fear, and concern. It was a desperate cry for help! It is common for children to make noise in public and to even cry out very loudly. On this occasion, every person in the sandwich shop fixed their eyes on this little boy. It was an undeniable call that moved us all. This boy was less than two, and his father had just stepped away for a moment, leaving him at the table alone. He could not see his father. When he realized he was gone his instincts took over. The father was quickly summoned and as soon as he picked up the boy there was silence. I have not seen something like that in a long time.

This event made me reflect on some things that are always true that I would like for you to consider:

1. Children need their parents. They need a mother and a father who will not leave them alone. They need involved parents who care for them, spend time with them, and love them. They need responsible parents who would never allow them to be in danger. They need parents who will always put the best interest of their children first. They need parents who will be obedient to God and teach them about Jesus.

2. We all are instinctively afraid of some things for a reason. God has placed in mankind a natural mode of protection from those things that we perceive as dangerous or threatening. Although our fears may differ somewhat based on our personalities, there are healthy fears that will keep us in a proper view of God's will for us and at times keep us from harm.

3. We need God! Human beings are born completely dependent. Spiritually speaking, God intended for us to stay dependent all of our lives. Each one of us should have the same desire for God that the little boy had for his daddy. How helpless we are with out God! How terrible and lonely and endangered we are without God! How deep our anguish, and how serious our cry without God!

When our Father appears, everything gets calm again. Everything is okay. There is no other solution to our cry than the loving, caring presence of our Father.

"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" ~ Romans 8:15