Music and Motivation – Part I

The late Don Joiner was a first cousin of mine.  He was 14 years older than me and was a gifted musician.  He played the piano and organ as a teenager at Harmony Baptist Church, the place where our family worshipped twice every Sunday.  Don’s considerable talent is perhaps what inspired my mother to arrange for me to take music lessons.

In the second grade, at Pinehurst Elementary School, I began taking piano from Mrs. Myrtle Peavy.  She was also our school principal and had a no-nonsense approach to discipline.

Ben Reed was a classmate, friend, and fellow piano student.  We stayed after school two days a week for our lessons with Miss Myrtle.  In the free time before our sessions, we’d throw a baseball, hang upside down from the monkey bars, or see who could go the highest on the swings.

On one of those afternoons Ben led us on a daring expedition through tangled vines that had encapsulated a small abandoned building.  He took me there to show me Dock Watson’s thumb.  Dock was well ahead of me in school, but I knew him because he lived only a couple of miles from our house.  His thumb had been severed in a shop-class accident then put in a jar of denatured alcohol.  I suppose it was placed in the window sill to remind young boys to be careful around electric saws.  Dock’s thumb was the only thing left in that run-down building.  I guess nobody knew what to do with it.

Miss Myrtle selected a piece for my first recital called “The Wise Old Owl.” She suggested I sing the catchy lyrics, “Hoot hoot hoot goes the wise old owl, hoot hoot hoot goes he.”  She later decided we would forgo the singing.  She didn’t say why, and I didn’t ask.  I had excellent volume, so it must have been something else.

Ben and I took the summer off from music.  When we returned to school for third grade, he told me he wasn’t going to keep taking lessons, that piano was more for girls.  I figured Ben knew what he was talking about.  He was the best athlete in our class, plus he had a girlfriend, the stunningly beautiful Kay Bowen.  When I got home from school that day, I told Mama that Ben and I were quitting piano.  I thought presenting this as a joint decision would give it more credibility.  Mama said if that’s what I wanted to do then she wouldn’t stop me, but that I would have to be the one to tell Miss Myrtle.

That complicated my plans considerably.  Miss Myrtle was nice to me, but her paddling skills were legendary.  I had a notion her music students received a disproportionate amount of mercy.

David Dunaway, a cousin of mine, was a year behind me at Pinehurst Elementary.  I told him this story of my childhood dilemma at a family reunion a few years ago.  He laughed and said he knew why I was afraid to talk to Miss Myrtle.  He said she paddled the two of us for jumping out a window in the boys’ room.  I remember leaping through the windows a few times, but I don’t recall getting punished.  I am, however, blessed with a gift for disremembering things that are incriminating.

I couldn’t summon the courage to tell Miss Myrtle that I wouldn’t be back.  I could out-wrestle anybody in our class, so it didn’t’ bother me if most of her students were girls.  If anyone made it an issue, I knew I could put them on the wrong side of a Full Nelson.  Or I could employ the vice-like grip of my renowned scissor hold.  Once I locked my legs around someone’s stomach, the only sane option was to surrender by crying, “Uncle!”

I kept taking piano, but I was careful to never practice more than the minimum suggested time.  An alarm clock helped ensure that I didn’t exceed 30 minutes per day.  I plinked aimlessly through my second year of music, plagued by a lack of enthusiasm.

I didn’t really believe Miss Myrtle would paddle me for leaving the music business behind.  I think I was more afraid that she would ask me why I was quitting, a question I didn’t have a good answer for.  That small hint of misplaced fear was enough motivation to keep me on the piano bench for another school term.

Not long after finishing the third grade, I found a new source of inspiration.  In the next column we’ll delve into the mindset of a fourth-grade cotton-picking piano player.  Sometimes life offers us difficult choices.  At other times it’s a breeze.  My breeze came from a big green fan in the living room, a fan that kept perfect rhythm with the two simple songs I knew how to play.

Posted in 2018 | 6 Comments

ABC Diner

I’m not sure why distant memories surface unexpectedly.  I’m just glad they’re mostly pleasant.  I thought about Mrs. Balanis today, a sweet Greek lady I met in Valdosta during the 1970s.  I spent four years in South Georgia at Valdosta State College.  The first two years I lived in a dormitory and survived on cafeteria food.  It wasn’t all that bad, but it paled in comparison to the country cooking I had grown up with.

One day there was a student protest of the cafeteria which attracted a crowd of 100 or maybe more.  I didn’t participate, but I’ll have to say their sit-in was quite effective.  The next time we had fish sticks they tasted like something with a possible aquatic origin.

We supplemented our cafeteria food from various places.  Pizza Villa was one of our favorites.  Fall quarter of 1970 was the first time I’d ever eaten pizza.  I’ve had a few slices since then that were almost as good, but I’ve never had one any better.

Bynum’s Diner was our regular place for home-style fare.  The ladies in the kitchen and the ones waiting tables were all senior citizens.  They cooked for flavor not to manage cholesterol or calories.  We probably didn’t tip them enough, but they were nice to us anyway.  I guess those older women understood we were still kids, something that escaped us at the time.

Occasionally we’d go to Ma Groover’s Restaurant or to a boarding house that I’m not sure had a name.  It was a two-story frame home where men rented single rooms and ate old fashioned meals seated around a long table.  Anyone was welcome and the food was good.  The era of boarding houses has long passed but I’m not sure why.  Maybe there’s too much regulation to turn a profit now.

Mitchell’s Barbeque on the south end of town was custom-made for a college kid’s budget.  They only had a few small tables, but it didn’t take us long to eat.  Their plate full of barbeque came with rice and gravy, greens, and cornbread.  Sometimes we’d buy a paper bag of grilled pork skins that were still warm and drenched in sauce.  They made a perfect afternoon snack for a carload of hungry boys.

Shoney’s had Slim Jim sandwiches and strawberry pie.  Mr. Twist offered foot-long hot dogs with a dozen toppings.  Colonel Sanders fried his chicken with secret herbs and spices.  There were plenty of good places to eat in Valdosta during my time there, but the one I wish most that I could return to is the ABC Diner.

ABC wasn’t in the regular rotation for college students.  I first went there as a guest of a couple of Valdosta State staff members, Fluker Stewart and Andy Bond.  I was President of the Student Government Association when Mr. Stewart and Dean Bond took me there for lunch.  I was smitten with the food and even more so with the charming silver haired lady who served it.

It was a small but very busy restaurant.  Mrs. Balanis was constantly in motion, making sure the place was spotlessly clean, the food exceptional, and the atmosphere inviting.  She treated her customers like family.

ABC is where I learned to enjoy tossed salads.  I had until then considered them an unnecessary accompaniment to spaghetti.  Her picturesque salads were crisp, cold, and loaded with her own splendid version of Thousand Island dressing.  Her Greek salads were reportedly even more magnificent, but I was young and lacked the courage to choose such an adventurous path.

It was at ABC where I was introduced to creamed corn so wonderful it deserved its own blessing.  Mrs. Balanis knew how to perfectly sweeten the pot.  Her creamed corn could have been served in a pie crust without apology to any dessert.

And ABC is the place I took my future wife one day when she didn’t feel well.  She ordered a Coke to drink but no food.  A few minutes later Mrs. Balanis brought her a bowl of homemade soup.  With her warm smile and endearing accent, she said very softly, “Maybe this will help you feel better.”  It helped back then, and it still helps now when I recall that brief but tender moment.  Small gestures of kindness can make lasting impressions.

If I could go back to the ABC Diner, I’d order a Greek salad.  But what I’d most like to do is just visit with Mrs. Balanis.  I loved that little diner, because I loved the dear lady who treated me like family.  I don’t know why memories surface unexpectedly.  I’m just glad they’re mostly pleasant.

Posted in 2018 | 4 Comments

Reunion Season

I retired from banking at the end of 2015.  Part of my retirement strategy was to find three free meals a week.  My Three for Free Program has not worked very well during the winter months, but summer is much better.  Summer is the time for reunions.

Reunion Season starts in June, peaks in July, and is pretty much over by the end of August.  I wish we could spread that July concentration over several months, but I haven’t yet figured out how.  Georgia Veterans State Park at Lake Blackshear is a prime location for reunions. I highly recommend it for your family gatherings, and I encourage you to schedule them during June or August.

Jane and I leave church on Sundays a little after twelve, then drive slowly toward the park.  We’ve learned not to get there too early unless you want to help set up tables and chairs.  About 20 minutes later we’re usually standing in line holding red plastic plates, asking folks we don’t know how they’ve been getting along.

Over the past few summers I’ve developed some guidelines that are quite useful.  If you decide to start attending reunions of people you aren’t related to, here are three things that may be helpful.

Rule number One is to “Follow the Crowd.”  I also call this the Twenty Plenty Rule.  It’s important to go where the people are, where you can more readily blend in.  I don’t stop at a place where there are less than 20 vehicles, unless it’s an emergency situation.

More people also means more food.  It’s disappointing to find out that someone has grilled just enough chicken halves for those who responded.  It makes me feel a little guilty to compete for a good position in line, especially if the crowd consists mostly of older folks.  Competing for a spot near the front is also more challenging because of Jane’s impeccable manners.  Unless she’s really hungry I have to tug on her arm to keep her from lagging behind.  When there are fewer chickens than people even a polite hesitation can be devastating.

With a big crowd you’ll have more variety for the meal too.  There’ll be chicken, ham, and maybe a plate of sausage or a pan of barbeque.  There’ll be at least five vegetables, plus deviled eggs, fresh tomatoes, and a whole table of desserts.  And there are always leftovers, which makes the trip even more worthwhile.

As soon as someone makes a move toward cleaning off the tables, I’ll jump up and offer to help.  One of those nice ladies will inevitably ask, “Would you like to take a plate home?”

“Not for myself,” I’ll say, “but Mama sure would enjoy some of your good cooking.”

“How’s your mama doing?” they’ll ask, while trying to figure out who I am.

“Doing pretty well,” I reply, “just hungry all the time.  The doctor says it’s the medicine she’s taking.”  A sweet lady like that will grab a couple of plates and stack way more on them than I’d feel comfortable taking.  She’ll cover them with aluminum foil plus send an uncut pecan pie along for dessert.

Rule number two is “Talk to The Texters,” the 4 T Rule.  By sitting next to a texter, or any type phone addict, you can avoid being asked questions you can’t answer.  Kids are ideal, but young adults will do.  You may need to nod once or twice as a courtesy, but you won’t have to speak.  Phoneaholics don’t want to be interrupted, which helps you keep a low profile and allows you to eat quickly.

Rule number three is “Don’t Stay Too Long at The Party.”  It’s best to go late and leave early.  If you rush off too soon, you’ll miss out on the leftovers, but there’s an element of risk in staying too long.  That lesson came early for me.  We had finished a scrumptious dinner when a young fellow of about seven or eight came running over.  “My mama says she doesn’t know who y’all are.  She wants you to show her where you belong on the family tree.”

I looked across the room and there she was, standing by an easel with a detailed genealogy.  She was staring quizzically at me, while holding a black magic marker with the top already removed.

I said, “Son, I sure do wish we could stay and visit, but we have somewhere else we need to be. If you don’t mind, just tell your mama that we belong on the part of the tree that’s about to leave.”

Sometimes I wonder what part of the tree that lady put me on.  Maybe we’ll find out next year.

Posted in 2018 | 6 Comments

Rufus

By the spring of 1964 I was already a seasoned veteran of the Unadilla Chapter of the Dooly County 4-H Club.  I had completed some noteworthy projects, such as my entomology collection.  It filled two King Edward Cigar boxes and included an elusive water bug thanks to Granddaddy Hill.  The insects were pinned neatly to green Styrofoam, which had been salvaged from a funeral wreath.

Public speaking was another memorable venture.  My mother still maintains that I was robbed of the district award.  She credited me with a stellar presentation of 4-H: The Democratic Way.  The thing I remember most clearly was being glad to get off the stage.  Standing behind that podium in Americus, I learned that public speaking can lead to bladder shrinkage.

I had also chalked up two years of experience in the Dooly County 4-H Barrow Show.  A barrow is a male pig who has been chosen to sing soprano in the choir.  The Bible speaks of eunuchs, a position for which the volunteer line was predictably short.  It’s the same with male pigs.

My prior entries in the barrow competitions were common farm raised pigs of undocumented heritage.  In 1964 I was determined to make a serious run for the coveted blue ribbon.  Daddy agreed to loan me the money to buy a registered Duroc, a breed with dark red hair and a history of stardom.

Mr. Rufus Coody had a large purebred swine operation.  He knew more about hogs than anyone in Dooly County and far beyond.  He searched carefully trying to find a winner for me.  We put that young pig in the back of Daddy’s pickup truck and took him home.  I named that promising little fellow Rufus, in honor of the man who brought us together.

Mr. Allen Fulford was our county agent.  He made regular visits to our farm to check on Rufus.   Mr. Allen would tweak the feed formula, adding or taking away various supplements.  He gave me a strict regimen of daily walks for Rufus to tone his muscles and help train him for the showring routine.  It only took a few trips around our large fenced pen until Rufus caught on.  I didn’t even need a walking stick.  It was more like playing in the yard with a good dog.

Rufus loved attention.  When our school bus made the afternoon rounds, he would trot over to the fence and stand on his back legs.  He would prop on the page wire until I petted him or scratched underneath that big chin of his.  The kids on the bus cheered through the half open windows.  He was delighted by encouraging chants of, “Ruuuuu-fus! Ruuuuu-fus! Ruuuuu-fus!”

One aspect of the 4-H plan was to teach good record keeping.  I knew exactly how much was invested in Rufus.  When it came time for the barrow show, I had spent 57 cents a pound raising him.  That was a lot in 1964, but Rufus had the look of a champion.

That little pig started out as a project, but he soon became a friend.  It was, however, a troubling situation, as I knew barrows shared a common fate.  They travel a one-lane road with no off ramps.  That’s the sobering thought that pounded my conscience when we walked into the showring.

Rufus didn’t win, but he came in a solid second.  I still have that red satin ribbon in a small cardboard box of keepsakes.  The top three hogs always sold for a premium, sometimes for as much as two dollars a pound.  I tried to focus on this being a lesson in business, but my heart had no interest in a lecture on economics.

Rufus was herded through the gate toward a big truck that would take him on his final ride.  He gave me a quizzical stare, but I couldn’t look back.  I turned away and bit my bottom lip.  There was no way to explain to him what was happening.  Even if I could it would have just made things worse.

A few days later our mailman, Mr. Bruce Poole, delivered an envelope from the sale barn.  It removed any uncertainty as to Rufus’ fate.  I knew he had been wrapped in white butcher paper and stacked in a cooler, stamped with a label that didn’t even mention his name or red ribbon.

I had a sick feeling as I walked toward the house while opening that envelope.  My good buddy Rufus was gone.  That was a hard thing for an 11-year-old boy to accept, the low point of a tragic situation.  I thought I’d hit rock bottom, but it got worse.  Rufus had only brought 32 cents a pound.

Posted in 2018 | 6 Comments

Porches

I don’t believe we spend enough time on porches.  During childhood porches ranked high on my list of favored places, four of them in particular.  My memories have perhaps grown more pleasant than the moments.  Tea is always sweeter the day after it’s made.

Mama Joiner’s home was an easy walk from ours.  Her long wraparound porch spanned the entire front of her house and most of one side.  It was furnished with rocking chairs and a green wooden swing with narrow slats like God intended.  A red vinyl cot with a reclining back was added after Papa Joiner had a stroke.  He enjoyed the view of the nearby road and regular visits with family and friends.  He died in 1957, three months before I turned five.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but an open porch now seems a perfect place for repose before taking a journey.

Joiner’s Store was only twenty feet away.  My brother, Jimmy, and I would often walk there from home.  Papa Joiner would sometimes be standing there, leaning against one of the small wooden support posts.  He’d say, “Come on and get a Coke, boys.”  An ice-cold Coca Cola on a hot summer day will buy a lot of good will with a young child.

Uncle Emmett, one of Daddy’s brothers, began operating the store in the 1950s when Papa Joiner’s health failed.  That’s when a lot of my store porch memories were made.  It was a gathering place for neighbors, most of them farmers.  Uncle Emmett’s furnishings included a school bus seat he had salvaged, one rocking chair, and plenty of Coke crates that made decent seats if you stood them on end.  There was a revolving cast of entertainers on that small but busy stage.

One summer when it was hot and unusually dry, Mr. Edgar Andrews stopped by for a cold soda water.  Uncle Emmett said, “Edgar, you think it’s ever going to rain?”

Mr. Edgar paused and studied the clouds like he was looking for a sign.  He said, “Emmett, I’ve noticed that it always rains right after a dry spell.”  The most likely place to hear that kind of banter is on the porch of a country store.  I miss those days, those people, and their charming conversations.

Grandmama Hill’s porch was on the side of their home.  The nearby woods had a spring fed stream and sycamore trees with initials of young lovers carved in the smooth white bark.  That porch is where the men gathered after Sunday dinners.  Granddaddy would sip ice water from his oversized drinking glass as he sat in his sturdy rocking chair.  He’d talk about simple things, like a feisty bull he had seen go through the auction at Ernest Mashburn’s livestock barn that week.

At nighttime in summer Grandmama’s porch offered front row seats to an exceptional symphony.  There were crickets, frogs, and other common voices, but the sound I loved most was the whippoorwill.  There was something intriguing about their lonesome call, as if they were trying to tell me something.  I wondered what they were saying, but I never figured it out.

The small screened porch on the front of our home was perhaps my favorite.  There were two rockers and a comfortable swing, the swing being my preference.  Family and friends talked and laughed on that porch, but the times I remember most fondly are when it was just me.  I’d strum my Sears-Roebuck guitar and sing a Hank Williams tune, or maybe something from the Green Broadman Hymnal.  I wrote a few songs and sometimes traveled with a band of Gypsies until it was time for bed.  The music was never exceptional, but it suited the audience.

Our porch was also a good place for reflection.  Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”  A quiet porch on a star-filled night is perfect for stillness.  It’s an ideal setting for young boys, old men, or those who fall somewhere between.  I wasn’t always looking for God in the solitude, but I know now that God was always looking for me.

I don’t believe we spend enough time on porches.  I can’t prove it but I’m almost certain it’s true.  It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a whippoorwill, and far too long since I’ve even listened. Sometimes I still wonder what those whippoorwills were saying.  Maybe tonight I’ll figure it out.

Posted in 2018 | 6 Comments

Faith, Love, and Determination

Mrs. Betty Maples left Albany in 1966.  She had a station wagon full of children but not much else.  Tommy, her oldest, was 15.  Her youngest, Michael, had just turned two.  Rudy, Marcia, Ann, and Kirby were scattered between the bookends.

The road to Pinehurst was paved with uncertainty.  Her house was too small for seven people and she didn’t have a job.  But she had three things of value that can’t be bought – faith, love, and determination.  “I’ve been in a lot of valleys and the Lord pulled me through,” she said.  I told her, as I have before, how much I admire her.  She responded, as she always does, with modesty.  “I had some good children,” she said, giving them credit for doing more than she should have expected.

I don’t know much about her valleys and she doesn’t care to dwell on them.  What I do know, however, is that she speaks honestly about having good children. Rudy and I were in class together at Pinehurst Elementary.  Tommy was just ahead of us and Marcia not far behind.  Those were the three I knew best while growing up.  I added Ann, Kirby, and Michael to my friends from the Maples’ tree a few years later.

Miss Betty’s family now includes twelve grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.  I don’t know many from the two younger generations, but I have no doubt that strong gene of goodness has been passed down the line.

Betty Jean Speight was born just north of Pinehurst on November 14, 1930.  She graduated from Pinehurst High School in 1947, then went to Middle Georgia College in Cochran.  She worked a couple of years with the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service before marrying Serell Maples.  They first lived in Moultrie, moved to Pinehurst, and then to Albany.  Two years later she and their six children returned to her hometown.

Miss Betty found part-time work seven days a week at the Pinehurst Post Office, and soon added a full-time job at Middle Georgia Electric Membership Corporation.  For 15 years she worked both places while managing a household that was busier than most.  She retired from Middle Georgia E.M.C. as Secretary to the President after 29 years.

When I was a kid the only things that I knew about Miss Betty were what I could see.  She was real pretty, always pleasant, and had a lot of children.  I got to know her much better during my five years of working at Rooney Bowen Chevrolet.  She negotiated several car purchases for her family.

She’d give Rooney and me a one sentence lecture each time.  “You all know that I’m going to trade with you, but I mean you better treat me right!”  Her warnings always came with a disarming smile.  We’d laugh as we promised to take good care of her, but we made sure to keep our promises.

During those years at the Chevrolet dealership, I began to realize what an exceptional woman and mother Miss Betty was.  She balanced work and family beautifully, relying on faith, inspired by love, and loaded with determination.  When I changed careers, she continued to be my customer, banking with me for 35 years.  She still smiled when she occasionally told me that I better treat her right, and I still laughed when I promised her that I would.

I asked Marcia what life was like from a child’s view.  The first thing she said was how thankful she is to have been raised in a Christian home.  The Maples children didn’t have to wonder where they would be on Sunday mornings or nights, or during Wednesday prayer meetings.  Their frequent trips down Oak Avenue to Pinehurst Baptist Church left a trail of faith that’s still evident.

Marcia told me about a cherished Christmas tradition, in which her mother has them hold hands for prayer before anyone opens a present.  Marcia continued that practice with her children, and now it’s being taught to the next generation.  St. Nicholas would no doubt agree that “Prayer Before Presents” is a simple yet remarkable reminder of what’s important.

I first admired Miss Betty for what she did, then I came to love her for who she is.  She was a bit reluctant to have a column written about her, but good stories need to be shared.  I laughed when I promised to write something she would be pleased with, while knowing that promise would be easy to keep.  There’s a lot to be said for faith, love, and determination, and there’s a big loving family from Pinehurst that proves it.  It shows what can happen when three strong virtues come beautifully wrapped in the same package.

Posted in 2018 | 4 Comments

The Cost of Salvation

The cost of salvation has been on my mind for a while now, and I’m having mixed emotions.  I’m not referring to the price that Jesus paid with his shed blood.  I’m talking about the dollars that are spent collectively by today’s church.

It’s not that I’m against spending substantial funds to save souls.  I heartily embrace a generous approach to reaching the lost.  But I wonder if we need to take a fresh look at our methods.  Maybe we should critically examine the traditions and routines that we’ve grown comfortable with.

A number of years ago, First Baptist Vienna had a series of meetings to develop a strategic plan.  A very capable minister came down from Atlanta and led our effort.  The first thing we did was develop a mission statement.  I don’t remember what it said, but it sounded pretty good and we were all in one accord.  I think we printed it in the bulletin a few times.

A suggestion for a slogan that I do somehow recall was, “Empowering the saved to reach the lost.”  That’s a good thought and seems like a reasonable way to examine what we’re doing.

One issue that First Baptist Vienna and other congregations deal with is having a historic sanctuary.  The beautiful stained-glass windows create an aura of worship and inspiration.  It’s a picture-perfect setting for both quiet reflection and vibrant renewal, but the upkeep of our ancient building is higher than its cathedral ceiling.

First Baptist Vienna baptized 18 people during the past ten years.  Based on our total expenditures during that same period, each new convert came at a cost of over $100,000.

Is it worth $100,000 to save a lost soul?  Sure it is.  But most of those professions came from the children of faithful members, Christian families who would no doubt have been in church somewhere.  If we measure our effectiveness by public professions from outside our church family, the individual costs soar astronomically.

Baptisms are only one aspect of ministry.  There are many worthwhile efforts such as missions, benevolence programs, and fostering spiritual growth among the members.  Without baptisms, however, the proverbial well will eventually run dry.

I read somewhere recently that about 4000 churches close annually in the U.S.  I don’t know how accurate those numbers are, but I do know there is excess pew capacity in much of America.

Maybe it’s useless to talk about a problem without suggesting a solution, and I sure don’t have one.  I’m writing in hopes it will generate some conversation and ideas.  How do we make the best use of our tithes and offerings?  What’s the most cost-effective method to share the gospel?  What do we do with church facilities when the congregants become too few to support them?  Should shrinking congregations merge or perhaps share pastors, staff, and other resources?  How do we engage in polite non-threatening discussions?

First Baptist Vienna can probably kick the can down the road another ten years or more.  The most inviting solution is to do just that, to let somebody else deal with it.  But I don’t believe that’s the right thing, not for our church or the thousands of others who are facing gradual declines in members and, more importantly, in professions of faith.

Many of us are tenaciously clinging to a delivery system that comes at a high cost.  That doesn’t mean we should cut back on our giving.  It means that we need to find ways to use those gifts that will produce better results.  Maybe we’ve focused too much on saving churches and not enough on saving souls.  It’s wonderful to invite people to church, but it’s critical to invite people to Christ.

Salvation is free because Jesus paid the price.  The cost of sharing that message, however, has grown much faster than the resulting professions of faith.  I believe it’s urgent to have some honest discussions about more effective means of sharing the Gospel of Christ.  Or we can delay a while longer and let somebody else turn off the lights.  The cost of salvation has been on my mind for a while now, and I’m having mixed emotions.

Posted in 2018 | 5 Comments