Archive for May 2011

The Creation Museum

May 30, 2011

The reason that Rebecca, Bonnie and I paused in our travels to worship with the Florence Church of Christ on the Lord’s Day was because we were planning on touring the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY on Monday. For a long time, we had talked about stopping by the Creation Museum, but we had not done so previously. I hesitate both to take the time and to spend the money.

Monday was Memorial Day, and to my surprise, because I am a veteran, my admission was free! That was a good thing! We began our visit and ended our visit to the Creation Museum by walking through the botanical gardens. We had the benefit of a sunshiny day with a gentle breeze helping to offset the temperatures in the 90s. Strolling about the exterior premises with its trees, flowers, bridges and water falls was delightful.

Impressive! Encouraging! Expertly designed and executed! There were no flaws apparent, and this is an extensive exhibit that every Bible believer and especially every member of the Lord’s church would do well to visit. Visiting the Creation Museum is a good investment in undergirding one’s faith, and it would be a tremendously useful tool in Christian parenting. I have a tendency to be a little skeptical or to critically assess things like this, particularly if not associated with members of the church, but this certainly awed me. In addition, the resources to take home from the bookstore are plentiful. This destination needs to be on your radar for a visit – the sooner the better! You can begin planning by visiting the website for the Creation Museum ( Amazingly, prices for souvenirs, resources and food are reasonably priced – unlike other destinations awash in tourist trap prices. The pot roast sandwich was maybe the tastiest roast beef I have ever eaten, moderately priced and enough nearly for two people. There was not anything about this excursion that I did not fully appreciate (that is, in which I participated; we did not take time for some of the video presentations along the way, at least one of which may have included biblical misinformation about salvation – but I do not know since I missed that video presentation). In addition, there were some hints at premillennialism, which we certainly would not endorse. All in all, make your plans for touring the Creation Museum. (Coming Soon: a full scale construction of Noah’s ark and other unnamed exhibits.)

Following are some of the numerous pictures I snapped Monday.

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Northward Trip

May 29, 2011

Bonnie and I arrived home from our trip to Alabama, Georgia and Florida trip Monday evening. Tuesday, the day was devoted to driving from Winona to Cherokee, AL for the funeral of L.D. Willis. Wednesday and Thursday, we feverishly worked in the office in Winona, trying to catch up from our previous absence of nearly two weeks; Thursday afternoon, we headed for Rebecca’s home in Collierville, TN to prepare her house for the installation of new windows on Friday morning while she was at work. The installers, though, did not arrive until late in the day, and they tried to put off the job to another day – even lying to us as it turned out, saying they did not have all of the windows with them. However, as we three were leaving Saturday morning for almost two weeks in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, we insisted the installers install the windows rather than postpone the job. (This company was very competitive pricewise, but trying to get the installation scheduled, the unprofessional demeanor of the workers, etc. was a serious disappointment.)

North Lexington Church of ChristSaturday was another day of travel as we made our way to Lexington, KY and the home of Linda and Wick Moore; he is one of the elders of the North Lexington Church of Christ. The elders and their wives dined together at the Moore residence. Lord’s Day morning, I made my PowerPoint presentation Motivated by the Cross about our 2010 mission trips to India and Myanmar (Burma). For worship, I preached What Is the Mission of the Church?

North Lexington Church of ChristThe North Lexington congregation appears to be growing in number so that even their new, three-year-old building is rapidly becoming too small to accommodate the assemblies. This church is very evangelistically minded, and 16 members will soon make a mission trip to Peru. Several other missionaries or mission works, including Bonnie and me, also are beneficiaries of the congregation’s interest in the Great Commission. The last thing one sees upon leaving the church property is a sign that reminds members that the world, beginning with the local community, is the mission field.

Sunday evening, we worshipped with the Florence, KY Church of Christ. Bonnie and I left a case of The Voice of Truth International magazine with the elders for the congregation, and I left several copies of my book Beverage Alcohol. We happened to meet several brethren who were aware of the work with which we are associated or who know brethren with whom we are acquainted, such as the mother of brother Robin Dunaway. We hope to revisit the Florence Church of Christ on subsequent trips northward.

Another Two-State Hop

May 22, 2011

Saturday afternoon, we pulled into the driveway of Lynn and Toni Donaldson. They attend the Liberty Church of Christ outside of DeFuniak Springs, FL. Before driving out to their country residence, Bonnie and I made a quick tour around the lake at the center of town and the historic district. The Donaldsons are avid gardeners with the usually southern and general vegetables, guarded by a six-foot high electric fence; evidently, they take gardening seriously! Besides that, innumerable blueberry bushes, fig trees, apple trees as well as other fruit trees dot their domain. In addition, Lynn has newly begun farming honeybees. We were graciously received, well fed Saturday and Sunday and lodged in their home. We count them as new friends.

Sunday morning, we set up our book display (specifically requested by the brethren when we scheduled our visit) and the PowerPoint equipment. Several books found new homes with the members of the Liberty Church of Christ. During the Bible class time, I made the Motivated by the Cross presentation about our 2010 trips to India and Myanmar (Burma). Several asked thoughtful questions. I passed around coins from four Asian nations and currency from five Asian nations. Amusingly, one elderly brother was thrilled that someone had given him all those coins; though he opened the baggies and removed the coins, brethren recovered all of the coins by the end of services, they think and I hope. (We have been meaning to place the coins in heat-sealed bags, and I think we will find time to do that soon.)

For worship, I presented the PowerPoint lesson The One True Church of the Bible. Despite being a simple sermon about fundamentals concerning the identity of the church of the Bible, the brethren enjoyed the refresher (and talking points for speaking to co-workers, family, neighbors and friends). After dining at the Best Western hotel restaurant, guests of the Donaldsons, we aimed the silver van toward Mobile, AL.

Creekwood Church of Christ

Creekwood Church of Christ

We arrived at the Creekwood Church of Christ meetinghouse in ample time before evening worship at 6:00 p.m. We set up books and displays in the foyer. With a little difficulty, the PowerPoint Motivated by the Cross was readied. As always, we were well received and encouraged. Too far to make it home before the wee hours of the morning, we lodged in Mobile courtesy of the congregation. After a little supper, we retired for the night. Monday, it will be back to Winona, MS; there we will launder our clothes and do yard work before leaving Thursday night on our next two-week trek – this time northward.

Sniffing the Roses!

May 21, 2011

Between appointments, Friday, Bonnie and I decided to smell the roses a little along life’s pilgrimage from the here to the forever. I finally convinced myself to spend some money on a little recreation. In addition, we ventured into new experiences for us – riding the Segway! The device is user friendly even for a klutz like me, though there were some awkward moments.

Bonnie and I went to St. George Island at the northern edge of Jacksonville, FL for a Segway tour through a park reserve. We observed gopher tortoises in their natural habitat, butterflies and birds. The sandy, wooded environment offered some relief from the hot, penetrating sun. Along the way, we also dismounted and walked through a plantation. Earlier before the Segway tour, Bonnie and I viewed the historical displays in the visitor’s center; Native Americans, the French, the Spanish, the British, Africans and now Americans comprise thousands of years of human interaction – not all of it so pretty after Europeans showed up on these shores.

Pictures below depict trees covered in Spanish Moss, ruins of homes made from lime and sea shells, water and palm trees, rooms at the plantation and, of course, Bonnie and me each on our own Segway.

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Before leaving the area completely, we drove to the eastern shore of Jacksonville, FL and walked out on a fishing pier over the ocean. Next, it was onward west on I-10 toward our weekend appointments.

Busy Days

May 18, 2011

Ladies' Class for Chaffe Rd. Church of Christ

The morning of Wednesday, May 18, Bonnie taught a ladies’ class for the Chaffee Road Church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Afterward some of the ladies and I dined at a local Wendy’s restaurant. Our departure from the home of Mary Fox literally transpired slowly over the next three hours since Mary and her adult daughter Karen were reluctant to see us go. It reminds me of the scene surrounding the apostle Paul in Acts 20:37 when brethren were extremely reluctant to have him depart from them. Indeed, parting is such sweet sorrow sometimes. We are thankful for the hospitality and fellowship extended to us by sisters in Christ Mary and Karen.

Riverview Church of ChristBy 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, Bonnie and I had found the residence of sister Bernice and brother Allen Cross and left again for the Golden Corral restaurant. We were their guests for supper, and they are our hosts for Wednesday and Thursday nights in their home. Though Bonnie and I enjoy immensely having guests in our Winona, MS home, nevertheless, we are humbled each time brothers and sisters in Christ lodge and feed us as we traverse the states, visiting congregation after congregation on behalf of our mission work or presenting biblical lessons. Wednesday evening, I presented Motivated by the Cross at the Riverview Church of Christ, where brother Allen Cross preaches. Brethren received us wonderfully well as they do each time we make an annual visit.

Jacksonville, FL is a sprawling and interesting city on the first coast. Much water and the many bridges to cross the waterways are abundant – some having significant inclines to allow oceangoing ships to sail beneath them. Some drawbridges also punctuate the spans throughout the area. Another curious feature of Jacksonville is the varied representation of several ethnicities, between which there seems to be little or no friction – only harmonious diversity, especially within the Lord’s church. It is always a pleasure to venture into the Jacksonville, FL vicinity.

Thursday was a busy day of eating, among other things. Bernice and Allen Cross and Bonnie and I dined at Cracker Barrel for breakfast. For lunch, we picked up Mary Fox and took her to lunch at Stan’s Sandwich Shop; she wanted us to meet a Korean family with whom she has been friends for 26 years, but unable so far to influence to obey the Gospel. We were graciously received despite the lunch rush for his eatery. That night, Allen cooked us steak for supper, accented with potatoes, garlic bread and salad. This was before rushing off to a group Bible study at an apartment complex – which also had refreshments. Later, before retiring for the night, we imbibed with the Bernice and Allen in some ice cream and pastries – great, of course, for my sugar, but delightful.

Cruising the 1st Coast

May 17, 2011

Monday, Bonnie and I were introduced to a former refugee from Burma who now works with an organization to help refugees that are resettling in America. The United Nations, the United States government and church groups work together to accommodate refugees from several nations as they transition into our country. Bonnie and I have a special interest in Burma, and it was pleasant to converse with him.

Tuesday, Bonnie and I paused between appointments to experience a little recreation. Since we are in the Jacksonville, FL area, we opted to take a boat ride between the Cumberland and Amelia barrier islands at the Florida and Georgia border. It was relaxing, and we saw some wildlife, including some wild horses. After our two and a half hour cruise, we walked some of the antique streets and perused a few of the tourist-trap shops; all we gave up was 75¢ for a couple of postcards for our grandchildren. Lunch was too pricey for me, so we resorted to Burger King. Following are samples of the sites we viewed.


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That evening, Bonnie and I, along with Karen and Mary Fox, our hostesses for a few days in Jacksonville, were treated to supper at a nice Italian restaurant. Bonnie and I opted to share our veal and pasta meal, only adding an extra salad; we cannot eat all of many of the meals out as we mature and often decide to split the entre between us. It was a genuine pleasure to get to know better brother Gerald and sister Betty Stuart (and their daughter Samantha); I really think that we bonded well, and I long for future opportunities for us to spend some time together in Christian fellowship.

Good friends, good Christian fellowship and good eats – how fortunate we are! We wish that all the world could enjoy the same.

Two-State Hop

May 16, 2011

Leaving Maywood Christian Camp (the annual Maywood Missionary Retreat) Saturday morning, Bonnie and I headed for Georgia and Florida for weekend speaking appointments. We had an eight-hour drive ahead of us (plus brief necessary stops) to Dasher, GA – just south of Valdosta. Our accommodations, courtesy of the Dasher Church of Christ, were superb, among the best we ever have anywhere at our disposal. Finding brethren at the meetinghouse Saturday night, we set up books, tracts, newsletters, etc.

Sunday morning, I presented the PowerPoint Motivated by the Cross in Bible class. During worship, I presented the PowerPoint Bible Archaeology. This congregation and some of its members help make our foreign mission work possible, including providing funding for the distribution of tracts and Bibles abroad in the respective languages of the peoples to whom Bonnie and I go.

Following worship and after Bonnie and I took lunch at Cracker Barrel, we pointed the car south along I-75. Next stop, Jacksonville, FL. We were wonderfully received by most of the members of the Chaffee Rd. Church of Christ, where I presented Motivated by the Cross. Karen and Mary Fox treated us to a superior fish supper at a local eatery; Mary Fox surrendered her master bedroom for Bonnie and me for a few nights. We have a Wednesday evening appointment with the Riverview Church of Christ, also in Jacksonville.

Over the next many days, appointments will take us to another location in Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. Between stateside travel and overseas mission trips, we are on the road over 40 weekends annually. We may be coming to a congregation near you soon, and if not now scheduled, arrange a visit by contacting me:

Maywood Missionary Retreat

May 16, 2011

Wednesday morning, Bonnie and I headed to Maywood Christian Camp outside Hamilton, AL. Through Saturday morning, we participated in the annual Maywood Missionary Retreat. Wednesday, we helped clean the cabins and otherwise prepared for the arrival of attendees. For supper, we early birds gathered at Oh Bryan’s, which we do annually. Afterward, we attended the midweek class at the Hamilton Church of Christ.

Thursday afternoon, all day and evening Friday and Saturday morning, numerous missionaries gave reports or presented special lessons relative to World Evangelism. Evening meals Thursday and Friday were provided by the Double Springs, AL Church of Christ.

Maywood Missionary Retreat is essentially a lectureship in the woods. It is uplifting as well as an opportunity for missionaries and other brethren interested in worldwide evangelism to commune and encourage each other. Pictures below include Colin McKee, Gordon Hogan, Dennis Larson, Don Green, Don Petty, Jeff Jenkins, Jerry Bates, Tim Childs, Louis Rushmore and the Barrier family providing entertainment after the conclusion of Thursday night’s program. Debra Mitchell had a special class for ladies.

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Tornado Alley

May 10, 2011

Sunday, May 8, between appointments in Bear Creek, AL, Bonnie and I surveyed the horrendous tornado damage in Phil Campbell and Hackleburg, AL. Aside from the lamentable loss of many lives in several states last week due to severe storms that spawned tornados, the destruction to property, utilities, infrastructure and the landscape (especially trees) inspired tremendous awe. It was extremely saddening and eerie at the same time as we viewed the devastation. Without further comment or distinction between localities, the following are some of the pictures we snapped mostly from the car as we drove through these two communities.

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We have experienced severe weather in other parts of the country, mostly different manifestations of nature that challenge humanity. However, Bonnie and I have seen more severe weather and tornado damage and tornado warnings in our short tenure in the deep south than we have known elsewhere in the country of all bad weather types. We could write a treatise about tornados we have known! Fortunately, we have not suffered the wrath of a tornado, but we have been close – too close for comfort sometimes.

Mother’s Day Appointments

May 10, 2011

Wayne's Catfish HavenMother’s Day appointments took us to the metropolis of Bear Creek, AL. Arriving Saturday afternoon, Bonnie and I were overnight guests of sister Helen and brother Royce Mann. Hospitality that evening also included a catfish dinner at the locally renowned Wayne’s Catfish Haven in Russellville, AL. Yes, a haven, for catfish eaters – not for the catfish! After supper, back at the (tree) farm, Royce took me on the wooded trails and otherwise showed me around the neighborhood; included in the tour was a walk around the old home place where he lived as a child – now shrouded in a dense pine forest.

Mann Old Home PlaceIn the morning, I presented the PowerPoints Motivated by the Cross (about our 2011 overseas mission trips) and Bible Archaeology. Lunch afterward was back at the Mann home. We were joined by Eudon and Rebecca Mays, fellow Christians who worship at the Bear Creek Church of Christ.

Barn Creek Church of ChristThat evening, I present Motivated by the Cross to the Barn Creek Church of Christ at Bear Creek. Most of the time when visiting a congregation that has a potluck fellowship meal planned, Bonnie and I get to go first – and we did Sunday evening following evening worship. We were well fed. As heartening as is fellowship with Christians over good home cooking, we are always warmed inside by the gracious and friendly reception we receive from brethren, like we enjoyed at both congregations on Mother’s Day.

Finally, we headed for the house, a little over three hours away. We arrived back in Winona around 11 p.m. Monday and Tuesday promised to be very busy in preparation for the upcoming Maywood Missionary Retreat, followed by two weeks of traveling in Georgia, Florida and Alabama. Whereas sometimes we travel back on Monday, it was important to be on site in Winona promptly Monday because many tasks bellowed our names and had to be attended.

Monday and Tuesday we worked from the time we arose to greet the day until time for bed. We were able to get hundreds of our May newsletter prepared and mailed. In addition, we prepared and mailed nearly 200 first class letters to congregations to make them aware of our impending mission trip to Guyana, South America. We hope that several will decide to participate with us financially so we can serve the Lord in that place this summer. We helped in various stages of the production of the Bates newsletter, too. Several book orders were prepared and mailed, and we generally made preparation for the Maywood Missionary Retreat in Hamilton, AL. Late Tuesday, we were laundering clothes, cooking food for the retreat, ironing clothes and packing; earlier, we packed the car with books and other literature for our tour in Georgia, Florida and Alabama. We’re tired, and morning comes quickly, whereupon we will finish packing the car and head for Hamilton, AL – to clean cabins and prepare for the Thursday-Saturday activities. Goodnight all.