Archive for July 2012

The Days of Our Lives

July 31, 2012

Preaching Recently in Guyana, South AmericaSaturday, July 29, I went for a very long drive with my best friend, my wife – Bonnie. Our health was good, and the day was sunny. The otherwise oppressive heat was defeated by the air conditioning in our car. About 10 hours after leaving Winona, MS, we arrived in Valdosta, GA. Along the way, we enjoyed sufficient and pleasant food. It was a good day.

Sunday morning, we arrived at the meetinghouse of the Dasher Church of Christ by around 8:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. Bible class, followed by the 10 a.m. worship period. Bonnie set out some books, newsletters and display material while I attended to getting the PowerPoint presentation about our work ready for the class and preparing for the sermon I was to deliver during worship. As regulars to our blog have long ago figured out, I don’t usually preach a different sermon weekly; I just change congregations to which I speak. You guessed it; for Bible class I presented Into All the World in 2011, and for worship I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. We were wonderfully well received and encouraged by brethren, and we made tentative arrangements for speaking appointments by Bonnie to Christian ladies and me to children in a private school in the future.

Sunday evening, we failed on three occasions to find a congregation with which to worship. We traveled northward toward Atlanta, GA, but apparently many of the Lord’s church in Georgia have early afternoon services or suspend night services on the fifth Sunday of the month. We took a motel just south of Atlanta for the night, arriving in time for free hotdogs, mac and cheese, baked potato, chicken strips and soft drinks. That was the first time we have found a stateside hotel offering supper, though most of them make some effort at offering a continental breakfast.

Monday, Bonnie and I had an appointment with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Department in Atlanta. We had to have personal interviews to complete our application for trusted traveler status to permit us expedited reentry into the United States when we return from our foreign trips. The balance of Monday involved the long, three-state drive back to Winona, MS. Tuesday, it was back at the office, as well as back to scraping and painting the exterior of the mission house in which we live.

Travel by car or by plane is a part of the work and almost as routine as breathing. Working in the office on literature and publishing or speaking about the work or preaching are the common place facets of the days of our lives. May God use us up in His service anywhere and everywhere on the planet. Invite us to your congregation, and we might be communing with you soon.

We Are Under Attack – All of Us!

July 31, 2012

Especially lately, businesses have very publicly entered the fray of cultural transformation away from traditional and biblical values to the Godless embracing of the homosexual agenda. That agenda goes far beyond a quest for peaceful coexistence, first, to outright attacks on everyone and everything that dares harbor God’s view on the subject, and secondly, to overtly convert every part and parcel of society to homosexuality. The laws of the land have been perverted. Children in the public schools are being indoctrinated with homosexuality, irrespective of the will of their parents. Denominations have incorporated homosexuality into their religions. Politicians at every level and the highest level (i.e., the President) in America frequently are champions for the sin of Sodom.

Activist companies vocal in favor of same-sex marriages or homosexual rights include Adobe, Allstate, Amazon, American Airlines, American Apparel, Apple, Applebee’s, Ben & Jerry’s (owned by Unilever), Best Buy, Boeing (the aircraft manufacturer), Clorox, Coca-Cola, Costco, Delta Airlines, EBay, Ford, Gap, General Mills, General Motors, Gerber Baby Products, Goldman Sachs, Google, Hershey, Hilton Hotels, Home Depot, IMB, Intuit, J.C. Penny, Kraft Foods, Levi’s, Marriot International, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nabisco, Nationwide, Nike, Office Depot, Olive Garden, Pepsico, Proctor and Gamble, RealNetworks (makers of RealPlayer), Red Lobster, Rite Aid, Sears, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, State Farm, Target, United Airlines, UPS, Walgreens and Walt Disney Company.

Doubtless, the list would be much longer than this already staggering display were I to continue looking for public declarations by or about the household names of familiar companies – several with which you and I do business, sometimes involuntarily. It is no longer a simple thing for the consumer to give a financial spanking to companies venturing into the purposeful alteration of what was once a Bible-based society and culture. The foregoing demonstrates pandemic infection with the sin or tolerance of the sin of homosexuality throughout our nation – really all of western society and beyond into much of the world. The degree to which the tide against morality has surged is gravely disheartening!

Companies’ support of so-called homosexual rights include donations of many millions of dollars for the promotion of judicial changes favorable to homosexuals and sponsoring events. These businesses have wormed their way into our government, schools, workplaces and homes. For instance, the J.C. Penny Company recently chose an avowed lesbian, Ellen DeGeneres, to be its new spokesperson. Despite criticism, J.C. Penny proceeded to feature homosexual men in a Father’s Day advertisement. Conservative, religious Americans typically do two things in response to the announced direction of these businesses: Most do nothing! Others offer dissent, and are willing to exercise that dissent by refraining from spending their money with companies that openly promote the homosexual agenda.

Companies taking a public stand against homosexuality include, Cracker Barrel, Exxon, Urban Outfitters, Wal-Mart, Chick-fil-A and Cinemark. The most recent hoopla by the liberal left, homosexual partisans against a company not in favor of homosexuality arose from the stated beliefs at the helm of Chick-fil-A. “…Cathy set off a nationwide drama recently by saying he supports the ‘biblical definition of a family’ and believes Americans have a ‘prideful, arrogant attitude’ about gay marriage that risks ‘inviting God’s judgment on our nation’” (Brady). Amen, amen, I say! Subsequently, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino have severely and publicly chastised Chick-fil-A as unwelcome in their cities. “The Jim Henson Company pulled its Muppet toys from Chick-fil-A meals and promised to donate whatever money those toys have made to the gay rights group GLAAD” (Brady). Who cannot be painfully aware of the spiritual battle that rages in every neighborhood?

These days everyone can have an opinion except for God and those who revere God. Free speech and freedom of religion, apparently, belong only to those in the mire of debauchery or the defenders of the same. Did you know that God equally condemns the sin of homosexuality and the sin of approving homosexuality (Romans 1:26-32)?

 In Brief, What Does God’s Word Say about Homosexuality?

 Take notice that the Bible severely condemns homosexuality (Genesis 19:1-29; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7; Luke 17:29; 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 7; Romans 1:26-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:9-11). For every Bible believer, that should be the end of the reflection about the propriety of homosexuality!

Not only is homosexuality a sin about which God speaks in the Bible – in both testaments,   God considers this conduct belonging to a sub-category of sin called “an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). Under each religious period in the Bible – Patriarchy, Judaism and Christianity – Almighty God our Creator and Judge condemned and still condemns homosexuality.

Under the former religious periods of Patriarchy (Genesis 19) and Judaism, God considered the practice of homosexuality cause for capital punishment. “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:13-14 NKJV). Since God does not work miraculously today (in the biblical sense of miracles, 1 Corinthians 13:8-12), He does not strike down sinners today as He did the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Peter 2:6) under Patriarchy. Since Christianity is not a physical kingdom like Judaism was, but is rather a spiritual kingdom (John 18:36), Christians do not advocate capital punishment toward homosexuals. However, homosexuality is nevertheless sinful for which those who practice it and do not repent will be punished eternally by God.

God’s viewpoint about homosexuality in the New Testament era is not the least vague. God continues to harshly condemn homosexual practices. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). The good news, though, is that homosexuals can repent of this sin and receive forgiveness. “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

 What Can We Do?

 We can remain true to the Word of God. Do not practice homosexuality. Do not become oblivious to the homosexual agenda. Do not adopt toleration of homosexuality. Take your biblical morals to the ballot box and vote for those who will oppose legalization of homosexuality and the transformation of our nation into an anti-God, anti-Bible and debauched nation of homosexuals.

If you are in a religion that no longer has enough respect for the Word of God to refrain from incorporating into itself the acceptance of homosexuality, come out of that errant religious faith. Go back to the Bible; be a New Testament Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. Do not become lax in your biblical stance against homosexuality, even if a family member embraces homosexuality. Take the narrow road with courage rather than the broad way to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

Just today, one of the two major political parties in America – the Democratic Party – has opted to bring itself in line with the President by adopting homosexual marriage as part of its political platform. The lines have never before been so clearly drawn by which Bible believing people can distinguish between the sinful direction in which our nation is marching (to its own spiritual and literal destruction) and a corrective course characterized by embracing once again biblical values and morals. Our form of government in the United States permits Bible believers to act upon their faith at the ballot box, and shame, shame on any of us who allow political affiliations, economics or ethnicity to overshadow what is righteous in God’s eyes.

The sheer magnitude of the number of companies that have endorsed the homosexual agenda may make it impossible pragmatically to boycott all of them. However, when we have a choice, we need to refrain from rewarding the offending companies with the dollars of Bible believers. Instead, we should especially reward businesses that publicly (at great economic risk to themselves) endorse the moral values on which the nation was established. At least, when we have an option to do so, Bible believers need to patronize businesses that are neutral in the culture war. Every member of the churches of Christ, every Baptist and members of many other religious faiths in America ought to put their dollars where they profess their faith lies, in the God of the Bible.

We are under attack – all of us! We are all victims of Satan’s homosexual agenda for America (and elsewhere in the world). We can resign ourselves to defeat and do nothing, or we can take this country back from the crags on the edge of the hellish abyss toward which our nation of people are perilously sliding. Who knows? Maybe Bible believers can avert God’s vengeance on our country. Someone once said something to the effect, “If God does not punish America for its headlong rush into homosexuality, then He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology!”

 Works Consulted or Cited

 “10 Pro Gay Companies To Go And Spend All Your Money With.” 27 Jul 12. <;.

Brady, Diane. “God and Gay Marriage: What Chick-fil-A Could Learn from Marriott.” BloombergBusinessweek. 26 Jul 12. 27 Jul 12. <;.

Bullock, Diane and Sterling Wong. “Where Companies Stand on Gay Rights.” MSN.Money. 27 Jul 12. <;.

“Hershey’s.” FaithDrivenConsumer. 27 Jul 12. <;.

Kiesel, Meghan. “For or Against? Companies Come Out on Gay Marriage.” Otus News. 19 Jul 12. 27 Jul 12. <;.

La Corte, Rachel. “In Gay Marriage Fight, Some Companies Take a Stand.” USA Today/Money. 27 Jul 12. <;.

Morris, Kelly. “Companies that Support Gay Rights.” Yahoo Voices! 19 Feb 12. 27 Jul 12. <;.

Williams, Steve. “Office Depot Supports Lady Gaga’s Anti-Bullying Foundation.” Care2. 22 Jul 12. 27 Jul 12. <;.

Decatur and Piedmont, Alabama

July 24, 2012

Saturday, July 21, Bonnie and I did some more painting on the exterior of the Mission House in which we reside in Winona, MS. After we got cleaned up and packed up, we pointed the minivan toward Decatur, AL. The AC in the car mitigated the heat of the sunny day, making for a pleasant four hour or so jaunt. We supped at Cracker Barrel and lodged at the Jameson Inn. A feeling came over me that early evening, as I realized that the blessings of the day, including the fine meal and the comfortable place to spend the night, were more than most Christians overseas could possibly expect for themselves. Maybe not exactly a guilty feeling, but I sensed thankfulness. With opportunities come responsibilities.

Austinville Church of ChristSunday morning, July 22, we assembled with the Austinville Church of Christ in Decatur. For Bible class, I made the PowerPoint presentation Into All the World in 2011. Software incompatibility and technical difficulties at the podium for interjecting a guest speaker’s laptop computer had me scrambling. Despite an array of equipment installed in the meetinghouse with dual projectors and dual screens, plus other external monitors, as the class time was beginning, I was hurriedly setting up our equipment. I was sweating profusely, in part due to the stress of trying to make adequate preparation in a timely fashion when other avenues did not work. Maybe without too much noticeable delay or awkwardness, I took those in the auditorium on a 30,000+ mile roundtrip in pictures in approximately 30 minutes.

Something that the Austinville congregation does that I want to publicize and commend is that it utilizes its young men to conduct a devotional on Sunday mornings before the various classes commence. This is a wonderful opportunity to groom young men for greater Christian service in the future.

During the worship period, I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. Since my electronic Bible had been acting up by failing to scroll properly, and because I like to hold the Bible up before those to whom I am reading it, I marked the six passages I wanted to read and read them aloud during the sermon. I had been using the NKJV, but my leather-bound Bible is KJV. That provided me an opportunity to stumble a little in the reading over past times I have preached this sermon. I started using a Bible version on my phone while I was overseas because it was more convenient. My Dickson Bible weighs about five pounds, and every pound counts when flying abroad. Secondly, many of the places to which we go overseas, we cannot carry a Bible openly. Hence, the Bible on my phone is more convenient on two counts.

Big Bob Gibson's BarbequeWe were taken to lunch at an award-winning barbeque restaurant. The food was delicious and plentiful. We were guests of the John Cooper family.

Highway 9 Church of ChristSunday afternoon, we traveled the couple of hours or so to Piedmont, AL to be with the Highway 9 Church of Christ. We inspected the first Dollar General Market Basket we had ever visited, buying just a few non-perishable items. We try to buy groceries on the way back into Winona, but when we arrive late at night (or early in the morning), we are unable to do that. We further stalled for time by leisurely drinking cold drinks at the local Jack’s restaurant before going to the meetinghouse. Dear brethren that we have known for years greeted us, and worship began at 5:30 p.m. Once more, I made the PowerPoint presentation Into All the World in 2011.

After worship, we headed for home in Winona, MS. Five hours of driving plus brief stops for a sandwich, restroom break and fuel, we arrived in our driveway around 12:30 a.m. However, we didn’t go to bed until about 1:30 a.m. as Rebecca had driven down from Collierville, TN to our home a few hours before. She had just returned from a week of mission work in Guyana, South America, and there had been civil unrest where she was. Injuries, deaths, destruction of property and blocked thoroughfares in Linden, Guyana gave us some anxiousness. Yet, we were certain that Nigel Milo with whom she and we labor in the Gospel in that country would take the necessary steps to ensure as much as possible everyone’s safety who was on that particular mission trip. Much good work was accomplished in several locations that week, using Linden as the base of operations.

Monday, July 23, I was able to finally publish the July issue of Gospel Gazette Online to the Internet. Tuesday, Bonnie received The Voice of Truth International files back from Betty Choate, and Bonnie further processed them in preparation for sending them to the printing company. Wednesday, I will finalize The Voice of Truth International and ship a DVD with all the necessary files to Faith Printing in Taylor, SC. Then, Volume 73 will be put to bed. Next, I will publish to the Internet a PDF version of it. (Any reader desiring to have the URL where one can obtain all of the issues of The Voice of Truth International in PDF format, as well as over three dozen Bible study books in PDF format, just contact me via email I will happily provide that information.) Wednesday evening, I will teach class again for the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS. I plan to present the second lesson about Male Leadership in the Church: Elders.

By the way, I spent half a day Tuesday painting the exterior of the Mission House in which Bonnie and I live. Rebecca and Bonnie helped. We have maybe half of the house painted. The balance of the painting must be preceded by scrapping and sweeping. We take a little time now and then, mostly in the morning as the temperatures are difficult to bear lately.

Also of possible passing interest, Bonnie and I formatted a free offer of a picture book, courtesy of Best Buy and Shutterfly. It is all about our foreign missions from 2008 to the first half of 2012. We are looking forward to getting it on Tuesday. We will have it at our displays (e.g., at the upcoming Polishing the Pulpit program in August at Sevierville, TN). Look for it; drop by our tables. See you there – or if you invite me, where you worship.

Workday! Workday! Workday!

July 21, 2012

The third crew of brethren who visited us this week was from the Liberty Church of Christ in Dennis, MS. Friday morning, 15 volunteers arrived, ready to help prepare mailings for the post office. The elders of this congregation have overseen J.C. and Betty Choate in their ministry of World Evangelism for many years. After the passing of brother J.C., the Liberty Church of Christ continues to sponsor World Evangelism (i.e., radio, TV, literature and Betty Choate).

By the time the group left that afternoon, they had packaged 700 newsletters for Betty and 700 informational packets about the proposed new Bible school curriculum. The young girls did some dusting, and the men tightened the warehouse stock of boxes to accommodate the future arrival of even more literature.

I never encountered little girls that were as interested in eating. One young lady asked about 10 a.m., “What’s for lunch?” Kidded by one of the men later in the morning that they were about to return home to Dennis, MS, she protested, “We can’t leave yet! We haven’t had lunch!” The young ones also enjoyed trying out the chair lift that traverses up and down the stairs from the ground floor to the second floor. One of them said, “We decided to stop before we broke it.”

It is always a joy to have visitors. In exchange for some food and some literature to take home for their very own, volunteers help us from time to time with packaging books for shipment overseas, stateside mailings, building maintenance, cleaning, yard work, etc. The five of us in Winona (Betty Choate, Jerry and Paula Bates, and Bonnie and I) cannot attend to all these things promptly while keeping the behind the scenes work progressing. For instance, Betty Choate worked on The Voice of Truth International and I worked on Gospel Gazette Online while this group was with us. Both of these magazines have been through many hands and before several eyes in preparation for publication. Next week, both the 73rd volume of The Voice of Truth International and the July issue of Gospel Gazette Online will be published.

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A Fortnight or So

July 19, 2012

A “fortnight” refers to two weeks or 14 days. That’s about how long it has been since my last blog entry. I hope that you readers enjoy some of the trials and the travels we encounter. At least, it may be therapeutic for me!

Wednesday, July 4, I taught the auditorium class at the Collierville, TN Church of Christ. I presented one of the lessons on Male Leadership that I had taught during our recent two-weeks of workshops in Guyana, South America. Saturday, July 7, Bonnie and I traveled to Defuniak Springs, FL where on the Lord’s Day I spoke at all services of the Liberty Church of Christ. Monday was a travel day spent driving back to Winona, MS. Tuesday morning, Bonnie had a repeat visit to the dentist office, this time to fill a cavity – nearly two hours south of Winona outside of Jackson, MS. Tuesday evening, we attended the Gospel meeting of the Old Union Church of Christ in Carroll County, MS. This quaint setting deep in the woods and traversed by mud roads is one of the oldest settings for the Lord’s church in Mississippi. Wednesday, July 11, I taught the adult, auditorium class at the West President Street Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS; here also, I taught about Male Leadership as I had done in Guyana recently.

Wednesday through Saturday, youth from the Central Church of Christ in Cleveland, TN worked at the World Evangelism Building in Winona and on the Missionary House in which Bonnie and I reside. They prepared over 4,200 packets for mailing, bundled tracts, cleaned, loaded 1,300 pounds of boxes of books and a tractor-trailer and some helped paint some of the exterior of the Missionary House. They and we were tired! We are always grateful for the help that congregations lend us from time to time by coming to help us in Winona. After all, there are only five of us in Winona of the World Evangelism Team (Jerry and Paula Bates, Betty Choate and the two of us).

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Saturday, July 14 was Bonnie and my 39th wedding anniversary. It seems that each year some event is going on in Winona that trumps our anniversary! So, to say the least, our anniversary was somewhat anticlimactic. However, we are at a loss how to celebrate. We travel extensively so that nights out in a motel or dining out are routine. We haven’t given gifts to each other for at least two years, as through the year if we need or desire something, we just get it. We spend all of our time together, and neither of us could surprise the other with anything. We steal a day or two along the way occasionally between appointments on the road – especially if we are not too far from the Smoky Mountains.

Sunday, July 15, not having an appointment – a rarity, we got up early and drove nearly two hours to attend Bible class and worship with the Siwell Road Church of Christ. This church sponsors us. In addition, this was the official start date for brother Gary and Teresa Hampton to work with the congregation as minister and wife. We wanted to encourage them as well. Sunday evening, we worshipped with the Elliott, MS Church of Christ, one of our supporting congregations. It just so happened that the church was having an ice cream supper after worship, for which we stayed.

Wednesday, July 18, Bonnie and I visited the Walnut Grove Church of Christ outside of Benton, KY. We drove up to Collierville, TN late Tuesday afternoon where we lodged in our daughter’s home. She was not there, though, as she is on a mission trip to Guyana. Staying in her home positioned us two hours closer to our evening appointment on Wednesday – knocking down the drive on that day to a mere three and a half hours. We were graciously received by John and Kim Hunt for supper in their home. Everything was tasty per usual, but I felt like a lead ballast from too much goodness as I spoke that evening. We were well received as always. We opted to drive back to Rebecca’s home that night to more easily return to Winona on Thursday. However, I got so tired – just 12 miles from her house – that we had to pull off the road and rest for about 15 minutes before I could resume and conclude this leg of our trip. We arrived a little after 12:30 a.m.

Thursday, we arrived back at the office in Winona barely in time to see the group from the Strickland Church of Christ in Glen, MS conclude their day’s labor at the World Evangelism Building and head back home. This congregation sponsors Jerry and Paula Bates. Bonnie and I remained for two or three hours tending to various matters. I printed return envelopes among other things for a mailing that will occur on Friday, with still another group helping out – the Liberty Church of Christ from Dennis, MS, which sponsors Betty Choate.

Between times, Bonnie continues to work on the next issue (volume 73) of The Voice of Truth International, readying it for the printers. I continue to work on the July issue of Gospel Gazette Online. Various other duties intervene and demand some of our attention along the way. We never have to despair because of boredom. We just choose from among a buffet of tasks awaiting their turn for our attention.

This coming weekend, we will be at congregations in Alabama. The following weekend, we will be in Georgia.

On the Road Again!

July 4, 2012

On the Road Again! That’s the ring tone for Bonnie’s phone, and we live it, too. Arriving back in the States Tuesday, June 12 from Guyana, South America, we have hit the road again. Thursday, Bonnie and I drove almost two hours south to Byram, MS for our semi-annual dental cleanings. Oh, that’s when Bonnie was informed that she needed to have two wisdom teeth extracted and two other teeth drilled and filled at subsequent appointments.

Saturday the 16th, we dropped Betty Choate off at the Memphis International Airport on our way to Rebecca’s home in Collierville, TN. Sister Choate was unable to persuade Delta at curbside to overlook her overweight luggage, and so as we pulled away from the curb, she was redistributing items between checked bags and her carryon bag. She was on her way to San Francisco, CA to babysit grandchildren as her son Brad and his wife went away to celebrate their anniversary.

At our own private bed and breakfast (Rebecca’s house), we were positioned for our Sunday, June 17 afternoon appointment with the East Frayser Church of Christ in the metropolitan Memphis area. We had a wonderful time with these brethren as I presented the PowerPoint Into All the World in 2011.

Back in Winona, MS, Monday through Thursday, brother Lester Grimmet and his helper Tommy made some much needed repairs on the missionary house in which we reside. Besides hundreds of disturbed wasps (and about six cans of wasp spray), they found rotten soffit and fascia plus rotted roof joist ends and porch sheeting. Replacing and repairing these items was the beginning of necessary maintenance to preserve the integrity of the structure. Roof repairs are imminent. Later, we will paint the exterior wall panels, etc. to prolong replacement of the deteriorating paperboard sheets.

New Floor TitleInside the house, Bonnie and I invested in the replacement of the kitchen flooring and sink countertop. We opted for ceramic tile for both. Already, we had painted the dark paneling and cabinets to brighten the dungeon. Of course, as long as the kitchen was inaccessible, we were forced to eat out.

New Floor Tile & Counter TopSunday morning June 24, we visited the Courtland, MS Church of Christ. For Bible class, I presented Into All the World in 2011, and for worship I preached Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. For those of you who follow our blog, you see that I do not preach a lot of different sermons over the course of a year. I just go to different congregations and present the same material over again. Poor, poor Bonnie; she has to endure the same lessons often twice weekly for many months before I change them out for another set and repeat our circuit.

After worship, we followed a family to the next county and into the woods. We were supposed to be going to a restaurant for lunch, but I was almost certain that we were following the wrong car and that we were about to pull up into someone’s driveway. However, finally, we arrived at a local, out of the way eatery in a narrow gravel lot adjacent to a boat storage facility. Above the door for the diner was simply the word, “CATFISH.” Inside the homey setting, in the backroom, six of us surrounded a round table. Bonnie and I shared the best and the largest country fried steak we have ever eaten. Everywhere we go, one thing is for sure. Brethren know where the good food is, and they enjoy eating together.

Sunday evening, I spoke for the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS. Their preacher Nathan Wright was away at camp with the youngsters from the congregation. Bonnie and the brethren heard me preach Worshipping Almighty God Acceptably and with Godly Fear. After worship, several brethren and we ate at an upscale Mexican restaurant in Greenwood near J.C. Penny. I found my new, favorite Mexican restaurant, and all Bonnie and I ate was an appetizer that we shared.

Tuesday the 26th, we were again in Byram, MS for the extraction of two of Bonnie’s wisdom teeth. By far, it took longer to get there from Winona, MS than it did for brother Andy Dulaney to remove the teeth. I had chipped a front tooth on the backside the previous Sunday, and it left an annoying bur that brother Dulaney smoothed for me.

East Side Church of ChristWednesday morning, we began a new trek to Cleveland, TN, where that evening I made my PowerPoint presentation Into All the World in 2011 to the East Side Church of Christ. We lodged that night with Rick and Fay Hinson; he is the Deacon of Missions for that congregation. We always enjoy this couple, and they make us feel right at home.

Thursday morning, we struck out aimlessly for Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN. Our next appointment was also to be in Cleveland, TN on Sunday night; so, we took a couple of days to relax and work without interruption in the Smoky Mountains. The first order of business upon arriving in the area was to eat lunch at the Old Mill Restaurant. We were seated almost immediately in rustic, watermill-like building overlooking the nearby river. Not something I would choose for myself, nevertheless, I enjoyed the corn chowder with clam broth that came with the meal, and the meatloaf was exceptionally good. The prices were moderate, and the service was stellar. Bonnie and I both agree that the Old Mill Restaurant deserves a repeat visit in our future when in the area.

Cabin View of the Smoky MountainsA couple of phone calls later, we had arranged for a cabin for a couple of days outside of Gatlinburg. The paperwork required to rent this place was reminiscent of that required to buy a house! Upon arrival at our cabin getaway, we couldn’t wait to get away from it; I called the rental office and said that it was unacceptable for a number of reasons, including peeling wallpaper in the bathroom and water damage on walls and floor. Within the hour, we arrived at a second cabin, which was more to our liking. It was the most buggy cabin rental that we ever experienced, but otherwise the porch provided a pleasant view of the blue mountains. The accommodations were satisfactory. Part of the time we relaxed; some of the time we walked the main drag of Gatlinburg, TN – window shopping the curios that we mostly resisted buying. We did, though, bump into the Steve Choate family in a store into which we just happened to wander. Steve is one of Betty Choate’s sons; he lives in Searcy, AR. (Though we did not encounter them, afterward we learned that J.D. and Denise Conley from Marietta, OH were in a Gatlinburg cabin at the same time we were in that area. He is a Gospel preacher and the son-in-law of Denver Cooper; Denise is sister to our dear friend Martha Noland.

TramAfter lunch at Texas Roadhouse (we shared Road Kill and added an extra baked potato), as we were wandering about, we came to the tram that takes up to 120 passengers at a time to the top of the mountain. The fare not too steep, we boarded the standing room only vehicle and winged our way over five towers to the mountaintop. We explored some shops and bought a few trinkets, including some marble top fudge. We had indulged on some fudge the day before, too, at the Old Mill Candy Shop and found it better tasting than the more recent acquisition. Of course, the better tasting candy cost twice as much as the other; perhaps that ought to have been an indicator.

During our two-night stay in the cabin, we dispatched spiders, ants, a millipede, one scorpion and another, unidentified bug. Two wasps that stung me got away. Each time we go to the Smoky Mountains, we have stayed in a different cabin, and I suppose we will continue the practice the next time we steal away a day or two.

Mountain MusicWe also enjoyed some mountain music as we strolled the streets and alleys of Gatlinburg, TN.

Central Church of Christ (Cleveland, TN)Saturday, June 30, Bonnie and I traveled back to Cleveland, TN where I was to speak the next day for the evening service of the Central Church of Christ. First, though, we stopped at Tanger Outlets to buy me some dress shirts. Many of my shirts are decades old and in dire need of replacement. The temperature was 107 degrees! We walked, and we walked. Then, we walked some more. Finally, we found some shirts that were nearly like what I wanted and at a price I could afford. Along the way, Bonnie bought a couple pair of footwear, too.

About 5:00 p.m., we arrived at the home of Robert and Barbara Wright. They are brethren, friends and our benefactors. They lodged us and fed us to the point of bursting over the next two days. They have worked hard over the years, and they freely utilize their resources for the cause of Christ; they do a good work for the Lord.

Sunday evening, I presented Into All the World in 2011. We had some technical difficulties since my software with which I made the PowerPoint presentation is newer than what the church is using. With some trial and error behind us, we were able to present the material for the congregation. We were well received. Bonnie and I had a few moments to meet with two of the elders regarding our work in which they invest for the church there.

Monday was consumed in our return trip to Winona, MS. A flurry of phone calls between Wednesday and Monday populated our upcoming calendar for Sundays and Wednesdays. We have some long stateside trips ahead of us in July and August. Bonnie labored on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International as I steered the car homeward.

After spending all day in the office Tuesday trying to catch up on things we could not do while traveling, we left Winona, MS again in the early evening. We met Rebecca at the Collierville Church of Christ property for refreshments and to watch the Collierville city fireworks. Wednesday is the 4th of July holiday. Thursday is Rebecca’s birthday, and later that afternoon, we will pick up Betty Choate at the airport and return to Winona. Saturday, we will point the car toward the panhandle of Florida for our Sunday appointment. Appointments already scheduled for July and August will take us to the states of Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky. Truly, we are on the road again!