“Streams of Mercy-Never Ceasing!”

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Jul 082018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Streams of Mercy-Never Ceasing!”

 By:  Ron Woodrum

 

     Robert Robinson was born September 27th 1735.  He lost his father at an early age and was raised by a poor single mother.  She was a godly woman, raising 12 children on a meager income.  She prayed for her children, and especially prayed that Robert would become a preacher of the gospel.  In 1750, at the age of 15 he was indentured to a barber in London.  He worked hard but had more interest in books and taught himself four languages, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and French.  He loved to listen to the Methodist preachers of his day but was especially drawn to the powerful preaching of George Whitefield.  He came to faith in 1752 at one of Whitefield’s preaching services.  He wrote his testimony in Latin, talking about born of the flesh in September 27, 1735. and born-again May 24, 1752.  He studied under John Gill, John Wesley, and Whitefield of course.  In 1759 he was invited to preach at a Baptist Church at Cambridge, later made famous by Robert Hall.  He soon began preaching there and drew large crowds.  He followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism and became a Baptist.  He soon wrote two hymns.  One called-Brightness of Thy Eternal Glory. 

 

Brightness of eternal glory,

Shall Thy Praise Unuttered lie?

Who would hush the boundless story?

Of the one who came to die

 

Came from off the throne eternal.

Down to Calvary’s depth of woe

Came to crush the powers infernal;

Streams of praises ceaseless flow.

 

Sing His blest triumphant rising

Sing Him on the Father’s Throne

Sing til heaven and earth surprising

Reigns the Nazarene Alone!

 

His most famous hymn was Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

 

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Tune my heart to sing thy Grace

Streams of mercy, never ceasing

Calls for songs of loudest praise

 

Teach me some melodious sonnet

Sung by flaming tongues above

Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it

Mount of Thy unchanging love.

 

He was also asked to write a History of English Baptists.  His history became a standard for many years.  But as often happens, he began to be drawn in by other voices.  Friends bombarded him with teachings of the Unitarian faith.  He soon began to wander into teachings that questioned the deity of Christ, and the fundamentals of the faith.  He soon quit preaching and returned to a life in the far country.  One bright Sunday morning Robert was in the mood for anything but sunny.  All along the street there were people hurrying to Church.  But in this crowd Robert was a lonely man.  The sound of the Church bells reminded him of years past when his faith in God was strong, and the Church a joyous part of his life.  He walked outside, and hailed the horse drawn cab to take him to the local pub.  He saw the cab was occupied by a young woman obviously dressed for Lord’s Day, he waved the driver on, but she insisted he join her.  He got in.  She was reading a book.  To his surprise, she handed it to him and she asked his opinion of the hymn she was reading.  His eyes fell on these words:

 

Oh, to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be

Let that grace, now like a fetter

Bind my wandering heart to Thee

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it

Prone to leave the God I love

Here’s my heart, O take and seal it

Seal it for Thy courts above

 

He began to cry as he read those words.  She asked, “what is wrong?”  He said, “mam…I am the poor wretched, miserable man that wrote those words!  I would give anything to have the joy that I had when I penned them!”  She reminded him of the previous verse “steams of mercy never ceasing” are still flowing even for the author that needed them now more than ever.  That encounter was used of God to bring Robinson back to His Lord.  God did take his heart and seal it.  He returned to usefulness and preached several times each Sunday until the day he died in June 9th, 1790.  Galatians tells us that when we see a brother, “overtaken in a fault, ye that are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself”.  The word restore is “katartidzo”- it means “restore a broken bone” it means “restore a torn fishing net”.  The idea is to take what is broken and restore it to full usefulness.  God used this dear lady in the horse-drawn cab to use Robert’s own words to restore his soul.  Perhaps God wants to use you today to restore a broken brother or sister. 

 

 Posted by at 1:23 pm

“A BRIDGE WORTH CELEBRATING!”

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Jul 012018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “A BRIDGE WORTH CELEBRATING!”

By:  Ron Woodrum

 

     It was called “the bridge that could not be built”.  It was first proposed in 1872 by Charles Crockett, railroad executive, 3 years after completing the Trans-continental Railroad. It was a bridge to span the strait that separated San Francisco from Marin County California, because of the California Peninsula.  But the narrowest span was more than one mile of very turbulent current of ocean.  Capt. John Freemont, in 1846, had named it Chrysophylae, Greek for “golden gate”…thus the proposed bridge would be called the “Golden Gate Bridge”.  A study determined that a bridge could be built, but the cost would likely be 100 million dollars!  It was decided that it would be built in 1916.  All the various attempts met one obstacle after another even getting started.  Finally, construction was begun on January 5, 1933, kicked off by a speech by President Herbert Hoover, a 21-gun salute, and a great celebration.  The company that made the cables for Brooklyn Bridge was contracted to make cables for Golden Gate.  Two cables were made that would be 7, 659 feet long each.  Each would be constructed with 27, 572 parallel wires-enough to circle the globe at the equator 3 times!  Construction was slowed due to the high wind and risky work.  20 men fell to their death in San Francisco Bay.  More men were almost killed when an earthquake hit in June of 1935, almost collapsing the entire structure.  In 1936 a safety net was hung below the bridge to keep the workers from plunging to their deaths.  Still 19 men fell off the bridge but were saved by the net.  They became part of an exclusive club-“THE HALF-WAY TO HELL CLUB!”  The bridge was finally completed on April 19, 1937.  It was opened with a week-long celebration on May 27-June 2 1937.  It weighed a total of 894,500 tons.  The architect was Irving Morrow.  The Engineer was Joseph Strauss, (and Charles Ellis).  Strauss was not only an Engineer but also a poet.  He dedicated the bridge with a poem:  THE MIGHY TASK DONE

 

At last the mighty task is done

Resplendent in the Western Sun

The Bridge looms Mountain High

It’s Titan piers grip the ocean floor

It’s great steel arms link shore to shore

It’s towers pierce the sky!

 

On the first day of the opening 18,000 were waiting to cross at Sunrise.  FDR initiated the opening by a telegraph key.  People crossed on roller skates…pogo sticks…unicycles…and stilts! Vendors set up stands on the bridge and over 50,000 hot dogs were sold.  That week over 200,000 pedestrians crossed it.  Each evening it was celebrated with fireworks.

 

The one billionth vehicle crossed the bridge on February 22, 1980.  On May 24, 1987 they held the 50th Anniversary of the Bridge’s opening.  They expected 50,000 pedestrians to cross.  800,000 showed up.  As they crossed the load was so heavy it pushed the bridge weight limits to their limit!  The bridge bottomed flat out but did not collapse!  One of the official said, “The Suspension cables were tight as harp strings!  This was not a good idea!”  But since the bridge has been built it has become an attraction to people wanting to commit suicide.  Since its opening-17,000 people have died jumping from the bridge.  Last year 39 people jumped to their death.  How tragic!  In May crews began installing a safety net to prevent suicides from the bridge.  The net will be complete in 2021 at a cost of $211 million.  That too is something to celebrate when finished!

 

All that being said, the greatest bridge in history was built and erected on a mountain outside the city walls of Jerusalem.  It is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  That cross spans the gulf from earth and sinful man, to heaven and a Holy God.  Job in 9:33 prayed for a Daysman who could come and span the great gulf between sinful man and a Holy God.  I Timothy 2:5 tells us that God has provided that mediator in the person of Jesus Christ, and of course the bridge is the cross, and the cost of building it was the priceless blood of Jesus Christ.  This is the only bridge that leads to heaven.  That is why we sing-“The Way of the Cross leads Home!”  Or “I must needs go home by the way of the cross-there’s no other way but that!”  William Newell has written a celebratory poem about this bridge that later became a triumphant hymn called At Calvary.  Listen to the words:

 

Oh, the Love That Drew Salvation’s Plan

Oh, the Grace That Brought It Down to Man

Oh, the Mighty Gulf That God Did Span

At Calvary!

 

That is a Bridge worth celebrating.  That is the Bridge millions have crossed.  That is the bridge that will stand the test of time and eternity!  Don’t miss the bridge!  It is a Bridge worthy of celebration!

 

 

 Posted by at 1:22 pm

Christian Rip Van Winkles? Ushers get ready with crash helmets and signal flares?

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Jun 242018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVEChristian Rip Van Winkles? Ushers get ready with crash helmets and signal flares?

By:  Ron Woodrum

 

If you visit the town of Irvington, New York, not far from Tarrytown, the location of Sunnyside, the home of Washington, Irving, you will come across a bronze statue of Rip Van Winkle.  Rip (Rest In Peace?) Van Winkle is a fictional character from the short story written in 1819 by Washington Irving.  It is a story of a Dutch American villager in colonial America, who in 1769 tries to escape the nagging of his wife by going on day trips to the Catskill mountains, to hunt, to fish, to just dally.  But on one such excursion He and his dog encounter some ornately dressed men, in antiquated Dutch clothing, playing nine-pins, (bowling) and drinking rum from a keg.  To make a short story even shorter-he joins them, both in nine pins, and rum-drinking…and soon falls asleep.  When he awakens-he cannot find his dog…his beard is a foot long, down onto his chest; his musket is rotting and rusty; his clothes are ragged and moldy.  He hurries back to his village to find it completely changed!  He recognizes no one.  He arrives just after an election and is shocked to find that the American Revolution has taken place, the colonists are no longer subjects of King George III.  He enters the tavern to see a picture of George Washington, the new American President.  He discovers that he has been asleep for twenty years!  His wife is dead.  His home in disarray.  He meets his own son Rip Van Winkle jr., and his daughter who is grown and married.  The story revolves around his shock and transition to the changes while he was asleep!  A true American Legend.  But in some ways history has repeated itself.  As a Pastor since 1971, sometimes I feel like I have been asleep while the world transformed into a post-Christian world, strangely, suddenly, and subtly into a world we no longer recognize, nor are quite sure how to communicate and reach any longer.  In a sense, we have been so busy in our own little Christian environments, that it is as if we have fallen into a trance, while the world changed right before our eyes, and as the Holy Spirit awakens us we realize that we have a whole new challenge before us, that we have to find new answers to, because old methods and strategies are not, and will not ever work again!

In his thought provoking book, The Great Evangelical Recession, John S. Dickerson unpacks a much-needed wake-up call for the American Church.  Not only does he validate the coming reality of decreased giving and increased cultural hostility to the church, but he gives and accurate assessment of the actual number of evangelicals in the United States today. (This shocked me!).  Based on four different studies, each with unique and verifiable research approaches, Dickerson reports that the number of evangelical Christians is actually between 7 and 9 percent of the US population.  I thought the numbers were closer to 40 per cent.  Meanwhile a recent Barna study finds “the percentage of Americans who qualify as ‘post-Christian’ rose by 7 percentage points, from 37 percent in 2013 to 44 percent in 2015.  Across the United States, cities, in every state, are becoming more post-Christian in their world views”.    Here is a summary of what is happening-“An increasing number of people are religiously unaffiliated, there is a steady drop in Church attendance, Supreme Court decisions, on things like same-sex marriage, and other issues are going the opposite direction to the evangelical position, we have lost our voice, there is a growing tension over religious freedoms that all point to a larger secularizing trend sweeping across the nation”.

It has even affected our own denomination.  Southern Baptists, the largest evangelical denomination in the world, recently unveiled troubling news in our annual reports.  Though we have added more Churches, we have lost over 200,000 members in recent years, the largest decline since 1881.  Membership dropped 1.5%; weekly worship declined 2.75%; Baptisms fell eight of the last ten years; Even David Platt, the president of the International Mission Board announced the cutting of 600 missionaries to balance the budget, to make up for a $21 million-dollar deficit in 2015.  Thom S. Rainer, President of Life Way, the Southern Baptist’s publishing arm, responded “It breaks my heart that the trend of our denomination is mostly one of decline.  Programs and meetings are not going to revive our people-only prayer and repentance will lead our people to revival!”  I agree whole heartedly.  We need to re-evaluate our approach to ministry to our post-Christian world. But…programs and strategies alone will not suffice.  We perhaps need some new paths energized by some old power!  I don’t always agree with some of the new evangelical theology that is being scattered today, but some of it speaks to our need.  Os Guiness has written:  “Let there be no wavering in our answer.  Such is the truth and power of the Gospel that the Church can be revived, reformed, and restored to be a renewing power in the world again.  There is no question that the good new of Jesus Christ has effected powerful and personal and cultural change in the past.  There is no question too that it is still doing so in many parts of the world today.  By God’s grace it will do so again even here in the heart of the advanced modern world where the Christian Church is presently in sorry disarray”.  Someone has said, “The real problem is not the pervasiveness of the darkness, but the failure of the light.  Light always dispels darkness!” The glorious resurrection light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be radiate enough to cut through the darkness of even our post-Christian darkness!

Programs and pretense will never cut through this ever-increasing darkness.  C.H. Spurgeon still speaks relevantly on this issue-“Some have tried to imitate unction by unnatural tones and whines; by running up the whites of their eyes and lifting their hands in an almost ridiculous manner…Bah!  The whole thing smells of the green-room and the stage.  The getting up of fervor in hearers by simulation of it in the preaching is loathsome deceit to be scorned by honest men…Unction is a thing which you cannot manufacture, and its counterfeits are worse than the worthless; yet it is in itself priceless and beyond measure needful if you would edify believers and bring sinners to Jesus.  To the secret pleader with God this secret is committed; upon him rest the dew of the Lord, about him is the perfume which makes the heart glad.   We shall never see much change for the better in our Church until the prayer meeting occupies a higher place in the esteem of Christians”.  There lies the answer to our effective ministry.  Martyn Lloyd Jones talks about how revival cannot be organized.  But it comes in answer to repentance and prayer of God’s people.  The he says, “Believe me friends, when the next revival comes, it will come as a surprise to everybody, especially to those who have been trying to organize it.  No revival the Church has ever known has ever been an official movement”.  A.W. Tozer adds, “How much will revival cost?  Absolutely everything and absolutely nothing-that is how much it will cost.  It will cost not one dime, and it will cost everything we have!”  Charles Bridges said, “Prayer is one half of our ministry. and it gives the other half all its power and success”.  Someone has said, “Never attempt more ministry than you can undergird with constant and consistent, and fervent prayer”.  Never forget that the forward progress to victory only occurs as our own hands of ministry are held up in weary days by prayer support warriors!  It is time to wake up, see a new scary post-Christian world.  Fall to our knees seeking God’s face.  Receive His unction.  Go forth in new paths, supported by old time power, and dispel the darkness with His glorious light!  Revive us still!  Amen!  When that happens-we will all be overwhelmed by His glorious presence in revival.  Annie Dilliard points out the foolishness of Christians going through the motions of spirituality and vitality.  She writes, “On the whole I do not find Christians…sufficiently sensible of conditions.  Does anyone have the foggiest idea of what sort of power we so blithely invoke?  Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it?  The Churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning.  It is madness to wear ladies’ hats and velvet hats to church; we should be wearing crash helmets.  Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should fasten us to our pews!”  THAT KIND OF POWER—DISPLAYED FROM THE REAL LORD—WILL WAKE UP A SLEEPING CHURCH OF RIP VAN WINKLES—AN MAKE VAST IN-ROADS INTO A POST-CHRISTIAN WORLD.  I GUARANTEE IT!

 

 Posted by at 1:20 pm

MIMICING AND MODELING HE WHO IS ‘BETTER THAN THE BEST FATHER!’

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Jun 172018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: MIMICING AND MODELING HE WHO IS ‘BETTER THAN THE BEST FATHER!’

By:  Ron Woodrum

 

One little boy’s definition of Father’s Day went something like this…”it’s just like Mother’s Day, only we don’t spend as much!”  Well we father’s can concede that, usually due to our own frugality and insistence!  Someone else has said, “A father is someone who carries pictures where his money used to be!”  The phone company tells us that calls on Father’s Day are not nearly as high volume.  And before the day of unlimited cell phones, most of the calls to “dear ole dad” were usually collect!  And so it is!

 

Being a father is a sobering assignment.  God has chosen the father to be a “role model” to teach his children how to relate to Him.  Jesus told us when we pray we are to say, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hollowed be Thy Name” (Mt. 6:9).  Paul said that the “Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are Children of God…whereby we cry Abba Father”. (Rom. 8:15).  Paul himself saw his role to the Corinthians as being their spiritual father.  He said, “you may have many teachers, but not many fathers!” (I Cor.  4:15), identifying himself as the human agent responsible for their new birth into the Family of God.  In I Thessalonians Paul refers to his role in their lives being parallel to that of both a mother and a father!  In I Thes. 2:7 he says, “we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother caring for her little child” As a mother his role was to NOURISH them, not just with milk by nursing them, but love and affection caring and relating to them.  Then in I Thes. 2:11-12 he says, “we dealt with you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God”.  The role of the father is not so much to NOURISH, but to NURTURE!  That involves at least three things in Paul’s mind.  One is to PROVIDE for them.  All they needed to grow up as mature children of God, were provided by the Lord, through the ministry of their Spiritual Father.  He too saw this role as one of a PATTERN to them.  He could exhort them to “follow him, as he followed the Lord Jesus Christ”. The word follow is the Greek word “mimeteo”.  We get our word “mimic” from that.  He told them to mimic him and he mimicked God the Father!  Harry Chapin quotes the son saying, “I’m gonna be like him!” i.e. dad.  The song, (Cat’s in the Cradle), concludes with the father disillusioned, as he hangs up the phone, after being told by his son that he did not have time for ol’ dad, “He’d grown up just like me, my son was just like me!”  Good or bad…that is usually reality!  Paul rejoiced when that was true of his spiritual children.  How about us dads?  If our sons and daughters turn out to be just like us would we be rejoicing?  Paul also saw his role as one of PROTECTING.  He wrote letter to reclaim them when they strayed.  He prayed for their well being daily.  He loved them; He entered into spiritual combat for them.  He was willing to die for them. He trained them, by his life, how to “fight the good fight of faith”.  He told them, as he did Timothy, to “continue in the Scriptures which is profitable for them” (II Tim. 3:15-16).  When being asked if we can compare to that kind of man-that kind of father-the response would probably be “silence!’

 

Robin Hardy, in her book The Chataine’s Guardian, writes “The talk at the table turned to what women found interesting in men…One girl said she liked a man with dark eyes…Another said she like a man with dark eyes…Another girl said she preferred strong, muscular men…Another said she was attracted to men with beards.  Then someone asked, ‘Deirdre, what do you like in a man?’  They fell silent waiting.  She paused and replied…’it is good for a man to be strong…a strong man can do so many things.  But the man who is both strong and gentle is wonderful.  A man must be intelligent, of course, but if he is also humble that makes him all the more appealing…a man who is strong enough to live a disciplined life, but who is tender enough to overlook the faults of others…a man who is honest above all, but kind…a man who has the courage to stay at the same task year in and year out, even if it is boring, tiring or painful, simply because it is his duty…a man with courage of faithfulness.  I love all these things about a man.’  THERE WAS…SILENCE!”  That is why C.S. Lewis wrote, in God in The Dock, “It is painful, being a man, to have to assert the privilege or the burden which Christianity lays upon my own sex, (that is men).  I am crushingly aware of how inadequate most of us are, on our actual and historical individualities, to fill the place prepared for us”.  IT IS OK TO RECOGNIZE WE HAVEN’T ARRIVED YET…WITH OUR SILENCE.  Today is not a good day to be a man.  High profile men…President Trump…Bill Cosby…Hollywood and Business moguls have been highlighted as those who have been degrading to women.  Society puts a lot of pressure on us.  That great theologian… (ha ha) …Garrison Keillor reminds us of that.  In an op-ed piece in the Sunday New York Times he writes, “This is not a great year for guys…Guys are in trouble.  Manhood, once the opportunity for achievement, now seems like a problem to overcome.  Plato, St. Francis, Leonardo da Vinci, Vince Lombardi-you don’t find guys of that caliber today.  What you find is terrible gender anxiety, guys trying to be Mr. Right, the man who can bake a cherry pie, go shoot skeet, come back, toss a salad, converse easily about intimate matters, cry if need be, laugh, hug, be vulnerable, be passionate…go off the next day and life them bales onto that barge and tote it.  Being perfect is a terrible way to spend your life, and guys are not equipped for it anyway.  It is like a bear riding a bicycle:  He can be trained to do it for short periods, but he would rather be in the woods doing what bears do there!”  Joseph Stowell, President of Moody Bible Institute a few years ago, summed it up better for us.  He said, modeling God, as a spiritual father, is difficult but rewarding.  “Many of us fear that…if we fully yield the reins of our life to Christ, He will take away our manhood.  Victims of a demasculinized portrait of Christ, we have forgotten that He was a perfect blend of divinity and humanity.  He was the perfect expression of manhood.  While that meant that he was compassionate, He also displayed strength and power…enough to attract manly men as followers.  They even gave up their careers to follow Him.  Jesus does not diminish our manhood…He energizes it making our maleness a fuller and richer express of what a man can be!” 

 

That is the kind of man that our boys need to model for their generation.  Preston Gillham, in his book Lifetime Guarantee, writes “boys become men by watching men, by standing close to men.  Manhood is a ritual passed down from one generation to another with precious few spoken instructions.  Passing the torch of manhood is a fragile, tedious task.  If the rite of passage is successfully completed, the boy-become-man is like an oak of hardwood character.  His shade and influence will bless those who are fortunate enough to lean on him and rest under his canopy.”    Being a man is more caught than taught.  It is modeled and mentored in a lifetime of good example, Happy Father’s Day.  Be the best model you can be!  God will make you the best Mentor!  Give it your best shot…with His model and His power!

 

 Posted by at 4:24 pm

“Alexander my Shepherd too?”

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Jun 102018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Alexander my Shepherd too?”

By:  Ron Woodrum

 

     One of the most interesting prophecy passages in all of the Bible is found in Isaiah, written 150 years before Cyrus was born, relates to Cyrus the Great, King of Persia.  In Isaiah 45:1 God says, “I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me!”  Also showing His sovereignty over all nations, God says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd and will accomplish all I please”.  Not only is that true of Cyrus, King of Persia, but it was also true of Alexander the Great.  According to Josephus, in 332 BC Alexander the Great defeated the cities of Tyre and Gaza in his march toward Egypt.  During this campaign he turned toward Jerusalem.  He demanded supplies and men from the Jews, who were under rule of the Persian King Darius.  The Jews refused, saying they were pledged to honor Darius.  Alexander began a move to besiege the City of Jerusalem.  The High Priest Jadda asked the people to pray for mercy.  God told the Priest how to approach Alexander.  He and his order of priests went out to meet Alexander.  Alexander did the unexpected.  He went to meet the Priests.  According to Josephus, Alexander told the Priests that “he had seen these priests, in these very garments, in a dream when I was at Dios in Macedonia.  They told me to go forward without delay and I would be successful in my domination over the Persians.  Since I have never seen these kinds of Priests in these garments I believe their divine conduct”. Alexander accompanied the priests to the Temple, made a sacrifice to God of the Hebrews, and then was shown in the Book of Daniel, written several centuries earlier, that he would conquer the Persians.  Alexander was impressed with the prophecy and treated the Jews with favor as he marched on toward Egypt.

 

Alexander was blessed by God permitting him to conquer the known world.  It was through this conquest that God used the Hellenistic culture to prepare the world for the coming of the Greatest King of All-His Son Jesus Christ.  Alexander the Great conquered the known world, making it a unity of sorts.  He took Hellenistic Greek civilization, culture, education, philosophy, and a universal language to the entire world.  The Greek philosophy had prepared the world for highest thoughts about God. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, Alexander’s own personal teacher, rejected ancient philosophy and began to introduce God, the Unmoved Mover, the Cause of all that exists, and the Creator of a Heavenly Perfect World to parallel the incomplete ever-changing physical world.  The Greek language became the most beautiful, expressive, and precise language through which to preach the Good News of the Gospel.  Alexander conquered the world by the time he was 33.  He extended his empire East far into India.  Finally, his soldiers threatened mutiny if he was to press on Eastward.  On his return back to Macedonia, he intended to build an Eastern capital at Babylon.  While in Nebuchadnezzar II palace he became ill.  He had been warned by the Chaldeans not to enter the city.  Bel, the Babylonian deity had prophesied that if he did it would be fatal.  Another eerie omen happened before Alexander came to Babylon.  He had asked Calanus, a Hindu wise man to accompany him back to Macedonia.  Calanus was 73, and in poor health.  He told Alexander he would rather die than to live disabled.  He was going to commit suicide, and then told Alexander, with his last words-“We shall meet again in Babylon”.  It was only after Alexander became deathly ill in Babylon that Calanus’ words were understood.  Alexander would never recover from this illness.  Historians are not sure whether he contracted malaria; died from alcohol poisoning; or was poisoned with arsenic by one of his generals.  But whatever the cause, it was June 10-11 323 B.C., nearly 2,500 years ago that Alexander the Great died.  His body was embalmed by Egyptians embalmers who arrived on June 16th from Egypt.  His body was interred eventually in Memphis Egypt.  Later he was taken to Alexandria Egypt and put in a tomb there.  Caesar Augustus would later visit his tomb, and place flowers on it and a golden diadem on Alexander’s head.  Though the tomb is no longer known, the last know visit is mentioned by George Sandys in 1611.  According to one legend the tomb lies beneath an early Christian Church in Alexandria, Egypt.

 

Another legend that still stands today is that Alexander the Great made his generals promise to him to fulfill three wishes at his funeral.  Here are the three wishes:

 

“My first wish is to have my physician bring my coffin home alone.  After gasping for air, he continued…my second wish is to scatter the gold, silver, and precious stones from my treasure house along the path to my tomb…my final request is to put my hands outside my coffin.”  When asked for an explanation of these requests–he responded, “I want my people to understand three lessons, (sounds like his teacher Aristotle), seeing my physician accompany my coffin tells the people that the physician cannot cure terminal illnesses.  Physicians are powerless in the face of death.  The casting away of silver and gold is to let people know not to squander their lives for treasure they cannot take with them.  The third lesson is to show that I came into the world with empty hands, and leave the same way!”  There is no way of establishing the historicity of this legend.  But seems very wise counsel from one of the world’s most educated kings!  Another legend, which is accepted by most historians, is what Alexander responded when asked, “who he bequeathed his kingdom to?”  He is reported to have said, “Tois Kratastois”-  “To he who is the strongest!”  That is the title of today’s message.

 Posted by at 2:24 pm

“Encountering a Living Presence”

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Jun 032018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Encountering a Living Presence”.

By:  Ron Woodrum

 

     Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States, told a very fascinating story about an encounter he had while getting his hair cut at a Barbershop.  Listen to his words:  “I was sitting in a barber chair when I was aware that a powerful personality had entered the room.  A man had come quietly in upon the same errand as myself to have his hair cut and sat in the chair next to me.  Every word that the man uttered, though it was not in the least bit didactic, showed a personal interest in the man who was serving him.  And before I got through with what was being done to me I was aware I had attended an evangelistic service, because D.L Moody was in that chair.  I purposely lingered in the room after he had left and noted the singular affect that his visit had brought upon the barber shop.  They talked in undertones.  They did not know his name, but they knew something had elevated their thoughts, and I felt that I left that place as I should have left a place of worship”… (John MacArthur, Matthew, p.236).  That is Christian Influence!  Do you and I carry a Living Presence of our Loving Lord’s Personality with us?  The great Methodist preacher E. Stanley Jones says that “the number one problem of the modern Church today is irrelevancy!”  We are not impacting lives as we should!  The dynamic presence of our living Lord is notably absent from our lives!  People see our lives…but there is nothing out of the ordinary to turn their heads.  As Christians we must not settle for that.  We need to walk in such a communion with our Lord that our lives turn heads and hearts for Him.  Someone has written:

 

YOU ARE WRITING A GOSPEL

A CHAPTER EACH DAY

BY THE THINGS THAT YOU DO

BY THE WORDS THAT YOU SAY

 

MEN READ WHAT YOU WRITE

WHETHER FAITHLESS OR TRUE

SAY WHAT IS THE GOSPEL

ACCORDING TO YOU?

 

Edgar Guest has another poem entitled “The Living Sermon”

 

He writes:

 

I’d rather see a sermon

than hear one any day

I’d rather you would walk with me

than merely tell the way

 

The eye’s a better pupil

and more willing than the ear.

Fine counsel is confusing

but example is always clear

 

The best of all the preachers

are men who live their creeds

For to see good put into action

is what everybody needs

 

 

 

 

The lecture you deliver

may be very wise and true

but I’d rather get my lesson

by observing what you do!

 

Eileen Guder chides Christians for not living passionate spiritual lives.  She writes:  “Live a bland life.  Eat bland food.  Avoid an ulcer.  Drink no coffee, tea, or stimulants in the name of health!  Go to bed early.  Avoid all night life!  Avoid controversy.  Never offend anyone!  Mind your own business.  Never get involved in anybody’s problems.  Save all your money for the future, never splurge on anything….and you can still break your neck getting out of the bathtub…and it serves you right!  Living a humdrum life never impacts anyone!  Fear not your life will come to an end!  Fear it never had a beginning!” 

 

Henry Clay Morrison, founder of Asbury Seminary in Kentucky, tells how he was out plowing in the field when a Methodist Circuit Riding preacher came by.  The preacher had such a powerful presence about him that he was overwhelmed with conviction for his sin.  He dropped to his knees and surrendered to Christ as his Savior.  We may not have that kind of presence emanating from us, but we MUST HAVE A PRESENCE THAT IMPACTS LIVES OR WE ARE FAILING OUR LORD!

In his book Filled With the Spirit, Richard Ellsworth Day makes this perceptive observation:  “It would be no surprise, if a study of secret causes were undertaken, to find that every golden era in human history proceeds from the devotion and righteous passion of some single individual.  This does not set aside the sovereignty of God; it simply indicates the instrument through which He uniformly works.  There are no bona fide mass movements; it just looks that way!  At the center of the column there is always one man who knows His God, and knows where he is going!”  Ask God to make you and I those individuals!  Those who are living with an encountering Presence!

 

 Posted by at 2:24 pm

“Becoming whole for the whole world!”

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May 272018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE:  “Becoming whole for the whole world!”

By:  Ron Woodrum

 

     In John 5 Jesus goes to Jerusalem.  He encounters a paralytic lying beside the Pool of Bethesda.  The Aramaic word “Bethesda” means “house of mercy”.  That pool became a center for crowds of desperate persons hoping against hope that they might be the one who encountered a life-changing healing that would transform them from brokenness to blessing; helplessness to healthfulness; tragedy to triumph; suffering to salvation.  There Jesus confronted one man that had been there for 38 years!  Jesus asked him this question-“Do you want to be made whole?”  That is the business Jesus was in.  Jesus came to save the “whole” person.  The word saved-(sodzo) means to be “rescued from danger-eternal death”.  But Jesus did not just come to save us from Hell!  He came to “save us from sin” completely.  This is reflected in the question that Jesus asks him. “Do You Want to Be Made Whole” (John 5:6).  The word “whole” is the Greek word “ugies”-hugies-we get our word “hygiene” from that word.  The word itself means “to be sound, whole, in good health, restored”.  The focus of the word is that Jesus came to “save to the uttermost”.  When combined to the word-“be made”-it infers that salvation is “a process” beginning where we are and taking us to complete wholeness by the transforming power of our Savior.  We encounter Him.  He asks permission to begin His saving process.  Jesus never forces Himself on anyone.  But when we open the door to Him He begins His transforming work that has as it goal-“Completeness-Wholeness-“being transformed into His image”.  Paul spoke of this in Philippians 1:6—“He who began a good work in you will continue to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ!”  He makes us “holy” in that process to make us “whole“.  C.S. Lewis talked about how when he had a toothache, he tried to conceal it from his mother.  He often would seek an aspirin to get temporary relief from the pain, but was always found out, and taken to the dentist, which started a process that would not end until all the cavities and bad teeth had been restored or repaired, which often was more of a process than he desired.  He said that is what the Christian life is all about.  We invite Jesus in to help with a besetting sin that is of particular bother to us.  Once invited in he starts “tearing down walls, and remodeling the entire house, not to suit us, but Himself, because He is preparing us to be His dwelling place!”  That is what Jesus was asking this paralytic if He was ready for that kind of wholeness! 

 

     His goal is for us to be made whole before the whole world.  In his book Setting Men Free, Bruce Larson calls this the Christian’s Art of Living.  When Paul shared with King Agrippa how Jesus Christ had transformed his life, Agrippa asked Paul “Are you trying to convert me?”  Paul responded honestly, “Oh King, I wish you were just like me, except for these chains”.  Paul knew he wasn’t perfect.  But he knew he was on his way to holiness and wholeness!  He desired that for everyone He introduced to his Jesus.  Jesus provided that kind of salvation by drinking the cup the Father had given Him.  When the Mother of James and John asked for special privilege for her sons James and John, Jesus asked another question-“Can you drink of the cup I am going to drink?” (Matthew 20:22).  Can we drink of the cup?  That is the most challenging question we can ask ourselves.  The cup is the cup of life, full of sorrows and joys.  Drinking deeply from the experiences that God has for us to drink to transform us from fallenness to fullness; from sinfulness to sanctification; from carnality to completeness-all by the presence and power of Christ, through the fullness of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Henri Nouwen asks, “Can we have our cups and claim them as our own?  Can we drink down our cups…to the bottom of full salvation experience?  Keeping this question alive in us is one of the most demanding spiritual exercises we can practice”.  (Bread for the Journey).  In his book The Church Inside Out, the Dutch Missionary/Theologian J.Christiaan Hoekendijk sees this cup as experiencing three aspects of the Christian’s style of life.  He summarizes them with three Greek words.  First is “kerygma”-proclamation.  He says that the transformation to “wholeness” begins by responding to the proclamation of Jesus Christ-embracing His Incarnation, His sacrificial death for us on Calvary to atone for our sins, His resurrection from the dead, exemplifying the power that can raise us from being dead in trespasses and sin.  Now as Lord of Life, He gives to us “abundant and full life”.  Then he mentions that this process moves from “kerygma” to “koinonia”-partnership.  In union with Him, and with each other we are transformed into His image, while collectively we “growing into a Holy Temple unto the Lord”.  The third process is represented by the word “diakonia”.  This is the word for “deacon”.  Embracing the Proclaimed Christ; Being yoked to Him with the vital link of the Holy Spirit-we then join Him in serving others by reaching out to touch them and to make them whole, as we are being made whole!  Unfortunately, this is a process.  It is not always a fast-progressing process.  Bruce Larson says unfortunately some Christians remind him of “being a like a tug-boat he once saw on the Hudson River.  This tugboat was pumping bilge out at a furious rate.  I thought for sure that it would sink!  Until I realized that there was no danger of that provided that the bilge pump kept ahead of the leakage”.  To be in depth fellowship is to live like that tugboat pumping the inherent bilge out at a successful rate.  Unfortunately, we are not tight ships with no leaks from the world, but the progress and process to holiness and wholeness keeps us afloat in the Christian life.  Several years ago, one of the Church Fathers, Ignatius gave us a recipe for this transformation.  He wrote, “This is what I ask for and desire-to have an intimate knowledge of our Lord, who has become man for me; that I may love Him more; and that I may follow Him more closely”.  In the seventies that desire was put into a popular song for a Musical Godspell.  Though I certainly didn’t agree with all that it presented-the formula for being made whole was put concisely into rhyme-“Three things Dear Lord I Pray-To See Thee More Clearly-Love Thee More Dearly-Follow Thee More Nearly!”  Do you want to be made whole?  That is the way to make it a reality- “Wholeness for the Whole World to See!”

 

 

 Posted by at 5:01 pm

“Jacob’s Ladder at Charing Cross?”

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May 202018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Jacob’s Ladder at Charing Cross?”

By:  Ron Woodrum

 

     Author Philip Yancey tells of an experience playing chess with a master player.  He explains his rapid realization that no matter what move he made, no matter what strategy he chose, the master seemed to turn his play around to serve his own purposes.  If the truth be realized, all of us would identify with Francis Thompson, who felt the same way.  He made a lot of moves in his life that were disastrous.  He spent his life running away from God and seeking to find pleasure and fulfillment in all the wrong things.  But even during his days of drug abuse, living on the streets near England’s Charing Cross, and sleeping nights down by the river Thames, he was not alone.  He wrote a famous poem describing how he was pursued and lovingly sought by the Hound of Heaven-God, through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ!  Readers of English poetry know all about this famous poem.  You may even recall Richard Burton’s famous reading of this 189-line poem.  Francis Thompson was a child of opportunity.  His father wanted him to go to medical school and become a doctor, or to study at Oxford University.  But instead Francis was lured into the world of opiates, in the late 1800’s in England.  It was this addiction that interrupted his education and left him homeless and hopeless for several years of his life.  But even during his days of addiction he was being pursued by Christ, whom he would later, after becoming a Christian, call the Hound of Heaven.  Here are a few lines from his Immortal poem:

 

I fled Him down the nights and down the days

I fled Him down the arches of the years.

I fled Him down the labyrinthine way of my own mind:

And in the midst of tears.

 

I hid from Him, and under running laughter

Up vistaed hopes I sped

Down titantic glooms of chasmed fears

From those strong feet that followed, I fled

For though I knew His love that followed

Yet I was sore adread

That having Him I would have naught else beside.

 

(BUT HE ENDS IT, AFTER SEVERAL MORE VERSES THAT I HAVE OMITTED)

 

Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,

I am He whom thou seekest!

 

After his conversion, and change of life, Thompson wrote another poem expressing the same kind of pursuit that he found Jesus Christ to have for him all the days of his running.  This poem is called In No Strange Land. 

 

Oh world invisible, we view thee,

Oh world intangible, we touch thee,

Oh world unknowable, we know thee,

In apprehensible, we clutch thee!

 

Does the fish soar to find the ocean?

The eagle plunge to find the air-

That we ask the stars in motion

If they have rumor of thee there?

 

 

 

Not where wheeling systems darken,

And our benumbed conceiving soars! –

The drift of pinions, would we harken,

Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors.

 

The angels keep their ancient places-

Turn but a stone and start a wing!

Tis ye, tis your estranged faces,

That miss the many splendored thing.

 

But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)

Cry-and upon thy so sore loss

Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder

Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.

 

Yea, in the night, my Soul; My daughter,

Cry-clinging to Heaven by the hems;

And lo, Christ is walking on the water,

Not of Genesareth, but Thames!

 

Thompson found that the Hound of Heaven, lowered Jacob’s Ladder right into the drug infested homeless situation he had chosen for himself there in the area surrounding England’s Charing Cross.  And late night’s spent sleeping homeless and defeated, overwhelmed with guilt, shame, and failure. He was awakened only to find Christ walking toward him on the water, not of the Sea of Galilee-but Thames!  Today’s message is words from the Hound of Heaven.  He is asking us the Soul Winning Question.  Do you not pursue at any cost the lost one that is of great value to you?  Of course, we do!  Let a child we love be lost.  We gather the entire neighborhood; all the police force; the media to spare no cost in recovering the lost child.  Even when a dog or a cat that we love is lost we print posters, offer rewards, go from house to house, neighborhood to neighborhoods searching diligently.  And we should!  Today’s message from Jesus calls us to the ultimate search of those that are lost!  Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “If there be any one point in which the Christian Church ought to keep its fervor at a white heat, it is concerning soul-winning.  If there be anything about which we cannot tolerate Luke warmness, it is the matter of sending the gospel to a dying world!”

 

 Posted by at 12:07 pm

“Unbroken Til He Comes”

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May 132018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Unbroken Til He Comes”

By:  Ron Woodrum

 

     In May 1897, the great American humorist and author Samuel Clemens, best known for his pen name, Mark Twain, was in London.  He was on a round-the-world speaking tour to raise money to pay off some debts due to some unsuccessful investments and publishing ventures.  While in London, someone started the rumor that Twain was gravely ill, on his deathbed, and was dying bankrupt!  Then came the rumor that he had actually died.  It was even reported in one American newspaper!  May 27th Frank Marshall White, correspondent for the New York Journal, was commissioned to determine the truth of these rumors.  He sent a cable to England to get a response from Twain.  On May 31st Twain wrote back his response.  On June 2, 1897 White wrote:  “Mark Twain was undecided whether to be amused or annoyed about the reports that he was dying in poverty in London…The great humorist, while not very robust, is in the best of health.  He said, ‘I can understand perfectly how the report of my illness got about, I have even heard on good authority that I was dead.  James Ross Clemens, a cousin of mine, was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London but is well now.  The report of my illness grew out of his illness-THE REPORT OF MY DEATH WAS GREATLY EXAGERATED!’ ”  A few years ago I had a similar experience.  I was with my wife at Wal Mart.  I bumped into someone that I had supervised at Milliken.  He looked like he had seen a ghost!  He said, “I thought you died a couple of years ago!  I read your obituary in the Decatur paper!”  (He had actually read the obituary of my cousin Robert Woodrum…not Ronald Woodrum). We were close to the same age!  I told him that I was very much alive, and “the report of my demise had also been greatly exaggerated!”.  I am not sure I convinced him.  But imagine being pronounced dead.  Being reported Killed In Action.  Even having the president of the United States contact your parents with condolences!  That actually happened to WWII war hero Louis Zamperini.  When Zamperini’s aircraft The Green Hornet was hit, it went down in 1943.  No survivors were located.  He was pronounced dead.  President Roosevelt sent condolences to his parents in 1944.  The report of Louie’s demise was greatly exaggerated!  He went on to live for another 70 years, dying July 2, 2014, at the age of 97.  He and two other crew members drifted for 47 days, battling starvation, and shark attacks.  One died after 33 days.  Louie and pilot Phillips finally reached the Marshall Islands, only to be immediately captured by the Japanese.  The story of Zamperini’s POW survival is told in the 2014 movie Unbroken. He and several other POW’s suffered greatly at the hands of the Japanese.  They managed to survive the best they could.  Major Greg, “Pappy” Boyington, in his book Baa Baa Black Sheep, tells how Zamperini shared Italian recipes with prisoners to help them dream of rescue and return to normal while trying to keep their minds off the food and conditions in prison.  Louie had been an Olympic hero in the 1936 Olympics.  He was singled out by the leader of the prison guard Mutsuhiro “the Bird” Watanable and suffered greatly.  Louie and the rest of the prisoners lived each day holding on the promise of General Douglas MacArthur, who said, “I Will Return”.    One day, while in camp, trying to hold on, the sky filled with a cloud of airplanes, with the red, white, and blue stars and stripes…Their trust was not disappointed!

After the war, Louie suffered nightmares and PTSD.  He tried to deal with it with alcohol but was unsuccessful.  He wife Cynthia invited him to attend a Billy Graham Crusade in 1949.  He attended the same crusade that saw Stuart Hamlin come to Christ.  The same crusade that saw Mobster Jim Vaus find new life in Christ.  Louie Zapperini, remembering his prayers to the Lord while drifting at sea, and being delivered, committed his life to Christ.  He became a Christian evangelist.  He also was used of the Lord in forgiving those who tortured him during his POW days.  He even wrote a letter to Mutsuhiro Watanable forgiving him and telling him about Jesus.  No response ever came.  Four days before his 81st Birthday Zamperini ran a leg in the Olympic Torch relay for the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, not far from the POW camp where he had been held.  In 2012 he appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and talked of his Olympics, WWII, and his faith.  In October 2018 there is a Sequel to Unbroken, titled Path To Redemption, by the makers of God Is Not Dead.  The film is a faith-based film that picks up where the first left off.  Billy Graham’s grandson Will will play the part of Graham, at the Crusade where Zamperini comes to faith.  It is expected to be a film to reach the audience with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our Savior promised to return to rescue us!  Sometimes it gets hard trying to remain faithful to Him while the world. the flesh, and the devil seeks to defeat us.  Jesus addressed this very thing in our message today.  Jesus, in a chapter describing the faith of the tortured widow, who refused to grow weary, but kept on trusting until she was delivered, asked the question-“When the Son of Man Comes to Deliver His Own-will He find that kind of Faith?  That Kind of Faithfulness?”  That is the Question of the New Millennium!  Only you and I can answer that question.

 

 Posted by at 12:09 pm

“Don’t Let Me Miss The Glory”

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May 062018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Don’t Let Me Miss The Glory”.

By:  Ron Woodrum

 

     Back in 2010 we had the privilege of attending the Bill Gaither concert at the Coliseum.  All the usual guests were there to sing all the usual songs.  It was a marvelous evening of worship and Christian fellowship.  But in the middle of the concert there was a hidden surprise.  The pianist, Gordon Mote, shared a recording of his own.  He played and sang the song Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory.  That was the highlight of the entire evening!

 

In the view from the mountains

There’s a story to be told

In the crashing of the ocean

There’s a power that no man will ever hold

 

All the stars in the Heavens

Decorate Your Handiwork

And like a mighty choir

They’ve come to celebrate Your worth

 

Don’t let me miss the glory

Don’t let me miss the grace

All creation is singing

To the honor of Your name

 

Don’t let me miss the wonder

Don’t let me miss the grand design

And the lighting and the thunder

Lord, open up my eyes

Don’t let me miss the glory!

 

In 1982 Larry Walters attempted to join the Air Force and to realize his life long dream of being a pilot of a fighter jet.  He wanted to become a real life Top Gun Pilot.  But Larry failed his eye exam.  His poor eyesight put the kibosh on those Top Gun dreams.  Larry was not to be denied!  He had entertained his own idea of flight for over twenty years.  He had seen some helium weather balloons hanging in an Army Surplus store.  He had an idea.  On July 2, 1982 he purchased 42 balloons…filled them with helium…tied them to his Sears and Roebuck Aluminum lawn chair, strapped on some water jugs for ballasts…packed a pellet pistol to shoot the balloons out for descent, added some sandwiches, a parachute, and a CB radio…and of course a few beers, and he was ready.  He intended to release the balloons, rise to about 100 feet in the air, level off, and travel from San Pedro, California across the desert, to the Rocky Mountains.  So he released the rope tethering his homemade aircraft he had named Inspiration I, with high hopes!  Would his experiment work?  Would it ever!  In a matter of a couple of minutes Larry was past his intended 100 feet.  He quickly ascended the heavens, at a rate of 1,000 feet a minute, to a height of 16,000 feet before leveling off!  He was way up high, and he was scared, he had lost his appetite for the sandwiches, and never gave another thought about relaxing in his chair and slamming a couple of Miller Lites!  Not at 16,000 feet!  In all the excitement he lost his glasses!  He now had another problem…he was drifting into the flight paths of incoming planes to Los Angeles International Airport.  A clearly worried Walters used his CB radio to transmit mayday calls picked up by the Airport Flight Towers.  Two TWA incoming LAX flights had already notified the Flight Tower that they just passed a man, in a lawn chair at 16,000 feet, holding a pistol in his lap!  The tower had made a radar fix on him and were tracking him.  Despite his precarious situation, after the initial shock wore off, Walters was the picture of calm.  He told those now monitoring him that he knew he was in trouble, one way or another.  He would either plunge to his death, get sucked into a jet engine, or else get busted big time when he landed!  Eventually, after mustering up enough courage, Walters began shooting out the helium balloons one at a time.  He began a slow descent, but as he descended, he lost grip on the pistol, and dropped it before he could complete the job!  Ninety minutes after lift-off from San Pedro, he was back on terra firma…well almost.  his balloons got caught in some power lines in Long Beach, knocking out electricity in several neighborhoods.  His chair was dangling 5 feet off the ground when he unhooked his homemade seat-belt and hopped down to his welcoming committee from the LAPD!  Larry was charged with “operating a civil aircraft for which there is not currently in effect an Airworthiness Certificate”.  His original fine was $4,000.  Helium balloons?  Lawn chair?  Pellet gun?  What’s not airworthy?  That charge was later reduced to $1,500 and he was charged with “operating an aircraft near an airport without establishing and maintaining two-way communications with the control tower”.

Walter’s stunt earned him his requisite “five minutes of fame”. When asked why he did this stunt? Walters replied, “A man cannot just sit around in his lawn chair!”  He was now famous as “Lawn Chair Larry”.  He appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson; Late Night with David Letterman, earned a 1982 honorable mention from the Darwin Awards; He won the Bone-Head Award from the Bonehead Club of Dallas, Texas.  He appeared on a few game shows; he was featured in a Timex watch ad in the early 90’s.  The Smithsonian requested his lawn chair for its museum, but he had already given it to some neighborhood kid who had asked first!  He tried his luck as a motivational speaker, but that soon faded.  He soon withdrew from Public life and spent a lot of time hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains outside Los Angeles…and doing volunteer work for the U.S. Forest Service.  But after losing out on his dream…and enjoying his short-lived fame as “Lawn Chair Larry”, in 1993, only 44 years old, after missing the glory he longed to see, but never experienced, Walters committed suicide in the Los Angeles National Forest, shooting himself where he hurt the most, in his heart!  Missing out on the glory…he became another member of that generation LOST IN SPACE…WITH NO TIME LEFT TO START AGAIN!  A member of the tragic generation instead of the triumphant generation!  What a tragedy!  It reminded me of the words of Thomas a’Kempis who wrote, “to walk inwardly with God, and not to be held in any other outer affections, is the state of a Spiritual man”…to miss that is to miss the glory…and to miss it all.  If only a friend would have told Larry Walters that reality instead of being a member of the Lost generation, he might have belonged to the Lasting generation!  We can make a difference for eternity in the lives of those we meet and know!  If we don’t miss the glory!

 

 Posted by at 12:50 pm