Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

Below is an excerpt from the speech President Ronald Reagan delivered at Pointe du Hoc, France, where U.S. Rangers fought an incredible battle to reclaim Europe from the evil of fascism. I hope you find President Reagan’s remarks a reminder of who we are. May God help America to rediscover this resolve in the fight against the new fascism of militant Islam.

Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge -- and pray God we have not lost it -- that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They thought -- or felt in their hearts, though they couldn’t know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 a.m., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.

Something else helped the men of D-Day: their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we’re about to do. Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.” …

Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.” Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

In Memory of Mary Sue Chapman (2003-2008)

Maria Sue Chapman, adopted and youngest daughter to Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, was killed Wednesday night in a tragic accident in the family driveway on Wednesday evening. She was LifeFlighted to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital but for only reasons God can explain she went home to Him... not to Franklin as we all so desperately wanted.

Your prayers are needed for all in the Chapman family. This is a family who has so generously loved and given to so many. Just hours before this close knit family was celebrating the engagement of the oldest daughter Emily Chapman, and were just hours away from a graduation party marking Caleb Chapman's completion of high school. Now, they are preparing to bury a child who blew out 5 candles on a birthday cake less than 10 days ago. These words are unthinkable to type. And yet we trust in a God who was not surprised by this and because of Jesus I am certain through faith in Him we will see Maria again. - Jim Houser (Manager)

Meet Maria

For those who never had the chance to meet this special little girl, we invite you to get a glimpse through this "goofy" blog video shot with her Daddy just two months ago. It’s a wonderful recording to help us remember Maria. We miss you so badly already. We'll see you soon Maria.

Friday, May 16, 2008

No Excuses

There are many reasons why God shouldn't have called you.
But don't worry. You're in good company . . .

Moses stuttered.
David's armor didn't fit.
John Mark was rejected by Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea's wife was a prostitute.
Amos' only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a murderer.
So was Moses.
Jonah ran from God.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burnt out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Mary was lazy.
Samson had long hair.
Noah got drunk.

Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul -- well, lots of folks did.
But God doesn't require a job interview.
He doesn't look at financial gain or loss.
He's not prejudiced or partial,
not judging or grudging,
not sassy or brassy,
not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need.

As much as we try, God's gifts are free.

Satan says, "You're not worthy."
Jesus says, "So what?... I AM."

Satan looks back and sees our mistakes.
God looks back and sees the cross.

He doesn't calculate what you did last month or last year.
It's not even on the record.
Sure. There are lots of reasons why God shouldn't have called us.
But if we are in love with Him,
If we hunger for Him more than our next breath,
He'll use us - in spite of
who we are,
where we've been, or
what we look like.

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" Philippians 4:13

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dottie Rambo – Legendary gospel singer and songwriter

Legendary gospel singer and songwriter Dottie Rambo died Sunday morning when her tour bus ran off a road in southwest Missouri and struck an embankment. She was 74 years old. She had more than 2500 published songs, among them a song of great hope called “Sheltered in the Arms of God.” Casey and I sing this wonderful old song at South Union Camp Meeting in 2002.

Here is a short list of Dottie’s published songs:
  • Sheltered in the Arms of God
  • We Shall Behold Him
  • I Will Glory In The Cross
  • Behold The Lamb
  • Build My Mansion
  • I Go To The Rock
  • He Looked Beyond My Fault
  • Holy Spirit Thou Art Welcome
  • I Call Him Lord
  • If That Isn’t Love
  • Tears Will Never Stain The Streets of That City
Here is a more complete list of songs by Dottie Rambo.

Dottie Rambo and Barbara Mandrell sing “I Will Glory In The Cross.”

Sandy Patty sings “We Shall Behold Him” like no one else. You can see Dottie Rambo sitting in the background, singing along. I have no doubt that the song’s author is now beholding Jesus face to face.

Listen, watch and be blessed.

See below for a behind the scenes look into the Dottie's CD released this year. LuLu Roman joins her for “Holy Spirit Thou Art Welcome.”

Crape Creek Baptist Church Memorial Day - Choctaw County, Mississippi

Carol attended Memorial Day at Crape Creek Baptist Church in Choctaw County. This church and community is where her dad, Freeman Erwin, lived as a youngster.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day celebration reaches 100th anniversary

I honor my mother, Joan Smith: youngest of 2, loving companion to my dad for 60 years this August, now 78 years young. She prayed for me, encouraged me, listened to me, and is a model of “hoping in God.”

I honor my wife, Carol Smith: middle of 3, companion, friend, lover, ministry-partner, mother of 2, grandmother of two, amazing wife.

I honor my daughter, Stacey Fowler: oldest of 2, authentic Christian witness since her conversion at 5, faithful wife to Chip, nurturing mother to Casey Joe and Weston, faithful servant to her local church.

GRAFTON, W.Va. - On this 100th anniversary of Mother's Day, the woman credited with creating one of the worlds most celebrated holidays probably wouldn't be pleased with all the flowers, candy or gifts.

Anna Jarvis would want us to give mothers a white carnation - she felt it signified the purity of a mother's love. Read more of Mother's Day celebration reaches 100th anniversary.