Sunday, June 21, 2009

C. Marion Smith, Sr. - My hero, my dad

The notion of “dad” triggers may fond memories of early experiences with him as well as an ever-growing friendship in the adult years. “Dad” to me means; pinewood derbies, cushman scooters, fishing, hunting, and my first car. I also think of his amazing success as husband, provider, caregiver, and grandparent. I have received invaluable instruction from my dad about the significance of honesty, character and discipline. His example of a holy life has been a guiding influence to me on many occasions.

I am learning that values aren’t primarily taught to young people by telling them what is right and wrong, though it does have its place. Our (His) values are primarily taught to our children almost incidentally. That is, little by little… moment by moment. By observing how we respond to life’s challenges, hearing us talk on the phone and by being with us. At least, this is the way it was for me. Many times, it was picked up very, very subtly. My dad’s important instructions have come to me through his exemplary life of devotion to God, family, Church and his fellow man. He is a sinner saved by God’s grace that has counted the cost of discipleship and taken his place among the committed.

Many people consider Abraham Lincoln to be the greatest American who ever lived. A generation ago, writer Carl Sandburg set out to analyze and explain the manhood of the sixteenth president of the United States. After much study, Sandburg summed up the character of Abe Lincoln with two words: steel and velvet. He described him as a man of steel and velvet. A Father has to be tough and tender. He needs to be a strong leader of his home and also the great lover of his home. These descriptive traits – steel and velvet – sum up the character of my dad.

Someone has rightfully compared life to that of a relay race where father and mother have the primary responsibility of passing the baton of eternal life along to the children. It is the means that God established for transferring His value system from one generation to the next. If our children do not get that baton in their hands, then nothing else matters much. It matters not how much they accomplish in life. If they don’t get that baton then I have failed. I thank God for my dad and mom who sowed seeds of eternal life in me. They sowed these seeds on many occasions, which they were not even aware.

I have a master’s degree in theology from a respected university but I am convinced that many of America’s greatest teachers have never seen a college. My dad never went to college and yet his influence in my life far outweighs that of any PhD.

Happy Father’s Day, dad! I am blessed to call you my hero, my dad. I love you.

C. Marion (Buddy) Smith, Jr.
June 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hope and Healing for those caught in the trap of homosexuality

At a recent gathering of the 2009 Mississippi Annual Conference in Jackson, Renee Sappington and Dr. Connie Campbell were given a platform to present glowing testimonies about the beauty and innocence of their homosexual lifestyles and partnership. UPDATE: Article from The Clarion Ledger - Lesbians' testimony shows church rift.

Watch the video of their presentation

Read a transcript of their presentation

These testimonies are an assault on biblical truth about human sexuality and a shameless promotion of homosexual “marriage” that went unchallenged during a worship service at the recent state-wide gathering in Jackson. There were young people present when these members of Parkway Hills United Methodist Church were given a platform to promote a lifestyle that the Bible clearly condemns as sinful behavior. The presenters even openly said that sometimes the church doesn't speak for God. In other words, the United Methodist Church has it wrong about homosexuality. Dr. Connie Campbell is professor of mathematics at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.

Please join me in praying for Renee Sappington and Dr. Connie Campbell. We (the church) have an obligation to share God’s liberating truth and hope for change with these women who are caught in the trap of homosexuality.

Please join me in praying that Bishop Hope Ward and the leaders of our Mississippi Annual Conference will refute the pro-lesbian testimonies and reaffirm the official position of our church about human sexuality and marriage.

The good news is that those caught in the trap of same-gender attraction can be changed through the redemptive power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sue Bowlin in her excellent article – Can Homosexuals Change? – offers these biblical steps to overcoming homosexuality.
The steps to overcoming homosexuality also apply to overcoming any stronghold.

First, the person has to stop the sinful behavior. It's best to ask for God's help. This is no different from the requirement for any drug or alcohol abuse treatment. You can't work on a problem when you're still totally controlled by it.

The second step is to work on learning what the Bible says about who you are in Christ. Just as people learning to identify counterfeit money examine real currency so they can spot the fakes, the struggler needs to fill his mind with God's Word so he can enter into his true identity as a beloved, valuable child of God.

The third step is working on the thought life, since this is where the battle is. It's important to identify Satan's lies playing as tapes in one's head, and stop the tape player! Then, deliberately replace the lies with the truth. Instead of "I'm never going to change," repeat the truthful promise that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13). Instead of obsessing over the aching and longing for the unhealthy and sinful behavior, fill your mind with praise and worship and Scripture.

Next, face the fact that it feels lousy! When we stop trying to meet our needs in our own ways, we start experiencing the emotional pain that our strongholds had covered up. When it feels really really bad, we are at that very point where God can make the biggest difference. Ask, What is my true need? What is it my heart is truly longing for? Go to Jesus and let Him meet your deepest heart-needs. Let Him direct you to get your divinely-designed needs for relationship with other people met in godly ways.

This is where powerful healing happens.
Additional Resources for Hope and Healing