Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day to 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

Friday, May 18, 2012

Chuck Colson: Champion of Christian Faith

Carol and I were honored to represent AFA/AFR at the funeral service of Chuck Colson at Washington  National Cathedral this week. Dr. Charles Colson was special counsel to President Nixon from 1969 to 1973, a noted evangelical Christian leader, and founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries. He passed away on April 21, 2012.

I first met Mr. Colson in the mid 80's as I attended a week-long training at his headquarters in Reston, Virginia to lead in-prison seminars. At this point in my Christian walk I had already been profoundly mentored by reading a couple of Dr. Colson's books titled "Born Again" and "Loving God."

Read the Christian Post article, Chuck Colson Honored as 'Champion' of Christian Faith at Memorial Service. You can view the memorial service in its entirety here.

I had the honor of greeting Dr. Colson (above photo) at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, DC several years ago and in more recent times working with him on The Manhattan Declaration.

Photos and videos from the funeral service

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thank you Ray Rooney!

Joyful Noise Quartet at Wesley UMC
Joyful Noise Quartet had a great time in the presence of the Lord on Sunday with my dear friend and pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church, Raymond Rooney. We thank God for this humble yet bold servant of Christ and have been greatly encouraged to keep on singing after reading the following article he wrote in Wesley's weekly newsletter. Thank you, Ray!

If you missed the Sunday evening celebration of Jesus Christ led by the Joyful Noise Quartet in our church you missed an hour of truly significant inspiration. I’ve seen a lot of Christian concerts and the truth is a good many of the singers/musicians are performing rather than leading in worship. The emphasis seems to be on “look how talented I am” rather than “Isn’t He wonderful?”

That wasn’t the case Sunday night. The individual talent of the four singers was obvious but it never seemed to me to be point of the presentation. I never lost track that Jesus Christ was being honored and worshipped. And what do you know? I found myself rejuvenated and reminded. Rejuvenated in that I tasted once again the excitement of being a Christian and reminded that unapologetic boldness for Jesus is a good thing. READ MORE

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Still He Walked (Author Unknown)

He could hear the crowds screaming "crucify" "crucify"...
He could hear the hatred in their voices,
These were his chosen people.
He loved them,
And they were going to crucify him.
He was beaten, bleeding and weakened...
His heart was broken,
But still He walked.

He could see the crowd as he came from the palace.
He knew each of the faces so well.
He had created them.
He knew every smile, every laugh, and every shed tear,
But now they were contorted with rage and anger
His heart broke,
But still He walked.

Was he scared? You and I would have been
So his humanness would have mandated that he was.
He felt alone.
His disciples had left, denied, and even betrayed him.
He searched the crowd for a loving face and he saw very few.
Then he turned his eyes to the only one that mattered
And he knew that he would never be alone.
He looked back at the crowd...
At the people who were spitting at him
Throwing rocks at him and mocking him
And he knew that because of him,
They would never be alone.
So for them, He walked.

The sounds of the hammer striking the spikes echoed through the crowd.
The sounds of his cries echoed even louder,
The cheers of the crowd, as his hands and feet were nailed to the cross,
Intensified with each blow.
Loudest of all was the still small voice
Inside his Heart that whispered "I am with you, my son",
And God's heart broke.
He had let His son walk.

Jesus could have asked God to end his suffering,
But instead He asked God to forgive.
Not to forgive him, but to forgive the ones who were persecuting him.
As he hung on that cross, dying an unimaginable death,
He looked out and saw, not only the faces in the crowd,
But also, the face of every person yet to be,
And his heart filled with love.
As his body was dying, his heart was alive.
Alive with the limitless, unconditional love he feels for each of us.
That is why He walked.

When I forget how much My God loves me,
...I remember his walk.
When I wonder if I can be forgiven,
...I remember his walk.
When I need to be reminded of how to live like Christ,
...I think of his walk.
And to show him how much I love him,
...I wake up each morning, turn my eyes to him,
.......And I walk.