Sunday, December 30, 2007

2006 Yamaha Royal Star Venture

I purchased this 2006 Yamaha Royal Star Venture new in September of 2006 from Abernathy's in Union City, Tennessee.

This 2006 Royal Star Venture is simply a maximum touring motorcycle, with everything the serious cross-country rider needs, including electronic cruise control, air-assisted suspension, four-speaker sound, plenty of storage and a liquid-cooled V-four engine. The 2006 Venture retailed for $16,799-$17,299 depending on options. E-mail or call Buddy at 662-397-5634 for a price.

Here is a thorough review of this excellent motorcycle. Watch a Photo Slide Show of the 2006 Royal Star Venture from USRiderNews.

Click here to see how the 06 Venture did in a U.S. Rider News test.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Casey Joe & Weston - Christmas 2007

Mary Did You Know

It's Still The Greatest Story Every Told

O Holy Night

This Little Child

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Dyersburg, TN grandmother witnesses to man trying to rob her

Dyersburg, Tennessee grandmother witnesses to man trying to rob her
Reported by Nick Paranjape - WMCTV.COM

Click Here to watch the video report.

92-year-old Pauline Jacobi reads her Bible everyday. Her strong faith keeps her going in life and may have saved it after she almost became the victim of a parking lot robbery.

Jacobi had just finished putting her groceries inside her car at a Dyersburg Wal-Mart when a man jumped into the car through the passenger's side door. He told Jacobi he had a gun and that he would shoot her if she didn't give him money.

"I'm not going to give you my money," Jacobi said.

In fact. She told him "no" three times.

Then she started to talk to him.

"As quick as you kill me I'll go to heaven and you'll go to hell," Jacobi said she told the man. "'Jesus is in this car and he goes with me everywhere I go."

"He just looked around and the tears just began coming down his eyes."

She told him to ask God for forgiveness and ministered to him for 10 minutes inside her car.

"He says, 'I think I'll go home and pray tonight,'" Jacobi said. "I says, 'You don't have to wait until tonight. You can pray anytime you want to.'"

As tears were rolling down the man's face, Jacobi voluntarily gave him $10. All the money she had.

"When I told him I was going to give him the money, I said, 'Don't you go spend it on whiskey either,'" Jacobi said.

The man thanked her for the money and kissed her on the cheek. Then he walked away.

He told Jacobi his name was Ricky and he was from Halls, Tennessee. She doesn't want to see him in jail, but also doesn't want him to hurt anybody. However, police do want to see him in jail and are asking for help.

If you have any information, call Dyer County CrimeStoppers at (731) 285-TIPS.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Christmas at Silver Dollar City

Read the first and second in a three-part series for by Randall Murphree
Read the Nov/Dec AFA Journal article titled, AFA staffers pick Branson favorites.

Randall Murphree, a friend and colleague in ministry, is editor of AFA Journal, a monthly publication of the American Family Association.

Carol and I, along with her sister Joyce, recently made a trip to Branson, Missouri and Silver Dollar City. We lodged with at one of the wonderful facilities owned by my friend Chris Meyer of Meyer Hotels. We enjoyed three spectacular Christmas shows while in Branson; The Duttons - Doug Gabriel and The Haygoods. The slide show that follows is of our visit to Silver Dollar City.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans, we honor you

Veterans Day, 2007

Veterans, we honor you. Thank you for your service to our country. I join the rest of the nation on Veterans Day in remembering the sacrifices of America's 25 million veterans and expressing our appreciation for your service. Read A Proclamation by The President of the United States of America.

Click the play button to watch this powerful tribute to our Veterans.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Birthday Casey Smith, III

Happy Birthday Casey Smith, III

Carol and drove to Birmingham yesterday to visit with Casey Smith, III and Mandy in honor of his twenty-sixth birthday which is today. Casey is Head Golf Pro at Farmlinks Golf Club in Sylacauga, Alabama. Please send him a Happy Birthday email today and be sure to tell him who you are.

He wrote the following poem when he was fourteen or fifteen years old.

by Casey Smith, III

The sport of fierce competition
Filled with people of hopes and determination

The game of inches
When the last putt is hit and your heart clinches

The game of heart and gruesome practicing
I have stuck with it in snow, lightning, and raining

I started playing golf when I was 13
The sport has come sort of natural to me and keeps me lean

The sport requires a big desire
I will still be playing golf after I retire

I hope one day I will turn pro
Whether I will ever be good enough I don’t know*

I don’t know if Golf is a part of God’s will
But if it is, it will be such a thrill

* Casey earned the status of PGA Golf Professional in November of 2006.

Monday, October 29, 2007

See It To Believe It

Mississippi Miracle! Tigers Stun Majors on Incredible Final Play

Jackson, Mississippi - Trinity's football team scored on the final play of the game to beat Millsaps 28-24 on Saturday afternoon, but it was the way in which it scored that was truly amazing.

After failing on a two-point conversion that would have tied the game at 24-24 with just over two minutes left in the game, and failing to recover the ensuing onside kick, it looked like Millsaps would beat Trinity for the second straight season. That win would have also clinched the SCAC Championship and automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs for the Majors, but it was not to be.

Out of timeouts, Trinity was unable to stop the clock on the first three plays of the final possession for Millsaps, and with eight seconds left, the Majors called for timeout. Hoping to run out the clock and end the game, Millsaps ran a play on fourth down, but two seconds still remained after the change of possession.

The Tigers completed a pass over the middle, then lateraled the ball 15 times on its way to an improbable, unbelievable, shocking game-winning touchdown by wide receiver Riley Curry. Curry actually touched the ball four times during the play, and on the fourth, he scampered into the end zone.

It was the second touchdown of the game for Curry, who caught the 13-yard pass from Blake Barmore that cut the lead to two in the fourth quarter. Curry finished with nine receptions for 115 yards. Chris Coleman had his second straight 100-yard day, totaling 119 yards on eight catches for the Tigers.

In a game that was expected to be a battle of two of the nation's top quarterbacks, Barmore and Millsaps signal-caller Juan Joseph were overshadowed by the play of the defenses. Barmore did finish with 339 yards and two scores on 27-43 passing, but he threw a pair of interceptions. Joseph was 24-45 for 227 yards and three touchdowns, but threw three picks and fumbled once.

Both defenses forced four turnovers in the game, and Trinity's defense kept Millsaps from scoring on four of its seven red zone opportunities. Dylan Nealous led Trinity with 10 tackles in the game, picking up two for a loss, and recovering Joseph's fumble. Safeties Brian Marynowitz and Lee Patterson each had interceptions, as did defensive lineman Ryan Johnson on a screen pass by Joseph.

Trinity also got its running game going in this game, thanks in large part to a 121-yard effort from sophomore Chris Baer. Baer carried the ball 20 times for that total, scoring the team's first touchdown of the night in the first quarter.

With the win, combined with Rhodes losing 27-0 at Centre today, Trinity now controls its own destiny for the SCAC title and a trip to the NCAA playoffs. In order to make that postseason appearance, the team must still defeat Centre at home next week, then win at Austin College on November 10.

Click here to see the reaction of Trinity's coach.

Related - Millsaps Football: 'Mississippi Miracle' had Jackson voice

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Washington Briefing 2007

Carol and I have just returned from the 2nd Annual Washington Briefing Values Voter Summit 2007 in Washington, D.C. of which American Family Association Action was a co-sponsor.

The slide show includes photos from sight seeing that we did on Thursday followed by those taken at the Washington Briefing. Click here for a Fox News report of the event. Focus on the Family posted a Photo Essay of the event. The Washington Times carried this report of The Washington Briefing - Values voters back Mike, Mitt. Read the transcript of Gov. Huckabee's speech at the Washington Briefing. Carol and I are most impressed with Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Last night we heard singer/songwriter Lee Greenwood perform one of my favorite songs as a tribute to Dr. James Dobson at The Washington Briefing in Washington, DC.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A day of fun with Casey Joe

Carol and I enjoyed a fun day this past Saturday at a Mississippi State football game with our four-year-old grandson, Casey Joe.

We left our house around 11 am and headed south toward Starkville. In West Point we bought him “chicken/fries” (as he calls his favorite meal) at McDonald’s and took them with us over to Pizza Inn. McDonald’s is not our kind of place.

We called on Casey Joe to ask God’s blessing on our food once inside Pizza Inn and having opened his chicken/fries and awaiting our food order. Here is what he prayed:
“God, thank you for my family. Thank you for food and animals - but not snakes. I love you, Jesus. Amen”
We arrived in Starkville around 1:30 pm and stopped to watch a group college students flying remote controlled airplanes. We then entered the MS State campus and enjoyed several hours with Casey Joe before the game. He enjoyed looking at children’s books at the MSU bookstore and jumping on the inflatable entertainment set up for children outside the stadium. We accepted the invitation to eat hot dogs and hamburgers with Carol’s brother, Bruce, and nephew, Chan, before the game.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

GOP White House hopefuls detail salvation experiences

The First Ever Values Voter Presidential Debate Straw Poll, held last night at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, declared Governor Mike Huckabee as the pro-family winner. Read the Press Release and view the Poll Results.

Click Here to watch the replay of the Values Voter Presidential Debate held at Broward Performing Arts Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Monday, September 17, 2007.

Scenes from the Values Voter Debate in Fort Lauderdale

I received the key to the city on behalf of AFA Chairman Don Wildmon from Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle.

Key to the city of Fort Lauderale

Questioning the presidential hopefuls. Click here to read the questions.

The Republican candidates answering my question on marriage at the Values Voter Presidential Debate in Fort Lauderdale. From left, Mike Huckabee, Tom Tancredo, John Cox, Sam Brownback, Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter and Alan Keyes.

Randy Lucuis, Don Cobb and Darren Cooper of our AFA Web Team at work

From Press Reports
Video From The
GOP White House hopefuls detail salvation experiences

Jim Brown September 18, 2007

Some of the Republican presidential candidates who took part in last night's "Values Voter" presidential debate in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, spoke candidly about when they accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said last night's debate was unlike any other he'd ever participated in, noting he could never envision MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews opening a debate with a prayer.

Huckabee told the 2,000-plus audience members that he became a born-again Christian at the age of 10 while attending vacation Bible school at a small Baptist church in Hope, Arkansas. "And on that day [I] trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior -- it was life-changing," he said.

The former governor shared that he holds things in perspective, including his run for the White House. "Sometimes people ask me what's the greatest thing that ever happened to me, and they expect me to say being elected governor or running for president," stated Huckabee. "But the truth is, those are jobs that somebody else had before me, somebody else is going to have after me -- and those jobs have a limit.

"But the greatest thing that ever happened to me was coming to know Jesus Christ, because there is no limit, there are no terms set, and it's a position that I'll hold forever and forever."

Illinois businessman John Cox said he was "reborn in Christ" in 1979 when a Christian man ministered to him on a commuter train in Chicago. Meanwhile, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-California) joked that he has never belonged to an organized denomination -- he's a Baptist.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Republicans debate 'real values' tonight

I will represent AFA as a “questioner” in tonight’s Value Voters Debate at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The debate will begin at 6:30 PM Central time can be viewed live through a free online video stream from

Here is my question in round 1 to all candidates:
Marriage has been a socially protected union between a man and a woman for the physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual reproduction of children in every culture and at nearly every time in history. States have a secular interest, and human beings have a psychological, emotional, and spiritual interest in man-woman couples that stay together to rear children. If elected, would you support a Federal Marriage Amendment, and what else will you do to protect the institution of Marriage?
Here is my question in round 2 to all candidates:
Recently a federal judge ordered the Indiana legislature to censor their prayers. Specifically, the federal judge ordered the Indiana legislature to never allow anyone to offer an invocation prayer in Jesus' Name. Will you, as President, consider impeachment a possible remedy for this judicial activism? (read more about this case in an article from the Faith News Network)
Finally, I will ask this question of Senator Sam Brownback in round 3:
While we appreciate your work on pro-family issues in the Senate, please explain your support for allowing illegal aliens to remain here – which amounts to amnesty – and for bringing in more, so-called 'guest workers.' Please specifically address the depressed wages and reduced availability of entry level jobs for our citizens caused by these foreign workers.
Read the story from - Top GOP candidates to skip 'Values Voter' forum.

Scenes from the Values Voters Debate

Republicans debate 'real values' tonight

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The latest Republican presidential debate takes place here tonight, but all four of what some in the national news media call the "top-tier candidates" will not be on the stage.

Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson have all chosen not to participate in the Values Voter Debate being moderated by WND Editor Joseph Farah.

"Isn't it amazing they all have more important things to do to get elected president than to meet face to face with Christian and Jewish leaders who represent millions and millions of votes?" asked Farah who called them "gutless wonders" in a column previewing tonight's event.

"I tell you it is gut-wrenching fear that kept them away. They are scared to death of the questions. They're scared to death they won't have a good answer. They're scared to death they might say something they will live to regret."

Farah said he was particularly disappointed in Thompson, who has yet to participate in a single GOP debate.

"This one would have been his first opportunity since officially announcing his candidacy. He could have changed all the dynamics. He could have made this debate the biggest national news story of the day. He could have forced others to join the debate. But, he, too, had better things to do."

The Republicans who will take part are Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, John Cox and Alan Keyes, who announced over the weekend he was officially a candidate.

Anthony Man, a political reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, suggested the lack of "top tier" candidates "may actually demonstrate the [conservative] movement's waning influence in picking the Republican nominee and the next president."

He quoted Hastings Wyman, founding editor of the Atlanta-based Southern Political Report, who said, "It reflects a decline in the influence of the conservative Christian movement and the social conservatives in the Republican Party."

"I don't think the Republican Party is going to desert that base. But I do think that the degree of influence that we may have seen in the past of the religious-political conservative coalition no longer holds true," Wyman said.

The debate at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts is produced by, a group which says on its website "Our American values are the values that existed before time and were articulated in America's founding document on her birthday, the 4th of July, 1776."

The three-hour event begins at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, and will be broadcast live on Sky Angel and Dish Network channel 262, and will also be streamed live on websites including and the American Family Association.

Organizers are promising "rapid-fire action" in Round Two of the debate, "where the first of its kind podium design will allow questions to be asked and answered by all seven candidates in under a minute."

They also say "wildcard minutes" will be given to every candidate to use whenever they want, however they want – from challenging another candidate to interrupting a round of questions.

"This will be unlike any other debate," said Star Parker, of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education, "Expect surprises on a variety of topics the press would prefer to ignore."

Some questions have been submitted in advance from the public, with others coming from well-known figures including Paul Weyrich, founder and president of the Free Congress Foundation; Phyllis Schlafly, founder and president of Eagle Forum; Don Wildmon, founder and chairman of the American Family Association; Judge Roy Moore, a WND columnist with the Foundation for Moral Law; Rick Scarborough of Vision America; and Mat Staver of Liberty Council.

Joseph Farah is the founder, editor and chief executive officer of WND, the world's leading independent Internet news source.

In addition, Farah writes a daily column for WND and a weekly newspaper column for Creators Syndicate. He is also the founder and co-publisher of WND Books, a publishing venture that has produced several New York Times best sellers in the last five years.

Joseph Farah made a name for himself with traditional daily newspapers prior to his founding of WorldNetDaily – running the Sacramento Union, directing the news operation of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner for six years and serving as editor in chief of a group of California dailies and weeklies.

He has written for such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Jerusalem Post, National Review, TV Guide, Reason, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Sun-Times and a host of other national, international and regional publications.

Farah's latest book is called "Stop The Presses: The Inside Story of the New Media Revolution." He has written or collaborated on more than a dozen others, including Rush Limbaugh's 1994 No. 1 best seller "See, I Told You So." His previous book, "Taking America Back," was first published in 2003 and again in paperback in 2005.

Farah's many journalism awards include honors for reporting to writing headlines to honesty and courage in journalism to editing and newspaper design.

Farah speaks all over the world on topics ranging from the Middle East to the media to domestic policy issues.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dr. D. James Kennedy -- Inspired Christians to engage culture

AFA President Tim Wildmon and I attended the funeral service yesterday of Dr. D. James Kennedy at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Dr. Kennedy knew for sure that he was going to heaven. Do you? Find out, in his own words, the secret of Dr. Kennedy’s certainty and how you can be just as sure about where you’ll go when you die. Read more...

Click here and to view the archived webcast of this glorious home-going service for Dr. Kennedy.

An official with the American Family Association says Dr. D. James Kennedy will be remembered as a champion of God's truth. The 76-year-old pastor died this morning in his sleep at his home in Fort Lauderdale with his wife by his side.

Dr. Kennedy founded Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in 1959, which now has more than 10,000 members. He also is founder of Coral Ridge Ministries and Evangelism Explosion, which has trained people worldwide to share their faith in Christ.

Buddy Smith, executive assistant with the American Family Association, says Kennedy was a brilliant pastor who "loved God's people" and himself "was loved and cherished," and whose main desire was to see others accept Christ as Savior and Lord and make a difference in the culture.

"For me, Dr. Kennedy was best known for his forthright presentation of the gospel," Smith shares. "I have worshiped at the great Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and met Dr. Kennedy at one of his Reclaiming America for Christ Conferences. He was an evangelist at heart. He led many people to saving faith in the Lord -- he inspired many people to engage in the culture war, many Christians to step to the front and to get involved."

In addition, says Smith, Kennedy was a gifted and scholarly man. And when it came to debating spiritual and theological issues, "he was a formidable Christian apologist as he debated those of great intellect," Smith adds.

Kennedy preached his last sermon at Coral Ridge on Christmas Eve 2006. He suffered cardiac arrest and arrhythmia four days later and never fully recovered. On August 26, his daughter announced her father was retiring. The church had started a process to choose his successor, and had planned a tribute worship service later this month honoring Dr. Kennedy. Funeral arrangements are pending.

During his long and fruitful ministry at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, he wrote many books, founded a radio and television ministry that stretches around the globe, established a Christian school and a seminary, and helped lead the conservative movement along with Don Wildmon, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and others. His greatest contribution was the development of Evangelism Explosion, a program of outreach that joined good theology with a practical training method. He did more to bring evangelism back to the local church than anyone else in the last fifty years. By that I mean he pioneered a simple strategy for deploying Christians as trained evangelists who could share their faith with others.

Evangelism Explosion is a lay-witnessing training program first developed in 1962 that has been used to spark growth in churches worldwide. In 1996, it became the first Christian ministry to be established in every nation on earth. I have no doubt that millions of people will be in heaven because someone asked them the two EE questions:

  1. Do you know for sure that you are going to be with God in Heaven?
  2. If God were to ask you, “Why should I let you into My Heaven?” what would you say?

I was certified as an EE Trainer in the late 1970's at the First Baptist Church of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Today would be a good day for you to consider those questions. How would you answer them? Click here to find the answers that could change your life forever.

“Now, I know that someday I am going to come to what some people will say is the end of this life. They will probably put me in a box and roll me right down here in front of the church, and some people will gather around, and a few people will cry. But I have told them not to do that because I don’t want them to cry. I want them to begin the service with the Doxology and end with the Hallelujah chorus, because I am not going to be there, and I am not going to be dead. I will be more alive than I have ever been in my life, and I will be looking down upon you poor people who are still in the land of dying and have not yet joined me in the land of the living. And I will be alive forevermore, in greater health and vitality and joy than ever, ever, I or anyone has known before.” D. James Kennedy

Picking Up Pieces

Here is a story about teamwork and perseverance from a struggling college football team. The story from the the Clarion Ledger - Picking Up Pieces - has great application to the Christian life.

STARKVILLE — Minutes after Thursday's 45-0 loss to LSU went final, coach Sylvester Croom addressed his Mississippi State football team in the locker room.

That much is common.

But once Croom finished, senior defensive end Titus Brown stood up. That isn't so customary.

"I've known things around here in the past and I didn't want us to revert back to that," Brown said. "So just to be on the safe side, that's why I said some stuff."

The 'stuff', which he remembered Monday as he walked to MSU's practice fields, went something like this:

"I was, like, basically saying if we're going to be a team, there will not be any finger-pointing," he said. "Quarterback and cornerback are the only positions that the whole world can see your flaws, your mess-ups. Defensive line, you miss a slant here, miss a slant there, miss a tackle here, nobody's going to say anything. But a quarterback throws an interception, everybody can see that. I basically said whoever was perfect could judge someone. Which we know we're not perfect, so therefore, nobody says anything."

Mississippi State reconvened on the practice fields Monday afternoon after taking off the weekend that followed Thursday night's thumping. The 90-minute workout in shorts and no shoulder pads was customary for a typical game week Monday.

After all, there's little looking back being done around here now. Tulane, a team that didn't play last week and has a new coach with a new system, awaits Saturday.

Confidence, it seems, is the concern of the moment. Croom said he brought up the cliched 24-hour rule to the team in his remarks to them immediately after the game. Twenty-four hours to celebrate; twenty-four hours to lick the wounds.

"It was the first thing that going into the ballgame - we talked about this going back in the summer, we were going to play one game at a time, win lose or draw," Croom said.

There were many wounds to lick, but Croom pointed out positives when he talked after the game. Essentially, he made sure his team didn't have any thoughts about losing its confidence.

"We can't have that," Croom said. "That cannot happen. The other thing you've got to guard about is any kind of split between the team. And I reminded them that we have gone through."

But confidence is the biggest concern at one position, quarterback, and one specific player, Michael Henig.

His struggles - underscored by a school record-tying six interceptions - were well-documented and have led some fans to openly wonder if he's the right guy to be the team's starter.

Henig said he's still confident. He's received encouraging text messages over the weekend, including one from Archie Manning that read: "From me, Peyton and Eli, keep your head up."

He also received another decidedly less encouraging message on his MySpace profile. Henig looked at the profile of the person who sent it, saw that he was a new father, and said he responded as such: "Sir, I hope God blesses your son that if he's ever in this situation, I hope that people don't say that to him."

But Thursday night, Brown wanted to make sure his team still had faith in Henig when they left the locker room. Besides, Brown sees too many positives that could all go to waste if the players gave up now.

"The score reflected that we lost," Brown said, "but we got some questions answered about a bunch of guys."

Monday, September 03, 2007

Never Give Up: Greatest H.S. Comeback Game Ever

Dallas, Texas. 1994. State High School football playoffs. 2:42 left in the game. Plano East was down 41-17 to John Tyler. All hope was lost… the game was over. Plano East fans had left the stadium and were on their way home. There was no hope of winning… right?

That 2 minutes and 42 seconds became the greatest in high school football history. It is a great example of why we should never, never, ever give up. Whether in life… sports… or the Christian life. We should NEVER give up because you never know what will happen. Until “that lady” sings, the game is never over! After all… God parts seas, backs up rivers, surrounds us with chariots, and moves mountains… Amen??

Watch and enjoy…

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Silver Dollar City, Missouri

Randall Murphree (from the AFA Journal) along with Carol and me are spending a few days on assignment at the Southern Gospel Music Picnic - Silver Dollar City, Missouri. Randall will be submitting several OneNewsNow stories on this wonderful Christian and family oriented theme park.

On Sunday morning, we will be worshiping with Pastor Phillip Wilson at First Christian Church in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Pastor Wilson and his congregation have taken a God-honoring stand against the domestic partner registry recently instituted by the Eureka Springs City Council.

Here are photos from Thursday along with a couple of video links from our concert last night.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Coolest Video EVER!

A friend forwarded this powerful video and I decided to post it on my blog to share it. I hope you enjoy it and God Bless each and every one of you!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Those Dawg Days of Summer 2007!

Carol and I traveled down to our home county of Choctaw and town of Ackerman this weekend to participate in the 19th Annual Dawg Days of Summer festival which was held Friday and Saturday.

The weekend started on Main Street directly in front of City Hall with the Sunset Gospel Jubilee that featured two hours of entertainment by Sam Griffin, the Joyful Noise Quartet, the Spokesman Trio and yours truly. My time to sing came between 5:30 and 6:00 pm when the temperature was registering a blistering 109 degrees on the bank display about two store buildings away. It was a joy to proclaim the Gospel in song on the street where I held my first jobs over 40-plus years ago. My first job was cleaning shelves at Steadman's Grocery and the next was to shine shoes at Kelly's Barber Shop at 25 cents a shine. One of my part-time jobs during high school was at Rester’s Phillips 66 Service Station which was directly across the street from the Ben Franklin 5 & 10 (we called it the 10-cents store) where Carol worked. She recalls how I regularly made that trip across the street to purchase a popcorn snack from the Ben Franklin so that I could visit with her for a few minutes.

On Saturday the activities included a Classic Car and Truck Show on the Courthouse lawn. This event was sponsored by the Choctaw Cruisers and included 32 classes of vintage vehicles dating from 1900 to 1980. My dad, Marion Smith, entered his vintage 1927 Model T Touring Car and won a first place trophy in his division.

Read more about the 19th Annual Dawg Days of Summer festival in the Choctaw Plaindealer.

Here are some photos of the day (could that be Minnie Pearl in that hat) including the old Hotel Ackerman that is adjacent to the Courthouse property. We are so very pleased that our friend, Tom Sides, has purchased this historic old Ackerman landmark and will soon begin renovation. Read more about the Hotel Ackerman and its planned renovation from the Choctaw Plaindealer.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Homecoming 2007 At Mt. Pleasant

Carol and I serve as associate pastor to the God-loving congregation at Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church on the Tremont Charge in Itawamba County of the Tupelo District and the Mississippi Conference. My official role there is one of a preaching associate where I preach on the second and fourth Sunday’s of each month.

The Homecoming experience yesterday was heightened by it being the inaugural service in our brand new sanctuary. You will see in the pictures that every seat in the new sanctuary was filled. Praise the Lord! The service was filled with testimonies of praise to God for His faithfulness past and present to the people of God called Mt. Pleasant. This was also a day of recommitting ourselves to a more glorious future.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It’s Campmeeting Time!

Carol and I will load our loaner beautiful motor home this morning (thanks to Mark and Carlene Hixon of Southaven RV Super Center) to head south for our home county of Choctaw in central Mississippi to participate in the 136th Campmeeting at South Union United Methodist Campground. The annual campmeeting begins this evening and concludes with the evening service on Wednesday, July 25th. Our four-year-old grandson, Casey Joe, is going with us and our two-year-old grandson, Weston, and daughter, Stacey, will hopefully come down for a visit. Read more about South Union's rich spiritual heritage. (The above picture is me along with our daughter, Stacey and a friend, blowing the cow horn signaling the beginning of a worship service under the arbor in the early 80's)

Campmeeting takes us back to a simpler time; just good old-fashioned worship of God under the open arbor with hymns like, “I’m Dwelling in Beulah Land,” “Revive Us Again” and “Love Lifted Me.” Campmeeting affords us the opportunity to worship and to teach our children to worship in the same place our ancestors did, in the same way. We can go back to a single, uncomplicated time and place and always know that God is with us and He loves us. There are 4 worship services each day - 8:30 & 11 am and 3 & 7:30 pm.

The Camp Meeting preacher this year is Rev. Rex Wilburn of Bruce United Methodist Church. Carol and I will serve as the song leaders. I have been the main preacher for two campmeetings at South Union and song leader at least a dozen times over the years.

Carol and I will forever be grateful to my late grandparents - Arnold & Jennie Lee Bruce and Casey & Grace Smith - for introducing us to the life-giving Spirit of South Union United Methodist Campmeeting. (The above picture is of Carol and and our grandson, Weston, under the arbor in 2006)

What is a Campmeeting? Campmeeting is a uniquely American institution, and from the earliest days of our nation it has been a vital tool for the propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

During the first half of the 1800's, the population of the United States grew from five to thirty million, and the boundary of the nation moved ever westward. Revivals became the primary means of Christianizing the growing and expanding population. These revivals at the beginning of the nineteenth century became known as the Second Great Awakening. (the photo to the left my great grandmother Beulah at South Union in 1950 second from left on front row. She is buried in South Union Cemetery)

Campmeeting movement is cited at Rehoboth, North Carolina in 1794. The campmeeting revival movement the moved west to thOn the American frontier, Campmeetings came to characterize revivals. The beginning of thee Cane Ridge, Kentucky. At a meeting in June, 1800, Presbyterian James McGready and two other pastors preached for 3 days; on the fourth day, two traveling Methodist ministers officiated and concluded with an emotional exhortation. Many physically collapsed at what they called conviction of sin. People were convinced they were experiencing a visitation of the Holy Spirit such as the early church had known at Pentecost. By the early part of the 19th Century, Campmeetings had become a fixture of Rural America in the Northeast, Midwest and on the American Frontier. (the photo to the left is of my Mom and Dad in front of his Model T taken at South Union last year)

As the summer harvest was completed and the crops "laid by," families would get together and build "brush arbors," where they would hold Christian meetings, sing and catch up on the latest news with each other's families. This is the tradition from which the modern campmeeting has come.

Shingleroof Campmeeting, located in the heart of Henry County, Georgia, is a truly remarkable institution. The story of Shingleroof Campmeeting is a tale of religious devotion, love of heritage and cultural preservation. Read the online book about Shingleroof Campmeeting.

Far from being a dried relic of the past, Campmeetings still provide the opportunity for many people to hear the message of Salvation and Scriptural Holiness.

The best way to experience campmeeting is to stay on the grounds the whole time. I stayed in a (wooden) tent with my grandparents during my childhood but now enjoy a camper with some of the more modern conveniences like air conditioning and running water. There is a special kind of fellowship that takes place around the Arbor and the tents after the worship services and during the activities of the day. (The photo at left is of our children, Stacey and Casey, taken at South Union in 1986. My Dad "tented" with them that year and helped them to cave their names in the tree at the spring)

Today many people believe the usefulness of the campmeeting has passed. They consider it an old mode of operation that needs to be put to sleep. I strongly disagree. Instead of allowing the campmeeting to die I believe we should renew our efforts to bring it to new life.

Campmeetings drawing thousands of people are going on almost constantly all over the nation. At these campmeetings people spend thousands of dollars on admission, food, lodging, and the materials offered by the promoters. Oh, they’re not called campmeetings, they’re called conferences. At these "campmeetings" people sit all day long listening to speaker after speaker, several days at a time. (The photo at right is my grandfather Casey Smith at South Union School in 1913 back row with X above him)

At the church campmeeting you won’t pay a steep admission charge, and no one will ask you to buy hundreds of dollars worth of materials, No, you won’t be staying at the Ritz-Carlton twenty floors above the city streets, but then you won’t have to pay their price. The food won’t be steak or lobster. But your experience at campmeeting can definitely change your life.

I am old enough to remember campmeeting days at South Union when we had to haul the water from the spring and the floors under the Arbor and in the tents were sawdust. I also remember is the sight of altars covered with people seeking God and lives being changed. No, God does not need tents, sawdust, benches, or campgrounds to meet with us. But when we choose to set aside a special time to get away from the normal routine to seek God and to hear from Him, He will meet with us like at no other time. Our faith will be met with God’s faithfulness to minister to us, drawing us ever closer to Him. (The photo at right is Carol's first Campmeeting in 1953 when she was 2 months old)

We would love to have you visit us at South Union Campmeeting. Click here for directions.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Welcome Home, Rick Ochoa!

Here is a good word from my friend, Sergeant First Class Rick Ochoa, who just returned home after fifteen months of active duty.

Welcome home, Rick. Thank you for your service to our country!


Greetings from Sunny California!

Yesterday marked the end of my active duty service for this current mobilization! It has been a long time, nearly fifteen months of active duty, including twelve in Iraq.

Throughout this time I experienced many hardships and dangers. Our team participated in over 220 combat missions, fighting both the extreme weather conditions and the insurgents. We traveled over ten thousand miles in and around Baqubah, the most dangerous city in Iraq. Out of all the teams that deployed with us, I believe that Team Alamo returned as the most highly decorated. Several team members earned Purple Hearts and almost everyone was decorated for valor under fire at one time or another.

God certainly was watching over me, I am happy to say! During my tour in Iraq, I was promoted to Sergeant First Class, I received the Bronze Star Medal and I was decorated two other times with an Army Commendation Medal (with V device) for valor under fire. Beyond that though, I came home in one piece and that’s the most important thing! It struck me that God allowed me to come home not just with Honor but with Glory besides! Yet, I know we could not have made it without your prayers and support. To each and every one of you a warm and hearty thank you!

I am enjoying a little peace and quiet with my family now! My kids are with me so we are going to Disneyland and all the other attractions in Southern California. Above all I am grateful to God for having had the opportunity to serve our nation and now I look forward to enjoying some of that freedom for myself! In case you are ever in doubt this is the greatest country on earth!

God Bless
Rick Ochoa

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Senate prayer: Starting countdown to judgment?

Ed Thomas
July 11, 2007

Tomorrow's planned Senate opening invocation by a Hindu chaplain is being called a "watershed" moment in the history of the United States -- but not for good reasons. A spokesman for the American Family Association says it represents an official stamp by the government on paganism, a move which may draw God's anger according to biblical example.

Rajan Zed will deliver the prayer and reportedly has said he will include references from at least three Hindu scriptures, marking the first time such a prayer and texts have been used at the Senate since its formation in 1789. Despite that, Zed has stated the prayer will be "universal in approach." (See earlier story)

Buddy Smith is a spokesman for American Family Association, which opposes the non-Christian prayer and urges citizens to call their Washington legislators to take action.

"It is a watershed day in that it brings to mind some of these precedent-setting events like the day that we took prayer and Bible-reading out of school in our country [and] the day that we legalized abortion," Smith offers. "I fear that while God has been so merciful with our country in the past, events such as are about to happen, like this in the U.S. Senate, is angering a just God. I fear that we bring judgment upon our country with such acts."

Smith says he hopes that for conscience sake -- and avoiding what he terms "endorsing a pagan ritual" -- senators will choose to wait for the Hindu chaplain to finish his prayer before coming to the Senate for the day's business. He also recommends Christians pray for the chaplain's salvation, intercede for the nation and ask forgiveness for tomorrow's session, and hold legislators accountable by contacting them in Washington to express disapproval.

UPDATE: Click here for a video of the Hindu prayer being interrupted today in the U.S. Senate. Click here to read the AP story.

Click here for a follow-up to this story on

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Family Vacation 2007

The Marion & Joan Smith family spent the first week of July together in Destin, Florida for a great family vacation. Those participating were; Marion, Joan, Buddy, Carol, Casey, Mandy, Chip, Stacey, Casey Joe and Weston. All of us (minus Mandy and the Grandboy’s) were last together in Destin for a vacation in 1997.

Dad and Mom's friends, Tom and Dean Sides, invited us to stay for a week in their wonderful Condo - Sides Moreno Point West. This exclusive 7 story luxury waterfront community features unlimited views of Choctawhatchee Bay, The Gulf of Mexico, East Pass & Crab Island and is a boater's paradise.

We began our trip south with a stop by Vincent, Alabama to visit Casey and Mandy in their beautiful new house. We all agreed on their good choice of house and neighborhood.

Our favorite seafood eating establishments were Dewey Destin Seafood located next to our Condo and Staff’s Restaurant of Ft. Walton Beach.

Our vacation week included the date of July 4 and we were blessed with our seventh-floor spectacular view of Destin’s fireworks display at the foot of their West Bridge. We estimate at least one thousand boats were gathered below us on Crab Island to experience the event.

The icing on the cake was our last day when our good friend Steve Ensley, President of American Family Online, picked us up at our Condo in his deck boat where we spent several hours of touring Destin’s Harbor, venturing out into the Gulf of Mexico along with swimming and relaxation on Crab Island.

Warning: There are more photos here that you can endure unless you are a family member.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

T-ball 07

Casey Joe Fowler, our four-year-old grandson, has just completed his second season of T-ball. The photos in the slide show were taken last Thursday at his last game of the season. We are amazed at how far he has come with his game over these two short seasons. For example, he took off to third base after his first hit of last season and returned to the dugout from the outfield half way through the first inning to declare that he was hot and needed water and rest.

His Grammy and I have played a lot of yard ball since that first game. He and his brother, Weston, live next door so this means lots of ball practice. I've enjoyed challenging him with the little phrase "knock the cover off the ball, buddy" when he bats at yard ball. During his final T-ball game of the season, he walked passed me standing by the fence on his way to bat and asked, "you want me to knock the cover off of it, Grandy?" I said, "you bet, buddy" and he quickly responded with a thumbs up, stepped up to the plate and hit a triple.

Way to go, Casey Joe! Grammy and Grandy are very proud of you!

His Mom and Dad along with his best friends, Josh and Caitlyn, are also in the slide show.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Cradled up in the arms of the Lord

As some of you know, I serve part time as associate pastor of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church on the Tremont Charge where Rev. Eugene Stockstill is the main pastor. God blessed our little church last year during a time of revival with two young people who accepted Jesus Christ and their Savior and Lord. They expressed a desire to be baptized by immersion but we put them off to warmer weather since we didn’t have a means of immersion in our sanctuary. This past Sunday the Richard Frederick family offered their catfish pond for the Christian baptisms of Elizabeth and Kirkland. Rev. Stockstill and I took great joy in our part of these old-time Christian baptisms.

As performed by Kenny Chesney

The summer breeze
Made ripples on the pond
And rattled through the reeds
And the willow trees beyond.

Daddy, in his good hat
Mamma in her Sunday dress
Watched with pride as I stood there
In the water up to my chest.

And the preacher spoke
About the cleansing blood
As I sank my toes
Into the east Tennessee mud.

Then it was down with the old man
And up with the new
Raised to walk in
The way of life and truth

I didn’t see no angels
Just a few saints on the shore
But I felt like a new born baby
Cradled up in the arms of the Lord.

Amazing grace
Oh, how sweet the sound
There was glory in the air
There was dinner on the ground.

And my sins which were many
Were washed away and gone
Along with a buffalo nickel
I forgot to leave at home.

That seemed like such a small
Small price to pay
For the blessed peace of mind
That came to me that day.

It was down with the old man
And up with the new
Raised to walk in
The way of life and truth.

I didn’t see no angels
Just a few saints on the shore
But I felt like a new born baby
Cradled up in the arms of the Lord.

This road is long and dusty
Sometimes a soul it must be cleansed
And I long to feel that water
Rushing over me again.

I didn’t see no angels
Just a few saints on the shore
But I felt like a new born baby
Cradled up in the arms of the Lord.

But I felt like a new born baby
Cradled up in the arms of the Lord...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Nana Mary & Papa Joe's Place

The Smith's and Fowler's had a wonderful time Memorial Day at Nana Mary & Papa Joe's place on Smith Lake, Alabama.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Freedom is never free

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you,
Jesus Christ and the American G.I.
One died for your soul;
the other for your freedom.

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May. It was formerly known as Decoration Day. This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. It began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. Read more about Memorial Day here.

U.S. Memorial Day History and Information on U.S. War Memorials

Memorial Day History

Eric Horner Videos

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Thank God for our Mother’s: Mary Louise Erwin & Joan Smith

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. —Proverbs 31:28

On Mother’s Day 2007, Carol and I wish to thank God for the godly influence of our mother’s upon our lives. It has been said that no other forced in the life of a child is as strong as influence as is his mother. Down through the centuries, the mother has been a stabilizing factor in the shaping of history. “The future destiny of the child,” said Napoleon “is always the work of a mother.”

Theodore Roosevelt put it this way: “The mother is the one supreme asset of the national life. She is more important, by far, than the successful statesman, businessman, artist or scientist.”

Those of you whose mothers have died will appreciate this poem entitled “A White Carnation” – To a mothers love I witness bear, by this fragrant flower I proudly wear. Tis snowy white to some who see, but it’s a brilliant red to me. Although her lips I cannot kiss, I feel her presence. Though I miss her loving touch, her tender care, she’s always with me everywhere.”

Here are excerpts from the May 13, 2007, Our Daily Bread devotional: Many people have been richly blessed by what they learned at their mother’s knee. Consider John and Charles Wesley. Their names would probably never have lighted the pages of history if it hadn’t been for their godly mother who taught them that the law of love and Christian witness was to be their daily guide.

Susannah Wesley spent one hour each day praying for her 17 children. In addition, she took each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters with him or her. No wonder John and Charles were used of God to bring blessing around the world.

Here are a few rules she followed in training her children: Subdue self-will in a child and work together with God. Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak. Give him nothing he cries for and only what is good for him if he asks for it politely. To prevent lying, punish no fault that is freely confessed, but never allow a rebellious, sinful act to go unchecked. Commend and reward good behavior. Strictly observe all promises you have made to your child.

Let us honor our godly mothers today, not only with words of praise for them but with lives that reflect the impact of their holy influence! —Henry G. Bosch

Of all the earthly things God gives,
There’s one above all others:
It is the precious, priceless gift
Of loving Christian mothers. —Anon.

The late great Erma Bombeck wrote the classic piece on mothers, and this ought to be required reading every Mother's Day.

"When the good Lord was creating mothers he was into his sixth day of overtime, when an angel appeared and said, 'You're doing a lot of fiddling' around on this one' and the Lord said, 'Have you read the specs on this order? She has to be completely washable but not plastic; have 180 movable parts, all replaceable; run on black coffee and left-overs; have a lap that disappears when she stands up; a kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair; and six pairs of hands.'

"'Lord,' said the angel, 'come on to bed. You can work on it more tomorrow.' 'I can't,' said the Lord. 'I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have fixed her so that she can heal herself when she is sick, can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger, and can get a 9-year-old to stand under a shower.' The angel circled the model of the mother very slowly. 'It's too soft,' said the angel. 'But it's tough,' said the Lord excitedly. 'You cannot imagine what this mother can do or endure.' 'Can it think?' asked the angel. 'Not only think; it can reason and compromise, said the Creator. Finally the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. 'There's a leak,' she pronounced. 'I told you that you were trying to put too much into this model.' 'It's not a leak,' said the Lord. 'It's a tear.' 'What's it for?' asked the angel. 'It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.' 'You are a genius,' said the angel. The Lord looked somber and replied, 'but I didn't put it there.'"

Some mothers complain that our society looks down upon stay-at-home moms, as if they are not really employed. I love the story from Tony Campolo who says that when his wife was a full-time mom, she had a great answer ready when she was asked at a party, "And what do you do, dear?" She would reply: "I am socializing two homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition so they might be transformers of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia God willed for us from before the foundation of the earth." Then she would smile and ask, "And what do you do?" The inquirer would usually look flustered and reply rather meekly, "Oh, I just teach sociology."

It has been said that no other forced in the life of a child is as strong as influence as is his mother. Down through the centuries, the mother has been a stabilizing factor in the shaping of history. “The future destiny of the child,” said Napoleon “is always the work of a mother.”

Theodore Roosevelt put it this way: “The mother is the one supreme asset of the national life. She is more important, by far, than the successful statesman, businessman, artist or scientist.”

God bless my mother; ... all I am I owe to her. -Abraham Linclon