Putting Away the Old

In a few hours we will say goodbye to 2016. I am sure there are many who are struggling as they try to deal with the things that have happened to them and their loved ones during the past year.

You will not want to miss today’s discussion of “Putting Away the Old” with our dear brother in Christ, Dr. Howard Eyrich, as we look at what Scripture has to say about dealing with the past, and the Hope we as Christ-followers have for the future!

Dr. Eyrich is President Emeritus of Birmingham Theological Seminary; Pastor of Counseling Ministries at Briarwood Presbyterian Church; and an Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) Fellow.

ToTT logoLive-stream, listen, or watch at 2:00 PM Central.

Live-stream at: gleniris.net

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM or:
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody / Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

 

Paul and Women in Ministry – Wrap-up

Today we wrap-up our 25-episode series on “Paul and Women in Ministry.” Join us today for a wrap-up and review of the past 24 weeks.

Within these discussions we have talked about how important it is for every Christ-follower to be actively involved in a local church.

A special thank you to four godly and amazingly gifted women whom I have the privilege of calling sisters in Christ and friends:  Lauri Bucci, Patsy Howard, Harriet Michael, and Phyliss Wright. Thank you for giving your time to join us in these discussions, as you shared testimonies of God’s grace in your lives, and told about how you are currently serving Him.

ToTT logoLive-stream, listen, or watch at 2:00 PM Central.

Live-stream at: gleniris.net

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM or:
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody / Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV Channel 40

I Can See, Hear, Smell, and Taste …

Paul & Lil-TimThis week marks the 30th anniversary of the deaths of my big brother Paul and nephew ‘Lil Tim. Rarely a day goes by that I do not think about both of them.

I shared my memories of that night and the next morning after the accident with my family and some close friends last year, and have expanded those to share with you.

That Saturday is one of those events in my life where I can STILL see, hear, smell, and taste, all the things that happened around me as the event unfolded.

I was at a hotel in Nashville, attending a Tennessee WMU Acteens Conference where I was to lead a seminar. I had already gone up to my room that evening when my mom’s brother, Uncle Bill Thomason who lived in Nashville, called me from the lobby of the hotel and asked me to come down.

As I made the trip down in the elevator, myriad questions flooded my mind: Why was he there? How did he know where I was? These questions were accompanied by a foreboding sense that something horrible had happened—someone had died.

I sat on the sofa as Uncle Bill began telling me the details about the train hitting Paul and ‘Lil Tim. I sat stunned, in silent disbelief, trying to process all that I was hearing. ‘Lil Tim, dead. Paul, seriously injured, will not live. Chas, cuts and bruises, but OK.

I can still see the tears trickling down my Uncle’s face as he gently and lovingly answered my question, “Are you sure you got this right? This is impossible!” I remember the scent of my Uncle’s cologne and remember the strength of his arms as he hugged me tightly. I remember hearing his gentle whispers, “It’s OK. I love you. You’re OK.” Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration” played in the background. I remember the smell of roses in a beautiful flower arrangement on a nearby table. I remember the taste of the salty tears I was crying. I remember seeing and hearing groups of people talking animatedly.

My friends, Carol Kelley and Sheryl Churchill, and all the WMU staff, were so thoughtful and helped care for me that night. I went up my room and called the ER waiting room to speak with my family. Paul had sustained serious injuries, yet at that time his heartbeat was still very strong. When the phone rang several hours later, I did not want to answer, because I knew it was my daddy calling to tell me that my big brother had also taken his last breath here on earth.

I remember sitting on the edge of the bed crying, trying make sense of it all. I remember talking to God and various Scripture passages running through my mind, mingling with the thoughts of disbelief, prayers, and yes, even anger.

Me: “God, I can’t do this.”
God: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities (weaknesses), that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

Me: “God the weight of this burden is unbearable!”
God: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

Needless to say it was a very long and restless night. I got a very early start the next morning, and went to my apartment to pack. As I chose a dress to wear for the visitation and funeral, I remember thinking that each time I wore the dress in the future, I would remember that I wore them for Paul and ‘Lil Tim’s funeral. I remember looking at the pictures on display throughout my apartment, studying the features of Paul and ‘Lil Tim’s faces as fond and bittersweet memories flooded my mind. I remember the coolness of the kitchen tile as I sat in the floor sobbing. I could hear Paul playing the guitar and singing. I could hear ‘Lil Tim’s infectious laugh.

I finally gathered everything I needed and began the trip from Nashville to Gadsden, which, although it was very familiar to me, this time it was a much-dreaded trip.

I dreaded the drive that morning because I did not want to face the reality of my brother and nephew’s deaths, and I did not want to be alone with my thoughts and emotions.

But guess what? I WAS NOT ALONE!

I sang hymns, and prayed, and poured my heart out to my Heavenly Father!

That day, I experienced in full the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding that will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV).

I miss my big brother Paul. He had a beautiful singing voice, played the guitar and numerous other musical instruments, wrote songs and poetry, could fix anything, had a wonderful sense of humor, lived life to the fullest, and loved his baby sister—OK, he loved his big sister and his little brother, too! Paul would be so proud of Chas, and would absolutely love being Mira’s granddaddy!

I miss ‘Lil Tim. He had a wonderful smile, he was always excited to see you and would run to you with open arms ready to be picked up and hugged, he loved to play ball with his big brother Chas and Grinnie (my mom), and run. I loved watching ‘Lil Tim and Chas play. I had them convinced that I could make the traffic lights turn red or green on command. I would say, “Light … turn … (pause)” and both the boys would start yelling “Now!” Finally I would say, “Now!” and the light would change. I wonder what he would be like today had he lived, and think about how he would dote on his niece, Mira, just like his Uncle “Big” Tim doted on him (and Chas).

There have been numerous events in my life—before and after Paul and ‘Lil Tim’s deaths—that I can still see, hear, smell and taste all the things happening around me as the event unfolded.

The constant in each of these events? The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirt!

In John 14:25-28, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.”

What do you do when your world is turned upside down? Someone has said, “When your world is badly shaken, begin with what you know to be true and build from there.”

What did (and do) I know to be true? Something my friend, Dr. Bryan Chapell, said comes to mind. He said that the first theology lesson we all probably learned is: “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”

In the midst of these “world turned upside down” moments, did I—and do I now—know that to be true? Absolutely!

What did I remember next?

We love Him because He first loved us (I John 4:19 NKJV). And then, God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8 ESV). And, The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; (Psalm 28:7 ESV).

How do we have the strength to carry on when things seem unbearable and totally out of our control?

First of all, we must come to a saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as we read in Romans 10:8-13:
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (NKJV)

Once we have become Christ followers what do we do?

Psalm 1:1-3 gives us an idea:
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper. (NKJV)

Christ-followers are to be totally immersed in the Word of God, which, as the basis and preoccupation of our life bears fruit that is the result of living out (obeying) the Word of God. Some of the resultant blessings manifest as stick-to-it-iveness, steadiness, resiliency, and the ability to withstand whatever comes our way!

The job of the Comforter (Holy Spirit) is to “enlighten” darkened minds as He illuminates the Word of God in the hearts and mind of non-believers to bring them into relationship with Christ, and, in the hearts of believers in order for them to understand the Word of God, and to be strengthened and comforted by His presence within them.

In 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 we read:  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

When I was a GA (Girls in Action), I memorized Isaiah 46:4 which has stuck with me throughout the decades as a reminder of God’s love and protection, and, it has continually helped rekindled my Hope in the midst of difficult situations:

And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. (NKJV)

I am so grateful that the Lord has been with me BEFORE, DURING, and SINCE March 1986.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

AMEN!

 

Scripture references are from: New International Version (NIV) of the Holy Bible; New King James Version (NKJV

 

 

I Miss My Father … Dad … Daddy

It is hard to believe that my Dad, Ray Crowder, died 26 years ago today.

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This pic, circa 1976, taken at Little River Canyon, is one of my favorite pics of us together.

As I was making notes of things to include in this blog, I noticed that I used Father, Dad, and Daddy, at different times to speak of him. I began thinking about why I call him different titles. So, a change in direction for my thoughts.

Below you will find the Merriam-Webster.com definition for each term, followed by my connotation for each term, and a memory:

  • Father – is a formal title for “a male parent” or “someone who has begotten a child.”

When I refer to him with this title, it is referring to his parental, and maybe even authoritative, disciplinary role in my life. So, I saw him as Father a lot during my childhood and teen days!!

When my Father told me to do something, I was to do it immediately, joyfully, and completely, or there would be consequences (aka discipline). I remember one Saturday when Mom was leaving to go grocery shopping that my Father told me I could not go play with my friend, Donna Vinyard (now Wood), until I cleaned up my room, and put the dishes in the dishwasher. He immediately left to visit someone in the hospital, which I, of course, took as my cue to go play with Donna.

After some time had passed, I heard my Father calling—OK, yelling, “SHIRLEY JEANNE!” You know you’re in trouble when they use the first and middle names, don’t you? Sadly, I arrived home well before I thought of a some-what-believable excuse.

I was grounded, which meant I could not play with any friends, not even my own brother! In addition, for a whole week, I was to do the laundry (under mom’s or his supervision, of course), vacuum the entire house everyday, help Mom with all the meal preparation, serving, and clean-up—including wiping down everything! I could, of course, go to Sunday School, Sunday morning service, Training Union, and Wednesday night prayer meeting. I could also walk directly to school and home again.

That was my Father loving me enough to teach me to be submissive to authority, and that every decision I make has a consequence; some which I would perceive as positive and some I would perceive as negative.

  • Dad – is an informal title for “a person’s father.”  A handwritten note in a file I have on Fathering reads: “Being a dad means ‘being there’ for your child(ren).” (Unfortunately I did not notate the source.)

If memory is serving me well, I began referring to him as Dad in my teen years. It is more informal and indicative of me becoming more independent of my parents, of my becoming more mature—OK, maybe older is more accurate! Perhaps the best marker of this shift was learning to discuss and debate things with him.

One Saturday night when I was in high school, friends invited me to go to a movie. Since Dad knew those going, and the young man who would be driving us (can’t remember if it was Ricky Clay or Charles Garrett), he gave me permission to go. However, since I had to get up early the next morning to help prepare all the food we would be taking to church for a covered dish lunch, I was to come home right after the movie.

Well, of course, after the movie the group decided we should go to El Burrito, and I didn’t want to miss out on anything! When I didn’t get home around the time Dad expected me, he told mom, “They wanted to get something to eat. I’m sure that’s where she is.”

(Now, before you think my Dad was an unconcerned parent, that everyone in the city of Gadsden knew Ray Crowder. So, if we had been in a wreck someone would have called him.)

On the way home, my mind kicked into gear as I suddenly remembered I was going to be in trouble for disobeying my Dad. I did have a dime and could have called and let my friends help me convince him to let me go get something to eat, but alas …

When I walked in the house (the door into the kitchen), there sat Dad at the kitchen table. Being the discerning teenager I was, I could tell immediately that I was in big trouble! He wasn’t reading the paper, or drinking iced sweet tea, or eating a snack. He didn’t even look angry, he was just sitting there looking at me.

I sat down in a chair directly across from him. He continued sitting motionlessly and silently, and just looked straight in my eyes. Although mom said it was not more than a minute, it seemed like an eternity to me.

Finally, Dad said, “Sweetheart” and inhaled deeply. He did not raised his voice, in fact, he spoke in that measured and controlled tone of voice indicating to me that my social life had ended—FOREVER! Mom joined us at the table.

Dad reminded me how I was continually telling him that I was a teenager, old enough to have more freedom, to make decisions on my own, and that I knew what was right and wrong.” Yep, of one thing I was certain—NO MORE SOCIAL LIFE FOR ME!

Since it was evident, at least to Dad and Mom, that I did not understand the difference in right and wrong; we spent the next hour or so making sure that I knew how the Bible, Dad, and Mom, defined right and wrong. And the consequences of sinning against God and disobeying my parents.

Forty-one years later, I remember that discussion almost word-for-word. I learned the definitions of right and wrong, although my actions since then have shown that I don’t really understand, for if I did, I would have made much different choices in myriad situations!

  • Daddy – is a title for “a person’s father – used especially by young children.”

Of course I called him Daddy as a child, and even up into my early thirties (when he died), I would refer to him as “Daddy.” Now, when I speak of certain memories, or I am really missing him, “Daddy” is what comes to mind.

I must have been seven- or eight-years old when I took it upon myself to get something unplugged from an electrical outlet in the wall. I do not remember what I thought must be unplugged, but, it would not come out. So, being the brilliant youngster I was, I went into the kitchen, got a knife …

Yes, the shock knocked the breath out of me as I landed on my rear end, and it scared me!

When I screamed bloody murder, my Daddy (and my Mommy and brother Tim) came running! Before he even got to me, Daddy saw the knife on the floor near the outlet and realized what had happened. Daddy scooped me up into his arms. He and mommy checked my hands for burns, and asked me questions so they could determine if I had fried my brain. Meanwhile, Daddy was holding me tightly, while whispering—well, actually, he wasn’t whispering because I wouldn’t have heard him over my screams!—comforting words: “Daddy’s got you.” “You’re OK.” “Ssshhhh.” “Mommy and Daddy are here.”

They declared me to be OK. Then my Daddy carefully and tenderly ensured I understood what happened so I wouldn’t repeat it!

Thinking about all of this brought the following passage:

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement
that addresses you as a father addresses his son?
It says,“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
– Hebrews 12:5-6

I am all too often reminded of my earthly Father as I remember lessons I learned through the discipline I received from him.

I hear or read things all the time that I wish I could discuss with my Dad, and I wonder, “What would Dad think about this?”

All too often, I miss my Daddy, for he protected me, kept me safe (when I allowed him to), and made everything better (and so many other things)!

Remembering my Father, Dad, and Daddy, always evokes myriad emotions, and sometimes leaves me feeling very unprotected and alone.

Yet, in His grace, the Lord always reminds me:

  • I have a Heavenly Father, Who forgave my sin and saved me from an eternity of punishment through His wrath.
  • This same Father God (Savior, Lord) created me to live in intimate relationship with Him. As I read, study, meditate upon, memorize, and listen to preaching of the Holy-Spirit-inspired Word, and through prayer.
  • This same Abba Father lovingly and protectively holds me securely in the grip of his grace.

While Ray Crowder was far from perfect, I am blessed to have had an earthly Father, Dad, and Daddy, from whom I learned about my Heavenly Father, Savior, Lord, and Comforter.

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. – Deuteronomy 4:9

I miss my Daddy, and am comforted by my Lord!

*All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible.

Put Away the Old … Leaving the Past Behind

We are thrilled that Dr. Bill Hines will be joining us again via Skype for today’s program as we look at how to “put away the old” and “leave the past behind.”

Listen or watch at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM, or:
91.9 FM – Birmingham
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody/Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV channel 47

Stream it live at: gleniris.net/WGIB

Dr. Hines is the president of Covenant Ministries, a biblical counseling, education and CHristian discipleship ministry in Ft. Worth, Texas. He is the author of Leaving Yesterday Behind and Curing the Heart: A Model for Biblical Counseling (with Dr. Howard Eyrich). He co-authored The Pursuit of Perfection with Dr. Mark Shaw, and edited and is a contributing author of three chapters in Paul the Counselor: Counseling and Disciple-making Modeled by the Apostle Paul.