Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Downside of Johnson City

NOTE: I wrote this last week, but am only posting now.

I enjoy living in Johnson City. I'll admit it's a bit smaller than I would prefer. It's also a bit more out of the way than than I would like (but there are good things that come along with living in a smaller town).

I would like downtown Johnson City to look more like an "is" place than a "was" place, but we seem to be making some progress on that.

I've gotten used to drivers who seem to meander in fits and starts, who pull out in front of you like they're in a hurry, then travel at 20 m.p.h.

I've gotten used to the elevators at the hospital, where more than a few some local folks stand before these magical rising cubes, but aren't at all used to elevator etiquette . These are people who don't come into contact with elevators anywhere but our seven-story hospital, folks who regularly jump on the first elevator that opens, regardless the direction it's heading. I watch them hit the "up" button, scurry to the "down" elevator, then magically reappear before me as they look around wondering how I made it to their floor before they did.

Last week there was a lady who did just that. When I got onto the elevator she turned to her friend and asked what happened. The friend figured it out.

"We got on the DOWN elevator."

"Well, why was it going down when we pressed the up button?"

The friend decided not to bother explaining, letting the comment pass. Then the first lady looked up at the monitor that the hospital uses to tell the captives how advanced their medical techniques are and said, "Look! They have cameras in here now. They're watching us!"

I'm used to those things here in Johnson City. I even find them endearing most of the time. All of these aspects of Johnson City are either minor annoyances or humorous diversions. But there is something troubling about living in Johnson City. It's something I don't think I will ever get used to.

By living and ministering in Johnson City I come into regular contact with some of the greats of our churches. I get to know them and appreciate them in ways I could never access if I lived far away from here. That is a great and wonderful thing.

But then I have the bittersweet task of knowing some of these greats as they leave us behind. It's so sad to experience, and it never stops. I've learned from and lost so many fine role models and teachers. Owen Crouch. Bob Fife. Charles Taber. Bill Norris. Howard Shaffer. Earl Stuckenbruck. And now Ray Giles.

If I were ministering in Florida I would hear that these men had died and I'd think, "That's too bad. I've heard he was a fine man."

The honor of knowing fine, Christian role models precedes the pain of saying goodbye. We, of course, grieve as people with hope, but when we live in Johnson City we grieve a lot as people with hope. Last week's was as tough as any I've experienced here.

Farewell, Ray. May God Bless Effie with the comfort only the Spirit can bring.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Okay ... I had to post this. I just made me laugh. It comes from North Point in Atlanta and is tongue-in-cheek in nature. I'm not making a big statement here. I'm just receiving the video in its intended spirit. Many of you have already seen it, but if you haven't then please enjoy1

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Bloggable Week ...

The most bloggable weeks are also the busiest (which makes it hard to find time to blog). So, here is my quick synopsis!

First (and saddest for us) is that Isaac and Maggie Schade said goodbye to us as they packed their bags for their westward move. The Sunday night farewell was a nice night, even though we were saying goodbye.

Logan Bembry was one of the speakers and he said one of the best things a young man could say (I'm paraphrasing here) "Isaac, you make me want to serve God in the church."

Dirk DiSantis and Jeff Miller made us laugh while they paid tribute to Maggie and Isaac.

By Wednesday I was in Indianapolis where I attended meetings involving Christian Missionary Fellowship, TCM International, and The European Evangelistic Society. The picture below was one I took while TCM and EES made it official that we will seek merger. We still aren't sure it will happen or how it will look once its finished, but I'm excited to see the potential for both groups to benefit from working together (mostly under TCM's banner).

Picture below, from left to right: Bruce Shields, Tony Twist, and Wye Huxford.

Then I got to see family. We had supper at my brother's house. Nephews Gideon and Ethan are pictured here while Ethan shows me that he can play "Yellow Submarine." It was a wonderful night and I enjoyed myself very much.

I didn't get a picture of my drive home, but I did get to spend about an hour and a half in Wilmore talking to Dr. Ellsworth Kalas, one of my preaching professors at Asbury. I got some pointers from him about how to teach preaching, what to look for, and what how to critique in a constructive way.

On Friday we had a baptism. Luke has been thinking about baptism for awhile. He called me while I was on my way to Indianapolis and said he wanted to do it as soon as possible. Friday became the time. I am so pleased to welcome Luke into the Grandview family.