Be Kind

Be Kind

I watched as she wiped his lips as he was eating, moved items he was about to knock over away, mashed up his food, cut up his meat and she did it all with such kindness.

I learned that they had been married 37 years and 10 years of that time she had cared for him with such kindness. He would never be able to say thank you, he would never show tenderness and express love for her treatment; he was just there. But she was not, she was involved, loving, caring, and meeting all his needs with kindness. The Word says for us to ‘Be Kind’ just like Jesus.

Published in: on February 24, 2017 at 9:30 pm  Leave a Comment  



He was a good man but the rumors that surrounded him blew away that goodness from the eyes of most of his friends. Most never did know the real truth, and most always believed the worst

.Maybe that is why I have such a heart for the down and out, I do so believe that somewhere under all of that guilt is goodness. If not goodness then hopefully before this world closes they will know forgiveness.

Maybe if we would spend more time getting to know a person, helping them to believe in themselves and see themselves as God sees them, they would have a better life, we would have a better friend, and our world would be a better place because of them.


Published in: on February 23, 2017 at 8:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Need Any Help

We turn away but we do not want to return, why? It might be that we don’t want to admit that we have turned away. As soon as you stop and ask for directions you are admitting that you are lost, confused, not sure.  We don’t like to admit to any of those things. After all we are the smartest generation, the best educated generation, and the wealthiest. How could we need help?

Could we use some help with our economy, maybe medical plans, how about some help with getting along with others. We might need some help for the future, the long, long future of forever. But still we are either ignorant of that need are we just keep putting it off until there is nowhere else to put it; time is up. Business owners need help government officials need help just getting along. I sometimes wonder if we are waiting for another 9/11 or December 7, 1942 to cause us to put aside our petty difference, get our heads together and receive the help we need.

A man never turns until he is willing to admit that the direction he is headed is wrong. In our government, in our business world, no one wants’ to admit that they are wrong. They cling to deceit; they refuse to return.

 I think we are Stubborn all the way to defeat and even into eternity

Published in: on February 20, 2017 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just A Moment

A Calling

It was a Friday Morning in August 1953 when I knelt at the front on the sawdust floor at the open chapel at Camp Linden and said to God in front of my friend and mentor Jim Allen, I will do whatever you want me to do, go through any door, and be whatever you want me to be.

I never dreamed in all of my wildest moments that I would spend my life in His service. That I would pastor over 60 years, serve as Vice President of the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home for 12 years and as an old man pastor a church and love each moment of it.

I never dreamed that I would someday be a guest of the congressman who was to be a featured speaker at the National Day of Prayer in the Cannon office building in our Nation’s Capital. To be honored twice to be a guest chaplain at the United States House of Representatives and be asked to open the session with prayer and spend time with two different Speakers of The House.

That I would travel to five continents to share the good news. To see the war in Rwanda first hand in 1994, and to help build a home for children, in Zaire, who had been displaced by that carnage.

To talk with firefighters and police officer busy at ground zero in New York shortly after Nine Eleven as their hearts were breaking and visit with the families of those who were missing from that terrible Tuesday morning. My friend Jim Allen has made his journey to Jesus. I know of only one person still living who has known me all of my life. My “Just a Moment” have now totaled in sum to an old life and yet God still blesses and cares for me.

This past Sunday the church honored me for the 15 years that I have served as their pastor. They have been so good to me.

My wife and our blended family have added joy and length to my years. Maybe this is enough but I shall hope for another “Just a Moment” to say more. Thank you Lord for placing a calling upon my life for giving to me these wonderful rich years…

–           Just as He called a boy from 246 South Lindsey Street He has called you.

–           Ivan

Published in: on February 19, 2017 at 9:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Nothing Like Love

Nothing Like Love

This is the week of love and we all know that there is nothing like love. Now there are a lot of things we call love, a lot of ways we use the word but let me tell you a story from my own family that I believe will write the definition of love on your heart.

Bubal was the next to the oldest of my cousins, he was tall, handsome, and almost everything you would want in a guy. He like his older brother and another cousin all served in the Second World War

He returned with a thousand stories and maybe somewhere underneath a thousand scars.

He was the last of the group of boys in our family to marry and there always seemed to be a far off focus that only he could see.

He told his wife that he was going to the store, kissed her as usual and then went by and asked his mother if there was anything she needed from the store. She said all was well so he kissed her and walked out the door; she never saw him again.

The years slipped by, his wife had the marriage dissolved and time moved as it always does in a forward direction. His mother prayed for his homecoming with ever tick of the clock, and while because of the difference in our age I did not know him well I too prayed and longed for him to come home, to see his mother.

But his mother, Aunt Oma, slipped out of this world her son never came to see her. I just knew he would return for her funeral, I even returned to the cemetery and waited until the night pulled its shade of darkness over the green soil, he never came.

Years later his body ravaged with cancer he returned and his older brother took him in and cared for him until the blackness of cancer healed the scars of life in death.

Where is the love Ivan, the love was not in the wayward son but in the faithful brother, Meredith, who cared for him, loved him, and received him and all his mistakes and all his heart aches until he left this world?

Meredith left a few years later and I can only imagine what crown he received for love never fails.

Published in: on February 13, 2017 at 9:43 pm  Leave a Comment  


Some days when you reach my age you wonder in your heart if you have accomplished any of that which you purposed in your heart. I sometimes wonder that and sometimes it is good and some days it is troubling.

I remember an experience of eating dinner with my sons Vann and John. We had such a good time that we thrilled the three year old at the table back of us.

She could not take her eyes off of the three of us enjoying ourselves. I am sure that others looked with surprise that we were all drinking tea, it was a good night.

As I got in my car and watched Vann and John get in theirs the thought came to me that; there goes two good purposes of my heart. Now of course I have four other children with whom I could have the same warm good feeling, but that night belonged to those two.

Do you have a purpose in your heart, something that is really meaningful to you, something that you have put in the forefront of your life?

Of course most will say ‘Ivan you are just an old man and you live with the knowledge that your chances are almost gone.’ Well you are certainly right in a small way, but I still have some dreams and I still have some hope and all of them are tied to Him, Jesus.

How about your purpose?

Published in: on February 12, 2017 at 9:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

When Right is Wrong

When Right is Wrong

When I was four we lived on Lexington Ave. in Jackson, TN, Next door to us was a family of two boys and one girl. The girl was about 15 but because of her birth she was still a child in her heart and mind. But I really liked her because she was the only ‘big’ person who would play in the sand box with me and do so many of the things that I as a four year old really loved to do.

Her brothers, not really, but in my mind, were mean to her. One day they had a party and had borrowed from the church several chairs, they didn’t let their sister or me come to the party. Worse than that after the party they stacked the chairs up and got her to walk by them and just as she did they pushed them over on her and made her cry.

I was really mad, they had hurt my friend and I too felt hurt. A few afternoons after that I was in their back yard and they were putting sand down in front of a new window that had been put in their playhouse.

I asked them what the sand was for and they told me it was so if anyone looked in the window or broke it they would get their footprints.

Later that day just as the sun was going down I went over picked up a big rock and stood just outside the sand and threw it at the window and ran home as fast as I could. Funny I can still hear the sound of glass breaking.

The next morning I went over and watched them sweeping up the broken glass, I poked my head in the playhouse and said, “Did you get any footprints?”

That is when right is wrong.

I never told this story to anyone until many years later and I told it in a sermon where I was preaching on the radio, before night fell one of the boys who had listened to the radio called and said they had never expected that I was the villain.

Published in: on February 6, 2017 at 8:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thanks Randy

Thanks Randy

One day last week Randy Tompkins called and said that he felt like we should get the churches in our community together for the purpose of praying for our community and nation. He asked if First Baptist would be interesting in being a part of such a meeting. It took me less than sixty seconds to say yes and to accept his invitation.

On Sunday night some from our church and many from other churches across the area filled the worship center of the Smyrna Church that is not a preacher’s statement, it really was full.

I watched as Randy directed the service, and pastor and layman alike spoke a moment and then directed our hearts in a time of prayer. At times bended knees, praying people, and tears filled the alter.  There was no preaching just praying.

We shared the needs of our people, held up our nation, repented of our sins and called for a revival from our Lord. We asked God to allow us to walk in His presence, to touch all of our churches and all who live in our community.

No politics, no putting others down, no rejoicing over past elections and no standing on the fallen bodies of those with whom we do not agree.

We just fell in love with one another through our Lord.  Ten, maybe more, churches together in a great prayer and praise meeting. The two hours passed in a wiz and we all left knowing that we had been in the presence of the Lord.

Thanks Randy for your leadership. SIDE BAR all were so blessed that we plan to do it again on the fifth Sunday in April.

Published in: on January 29, 2017 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Enemy

Who is the Enemy?

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith. . . . First Peter 5:8-9

You know we do have an enemy, it is not the government, not Democrats and not Republicans: it is Satan.

It is not politically correct I am sure but the bible says there is a Satan and that he is our enemy.  In fact he looks for us as a lion might hunt for prey.

Satan loves to hear us fight among ourselves, decide who is and who is not a Christian, make a real fuss and keep our heart separated from both our friends and God.

As long as we are occupied fighting one another we are loosing ground to Satan and that he loves.

Do you realize that you don’t have to be a member of any party in order to be a Christian and in fact you will not become a Christian by joining a political party?  Get it straight folks our enemy is Satan and his desire is to destroy our testimony, sadden our hearts, and remove our joy.

I would say that in just looking around I think he is winning.  Now I know he will not win but I also know that he can rob us of our joy, steal lost people from us and decrees our ranks and weaken our witness.


Published in: on January 24, 2017 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Car Wash

The Preferred Car Wash

While waiting to pick up my daughter several years ago in Jackson, I decided to get my car washed.  I knew that the Amoco station down the street had a car wash and so I pulled in, filled up with gas and went in to get a token for the car wash. The clerk told me that they no longer used tokens but gave me a code, so I wrote it in the palm of my hand pulled around to the wash to discover that a large gold Lincoln town car was in the wash.

By the large cross on his back bumper I knew he had to be a preacher; I even thought he must be rather good at it to drive the town car compared to my Grand Am.

I also realized that the washer was not working; He opened the door and hollowed something back at me which I took to mean for me to hit the start button. Maybe he had put the code in but forgot to hit start and just pulled into the wash.

I lowered my window and just as I reached for the start button I saw him standing beside his car and his eyes got real big, I had hit the button, water came on from everywhere the arm that controlled the roller brush caught his car door and opened it all the way as he and his thousand dollar suit jumped to get back in the car.

Then came the soap, more water, his arm reaching for the door, window still down; the had to be famous preacher, now soaked both with water and soap, I am slipping down in my car so that I did not have to watch, and then the moment turned too funny for me to remain as I thought of what he would tell the congregation when he got up to preach in his great suit, wet and shrinking, himself more polished than ever before due to the efficient roller and preferred car wash.

I wanted to back out but he left in such a hurry, not sure the red light had gone off, that I decided the safest place for me was in the car wash.

 Be careful, those car washers can take all of your dignity.


Published in: on January 23, 2017 at 9:44 pm  Leave a Comment