Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Small Beginning

Today I was given the wonderful opportunity of preaching at the 65th anniversary of Trinity Baptist Church in Lexington.  Several hundred people gathered to worship and celebrate.  I had the privilege of being on their staff and Pastor for 21 years.  Trinity Baptist Church is a remarkable church with a long history of ministry (Yes, I'm biased.) For example, they began Quest Farm which is a residential farming community for 18 adult mentally handicapped adults. The church also established the Bob Brown Housing which is an apartment complex for 20 elderly and physically handicapped persons. Trinity has a Meals On Wheels ministry which feeds many individuals everyday. The church has 32 national flags hanging in its sanctuary because each flag represents a regular participant in the church's history. Trinity was integrated in the late 1960's.  The staff has been racial integrated. The church ordained women as deacons in 1981 and soon thereafter a women to the Gospel Ministry.

This fascinating church began 65 years ago when Rev. Delaney established a Bible study and worship service. The young church couldn't pay him anything, so he sold shoes at a nearby Department store. Only God could have known what would have been the results of that beginning. I wonder if their beginning seemed insignificant to Rev. Delaney and the few folks who met with him for a Bible study, singing, prayers and worship. I wonder if they ever thought that they should abandon their effort and join with one of the established churches. I'm grateful they were faithful.  If you ever become discouraged, remember it is very possible that you may never know the results of your faithfulness. Rev. Delaney died in the late 1950's when Trinity Baptist Church was very small in attendance and struggling financially. I wondered today if he could ever have imagined what the Church's 65th anniversary would look like and what the church had accomplished during all those years.  You never know what the Lord will do with your faithfulness.


Monday, September 3, 2012

The Telephone and Connection

 My wife has a cell phone that does more than I can imagine.  It can check her emails, text, check facebook, go to Google, has a clock, GPS and many other things of which I don't know.  She says that it is important to keep her 'connected.'  I do believe that it helps her keep connected.  However, I was really connected when I was a child and stayed at my grandparents farm.  Their phone was connected to a party line and an operator.  Whenever you picked up their phone, you had to listen for a minute to make certain that none of the others on the line were using the phone.  If they were, you waited until they were finished with their call.  Connection, however, really happened with the operator.  Whenever I picked up my grandparents phone and no one else was on the line, the operator would come on the line.  She recognized my voice and knew who I was.  She would say, "Hi, Richard.  I hope you are having a good time with your grandparents."  She would then ask, "Who do you want to talk with?"  I'd answer, "Daddy" or whoever I wanted to talk with.  She would connect me to Kib Warren's, where Daddy worked, and ask them if Russell was there.  When he came to the telephone, she would say, "Russell, Richard is on the line."  If, for example, Daddy had left Kib Warren's and gone to Hamburger King for lunch, they would tell the operator and she would contact Hamburger King for me.  If he had left there, she might ask if I wanted to talk with my mother.  She also knew how to connect me to my mother.  That was a telephone system that really connected me to my childhood world.

The Washing Machine

Because of my wife's health, I've been doing our laundry for the past several months.  I appreciate our washing machine.  I'm old enough to remember my mother and grandmothers doing laundry with their wringer washing machines.  Those old washing machines had a wash tub that sloshed the clothes around.  I remember them being very loud.  After washing, the clothes would go through the wringers which pressed a lot of the water out of the material.  You had to be careful not to get your hand caught in the wringers.  After going through the wringers, the clothes were placed in a basket and then they were carried out to the clothes line to dry in the sunshine and wind.  It was obviously important not to do laundry when it was going to rain.  My job as a child was to hand mother the clothes pins which held the clothes on the line.  My memory of Mom's machine was that it was green and the motor leaked a little oil on the kitchen floor.  Mom would have me clean the oil off the floor after all the laundry was done.  Hanging over our modern washing machine is a rub board that my grandmother used.  That was her laundry 'machine' before grandpa bought her a wringer washing machine.  As I do laundry today, I'm grateful for our washing machine and dryer.  Indeed, they are labor saving devices. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Neighborhood Announcer

Bobby, my brother who is mentally handicapped, loves to sit on our front porch. Out on the front porch, he is like the neighborhood announcer with a running commentary describing everything that is happening. Since he is hard-of-hearing, he also talks rather loudly. For example, he may say, "She is coming out of the house wearing blue jeans. She is getting into the car." Or it may be, "That man's big black dog is wetting on the fire hydrant." Etc., etc. you get the picture. We have a neighbor who has a drinking problem. He is single and has lived near us for 30+ years. When he is drinking, he is very friendly, comes to visit and always asks to borrow $2. Bobby describes him as, "The drunk man who wants money." Yesterday afternoon, Bobby announced to the neighborhood, "Richard, Richard, the drunk man is coming to our house to borrow money." The truth is--he was drunk, he came to the house and he asked to borrow $2. Our neighborhood is a lively place with Bobby as the front-porch announcer.