“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
~John 14:23, CSB
Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns [motels], but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.
Bro. Inman said often, “Everyone needs three homes–a Christian home, a church home and a heavenly home.” I spent my first 22 years in Sardis Springs and had no doubt that it was home. Someone said, “Home is where the heart is,” and my heart was just North of Athens. I didn’t travel much in the early days. I did spend a week at the WOW Camp when I was 14 and I was thrilled to get HOME. June and I got married in August of 1971 and two months later, packed our few belongings and headed for New Orleans. We lived on the Seminary campus for a little more than two years but for me, home was North of Athens where my mother and father lived. Later I discovered that home is the place where you long to return after a long trip or a hard days work. My second year in Seminary, I got the opportunity to preach at First Baptist Maringouin, Louisiana. I’m sure you have heard of this church, a good bit smaller than First Baptist Dallas. The population of Maringouin is 1,077 today and this was back in 1972. I was thrilled to speak at a First Baptist Church until I drove into the parking lot which was a grassy knoll. We had 18 in attendance that morning and practically no one would speak to us. After the service, everyone got in their car and went HOME. June and I were dazed and amazed. We had never met such crude and rude people. The pastor who I was filling in for had told us we could rest that evening in the pastorium but he didn’t mention that no lunch would be provided. We had a $5 bill and our car was on 1/8 of a tank. If we drove somewhere to eat, there would not be enough to buy gas to get us back HOME. I was not crazy about New Orleans but I sure didn’t want to spend a night in Maringouin. Today I could handle the fasting but in those days, I thought I had to eat three or four times a day. I tried to lie down and rest but I was like a caged animal.
So help me Hannah, about 2:00 p.m. one of the members knocks on the door. He said, “My wife and I got to thinking, those kids may not have anything to eat so I came back to check.” I said, “No sir, we have nothing.” He said, “My wife is not much of a cook but if you want to you can follow me and join us for lunch.” I quickly agreed and we followed. Folks, it is hard to mess a chicken up but shake and bake will do it every time. The old man was right, she was a horrible cook but we ate it and where glad to get it: shake and bake chicken burned to a crisp on the underside, mashed potatoes and English peas. They did have enough to get my stomach on full and June and I returned to the pastorium and waited for the evening service. After the service, which was much better than the morning service, we put our $5 in the tank [15 gallons in those days] and headed for New Orleans. When we crossed the bridge and I saw the street lights of New Orleans, I was one happy puppy. To my knowledge, that is the only time I thought of New Orleans as HOME. Later we lived in Mississippi for 18 months and even got our tag changed to a Mississippi plate and then we moved to Cherokee, Alabama in 1975. But even in those days, HOME was still where my parents lived in Athens.
Believe it our not, I have lived here at 1120 Iron Man road longer than any dwelling I’ve ever known. As far as this world goes, Danville is definitely our HOME. I still cut Mother and Daddy’s yard but Athens is not home to me anymore and has not been for a long, long time.
We live in an old house that has sagging floor joists and a tiny bathroom which is so small that we go out into the hall to change our mind but humble as it may be, it is HOME. Sir Anthony put us in a 5 Star Hotel recently with every amenity you can think of and we enjoyed it but we were anxious to get back HOME. I had a stirring interview with a beautiful young lady a few days ago: she is half my age and battling cancer. As I talked with her about heaven, I started getting homesick. I told her and I’m telling: don’t grieve for me. If you want to grieve for yourself, I understand but for me, to live is to serve Christ and to die is a promotion. I love ALABAMA but it is not my HOME. Heaven is my HOME and Jesus is my HOST and nothing on this earth will compare to this dynamic or should I say, Divine Duo.
- DBC has a lot to be thankful for; Shohn and team did a great job last night. It was impressive. I know a lot of churches that would love to have our team. We need to appreciate them folks, they are doing a good job and it takes a lot of energy to work with children: more than I have. When Carla Jackson left us, I was devastated. Carla was a cracker jack Children’s Minister. You probably don’t remember but Carla did all the foot work on our first year of AWANA. She left us like 2 weeks are so before AWANA kicked off. I went to Charlotte Sims and asked her to step in and be our interim. Charlotte, very graciously and wisely, said, “Bro. Jack I would love to do it but my schedule makes it practically impossible and besides Shohn Miller is the person you need to talk to. So, I can’t lie, Jesus and Charlotte get the credit for the hire. I would like to say it was a brilliant move on my part but the truth is–it was GRACE.
- It is getting dry at 1120 Iron Man but I can’t complain. I have never seen the grass in yards this green at this time of year. I was on Black Road, East of Hartselle, last Thursday and I saw some beautiful yards. Most people look at the houses, I look at the yards.
- Have a great day and thanks for reading the blog.