Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Help for a prison ministry

I published a Christian Fiction novel several years ago with David C. Cook entitled “Mysterious Ways.” After the book released I started getting letters and emails from convicts who identified with the main character and said something along the lines of, “I thought I was too far gone for God to pay any attention to me and I know this is just a story, but I thought if this character in this book could turn his life around, maybe there is hope for me.”

Later I started hearing from people wanting the book because they heard “it could get someone talking about faith who wouldn’t listen to anyone about it before.” I tell them I have never made that claim but I’ve had a number of people tell me that. I’ve asked them to get back to me after the person read the book and have gotten some very heart-warming responses.

I was amazed at these reactions and realized immediately it was not something I had put in the book, I just wrote a little story, it had to be something God was doing with it. Not only that, but to this day I have no idea how the books even got into prisons. It was not something either I or the publisher had tried to do.

The story came to the attention of Life Sentence Publications, a publisher that specializes in getting books into prisons. They are interested in getting it into more prisons to see if it will continue its work. But it requires donations to accomplish this. It takes $50 to get a package of books into a prison. I will not benefit financially from the project at all.

If you would be willing to have a thumbprint on a ministry reaching out to people who are incarcerated, you can make a donation to help by going to  The donation site suggest a price for a full package but if you click on the donate button you can choose any amount you wish.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’ve never tried to solicit help like this before but would very much like to see this effort succeed.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Aunt Nell

I'm sorry to report on the passing of my Aunt Nell (Thomas). The picture shows her with her two remaining siblings at the time, my mother on the left who has already gone on, my Aunt Meta (Graves) and Aunt Nell on the right. In later years she started going by Dorothy, but she was always Aunt Nell to us.

She was like a second mother to me growing up and for much of my life would tend to be the relative living closest to me. I moved a lot when I was doing chamber of commerce work and with her husband, my Uncle Charley, working for an oil company they did too. We tended (and not on purpose) to end up in towns near to each other. Amazing how that happened. For all of my youth we all lived together in Pampa, Texas.

They had a large family, and there were ten kids, Edgar. Alma, Leola, Mom, Ray, Nell, Meta and Billie Bob. Two died as an infant. (One before and one after my mom) Holidays were always spent at Mamaw Tunnell's house, it was mandatory, and to this day that is some of my fondest memories.

I was the oldest of the "kids," and it is a shock for me to realize that I am the oldest male in the family, the second oldest period. I still think of myself as one of the kids.

She died at the age of 94 July 23rd in Nashville, Tennessee.She was born February 18, 1920 in Electra, Texas. She was an active member of First Baptist Church, Mount Juliet, Tennessee and formerly an active member of Central Baptist Church, Pampa, Texas. She was a tireless leader in the Women’s Missionary Union in Pampa. Dorothy was well known throughout her life for her parties, programs, and creative presentations in service to her church and community.

She was preceded in death by her husband Charley Thomas, all but one of her sisters and brothers, and one granddaughter Becky Porter.

She is survived by two daughters, Mikey Oldham of Mount Juliet, and Suzie Porter of Layton, UT. She is also survived by four granddaughters: Anna Oldham of Mount Juliet; Jenny Chandler of Carson City, NV; Debbie Porter (a missionary in the Middle East), and Mandy Porter (a missionary in the Far East); and two great-grandchildren: Emily Chandler and Stephen Chandler of Carson City, Nev. She is also survived by a sister: Meta Graves of Electra, Texas.

Visitation will be from 12:45 PM Saturday, July 26, 2014 until service time at Carmichael-Whatley Funeral Home in Pampa. Services will be at 2:00 PM Saturday, at Carmichael-Whatley Colonial Chapel in Pampa, with Rev. Rick Parnell, associate pastor of Central Baptist Church of Pampa, officiating. Burial will follow in Memory Gardens Cemetery in Pampa, under the direction of Carmichael-Whatley Funeral Directors. A memorial service will be at 2:00 PM Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Bond Memorial Chapel in Mount Juliet, Tennessee.

We will miss her very much but we rejoice in the homecoming that we know she is having with those family members who have gone on.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the International Mission Board’s Lottie Moon Offering or to the First Baptist Church of Mount Juliet Building Fund.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The 4th of July

Today is the 4th of July. Fireworks, hot dogs and cookouts in the park, family get-togethers will be spread across the nation.

However, with so many holidays these days we get so caught up in the celebration that we fail to remember the reason we are celebrating.

238 years ago a group of men risked (and many lost) their lives signing the document that brought this country into being. They were rebelling against taxation without representation and against what they considered the tyranny of a foreign king.

What we are celebrating is a birth of freedom, purchased at a high price, and repurchased over the years by the blood and service of our finest young men and women. When those men gathered to found this nation they knew what they were risking. They did not do so lightly. They spent as much time on their knees asking for divine guidance as they did debating the issues.

Today we find much of what those founding fathers fought and died for under attack, not from without but from within. Time honored principles that have made this nation great are being challenged. Patriotism is being replaced by partisan politics. People sent to government to represent the will of the people instead are taking it upon themselves to tell the people what is good for them and what is not. This can only happen if the people ALLOW it to happen.

Let us not just celebrate the holiday, let us celebrate what made this nation great, principles that are NOT outmoded. Let's celebrate the  4th by rededicating ourselves to a new birth of freedom, a new resurgence of patriotism. If those who came before us were willing to die in this cause shouldn't we at least be willing to stand up and make our voices heard?