Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Eucharist

Today (Sunday 12 June) is my turn to lead our congregation in The Eucharist, more commonly known in Evangelical circles as, "The Lord's Supper".

Our Congregation is a bit odd among non-liturgical churches in celebrating The Eucharist each week. Perhaps the KEY reason we do this is illustrated in a story told by David Nasser in his book, Glory Revealed.

Nasser, an extremely popular Christian youth director at the time, was speaking at a huge Youth Rally in CA.  His audience was about 40,000 youth and youth leaders.  His topic that night was his own testimony of how he became a Believer.  His testimony is pretty dramatic since his family fled Iran in 1979 when the Shah was overthrown by radical Muslims.

When Nasser finished his testimony he was feeling pretty smug about how well it had gone.  This pride was supported when he was greeted by a young youth director and his wife.  They were telling Nasser about what a great job he had done speaking that night.  David was feeling pretty good about himself until... they dropped the bomb.

"We are youth directors at a Church of Scientology and it is soooo hard to find a youth event that doesn't talk about Jesus all the time.  Your talk was great because you only even mentioned Jesus once or twice."

Nasser was crushed and went back to his hotel room and fell on his knees, vowing NEVER to let this "compliment" happen again!

And that is why our congregation celebrates the Eucharist each week.  The Eucharist, as clearly conveyed (e.g. Matt 26:17-30) is a visual illustration of Christ's substitutionary atonement.  The first Eucharist was performed as a Passover meal (see Exodus 12), which reinforces the symbolism.

Christ, by grace alone, paid the price for ALL our sins, whatever/ however many, they may be!

Take a moment and read again Matthew 26: 17-18, 26-30, and think about what Christ has done for you, me, and the whole world.

How should we then live?

Monday, June 27, 2016


I am reading a rat book, "The Valley of Vision" which is a collection of prayers and devotions of Puritan forefathers.

These prayers and devotions are the most confessional, the most humble things I have ever read.  These folks recognized their own sin nature and their continual reliance upon the Holy Spirit and upon grace.

At the same time, I think they had a crystal clear grasp of the Holiness, the Greatness of G^d.

And, perhaps these two things go together

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reflecting on Retiring

As I posted earlier, I have now retired from UA.

It is a bit of a strange feeling to be retired- even if it is only for 2.5 months.

I have always thought of "retired guys" as old, and far away.  But, now I am one!

The biggest thing that strikes me, is how FAST time gets by us.  I have written about this before, but here is another stark reminder.

It seems like not that long ago I was walking into the unknown.  I have seen a lot of folks retire before me, and I am guessing that many will retire after me.

I do NOT assume I will be missed very much.  Everyone has their own life, their own concerns, and those who have gone before... are simply gone.  Indeed, as someone has said, "Retiring is like pulling your hand out of a bucket of water, you don't leave a trace."

And that's fine by me.  I am looking for only one comment,

"Well done thou good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of Thy Master."  Matt 25:21.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tired, but now RE-tired!!

I have enjoyed 32 fruitful years at the University of Alabama.  Although I spent 3.5 years in Federal Court, it was still the best job in the world!

There are challenges in this business...The students are an ever-moving target.  What USED to be effective loses its punch, and vice versa.

I expected the research to be the intellectual challenge, but it turned out that effective teaching was more of a puzzle to solve- and I never completely solved it!

Coming into UA in 1984, I was told, "The salaries aren't that great, but the retirement is awesome!"

I didn't find that to be quite right.  I was pleased with my salary- at least after about the 22-24 year mark, but indeed the retirement we get is indeed very nice.

My biggest goal at UA was to influence people for Christ.  Matt 16:26 is on my mind a lot, "For what doth it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul!"  No point in having a highly educated populace headed for hell!

I know I influenced a few folks, and for that I am eternally grateful (pun intended).

I hope that some folks heard me, and one of these days it will dawn on them and somehow they will have a deep, or deeper, relationship with the True and Living G^d.

That's my prayer-- and the real eternal reward of my time at UA.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Faithful.. Chair!

Yep, we have a faithful chair, though I usually don't think of inanimate objects being so.

We bought a folding beach chair many years ago at Winn Dixie.  We have used it many times on several different beaches.  What makes it speacial is that it has a moveable "cover" that you can pull up to give you shade.  It's self-contained and well designed.

It folds up neatly and forms it own cover.  It even has "pack straps" to make it easy to carry.

Several years back I noted that rust was appearing in a few spots.  So after using it at the beach, I sanded off the worst rust and then gave it a coat of silver spray paint (in fact, I painted it just a few yards from where it now sits).

Since that time, parts of the chair fabric have let go from each other, and you can see the fabric in most places.  The brad that holds the front two braces together has now rusted completely through.  The fabric has rust stain in one or two spots.

It is has served us many years, and served us very well.  We'd love to find another like it, at under the $60-90 that we have seen on-line.

Some things are just good things.  Some things are indeed faithful, even when partly deteriorated.

May I be so- faithful even in the midst of deterioration!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Sand in your suit

As I write this, we are on the road heading South towards the BEAUTIFUL Gulf Coast!!  As I have previously written, the Gulf Coast is beautiful- among the best, and in some ways, THE best, in the world. We usually make it down 2-4 times in the year.  Often we stay in Panama City Beach at the Laguna Beach Christin Retreat Center.  I am reluctant to even mention it, because it is tough enough to get an open cottage.

The weather here is usually ideal beach weather.  The cost ins reasonable, and some places are NOT very crowded.  In fact, we are the week before the public schools get out, so it is very likely our part of the beach will be almost deserted.
Our area of the Beach is more middle class. There are some expensive spots, but a lot of the houses are quite modest.  Early Morning runs are nice and quiet. I see an occasional runner, a few cyclists, and some neat birds!

We have been here many times over the last 20 years or so.  It is nice, because it feels a bit familiar.  We know many of the street names and how to get to most places we need.

Then there’s the joy of the sunsets, the dolphins and the seabirds. The joy of the warm white, white sand.   Too, there is the joy of no chores.  Nothing to mow, rake, clean.  No repairs to be repaired, no painting to be painted.  Lot of sand, sleep, reading, walking, enjoying!

G^d gives us times of rest; thanks be to G^d, who knows what’s best!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Celebrating Ignorance!

When you saw this title, you probably didn't expect what's coming next.

I celebrate my own ignorance.  It is worth celebrating.

I am very well educated, yet remain woefully ignorant of many, many things, and that is worth celebrating.

I know more than 99+% of the world about:
1) Recovery from exercise training,
2) Work in Protective clothing, especially in hot environments.

But, that's pretty much it.  I know little about a myriad of other subjects- just like EVERYONE else.  G^d created an extremely complex world.  And society is also quite complex.

Why did G^d do this?  I can think of ONE key reason:  to help us towards humility.

You see, pride is our human downfall.  Start with Adam and Eve, then onwards to Cain, then on to the Tower of Babel, then on to the time of Noah.  And really, the list goes on to ME!

But, we ought to realize how dumb we all are- even those who are educated beyond their intelligence (as the late Howard Hendricks was fond of saying).

If I don't understand human psychology, or sociology, or pure mathematics, why do I expect to understand the G^d of the Universe?

Really, why?

Monday, June 6, 2016


I am NOT a craftsman by any stretch of an active imagination!

I am CREATIVE.  I can imagine, and even develop creative solutions to lots of problems.  I just am NOT a craftsman.

Here's an example.  I needed a place to park my lawnmower in the dry at our new home.  It is NOT an expensive mower, so I couldn't see spending much money.  Soooo, the process begins.

I spot a pile of perfectly good pallets outside a big-box store.  I ask, and they happily give me a certain kind of disposable (most are recyclable) pallet.  I wind up with two pallets one of which I cut away a few square feet.

By joining the two pallets I wind up with a platform that is about 39" wide and 79" long.  It is light, and it is free!

I have some old 2x4's and I buy a couple more.  I use these to frame up some verticals that are high enough, at their lowest to house my intact mower handle and a bicycle.

I do buy some corrugated galvanized steel as roofing.

The good news:

I didn't spend $30 total.
My shed fit precisely where it needed to go.
The shed holds my mower, the bike, and has a little room to spare.
The shed will do the job for which it is intended.

The bad news:
It is NOT a beauty to behold (though it is well hidden where it sits).
I protected the wood with "natural cedar" Thompson's Waterseal- so it looks mostly orange.  (Note to self- only use CLEAR Thompson's).

Once again, the theological wisdom of Dirty Harry proves true,
"A man's just got to know his limitations!"

Only G^d is without limitations!

Thursday, June 2, 2016


April 13 was a day that will go down in infamy- in the Bishop household at least.

The day started, as do most Wednesdays, with a campus prayer meeting.  As soon as prayer was over, I headed straight over to UA Human Resources.  In HR, I had an appointment with Jessica P, who very effectively helped me apply for retirement.  From there I hurried over to my office.

In my office, I noted that I had missed a call.  The call was an invitation from the Dean of Health Sciences, who invited me up for a job interview at Liberty University.

I called my wife, and then headed out for our weekly Christian Faculty meeting.  Only an hour or so later, we were sitting in a law office, closing on the sale of our old family home.

Oh, one more thing.  Wednesday, 13 April was the day I received...
my FIRST Social Security check.

G^d is good... All the time!!