When I began writing this column in the fall of 1987, I chose to call it “Looking Up!” With that decision came a self-imposed obligation to write material that is up beat, inspirational, positive, and bringing a bit of hope to readers. Doubtless, I fall short of that goal from time to time, but it is not intentional.
Janelle and I have a habit of getting up early. As we were getting our day started recently, Janelle handed her iPad to me and said, “You need to read this.”
What she gave me was a column from The Optimist, the newspaper of Abilene Christian University written by our granddaughter Melany Cox, a senior journalism major. Most of the semester, she admitted to writing what she called “preachy” articles about campus life. The material she posted on October 3 was different. It was titled “The house on Coconut Road.” What follows is a large part of that article:
“I spent a week of summer vacation at the beach with my family. My parents, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and I loaded our cars and caravanned to Surfside Beach, a tiny town nestled on the Texas coast. We stayed in a rented beach house named the ‘Boat House,’ a blue dwelling situated on Coconut Road off the Blue Water Highway. For most people, a trip to the beach doesn’t seem that unusual. However, this was the 17th year my family spent our annual week on the coast.
Just to prove to any younger readers that I am completely out of touch with their generation, I have absolutely no idea of why anyone would be so engrossed in the current fad of “zombies”. For those readers that are not aware, there is at least one show on TV that is about zombies and a world where it is all about killing the zombies. Not only a TV show, but a follow-up talk show and numerous places online to talk about this show.
Granted, I have not watched the show enough to even know what is going on or to grasp the plot, if there is one. Admittedly I am a hard one to entertain, even science fiction is not something I am that interested in when it comes to TV or movies.
Imagine a child waking every morning with no clean water to drink, no shoes to wear, or your town in shambles because of war. This happens to millions of children across the globe daily. But, thanks to organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, some of these children will awake Christmas morning to find a shoebox filled with toys, hard candy, or simple toiletries waiting for them.
Over one million shoeboxes have been distributed by Operation Christmas Child since its inception in 1993. Children in over 130 countries have learned of God’s love from this program. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, heads the program. Shoeboxes filled with goodies are collected from individual churches, then sent to a collection point where the boxes are shipped to Samaritan’s Purse for distribution.
One of the joys of being “retired” these last 10 years, after serving the same pulpit for 33 years, is the privilege of visiting and serving other churches from time to time. In addition to helping eleven congregations as interim minister during these ten years, there has been the delightful relationship that has developed from occasionally doing Sunday preaching for the Pearl Church of Christ and conducting the church’s summer revival for ten consecutive years.
Last Sunday, the third Sunday in October, marked the 118th anniversary of the founding of the church in 1895. I spoke for the anniversary service a time or two, but in recent years have requested to be the song leader with Edward Schaub preaching.
Ed, a Baylor University professor, has done fill-in preaching at Pearl for 33 years. As he began his timely message Sunday, he suggested that the church has not just survived during the long years of continuous worship, but it has flourished in service to the Lord and the community. Eighty-six folks filled the little building built in 1895 with heartfelt praise. We celebrated the Lord’s blessings through the past years and prayed for those blessings to continue in the years to come.