Blog # 56 APRIL 28, 2018.
BACK TO MY ROOTS - No 2
I ended my last blog telling about the tobacco chewing new pastor of Pleasant Springs Methodist Church. When my mother came to see what was happening with her own eyes, that began the search for a new church by my parents. Someone told them about the Nazarene Church in Jackson with the same doctrine as the Methodist church. I was seven when we became Nazarenes.
After my dad sold the old Kirby farm place on Bear Creek to the Cherry family in Henderson, my parents had a short-term rental in the small town of Pinson. It was just across a little lane from the Pinson Elementary School where I went to the first grade.
The school didn’t have public rest rooms, only a path to outhouses. I refused to use them because older boys would stick the heads of smaller boys down the holes in the outhouse. I would go home with my pants loaded. Of course this made my mother very unhappy.
My folks bought a wonderful place with 10 beautiful acres with a producing orchard, barn and pasture in Malesus, about 10 miles from Jackson. It was one of my favorite places. I went to the 3rd through 5th grades here. This is where I began to preach in the barn to the horses and cows in make-believe church services with my cousin, Nona Faye, playing a make-believe piano. I was heart sick what has happened to that property after 71 years. The house looks terrible. The barn and orchard are gone, along with the garage and a huge oak tree under which I played. Nona Faye, my cousin, said she cried when she went by and saw it. The area is totally run down.
We drove by the brick house my dad built on a large lot at the edge of Malesus on Highway 18. I was shocked to see that it looked much smaller now than it did when we lived there in the 1940s. While we lived there my dad built a business center with four buildings in Jackson. That center included a laundry with twenty-five washing machines with dryers, the first in Jackson. It was the vision and dream of my mother. Only two of those buildings remain today, and the area is in great decline.
I was shocked to see what our home on Wisteria Drive, at the edge of Jackson, looked like. We lived there when I was in Jackson High School and first two years of college. It was the best looking home on the street when we lived there. Dad always had a wonderful big garden in the back. It was hard for me to locate the street and recognize the house with so much growth and decline of the area. I tried to control my emotions as we turned around in the driveway and drove away. I have so many wonderful memories of that place.
Winding up our tour of my roots, we went by the location of the Nazarene Church in Jackson. My dad laid all the blocks in a beautiful building that is no more. Road, street widening and expansion took the building a few years ago. We drove through the downtown area that has totally changed, on our way to the north side of Jackson to Highland Memorial Gardens, where my parents are buried. We had a time of prayer with some friends, standing around the graves of my parents, rejoicing over the upcoming rapture of the Church, when those graves will burst open and give up my parents to join the heavenly bound throng of God’s family.
Our day and tour came to a climax at Catfish Cabin at 4:00 p.m. as we joined several of my cousins and friends for a wonderful southern meal and great fellowship. It really was a happy time of reunion!
Time really has made a change!
Blog # 55 APRIL 21, 2018
Last week was a very exciting and memorable time for me. I went back to my roots.
Back to the old home place on Bear Creek where I discovered America
in our old farm house. Even though the house is gone and the area has totally changed with the heels of progress all around, the waters of Bear Creek are still flowing as they did when I was a boy playing in the clean, clear water and crossing the bridge in our old Model A Ford. Back then the road leading to our place was red clay where we would get stuck after a big rain.
I was very disappointed to find the old spring where I drank the cool clear water flowing from the hillside above as a boy was gone. It was an amazing spring that had been flowing for many years. My dad said he started drinking from that spring when he was a little boy. My heart
sank when I saw it had been filled in. However, I was thrilled and excited to find the old artesian well near by that dates back to my great, great grandparents, was still flowing with four fountains. I first drank from those fountains over 75 years ago.
I went back to the two Methodist churches of my childhood, Pleasant Springs and Bear Creek. Precious memories flooded my soul as I remembered my two saintly grandmothers shouting in the center aisle during the August big meeting time as people came forward to kneel at the big c-shaped altar seeking the Lord God.
I strolled through the two cemeteries where my grandparents are buried. I was thrilled to discover that both cemeteries are being well cared for, and really looked great. My dad would always make sure all four graves of my grandparents were free from weeds and growth.
We tried to cross Bear Creek to the north of the Kirby home place to the home place of my mother. It was sad to discover that the road crossing Bear Creek was closed because the bridge was out and became a dead end. The house of my childhood set on a hill overlooking Bear Creek. It really was a beautiful setting for a productive farming family. As a kid I loved the place and had fun playing in the barn with the horses and cows. I thought of the Sunday the new young pastor of Pleasant Springs came to our house for Sunday dinner. While he and my dad and I were waiting on the front porch for mother to finish preparing the meal, I got madder than a hornet when that “preacher” took a plug of tobacco out of his pocket and began to chew, spitting in our yard. I ran into the house and told my mother what was happening. I will tell you all about it in the next blog.
It really is fun to chase your roots!
Blog # 54 APRIL 14, 2018
PREACHERS AND SHIRT TAILS
I have never seen a black preacher preaching with their shirt tail hanging out. It is ingrained in them to honor the Lord’s Day and His Church by dressing in their Sunday best. The pulpit area is treated as holy ground to them, and they refuse to desecrate it with their clothing.
You will never see an attorney going to a trial, standing before a judge and grand jury, in blue jeans. Every one of them will always be dressed in a coat and tie that honors the dignity of the United States court system. Furthermore, local, state and national judges always wear a robe.
The ministry is the highest profession in the land, when, hopefully, a God- called minister of the Gospel proclaims the Word of God. It is my firm conviction that the sacred presentation of God’s Word from the pulpit area of a church should be presented with holy reverence and respect with the proper attire. If a court of law with attorneys and judges wears clothing that magnifies their office, how much more should preachers become good representatives of their calling and position. It is very difficult for me to hear what a preacher is saying when he is dressed in blue jeans with his shirt tail hanging out. I think they show a lack of wisdom and respect for the Gospel and their ministry. I know one young preacher in his 30s that made this statement to the church board that was interviewing him, “I will always wear a coat and tie here because I want all the people to know who the pastor is.” I say a big “Amen” to that preacher. Wouldn’t it be great if other preachers would show the same wisdom and respect for their calling and ministry as this young pastor?
Respecting the God-called ministry and the Gospel,
Blog # 53 APRIL 7, 2018
GREAT AMERICAN WEST TOUR COMING
About 22 years ago Bess and I took a tour of the great American west. With the exception of the tour of the Holy Land, including Rome and Athens, it has been the most outstanding and enjoyable tour we have ever taken. I am thrilled to announce we are in the beginning stages of planning
another tour of the historical great American West for August 2019. We have two tour groups, Educational Opportunities and Templeton Tours, working for us on this tour. We can promise it will be first class with deluxe motor coaches, first class hotels and top tour guides. The tour will begin with a tour of Salt Lake City, which is tremendous! After spending the night, we will continue on to the Grand Tetons, spending the night in Jackson Hole,
Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, with two nights at the famous quaint Old Faithful Inn, on to Buffalo Bill country at Cody, Wyoming, Fort Laramie, the Oregon Trail, Mount Rushmore, Wild Bill Hickok country, Custer’s Last stand, the Black Hills and much more. I am getting excited just writing about it because I remember how great it was on our first tour!
We already have a good group expressing their interest in this tour. We sure would like to have you join us for an unforgettable experience! We want to keep the number joining us around 25 or 30. We are trying to keep the cost at an affordable price to make it more enjoyable for all of us. We have already been quoted a possible cost under $3,000 per person for 10 nights, and that is our goal, which would be tremendous for this amazing tour! Bess and I will do everything we can to make the tour one you will never forget. There is one thing we know for sure, you will be inspired by the great American heritage that laid the foundation for our great nation! Please let us know if you do have an interest in joining us us for this tour of the Great American West. You can get your name on our list by calling us at 1 800 519-3342 or sending an email at firstname.lastname@example.org Please know there will be no obligation for your expression of interest.
We can’t wait!
Charles and Bess Kirby
Blog 56 . APRIL 28, 2018
CELEBRATING THE 80TH BIRTHDAY OF A FRIEND
Charles and I are in the mountains. We have joined others celebrating a college friend’s 80th birthday. His name is Eugene King. Not only have Gene and his wife Peggy, pastored Nazarene churches, but Gene went on to become a chaplain, serving His Lord and his country, in Germany. It is a joy for us to celebrate this momentous occasion with them.
I am in no way, giving you a complete account of his (their) life journey. Just know, they are still serving God. In retirement, they faithfully have a Sunday Morning service at a Nursing Home in the area. They have taught classes in some Christian schools/colleges. Peggy faithfully sings in a church choir. Good people!!!
We brought him a gift from Florida. Hopefully, it will be fun to look at; and it will prove to be a great memory for them on the rest of their life’s journey.
May I take this opportunity to wish Gene and all our April birthday friends, a great celebration, good health, and an extension of years. Here’s a lyric from a familiar song for you all. “I want to wish you a Happy Birthday…..from the bottom of my heart!”. From Charles and Me.
Blog # 55 APRIL 21, 2018 .
(Part 1 of 2)
MORE AND MORE AND MORE, I’M FEELING THE BURDEN OF A COUNTRY (A WORLD) BELEAGUERED AND TORMENTED BY SIN… a world created by God without sin, originally. But sin entered that Garden of Paradise, and my, how it has spread. In fact the whole earth fails to see the glory of God; instead, it is blinded by Satan. Sin has covered the earth.
God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, paid the penalty for the sins of the whole human race. For 2000 or so years, man has had the free will and the opportunity to choose redemption OR languish in his/her sins. But just as Judas rejected redemption, so have many...too many. We NEED TO PRAY.
Sin has spread like a fast-growing cancer. It has consumed the mind, emotion, will and actions of its subjects. Oh, how we need that healing balm of Gilead. O God, heal us of this devastating cancer of sin.
Where are God’s people? Where is the church? Where are the prayer warriors? Where are the burdened?
Dear Jesus, please help us! We are desperate. Save our nation, our world. Your Word tells us that You are not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Send a great revival, worldwide! May Your amazing grace and plenteous mercy win the hearts of the lost. May our prayers send conviction upon the lost. Help us, Jesus, to stand in the gap for our nation, our world. Amen.
All one has to do is read the newspapers and watch the news on TV to know the dire sickness of a town, a city, a county, a state, a nation, even a world. To be continued...in a few weeks. Please join me in prayer for our nation, our world.
Blog # 54 APRIL 14, 2018
VISITING MY SISTER
I’m a Mississippi girl! Born in Greenwood, raised in Houston. My family consisted of both parents, 2 sisters, and one brother. My parents have passed away; they’ve joined their parents, my one deceased sister, other family members; and, they are waiting for the rest of us just inside the gates.
Charles and I have made our way to Mississippi to visit my remaining dear sister. Not only is she very smart; she is also a devout Christian.
As you are reading this, we may be at Moore’s Restaurant enjoying some of the best ever fried whole catfish. It is always a must when we go to Houston. Or we could be travelling to Jackson, TN, to visit Charles’ Mom’s and Dad’s graves, the old churches where his grandparents and parents went, the old homeplaces (if they are still around), and his cousins and high school friends. What fun we will have.
Another great place to eat in Houston is “My Friend’s Place,” named that because of the owner’s great Friend, Jesus.
I’m pretty sure I’ll get to see my brother while there. I sure love my family. Love to visit them. So thankful that God planned for families; planned for marriage. Maybe we could stop right now and start singing Bill Gaither’s song, “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.”
Enjoying this journey as we visit family and friends;
We have these moments; I want to make them count!
Blog # 53 APRIL 7, 2018
Do we realize? Do we remember that God makes all the difference in the world? What’s your dilemma today? What seems to be affecting your joy? Are you experiencing trouble today? Just look up and live! Just remember, God makes the difference. He will never fail you. He makes all things work for your good.
Annie Johnson Flint, the christian poet of the yesteryears wrote about God’s promises.
“God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.”
“But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.”
If you are lower than a snake’s belly today; if you are discouraged; if trouble abounds on every hand, PLEASE don’t despair. Turn to Jesus. He cares for you. He is able to see you through. Isaiah 40:31 reminds us that, “They that wait upon the Lord SHALL renew their strength; They SHALL mount up with wings, like eagles; they SHALL run and not be weary; they SHALL walk and not faint.”
I’m putting God in my equation; how about you?
Blog # 52 March 28, 2018
O WHAT LOVE, THAT HE WOULD DIE FOR ME.
What a week I’ve had, rejoicing in the finished work of Christ. Page 88 in SING TO THE LORD, the Nazarene hymnal, you’ll find these words, written by C. Bishop and Robert Harkness (1880-1961). They are my testimony. I hope they are yours, as well. Redemption is always available. Just call on His name. Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
“That God should love a sinner such as I
Should yearn to change my sorrow into bliss
Nor rest till He had planned to bring me nigh,
How wonderful is love like this.
That for a willful outcast such as I
The Father planned, the Saviour bled and died;
Redemption for a worthless slave to buy,
Who long had law and grace defied.
And now He takes me to His heart a son;
He asks me not to fill a servant’s place.
The “far-off country” wanderings all are done;
Wide open are His arms of grace.
Such love, Such wondrous love!
Such love, Such wondrous love!
That God should love a sinner such as I
How wonderful is love like this!
Thank God for the plan of salvation; Thank Him for His amazing grace. I’ve been adopted; no longer an outcast; redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Hallelujah! HE IS RISEN, INDEED!!!
Blog # 51 MARCH 24, 2018
Another beautiful season of the year is upon us. Oh, how lovely is God’s creation. How lovely is His order...are His seasons. Spring inspires us to open doors; breathe fresh air; listen to the robins sing; take a walk, view the budding trees, bushes, and flowers. Spring puts the desire in us to plant something...more flowers or a veggie garden. Oh what joy Spring brings.
Spring invigorates us. It makes school students long for classes to be over, school to be out. We are restless. Some would call it “Spring Fever.” New life springs up everywhere.
Spring is a beautiful picture; an illustration of God’s Redemption. We were dead in the cold snowy Winter of sin, but made new, made alive in the colorful, flowering Spring of atoning blood.
HERE ARE PICTURES OF SPRING AROUND OUR CABINS
Why not plug in your vocal microphone and sing the song of Spring. It’s a new day, a new season! He’s alive and I’m forgiven. Heaven’s gates are open wide. He’s alive. He’s alive!
Dying to LIVE,
Blog # 50 MARCH 17, 2018
GOD’S BUCKET OF BLESSINGS
God has provided for all of us, a blessings bucket. I’m wondering this morning, do you know where the bucket is? Do you know what’s in the bucket? Are you aware of God’s goodness, His mercy, His favor, His amazing grace? I could go on and on; but it’s your time to “Count your many blessings, see what God has done.”
“When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed; when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings - name them one by one - and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
Barbara Johnson, author and inspirational speaker, in her book, “Joy Breaks,” tells about the time she bought some new make-up. The sales girl told her that if she would drop a single BB in the bottle and shake it before each use, the make-up wouldn’t get thick and gooey. (Yes, a BB!) So she asked her husband for one BB. Of course, he wanted an explanation. She gave him the explanation; yet, she wondered if the BB would do the trick.
A day or so later, her husband brought home a huge plastic carton. Inside were 10,000 BB’s. “They only come in tens of thousands,” he told her. She smiled appreciatively and took ONE.
Many moons and much later, she saw THAT PLASTIC CARTON full of 9,999 BB’s laying on a shelf in the garage. Inspiration flooded her mind as to the magnitude of the number of them; as she thought, how much it’s like God’s riches, His blessings. They are as the sand of the sea. They are new every morning. They never run out. The bucket always overflows. She thought, “We have more than enough. We have more than we’ll ever be able to use.” We have forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, protection, hope, blessings, supply, rest, help, abundant resources just waiting for us to use. And yet, we let them sit in the plastic carton out in the garage; or, let them stay closed up, recorded in God’s Holy Word.
A word to the wise should be sufficient. If life gets gooey, stale, stressed to the max, we have NO EXCUSE; because, God’s blessings bucket is available. It overflows. There’s a blessing for every need, every circumstance, every situation. Remember the widow of Zarephath; her oil and flour were about to run out...BUT IT DIDN’T! When you live in obedience to God, the jar of oil NEVER runs dry; and, the bowl of flour NEVER becomes empty.
So, to finish off this analogy, put some BB’s (God’s riches, His blessings) in your circumstance; in your stressed day. Mix them up and see what God will do! He will make a way where there seems to be no way. Great is His faithfulness.
Getting my 9,999 BB’s out of the garage and keeping them close,
As I reach into God’s Bucket of Blessings.
Blog # 49 MARCH 10, 2018
WHERE IS GOD?
Walking through the Christian owned HOBBY LOBBY the other day, God spoke to me through the messages on a couple of “for sale” items. And in that store, I choked up as I worshipped God.
About a year ago, riding in our car with Charles, on the way to our Smoky Mountain cabin, God put two rainbows in the sky. God spoke to both Charles and me as we discussed the meaning of God’s rainbows. As we turned the car toward our Tennessee home, we began praising God. The praise continued as we sat on the cabin deck looking out at the rainbows, and God’s mountains.
Sitting at the table, praying in our Florida sun room, as we do every day, God comes and we are blessed.
I could go on and on with illustrations of times in my life when God was where I was. Whether talking on the phone, writing a note or letter, riding on a golf cart, meeting friends for lunch, preparing a meal for company, working out technical computer problems, singing with a church congregation those great songs of Zion, relaxing at home, dealing with troubles, waiting for surgery, getting up from being knocked down...no matter what, God can walk right in to where you and I are.
So you ask, “Where is God?”. The final answer is: God is Everywhere. Sonny James said it this way:
“I see Him in a baby’s smile. I hear Him in the wind that sighs. He loves me and I know not why. He’s everywhere. He calls me from a world up there. I seek Him and I find Him there. He’s in my heart; I feel Him there. He’s everywhere.”
He’s anywhere you need Him to be. Be comforted to know that God understands your heartache. He cares for you. Remember, “He’s as Close as the mention of His name.” The Doctor is in the house. The Deliverer is here. Our Helper is on the way. Reach out and receive His touch.
Loving Him more every day,
Blog # 48 MARCH 3, 2018
THE GOOD OLD GOSPEL SHIP
As I begin writing my blog, I’m thinking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve just watched Dr. Billy Graham’s funeral. What a rich treasure he & his wife, his ministry team, his children are; and, of course, the greatest treasure is the gospel, Dr. Graham preached. John 3:16 says that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Dr. Graham preached the gospel; some teach it; others write about the gospel; and still others sing the gospel. Which reminds me of the recent “singing at Sea” cruise on which we went. We’ve gone on these cruises for several years. On them we hear the gospel preached, taught, and sung.
The arrangers & songwriters, Speer, Tompkins, and Pace said it this way, and I inserted some from my memory:
“I have good news to bring and that is why I sing...I’m going to take a trip in the good old gospel ship...I’m going far beyond the sky...I’m going to shout and sing and make the rafters ring and go sailing through the air.”
Well, sometimes you feel like sailing through the air when you are listening to a preacher or a gospel concert on board the cruise liner. People have been known to shout, to raise their hands, clap, say amen, to stand as God’s Spirit has moved right there on the ship. You might just feel revived!!!
Some reasons we enjoy going on these gospel cruises are these:
(1) Templeton Tours buys out the entire ship, so they can…
(2) close the casinos
(3) have no alcoholic beverages sold
(4) not have raunchy night shows, but in its place, have gospel singing concerts
(5) You meet so many wonderful friends, like Canadians Bill and Carol, Curtis and Esther, and bunches more
(6) I’ve not seen a fight break out on any of the many gospel cruises we’ve been on, nor do I ever expect to see one. Most all are Christians; or wanna’be’s! There are so many good things to share.
Bill and Carol, (see photo) host gospel concerts in Canada. They’ve been to Lake Gibson church many times. Curtis and Esther have in times past, interviewed quartets at Lake Gibson Church after a concert to take the interview back to Canada to play on the radio. There are so many wonderful Christians who come down from Canada to winter in Florida and many go on the cruise. Americans, alike, love these Christian cruises.
Charles and I host a group every year, and would like to invite you to go with us next January 21- 26, 2019 out of Tampa, FL on Royal Caribbean’s “Enchantment of the Seas” ship (See photo). There are 25 groups, 4 outstanding preachers, Cruise comedians, Dennis Swanberg and Geraldine & Ricky, and Dr. Jerry Goff and Mark Bishop, Cruise Emcees. The cruise will go to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. There is always an abundance of great food. Sometimes the ice cream line gets long!!! Prices range from $755 to $2,495 per person. Sign up quickly for the more economical rooms, if that is what you need. They go first.
Pick up a brochure at Lake Gibson Church or call us, 1-800-519-3342 and we will mail you one; or call Templeton Tours, 1-800-334-2630. BUT REMEMBER, put CHARLES KIRBY as your favorite tour host. And, what a time we will have!!! We are already signed up. It’s another chance to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ with old and new friends; and, show the gospel to the many workers.
Taking another trip on the good old Gospel Ship,