Sunday, March 29, 2009



I couldn't help but notice the distinguished man across the airport waiting room in Nashville . He represented all the things I hoped to look like at his age. He had nicely kept snow white hair and an extremely nice gray suit accentuated with a sterling silver eagle bolo tie.

However, more than his looks drew my attention. It was his demeanor. His manly actions and the way he carried himself.

I knew he was familiar; then, I finally remember-ed he had spoken at a meeting I had attended in Detroit , Michigan some years before. Rising to my feet, I strolled sheepishly toward him assuring myself I was correct in my assumption.

I blurted, “Aren't you Dr. W. A. Criswell?” Startled, he looked up at me and said in a deep Texas draw, "Why, yes, young man! And who are you?"

I was amazed at his kindness and willingness to welcome me to join him as we discussed the Lord's work. I'm sure he had put up with many before who didn't care to question him.

However, his life seemed to be opened before me that afternoon as we shared about six hours together before arriving to where we were both headed.

He told me how he was appreciative of the opportunities God had allowed him. "My first church was one where they plowed right up to the door. Then I moved to a small village church. Afterwards, I became the pastor of a county seat church where I was pastor sixteen years. Then I was called to the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas where I have remained now all these years." (Dr. Criswell went to his reward a number of years ago).

I couldn't help but think of how God had blessed this humble man. He had followed Dr. George W. Truett who had pastored forty-seven years before him. "You know Dr. Truett never drove a car or flew in a plane like this. He did all his visits in a buggy." "Things have changed a lot," he continued. "I was the first pastor at First Baptist to visit in a car or fly in a plane,” continuing our conversation which interested greatly.

After our discussions, I asked permission to publish his remarks. He granted it.
Things have changed I thought. He took that church with 3,000 members to over 20,000 active members and a budget of millions.

Our flight soon landed and we were about to separate when he turned to me and said, "I'm going to preach tonight over at Newark First Baptist for the state evangelism conference of my denomination. Why don't you come as my guest?"

I didn't have to think long before I replied, --I would like that!

After changing some appointments and driving nearly 40 miles through a foot of blowing snow, I arrived at the overflowing church parking lot.

Could he have just been inviting me to be polite a I thought as I approached the door. The thought fled as I entered and there he was just inside waiting. "I am glad you came. I was about to think the snow might have discouraged you."

He escorted me to an assigned seat and then he made his way to the pulpit area.

After the normal church program, he was intro-duced. Standing to the side of the pulpit, he laid his arm thereon, and before he started his address, he said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, before I preach I want you to meet my friend. He is not a Southern Baptist, but he is a servant and we are in the same battle together. Dr. Loveless, would you please stand!”

Afterwards his message began with: "How do you build a great church?"

He forcefully projected his four points which I will never forget:

"You build a great church with a great preacher." "You build a great church with a great people." "You build a great church with a great passion." "You build a great church with a great program."

Now I am older, and God recently has given me more years for my life--after three years of operations and recuperation. I love just to sit and drink in conversations with God’s chosen ones. To feel with them the benefits they have had in serving the Lord because I have been so blessed.

I am now unable to do what I did in the "better days." But I want to continue to be faithful.

So if I stop you, it is because you impressed me as a servant still willing to aid the hurting and I needed you to bless me.

God continues to use great men and people willing to serve Him and enlist others to follow the same Christ. Then someday people will say of you, “He was one of my hero’s.”

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”--Luke 4:18

Sunday, March 15, 2009



When we were considering moving to Farmington, Missouri, we thought we would be living in a French community since the county is St. Francois, obviously a French name. However, to our surprise the area is much more German than French.

My wife is from German descend whose great-grandfather was from Alsace, (which has been both French and German, since it is located on the west bank of the upper Rhine river adjacent to Germany and Switzerland), so we have been to Germany a number of times. But recently I have discovered you can visit Germany without going very far.

Now just past the railroad tracks on highway D north you have a new business called Ole Tyme Pantry, filled with Amish and Mennonite cheese, meats and food items from various sister businesses in the country. What an addition to our community for those of us who still enjoy the delights of the old country and unprocessed foods. Let me voice my approval with; “Sie sind willkommen,” or as we would say in English, “You are welcome.” This pantry is the results of five Bethel Mennonite families who recently moved to our area and hope to establish a church with three more families moving here soon. What a thrill to have people of their conviction and compassion among us.

Then a few days ago, I was driving on Jefferson west of the courthouse and saw Bauhaus Kaffee. (Bauhaus means schoolhouse). I called my wife and we returned to share in another welcomed desired. I walked to the order desk and said, “Kaffee Bitte!” My request for “Coffee please!” was met by "Danke" or "Thank you.” We knew the coffee would be great, because Germans annually consume on a per capita basis 118 gallons or 1,888 cups of coffee yearly. We saw three blends and I picked the right one. It was great! My wife ordered a Rueben and halved it with me. It too was satisfying.

Preparing to leave, I inquired if the new place would be enlarging to a wider German menu. “Yes, we plan to begin a Bavarian breakfast and start a good selection of German brats, kraut, and potatoes as soon as our kitchen is ready,” the new owner replied.

My appetite began to run away with me as I dreamed maybe one day: “Wiener Schnitzel, Jaeger Schnitzel, Bratwurst, Currywurst with sides such as German potato salad, Blaukraut and Sauerkraut.

I began longing for Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake) and such German pastries as Black Forest cake or Torte, Apfelstrudel, and German Käsekuchen.

I hope my dreams are not unrealistic and my desires don’t run them away before they can get their business well established.

Just think! Now it is cheaper for me to go to Germany--because Germany has come to our town.

“All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.”--Proverbs 15:15 (NKJV)

Sunday, March 1, 2009



It is interesting how the Lord knows how to bless His children by putting someone near to help at the right time.

Such was the case as my wife and I were visiting some missionary families in France.

We had planned to visit Switzerland, but our friends who were to take us could not. However, this would enable us to spend some extra days in Paris before returning back to the United States.

Our friends, who were serving on the Atlanta coast in Lorient, had agreed to drive us to Paris and were eager to do so even though the wife had not been feeling well for some weeks. Most of the local physicians had not been able to find any reason for some of her painful symptoms.

As the day arrived to leave she expressed that she was fit for the trip and it might do her good to get away for a few days.

Since it was a full day's trip she grew weary before days end and she was quite ill. After finding a place to stay, her husband took her to the American hospital where she was admitted. The next day she was operated on and a four inch tumor was removed. God had allowed us to be with our friends at a crisis time. Their children were for a few days, not our chore, but rather our guides in Paris.

Both spoke fluent French having been raised in the French speaking country of the Ivory Coast, Africa, and France.

Everywhere we went over this huge city they were "business like" in showing us around. Whether it was on a boat trip down the Seine, going up the Eiffel Tower, or buying cotton candy in the mall, they gave us five star tours while their father was able to stay with his infirmed wife.

Our families were able to be a blessing to each other. Often I think of the following Bible truths:

Deut. 31:6, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”