Sunday Bulletin Inserts
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Saturday evening, February 12, was the annual Valentine's Day Banquet for our church on the campus of Georgetown College. This fine event is run every year by Shari Coleman who does an outstanding job of pulling everything together. Right before the banquet I was talking with her when she said, "By the way, Dad said to tell Tom if he asks how I am doing, tell him, 'very well,' for me. And tell him I do tell a lie from time to time."
"Dad" is Archie Burchfield. He and his lovely wife Betty were unable to be at the banquet. Archie was battling cancer at the time. Yesterday morning he lost that battle. Archie was that one person who you knew would always be there on Sunday morning unless he was feeling worse than most of the people in the Georgetown Hospital. As I looked out on the congregation as their preacher, Archie was always on the back row right, last person on the side aisle.
If the name Archie Burchfield sounds familiar to you it may "very well" be. Throughout the 70s and 80s his name was synonymous with croquet. Not just croquet, but championship croquet. He was seven times the state champ here in Kentucky in that time period. But I honestly think that the most satisfying win was in 1982 when Archie and his son, Mark, won the National Doubles Championship in Central Park in New York City. Archie has a room full of trophies from his wins.
However, after showing me his trophies one day, he smiled and said, "but my real trophy is my family." Archie's three children, their spouses and his ten grandchildren were what made life important for Archie. In the end they were the ones who were with him. He was a loving father, husband and friend. The people of Stamping Ground knew that if they needed help they could call on Archie. He was one of those people that blessed everyone he knew.
"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, will give me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."
In 1965 Joe Willie Namath, from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, was drafted by the then St. Louis Cardinals of the National Football League. He passed over the Cardinals to sign with the upstart American Football League's New York Jets. Why do I bring this up now? "Broadway" Joe turned 63 yesterday. His place in the rich history of what is now two leagues playing as one is an important one. His play, as much as anyone's, cemented the fact that the merger of the NFL and the AFL was long overdue.
Namath won Rookie of the Year in 1965. Two years later he did what was previously thought to be impossible. During the schedule of the '67 season, Namath passed for more than 4,000 yards becoming the first player to ever accomplish that feat. To make it sweeter was the fact that it was in the second year of the new merger of the two leagues. It was not an AFL record. It was a NFL record. Most importantly it was a portent of greater things to come as the Jets landed in the Super Bowl (the AFC/NFC Championship Game, as it was originally labeled) the very next year.
Before the game was played on January 12,1969, Namath guaranteed the victory. Who was the opponent? The juggernaut that was the then Baltimore Colts. They were considered to be almost unbeatable. But Namath's passing and the running of fullback Matt Snell sunk the mighty colts to the tune of 16 to 7. Suddenly the merger looked legit and Namath's place in the lore of the game was secured as one who guaranteed victory. Such guarantees are risky at best and downright foolish at worst.
Namath's guarantee could have made him look like a chump and the merger like a mistake had the Colts blown out the Jets in that third Super Bowl. But Namath had done his homework and knew what he was talking about. He saw a flaw in the mighty Colt defense and shared it with his coach. Then he and his teammates made history. Almost two thousand years ago there was a flaw in the game plan of mankind. God knew the flaw was there and he knew how to correct it.
Into the seemingly endless victories of His adversary, Satan, God placed His Son, Jesus. With His life, Jesus guaranteed that mankind could have the victory. It would not come through them, but through Him. Answering a question posed by His disciple, Thomas, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
While we were working in Upstate New York with Empire State Evangelizing Association we had the opportunity to develop friendships with people in churches all up and down the Eastern Seaboard states. This included Pennsylvania. One couple, who ministered in a small community in Western Pennsylvania, had us come and speak to their congregation about our work in New York.
While with them, we got to know their young son. Our friends were unable to have children of their own through birth so they had adopted a beautiful little boy and were raising him in the Lord. The little fella must have been around five or six years old when we heard him arguing with a neighbor boy who had come to play. In the midst of their argument the neighbor had called my friend's son a name. What followed still brings a smile to my face when I recall it.
The little guy shouted back, "You're a log. You're a piece of a tree." Our friends and my wife and I were sitting in the house when we heard his comeback. We all started laughing at the sweet inncoence of this little boy. The worst thing he could think to call somebody was a log, a piece of a tree. Wow, that'll turn heads in high school.
The innocence of the young is refreshing and all too soon lost as the world intrudes with its barage of vitrole and despite. If we are ever to curb the attitude problem that many young have we will have to begin with the coming generation. We will have to lay aside our own propensity for name calling and agitation and lay the groundwork for understanding and consideration. God will help us in this and He will bless us with victory when we do.
"I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly."
Today is the first Tuesday of November in the good old U. S. of A. That means that today is Election Day. And not just Election Day but Election Day when the President of the good old U. S. of A. is chosen as well as a number of other officials in federal, state, county and city elections. Late tonight there will be any number of people who will be celebrating while there will be others who will be dejected.
My concern is for you. Those of you who are registered American voters, I urge you to vote. I am not coming at this from the attitude of "if you don't vote don't complain." While that is a true axiom it is not at the heart of the matter. Anytime we are given a choice we make that choice either by action or inaction. Those who love freedom, and respect the memory of those who have and are giving their all to maintain that freedom, must give their love an expression.
Accepting the voice that we have been given by the Constitution of the United States of America to vote for those who govern us expresses honor and respect for the lives of those who defend that Constitution. To reject that voice would be much like throwing away the presents your loved ones gave you at Christmas just because you wanted something specific and didn't get it. Whether the choices you have are the choices you wanted is not the issue. The fact is, those are the choices. Your responsibility is to choose. If you choose not to choose you have still made a choice. Rejection is a choice.
God lays out some choices. Man looks at those choices and says, "If those are the choices I would rather not make a choice." Ah, but there's the rub. When man fails to make a choice he still makes a choice. The sad truth is that it is a choice. Rejection is a choice. God shows us His love and the price He has paid for us to be free. And He says, "Choose."
"Therefore whoever confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father in heaven."
the Second Week after Easter