Category Archives for Front Page Posts

Old Preachers in the SBC

December 26, 2016

by David Allen

Editor’s Note: As this is the week between Christmas and New Year’s it might be nice to take a break from the more serious things within the SBC have a little laugh.  I hope you had a Merry Christmas and that you have a Happy and Blessed New Year!  This originally appeared at Dr. Allen’s blog and is used with his permission.
KBG, Editor

Most of you have never had the opportunity to sit in on a PhD oral exam/dissertation defense. The experience is loads of fun…for everyone except the student. Faculty members grill the student for two hours over his work. Continue reading

Why I Read Matthew’s Gospel On Christmas Eve

December 23, 2016



By Stephen Presley

Associate Professor of Church History in the School of Theology and Director of TheCenter for the Study of Early Christianity.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared at Theological Matters and is used by permission.

I will never forget one Christmas Eve many years ago when my family decided to read the account of Jesus’ birth in Mathew instead of Luke. It’s a tradition among my extended family, as I’m sure it is with other families, to read Scripture at this special holiday gathering, and we naturally gravitate to Luke’s version. The stories of Luke are so familiar to us, and many can recite the narratives nearly verbatim. Luke, after all, is famous for describing the details of Jesus’ birth with the beauty and wonder of a master storyteller. Nearly all of the essential parts of the story, save the account of the Magi, come from Luke, including Caesar’s decree, the journey to Bethlehem, the inn with no room, the shepherds quaking, the angels singing, Mary pondering everything in her heart, and so on. Continue reading

HOW JOHNNY CASH GOT “THAT CHRISTMASY FEELING”

December 22, 2016

 

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared here and is used by permission of the author.“That Christmasy Feeling” was one of the songs on Johnny’s 1972 album entitled The Johnny Cash Family Christmas produced by Columbia Records.  Johnny and June Cash loved singing about Christmas and produced many television specials and albums in the 1970s, and into the 80s. A miracle in a dark Tennessee cave made these songs and shows possible.

It was a hopeless day in 1967 that Johnny literally crawled into a deep dark cave to die.  The accumulated pain and shame of a decade of doing drugs, popping pills, ruined relationships, while always riding the rapids of whiskey river brought him to the mouth of Nickajack Cave on the Tennessee River north of Chattanooga.All his “uppers” had turned to “downers,” but Johnny wasn’t blaming anyone but himself. He knew that he had been his own worst enemy. The “Man in Black” would die in total darkness that day!

Parking his Jeep, Cash walked into this underworld that he had explored years earlier during happier times. He knew that many had gotten lost in this large labyrinth of connecting tunnels and chambers stretching all the way into Alabama and were never seen again.Dave Urbanski writes about this day in The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash, “I never wanted to see another dawn. I had wasted my life. I had drifted so far away from God and every stabilizing force in my life that I felt there was no hope for me.”Cash walked into the cave, then crawled for three hours until his flashlight died before he could. Engulfed in pitch darkness Cash remembered, “The absolute lack of light was appropriate, for at that moment I was as far from God as I had ever been.”Waiting on death, Johnny realized that he could not crawl into a hole deep or dark enough to escape God’s grace. “I thought I’d left Him, but He hadn’t left me.”

Cash testified to a sudden awareness of utter peace, clarity and sobriety overwhelming his mind and body.  He says, “There in Nickajack Cave I became conscious of a very clear, simple idea: I was not in charge of my destiny. I was not in charge of my own death. I was going to die at God’s time, not mine.”

This spiritual revival presented a new dilemma. Johnny had crawled in to die and no exit strategy existed. He had no earthly idea of which direction to crawl and utter darkness only intensified his confusion.

Driven by a simple urge to begin moving, Cash painstakingly crawled like a blind crab until he felt a faint breeze. Honing in on its direction, he crawled toward the breeze until it felt stronger. He crawled until a faint shade of light was sensed. Pulled toward the light like a dying man crossing over into eternity, Johnny finally surfaces.

Overjoyed with a second chance, Johnny finds his mother and June Carter parked by his Jeep with water and a basket of food. God had been leading them too!

On the long road back to Nashville, Johnny confessed, “God saved me from killing myself.” Johnny spoke sincerely of committing himself to God and doing whatever it would take to kick his drug habit. His promise turned to reality as he gradually regained his physical health and emotional well-being.

After destroying his first marriage, now a new man, Johnny married June Carter and little John Carter Cash was born on March 3, 1970. Life was getting much better!

Recording his Live at Folsom Prison album was a turning point for Cash’s career. The song had been a huge hit. Soon ABC television offered him The Johnny Cash Show. For two years, Johnny and June entertained as the show was taped at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Johnny invited guest singers from every genre of music – from Bob Dylan to Louis Armstrong and a lot of country in between.

The dark cave that Johnny crawled into represents a scary place – for most of us are just one step from stupid even on our best days. Over 40,000 people kill themselves in America each year. Many more are slowly crawling with feelings of hopelessness.

If Johnny could find a new reason for living, so can you! Job once said,

He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light (Job 33:28, ESV).

Johnny discovered “the light of world” and realized that he didn’t have to walk in darkness anymore! Life is better “saved, sober, and sane.”[i]

Only by the grace of God could Johnny Cash sing about Christmas!

 

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