Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Flip The Script

In a previous post I said something sorta right, sorta wrong:  “Seeing Jesus put even His own grief aside is a powerful lesson for His followers to learn.”  True, Jesus tried to get some time alone to grieve for the loss of John the Baptist, but Jesus may not have actually “put that grief aside” when He fed the five thousand.

There are a lot of reasons I should not use Brett Favre as an illustration in this blog, but hang with me…  Here’s the game summary: Favre passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns a day after his father's death, moving into second place in NFL history for career TD passes while leading the Packers to a 41-7 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Monday night.  In the midst of his grief, instead of depressed, Brett Favre was animated by the passing of his father.

Now, there are a lot of reasons I should not use a grieving Brett Favre as a parallel of Jesus, but hang with me…  Jesus lost His cousin and the forerunner of Jesus’ earthly ministry.  And John didn’t die of old age, he was beheaded because of John’s religious zeal – he died because he served God.  How do you think that made Jesus feel?  In the midst of his grief, instead of depressed, the passing of his cousin animated Jesus to richly touch the lives of “the sheep without a shepherd”.

Sorrow and grief are powerful emotions.  So is compassion.  If we paused now for a word from our Sponsor, we’d turn again to Matthew 14:14.  When Jesus looked upon the people who sought Him, He “felt compassion for them”.  His compassion, His love was much stronger than His personal feeling of loss.

Followers of Jesus are called to “flip the script” and live for others, not themselves.  You’d think that losing a loved one would be the right time to focus on yourself for a minute.  Understandable.  Just remember that “follow” means going where Jesus goes in the way that He goes.  In your loss, you don’t put aside your grief, you let it remind you of the spiritual hunger all people have.  Go compassionately.

Clark H Smith

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pyromaniacs Anonymous Meets At My House

I don’t know when it started, probably before I was eating solid food, but I love fire, a lot!  Any chance I get, I’ll gather up half a forest and set it ablaze.  I don’t like camping, but the prospect of a bonfire is enough to get me out in the boonies for at least a day. 

One year, we vacationed in beautiful Wisconsin.  I reserved a one-tent campsite at Potawatomi State Park, just on the south side of Sturgeon Bay.  Before night fell, we made our way to the local WalMart to stock up on wieners, chips, sodas, and everything necessary to make world-class s’mores… oh and one more thing – a big jug of charcoal starter fluid.  We pulled up to the campsite, I stepped out of the van, and headed straight into the woods.  In 15 minutes, I was dragging back a train car load of deadfall limbs.  My wife had taken the boys down to the campground toilet / shower facilities to do whatever mothers and children do while dads do what they do.  As the family walked the lane back to the campsite, my wife feared a forest fire had broken out – a fierce blaze was lighting up the woods.  It was just me… being me.

The funniest scene of this whole evening was over at the campsite next to us.  At dusk there was a distinct sound of metal and stone snapping against one another.  At the sound of every snap, a flash would illuminate two figures hunkered over a pile of sticks.  This sad process continued for about 20 minutes as father and son bonded over the laborious process of trying to start a fire with flint and steel.  All the while, my sons and I were bonding over my outrageous success of starting and stoking a roaring fire.  More on this after a word from our Sponsor… no, it’s not Diamond Match Company.
And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.  (Acts 4:33)
Sometimes followers of Jesus go through life with a flint and steel, barely getting enough fire to keep them from being too cold.  We’re not supposed to live that way.  There is so much power available to us.  We get stuck doing things under our own power – many times because we are not doing the things that God is calling us to do.  The apostles, the original followers of Jesus, experienced unparalleled success because their hearts were set on doing the things God called them to do.  Sometime soon you should read the book of Acts and realize that you are called to no less success than the apostles.  Do you have faith in that?

I got up about 4am the next morning – who can sleep in a tent on rocky ground?  I stirred the fire and saw some flickering embers.  I went back into the woods, gathered another cord of deadfall and greeted my family with another inferno to incinerate warm their pop tarts over.  By mid-morning, rain was falling.  I declared that we were not camping in a muddy forest and we headed straight to the Holiday Inn in Egg Harbor – leaving the flint and steel family to enjoy the swamp all to themselves. That’s how I roll.

Clark H Smith

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why Are Ye Fearful

Years ago, I had developed a friendship with a young man nicknamed “Bear”, a great big guy and gentle as far as I knew.  He had graduated high school and was still living at home with his mom.  The two of them together was dysfunctional and things were likely to get serious soon.  Bear’s mom called me late one night, related some current events, and convinced me that he needed to move out of the home, now!  We agreed that I would drop by the house early the next morning, after mom had left for work, and I would tell Bear he had to leave.  Bear’s mom said she would leave the front door unlocked as Bear was accustomed to sleeping late and he probably wouldn't respond to a knock at the door.  On a cold winter morning, I arrived at Bear’s house reluctantly, but still convinced that leaving his home was the right thing to do.  I gave the front door a courtesy knock… and that’s when the storm started. 

Woof!  Woof!  Woof!  (Should I put dog statements in quotes?)  Oh, for crying out, I thought.  Not a dog.  I don’t like dogs.  They have a mind of their own and I never know then that pea-sized brain of theirs is going to tell them to bite me.  I froze.  Stay tuned for the rest of the story.  First, a word from our Sponsor.
And when [Jesus] was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.  And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but He was asleep.  And His disciples came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us: we perish.”
        And He saith unto them, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.  (Matthew 8:23-26 KJV)
Standing at Bear’s door, I thought about waking Jesus up.  “Jesus, what about the dog?  Can you make the dog go away, you know, like that storm?”  But the Spirit cautioned me not to do that.  As clear as a bell, the Holy Spirit said to me, “Clark, are you serious?  You are here to tell a Bear to leave his den and you are paralyzed with fear of a yappy little dog?  Open that door and do your job.”

When God talks to you like that, you get moving.  I opened the door, I told the dog in no uncertain terms to shut up, I woke Bear up, and I laid out the situation for him.  There was nothing irrational about being afraid of barging into a house protected by a dog.  That’s for real!  But it was an offense to faith let something like that stop me from my greater mission.  Just like the disciples on the sea, Jesus had not called them out there to die and God had not sent me to Bear’s house to get eaten by a dog.  The fear was all mine and I had to decide whether to back up in fear or move forward in faith.

Followers of Jesus follow in spite of circumstances.  Is your fear keeping you on the porch?  Remember that you are following the Lord of Heaven and Earth.  He’s bigger than the yappy dogs in your Flesh and Blood world.

Clark H Smith

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Do You Seek

One of my uncles ran a large ranch south of San Antonio.  We’d visit often and tramp around on the scraggly terrain amongst mesquite trees and prickly pear cactus.  One day my dad called my brother and I over to him and issued this ominous command, “Don’t take so much as a step away from here until you know why I called you here.”  My brother and I stood staring at one another for what seemed like an eternity and then suddenly my brother said, “Do exactly what Dad said,” and he walked away.  I was confused and more than a little irritated that some sort of joke was being played on me.  Stay tuned for the rest of the story.  First, a word from our Sponsor.

Are you familiar with the story of “the woman at the well” in John 4?  To sum it up, Jesus found himself alone at the town well with a woman… how to say this… a woman who was matrimonially ambivalent – she had been married five times previously and now was just shacking up with a guy.  You can read the whole story at John 4:1-30.  The key part for follow of Jesus is verse 27:
At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?”
Even Jesus’ closest companions wondered about His motives in talking with this woman.  But as you read the story from beginning, you see that Jesus had two things in mind – offering the woman salvation and bringing revival to her village.

And that brings me back to the ranch.  Eventually, and I mean after many agonizing minutes, I looked down and saw the cutest little baby rattlesnake right between my feet.  It was a baby and my dad knew it couldn’t have so much as bitten through my tennis shoes.  The point he was making was there are snakes everywhere and I needed to learn to look for them.  I was lost in my world, throwing rocks and whacking cactus with sticks.  My dad saw the world more completely.

Jesus’ disciples saw the woman for what she appeared to be – a tart, a slut, a loss.  Jesus saw the woman for what she was – a precious soul for whom He was willing to go to the cross.  Followers of Jesus learn to see the world the way He saw it.

Clark H Smith

Sunday, September 11, 2011

To Whom Honor Is Due

Early in our marriage – and full of whimsy – my wife and I headed out from Dallas to East Texas to shop for Clydesdale horses (no foolin’).  In the midst of a torrential downpour, we saw car lights farther up the highway shining back at us – in our lane.  A station wagon with three generations in it had wrecked badly right in front of us.  I was the first person on the scene and rushed to the car to try to help.  Ten minutes later, the back seat of my car (the one with the lights on) held grandma, two of her daughters, and baby Jessica who was lapsing in and out of consciousness.  We raced to the nearest hospital.  While waiting to hear the health of baby Jessica, I had to make a call and update a friend on our whereabouts.  I grabbed the first phone I could find, at a nurses station.  Midway into my call, a nurse snapped angrily at me, “Who gave you permission to use that phone?”  I stared at her in disbelief given what I had been through in the last hour.  “No one,” I said, “and no one ‘gave me permission’ to rush Jessica to the hospital either, I just did it.”

I’m about to get torqued up all over again, let’s get a word from our Sponsor.
Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.  And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’  Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”  And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”  (Matthew 10:30-37)
I’m posting this item on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.  A sad and disgusting circumstance has arisen in New York City.  The current mayor (who shall not be named) of that town has excluded 9/11 first responders from the official memorial event because “We just don’t have room for them”.  I have two questions for the One-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, “Who will be there?  Who deserves to be there more than them?”  Thousands of police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel didn’t need “permission” to rush in and save lives that day.  Hundreds of first responders died that day because they did not wait for someone to explain that this was a fatally hazardous assignment – they just did it.

Followers of Jesus do not wait for an engraved invitation to meet a need – no matter how great or small.  And neither followers of Jesus nor NYC first responders do what they do for gratitude or celebration.  They simply do what needs to be done.  But having served sacrificially, they at least deserve recognition.  For two thousand years, the Good Samaritan has been held up as the kind of example to which we should all aspire.  You’d think in that whole Big Apple, they could find a few benches for those Good Samaritans to sit on.  They certainly deserve to be held up as examples of how we should all live.

By the way, a few weeks after the crash we heard from our impromptu guests.  Baby Jessica was LifeFlighted from the little Texas town to a hospital in Little Rock.  She spent a few days in the hospital, but had no lasting injuries.  Somewhere in the piney woods of East Texas, there’s a 27 year-old gal with a dreadful drawl… who never forgets to carefully buckle in her kids when she goes driving.  God has blessed you, Jessica.

Clark H Smith

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Alarm Fatigue – Not Cool

In the ‘80s I had a cool Saab Turbo 900.  Well, I paid for it like it was a cool car, but actually it was a lemon and it taught me a compelling lesson about the cost of vanity.  But here’s the cool part, the headlights were hard-wired to stay on whenever you drove.  For some reason I liked that.  Years later, when all my vanity could afford was a Ford Taurus, I still wanted to drive with my lights on, but I didn’t want to go to all that dreadful work of turning them on and off at the appropriate time.  I left the lights on and when I parked the car, it was smart enough to turn my lights off after a couple minutes, but the alarm still sounded to warn me that they were on.  A problem easily solved – I just ignored the alarm.  More on that after a word from our Sponsor:
And He [Holy Spirit], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment….  when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.  (John 16:8, 13)
In the hours before His crucifixion, Jesus told His followers that when He left this world, His Father would send a Helper, a Comforter, the Holy Spirit to continue helping us learn to follow Jesus.  I believe that our conscience is the sense by which we perceive the guidance and conviction of the Holy Spirit.  Remember the motto of Pinocchio’s friend Jiminy Cricket, “Always let your conscience be your guide.”  Reading scripture and asking the Holy Spirit to teach you how to apply it is one of the best ways I know to teach your conscience where to guide you.

Oh, about that car.  You see, the problem is, once you start disregarding *an* alarm, you are actually disregarding *all* alarms… like the alarm that is desperately trying to tell you that you’ve ALSO left the key in the ignition.  And there you are, standing beside a perfectly locked car, with the lights off.  Not cool.

Followers of Jesus listen intently to hear the guidance and conviction – the alarms – of the Holy Spirit.

Clark H Smith

Monday, September 5, 2011

Me First? Not Here.

In a former life I was a book publisher.  I had the opportunity to do some interesting and profitable projects, but none affected my life like the book I did with Kansas City journalism / broadcasting legend, Walt Bodine.  Hanging out with Walt was just about the most delightful time I've ever had with another person.  He was bight, witty, colorful, and engaging.  Walt is also virtually blind and that wound up impacting me in an unexpected way.  Watch this short video as I explain the impact of being with Walt.

How about a word from our Sponsor?
But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Having been prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests.  He sent and had John beheaded in the prison.  And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.  His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus.
Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.
When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets.  There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:6-21)
If you were to ask a hundred people to list Jesus’ top three miracles, feeding the five thousand would be on virtually everyone’s list.  But the immediate context of that miracle might not be mentioned.  The scene in Herod’s palace is disgusting and despicable in every aspect – a young tart dances in such a way that her uncle/step-father (yes, both) offers her anything.  Her desperate housewife mom coached the girl to ask for John the Baptist to be slaughtered.  Herod obliged.  Now remember that John was Jesus’ cousin (see Luke 1).  What would you have done if you had just found out that your cousin and partner in ministry had just been beheaded?  Personally, if it were me and I had the power that Jesus had, I would have snapped my fingers and the heads of Herod, Herodias, and that tramp daughter would have all exploded like water balloons hitting a brick wall.  That’s how I roll.

But followers of Jesus are compelled to see the world as Jesus does and to respond to events in the world as Jesus did.  Instead of seeking retribution against Herod, Jesus tried to get some time alone to grieve for John.  But the people discovered Him and crowded to Him.  Jesus' response, rather than anger and revenge, rather than isolation and grief, was to heal, teach, and ultimately feed five thousand people.

Seeing Jesus put even His own grief aside is a powerful lesson for His followers to learn.  My moments with Walt gave me a glimpse of what it meant to put others first.  It’s a lesson I have to embrace every day if I am going to show the world what it means to follow Jesus.

Clark H Smith

Sunday, September 4, 2011

This Little Light of Mine

The day I began this blog we had a power outage at about 9pm.  The late summer heat had spiked to 98° that day and when the power went out I knew that things were about to get uncomfortable.  No worries, though, I have a backup plan – a generator.  More on that after a word from our Sponsor:
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’  And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.  Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’  But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’  Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.  (Matthew 25:1-13)
Jesus told this parable three days before He was crucified.  Just as Jesus taught His followers to live with a sense of urgency about His mission, He also cautioned them to live expectantly for His return.  This parable of the Ten Virgins is loaded with cultural references, but even 2000 years later, we get the point – be prepared, stay prepared.

Which brings me back to the generator.  I bought the generator years ago.  With winter ice storms and summer drains on the grid, outages are to be expected.  I gassed it up and even added a fuel life extender since I never knew how long it would be before I would need it.  Faithfully, once a month I would fire it up and let it run a little while just to keep it in working condition.  But, as the parable goes, “while the bridegroom was delaying”, I lost my sense of diligence.  I began to let three or four months go by between starts.  Finally, about a year ago, it wouldn’t start at all.  That’s when I began the famous “I’ll get around to it” plan of generator maintenance.  Then the lights went out.

When the power went out this week, I didn’t even bother going out to the deck to check on the generator.  I just sat in the sweltering heat and chastised myself for my sloth. 

Followers of Jesus must live expectantly.  I remember people ranging from my mom to the youth pastor exhorting, “Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want Jesus to see if He comes back while you’re doing it.”  As an idiot juvenile I found a way to dismiss that wisdom.  Now I’ve lived and learned that wisdom is not something you dismiss.  You embrace it, closely. 

It is not enough for followers of Jesus to know what to do, to have a plan.  We – you and I – must live out the plan.  The midnight cry will be heard soon.

Clark H Smith

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Get In The Game

It’s a rare person who gets to be both president and poster child for an organization, but the Anal Retentive Appreciation Society made an exception for me on account of my prodigious accomplishments in the field.  For example, I still have the spreadsheet of my cross-continent drives to see my soon-to-be-bride wherein I kept hand written records of my average speed, elapsed time, and gas mileage.  This was in an era before on-board computers and I had a burning desire to data mine.

As I write, the 2011 college football kick off (literally YAY!) is exactly one hour away.  And I’m ready.  To keep from daydreaming during games, I’ve prepared a simple, one page sheet to take notes about the action and digest why the game turned out the way it did.  (Dying of curiosity?  You can have a free copy by clicking here.)

Followers of Jesus are expected to be somewhat similarly engrossed in the Word or God (the Bible, scripture).  Here’s a word from our Sponsor:
(Matthew 4:3-5)
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.  (John 8:30-32)
Now these [Bereans] were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.  (Acts 17:11)
Literally speaking, followers of Jesus hang on His every word.  How do you do that?  Here’s a well-worn list that will serve you well as you read early and often in the Word.  As you read a passage ask yourself:
Is there an example to follow?
Is there a promise to claim?
Is there a prayer to repeat?
Is there a command to obey?
Is there a verse to memorize / meditate on?
Get in the game.  Stay in the game.  Hang on Jesus’ every word.  There’s the victory.

Oh, and followers of Jesus also cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame.  I promise.  You can look it up.

Clark H Smith

Live Urgently

I <3 Sourdough.  Someone should get me a shirt that says that.  Once upon time, I dropped my favorite bakery to get a loaf of sourdough.  The bins were empty.  #sadface  I saw someone rustling around in the back of the bakery.  “Hey, any chance you have some sourdough back there?”  The baker looked at me somewhat indifferently and responded, “Well, yes, we do, but it just came out of the oven.  It’s still hot.”  (Like that’s a bad thing?)

“I’ll take two!”  I ate half the first loaf before I got to my car.  More on that later, but first, a word from our Sponsor.
As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”  And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”  But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”  Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.”  But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”  (Luke 9:57-62)
Followers of Jesus are expected to have a sense of urgency about His mission.  This may be the saddest commentary on Christianity in America.  We tend to think showing up to church three out of four Sundays *is* Christianity.  Would you challenge me if I suggested that 95% of all those church attenders do not tell another person about their faith in Jesus even once a year?  99%?  Where is our sense of urgency?

Back to the bakery.  In the course of time, I had the opportunity to move to a new city.  I dropped by a well-recommended bakery with pen and paper in hand.  “Do you bake sourdough bread?  Oh, you do?  Do you bake it regularly?  Great!  Please tell me, on what day and at what time does that bread come out of the oven… because I’m going to be here when it comes out of the oven.”  I had a sense of urgency about that bread and I prepared myself to be ready for it.  Followers of Jesus prepare themselves in advance to make the most of doors of opportunity that open before them.  Share your faith, give your talents and treasure, meet a neighbor's need - urgently.

By the way, Jesus was born where?  O Little Town of Bethlehem… which is translated “House of Bread”.  Be ready.  Be urgent.

Clark H Smith

Intro to Follow Illustrated

There's an internet meme "You're Doing It Right".  It's often used ironically, but occasionally some wag nails it.  It certainly makes you wonder, whatever you're doing, are you doing it right?  Living out the values and principles of your faith system is certainly important enough to wonder are you doing it right?

Would you agree the original disciples did it right?  (Well, at least 11 of them.)  They had their ups and downs, but in the end it they were called "men who have turned the world upside down"*.  History shows that the original followers of Christ did it right.  But that's the key, what is a follower?
Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.  And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. ... Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. 
(Matthew 4:18-20, 25)
Jesus called people to follow him.  Peter and Andrew followed and this passage from Matthew says that "large crowds" also followed Him.  Well, true, large crowds followed Jesus.  They wandered around behind Him, sometimes intently listening to Him, occasionally they they shouted jeers at Him.  Sometimes, they just stayed home.  When Jesus said, "Follow Me", he used a compound word with rich meaning.  He invited His true followers to "duete opiso" - literally meaning "Come to Me, Stay with Me, Go with Me."  The large crowds did not follow Jesus that way and their names go unwritten in scripture.  Peter, James, John, Matthew, and the others came to Jesus, stayed at His side, learned from Him, and went with Him in His ministry.  Those who turned the world upside down, started by following the right way.  This blog is my humble effort to help you come closer to Jesus, stay close to Him, and go into the world as He asks you to go.  God bless your journey.

Clark H Smith

* Acts 17:6 AMP