Passing of Harry Pickup, Jr.

January 28, 2016

Joshua described his approaching death with the words, “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth” (Josh. 23:14). In context, he was encouraging Israel to be faithful to their covenant with the Lord: “And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed” (ibid.).

Another of God’s servants has gone the way of all the earth: Harry Pickup, Jr., of Temple Terrace, Florida, at the age of 91. A faithful gospel preacher, and also for many years in public relations with Florida College, he was an encourager to many.

Harry Pickup, Jr.

In the fall of ’69 Mr. Pickup came to my high school (Corner, in Jefferson Co., AL), to recruit me for Florida College. I had not heard of the college, nor had I previously met Mr. Pickup. My preacher, Pryde Hinton, had mentioned me to him. He came by to see me a second and a third time. I already had determined to be a gospel preacher, and he discussed the ways that Florida College could help me prepare for that work. I attended the Jan. ’70 FC annual lectureship with friends Bob and Sandra Waldron (their 10th class reunion), and by the time we were headed back to north Alabama, I had made the decision to enroll that fall ’70.

That decision impacted my life for good in so many ways. The good men there that influenced me; the tools with which they equipped me to work–I will always be thankful. I’ve told bro. Pickup I was so grateful for his interest in me and encouragement. It was always pleasant to see him from time to time down through the years. The last time we talked was after the untimely death of his son Marty (2013). He has a special place in my heart.

You can hear some of his lessons at sites such as

He has a chapter in the book, Letters to Young Preachers, edited by Warren Berkley and Mark Roberts.

Shane Scott noted:

Each summer he would pay for several younger preachers to come and hear a panel of teachers speak for a few days, delving into a wide array of biblical topics. Though the subjects were frequently controversial, brother Pickup created an environment in which issues could be discussed openly, with cheerful fervor. His commitment to truth and to service converged beautifully in Pickup University. And his great sense of humor was reflected in the initials of this “school,” PU! (

As King David said, “”Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel?” (2 Sam. 3:38). Goodbye for now, Dear Friend.

Tribute to Hollis Creel

July 19, 2014

Hollis Creel, a beloved gospel preacher, passed away on Tuesday, July 15. Funeral services were conducted yesterday in Pleasant Grove, AL., with nephew Josh Creel and myself conducting services. It was an honor to me to be asked to pay tribute to this godly man. Uncle Hollis (really my wife’s uncle) would have been 86 on Aug. 14. He and Robbye Creel had been married 63 years. He had worked as evangelist for 57 years with churches of Christ across the southeast. It is estimated that he preached more than 6,000 sermons, plus countless Bible classes and home studies. He touched many lives. Yesterday at the funeral home, every seat was taken, and the back of the auditorium as well as lobby were filled with people standing.

Hollis and Robbye Creel.

Hollis and Robbye Creel.

When Abner died, David lamented to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? (2 Sam. 3:38). Uncle Hollis was one of my heroes. I have known him for about 50 years. He was a friend “who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 14:17). “A friend loves at all times” (Prov. 18:24).

He loved the Lord, and loved the church, the people of God. He was not a “big shot.” His one purpose in life was saving souls. He was a quiet man, a humble man, and he had a tremendous influence for good. His convictions ran deep; he was not for sale. When churches were troubled by various issues his only concern was to take a kind but firm stand for truth. His aim was to please God.

Proverbs 10:7 states, “The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.” I have good memories of Uncle Hollis. I’ll remember his loved for his family. More than anything else, he wanted each family member to go to heaven; to “choose the one thing that is needful.” His children loved and respected this quiet, unassuming, strong man. He and his wife have been a wonderful team. He had recently mentioned to his daughter, only a couple of weeks ago,  how very blessed he was with his family, including extended family.

Hollis and Robbie small

I’ll remember his sense of humor. And I’ll remember him as a great story-teller. He also had a bit of mischief about him. Also, he could laugh at himself.

He was a “good sport.” Twenty-five years ago we were moving from Lexington, AL, to our present location in Hanceville, AL. Uncle Hollis was in Lexington to conduct our fall gospel meeting with the church there. During the course of the week he helped me move my shop tools to Hanceville. I had borrowed a full size van which had no back seats; my wife and I occupied the two front seats. He sat on a 5 gallon bucket all the way down, helped me unload the tools, and sat on the bucket all the way back.

He enjoyed buying and selling. He could take a piece of “junk” and turn it into a beautiful piece of furniture.

But the “tie that binds” is Truth, the truth of God’s word. To have that in common is most important by far. What attracts men and women of all ages to someone like Uncle Hollis is in reality seeing the influence of Christ in his/her life; such are “adorn[ing] the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10) by letting the gospel have free course in their lives.

Hollis Creel

Hollis Creel

I am thankful that Uncle Hollis lived in the Lord; that when he died, he died in faith. He died in the Lord (Rev. 14:13) and thus died in hope. I’m thankful for the salvation that is in Jesus Christ.

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

Goodbye for now, Dear Friend. May “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:4) sustain and comfort the Creel family at this time.


DVD of Sandra Waldron’s Memorial Service

October 16, 2011

I previously posted a tribute to Sandra Waldron, wife of evangelist Bob Waldron, on Leon’s Message Board which you may see here.

Bob and Sandra Waldron

I have recently received a DVD of the memorial service for Sandra, conducted by Bob Waldron and myself, in Athens, AL, on Tues., Sept. 13, 2011.

Bob requested that I make this available for those who would be interested. When I converted the DVD for uploading, it was rendered into three parts, which are here below in consecutive order:


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A Tribute to Sandra Waldron

September 13, 2011

This past Friday funeral services for Sandra Waldron, wife of evangelist Bob Waldron, were conducted at Dade City, Florida. This morning a memorial service was held in Athens, Alabama. In both services Bob spoke lovingly of his wife of some 48 years, and I paid tribute to a dear friend. The two of them have been of tremendous influence in my life.

My relationship with the Waldrons goes back to about 1969. I knew them before that through visiting the church at Sumiton, Al., where they were located, but it was in ’69 that I began to study with Bob. I knew that I wanted to preach, and I knew I needed the help that comes from studying with an older preacher. I was 16, and Bob was 27; he was my older preacher. Those weekly studies in their living room on Monday evenings were a great help to me. Bob had me memorize hundreds of passages; he taught me how to study, to be sensitive to people, that our purpose was to teach people, to help people that their souls might be saved. Sandra was consistently very supportive of what Bob & I were doing.

What Bob & Sandra were doing was not just giving me some of their time—they invested themselves in me; they gave themselves. What emerged is the kind of relationship that Paul discussed in Phil. 1:3,7,9: They are in my mind, in my heart, in my prayers. That friendship that began back in those early days has continued and deepened through the years to the present time.

I think of Bob and Sandra as a team. Sandra was truly a help that was meet, suitable. They were joint-heirs together in the grace of life, of one heart and one soul. What a team! Their writings (published by Truth Magazine) have influenced thousands already. May thousands more be influenced for good in the future. And  what is the emphasis of their teaching? Not cutesy stuff; not obscuring the text under the guise of “making it relevant.” Rather the underlying basis is that the Bible is already relevant, so we need to know the Bible, that we may know the God of the Bible.

Their work on the History and Geography of the Bible, a 52-lesson book that traces the theme of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, gives the historical and geographical setting of the biblical world, the setting and context of the events of scripture. Their work in this area was a tremendous factor in igniting my own interest in the Bible lands that you see reflected in this blog.

Like all who are saved, Sandra was saved by the grace of God. I’m thankful for the hope that this gives. I’m thankful that she believed in Jesus, she repented of her sins, confessed her faith, and was baptized for the remission of her sins. I’m thankful that she lived in the Lord, and died in the Lord. Oh what a difference the Gospel makes. I’m thankful for the hope and blessed assurance that we have today.

So ultimately this becomes an occasion to praise God, to praise Him from whom all blessings flow. His mercies are new every morning; great is His faithfulness. Trust in Him who will not leave you. Heb. 13:5-6. Whosoever believeth upon Him shall not be put to shame.

This photo of Bob and myself was taken this morning following the memorial service.

Leon Mauldin and Bob Waldron

May the God of all comfort sustain my brother Bob, and may He use the memory of Sandra for good.

Homeward Bound

August 9, 2010

We are to leave the Morrow home shortly for the airport for the flight home. This has been a great trip and I trust that only good has been accomplished. I am grateful for every opportunity to teach God’s word.

The photo below is from one of the sessions in Kamenice.  Mike does a great job of planning these annual lectures.

Session at Kamenice. Mike Morrow on far right. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Mike’s lovely wife Tatiana helped me by inserting Czech translation for English text in my PowerPoint slides.  I’m glad my wife Linda could be with her as well as the other ladies here.

Tatiana Morrow (right) and Linda Mauldin. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

This annual lectureship furnishes a wonderful opportunity for European Christians from a widespread area to give and receive encouragement to/from one another.

One of the questions that was asked during a Q&A was on the subject of cremation; what does the Bible say?  Here is an answer I posted some years ago on (click on “Short Answers to Tough Questions”).

Question: What does the Bible say about cremation?


1. Passages–What few Biblical references are made to cremation are in the Old Testament. 1 Sam. 31:11-13: Burning of bodies of Saul & his sons; this probably was an emergency measure lest the Philistines further molest the bodies. Lev.20:14; 21:9: Those guilty of sexual immorality.  Josh. 7:15,25: Those under a curse such as Achan and his family were to be burned. Occurrence of cremation is rare and exceptional.

2. Lack of proper burial was a great misfortune 1 Kgs.13:22; Jer. 16:6.

3. Related passages: Amos 2:1: He (Moab) burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime. cf. Amos 6:10.

4. Quotation from Edersheim: “Cremation was denounced as a purely heathen practice, contrary to the whole spirit of Old Testament teaching.” (Sketches of Jewish Life, p. 16).

5. The Bible Almanac, p.95:

Ghassul flourished during the latter half of the [?] fourth millennium. Archaeologists have documented the Ghassulian custom of burying the dead in ossuaries (ceramic receptacles for bones) in many other areas, particularly the coastal cities near modern Tel Aviv. These ossuaries were usually shaped like animals or houses, in imitation of those used in daily life. After the body was cremated mourners buried the ossuary in a stone cistern together with provisions for the afterlife.

6. Guy Woods:

Life is the union of the body and spirit; death the condition resulting from their separation. Once the spirit has flown, the body is lifeless and begins its return to its original elements. Whether the return is the slow disintegration of the body through the processes of decay or is achieved in seconds by fire, the result is the same–the return of the body’s elements to their original state. In the resurrection, these “building blocks” will be re-assembled… We are taught in the New Testament, largely by example, to exhibit proper respect for the dead and to deal with them in dignified and respectful fashion…

7. N.T. Emphasis. As I reflect upon the question, emphasis is placed on using one’s body in life to glorify the Lord (Rom. 12:1,2; 1 Cor. 6:18- 20); and upon the entrance of the soul into the hadean world at the point of death. Emphasis is not given to the disposal of the body. Stress is not placed on the funeral, but upon the life one lives prior to the funeral. cf. Lk.12:4; Matt. 10:28. Our hope is the resurrection with the new, spiritual, immortal body (see 1 Cor. 15; Rom. 8:18ff.; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 John 3:1-4).

8. Personal Preference. The question does not ask for my personal preference… but I do not want cremation for myself, or for any member of my family. But I know of no New Testament principle that is violated by cremation, if one does make that choice.

A Tribute to My Friend, Raymond Harville

June 18, 2010

You perhaps have noticed that the subtitle of Leon’s Message Board is “Bible History and Geography and More.”  Today’s post is in the “More” category. It is in the “Personal” genre, but something I wish to share with those who would be interested.

Yesterday (June 17), Jackie Richardson and I conducted funeral services for our dear friend, Raymond Harville.  I thought I’d share a couple of photos, as well as my notes prepared for yesterday’s funeral sermon.

I remember bro. Homer Hailey, in class lectures in the Proverbs, making the observation that in life one may have many acquaintances, but will have very few intimate friends (of the nature referenced in Prov. 17:17; 18:24).

In this post I want to pay tribute to Raymond, one of my closest friends.

Raymond & Anne Harville. They were married 54 years. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Funeral Sermon for Raymond Harville

by Leon Mauldin

When Abner died, 2Sa 3:38 states,”Then the king said to his servants, Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel?”

The world tracks its heroes: entertainment stars that don’t know the Lord, that call good evil and call evil good, that boldly have children out of wedlock, and flaunt God’s covenant of marriage.  But God knows who the real heroes are. I want my children and grandchildren to look up to men just like brother Harville.  He was one of my heroes.

We don’t have to look far to count our blessings. Prayers have not been in vain.  We prayed that he might be healed, but if that were not the case, that he would not continue to suffer, and we prayed that God’s will be done. It is a blessing that the Alzheimer’s nightmare is over.  No one would have wished for him a continuation of what he endured for the past years and especially the past several months.

Paul said in Phil. 1:27: “having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” It is “very much better” (NASB).  “Better by far” (NIV).  That is always true for the faithful Christian, but especially when one’s work here is done, when one can no longer function with clarity of mind.

I first met bro. Harville more than 34 years ago. Nathan Hagood was preaching in Valdosta, Ga.; we were in Blackshear.  Raymond had called Nathan regarding a newly established congregation in Hohenwald, Tn.; Nathan did not want to move there, but he told Raymond about me.  When we talked by phone, and I told him a bit about my background, etc., I mentioned I had studied under Bob Waldron, Irvin Lee’s son-in-law.  I learned later that Raymond made one call to Irvin Lee.  Then he told the folks at Hohenwald, “I’ve got you a preacher.”

During those years when we were in Hohenwald and the Harville’s in Mt. Pleasant, Tn., our lives became intertwined in so many ways. During those years a friendship was forged like that described in Prov. 18:24: “But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.” That friendship was manifested in many ways.

Brother Harville was an encouragement to me in the preaching of the Gospel. In radio Q&A work; in the local works in TN and AL; in Gospel meeting work.  “Blest be the tie that binds Our hearts in Christian love; The fellowship of kindred minds Is like to that above.”  In Raymond I found a kindred mind, my kindred spirit.

When the Harville’s moved to Midway in Lauderdale Co., Al, and we moved to Lexington, Al., we were only 10 miles apart.  Typically on Tuesdays we would meet for breakfast or lunch.  Often our Bibles would be spread on the table as we studied.  From there we would often make hospital calls or other visits together.  During those days is was rare for a day to go by without contact of some kind.

My lessons became punctuated with illustrations from Raymond. If I were teaching on some subject which was not a present pressing issue, I would say, Raymond says to preach on modesty in the cold of December.  I.e., you teach and prepare before some topic becomes an emotionally charged issue. On the simplicity of the Gospel: I was present when a “Jehovah’s Witness” after talking a while, and perceiving she was dealing with someone who knew the Bible, defensively said, “I’m not trying to force this on you; why, you couldn’t become a Jehovah’s Witness tonight if you wanted to.”  Raymond immediately replied, “I know that, but if you were teaching people how to become New Testament Christians, they could do that the same hour of the night.”

In 1992, there were four of us who together made our “maiden voyage” for overseas’ evangelism, Raymond, Johnny Felker, Bob Waldron and myself.  That trip was to Czechoslovakia. I’ve said several times there were no three  men on earth I’d rather have taken that trip with.

What has brought us here today is truth. That’s what brought Raymond and me together. Like John and the elect lady (2 John), and John and Gaius (3 John).  Sometime read those short epistles and see how much emphasis is placed on the truth.  Note 2 John 2: “because of the truth which abides in us, and will be with us forever.”  Death ends our relationship on earth, but if we have the truth in common, we have something that we will possess together forever!

As I sum up my personal reflections there are especially three lessons I learned from Raymond. I am happy to say that I shared this with him years ago.

  1. Do right by your family.
  2. The purpose of study is people.
  3. Pay attention to people that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Prov. 10:7 says, “The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.”

I’ll remember Raymond’s sense of humor. Once while standing in the back with him to greet folks entering the building at Southern Boulevard in Sheffield, a lady asked Raymond, “Is this your brother?” With a straight face he answered, “No ma’am, he’s my son.”  To which she replied, “I could tell there was a strong resemblance.”

Raymond loved the Lord, and loved the church of the Lord. Not a “big shot.”  He was all about souls; about pleasing God. His one purpose in life was pleasing God.

I’ll remember his work ethic. “Do it right, do it fast, and get on to the next job.”

I’ll remember His love for his family.

I’m thankful for the hope we have, Titus 1:2. The promises of God: Remission of sins as one obeys the Gospel.  Jesus’ promise of the resurrection in John 11:25,26.

Jesus cares, Heb. 4:14-16. Promised to be with us Heb. 13:5,6.  In life and in death! 2 Cor. 5:8— We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

Before our Father’s throne We pour our ardent prayers; Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, Our comforts and our cares.  We share our mutual woes, Our mutual burdens bear; And often for each other flows The sympathizing tear.  When we asunder part, It gives us inward pain; But we shall still be joined in heart, And hope to meet again.

I am thankful that Raymond lived in the Lord; that when he died, died in faith. That he died in the Lord. That he died in hope. May God help each one present today, to partake of the salvation which is in Jesus Christ.

(The two photos used in our post were taken Jan/Feb 2008.  Remember to click on image for higher resolution and larger view.)

Raymond, Leon & Anne. Early 2008. Photo by Linda Mauldin.

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