Ye Are the Light of the World

March 14, 2017

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), Jesus told His disciples:

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (5:14-16, ESV).

Oil Lamp in Nazareth. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Jesus, ever the Master Teacher, often used similes and metaphors to create vivid word pictures as he communicated spiritual and eternal truths. Jesus’s disciples are those men and women who have been illuminated by the Light of the World. They hear His voice and follow Him. They have the qualities enumerated in the “beatitudes” which is in the immediate context of our text above (Matt. 5:3-12). As such Jesus’ disciples are light in a world of darkness, pointing others to the way of Jesus and His Word, and ultimately the path to heaven.

Click photo for larger view.


Ferrell Jenkins Conducts 50th Anniversary Tour: A Tribute to my Friend

April 27, 2016

The March 28 – April 8, 2016 Israel tour directed by Ferrell Jenkins was advertised as his “50th Anniversary Tour,” thus completing 50 years of Distinctive World Tours, designed and led by Mr. Jenkins. What a remarkable, incredible milestone! These tours, custom-designed with Christians in mind, have literally gone around the world, but the emphasis has been on travel to the lands where the biblical events transpired. That of course includes Israel, but also Turkey, Greece, Italy, Egypt and more; literally from Ararat (where Noah’s ark landed; book of Genesis) to Patmos (where John received the Revelation). All who have traveled with Mr. Jenkins have profited, but it is especially the Bible class teachers (men & women), preachers and elders who have made the greatest use of resources, photos and knowledge gained. In that way also the folks “back home” that do not travel have benefited as well.

His blog, Ferrell’s Travel Blog was started in 2007, to feature not only photos of Bible places but also helpful info, biblical texts and other resources/links. Since then his blog has received more than two million visits. (You will also find biblicalstudies.info to be a very helpful site).

Mr. Jenkins wrote, “I have been preaching and teaching the Word of God since 1952, and I have always loved it. Nothing gives me a greater thrill than teaching at the sites where biblical events occurred. Thanks for the memories. It is my conviction that an understanding of the Bible lands can enhance one’s Bible study and improve understanding of the text. This, in turn, must be converted to action in obedience to the will of the Lord, and in service to Him” (Biblical Insights, Dec. 2009, p.28).

Ferrell Jenkins outside Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Ferrell Jenkins outside Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem (Apr. 14, 2016). Photo by Leon Mauldin.

On my part I wanted to say Thanks! for a job well done, for such an outstanding contribution to the field of biblical studies. It is amazing to look back at those last 50 years and think of the good that has been accomplished. Though retired, Mr. Jenkins continues to study several hours daily, and writes and does some teaching as time permits. He has devoted his life to helping people, especially young people, better understand and be equipped to teach the Bible. All of his work has been done with the loving support of Mrs. Elizabeth Jenkins.

On a personal note, I was able to join this 50th tour on the evening before its final day. Then after the tour group left for home, Mr. Jenkins & I rented a car, and for the next several days visited sites all over Israel, using Tiberius and Jerusalem as our “base,” especially focusing on places we had not seen before. We were also able to do some aerial photography from Joppa to the south as far as Beersheba and east to Jerusalem. I have enjoyed and profited from several personal study trips he & I have made of this nature.

So to my fellow Gospel preacher, former professor, and traveling friend, please accept this small token of my lasting gratitude, and of the high esteem in which you are held, furnished by the occasion of this extraordinary milestone! To God be the glory!

 


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 http://www.wordsfitlyspoken.org/audio/irving_tx/

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! (http://focusmagazine.org/harry-pickup-jr.php)

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:

 

 


Things To Do At Age 100

October 11, 2011

One of our church members, Mrs. Elma Bradford, celebrated her 100th birthday today with a large gathering of family and friends from church.

Mrs. Bradford is a resident of the Nursing Home in Hanceville, AL. Her mind is as sharp as a tack.

Leon Mauldin, Elma Bradford, Linda Mauldin. Photo by Nancy Picogna.

Before we ate, I made a brief tribute to this sweet lady. In summary, I said:

Tribute to whom tribute, honor to whom honor. We are here to honor Mrs. Bradford on her 100th birthday. Here are some things you can do when you are 100.

1. Set a good example. Mrs. Bradford has done and continues to do that.

2. Maintain a sense of humor. Once while visiting her at the nursing home, I began a sentence, ‘Well . . .’ She immediately said, ‘Where ya gonna dig it?’ That’s rather typical for her.

3. Read your Bible. On many occasions when I have gone to her room, and she could have no idea I would be coming, I would find her reading her Bible. She loves the Lord. She loves the Lord’s people. Her hope is set on heaven.

So in case you’re wondering, these are some things you can do at age 100.

BTW, none of the above happen accidentally; people who do these things choose to do so.


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.


Millstones at Capernaum

August 26, 2011

Millstones were manufactured at Capernaum from the volcanic basalt which is so common in the Galilee. The coarse texture was very suitable for grinding wheat.

Such millstones were not only used in Israel, but were exported from Capernaum to many other places. Capernaum was located on a major trade route, the Via Maris.

Millstones manufactured at Capernaum from volcanic basalt. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

On one occasion when Jesus was here at Capernaum with His disciples, He said,

But whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in Me– it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea (Mark 10:42, CSB).

Capernaum was located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. In this teachable moment Jesus was using word pictures the apostles could relate to: To have a millstone tied about one’s neck and then thrown into the sea to be dragged down by that heavy weight and die such a terrible death! But Jesus is saying that the worst kind of death would be preferable to one’s being the occasion of someone’s being lost eternally.

What a powerful lesson, taught by the Master Teacher.  All of us have influence, and for that influence we will give account unto God; make it good!


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.