week a faithful servant of God went to his reward. Glen Lockwood had been a
Pastor to my family for almost four decades. Other people called him Glen, but
I never could. To me, he was always Pastor Lockwood.
In the late seventies my family left the church I’d grown up in up
in because the services had become too political. My parents found their way to
Gray Road Baptist Church on the south side of Indianapolis, where Glen Lockwood
was Pastor. It wasn’t long until they’d made Gray Road their new church home.
And the longer they sat under Pastor Lockwood’s ministry, the more their
respect for him deepened.
I admit that I own several
guitars. Some people don’t understand this. I have guitar-playing friends whose
wives tell them, “You can only play one at a time!” But they don’t understand
that each guitar has its own sound and feel, and they are like different tools
in your tool box. I suggest that they respond to their wives in kind: “Honey,
why do you have so many pairs of shoes? You can only wear one pair at a time!”
So far none of them has taken my advice.
wife has always been incredibly understanding about my guitars. When we met in
high school, my guitar playing was one of the things that attracted her to me.
(A guy needs all the help he can get.) My wife is a musician, too, and she
loves music as much as I do. And besides, she says it keeps me off the streets.
grandfather had a dread of nursing homes. He’d seen too many people he knew who
had to go into one…especially his sister Allie.
was my great-aunt. I’m not sure how it started, but once to make her laugh I
stuck out my tongue and blew “raspberries” at her. She got such a kick out of
it that I did it every time I saw her or talked to her on the phone. She
actually would be disappointed if I didn’t blow “raspberries” at her.
Allie developed dementia and had to be put in a nursing home. For a while she
still laughed when I blew “raspberries”. But after a while even that didn’t
make her laugh anymore.
My grandfather saw all of that, and he began to say to us, “Don’t
ever put me in a nursing home!” And we never wanted to.
recently bought what’s called a “Reader’s Bible”. It’s an edition of the Bible
that doesn’t have verse divisions or footnotes of any kind. The chapter
divisions are there, but in very light print, out to the side of the Biblical
text. The idea is to allow you to read the text free from distraction, much
like someone in centuries past might have read the Scriptures from a scroll.
This is a great way to experience God’s Word, and one I
would recommend to you. I first did this on vacation last year when I took a
copy of The Reader’s Gospels with me, and read all four Gospels in two weeks.
You tend to read longer portions at one sitting, and it’s easier to see the
flow of the text, especially in the narrative portions of the Bible.
Now let me tell
you why I’m going to stop doing this.
I still miss Ginny Franklin. I still hear her feisty, playful
voice in my memory sometimes. I’ll say, “Well, I’m trying.” … and I’ll hear her
say, “Yes; you’re very trying!” Or I’ll say, “I’m going to go.” …and I’ll hear
her say, “Go-right-ahead…gourd-head!” Virginia Franklin was the first person to
make my wife and I feel at home in the First Baptist Church of Linton. She was
Sunday after church, she took my wife and me out to lunch (again!). This time,
we were joined by Max and Katie Slough. Max was the long-time pastor of the
Glenburn United Methodist Church; I’d known him before, and we became
reacquainted when we moved to Linton.
there over what was left of our lunch, I breathed a huge sigh and commented how
tired I was after the morning’s services. Max responded, “Of course you are!
You preached this morning; virtue has gone out of you, just like when Jesus
healed.” He was referring to three references in the King James Bible: Mark
5:30, Luke 6:19 and Luke 8:46.
I read again an article that described how our church began. I keep a file on
the history of our church, and it contains various bulletins, newspaper
articles and records from our church’s past. This particular article was
written in 1963 by one of my predecessors, Reverend Dale T. Heinbaugh, for the
75th anniversary of our church’s founding. Reverend Heinbaugh was
the pastor of First Baptist Church of Linton from 1960 to 1969. I shared this
with our Sunday night crowd recently, but I thought it needed a wider
had been told, and had told others, that our church was started in 1888 by the
Olive Branch Baptist Church, which is just west of the Linton city limits. That
is both true and not precisely true. What actually happened is told in the
following excerpts from Pastor Heinbaugh’s article.
I had a “Leave It to Beaver” childhood. We had a nuclear family in the best sense of that word. It was a wonderful, stable, happy family setting. It wasn’t perfect, but it was very, very good. I will always be grateful to God for my parents.
My Dad didn’t talk all that much while I was growing up. If you wanted to talk out a problem, you went to Mom. Dad was an engineer. He’d tell you a joke and buy you an ice cream cone, and he’d carry you to bed when you fell asleep in the back of the car. But you had your long conversations with Mom.
That changed after Mom went to Heaven. We had a lot more in-depth conversations with Dad in the ten years after Mom died. It was good. Up until that time, Dad would talk to you, and you could talk to him, but the conversations tended to be of the “here’s the problem, here’s the solution” variety. Beyond that, he didn’t say a lot.
But Dad modeled some wonderful things for us. Here are a few things I learned from my Dad:
As I write this, Christmas 2018 is hurtling at us at high speed. But aside from all the scheduling conflicts and budgetary juggling, I still anticipate it keenly. The little boy in me still delights in the lights and the presents. The grown-up part of me looks forward to family gathered and young ones all excitedabout the festivities.
Someone wrote an article once in which they stated, “Christmas time is to churches what Black Friday is to retail stores.” Honestly, that is true more often than not. That’s why a few years ago our leadership decided to purposely steer our church away from show business-like extravaganzas and toward simpler, more scaled-back ways of celebrating Christmas. If we have to act in an un-Christ-like manner in order to prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth, I’m not sure that really honors Jesus. So we’ve tried in recent years to celebrate Christmas as a church in ways that don’t add more hurry and stress to people’s lives.
But I do love Christmas. And I love Christmas at our church.