Inside Out

Friday, June 15, 2007

Heaven's Gain

Yesterday June 14, 2007 Ruth Graham went home to heaven. It was certainly heaven's gain. She and Billy were married 65 years.RACHEL ZOLL (AP Religion Writer)wrote today "When she agreed to marry Billy Graham, Ruth Bell Graham said she knew her life would "be lost in Bill's." For her generation, the pastor's wife was expected to work solely in service to her husband and his flock. There was no job title, no pay and enormous pressure to be perfect." Someone once said behind every great man is a worn out woman.She was a great support, encourager, prayer partner, and love of her husband. She touched so many lives through her writing and great job of raising children that are making their own impact in the world for Christ. For that I am truly thankful. I am also thankful for a great wife myself. My wife has stood with me for 32 years this past June 7. She has been such a support and encourager. She has been a persisitent intercessor for me as well as for our children. I can not imagine life or minstry without her. God has truly blessed me. Below is an article by Dr. Graham concerning his wife from Larry Ross Communications. I hope you will be inspired and moved to thankfulness. Pray for the Graham family. God Bless.


“My wife Ruth was the most incredible woman I have ever known. Whenever I was asked to name the finest Christian I ever met, I always replied, “My wife, Ruth.” She was a spiritual giant, whose unparalleled knowledge of the Bible and commitment to prayer were a challenge and inspiration to everyone who knew her. My favorite photograph shows her sitting on our front porch at sunrise, quietly reading her Bible and sipping coffee – her daily routine for many years. A night never went by, when we were together, without us holding hands and praying before we went to sleep.

Ruth also was a wonderful mother. Her task wasn’t easy since I was away from home so much, but she handled our children with both great love and wise discipline. She felt it was her calling, and without her willingness to bear the major responsibility for raising our children, my work simply would not have been possible. She spent hours every week teaching them the Bible and praying with each of them. She also was full of fun, always ready to play a joke on someone. Our children all knew that life was never dull with Ruth around!

She was committed also to her church and her community. She was a devout churchwoman who loved her Presbyterian heritage, which came from her parents who were medical missionaries in China. She was friends with several presidents’ wives and had been received on occasion by Queen Elizabeth II, but whenever she heard of anyone in our community who had a need, she always was there to help with food or flowers or in other ways. Many people went to her for advice and counsel, or just to pray with her, and she was a close friend to the wives of many associates.

Ruth loved sports and was quite athletic, although she rarely played athletic games herself. Years ago she was fixing a swing for some of our grandchildren, and when she climbed the tree to test the swing, it broke and she fell about fifteen feet. She fractured several bones (including a crushed vertebra), and was never quite the same physically after that. For years she suffered severe back pain and was hospitalized here in Asheville and at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester because of this and other ailments. She was a gentle, smiling, and kind person whose primary goal was to live for Christ and reflect His love. In her last days she talked repeatedly of Heaven, and although I will miss her more than I can possibly say, I rejoice that some day soon we will be reunited in the presence of the Lord she loved and served so faithfully.”

Melany Ethridge (214) 912-8934
Giles Hudson (469) 774-6377
A. Larry Ross (469) 774-6362

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What A Blessing and Gift!

Today at 1:18pm Anslee Hope Perkins entered the world. She weighed 8lbs 12 oz., two weeks early, and 20 inches long. She looks like Ashley more than Heather or Marty. Heather did really well as did Marty. Ashley was there the whole time too. Maddie was so happy to finally have a little sister. She has held her several times for 30 seconds each time and then she is happy. Maw Maw and Paw Paw are estatic and I have tried to kiss all the sugar off but there is just too much. I praise God for how He has blessed us as a family.Anslee is one sleepy little girl and only grunts when she is hungry! Must be like Paw Paw!
Thank you all for your prayers and support. Pictures will be coming soon.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Growing up my Mom and Dad worked 3rd shift in the mill. I spent every night but Saturday with my Grandma and Grandpa Owenby, occasionally with my Grandma Johns. I lived with my Grandparents in the summer.

As a child I was given coffee to drink at breakfast. Half a cup of coffee, sugar and real milk to fill the cup. As I got older less milk and sugar and more coffee. It is no wonder that I love coffee like I do.

In the Ukraine the thing I most looked forward to on getting up in the morning was a steaming cup of coffee. It was so good! All that to say I have been out of my coffee beans for a month and have had practically no time to stop and get a cup in the morning. I have missed it. The last two weeks my days have been longer and nights shorter and I have really wanted a cup of coffee. But no, it just has not happened.

Thursday morning after the prison revival I had an early morning meeting with a DSS lady about a lady our Church has been ministering too. My jeep has a clutch problem so I have been riding the Harley when it is not raining. I left the house and it was chilly. As I rode to my meeting I wished I had a cup of good hot coffee to knock the chill off and to enjoy before getting down to business but I was running a little behind and I knew I would not have time to stop and sit and drink a cup. I am not as skilled as some at riding the Harley and drinking a drink at the same time. My desire then was to finish the meeting with time to spare so as to stop in Mt. Holly at the Jordan’s for a good cup of coffee.

When I arrived, one person was already there and had brought the lady we are ministering to a cup of hot coffee and a biscuit. Is that temptation or what?! Several minutes later the DSS lady, a great lady, arrived. She came over with a cup of coffee in her hand saying she too had brought it for the lady. Since she already had one she said “Pastor, have a cup of coffee.” I took it!

Now when I took the first sip I was amazed. It was hot and fixed exactly like I drink it. It was like I had prepared it myself to my taste. I drank that cup as we talked and planned. It was truly good to the last drop. When we finished we gathered in a circle and prayed for God to help us help this sweet lady and to help her in all her needs. I got on my bike and started down the road realizing I had just enough time to make the next meeting. I began to pray. Thanking God for being so good to us. I thanked Him for helping bring this ladies needs to our attention and allowing us to share His love with others. I thanked Him for those in DSS who worked long hours in a too often thankless job and for giving this particular DSS lady a great heart. I then thought of that cup of coffee she had given me. It was like God said I know you wanted a cup and you were ministering in my name so I gave a you a cup through another of my servants. The verses came to me: Mark 9:41 (NIV) I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.
Proverbs 11:25 (NLT) The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

I think that goes for a cup of coffee too and my prayer is that the DSS lady who was kind enough to give me a cup of coffee will find herself in the days ahead refreshed. I also hope that, in Christ, I too will continue to let Christ use me to refresh others. Actually my prayer is that we all will be generous, with Christ’s love, the Good News of His salvation and with cups of cold water or coffee. The Kingdom would probably see major expanding. May it be so!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


The last four weeks have been hectic. I have not been able to find time to write here as I so much wanted to.

This week we have been at the Dallas prison in our annual revival there. It was fantastic. Monday night we ran out of chairs and had to ask the prison to supply more. the tent was packed. It was a little warm and humid. I felt like I was in a battle, a spiritual battle which I was. The devil is a thief, a liar and a murderer. He was trying to steal the moment and rob those God wanted to speak to of their chance for new life. He wanted to steal away the joy of praising God and seeing that newness of life that God was already bringing. The music had begun and I was praying with all my might for God's anointing and His presence to be experienced. I had been praying so hard I had not heard the first two songs. My longing was for God to be lifted up so that He might draw to Him those with ears to hear. I looked up above the tent and suddenly a dove appeared and flew down toward the center of the tent and then flew over it and off to my right. It was if God had said My Spirit is here and I am working.

When the invitation came, four men came and prayed to receive Christ and ten or eleven came seeking to turn from backsliding and renew their commitment to Christ. It was so wonderful to see and hear God working and pursuing in love.

Tuesday they said it would be raining and possible thunderstorms. Every yeaar it seemed that rain would come one or two nights. One guard said he had been drenched several times in the past at the revivals and it was worth it and he was ready to be drenched again. I prayed as did others that God would in His favor anad mercy move the rain away from us. When i arrived at the prison, dark clouds were hanging like saturated globs of cotton ready to be wrung out over us. But the blue sky kept coming through. The sun lit up other clouds like rainbows and it never rained though it deluged surrounding areas not a drop on us.. The men and their families came out again and worship began. As the music flowed from beneath that tent out into the night I knew God would have His way again. He did. Many came as couples, one after another, asking me and others to pray that they would put Christ in the center of their marriage and relationships. It was such a blessing to be in the midst of God working in difficult situations to bring order and peace and salvation.

Wednesday came. the last night of the revival. We went into the dorms where the men stay to speak to them and invite them again to the revival. One after another they came to me and thanked me and the church for great food and great services. Thanking us and God for our love shown to them. One dorm gave me a card of thanks for whatCHBC had done. Ernie was busting at the seams. He had led one young inmate to Lord in the lockdown unit. Several work release inmates saw me as they walked into their dorm from a hard dirty day at work and ran to me shook my hand and hugged me saying "I am dirty but I am coming just as I am, i don't won't to miss." I quickly made my way out overwhelmed by emotion. Why would God let me be a part of something so wonderful like this? Just as I am one said. that's what God wanted. i was so pumped I barely remember anything else until the invitation. The praise band, who had blessed everyone so much during the week, sang 30 verses it seemed of Just as I am as one after another came forward. I led one to faith and had 10 come for repentance from backsliding. One whole family came for prayer for their Father who had heart problems. I took out my oil and prayed for him as his family including two inmates clung to him in deep love. One came and asked that I pray for his mouth. He said he knew Chrsit but his mouth was backslidden and dishonored Christ. Wow! I prayed through tears for such desire and courage to confess that. Another said he knew Christ but lived like he didn't. He was ready to nail it down. Wow! I was so moved in my spirit for him. Two inmates came and wanted me to pray with them for another inmate in the hospital very sick. i had just preached on the four friends and their paralyzed friend they brought to Jesus. Wow! They were bringing their friend before the Lord. We prayed as brothers in faith. I believe we could have gone on all night but the end finally came. Tearful hugs came. Many came and asked if we had volunteers who were certified to bring inmates to Church. They wanted to come to CHBC. Mant came and said they were going to Celebrate Recovery in October at the prison led by CHBC. Many family members wanted to know where the church was so they could come. I was overwhelmed.12 people saved, 35 recommitments and many others for prayer. three days of God's love flooding every area of our lives.

As I rode the big hog home later, I prayed thanks to God the whole way. thanks for letting me Pastor such a great Church. Thanks for letting me preach the greatest news ever. Thanks for letting me and our church be a part of great life change. Thanks for giving us all a future and a hope. You know we have that-a future and a hope.

May we always keep our eyes on Jesus and be ever on His mission. It is about Him and not us!

Lord, thank you for giving us the privilege of being partners with you in ministry and for letting us be a part of life change for so many. Help us to be disciplers and help those You bring into Your Kingdom grow in grace and knowledge. To you be all glory. Amen.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Everybody Down!

I was pastor of West Maple Street Baptist church for three years. It was my first church, a seminary church with some great people. The church had at one time been a First Baptist but the church as a whole moved to a new location and left behind a small group of people to keep the church going there. Shortly after First Baptist left, the city closed off the street and made it a dead end. Once a major thoroughfare now it was a dead end traveled only by those who were going to the Elementary School beside the Church and who lived on the street. The building was old and literally falling in. there was no air conditioning and in the summer we fanned ourselves with hand held fans compliments of Koonst Funeral homes.

On any given Sunday we would have to ask people to move for fear the ceiling over them would fall in-literally. Many times we would clean up some fallen ceiling before service.

One Sunday night I was preaching to a pretty good crowd. Among the congregation was Miss Cleo. Cleo was in her seventies, a delightful lady. She had what I would call a beehive hairdo, rising at least a foot atop her head. It was summer time and the windows were open and most wanted near one to catch as much of a breeze as they could.

I was really getting into my sermon when Miss Cleo jumped to her feet and hollered at the top of her lungs “Everybody down! There’s a bat flying in here and don’t let it get in your hair or you’ll go crazy!”

Everybody began to scramble and people were hitting the floor. I stood there a moment in total disbelief. Then I spotted it a small bat swooping and flying like it was crazy. I hit the deck behind the pulpit. There we were a room full of people all sprawled out on the floor with hands on our heads hoping the bat didn’t find its way into our hair (yes I had plenty then) and cause us to go crazy. I had heard my Grandma say that once when I was a kid throwing rocks up in the air watching bats dive toward them. But here I was, a husband, Father, and Pastor curled up on the floor fearful of my sanity with a hundred others.
Finally someone from underneath a pew yelled for one of the Deacons “Hiram, kill that bat before it bites one of us!”

Hiram got up and left. He came back with a broom. While we were all laid out, there was Hiram trying to swat a sonar directed bat. Finally he knocked it down and reached down with a gloved hand and picked it up. It couldn’t have been two inches long and six inches in wing span. He took it out and let it go.

Everybody began to get up and dust themselves off. There was such a sigh of relief. Needless to say service was pretty much over. We all laughed a nervous laugh had a prayer and dismissed. One little boy said to his Mom as they were leaving “Mom I didn’t know Church could be so much fun! Can we come back next week?” One man said as he left “Preacher there’s not been this much excitement in this church in twenty years. Maybe we need to turn a squirrel loose next week!”

What a night, what excitement, what fear, hearts beating fast and grown men and women lying on the floor hoping to keep their sanity. It was quite a night. Oh that we would today experience excitement, fear, hearts beating out of our chests, men and women grasping there heads in total wonder as we let the Holy Spirit have His way in our lives. Give me the Holy Spirit any day. Then again maybe a squirrel…. God bless you!
Father help us to get excited out of our heads over You and Your love for us. Let our lives be filled with fear, filled with awe in the light of who You are. Help us to experience You in a way that will cause us to say. “I didn’t know it could be this way! Can we come back?” To you be all glory and honor. In Christ’s Name. Amen

Monday, August 14, 2006

walking, marching, running...

Roger Uren has been walking toward Zion for some time. On Monday he started marching to Zton. At 10:45 PM He ran into the arms of Jesus! Free at last! Thank God Almighty! Free at last!

Monday, August 07, 2006


Sunday was a great day! Six people prayed and asked Christ to be their Savior. Four or five expressed a desire to follow Christ in baptism. To Him be praise.

I showed a video at the beginning of my sermon at 10:45, unfortunately it was not available at 8:30. Hopefully you will be able to watch it here.

The video was about Dick and Rick Hoyt. Rick was one of three children born to Judy and Dick Hoyt. Due to complications, Rick was born with Cerebral Palsy. The Hoyt family made a decision to raise Rick as normally as possible. He went to regular school and graduated not only from High School but college. He communicates with a special computer. They did not try to protect Rick from life and taught him and worked with him to meet life head on. Wow that's inspiring.

At 15 he told his family he wanted to run a marathon. His Dad, not a runner, began training and he and Rick have been running ever since. Not just marathons but even an iron man event. These parents were determined to give their children the best-themselves.

In this world we can get so distracted that we relinguish our role as parents to media and to self determination. Children need their parents and love spelled T-I-M-E.

Our focus needs to be on Christ first, foremost.

In the up and coming weeks I am going to look at Biblical knowledge in parenting, intimacy in the midst of parental responsibility, Boundaries that must be set consistently, strategy and structure for successful parenting and team work necessary for the family to succeed in a world that wants desperately to redefine the family. That is quite an undertaking but a necessary start. I am dedicated to helping families become what God desires them to be.

Father, it is hard sometimes to stay focused in a world of voices. Each calling "Come this way" "do This" "Do that". Help us hrough Your Power and strength to re focus and stay focused on You and Your Way. In Christ. Amen