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Amy (and Emma) Bringing the Word of God

2015 March 23
by Mike

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this picture. It’s truly worth a thousand words, a thousand sermons, a thousand books. Amy Bost Henegar is preaching at the Manhattan Church of Christ while baby Emma sleeps away. Amy said she followed the rule “never wake a sleeping baby.” I love that behind her on the communion table are the words “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” Indeed!

I cannot wait to show this to my granddaughters.

Amy Bost Henegar

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Universities and Challenging Economics

2015 March 12
by Mike

We all know that many universities have been stressed since the economic downturn of 2008. Many face declining enrollment, high debt, deferred maintenance, and inadequate endowments.

But shockwaves went through the university academic world recently when Sweet Briar College announced that it will shut its doors at the end of this academic year. Despite an endowment of around $90 million, they recognized that they were headed the wrong way.

Sweet Briar College

Sweet Briar College

Paul G. Rice, the chairman of the board, said he knew some would question their decision. But he responded: “We have moral and legal obligations to our students and faculties and to our staff and to our alumnae. If you take up this decision too late, you won’t be able to meet those obligations. People will carve up what’s left—and it will not be orderly, nor fair.”

One person commented about the closing of this 700-student college: “As higher education analyst Kenny Rogers once remarked, ‘You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.'”

It’s a challenging time to be at the helm of any university; but I’m thinking especially of the challenges of those schools associated with Churches of Christ. Imagine the challenge of maintaining student enrollment and raising funds among a group that is in long, slow decline.

Here are the current (2013) endowments as listed on Wikipedia or on the US News & World Report university website:

Pepperdine – $716 million
Abilene Christian – $331 million
Harding – $105 million
Lipscomb – $62 million
Oklahoma Christian – $59 million
Freed-Hardeman – $43 million
Faulkner – $15 million (2012)
Lubbock Christian – $14 million
York – $10 million
Ohio Valley – $1.4 million
Rochester College – not listed
Southwestern Christian – not listed

Historically, these universities—along with amazing campus ministries at many other schools—have been so important to Churches of Christ. But the challenges facing them are huge! (Keep in mind that these aren’t the only numbers that matter when predicting future viability. E.g., endowment-per-student is probably more important than endowment size itself.)

This is the place in a blog where a solution would be really nice. Of course, this is above my pay grade. But given the challenges facing universities everywhere, it would be good to invest prayer, encouragement, and $$ in their work.

Invitation to the 2015 Pepperdine Bible Lectures

2015 February 3
by Mike

Moses: Drawn From the Garage

2014 December 12
by Mike

Beware: sentimental reflections to follow. You’ve been warned.

He came to us in our grief. Grief over the loss of our daughter, our nephew, and—on a much different level, of course—our beloved dog.

I say “he came to us.” I stepped out to our garage for my morning run in 2001, shortly before 9/11, and there was a puppy in the garage. It was clear that he was wounded. Abandoned, I guess. He was hungry and thirsty.

I brought him in thinking, “We’ve got to call the animal shelter and tell them he’s here.” The reaction of my eight-year-old son was different. “He’s our dog!!” He explained to me that he’d been praying for a new dog and God brought one.

So rather than create an early faith crisis (life has plenty of time for those I’ve learned), we claimed the puppy. A mutt. Eventually, a big mutt. Best we can tell a mixture of boxer and shepherd with who knows what else thrown in.

Chris’s friend Emily suggested we name him Moses, since he was “drawn from” the garage. (If the biblical reference alludes you, check Exodus 2:10.)

Before long, Moses became my running companion until I returned from Africa with a weird virus that struck my muscular system and kept me from running for a couple years. By the time I recovered fully, he was untrained and way too strong to jog beside me. But he was our loyal pet.

He watched over Chris as he recovered after a horrible wreck. He paroled the back yard during my many trips out of town. He even had a cameo role in a silly video we shot—adding his voice as I “sang the classics.”
Chris and Moses . . . April 2011
Today we had to put Moses down. Too weak to face another winter. Too much pain. It was the right thing to do, confirmed by our trusted vet, Dr. Mark.

So today, as the epic movie about another Moses opens “in theaters everywhere,” I’d like to say to Pope Francis: “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Catholic.” Or at least I’d like to thank him for hinting to a small child who’d just lost his dog that perhaps it’s true: all dogs go to heaven.

Who knows? (That’s my response to many things about God’s future.)

But today I find some comfort in the thought. And I give thanks for this loyal pet.

Launching a Ministry for Families With Special Needs Kids

2014 October 28
by Mike

Psalm 1 – Read by Landon Saunders

2014 September 30
by Mike

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Psalm 150 – Read by Landon Saunders

2014 September 4
by Mike

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Randy Harris: Idiot’s Guide to Theology (PBL 2014 Class)

2014 May 21
by Mike

“Owning Up to Our Baptismal Vows”

2014 May 16
by Mike

Jarrod Robinson speaking on Galatians 3 at the 2014 Pepperdine Bible Lectures â?? part of the theme, “Enter the Water, Come to the Table.”

What’s a Woman to Do?

2014 May 16
by Mike

This is Jeff Childers debating Jeff Childers in a late night session at the 2014 Pepperdine Bible Lectures.