Friday, April 21, 2017

Dorsey Wilbanks Tribute: Strong Men of God Can Be Shy - and Effective



Previously written January 19, 2016:
Dorsey Wilbanks is an 88 year old devout Christian who helped me and others greatly when he was active as a Gideon.  When I was the chaplain at Riverside Military Academy for nine years he was the Gideon who served our school.  My conservative estimate  is that in almost nine years he served Riverside as a Gideon he supplied us with over 2,000 pocket New Testament Bibles.   When called upon he would find us a needed Spanish, Korean or even Chinese version of the New Testament.  Some people do not believe in the power of the Word.  He does. Dorsey was and is a very humble and optimistic man.  He was happy when I told him where one of his testaments ended up.


Nine years ago I was picking up a friend returning from vacation in the atrium of the Atlanta airport.  As usual hundreds of people where intersecting at that point.  A young soldier walking by in a pack of camo wearing  soldiers and he yells out “Hey Chaplain Law.”  The soldier was a Riverside graduate from Chicago.  I was a civilian chaplain at the school.  I knew it was Riverside connection when I was ever called chaplain away from school.  The young man had enlisted in the U.S. Army since his graduation.  He told me he was catching a plane to eventually get to Afghanistan. My concern for this friend accelerated at the thought of this young person going to war.  I became almost frantic.  I asked him “are you trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation at this hour?” “Are you praying?” I kept asking more questions concerning salvation.  “Do you have a Bible?” He reached in his backpack and showed me a well-traveled green pocket New Testament.  It was one of the Testaments Dorsey had given me to give to students. The soldier said “Here is the one you gave me.”  I read it and he told me he believed the plan of salvation on the back inside cover.   I remember thinking   “thank you Jesus” and reflecting on Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Monday, April 10, 2017

YOU HAD ONE JOB

It is Holy Week.
Many churches are scurrying and hurrying to complete all the old church traditions from Maundy or Holy Thursday services to modern day Easter Egg Hunts.  If Jesus is preached in this time – good on all of them.

On an out of town vacation yesterday I slipped into a traditional mainline “First” church. You know what I mean – the “big steeple established church”.  During the “Children’s moment” sure enough - in this church with a robed choir, small orchestra, liturgical readings – here came the Easter Bunny.

The Children’s Minister had all the cute preschoolers to second graders come down in front at the steps leading to the pulpit.  Now here came THE EASTER BUNNY – the silliest bunny possible (like there is one with distinction).  The lesson consisted of Mary Madeline could not find Jesus at the empty tomb on Resurrection Day.  Mary asked “Where is Jesus” like we ask “Where are the Easter Eggs”.  Where is Jesus?  I felt like yelling out- “with Waldo”.  The service had the Easter Bunny but not the journey to the cross on Palm Sunday.  If the sermon contained the life giving gospel I can't remember.  I was too freaked out to pay attention to say.  The Triumphant Entry of the One who would conquer death, hell and the grave, forgive sinners, and give eternal life was skipped.


I want this to be an encouragement In the Holy Week observances to all Christians.   On especially Easter Sunday- those outside the church will visit.  Moms have wept tears to get their people in a service.  Unbelievers will attend for what they think are various reasons. YOU HAVE ONE JOB! Give them the gospel. LIFT JESUS UP.  We  HAVE ONE JOB - EVERY WEEK!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Two High School Football Championship Teams

                                                                                 




Forty years ago today on November 25th in cold rain the Friday after Thanksgiving my Gainesville High School Red Elephant team with over 30 seniors lost a double overtime game after a heartbreaking end.  In this game we totally dominated the Dalton team statistically in a quarter-final play-off game. We would have won on the old rules concerning games ending in a tie.  A new overtime format started in 1976. Our goal of being the first GHS state champs in the GHSA playoff era were crushed.  In our school’s rich tradition we had over thirty players whose fathers also played together on the Red Elephant football team.  We lost what was maybe the first overtime game due to some injuries and just the way the ball bounces.

Eleven years ago today on Nov. 25, 2005 I was thrilled to be the varsity football team chaplain as well as the middle school coach and player parent for the Riverside Military Academy Eagles 2005 State Champions. We "Donkey Konged" First Presbyterian Day School 55-7 on this same date for the our state championship crown.  Both games were played the Friday after Thanksgiving.  We were even accused of running up the score even though we played our whole squad including freshman.

Scripture says in Matthew 5:45 that the Lord “sends rain on the just and the unjust.” Whatever - Today I will meet a teammate at the game in Dalton 40 years later to the day. We will pull hard for the Coffee Trojans and my nephew who was a 4 year letterman for the Gainesville High Big Red Elephants.  He is the current Coffee Offensive Coordinator Michael Perry.  We are hoping with his play calls he can help give the Dalton Catamounts something in memory of the GHS 1976 team! We can celebrate knowing GHS contributed to an  a** kicking of Dalton if not somewhat late.

My senior year ended in a great team disappointment in a the double overtime loss.  My son’s senior year ended with a dominant performance leaving no doubt who was the best football team in our classification.

To the 2005 champs.  I love you deeply.  That special time together can still lift me up in challenging times. I sign off to the Riverside Military Academy Eagle’s State Champion team with Isaiah 40:31(NIV) “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary,They shall walk and not faint.”
- remember you are a champion everyday, forever.


To my 1976 Gainesville High School Big Red Elephants, I see men in the second half of life heading towards the fourth quarter.  Recently we have had funeral services for dear friends like our quarterback and a defensive linemen from that team. Both were from our 1977 senior class. I know we are champions because of how we have remained as a team in tougher situations than a fumble running out the clock or bad weather.  I sign off with Proverbs 18:24 (NIV) “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  - I think of Christ first and then my teammates when I read that verse. Especially in times of personal loss I'm still on a team. I still know I was and am on on two Champion teams.










                                                        Celebration after a group price was paid.


Friends and champions


                                     Fletcher Law GHS 1976 team, Graham Law RMA 2005
                                                           George Law GHS 1947 team



SEC Progress Report Week 13 Saturday November 26, 2016: Finals Week and some of you guys just flat out forgot to study



After the Thanksgiving week the teacher knows what you have been doing.
First thing - During finals week some of you guys acted like a bunch of Ole Miss ATOs and went to the wrong Library (the Library bar not the place of research and study),  or Foresters or the Warehouse or wherever you kids go today –NOT TO STUDY.
Secondly – you bring back some pitiful scores after a full semester.
 The teacher will give you a full review and its too late to study now buster. As Dean Bill Parcells once said – “You are what youare.”  Team, some of you made me do this and go all Dean Wormer on you.
Lets face the music.  No more “double secret probation, mister” this time your goose or turkey really is cooked.

LSU grade = B   Texas A&M = D
LSU 54  Texas A&M 39 -  LSU first seemed the first winner of the Tom Herman new coach hire, or was it Jimbo Fisher?  What did the Athletic Director tell Coach O? Congratulations Ed Ogeron we settled for you.  The school who is wanting to take the “next step” hired a career defensive line coach who is an ace recruiter and never had a winning season or gone to a bowl as a head coach.   He replaces a man in Les Miles who has won a National Championship and played for another.  This is a hire to move ahead in the toughest conference and toughest division the SEC West.       LSU, you might arguably be the the 2nd best team already in the West.  And this hire is supposed to take down Saban and Bama?  They played hard against a Texas A&M team that has fluctuated since Johnny Manzell left a few years ago.  The teacher was hoping that The Aggies would join the Tom Herman sweepstakes and would hire away Tom Herman to spice things up a bit.

Arkansas grade = (for crazy)   Missouri grade = A
Arkansas 24  Missouri 28 Coach – Hogs coach Bret Bielema has a smoking hot wife and a winning personality.  You feel great  at times but things go horribly wrong as in grading this is called a learning disorder.  Arkansas fans know this as the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde novel come to life.  Missouri, congratulations. To be accurate we never paid attention to you.  Did you finish all of your assignments?  You received a semester grade of I for “incomplete”, “ignored”, and “irrelevant”. Keep up with the conference or please change conferences with Oklahoma.

Georgia grade = F
Georgia Tech 28  Georgia 27 – Hey Georgia, to quote the famous educator Dean Vernon Wormer of Faber College “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life”  for a bunch of 5 stars that all the fans brag about the Dawgs signing each February.  Watching Georgia football we have seen the program go to a level of 5 star bad boys to the life alert woman.  You know, the older woman in the commercials who said “Help I’ve fallen and can’t get up.” You do not lose to Tech –first year or not.  Dawgs stop going to The Bourbon Street Bar and instead go work out in the new indoor facility.  Also look to your heritage.  Get what Erk Russell coined at Georgia, GATA. (GET AFTER THEM AGRESSIVLY – hey this is a family blog). Also as Erk used to say “Avoid the rush, hate Tech early.” You have a lot of work to do and have lost your way.  It can be overcome by an attitude change. If not, enjoy having the GT flag and the hallowed hedges ripped out every two years. 

Kentucky grade = A+
Kentucky 41  Louisville  38 – The Kentucky Wildcats almost got beat by the  Austin Peay Governors last week.  This week the Bluegrass Cats put it on the highly regarded Louisville Cardinals.  Well done Cats.  You did what Georgia, South Carolina and Florida could not do.  You beat your SEC rival.  You beat what many felt was a playoff team led by the most talented player QB Lamar Jackson. You Kentucky Wildcats are the team of the week.


Mississippi State grade = A  Ole Miss grade = F
Mississippi State 55 Ole Miss 20 – Mississippi State dominated this years Egg Bowl to see which of these two rivals would knock the other into last place of the SEC West.  This has been a down year for State.  Ole Miss went reverse Clint Eastwood on MSU and said “We will make your day.”  They did.  Now State, in a year they were defeated by South Alabama and almost by Samford, feels they are superior to the Flagship University.  Ole Miss is a team that went from contender with some quality losses to making Mississippi State look like they are a good football team. Ole Miss leads the series 63-44-6. The School Above You still is in the lead – but did the whole program for Ole Miss really return to last place with dismal hopes for the immediate future to be a contender?   


Auburn grade = C  Alabama grade = A++
Auburn 12  Alabama 30- Auburn, you remind me of what I read on an old lady’s tombstone once . “She hat done all she could.”  Bama, I am strongly pulling for you in the playoffs.  Like a cat this is when you usually let us down- when we cheer for you.  Don’t.  Just don’t.  Alabama freshman QB Jalen Hurts is the SEC player of the year.

South Carolina grade = F
South Carolina 7  Clemson 56 – South Carolina you had it all turned around the second half of the season and then you regressed.  The only good thing I can say about you is that you added to Gainesville High Heisman hopeful Deshaun Watson’s high light reel.  To pass future tests you will need to stop being the Washington Generals to the Clemson Globetrotters.  We going to take Clemson in the SEC East and put you on waivers South Carolina if these types of performances do not change soon.  You must dominate your ACC rival to stay in the SEC!!!

Tennessee grade= F  Vanderbilt grade = A+
Tennessee 34  Vanderbilt 45 – Tennessee, what the what what???   You were going to change up this roller coaster year with a medium, start,  Florida triumph, UGA thrilling comeback, suffer 3 loses but still end up in the Sugar Bowl –NOT.  Your grounded mister.  No sugar for you.  Now get on over to Birmingham or Memphis or Nashville.
Vandy, a loss to you can cost coaches their jobs.  You have the UGA, Ole Miss and Tennessee Athletic Directors looking up the number of the coach search company.
Tremendous.  Vanderbilt improved the most of any team by far.  Commodore linebacker Zack Cunningham you are the SEC defensive player of the year. 

Florida grade = F
Florida 13  Florida State 31 -  Florida, you looked like some snowbirds dowm from up north and did not resemble a team that got dominated by your ACC rival.  Your ACC rival Seminoles did not even make it to their conference championship game. 
I never thought I would say this but- look at your big brother Kentucky and do what they are doing.
Thank you Lord for this silly game we can have fun with.  Help us have the same enthusiasm for serving you and helping others.  Help us make our families, school and country to be greater.

Lift Jesus Up!

Fletcher Law
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SEC Progress Report Week 13 Saturday November 26, 2016: Finals Week and some of you guys just flat out forgot to study



After the Thanksgiving week the teacher knows what you have been doing.
First thing - During finals week some of you guys acted like a bunch of Ole Miss ATOs and went to the wrong Library (the Library bar not the place of research and study),  or Foresters or the Warehouse or wherever you kids go today –NOT TO STUDY.
Secondly – you bring back some pitiful scores after a full semester.
 The teacher will give you a full review and its too late to study now buster. As Dean Bill Parcells once said – “You are what youare.”  Team, some of you made me do this and go all Dean Wormer on you.
Lets face the music.  No more “double secret probation, mister” this time your goose or turkey really is cooked.

LSU grade = B   Texas A&M = D
LSU 54  Texas A&M 39 -  LSU first seemed the first winner of the Tom Herman new coach hire, or was it Jimbo Fisher?  What did the Athletic Director tell Coach O? Congratulations Ed Ogeron we settled for you.  The school who is wanting to take the “next step” hired a career defensive line coach who is an ace recruiter and never had a winning season or gone to a bowl as a head coach.   He replaces a man in Les Miles who has won a National Championship and played for another.  This is a hire to move ahead in the toughest conference and toughest division the SEC West.       LSU, you might arguably be the the 2nd best team already in the West.  And this hire is supposed to take down Saban and Bama?  They played hard against a Texas A&M team that has fluctuated since Johnny Manzell left a few years ago.  The teacher was hoping that The Aggies would join the Tom Herman sweepstakes and would hire away Tom Herman to spice things up a bit.

Arkansas grade = (for crazy)   Missouri grade = A
Arkansas 24  Missouri 28 Coach – Hogs coach Bret Bielema has a smoking hot wife and a winning personality.  You feel great  at times but things go horribly wrong as in grading this is called a learning disorder.  Arkansas fans know this as the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde novel come to life.  Missouri, congratulations. To be accurate we never paid attention to you.  Did you finish all of your assignments?  You received a semester grade of I for “incomplete”, “ignored”, and “irrelevant”. Keep up with the conference or please change conferences with Oklahoma.

Georgia grade = F
Georgia Tech 28  Georgia 27 – Hey Georgia, to quote the famous educator Dean Vernon Wormer of Faber College “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life”  for a bunch of 5 stars that all the fans brag about the Dawgs signing each February.  Watching Georgia football we have seen the program go to a level of 5 star bad boys to the life alert woman.  You know, the older woman in the commercials who said “Help I’ve fallen and can’t get up.” You do not lose to Tech –first year or not.  Dawgs stop going to The Bourbon Street Bar and instead go work out in the new indoor facility.  Also look to your heritage.  Get what Erk Russell coined at Georgia, GATA. (GET AFTER THEM AGRESSIVLY – hey this is a family blog). Also as Erk used to say “Avoid the rush, hate Tech early.” You have a lot of work to do and have lost your way.  It can be overcome by an attitude change. If not, enjoy having the GT flag and the hallowed hedges ripped out every two years. 

Kentucky grade = A+
Kentucky 41  Louisville  38 – The Kentucky Wildcats almost got beat by the  Austin Peay Governors last week.  This week the Bluegrass Cats put it on the highly regarded Louisville Cardinals.  Well done Cats.  You did what Georgia, South Carolina and Florida could not do.  You beat your SEC rival.  You beat what many felt was a playoff team led by the most talented player QB Lamar Jackson. You Kentucky Wildcats are the team of the week.


Mississippi State grade = A  Ole Miss grade = F
Mississippi State 55 Ole Miss 20 – Mississippi State dominated this years Egg Bowl to see which of these two rivals would knock the other into last place of the SEC West.  This has been a down year for State.  Ole Miss went reverse Clint Eastwood on MSU and said “We will make your day.”  They did.  Now State, in a year they were defeated by South Alabama and almost by Samford, feels they are superior to the Flagship University.  Ole Miss is a team that went from contender with some quality losses to making Mississippi State look like they are a good football team. Ole Miss leads the series 63-44-6. The School Above You still is in the lead – but did the whole program for Ole Miss really return to last place with dismal hopes for the immediate future to be a contender?   


Auburn grade = C  Alabama grade = A++
Auburn 12  Alabama 30- Auburn, you remind me of what I read on an old lady’s tombstone once . “She hat done all she could.”  Bama, I am strongly pulling for you in the playoffs.  Like a cat this is when you usually let us down- when we cheer for you.  Don’t.  Just don’t.  Alabama freshman QB Jalen Hurts is the SEC player of the year.

South Carolina grade = F
South Carolina 7  Clemson 56 – South Carolina you had it all turned around the second half of the season and then you regressed.  The only good thing I can say about you is that you added to Gainesville High Heisman hopeful Deshaun Watson’s high light reel.  To pass future tests you will need to stop being the Washington Generals to the Clemson Globetrotters.  We going to take Clemson in the SEC East and put you on waivers South Carolina if these types of performances do not change soon.  You must dominate your ACC rival to stay in the SEC!!!

Tennessee grade= F  Vanderbilt grade = A+
Tennessee 34  Vanderbilt 45 – Tennessee, what the what what???   You were going to change up this roller coaster year with a medium, start,  Florida triumph, UGA thrilling comeback, suffer 3 loses but still end up in the Sugar Bowl –NOT.  Your grounded mister.  No sugar for you.  Now get on over to Birmingham or Memphis or Nashville.
Vandy, a loss to you can cost coaches their jobs.  You have the UGA, Ole Miss and Tennessee Athletic Directors looking up the number of the coach search company.
Tremendous.  Vanderbilt improved the most of any team by far.  Commodore linebacker Zack Cunningham you are the SEC defensive player of the year. 

Florida grade = F
Florida 13  Florida State 31 -  Florida, you looked like some snowbirds dowm from up north and did not resemble a team that got dominated by your ACC rival.  Your ACC rival Seminoles did not even make it to their conference championship game. 
I never thought I would say this but- look at your big brother Kentucky and do what they are doing.
Thank you Lord for this silly game we can have fun with.  Help us have the same enthusiasm for serving you and helping others.  Help us make our families, school and country to be greater.

Lift Jesus Up!

Fletcher Law