Monday, December 16, 2013

"Who You Gonna Call?" God's Emergency Numbers

Ps 107:28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. 30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. 31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
The Scriptures echo the point on virtually every page. When we call on Him in any and every emergency, He always hears and responds as He know is best. An anonymous author has suggested the following passages we may consult when we need to access the Lord’s abundant resources.
When in sorrow, call John 14.
When men fail you, call Psalm 27.
If you want to be fruitful, call John 15.
When you have sinned, call Psalm 51.
When you worry, call Matthew 6:19-34.
When you are in danger, call Psalm 91.
When God seems far away, call Psalm 139.
When your faith needs stirring, call Hebrews 11.
When you are lonely and fearful, call Psalm 23.
When you grow bitter and critical, call 1 Cor. 13.
For the secret to happiness, call Col. 3:12-17.
When you feel down and out, call Romans 8:31-39.
When you want peace and rest, call Matt. 11:25-30.
When the world seems bigger than God, call Psalm 90.
When you want Christian assurance, call Romans 8:1-30.
When you leave home for work or travel, call Psalm 121.
When your prayers grow narrow or selfish, call Psalm 67.
For a great invention/opportunity, call Isaiah 55.
When you want courage for a task, call Joshua 1.
To find out how to get along with fellow men, call Romans 12.
When you think of investments/returns, call Mark 10.
If you are depressed, call Psalm 27.
If your pocketbook is empty, call Psalm 37.
If you are losing confidence in people, call 1 Cor. 13.
If people seem unkind, call John 15.
If discouraged about your work, call Psalm 126.
If you find the world growing small, and yourself great, call Psalm 19.

If you are like me, there are some numbers here you need to call. When we feed our faith, our doubts will starve to death. God bless.
To comment and/or to receive notices of future blog posts,
please email cory247 [AT symbol] gmx [dot com]. God bless.

The Will of God Will Never Take You

The will of God will never take you,
Where the grace of God cannot keep you.
Where the arms of God cannot support you,
Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot endow you.

The will of God will never take you,
Where the Spirit of God cannot work through you,
Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you,
Where the hands of God cannot mold you.

The will of God will never take you,
Where the love of God cannot enfold you,
Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.

The will of God will never take you,
Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears,
Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the wonders of God cannot be done for you,
Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.

-- Author Unknown

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Just a Little Wine: One Man’s Story, Part Two

Part Two
With the sentencing past, a pinpoint of light finally penetrated his gloom. Hope struggled to the surface of an ocean of despair ... and took a breath. It was like those icy-cold winter waters in Malibu, with blackness creeping over the ocean. Like being dragged through the salty sea that threatened to swallow him. And like the calm that finally came to his panicked mind. God entered. And Norvel Young was alive again.
Reflecting back, he said, "I learned how vast and how central grace is in the Gospel. I now actually think in terms of grace. It is wonderful that God allows us to forgive ourselves. And I have observed Him helping many other people in situations similar to mine since that time."
Indeed, Norvel's life after the accident became a parable of grace: every day was characterized by love, by fresh beginnings, by positive energy, by deep and abiding gratitude for each blessing, from the tiniest to the grandest. And his life reflected a deep, settled faith.
But there was another very tangible result of the tragedy: a scholarly, in-depth study on stress was conducted by Norvel Young under the auspices of the University of Southern California Safety Center. Research guidelines were approved by a six-person academic committee: Dr. Seymour Farber, Dr. Hans Selye, Dr. Robert Maurer, Dr. Charles Barron, Dr. Robert Canady and Dr. Meyer Friedman. Dr. John Dreher supervised the research and served as technical advisor. The resulting monograph was published in 1978 by Pepperdine University Press and titled Poison Stress Is a Killer.
In the preface, Dr. Norvel Young wrote, "When all these inputs are evaluated, a very clear message emerges in regard to any activity in which man must compete - the lethal effects of 'poison stress.' This is not the stress that leaves one physically tired, but satisfied - it is that self-generated reaction to external pressures which damages the biochemistry, upsets the emotions, drains the strength, and leaves its victim dangerously open to accident and physical illness."
He concludes his preface with these chilling words: "The physi­cal and social toll of these factors is increasingly identified as a cause of extensive job-connected disability in the work force. The divorce court, the prison, the psychiatrist's couch, and the morgue bear similar testimony."
The words were not simply academic.
In the winter of Norvel's soul, in the frozen aftermath, a thought was trying to form in the minds of people who loved him. That thought would be expressed eloquently nearly a dozen years later in a tribute to Norvel at the 1987 Pepperdine Bible Lectures. Bill Banowsky quoted the "bully" President Teddy Roosevelt, who said in 1910:
It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of Deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who was actually in the arena, whose Faith is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumphs of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
The "strong man stumbled" and no one could believe it. Then finally, they realized that he was not a machine. He was just a man. And some were angry because he was just a man - like themselves.
But Norvel Young's time was not yet over. He would have more than 20 additional years to "spend himself in a worthy cause."
There may have been winter in his soul, but he was not a "cold and timid soul," in TR's words. The fire would return to his bones.
Norvel Young had allowed himself to gradually drift far from the home of his heart. He could not have imagined that he would ever be in such a distant place. But he knew the way home.
One of the attendant traits of greatness is the ability to make a comeback against heavy odds. There were people who thought M. Norvel Young was finished as an effective leader in the educational community and at Pepperdine University. And among Churches of Christ.
While most people reacted with compassion, a few chided him with suggestions that "the best thing for Pepperdine University was for Norvel Young to simply fade away into oblivion." But they didn't understand grace. And they didn't understand "The Heart of the Fighter," in the words of Landon Saunders. Character is not about never making mistakes; it involves the strength to confess one's sins and shortcomings, to ask for forgiveness. And to rise again to new levels of understanding and virtue.
Slowly but surely, Norvel made the return to his work. He swallowed enough internal humiliation to sink an ocean liner, but he struggled back to the surface. A lesser person would not have survived, could not have shown his face in public again. Somehow Norvel Young summoned his childlike faith. He
grasped the truth of God's inexhaustible forgiveness. And he even found the grace to forgive himself - at least enough to go on.
Many people were affected by the tragedy of the accident. Certainly, family and friends were shaken, discouraged, embarrassed, as were Norvel's colleagues at the university—and the whole Pepperdine family. But one person lived every painful moment with him: Helen Mattox Young. And she never wavered. She too learned more about God's grace. And she also learned more about the vast goodness of Norvel's heart. Her strength was truly astonishing - for there were times when she had to stand tall for the two of them. When the storm finally passed, it was her victory, every bit as much as it was his.
Future years for Norvel and Helen Young would be years of triumph. For as someone has observed, "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Norvel Young had allowed himself to gradually drift far from the home of his heart. He could not have imagined that he would ever be in such a distant place. But he knew the way home.
Just four days after the fiery accident on Pacific Coast Highway near the Getty, thousands of people were passing that way toward the Pepperdine Malibu campus. It was September 20, 1975, and the whole vicinity was abuzz with activity. Eventually, a crowd of 18,000 filled the bleachers that had been erected on the parking lot of Firestone Fieldhouse. President Gerald Ford's helicopter landed and he was whisked to the staging area. At the appropriate time, the dignitaries descended the stairs from the Fieldhouse to a platform that had been built above the parking lot - and to a sea of faces, thunderous applause and the music of the U.S. Marine Corps Band. In addition to President and Mrs. Ford, there was Pepperdine President William S. Banowsky, entertainer Pat Boone (who would lead the audience in the national anthem), actor John Wayne (who would lead the Pledge
of Allegiance), editor Reuel Lemmons (to offer a prayer), Mr. Richard Seaver (who would accept the Fieldhouse on behalf of the University), benefactor Leonard Firestone, plus Richard Scaife, Fritz Huntsinger and other friends of the University. They were announced in twos over the public address system.
But at a certain point in the introductions, only one name was called ... Helen M. Young. She smiled and walked regally, with head held high, as she descended the staircase. Some thought the volume of applause increased as she was introduced. Nearly everyone knew of the terrible invisible burden she carried, and their admiration for her soared.
But Chancellor Norvel Young was missing from the most spectacular day of the University's history.
He was in No Man's Land, a wilderness of broken dreams. And he remained in that far country for many months. He resigned his role as the editor of 20th Century Christian magazine. He resigned as an elder of the Malibu Church of Christ. In annual reports and college catalogs, he was listed as "M. Norvel Young, Chancellor (on leave), Pepperdine University." He was removed or put on leave-of-absence from several boards. He was sidelined from the Pepperdine Board of Regents. This man who had lived in the middle of the busy channels of life had drifted into the backwaters. It looked as though the world would go on without him.
But he was not forgotten.
Norvel knew of only one way to do it. He traveled all over the country, speaking to people individually and in groups, asking for forgiveness. Roger Coffman, a minister in Georgia, later said, "Norvel, I cannot ever recall one human being standing any taller than you did one evening during the 20th Century Christian dinner at the Abilene Lectureship just after the automobile accident in Los Angeles. To address your peers as you did, candidly and honestly, without making any excuses, but simply asking for forgiveness and help, made a deep and lasting impression on me that I will never forget."
Seaver College Professor of Communication Morris Womack visited Norvel shortly after he returned home from his hospital and recuperation period. Norvel was still staying in bed most of the time, and Womack sat with him in the bedroom of the Adamson Beach House. Norvel said to him, "Morris, I don't even remember getting in my car that day." But he never denied his guilt, never excused the drinking that led to the accident. He only asked for forgiveness. Womack assured him that he was indeed forgiven by people of good will.
On Sunday, December 14,1975, a little less than three months after the accident (which seemed to be a long silence to some people), the following statement written by Norvel was read before the Malibu Church of Christ:
I come before you in a spirit of contrite confession of sin. I have sinned against God, against the two whose lives were lost in the accident, against the one who was injured and against their families, against the church, against Pepperdine University and my associates here. I would give my very life to undo this tragedy, but this is impossible. I must live with the awful realization that my grief cannot bring back a human life or erase the injury to so many. I confess to you that my use of alcohol was involved in this acci­dent. To say that I am profoundly sorry is such a feeble and inadequate expression of my stricken conscience. I have confessed my sin to God and know that he has forgiven me for Christ's sake. I now confess my sin to you and ask your forgiveness and your prayers.
I want to go further in explanation, but not to make any excuse. There can be no excuse. For 50 years I abstained from alcohol and taught against its use. As President of Pepperdine, I attended thousands of functions where it was served, but did not partake. In a mistaken attempt to relieve stress, I began to use alcohol occasionally. In 1969 I developed a heart condition which has reached the point where my heart never beats normally. Later, I had a heart attack and two small strokes. I was put on heavy medication to slow my heart and thin my blood. This medication saps me of physical energy which sometimes results in depression. One of my doctors suggested using moderate amounts of alcohol to relax the heart. I began to do so on occasion, especially in times of stress. I did not keep it at home or serve it. I did not become addicted to the regular use of alcohol, nor am I addicted now. With God's help, I will never use alcohol again in any form. I pray that my tragic experience will serve as a warning to others.
I am humbled and grieved, yet even in the midst of suffering, I know God's mercy and comfort in Christ. I want to make as frank and complete a statement of my sin as I can, taking all the responsibility and asking forgiveness, especially of my brethren.
I leave the future in God's hands. My relationship with Pepperdine University will depend upon the judgment of the court, the attitude and response of the brotherhood, and ultimately the decision of the Board of Trustees.
I sincerely thank you for all your prayers. I ask your prayers for the families of the deceased, the judge, the University, and for me.
- M. Norvel Young
The January 6, 1976, issue of the journal, firm Foundation, carried an editorial by Norvel's longtime friend, Reuel Lemmons, editor of the publication. It said in part, "Here is an excellent opportunity for those of us who claim to go by the Bible to prove that we do it. We who have been forgiven so much can with grace extend it.... The forgiven can go free; it is the unforgiving who wear chains. We have all been the recipients of unlimited grace. Now is the time to extend it." Lemmons went on to reprint the above statement by Dr. Young in its entirely.
Less than six months after the accident, Norvel wrote a long message to his beloved readers of 20th Century Christian magazine. It is worth recording here, in part, because it says so much about the mission of the magazine, as he saw it, and about the essence of his faith. He also gives insight to his struggle and the progressing drama of his ordeal. The message appeared in the March 1976 issue of the magazine, as follows:
To Our 20th Century Christian Family:
For 38 years I have had the privilege of sharing my faith with you through the pages of this magazine. I was one of the small group of young men who founded the 20th Century Christian in 1938, and for the past 30 years I have been its editor.
The 20th Century Christian through these years has sought to exalt Jesus Christ as God's Son and our Lord, to foster faith in the Scriptures as the inspired Word of God, to promote New Testament Christianity in the present age, to affirm the everlasting promises of God, the providence of God and the power of prayer. We have emphasized the Good News of God's amazing grace. We have tried to promote the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We have encouraged the sharing of the gospel with those who have never heard it. We have stressed faith in Christ, hope in God's promises and love above all.
It has been our purpose to state the message of Christ so as to interest both those who are already Christians and those who are not yet Christians. Our articles have been aimed to help the person in the pew as well as the man in the pulpit. We have opposed sectarianism and eschewed both the extremes of Pharisaical legalism and modernistic liberalism. We have discouraged a judgmental spirit and encouraged a humble dependence on the righteousness of Christ, rather than self-righteousness. In an age of sin and darkness, 20th Century Christian's dedicated writers have tried to light a candle rather than curse the darkness.
Through the years I have urged our readers to rely on God in times of joy and in times of distress. Now I bear witness again to God's grace as I speak to you out of the crucible of suffering. On September 16,1975, I was involved in a tragic traffic accident in which two women lost their lives and the other driver and I were injured. I was responsible. I have admitted my guilt to the church and to the court. I would give my very life to undo this tragedy, but my remorse cannot bring back a single life or erase the harm done.
In the midst of my despair in the hospital, I prayed for forgiveness. I praise God for the cleansing power of the blood of Christ. For 44 years I have preached the forgiveness of God to others. Now I have experienced in a deeper way the healing power of his grace. I thank God also for his love to me which has been shown through the outpouring of compassion from my brethren. Thank God for your overwhelming remembrances of me in my trouble. Your prayers have sustained me and given me courage to carry on. The judge stayed for six months a one year custody sentence. He required me to take a six months' leave of absence from Pepperdine University to give full time to a research and lecture program in traffic safety which can result in saving many lives. This project will be under the auspices of the University of Southern California Safety Center.
Cory Collins

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

My Thanksgiving List: Why I Love God’s People

Php 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
God has surrounded Tanya and me with some very special people in His church family. In every congregation we have served, there have been individuals and couples who knew just how to minister to a minister … and his wife. Local ministry can be very lonely, and the challenges can be daunting. The devil is relentless. But again and again the Lord has provided just the people we needed to keep going strong.
We are thankful for people who trust us. They let us be part of their lives. They hand us their new babies to hold. They share their triumphs. They confide in us their struggles with marriage, children, health, employment, and faith. They make themselves open and vulnerable to us. They make us feel needed, appreciated, and loved.
We are thankful for people who understand us. They know that, in addition to being a preacher and his wife, we are a husband and wife, a father and a mother. We share the same concerns about our children that all parents do. We also have bills to pay and doctors’ appointments to keep. We sometimes drop the ball or fail to show up, but we mean well. These friends recognize our limitations and do not have us on a perfect pedestal. They know that we need friends, and they invite us to spend time and do things together. They cut us slack and give us the benefit of the doubt.
We are thankful for people who partner with us in ministry. What a joy it is to have elders, deacons, fellow ministers and administrative assistants offer sincere respect, solid support, and clear communication. They have our back and take up for us. They listen when we speak and offer faithful, constructive help. They share with us a strong work ethic and a passionate desire to serve the Lord. We never feel alone.
We owe so much to so many. And we owe it all to the Lord.
To comment and/or to receive notices of future blog posts, please email cory247 [AT symbol] gmx [dot com]. God bless.
Cory Collins

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Just a Little Wine: One Man’s Story, Part One

M. Norvel Young was a godly, faithful, well-known leader among God’s people in the 1970s. Having served as the effective preaching minister for the Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas, he left that position to become the president of Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He was also the editor of 20th Century Christian, a brotherhood periodical that blessed and strengthened the faith of many.
His life story is told in the book Forever Young: The Life and Times of M. Norvel Young & Helen M. Young, written by Bill Henegar and Jerry Rushford. It was published by 21st Century Christian in 1999. While the entire book is worth reading, the following excerpt regarding Young’s bout with alcohol is used with permission from the publisher. It is presented here in two parts.
Part One
Beneath the seemingly glamorous life of the Youngs in a paradise setting, something terribly troubling was stirring. The stress of knowing that raising the funds for the new campus was primarily on his and Bill Banowsky's shoulders was taking a heavy toll on Norvel. His doctor prescribed Valium to help relieve the pressure. Though the tranquilizer quieted his nerves, it also took away his upbeat attitude and made him depressed. But he found a new "friend." For more than fifty years, Norvel had never touched a drop of alcohol, but now he convinced himself that taking "a little wine for thy stomach's sake," as Paul advised his young friend, Timothy, in the New Testament, might be helpful. Maybe a cocktail now and then would ease the stress and bring back his optimistic spirit.
Months went by and the drinking became regular. But somehow, Norvel was able to keep his new habit hidden. Only a few people saw the telltale signs. Once, he was arrested for driving under the influence, but a friend was able to keep it quiet. Looking back now, it may have been better for Norvel to "take his lumps" at that point, because what happened next was a tragedy of the first magnitude.
On an evening in mid-September of 1975, news reached the Youngs that a young professor at Pepperdine, Dr. Charles E. Wilks, had been riding his motorcycle on the university's rain-slick campus drive and somehow had lost control while heading downhill. He struck a light pole and was killed. Norvel was responsible for bringing the young man to the university -he was sure the new professor would be a wonderful addition. Now the young man was dead. And as Helen went to be by the side of the man's wife and daughter, a depressed Norvel turned to alcohol.
To add to his grief and stress, he was concerned about an upcoming event - the largest one the university had ever seen - which was to take place in about three days. President Gerald Ford was to visit the Malibu campus to dedicate Firestone Fieldhouse (named in honor of benefactor Leonard Firestone) and also the president's home, Brock House (named for longtime friend Margaret Martin Brock). The University had been searching for bleachers that were to go up in the parking lot of the Fieldhouse for the many thousands who were expected to attend the event. Because of a recent attempt on President Ford's life, security was to be tight. And the Secret Service was hounding Norvel and others to get the bleachers in place so that the area could be secured.
Then Norvel was notified that those running the main frame computer had just discovered that the student accounts-receivable total was about $5 million, which meant that the university was owed $5 million of uncollected tuition and other student costs. In addition, they found that the University's accounts payable total was up to about $3 million. The news was a disturbing surprise. Everything seemed to be closing in on Norvel Young's dreams. There was so much to do. Too much. And now the death of a promising young professor ...
The next day, Norvel began work in his Beach House office, going about his usual routine. At about eleven o'clock, he got into his car, drove out the gravel driveway and headed south on Pacific Coast Highway toward Los Angeles. He had made the drive hundreds of times, and today he had a meeting in town with Don Darnell, who served as chairman of the Pepperdine President's Board (later, renamed the University Board).
As his car sped by the backs of the houses that lined the ocean, he was not feeling well at all. The death of the professor and his grieving family were on his mind, along with financial concerns and the anxiety over the biggest event of Pepperdine's history, hosting a sitting president. But he had also consumed some alcohol to "comfort and calm him." As he drove, his mind began to fog over. Then, as he neared Pacific Palisades, he began to experience blurred vision. He tried to clear both his mind and vision ... he shook his head ... then there was blackness. A few hours would pass before he realized what happened next.
Near the J. Paul Getty Museum, his car struck another car that was waiting at a signal light. The violent collision drove the trailer hitch on the front car into its fuel tank, and the gasoline ignited. The car was soon in flames. Then Norvel's car also caught on fire.
The driver of the other car had her mother and her aunt in the back seat of the small two-door car. There was no escape. Both of the older women were killed. The other driver and Norvel were both injured and were transported to the hospital. In fact, a man in a nearby home ran and pulled Norvel from his burning car, probably saving his life.
The Wednesday, September 17, 1975, the Los Angeles Times ran a story with the blaring headline: "Pepperdine's Chancellor Held in Fatal Crash." Apparently, in the reporter's mind, the thing of real importance was that Pepperdine's chancellor was in trouble - he was being "held." The opening paragraph, indeed the first seven or eight words of the article, gave the bias of the story:
Pepperdine University Chancellor M. Norvel Young was jailed on suspicion of manslaughter and felony drunk driving after being involved in a traffic accident in which one woman was killed and two others were critically injured, the California Highway Patrol reported.
When Norvel woke up, he was in a hospital. He had facial lacerations, a brain concussion and internal bleeding. As the haze in his mind lifted slightly, he could see the face of Helen close by his side. He asked her what had happened and she told him he had had an accident and was injured. The awfulness of the situation was beginning to descend on him. li was like having a nightmare, somehow forgetting it, then remembering it again -only to discover that it was stark reality.
He later said, "I turned my face to the wall and cried. It was the worst day in my life. I knew I was completely at fault be­cause I had been drinking, but I didn't know how disastrous my mistake had been." As the details unfolded, he began to gradu­ally recall parts of the accident and the things that led to it.
Norvel Young was absolutely crushed by the guilt. He won­dered why he hadn't just been killed in the accident. He kept thinking of the two older women and the driver. Then he thought of his family. And he pictured the hundreds of thou­sands of Christians in the fellowship of which he was a part. The university campus on the hills in Malibu with all of its people would come into his mind. He had betrayed the trust of many thousands of people. How could he face the world again? How could he live with himself?
News of the accident traveled fast. All the local media cov­ered the story because of its sensational nature. Even Paul Harvey mentioned the story on his national report. And Norvel had no one to blame but himself. He knew he deserved whatever punishment came his way, even imprisonment. Perhaps as never before, he threw himself on the mercy of God. He prayed for the driver of the other car, and he prayed for the families of the two that perished. Again and again he prayed that God would heal the wounds of this unbelievable ordeal.
He entered the winter of his soul.
Certainly, the Los Angeles community was distressed by the accident. But the Pepperdine community was in a state of utter shock. And because of Norvel Young's long years of leadership within Churches of Christ, a whole fellowship of people was aghast. Some critical members condemned Norvel, but most were people of good will and they prayed for God to heal the situation as soon as possible.
Within minutes of the news, Norvel's three daughters, Emily, Marilyn and Sara, were at his bedside, along with Emily's husband, Steven Lemley. Norvel's son Matt was in medical school in Houston and he immediately caught a plane for home. The family surrounded Norvel with love. And they prayed. They knew that his soul would need more healing than his body.
Publisher Ralph Sweet, a longtime friend of the Youngs, grabbed a plane and flew in from Austin, Texas, "just to help." Another Texan whom Norvel had known since college days, Reuel Lemmons, editor of Firm Foundation journal, also caught a plane and came to encourage Norvel.
Amazingly, Dr. Paul Davis, the education editor of Reader's Digest, simply arrived with his suitcase from San Francisco saying he would stay and help deal with the situation as long as it took. The hospital put him in a room next to Norvel's and Davis spent four days talking with the press, helping visitors and assisting Helen with the whirlwind of problems.
Calls began to come in from across the nation. And more than 2,000 letters, cards and telegrams poured in to Norvel and the family. Remembering the comfort the communications provided in the terrible aftermath of the accident, Norvel said, "We received thousands of letters that were supportive and helpful. Helen still has all the letters."
He continued, "We began to get checks from people like George Elkins, David Packard and Tex Thornton. Leonard Firestone told us he had a similar thing happen to him." Suddenly the truth was apparent: for years Norvel Young had taken great pains to be kind to every person he met; now that kindness was return­ing to visit him.
Although everyone at 20th Century Christian Publishing was supportive, an emergency meeting was held in Abilene, Texas, and the board decided to accept Norvel's decision to turn over his editorship of 20th Century Christian magazine. He was obvi­ously more than willing to do that. Joe Barnett, minister of the Broadway Church in Lubbock, Texas, was asked to become the new editor in light of the situation.
As for Norvel Young, the days following the accident were filled with terrible bouts with despair and desperation. The feelings would leave for awhile, then return with a vengeance, overwhelming him. Some family members and friends were afraid of leaving him alone. As they observed his mental state, they wondered if he might try to take his own life. But they were not as afraid as Norvel himself. His entire world had shat­tered. Everything he was, everything for which he stood, went up in the flames of the accident. He simply did not believe he could endure the shame. He repeatedly read the book of Psalms, especially Psalm 51, and prayed over and over for forgiveness.
On October 30, 1975, there was a preliminary hearing for Norvel in the Santa Monica Court. Both he and his attorney agreed to waive the preliminary hearing, giving up his right to defend himself and to question witnesses. Later, in the Superior Court the judge asked Norvel for his plea. Norvel quietly said, "I plead guilty, your honor." The judge set December 4,1975, for sentencing.
The December 4 date for sentencing was delayed until January 27, 1976, to allow the judge time to study the large num­ber of letters he had received from interested people. The vast majority of the letters asked for leniency for Norvel Young because of his great contributions to society throughout his life.
When January 27 finally came, a frightened Norvel Young stood before the judge for sentencing. He had no defense. He was at the mercy of the court. The judge sentenced him to one year in jail - but immediately suspended it on the condition that Norvel take a six-month leave of absence from his duties at Pepperdine and perform public service. Specifically, he was to conduct courses for drivers who drink and do research on the kind of stress that contributed to his use of alcohol. He was fined $2,000 and his driver's license was suspended for four years.
Part two may be found here:

Cory Collins

Sunday, December 01, 2013

I am Thankful for My Church Family Because …

Tanya and I are blessed to get to serve the Lord with the Keller church of Christ in the greater Dallas – Fort Worth area. Recently many of our brothers and sisters explained why they are thankful for this very special congregation. With their permission, their comments are posted here. They are generally grouped according to some of the themes in 1 Corinthians 16.

If you belong to a congregation like this one, you certainly feel the same way. If not, come visit us here!


Peggy Crawford

I am so thankful for the Keller church family because of the love they show the Lord and for each other.  When you walk in the door even as a first time visitor you can feel the love.

Nathan Goodnight

Based off your request, I wanted to send you a note to tell you why Becky and I are thankful for the church at Keller: young families. It feels so good to have others around us in similar chapters in life, new kids, etc.  Definitely one of the MANY reasons we’re so glad God led us to Keller!

Linda Gore

Your prayers have given Ben a chance to overcome this disease, and your many cards have shown him that church members support one another.  You have all been such an encouragement to me that mere words cannot convey my gratitude.  We do serve an awesome God!

Gail Jaynes

I have thought about this since Wed. and am still not sure I can say it in a few words but I will try.  I am thankful for the Keller church family because it is my spiritual home.  I have been here since Greg, my youngest child was an infant.  We have been through good and bad times sickness and health and too many things to mention but the constant has been our church family.  Even though many friends have come and gone through the church the spirit of God’s love and family has remained strong and consistant.  This point was never more evident than when Greg came with the group from the Rams for Christ ministry.  The church opened up the building, and provided more than I could imagine in hospitality.  He was so proud and showed the group the entire building after they arrived and explained how the church had grown and expaned.  He described it as his church home where he grew up.  He told Codi (his girlfriend) about all of the people who would come to meet her and what they meant to him.  It was a tell about a family.  We have been through a lot, and the Keller Church has been there with us through it all.  I am forever grateful that God saw fit to put us here.  I hope we can be that part of a family that will give to others what has been given to us.

Pam Joslen

Because when I moved here I had lived in the same place for 50 years. Then my world was turned upside down-I lost my mother and went thru a painful divorce all in one year. My brother insisted I move here close to his family. I felt like I was all alone without a church home, no friends, a very different environment from my rural, small town home. After several months and some really “different” worship places I was led to Keller church of Christ. From the first Sunday until now nearly three years later I have been welcomed, embraced and loved back to life. I have never felt so close to The Lord as in the Keller church. I thank God every day for my Keller family.

Amanda and Johnny Killough 

I miss the members when we’re gone. We both feel like we belong, even though we’re still getting to know people, we truly look forward to coming.

Susan Lusignan

Darrell and I are truly thankful for Keller Church of Christ because it feels like we are part of a church family.  We have friends of all ages and I hope anyone would feel like they could call on Darrell or myself if they needed anything.  We are blessed to be part of such a great congregation.  I was raised in the Church and have never felt like this about a congregation before.

Richard Lyons

… because it is an exciting place filled with brothers and sisters who want to be involved in spreading the good news.

… because of the love for one another that can be felt every time we get together.

… because of the encouragement I receive from being with brothers and sisters of like mindedness.

… because no one ever has to feel alone.

Sue Martin

The Keller Church of Christ has my back!! 

Sam Pulliam

When I came to Keller after about three of the most difficult and painful years of my life, my son encouraged me to get back to church.  Funny how your children sometimes take on the role of the parent.

The first Sunday morning I entered the auditorium, hearts reached out to me with Christian love and I was made comfortable.  I knew I could love this place, and I do.  Even though I am still having serious difficulties in my personal life, I know the people here care.  There is tremendous value in this kind of love being so available to one who needs it.  I am thankful.


Patty Harper

...they have taken me, a total stranger who came into their church to be baptized, into their hearts, minds and lives.  As I care for my elderly mother and recover from illness and injuries, my church family sends me heartfelt greetings and Scriptures each week to show me that though I haven’t been there, they haven’t forgotten me.  Their Christ-like attitude of genuine love and concern for me has brought me to my knees in humble gratitude.  Only God knows how much I appreciate them.

… because of our church-wide commitment to follow Jesus by “seeking and saving the lost” and by fulfilling Luke 4:18-19. We are so blessed!


“I am thankful for the Keller church family because...

...of the opportunity to worship and serve with a congregation that clearly loves the Lord and each other and is so adamantly committed to remaining faithful to God’s word; committed to not only learning it - but living it and sharing it with the community in which God has placed us.

I am also grateful to worship and serve with so many brothers and sisters who have been Christians for many years, some for longer than I’ve been alive. Their faith and wisdom and example are to be cherished. I look forward to the day when I will have a head full of white hair after having walked with the Lord for so many years.

I am thankful that whenever someone asks me ‘Where do you go to church?’ I can proudly answer ‘I worship with the Keller church of Christ,’ and invite them to join us.”



As recent visitors/new members, we have been pulled in to this church family by your kindness, love, concerted concern. The elders care about continuous spiritual improvement. Members are individually concerned about their spiritual growth and contribution to the Lord’s work. There is a clear feeling that “we can” versus why we can’t.  Christians are moving together in the same direction for His glory!


Paul Ethridge

I am thankful for the Keller church family because they stand for truth as it is stated in scripture.  Every member I know is grounded in faith and unafraid to face adversity when it arises.  I am proud that pure truth is taught in each classroom from KCS to Sunday, Wednesday and from the pulpit.  My brothers and sisters are anxious to speak up in class; excited to share experiences and humble enough to ask for help through the prayer groups.

Many exciting things are in work at the Keller church and I’m thankful so many brethren are willing to step in and work to enhance the spreading of the Good News. 

Thank you Keller church family!

L. B. Holmes

I am thankful for the Keller church family because...l know I will have an easier time on Judgment Day due to the Bible lessons I’ve been privileged to hear and the very special brothers and sisters He has given me to fellowship.

Jesus loves you and so do I.

Sharry Lanier

I am thankful for the church at Keller because I can depend on what is taught here, to be God’s teaching and not that of mankind.  I don’t have to get up each morning and wonder what new thing will be presented in the name of Biblical teaching.  I am thankful for a God-directed path for my feet.

Ole Olsen

I could write a book regarding the Keller body of Christ, and what it means to me personally. Especially as the blowing winds of change are currently  howling within our brotherhood, it is so wonderful to worship with an eldership and minister that continue to uphold the doctrine of Jesus Christ. No compromises from the Word of God! No bending the Word of God, in order to accommodate the current culture as to grow the membership. Only sound teaching from the pulpit of the (1) one church, the essentially of baptism, the weekly observance of the Lords Supper, the dangers of alcohol, the importance of both elders and deacons serving within the body of believers, the scriptural role of women within the worship assembly, not blurring the lines of New Testament Christianity with the other religions of the world, providing lessons regarding the non-authority of instrumental music, teaching the dangers of alcohol, and the possibility of becoming a stumbling block to others.... I could go on forever!

Church division, and dealing with relocating to a faithful congregation, is in some way as traumatic as losing a love one in death. I can attest! After personally being required to leave family and friends [church division is life changing] because of an eldership and  minister that slowly began to condone and teach doctrines of men, the Keller assembly was like coming home again. Coming back to the pure Word of God, and the teachings of Christ and His church!

Once jotted down a quote from a brother in Christ that makes good sense: “It doesn’t make sense to be a member of something religiously, that does not demand scriptural authority for everything we do religiously.”

Cory... Thank you, for being a Friend in Christ, and preaching His Word!


… because I am accepted, warts and all.

Donald and Kathy Scaff

When this family of Christian brothers and sisters are gathered together, the cares of this world are why we are here. To seek out those that are lost in sin, to teach, and reach out to all with spiritual guidance. When I am here, I can feel the spirit of God’s presence upon me.

Deanna Stephenson

I am thankful for the Keller church family because it is a Spirit-filled group of believers who have the common goal of wanting to serve God and one another. Shortly after I began to attend Keller (before placing membership), it seemed that so many people not only knew my name but the names of my children. As a single parent, attending services with three kids under five years of age is not an easy “task”, but I have always felt welcome regardless of how distracting we might be. We receive much help from our own family and our extended Keller family whether here at church during service or any time outside of that. I am thankful for the prayers that I know have been lifted up on our behalf and thankful for the friendships that we have been richly blessed with. I am thankful for our preacher who teaches the truth in love, who knows ALL the members (and most visitors) names and knows how to live the word. So thankful as well for his encouraging, sweet family. I am thankful daily that we have such a place to call “home”.

This is WAY more than a sentence so please feel free not to use. ;-) I’ve always been far too outspoken. :-) 

Of the loving people that are always there to help whatever the case be. I am thankful for them because of their desire to be like Christ and to never back down from their beliefs just because its hard. (You can change the grammar or wording however you like)

… because of the active YOUTH GROUP! (from Michael)

Kathleen Whitson 

....they have always been there in time of need.  On Christmas Day in 1988 at Baylor Dallas, John’s hospital room was filled with members of the Keller Church family.....Christmas Day they drove all the way to Dallas to ensure we were not alone. Through the years John has had numerous hospitalizations and surgeries, including the last in 2010 from a brain bleed, most of them in Dallas.  Always members brought us communion on Sundays, cleaned our house, took care of our lawn, provided food when we returned home and above all else prayed. John’s doctors refer to him as a walking miracle, but he always says his recoveries are the answered prayers of our Christian family in Keller. 


for the continued support we are given! It’s been 20 years and your love has increased! Also thankful for the Eldership who have not strayed off the path and kept us on the biblical road to heaven!

Jim & Elena Parrow

“Elena and I are thankful for the Keller church family because – We have the honor of being led by an exceptional team of Elders who demonstrate their love for the Lord, and His Divine word, binding where the scriptures bind and not doing so where the scriptures are silent, insuring that our preachers and teachers do not add to or take from God’s word. There is nothing more important, in my opinion, than having scripturally qualified Shepherds to watch over and lead the flock while Glorifying God, loving each member, and fulfilling the Great Commission locally and around the world. It is such a comfort to search the scriptures and find confirmation that our worship and works align in every way with the teachings of Jesus and all the inspired writers. We are also blessed to have so many outstanding examples of our Lord and Savior to see, hug, and talk with, every time we assemble.  It is no secret that many Congregations have chosen to follow “Current Trends” in lieu of adhering to God’s word. The Doctrines of men have supplanted the Word of God in far too many churches, around the world, in efforts to please men in lieu of Pleasing Almighty God. We are so thankful that this is not something we need to fear here at Keller. The Faithful, Leadership, Deacons, Ministers, Preachers, Bible School Teachers and our brothers and sisters in Christ simply will not allow that to happen. Praise God for each and every one of you.

Eric Richardson

... we are a solid church intent on following the scriptures.

... we are a magnet to other families seeking a solid church family.

... we have a stable solid eldership.

... we are active in a myriad of ways.

... we have a vibrant, active, growing, caring youth group who’s not afraid to invite their friends.


Melissa Reynolds

… because of their dedication to the truth.  The willingness to stand up for what’s right.

… because of the love shown to all, everyone has a genuine concern for all

… because of the support/encouragement shown to our children (the future church).  I cannot explain what it means to me to watch my children grow spiritually and to see the opportunities they are given to learn to become leaders in the Church and the support given to them as they continue to grow/lead.

… because of the relationships I’ve developed here.  When thoughts of possibly moving to other locations come up (job relocation, retirement, etc) I always come back to the thought that I cannot imagine living anywhere else because I cannot imagine leaving my Keller family.

Cindy Richardson

I have so much to share that I don’t know where to start!

I am thankful because ...

Cory and Tanya and family are wonderful mentors in the Lord and have an out reaching spirit that is infectious in making me want to be that way also!

I am thankful for Linda Payne and the way she stretches me to do the Lords work in going to the Ladies Prison. It has been a journey of overcoming fear and also seeing that when people have nothing left but 4 walls that they have to turn to what really matters, The Lord.

I am thankful for such compassionate supportive brothers and sisters that go above and beyond to comfort in times of struggle and grieving.

I am thankful for all the new families that have come to Keller to work in The Lord and I pray I will be welcoming to them

I am so very thankful for our Elders. Strong, strong men of God that have a tough job in these days to remain true to the word of God in spite of all surroundings.

I am thankful for Wednesday morning ladies class. For the women older than me who are patient loving and kind in their comments allowing me to be open to learning from them.

I am thankful for great attitudes and smiles on faces to encourage all that walk thru the door.

I am thankful for Clarice Langat that allowed me to shadow her as a teacher and then to team teach the 4th grade with her. This built our relationship and also gave me confidence to then team up with Kim Horton and Ella.

I am thankful for Vickie Bonham who because of her real personality and encouragement has grown me as a Wednesday Ladies Bible Class teacher.

I am thankful for all the warriors that are fighting through sickness and maintaining their strength in The Lord. It is beautiful to see them fight with the strength and commitment and not allowing Satan to get a foothold though every day is a new struggle. They are such an encouragement.

I am thankful for committed families that are here with their kids for Sunday morning classes and Wednesday classes. That they know commitment to learning is key to the souls of their children and the future church.

I am thankful for the teachers who put in long hours to make sure the classes are sound and interesting as well. Any Bible class at Keller is never a waste of time. Thank you for that.

I am thankful for the parents of our teenagers. Without strong solid parents we wouldn’t have such a great group of teens

I am thankful for Spencer and family. His upbeat attitude, organization and hard work are refreshing.

From Cory: I am thankful to God to be part of such a blessed and grateful church family!