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Have you known certain people who made an out-sized impact upon your life, for good or maybe even for not-so-good? It’s called influence, and I like remembering the legacy my Grandpa passed on to me.

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #56 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

“Bones” Davis was my maternal grandfather. I was privileged to know him for years and spent a lot of time with him when I was a kid, in part because his and Grandma’s home was a few hundred yards from our home across an open field.

His name was Lewis, but his little brother could not pronounce the name, called him “Bones,” and so he became for the next eighty years.

The irony for me was that when I knew him, he was a short but hefty, let’s say thick, fellow and I never saw a bone.

I tell you about him because he was the spiritual patriarch of our family. He had an 8th Grade education, something that embarrassed him a bit but back during the aftermath of WWI when he came of age this level of schooling was not uncommon. 

Grandpa could read, and he read his Bible and organic gardening books. No one knew which flourished more, his spiritual life or his incredible gardens.

When he passed, Grandma placed a small plaque alongside him in the casket that said 38 years, a tribute to how long he had served as a deacon in the Baptist church in our small town that they and a few other couples helped start. They made this move because the other Baptist church in town had begun, as they said then, “to go liberal,” appointing pastors that did not believe or preach the whole counsel of the Word of God. It was not easy to leave friends and a church they loved, but their commitment to the truth took precedence.

I grew up in that church where along with my grandparents my mother was a charter member. So, you could say I am a direct spiritual beneficiary of my grandparents’ fidelity to the Christian faith.

Grandpa served for years as a volunteer worship leader. He had a good tenor voice. This was back in the day when people in the church fulfilled such roles as opposed to the practice now of appointing a professional staff person to serve as worship leader. Grandpa would get in the pulpit and say, “Greetings in the name of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” His favorite hymn was “Saved, Saved, Saved.”

I remember dozens of people, usually but not always men, who would come from several counties around just to sit on one end of his over-sized back porch swing, looking out to that fabulous garden, as Grandpa sat on the other end, and then ask him his advice and counsel of life. I did it myself when I got into my 20s. He was funny, biblically, and therefore spiritually, knowledgeable, and wise. His counsel was worth the trip and the time.

I never once heard Grandpa raise his voice at Grandma. I remember his incredible sense of humor, some of which I’m blessed with to this day. I remember his love of biblical prophecy, singing, and sports. In his youth, he had been an accomplished baseball player, even trying out for the traveling teams that built the game into a national pastime in the 1920s. I remember his love for his family and his dog named “Pudge.”

Grandpa “Bones” Davis was a world class people watcher. I remember “going to town” when I was a kid and being left in the car with Grandpa because he didn’t like to shop. Parked along the main street, I’d want to go here or there, and he’d say, “Just watch the people. They’re interesting.”

Granpda never made catty or cutting remarks, nothing negative, just insightful things like, “Look, that boy is walking exactly like his Dad, same motions, same gait.” Or, “Those people look like they’re having a good time.” Or, “Hey, they’re eating chocolate candy. How about us getting some?” Sitting with Grandpa in that car along a well-populated street is one of my good childhood memories.

So, I learned young to watch people. Now one of my favorite activities when I’m in a mall or airport is to watch people, especially older or elderly couples. I like the feeling in South Florida when I’ve often seen 80-something couples strolling or sitting, demonstrating in a variety of ways they still value their spouse. It’s fun and offers a load of life lessons.

Grandpa would have loved malls and airports, neither one of which were part of his experience.

Grandpa left me a heritage, a legacy of profound impact. Let me give you one example.

I’m old enough to remember cigarette commercials and smoke-filled restaurants. And I’m old enough to remember when cigarette commercials disappeared and when restaurants and other public spaces first developed “non-smoking” sections and then became “smoke free.” If you aren’t old enough to remember these things, watch movies from the 1960s and earlier and witness the actors, especially the women, smoke one cigarette after another.  What was cool then is not cool now.

I like the smell of some cigar or pipe smoke, but frankly, I’ve never understood the appeal of smoking. It’s a dirty—to one’s teeth and one’s breath, as well as the nearby physical space—unhealthy, expensive habit. It provides no nutritional value. It enslaves people to the need for the next smoke. It’s no longer considered suave or debonair.  

Smoking is even threatening to the environment. I’ve long maintained that smokers litter more than any other person. Non-biodegradable cigarette butts clog city sewers, start forest fires, and otherwise pollute the landscape in manner that costs the public significant sums for clean-up.  

From a Christian point of view, though, I cannot say categorically that smoking is a sin. I could, like many people do, make the scripturally based argument that one should not debase or destroy one’s own body, made in the image of God and for believers the temple of the Holy Spirit. And this would be correct. God commands us to care for our own bodies. But he did not say “You shall not smoke.” Then again, not everything we can do, we should do. 

When I was a child of maybe six or seven, Grandpa “Bones” Davis quit smoking his pipe. He didn’t make any grand spiritual issue out of this act. He simply made the choice because he had three grandsons, of which I was one of the two oldest. Later, he eventually had thirteen grandchildren in all. He quit smoking because he did not want any of us to see him smoke and then start smoking ourselves. To my knowledge, only one grandchild ever smoked, and he quit after a time. Grandpa’s example bore good fruit and is still bearing it today.

Grandpa Bones Davis lived a full life. When he passed at age 83, it was not that people weren’t said at his departure, but his funeral was more like a celebration of a life well lived.

Grandpa Bones taught me how to live, and he modeled how to finish well. He’s in heaven today and I look forward to seeing him again someday.

Do you have a person like Bones Davis in your life? Better yet, are you and I people like Bones Davis in someone else’s life?

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

50 years ago today, Sarah Lee Stone, now known as Good Wife, and I had our first date at The Carpenters concert, University of Dayton Arena. Sarah wore pink, but I have no idea what Karen Carpenter wore.

We were 19-yr-old sophomores who’d met a year before at a huge bonfire by the lake during freshman orientation at Cedarville University. Though we dated others that year we began talking on the phone late at night soon after, sometimes for hours. So we had probably bonded without knowing it by the time we had that first date.

The girl I had dated a couple times opted out of the concert. Fantastic. I didn’t have money, athletic prowess, or high-rent looks, but hey, I had leverage, a car thanks to Dad and two tickets, so I gave it a shot, asking the girl-dating-someone-else who I wanted to ask in the first place. Hence Sarah's and my first date.

So, we met our freshman year, started dating our sophomore year, broke up our junior year, and got engaged our senior year, like a lot of others who arrived on campus as singles but by the time they left walked around two-by-two like Noah’s Ark. Summer before senior year I proposed while we stood barefoot in a creek rushing down the side of a mountain.

Since that night 50 years ago my life has been enriched in every way, thanks to the divine gift of a girl who grew up in WV, about 2.5 hours south of me in OH. God is good.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

 

Today is our 40th Anniversary. Hard to believe Sarah and I have been married for forty years, but here we are. 

We’ve been blessed beyond measure, first in the Lord bringing us together in college (We met Freshman year, started dating Sophomore year, broke up Junior year, and got engaged Senior year—a pretty typical sequence for a couple figuring out what “getting serious” means), and second for the years of love, caring, great relationship, and much more.

Like most good marriages involving human beings our “wedded bliss” hasn’t always been blissful, but it’s always been characterized by love, commitment, and respect. In my book, this translates to bliss no matter how the word is defined.

Through this marriage God gave us four children, a daughter and three sons. Now we add a good, hard-working, and committed son-in-law, two wonderful and gracious daughters-in-law, and four noisy grandsons. Add to this in the last two years: two teenage boys from China, adopted first by our friends and then by us as grandsons. Lots of boys and as yet no little girls, but we’ll see what the future holds.

Sarah is Proverbs 31 come to life. As a person and as a wife she is everything a man and specifically I could ever want, need, or imagine. She is kind, caring and compassionate, clearly possesses the gift of hospitality, and would help anyone anywhere anytime if she could. She has been and is an amazing Mother and Grandmother.

For all this I am grateful to her and I praise the Lord. I’d marry her all over again. In fact, I’d marry her every day.

Thank you, Sarah. I love you. I look forward to every minute the Lord gives us past 40 years.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2014    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com.       

Most men I know love their wives. But honoring them, as the Scripture commands (1 Peter 3:7), is generally if ironically more challenging for a lot of men.

Here's more on the subject:

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

Remember SALT? Not the recent movie called “Salt” featuring Angelina Jolie. No, the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks of the 1960s-1980s. It’s when the US and USSSR decided it was better to talk than shoot at one another. Later we had the Summit Talks when Reagan and Gorbachev conducted a series of, “Well”—to use Ronald Reagan’s term, “talks.”

Maybe Gradparents and Grandkids should hold Summit Talks? I recently wrote about both sides’ views. For more, check these articles:

Five Things Grandparents Wish Their Grandkids Knew

Five Things Grandkids Wish Their Grandparents Knew

“Talk is cheap,” they say. But then again, who is this “They” that seems to influence our lives so often? Doesn’t matter much what “They” say. Matters what we, in this case Grandparents and Grandkids, say to each other.

Held any Summit Talks recently?

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

Both of my parents turned 80 years of age this year, Dad during the summer, Mom today. They have been and are good parents by any objective measure.

So on this Thanksgiving Day I am thankful for God’s gift of good parents, something for which I can take no credit. It’s purely God’s blessing, my parents’ grace, and my benefit.

Both of my parents have been Christian people since their youth, and they both introduced me to the faith as a child and took me to every conceivable church event since I was born. What I’m saying is that I grew up in a “Christian home” in the best sense of the phrase.

I never had to doubt my parents’ love, commitment, “being there,” or support. These things were a given, and they continue to be so. They disciplined me as a kid, taught me right from wrong and pushed me toward the right even when I’d have preferred the wrong.

My parents aspired to my higher education before I did, and they paid for much of it. They wanted me to go to a Christian institution of higher learning long before I considered the issue one way or another. They prayed for me to “find” a Christian wife before I got around to thinking about it and before the Lord sent the right one into my life, again without me having much to do with it.

My parents have been faithful church attenders, participators, and leaders for more than sixty years. They lived out the Christian faith, thus providing an unwavering example for me, of course, but for any and everyone who cared to pay attention. No one ever fairly doubted their word or integrity. No one ever had reason to question their faithful motives and generous good works.

Assuming you were blessed with good parents, and not everyone was or is by a sad long shot, but if you were, how do you pay them back? How is it possible to repay someone who has invested an entire life into your life and who in large part helped make you what you are, or at least what you can be?

I think there’s only one way. The only way you can repay good parents is to attempt to live by the values they hold dear, to live as they hoped you would live. If you do this you perpetuate their values and their goals into the third and the fourth generation. You affirm and honor the wisdom of how they’ve chosen to live. You extend their legacy.

I haven’t robbed banks or done physical harm to anyone, thankfully, but then again, I don’t offer myself as a model of the best Christian living. But I do remember, consciously or at times subconsciously, what my parents taught me by word and deed and I’ve tried to live to that standard. Better yet, my wife and I have passed my parents’ Christian values to our own children and they are living out their faith.

Parents, including good ones, don’t all get the privilege of turning 80. But when they do it is a good thing to celebrate long lives lived as unto the Lord. These are my parents, good parents at 80. These are people who have nothing to be ashamed of and who’ve blessed me, my sister, our families, and many more. Now they are modeling how to “finish well” and God grant that as long as he gives me to live I will walk in their footsteps.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.