The Passing of Superficial Glory

Dear Friends,

As a young man, I was an avid football fan and got to have a place in the stadium closer than the premier seats on the 50 yard line: I got to run up and down the field! In high school, I was a Golden Eagle and then I graduated and became a fighting bulldog: Linebacker, SEC, Mississippi State University.

In the summer of 1966, I was working out with the players at Jacksonville State University located in my hometown. I was offered a full scholarship to come home to JSU and after laying eyes on Patti Brown, a ballerina with the Marching Southerners Band, I felt highly motivated and inspired to sign and I officially became a Gamecock. Of course, my converting from a dog to a chicken had nothing to do with the beauty queen who later became my wife and mother of our children!

Today, I’m honored to be a lifetime, card carrying member of the elite “J” Club. Those were great years shared with great friends and I have no regrets or complaints even though the physical pain intensifies and I become a little more crippled with each passing day. I had all the test run to see if modern medical science could help.

The neurosurgeon clamped the MRI film to the lighted board on the wall and with his pencil pointed out the shriveled, herniated disks, some literally driven into the bone, cleared his throat and stoically commented: “This is irreparable. Some fool used your spine as a batting ram!”

While in college, I personally experienced the “dark” side of the gridiron, including a dear friend named Johnny who died from a head injury doing repeated head on tackles in practice. I wasn’t on the field that day but I have vivid memories of some of the coaches who would not let up, screaming and pitching temper tantrums, driving young men to savagely attack and hurt each other.

The coaching profession has such a powerful influence in our culture for good or for bad. There are coaches who are powerful, positive role models helping change lives for the better. They are worthy of respect, honor and admiration. Yet, I still wonder sometimes, “What did Johnny die for?”

For years, I was very hurt, judgmental, even angry at the sport but I met the Lord and began to recall the many positive lessons of life learned: team work, discipline, never give up, win with dignity and lose with dignity, fellowship and bonding with family and friends, it’s not a sin to have fun, the lessons go on and on. And I’ll always be grateful for our coaches who cared more about the players than their own careers.

Over time, I was personally healed and able to attend the games again and even cheer with the cheerleaders. I even got to coach the defense for Jacksonville Christian Academy when our son Marty played. We had such a great time but the dark side raised it’s ugly head again when one of our young talented star players went home and blew his brains out with a shot gun because no matter how hard he tried, he could never be good enough to feed his demented dad’s ego.

Patti and I were walking thru the ruins in Rome, Italy recently. As we visited the remains of the huge Roman Coliseum I had a strange experience. It was like going back in time and mingling with the thousands of spectators 2000 years ago, fans who were oblivious to the road of destruction they were on. And when I read of Saint Telemachus, I knew I had to write the enclosed article. Just maybe we will wake up and learn from history. Maybe not. We usually don’t. It’s a very personal choice.

We have so many friends who are sports fans and even coaches, so I had some reservations about sharing the following article, knowing it could very likely be misunderstood. There’s already been some negative feedback but I’m also seeing others read it and awaken, experience a new birth, get things in perspective, and realize how insignificant the passing superficial glory of this world really is. How foolish it is to build our lives on that which is passing away!

We’re all on the Titanic, so to speak, and we’re all going under with it; the rich on the top floor, the poor on the bottom, the middle class in between. In just a few days, whether in Heaven or Hell, each and everyone will agree with all the deceased superstars and legends that have gone before, including Bear Bryant:

“Absolutely nothing matters except the Kingdom of our Lord that endures forever and ever!”
Matthew 24:35

The donkey riding, dirty foot washing, Palestinian, outcast Jew has the audacity to say, “Your riches and your reputation is rapidly vanishing away. Your philosophies, college degrees, number one teams and pedigrees won’t mean a thing one day soon. Your religious rituals and regulations are often times nothing more than white washed tombs!”

Do you hear the donkey riding, dirty foot washing Palestinian, outcast Jew softly, tenderly say to you?

“There is a Kingdom that fadeth not away. There is a Kingdom, an endless day. There is a Kingdom where every tear will be wiped away. There is a Kingdom only a prayer away.”

Offered in the love of our Lord.

In Our Father’s Arms,

Love,

Bob McLeod

2 Corinthians 4:5

Letter to friends – March 31, 2012

Dear Friends,

My precious wife Patti retired last year after 40 faithful years teaching little ones in the elementary classroom. Thanks to the Social Security contributions I’ve made over the years, I’m also officially considered a retiree.

Patti’s place in life has always been along a safe, secure, consistent, predictable, path. That hasn’t been the case for me. I’ve always gone with the wind unafraid of risk. It’s truly been a miracle that two opposite personality types could coexist and remain married for these 43 years. Not only have we endured but we find ourselves more in love and blessed than ever before.

Bob, a kite, abandoned to soar, Free, fearless, prone to drift and crash.

Patti, a string, anchor, secure, steadfast.

Jesus, the Hand Who Holds, the Tie that binds, The Wind Who allows us to climb higher and higher with Him. I love you Jesus and Patti!

Today we are so blessed and privileged to be serving our Lord in the ministry of “BrokenStone / Our Father’s Arm’s” together and we have never been less retired, more inspired, active and involved.

It’s a joy unspeakable to have her by my side after all these years!

Our Father’s Arms provides homes of healing, hope and opportunity for individuals and families in crisis. There’s never been any solicitation. A friend came by in 1996 and offered to lease us a dilapidated, unlivable house for $1.00 a year for 5 years! I handed him a $5.00 bill and people started showing up to make repairs. Unsolicited donations started coming in and the next thing we knew we had a home other than our own to help get a lifeline to more people.

OFA is headquartered in NE Alabama where facilities include a 30 acre farm with a spacious home for men, a separate home a few minutes away on 3 acres known as “Eagle’s Nest” for women including mothers and their children.

Near Cherkassy, Ukraine we have a home for men (former prison inmates and/or drug addicts) who need help in making the transition into healthy community. Also in Ukraine, we provide “Life on the farm” homes, educational, work opportunities and support for orphans who have turned 16 and are forced to leave the orphanage. These young people would otherwise have nowhere else to go but into the “hell on earth,” toxic subculture of drug addicts and sex slaves. This rescue ministry is called, the “Our Father’s Arms Agricultural College.”

Our work with orphans and prisoners is being developed under the direction of Vic Jackopson, a former prisoner and orphan himself. Vic received Christ in a solitary confinement prison cell in Winchester England, September 1959. For over 4 decades now, Vic has been developing effective and efficient world wide ministries for the downtrodden and outcasts. He is an amazing servant of the Lord and everywhere he goes, the Word bears fruit and multiplies in an extraordinary way. It’s an honor to serve alongside Vic. He is serving as the Our Father’s Arms International Director.

Someone asked me recently, “Why are you putting resources overseas when there are so many problems right here at home?”

My reply: “The world is much smaller than it use to be. The cesspool of sin and destruction directly effects everyone on the planet and anytime the Gospel is received, everyone is positively effected and we now have an opportunity to make a difference bringing Light into the horrible nightmare of human trafficking that’s taking place in our own country. We’re going to the source of the supply!

No other explanation is needed when we realize this: God has opened the doors, He is supernaturally providing, and we’re obeying!”

Here in the US we also have a communications center which houses a state-of-the-art recording studio, offices, apartment for hospitality, fellowship hall and the Dugger Mountain Music Hall. Even though all financial support has been and is unsolicited, the ministry has no mortgage and remains debt free.

In 2007 the Calhoun Baptist Association donated an abandoned church building 5 miles south of Piedmont, Alabama to BrokenStone Ministries, the 501 c3 non profit corporation doing business as “Our Father’s Arms.” This is where Dugger Mountain Music Hall began in 2010. Every 3rd Saturday night doors are opened to welcome the community, enjoy supper and family entertainment.

January 2012, Legacy TV Network began broadcasting our programs and our audience has gone from 90 to over 90 million! We can be seen each Saturday at 6:30 PM CST. For a list of affiliate stations or to watch on-line go to: LegacyTV.wordpress.com

Thanks so much for your love and support over the years. Please come visit and see the miracles you are a vital part of.

In Our Father’s Arms, Love,

Bob and Patti McLeod

2 Corinthians 4:5

 

The Key is Trust

Dear Friends,

I saw on the news tonight a heartbreaking story where thousands of homeless families in Central Florida are struggling to survive and stay together, victims of a floundering economy, sleeping in old vehicles or under bridges, children getting ready for school in the restroom of a gas station, having fictitious addresses so that the government won’t find them and separate them from their mom and dad.

Then came the commercial break. The next story was quite different: “Tickets to the National Championship Football Game were already selling out, $2500 a seat!”

For some reason I felt compelled to do some Google research: 10 million people starved to death this year. The United Nations estimates that it would take at least $30 billion per year to solve the world food crisis, mainly by boosting agricultural productivity in the developing world. Over a decade it would take $300 billion to make sustainable improvements in the lives of the 862 million undernourished people.

That sounds like a lot until we consider that Americans spend $705.9 billion on entertainment in one year, a figure equivalent to the entire gross national product of Canada – or Australia, for that matter. These estimates come from Unity Marketing Group, of Stevens, Pa.

The company’s president, Pam Danziger, says, “Unlike so many other categories of spending that are directed toward the necessities of life, recreation and entertainment are purely discretionary and emotionally driven.”

I wonder, “Why?”

There’s a such a temptation to pick up the gavel and sit in judgement of ourselves and everyone else for all the impropriety and injustice that seems to be escalating. I’d rather not think about it because I don’t like the personal guilt, regret and shame that I’m so tempted to give in to.

“Who am I to enjoy the blessings and pleasures I’ve known: health, happy family, security of a warm spacious, comfortable home, plenty (too much) to eat, dependable, comfortable transportation for my wife and I, entertainment, vacations, health care, etc., when so many around us are struggling just to live?

A blame shifting, complaining and fault finding attitude only adds to the hurt and never helps anyone, so I’ll resist the temptation. Here’s the question: How can anyone enjoy the abundant life Jesus came to give (John 10:10) in the midst of all the turmoil, suffering and death surrounding us?

Many of us try to live in denial. Don’t think about it. Stick your head in the sand and stay occupied with life’s pleasures as long as you can. If I can ignore the heartbreak and pain that surrounds us, then maybe I can avoid being overwhelmed by a broken heart and keep pretending that my family and I are immune! Perhaps that’s why we’re so emotionally driven to entertain ourselves but hide as we may, the confrontation with reality is sure to come.

C.S. Lewis, in his sermon, The Weight of Glory, said:

“There lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires to be happy not too strong, but too weak. We are half hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

So then, how can one be of good cheer and at the same time courageously face the world of trouble and truly make a difference in helping our neighbors in need?

John 15:10-11 (NKJV) — “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy my be full.

Proverbs 16:20 (NKJV) — He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever TRUSTS in the LORD, happy is he. Again, whoever TRUSTS in the Lord, happy is he!

The key is trust. Okay then, how do I trust? That is an irrelevant question. It’s like two people riding bikes along the trail. One turns to the other and says, “How do I ride a bike?”

Everyone is trusting continuously! It’s not a matter of how do I trust. It’s a matter of who do I trust!

Everyone trusts: The Reliance & Unconditional Surrender To Someone

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was life and light, shining in the night giving us sight, His Word. The Word died one day that He might silently say, “I give My life to heal you with My Word.” The Word arose from the grave! The Word is alive to save us from this world’s lying words.

The Word can change a life. The Word, end anger and strife. A child will be healed when he (she) trusts and receives the Word.”

Those who place their trust in the living Word of God are the ones who are on the front lines bringing hope to those who think there is none!

Thank you for trusting Him with us. Our Father’s Arms is one of His amazing miracles. Your gifts and prayers are appreciated more than you will know this side of Heaven. His Word is being confirmed! Captives are being set free! He’s allowing us to make a difference!

In Our Father’s Arms
Love,

Bob & Patti
2 Corinthians 4:5