• Jeff Culp
    Memoirs

    Highway Star: A Memoir for Jeff Culp

    October 14, 2016 By Michael Usey “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the past.” [F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby] Two scriptures from the Hebrew Bible. 2 Kings 9.20: The lookout reported, “The messenger reached them but he is not coming back.  And the driving is like the driving of Jehu, he for he’s driving furiously, like a madman.” Then from the Song of Songs 8.6-7: Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
 for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
 a raging flame.  Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.…

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    Charlie Thompson

    A Life Like a Norman Rockwell Painting Memoir by Michael Usey May 2, 2015 Ever heard of the mighty men of David? They were the OT version of the Avengers. They were known as the Gibborim and are described in 2 Sam 23. These mighty men of David were a group of David’s toughest military warriors who were credited with heroic feats. This group included Josheb-basshebeth, who killed 800 men in one battle with a spear. Another was named Eleazar, who stayed on the battlefield when other warriors fled and killed Philistines until his hand was stuck clenched around his sword, and Abishai, the leader of the mighty men, who…

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    Inez Stone Ryals

    A Force of Nature: Inez Stone Ryals Memoir By Michael Usey April 18, 2015 One of the ways that we here at College Park seek to follow Jesus is in the empowerment of women as full partners with men as disciples, leaders, ministers.  This is not by any means a radical notion, as many North American Christian Churches and denominations do so as well, but it remains controversial in conservative and fundamentalist churches as well as those of the Roman church, for example.  But we here at College Park follow the NT precedents. In the NT there are a number of women leaders. Mary Magdalene was the first witness to…

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    Archie Carter

    Memoir by Michael S. Usey March 29, 2015 What I like about Christianity is that it is primarily a faith about right practice rather right belief.  The two are intertwined, naturally.  What one believes leads to how one acts.  But over and over again Jesus emphasized that it’s not primarily what we say we believe, but rather how our actions show what we believe. In the so-called sermon on the mount in Matthew’s story of Jesus, he ends his teaching to his friends by saying, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father…

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    Peggy Glenn Leonard

    Peggy Has Left the Building Memoir By Michael Usey January 21, 2015 This past Sunday I listened to Peggy’s four adult children and spouses (along with many of her nine grandchildren) talk about her influence on their lives. As they spoke, it reminded me of the story of Ruth in the Hebrew Bible. In Ruth chapter 1, Naomi’s husband and two sons die and she is left with just her daughters-in-law. She encourages them to return to their home countries. One gladly obliges, but the other–Ruth–refuses to leave her side and says one of the most poetic things in the Bible, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn…

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    Susan Houghton

    She Hath Done What She Could 29 July 2014 Memoir by Michael Usey One time when Ruth, Susan’s mother, was in Atlanta, she worshiped at Inman Park United Methodist Church.  During the service she spied the detail from Martha Beall Candler window there, specifically the ribboned words, “She Hath Done What She Could,” a quotation of course from the KJV of Mark 14.8 that we just heard read.  Those words struck Ruth, and she thought then that they were a pretty good statement of her life’s goal and purpose.  She passed this on to her daughter, Susan, whom we’re gathered to remember.  By the end of this service, I trust…

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    Marie Chambers

    Sewing Circle: A Memoir for Marie Chambers Memoir by Michael Usey 19 June 2014 Darcie, Marie’s daughter, picked the psalms that we heard read this evening, and they are well chosen.  Psalm 23 is well known to those of us raised in a church or synagogue.  I love hearing texts like this that we’ve read or recited in hundreds of different ways over the course of our lives. Many readers think Psalm 23 was a psalm for a person on the lamb from the authorities.  Perhaps the original writer had committed a murder or unintentionally killed someone, and that person was fleeing from the relatives of the one who was…

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    Rozette Huckabee

    Her Own Woman: A Memoir for Rozette Huckabee Memoir By Michael Usey February 1, 2014 One of the most excellent but subtle themes of our Bible is the significant role of ordinary people in salvation history. Read the Bible even casually and it’s clear that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. You can see this truth, for example, if you look at a few of the women in our Bible. Time and time again, first in the history of the Jews, then in the stories of the early Christians, women led the way forward. It is strong women, full of grace and chutzpah, who move God’s love affair with…

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    Chris Moquin

    Memoir by Michael Usey 28 December 2013 It’s a hard and painful thing to bury a friend who dies unexpectedly at 41. Most of us saw Chris just 10 days ago at our Christmas banquet, with Christopher in tow, the two were looking sharp. Chris had Christopher live by ZZ Top’s credo, “The whole world’s crazy about a sharp dressed man.” What to say when someone as young as Chris dies the day before Christmas with his beloved son asleep next to him? We’re careful not to say things offer false comfort, or things about which we cannot know. I don’t believe God took him, or that his death was…

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    Earl Ryals

    With the Old Breed: Earl Edison Ryals  Memoir by Michael Usey August 24, 2012 Clarence Barton, one of my ministry supervisors in seminary, told me once that in every city there are people who are the quiet servant leaders of that place, and that a good pastor will seek those type of people.  They may or may not be prominent or be well known, but they are nevertheless the spiritual backbone of that town.  They are the ones who have touched so many people’s lives that it’s hard to meet someone who hasn’t been changed in some way by them.  I believe that we have come to remember such a…

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    John Taylor

    John A. Taylor II: Jesus’ Urbane Disciple Memoir by Michael Usey May 16, 2012 John was a one-of-a-kind.  Or at least I’m tempted to think so, but then I wonder, did Jesus himself have an urbane disciple like our John Taylor?  One of the twelve who could cut to the heart of an issue with a rapier wit and wry smile?  A disciple who had strong opinions about the other eleven’s choice of tunics and footwear?  Did one of the Twelve have   the polish and suavity of a sophisticated social life in major cities of first century Israel? Perhaps Matthew, the tax-collect, was as cosmopolitan.  One who loved his…

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    Joseph Albert Haymes, Jr.

    Joseph Albert Haymes Jr.: A Faithful Attention to Life’s Sweet Details (Peggy Haymes’ father) Memoir by Michael S. Usey April 9, 2012 How best are we to live this one brief life that we’ve been given?  This is the unstated question of every funeral we attend, for in every case some one we know and likely love has given their life for his answer.  All of us know that this life is extremely short.  I’ve met more than one senior adult who said just yesterday they were teenagers and suddenly they woke up one day to find themselves getting AARP membership offers in the mail. Like many of you who…

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    Carolyn Wheless

    More Than: A Memoir for Carolyn Wheless Memoir by Lewis Wheless & Michael Usey Feb 3, 2012 Carolyn’s favorite bible verse was Roman’s 8:37, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us.” It’s a great verse, one the apostle Paul writes to his friends in Rome. The whole passage is about how nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ, something that Carolyn knew, believed and lived out. I love that phrase, more than: more than conquerors. It’s a great phrase to describe this remarkable woman. She was more than a mother, a wife, a daughter. She was more than…

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    Mary Schwartz

    And the Tree was Happy: A Memoir for Mary Schwartz Memoir by Michael Usey 13 May 2011 I don’t know what being a real person means to you, being authentically human—there are so many different ideas about how to live a good life—but for me one large part of it comes down to is fear. The essence of my Christian faith is to live without fear. Not to be afraid—of anything, really. Not to be afraid to live out loud this beautiful and dangerous life we’ve been given. Not to be afraid of the living God that loves us like sons and daughters. Not to be afraid of death, which…

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    Robbie Previtte

    Being Fully Human Memoir by Michael Usey September 9, 2010 Why are we humans here? Well, one good answer is from the Westminster catechism: What is the chief purpose of humans? The purpose for humans is to glorify God and enjoy God forever. As much as I like that answer, it’s too general for me. Most people think of glorifying God merely as worshiping and praising God, which has its place. A crucial one, really. Most Americans try to worship at least once a week, and we pray more than that. But glorifying God is much more than worship and praise. As the writer of Ecclesiastes put it, for everything…

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    Joan Stevens Ferris

    Every Good Gift: Joan Stevens Ferris Michael Usey August 4, 2010 When Joan Stevens Ferris passed away this past Sunday night, she had a couple of bible passages marked in her devotional book by her bedside. The one I found striking was from the NT book of James 1.17, which says Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. I love that verse, because of its theology and imagery. I do have a strong sense that all the good things in my life are from God. Pat Summit, the accomplished coach of the Tennessee…

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    Mitzi Rice

    Playing with Fire: A Memoir for Capt. Mitzi Rice Memoir by Michael Usey March 6, 2010 My first experience with Mitzi was through her reputation. One of my sons came home from Sternberger Elementary when he was in first grade talking about his day. He told me how firefighters wear masks that help them breathe in the smoke, but if they come into your bedroom when the house is on fire, they can look scary and sound like Darth Vader. “Oh,” I said, “Cool. Who taught you that?” “A clown and her dog. The dog was spotted black and white and could do tricks, like creeping along the ground.” A…

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    Maston Payne Stone

    Memoir by Michael S. Usey September 19, 2009 Psalm 19 is one of the Bible’s most elegant poems. The psalmist moves from the majesty of the universe to the splendor of God’s law. At first glance, it looks like the writer shifted gears between verses 6 and 7. After six verses devoted to the sun, moon, and stars, all of a sudden the law of God bursts onto the scene. It looks like a big shift, but there is actually a tight linkage. The connection has to do with both the beauty and the orderliness of the heavens. Everything we see throughout the physical creation is the glorious work of…

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    Margaret Jean Burkhart Jordan

    An Amazing Woman in an Ordinary Way Memoir by Michael Usey April 21, 2009 As you probably know The Book of Proverbs is a collection of sayings and wisdom poems that found its present form after the return of the exiles from Babylon. However, many verses surely came from the period of the monarchy in Judea before its fall. The poem of an ideal wife (31:10-31) comprises the last major section of Proverbs. The poem described the perfect wife as prudent, industrious, and wise. Such a woman would make a prosperous businessperson by today’s standards. But, unlike today, the ideal wife in Proverbs did all this in the shadow of…

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    Gerry Fox Haymes

    Better to Wear Out Than to Rust: Gerry Fox Haymes Memoir by Michael Usey February 6, 2009 I have been pastor at College Park in Greensboro for 15 years, and for all that time, Gerry and Joe have visited about once a quarter at our church, sitting with their favorite (okay, only) daughter Peggy. 15 years, four times a year, about 60 times she’s worshipped with us, Joe with his kind laugh-lined face and Gerry with her marvelous smile and her great love for singing. When she sang of course I noticed Gerry, because very few people sing with so much joy and abandon out in the congregation. Little did…