February 7,1939 - May 23, 2018
REST IN PEACE
Margie Nell Burdette Jackson Taylor
February 7,1939 - May 23, 2018
Mrs. Margie Nell Burdette Jackson Taylor of Fayetteville passed away on May 23, 2018. Margie was the daughter of the late Chester Willie and Margaret Williams Burdette and was preceded in death by her brother, Stephen Burdette. She is survived by her husband, Robert E. Taylor of Fayetteville; daughters, Barbara Brand and her husband, Onas, of Wedowee, AL; Jill Phillips and her husband, Brian, of Wedowee, AL; son, Dr. Cleo Eugene (Jack) Jackson, III and his wife, Vickie. of Lenoir City, TN; step-daughters, Cheryl Cater and her husband, Mike, of Union City, GA; Carol Moore and her husband, Danny, of Tyrone, GA; Debbie Nicholson and her husband, Ed, of Fayetteville, GA; Donna Wright and her husband, Kenny, of Fayetteville, GA; sisters, Marguerite McCurry of Gainesville, GA; Helen and Wendell Goodman of Woolsey, GA; Julia and Bob Goodpaster of Blairsville, GA; Marilyn Pullen of Newnan, GA; brother, Chester Willie (Chet) and Vickie Burdette of Aledo, TX; grandchildren, Cole Brand, Bryana Hunt, Halsey and Ronnah Brand; Andrea and Billy Whisman; Caleb and Whitney Jackson; Micah and Jordan Jackson; Brady and Morgan Phillips; Levi and Laney Phillips; Brent and Kimi Cater; Casey and Eva Cater; Joshua and Monica Cater; Michelle and Paul Gardner; Amber Moore; Robby and Diana Moore; Taylor Nicholson; Trevor Nicholson; Natalie and Brent Thompson; Richard and Tammy Wright; great grandchildren; Colt, Lily, Will, Grey, Krystof, Zofia, Carson, Cash, Patrick, Emmaline, Hunter, Bryce, Carly, Aubrey and expecting, Jackson Miles, soon. Funeral services will be held Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 11 o’clock at the Chapel of Parrott Funeral Home, Fairburn, GA, with Dr. Cleo Eugene (Jack) Jackson, III officiating. Interment to follow at New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery, Fayetteville, GA. Those wishing may sign the online guest registry at www.parrottfuneralhome.com. The family will receive friends Friday evening from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. at Parrott Funeral Home and Crematory, 770-964-4800.
THE REST OF THE STORY
Regular readers of my blog are likely aware that I am a great lover of history. And the more personal that history becomes, the more I am enthralled by it. So it was a red letter day when, some thirty-odd years ago, my uncle Charles gave me a VHS copy of some old 8mm film he had shot back in the late 1950s.
The silent color footage is somewhat grainy at times, having the look and feel of the celebrated Abraham Zapruder footage from Dealey Plaza back on November 22, 1963. And while its subject matter may not involve any U.S. Presidents, it is still very much to be prized. The material it contains consists mostly of my Uncle Charles and my aunt Jimmie as their early life together unfolds. Of course, as the scenes progress, one also witnesses their children (and my cousins), being born and coming of age.
But numerous shots of other people, places, and events are included as well. And among them are several of my own parents, young and in the prime of life. They appear to be full of life, starry-eyed, and in love at the time.
Also included are scenes recording my aunts and uncles, my paternal grandparents, and even my paternal great grandparents, the latter of which are seen celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary back on November 8, 1958. Any way one looks at it, this is clearly history with a personal twist.
I was so enamored with material that, here while back, I had the film digitized. As a result, I have now been able to view the various clips repeatedly on my laptop. I have also been better able to analyze the footage, stopping and making notes at various locations along the way, etc…
As might be expected, my understanding of the contents has grown dramatically through such sustained and detailed analysis. Nonetheless, I still found myself clueless when it came to identifying certain of the people, places, and or events. There was simply much I did not yet know of the subject matter.
For this reason, I sought out help from others more knowledgeable than me about the contents. In the process, I showed the video to numerous family members and/or friends of the family in an attempt to discover as much as possible about the contents. I am happy to report that the process of consulting others more knowledgeable than me has indeed helped my own knowledge to continue to grow.
And yet, even after all of this study and analysis, the simple truth is that many questions still remain unanswered. Indeed, it is fair to say that, with regard to this one-hour video, virtually as many questions have now been raised as have been answered. Alas, certain portions of this precious collection of snippets from my family’s history seemed destined to remain as enigmatic as ever.
But that all changed earlier this week. While visiting my mother, I was able to spend some time with my uncle Charles. After all this time, I suddenly found myself face to face with the individual who had first bought the 8mm camera, who had filmed the majority of sequences, and who had then made the footage available to me in the first place. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to sit down and review the hour long video with him.
The result? You guessed it! Voila! This 90 year-old man, played out in body, but strong in mind, sat there and proceeded to provide detailed information about each and every scene, including all of the various people, places, and the events, trips, and/or activities being filmed. I learned more in that one hour than I had in years of repeated viewing, study, conjecture, and/or inference.
As I have reflected on this incident, I have been reminded that I have been given a precious record of humanity’s journey through this world. It is found in a book called the Holy Bible. Here, we read of mankind’s creation, fall, redemption, and ultimate restoration.
Along the way, as the drama of the human story unfolds, we are given little snapshots of various individuals within that human family. We see them in their struggles, their losses, and the victories. We hear them laugh, we see them cry, and we feel their pain.
We study this book over and over in an attempt to garner as much as we can about the story it contains. And we are rewarded as we do, for we soon discover that we have just enough to grasp the story, learning both how it all began and how it all ends. More importantly, we have enough to know that it is our story. And thus, that we ourselves have a past, a present, and above all, a glorious future!
Nonetheless, even after a lifetime of study, we often still come away with as many questions about this Book and its contents as answers. To be sure, some of these questions are relatively minor and inconsequential… “Where did Cain get his wife?” “What became of the ten lost tribes?” “What was Paul’s thorn in the flesh?” Etc., etc…
Others, though, are far more significant! By this I mean those mysteries surrounding the person and work of Almighty God (Job 11:7), the mystery of God incarnate in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:4), and the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 13:11, Mark 4:11)! A lifetime of pondering these mysteries will never exhaust them of their meaning and significance!
What is more, we will only understand and appreciate them in their fullness when that day comes wherein our own knowledge will have been made perfect by the One Who has both created and redeemed us!
For my part, I long for that day, made possible by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, when I will gather with the saints of the ages and behold the face of God. And then, face to face with the One Who is the Author and Finisher of my faith, I shall discover all I ever desired to know about both the story of creation and the mysteries of eternity.
What a day, glorious day, that will be!
SCRIPTURE SOURCES: http://biblehub.com/.
THE NEXT CHAPTER…
Those who sit under my preaching on a regular basis know that one of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Bill Young, who once famously said: “Life is best lived in chapters!” Even though I have used this phrase many times from the pulpit, the events of the past few days have now given it a whole new meaning in my life.
I spent this last week in Alabama visiting with my mother as she recovers from her recent stroke. While I was there, and in God’s timing, it happened that my uncle, Roy Jackson (about whom my previous post was written), passed away. He was the last of my father’s siblings to die. I thus joined with my family in mourning and paying our final respects to this much loved man, who will be sorely missed.
As I left my mother in the care of my two sisters and made my way back to Tennessee, I thought a lot about the brevity of life. We come into this world, we live our lives, and then we pass on; and it all happens so quickly. It seems like only yesterday that my father, my aunt, and my uncle were all alive and well. And now, suddenly, they are all gone. Their time, at least in this world, is no more.
One can well imagine how heavy my heart was. And yet, it did not stay that way long. For no sooner had I arrived home than my daughter and son-in-law and my eighteen month old grandson arrived from middle Tennessee. Shortly thereafter, my son and his wife and my other his six week old grandson, all recently moved to east Tennessee, also arrived for a visit. Needless to say, our house is hopping! And so is my heart!
For it seems as if I suddenly went from a world of sadness to a world of joy! Every action, every moment, is suddenly filled with activity and the resultant laughter! Little bodies squirm! Little legs kick! Little hands explore! Little mouths squeal! Life literally abounds in every instant!
Add to this the fact that my daughter will be leaving here shortly to go and check on the freshly poured foundation for her new home that is being built just a few miles away, and where they will soon be relocating to from middle Tennessee. Plus the fact that my other son and his wife are also preparing to break ground on their own new home just up the road.
What is more, all of this is unfolding on the same day in which local ball fields are packed with t-ball teams and little league games. Not to mention the fact that seniors are also graduating from local high schools and colleges all around us today! Put simply: everywhere one looks, he or she is reminded that young lives are unfolding with equal amounts of eagerness and excitement!
And the point of all of this is simply that life goes on! While the time for my father, my aunts, and my uncles has now wound down, the time for my children and grandchildren is just now getting started. Certain chapters have come to a conclusion; but others are just now beginning!
For my part, I have been reminded that I can spend my time reading and re-reading previous chapters; or I can now turn the page and look forward to whole new chapters and whole new adventures.
It has been said that the past is a great place to visit; but that one should never choose to live there. I am grateful for a chance to have been reminded of this great truth over the past few days.
And I find myself looking forward now to each new day, knowing that tomorrow holds just as much joy as yesterday, and that each new chapter can and will be just as rewarding as all the ones that came before!
Isaiah the Prophet once spoke on behalf of the Lord and said: "I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?"
I am happy to say that I, for one, have seen it! I have seen this new thing God is doing! And I thank God that life goes on! I thank God that each new day holds the promise of new blessings! I thank God that the book of life abounds with many new and exciting chapters! For from my perspective, even now, the next such chapter is unfolding! May God be praised!
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/isaiah/43-19.htm.
BIGGER THAN LIFE!
It was a young man named David, soon to become the next King of Israel, who, upon hearing of the deaths of the previous King, Saul, and his son, Prince Jonathan, wept and exclaimed: “How the mighty are fallen!”
Then, as is recorded in the remainder of the first chapter of the Old Testament Book of II Samuel, he proceeded to sing a mournful song eulogizing these two men whom he had considered giants among the people of God.
When David had first encountered Saul, he had considered him bigger than life! Indeed, according to I Samuel, chapter 9, verse 2, Saul was “as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else”.
Add to that the fact that Saul had been selected as the very first king of Israel. As well as the fact that, according to I Samuel, chapter 18, verse 7, the people of Israel lauded him as having killed thousands of enemy troops.
Thus, even granted that young David would one day grow up and surpass all that Saul had ever accomplished, one can still imagine just how much in awe of this larger than life individual that young David must have been when he first laid eyes on Saul!
As a young man, my uncle, Roy Larry Jackson, was equally larger than life in my small eyes. At a commanding 6’ 2” tall, and weighing in at around 240 pounds (all without an ounce of fat on him), he was an impressive figure!
I remember being regaled at tales of him, as a grade school student, setting aside his homework and apologizing to his mother (and my grandmother) in advance as he then went out into the front yard and soundly thrashed the two infamous Askew brothers, who had been standing outside taunting him mercilessly for the previous thirty minutes.
To be sure, Uncle Roy’s fighting days were long over by the time I came along. But I remember his superhuman displays of strength as he batted clean-up on the church softball team, swatting balls with consistent regularity way over the outfield fence and out into the woods.
He almost never had to sprint to first base; instead, he usually just trotted around all the bases and then loped home, having just cleared them with one swing of his mighty bat.
And when he wasn’t playing softball, or earning a living by driving for a trucking firm out of Atlanta, he was always busy on the farm. I have seen him sling bales of hay up into the loft of the barn in one fell swoop (no small feat at a height of over fifteen feet). Even more impressive, I have seen him drive over one hundred fence post holes by hand in a single day, and still string and attach four strands of barbed wire before supper time.
To put it bluntly, in my estimation, Uncle Roy was as big a man as there was, as there ever had been, and as there ever was likely to be. But, alas, that was then; and this is now. For how are the mighty now fallen! You see, Roy Larry Jackson, for all the man he was, passed away this morning after a long and valiant struggle with cancer. In so doing, he became the last remaining sibling of my deceased father to depart this life.
But while he no longer strides the base paths of this world, I am confident that he now walks the streets of glory. And while his powerful earthly body eventually succumbed to a terrible foe, I am certain that he now has a new body – one that will never be smitten. And most important of all, while he has been taken from my family and me here in this world, he has most assuredly been reunited with those which have gone before.
I know these things because I know his testimony. Early on in life, my uncle submitted to the authority of One who was even bigger, even stronger, and even greater than him. Roy Jackson gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ. And now, he has been rewarded with a life that is far bigger, far greater, and far grander than anything this world has to offer. Now, more than ever, he has truly been transformed and begun to experience a life far, far bigger than that of this world!
Have the mighty fallen? Yes, they have. But, praise God, they have also now been raised to newness of life – one bigger and better than any we have ever known! And by our faith in Jesus Christ, we too shall live again. Bigger and better than ever before!
A SONG FOR MOTHER
As I have shared before, I consider myself a self-appointed expert on The Andy Griffith Show. After all, it is by far and away my favorite television show. And I am not alone in this regard; for in the broad history of television, few programs have captured the fancy of the American viewing public as has this one endearing comedy.
First airing in 1960, and running for 249 episodes over eight seasons, the show combined the artistic talents of an ensemble cast that revolved around the comedic genius manifesting itself in the relationship between a mild mannered small town sheriff, played by Andy Griffith, and his well-intentioned, if bumbling deputy, played by Don Knotts. The result was some of the finest comedy ever filmed.
On occasion, however, the show could depart from its customary comedic approach, and underscore values with storylines that resonate to this very day. As a case in point, Episode 1 of Season 4, first airing in 1963, is often described as "the series at its down-home best in this classic episode in which Opie accidentally kills a mother bird with his slingshot".
Even those unfamiliar with the show may still be somewhat acquainted with the plot of this one particular episode, which is consistently rated among the show’s top ten. With his new slingshot, Opie accidentally kills a songbird, leaving behind three young hatchlings. Feeling responsible, he brings the baby chicks into his room (in a birdcage), where he becomes their surrogate mother, nurturing them to maturity.
Over time, with ample love and attention, the birds, which Opie has affectionately named "Wynken", "Blynken", and "Nod", eventually mature to the point that they are ready to be set free. In the classic scene where Andy challenges his son Opie to release the birds, Opie ultimately realizes that this is indeed part of his responsibility as their adoptive parent.
After he releases the birds, Opie observes that the birds have all flown away and then states, "The cage sure looks awful empty, don’t it Pa?" To which Andy, smiling with satisfaction as he hugs Opie and looks upward, responds, "Yes son, it sure does. But, don’t the trees seem nice and full?!"
I have found myself thinking about this episode a lot this week. As Mother’s Day approaches, I have been reminded of just how blessed I am to have had a mother who was not taken from me. I have also been blessed in that this same mother then faithfully nurtured and protected me to maturity. As she did, she prepared me for the time that would eventually come when I would spread my wings and fly the nest to sing among the trees!
Now, more than ever, I realize what a blessing this has all been for me. And I am also more committed than ever to make certain to communicate that appreciation to her in what time we have left together in this world.
In a passage acknowledging the tremendous value of virtuous women, the writer of the Old Testament Book of Proverbs (chapter 31, verses 10-31) strongly encourages husbands and children to honor the one who has faithfully fulfilled the roles of wife and mother in their lives.
He concludes with this famous admonition "Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise…" In some small way, this blog post is part of my attempt to do just that!
To be sure, not everyone shares the testimony of having had a Godly mother. But many do. And so, my friend, if God gives you the opportunity between now and this coming Sunday to express your appreciation to your own mother, make certain to do so.
Very likely, few things in life will have brought as much joy to her heart as having seen you fly and having heard you sing among the branches. Let part of your song, therefore, be directed back to her, so that not only the trees, but also her heart, will be full!
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/niv/proverbs/31.htm.
NOTE: The writers of The Andy Griffith Show were obviously familiar with "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod", a popular poem for children written by American writer and poet Eugene Field and published on March 9, 1889.
I love the old story about a 21-year-old who is hired by a hardware store. He shows up for his first day of work at 8 AM sharp. His new boss welcomes him, and then hands him a broom. “First, sweep out the store. Then, I’ll show you where the window cleaning equipment is.”
“Sir,” the young man protests vehemently, “You can’t be serious. I’m a college graduate.” “Oh, I’m sorry,” says the manager, pointing to the broom. “No problem. I can show you how that thing works.”
Having more than once been a graduate myself, and also having had my share of first days on the job, I can appreciate the humor in this little story.
Of course, I am well aware that anyone who graduates from either high school or college has not gotten to that point without a significant amount of work. After all, let’s face it – for most of us, studying is hard work. Moreover, to make the grade requires not just hard work while at school; but also includes a good deal of “homework”.
So, then, work does not begin after graduation. And by the same token, learning does not end with graduation. Indeed, it has been said that one does not know what one does not know until he or she gets out of school and into the real world. For be it graduation from primary school, secondary school, or tertiary school, one must soon enough enroll in the proverbial “school of hard knocks”!
These twin matters of ever working and ever learning go hand in hand all throughout life. Let someone stop pursuing either vigorously and his or her life will shortly begin to stagnate and decline.
Thus, my prayer for our “Class of 2018” graduates (at whatever level of schooling they are just now concluding) is that they will appreciate this simple principle and busy themselves as a result with the twin objectives of ever learning and ever working.
Perhaps this is at least part of what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he told the Christians at Philippi, (in the New Testament Letter of Philippians, chapter four, verse nine): “What you have now learned from me, put into practice, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Here, we see two key words. The first is “learned”. In the original “Koine” (or “common”) Greek language of the New testament, the word used here is “emathete”, which is a derivative of “manthanó”, meaning “the learning of key facts; especially knowledge learned from experience, often with the implication of reflection”.
The second key term is “practice”. The word used here is “prássō”, meaning “the active process in performing or accomplishing a given deed”.
The first term occurs in what is called the “aorist tense, indicative mood, and active voice”; while the second occurs in the present tense, indicative mood, and active voice”. This simply means that we move from something completed in the past to something being done in the present.
Thus, the implication is that one does, one learns, and then one does yet again, hopefully going on to learn even more, and then to do even more, etc, etc... For this reason, we see clearly that the twin processes of learning and doing are inextricably linked together, as each fuels the next in turn, forever inducing the next cycle.
Ever learning, ever doing – a wonderful way to get through a day at school, to get through a day at work, and above all, to get through the precious and fleeting days of our lives!
JOKE SOURCE: http://www.funny-jokes-quotes-sayings.com/graduation-jokes.html.
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/text/philippians/4-9.htm.
This coming Sunday is the day we set aside each year at our church in order to emphasize the value of our senior adults. Ironically, the news this week seems to be full of headlines about what senior adults are up to.
For instance, a 96 year old World War Two veteran named Bob Barger is about to be awarded his college degree! Nearly seven decades after he sacrificed the standard agenda of youth to defend our country and our freedoms, he is fulfilling a lifelong dream.
It seems he had amassed enough college credit for an Associate's Degree prior to the war; but such degrees were not offered at the time. Now all of that is being honored and he is being awarded a degree. Kudos to him and everyone who helped to make this day possible for him! By the way, he jokes that he now wants to find a cushy job where he can play golf.
Another headline announced that a 90 year old man named Herschel McGriff Sr. will be competing this Saturday in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series West Race at Arizona’s Tucson Speedway. As he does, he will be making history as the oldest-known person ever to compete in a NASCAR race.
I especially like the way the article ends…
He’s got more planned after he finishes this race, in the race of life. “There’s still a few things I need to do yet… I figure I got another 10 years to go,” McGriff Sr. said. “I’ll get a lot done in the next 10 years.”
Once again, kudos to Mr. McGriff and those who support and affirm him. Like Mr. Barger above, here is a man who has chosen to stay passionate and actively set and pursue new goals each and every day that God has given him.
To be sure, this is due in large part to his own willingness to choose life. However, it is also due in part to the willingness of others to undergird him and sustain him in the pursuit of his dreams.
What a contrast to one last sobering headline in the news this week. According to the Washington Post, a lonely Chinese Senior Adult man with nowhere else to turn took out an ad this week and put himself up for adoption. The article states:
“Lonely old man in his 80s. Strong-bodied. Can shop, cook and take care of himself. No chronic illness. I retired from a scientific research institute in Tianjin, with a monthly pension of 6,000 RMB ($946) a month,” Han Zicheng wrote on a flyer last December, “I won’t go to a nursing home. My hope is that a kind-hearted person or family will adopt me, nourish me through old age and bury my body when I’m dead.”
The article went on to state that elderly Chinese people have traditionally been cared for by their kids and grandchildren. However, a combination of China’s one-child per family policy and the changing attitudes of younger people has led to tens of millions of older people like Han now finding themselves struggling without support.
As sad as that is, I could not help but reflect that one does not need to go to China to find precious seniors who have no one who seems to love or care for them. As hard as it is to admit, we can see the same thing right here in America.
It will always be appropriate for churches to set aside special times to emphasize and honor senior adults. But it will always be even more important for each of us as individuals to do this on a regular basis.
And part of what is required in honoring them is to undergird and support them, not only in their dreams and aspirations, but also in their ongoing everyday basic needs.
Even those with very little knowledge of the Bible and its contents are likely aware that the Scriptures tell us to honor our parents. While it is good that we have ample agencies and institutions designed to assist our seniors in the living of their lives, this does not absolve us of taking the initiative and assuming the responsibility to love and encourage them ourselves.
As God gives us that opportunity, may we be faithful to do so! And may we never reach the point that our seniors have to take out ads begging for someone to love and support them!
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/bsb/ephesians/6.htm.
Cleo E. Jackson, III
Occasionally I will add