by Steve Strang
Author/pastor Jamie Buckingham had a huge impact on my life and on our organization. He encouraged me to start Ministry Today and wrote in it many times. He served as editor several years before his untimely death in February 1992.
You can read some of Jamie's best "Last Word" columns for Charisma that were chosen by his family and the magazine's article on Jamie's passing. Additionally, you can write your own tribute or reflections about him by commenting on the various articles.
by T.J. Buckingham
I recently made the very picturesque journey from my hometown, Melbourne, Fla., to the beautiful, small city of Vero Beach, Fla.
This quaint old city has the prudence of huge oak hammocks as well as the tropical views of giant palm trees. The air is persistently humid and filled with the sweet fragrance of orange blossoms, with an occasional trace of the not-so-sweet Indian River.
I absolutely love Vero Beach because of the wonderful memories of my grandfather, Jamie Buckingham, that resurfaces whenever I visit. This particular trip was special because I made it with my grandmother and Jamie's widow, Jackie Buckingham.
I had the ultimate tour guide, and she didn't disappoint. We drove by Vero Beach High School, and I saw her eyes light up as she recalled all of the mischievous things my grandfather had done in his youth like racing his old Ford pick-up truck as fast as it would go down the steel railroad tracks.
As I listened, it was obvious why she never remarried. Jamie's playful spirit and tendencies to be unpredictable had won her over as a teenager, and she was still very much in love with him two decades after his passing in February 1992.
She recalled with a laugh how she had to wait to wear her engagement ring until she was enrolled in college because my great grandfather, Walter Buckingham or "Daddy B" as we all called him, said that it would not be proper for her to wear it while still in high school.
We even drove down to the Baptist church where my grandfather spent his summer home from college as the acting youth pastor—his first real role in ministry. I suppose that was where he had his calling confirmed as he spent the rest of his life in ministry.
As part of the January-February issue on social transformation of Ministry Today, James Robison, the president of Life Outreach International and the co-host of the Life Today television program, wrote a challenging and informative column on what pastors and churches can do to help avert a cultural tsunami.
You can read Robison's timely "Turning The Tide" article in the magazine's latest issue by clicking here. He explains why the church has failed to change the culture largely because of our lack of unity.
In the social transformation issue, which goes beyond political activism. Guest Editor Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. invited other outstanding authors such as Chuck Colson, David Barton and Tony Perkins to write. The end result is something much more powerful—an issue on social transformation, which involves being involved politically. Read it and be transformed, so you can in turn transform society.
Now is the perfect time to subscribe to Ministry Today. A great gift idea for Easter, we're currently offering a special promotion that includes evangelist Reinhard Bonnke's "Full Flame" DVD series and the ESV (English Standard Version) Thinline Bible with a paid subscription. It's $100-plus worth of resources for $24.97. Click here to subscribe to Ministry Today.
by Jamie Buckingham
The summer after I graduated from high school, my father had surgery for a double hernia. The operation was performed in a small hospital in Asheville, N.C., near my parents' summer cabin in Hendersonville.
In those days, it was customary to employ a private nurse because there were very few hospital staff nurses available. The surgeon recommended a mountain woman by the name of Julia Baldwin. Julia was typical of the raw-boned, hard-working women who live in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
She came into my father's room the morning he was to have surgery. "Praise the Lord," she said, grinning. "Let's pray!" I was embarrassed. It was a critical time in my life. I was getting ready to leave for college. I wanted a relationship with God, but I was afraid of what that might mean.
Now here comes this ruddy-faced, middle-aged woman—bubbling like Alka-Seltzer in water. She assumed, when she heard I was enrolled at a Christian college, that I had a relationship with Jesus.
"Come visit my church," she said. "You'll love it," There was no way to back out. The following Sunday, using my mother's car, I drove out to the little Christian and Missionary Alliance church.
The service was just starting. The people were singing and clapping. I'd never heard this kind of music. Julia was in the choir. She saw me come in, grinned and waved, motioning me to join her. I was terrified. People turned and looked. Then, incredibly, she came down out of the choir loft, took my arm, and suddenly I was up there—singing and clapping my hands with the rest of the congregation. I loved it!
It was the first time in all my life I had been in a church service with vigor, and the people responded vocally—with even more vigor. I had only heard of folks who said "Amen!" in church. Now I was surrounded by them. That morning of my 18th year, sitting in the little choir loft of a Christian and Missionary Alliance church, something sparked in my heart.
This was what I had been looking for and didn't even know existed. I ventured out and said my first hesitant "Amen!" It felt good. After church. Julia took me to her house. I still remember he location on Merrimon Avenue.
She fed me lunch and talked about God. She was the only person I had ever met who talked about Him in the present tense. She was also the first person I had ever warned to tell all the sins in my life. As I was leaving, she gave me a book with a green dust jacket. It was called Rees Howells, Intercessor by Norman Grubb. "It will save your life," she said. I mumbled my embarrassed thanks and left.
by Jamie Buckingham
Shortly after my dad became a Christian, at age 62, he began looking around for things he could give away. Although he had been successful in his Florida business and in citrus agriculture, and had
accumulated many things, giving became more important than getting.
He spent the last 26 years of his life giving things away. He once told me his goal was to be like Job, also a successful businessman, who left this world as he entered it—owning nothing.
He came close to meeting that goal. The afternoon after he died, at the age of 88, I went through his remaining possessions. Everything was within reach of his bed—either on or in his little nightstand.
He had been wearing most of his clothes: a pair of khaki pants, a tan dress shirt, a black bow tie and a pair of fuzzy white socks. He also owned two other pair of socks, two sets of underwear and a pair of pajamas.
On top of the nightstand were his dollar pocket watch, glasses, a soft hairbrush and his worn, dog-eared Bible. His final possession was a narrow-bladed grapefruit knife, which he loved to pull from his pocket in the citrus grove to show us kids how to peel a grapefruit in a circular fashion so the peeling never broke.
He indeed left as he arrived—owning virtually nothing. Other possessions—house, properties and money—had been given away before died. I suspect what he inherited in heaven, apart from his salvation, was in direct proportion to what he gave on earth.
He had been very direct with his five grown children. He would wisely give money when needed: when we were getting started in life and career. But he was specific: There would be no money for us in his will.
He left an inheritance to take care of our mother who, now at 93, is continuing to use it. But he knew that money or property left to children often divides families. All his possessions—and they were considerable—had been given ahead of time or were willed to the churches and mission organizations he believed in and loved.