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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.
by Jamie Buckingham
Few things traumatize us real men any more than being kissed by another man. I vividly remember the first time it happened to me.
The fellow was a transplant into our church from Ohio. Broad and bearded, he came forward after the service to introduce himself. I tried to shake his hand. Instead he kissed me on the cheek. I could feel my face turn flaming red. I knew ought to kiss him back.
Five times the Bible says we should greet one another with a holy kiss. That's more times than it says we should be born again. But I couldn't. I just couldn't. It took me weeks to recover. A month later, after doing my best to evade the man on Sunday, he kissed me again. But I simply could not pucker up in return.
Real men, I had been taught from childhood, don't kiss other men. They shake hands. It was tough enough just learning how to hug. I got my first exposure 23 years ago at a Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship convention in Washington. D.C.
It was horrible, crammed into that hotel lobby with 4,000 hugging charismatics. Two things stood out about that group. First, they were a people who vocalized their affection to God with unabashed shouting—even in public places. Second, they showed their affection to each other—by hugging.
It was as if all charismatics had adopted a slogan: "No handshaking allowed." Even my own father didn't hug me. But these people hugged everyone. And worse, they pounded you on the back at the same time, shouting "Praise God!" to draw attention to their bizarre behavior. Eventually, in self-defense, I too became a hugger.
It was easier to throw my arms around everyone than it was to try to determine who was a handshaker and who was a hugger. Then 1 ran across those verses about holy kissing. did everything I could to escape it. I checked all the different Bible translations, only to discover the Bible translators were as inhibited as I. Kenneth Taylor. from Moody Bible Institute, translated 2 Cor. l3:12: "Greet each other warmly in the Lord" (Living Bible).
by Jamie Buckingham
It was Ghandi, legend has it who said, "I would be a follower of Christ were it not for Christians." A restaurant waitress from Pueblo, Colo., struggling with that same problem, asked, "Why are Christians so rude to waitresses?" Every place she had worked, she wrote, this was a hot topic among the waitresses.
"'Believe me, sir, I'd rather serve a party of drunks than a party of Christians—and I'm a Holy Ghost-filled Christian woman."
I sat reading her letter, imagining a group of waitresses standing in the kitchen talking about the loud, rude bunch of people who had just come in from a church meeting.
"Church people demand beyond reason—then they don't tip at all."
Well, she's right about that. I was with a man recently who, after sending his meal back twice because it wasn't cooked to his taste, punished the waitress by not leaving a tip. I could have lived with it, since he was paying the bill, had he not made a big deal of bowing his head and praying out loud before we ate—while the little waitress stood to one side watching.
After we got outside I excused myself, returned and gave her a double tip. I told her I was doing it for two reasons: One, because she had earned it for having to put up with my friend; two, because God wanted to bless her in a special way. She cried.
I have a young friend who is raising a child as a single parent—working as a waitress at Denny's. She leaves for work at 5:30 a.m.—six days a week—in order to drop her baby off at the day-care center. She makes $3.25 an hour, the rest on tips.
"Non-Christians tip best," she says. "Christians leave small tips and sometimes a gospel tract. Some don't even tip—especially breakfast," "It's hard enough," she told me, "to go to church on the one day I don't have to work. But what really stinks is finding yourself behind the loudmouth who's always complaining that his coffee is cold, then leaves 25 cents—which I have to split with the bus boy."
For a quarter century, his words gave shape, substance and hon-esty to the charismatic movement. Whether he was poking holes in religious balloons or poking fun at himself, his stories had a way of bringing us face-to-face with Jesus.
Others may take up his mantle, but no one will ever take his place. His parents named him James William Buckingham II, but everyone just called him Jamie. Born on March 28, 1932, in Vero Beach, Fla., he was educated at Mercer University (A.B.) in Macon, Ga. After graduate studies at South-western Baptist Theological Seminary (M.R.E.) in Fort Worth, Texas, Jamie became a Southern Baptist pastor.
But by 1967, he had been fired twice and was disenchanted with ministry. "I was in terrible despair," Jamie once said of this painful time. "I didn't know where to go or what to do." Desperately searching for God's direction in his life, he saw an advertisement in Guideposts magazine announcing a writers' workshop.
The ad invited manuscript submissions, so Jamie dashed off a piece, submitted it, and was invited to the conference. That week, editors John and Elizabeth Sherrill concluded that his was a "major talent." They recommended Jamie to Dan Malachuk of Logos publishing company (later Logos Fellowship International), who persuaded him to write the story of converted gang warlord Nicky Cruz.
Jamie was hesitant; he thought he knew nothing about book writing. But when he sat down at the typewriter, he later recalled, "everything came natural. From the moment I got into the project, I knew I was going to do this for life." The result: Jamie's first book—Run. Baby, Run—was a best-seller, catapulting both Nicky and Jamie into international fame.
That writing project did much more, however, than simply launch Jamie's writing career. While doing research for the book, he attended a Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship meeting in Washington, where he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Soon he was occupying a prominent place in the emerging charismatic movement as a popular speaker and author.