Fairview Baptist Tabernacle
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Staying Connected
 Archived Pastor's Desk 2017.12.17


December 17 – December 23



Scripture Passage: “Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor of the Lord.”    Proverbs 18:22 


Dear Friends,


     Today, December 18th, is Ms. Patty and my 35th wedding anniversary.  She says after 35 years she has just about got me raised and all the kinks worked out.  We had dated for three years and decided to get married the week before Christmas 1982.  The little Free Will Baptist Church in Surgoinsville was decorated with laurel and holly from the woods.  One candle arbor graced the stage accentuating the red carpet and stained glass windows.  The bride’s maids were dressed in green and the groom and groomsmen wore beige denim leisure suits with western string ties. Patty wore a borrowed wedding dress.  (The only thing she has regretted from that day.)  My aunt Dina was the organist and I provided the special music.  The day was overcast with a chance of snow and the wedding was at five o’clock providing the perfect backdrop for a Christmas wedding.  Billy Gragg was the officiating minister and also our pastor.  The church was packed with family and friends and the only one missing was my Papaw.  He was sick and unable to leave the house, so I spent my final hours of freedom with him.  He gave me some advice I still adhere to today.  My niece Kim was the flower girl and a little boy named Brad Jarnigan was the ring bearer.  His daddy Bobby only let him wear a bowtie because it was Patty that asked.  (Bobby still hates bowties today.)  All the pageantry proceeded to the organ announcement of the bride.  The doors opened and the most beautiful woman appeared arm entwined with her daddy’s.    I have often said it is the closest to a vision of Heaven that I have ever had.  It is etched into my memory as the most wonderful day of my life.  I sang a John Denver song called “Follow Me,” and cried through the whole thing.  My crying made the flower girl and ring bearer cry and as I recall there was not a dry eye in the house.  Brother Billy proceeded with the ceremony and when he got to the part that says, “With all my worldly goods, I thee endow,” I started crying again because I knew I did not have anything to offer her but my love .  I was a blubbering fool, but everyone said it was one of the best weddings they had ever been to. 


    We finished the wedding reception and packed Charlotte’s car to start the Honeymoon journey to Gatlinburg.  (Pat even slipped me a $100 to help cover expenses.)  We got to Sevierville about 10:00 P.M. that night and the only thing open was Long John Silvers.  We had not had anything to eat all day except some wedding cake, so guess where we stopped?  You got it.  Don’t ever try to tell me I don’t know how to treat a woman.  Last Friday we were by the same Long John Silvers and I wanted to drop in for old time’s sake.  Patty said no thanks, once was enough.  Where we went instead, the tip was more than our entire meal that night. 


     Our marriage has been a journey.  It has been filled with mountain top experiences and a few valleys.  She has stuck with me through some very difficult times.  At times, she was the only one who actually knew what was going on. When choices have had to be made that were difficult, we talked and prayed about them, but she would always say, “If you do what the Lord wants you to do, I will follow you anywhere.”  She has kept her word.  I have kept mine.  I promised to love, honor and cherish her until the day that I die and I have every intention of keeping that promise.  She is more beautiful today than ever, (People mistake her as one of my daughters) and she is the same fun loving girl I married.  Yes, I have obtained favor of the Lord and I am eternally grateful.  I tell folks, “Why would I go looking for a Volkswagen, when I have a Cadillac at home?”  Happy Anniversary darling and may the best days be yet to come. 


In Christ,


Pastor Johnny




Pastor Johnny



Pastor Johnny