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Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

    by Tom Kelley

Dates are Important
Date Posted: September 22, 2022

First things first. I have to correct a glaring mistake which I made yesterday. I wrote in my column yesterday that my wife and I were married on August 21, 1971. Even after what I thought to be a careful proofread I left us getting married on August 21, 1971. I was twenty-one years old plus ten days when Becky and I tied the proverbial wedded knot. My birthday is August 10. Thus, I became the husband of my wife on August 20, 1971, not August 21.

Funny how dates that we are just so sure we know without any problem get away from us. In 1975, Sherwood Smith was addressing our Fi-County Ministers Association in south central Ohio when he made the comment about the death of Alexander Campbell in 1867. Brother Smith was a venerable professor at Cincinnati Christian College at that time and no one bothered to question his statement concerning Campbell. Except me. I spoke up and challenged his date for Campbell's death by asking, "If Campbell died in 1867 then how did Isaac Errett include his death notice in the first issue of 'The Christian Standard' in 1866?"

Several ministers glared at me. How dare I correct someone of such unimpeachable knowledge as Sherwood Smith. My minister friends sitting on either side of me both nudged me a little as if to say, "You idiot, do you know what you're doing?" Then it came. Vindication. Brother Smith thought for a moment and said, "You know, he's right. Campbell's death was in the first issue of 'The Standard'. That first issue was printed in 1866. My apologies for not remembering that. And my thanks for being corrected on such an important issue."

Dates are important. Other than a few women I know whose birth years seem to move forward one calendar year with every celebration of their birthday, dates are fixed. They don't change. The Battle of Hastings will always be in 1066 A. D. The birth of our nation will always be July 4, 1776. Alexander Campbell will still be dead as of 1866. My Dad, William Nelson Kelley, will still have been born February 17, 1921. And March 19, 1961 will still be the most important day of my life. Was it my first kiss, a game winning score or a 100 on a difficult test? No.

It was the day I was reborn into the kingdom of God. It was the day that I realized the truth of what Jesus told Nicodemus during his night visit. "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." John 3:3, 5 Paul's grasp, as taught him by God, was that "we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Jesus was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4 Yessir. Dates are important. March 19, 1961 was the day I was reborn into Christ through the water and the Spirit.

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Biography Information:
Tom Kelley, pastor, speaker, lived with his wife, Becky, in Georgetown, Kentucky

...He was the Minister of the Minorsville Christian Church located near Stamping Ground, KY.

...Becky and Tom have three children; John, single and in worship ministry in Nicholasville, Kentucky; Sean, married (Jennifer, elementary school teacher) with twins (Grace and Patrick, b.d. 10/31/04) and regional director of Papa John's Pizza in Central KY; Kara, married (Vince Taylor, prison guard) and working with Hospice East in Winchester, KY.

...Tom went to be with the Lord on November 13, 2009 after a lengthy battle with cancer. If you have been touched by Tom's writings please send an email to Tom's son at
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