Jonathan’s Journey
Thursday July 23, 2009
Back at Carolina Bible Camp
This morning I was on my way to Cracker Barrel for a meeting with Walt Leaver, when I got a phone call from Kyle Swicegood and Geoffrey Sikes. They were at the WDSL studios outside of Mocksville, North Carolina and they were getting ready to go on the air with a report about Carolina Bible Camp…and they wanted me to join them via the telephone.
WDSL…was my home for several years…as I began my broadcasting career at that station when I was 16. During my final years in high school and the first two years of college---I would return home during holiday breaks and the summer to be “Big Jon in the Morning”.
One of my early radio mentors, Jack Smiley (Scott)---worked to train me on the equipment---and he would let me work during his air shift. I would fade from commercial to music, etc. I never opened the mike to say a word. The one day, he showed me the mike and got me to get up enough courage to talk. A couple of years later, he walked in the studio and said, “I wish I never taught you how to use that mike”! I went from being too scared to talk, to talking too much!
My cousin by marriage, Carol Forrest was working at the station---and she went out of her way to help get me a job and to encourage me in broadcasting. She was a great friend and mentor. She was very talented and creative. We enjoyed thinking up promotions and special events for the station.
Carol lost her battle with a disease a few years ago…but I will never forget the support and help she gave me in my early days of broadcasting. I owe a lot to her and to WDSL. You never forget where you get your start.
Today, as Kyle interviewed me it was like a flashback to the early 70”s and those early morning broadcast. I am glad that WDSL is still broadcasting. The station has had several different owners…and for a few years it was off the air…but now it is back up and running and I often catch Carolina athletic events online at
I hope to pull together some old broadcast…and send some CDs to Kyle and the station…so they can do a few flashbacks!
Today…the broadcast was to focus on Carolina Bible Camp---the camp that I grew-up going to as a kid---that rented facilities around the state---until they opened their state of the art camp in 1992---in Mocksville---near the Jericho Church of Christ---about a half mile from my parent’s home. Geoffrey…has been attending the camp for 46 years…and he was Kyle’s guest today to talk about CBC.
Sunday night, we went to CBC for their Sunday evening worship and the kick-off to their 6th week of camp. They now have seven (7) weeks of camp (when I was a child they had two weeks and then expanded to three weeks). It was great to visit with old friends like Dennis Conner, Johnny Melton, Jack and Todd Harris and others. I understand they are having a great week of camp---that will conclude on Saturday morning.
This afternoon---I experience some more radio history…by going to the studios of WVOL to visit with their owner. We had a meeting there to discuss some possible broadcasting possibilities. WVOL is one of the oldest radio stations in Nashville.
Sunday afternoon---after worship at Jericho (my cousin Tony Forrest—who is very involved in the China Now program was the guest speaker)---we went home to mom’s for a big lunch. All of our immediate family…except for my niece Mary Jean and her husband Keith and daughter Reese and my nephew Bryant—were there for the weekend…and Geoffrey also joined us for lunch.
Just before my brother Michael prayed…Geoffrey reminded us that the following weekend---would mark the 40th anniversary of one of, if not the first “youth rally” in North Carolina. My brother Michael---home from David Lipscomb College---planned the event in 1969. He was 19 years old…and we had a big event…and Geoffrey’s dad---Paul Sikes was the guest speaker.
Jericho is the oldest church of Christ in North Carolina. And forty years ago---for the leaders to allow us to host a “youth rally”---something that had never been done before---was a big step of faith. My brother pulled off a big weekend---and it was the first of many big youth events that have taken place in my home state over the past 40 years.
Sunday afternoon, I think we did something that I can’t ever remember doing…or at least it has been a long time since we enjoyed doing this---just sitting in the yard…relaxing and talking! The weather was perfect for a Sunday afternoon under the shade of a pecan tree. Barbara remarked that it reminded her of Mayberry---from Andy Griffith---and “it would be a good afternoon for a Band Concert”!
Monday we left NC and headed back to Tennessee.
The kids had come back on Sunday…so they would be home for work and volleyball practice. Barbara had made arrangements for us to spend Monday night at the Whitestone Country Inn (A bed and breakfast in Kingston, TN). The Inn was built by Paul Cowell. He was a preacher/pastor for 25 years and he built this retreat to glorify God. He allows missionaries to stay there for free. It is a beautiful, restful place. Several from Brentwood Hills have stayed there…and I am glad Barbara selected this place for us to celebrate our 31st anniversary.
Back home Tuesday night…I went to the office to begin catching up on work while Bethany went to TNT. That allowed me to be ahead of the game when I got to the office on Wednesday. Dick Garner came by Wednesday morning and we spent the morning catching up on business…since I have been out of the loop for nearly 3-4 weeks…due to camp prep, two weeks of camp and our Carolina trip! We had lunch with Ronnie Hunter and Dr. David Malin. I learned during lunch that Dr. Malin will have his knee replaced on August 18th. That is two days before the one year anniversary of my surgery.
Today Barbara and I visited with Marcia Corley, who had her knee replaced last week. She is making great progress! She was her funny self….as she kept asking us all to sit down while we visited. She said, “Please sit down I feel like I am in a casket and you are all looking down at me!”
We also visited Norman Keener and Marilyn Boyette’s mother. They are all at NHC in Cool Springs.
Tonight…after dinner…we all watched Don Meyer’s acceptance of his ESPN ESPY. We watched it on line and then it popped up on ESPN as they were replaying the ESPY’s tonight. Don did a great job. It was a great honor and tribute to a fine man.
After watching the ESPY…the kids and I watched a couple of episodes of LOST. I got the first season on DVD for Father’s Day---and I have a lot of LOST watching to catch-up!
Now we are ending the night with Andy Griffith!
Tomorrow, Bethany and the volleyball team begins its team camp…so we have a weekend of volleyball awaiting us!
Here is the Journey that will appear in the Highlights on Sunday:
I know the calendar still
says July---but usually after camp and Honduras
(this year it was a trip home to North Carolina) I am
ready for the fall and a new beginning! I know
January marks the beginning of a new year---
however, it’s the new school year that gets me
pumped and excited!
In the past, that would occur after “Labor Day”---
but with volleyball, football and other fall sports
beginning practice, and the start of school just a
couple of weeks away---I am getting ready for a
There is just something exciting about starting over
again or beginning something new! It sort of fits our
theme for this year, “We are the clay and God is the
potter”. We are asking him to take each of us and re
-mold or re-shape us into something NEW!
This week I got an email from Dana Latham sharing
with me, that throughout the year as she has thought
about our theme, the word “becoming” keeps
coming to her mind. Becoming---is defined as “to
come to be” or “to suit or be suitable” also “fit” or
“attractive”. She shared the concept, “that as
Christians, we are constantly ‘becoming’—as we grow
spiritually---learning, changing, transforming.”
She shared with me the song, “Something
Beautiful” from the Christian artist, Todd Agnew.
The chorus of the song goes, “It’s funny how all I can
be is someone completely ugly and yet when you look at
me you see a reflection of something beautiful.”
As Dana went on in her email, “How often do we look
in a mirror and see our reflection or our flaws without
stopping to think about trying to see God’s reflection or
even realize that we are called to reflect God?” II
Corinthians 3: 18 “…we…are being transformed into
His likeness…”
In October, we will all have an opportunity to attend
the Family Retreat—October 2-4 at Henry Horton
State Park. Our theme this year will be “Shape-up”!
We plan to spend some time looking at a lot of areas
in our life that we need to “Shape-up”---to have God
re-shape or re-mold as we BECOME the person God
wants us to be!
Dana went on to share with me that she now has a
new thought posted in her kitchen, “Be mindful of
whose image you reflect”. A great thought for our
Journey this week…whose image do we reflect? ---in
our words, our deeds, our thoughts, our dress, our
actions and the list goes on and on! “Your attitude
should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.” Philippians
This week, let’s all reflect some Light and Love on
our Journey to the Son!

P.S. If you still want a ‘Property of BHCC’ shirt,
email with your
size and color.
Also, let’s fill several “sacks”
for Rains Ave!
We need to help them
fill their pantry!
 journey 100x100

Brentwood Hills
Church of Christ
5120 Franklin Road
Nashville, Tennessee 37220
Phone: (615) 832-2541
Fax: (615) 832-2583