Monday, January 16, 2017

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John Parker had it made. After two attempts to escape being a slave to a Southern slave owner, he had finally gotten his freedom. He chose to live in Ripley, Ohio, right on the freedom side of the Ohio River. He got a house and he got a good job as a factory worker. In fact, ultimately, he owned a foundry and he invented many processes that were used widely in that industry. He was safe, secure and successful. But night after night, John Parker risked it all. Under cover of darkness, he rowed across the river to the Kentucky side-slave territory. If he was caught, he could lose his freedom. He could lose his life. But in spite of the risks, John Parker went looking for runaway slaves. And he found them and rowed them across the river to the freedom side. It's actually believed that John Parker was responsible for at least 900 slaves going free.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

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It was England's darkest hour. Each night the air raid sirens would wail their haunting warning that German bombers were again approaching London with their showers of death. And each night, Londoners would race to the city's bomb shelters, many of them underground in London's subway stations. When people surveyed the damage the next morning, of course the landscape had changed, with once familiar buildings now turned to rubble – and sometimes neighbors lost to the bombs.

Friday, January 6, 2017

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We had someone on our ministry team who was really an enthusiastic auto-racing fan. If you're into that sport, you know a name like Jeff Gordon is one of the best in the business. One of the people that helped him get to that position is the man who has been head of his pit crew. You've probably seen those high-speed cars swing into their service pit and only seconds later they roar back into the race.

My racing fan friend told me about a TV special a while back on Jeff Gordon. On it, they interviewed the head of his pit crew – who, by the way, has a degree in organizational behavior. Isn't that interesting? He revealed just how amazing the work of the pit crew is in a sport where seconds really matter. The pit crew chief said they will change up to 20 tires in one race. Just think of what those speeds have to do to a tire! And they change a complete set of four tires (You ready now?) in thirteen seconds. That's faster than I can finish off a bite of my dinner! The driver, of course, is the name everyone knows. But the driver knows he's nothing without his pit crew!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

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As our kids were growing up, Saturday was always chore day at the Hutchcraft house. It was the day we got our leaves raked and bagged, rooms got cleaned – or hosed out like a monkey cage as the case may be. It was the day the garage got dug out, the dirty clothes got clean, broken things got fixed. It wasn't that kids jumped out of bed on Saturday morning said, "What do you have for me to do today, Dad?" No, Saturday mornings often involved some delicate labor negotiations, especially when it came to someone getting a job that meant more time and more dirty work than some of the others. That child might say, "I don't want to do Job A. I want Job B." To which I would reply, "I pay the allowances and the bonuses around here." (See, usually there was extra pay for extra work). So I would tell them, "Don't forget lesson #1 of working – you don't pick your jobs. The person who pays you decides the jobs you'll do."

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

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It's time to wash the bathrobes again – for the boys to wear in the Christmas pageant. Like thousands of boys at Christmastime, I, too, was drafted into being one of those shepherds. I'm not sure my bathrobe got washed any other time of the year actually. To be petty, I always thought the guys playing the wise men had a better deal. They got to wear some fancy clothes, and they had something to give to Baby Jesus when they came – I think we used to call it gold, frankenstein, and myyrh. But not us shepherds. No, no! Since the Bible doesn't describe any specific gift the shepherds brought, we came empty handed. I thought we looked a little cheap. But I've learned something since then.

Monday, December 19, 2016

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That particular Christmas I saw something I would not soon forget. I was visiting a theme park that has a wonderful Christmas festival, including a service in their old log chapel. We sang some of the old carols and then there was a short time when we had our eyes closed in prayer. As I opened my eyes, I noticed that someone had slipped in to the old wooden bench across from me – Santa Claus. Yep, there he was red suit, real white hair, real white beard – except for his Santa hat which he had removed to pray. There was Santa Claus, eyes closed and head bowed on his folded hands praying. Look, I've seen a lot of Santas. I've never seen one praying before. As I visited with him afterwards, he told me how he tried to remind each boy and girl who sat on his lap of the Savior who came on Christmas to die for us. That's one amazing Santa!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

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I know voice mail can be efficient, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Sometimes they're entertaining. I mean, I have friends who have major productions or comedy monologs that greet people. But, you know, voice mail doesn't respond: records, but doesn't respond. One friend captured how I feel in a what he recorded tongue-in-cheek. You call, then you know, you get the little click and you hear the friend's voice saying, "In a world of cold and uncaring humans, isn't it refreshing to be greeted by a warm and friendly voice mail?" No! You just can't automate a personal response!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

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If you've ever been a Marine, this question is going to be a piece of cake. What's the motto of the United States Marine Corps? Even if you've never been a Marine, you may well know the answer: "Semper Fidelis" – always faithful. Or "Semper Fi," as the Marines like to say. But a former Marine recently told me there's another Marine Corps motto, and it doesn't appear on anything official, but he said it's one Marines learn to live by – "Semper Gumby." Remember Gumby, that rubbery cartoon character who could bend every which-way. Semper Gumby – always flexible!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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When I'm in a new city, I don't usually make visiting a local cemetery one of my sightseeing priorities. But I did in a ministry trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia. I visited the cemetery where 121 passengers of the doomed Titanic are buried; many with their names still unknown.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

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We're all broken and we're covering it up. It's just too risky to come out from behind that mask, the wall that we've put up to keep people out, because we don't really want to see what's behind it. For sure we don't want anyone else to see it. We keep it until someone else takes their mask off; speaking transparently from their own brokenness. In essence, they give us permission to face our own hurt, to face our own darkness. Remember, Jesus said, "You will know the truth and the truth will scare you to death." No, He didn't say that. He said, "set you free" (John 8:32).

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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