It's definitely the age of doctors who are specialists. Including one of the latest, new specialties - the spin doctor. The spin doctor is actually to be found in the world of politics. As soon as some news breaks that might be damaging or embarrassing to a political leader or candidate, someone on their staff talks to the press about it - and they find a way to put a positive or undamaging "spin" on those revelations - to put their man or woman in the best possible light. The more powerful you become, the more "spin doctors" you need. And depending on how good the "doctor" is, a lot of people may end up believing the "spin" rather than the truth!

Millions of Americans visit the emergency room once a week - on television, that is. The blockbuster TV hit, "E.R.," very convincingly takes its viewers into the tension and crisis environment of a hospital emergency room. They make you feel like you're there. Of course, they're not the only medical personnel involved in crisis care situation. I was reminded of that the other day on the interstate as this ambulance passed us. Of course, the back has those big red letters - "ambulance." But this particular ambulance had sort of a subtitle - one that raised my eyebrows and made me smile. The whole sign on the back said, "Ambulance - the real emergency room."

It's a huge job to try to keep the roadside by interstates and major highways from looking like garbage dumps. But somebody had this great idea: have clubs, and churches, and schools, and civic organizations volunteer to maintain just one mile of the road near them. You've probably seen the signs - "This mile maintained by the Forest Grove Garden Club," or a Boy Scout troop, or by the Busy Hands Presbybaptist Church, or even a family. Now no one of those groups could ever maintain say the entire roadside in their county - but they can do a mile. And if each group makes sure their mile is covered, the whole area will end up looking a whole lot better.

Years ago, I was at a youth conference where we needed to raise some money for a camp scholarship fund. So we challenged the kids to buy their counselor into this Friday night food fight. Oh, well, the kids found the money all right! So Friday night all of us leaders showed up on the field of battle with the campers watching like these sadistic spectators at the Roman Coliseum. Now, for starters, we got hosed down so everything would cling to us. I'm embarrassed about the food we wasted, frankly, but I'm at least glad we paid for a few kids to get to camp.

Several years ago it was my privilege to be a part of Billy Graham's Congress on Evangelism in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. After several days packed with these challenging sessions, the 10,000 evangelists there spent one entire afternoon in what was called a Day of Witness. We were given these box lunches and sent across Holland that day to do evangelism in scores of places. And I was asked to be the bus captain for our 40 or so evangelists. Now when I mentioned those lunches to Richard, our bus driver, he was not a happy camper. He didn't seem particularly sympathetic with what we were going out to do - and he sure wasn't going to allow those lunches on his bus. He said, I always end up cleaning up a busful of garbage. The only way we ever got out of the parking lot that day was that I pledged to clean the bus myself.

About every five years or so, I run into my scrapbook while I'm going through this closet. Oh, there's the geeky-looking, eighth-grader there, holding his county spelling bee trophy. Oh, there's chubby little Ronnie in his Indian outfit on a vacation to Minnesota. And, the picture of our championship Bible quizzing team. Now it's also a lot of fun when we pull out the old photos of our family. Two decades of Christmas Eves, scenes from scores and scores of vacation adventures, sons in football uniforms, a daughter all dressed up for her first recital - ah, the memories. Now it isn't that we haven't had some not-so-great things happen. There was the automobile accident, the painful injuries, the bouts with various sicknesses - but somehow they just didn't make it into the memory book.

The Titanic has sailed into the Internet - bigtime. You wouldn't believe the mountains of information available about the sinking of that "unsinkable" ship back in 1912. With the Academy Award-winning movie, and endless TV shows and articles, a Broadway musical - fascination with the Titanic is at an all-time high. A lot of this information has been known for decades, but suddenly there's a tremendous appetite for that information. Like the tragic mistake made that fatal night by a radioman on the Titanic. The ship had received a number of warnings about ice ahead, and had adjusted her course southward as a result. But two hours before the Titanic hit the iceberg, the radioman received a warning from another ship about a major iceberg, along with the longitude and latitude coordinates. They put that iceberg right in Titanic's path. It's the one that sank the ship. But the radioman didn't know it was in their path. He was busy that night, so he stuck that message on a spindle where it could be dealt with later. That one choice doomed him - and 1,500 other passengers who died that night.

I first noticed it one day when I was mowing the lawn - a little dent in the ground. Over a few weeks, that little dent became a growing sinkhole. The ground was literally collapsing. I asked a neighbor, who was an amateur "sinkholeologist," what caused this phenomenon. He told me it was the drought of rainfall that we had been having. He said an underground spring had probably dried up. And that dried up the ground, and the roots above it - and my yard fell in.

I was with several members of our Team in the relentless evangelism schedule of one of our "Make A Difference" Weekends. We were getting pretty tired and our minds were totally focused on our outreaches. In fact, so tired and so focused, that I forgot about a radio station that was calling me for a live interview that afternoon. Now, I had just awakened from a brief nap and the phone rang. Thinking it was one of our Team members, I jokingly answered, "Good morning" - at 4:00 in the afternoon. Somehow, I was able to rebound immediately and go enthusiastically into that interview, and I don't think the folks on the other end ever knew I was surprised by their call. When I told my Team members about this, Esther said, "Ron, I've seen you come to life like that a lot of times. You're like a ventriloquist's dummy." I thanked her for sharing that, and she felt she should clarify what she meant. She said, "No, no. You're like this." Then she closed her eyes, hung her head, and leaned lifelessly against the wall. Then, without warning, she opened her eyes real wide, started moving her head from side to side, and said, "Hi, everybody! How ya doing?" I laughed so hard I could barely drive.

Apparently, the airlines know you have to keep us Americans amused. They try to keep something happening on those video screens during much of the flight. If it's a long flight, you get a movie. If it's a shorter flight, you get shorts - not to wear, I mean, the kind you watch on the screen. And I'm usually so busy amusing myself with all the work I have to do, I don't pay much attention to the screen. But on this one flight, I did occasionally glance up at the girls' gymnastics competitions they were showing in the sports highlights. The big competition was between the United States and Russia, so my star-spangled blood was pulling for you-know-who. After each girl performed, they would do this little replay. I never saw a replay of anything she did right. They insisted on showing two or three times where she messed up. "Look, everybody - see the one thing she did wrong." That bothers me.

            

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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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