I couldn't just sit down and start using your personal computer. If you work in an office, chances are they make sure that they can have access to the company computer that you use. Your computer, my computer, your company's computer – obviously they're all protected from any funny business by something we call a password. I can't get into my computer without typing in my password. Would you like to know what it is? Nope!
As a New York Knicks basketball fan, I've had some victories and some play-off games to cheer for. But, oh yeah, I've had my share of disappointments. And too many of them came at the hands of one particular opponent some years ago when we were living in the New York area. It was a player named Reggie Miller. He had done more to stop my team than just about anybody I could think of because something happened to this man in a close game, when there was suddenly just a minute or two left. He was like on fire! He may or may not have had lots of points earlier in the game, but somehow – boom! - save your best for last. With time running out, Reggie suddenly became a scoring machine, making fantastic shots, often scoring enough points to send my team home for the season. Any player is a powerful force when he knows the end is near and lights up to make a difference!
I haven't bought a baseball bat for a while, but I know you can buy one that's cheap and may not last long or one that costs a little more and last longer. But a million-dollar baseball bat? That's a little out of my price range. And lest you think I've lost it, not long ago a massive 46-ounce Louisville Slugger bat sold at auction for $1.26 million dollars! What in the world could possibly make a simple baseball bat worth that much to anyone? Who used it. It was the bat used by Babe Ruth in the first baseball game in the new Yankee Stadium in 1923. In the third inning, the Babe blasted a home run right into the right field bleachers, and somebody just laid down over a million bucks for the bat he used.
When you see how cute our granddaughter is, it's hard to believe she's actually related to me. But she really is our little princess. I started calling my daughter "Princess" when she was just a baby, and I've never stopped. But I can't help calling our granddaughter that, as well, and when she was little she loved princesses. In fact, she had a princess skirt and top and tiara that she liked to wear around the house sometimes. She looked like Cinderella at the ball. When she'd answer the phone, I'd say, "Hi, Princess." And sometimes she'd say, "I'm not a princess!" Then, I have been told, she actually ran the phone like a scanner over the jeans and the shirt that she was wearing. When I asked her why she was not a princess, she let me know her clear-cut reason, "I'm not wearing my princess clothes."
There's a high fence around my friend Mel's garden. And he's got the most incredible fruit and vegetable garden I've ever seen. When Mel or his wife are at the grocery store, they can pretty much sail right past the produce department-they own a produce department. Their garden produces bumper crops of fresh tomatoes, corn, berries-you name it. I have always enjoyed taking a walk with him through what really feels like "God's little acre." But you don't just stroll from the yard right into the soil of the garden. You see, you have to open a gate and then go in. Every inch of that garden is surrounded by this sturdy fence. Now why does Mel have that big old fence around his garden? I suppose someone might say, "Oh, he just doesn't want anyone in there enjoying it." No. He has a fence there, not to limit your enjoyment of the garden, but to protect your enjoyment of the garden. It's not about keeping people from the beauty. It's about protecting the beauty from the things that could destroy it.
I think there was a time when people thought workers were demonstrating loyalty and nobility if they showed up for their job even if they felt sicker than a dog. More and more, people think you're not very smart if you do that! You may be one of those who drags yourself into work no matter how sick you are. You're there, all right, but so are your coughs, your sneezes, and your "cooties." Strangely, over the next few days, one co-worker after another comes down with symptoms that look suspiciously like what you brought to work with you. The poet was right, "no man is an island!" You're contagious!
It was one of those winter nights that chills you to the bone – cold temperatures, a brisk north wind, a freezing rain, some snow. Our friends were inside their house, and their horses were inside their barn. Well, actually, three out of four of their horses were inside the barn. Cassie, their Shetland, was standing outside for some strange reason. So as our friends looked out their window, they saw this pitiful scene: one lone horse under a barn light, standing there with the freezing rain and snow pounding down on her, forming ice on her mane. Now, her horse friends were all smart enough to be in their nice warm stalls, but, oh no, not Cassie.
"They had to use the paddles on him." Now that sounds like something we might say about an exasperated parent's response to an out-of-control child. But the paddles we're talking about here were the ones they used on our neighbor when he was rushed to the hospital with a heart attack. His wife said they saved his life by using the "paddles" on him. Actually, what they used was a device called a defibrillator. (You see why most people call them the paddles.) The defibrillator has two paddles that, after they are placed on the patient's chest, generate this strong electric jolt to restart the heart. More and more ambulances are carrying them, more and more emergency medical technicians are being trained to use them, and they are in more and more public places. When the heart stops, something has to be done to get it going again - even if it takes a big jolt.
It started out as an unimpressive ripple in the weather off the coast of Africa. By the time it was over, it had become Hurricane Katrina, pummeling Florida as a category one storm, then surprising most observers by becoming a category five monster over the Gulf of Mexico. Katrina's last minute shift to the east nearly destroyed the city of New Orleans. Yes, we saw some of the darkest side of human nature as people looted things that they didn't really need, and some even tried to shoot some of the very people who were coming to help. But on a much greater scale, the aftermath to Hurricane Katrina was a massive outpouring of heroism in many flavors.
As Americans learned of the desperation of the victims of the storm, thousands of us mobilized to give them a chance to live. We won't soon forget the military helicopters, launching and re-launching every fifteen minutes to look for more people stranded in the toxic floodwaters that buried parts of the city. There were those memorable scenes of the rescuers coming down the rope from those choppers to save people trapped on their roofs. Doctors and nurses came from all over the country. So many came and did what they knew how to do-from cooking, to counseling, to contributing, to caring enough to take in whole families because lives were at stake.
Many years ago we were shopping for a place where God wanted us to build a radio studio that we desperately needed. I've got a beautiful one at our headquarters today but back then we needed just something that would get us through. We were looking at a possible location – this big barn of a room with a high ceiling and it was totally bare. Well, when I looked at it I saw a big bare room, but not Kasey. No, he's a carpenter and he started talking about this wall here and that partition there; the control room in that corner, where the doors would be, and how we could soundproof the floor. It was amazing! He was seeing all kinds of things in that room that I couldn't see! But, then, that's the great thing about carpenters!