Most young married couples make some purchases that turn out to be a transaction that they are not proud of. Remember something you bought back then that ended up being a mistake? My wife and I were marriage rookies when we bought that refrigerator. We were also pretty broke. We saw an ad in the paper for a cheap refrigerator. I was getting tired of just putting another block of ice in the sink in the kitchen. (Not really.) Well, we picked up the refrigerator, we sat it up in the kitchen and it worked!
We were in a radio studio getting ready to tape a live youth broadcast. One of the things that made this program exciting is that we had a live studio audience of young people. This particular night a youth group was coming to be that audience.
Curtis and his Great Puppy Adventure. That was the lunch time talk around our office when one of our team members became the proud owner of eight new puppies – thanks to his trusty dog, Sister. Each day seemed to bring a new episode; especially as Curtis would compare the way of the puppy with the ways of people. He told us one day about trying to replenish their food. His intention was to load up their container with a lot of good things. But they really made it very difficult. See, the puppies were too busy fighting over two little pieces that were left in the corner.
I was in mid-shave one morning, all lathered up, attacking my whiskers with my razor and I heard a little "bang" down the street, and the power went out. Now fortunately I was still able to find my face in the dark; it's about where it always was. But I knew the rest of the morning was going to be very interesting. See, it wasn't just a circuit breaker. No, no, the power was out on the whole block. Well, we won't be having a toasted bagel today! No hair dryer for my wife, no lamp to read my Bible by. Why? That grey cylinder that hangs on that telephone pole down the street. We had no power because the transformer had blown!
Michelle and Tara - they were the darlings of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Michelle Kwan was favored to leave Nagano with the coveted gold medal for women's figure skating. Fifteen-year-old Tara Lipinski was widely expected to win the silver as the second greatest female skater in the world. But, to the surprise of most of the world, Tara skated to the gold as the youngest skating gold medalist in Olympic history up to that time. Michelle Kwan went home with the silver. One morning afterwards, one commentator said of Tara Lipinski, "She was too young, too immature, too unrefined. It wasn't her turn. The reason Tara Lipinski couldn't win the gold medal is the reason it hangs around her neck today: She was a kid."
If you've ever been in an athlete's locker room, because you were playing or because you were working with the team, you know there is something very distinctive about the aroma in a locker room. And I don't think there will ever be a best selling fragrance, for example, called Essence of Locker Room. No, see, athletes carry into that room all the accumulated odors of sweat and dirt from their exercising. Fortunately, they leave their odors there if they get a shower every day; which they had better. And you'll be able to tell if they haven't! That's even more important if you live in a locker room like you and I do.
I think my mother imprinted this on my brain when I was very young, "Don't go out with a fever." That was sort of a definition of sick at our house, as in so sick you can't go to school. The decision was actually made by the thermometer. Now, just to show you how bright I was as a child (I hate to tell you this), there was one day I really wanted to stay home from school, so I sat on a hot radiator in our apartment to raise my temperature. You probably don't even want to listen any more. If any kids are listening, do not try this at home (if you could find a radiator). It will not give you a fever, but it will shall we say keep you from sitting down all day at school!
Well, depending on what generation you might be from, there's a bunch of us who would have never imagined we'd get a telephone call from a computer. But here we are, and we've all at one time or another answered a call and there was a computer on the other end. But it's really not a meaningful communication experience. The computer does all the talking. You ever tried to say, "Hello! Hello! Who is this?" There's no answer. Don't even try to talk to that computer caller. He only does one-way communication. You know that God gets a lot of calls like that?
Well, with a whole lot of people who want to be President of the United States in an upcoming election, I was looking back at something that happened years ago. Actually it was the 1996 election, and a very interesting issue arose. It was called character. At least the Republicans tried to make that the issue of the campaign - the President's character. They thought they had enough troubling questions about the Democratic leadership that character questions could help turn the tide in the race. Well, to the surprise of many commentators, it was not an issue that many Americans consider decisive. In fact, during the campaign, here is what a front page article in a major news paper had to say about the "Character Counts Campaign". They said, "The message voters are sending back is that they don't care." Interesting! I think that's true many times when there's a fall in church leadership, or when there's a problem with a presidential or congressional candidate, or a governor candidate. Voters kind of go, "It's the performance that gets our vote, not character." Well, not everyone votes that way.
Each winter certain parts of America get hammered, of course, with monster snow storms. And when it's our turn, we all have stories about how we survived the winter of whatever year.
But no one has a story like a Norwegian explorer Børge Ousland. I never met him, so I hope I got it right. But for 64 days he saw little more than white. He was the first person to cross the continent of Antarctica alone and unaided. It took him 64 days to cover a frozen 1,675 miles. He actually harnessed Antarctica's fierce winds by strapping himself to a parachute-like sail. Get this! And with the winds in his favor, he could ski as much as 140 miles a day. All the while, he towed a sled carrying more than 300 pounds of supplies; enduring monotony and temperatures that dipped under 40 below.