Monday, May 26, 2008

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It really wasn't fair. But some friends of mine in youth ministry used to carry out these dreaded Saturday morning raids on teenagers from the local high school. By the way, those raids got those kids to an event that they eventually ended up enjoying, but they didn't enjoy how it started. A few leaders would show up early on Saturday morning at the house of one of their student leaders. When a parent came to the door, they would tell them what church group they were from and asked the parents' permission to "kidnap" their son or daughter to a "come as you are" breakfast they were having for student leaders. Most of the parents actually went along with it with a bit of amusement. The invaders went to the door of that teenager's room and gave them one minute to throw something on before they came in for them. Sixty seconds later, people of the same sex went in to that room and snapped a picture of the Saturday morning self back in the days with Polaroid cameras, before digital. Well those pictures were of course posted at the breakfast to the horror of those kids, especially the girls. No makeup, bad hair, your real skin, they didn't seem to be too excited about everyone seeing what they were really like.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

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If you ever spend any time near the ocean, I'll bet you've got some photos of seagulls. They just soar around above the surf, you know, almost as if they're posing for some of us amateur photographers! Now, seagulls are impressive until they get together. I remember sitting on the rocks along the Maine coast trying to feed some corn chips to this seagull - see, they're into junk food too - and as soon as one gull started to go for the food, another one would land and start yelling at him. Then they were joined by a third gull - they got pretty nasty contesting who's going to get this little corn chip! Now, that's standard operating procedure for seagulls. Like the time we were enjoying this picturesque New England harbor. The highest point was this weathervane and one gull would land on it - sometimes he'd even trumpet the fact that he was number one. That lasted about ten seconds until another gull came plowing into him, knocked him off, pretty soon he's followed by another gull who knocked number two off, so he could have his ten minutes on top! Scientists have even put a red band on a seagull to see how the other gulls would react. They literally pecked him to death because he had something they didn't have. Nice birds, huh?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

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Every other Wednesday morning it's hard to sleep in our neighborhood - not that I ever had that opportunity very often. But early in the morning you hear this clinking and clanking all over the neighborhood. The recycling convoy is moving through with these trucks collecting all the bottles and cans and newspapers we all saved for them, and off they go into recycling land. The other day I got behind one of those recycling trucks and I was in a hurry and I was not thrilled, but, because I had to slow down I got to read what was printed on the back gate of these trucks. Can you believe it? An inspirational message! Here's what it said: "Give your trash a second chance."

Monday, April 28, 2008

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I called home to talk to my wife; I got a serenade. Not from her; from a canary. We had just gotten him a couple weeks before, and man, did he sing up a storm! The whole time I was talking on the phone to my wife, the Yellow Bird Symphony was going on in the background. It was hard to hear that canary sing and stay gloomy for long! But every night we would put this cloth over Cherokee's cage - that was his name. And all the singing stopped. The next morning, I'd go into the living room, and there was not a sound coming from under that cloth. Had something happened to him? No. As soon as I take that cover off, the canary started jumping all over the cage and singing his wake-up song.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

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The flight attendants call them "white knuckle flyers." It's those passengers who are scared of flying and they hang on for dear life. Now, we've seen an occasional plane crash over the years, and it makes some people nervous about airplanes. We also know the statistical probabilities of a person being in a plane crash; they're really pretty low. But fear doesn't always respond to statistics. When you're on a train you usually don't think much, or if at all about a crash. I mean, we know about plane crashes, but train crashes? But after a series of train derailings and accidents and collisions, the idea of a train crash suddenly becomes front-page material. Of course, it's like flying. The likelihood of a crash is minimal, but it still makes an impression when you see on the news the aftermath of two trains colliding. There's been discussion of one possible cause in crashes like these. They call it engineer fatigue. Someone suggested that some engineers run their shifts so close together that they don't have adequate time to rest. So some accidents might be caused in part by someone literally being sleepy or even falling asleep on the job.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

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If you offer a candy bar to my sister-in-law she just might shake her head in disgust and say, "Nuts!" Now, she's not being rude. She's telling you why she doesn't dare accept your offer - nuts. You see it all started one Saturday when she was doing computer work in our office and she was munching on some hazelnuts. Eventually she noticed this rash breaking out. Within a few hours she could hardly breath, and my wife was rushing her to the doctor. Her throat was literally swelling shut! Well, the doctor pulled her through that scare and then he took a battery of allergy tests. Well sure enough the tests showed that she has a serious allergy to all nuts and eggs and anything that has peanut oil in it. Those ingredients are in a lot of things that she loves to eat, but she doesn't dare. It could be fatal. Nothing tastes that good!

Monday, March 31, 2008

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On some of my trips I can travel pretty light, but there have been a few that I felt like a mule carrying the things I had to take. One trip I had to pack for three different seasons; professional settings, youth settings, and well, you get the idea. Because I was going to be gone for quite a while, of course, I had to basically take my office with me too. I had a lot of baggage! When I arrived, someone from the area met me at the gate and they said those magic words, "Let me help you with your baggage." I did.

Friday, February 15, 2008

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Power - that's what mattered most to Napoleon. He wanted power, and he got it. Under his leadership, the armies of France won some stunning victories. They extended control well beyond their borders, but that wasn't enough for Napoleon. He knew there was one thing, one force that stood in his way. It is said that one day he gathered all his top officers together around this large table. Laid across that table was a map of Europe with a big red spot on it. That spot was England. Pounding his fist on the table, Napoleon raged: "If it weren't for that red spot, I could have it all!"

Monday, January 21, 2008

I was speaking at a Bible conference, set right near the shore of a beautiful lake. I was responsible for speaking about 18 times in six days, so I was a pretty busy boy. But I did something that would make my wife proud, even in spite of how busy I was. I took time to smell the flowers; well, at least to admire the flowers. I'm partially colorblind, but even I was struck by these rich purple flowers blooming all over this sprawling vine in the garden outside my window. The flowers seemed to be everywhere in this garden. I asked someone from the conference what I was looking at, and he told me it's a Vinca vine. He said they had transplanted that vine from a pot to the soil of this garden. And I was told a Vinca vine doesn't produce any flowers when it's in a pot - only when you plant it in the ground.

Friday, January 4, 2008

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It's one of the most popular convention locations in the United States - Las Vegas. We can each guess as to what some of the reasons for its popularity might be. But it's become a popular destination for people other than conventioneers. A recent advertising campaign is offering Las Vegas as the place to go if you want to get away with something. Using some scenes that suggest some covert relationships and secret romantic liaisons, the tantalizing promise that flashes across the screen simply says: "What you do here stays here." Wrong!



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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