Wednesday, December 19, 2007

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This time of year I think back to that unforgettable night of the annual Christmas musical at our college. All the school choirs were there to present a powerful musical evening. The backdrop of the stage was all black, to simulate the night of Jesus' birth. And as the choir sang, costumed Christmas story characters would re-enact some of those familiar scenes on the stage. The one I'll never forget is "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night." My friend Al was the angel. The shepherds were all shepherding on the stage, and Al was to step out of the black velvet night and onto this little platform to announce Jesus' birth - good plan. I guess being coordinated is not a qualification for being an angel. See, Al stepped out onto that platform and promptly lost his balance and fell out of the night sky and right onto the shepherds. Now, that is being touched by an angel! But on his way down, Al did manage to get his opening line out, "Fear not!" Well, that is the important part.

Monday, December 17, 2007

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Every class has its clown, and Johnny was one of those. He was one of the first teenagers I met when we moved to New Jersey years ago, and he was always fun to be around. There was always a joke. He was always a clown - always the life of the party. That's why his call late one night came as such a shock to me. I was still a little bleary from being awakened by the phone ringing when I heard him say, "This is Johnny. I called to say goodbye. You're the only one I thought it was worth saying goodbye to." I didn't like the sound of that goodbye, so I asked him to tell me where he was, and he had actually broken into my office to call me. I asked him to wait there until I could get there. We talked most of the night. No clown, no jokes, no life of the party that night. The life of the party was about to check out of the party for good. Johnny poured out the pain that he was feeling from a messed up family and some disappointing relationships. He'd been on his way to kill himself. Thank God, by dawn, he had decided to live. And I knew there was a darkness now that had been hiding all along behind a mask that said, "No problems."

Friday, December 14, 2007

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Our son and daughter-in-law own a little piece of rhodochrosite since a recent western vacation. (I hope I'm saying that right.) And with the stone came the story. Their host told them about the men in search of gold who didn't care much about this rock they found on their way to the gold. Initially, they just tossed it aside. But they noticed that embedded in the granite was an attractive rose-colored stone. As they refined it, the rare and rich, almost ruby-like color of that stone revealed its beauty. There was a time when it was just used for making driveways or even just discarded. But today a relatively few ounces are worth thousands of dollars.

Friday, November 30, 2007

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I know this is going to come as a huge surprise to you, but radio guys like me make mistakes sometimes. Yes, believe it or not. But you don't hear them because of that wonder-worker we call an editor—our producer. To whom I must always be very nice. Yes, our producers edit out my mistakes, but that doesn't mean they throw away the tape. Oh, no. And the same goes for the random, and sometimes crazy, things I may say before or after we record a program. Oh, it's all there. The tape is always rolling. Last Christmas I was reminded of that in a most vivid way. They put together a recording of some of those mistakes and comments, stitched together in an imaginary interview with a TV reporter, which they played for our whole staff. You’ll never hear it. Sure enough, if I say it, they've got it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

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Each winter, certain parts of America get hammered with monster snowstorms. And when it's our turn, we all have stories about how we survived the winter of whatever year it is. Well, no one's got a story like a Norwegian explorer named Boerge Ousland. For 64 days, he saw little more than white. He recently became the first person to ever cross the continent of Antarctica alone and unaided. It took him 64 days to cover those frozen 1,675 miles. He harnessed Antarctica's fierce winds by strapping himself to this parachute-like sail. With the winds in his favor, he could ski as much as 140 miles a day. All the while, he's towing a sled carrying about 400 pounds of supplies, enduring monotony and even temperatures that dipped to 40 degrees below zero. After his incredible journey, Ousland talked about the huge mental challenge of facing seemingly endless fields of snow. But here's how he did it, in his own words, "It's so big and so far - you have to keep concentrating on the near future and make every day a victory." Wow!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

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When five-year-old Jeremy started school, it was more than he bargained for. It was the second morning of his kindergarten experience. Mom got Jeremy up and started helping him get ready. Then came his question, "Do I have to go back?" Oops! He wasn't counting on an encore. His rationale, "Well, I already went yesterday." His mother told us, "I didn't have the heart to tell him there's 12 more years of this!" Well, he went off to day two, of year one, of twelve more years!

Friday, November 9, 2007

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All eyes are on the mountain - the volcano nearby, that is. Our friends' daughter is a missionary, living in a city that sits in the middle of several volcanoes. And one of them is showing some of those Mt. St. Helen's-type symptoms - the bulging and the boiling that suggests a possible eruption in the near future. Scientists are predicting that could very well happen. So living anywhere near that boiling mountain is, to say the least, pretty nerve-wracking.

Monday, November 5, 2007

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Our three-year-old granddaughter has big eyes, a big smile, and a backpack to match. She's loaded her little red backpack with every book that she can jam in there. And being a firstborn, she must, of course, carry it all by herself - which she was trying to do the other day when it became clear to Daddy that she was really straining with that load. He saw again how determined she can be. (Determined actually is a grandparent's word. Parents call it stubborn.) He suggested she remove a few books and lighten the load, and that idea was a total non-starter. Then she tried taking another step. That's when she started to take off her backpack, and she said with a sigh, "Here, Daddy. I can't carry it anymore." Her Daddy gladly took it and asked, "How's that, honey?" Her answer melted her father's heart, "All better, Daddy. All better."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

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One of the cities that symbolizes for me the charm of the Old South is Charleston, South Carolina. When you go down to the harbor and hire a carriage ride to go to the old part of the city, you feel like you're suddenly back in "Gone With the Wind" or something. Those antebellum houses and mansions are classic. I thought it was great that this historic part of the city had been so well preserved over the years, until the carriage driver told me what really happened. These old buildings had actually deteriorated terribly over the years and the area had become pretty shabby until some people took an interest in financing a renewal.

According to our driver, they only had a limited amount of money, so they decided to invest it in one building. Now the owner used those funds to convert this dilapidated old building into a historic masterpiece. You say, "Well, that's only one building. What about the neighborhood?" Well, the fellow next door was so inspired by what had happened to the neighboring property, he decided to find somebody to restore his building. Then the next neighbor did the same thing, and then the next neighbor, until finally the entire neighborhood was finally transformed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

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The phone rang in my study. I thought my wife was asleep in the other end of the house. Even though I was really preoccupied with what I was writing, I answered the phone so it wouldn't disturb her. A guy named Mike said hello and he started explaining his special offer related to satellite TV. I wasn't interested, and I tried to tell him that. He just kept talking. I was just starting to tell him no a little more forcefully when I heard a little giggle on the phone. My wife was awake and she had picked up the extension. That's when I woke up! I was talking to a recording. Feeling stupid now! Click.



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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