Friday, March 30, 2007

It was one of those disasters that riveted the attention of the nation. Nine Pennsylvania coal miners had been excavating when they inadvertently broke through a flooded shaft. An estimated 50 to 60 million gallons of water rushed in, trapping the men in this underground chamber. When the water rose over their heads, they had to swim to higher ground - still 240 feet underground. For two and a half days, rescuers didn't know if the miners were dead or alive. Once they made contact through a phone line they lowered into the flooded shaft, they established a line that would deliver compressed air and they began pumping out water. Seventy-seven hours after the ordeal began, rescuers brought the miners, one at a time, up to the surface in a cramped yellow rescue cage. As the last man was pulled to the surface, the Governor of the state simply said, "All nine. All nine."

Friday, March 23, 2007

I've had lots of friends in law enforcement. I've even had the opportunity to ride in the front seat with a police officer. But the experience I had recently had a totally different feel to it. I was speaking at a large youth festival, and I had to get across this festival's grounds quickly to my next speaking venue. Two police officers working security said, "Hey, hop in our squad car, we'll take you over there." Well, I jumped into the back seat of the police car and I quickly realized that I had never experienced a little of what it feels like to be on the custody end of things like that. There was this wall between me and the officers in the front seat. When we arrived at our destination and I tried to open my door - in vain - no way. My officer friend had a good laugh at this, and he said, "Ron, there's no way you can get yourself out of there. You see, somebody has to let you out." I've decided I am not excited about being in the prisoner seat any more.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Roger was assistant manager of a buffet restaurant. He's on our ministry team, and the other day he was telling me about a special memory from that job early in his working career. It seems there was a male customer who had been really abusive to the waitress. So Roger, being the ranking officer in the restaurant at the time, had the joy of trying to confront this gentleman - well, this man anyway. Unfortunately, this abusive customer was young, strong, all muscular and bulked up. And Roger's like me; he's not exactly Goliath. But he walked into the lion's jaws and he bravely asked that man to leave. Initially, the customer was ready for a fight. Then suddenly, unexplainably, he raised the white flag and he just left, leaving Roger a little baffled as to why this man had suddenly given up. That's when my friend turned around and saw one of the chefs who had been - unbeknownst to Roger - standing behind him all that time. The chef was a Goliath! Roger said, "Suddenly I understood that it was the big guy behind me that made the difference!"

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Tupperware can be a good thing. Those sealed plastic containers can preserve leftover food so you can enjoy it later. Tupperware can be a bad thing, if you forget about it. I know from distasteful personal experience what can happen when you do - intermediate life forms, morphing into something unrecognizable. The problem comes when that Tupperware with leftovers in it slowly gets pushed farther and farther back in the fridge, until it's tucked out of sight behind the pickle jar and the gallon of milk. Ultimately, though, the lost little Tupperware will make its presence known. As you open the fridge and utter those inevitable words: "What's that smell?" The smell isn't going away until some domestic Green Beret storms the depths of that fridge and bravely opens that Tupperware and carries away the rotting contents inside, or beats them to death with a stick, if necessary.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It was the fastest-moving, hardest-hitting, most widespread computer virus there'd ever been up to that time, and it was called of all things, the love bug. It came cleverly wrapped in an email that was designed to look like a love letter. So, of course, people wanted to open it. When the email was opened, the virus was activated, and it spread rapidly. In fact, it even sent copies of itself to everyone in the email address book on that computer. So, it jammed computers and damaged files in Asia, Europe, North and South America and companies and organizations from one end of the earth to the other. They had to shut down their email. The list included the Pentagon, Congress, and the British Parliament. Oh, it advertised love, but in the long run, it just delivered destruction.

Monday, January 8, 2007

One day our ministry got a call from a lady who identified herself as being with a bank that we don't even do business with. She said, "The wire transfer has not come through yet" and she wanted us to call her back with more information. Interestingly enough, no such lady works at the bank she mentioned. The folks at the bank told us that things like this can actually be part of a very clever scam that crooks use to get your money. They lead you to believe that a donation is coming through; they just need your bank routing number. But that information might be all they need to access your bank account and get what's in your bank account transferred to their bank account. So you have to be a little careful out there. There are plenty of folks out there who are claiming to give you something, so they can take something!

Monday, December 4, 2006

They often give you one when you check into some sprawling motel complex, or a big theme park, or a large convention facility. It's a map of the place. And for the directionally challenged like me, there's one important thing I look for on that map. It's that "x" and those three very helpful words, "You are here." See, you're not helping me very much by just giving me a drawing of where everything is. In order for me to use that to get where I want to go, I need that one fundamental piece of information - locating exactly where I am right now!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"To boldly go where no man has gone before." Recognize that famous line? Little trivia test here. Then somewhere along the way, you've been exposed to that cultural phenomenon known as Star Trek. And you know at least a little about the "voyages of the Starship Enterprise." They had this invention on the Enterprise, you remember, it's called a transporter - as in "Scotty, beam me up!" Well, the transporter sort of rearranges your molecules and beams you to another location almost immediately. But sometimes the crew would get beamed down to some unknown planet, only to be greeted by this horrific space creature. That's when it's time for "Scotty, beam me up!"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Titanic could not miss that iceberg. These days, you can't miss the Titanic. Ever since they found the unsinkable ship where it sank two and a half miles beneath the sea, there's been a rekindled fascination with the Titanic. As they have studied the wreckage with the latest underwater technology, they have discovered some surprising new information about what happened to the grandest ocean liner in history. It was the equivalent of four city blocks in length! Now most people have probably pictured the Titanic plowing into this huge iceberg and opening up a gaping hole in the bottom. But now we know that the Titanic basically just sideswiped that iceberg; in fact, many passengers didn't even know anything had happened. And it wasn't some gaping hole that sank the unsinkable ship. It was what one newspaper called, "small wounds that doomed the Titanic." There were six relatively small punctures in the hull - "pin pricks" according to a TV special on the subject. Here's a ship that was 95,000 square feet in size, and it was sunk by little leaks that, all put together, would have been about twelve square feet - about the size of a door!

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Charles Dickens said it about the French Revolution, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." Well, during final exams in college, it's just the worst of times. Actually, it was mostly our own fault. We waited until one or two nights before the exam to try and cram in all that information that we should have been studying all along. Now, my room was always Grand Central Station during our final days. Yes, you can take final days two ways. I usually took pretty good notes in class, so everyone jammed into my room to try and learn what there was to learn. Hey, the big test was coming, man! We had to learn what was in all those lessons!

            

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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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