Friday, February 22, 2008

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Beslan - that Russian town will now join the ranks of places known for the terror that happened there. Some have called the three-day terrorist takeover of a school in Beslan, and the violent deaths of hundreds of school children and adults there, Russia's equivalent to America's September 11. In the midst of Beslan's horror, there emerged a photo that embodied hope in the middle of death. It showed a girl's bloodied hand clutching a golden cross. Viktoria was hospitalized with shrapnel in her brain, but she was still a survivor. The 14-year-old said that she prayed every day while she was being held captive, always clinging to her cross even after being wounded in the violent ending of that siege that killed more than 330 hostages. Even as she lost consciousness, she never let go of the cross. In Viktoria's own words, "I felt that if I had that cross in my hand, then everything would be fine."

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

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Birds had moved into the vent in the exhaust fan of our kitchen range while we were on vacation. They set up their little nest and made themselves at home. And, man, were they noisy neighbors! The nest was so huge it made the fan unworkable. And some lovely spiders were hanging down from the hood on the stove. Our problem was that trying to remove that nest might have killed that nest full of baby birds. Well, we couldn't see them, but we could sure hear them when they were hungry! So, we waited until Mom and Dad bird took the babies out. A couple of weeks later, after we were sure they were gone, I got a long stick and I proceeded to rake out the rest. But when we removed the nest, we discovered a little surprise; actually, a big, fat surprise. There was the fattest bird we'd ever seen, sitting in the nest. As my wife went to get gloves and a box, he got away. But it took a major earthquake to get that bird out of his nest!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

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Usually a total eclipse of the moon seems to happen when I'm counting sheep in the middle of the night. But this one started about 9:00 at night, and this one I got a chance to see. It's a pretty amazing sight to watch that shadow slowly move across the moon until it eventually covers it completely. I said to the friend who was assisting us with ministry that weekend, "I just wish we had binoculars." "Me, too," he said. Then it dawned on him, "Hey, I do have binoculars in my truck!" All of a sudden we moved from seats near the back to something like front row seats on the eclipse. Those binoculars revealed the craters and all the fascinating details of that disappearing moon. What a difference it made to see it up close!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

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It's the Christmas season, and everywhere you go these days you see those brown trucks - it's UPS running everywhere, delivering Christmas surprises to people. Those UPS drivers work really hard this time of year - lots of long hours to get everything where it's supposed to be in time for Christmas. I expect they sleep pretty well at night. Even though they have a big job, at least they don't have to go out and buy all those packages that they're bringing to people's doors. Their job is just to deliver what someone else has paid for.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

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If you were the baby of the family, you may be able to relate to the occasional complaint filed by our youngest who's now all grown up. He kiddingly talks about how many pictures were taken of his older sister, then his older brother, and how we seemed to run out of film by the time he came along. You know, the last-in-line complex. When reflecting on another sibling comparison it led him to a happier conclusion. He said, "You built this big dollhouse as a gift for my sister. Then you built this big, fully loaded barn for my brother. Then you built a general store for me - about half the size of the dollhouse and the barn." At first, he thought, "Here we go again. They'll run out of gas by the time they get to me." But then, he said, he noticed that his store had something neither of his siblings' gifts had - a sign on the store with his name, identifying him as the proprietor. Our son said, "You know, I felt really good when I realized that what you gave me had my name on it!" Let's hear one for the baby!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

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I was visiting Rome, and I encountered this archway along the Via Appia. It's one of the many such structures that are still there 2,000 years after they were built. But what caught my eye about this one was the three-word Latin question carved in the archway as an inscription. It simply says, "Domine, quo vadis?" At last, those two years of high school Latin were going to be useful! It means, "Lord, where are You going?" It goes back to a legend about the Apostle Peter as he was feeling led by God to go to Rome. Knowing it was going to be dangerous, even life-threatening to go there, Peter needed to be sure that's where God wanted Him. The legend says that he encountered the risen Christ there on the Via Appia, and he wanted to know only one thing from his Lord, "Domine, quo vadis? Lord, where are You going?" Jesus was going to Rome. Then that's where Peter was going!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

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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. I seem to remember the old Louisville Slugger bats. 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 for the bat he used.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

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It used to be that people thought workers were demonstrating loyalty and nobility if they showed up for their job even when they felt sicker than a dog. More and more, people think you're not very smart if you do that! Now 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!

Monday, November 19, 2007

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"Please help us." That's what the people stranded on the roof of their house had written on the sign that they waved over their heads. They represented so many thousands of New Orleans residents who were left stranded and in deadly danger by the floods of Hurricane Katrina. The wind and the rain of that category four hurricane were bad enough - but it was when the levees broke that suddenly major parts of the city were underwater, literally up to the rooftops. Harrowing stories began to unfold of how people had moved from a first floor to a second floor to escape the toxic waters. Then, as the second floor filled with water, how they moved to their last point of refuge - the roof. And many were stranded there, without food, without water, and increasingly without hope. And then hope showed up - in the shape of a Coast Guard helicopter, hovering over their rooftop refuge. Hope was a man coming down a cable to where they were; a man who secured their rescue and saved their lives.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

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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, and 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 beyond things they might have really needed, 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 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.



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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