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Tuesday, January 3, 2006

When my sons were playing high school football, their job was to run their body into other guys' bodies. That's why my wife always made me sign the permission slip for them to play. Now, they were linemen; they blocked. Of course, one of their great rewards for all this body slamming was when they could stop or deflect an opposing lineman - thus opening up a hole through which their teammate could run with the ball. Usually our guys were too busy holding the line to know what was happening down field - like the man who had gone through the hole they made gaining big yardage or even scoring a touchdown. And the good ball carriers knew what they had to do: spot an opening and go through it as fast as they could!

Monday, January 2, 2006

It was before Christmas, and I went shopping for toys for my kids. Now you might not think there's anything unusual about that - unless you happen to know that all my kids are all grown up now. But that doesn't mean they can't have one little spark of childhood left in them. For example, I always buy my daughter a doll for Christmas; always have, always will. And we've got one son who was always a big fan of a certain Sesame Street character, and he still has a collection of everything Ernie. But recently a certain Ernie toy was one of the hottest Christmas items on the market. I wanted one for my son, the Ernie enthusiast, that is. I discovered the toy in September actually in a store - before it became an officially hot item. I held it in my hand - I could have bought it. But I said, "Naw, I can always get it later." Wrong. When "later" came, there were none to be found.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My wife grew up on a small farm where her Mom and Dad and she and her sister were all the hands they could afford. It was a lot of hard work and it was a struggle to survive. So even though I'm a city boy, I care about the struggles that so many independent farmers face today. In many cases, it seems like a struggle to survive, especially with so many large, corporate-type farms coming on the scene. But I was heartened to read in a recent USA Today article a new idea that some are trying with a fair degree of success. Basically, these farmers have customers who pre-order what they would like to buy, and the farmer then plants it and sells it to them later. So if I wanted so much corn or so much beans, I'd order that and even do some pre-paying for it - which takes some of the pressure of upfront expenses for the farmer. In a sense, it's buying a share of the harvest before it comes in - and then enjoying the fruits of your investment when it does.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

He invited Jesus Christ into his house, and things were never the same again. That's the picture actually portrayed in a classic old Christian booklet called "My Heart, Christ's Home." As the story unfolds, the man whose life is symbolized by a house, begins to let Jesus move beyond the front parlor and into the various rooms. In each room, Jesus changes things. Like some of what's in the library that doesn't belong in a house where Jesus lives. Some of what's done in the recreation area. Ultimately, he even lets Jesus clean out the garbage in this closet that's been sealed shut with several locks. But the picture I remember most is the one that portrays the man having personal time with Jesus in his study every morning - until one day when he's running late. He races out the door thinking he'd be there as usual the next morning. Didn't happen. For some time, he just ran out the door in the morning without ever stopping in his study. Until one morning when he hurried in there to find something, and there to his shock and surprise, was Jesus, sitting in a high-backed chair. Awkwardly, the man asked, "Jesus, what are you doing here?" Jesus' reply goes straight to the heart: "I've been here every morning - waiting for you."

Monday, October 3, 2005

We had been shopping for the place where God wants us to build the radio studio that we desperately needed. And we were looking at a possible location - this big barn of a room with a high ceiling and it was totally bare. Well, I saw a big, bare room, but not Kasey. No, no, no. He's a carpenter and he started talking about this wall here and that partition there; the control room in that corner where the doors would be, and how we could soundproof the floor. It was amazing! He was seeing all kinds of things in that room that I sure couldn't see! But, then, that's the great thing about carpenters!

Monday, September 5, 2005

There were many dramatic images from the military action known as Operation Iraqi Freedom - but few more dramatic than the middle-of-the-night rescue of prisoner of war Jessica Lynch. As Coalition forces advanced quickly from the Kuwaiti border to the capital of Baghdad, Pfc. Lynch's unit of Army maintenance troops made a wrong turn and ended up in the middle of an enemy ambush. No one knew Jessie Lynch's fate - she was listed as missing in action. But acting on the tip of Iraqi sympathizers, a Special Operations Force fought their way into the hospital where she was imprisoned, found her, and quickly carried her to a waiting helicopter. And then, they had to fight their way out, too. But Private Lynch was safe - saved by rescuers who risked it all to bring her out.

Monday, August 8, 2005

I’m not sure if it’s harder for a baby to have major surgery or for adults like us. The baby has no idea of what’s going on – which might make it easier. We know too much, so we get to worry a lot. Little Jamie’s not even a year old, but recently he had to undergo heart surgery; which I associate with old guys like me. Jamie is the nephew of one of our team members, and she’s from Australia. The miles made it pretty tough on her, so we all joined her in praying for this little guy so far away. And thankfully, Jamie came through with flying colors. His heart was fixed. It was a tough operation, but it had to be done. You see, Jamie had a hole in his heart, and you can’t just leave it that way!

Friday, August 5, 2005

There were only two words in the headline in USA Today, but most of us understand how urgent those two words can be: "Blood needed!" They were talking about an alarming shortage of blood available in blood banks due to severe winter weather, a holiday season, and a bad flu season. One spokesman for the Association of Blood Banks said, "If you've had a bad car accident or a couple of gunshot wounds, you're in a world of trouble." I guess so. There is no fact more basic to human life - without the blood you need, you die.

Monday, August 1, 2005

Marty McFly met a strange scientist with a machine that promised interesting results - the ability to go back in time. And he did. He went, as the title of the movie about it says, "Back to the Future." He had a most amazing experience getting to know his mother and his father when they were teenagers - an experience some of us might find very interesting. His dad, George McFly, was a milquetoast, bossed-around kind of guy, afraid to stand up to anybody. Marty has always known him to be that kind of a man, until he is transported back to the night that will determine the course of the rest of his Dad's life - and his Mom's. One decision - whether or not George McFly will stand up to the bully who is attacking his girlfriend - who is to become Marty's mother - is the turning point of George's life. And Marty is there to help his Dad make the right and courageous choice. It totally changes the course of George McFly's life. He steps up, defends his girl, and neutralizes the bully who wanted her. So instead of the life Marty has known with a pretty unsuccessful, wimpy dad, he returns to his life with a strong and successful dad because of that choice. A very different life because of one decision that changed the future.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I was watching on TV the observance of the tenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, and my mind raced back to this unforgettable personal visit I had to the site of, well, what was a very deadly tragedy. In a pre-September 11th America, that terrorist bombing of a Federal Office Building left most Americans in stunned disbelief; at least it did me. My guide for my visit to the memorial made it really special and very moving, actually. Because he's a state trooper who was one of the rescuers that day. His recollections of the joy of rescues and the heartbreak of lost lives are something I'll never forget. Of course, all the traces of that bombed-out building are gone now. The site is now a beautiful lawn with a stone chair for each of the victims. What was the street that day is now a reflection pond. Nothing remains there from the day the world stopped at 9:02 A.M. - nothing, that is, except the tree. On an embankment across from what was the building site stands a big old tree, still partially blackened by the bomb blast. We stood there, my rescuer friend and I, and we prayed beneath those branches that somehow had endured the blast. They call it The Survivor Tree.

                

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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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