Friday, January 28, 2005

The military has roll call - you know, reading out the names to see if everybody's there. When our family has a get-together - like Mom, Dad, Grandma, Granddad, and grandchildren - we don't have roll call. But we do have one three-year-old grandson who takes roll in his own little way. While we're all busy in the usual chatter and bustle of everyone catching up, our grandson is obviously evaluating who's there and who isn't. You can tell. Before very long, he pipes up, "Where's Grandma?" or "Where's Daddy?" or whoever happens to be MIA at the moment. And he wants answers about where they are and why they aren't there. He wants every person in the family to be there!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

We were trying to teach some young leaders the importance of teamwork and how each of us has a piece that the other needs. Here was my bright idea: Tear up a page of a magazine into pieces, dump it into the middle of each small group, and see who could put their picture together first! It didn't work too well. I had forgotten one little thing. I forgot to give them a copy of the complete picture so they could see what it should look like when it was all together! I've tried to work on one of those big puzzles myself and I had the same frustration because I didn't know where the puzzle box top was. It was very hard to put the pieces together when the complete picture wasn't there.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

It's amazing how quickly you can get 300 college men to change their plans on a moment's notice. It happened several times when I was in school. Okay, it's late at night. We're all up in our rooms studying, or sleeping, or goofing off (that was the other guys), and we're certainly not planning to go out. Yet, within a matter of minutes all 300 men are out of their rooms - out of the dorm. It is amazing what one fire bell can do, isn't it? There was no fire, just an occasional fire drill. But the call summoned us from whatever we were buried in, brought us out of our rooms and out into the night.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

You hear a truck pull up in front of your house. You look out - it's a UPS truck. Most folks are interested to find out what is coming with this special attention and then they want to know who sent it. What most folks don't do is go to the door and gush all over the delivery person, "Oh! I'm so glad you came. Please come in for some lunch, sit down, tell me all about yourself." I'll bet you've never done that. In fact, it isn't the messenger that's the big deal; it's what's being delivered and who it's from.

Monday, November 1, 2004

Anne had ridden her mountain bike through a California wilderness park many times before. But the ride this day would change her life. She was attacked by a mountain lion that hours earlier had killed another biker. As the cat held her in his jaws by the back of her neck, all she could do was pray. Humanly speaking, her friend Debi was her only hope. Debi jumped off her bike, grabbed onto Anne's leg, screaming for help and kicking at the mountain lion. She fought so hard for her friend she actually pulled Anne and the cat into the nearby brush. Thankfully, Debi's screams brought the help of some men who had been biking with them. Debi continued to hang on as the men pelted that lion with rocks. Suddenly the animal released his victim, and Anne's life was saved. Debi gave everything she had to keep the promise she made to her friend in the middle of that struggle: "I'll never let go of you!"

Friday, October 29, 2004

I'm sort of a news junkie. I really like to watch a national news cast sometime before the day is over. But there are some words I cringe at when I hear them in the news, like "hostage." As soon as you hear the word "hostage" you know that there is a potential life-or-death stand off going on between some angry desperate assailant and the police. The law enforcement people are trying to save the hostages that he's holding. Recently I talked with a police officer friend of mine about how they handle those dangerous rescues. He said, "First, you want to use something like tear gas, or fatigue, or a marksman - anything that will immobilize the hostage taker."

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Now here's an example of a bad day. You're driving 83 miles an hour. Suddenly you become aware of someone coming up behind you who would like to meet you. He's got a uniform; he's got a blinking light. Oh, and you left your driver's license at home. Now this is a very bad day, and you are about to have the book thrown at you. This really happened to my friend Allison. She was driving and her friend Leslie was with her. Now Leslie had her license with her. Don't ask me how they did this, but before that officer reached the car, Leslie traded places with Allison, the driver - the licenseless one. The integrity here leaves something to be desired, I know that, but the love is pretty strong. Yep, Leslie took the violation and the penalty for her friend.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Since I was a boy, I've been a fan of Abraham Lincoln. No, I never saw him in person. I do know he was born in a log cabin, I read about him studying by candlelight, splitting rails as a young man, grieving over the death of the love of his youth, and then becoming an unlikely political leader. And then the dark days of trying to hold a nation together during the Civil War, and then, his tragic death just five days after the end of that war. His name, his life, his face - they're known around the world. But only a couple of years ago, I learned something about Abraham Lincoln's life that really thrilled my heart. I read a Lincoln scholar's description of him making a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. It was during one of the darkest days of the Civil War, and God used a surprising person to lead Abraham Lincoln to saving faith.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Telephone etiquette is usually one of the last things children learn - if they ever learn it! In fact, I sometimes kind of cringe when a child answers the phone. You never know if they're going to hang up, or if they're going to yell into the phone, "Hey, Mom!" or if they're just going to put down the phone and forget to tell anyone that you're waiting. Ah, but the daughter of a friend of ours - she is a pleasant exception. The family visited our office a while back, and when they got home, I called and the little girl answered. She's so polite, she's so coherent, she's so competent. I said, "Hey, girl, how would you like to be my secretary?" She must have seen how crazy that job is when they were in our headquarters, because she answered immediately. Oh, not with a yes - not with a no. She just said, "Uh, how about my brother?"

Friday, July 9, 2004

Every once in a while we get a wakeup call regarding the meaning of the word "hero." In our culture, the word is used routinely to describe outstanding athletes. But then someone does something really heroic and we remember what the word really means. Pat Tillman, starting safety for professional football's Arizona Cardinals, gave us one of those "hero" wakeup calls. Oh, he was one that was playing on the football field, but then he shocked fans and players alike by walking away from millions of dollars to serve his country on the battlefield. He joined the Army Rangers, served on the front lines in Afghanistan, and one April day in pursuit of enemy forces, Pat Tillman was killed. He believed he was fighting for something greater than winning a game. He believed he was fighting so people could be free. And, in the eyes of millions, he gave meaning to that overused but important word - hero.

            

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