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Thursday, June 27, 2002

It was 1908 - in the early days of Major League baseball in America. The Chicago Cubs and the New York Giants were battling it out for the National League championship and the opportunity to play in the World Series. New York first baseman Fred Merkle was in position to be a game-winning hero actually. He was on base when a teammate got a hit that would enable Merkle to score. And he thought he had as he crossed home plate. But the Cubs touched second base and claimed that Merkle had missed that base as he was running to score. The umpire ruled that the almost-hero was out at second because he hadn't touched the base. That mistake ultimately cost his team the championship.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

I don't do hospitals. Well, I mean I visit people in hospitals - but I don't stay there myself. I've been blessed not to have to stay during my whole adult life actually. Until a few months ago. For a guy who has very few sick days, this one bout of the flu really knocked me out. My blood pressure dropped, I dropped - and I ended up in the emergency room, being treated for dehydration. I thought they'd give me some rehydration fluids and I'd be on my way. Instead, they decided to admit me because I could only hold intravenous fluids due to the flu. I was not a happy boy. Under my breath I was muttering, "Mur-mur-mur-mur-mur." Until my sister-in-law stopped by and reminded me of something I had told her once. (Don't you just hate it when people nail you with your own words?) She simply said, "Ron, remember who you are, and remember why you're here." Oh, yeah.

Monday, May 27, 2002

Speaking at National Football League pre-game chapels has always been an honor. You should see me in a roomful of those pro football giants - when I stand next to one of them, it looks like "Bring Your Son to Work" day. But over the years, we've gotten to know some of those players - so it's been very special to take their gift of tickets and go watch them play. Having been with them on the morning of game day, it's clear that this is much more than a game to them - you can tell by their seriousness and their intensity. Which is in total contrast to the fans I then get to sit next to at the game. They're cooking out, drinking, then they go in the stadium and cheering - or jeering - the home team.

This one very obnoxious guy kept jumping up and criticizing almost every play our team ran. He was such an expert - and so annoyingly loud about it. Now, I know a little of what's going on for those players - this is their livelihood, their profession, their future, their body that's on the line. For Mr. Fan, hey, this is just a party with no pain. I can't tell you how badly I just wanted to stand up and shout, "Hey, buddy! Why don't you get out of the stands and get in the game!"

Friday, May 10, 2002

My wife had plans for that particular Saturday. And, I was busy working with our high school football team. But all that changed really fast. A friend came running to get me because our then 12-year-old son had injured himself playing a pickup game of football in the park. As I arrived at the field, he came walking up to me holding one arm, breaking my heart with the most pained and pitiful look I think I've ever seen in his big blue eyes. One glance told me that he had broken his arm - it was protruding grotesquely. And, needless to say, our plans for that day went out the window. There was something much more important to do. We had a broken son.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Only four people survived above the 78th floor on that awful September 11, when a hijacked jetliner struck the south tower of the World Trade Center. Two of those were in a group of six that were on the 84th floor, right in the middle of where the plane crashed into the building. The six men ran to the stairwell and started that long trip down. At the 81st floor, they met a woman who said, "You can't go down. The floors below are in flames. We have to get above the smoke and fire." The six coworkers debated whether to go up or down. Four decided to climb up, hoping for a helicopter to rescue them from the roof. They could not have known that the rooftop doors were locked, and the roof was smothered in smoke. Their other two colleagues continued down, heading right into the dense smoke that had made others turn back. They struggled to breathe, but thankfully that smoke lasted only a floor or two. They were the last people who got out of the south tower alive. Their friends didn't make it.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Bessie, one of the cows on the small farm where my wife grew up, was ready to give birth to a calf. But somehow she managed to get out of the wire fence and wander off into the woods to have her calf where she wanted to. Which meant my wife's dad - and his two girls - had to go out into the dark woods that night to try to find them. Dad decided they could cover more ground by dividing up. They were to fire three shots if they found Bessie. Unfortunately, they only had one lantern - and my wife didn't have it. What she remembers is how scary it was to be walking alone in those dark hills, not knowing if there was a panther, a bobcat, or a poisonous snake within striking distance in the dark. Finally, Dad fired those three victorious shots in the air - he had found Bessie and baby. But only after a walk in the dark that one young girl would never forget.

Monday, March 18, 2002

He had been a stock boy in a grocery store ... and then one of those rare football players who isn't drafted but just shows up one day and gets a job. Kurt Warner went on, of course, to become the quarterback of the St. Louis Rams, leading them to the Super Bowl two out of three years ... and, of course, becoming the NFL's Most Valuable Player. Now, that would be enough for most people. But not for Kurt Warner. He's got a bigger goal - at least according to what he told Sports Illustrated he would like as what he called his "football epitaph" - "Used his football platform to work for Jesus."

Friday, March 15, 2002

It seems as if almost no one could foresee the impending collapse of energy giant, Enron. People continued to invest in Enron right up to the announcement of their financial crisis. Many of their employees have been seriously hurt by the possible loss of their retirement funds they had invested in the company. Many outside investors have lost everything they invested. One news report indicated that virtually all investment analysts were recommending investing in Enron almost to the end. The scope of the financial disaster may be unfolding for years. Who could have guessed that this seemingly rock-solid investment could turn out to be worth nothing in the end?

Eric Liddell is one of my heroes. His amazing Olympic triumph in the 400-meter event in the 1924 Olympics was dramatized in the Academy Award winning movie, "Chariots of Fire". The movie also portrayed his strong commitment to Jesus Christ and his uncompromising stand against running on Sunday, which he believed to be a violation of keeping that day holy. He was a man of conviction, of incredible inner strength, and of really muscular faith. Well, years later, he would die for his Lord as a missionary to China. I've just finished his biography which, of course, tells much more about his whole life than the movie did.

Friday, March 8, 2002

Nathan Chapman was the first American soldier killed by hostile fire in Afghanistan. He was one of America's elite Green Berets, on a strategic mission in dangerous territory when he died. I had a chance to watch some of the memorial service in his honor. The chapel was crowded with grim-faced Special Forces soldiers and many who loved this man. He had been there, serving his country, in some of the most difficult assignments of the last decade, including Panama and Haiti and Afghanistan. During the service, he was greatly praised by those who knew him, including references to the fact that he was a follower of Jesus Christ. Several of them cited Nathan Chapman's personal motto - one he lived by volunteering to go where he felt he could make the greatest difference. His motto was only five words but still very challenging: "Stand up and do something!"

            

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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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