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.

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

It was a great day for a high school football game - and I was on the sidelines, helping out our local team. Meanwhile, my 12-year-old son was playing a pickup game of football on a nearby field. I was surprised to see him heading my way, holding his arm, and then, obviously wincing with pain. He'd been tackled and had fallen on his arm. It was so badly broken that the bone was protruding from his skin. So we rushed him to the emergency room where I had some of the more agonizing moments of my life, as I watched the doctor struggle to set my son's multiple fracture. I'll tell you, he was a tough boy, but he was in great and obvious agony. It might as well have been me the doctor was working on.

Monday, June 23, 2003

The military has an interesting way of describing various combat operations. For example, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, they talked about how they were "preparing the battlefield." That means relentless bombing of enemy forces. Most of us were amazed at how quickly the Coalition ground forces were able to move through areas that had been defended by some of Saddam Hussein's best divisions. But those units had been, as the military says, "degraded" by relentless bombing. By the time the ground forces went in, the battle had largely been decided by those pilots who had "prepared the battlefield."

Well,

Friday, August 30, 2002

I couldn't help but overhear the conversation across the aisle on this recent airplane flight. The man was dropping profanity about, oh, every third word or so; he even mentioned God quite a few times. He stopped only to work on his meal. Apparently, he needed some cream for his coffee, so he demanded the flight attendant get some with his usual colorful language. While he was waiting, he finally let his fellow passenger do a little talking. He asked him, "Well, what do you do for a living?" And his neighbor said, "Oh, I'm a minister," at which point the flight attendant returned with the cream. My profane neighbor across the aisle looked up at the attendant with the most angelic expression and said, "Oh, God bless you." Suddenly, the real guy disappeared, and this religious guy showed up!

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Recently my sister-in-law introduced me to a tasty new addition to my usual breakfast menu - these great English crumpets. Low fat, great taste. Now I'm hooked. In fact, I decided I had to go get myself more of them. I learned from her that there's only one local store that carries them so I made my way to this super-supermarket - one I was unfamiliar with. I went to where I figured something in the English muffin/bagel category would be: the bread section, right? No crumpets. I tried the bakery section. Failure again. I looked in every aisle that I could logically expect to find something from the breakfast bread family. Zippo! I finally tried something really radical. I asked someone who worked there. He said, "They're in dairy." Dairy? Well, I guess these things are supposed to be refrigerated. And dairy is where I found them! But it had been a long search.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Because we've spent so much time on Indian reservations the last few years, the story of one little Native American boy is especially meaningful to me. He lived with his Mom in a little hut on a reservation in the Southwest. His dad had died, and that meant the boy had to take responsibility for their sheep at a pretty young age. One day, this missionary passed through their village and explained to the little boy how Jesus Christ died for him and wanted to be his Shepherd. And that day this little shepherd invited Jesus into his heart.

As the missionary was about to leave, he asked the boy if he could teach him a Bible verse. The boy said, "I don't think I can remember it." But the missionary gave him just five simple words from the Bible to remember. "The Lord is my Shepherd." But the missionary taught him a little trick for remembering it. He said, "Use the fingers of your right hand to help you remember 'The - Lord - is - my - Shepherd.' And when you get to the fourth word, wrap your left hand around the fourth finger of your right hand. 'The Lord is MY Shepherd.'" Well, the boy remembered it - really remembered it - as the missionary would learn when he returned one year later.

            

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