Angels, angels, and more angels. Somehow, the world has suddenly gotten very interested in angels. In fact, one of America's most popular TV shows has been a positive show called "Touched by an Angel." It's about these two angels - sort of a rookie and a veteran - who are sent on various assignments to deliver God's messages to people who are in critical situations. Now, I've watched it every once in a while - and the one I saw recently was about the rookie angel's performance review by a senior angel. Now, in the process, they flashed back on the highlights of some of the situations where she had touched people's lives and they had touched hers. There was one brief excerpt from a previous show that really hit me hard, even though I don't know what the whole story was. The young angel was kneeling at the feet of a man who appeared to be a dirty old derelict. The angel had a basin of water - and the man was telling her not to do what she was about to do - wash his feet. But she looked up at him with tears in her eyes and gave an answer that obviously came from deep in her heart - "I have to do this," the angel explained, "so I remember who I am."

Boutros Boutros-Ghali is gone - the man who was Secretary General of the United Nations through much of the 1990s.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali was replaced by a highly respected African diplomat with the comparatively boring name of Kofi Annan. As the spotlight shifted to the new Secretary General, reporters began to learn more about his life, including an enlightening true story he told from his childhood. His teacher came into his class one day when he was a boy, and hung a big white piece of paper on the board with a little black dot in the lower right hand corner. The teacher asked a simple question of his class, "What do you see, boys?" Everyone shouted out eagerly, "The dot! The black dot!" That's when the teacher said, "That's interesting. Doesn't anyone see a big white piece of paper? After all, the dot is just one little spot on this huge page." The Secretary General of the U.N. said he never forgot the lesson from that day - in areas such as negotiations, let's say. Don't get stuck staring at a little dot!

Gayle's parents were away - and they had asked her to check on their house while they were gone. Gayle's one of our ministry team. It was a pretty cold night - Gayle thought the heat should be on. She called her dad - in dad fashion, he said, "You should know what to do - done it before. Probably just a zone valve is stuck." So Gayle went to work on the zone valve - she really went to work on it. We're talking about desperate measures - like beating the valve to death with a screwdriver and actually breaking blood vessels in her hand in the process. It refused to stay open in spite of Gayle's vigorous encouragement. Valve 1, Woman 0. When dad got home a few days later, he went to work on it - and it was very easily fixed. Of course, he worked on the other valve - the right valve. Gayle had been working on the valve, it turns out, that was already working! He told Gayle she had made a simple mistake - she put a lot of effort into fixing what was already working - and no effort into what really needed the attention.

Hunting season has always been big for my friend Stan. He was a pretty young man the day he and his cousin went on one of this more memorable trips. Because of the rattlesnake. They were deep in the woods turkey hunting when they heard that telltale rattle right behind them. Stan turned, fired his gun and - I don't mean to be crude - but he actually shot the head off that rattlesnake. And then the rites of manhood thing started. Yeah - Stan says to his cousin, "Pick it up." "No I don't want to pick it up, it's a rattlesnake." "Are you chicken? It can't hurt you anymore." So his cousin picked it up - suddenly he heard that rattle again - and he screamed and threw that snake in the air. Of course, the rattle was just a reflex - obviously that rattlesnake couldn't do any damage. Stan laughed, and his cousin said, "You pick it up, Stan." Finally, Stan started to pick it up and of course the rattle started clicking again. At which point, Stan did exactly what his cousin had done - screamed and threw the snake in the air. Well, they did eventually get that snake home - but the scene was repeated all the way home. Stan and his cousin would take turns carrying the snake - and hearing the rattle - screaming - and throwing it into the air. Even though the rattler couldn't possible bite them.

Okay, this is a word association test! Fruit salad. What did you think of? Well, it depends whether or not you've been in the military. You see, if you haven't been in the military, you probably thought of some little pieces of apple, or melon, in a bowl together - but if you've been in the military you may have found something far less edible than that. We just called a Desert Storm veteran and I did that with him. I said, "What do you think of when I say "fruit salad"? He said, "Oh, ribbons and medals." That's right! To the military it's all those medals - that kind of "fruit salad" matters a lot to people in the military. They are the record that all the world can see in your achievements, in your service to your country. When one of America's top military leaders committed suicide, it was believed that a controversy over his medals may have contributed to that tragedy. He was wearing a medal that was only supposed to be worn by those who have been in direct combat contact. His wartime service on a ship didn't qualify according to his critics. When you've served your country, your service awards are serious business. There are some soon-to-be-issued awards that will go to some very surprising, and surprised people.

Not all the drama of the Olympics takes place during the Olympics. Some of it unfolds in the weeks and months leading up to the games, like the torch, for example.

In the spirit of the ancient Olympics in Greece, the Olympic torch is carried by runners over thousands of miles until it's finally carried into the opening ceremonies to light the official torch of the Olympic Games. In the case of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, a journey of 15,280 miles, from Los Angeles to Atlanta, represents quite a torch run. Obviously one person doesn't do it all, I mean, not even I am in that good a shape! Now, every Olympic year there are many runners who each carry the torch for a fraction of the journey and then they hand it off to the next runner. In the case of the Atlanta Games, Coca Cola selected 2,500 of the 10,000 torch bearers that were needed. They accepted nominations from anyone that you might know who you thought was "worthy to carry the torch."

Okay, I thought we'd start off with a little magic trick today. I need a little of your imagination. Now, sitting on this table in front of me is this cellophane, okay? Right, okay. Now, next to it is this glove, all right, now here's the trick - my glove is going to pick up the cellophane. I'm lying right down next to the cellophane, okay, "Glove, pick up the cellophane!" Ah, "Glove! Pick up the cellophane!" Ah, nothing is happening. Now it doesn't matter what we do, no matter if we baptize this glove, if we get it confirmed, dedicated, rededicate this glove, it's never going to pick up the cellophane! Oh, but watch this, here we go, oh, actually, listen to this - now the glove is moving and it is moving toward the cellophane. Listen! (Sound of cellophane moving) Ah, you've just got to trust me, it is literally the glove picking up the cellophane. Are you amazed or what? Well, there is one little factor that I forgot to mention - I put my hand in the glove before I picked up the cellophane. It's amazing! All of a sudden that glove could do what, otherwise, gloves could never do!

 

Now, driving in Mexico is really an adventure. Actually, riding with someone who's driving is an adventure!

I was with our director of Latin American outreach a couple of weeks ago and he was very skillfully and amazingly navigating the challenges of the traffic in his city. It didn't really bother me much, I just took a sedative - no not really - but David's little boy Isaac was in the back seat and at one point our back seat helper reminded Daddy that he was supposed to be getting in the lane for an upcoming tunnel! It took a little doing, but David managed to get over there somehow, at which point Isaac had a word for his father. This little voice said from the back seat, "Good job Daddy!" Well, actually Isaac says that pretty often, he likes what his father does, and he tells him.

Our ministry team was together for a night of fellowship not too long ago and somehow we got to sharing memories about our childhood. Now Gayle, my Administrative Assistant, rewound the tape of her life all the way back to her first day of kindergarten. She survived the school part alright, it was that bus trip home that was the problem. She sat in the back and all the other kids got out at their stops and as the bus driver unknowingly drove right past her stop - in fact her stop was near the beginning of the road! But Gayle said she was so painfully shy then, she just didn't speak up. So finally there was just one little girl left on the bus and the driver looked in the rearview mirror and said, "Ah, little girl - where's your stop?" Well, it's a good thing he asked, she might still be on that bus! This is a time to speak up, not to be silent!

I was in mid-shave one morning recently, all lathered up, attacking my whiskers with my razor and I heard a little "bang" down the street, and suddenly the power went out. Now fortunately I was still able to find my face in the dark - it was approximately where it usually is. But I knew the rest of the morning was going to be very interesting. You see, it wasn't just a circuit breaker, oh no, no, the power was out on the whole block. No toasted bagel today! No hair dryer, no lamp to read my Bible by - why? That grey cylinder that hangs on that telephone pole down the street - we had no power because the transformer had blown!

            

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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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