Tuesday, November 6, 2001

When our son was playing high school football, he looked like the tattooed man at the circus, with bruises all over his body. He always dreamed of playing football. And he had his dream, but he paid a price. As soon as practices started in August, the coaches had those players running 'til they almost dropped, and hitting, and tackling, and straining, and sweating. Some guys quit because it was just too much. Finally, the season began - and his team started winning - a lot. I remember one incredibly rowdy victory celebration on the bus home after they had managed this 20-0 shutout. He had weighed the pain of playing against the pleasure. What he concluded may help you weigh yours.

Tuesday, October 2, 2001

Our kids' first pet was one of those furry little fellows called a gerbil. Frankly, I think gerbils need to get a life. Did you ever watch a gerbil? They do the same thing almost all the time. I'd walk over to our gerbil's cage and there he was - on the wheel. Running on the wheel. Go back two hours later, there he is - on the wheel. Running on the wheel. Going nowhere. If you could talk to Gerbie, you might just say to him, "Do you know you're not going anywhere on that wheel? You're just burning up a lot of energy. Don't you think you should maybe change something?" So he does. He runs faster on the wheel, going nowhere! Dumb gerbil.

Monday, September 24, 2001

Our neighbor Dan is a walking miracle. Last year he was in a terrible automobile accident that many would say should have killed him. He was evacuated from the crash site by a helicopter, actually with multiple injuries, including his back being broken in two places. But God wasn't finished with Dan yet. He miraculously spared his life - and miraculously delivered Dan from the paralysis that his injuries should have given him. And through it all, Dan surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. What a testimony Dan has! Now, I've never had a serious injury in my life - I've never been in a hospital facing possible death or paralysis. Now look at what God healed Dan from! So my story is nowhere near as dramatic as Dan's. But that's OK. I'm excited about how God put Dan back together - but I'm glad I didn't have to be put back together!

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

When you hear a helicopter going over, you probably look up. I know I do. But it's probably not a major emotional experience for you. It is for Megan's dad. She told me she and her dad were outside recently when a chopper flew over. In her words, "My Dad suddenly hit the deck." In other words, he just instinctively fell to the ground. Now, you know you could look at that reaction and say, "Is he a little strange, or what?" No, he isn't strange. He's a Vietnam veteran. Obviously, Megan was really surprised by her father's unusual behavior - so she said, "What's wrong, Dad?" He said, "It's just part of post-Vietnam trauma. When I hear a chopper, it just triggers something inside. I'm suddenly in combat again." Now Megan understands.

Friday, September 14, 2001

My wife recently received a lovely, family heirloom, diamond ring. And she took it to the jeweler the other day so he could look at it with that magic eye that jewelers have. As he looked at it under magnification, he let out a curious "hmmm." He told her that the diamond had a fracture in the middle of it, invisible to the naked eye, which caused her to ask how there could be a fracture in the middle. Why didn't it go all the way across the diamond? Mr. Jeweler gave a very interesting explanation. He basically said that while some diamonds are developing, some underground disturbance - maybe a quake or a tremor - causes the diamond to crack. But apparently some diamonds continue to develop anyway. Like the one we have. It was fractured, but it didn't stop growing!

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Hooper Bay, Alaska. It's a little Eskimo village on the edge of the Bering Sea. And it was a place missionaries had repeatedly wanted our Native American outreach team, "On Eagles' Wings," to go. They all spoke of the unparalleled desperation there. Well, thank God, we were able to go and see an amazing response to the Gospel - although we almost didn't get there! The weather closed in as our small missionary plane made its landing approach. My wife was in that lead plane with several of our Native team leaders. The clouds were very low, the rain was falling, fog was all around. And our seasoned missionary pilot was making literally moment-by-moment judgments as to whether he needed to turn back. Now, hanging out over the Bering Sea, approaching that tiny runway, there was a lot of praying going on. But my wife, who knows enough about flying to read the critical instruments at least, said everything was lined up perfectly. Oh no, not according to their senses, not according to their stomachs, but according to the instruments. And moments later, sure enough, they were safe and sound on that runway! With a total instrument landing!

Tuesday, September 4, 2001

Not long ago we met some wonderful radio listeners from the Sault St. Marie area of Michigan - way up north, you know, near the Canadian border. They told me this amusing, and slightly amazing, true story about a woman they met recently. She was driving from Detroit, which is about six hours south of them, and she was lost. So she stopped in at our friend's workplace, looking for directions. Now that's not anything unusual. But she walked in the door blurting one frustrated question, "Which way's Texas?" Texas! Well, for starters, ma'am, you need to turn that car around and go six hours back to the place where you started!

Thursday, August 23, 2001

First, the verdict came in - guilty. Then the sentence - death. And the last-minute appeals for a delay - denied. And finally the irrevocable outcome - Timothy McVeigh had to die for his crimes. The carnage and the tragedy of that bombing of a Federal building in Oklahoma City has left an indelible mark on our entire generation.

The death penalty, I mean even for a mass killer like Tim McVeigh, is a controversial issue. For some it's an important political issue; for others it's an important justice or humanitarian issue. But few of us have ever thought of the death penalty as an intensely personal issue. It is. For every one of us.

Thursday, August 16, 2001

Dr. Henry was one of the most challenging professors I had in college. And I anticipated the final exam in his class was going to be a monumental challenge. Who knows what questions Dr. Henry could throw at us from his incredible intellect! Well, word began to leak out about his final from the first students who took it. They didn't give any details--they just shared one surprising, tantalizing fact. They said, "There's only one question on the exam!" Well, most of us took that news as encouragement as we stood on the edge of academic survival. But when Dr. Henry set the exam in front of us, we weren't quite as encouraged. This entire semester of theology class had been devoted to what the Bible says about the person and work of the Holy Spirit. The professor's question? "Describe the Person and work of the Holy Spirit." Oh boy! Only one question. But what a question!

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

I think I've lost the same five pounds about 200 times--which would be just about enough to make six of me. Actually, I used to weigh almost 50 pounds more, and I lost it a long time ago. But, as you know if you have ever lost a chunk of yourself, the challenge is to keep it off. So I set 165 as my ceiling weight and then 160 as kind of my anchor weight. As my weight starts creeping toward 165 again--which it inevitably will, believe me, I have to reverse all engines immediately. I mean, it's just too hard to fight 20-25 extra pounds. I'd rather fight with five pounds any time...while it's still a more winable battle.

            

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