I was zipping down the Interstate one day, and I came up behind this big, black truck with bright red letters on it. And then I noticed what it said: County Bomb Squad. Woah! Needless to say, I did not stay real close to that truck! I didn't want to be behind these guys, but I'm actually glad they're around.
One of my favorite cartoon characters is Pigpen. You know, from Peanuts. Maybe you're a Charlie Brown fan like I am, but Pigpen is that little fellow you always know when he's coming. Yeah, he never has to make a lot of noise, because there's this cloud of dust that precedes him wherever he goes and also follows him wherever he goes. Actually, I know some real people like Pigpen. Now wait, wait! I don't mean people who haven't showered for a month, but the dirt they circulate - it's emotional dirt. It's called self-pity. Every time they talk it seems like they're preoccupied with themselves, their needs, their latest problems, the unfair treatment they've gotten, their aches and pains. Listen, we all slip into the pit of self-pity once in a while, but some people live there. There's a great alternative to living in that Pigpen cloud of dust called self-pity.
Every time the economy or corporate profits take another dip in their roller coaster ride, you start hearing corporations say that word again - downsizing. Many companies have done that and probably will come to the conclusion that one way to increase their profitability is to decrease the number of employees. So they downsize to be more successful.
If you've ever watched a boxing match, or ever been around a "Rocky" movie, then you know the scene. Boxer-Man has been punched and pounded and bruised for several rounds. The bell rings, he staggers to his corner, his attendants immediately start working on him. They give him something to drink, they help him get a quick breather, and they give him a big pep talk. I don't know what they tell Boxer-Man, but I'm sure it's good stuff. What I do know is whatever they tell him seems to work. Even though he's banged up, he gets back into the ring for another round!
I told a friend that if I were to die today, I'd have no complaints because I have lived what I think is like a whole lifetime a long time ago - maybe several of them. The Lord's been very, very good to me in terms of opportunities.
Okay, it's no secret. I am technically challenged. When it comes to computers, I know just the basics, you know, just enough to get by. Even I know enough to appreciate some things God provided for our ministry, like new computers that worked much faster than our old ones. We were able to upgrade some of our software. And the new software had capabilities that made a lot of things possible that weren't possible before. When it comes to the computers that make such a difference in our lives, a software upgrade can take you to a whole new level.
Up in Maine, where the roads run out, it's logging country. Now, the loggers will tell you that once you get a tree down, the next challenge is getting that big, old log where it's supposed to go to the mill. The answer? Well, you're not going to carry it there probably. So, you use natural power. They float those logs right down the river, until of course; well, sometimes too many logs decide to have a meeting in one place. You know what they call that. Right! We call it that in many parts of our life. They call it a log jam. Suddenly nothing's moving. The answer? Explosive power. Dynamite breaks that jam, gets things moving again. Of course, that's kind of how real life log jams are, too. It takes something explosive to get them going.
It's one of those classic "Peanuts" cartoons. Charlie Brown is sitting there, peacefully watching TV. Lucy comes up and tells him to change channels. Charlie Brown says, "What gives you the right to just order me to change channels?" Lucy holds up her hand with her fingers spread apart and answers, "These five little things: one, two, three, four, five. Alone they're not much" - and then as she pulls her fingers together in a fist - "but together, they are something terrible to behold." Then Lucy asks, "So what channel are you going to watch?" Poor ol' Charlie Brown looks down at his fingers and asks pitifully, "Why can't you guys get organized like that?"
Of course, I'm too young to remember World War II, right? But there was this restaurant back in New Jersey I could go to. It was a theme restaurant to get a little of the feel. Yeah, it actually was designed to create a feeling of WWII. It even had the tail of a plane sticking out of its roof! The walls were covered with WWII newspapers, posters, and buttons. There was this one poster that always stuck in my mind. There is this desperate GI in the ocean, just about to go under for the last time. And four words that don't mean a lot to us now but meant life-or-death for our troops back then, "Loose lips sink ships." Translation? When American GIs were in port, preparing to board a ship for their next mission, they were constantly reminded to talk to no one about where they were headed. Why? There were enemy spies in every port, trying to find out those destinations. If they did, the information was given to the enemy who used it to target that American ship for sinking. If a soldier talked too much, it could literally cost him his life and the lives of his comrades, because loose lips sink ships.
The youth broadcast I did for many years, we decided to take it out of the studio one day and use an amusement park as our backdrop for the program. The park people suggested a super rollercoaster called Thunder Road as one of the venues. Now, roller coaster and I have never gotten along real well since my dad sort of made me go on one when I was little. And this one - well, it had two lines for you to choose from. One said, "Forward," and the other said, "Backward." You could ride Thunder Road in the conventional way, looking forward with at least a little chance to prepare yourself for what was coming. But the backward bunch - they rode backwards! Which means, of course, they had no idea what was about to happen to their body. What? They call this a choice?