Look, people were confused about it for centuries. They looked at the sun rising and setting every day and they reached a seemingly obvious conclusion: the earth is the center of everything and the sun revolves around the earth, right? If you say "right," you need to go back to third grade science. Actually, if you think the sun revolves around the earth, well, did you know you agree with about one out of five Americans in a recent survey? Well, that's a good thing to get right. I mean, what's in the center and what revolves around it.
Every once in a while we think someone left the floodlight on in the backyard, so I look outside the window to discover the floodlight isn't on-the moonlight is! It's one of those really impressive full-moon nights. The most beautiful one that my wife and I had, was when we were on vacation in the mountains, I think. Our cabin was nestled in this quiet valley next to a gentle little stream. Not long after dark, I noticed that the valley was ablaze with light! The full moon was rising in the eastern sky and it was casting this celestial glow over everything. It was perfectly positioned in the sky to just totally illuminate the valley we were in. But then, something made me realize what I was really looking at, and I said as we stood on the porch in admiration, "You know, that moon really isn't producing any light at all. It's just reflecting the light of the sun."
I was a little boy. I'll never forget the day when my Dad took me to Riverview, the big amusement park then in Chicago. We had a ball until he insisted on taking me - against my serious objections - on "The Bobs." See, that was Riverview's biggest roller coaster. Oh, I had seen the people on the TV commercials screaming like death was near, but he persuaded me to go. I was not a happy camper. I didn't scream. I didn't cry. I didn't do anything. I froze! I gripped the safety bar, I stared straight ahead, never blinked, never spoke the entire ride. My Dad was frantically trying to get me to say something. I could not. It was a long time after before I ever rode a roller coaster again. I was so glad to get off.
Our family of five voted - and the vote was four to one. I lost. The issue was whether or not we would get a pet. See, I grew up in an apartment and the only pet we ever had were like...well, we had some cockroaches. But I went along with the vote. We started down Pet Avenue by getting a gerbil and I took a liking to him. There's something a little strange, though, about those furry little guys. If you could interview a gerbil, let's say, only I would even think of that, and ask what he was anticipating for today, he'd say, "Well, the same as yesterday and same as the day before." "Well, what's that?" "The wheel." And so Mr. Gerbil climbs on his wheel and starts running. Come back later, he's still running on the wheel. I don't think he realizes what's going on. Well, there's a whole lot of activity, but he's not going anywhere.
As the Hutchcraft kids were growing up, we had an interesting system of government in our house. I had one big vote, and theoretically, my one could count more than the other. Well, theoretically that is. In reality, that didn't happen too often. One technique our children mastered in our family decision process was very skillful lobbying. For example, the kids (let's say) got wind of the fact that Mom was planning to have casserole for dinner. But they wanted pizza. So they would send our youngest as the sacrificial lamb to ask me about pizza instead. Overruled! Right. Pretty soon, I had two sons in my study asking, with their big sister, of course, managing this campaign behind the scenes down the hall. Again, "Nope! No pizza. Casserole it is." But then they would all three come together, telling me how much all of them wanted pizza. After consulting with Mom, I'll bet you know. We got pizza.
Mike is a follower of Jesus Christ, and he's an executive with a large printing company founded on Christian principles. They had worked for two years to land this contract with a major publisher, and they got it. Mike told me about the day when their new client brought in their first job. It was exciting until he saw what it was about. It was all about horoscopes. Mike looked at his Sales Manager who had worked with him so hard to sign up this big company. Then he slid the manuscript back across the desk and said to his client, "I'm very sorry, but we can't print this. See, we try to run our business by the Bible, and this would go against what the Bible says."
John and Becky were gone when this huge windstorm hit their neighborhood. Although no one could be sure a tornado was involved, the winds were clocked at 70 miles an hour. John and Becky told me that when they returned later that day, their street was closed. A huge pine tree had blown down, and it fell right across the road. Now other kinds of trees had lost some branches, but the wind had actually totally uprooted this evergreen. Well, a neighbor explained to John that it really isn't that hard to uproot a pine tree – no matter how big it is. Because even though it's a big tree, it has shallow roots. So, it's relatively easy to bring it down.
We were far from home in Phoenix, Arizona, living in New Jersey, when my wife had a gall bladder crisis. In fact, she was going to have to have her gall bladder removed. Well, I wasn't too happy about that happening so far from home, but God was in it. Because our friend who we were there with at a conference said, "Well, I just had this surgery not long ago, and our doctor here is one of the few in the country (at that time anyway) who is an expert at doing gall bladder surgery with lasers. Really? Well, instead of the six weeks that I thought my wife was going to have to recuperate in Arizona, why she was up and around in a very few days, because of the amazing power of a laser. Think about that. I mean, lasers can penetrate steel. They can help you get better eye sight, or take care of a gall bladder that needs to come out. It's pretty amazing power. Now, diffused light can't do that; only the focused light can do it. If my wife had been under just diffused light all that time, it wouldn't do anything about her gall bladder. But it took the focused light - that powerful energy - to really change things. There's awesome power when you focus the energy on one thing.
It was at a point where we were crossing this long bridge across the Arkansas River. The bridge was long because the river was wide. My wife made an interesting comment about the river. She said, "Now, we've seen how it got that way." Wide, she meant. Actually, we've seen the Arkansas at its headwaters where it's a very unimpressive little stream. And as we've driven across the western United States, we've seen many creeks and streams that feed into the Arkansas, taking her from being a dinky little stream into a wide and mighty river.
When you grow up in the city like I did, your neighborhood usually has a neighborhood bully. Ours did. His name? Boomer! For the little kids on our block, Boomer was like the original terrorist. He'd beat us up for nothing, he'd take our stuff and generally intimidate us. One day I got tired of it! Yep! See, he took my White Sox cap. I was just a little guy. I was no match for him. But I walked boldly down our street to where no kid dared to go - to the corner apartment building where Boomer lived. I can picture it to this day. I went to the back porch, I knocked on the door, and I asked for my hat back. You say, "What a brave little boy you were." There is one detail I left out - my father went with me. And that made all the difference. See, Boomer was bigger than I was. But my father was bigger than Boomer was!