Wednesday, October 24, 2001

It sounded like strange justice. I heard about a judge who sentenced a juvenile offender to, among other things, go watch a movie. The movie was called, "Saving Private Ryan"--a movie that critics say portrayed with savage realism the D-Day Invasion and the awful brutality of war. The judge wanted that juvenile offender to see what his freedom cost the people who fought for it.

The movie also introduced a new generation to that amazing invasion that was the turning point of World War II. The mission: retake Europe from the grip of Adolf Hitler. Now how did they capture something as big as Europe? By just dropping paratroopers in the middle and saying, "We are taking Europe!"? No-o-o-o. That's what D-Day was all about--tens of thousands of Allied soldiers putting everything they had into capturing one little beach on the coast of France. That's a long way from Berlin, but it's what the military calls a beachhead - a small piece of ground that you get under control. Then you move from that to another small victory and another beachhead. So the heroes of D-Day moved from that beach to take a farm, and then a bridge, and then a village and then another village. Until one day they marched into Berlin. They had conquered all that ground - not in one blazing victory - but one beachhead at a time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

John and Becky were gone when this huge windstorm hit their neighborhood recently. 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 been 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.

Monday, September 10, 2001

One of the great privileges of my life was serving in the leadership of the Northern New Jersey Billy Graham Crusade in the Meadowlands. For many of us who had been trying to reach people in this very hard corner of America, it was thrilling to see that arena nearly full on that opening Wednesday night. The arena seats 18,000 people, and filling it in Jesus' name was a victory of historic proportions. By Thursday, it was totally full--but I was strangely restless. By faith, we had set up 8,000 chairs and jumbo-tron video screen in the parking lot, just in case there was overflow. It looked like we wouldn't need it - as the press so graciously reminded us. Even though we were seeing unprecedented attendances and spiritual harvests, I felt led to pull together several of our Crusade leaders after the second night. After thanking God for all He had done, I asked them to pray with me a prayer that I had never prayed before. "Lord, if anyone other than You is holding a lid on this thing, if there's even more You want to do - blow the lid off!"

The next night the arena filled pretty quickly. I was on the platform, seated next to Dr. Graham, when they handed him a note. He showed it to me. It said, "There are 13,000 in overflow!" Dr. Graham said, "I think you should go see it." Well, I did. And what a sight! Eight thousand chairs full, 5,000 people standing, sitting on car hoods, on the ground, even on the porta-johns...and Billy Graham preaching the Gospel on the big screen! It looked like a cross between the feeding of the 5,000 and a drive-in movie. And the rate of response that night was higher in the parking lot than it even was indoors! So much for that lid!

Monday, September 3, 2001

My wife was waking up to a sound she hadn't heard before - and she couldn't identify. It sounded like crinkling cellophane - and it was coming from inside our bedroom walls! Now, somehow I missed this little symphony, but she sure picked up on it. Since we were pretty sure no one was actually crinkling cellophane in our walls, we looked into other possibilities. Like carpenter ants, for example. And sure enough, that's what it was! Those little marauders were feasting on the wood in our house...and they were gradually eating our home! We didn't even have to think about what to do. "Hello, Mr. Exterminator?"

Tuesday, August 21, 2001

After our grandson was born, he wore these cute little mittens much of the time. No, it was not freezing cold in his house. It's just that he had these long fingernails - and since he wasn't very good at aiming his hands, he kept scratching his face with those nails. But in an early visit to the pediatrician, she recommended that the gloves come off. "Try to keep his nails trimmed," is what she said, "but even if you can't, it's better for him to have his hands uncovered." Then she said something that was news to me - "We've learned that when an infant can feel and touch things, their brain cells grow!"

Friday, August 17, 2001

Not long ago I got to take one of my favorite East Coast walks. You know, growing up in Illinois, I didn't know much about the ocean. So when we moved to New Jersey, I quickly developed a pretty deep love for the ocean. So it's no surprise that Ocean City is one of my favorite places to go, right? And I love to walk out on one of the long, rock jetties that reach out into the sea from the beach. I really love it at high tide when the surf is crashing in around those rocks. When you see some of those monster waves surging toward those rocks, it looks like there's going to be a classic confrontation between the irresistible force (the ocean) and the immovable object (the rocks). Well, I'll tell you, the ocean sure overwhelms everything else in its way. But every time those rocks I stand on meet the mighty power of the sea, the winner is always the same. The wave is shattered. The rock remains.

Tuesday, August 7, 2001

When I'm on the road and staying in a motel, I'm often leaving early for that day's responsibilities. But by the time I return late that night, something amazing has happened. The bed is made! I have new, clean towels! Everything is straightened and neat. I even have new little soaps in the bathroom! The Room Fairy has been there! Now, I know that not because I've seen the maid (I haven't), but because I can see the results of her work all over the place.

Monday, August 6, 2001

I'm about 5'8". You probably know that because I sound about that tall, right? Years ago, I was carrying 210 pounds on this little 68" body. Goodyear actually offered me a job as their blimp. But thankfully, I have weighed about 45 to 50 pounds less than that for a lot of years. Of course, I've still got the same metabolism that inflated this body many years ago. So, ohhh, do I know about dieting! And I also know the point at which your diet is in the greatest danger. OK, you've really been good...the scale has been giving you good news the last couple of weeks...your diet discipline is holding. Then somebody offers you something that you just can't resist--let's say, a few french fries. You consume them in one bite. So, you buy a whole order of fries for yourself. And now you feel bad. You have blown your diet. You could just get back on track right then. But no--you say to yourself, "I blew it! I've failed! Oh well, what's the use? I might as well have a milk shake to wash down those fries. Hey, and anybody got the number of Pizza Heaven?" Yeah, you messed up. So you give up--and soon return to your former roundness.

The folks at our local bakery are some of the most effective marketers I know. They don't give you a sales pitch, they don't have highly creative advertising. They just offer samples. For free - one of my favorite words. I walk in to buy two bagels. There, on a plate on top of the display case, are these little bites of cheesecake, and a little sign that invites me to try one. So, I do. I walk out of that bakery with my two bagels and a cheesecake. Now I hadn't planned to get a cheesecake, but they sold it in the best possible way, just by letting me taste it. The taste made me want the whole cheesecake!

When you visit Washington, D.C., you're bound to see the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol Building. But there's this one side trip to Northern Virginia that's an important stop...at least for every American. It's Arlington National Cemetery where this endless sea of white crosses reminds an American of the high price of freedom. That price is beautifully dramatized every hour at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - with the Changing of the Guard. Right there this honor guard from one service passes the sentinel duty to a guard from another service in a simple, reverent ceremony. With his weapon over his shoulder, the guard from the previous hour transfers this solemn responsibility to the guard for the next hour. And if you happen to be close enough, you will hear the departing guard say three words to the incoming guard. In fact, the same three words that have been passed from one shift to another since this duty began decades ago. The words: "Orders remain unchanged." They always have. They always will.

            

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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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