I'm so glad we have lots of things around our house that bloom when Spring pushes out Old Man Winter. Now, if you have allergies, you probably don't look forward to Spring, but I hope you can at least enjoy some of its extravagant beauty. And it isn't just things to see.
It was the final event of the men's gymnastics competition in the 2004 Athens Olympics. American Paul Hamm's hopes for the gold medal seemed to come crashing down. He made a lopsided landing and actually toppled into the judges' tables. That gave him a disappointing 9.137 score that virtually doomed his chances for a first place finish. After some moments of what he described as "depression," he decided to fight back with what would have to be the best two performances of his life, just to win the bronze.
Look, you can't study all the time when you're in college; you need a little diversion, right? For me it was that little social action group that I put together. It's called The Vigilantes. Yeah, our social action consisted of very strategic maneuvers – otherwise known as practical jokes. One of them turned out to be very impractical, actually.
Part of our ministry team works on a remote Native American reservation in the Southwest. In fact, our sons launched this ground-breaking outreach to Native young people many years ago now. The ministry at that reservation is now part of our bigger initiative, "On Eagles Wings".
I think my mother imprinted this on my brain when I was very young, "Don't go out with a fever." That was sort of a definition of sick at our house, as in so sick you can't go to school. The decision was actually made by the thermometer. Now, just to show you how bright I was as a child, (I hate to tell you this), there was one day I really wanted to stay home from school, so I sat on a hot radiator in our apartment to raise my temperature. You probably don't even want to listen any more. If any kids are listening, do not try this at home (If you could find a radiator.). It will not give you a fever, but it will shall we say keep you from sitting down all day at school!
If you're going to be a great coach in sports, you've got to be a great motivator. The team rises to the level of the coach's motivation. Now, when your team is an entire nation that is under heavy attack, the coach had better be one incredible motivator.
The nation was Great Britain. The time was the beginning of World War II, when the team seemed like it was losing badly and the coach was Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He may have been the most inspiring leader of the 20th Century as he motivated his nation to make tremendous sacrifices and win a seemingly unwinnable victory.
Through the years of ministry, God has miraculously provided so many things through His people that we'd have never been able to buy. So much of the furniture and equipment in our office is like a God-story.
If you know teenagers or even pre-teens, you'll hear that word "like" a lot! It's not new. Even when one of my sons was going through those interesting teenage years, he had a case of "like-itis", we'll call it. Typical sentence, "Well, there was like this movie I wanted to like watch, and so I like looked for what time it was supposed to be like – you know." Well, you know what though? There might be some power in that word like.
Sherry's family, who she loves very much, they live in Minnesota, and that's where Sherry lived. She had a home church and a place to work until she decided to move to Arizona. Why, you ask? Why would a young woman to-tally relocate her life to a place where she doesn't have a job and doesn't know many people? One reason: my youngest son. She was about to be his serious girlfriend. And Arizona would just happen to be where our son lived. He worked with Native American young people there. And it should come as no surprise that she wanted to be where the man she loves was. She rearrang-ed her whole life to be with him, and now she's our daughter-in-law!
Driving in Mexico? Oh, that's an adventure. Actually, riding with someone who's driving is an adventure!
Some years ago when we had an office in Latin America, I was with our director of Latin American outreach. He was very skillfully and amazingly navigating the challenges of the traffic in his city. Don's little boy, John, was in the back seat and at one point our back seat helper reminded Daddy that he was supposed to be getting in the next lane for an upcoming tunnel! It took a little doing, but Don managed to get over there somehow, at which point little John in the back seat had a word for his father. This little voice said from the back seat, "Good job, Daddy!" See, John says that pretty often. He likes what his father does, and he tells him.