Your Relationships

Friday, May 4, 2007

It's really a beautiful area of the Southwestern United States, except for this one horrendous eyesore. It's a graveyard for cars. Acre after acre, and you've seen them, they’re covered with cars that have been discarded, wrecked, crushed, and stacked several cars deep. And every time I pass this one and see all these trashed and mashed cars, I can't help but thinking to myself, "Just think, one day that car was somebody's dream come true." Someone probably wished for that car, got that car, and showed everybody this car they were so proud of. Look at it now!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tommy Rieman was a teenager pumping gas in Independence, Kentucky, when he enlisted in the United States Army. Today, he wears the Purple Heart and the Silver Star of an American hero. He was, in fact, introduced to the nation during President Bush's 2007 State of the Union Address. There's been much disagreement about the war in Iraq, but there's no disagreement about the heroism of soldiers like Sgt. Rieman. The day his squad was ambushed by enemy fire in the midst of a reconnaissance mission, they were outnumbered ten to one. Their vehicles kept moving as Sgt. Rieman dove into the backseat and used his body as a shield to protect his gunner. As they sped away from the ambush, they found themselves ambushed again by some 50 enemy attackers. Rieman was shot in the right arm, he was shot in the chest, he had shrapnel wounds to his chest and stomach and ear, and his squad was out of ammo. In spite of his wounds, Tommy Rieman began firing away with his grenade launcher at their attackers. Finally, the enemy's guns fell silent. Then Sgt. Rieman began tending to his wounded.

Monday, April 2, 2007

You can read about the Grand Canyon. You can see pictures of the Grand Canyon. But you can't begin to comprehend how grand a canyon it is until you're standing right there at the edge of it, trying to drink in how massive it really is. The moods, the colors, the vastness - it was really something impressive for our whole family that first time we went there together. You stand on the South Rim and you look at the North Rim in the distance - the far distance, realizing you can only look. It averages at least ten miles across! There's no way to get across that canyon. There's no bridge that will take you to the other side.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I was speaking at a church in New York, and a couple who originally came from India greeted me very warmly. They seemed to be very much in love with the Lord and obviously in love with each other. When I asked them how long they'd been married, they said, "28 years." They didn't look old enough to have been married 28 years. Then came the second and by far the biggest surprise. They said, "It was an arranged marriage." Jokingly, I said, "Well, it will probably never last." But after thinking about what they had said for a moment, I told them, "Maybe that's what we're all supposed to have - an arranged marriage."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

CNN doesn't usually do news stories about high school football players, but there's something very special about the South Carolina player they described this way: "Sometimes the biggest heart on the field can fit into the smallest player." His name is Kos. He's a Siberian orphan, adopted by an American family, and he has no legs. He lost them the day he and his friend decided to hop aboard a freight train. For some reason, his friend pushed Kos and he landed under the wheels of that train. Now he's playing nose tackle on one of his high school's football teams. As hard as that may be to imagine, Kos had several solo tackles this past season; he recovered two fumbles; he was such a threat that other teams had to assign two players to defend against him. He just swings right into the fray and knocks them down with his strong arms and his head.

His heart on the field and his infectious personality have affected more than one school. The football coach at Clemson University brought Kos in to demonstrate his skill to that college team. The coach said, "If my players would max out on what they can give like this young man has, we'd win a lot of games." By the way, Kos' goal is to get a good job and make enough money to build a big house with several bedrooms, so he can provide a home for as many disabled Russian orphans as possible.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Our son's first word was the name he called me, "Da!" I know it's supposed to be "da da," but it was good enough for me. He'd greet me at the door each night with a loud and impassioned "Da!" Our grandson's first word was "mama," which he liked so much that he just let it keep rolling, "ma-ma-ma-ma-ma." Sort of the opposite of "da!" The first words that children learn can reflect what's going on around them. If they see Mama all the time, you can expect them to say her name early on. Sometimes, those first words aren't very happy words. Our friends have been dedicated missionaries in a war-torn part of the Middle East for years. Not long after their daughter was born, their area became a place where frequent bombardments and violence erupted all around them. Some of her first words told the story: "bomb" ... "gun."

Thursday, February 8, 2007

It was a spiritual "Kodak moment." That's what the closing night of our Warrior Leadership Summit was last summer. It was our privilege to bring together Native young people, representing 65 Indian nations across North America. When you realize that only an estimated five percent of Native people know Christ after 500 years of mission work to reach them, this conference is almost historic. The mission each year is to help Native young people choose Christ, follow Christ and be a warrior for Christ in some very difficult places. That Kodak moment came when 20 young people, representing some 20 nations, each stood to declare their commitment to go back to reach their people for Christ. Then they bowed at the foot of the old rugged cross at the front.

Then, as hundreds of Native young people began to sing "Our God is an Awesome God," those 20 young warriors lifted the cross above their heads. Then they reverently carried it through the audience and out the door to a world whose only hope is that cross. It was a powerful moment. A few minutes after the meeting ended, a leader came to me and said, "There's something beautiful going on out in front of the auditorium. Those young warriors don't want to leave the cross."

Thursday, February 1, 2007

When you have three children, only one can be the first, of course. And that one becomes the one that all the others measure by when it comes to what privileges and what treatment they should receive. In our case, our daughter is the oldest, followed by her two brothers. Now the kids could be getting along perfectly, and then suddenly the boys would learn about something their big sister got. Then I would hear the march of determined feet to my desk, followed by two boys asking in unison, "How come she...?" Followed by whatever goody she had gotten that they had not. Actually, knowing that kind of question was coming helped me make better decisions.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Few things in life are so depressing as a boy's long-uncleaned room. Sometimes you might not even want to ask them to clean it. It might be better just to torch it or hose it out like a monkey cage. I remember one time my wife and I wanted to say, "I love you" to our boys in a special way. So while they were gone one Saturday, we literally attacked their room. We thought it would be a little easier to keep it clean if we would, this one time, make it clean. When we were done, it was a great place to be again, and when the boys walked into their room, they became believers in miracles. And we did make two things really clear to them. First, "We love you guys." Secondly, "Don't expect us to make this a habit."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I heard a true story from the life of veteran missionary, Helen Roseveare, and it touched me deeply, and it reminded me of why I face some huge needs with perfect peace. I though it might be the encouragement you need today. Helen was a medical missionary to Zaire, and she tells about the night she had tried to save a mother in the labor ward. In spite of all their efforts, the mother died, leaving the missionaries with a crying two-year-old daughter and a tiny, premature baby. They had no incubator. They had no electricity to run an incubator, and they had no special feeding facilities. And even though they lived on the equator, the nights were often chilly. They wrapped the baby in cotton wool, they put him in box, and they stoked up a fire. They really needed a hot water bottle for the tiny newborn, but they discovered that the last one they had was burst and there was nowhere to get one. So they put the baby as near the fire as they could safely and they hoped it would be enough. It was a touch-and-go fight for that little life. And then came the little girl's prayer.

            

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