When my wife Karen was a girl, a lot of people said she looked like Queen Elizabeth. I know this for sure - Karen was always my queen.

Karen and the Queen shared a more important resemblance - a selfless dedication to a life of service to God and others. So Queen Elizabeth was always a little special to us.

Bottom line, Billy Graham was a farm boy who became a preacher.

But his death is obviously a big deal. Because his life was a big deal.

How many preachers have been on Americans' "Ten Most Admired" list more years than any other person? What was it about him that gave him the unofficial title, "America's Pastor"?

I haven't heard the song for years. But recently the chorus keeps playing in my head.

"We go on hurting each other."

It was a huge '70s hit for The Carpenters. But lately it seems it could be our national theme song.

Cyber-bullying so brutal it's driving teenagers to suicide. Heartless cruelty at school and on social media. "Me Too" victims, scarred and shamed by sexual harassment and abuse by exploitive men. Political vitriol and horrific crimes that suggest the evening news should be "R" rated.

Every year, about this time, Linus comes marching on stage with his trusty blanket. And he uses a passage from the Bible to help poor ol' Charlie Brown understand "what Christmas is really all about."

..."And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the manger."

Until recently, I had no idea how loaded those words were.

Every two seconds. That's how often someone in the U.S. has their identity stolen.

Like our friend who had her purse stolen in a restaurant. The next day massive charges were mounting up on her credit card - in Argentina! These days she could lose her credit card without ever leaving the house. Online.

But there's a more devastating identity theft than the financial kind. It's when you feel like your worth as a person has been ripped from you.

I had just finished speaking at a conference when a lady came up and began to pour out the trauma of her life. Her conclusion:

"They've totally stolen my identity!"

Her best friend has turned against her. Her husband is divorcing her. Her children have totally rejected her. Wife. Mother. Friend. What's left?

"My Summer Vacation."

As children, that was the predictable composition assignment we'd get each fall when we got back to school. I filled paragraphs with great memories. Then as parents, my wife and I had sort of a "mission statement" for our vacations - "Making memories!"

Of course, not all summer memories are something people would like to write about. Because there are memories we wish we could forget.

California Rampage

"We may never know why this happened."

That's the usual reaction when another "senseless" shooting leaves its trail of death and heartbreak. Not this time.

The vengeful gunman in last week's horrific rampage near Santa Barbara, California left a hate-filled, 141-page manifesto to explain it. Three were stabbed to death, three sorority girls shot to death, 13 injured. It was one student's self-described "day of retribution."

"My Twisted World" is, in part, a journal of growing romantic and sexual frustration. Girls went for other guys but not for him. Others were having sex while he was an unintentional virgin. Frustration morphed into loneliness, then desperation, then a hellish personal agenda of destroying what had hurt him.

Mercer - Duke

During this year’s NCAA basketball “Final Four” season, billionaire Warren Buffett offered $1 billion to anyone who filled out the perfect bracket (correctly picking all the NCAA game winners).

He did that because he knew no matter how well you know sports, your chances of picking a perfect bracket are, according to UMKC math lecturer Ari Bavel, 9.2 quintillion to one. You’re literally more likely to be mauled by a shark than nail this thing! Why is it so hard to pick the perfect bracket? Because sometimes the “experts” are wrong. Sometimes the underdog wins.

Justin Beiber

Dear Justin -

I'm a grandfather. I've got six grandsons - can't believe it! One is almost your age.

So when I read about your speeding trouble and saw you in a jail jumpsuit last week, my grandfather's heart was sad.

I know you've gotten it all from people. Affection. Attack. Sympathetic. Snarky.

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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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