Friday, August 23, 2002

The news accounts from Florida said the man was in his 70s and that he went for a walk the night before. Now, the reason his walk made the news was because he was sleeping during this walk - and because of where he ended up. Apparently, he got up out of bed, grabbed his cane, went outside, and started walking - all without ever waking up ... until he walked right into a lake - a lake filled with alligators. And those alligators went right to him. Thankfully, he was somehow able to beat them off with his cane and crawl to safety. But talk about a rude awakening! Can you imagine waking up in the water, looking into alligator jaws?

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Because we've spent so much time on Indian reservations the last few years, the story of one little Native American boy is especially meaningful to me. He lived with his Mom in a little hut on a reservation in the Southwest. His dad had died, and that meant the boy had to take responsibility for their sheep at a pretty young age. One day, this missionary passed through their village and explained to the little boy how Jesus Christ died for him and wanted to be his Shepherd. And that day this little shepherd invited Jesus into his heart.

As the missionary was about to leave, he asked the boy if he could teach him a Bible verse. The boy said, "I don't think I can remember it." But the missionary gave him just five simple words from the Bible to remember. "The Lord is my Shepherd." But the missionary taught him a little trick for remembering it. He said, "Use the fingers of your right hand to help you remember 'The - Lord - is - my - Shepherd.' And when you get to the fourth word, wrap your left hand around the fourth finger of your right hand. 'The Lord is MY Shepherd.'" Well, the boy remembered it - really remembered it - as the missionary would learn when he returned one year later.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

When we moved to New York City, one of the first landmarks I wanted to see was the Statue of Liberty. A guide actually told me an amazing fact about that lady in the harbor. From that first day in the late 1800s when her light was first lit up, right up to that moment he saw her, the lamp of liberty has never gone out. Even when everybody else's lights went out - like, say in the daytime, for example - Lady Liberty has always had her light shining. During World War II, all of New York City was under a blackout for security reasons, but they kept this little 60-watt light bulb glowing in liberty's torch. And the night all the lights went out in New York because of a power blackout, the light still stayed on because it's powered by electricity from across the river in New Jersey! As wave after wave of immigrants sailed into New York Harbor, they'd strain for a first look at that Statue, the symbol of the freedom that they had risked so much to find. And whenever they arrived, they saw the light of liberty. It was always, always on.

Monday, August 19, 2002

There's something about the Olympics that's just larger than life, and there are those images of past Olympic performances that we'll never forget. One of those happened in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Derek Redmond was representing Great Britain in the 400-meter event. Unfortunately, he went down on the backstretch with a torn right hamstring. And the medical attendants started to approach him, but he managed to fight his way to his feet. Maybe you remember seeing this. He set out hopping around the track, desperately trying to finish the race. When he reached the stretch, a large man in a T-shirt came out of the stands, and literally threw aside a security guard, and ran to the injured runner, and hugged him. It was Jim Redmond, Derek's father. Derek was weeping and in excruciating pain, and his Dad said, "'Derek, you don't have to do this." To which Derek said, "Yes, I do." And Jim Redmond said, "OK then, we're going to finish this together!" And they did. They had to fight off security men ... the son's head was sometimes buried on his father's shoulder ... but they stayed in Derek's lane all the way to the end - as the crowd stood and cheered and even wept.

Friday, August 16, 2002

Ten suitcases and two trunks. Yes, that's what our daughter took to college with her that first year. Using some of my frequent flyer free tickets, we all flew to Chicago to take her to college. And her two brothers - oh, they were just thrilled to help move their sister's whole life. But something very strange happened when we landed at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. They closed the airport. Record-breaking rain had flooded the airport approaches so no one could come or go, including flight crews or people picking up passengers. And as we joined thousands of other passengers trying to find some food, a phone, a room, we had a distinct disadvantage. Mount Luggage! It was very hard to go anywhere with all that baggage!

Thursday, August 15, 2002

I was about nine years old when my parents took me to meet Paul Bunyan. Actually it was this giant statue of that legendary lumberjack seated on this huge chair. My dad went to the ticket booth, paid for us, and then I went through the turnstile and into Paul's big yard. And there he was in his red plaid shirt and a little log cabin at his feet that showed how huge he was. And then came the heart attack. Suddenly this big voice boomed out for everybody to hear, "Hello, Ronnie." Man, for one of those rare moments in my life, I was ... I was totally speechless! How could I know that the ticket guy had asked my father my name and then relayed it to a man in that little log cabin - a man with a very big microphone. I was just amazed that someone that big actually knew me!

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

I'll never forget the day when I was a little boy when my Dad took me to Riverview, the big amusement park in Chicago. We had a ball until he insisted on taking me - against my serious objections - on "The Bobs." That was Riverview's biggest roller coaster. I had seen the people on the TV commercials screaming like death was near, but he persuaded me to go. And I was not a happy camper. Oh, I didn't scream, I didn't cry. I didn't do anything. I just froze. I gripped the safety bar, I stared straight ahead, I never blinked, I never spoke the entire ride. My Dad was frantically trying to get me to say something, but I just couldn't. It was a long time after before I ever rode a roller coaster again. I was so glad to get off!

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

When we went with our Native American team to Alaska, I probably ate more salmon and learned more about salmon than I had all the rest of my life. One day in the Kodiak area, our host took us out to a swimming area with this charming little waterfall. And I saw a salmon trying to jump up that waterfall to the stream above it. And eventually, he made it. I thought, "Man, that's the gutsiest fish I've ever seen!" Our host explained to us that the salmon was actually heading home - back to where he came from originally. Apparently, after a salmon is spawned, he heads downstream and ultimately out to sea where he spends a lot of his life. But eventually he seems to hear the call - to go back to where he came from, even though it means a rugged upstream swim. Something summons him to fight his way back to where he began.

Monday, August 12, 2002

The bad news that I got at the airport was that my flight had been canceled, and the airline I was booked on couldn't get me to my destination in time for the meeting I was supposed to speak for. But the good news was that they found me a seat on another airline. But the bad news was that it was an airline I had barely heard of; I wasn't sure what to expect. Ah, but the good news was, it was an airline with a wonderful difference from all the others. There was no first class section, but every seat was as wide as a first class seat! And instead of the plastic plates, paper napkins and average food I'm used to in economy class, I got (we all got) china plates, cloth napkins, a real meal - I mean like they usually get in first class. That's the kind of treatment you would only get if you've paid for those expensive seats up there. But what a great concept this particular airline has - treat everyone as if they're first class!

Friday, August 9, 2002

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. Since I had grown up an apartment boy, the only pet I ever had was some cockroaches. But I went along with the vote, and we started down Pet Avenue with the purchase of a gerbil. And I really took a liking to him. But there's something a little strange about those furry little guys. If you could interview a gerbil about, like, what he was anticipating for today's activities, he might say, "The same as yesterday and the day before that." If you asked, "Well, what's that?" he would answer, "The wheel." And so Gerbil climbs on his wheel and starts running. Come back later, he's still running on the wheel. I guess they don't realize what's happening: lots and lots of activity - and absolutely no progress.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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