Monday, August 4, 2003

I travel a lot. Of course, sometimes I drive, and time matters a lot. So over the years, I've learned a fundamental secret of making great time on the open road. No, not speeding - just driving steady. Over and over, I've watched what I call a "spurter" come roaring up behind me, doing everything but pushing me into the right lane. He's obviously well into the State Trooper Zone as far as his speed's concerned. So I move over, he roars past, but I catch up with him a few miles later -- without ever changing my speed. See, he's settled back into the right lane, just cruising along. (Maybe you've passed this guy, too.) He speeds in binges, he floors it one minute and then he's just tapping the accelerator a few minutes later. I usually make excellent time driving places, and I've talked to other marathon drivers who are used to getting places fast. And we pretty much agree. How do you trim hours off a long trip? A steady foot. The fast way to get somewhere is not with big spurts, but with a consistent, steady speed.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

It was September of 1999. A Cambodian pastor had made his way to a remote corner of his country to bring the story of Jesus to an area he had wanted to go to for years. But that area had been under the control of the brutal Khmer Rouge radicals until then. As far as anyone knew, this pastor was the first person to speak of Jesus in that isolated area where most people were Buddhists or spiritists. Surprisingly, as told in the book The God Who Hung on the Cross, when the pastor arrived in one village, the people welcomed him warmly and seemed to hang on every word of his messages. Then this old woman bowed and grabbed his hands and said, "We've been waiting for you for twenty years."

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

My young son had gone to the trouble of making a card and a gift for me for Father's Day. And there are no gifts more special than those that have been made by the person giving them. Unfortunately, my son tried to give his creations to me at a time when I was really busy. So I said, "Can you wait a few minutes? I want to have time to appreciate it." To which he said wistfully, "Oh, you mean like the candleholder?" Some months before, he had given me a handmade candleholder one day and I was, as usual, on the run. And I totally neglected to show any appreciation. I'd forgotten about it. My son hadn't.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Our daughter was five years old when she proudly announced that she was about to bake her first cake. Well, being a firstborn, she, of course, didn't need any help, right? So, Mom cooperated by staying in the living room, listening to these clattering pans and cabinet doors opening and closing. Pretty soon, we could smell baking aromas coming from the kitchen. Hey, maybe this first baking project was going to be successful after all. Well, finally, our daughter entered the living room, carrying her masterpiece - with her lower lip almost dragging the floor. The cake looked more like a pancake - it was just like plain old flat. Upon later analysis, we learned that, yes, she had put in the flour, the milk, the eggs - but she had left out one ingredient - the baking powder. So things didn't turn out the way she hoped they would.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Barber shops are interesting places to do a study of the male half of the human race. It's really "Guy's World." That's what made me take special notice of the dad who came in last week with his two young daughters. They were doing fine, and it was really neat to see how the three of them got along. But you just don't usually see many females in the barber shop. I smiled at that dad and I said, "Your daughters are really well-behaved. It must be interesting for them to be here. It's kind of a 'guy's world,' isn't it?" Yeah," he replied. "Not much talking."

Wednesday, July 9, 2003

Water. Drinking lots of water is good for your health. So I usually have a big mug of water in my office and bottles of water with me when I travel. Well, a while back, my wife and I were driving to some ministry events, and another couple from our team was traveling with us in the back seat. And they got to be the keeper of the water - and the snacks. But let's stick with the healthy stuff. This little drill developed, thanks to the thoughtfulness of my buddy in the back seat. When I finished a bottle of water, I handed the empty bottle back to him so it could be dumped in our garbage bag. But as I handed my empty to him, there he was with a full bottle to place in my other hand.

Thursday, July 3, 2003

The Al-Rashid Hotel has been a Baghdad landmark - with a tile mosaic in the lobby floor that the American soldiers of Operation Iraqi Freedom didn't particularly appreciate. After the 1991 Gulf War, the Iraqi government had sponsored the creation and installation of a mosaic of former President George Bush - set in a place where visitors would walk over the face of the President who had defeated their invasion of Kuwait. Needless to say, that image is not on the hotel floor anymore.

Well,

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

It was a great day for a high school football game - and I was on the sidelines, helping out our local team. Meanwhile, my 12-year-old son was playing a pickup game of football on a nearby field. I was surprised to see him heading my way, holding his arm, and then, obviously wincing with pain. He'd been tackled and had fallen on his arm. It was so badly broken that the bone was protruding from his skin. So we rushed him to the emergency room where I had some of the more agonizing moments of my life, as I watched the doctor struggle to set my son's multiple fracture. I'll tell you, he was a tough boy, but he was in great and obvious agony. It might as well have been me the doctor was working on.

Monday, June 30, 2003

It was a beautiful morning for a walk. I was on an Indian reservation in Arizona where you don't see much water, so my eyes were drawn immediately to this sparkling little pond down a short little pathway just off the road. The explorer in me, of course, couldn't just walk by, so I started down that little path to enjoy that sun-sparkling water up close. Then, as I approached it, I saw the sign. The only word I really remember was "sewage." Yes, I was about to enthusiastically explore a facility with a sewage pond. You'd be surprised how fast I can retreat when I need to.

Well,

Monday, June 23, 2003

The military has an interesting way of describing various combat operations. For example, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, they talked about how they were "preparing the battlefield." That means relentless bombing of enemy forces. Most of us were amazed at how quickly the Coalition ground forces were able to move through areas that had been defended by some of Saddam Hussein's best divisions. But those units had been, as the military says, "degraded" by relentless bombing. By the time the ground forces went in, the battle had largely been decided by those pilots who had "prepared the battlefield."

Well,

            

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