Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Hooper Bay, Alaska. It's a little Eskimo village on the edge of the Bering Sea. And it was a place missionaries had repeatedly wanted our Native American outreach team, "On Eagles' Wings," to go. They all spoke of the unparalleled desperation there. Well, thank God, we were able to go and see an amazing response to the Gospel - although we almost didn't get there! The weather closed in as our small missionary plane made its landing approach. My wife was in that lead plane with several of our Native team leaders. The clouds were very low, the rain was falling, fog was all around. And our seasoned missionary pilot was making literally moment-by-moment judgments as to whether he needed to turn back. Now, hanging out over the Bering Sea, approaching that tiny runway, there was a lot of praying going on. But my wife, who knows enough about flying to read the critical instruments at least, said everything was lined up perfectly. Oh no, not according to their senses, not according to their stomachs, but according to the instruments. And moments later, sure enough, they were safe and sound on that runway! With a total instrument landing!

Monday, September 10, 2001

One of the great privileges of my life was serving in the leadership of the Northern New Jersey Billy Graham Crusade in the Meadowlands. For many of us who had been trying to reach people in this very hard corner of America, it was thrilling to see that arena nearly full on that opening Wednesday night. The arena seats 18,000 people, and filling it in Jesus' name was a victory of historic proportions. By Thursday, it was totally full--but I was strangely restless. By faith, we had set up 8,000 chairs and jumbo-tron video screen in the parking lot, just in case there was overflow. It looked like we wouldn't need it - as the press so graciously reminded us. Even though we were seeing unprecedented attendances and spiritual harvests, I felt led to pull together several of our Crusade leaders after the second night. After thanking God for all He had done, I asked them to pray with me a prayer that I had never prayed before. "Lord, if anyone other than You is holding a lid on this thing, if there's even more You want to do - blow the lid off!"

The next night the arena filled pretty quickly. I was on the platform, seated next to Dr. Graham, when they handed him a note. He showed it to me. It said, "There are 13,000 in overflow!" Dr. Graham said, "I think you should go see it." Well, I did. And what a sight! Eight thousand chairs full, 5,000 people standing, sitting on car hoods, on the ground, even on the porta-johns...and Billy Graham preaching the Gospel on the big screen! It looked like a cross between the feeding of the 5,000 and a drive-in movie. And the rate of response that night was higher in the parking lot than it even was indoors! So much for that lid!

Thursday, September 6, 2001

Maybe it's because my father-in-law was a corrections officer for a while, and I've heard his stories about the wasted lives behind prison bars. But whatever the reason I've always admired the men who minister as prison Chaplains. It's tough ministry but it's ministry where it's desperately needed. I've got a new friend, Bill, and he works as a prison Chaplain and he recently told me about an incident that touched me when he told me and it continues to touch me. Bill had been visiting this cell block and he went out in the exercise yard for some fresh air, he said. There was this clean cut, young inmate who walked up to him and said, "Hey mister! Are you broke?" Well, Bill kinda' fished around in his pocket and didn't find any money in there and the inmate said, "It doesn't matter, your money is no good in here anyway. Are you broke?" Only this time the inmate had tears in his eyes. And then here's what he said, "Mister, don't try to minister to people in here if you ain't broke, cause we all are." Now, that's not just inside prison walls.

Tuesday, September 4, 2001

Not long ago we met some wonderful radio listeners from the Sault St. Marie area of Michigan - way up north, you know, near the Canadian border. They told me this amusing, and slightly amazing, true story about a woman they met recently. She was driving from Detroit, which is about six hours south of them, and she was lost. So she stopped in at our friend's workplace, looking for directions. Now that's not anything unusual. But she walked in the door blurting one frustrated question, "Which way's Texas?" Texas! Well, for starters, ma'am, you need to turn that car around and go six hours back to the place where you started!

Monday, September 3, 2001

My wife was waking up to a sound she hadn't heard before - and she couldn't identify. It sounded like crinkling cellophane - and it was coming from inside our bedroom walls! Now, somehow I missed this little symphony, but she sure picked up on it. Since we were pretty sure no one was actually crinkling cellophane in our walls, we looked into other possibilities. Like carpenter ants, for example. And sure enough, that's what it was! Those little marauders were feasting on the wood in our house...and they were gradually eating our home! We didn't even have to think about what to do. "Hello, Mr. Exterminator?"

Friday, August 24, 2001

Our new grandson looks so tiny and fragile - and my grandfather's heart just hates to hear him cry, especially when he's really hurting, and the crying is long and intense. Like the other day when his parents took him to the doctor for some preventive inoculations. Now they've decided that's a step they wanted to take to protect their son from things like polio and measles and other harmful diseases. Of course, those loving reasons are a little hard to explain to a three-month-old. "You see little guy, there are all these nasty germs, and this shot will help immunize you." Forget it! It just hurts, and he doesn't understand why.

Thursday, August 23, 2001

First, the verdict came in - guilty. Then the sentence - death. And the last-minute appeals for a delay - denied. And finally the irrevocable outcome - Timothy McVeigh had to die for his crimes. The carnage and the tragedy of that bombing of a Federal building in Oklahoma City has left an indelible mark on our entire generation.

The death penalty, I mean even for a mass killer like Tim McVeigh, is a controversial issue. For some it's an important political issue; for others it's an important justice or humanitarian issue. But few of us have ever thought of the death penalty as an intensely personal issue. It is. For every one of us.

Tuesday, August 21, 2001

After our grandson was born, he wore these cute little mittens much of the time. No, it was not freezing cold in his house. It's just that he had these long fingernails - and since he wasn't very good at aiming his hands, he kept scratching his face with those nails. But in an early visit to the pediatrician, she recommended that the gloves come off. "Try to keep his nails trimmed," is what she said, "but even if you can't, it's better for him to have his hands uncovered." Then she said something that was news to me - "We've learned that when an infant can feel and touch things, their brain cells grow!"

Friday, August 17, 2001

Not long ago I got to take one of my favorite East Coast walks. You know, growing up in Illinois, I didn't know much about the ocean. So when we moved to New Jersey, I quickly developed a pretty deep love for the ocean. So it's no surprise that Ocean City is one of my favorite places to go, right? And I love to walk out on one of the long, rock jetties that reach out into the sea from the beach. I really love it at high tide when the surf is crashing in around those rocks. When you see some of those monster waves surging toward those rocks, it looks like there's going to be a classic confrontation between the irresistible force (the ocean) and the immovable object (the rocks). Well, I'll tell you, the ocean sure overwhelms everything else in its way. But every time those rocks I stand on meet the mighty power of the sea, the winner is always the same. The wave is shattered. The rock remains.

Thursday, August 16, 2001

Dr. Henry was one of the most challenging professors I had in college. And I anticipated the final exam in his class was going to be a monumental challenge. Who knows what questions Dr. Henry could throw at us from his incredible intellect! Well, word began to leak out about his final from the first students who took it. They didn't give any details--they just shared one surprising, tantalizing fact. They said, "There's only one question on the exam!" Well, most of us took that news as encouragement as we stood on the edge of academic survival. But when Dr. Henry set the exam in front of us, we weren't quite as encouraged. This entire semester of theology class had been devoted to what the Bible says about the person and work of the Holy Spirit. The professor's question? "Describe the Person and work of the Holy Spirit." Oh boy! Only one question. But what a question!

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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