Some of the most important real estate in the world is an island - an island you may have heard of. It's called Manhattan. A lot of folks need to get in and out of that island each day to run the business of this country. And since it's an island, needless to say, New York City is a city of bridges.
Our oldest grandson was just two years old and really excited about the new book I just bought him. We kept it at our house for his granddad to read to him. It's one of the all-time kids' bestsellers - you know - "The Little Engine That Could"? If so, then you remember the four words that carried that engine up and over the mountain no one thought he could climb. Remember? If you know them, say them with me, "I think I can." That's right. That part where the engine says those words over and over is my favorite part to read always to grandchildren, and obviously, it was their favorite part, too, including his. When I showed Jordan the cover of the book, he started his breathless, two-year-old version of the little engine's classic chant, "I think I can...I think I can...I think I can...I think I can." You know what? I was hoping he'd be saying that for a long time.
It was the largest cooperative effort ever among the churches of this county where we were about to do a community-wide outreach. It's something that we did call the full-scale mobilization of God's people, a Make a Difference Week in an area to reach lost people with what we call "non-religious" evangelism. One of the outreaches, the youth event, was especially targeted to reach lost young people. One main attraction was going to be a concert by one of America's best-known contemporary bands. And the committee for that youth event was a little overwhelmed when they saw the size of the stage this group was going to need. But they went to work like beavers, and they busily rose to the challenge of constructing a very big stage for a very big event. When you walked into the gym the afternoon of the outreach, you might well ask, "What's all this for?" Answer: a big platform for a big event, which turned out to be the biggest youth event anyone could ever remember in that county! An event where, praise God, hundreds of young people began a relationship with Jesus Christ!
The Los Angeles Marathon had been over about a week, but there was still one participant left - Bob Wieland. He finally crossed the finish line even though he has no legs. He lost his legs in Vietnam. But that didn't stop him from entering and finishing the Los Angeles Marathon, making every step with his arms and his hands. He's finished other marathons before this one. And Bob Wieland even crossed America on his hands. It took him three years to do it!
One vacation morning, my wife and I woke up real early for some reason - so we decided to make the most of that pre-dawn time. We went out to the porch of the mountain cabin we were in and we just sat there to watch the sunrise. It was awesome! We watched the eastern sky slowly brighten over the mountains, and it turned the sky these beautiful shades of pink and yellow. It took a while for the old sun to rise. I mean, we were waiting for almost an hour as the sky gradually got brighter. At last, there was this brighter spot over one particular peak, and then suddenly there it was - the sun crested the mountain. And even though we had to wait a while for the sun to come up, wow! Man, when it did, it totally cleared the mountain and it began ascending the sky in less than two minutes! Literally, as it rose, everything seemed to come to life across the valley. It's incredible to watch how God begins a day!
A storm that roared through our area got so intense that a tree as big around as a car came crashing down on a house in our community. It went all the way through the roof and the house. We're talking major, major damage here. It didn't take long for the insurance adjuster to come by and give the owner a check to get the damage repaired. She called a contractor to come over for an estimate, and when he asked if she wanted him to do the work, she told him she wanted another estimate first. He warned her that there was more rain in the forecast, but she was determined. She had a similar conversation with a second contractor. Then the big rain came - and, of course, it poured into her house. That's when she called a third and fourth contractor; both of whom gave her much higher estimates than the first two. Finally, she called in that first contractor who gave her a new estimate as high as the others. He said, "Ma'am, you waited so long that the rain came and did a lot more damage. So getting things fixed is going to cost a lot more."
Well, the world sure looks different on a foggy morning. In our neighborhood the neighbor's houses suddenly aren't there. There's a hill I can usually see out the back door. On a foggy morning - no hill. And on the highway, forget it! I mean, it's suddenly hard to find out where you turn or to plan much beyond the car immediately in front of you.
Well, this is one of the busiest travel days in the year; people packing into airports and airplanes. Maybe not as much this year, but maybe you're still heading out for whoever they like to be with over Thanksgiving. But you know what? A lot of air travelers are having to make that choice again: Do I want the scanner, or do I want the pat down? Yeah! Hum...
I met a fellow, and he said, "Ron, my name is Bill." I guess it was the mood I was in. I said, "Oh no! I already have enough bills in my life." What's wrong with me? Well, maybe you've felt that way. I mean, what I said was probably true for both of us.
Like many children her age, our little granddaughter had 101 tricks to delay going to bed at night: a drink of water, another story, monsters in the closet, whatever! Once she did, she was usually gone for the night. But every once in a while, her parents would be in the living room, suddenly hear this sound, distraught crying. Their little darling just woke up in the dark. She found herself all alone, and it's scary.