If you've been to Disneyland or Disney World with children, they made sure you got on this cute little ride called "Small World." It's this little boat that takes you on a trip down this winding little canal where these precious little dolls sing to you. They're dressed like children from all over the world, and they're singing this little song to you - "It's a small world after all." And it's cute - for a while. The problem is they keep singing it to you, around every bend, from every side. By the end of that ride, you are sick of a small, small world!

There was no warning. All the power just suddenly went out in this building where we have our offices. No thunder, no lightning, no wind - just a sudden shutdown of our computers, our phones, our heat, all our power. In an instant, our building was dead. And it stayed dead for two full days making for some interesting opportunities to be resourceful, flexible, adaptable, inefficient! Our offices are in a pretty old building. And when they dug into the cause of the shutdown, they found that some antique electric part in the building had finally just died. Now, since this part was apparently original equipment - probably from sometime around the Revolutionary War - it was impossible to find another part like it. They don't make them anymore! So we're talking some creative electrical work here! Those old connections just couldn't deliver what is needed for today's demands!

The truck driver just drove up and dumped it in my driveway, but I was very happy to see it. It was my cord of wood - a winter of warm fires in our fireplace! See, we had ordered it during a special sale, which others apparently took advantage of big time. The driver told me some people had ordered five cords of wood. When I asked why, he said, "It's for their wood stoves. They're depending on it to keep their house warm this winter!" No wonder they ordered a lot of wood for the winter. And when they run out of fuel, they run out of fire. When they run out of fire, it gets very cold.

If you want to make friends fast at an airport sometime, stand there with a big "welcome home" banner. Recently, we were contacted by a young woman who has been a part of our Native American work in the past - and who is going through a time of severe struggle right now. She really wants to turn things around and asked us if she could come and spend some recovery time with our Team in New Jersey. We had been praying for her, so we were wide open to her coming. Well, we scrambled to find a way to get an airplane ticket for her - and then decided to try and let her know we still think she's special - with a special airport welcome. We got some colorful helium balloons and a bright welcome home banner - and five of us stationed ourselves at the end of the concourse she was scheduled to come in on. It was really funny to watch the reactions of the pretty expressionless arriving passengers - they laughed, they waved, they thanked us as if this welcome party was for them. It was fun - until we saw the last flight attendant coming down the concourse with no other passengers coming behind her. The person we had come to welcome - never came.

If you don't know how to swim, it's just not cool to let your friends know it - and it's just not smart not to. Especially if you're going into the lake with them to swim. This is not theory we're talking here. It's history - my history. The scene was Lake Michigan. The ten-year-old who couldn't swim was me. And I was too proud to tell my friends. Suddenly, as I waded deeper and deeper, I lost my footing, and I began drinking the lake. My friends thought it was funny. They just laughed and said, "Look at Ronnie. He's such a clown!" I was dying. I had gone under for the second time - and I can almost feel the terror of that moment even now as I'm telling you about it. Now obviously something happened or I wouldn't have lived to tell you about it. I was helpless. I couldn't contribute a thing to my getting back to shore. Thankfully, someone came who could. And that rescuer did it all.

Remember the first day of school when you were little? New crayons, new pencils with sharp points, a new notebook with nothing written in it, maybe even some clothes you'd never worn before. Then as you get older, that first day of school means there are no grades in the teacher's book yet, no absences, no tardies - it's a nice feeling. Actually, you can have, in a sense, a lifetime of those first days!

Ahhh, Laurie. She may have been my first romantic crush. It was 7th grade - I was insecure (that's a synonym for 7th grade) and I didn't know how she felt about me. So one day I went to the store, I spent all the money I had - which wasn't much - on a little rhinestone necklace. And then I wrote this mushy little note to Laurie and put it in an envelope with that necklace. The next day, as I was sitting in study hall, (the only class we had together), I smelled that perfume. I knew Laurie was approaching. I handed her that love-filled envelope, which she took with her to her desk. The next day - study hall, approach of the killer perfume - my heart was beating out of my chest. Then, as Laurie went by, something very familiar appeared on my desk. It was that envelope - with the necklace and the note inside. Ouch. Of course, it didn't really bother me that much. Then why am I talking about it so many years later?

Where we live in New Jersey, 12 straight days of rain is pretty unusual. But not long ago we got to take our turn at almost two weeks without sunshine. For most of us, it was just a soggy nuisance. But for some people across town, it meant trading in their car for a rowboat. And I turned on the news one night as they were talking about a roof that had caved in on a store in our town - it was the pharmacy I go to all the time. Apparently, water had collected until it just broke through the ceiling, and it literally washed one customer out the door like a raging river! She was okay, but the pharmacy was wrecked! Now, I couldn't help but remember something I saw on a couple of recent visits there - there were a couple of buckets on the floor, catching these drips from some leaks in that ceiling. First, some little leaks - and then suddenly the roof caved in!

It's definitely the age of doctors who are specialists. Including one of the latest, new specialties - the spin doctor. The spin doctor is actually to be found in the world of politics. As soon as some news breaks that might be damaging or embarrassing to a political leader or candidate, someone on their staff talks to the press about it - and they find a way to put a positive or undamaging "spin" on those revelations - to put their man or woman in the best possible light. The more powerful you become, the more "spin doctors" you need. And depending on how good the "doctor" is, a lot of people may end up believing the "spin" rather than the truth!

Years ago, I was at a youth conference where we needed to raise some money for a camp scholarship fund. So we challenged the kids to buy their counselor into this Friday night food fight. Oh, well, the kids found the money all right! So Friday night all of us leaders showed up on the field of battle with the campers watching like these sadistic spectators at the Roman Coliseum. Now, for starters, we got hosed down so everything would cling to us. I'm embarrassed about the food we wasted, frankly, but I'm at least glad we paid for a few kids to get to camp.

            

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Ron 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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