Sandra, the leader of Jennifer’s home Bible Study, informed the women of her job promotion with Key Bank. As a result, she would be moving to another state. While the women cheered her good fortune, immediately they wondered what would happen to their group when she left. At first, there was quite a bit of discouragement. Jennifer was personally going through a rough time in her life as a parent and Sandra’s advice was often invaluable and encouraging.
Standing in line in Dubai ready to get our tickets, my brother, Nate, talked to the Emirates ticket representative. She was from Nairobi and was impressed to hear Nate was doing humanitarian work with an orphanage in Kisumu. So she upgraded all our tickets to business class! We arrived in Nairobi, refreshed and encouraged at God’s blessing.
As we prepared to fly to our next destination, Kisumu, it became clear that we would be heavily taxed for our excess baggage. Nate suggested we drive to Kisumu and save expenses. Because this would give us a better opportunity to see the countryside and save money we all agreed. Thus began a grand adventure.
George Barna is a seasoned pollster and director of the Barna Group. His group’s survey results in 2006 reveal some disturbing trends. Listed below are three of the twelve most significant findings this year.
William did an amazing thing this past Christmas. The eleven-year old son of Cindy and David carefully selected each Christmas gift for his parents and his older brother, Walt. The dynamics of this family are not unusual. The oldest son has close ties to his dad while the youngest is close to his mother. That is why William’s gift was so special. William desired to have a better relationship with his father. So he wrote David a touching letter that pointed out his own understanding of why their relationship was weak. Then he mentioned his desire to be close to his father. Inside the letter was $10 William gave to his dad to purchase a fishing pole so they could go spend time together as father and son—fishing.
I was supposed to go to Hawaii for two weeks of military duty. I’ve always wanted to visit that island paradise so I was pretty excited. Until I received a notice in the mail telling me my orders were rescinded. When I called the people responsible for issuing them I discovered that another person with the last name of York was supposed to have his duty cancelled but mine was mistakenly revoked. It was too late to correct the mistake. Instead, the Army sent me to North Carolina. Because of that snafu I ended up attending a Civil Affairs course. This in turn enabled me to join a unit less than seven miles from our home and ultimately to leave the Infantry to become a Civil Affairs officer. In the course of the last five years, God has given me wonderful opportunities to meet people and serve in challenging assignments all because of a clerical goof. Looking back, I see the hand of the Lord at work redirecting my steps.
Under the Keene Road overpass, he drove his dusty white Taurus. The yellow line on his left stretched endlessly. At mile marker 268, four crop dusters flew into view, their lazy formation zooming to the south. Green fields smelled of spring, even the headless metal torsos holding miles of telephone wires seemed alive.
So this is war. All airline flights were cancelled—an unprecedented occurrence. For days I couldn’t leave Georgia. The worst terrorist strike America has ever experienced induces bewilderment, anger, sadness, vulnerability, fear and a host of other emotions.
September 11, 2001 is our new day of infamy. Across the continent my wife explained to our three children the significance of what they observed on television. This is not some historical aberration, some freakish blow in a new millennium. This is not the isolated work of a depraved band of people. This is the calculated fist of evil and freedom is just one of its targets.
The air is thick with smoke. Against the whizzing bullets of death a small patrol of rangers races up a desolate slope of carnage. Their mission is to take out a machine gun nest that has wasted the ranks of two squads previously attempting to seize the hill. Halfway through their inspiring charge, the patrol leader pauses. He rethinks his mission, reevaluates the situation and is overcome with the deafening voices of fear that permeate his head like some bewitching chorus. He tells his men to take cover behind the stones and wait. He cannot move forward.
John 13:12-15-- When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.
This morning a woman climbed into her car. She stopped by a Starbucks to get her caffeine jolt for the morning. Later she pulled into the parking lot at work and said “hi” to a few other employees who also just arrived. Once inside the building she encountered many people who work there—some of whom she engaged in conversation while others she passed by because they were busy. During the course of her day she will lead or serve many different people. She may talk on the phone, send and pick up email messages, and converse with her boss, those who work for her, and others nearby. After work she will drive home, have dinner, possibly call someone special, relax in front of the television or read a book before going to bed.
The trail to heaven is littered with casualties—victims of misguided priorities or the worship of need-driven agendas. These wounded souls once burned bright in their zeal to serve God. They played clarion songs for the poor and engaged in rescuing the oppressed with fervor capable of melting granite skeptics into milky wax. They gave sacrificially with glad hearts. So what happened that they should be reduced to bitter herbs and poured out ashes?