Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

Several years ago Alvar Persson was elected mayor of Grove City, Minnesota. It was an unusual election, partly because of the size of the victory – Persson garnered eighty percent of the vote – partly because Persson is a Lutheran minister and not a politician, but mostly because Persson wasn’t even running for office. No one was. Next to the word Mayor on the ballot was a blank space. Only write-in votes could be cast. Of the eleven people whose names were written in, Persson was the clear choice – 202 votes of the 255 cast. After the election, Persson was asked his reaction. He could only say: “I’m touched by this honor. But I didn’t ask for it. Why pick me?” Ordinary people doing astonishing things Some of the world’s greatest men and women have been saddled with disabilities and adversities but have managed to overcome them. Cripple him, and you have a Sir Walter Scott. Lock him in a prison cell, and you have a John Bunyan. Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have a George Washington. Raise him in abject poverty, and you have an Abraham Lincoln. Strike him down with infantile paralysis, and he becomes a Franklin D. Roosevelt. Burn him so severely in a schoolhouse fire that the doctors say he will never walk again, and you have a Glenn Cunningham, who set a world’s record in 1934 for running a mile in 4 minutes, 6.7 seconds. Deafen a genius composer, and you have a Ludwig van Beethoven. Have him or her born black in a society filled with racial...
Are There Really Angels?

Are There Really Angels?

There was a special segment on National Public Radio sometime back. It was a collection of sound effects gathered by Abinadi Meza, an artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Meza had been in a bar in Dublin, Ireland. A man at the bar contended that Ireland was the home of “the world’s loudest bat.” Quite a boast. Meza was fascinated. The world’s loudest bat. Here was the problem, according to his Irish bar mate. The bat screeches at a decibel level which the human ear cannot detect. Dogs and some other animals can hear it. Special scientific devices can measure it, but there is a range of sound that humans cannot hear, and this bat’s screech fell in that range. If humans could hear the bat, contended this man, it would be like having a jumbo jet taking off next to our ears. The man’s testimony was enough to send Meza out with electronic gear to try to find this bat, and capture its sound. Meza was not successful. However, using his special equipment, he was able to record all kinds of other annoying sounds around Dublin usually filtered out by our limited range of hearing. That is, they were sounds that were normally outside the range of pitches audible to human ears. He played a collection of these specially recorded sounds on the program, “All Things Considered.” This variety of high-pitched whines and screeches undoubted caused many listeners of NPR to be grateful they were not able to hear everything their dog hears. Here’s the point: Just because we cannot hear a sound does not mean that it does...
It’s Not Easy Being a Dad,the Need for Blessing.

It’s Not Easy Being a Dad,the Need for Blessing.

I remember reading about a guy who stopped in the grocery store on the way home from work to pick up a couple of items for his wife. He wandered around aimlessly for a while searching out the needed groceries. As is often the case in the grocery store, he kept passing this same shopper in almost every aisle. It was another father trying to shop with a totally uncooperative three year old boy in the cart. The first time they passed, the three year old was asking over and over for a candy bar. Our observer couldn’t hear the entire conversation. He just heard Dad say, “Now, Billy, this won’t take long.” As they passed in the nest aisle, the 3-year-old’s pleas had increased several octaves. Now Dad was quietly saying, “Billy, just calm down. We will be done in a minute.” When they passed near the dairy case, the kid was screaming uncontrollably. Dad was still keeping his cool. In a very low voice he was saying, “Billy, settle down. We are almost out of here.” The Dad and his son reached the check out counter just ahead of our observer. He still gave no evidence of losing control. The boy was screaming and kicking.  Dad was very calmly saying over and over, “Billy, we will be in the car in just a minute and then everything will be OK.” The bystander was impressed beyond words.  After paying for his groceries, he hurried to catch up with this amazing example of patience and self-control just in time to hear him say again, “Billy, we’re done. It’s going...

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner ?

I’ll never forget the Wednesday afternoon in the spring of 1990 when I went home and told Diane, my wife “Guess who’s coming to dinner?” I had just completed arrangements for a prominent Rabbi from the Jewish community, the Presidents of the Bahai and Muslim faith communities of Greater Indianapolis to come to a dinner at our house. Diane gasped with a look of fear in her eyes “what will I cook that everyone can eat?” “Oh you’re a great cook you’ll figure something out,”I replied. “Now remember, Dr. Athar from the Muslim community comes out of the Sunni tradition and his food needs to be kosher, his wife comes out of the Shiite tradition and cannot eat any fish with a blood vein. Rabbi Boxman and his wife cannot eat any food that is not kosher and the President of the Baha’i community and his wife are vegetarians. I know that you’ll figure something for us to eat that will be great! You know that this is the first time that representatives from these four different faith communities have ever been together for a meal! Isn’t that wonderful?” There are many actions that we live out in life that have a ripple effect .It is not until much later that we see the good or the bad consequences of our actions. In Isaiah 2:2-4 the prophet Isaiah looked into the future. He told the people of Judah how God would judge between the nations and they would beat their tools of war and destruction into instruments of farming and life. In verse 4, Isaiah says “Nations shall not...
Star Trek Wisdom in Living Life to the Fullest

Star Trek Wisdom in Living Life to the Fullest

“To boldly go where no man has gone before?” If you want to go to a place no one has gone before, you want to make sure you have a good captain. You know your captain is a little shaky when… …your shuttlecraft has been up on blocks for over a month …you have a shuttle called “Billy Joe Bob” …he refers to Photon Torpedoes as “Popguns” …he installs a set of bullhorns on the front of the saucer section …he says “Got your ears on, good buddy” instead of “open hailing frequencies” …he hangs fuzzy dice over the view screen …he says “Yee-Ha!” instead of “Engage” …he insists on calling his executive officer “Bubba” …he programs the food replicator for beer, ribs, and turnip greens I love the Star Trek theme “Seek out new life and new civilizations.” There is a innate desire in us to discover something new. What Stops You From Living Life to the Fullest? Comfortableness? You want to experience something new in life but it just takes too much work? It has been said that nobody makes changes unless the pain is enough to force oneself to make the change. Have you had this desire for a change but things are just too comfortable where you are right now? Here Are Two Suggestions 1. Benefits   If you’re feeling too comfortable, than you have to grasp the positive benefits you will receive in taking this new step into your future. You will have to reinforce over and over in your mind the reasons you want to take this next step, even if it is...
Decisions Shape Our Destiny to Get More Out of Life

Decisions Shape Our Destiny to Get More Out of Life

A lady walks into a drug store and tells the pharmacist she needs some cyanide. The pharmacist said, “Why in the world do you need cyanide? The lady then explained she needed it to poison her husband. The pharmacist’s eyes got big and he said, “Lord, have mercy — I can’t give you cyanide to kill your husband! That’s against the law! I’ll lose my license, they’ll throw both of us in jail and all kinds of bad things will happen! Absolutely not, you can NOT have any cyanide!” The lady reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband in bed with the pharmacist’s wife. The pharmacist looked at the picture and replied, “Well, now. You didn’t tell me you had a prescription” It is the decisions not the conditions of your life that determine your destiny. Do You Want to Get More Out of Life? In China there is a bamboo tree, when planted, watered and fertilized, doesn’t show any evidence of growth for the first four years.However, in the fifth year, the bamboo tree starts to grow and GROW… .In just 6 weeks that follow, the Chinese bamboo tree will grow as much as 3 feet per day; it continues to grow until more than 90 feet in height. Now, did the bamboo tree grow in six weeks or did it take five years to grow?Our life is often like the bamboo tree. It can be very discouraging if we don’t see the results we want after working hard. But, this is the key in making decisions that will shape our destiny. There...