Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Here it is just moments before 9-11-02 and I'm thinking we need to smile briefly before tomorrow hits. 'Cause it is gonna hit and it is gonna be long and the television is going to make us even more sober and reflective than we already are. I almost feel obligated to be depressed tomorrow. But I'm going to fight it because God is just too good. Not only that but I just finished reading Lisa Beamer's book, "Let's Roll" and her words were such an incredible testimony to God's love, mercy, and grace, that I have to KNOW that He is in charge and that 9-11 was and is working to his glory. Take that, Mr. Bin Laden, you evil foot note in history. What you meant for evil my God thumbed His nose at and used for good. "Why" is beyond my comprehension but He will still save you if you'll bow your knee and confess that Jesus is Lord. Barring that unlikely event... I hope you have enjoyed being used by Satan himself because very soon you will be meeting him... if you have not already done so.

There. I feel better already.

So, Ok. Here's the best I've got for you tonight. I've been saving it until we needed it. I think we need it now.

My personal list of the dumbest words I have ever heard strung together...1. Debbie Woods while asking my help in filling out insurance papers recently- "How old was I when I was 8?"
2. Brandy Buatte, a former teenager in my youth group while on mission trip in Wisconsin - "What day is it at home?"
3. A deacon that shall remain unnamed during a deacons meeting in the early 1990's- "I don't care what the Bible says I believe...." (does it matter how the sentence ends?)
4. Me as a pre-teen when asked by my Sunday School teacher what version of the bible I had just read out of - "The King Kong Version." (She immediately left the class, went to the pastor's office and resigned. Soon after she left the church.) I left her alone after that.
5. My brother as a teenager after coming home from work as a stock boy at K-Mart and handing me several 12 inch long rubber bands - "Here. Hold these for a second."

My Personal List Of The Smartest People I've Ever Known And Why
1. My dad. He went to heaven and left me to finish raising my mom just as her warranty expired.
2. My brother. He bought a condo with 5 steps leading to the front door and 5 more leading to the living room shortly before my dad went to heaven. This was no accident.
3. Jack Cobb. He was my grown up neighbor when I was a little kid. He moved to Chicago from Alabama, "walked the high steel" as an iron worker building Sears Tower, and rode a Harley. That didn't make him smart. He was smart because made sure his gun was unloaded before he tried to commit suicide. His wife made him pie everyday for a month. Jack dumped me upside down in a garbage can once for annoying him. I left him alone after that.
4. Howard Thacker. Howard was a carpenter that should have been a youth pastor. I annoyed him when he was building a new addition onto my childhood home one chilly fall day. He picked me up, pulled my hood over my head, and nailed the tip of it to the wall so that my feet dangled about 3 inches off of the floor. I left him alone after that.
5. Hoss Pollard. Hoss (his real name) flew L-1011's for TWA. He lived in my Chicago suburb but flew out of JFK airport in New York, so he had to fly TO work in order to fly AT work. Hoss flew intercontinental. He loved to wear long leather coats, carry swagger sticks, wear monicles, and fly to Germany. He was one of my youth volunteer staff. He was smart because he knew not to take life too seriously. Once he flew from New York to Kansas City. Upon landing in KC he climbed out the cock-pit window into the jetway where he proceeded to beat on the airplane entrance until the flight attendant opened it. At that time, gasping for breath and dropping to one knee, he breathed, "Where have you been? I've been chasing you since Pittsburgh..." Ya gotta love a guy like that.
6. Reda Iskarous. He knows a lot about a little and a little about a lot.
7. Ron Travis. Now here was a smart guy. Ron was on my volunteer youth staff at my first church. That was back when I was in charge but I was really just a volunteer myself. He loved to go on youth group camp out with us. Ron would start the shaving cream fights and then back off and watch the fire works. Smart. In the real world Ron was an FBI agent. Unlike Todd Ballard, he would not let me play with his gun. This is one reason he was so smart. Ron liked to do cool things that the rest of us just dream about. Like he would go away for weeks on end and not tell anybody where he was going. That sounds like fun to me. Unfortunately he took it a little too far and sometimes came home with long, stringy, hair and tattoo's. That part almost cost him is marriage and his kids. But he got promoted and slid into a cushy job outside of the Chicago field office and into a resident office in a nifty white collar suburb where he probably lived out his career chasing down crooked caddie's at the local country club.
8. Cheryl (Edmonds) Dingledein. Another one of my ex-kids. She became famous to me personally when she took me up on my offer to try to pick a dime up off of the floor of the fellowship hall with her lips. The catch... no part of her body except for her feet could touch the floor. No leaning. No head stands. Just pure and simple flexibility. It wasn't even a challenge for her. I don't remember what she won but she earned my respect. When she became a college student we played racquetball regularly. I beat her once and I never played her again, thus keeping my streak intact. Cheryl is one of the smartest people I know because she married a guy that loves to stay home, raise the kid, and keep house. You see, doing that would drive Cheryl crazy. And you don't want somebody who is flexible enough to pick a dime up off of the floor with her lips to be crazy now do you? I thought not.
9. Jay Webb. The first time I ever went to Centrifuge was July, 1982. I only took 8 kids and Jay was one of them. We were going to Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center in North Carolina. It was night #1 and we were spending the night near Louisville in a Days Inn Motel. Carol McMahon (my sole female sponsor) and I had all of the kids at the pool. Jay decided to go to his room for something. He climbed out of the pool and ran through what appeared to be an opening into the hotel lobby. The opening turned out to be a very clean picture window. Jay was relatively unhurt. The window had a jr. high sized hole in it. Rather than being angry at Jay the motel was scared to death that he would sue and so they treated him like a king. In addition every female in the youth group babied him and showered him with attention for the next eight days. I hope Jay knows Jesus and gets to heaven. But if he does not... at least he can say he has been there once.
10. My Dog Bear. While Bear doesn't really qualify as a "people" I am granting him special status as a "homo-sapien emeritus." (This is my blog and I can do that.) I have looked and looked and looked and I just cannot find anybody smarter than Bear. He knows when to bark and he knows when to hide under his table. He knows where I am at all times (at least when I am at home and I think maybe when I am out someplace else too.) He knows when it is raining that he should not drink water because there is no way he is going out there in the backyard to "do his business." He opens the door to his "dog run" with his nose or his right paw. Her runs a lap around the backyard before going to the bathroom because he knows I'll be mad if I have to stand at the door waiting for his jog after relieving himself. Bear knows the difference between "Old Roy Doggie Biscuits" and every other kind. "Old Roy" is the best. He'll settle for peanut flavored but her prefers regular. He knows his chances of getting a milky bone improve dramatically if he brings me dirty laundry off of the kids floor when I am in the laundry room. At his best I have counted 3 bath towels, a pair of socks, and one shoe in his mouth at once. That alone makes him the smartest person I know. Most of the rest of us can only fit our own foot in our mouth. And then we wind up paying for it forever.

Well... I hope you feel better. I do. 9-11 does have to happen but it doesn't have to be horrible this time around. We commerate the good while grieving the bad. Oh... and one piece of advice... God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called. That's you, my friend. So do something today to make it worth your while to breath. Who knows... maybe you can make my list of smartest people next time. Nah.