A visit from Big Hank

I was sitting in a hotel lobby in Memphis a couple of weeks ago.  I was anxiously awaiting for a meeting to start- thinking about what might transpire over the next hour.  This meeting had the opportunity to be unpleasant.

I decided to try and relax.  I prayed a lengthy prayer.  I then took out my Bible and read through 2 Corinthians.

I later walked around the perimeter of the large lobby to think about how I would open the meeting.  How I would convey bad news and a disappointing outcome.

I returned to my seat and decided to pray again.

Then I felt someone’s hand on my shoulder.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:4

Standing in front of me was a large man.  He introduced himself as Big Hank.

“Are you ok?”

I told him that I was doing fine…just preoccupied.

He explained that he had been watching me for the past 30 minutes.  Praying, meditating, reading and pacing.  Big Hank said that he could tell that something was bothering me- and he felt compelled to come over and pray with me.  I told him I would appreciate the prayer.

And pray he did.  Big Hank said a short prayer for me- for my comfort, peace and future.

And as quick as he appeared, he turned and walked across the lobby- and outside to the busy sidewalk.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?  1 John 3:17

Pray for me to have better awareness of the needs of others.  Help me to identify pain and hurt- and have the courage to engage and provide comfort.

And let me know how to pray for you.

God bless you, Big Hank- wherever you are.

 

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Fear

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“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” Henry Ford

My youngest son, Britton, faced his own fears this past month. It’s his first year of “big boy” football…full pads. 

His fifth grade group didn’t have enough players to make a team- so he was asked by his coach to join the seventh and eighth grade team. 

He worried about his ability to play with boys much bigger, stronger and faster…more experienced. But with the encouragement of his coach- he decided to try. 

It’s been four weeks and he’s loving it. His coach has eased him into the action and Britton is getting better with every practice. His confidence level has increased with every practice.

I can learn a lot from my 11 year old. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us... Hebrews 12:1
We are called to cast aside all the obstacles that are keeping us from living lives of hope and honor. 

We need to run unincumbered toward Jesus. 

So, what’s holding you back?

Whatever it is…pride, envy, greed, addiction or fear…we need to pray for the strength-the endurance- to give it over to God. 

Please pray for me to face my own fears- fears that distract me from a closer walk with Jesus. 

And let me know how I may pray for you. 

God bless. 

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Inconsistency

arrowwood 2016It’s still hot as blazes outside, but football is in the air.  The boys are practicing with their team.  Our daughter is working with the pep club on Friday nights to foster school spirit at the high school games.

It’s our favorite time of the year.

I recently caught an NFL preview on ESPN.  One of the commentators was discussing Cam Newton, the uber-talented quarterback of the Carolina Panthers.  Cam can beat you with his arm.  He can beat you with his legs.  He can beat you with his mind.  He’s a prototype quarterback.

Almost.

They went on to say that the only thing that’s disappointing about Newton is his inconsistency.  You never know which Cam will show up…good Cam (who is very good) or bad Cam (which makes big mistakes).

Those comments hit me in the heart.

What about my own consistency?

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.  I Corinthians 15:58

What would Jesus say about my everyday effort?  Do I work hard to further develop spiritual gifts?

I’m afraid that the commentator could say the same about me.  I need to be more consistent in my own daily walk with Christ.

What should my goal be?

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  Luke 10:27

Like Newton, I need to hit the field with purpose.  Reading the Bible.  Meditating on the words.  Praying for guidance.  Putting it to practice.

Please pray for me to be more consistent with my faith…and let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

 

 

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21 years and still learning

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Hollianne and I are celebrating 21 years of marriage today. 

Things were much simpler back in that summer of 1995.  We had a one bedroom apartment, a used green Ford Mustang and a 19 inch television.  I was working my first job out of grad school at a private college in Marietta, Ohio.  Hollianne was student teaching at Washington Elementary school.  We could both walk to work.

I also remember us having lots of free time.  While we were both busy at work, the evenings were ours.  We would walk downtown for dinner and sit by the river for hours on end.  We drove through the Amish countryside on weekends in search of antiques we couldn’t afford.  And on weekends that Fall- we made the six hour drive from Marietta to Knoxville to cheer on our beloved Volunteers.

We had time.  We spent it with each other.  It was an early investment in our marriage.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  Genesis 2:24

Life’s much more complicated now.  We’d added three active children.  Our jobs take us away from each other during the week, and the sports schedules of the kids cause us to split up each weekend.

We wouldn’t have it any other way…our family’s activities make for great memories.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.  Proverbs 18:22

While life events can complicate our marriages, it can also mature these relationships. If we’re lucky, we’ll notice when our relationships need adjustment or renewed focus. 

I love Hollianne even more today than I did way back in 1995. I’ve witnessed her give birth and raise our three children. I’ve watched her take care of parents and relatives during time of distress and need. I’ve seen her care for friends when crisis rocked their lives. 

And I’ve experienced her incredible grace over and over again. 

She’s my partner. My soulmate. My example. And my friend. 

Pray for me to be the husband that Hollianne needs. She deserves it. 

And let me know how to pray for you. 

God bless you. 

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