Friday, August 31, 2007

A Sperm and an Egg

Our youngest daughter is a freshman in high school.

My wife said this week that as she dropped her off she thought, “What is my baby doing at this great big school?  And look at her talking to people.  What happened to my baby?!”

It’s funny, really, because it seems like just yesterday we were a young couple in love.  Children were a distant thought, something that might happen someday. 

But you know how it goes.  Put a sperm and an egg together and behold! - The miracle of life. 

The joining of the sperm and egg – two separate entities that suddenly become one completely new entity.  Two separate DNA codes that join together and create a completely new DNA code. 

It’s the miracle of life, and it happens when the sperm and the egg get together.

There was a time in human history when we knew nothing about “sperms” and “eggs.”  We just knew about babies. 

But we are an intelligent, thinking people.  We want to know how things work.  So scientists and doctors studied the process and found out about sperms and eggs, and even DNA. 

And now here’s the crazy part.  Because we know about sperms and eggs and DNA we declare that we know how it works.

That’s about like a 10 year old saying that because he knows how to score a touchdown in Madden 08 that he knows how an Xbox works.

The fact that a sperm and an egg join together to create a new human life is astounding.  Just because it is common does not mean it is not astounding. 

First there was my wife and I, a young couple in love, from two separate families in two separate towns.  Jump ahead a few years and we have a family of our own, with four new people who basically came out of nowhere.  Don’t tell me that’s not astounding.  And since they all became teenagers I would describe it as stupefying!

Now here’s the thing.  Like I said, we are an intelligent, thinking people.  We know that as soon as a sperm and an egg come together, a new being is formed immediately, with its own unique DNA.

That is now a child.  Oh, it doesn’t look like it will a year from now, but then again, they look different every year.  Just look at those school pictures.

And now with modern science we can even see pictures of them before they are born.  With all that science has revealed to us, and with the fact that we are an intelligent, thinking people, how on earth is it that we think abortion is even remotely okay?

Is there any question at all that at the point of conception a new, completely separate and unique life has been formed?  Just like any baby, now all it needs is to be cared for and it will grow.

To purposely put an end to that new life is simply barbaric.

And here is how stupid we are.  Because the baby is small, and the life is taken behind the walls of the womb, we want to act like a life has not been taken at all.

Are we that ignorant?  Tell me we are not that ignorant.

Now what about this?  What about the so-called unwanted child? 

You know what?  I don’t know that many people, yet I am surrounded by people who have adopted children.

Today is my brother’s 39th birthday.  My parents adopted him when he was very little.  He grew up to serve our country in the United State Marine Corps.  And now he is a paramedic, a true unsung hero.  My only brother.  Thank God he was not aborted.

Years ago my wife and I attended a small church.  I don’t think we hit triple digits even on Easter Sunday.  Yet in the short time we were there, two childless couples adopted so-called unwanted children.

For a while I led a midweek home Bible study.  During that time two of our families adopted so-called unwanted children from Guatemala.

In our short time in Tallahassee I have met many people who have adopted children, including one family who has adopted, get this, five children! 

There are couples everywhere who want to adopt children.  They have to put up with waiting lists and sometimes ridiculous expenses, and they do it anyway.  I know a couple who adopted a crack baby.  The odds were against him from the beginning, and he died before making it to adulthood.  It brought great sorrow, and many trials, but they did it anyway because they had a great love.  A great love for a so-called unwanted child.

This thing of legalized abortion is idiocy.  An intelligent, thinking people should have a better plan.  Adoptions should be easier to get, and abortions should be impossible to get.

How is it that we are more passionate about a football player’s cruelty to little dogs than we are about the cruelty to little people in the womb?

If there is a God, and if He judges people for such things, surely, surely we are lining ourselves up for something awful.

As a so-called intelligent people, this is something we better think about.

(As featured on Wave 94.1 FM and


Friday, August 24, 2007

What Can We Do About Crime?

What can we do about crime? 

I guess it’s like everything else, we don’t think about it until it happens to us.  We don’t want to think about it.

Thinking about crime means thinking about criminals, and these are people we don’t want to think about because they are bad people who cause trouble and pain.  And, gee, I guess as long as they aren’t causing pain and trouble for me, it’s just too worrisome to even let it enter my mind.

But criminals are committing crimes every day, and if we have the capability, then we have the responsibility to do something about it. 

In physical health, which is better, preventative care or emergency care?  How does the old saying go?  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Today let’s talk about what we can do to prevent crimes from being committed.  I’m not talking about security systems or putting up razor wire around your house.  Today I want to go to the root of it all, and here is where my thinking began.

One day I was driving through a bad neighborhood.  I thought, “Here they are, the criminals.”  Then I thought, “You know, I drove through this same neighborhood 20 years ago, and for some reason, in my mind, it’s exactly the same people, but, of course, it isn’t. 

Twenty years ago they were children or babies or not even born yet.  And now they are just hanging out, looking for trouble, and finding it.  They are filling our jails and prisons around the country.  But just a few years ago they were little innocent babies.  Then they were toddlers and kindergarteners and silly second-graders, and somewhere they veered off onto the path of becoming a criminal, a person willing to break the law, a person willing to steal from you, or hurt you or destroy your property.

And while they were on their journey from a newborn to a thug, where were we?  Did we love them?  Did we care for them?  Did we spend time with them?  Did we listen to them?  Nope.  We were busy.  We had cars to wash and lawns to mow and rooms to redecorate and movies to watch and CDs to buy and closets to fill and sports to be played and tests to be studied for and careers to nurture and restaurants to support and even churches to build. 

And we ignore the little kids from the rough neighborhood or the difficult family situations.  We are too busy.  We have too much going on in our full little lives.  Too many things to take care of.  Too many material possessions to maintain and clean and polish.  “Sure, go ahead and build more jails.  Just keep them out of my neighborhood.”

And Jesus opens His mouth, but words don’t come out…

I love this old story, but it’s always worth retelling, about the little boy on a beach covered with star fish that had washed up on shore.  He was throwing them back into the water, and someone asked him why.  He said, “I’m saving their life.”  “But look at all these star fish.  You can’t possibly help them all.”  “No,” he said, preparing to throw another star fish back into the water, “but I can help this one.”

No, you can’t help everyone.  You can’t change the world.  But you can change someone’s world.  And if a future criminal is diverted from that path, you are also saving the heartache of their future victims. 

Maybe it’s time to stop polishing our stuff and reach out to someone in a rough situation.  You never know the future pain you’ll be sparing someone from, maybe even you.

(As heard on Wave 94.1 FM)



Friday, August 17, 2007

You Can't See Everything

You can’t see everything.

I remember as a young child the first time that truth really hit me.  I have no idea how old I was, or who told me, but one day I got it….the fact that air is something

I remember learning in science class about diffusion, how a bad odor, for example, will spread out among air particles.  It can fill a room, but then it will “go away” as it diffuses…and you can’t really see any of this process.

I remember learning about how sugar dissolves into your tea.  Where does it go?  You can’t see the sugar anymore.  But you know it’s there because you can taste it.

Of course as we get older and learn more, it takes more to fascinate us. 

I remember seeing a documentary on television, and it said that snakes see things we don’t see…something about them actually “seeing” heat, such as a mouse that is completely hidden in the shadows.  It showed the mouse through human eyes, and you couldn’t see it at all.  Then it showed supposedly what the snake was seeing, and there it was, not hidden at all!  I was amazed! 

The first time I heard of night vision goggles, I was in awe.  The felt the same the first time I heard about X-rays, and CAT scans and MRI’s. 

I remember as a child watching a man use a metal detector.  It would beep, and he would dig a quarter out of the ground!  “Wow, get me one of those miracle machines!”

As a kid I had two little horsies with magnets on the bottom, a black horse and a white horse.  When you moved them close together, they would miraculously begin to rock, even though no one was touching them!

I remember one story in the Bible that really made me see the world in a different way.

Second Kings 6 talks about Elisha and his servant.  One morning the servant went out early and discovered that the city was surrounded by an enemy army.  He ran back to Elisha. 

Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid.  We have more on our side than they do.”  Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes to see.” 

Suddenly God opened that servant’s eyes to see what normal eyes can’t see.  Like an X-ray can see your bones, like a snake can see a mouse, all of a sudden the servant could see beyond the physical realm, into the spiritual realm.  And what did he see? – “the hills full of horses and chariots of fire…”

Think about that.  Is it true?  If you believe the Bible, then it must be true.  And if you don’t believe the Bible, there is still something within you, a sixth sense that tells you that there is more to this existence than our physical senses reveal to us.

Have you ever read “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti?  It’s a novel, but it will open your eyes to the possibilities of what might be happening all around in the spiritual world.

In the spiritual realm, there are dangers.  There are battles.  There are warriors fighting for us and against us.  The Bible tells us so.  Yet we spend our days myopically focused only on what we can see, and we think we are in control.  We are about as in control as that mouse hiding in the shadows. 

Stop and ponder this thought for a while:  “You can’t see everything.”

(As heard on Wave 94.1 FM)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Think Before You Speak

I love e-mail.

I like it because you can communicate with people at your own pace.

You can take time to think about what you want to say.  You can reply today or tomorrow or whenever.  No rush.

And you never have to wonder if someone is free when you e-mail them.  You just e-mail them whenever you want, then whenever they are free, they can read it.  Then they can respond at their leisure.

And it’s so fast and simple (if you know how to type).  Just clickety-click and Send.

You can even spell check and grammar check.  You know…look smarter than you really are.

And before you hit Send you can read it over.  I’ve seen some of your e-mails.  You should read it over.

See, when we write, we ask ourselves, “What do I want to say?”

But we shouldn’t stop there.  Before we send it we should read it over and ask, “How will they take this?”

That’s an important question.  “How will they take this?”

It’s important, but it’s easy.  Just read through your e-mail and try to put yourself in their shoes.  How will they take it?

The great thing about e-mail is that you have a second chance.  You can rewrite it until you are satisfied they will take it the way you mean it.

It’s not so easy with live conversation.

See, when you write something, you can always delete it.  But when you say something, it’s just out there.  Our words are like confetti in the wind.  Once we speak them, we can never get them back. 

I have seen this happen many times in my life.  I can be jabbering away, then suddenly I sense the other person “darken.”  Even on the phone I’ve felt it.  They just cool off.  Gary Smalley would say “Their flower closes.”  It’s like I verbally meandered off into a mine field and blew myself up.

I’ve tried to learn my lessons over the years, but in the rapid back-and-forth of a conversation it’s hard to say everything in just the right way – and by that I mean in a way that the other person takes it the way you mean it.

It’s hard because it’s awkward if you stop and think before you speak.  We think we have to keep the conversation going, bam-bam, back-and-forth.  But it’s in that exact scenario that we end up saying something ignorant.

Come on, raise your hand if you’ve ever said something ignorant.

Proverbs 29:20 says it plainly.  And I like the King James Version – it sounds more “proverbial.”  Here it is:  “Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words?  There is more hope of a fool than of him.”

I have always been hasty with words.  It’s a gift!  You can talk yourself out of a lot of trouble when you are hasty with words.  But you also talk yourself into a lot of trouble!

So if a man with hasty words is more hopeless than a fool, what should we do?

Think before we speak. 

It’s simple, really.  But here’s what we do.  When we are talking to someone, we are ready to start talking even before they are done!  We are so itching to talk that we interrupt them. 

So the first step is to actually stop and hear them out.  Listen closely.  Try to discern exactly what they are trying to say.  Not their exact words, because none of us are perfect in our word choice, especially in casual conversation.  So listen, and ask yourself, “From what all I know about this person, what are they really trying to tell me?”

Then, after you have heard them out, and after you have taken a couple seconds to think about it, then you can speak.

So it’s a three step process.  Listen, think, and only then, speak.

Anything quicker and people will gawk and point and say, “Oh yeh, right there, I ‘seest thou a man hasty in his words!’”

(As featured on Wave 94.1 FM)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

George Foreman's Incredible Story

You might know George Foreman as the Foreman Grill guy.

Or you might know him as the former world heavyweight boxing champion.

But now there is a new book that shows a very different side of George Foreman.

It’s called, “God In My Corner:  A Spiritual Memoir.”

In it Foreman admits he was mean.  He beat people up long before he was a boxer.  Boxing simply made his violent streak lucrative.  He used it to lift himself out of poverty.  He was a self-made man who thought religion was for the poor and old ladies.  The last thing he was interested in was God.

Of course it’s easy to say that…until you have your own encounter with God.

In 1977, Foreman lost a close fight to Jimmy Young in Puerto Rico.  But what happened in the locker room afterward radically changed his life.

Foreman said he was pacing back and forth in the locker room, still pumped up from the fight, when all of a sudden a voice interrupted his thoughts.  It said, “If you believe in God, why are you afraid to die?”

Foreman said he continued to pace back and forth, but felt like death was staring him in the face.  He said, “By now I was crying.  I decided I wanted to make a deal with God.  What does a mere human being own that he can use to barter with God?  ‘I’m still George Foreman,’ I thought.  ‘I can still box.  I can give money to charities.  I can…’”

The voice thundered, “I don’t want your money. I want YOU!”

Foreman collapsed to the floor.

“Instantly I was transported into a deep, dark void, like a bottomless pit.  I knew I was dead, and this wasn’t heaven.  Sorrow beyond description engulfed my soul.  The place reeked with the putrid smell of death.  It was utter darkness.”

“I truly thought this was the end of my life,” Foreman said, “And I saw – too late – that I had missed what life was meant to be about.  I was furious that I had fallen for the devil’s lies.  I screamed, “I don’t care if this is death.  I still believe there’s a God.”

“Instantly, what seemed like a gigantic hand reached down and snatched me out of that terrifying place.  Immediately I was back inside my body in the dressing room.”

The men in the locker room had lifted Foreman’s body onto a table and were gathered around him. 

Next he saw something that amazed him - blood running down his forehead, and his own hands were bleeding.  Foreman said, “He’s bleeding where they crucified Him.”

He said the others didn’t see the blood, and just looked at him like he was crazy.  But he said that God was revealing to him that Jesus really did bleed and die for him.

Still lying on the training table, Foreman said, “I suddenly sat straight up and yelled at the top of my voice, “JESUS CHRIST IS COMING ALIVE IN ME!”

Everyone looked like they had seen a ghost.  Foreman said something stirred deep inside him, and he couldn’t control what he was saying.  He started reciting Bible verses, even though he had never learned them. 

He said, “For most of my life, I had been ruled by anger and hatred.  Now, every hostile emotion had been drained out of me, and a spigot of God’s love had been turned on inside me, filling me up, and overflowing out of me.”

“I jumped off the table and hugged everyone in the room, telling them that I loved them.  In all those years together, I had never told any of my closest associates that I loved them.  Now I couldn’t stop expressing how much I loved them.”

“Then I heard myself speaking words that I had never before used,” said Foreman.  “I shouted, ‘Hallelujah, I’m clean!  HALLUJAH, I’VE BEEN BORN AGAIN!  I’ve got to tell the whole world about this!’”

Foreman said, “I wouldn’t stop talking about Jesus, and no one could shut me up.  Now I was praising the name of Jesus, the name my acquaintances had only heard me use in profanity.  As for me, I had never felt that wonderful in all my life!  For the first time in my life, I could honestly say I was at peace.”

“All of my hate – and I had hated a lot of people – was gone.  God’s love flowed through me to others.  Every attitude and emotion in me had flip-flopped.  It was nothing short of a miracle.”

In the book, Foreman explained how he contacted those he had hated and made amends.  He also discussed his initial reluctance to be viewed as a religious nut, but then concluded this way.

“Finding Jesus Christ was the best thing that ever happened to me, and my life gets better every day.  I’m not going to let anything destroy me testimony and the great relationship with God that I have experienced.  I will keep telling my story until I’m unable to say it anymore.”

I had to leave parts of the story out for time’s sake, so I recommend you read it for yourself.  You’ll find it in the new book, “God In My Corner:  A Spiritual Memoir” by grill maker and former world heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman.

(As heard on Wave 94.1 FM)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Ed & Petunia

You are the jailer.

You may or may not be the Barney Fife type, but there you are, the keeper of the keys.

You have only one prisoner, a big fellow named Ed.  He has a Hell’s Angels reputation, but there he sits, lethargic, causing you no trouble at all, a model prisoner.

In time you forget about Ed’s nasty reputation.  It’s just the two of you there at the old jail, so you talk about things.  You give your buddy Ed a glass of lemonade now and then, even though he’s only supposed to have water.  Sometimes you even slip into his cell and play cards.

As days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, you wonder why Ed is locked up at all.  He never gives you any trouble, and he seems perfectly harmless.

Then one day, in the middle of a card game, you smell something.  Ed smells it, too. 

It’s perfume. 

You go back to the game, but Ed is distracted.  You see a look in Ed’s eyes that you’ve never seen before.  You decide it’s time to slip out of the cell and check things out.

You step out front in time to see someone coming down the road, a woman. 


Yes, you’ve heard about Petunia.  The Sheriff told you to watch for her, and at all costs keep her away from Ed. 

Well, there she is, so now what?  Should you run her off?  She seems harmless enough, unarmed, not even a cake with a file in it.

As Petunia approaches, you hear noises back inside the jail.  The native is restless.

What does she want?  She wants to visit Ed.  You tell her she can’t, but she’s a sweet-talker. 

From behind you Ed is calling out to Petunia.  Now she’s calling back to him, “I’ll be right there, Honey.  I just need to talk to this fine jailer.”

“Petunia, I can’t let you go in there.”

“Now what’s the harm in me seeing Ed?”


Ed shouts, “Come on, you can let her in, the sheriff will never know.”

“That’s right,” says Petunia, “And besides, the sheriff is kinda sweet on me.  That’s why he doesn’t want me to see Ed.”

With that new information, you decide one little visit won’t hurt.  But as soon as Ed and Petunia get in close proximity, Ed becomes the Hell’s Angel you had heard about.  And what’s this?  He took the keys from you while you were playing cards, and now he’s unlocking his cell. 

Ed and Petunia embrace and begin to leave.  You try to intervene, but Ed surprises you with an elbow to the nose so fierce that blood splatters and you collapse. 

The last thing you see is Ed and Petunia walking out arm in arm, and taking with them your job, your reputation, and everything you had worked so hard for over the years.

And now…the story explained.

Ed stands for “evil desire.”  Evil desire is found within every human being. 

Petunia is short for Opportunity

We are the jailer, responsible for keeping those two from getting together. 

What we must do is keep Ed away from Petunia – which means we must keep our evil desire away from opportunity. 

The evil desire within us tends to sit there quietly and not cause much trouble – until opportunity comes along.  But when the right opportunity shows up, look out.  It will drive the evil desire within us crazy, just like Ed when Petunia came along.

You probably know what your weaknesses are, which evil desires are likely to cause you trouble.  What you must do is stay far away from opportunities to carry out those desires. 

For example, if you do things on the computer that are sinful, you better think about getting that computer out of the house.  You can’t allow evil desire and opportunity to be together.  When you do, evil desire will always get the best of you.  Ed, in the presence of Petunia, becomes uncontrollable.

The story of Ed and Petunia is a fresh way to look at temptation.  James 1:14 says we are each tempted when we are dragged away by our own evil desires and enticed.

Remember in the story, when you were the jailer?  You let Petunia get close to Ed, and you ended up a bloody mess.  That’s what happens when we allow our evil desires to come close to opportunities.  Our evil desires will get the best of us, and our life will end up a bloody mess.  And if we don’t stop it, our evil desires will cost us our job, our reputation, everything we’ve worked so hard for.

So take a look at your life and identify the Ed’s.  Then make it a point, do whatever you have to do, to keep Ed far away from Petunia.

(As heard on Wave 94.1 FM)