In a sermon my pastor recently preached, he mentioned a man named Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived the German Holocaust. Though Frankl survived, he lost several of his immediate family members to death by gas chamber, including his wife. From that and other life circumstances, Frankl wrote Man’s Search for Meaning. In it he made an interesting observation—especially coming from a man who had lost so much: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”Read More
Death has a way of sucking life out of living—especially at Christmas.
It was two weeks before Christmas 2000. Around midnight I walked out of St. Luke’s Hospital in Columbus, NC, not far from where I was serving as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Landrum, SC. I had just left the hospital room of a church member who was not expected to live through the night. Earlier in the evening I had been in a hospital room in Spartanburg (SC) Regional Hospital with another church member who had just been told there was nothing his doctors could do except make him comfortable as death approached. Meanwhile, lying in Mary Black Hospital across town in Spartanburg was a third church member also at death’s door.Read More
Lisa Brennan-Jobs is the daughter of the late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple. Recently she wrote an account of her final visit with her father from whom she was often estranged. About a month before he died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 56, her father spoke words of deep regret to her. He told her, “I didn’t spend enough time with you when you were little. I wish we had more time.” When she told him it was ok, he replied, “No, it’s not okay. I didn’t spend enough time with you. I should have spent the time. Now it is too late.” He looked her in the eyes, teared up, and then said, “I owe you one.” During their final week together he repeated that phrase over and over, “I owe you one.”1Read More
This morning I texted my brother, who lives outside Philadelphia, to console him over Penn State’s loss to arch rival Ohio State last night. For Penn State fans it was an agonizing one-point loss due to the fact that their team squandered a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter. My text conversation with my brother went like this: (Me) “Heartbreak Hotel”; (Him) “Yes. Any hopes of playoffs gone. Always next year!”; (Me) “That’s what hope is all about”; (Him) Thumbs up emoji.Read More
Earlier this summer the world was mesmerized by the drama which unfolded in Thailand as twelve members of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach were rescued from entrapment in the Tham Luang cave. Whereas volunteers came from around the globe to offer their assistance, some of the least noticed help came from farmers in that region.
Why do we marvel at what these farmers did? Is it because sacrifice in our culture is a dying art?Read More