In his book, It’s Your Call, Gary Barkalow shares the description a Boeing 757 airline pilot gave of a critical step the pilot always had to take between flights if he did not want to jeopardize his plane’s ability to fly accurately on its next flight. Between flights his Boeing 757 needed to sit motionless for at least ten minutes so its computer could reestablish true north. The navigational computer had to clear the maps and coordinates of the previous flight in order to recalibrate to the geographical North Pole. Failure to pause for that length of time would cause the plane’s orientation to be dangerously inaccurate.Read More
Back in the 1980’s my family lived in Columbia, SC, where I served on the ministry staff of Shandon Baptist Church. Our family lived next to a couple in their mid-70’s. His name was Charlie. One spring day while Charlie was mowing his grass, a rake-like attachment on the front of his lawnmower caught my attention. Out of curiosity I walked over and asked him about the attachment. He explained that it was a device designed to dethatch his centipede lawn.Read More
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