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Archive for the month “September, 2013”

Forgotten Sand Castles

It was the oddest statue I think I have ever seen!  It was meant to commemorate a moment in time and Bobby Orr was the subject.  Bobby Orr was a hockey player for the Boston Bruins.  He reinvented the position of defenseman.  A defenseman by definition was a player who kept the other team from scoring.  Very rarely did a defenseman score a goal.  Bobby changed all of that!  He had the speed and stick handling skills to unexpectedly get by his man and score goals too!  Bobby only played twelve seasons.  His career was cut short by a dozen knee surgeries.  Back in the sixties and early seventies when they did knee surgeries they went right in with the knife.  Nowadays with advancements in surgery technology the same procedures could have been performed with a laser and a scope.  He only played in 657 games in his 12 years but he had an astonishing 915 points!  He won the Norris trophy eight consecutive times as the leagues best defenseman!  Bobby is the only defenseman to lead the league in points and he did it twice!  He also won the leagues most valuable player award three times!  Bobby’s career may have been much more productive and lasting had he played today.  Yet for a few years his name was on everyone’s lips when it came to hockey.  He started very young in the game and at the age of 22 the moment pictured by the statue occurred.

Orr Flying Statue

The Boston Bruins (Orr’s team) was playing the St. Louis Blues in the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals.  It was a best of seven series and Boston had a three games to zero lead.  The fourth game went into overtime as both teams had three goals.  Forty seconds into the overtime Bobby sent a pass to teammate Derek Sanderson and received it back.  He shot it past goalie Glenn Hall of the Blues.  As he was skating in front of the net watching the puck go past the goalie he was tripped by Blues defenseman Noel Picard.  He stretched out his arm with his stick as he flew parallel to the ice in a victorious dive!  For that moment in time there was not a hockey player more famous than Bobby Orr!  At the age of 31 he was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame!

I was amazed when researching Halls of Fame of the number of Halls of Fame that there are!  There are Halls of Fames for all of our major sports baseball, football, basketball, and hockey!  The list goes into many of the minor sports and other things like the rock and roll hall of fame in Cleveland, and the Hollywood hall of fame.  Many universities also have their halls of Fame in all sports as do states!  Usually a Hall of Fame will have a plaque of the individual listing all of their accomplishments!  Sometimes statues will be made in their honor!  Visitors come and read the accomplishments of the honorees.  It’s nice to be remembered!  It’s natural for people to want to be remembered for something they did in their lives.  Sometimes people will give large amounts of money just to have a building named after them!  Nobody wants to be forgotten.

Time has passed by like it always does.  Bobby turned 65 earlier this year.  Bobby is doing well these days.  Since he had knee replacement a few years ago he has been in far less pain!  “I’ll tell you a true story that happened the other day,” said Orr, chuckling as he gets rolling. “We had a mixed member-guest-couples event at our golf course and I’m walking down the corridor to the men’s locker room and there was a board set up there, listing all the teams. A couple of ladies were standing there and saw my name, and I heard one say, ‘oh, he’s an old hockey player.’  Bobby thought to himself that yes, they were absolutely right.  It’s strange how time can put past greatness out of our memories!  Likewise that is  exactly how fleeting earthly fame can be!  The two poems that follow remind us to build our house on the solid rock and to store our treasures in Heaven!  Then we will be remembered by God in his Heavenly Hall of Fame!

On Drifting Dust

Author Unknown

Now summer goes
And tomorrow’s snows
Will soon be deep,
And the sky of blue
Which summer knew
Sees shadows creep.

As the gleam tonight
Which is silver bright
Spans ghostly forms,
The winds rush by
With a warning cry
Of coming storms.

So the laurel fades
In the snow-swept glades
Of flying years,
And the dreams of youth
Find the bitter truth
Of pain and tears.

Through the cheering mass
Let the victors pass
To find fate’s thrust,
As tomorrow’s fame
Writes another name
On Drifting dust.

 

God’s Hall of Fame
by Walt Huntley

Your name may not appear down here
In this world’s Hall of Fame
In fact, you may be so unknown
That no one knows your name;

The oscars and the praise of men
May never come your way,
But don’t forget God has rewards
That He’ll hand out someday,

This Hall of Fame is only good
As long as time shall be;
But keep in mind, God’s Hall of Fame
Is for eternity;

To Have your name inscribed up there
Is greater more by far
Than all the fame and all the praise
Of ev’ry man-made star.

This crowd on earth they soon forget
When you’re not at the top,
They’ll cheer like mad until you fall
And then their praise will stop;
Not God, He never does forget,
And in His Hall of Fame,
By just believing on His son,
Forever- there’s your name.

I tell you, friend, I wouldn’t trade
My name, however small,
That’s written there beyond the stars
In that celestial Hall,
For all the famous names on earth,
Or glory that they share;
I’d rather be an unknown here,
And have my name up there.

Kindling Strides On Charred Legs

While most lives are just beginning at the age of seven Glenn Cunningham’s life almost ended.  He and his brother Floyd and several siblings attended a one room school.  If the Cunningham kids happened to get to the school first which often happened they were allowed to light up the coal stove to keep everyone warm on cold winter days.  This blustery January day was one of those.  Floyd went into the room and poured the kerosine into the stove.  The coals were still hot from a town meeting the night before.  Apparently someone had also switched the kerosine labeled can with gasoline     A gigantic explosion occurred and Floyd was right in the middle of it.  The flames badly burned both of Glenn’s legs as he was watching his brother near the door.  When the doctor finally examined both of them Floyd’s condition was hopeless.  It was speculated that Glenn would probably live if infection didn’t set in, but would never walk again.  His legs were burned so badly the doctor said they would be useless for the rest of his life.  Glenn did not want to be a burden to his family.  When he happened to overhear a neighbor telling his mother to face the facts he would be an invalid the rest of his life, a determination set in to his little body.  Tearfully he told his mother “I’ll walk!”  “I’ll walk”.  Glenn made the decision that no matter how much it hurt he would walk again!  When he needed courage he would repeat those words “I’ll walk!”

“My family was wonderful.  I can’t even imagine how horrible it must have been with all the smells and the sight of my rotting flesh”, Glenn recalled.  “I had lost all of the flesh on my knees and shins, as well as all the toes on my left foot.  My transverse arch was mostly gone, yet my family kept changing the dressing and massaging my legs, though there was little muscle and sinew left to massage.”

In time the massaging and dressing of his legs showed some improvement in them.  Still it was such a slow process.  When he was finally able to get up it was like learning to walk all over again.  His legs felt twisted and his first steps were with the assistance of a kitchen chair.  Slowly he would push it in front of him as he tried to push back the pain with every tiny step.  Each day he continued this process until his weak legs could do no more.  His goal was to do just a little more than the previous day.  He progressed to the point that he was making his way outside and walking along the fence to keep him upright.  He seemed to walk crooked on his twisted legs but he was happy with his progress.  Being on a farm he progressed in time to grabbing the tail of the family mules as they went for water.  As the mules ambled along he tried to keep the pace.  Another challenge was playing with his siblings as much as he could.  As he slowly improved his dad assigned him with chores around the farm.  While most kids did their chores grudgingly, Glenn was very happy to feel useful and did his chores with love!

It is amazing what God can do with determination and hard work.  As his walking improved Glenn was now attempting to run.  Ten year old kids did a lot of running and Glenn was determined to keep up.  When he walked he described the pain as daggers in his feet.  Amazingly when he ran the pain was a lot less.  He got to the point where everywhere he went he ran!  He also continued to stretch and massage his legs.  His healing was coming from the movement exercise initiated and the increased blood flow his massages provided!

As farmers trying to make a living in difficult times Glenn’s family moved around a lot.  He found himself in another small town about a mile from the school.  Instead of bringing his lunch like the other kids Glenn ran the mile home each day.  He figured it was good for his legs and he was delighted that he was able each day!

One day he saw a race advertised in the downtown store window.  Unknown to his family he entered the race and won.   I showed up at the track meet in my work clothes and thick soled canvas sneakers.  I was a fourth grader, and most of the others were high school athletes.  All of them wore running shorts and spiked running shoes.  I must have looked like David lined up against all of the giants, but I won going away!”  The race gave Glenn great confidence in what he could do and made him even more determined to be a great runner!

The two big goals that Glenn had were to be a doctor like his grandfather, and to run in the Olympics.  Glenn was slow with his academics.  He found himself behind because he missed a whole year in his schooling.  It seemed like a long shot that he would ever be able to go to college.  However the confidence that he gained from running again carried over to his academics too.  He was so determined to catch up that he spent hours on his studying!  When his family moved back to Elkhart, Indiana he made extra time for his studies even while working!  Amazingly with scarred legs and no toes on his left foot Glenn played football in high school!  Only those close to him knew of the hardship he was conquering!  He was able to compete so well that nobody would have known the extra burden that he carried!

In time Glenn made it to college.  He refused a scholarship as he decided to work his way through!  He didn’t want to owe anyone for something that meant so much to him!  Glenn went out for the track team and his great speed got the attention of the coach.  He ran distance races and it was thought that he might be the first man to ever break the four minute mile.   In 1932 and 1936 he accomplished his dream of competing in the Olympics!  In the 1936 Olympics in Berlin he won the Silver medal in the 1500 meter run!   In 1938 he ran a personal best mile of four minutes and four seconds!  He retired in 1940 when the Olympics were cancelled because of the war.  Many consider him to this day the greatest miler who ever lived!

Eventually it seemed that there was a reason Glenn lived through the fire mishap.  It seems that God had a plan for his life for future years!  Glenn became a doctor, married and raised a family of 10 children.  He and his wife created a home for wayward boys that helped thousands of boys with dashed dreams reach them.  For years he was in great demand as a motivational speaker.  “My mother and father brought us up to never complain.  Through the years I often talked about overcoming challenges, but I just always figured that I needed to do my best and never quit.  Complaining about something I had no control over would have diminished what I was trying to do.  I just wanted to let my running speak for itself.”

Not only did Glenn profess his Christianity he lived it!  His favorite scripture was Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.  Usually that verse is meant for the afterlife when we get out of our frail bodies and into our heavenly ones!  In Glenn’s case God took a frail, tired, burned body and used it for his purpose!  Even as the doctor was declaring Glenn’s legs useless, God was putting a determination in Glenn’s spirit!  It was a resolve to never quit and to believe that all things are possible!  God renewed Glenn’s strength and lifted him up on eagles wings as he ran without getting weary on charred legs!

I have fought the good fight,  I have finished the race,  I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7

A Fish Story

I guess everyone that has ever fished has a story about the fish that got away.  When I was about six years old my fish story happened.  I don’t remember who was all there or what the occasion was.  I’m thinking we might have been in Alabama with relatives down there or it might have been at a local lake with my aunts and uncles.  Anyway things get blurry in my memory and it was a long time ago.  We were all fishing I can tell you that.  I remember that it was a bamboo fishing pole that I had.  Someone baited my hook, probably my mom and I was sitting there with my line in the water.  I think it was my mom who happened to come by and she said “you’ve got one!”  Not knowing what to do I pulled that fishing pole out of the water and way up in the air!  It seems like the fish was like a dark blue color but I didn’t get too good of a look at him.  While my pole was way up in the air apparently the fish jumped off of my hook and back into the water.  It’s funny but I don’t remember anyone else even getting a bite that day.  Still it seemed that everyone had an enjoyable time whether they caught anything or not.

me-fishing

My only other fishing experience was when I was 17 and a camp counselor at Living Waters Camp.  Living Waters was a camp near Cassopolis Michigan where kids would come from all over for a week of camp experience and to learn about God.  Camp Living Waters was surrounded by water and it’s springs produced the freshest water I have ever drank!  Anyway a couple of times I got a fishing rod out and baited my hook with a worm and cast my line into the water.  After sitting in the hot sun for a while both times without any bites I gave up.  The equipment I was using was more sophisticated than the old bamboo pole.  Strange that my equipment was better but something else must have gone awry.

Since my knowledge and experience with fishing is so limited you might wonder why I am even writing a story on the subject!  Well years ago we had a visiting speaker at our church.  His sermon was so memorable because his examples were all about sports!  To a kid who loved sports he got my attention immediately!  I remember he talked about a runner from the past.  This runner was just another runner until he made himself elite.  The story goes that this runner was tired of  his middle of the pack finishes and wanted desperately to win.  The thing that stood out about this guy was not his great ability but his desire.  Although he had great desire and trained as much or more than anyone the results were the same.  Then one day he had an idea.  He decided that he would try to add extra weight to his shoes while training!  At the time there was no scientific way to do this and it was ahead of it’s time thinking.  He added lead weight to the outside of his shoes!  He kept running the same distances in training but now with his special training shoes!  Surprisingly the results were almost immediate as in races his normal track shoes felt so much lighter!  He began to see his name shoot up the leader board in races and eventually he was at the very top!  The message was that if you desire something bad enough you will come up with a way to accomplish your dream.

runners

The speaker then began talking about fishing.  He talked about fishing in general and then compared the average fisherman to the professional one.  The average family might decide to go fishing like mine did years ago.  They might decide to rent a boat or just cast their lines on the shore like we did.  Usually the average person going fishing for the pleasure of the event just take some worms along for bait.  Maybe if they get more advanced they might take along some night crawlers.  Like my experience years ago it isn’t about how many fish you get.  The whole idea of fishing is to get out and do something relaxing in the nice pleasant sun.  It is a chance to get away from the world and get your mind on something besides everyday life.

Fisherman

The thinking of the professional fisherman is far different.  While the leisurely fisherman has time to kill the professional’s time is very precious.  They can’t afford to leisurely play around with their fishing!  If they don’t have success in their attempts professional fishermen lose money.  With this mindset they don’t go about their business with anything but a serious mind.  They are determined to use the best bait at the best locations they can find for what they are looking for!

The speaker pointed out that the professional fisherman has many different lures in his tackle box depending on the type of fish he is going after.  It is amazing to me how scientific fishing can be!  Fish react to colors as well as movement!  Companies specializing in making different fishing lures make millions of dollars every year.  A professional fisherman doesn’t mind paying the price as long as the product works.  They are always looking for the best way to do their job!  They will pay the price for knowledge and tools.  They figure that if they are in the right place with the right tools they will have success!  Choosing bait is so important to catching fish! If  you wanted to Bass fish here is an example. Bass like noise, Spinnerbaits and crankbaits with a good rattle work well!  Also Bass love worms, especially worms that have salt in them. Plastic frogs and lizards work also. Most importantly, if you can figure out what the bass are eating where you are fishing use that knowledge! For example, are there a lot of shad where you fish, crawfish etc. Once you figure out what the bass are naturally feeding on, it’s a matter of finding the right colors, depth and retrieve for that natural look that will trigger the bass bite.

Lures

The example that I mentioned above is just for Bass fishing.  Now multiply that by all the different fish that the professional fisherman might try to fish for and you can see how scientific the process can get!  The casual fisherman doesn’t care about all of the baits and lures.  As a leisurely hobby they won’t spend the money or the time researching what is needed.  They are out for the relaxation of the sport and if they catch a fish now and then all the better!

In Mark 1 verse 17 Jesus called Simon and Andrew who were brothers and fishermen as they were casting their nets into the sea.  “Come with me and I will make you fishers of men”, he stated.  Immediately they left their nets and followed him!  In another instance Jesus called out to some disciples who had spent the night fishing out on the boat.  How is it going?  When they explained that they had been fishing all night with no success he said “Cast your nets on the other side.”  They could have ignored his advice, after all they were the expert fishermen.  However they put their nets on the other side and the Bible said there were so many fish that it broke the nets!  God knew where the fish were just as he knows where the hungry searching souls are!

Calling-Peter-and-Andrew-Tissot

Just as Jesus called Andrew and Simon to be fishers of men, he calls us to be fishers of men too!  The contrast between fishing for men and fish is that getting caught as a fish is a bad thing, but as a person it is the best thing that can ever happen to them!  We have to ask ourselves what kind of fishermen are we?  Are we the leisurely type who like me at age six played fishing, or have we grown up to the point where we take the great commission that God has called us for very seriously?  Is our hearts desire to do everything possible to lure the lost, or has our fishing become a leisurely lazy time with too many tales of the ones that got away?

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