Saturday, February 24, 2018

Sally, Shirts, And Stripes

My sisters-in-law, Sally and Karen, have  had great impact on my life. This entry, from July 19, 2009, is about Sally and my clothes.

I only have two credit cards and one is from KOHL'S. Every month, KOHL'S sends coupon to their card holders with the possibility of 15%, 20%, or 30% off the next purchase. Several weeks ago, I peeled the sticker and...30%! It was like winning the lottery! Since there is a KOHL'S near Dave and Sally's house, I decided to cash in my discount in Kansas, buying a few items for school. As Sally and I discussed my purchases and whether I should buy a suit that was on sale, I realized my beautiful sister-in-law is of the opinion that I have no sense of fashion. She may be right- our viewpoints on men's clothing are diametrically opposed. My 30% coupon was applied to a pair of Dockers pants and two oxford dress shirts, one white while the other is from CHAPS, white with small blue checks. Since I normally wear solid or pinstriped shirts, I wasn't sure what tie I should wear to worship with the blue checked oxford. Did you know there are websites that match shirts and ties in acceptable combinations? I discovered it's proper to wear a striped tie with a checked shirt so I did. I'm back in Houston now but my fondest dream is that Sally would have applauded as I went out the door this morning; I live for her approval!

Like I said, I know little about fashion. I have heard that vertical stripes make one appear taller while horizontal stripes have the effect of adding a few pounds. I now know when it is permissible for a man to wear stripes for his neck wear. But, that use of stripes is strictly superficial. There was one for whom the term stripes had a different connotation. In his first epistle, Peter wrote that the Savior, "Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.. " (1 Peter 2:24, NKJV) The apostle tells us that the stripes/wounds of Jesus liberated us from sin. The agony He bore in the beatings, the mockings, the crucifixion made our salvation possible. Just three verses previously, Peter writes that the sufferings of Jesus serve as an example that Christians are to follow. Paul penned in Galatians 3:27 that, "all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." We're promised the wardrobe of Jesus? That's an outfit I can live with. No more websites or color schemes, checks or solids. The stripes of Jesus will always match the clothing of Christ, even if we've had a checkered past.

Applicable quote of the day:
"I have always dressed according to certain Basic Guy Fashion Rules,including: ‘Both of your
socks should always be the same color.’ Or they should at least both be fairly dark."
Dave Barry


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Spice Of Life

You can't beat Chinese food! This is from February 4, 2014. We had a number of visitors in our Chinese worship this past Sunday. Three came in together and I introduced myself. My thought was that they must be college students but in actuality, they all work for the same Houston company. As we talked, I mentioned that I had made two mission trips to China, the most recent one being almost four weeks in a Christian orphanage in rural Hunan Province. As soon as I spoke the words Hunan Province, the young lady of the three guests immediately said, "SPICY FOOD!" And she was right! The cooks at the orphanage sometimes would very kindly make a special portion of the meal for me because it would have been difficult for me to swallow. The amazing thing is that no one but me drank anything with their meals! I made sure I had plenty of water on hand to quench the flames!

You know what's interesting? Every time I talk to someone from China about my July in Hunan, they say the same thing as Amy, my new friend from church: SPICY FOOD! Even my translator that summer, Lavender, who was from another part of China, was under orders from her mother to bring back a healthy supply of Hunan spices. Because in Hunan Province, that's what they're known for- spicy food. It's the region's calling card. Like Detroit and cars. Or Nashville and country music. So the next time you have a VISA and you're craving spicy cuisine, there's only one destination- Hunan Province!

So what are we known for? I'm convinced most of us have a mental image of people when we hear their name mentioned. That carries over to our perception of Biblical characters as well. Dorcas? Made stuff for widows. Samson? Cover boy for Gold's Gym. Joseph? Favorite son turned farm guru. But how about you and me? What is the first thing when our names come up? Steve? Fashion icon? Cell phone Cro Magnon man? Thoughtful? Jerk? Hypocrite? Here's the amazing thing, though. We can change ourselves and thus, others' perceptions of us! Twenty-three months ago, I wrote a blog about Kaitlyn, one of my 8th grade Bible students, and her obsession with the boy band, One Direction. (If interested, here is the link to that entry: http://stevehawley.blogspot.com/2012/03/one-way.html) This afternoon, Kaitlyn, now a grownup sophomore varsity cheerleader, was using my classroom for some physics tutoring. I mentioned how several of my middle school team members already had their tickets from One Direction's concert in Houston IN AUGUST. I asked Kaitlyn if she was going to be in the audience that night, too. She laughed and told me she has moved on. She is no longer a Directioner and the five boys from Great Britain are no longer the center of her universe. Overcoming an addiction to a teenage group crush? Just proves anything is possible. Kaitlyn is my new example. I want to be known as a guy who can change. Through Jesus, I can. Be patient.


Applicable quote of the day:
"In the States, you can buy Chinese food. In Beijing you can buy hamburger. It's very close. Now I feel the world become a big family, like a really big family. You have many neighbors. Not like before, two countries are far away."
Jet Li


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Unprotected

I spent  thirty minutes with little children today in school as we talked about our project to sustain orphanages in Haiti and Honduras. That anyone would hurt a little one is horrifying. This is from October 13,2013.
You may have seen the horrific story on the sports' websites on Friday concerning the two year old son of Minnesota Vikings running back and last year's NFL MVP, Adrian Peterson. The little boy died in South Dakota, allegedly at the hands of the mother's boy friend who has been charged with aggravated assault. The accused has a history of domestic violence. The sports world and the world in general has reacted, predictably, with messages of condolence and shock at this senseless death. And as always, the rational among us ask in bewilderment, who would hurt a child?

Tonight after worship, we had a time of fellowship with two of our sisters speaking of mission trips to China as we ate sandwiches and cookies. I sat with Juliette, one of my former players who has just moved back to Houston and is starting college. Juliette was entranced by Joseph, the son of our Chinese preacher and his wife. Joseph, who is about two, was wandering around like little boys do and Juliette went over and sat down on the floor to have some face time with her new buddy. As we walked out, she told me Asian children are so cute, a statement with which I heartily concur. And it reminds me as I sit here and type, the last five words of my opening paragraph:
who would hurt a child?

Yesterday morning found me in Jos. A Bank for one of their buy one, get two free sales. My personal shopping guru, Silvia, was with a customer so I browsed. All of a sudden, there was the cutest little girl I've ever seen standing by me, and my guess is that she was about two. She was babbling a little bit but she came up and took me by the hand and started walking. What choice did I have? I followed.Her mom profusely apologized but I told her it was quite all right. She led me to a display of discounted shirts and there, of all people, I saw Brian Burney who I went to church camp with in Kearney, Nebraska as a kid! You know what the little princess did, don't you? She grabbed Brian's hand, too! Her mom came up again, apologized again, and told us it would be a struggle when she is a teen! But it was a safe and closed environment and the tiny angel made my day, even though her mom, who must have been shopping for her husband, was convinced Brian and I were somehow inconvenienced by her child's affectionate nature. It made my day; well, along with the Cornhuskers thrashing Purdue and getting three sweet shirts at a great price!

As I often do, I added a picture at the top of these devotional thoughts. It's not clip art tonight or a celebrity at an early age- it's my brother, Scott, at roughly age two as best I can piece it together. From the setting, I can tell we were in Michigan at our Hawley grandparents' home. I wanted my thoughts to be more personal tonight and to do that for me, I had to put a familiar face to the story. I don't want to pass judgment on a case I know nothing about and I hope the suspect gets a fair trial as we are all guaranteed under our Constitution. But we always need the reminder of what Jesus said about little ones; that the kingdom of heaven belongs to them; that their angels see the face of the Father; that causing them to stumble is a sin so great the penalty should be horrific; that we must humble ourselves like little children if we want eternal life. And yet, too many in the world ignore the Savior's teachings and have devalued this most precious gift from the Lord. May God have mercy on the innocents who cannot protect themselves from evil. We cannot turn a blind eye to those who need us the most.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Little children are still the symbol of the eternal marriage between love and duty."
George Eliot

God bless,

Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Forever Doesn't Last As Long As It Used To

Marriage is supposed to be til death do us part. Sadly, it sometimes ends up poorly. This is from October of 2010.

I read the news yesterday and it saddened me. Country music singer Randy Travis and his wife of nineteen years, Elizabeth, have divorced. The former spouses are also business partners- she is his manager- and will apparently continue that relationship but the one that matters has been shattered. Websites and gossip shows are always filled with failed celebrity marriages but this one particularly bothers me, if only for one reason: Randy Travis performed, and is probably most noted for, the best marriage song of all time, Forever And Ever, Amen. I guess the final lines to this classic have lost their luster:
If you wonder how long I'll be faithful
Just listen to how this song ends.
I'm gonna love you forever and ever
Forever and ever, Amen.
I guess the cynical part of me now has a different final chorus to think about when it comes to considering the love of a man and woman, Michael Martin Murphey's, What's Forever For:
So, what's the glory in living?
Doesn't anybody ever stay together anymore?
And if love never lasts forever, tell me

What's Forever For?

The Bible uses the term forever 290 times (in the New International Version, at least) and never once in the connotation of marital bliss. Still, the concept of the sanctity of marriage as well as the superiority of its permanence is constant. This morning in our worship service, the focus was on our teenagers. These youngsters, along with their folks, just completed a True Love Waits program based on the Song of Solomon. The young people, with the public blessing of moms and dads, pledged their sexual purity until their wedding. The parents gave their children a ring to symbolize the commitment and the congregation pledged our support as well. These kids are on the right track but we all know that there are derailments lurking. In the great chapter of love, 1 Corinthians 13, Paul wrote that even after everything else was gone, love, along with faith and hope, would remain with love being the highest virtue. That sounds like forever to me, even if it's not a line in a song.

Applicable quote of the day:
“Divorce is the psychological equivalent of a triple coronary by-pass. After such a monumental assault on the heart, it takes years to amend all the habits and attitudes that led up to it.”
Mary Kay Blakely


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1
www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com


Forever and Ever,Amen
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgJXbIP83A8

What's Forever For?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UalVQCCTNPg



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Friends Of Distinction


 
We are  impressed by who we know and know here is used loosely! This is from February 1, 2014.
Super Bowl tomorrow! Will it snow in the Big Apple and make the NFL's weather gamble a historically bad idea? The good news is that the consensus best two teams, Denver and Seattle, are the participants in SUPER BOWL 48. (Sorry, I don't know how to do the Roman numerals.) With THE EVENT in mind, it's only proper to have a football theme in my attempt at spiritual depth tonight. If you are even a casual fan, you can probably name the two gentlemen featured above, Lane Kiffin and Jeff Fisher. Ahh, but what do they have in common? They both have coached in the NFL; Kiffin with the Raiders and Fisher with the Oilers/Titans/Rams. Both have roots at USC. Both had job breakups that had some bitterness attached. But those tidbits can be gleaned from WIKIPEDIA. The biggest common denominator is that both of them are my FACEBOOK friends! Both names came up in that People You May Know link with common friends so I sent them both a Friend Request and now these two celebrities make up 2 of my 3,780 Facebook Friends! I am blessed!

You know what's funny? My friends, Lane and Jeff, have never sent me a message. They've never LIKED a picture or posted birthday wishes on my timeline. The eerie thing is that it's almost like they don't really know me, that we are friends in name only. I mean, how can that be? You can go on to my FACEBOOK page and if you want to spend a little time, you can find them so it's legitimate. I feel like our friendship is a one way street and I'm the one.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives an illustration about the Judgement Day. Many will claim to have relationship with Jesus but will be rejected with the words, 'I never knew you- depart from me.' Those denied entry will show their credentials- prophecies/demon removals/good works- to no avail. WOW! I wonder if I show up at the Rams' training camp next summer, if I can walk the sideline with the team if I tell the security guards, "Hey, Jeff and I are Facebook friends!" Or maybe I can show up in Tuscaloosa where Lane Kiffin is now the Alabama offensive coordinator and yell through the fence, "Hey, Nick Saban! Loved you in The Blind Side. You know, I'm on Facebook with Lane. Mind if I join you?" Of course,those are silly examples because any friendship I have with Lane Kiffin and Jeff Fisher is as superficial as humanly possible. I would never think of approaching them because I DON'T REALLY KNOW THEM. Jesus teaches it will be the same one day in the future for many who apparently will be shocked. I can't let that happen to me. Better keep that status up to date....and accurate!    
PS: To insure historical accuracy, I must disclose that I do have a slight connection with Lane Kiffin. His father, Monte, is from Lexington, Nebraska and a state legend as both an athlete and coach. And, he was the speaker at the York High Sports Banquet my senior year and as president of the Booster Club which put on that banquet, I was blessed to meet the elder Kiffin!                                                                                                                                                                                  
Applicable quote of the day:

“Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.” 
E.B. White, Charlotte's Web 


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Integrity Of Cyrus Field


Several days ago, I was watching you tube while eating my supper. My dining fare was American Experience, a PBS documentary series focusing on American history. The topic of that particular episode was Cyrus Field, a New York financier who was the primary force behind the laying of the trans Atlantic telegraph cable, linking the US and Europe. It was a fascinating story and I learned a good deal- the former history teacher in me is never far from the surface! Field was dealt a number of defeats in his quest but after roughly a decade of disappointments and setbacks, was able to see his dream of linking east and west come to fruition. It would not be an overstatement to say that that this adventure changed the world.

The most impressive part of the Field narrative, though, had nothing to do with oceans and cable. In the introductory section of the film, the story is told of Field buying a nearly bankrupt paper company at age twenty. As the new owner, he agreed with the creditors for 30 cents on the dollar to settle debts. Within several years, the company was turning a profit so Field did something few would do. Even though he had no legal obligation to do so, Field returned to those creditors and paid off the entire debt. The narrator commented how that act gave the still young entrepreneur tremendous respect and credibility in the New York business community. Would any of those who had accepted the 30 cent solution expected Field to have made this next step? My guess, not being in the world of commerce, is no; the narrator made it seem like this was far from common. My guess is also that that type of integrity in the market place is even harder to find today.

I spent some time at the beginning of each of my classes one day this past week talking about integrity. The day before, I had seen some suspicious  behavior in one of my five periods so it was as good a time as any to preach. I told them that every situation I see them in is recorded in my mind; in the classroom, with a teacher in the hallway, on the basketball court or on the football field, standing in line in the cafeteria, interacting with their peers. The perception of any hint of dishonesty colors my view and anyone else who would hold high expectations for them. There are kids I expect are always honest and those I believe are honest only when it is convenient or to their benefit. Some youngsters I trust implicitly and some I watch closely. Truth be told,  I might be pleasantly surprised with some and with some, bitterly disappointed. 


I tell my students John the Baptist would never get a preaching job today- yelled at leaders, dressed like a caveman and ate like a survivalist, went to jail. But, along with proclaiming that Jesus was the lamb of God, John stressed honesty and integrity to those not noted for those traits, soldiers and tax collectors. What a good lesson for us two thousand years later. Every profession needs those same instructions; dentists, lawyers, salesmen, preachers, coaches, teachers. Integrity derives from the Latin integer meaning wholeness. When we have integrity, we are whole and complete. When we lack integrity, we lack closure in our character. There are gaps for dishonest thoughts and actions to seep in and out. If we were more steeped in integrity as a culture, I wouldn't have the need to move desks apart and require all the kids to grade their quizzes in brown markers to make cheating harder. We wouldn't have to constantly change passwords and we could leave our car doors unlocked. Our Father in heaven knew- the Ten Commandments dealt with integrity matters like stealing and lying and adultery. The problem is ancient but so is the solution. In fact, the solution is etched in stone.

Applicable quote of the day:
If I were asked to say the most important things that lead to a successful life, I should say that, first of all, was integrity - unimpeachable integrity. 
Charles M. Schwab


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail m e at steve@hawleybooks.com

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Glenns

Many hearts were broken today with the news of the passing of Loa Glenn early this morning. I knew Loa for thirty five years, beginning in the summer of 1983. I'm not sure what to say but I thought I would rerun an earlier blog to which she is central. It's from June 28, 2014.
Greg and Loa Glenn moved to Nashville, Tennessee this afternoon. It's hard to imagine any family impacting my life more. I met the two of them thirty-one years ago in Nashville at Lipscomb University before they were married. I had come to work at Lipscomb's basketball camp; in fact, Greg was the first person I met at Lipscomb. I moved to WCS because of Greg sixteen years ago and stayed with their family while both interviewing at Westbury Christian and when I moved to Houston. I taught and coached their daughter, Amber, and taught their sons, Richard and Cody. All five of the Glenns were on missions with me at different times and Greg was my boss as both AD and our WCS president. They will leave a huge hole but a wonderful legacy at both our school and congregation! Life is ever changing but some are tougher than others.

It's hard to know where to start with this family. Greg was there through the health deteriorations and the subsequent passings of my parents. He talked me into the toughest decision of my life, to return to high school basketball coaching. He, along with his predecessor, Bob McCloy, really emphasized spiritual development in our students, not easy in a school as diverse as WCS. He let me do stuff outside of the box with my classroom and fundraising for the kids in Haiti and Honduras. Greg is as good at being a diplomat in handling disputes as anyone I've ever seen, keeping a Christ-like spirit involved in the process. But he has never shied away from making the tough decisions when it's best for the school, and that's rarely popular. He walked away from a coaching career that was one of the most successful in the United States, taking on a much more difficult position as Head Of School. He let coaches coach and teachers teach. Greg has the ability to be visionary, something I sorely lack. He revered his college coach, the legendary Don Meyer, and in many ways, became like him. And he left our school light years ahead of where it had been when he came twenty-one years ago.

Loa may be the most efficient person I know. She served in so many roles at WCS that I cannot come close to listing them. Loa has a servant's heart. When I moved here, she took the majority of day with three little ones in tow to help me but before we finished that Monday, I had a bank account, a driver's license, an inspected car with license plates, and car insurance. When I had a question, Loa was my Google. How do I get gum out of a shirt? How do I rent a car at an airport? How do I get to St. Marks Episcopal?? ETC!!! Getting a laptop lessened my dependence on her but not by much! When I needed something for my house, Loa had it or her mom had it and they freely shared what they possessed. Not only was she Google, she served as Target for me and not just me. Many other new teachers/coaches lived with the Glenns until they got settled into their new home, and Loa helped them get started.

The day I moved to Houston, the Glenn kids had just been blessed with a kitten named Kisses and they were fighting over who got to feed her/hold her/love on her. That stopped. Amber grew up to play for me and be my student assistant coach as well as step out of her comfort zone on her first mission to Honduras. She was Homecoming Queen and she ran our summer basketball camp, earning the title of Amberella. She has a Masters degree now and a wonderful husband named Ben! Richard is a new daddy, making his folks very happy, and he has an amazing wife, Callie. He also could be an terrific Gospel preacher if so inclined. The thing I remember about Cody is that he always went to sleep on Loa's lap during worship. Right out of high school, Cody was drafted as a left handed pitcher by the Toronto Blue Jays and started a game on the mound for LSU in the 2013 College World Series! I used to baby sit Amber, Richard, and Cody when they were young. Apparently, I did an excellent job!

And so, I said good-bye to Greg and Loa early this afternoon. I hate good-byes even when you have some time to prepare. They'll be back and that lessens the pain. They'll be missed terribly but they'll be loved abundantly in their new surroundings. Normally, I leave with an applicable quote of the day which I don't introduce but today is different. Today, I'm closing with the words of a haunting Civil War song, The Vacant Chair by Henry Washburn:
We shall meet, but we shall miss him
There will be one vacant chair.

God be with you until we meet again. We'll keep the chair open for you guys.

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com
 
PS: The picture is of Greg and me painting the front of a church building in Haiti. The onlookers were amused at how much paint managed to land on us instead of the wall!