Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hannah's Version of The Good Samaritan

Last week, we rewrote the Parable of the Good Samaritan in class. Some students did an OK job and some gave an exceptional effort. Hannah, a junior, far surpassed anyone else. Here is her story.
David was having a terrible day. In fact, it was one of the worst days of his freshman year. His alarm didn’t go off so he was late to school, then he found out he left his Algebra homework at home, and on top of that, he failed his pop quiz in Biology. But just when he thought his day couldn’t get any worse, his arch-nemesis and bully, Tommy, started harassing him in the hallway on his way to eighth period and made him late to English. Overall, it was just a bad day. When the dismissal bell rang, David booked it out the front doors, hopped on his red bike, and started pedaling home as fast as he could. He put in his headphones and tuned out the noises of the street, hoping to avoid any unwanted confrontations with school bullies. Once he was a few blocks away from school, he let himself relax and slowed down to a cruising speed. He was nearly home, and only had to make a few more turns to get to his neighborhood. He started to speed up a little because he was anxious to get home, and since he knew the route like the back of his hand, he looked down for a minute to change the song playing through his headphones. Suddenly out of nowhere, the front wheel of his bike hit a pothole, jerking it sideways and hurtling David off, sending him flying off the side of the road into a ditch. He rolled down the steep slope, hitting his head on a large rock and was knocked unconscious. Finally, his body came to a halt at the very bottom, covered in scrapes and dirt.

The entire ordeal lasted about 20 seconds, and across the street, a girl walking her dog saw the whole thing happen but did not stop to help because she had to hurry and get home before her favorite show came on. Ten minutes later, one of David’s classmates in Algebra walked past and saw David, but he had too much homework to do that night and could not afford to waste any time getting home to start on it. Finally, about 20 minutes after the crash, none other than Tommy came walking down the street. He was on his way to his girlfriend’s house to hang out and watch a movie, and was actually walking on the opposite side of the street from where David’s bike was lying in a heap on the grass. In fact, it was the bike that caught his attention. The bright red bike was lying on its side on the side of the road, with no owner in sight. Hurriedly, Tommy crossed the street and came closer to inspect it, making sure it was in good condition while still looking over his shoulder to make sure no one was around. After checking it out and seeing it still worked perfectly, he got on and was just about to leave when he heard a noise like a loud groan. He snapped up his head and looked around, but saw no one. He shook his head and turned back to the road, when he heard it again. It was much softer this time and came from the direction of the ditch behind him. He got off the bike and walked over to the edge of the ditch, peering cautiously down to the bottom in search of whatever was making the strange noise. To his surprise, there was a boy lying at the bottom, covered in scratches with what looked like a deep cut on the back of his head- as there was some blood stains on the grass beneath him- and a painfully twisted arm. He paused and took a moment to take in the scene below him, debating on whether or not to help him. He decided he didn’t need to do anything because the next person could always help and probably do a better job than him, anyways. Besides, he thought, whoever was down there might snitch on him for taking the bike. Without a second thought, Tommy got back on the bike and set off pedaling down the street to his girlfriend’s house.

A few blocks down, Tommy passed a CVS, and parked the bike to go in and grab some snacks for the movie. He found what he needed and got in line to check out, and just as he was about to get to the register, he noticed some bandages on the shelf directly across from him. He stood and looked at the bandages, then back to the snacks in his hand, and then back to the bandages, finally coming to a decision. Ten minutes later, Tommy found himself riding back down the street, bandages and water in hand to go help the boy in the bottom of the ditch. He arrived at the spot where he found the boy, getting off the bike to begin the slow trek down the grassy slope of the ditch. Reaching the bottom, he took a small jump off the slope to where the injured boy was and set out gently cleaning his scrapes and wiping off dirt. He had been sprawled out on his back with his left arm bent at an awkward angle, and when Tommy tenderly tried to roll him over to see the cut on the back of his head, he saw how badly it had been bleeding and realized he should have stopped the first time to help. The boy let out a groan and Tommy started, nearly dropping him and letting him flop onto his back, but thankfully stopped himself and was able to slowly place him back on the ground. The boy’s eyes fluttered open and rolled around, trying to come into focus. It was in this moment Tommy realized the boy he had been helping was David, the kid he bullied every day at school. Embarrassed, Tommy stood and righted himself, walking over to the dirty bandages on the ground as David came back to reality. With a cough and a groan, his eyes now fully opened, David took in his surroundings. His eyes came to rest on Tommy, who was staring at the ground awkwardly and fidgeting with the bandages. For a moment his muscles tensed up, prepared to run, but realized the situation he was in and relaxed back onto the ground, defeated. Now that he was conscious, all the pain from his beaten body flooded his senses, making him grit his teeth and shut his eyes tightly. Finally, in terrible pain and annoyed with Tommy’s presence, he said through his gritted teeth, “Why?” At this, Tommy jerked up his head and looked at David, who he could now see was in very much pain. “What’d you say?” he asked. David repeated himself, “Why?”
“Why what?”
“Why’d you do it?”
“What do you mean?”
Indignant, David snapped back, “Why did you help me? You bully me every day in the halls at school and you have never said a nice thing to me in your entire life. So why would you start now?”
Tommy stood, still staring hard at the ground and wishing the earth would open right then and there to swallow him up and get him out of this thoroughly embarrassing situation. After a moment he said quietly, “You looked like you needed help.”
Patiently, David waited for the rest of his explanation, but Tommy didn’t say anything else. The silence between them seemed to stretch on for eternity, until finally David blinked and said, “Okay, obviously...But WHY?” Just as frustrated as David, Tommy bent over and started aggressively picking up the leftover bandages. He took a deep breath and plunged forward, “Look, I’m sorry okay? I’m sorry for all the stuff I did to you, and when I saw you lying here I honestly didn’t even want to help. The whole reason I’m here in the first place is because I was going to take your bike when I didn’t see anyone around.”
Wincing, David asked, “So what changed your mind?”
“I don’t know! Okay? I don’t know. I just did.” Exasperated, Tommy tossed the bandages in a pile at David’s feet. “I tried to leave and forget about it, but I came back to help you anyways. I couldn’t just leave you here. Is that such a crime?”
Taken aback by this reaction, David paused. “I...I guess not.” Tommy looked up. He had to say something before there were any more awkward pauses. “Well, do you want my help or not?” By now, David had already begun to sweat, and his hair was clinging to his forehead. “I...okay. Okay.” Letting out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding in, Tommy said, “Alright, then let’s get you on your feet and to the emergency room or something.” He reached down to grab David’s hand, but when David tried to lift his arm he nearly passed out from the pain that shot through his shoulder and down his arm. “Whoa, hold on. I got you.” Tommy lowered himself into a squat and put his arms under David’s body, picking him up gently. “Your arm doesn’t look too good,” Tommy stated. “Yeah, well, it doesn’t exactly feel too good, either,” David winced. He had started to feel dizzy and everything was getting blurry. Tommy made his way up the steep slope to the top of the ditch, winded by the time he made it to the bike. When he turned around so David could see where he had landed, his eyes widened and said with a subtle note of panic in his voice, “We have to get you to the emergency room, now.” “Wait, what-” David stopped mid-sentence when he saw what Tommy meant. It took him a few seconds to process what he was seeing, but then he saw the spot where his head had been lying, and it was painted red with his blood. That’s when Tommy noticed the trail of blood leading from the bottom to the top, ending where he stood with David in his arms. Tommy felt David’s body tremble, and alarmingly he told David, “The gash on the back of your head- it reopened. It must be deeper than I thought.” When David didn’t reply, Tommy looked down to see David’s face drained of color and his eyelids fluttering, fighting to stay open. “David! Hey! Come on, David, wake up!” With no response, Tommy set him down as quickly but as gently as possible. He belatedly realized his clothes were covered in blood as he sprinted to David’s backpack where it had been flung a few yards away and frantically started digging through the pockets. “Come on, come on…” He went through all the pockets but he couldn’t find what he was looking for. “Where is it?!” he yelled. He whipped his head back around, scrutinizing the grass, and realization dawned across his face. He ran back to David and started going through his pockets. Finally, he found David’s phone. He dialed 911, nearly dropping the phone because of how badly his hands were shaking. After two rings, the operator answered, and Tommy let all his words spill out in a rush. “Ineedhelpmyfriendishurtandbleedingreallybadlyfromacutinhisheadcanyoupleasesendanambulancetocomegethim?”
The operator paused, then said, “Okay, what is your address?”
Tommy turned his head around and found the street sign and told her. Then she said, “Alright, an ambulance is on the way. Sit tight.”

Tommy’s adrenaline was going and he felt completely helpless as he looked over at the shallow rise and fall of David’s chest as he lay on the ground unconscious. The bleeding had slowed, but it was still flowing. He snatched up some bandages and precariously placed them under David’s head. Then he picked up David’s phone again and started searching through his contacts. “Here it is,” he said to himself as he pressed on David’s mother’s number. He held the phone to his ear and listened to the ring. It rang...and rang...and rang...until finally the voicemail came up. He quickly hung up and tried again, only to get the same results. “Are you kidding me?” he said. He was about to try the home phone, when the phone started vibrating and David’s mother’s contact came up on the screen. Tommy pressed answer and just started talking. “Hi, my name is Tommy and I’m a friend of David’s, I’m with your son right now. He’s hurt and has lost a lot of blood. The ambulance is on their way and they’re going to take him to the hospital.” He waited for a response, then after a moment, David’s mother spoke, bombarding Tommy with questions, her voice rising an octave every other question. “What?! Is he okay? What happened? Where are you? How did he hit his head? When did this happen? Why wasn’t I notified sooner?” Tommy blinked a few times and pulled the phone away from his ear before he went deaf. Then he said, “It was about an hour ago, he crashed his bike and hit his head. Can you just meet us at the hospital?”
“Yes, yes of course. I’m getting in the car now,” she said in a calmer voice.
“Okay,” Tommy said, nodding.
“Keep me updated. Text me every two minutes. Call me when you get to the hospital or if anything changes.”
“Yes ma’am, I will,” he said and hung up. At that moment he heard the sirens and saw the ambulance coming down the street. He leaped to his feet and started waving his arms to get their attention. “Over here!” he yelled. The ambulance came to a screeching halt in front of him and the paramedics jumped out. “He’s right here…”

From there, everything became a blur. The paramedics picked David up and put him on a stretcher as they asked Tommy questions about what happened and what he did. He rode with them in the ambulance as they were checking vitals on David, and he made sure to text David’s mother to keep her updated. They arrived at the hospital and Tommy followed them in, meeting David’s mother at the door. He stood to the side as they rushed David to one of the rooms, and once they were gone, he flopped down in one of the seats in the waiting area. He tried to stay awake by flipping through magazines or watching the TV, but soon his exhaustion caught up with him and his head began to sink as he drifted off into sleep. A few hours later, he was woken up by a gentle tapping on his shoulder. He opened his groggy eyes and looked to find the source of the tapping. A nurse who had seen Tommy come in with David politely asked him if he would like to see him, and he nodded, standing up and following her down the hall. When they reached the room, she left him and he knocked twice before walking in. There were two chairs and a small table, with one chair next to the hospital bed and the other in the corner with the table. David was lying in the bed with a bandage wrapped around his head, looking much cleaner and slightly better, but still very pale and tired. “Hey,” Tommy said as he sat down in the chair by the bed. “How you feelin’?” David replied, “I’ve been better. I don’t remember much after you carried me out of the ditch, but my mom told me you said I passed out and an ambulance came and brought us to the hospital.” Tommy nodded, looking around. “Yeah, that did happen. Speaking of which, where’d your mom go?” “Oh, she went to go to the bathroom and to get something to eat.”
“Oh, okay.”
“Yeah. Hey, your clothes are still kinda dirty…” David said, seeing the dried blood stains on Tommy’s shirt and jeans.
“Oh man, you’re right,” he said, looking down and seeing how dirty he was for what seemed like the first time.
David paused for a moment, then said, “I’m sorry I caused you so much trouble.” Puzzled, Tommy asked, “Why? It’s not your fault I wanted to help.”
“Well, yeah, but I passed out and you had to call an ambulance, and got blood all over you.”
“Well...never mind.”
Tommy chuckled. “Alright then. What did the doctors say about your head and your arm?”
“Oh, they said I had a dislocated shoulder and a few cracked ribs, but they also said I had a slight skull fracture, and the deep gash on my head where all the blood came from needed thirteen stitches.” Hearing this, Tommy let out a low whistle. “You had a skull fracture and thirteen stitches? That’s crazy.” David smiled. “Yeah, I know. I’m going to be stuck here a few more days at least, but I’m just glad to be alive.” “Me too,” Tommy replied. Just then, a deep silence came over the two boys, and it lasted for about a minute before Tommy spoke again. “David, I’m really sorry. For everything. All the bullying and name-calling- all of it. I can’t believe how rude I was to you.” David lay with a look of contemplation on his face. Finally he spoke. “Tommy, even though you might have done some pretty bad stuff to me, I’m glad you were there to help me.” Tommy became flustered and started to speak, “I mean, the only reason I was even there in the first place was because-” David cut him off. “I know, the bike. I just wanted to say thank you. And I forgive you. For all the things you did.”

Shocked by this turn in conversation, Tommy sat with his mouth open, unsure of how to respond. “I...don’t know what to say.” David kept going. “I may have hated you for every second, but I don’t anymore. Despite what everyone else may think or say, you’re not a bad person.” Hearing those words hit Tommy square in the chest, and for a moment his eyes began to water, but he quickly composed himself as David’s mother knocked on the door and walked back into the room holding a small tray. She set the tray down on the table and smiled. “Hey boys, I just came from the cafe, and I got a few snacks in case you were hungry!” The boys said thank you, and she turned to her son.
“David, how are you feeling?”
“I’m better, Mom. Thanks.”
“I’m so glad to hear it. Do you need anything else?”
“No, I’m okay. Tommy?” Tommy shook his head. “No, thank you.”
“Alright, well let me know if you need anything. I’m going to go back downstairs to the cafe.”
“Thanks. Hey, Mom?” David said as she turned to walk out of the room, “Do you think Tommy could come over sometime this week and hang out?” She smiled. “Of course! Tommy, you are welcome to come over any time.” Tommy grinned and replied, “Thank you. I’m sure that will be often, as soon as David is healed and back home again.” “Wonderful,” she replied. “See you boys in a bit!” And with that, she left the two boys to talk and enjoy each other’s company for the start of what would come to be a long and treasured friendship.

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

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Ties Of Texas.....

Two weeks ago, TaLora told me a strange story. She'd been part of a leadership conference held in Austin and as part of the program, took a tour of the state capitol. Two young ladies approached her and asked if she were a WCS student. She replied affirmatively and they asked if she knew Coach Hawley. TaLora told them I'm her Bible teacher. The strangers proceeded to the gift shop, purchasing a tie for TaLora to hand deliver to her Gospels' instructor! The only problem when she related this vignette was that she couldn't remember the names of my benefactors. Their identifications were revealed the next day when she brought the tie still in the gift store bag with Haley and Curran emblazoned on the outside. Haley and Curran- two of my favorite students ever! They were grads at WCS before TaLora arrived on the scene so their paths had never crossed. But they remembered I like ties. Well, LOVE is a more accurate description. The fact that they thought of me is amazing and that they spent money on the beautiful tie which I will wear tomorrow is even more amazing!! (My guess is that gift store ties in the state capitol do not come cheap, especially for young ladies who have yet to make it big in the business world!) To quote a wonderful old hymn- I love to tell the story!

Let me regress just a bit. As far as I know, and they know, Curran and Haley had never crossed paths with TaLora, one of my absolute favorite current students, before. So how did they identify someone they had never laid eyes on with both our school and me? Well, TaLora was wearing a WCS hat that day in Austin. The two recognized the logo and the colors and that they and TaLora were related on some level by this piece of fabric. There always has to be something to set us apart and not in a negative way. Christians should recognize Christians.... but then again, outsiders should recognize followers of Jesus. How? The Savior put it simply:
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)
That's pretty straight forward, isn't it? No mention of political party affiliation or nation of origin or ethnicity or level of Biblical knowledge. Love each other. That's the tie that binds, no pun intended. If three Houstonians can make connections in Austin over a cap, surely a dying world can see a glimmer of hope in those of us who claim to be as Jesus commanded, the light of the world. And remember one more thing: I love ties!

Applicable quote of the day # 1:
A woman may race to get a man a gift but it always ends in a tie. 
Earl Wilson

Applicable quote of the day # 2:
You can be 24 and continue to live like you're at college, or even continue to live like you're in high school. Or you can put on a shirt and tie and pretend to be an adult.

 Ezra Koenig

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Mistaken For Myself

The picture of Dave mistakenly identified as me.... by Dave!

Yesterday was my birthday. I was overwhelmed with kind wishes from my FACEBOOK friends of which there are close to 4500. My estimate is that less than 1/10th of 1% of those friends would have known that without FACEBOOK reminding them. It doesn't matter-  I love hearing from those around the US and the world who would not have thought to send a traditional birthday card. Relatives, co-workers, former colleagues, former students and players- many memories were rekindled for me as I finished another lap around the sun. I cherish them all! My brother, Dave, even put a picture of me as a small boy at Christmas with a caption having to do with my assured nomination to the Mount Rushmore Of Brothers! There was just one slight problem: the picture was of Dave and not me. I thanked him for the amazingly gracious comment while pointing out the error, which Dave's wonderful daughter, Meagan, caught as well. Dave was adamant but I found another shot at the same Christmas tree the same day with both of us in the picture. As good brothers do, Dave posted another photograph, this time with both of us and Mom. Any picture with Mom is a win-win so it ended up being an even better birthday shout-out!

You know, I've been mistaken for someone else before but never by the person who I'm supposed to be! It's understandable. Siblings look alike at young ages and we were both too young to remember. I took it as a nice compliment that my brother thought I was him! We look like those we share DNA with but often we try to look like those we admire. Whether hair or dress or makeup or whatever, we seek from a young age to resemble those we want to emulate. It could be athletes or models or movie stars or in the case of small children, cartoon characters. I love Homecoming Week at the schools where I've worked, enjoying the kids assume the roles of people they are not, whether real or fictional... but the next week, they reluctantly return to the more important role of playing themselves in the only real reality show, LIFE.  In 1st Corinthians 11:1, Paul urges his readers to imitate me as I imitate Christ. He makes similar statements in several other epistles and it always leads back to Jesus. Who do we imitate? Truthfully, I did quite a bit of imitating of Dave as a child as we were, as the only siblings for years, thrown together from both necessity and the need for a playmate. So maybe Dave was right in a sense. From an early age, I tried to be like him and maybe I pulled it off in some measure, even fooling the object of my imitation. That was fairly simple. It gets harder with each birthday. Now, if I can only be the imitation of Christ. And I think I won't even have to grow a beard!

Applicable quote of the day:
"Your own family resemblance are a frustrating code most easily read by those who know you least."
Barbara Kingsolver

God bless,
Luke 18:

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Saturday, February 18, 2017

At The End Of The Day

Our WCS Upper School Administrator, Nathan Wagner, is also teaching Senior Bible this year. In January, Nathan required a project of the twelfth graders with one option being blog writing. Two of my favorite former students took that route and I will be sharing their thoughts again tonight. This is from the wonderful Lyanne Velasquez.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19

Hi! My name is Lyanne Velasquez, and I have been going to Westbury Christian for four years. I have and always will pray for peace of mind and heart. Due to certain situations in my life, my mind and heart have conflicting thoughts concerning; who I am, what I find important, what I prioritize, am I following what God’s plan is, am I just following mine. These thoughts have always flooded my mind to the point that it was constantly haunting me, so when I first came across Ephesians 1: 18-19, it hit home because Paul was constantly praying for his readers to be enlightened in what God has in store for them and us, and I found this very relieving.

When I read this verse, I almost cried because last year my grandfather died and I struggled a lot with my relationship with God. I still struggle with this element, relationships. Personally, I find it hard to trust and have been used to masking my thoughts and feelings. At the end of the day, I felt suffocated. But I finally realized that I suffocated myself and not others, because I chose to hang out with certain people who did not bring me up but brought me down. I've never had my heart broken in the way that most girls do, but I have had my heart broken by the people that I thought would always be there for me. I have learned to not settle for anyone or anything who is not able to grow with me. God will send people who will be blessings in my life. I hope for God to enlighten my heart and work through me in order for His light to shine to others. I may be terribly incorrect in my view to some but up until now, this is how I’ve been living for the most part and it has been working. I wonder what hope God has called me to do and to be. God is enlightening us by His hope, mercy and power.

I pray that those who read this find comfort in God even if you are alone and scared. Psalms 62: 1-2 helped me find comfort in Him because alone, my foundation is unstable. But if I have God as my foundation, it is steady. By trusting Him, I have found more peace in my heart which I hope those who read this will find as well.

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

Friday, February 17, 2017

Why Us?

Our WCS Upper School Administrator, Nathan Wagner, is also teaching Senior Bible this year. Nathan required a project of the twelfth graders with one option being blog writing. Two of my favorite former students took that route and I will be sharing their thoughts the next two nights. This is from the wonderful Abigail Diuno.
Many are familiar with Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This is a wonderful verse for so many reasons, and today’s blog will tell you why. In order for everyone to understand this verse in context, I thought breaking it down would be a good idea. First, you might ask, “Who is God?” He is the creator of the universe and all that is in it; He is perfect; He is love. Being God’s handiwork simply means we were made by Him.
So how were we created in Christ Jesus to do good works? It is important to understand that Jesus and God are One before going any further. Jesus is the fulfillment of all God’s promises who came in fleshly form to redeem and save mankind from perishing. Now because of all Jesus has done for us, we get another chance to go out into the world and proclaim the name of the Lord, doing everything in the name of Christ. However, long before the coming of Jesus, God ordained our every step, even before we were knit in our mothers' wombs. From the time of the fall of man to the times where people lived by the Law, down to the coming of Jesus, God has remained the same and His promises for us have never and will never fail.
Why did God choose us? What is our purpose on this earth? The thought of a mighty, immeasurable, and perfect God choosing such imperfect people (all of us) to do great things for His glory is mind boggling. If you stop to think, why wouldn’t God choose us? I mean, He sent His one and only son Jesus to die for us. No one would do that if it weren't for love, and even with love, there is almost no chance of that happening in this day and age. Before the foundation of the earth, God handpicked each and everyone of us, called us by name and gave us a purpose, so that in the end all glory will be to His holy name. God saw the beginning from the end, so our fall and redemption through Jesus Christ did not come by surprise to Him.

Since Jesus has paid the price, it’s time for God to finish what He started. The blood of Christ saved us and as saved people, we do good works to glorify His name. This explains why God chose us. Now, going back to the question of what is our purpose on this earth, it's simply this: to do God’s will. Our purpose could range from one far end of this planet to the other, but it all comes together when it's done in the name of Jesus. God bless, Steve
Luke 18:1 www.hawleybooks.com E-mail me at steve@haweybooks.com

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bob, Ben, And Becky

I don't claim to be a matchmaker but  maybe the Lord allowed me to help along His master plan. This is from July 30, 2009.

Two weeks ago today, while in Kansas, I stopped into a STARBUCKS near Dave and Sally's house to get my morning caffeine fix. One thing about STARBUCKS, besides expensive coffee and cheerful employees, is their in-house radio station. You hear all styles of music as you sip your chosen beverage. As I sat in one of their chairs that make you want to hang around, I heard Bob Dylan's 'Don't Think Twice, It's Alright' over the sound system. It wasn't Dylan singing but an unknown female artist. She gave a good rendition of one of the best breakup songs ever, making the coffee worth the $1.59 which would have been .89 at McDonald's.

That night, Dave and I saw the new Jamie Foxx-Robert Downey, Jr. movie, The Soloist. Dave had this idea to take me to one of the only uniquely Wichita dining establishments so after the film, we went to Nu-Way Burgers where they serve crumbly beef and homemade root beer. (FIVE STARS!) What do you think was playing on their system? Once again, it was 'Don't Think Twice, It's Alright,' this time Peter, Paul, And Mary's version. I doubt I'd heard that song in five years and then, twice in a day, far from home by different artists. Do you think I was the only person who heard that song twice that day? Was it completely random and would anybody but me even notice? Sally seemed to think not and I admit, my mind is wired that way.

Eleven years ago today, I moved to Houston. Early in the morning of July 30, 1998, Dad and I hopped into a JARTRAN truck and hit the road from Lebanon, Tennessee. We were not alone. Following in my Ford Aerostar was a former student, Ben Johnson, who volunteered to go with us to drive my van. Ben, a high school senior-to-be, even paid for his plane ticket back and would take no reimbursement. Arriving in Houston, we stayed with the family of Greg Glenn, the WCS athletic director I had known since 1983 from basketball camps. Over the next several years, Ben would travel to Honduras on mission trips with a large contingent of Houstonians, including Greg and his family and me. Five years ago, we needed a math teacher/coach at Westbury Christian and we called Ben. He came and has been on our staff since then. Ben met a young lady in the singles' group at his congregation, the lovely Becky Bell, and after a year of courtship, they married this March. I said all that to say this: I believe if Ben had not come with me eleven years ago, he never would have married Becky. I had told him two or three times that while I appreciated his offer to help Dad and me, we were fine without him. Ben was persistent and finally, I accepted his offer. Do you think it was in God's plan for Ben to make that two day drive with us? Was the marriage of Becky and Ben already on the heavenly Save The Date Master Schedule and did the Lord need to move the young Mr. Johnson to Texas? Or, was it a completely random gesture by a very nice kid? Christians often quote Jeremiah 29:11 as evidence of God's working in our lives: 
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 
In my mind, God simply used me to bring Ben and Becky together for a happily-ever-after love song. Bob Dylan could not have written it any better.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Don't matter how much money you got, there's only two kinds of people: there's saved people and there's lost people."

Bob Dylan

To watch and hear Bob Dylan sing a live version of 'Don't Think Twice, It's Alright,' with Eric Clapton, please click this link.


God bless,

Luke 18:1
me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cuts Like A Knife

Before the deaths of Mom and Dad, I flew into St. Louis from Houston at least four times per year, always on Southwest Airlines. You can see the frailties of the human race while standing in a security line at the airport! The following is from November 26, 2006.

I flew back to Houston Friday from St. Louis. Imagining Lambert Airport would be packed, I had my dad get me there two hours early. There was no need. I wouldn't say the airport was empty but it certainly was not running near full capacity. It only took about two minutes to check my bags in and get my boarding pass. There was a couple ahead of me as I went through the security line. Suddenly, I heard the man in front utter a profanity. Then, for emphasis I guess, he repeated. I couldn't hear what the wife/girlfriend said to him but his reply was, "Because I'm an idiot!!" He stormed out of the line with the lady right behind. The problem? As he got close to the desk where you show your boarding pass and picture ID, he reached into his front jeans pocket.....and found the knife he forgot to remove. I really think he was in a dilemma. He could not pull it out of his pocket; there might have been guns drawn by the nearby security. His check-on bags had already been removed to wherever they go before they are thrown on the plane. I would guess they had checked in the maximum number of bags so I am not sure he had any real options except get rid of the knife. I never saw the two again.

The new F.A.A. regulations have reduced what you can take onto a plane in your carry-on bags. There was advertising for the 3-1-1 rules throughout the airport. Liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in containers no larger than three ounces. They have to be packed in one clear plastic bag that cannot exceed one quart in volume. I would guess the aforementioned couple was careful to comply with the new policy so as not to be detained as they went through the screening process. However careful the gentleman might have been to adhere to the guidelines on the smallest items, he made a huge mistake. He obeyed the little rules but he inadvertently violated the biggest one- NO WEAPONS! Jesus often had disputes with the religious leaders of his day. In one of these run-ins, he accused them of tithing everything they grew in their garden, even very small herbs, while they completely ignored more important issues: mercy, justice, faithfulness, the love of God. The Savior concluded his point by stating,
"You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." (Matthew 23:23) We can't pick and choose what we will and will not obey. Jesus does not say don't do the little things but he emphasizes we must do the more important obligations. It's a daily contest to keep things in perspective, one that I routinely find myself failing. But I do feel good about one thing: I didn't walk into the airport with a knife in my pocket! Once, I was interrupted in the same security line in that same airport because I was trying to board with..... a brand new iron from Best Buy. I learned my lesson. On Friday, I just put everything in my suitcase. It's the only way to fly.

Applicable quote of the day:
"The American people must be willing to give up a degree of personal privacy in exchange for safety and security."
Louis Freeh

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com