The Best Bad Call

Story of the Day for Monday July 1, 2013

The Best Bad Call

If your adversary is hungry, give him something to eat.

Romans 12:20

The decision of the umpires was later found to be in error, but I’m so happy that they got it wrong.

Central Washington University was hosting Western Oregon University in 2008 in the last game of the season. The winner would earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament in Division II woman’s softball.

Western Oregon sent Sara Tucholsky to the plate. With two runners on base she hit a home run – the first one of her career. She was so jubilant that she forgot to Listep on first base. Realizing her mistake, she spun around so quickly that she tore the ACL in her knee. As she lay writhing in pain, her teammates were helpless. If they touched her, that would constitute assisting a base runner and she would be called out.

After conferring on the rules, an umpire told Western Oregon’s head coach, Pam Knox, that a pinch runner could come in for her, but it would be credited as a single, and her home run would be taken away.

It broke the coach’s heart to erase the only home run of Sara’s career, but she was clearly unable to tag the bases on her own.

At that moment, however, Mallory Holtman, the star player for the opposing team ran up to an umpire and asked, “Would it be okay if we carried her around and she touched each bag?” The ump shrugged and said there was no rule against it.

So, Holtman, and her teammate, Liz Wallace, gingerly picked her up and started walking her around the bases. When they came to a base, they would gently lower her good leg and tap the base with Sara’s foot.

As the three girls rounded the bases, the crowd gave them all a standing ovation.

This caring act for their opponent ended up costing Mallory and Liz’s team the game – ending their hopes of getting into the tournament. But no one seemed to care.

Mallory Holtman viewed Sara Tucholsky as her opponent . . . until she was overcome by compassion for her need.

We are so easily angered by the behavior of our enemies. But what if we focused more on their hurts. Their needs. What if, when we noticed how hungry they were, we gave them some of our food?

The NCAA later said the umpire’s ruling was in error. A substitute could have run the bases and Sara would’ve been awarded a home run.

I’m so glad, however, that the umpire got it wrong. Far more important than a correct ruling was what happened to our hearts when two brave women helped their opponent when she was hurting.

Have you ever been glad when a ruling was wrong? What hurts, needs, wants do your enemies have that you could focus on instead of their obnoxious behavior? Have you ever helped an opponent when they have been hurting? Tell us about it.

(text copyright 2011 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

(image: http://www.internetmonk.com/wp-content/uploads/Carrying1.jpg)

A Higher Calling Than Ourselves

Story of the Day for Thursday June 20, 2013

A Higher Calling Than Ourselves

Then Moses called for Joshua and said to him before all Israel, “Be strong and full of courage.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

During Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, he regularly attended New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, and became well-acquainted with the pastor, Dr. Phineas Gurley. Pastor Gurley was an articulate and popular preacher.

After a midweek service, an aide asked the president his opinion of pastor Gurley’s sermon. Lincoln praised the careful preparation and the eloquence of the message.

“Then you thought it was a great sermon?” the aide asked.

“No,” Lincoln replied, “because he did not ask us to do something great.”

Spiritual leaders often struggle with this. Wouldn’t we attract more followers if we ease up on the requirements? Oddly enough, the opposite is true. George Orwell had it right when he said, “High sentiments always win in the end. The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. What it all comes down to is that human beings are heroic.”

When we no longer have a heroic purpose in life, we will seek a life of ease, safety, and comfort. But we will not be content.

When Moses knew the end of his days were near, he passed on the leadership to Joshua. He called upon him to lead the people with strength and courage.

A century ago, one man demonstrated this deep longing we have to do something courageous. An arctic explorer, Ernest Shackleton ran a London newspaper ad that has now been called one of the greatest advertisements ever written: “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful.”

Who would respond to an ad like that? Shackleton was so overwhelmed with offers to join him that he had to turn away over 5000 requests. Shackleton’s response was, “It seemed as though all the men in Great Britain were determined to accompany us.”

There was a day in America when professing your Christian faith brought admiration. It was socially acceptable to go to church. It was safe. John Maxwell once quoted an Anglican bishop, who wryly asked, “I wonder why it is that everywhere the apostle Paul went they had a revolution, and everywhere I go they serve a cup of tea?”

Those days when our faith is considered socially acceptable are quickly drawing to a close. Today we are being called to a life of courage. We seldom hear the old adage anymore, but we need it now more than ever: “If you don’t have anything in your life worth dying for, you don’t have anything worth living for.” For years evangelists have sought to attract others to Christ by promising prosperity, comfort, good health, and safety. We can no longer live as pampered, self-centered Christians. We need to call each other to a higher calling than ourselves. We need to appeal to the heroic. Ernest Shackleton had it right.

Did Ernest Shackleton have it right? Why do we need to appeal to the heroic in people? Share with us a time when it all came down to being heroic in your life?

(text copyright 2011 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

The Main Thing

Story of the Day for Tuesday June 18, 2013

The Main Thing

David’s conscience pierced him after he numbered the people. So David told the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in doing this.”

2 Samuel 24:10

Rory Sutherland, a British advertising guru, likes to cite the maxim: Any metric that becomes a target loses its value as a metric.

Much to our relief he explains what he means. Businesses seek ways to measure their progress toward their company’s goals. But once the focus becomes improving any certain statistic, the measurement is no longer reliable.

And, since my explanation is even more confusing than Sutherland’s maxim, let me give some examples.

A good goal for a shipping company would be to make a profit by providing timely deliveries of packages. So far so good. But suppose the company looks at their delivery times and focuses on improving this statistic? Once quicker delivery time becomes the goal, the best way to reach this objective is to cancel delivery to more remote areas. The result: the company’s statistics improve. But profits and service to the customer declines.

Sutherland gives a similar example with airline companies. How can an airline measure improve service? One way is by an increase in on-time departures. Departure times are measured from pushback — when the jet begins to move from the terminal. Once companies make it their goal to increase on-time departures, passengers often find themselves sitting on the runway for longer periods. But now latecomers are unable to board the flight. Again, by shifting the focus from the true goal of the company to improving the “numbers,” the statistics become a false indicator of progress.

Seeking to measure success, in other words, can sometimes make us less successful.

http://www.badassoftheweek.com/kingdavid.jpg

David should’ve known better. He had witnessed how God took a young shepherd boy and used him to defeat a fearsome warrior named Goliath. David saw how God blessed a valiant warrior — even though his followers were few and he was always on the run.

Now that David was anointed king, he should’ve learned that God had chosen him for his purposes, and that he would prosper as long as he trusted in the strength of the Lord.

Instead, David wanted to measure his strength. He focused, not on the power of God, but on the strength of his fighting force. David orderedJoab, his army commander, to number the people. Only afterward did he realize he was relying on the wrong measurement for success and asked for God’s forgiveness.

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

How do you keep the main thing the main thing in your life, in your business, in your relationship with others and with God? All suggestions will be helpful for others as they also strive to keep the main thing the main thing. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

(text copyright by climbing higher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

A Little More Vibrato

Story of the Day for Monday June 17, 2013

A Little More Vibrato

Tell them not to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which only end in speculation instead of God’s work, which is done by faith.

1 Timothy 1:3-4

Every year our family hosts an open house. My wife cooks mountains of food, but holds the family under the inflexible rule that we can’t scarf down all the food before the party. This, obviously, places us under an undue hardship. And so, as my daughter, Elly, and I savor the aroma of baked cookies fresh from the oven, we decide the time has come to undo the injustices we have suffered.

We hatch a plan, which revolves around the standard magician’s trick of misdirection. While I occupy my wife’s attention in the living room, Elly will sneak into the kitchen, make the heist, and then we will retire to a private corner of the house to enjoy our bounty.

In the living room, I hold my wife spellbound by singing “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. The key to making this song memorable (as my sister taught me) is to sing it like Elmer Fudd, and then to pinch the skin over your Adam’s apple — jiggling it to create a vibrato.

“Cwaa-zy, I’m cwazy fo’ feewin’ so wone-wee . . .”

My wife rolls her eyes and heaves a big sigh. This song always gets to her.

“Cwaa-zy, cwazy fo’ feewin’ so bwue . . .”

When the Nazis overran France in World War II, French resistance fighters continued to oppose Hitler, but they were forced to live in hiding.

In 1943, they decided to come out of hiding and celebrate Armistice Day in the town of Oyonnax. The French holiday, which observes the Allied victory over Germany in World War I, was banned by the Nazis — who were not amused to find posters plastered throughout the town of Nantua, announcing a demonstration on Armistice Day.

On the morning of November 11th, the police from Oyonnax flocked to the neighboring town of Nantua to help authorities arrest the demonstrators.

Once the police left Oyannax, French freedom fighters swept down from their hillside hideouts and easily captured the police station. After shutting down the telephone system and blocking all traffic coming in or out of town, the cheering and weeping citizens welcomed the freedom fighters as they presented a floral cross of Lorraine to “the victors of yesterday from those of tomorrow.” After leading the citizens in a rousing rendition of the “Marseillaise,” the freedom fighters disappeared again into the hills.

The Bible says we can get misdirected from doing what God would have us do. We get embroiled in debates that just aren’t that important and neglect to focus on what we should be doing. The goal is our life in Jesus; a life of faith and love.

I do wish, however, my wife could be more easily diverted from preserving her baked goods for parties. We got nabbed before we could enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Next time, I think a little more vibrato will do the trick.

Do you ever get misdirected or embroiled in debates that aren’t really so important? What would God have you do? How does your life of faith and love show itself? Let us know what you resist the ‘little more vibrato’ in your life?

(text copyright 2012 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)