Tag Archives: Apostle Paul

Pad Our Stats or Nurse Our Toes?

Story of the Day for Monday December 20, 2011

Pad Our Stats or Nurse Our Toes?

                After they stoned Paul, they dragged him outside the city, assuming he was dead. But . . . he got up and went back into the city.

                                                                                        Acts 14:19-20

When Henry “Zeke” Bonura was sixteen, he entered the javelin competition at a National Track and Field Championship in 1925, and threw it seven feet farther than the “Chariots of Fire” Olympic gold medalist did in Paris the year before. He still remains the youngest male athlete to win an event at an AAU Track and Field Championship.

At Loyola University, he starred in football, basketball, and track. Notre Dame’s famous football coach, Knute Rockne, called him “The South’s Wonder Athlete.”  When he played major league baseball for the Chicago White Sox he twice led American League first basemen with the lowest percentage of errors.

I won’t tell you that Zeke Bonura was an excellent fielder – not to avoid boring you with the obvious, but to avoid lying.

Bonura was LOUSY at first base.  Sports editor, Otis Harris wrote in 1946: “It was never established beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bonura was the worst fielding first basemen in the majors, but the consensus was that he would do until another one came along.”

So, how could Bonura win the title of best defensive first basemen in both 1934 and 1938 and yet be considered such a bad defensive player?

Simple. He didn’t try.

Zeke made the brilliant discovery that you can’t be charged with an error if you don’t touch the ball. So, he let easy grounders roll into left field and waved at them with his “Mussolini salute.”

I would love to take this opportunity to heap scorn on the lethargic ambitions of Zeke Bonura, but I can’t. I find myself doing the same thing. Sometimes I become so afraid of failing that I never try.

On the apostle Paul’s missionary trips, he often failed to win over the people he met. Once, (against the wishes of the town’s Chamber of Commerce) they stoned Paul and left him for dead. But he picked himself up, dusted himself off, and continued to carry the Good News on his lips.

And good things happened because he wasn’t afraid to fail.

One of the greatest inventors of his time, Charles Kettering, said, “You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe.” “But,” Kettering adds, “the more chance you have of getting somewhere.”

When we get our purpose figured out, we won’t waste time trying to pad our stats. We’ll be too busy nursing our toes.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Pressing On When Your Knees Shake

Story of the Day for Tuesday July 26, 2011

Pressing On When Your Knees Shake

                       I came to you in weakness and in fear and in a lot of trembling. 

                                                                     1 Corinthians 2:3

We tend to think of courage as the absence of fear.   Those who face danger without fear are not courageous, but stupid.

An old man once took some young men fishing on one of the Great Lakes.  The old man kept looking off to the west and frowning.  After a while he told them that he was going to head the boat back because a storm was heading their way.

One young man said, “We don’t need to go back now.  We’re not afraid.”

The old man shot back, “You’re too ignorant to be afraid.”

 

The apostle Paul was a man of great courage.  Despite much opposition and persecution, he was undaunted in his mission.  He had the dubious habit of speaking about Jesus and starting riots, and getting into a lot of trouble.

Paul was bold, but not fearless.  Although he was called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus in many places, he appears to be a good debater, but not an exceptional speaker.  He mentions his lack of eloquence, and admits he came to the people in the city of Corinth with “fear and a lot of trembling.”

 

We don’t think of people who are shaking in fear as courageous, do we?  One of Napoleon’s commanders, Marshall Ney, would tremble so violently before battle that he had trouble mounting a horse. Yet, Napoleon repeatedly referred to Ney as the bravest man he ever knew.  Ney was scared, but he never let that stop him.  Once, before battle, he shouted, “Shake away, knees!  You would shake worse than that if you knew where I am going to take you.”

 

Maria Schell was a German actress who began her career with stage fright. When she was seventeen, “I came to the theater on the eve of the opening,” she recalled, “and I saw my name being posted in big letters.”

Suddenly, she was overwhelmed with a sinking feeling, as she realized she was expected to be, in her words, “very, very good.” Maria felt paralyzed.

On opening night she told her mother she had a fever and wanted to stay home in bed. Her mother would have nothing of it. Maria said she never forgot her mother’s counsel: “If you cannot be good, then you must have the courage to be bad.”

 

The Lord did not call Paul to be an eloquent speaker; he called him to be faithful – to boldly speak about Jesus – even he if wasn’t good.  Sometimes, we have to do the right thing, even if we’re not very good at it.

Courage is not about eliminating your fears.  It’s about pressing on when your knees shake.  Eddie Rickenbacker, the World War II flying ace said it well, “Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do.  There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”

                                         (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre

It’s the Thought That Counts

Story of the Day for Monday June 20, 2011

It’s the Thought That Counts

 

         I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you gave me. They are a fragrant aroma.  

                                                                                  Philippians 4:18

Now, don’t quote me on this because I’m not a doctor, but I think there’s a virus out there that can infect your mind. You become nutty and, as the condition worsens, it can even make you want to root for the Chicago Bears.

My Brain Virus Theory is helping me come to grips with my friend, Marilou Payton. She’s one of the funnest people you’ll ever meet, and if you talk to her for two minutes and aren’t laughing, it means you’re a crabby person. She’s more than a little nutty, and – since you’d find out sooner or later – she’s a huge Bears fan.

So, how do you help someone when they reach this point?  At times like these, you might not be able to cure them, but you have to let them know that you care. That is why I decided to give Marilou my Green Bay Packers hat for Christmas.

It’s the thought that counts.

 

While the apostle Paul was in prison, the Christians from Philippi in Macedonia sent him some gifts. He claimed he wasn’t desperate for their gifts, because he had learned the secret of being content – no matter what situation the Lord put him in.

All the same, Paul was delighted by their thoughtfulness and generosity.  He was very pleased, but he told them that God was pleased as well.

 

When the British liberated the German concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen in 1945, they were deeply shaken by what they saw. Jewish men, women, and children were dying – five hundred a day – from sickness and starvation.

One British officer wrote in his diary about the “Horror Camp.” The people, obviously, desperately needed food and medicine. But Lieutenant Colonel Mercin Willet Gonin mentioned that, shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, they received a large shipment of . . . lipstick.

Lipstick? People are dying and someone gets the notion to send lipstick?

But Gonin says the gift was “genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance.” He makes the outrageous claim, “I believe nothing did more for these internees than the lipstick.” Women wandered around camp wrapped in a blanket because they had no clothes, but they wore bright red lipstick. At last the women were no longer a number, but a person. “That lipstick,” Gonin wrote, “started to give them back their humanity.” The gift the prisoners never requested was one of the gifts they needed most.

 

The prognosis for Marilou’s recovery is grim, but hopeful. She still mails me sympathy cards whenever the Bears beat the Packers. But – and this is gossip, so I shouldn’t be telling you this – but I hear she wears her Packer hat every night until she goes to bed.  The cure may be on its way.

But, as I say, this is only a rumor. And I would never want to spread rumors.

                                     (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Dead Things Don’t Grow

Story of the Day for Monday June 12, 2011

Dead Things Don’t Grow

 

                                           . . . Just as you learned from us how to live in a manner pleasing to God, in the same way you are living, do so more and more. 

                                                                                          1 Thessalonians 4:1

 

My daughter, Erika, used to walk to work.  She had no choice.  Her summer job was at Schaeffer Meadows, a remote ranger station near Glacier National Park in Montana.  The closest road to the ranger station, at Morrison Creek, was 14 miles, but her usual route from Spotted Bear headquarters wound18 miles over a mountain pass.

Having completed a semester at NOLS, the National Outdoor Leadership School, hiking 18 miles to work was no big deal.

 

Our family thought we’d just drop in for a visit one summer, so we hoisted our backpacks, hit the trail, and managed 300 yards before we stopped, exhausted, and had second thoughts about whether we were capable of completing an 18 mile hike.

The first day, we managed to trudge up to a high mountain lake near Whitcomb Peak. And the second day we straggled into the ranger station.

When we hiked out, we followed Morrison Creek and completed the 14 miles in one day.

 

My son, Randy, joined the Marines a couple months later. Basic training was no picnic. After their first ten mile hike, the exhausted recruits complained at how strenuous the hike had been.

Randy just smiled and said he had been hiking further than this in Montana.  At far higher elevation.  With a sixty pound pack.  And then the clincher . . .and accompanied by his five year old sister.

 

Faith is like that.  When we do more than we ever thought we could have done, we find there is still more that we can do that we never thought we could have done.

Paul is commending the congregation at the Greek town of Thesslonica.  They have been learning to apply their faith in Jesus and live in a way that pleases God.

And what does Paul say? “Good going, you guys!  Now, keep growing more and more.”

 

The life which Jesus calls us to is not static. We grow.  Look at how the Bible describes the church: we’re always growing.  Moving.  Building.

Growing doesn’t earn us eternal life.  It’s the other way around: you have to first be alive. Dead things don’t grow.

                                                            (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)