Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sometimes you can spot a star

Brenda were at Laguna Beach Christian Retreat Center in May.  We were on the west end of the beach, where the tourist density is much lower the the crowd decidedly more Christian in approach. As is our habit we watched what was going on around the white sand and waves.

We noticed one young man with his little 6-year old son.  The son was obviously athletic even at that young age.  He ran fast and dived into the waves like someone several years older.  His dad was clearly fit and perhaps an athlete as well.  His mom had the posture of a former gymnast, and those who have spent much time around gymnastics know the look.

We observed them for a couple of days and smiled and nodded when we walked past.  Finally, I asked him, you are obviously physically fit, how do you stay in shape?"  He laughed and said, "I work for my wife and do what she says!"

"Keep it up!" I replied, "Whatever she is telling you is working!"

The next day, Brenda and I again smiled and waved at the two young boys.  The man now posed the quesiton to me, "what do you do?" he asked.

"I teach Exercise Physiology."


Well for 32 years I taught at U of AL."

"Yeah, I went there to school." he said proudly.

"What field of study?" I inquired.

"Consumer Science, but mostly football."

"Oh yeah?"  "Did you play?"

"Yeah, I played 2002-2005."  "He was quarterback." his wife added.

"Yeah, my name is Brodie Croyle." he finally admitted.

If that name means nothing, google him.  He was an outstanding quarterback for UA, and his dad John was an All-American player under Bear Bryant.  His dad went on to start Big Oak Childrens's Ranch up near Gadsden, and Brodie, his wife, and Brodie's sister are now the operators of this famous and successful mission to homeless kids.

Sometimes you can spot a star, not just a star in sports, but a star in life.  And, we did.

Monday, August 14, 2017

THANKS be to G^d!!

A couple of months back, G^d BLESSED Brenda and I in an amazing way.  Our LAST week in Virginia was a killer.  On Monday we loaded a 6x12 foot UHaul trailer, and THEN drove 11 hours to our home in Alabama.  We unloaded Tuesday morning, and loaded up the furniture that we had replace to give it to our son Daniel and his family.

Wednesday we got up early and left to drive up to Huntsville, to Daniel's house.  Once we found it, we unloaded and spent a little time with Daniel, Shannon and Evie and Peter.  We then drove from Huntsville all the way to Bedford, VA where we spent the night.  Thursday morning, it was pouring rain, and we had to load up our last bit of stuff over at Legacy Oaks.  But, by the time we got to Legacy, it had stopped raining.  We loaded up another FULL trailer load by ourselves.  Brenda swept the garage, and we were ready to meet the buyer for his walk-through.

Friday AM, we closed on the sale of our wonderful Lynchburg home, and that went swift and well.  friday Afternoon I had to be at Liberty's Parents' reception, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  the fact that I ate 5 free ice creams made it even better.  Later that evening, at the worship service I sat next to an organic Chemistry Prof, who was German and seemed a highly committed Christian.

Saturday Dr. Andy B and I got up VERY early to be at Liberty by a bit after 0600. President Trump would be speaking, and everyone predicted a zoo with regard to traffic and parking.  It was nice and quiet when we arrived, and graduation went well.  At 3:30 that afternoon, we had our individual college graduation.  Unexpectedly I was invited to the stage to give out two awards to two of my favorite grad students.  I was thrilled.

As soon as graduation was over, Brenda and I picked up the truck and headed south!  We over-nighted in Bristol, VA.  We made it home a bit before 4 PM.  We got the truck quickly unloaded, with a little help from Daniel P

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Joys of Rest

This is the last day of our Spring Break.  I consider myself extremely fortunate to get a Spring Break.  It comes after 11 weeks of class, and the busiest 11 weeks I can recall.

It was a nice break.  I got to spend a little time with 3 of my 4 brothers, plus Brenda got to see her brother and sister.  We ended the week at Ben's (son -in-law) grandparents house in Otto, NC.  It was nice, without too much driving, plus we weren't anywhere too long to wear people out (I hope).

We tooks some pictures from Africa, and talked about it a bit, but tried to avoid wearing people out (I hope).

Everything went well, we made all our stops and only had one flat tire.  Thanks to our GPS we didn't get lost more than a few yards.  Thanks to our family and friends, we had a great time of fellowship and conversation.

But the best part was the rest.  Work is great, but rest is essential.  Get that?  Rest is essential.  I am not sure why, but G^d, after creating the earth, rested.  Sleep takes up about a third of our lives, but is essential.

Our laboratory has led the world in the study of recovery (i.e. rest) after bouts of exercise.  It turns out that few athletes can recover from a very hard workout in less than 48 hours.  Who knew?

Rest is a vital aspect of life, that seems to be under-appreciated, but when you are really tired...

Thanks be to G^d for the rest he gives us.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Take Heed Lest You Also Fall

"12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."  1 Corinths 10:12-13

I, like many, depend on myself WAY too much.  "I can do this".  Yeah, maybe for trivial things, I can.  But, I am learning that I seldom stand, at least if there is any pressure.

I marvel at my own unbelief. I know a lot of Scripture, I obey a little.  So MUCH G^d has done for me, and I have such little gratitude.  I fall to temptation, even when a way of escape is so very obvious.

Humanity is fallen, there can be NO doubt.  I am fallen, without a doubt.  Thanks be to G^d that He is merciful and He extends Grace to us all.

Take he, lest you also fall!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

That's not Fair! Thank Goodness!

"That's not Fair!"  Is a comment that used to be mostly relegated to kids under 15 or so years of age.

Now, it is common across the age span in the USA.

That's not Fair! Is applied to:
  • Taxes
  • White male privilege
  • Airlines doing many things
  • Police doing many things.

Whereas I will not argue the "fairness" of any of these issues, I do want to say that I am very HAPPY that many things are UNFAIR!!  Yes!  I do NOT want fairness for most of my life events, I want GRACE and MERCY!!

Many of the things I enjoy about life, are really unfair.  I was born in the USA where my opportunities were almost unlimited.  I was born into a stable, Christian home, where my parents loved each other and each of their 5 surviving boys.  I grew up in a small town which did NOT have legal alcohol sales- reducing my temptation.  I grew up without cable t.v., cell phones, the www, and all the associated bills. I was awarded a "free" education at USNA, which meant I never had serious debt until I bought a house. I met my wonderful wife at the local library and we married 12 days after I graduated from the USNA.  I could go on and on.

More importantly, I came to understand the TRUTH of the Gospel of Jesus Christ at an early age.  I understood then, and even better now, that I had a clear chance to hear the Good News in a culture that welcomed it.  I was UNfairly forgiven of the sins I had deliberately committed- how unfair!  I got to grow in my faith as a Follower of Jesus the Christ from my youth upwards, and have worshiped in many solid Christian Churches.

Yes, life has been UNfair to me- Thanks be to G^d!!!

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Nice Way to End

Last Thursday a historic event happened.  At the initiation of some of my UNDERgrad students, 6 of us got together socially for an end-of-the-semester event.  Brenda and I have entertained at least ONE group of my students every semester for as long as I can remember.  Due to our move, we had decided to skip this term, until one of my students suggested we get together.

We met at a local coffee shop and for two hours we chatted about whatever came to mind.  Brenda and I were both deeply honored, and the students expressed their delight that we would spend time with them.

The group was from two different classes, but the initiator was from my Measurement and Evaluation class, which brings up another point.  This may have been my BEST or top 2-3 M&E classes of my entire career.  This is the toughest class in our curriculum and this is the class for which I wrote a text book, so it has special meaning.  Unlike most M&E classes, only one person dropped the class after I explained that it was tough, and that I ONLY give ESSAY exams.  I am the ONLY person I know who gives these... and for good reason.  Grading them is tough!

Soooo, I feel that G^d is giving me a great send-off as I prepare to enter the wonderful world of retirement.  As most of you know, we will still be working for Cru Faculty Ministry, but not having to get up and go to work every day of the term.

Thanks be to G^d for a great career and a great adieu!

Look OUT! The Bridge has Washed Away!

Lots of people do NOT want to be confronted by Christians "pushing their beliefs on other people".  I find that just a little strange, in that most people seem very accepting of actors, singers, and other not-especially-qualified people "pushing their beliefs" about politics, abortion or whatever, "...on other people".

But let's give a little sympathy to the protesters against the gospel.  But consider this practical question.  If the bridge down the road around that blind curve had washed away in the recent flood, would you prefer I told you, or would you truly prefer to be "left alone", not bothered by that bit of worrisome information?

Really now, truly?

So, when someone shares the Good News of the Savior with a lost soul, a person with no hope in heaven isn't that pretty much the same thing?  In fact, maybe it is MORE important.  If I save you from running into the river and drowning, but 25 years later you end up in hell, then that is a small accomplishment.  If someone who cares enough about you to share the Good News of Christ with you, and you believe, and consequently live 6 months BUT spend eternity with G^d, that MUST be infinitely more valuable.

So, let us NOT grow weary in sharing Christ. People may object that we are "pushing our beliefs on them", but wouldn't they want to know about the bridge being washed out?  And, isn't this MORE important news than that?

Just askin'.