Monday, March 02, 2015

Home Grown

I think most food products have improved since I was little but there is one that most definitely has not. This is from October of 2010.

I eat simply most nights at supper, usually just a George Foreman grilled chicken breast and a bowl of salad or black beans followed by yogurt. Thursday after school, while shopping for my next week's food, I decided to pick up a tomato at the grocery store and eat it with my chicken. It looked delicious..... but when I ate it, I found it tasteless with the texture of cardboard. Listen, my travels have taught me never to be a picky eater but it made me long for the tomatoes we had in our garden as a kid. I hated working and weeding at 6 AM in that same garden but I loved to eat those tomatoes (except when Mom fried them when they were still green!) I once read something John William Smith, one of my favorite writers, penned to the point that unless tomatoes have cracks and dirt vestiges, they aren't worth partaking of. Jesus had quite a bit to say about fruit and we are taught from the time we are small that tomatoes are fruit and not vegetable. Seven times in Matthew 7, verses sixteen through twenty, He uses the word fruit in the context of prophets. If their fruits weren't good, neither were they. The Master was right: we can look good on the outside and be less than stellar under the surface. Apparently, so can tomatoes at Wal-Mart. And I just thought I was buying my supper.

Applicable quote of the day:
“It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”
Lewis Grizzard


To hear one of the best- AND FUNNIEST!- songs ever, click below to hear Guy Clark's classic, Homegrown Tomatoes:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nitgmAInI18&feature=related



God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

http://www.hawleybooks.com/

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Love And Prison



Jesus, in the Parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matthew 25, said, 'I was in prison and you visited me.' One of the first celebrities to follow that teaching of the Savior was Johnny Cash. This is from April 23, 2011.

I was in charge of middle school chapel on Thursday. As part of our discussion, I showed a clip from Gospel Road, Johnny Cash's movie about the life of Jesus,  filmed on location in Israel. Cash took some liberties with the filming but in a scene that makes Gospel Road worth watching, he sets the crucifixion on a busy urban street in modern America, which was the clip I showed. We spoke of how Johhny was trying to make the sacrifice of the cross both eternal and universal. It caught some of the kids off guard but is sparked some thought.


If you are a country music fan or watched the biographic movie about Johnny Cash, Walk The Line, you know his life was often a struggle. One thing I really appreciate is that as far as I can tell, Cash was the first, or one of the first, celebrities to reach out to the incarcerated. Back in the fall semester, Larry Frank, who is my congregation's prison minister, brought a former prisoner to my class.This man's life had turned from star athlete to drug user to drug dealer to a man who killed another. The story he told of life in prison, and the power of the gospel, was an eye opener to my class of senior boys. But without those like Larry Frank who do what Jesus taught by visiting those in prison, it's doubtful our speaker would have ever been able to make any positive contribution to society.

In honor of Johnny Cash and indulging myself a little, I am including one of the greatest songs ever, Love Has No Pride, by the stunningly beautiful Linda Ronstadt. It is from a show at the Tennessee State Prison arranged by, you guessed it, Johnny Cash. Hope you enjoy it and remember a time when talent was what sold records. HAPPY EASTER!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hoX4rXJGWg#t=23

Applicable quote of the day:
“How well I have learned that there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell. There is a deep, wide gulf, a chasm, and in that chasm is no place for any man.”
Johnny Cash

God bless,
Steve

Luke 18:1
http://www.hawleybooks.com/
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Parents' Song


My parents' wedding!

Tomorrow, one of the world's luckiest guys gets to get married to Veronica Fontenot, one of my favorite students and now colleagues. Our parents were all young once though I doubt I believed it as a kid. Tonight's entry, from 1/11/11, is about a college, a chorus, a song, and a yet to be formed couple.

We had All-School chapel today except it wasn't really all of the school and it wasn't really chapel. The Harding University chorus from Searcy, Arkansas came to Westbury Christian and sang for us for forty-five minutes. Our students from grades two through twelve listened to approximately sixty wonderful young voices sing praises to God with a few other selections thrown in for good measure. I have no musical background but even I could tell they are very good, this choir that is making appearances throughout Texas on their way to a choral festival in Oklahoma. It's here, though, that I have a confession to make. My mind wandered during their concert on a cold morning in Houston. But, even though I daydreamed a little bit, all the way through their traditional farewell hymn of
  "The Lord Bless You And Keep You," I paid rapt attention. You see, my mother and father were in that same Harding chorus more than sixty years ago. They weren't married or even engaged as far as I can tell but they were moving inexorably toward their union of husband and wife which resulted in the birth a number of years later of their second son. As the performance unfolded, I looked for young men and young women who reminded me of my folks. I can't say I saw any matches but then I can't see my folks as teenagers or early twenty-somethings anyway. I did witness a big bunch of fresh faced and optimistic college kids who love singing and love the Lord just like a boy from Flint, Michigan and a girl from Nashville, Arkansas did in the late 1940's. It made me wish I had paid more attention to my mom and dad when they sang in church and in the car. Their voices are starting to fade a little from my memory. But you know what? In the tones of those five dozen singers today, I thought I heard the echo of Nelda Chesshir and Roger Wayne Hawley. And believe me, it was a beautiful sound.
 To listen to the Harding Chorus beautifully sing, The Lord Bless You And Keep You, please copy and paste the link below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=conb0giz3gk


Applicable quote of the day:
"In the happiest of our childhood memories, our parents were happy, too."      Robert Brault


God bless,
Steve

Luke 18:1
http://www.hawleybooks.com/

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Friday, February 27, 2015

Live Long And Prosper



Each year, we have James 1:27 as a memory verse assignment and I often mention Ronnie Lane in class in conjunction. Those two details are related. None of my current students know Ronnie, which is a shame. Ronnie was an 8th grader in my class nine years ago. Health issues forced him to be home schooled during the spring semester until graduation. Nothing I can tell you about Ronnie can do him justice but I hope the following entry, from March of 2006, gives you a glimmer into the heart of this child of God. I am re-running this tonight in honor of the passing today of Leonard Nimoy, AKA Mr. Spock.


I loved Star Trek as a kid. The real Star Trek: you know, Spock and Captain Kirk, "Beam us up, Scotty!" and "Fasers on stun!" They came out with an updated version, Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987 but it wasn't the same. It's like the difference between Batman, the television show and the Batman movies. The tv show was a campy spoof while the big screen versions were dark and gloomy. Even as a child, I could tell when the original Star Trek was trying to teach a lesson in morality, something lacking in present day fare. I thought the characters tried to do the right thing in the scripts. In teaching, I use an example of an episode (Let This Be Your Last Battlefield) when the crew of the Enterprise lands on planet Cheron where all the people have faces of two colors, black and white. Those who had the right side of their face white discriminated against those who had their colors switched. It was obvious the point was the lunacy of judging a person based simply on the color of skin. Decades later, I still remember the application.

My students decorate the walls of my classroom. Sometimes, they draw pictures from the life of Jesus. Often, I simply have them write out a Bible verse in mass on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet. We use Crayola markers, only requiring the verse be written horizontally and like all artists, they must sign their name to their masterpiece. The last scripture to blanket Room 258 was Ephesians, chapter 2 and verse 10: "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do." Last week, it was time for new wallpaper. We used James 1:27 which serves as the theme for our work with Honduran orphans. Our kids come from all over the world so I let the students write the verses in their native language which might be Japanese, Korean, Chinese, or Espanol. One of the young men in my eighth grade Bible class is Ronnie Lane. Ronnie is unique. He is very bright, a free thinker, and usually carrying some Star Trek related book. He told me he was trying to learn Klingon, the language of the enemies of Captain Kirk and crew in the Star Trek series. Apparently in one of his books, they list the characters of the Klingon alphabet. Ronnie asked if he could write out James 1:27 in Klingon. I approved and he brought it in today. The best way to describe it is that it resembles Egyptian hieroglyphics in need of Jenny Craig. It's on the wall with all the rest. In fact, I gave it a place of honor above the center of my dry erase board. Although James 1:27 has been translated into countless dialects, this is probably its first excursion into Klingon. On the surface, the whole thing may seem silly but it took Ronnie more time to do his verse than it did anyone else. It was an interesting idea from an interesting young man. The most enduring phrase from Star Trek was Spock's Vulcan greeting, "Live long and prosper." Leonard Nimoy, the Jewish actor who portrayed Spock, ad libbed the spread fingered hand gesture from a variation of the Hebrew symbol for "Shaddai," or "Almighty God." A Biblical influence in a legendary television series- imagine that! I had no idea until I googled Star Trek stuff as I researched material for my entry. It all goes back to Ronnie, Klingon, and James 1:27. My keyboard isn't formatted for Klingon so let me leave you with James 1:27 in English. It places great emphasis on helping others AND keeping ourselves unstained by the world. That is Ronnie Lane in a nutshell.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
James 1:27


Applicable quote of the day:
"Nowhere am I so desperately needed as among a shipload of illogical humans."
Spock (from episode I, Mudd)

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

By Bread Alone


I did three presentations today- elementary chapel, 1st grade, 2nd grade- as we kicked off our 17th WCS change collection for good works in Honduras and Haiti. In a world where I have plenty, many have almost nothing. This is from February 12, 2011.

Yesterday morning, I was a guest at a terrific breakfast in downtown Houston. The occasion was a fundraiser for Hope For Haiti's Children, a group I worked with in my 2003 mission to Port-Au-Prince. The fellowship was wonderful and I was blessed to visit with Christians from a number of my mission trips. The food was delicious as well, as it normally is at fundraisers. The program was emceed by Thom Besso, maybe the funniest guy I know, a brother who I have spent much time with in both Haiti and Honduras. A video was shown, displaying both the triumphs and trials in the poorest country in this hemisphere, if not the world. Plans and long-range goals were presented to help the poorest of the poor. It was a gut-wrenching hour and a half for me.

There is a moment in most effective presentations where you are grabbed, reeled into the message and its implications. Mine came from something Ken Bever, the founder of HFHC, revealed with an unforgettable illustration. Ken held up a round piece of baked dirt and told us it is what the kids are eating in Haiti; dirt mixed with a little flour and salt, molded and cooked into the shape of a pancake. The price on the street? Twenty-five cents US. I googled and found more, more than I wanted to know. To think that little children, who Jesus taught the kingdom of heaven is like, are reduced to eating the soil of the earth to survive is beyond comprehension. I asked my students yesterday afternoon to raise their hands if they did not like what we had for lunch. Now, our lunch is catered, professionally cooked, incredibly varied, already paid for by tuition, and ALL YOU CAN EAT! A number of hands went up in each class. I told them about the mud cakes, not to shame them but make them realize how unbelievably blessed we are. (Truthfully, sometimes teachers complain about the preparation of our lunch, as well.) Ironically, we all left the breakfast with full stomachs. Those we need to help have never known that feeling. Jesus taught that
man does not live by bread alone but by the Word of God. Part of that teaching includes treating others as if we were helping Jesus. So many of us are angered by the accounts of greed and corruption of funds donated to charitable endeavors but trust me, every penny HFHC raises goes straight to bless the little ones in Haiti who know only too well the price of poverty: it's dirt cheap.


Applicable quote of the day:
"Society comprises two classes: those who have more food than appetite, and those who have more appetite than food."
S├ębastien-Roch Nicholas de Chamfort


To see what Hope For Haiti's Children is all about, please go to:

http://hopeforhaitischildren.org/

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

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

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Good Samaritan, Circa 2015 ACT II




As I mentioned two nights ago, each year all my students rewrite the Parable of the Good Samaritan. This entry was penned by four of my juniors.

Kelsey Wallace:
At Starbucks this morning, a lady went on an office coffee run and forgot her wallet at work, leaving her $5 short. A CEO for a corporation, sure to have well over $5 to loan, ignored the situation and ordered his own drink. Her next door neighbor saw her standing at the line dumbfounded and being fully aware of her plight, still did not offer her a penny.
As the lady grew more and more worried, a seven year old little boy stepped up and asked what was wrong. Not wanting to disturb him, she said “Nothing, I’m just a few bucks short on my order; don't worry.” The boy reached in his pocket and pulled out a few bucks and a pile of change. Everyone stood amazed and kind of embarrassed that the most generous one in the room was a little boy.


Markus Henderson:
It was the middle of the football season and Jimmy’s team was undefeated. There was a new transfer student that joined the team and he needed to learn the plays. He asked Jimmy to help him but Jimmy said, “Learn them on your own.” Jimmy was a starter and captain of the team. Next, he went to Coach Krimm and Coach told him, “Dude, I don't have time for that.” Then Chris, a 3rd stringer, saw what had happened and immediately volunteered to help because he knew the playbook better than anyone else.


Tiata Collier:
One day, a girl was texting on her phone and didn’t notice that there was a stairwell in front of her. She fell down the stairs and broke her phone and broke her thumb. A girl from her church saw her. She told the girl that she was late for basketball practice and she left in a hurry. Next, the school’s vice principal walks by and laughed. The vice principal said, “You're so foolish! Why would you text and walk down the stairs at the same time?” and laughed and walked away. Finally, the antisocial and the most awkward boy passed by and asked if she was ok. He picked her up and took her to the nurse. Then he called 911 and the girl was taken to the hospital.


Jasmine Ward:
There once was a dancer who ran around her neighborhood everyday. One day while she was running, she tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and sprained her ankle. Two men walked by and looked at her- they stole her wallet! A girl who went to her school who was her so-called best friend looked the other way and continued to walk. Finally, another one of her dance team members, who was shy and not that great of a dancer, helped her up and carried her to her house nearby. They later became friends and the hurt girl helped her become a better dancer.

Applicable quote of the day:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Keurig For All Ills


It's been a good couple of days for me, coffee-wise. Today after class, Naila, one of my favorite students ever, told me her mom was bringing me coffee when she visits her daughter. Naila is from Tanzania and Tanzanian coffee is prized! Naila is already making a high A in my Gospels class so no need to inflate her grade over this very gracious present! Yesterday, I found my birthday present. If that sounds odd, my birthday was last Wednesday and my brothers, Dave and Scott, sent me a present but it never came. (In all honesty, it was either Karen or Sally who actually got it shipped!) My brothers wondered about the delivery to WCS but nothing to report.....until I looked on Monday through the boxes of 500 Honduras/Haiti bottles which were delivered last Wednesday. My 8th period 8th grade Bible class descended on our lobby and carried the boxes up to my room along with my gift which got mixed in and overlooked. When I discovered the box yesterday, I thought it was for someone else but my name was on it. When I opened it, I found a Keurig Coffee Maker! Both Dave and Scott have one and I learned to use them over Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations. I hope this one does not require ANY assembly- I could be in trouble!

I think this is interesting about my new coffee maker. The gift was there all along- I just didn't know it. I am convinced the Lord gives us gifts we never develop because we never discover them or we're afraid to try. As I have become older- witness the birthday- I've found I have talents I never dreamed I had. What's more, I find I am reasonably competent in them and enjoy exploring how to put them into practice. I would have never believed I could travel the world by myself or teach someone about Jesus who doesn't speak English. I would have never believed I could use a computer in any form or fashion but now I am able to write a short devotional each night and send it around the globe. I'm pretty comfortable staying comfortable but that isn't why God granted me some talents. Like that Keurig, they might have been in plain sight but I wasn't looking too diligently. What's next? Well, one of my students (Caitlyn) told me last year I would be a good husband! Just don't give me that you aren't looking line.

Applicable quote of the day:
I like coffee because it gives me the illusion that I might be awake.

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