Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lessons From "Full House' (Trina Agee Cornell)

Trina is one of my heroes! We have been on many mission trips together in Honduras and I've grown to love and admire her. She's such a wonderful example, WCS has tried several times to persuade her to teach for us. Trina is a newlywed and teacher in St. Louis. I was blessed to stay with Trina and her husband, Bob, when I spoke in St. Louis in the fall of 2012. Pray for me in Vietnam!

As a child of the ‘80s and the eldest of three girls, I grew up anxiously awaiting Friday nights.  My sisters and I would gather around the family room television around 7:00 PM, ready for the start of ABC’s “T.G.I.F.”  This set of shows, including Full House, Family Matters, and Perfect Strangers, always made for great laughs and time spent with my sisters.  

With the amazing advances in technology, these shows have been compiled, season by season, on DVD.  Over the years, I have been fortunate to collect all eight seasons of Full House – for those who are unfamiliar with the show, it portrays a single father, Danny Tanner, who raises his three daughters, DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle, with the help of Danny’s brother-in-law, Jesse Katsopolous, and best friend, Joey Gladstone.  Having two young sisters of my own, I connected most with the situations in which the girls found themselves.  In a fit of nostalgia, I spent this weekend re-watching old Full House episodes, and I came across a particular episode – Season 3, Episode 20 – Honey, I Broke the House.

In this episode, Stephanie looks for someone to spend time with her before she heads off to dance class.  She tries to get the attention of the members of her family, but no one seems to pay her any.  Each family member passes her off to someone else, until she reaches Joey.  Stephanie finds Joey in the backyard with the brand-new used car that he has recently purchased – a 1963 Rambler he named “Rosie.”  Stephanie proceeds to share the minute details of her day with Joey, while he distractedly works on his car, waxing and buffing its fenders.  He suddenly finds a nick in the car’s red paint; in his rush to pick up some touch up paint, he specifically instructs Stephanie to keep an eye on the car.  In his absence, Stephanie decides to jump in the car and “take a pretend drive.”  She turns on the ignition by accident and mistakes the “R” on the dashboard for “Radio.”  As she shifts the gear, the car stars moving backward…and crashes into the side of the house!  

Stephanie assesses the damage that is done to the house – and decides it is best to run away from home.  She packs her bag for dance class, and after attending, has her ride drop her off at Becky’s, Jesse’s girlfriend’s, house.  Becky finds this odd and inquires as to why she is not able to go home.  She proceeds to share with Becky the “super gigantic, dinosaur-sized problem” that is on her mind.  In the process of sharing this information, Jesse arrives at Becky’s house, realizing that Stephanie is the culprit in the car fiasco.  Jesse and Becky both encourage Stephanie to go home and take responsibility for her actions. 

Stephanie arrives at home to find her family dealing with the situation.  She explains to Danny and Joey how everything happened; Stephanie is then sent to her room to await her consequences.  When Danny speaks with Stephanie later on, she is truly remorseful for what she has done.  She feels, as a result of her actions, that she does not deserve to be part of the family anymore – she says she should be sent off to carpenter school to build her family a brand-new house.  Danny stops her in her tracks and – cue the slow music – explains to her that no matter how angry or disappointed he may be, he will always forgive her because of the love he has for
her.  Danny ends the show with this line: “There is only one Stephanie Judith Tanner – and you can never be replaced.”

Stephanie reminds me a great deal of myself in this situation.  I strive each day to live the Christian life, but things happen.  Satan has a way of creeping in to my life and finding the chink in my heavenly armor.  I work so hard to guard myself against him, but sometimes, he gets to me.  Once I realize the sin in my life, my first instinct is to run – just like Stephanie tried to do when she wrecked the car.  She was afraid of the reaction she would receive from her family – as a Christian, I do not have to fear the Lord’s reaction to me.  I know He loves me as His child – 1 John 1:9 says, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.”  Once Stephanie took responsibility for her actions, she realized that, despite her mistake, she was still a valuable member of the family.  As a Christian, I know that, despite my sins, the Lord loves me as His own – and continues to show me just how valuable I am to Him.  His love never fails – and I thank Him every day for it! 

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Monday, July 21, 2014

Exercise the Thankful Muscle (Frank Myer)

Good evening! My devotional tonight is penned by my friend, Frank Myer. Frank and I went to Harding University together and our folks did the same several decades previously. Frank writes a weekly devotional called Friday From Frank and he has graciously loaned me several of his excellent pieces! Please continue to pray for me in Vietnam!

Friday From Frank
Exercise the Thankful Muscle
Good Morning Folks,
It’s great to be alive. You just were given another day.
How long has it been since you’ve worked out your “Thankful” muscle?
Easier than skipping going to the gym, or some other place of sweat induced activities. Actually, it’s not sweat induced, it’s sweat resulting. I got off track.
Thankful to be back.
What does it take for you to be thankful?
How efficient are you in being thankful?
Remember Steve Martin? Not only does he play a mean banjo, he thinks he’s a comedian. In this particular case, he’s correct. Unlike the time Mrs. Hollingsworth, my 7th grade math teacher, asked me the same question.
At the end of Steve Martin’s comedy concert he sometimes would say, “I’d like to thank each and every one of you for coming out tonight.”  He’d pull in a deep breath then: “Thank you. Thank you. Thank You. Thank You.”   You get the point.
Practice being thankful.  Not just the normal, everyday stuff we all tend to do by rote memorization.  Yes, I’m sure your kids are God’s gift to this world, and I know they are without blemish, at least in your mind, but go for the gusto.
Thank God for something different.
Those people you work with. Thank them.
That guy at airport?  If the TSA employee who some may cast aspersions on, wasn’t there, you wouldn’t get on the plane.
Sure you have to wait in line a bit. I bet it’s a shorter wait than walking.
Be nice.
What about the waitress that is slow to bring out the extra refill?  Maybe she’s had a lousy day. How long would it take you to say “Thanks.”
Well they don’t deserve it.
Ah, that’s a good one.
What you’re telling me is it’s our job to determine who deserves to be thanked and who doesn’t?
Do you deserve every good thing you received? (Here’s a hint. NO.)
Be thankful.
Let God know what you’re thankful for. It’s just good manners.
And when you find something new to be thankful for, think about why.
Spend a few moments pondering what it is about the focus of your thanks that makes you thankful.  I know. This is hard work.
Why do it?
Number one reason – God made us to be thankful. When we are thankful it’s good for us.
Don’t believe me?
Noooooooooo problem.
I’m thankful I have readers that do appreciate what I write and if you’re too obtuse to understand what I’m trying to say then…..
Okay, that was a bad example. Don’t do that.
Read Psalms. Try Psalm 91, no wait, 95. Go to 95 and read.
For a more secular rendition of reason; they’ve done lots of studies on people who are calm and content with life. One of the top attributes of these folks is they express thanks in lots of different ways.
Maybe this study proves what God has been telling us since the Old Testament. It pays to be thankful.
Give it a try.
Find three things to be thankful for. Shoot for something you haven’t noticed before. If you really want a star in your crown – send a note to someone thanking them for something they did.
You’re the light of this world. Jesus tells us that. So shine. Glow with a cheerful heart and be thankful.
Enjoy the ride,
Frank Myer

PS – Try to give someone a reason to smile. Share a joke, a hug, or whatever you can come up with. 

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

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Don’t Relish the Pickle (Frank Myer)

Good evening! My devotional tonight is penned by my friend, Frank Myer. Frank and I went to Harding University together and our folks did the same several decades previously. Frank writes a weekly devotional called Friday From Frank and he has graciously loaned me several of his excellent pieces! Please continue to pray for me in Vietnam!

Friday From Frank
Don’t Relish the Pickle
Good Morning Culinary Participants,
Hey, life is a feast - - enjoy.
Recently, I was visiting with a person who told me he had done some wrong things in life. ( I was hoping for details, all I got was a general overview. ) He was confronted by a church –going spouse. Here’s where it got interesting. With great joy the church-goer let the former know he was going to hell.
As he said; “They probably are right, but did there need to be so happy about it? “
It seems the church-goer was relishing the fact said sinner was in a pickle, a very serious one at that.
Are we in the same soup?
How often do we seem to enjoy the fact that others are going to hell. It’s like a sport to us.
We all seem to know the verse that denotes the said sin, and the consecutive results.
This is not a new human emotion . Read Jonah. 
What about compassion?
Let’s check out a couple of examples –
Let’s start of with a very important verse.
John 11:35  Jesus wept.
Why is that important?  If you are a teenager and your homework assignment for Sunday School is to learn 10 Bible verses before next week, it’s a great place to start.  I digress.
Why was JC weeping? Someone had died. A friend of his, a very close friend, and it turned out to be such a close friend he brought him back.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking – well that’s just sad, that doesn’t really count. Yes it does, because if nothing else it shows Jesus empathized and sympathized.  He understood pain and grief.
Rich young ruler – we like this one – well at least the part where Jesus knocks him down a peg  or two, we don’t like the “go sell it all” part, but that’s a different topic. Look at Mark 10 – around verse 21 – Jesus loved him. 
How many times have you heard the rich young ruler story and not heard that part?
Think this is a New Testament thing?  Wrong-o Religious Breath ( A little homage to Johnny Carson, the second most liked JC. )
Go way back to Exodus – Moses is talking to his friend, God. Imagine that, being able to be able to be called a friend of God.
Exodus 34 – tells us God says He is full of compassion. He is gracious. Slow-to-anger and loving rounds out the characteristics of God.
Maybe we should strive to work on those as well.
Several years ago, Bobby Mitchell, #1 Country DJ in Dallas, and I were having lunch. He told me about a woman, of questionable background, who came to church. He watched as she was greeted with less than overwhelming enthusiasm.
I asked what did he do?  ( Truth be told, I made a couple of totally inappropriate remarks that were witty and worth a good laugh or two, then I settled down. )
Bobby said I got to thinking that this lady has probably been told more than once what she has done wrong. So I went up and introduced myself and asked : “How can I help you?”
What happened next?
She was so relieved she almost started crying.
That lesson has stuck. Bobby is one of the good guys in this world.
Last Sunday Michael McGaughey, who as far as I know was never voted #1 DJ anywhere, mentioned in class – “You don’t have to warn people about going to hell, they are living it every day. “  Maybe he is on to something.
As far as I can tell, I am not on the judgment committee, so I prefer not to waste any brain energy on deciding who gets in and who doesn’t.
My job from what I can tell from Eph 2:10 is do what I can to make this place a better world.
If that means passing a good chance on letting someone know how lost and miserable they are, and where they will end up, so be it.
For the record, this is far harder than it sounds. Still one has to strive for a goal, doesn’t one?
If  not, then we’d all be in a real stew.
Enjoy the ride,
PS – Being compassionate is like any other skill, it takes practice. Start out on strangers, then if you mess it up, they won’t talk about you at church. 

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

4.682 Options and Only One God (Frank Myer)

Good evening! My devotional tonight is penned by my friend, Frank Myer. Frank and I went to Harding University together and our folks did the same several decades previously. Frank writes a weekly devotional called Friday From Frank and he has graciously loaned me several of his excellent pieces! Please continue to pray for me in Vietnam!

Friday From Frank
4.682 Options and Only One God
Good Morning Life Travelers,
How’s the week? Anything exciting happen? Four Presidents showed up in Dallas to help George W celebrate opening the Bush Library. As he said in his speech, some people are amazed in that he even found a library, much less has founded one.
Five Presidents. Which is your favorite? Take your pick.
America may be the land of the brave and home of the free, but it is also the residence of options.
Remember “Special orders don’t upset us”?  Hint: “Hold the pickles. Hold the lettuce. Special orders don’t upset us.”  Ring a bell? Burger King.
Other chains talk about all their culinary options. Taco Bell talks about exercise. “Make a run for the border” which might be why they don’t do as well as McDonalds. Just a thought.
There are now more mutual funds then there are actual stocks on the stock market. Options everywhere. Many 401(k) plans have 40 or more choices.
Do we need to talk about TV? Remember back in the good old days where there were three channels? Now there are so many channels if a show picks up more viewers than attend a college football game, producers and sponsors jump for joy. I exaggerate, but not by much.
What’s the number one rated TV show of all time?
The final episode of M*A*S*H – over 100 million viewers.
The Top Rated Show this season?  – Big Bang Theory, around 10- 12 million viewers.
Why? Too many channels to choose from.
We like choices. We feel it’s our right to chose.
Back to food. One story I remember as a younger person. My folks had all sorts of interesting people over to the house for dinner. One of the guests was in charge of acclimating missionaries when they came back to live in the states.
He told the story of taking a family to the local grocery store. They stood in the bread aisle and began to weep. Why?  Too many choices. For years they had limited choice and now they stood in front of long shelves of bread and so many choices. This was even before multigrain. They would go into shock today. 
Cars. When Henry started with his car company, you could have any color you wanted, as long as you wanted black. How many colors are out there now? 
Warning, cultural joke coming.
It’s even hit the literary market. There’s a book out about painting cars: Fifty Shades of Grey. (For my more sensitive readers, don’t go buy that book expecting it to be about cars. It was a joke.)
We like choices, which, to a point, is okay. However, when folks start church shopping that may be a red flag. There is the rumor that church is not about getting something out of it, but you are there to worship God. I may be wrong there.
Yes, I am familiar with the argument, “How can I worship if I’m unhappy?”  Oh, my. We certainly don’t want anybody being less than happy as they deal with life, or spiritual dilemmas.
What about God?
We believe we can choose our God. How nice. Too bad it’s not true.
God, and whether He’s there or not is already a done deal.
It’s a matter of discovery not decision.
If you walk into Marble Slab looking for a particular flavor of ice cream and they don’t have it, they will make it for you. You want to mix raisins and peanuts? Help yourself.
You don’t like the way God exists? Tough noodles. (I’m being polite.)
The skills you use walking into Neiman’s and finding the perfect shirt to match your skin tone, are you a summer or winter, doesn’t work with deciding what kind of God there is.
God is either there or He is not. No matter how important you are, what you think really makes about as much impact as me trying to decide why Justin Bieber CDs still sell. They do no matter what I think.
When it comes to God we are here to discover the truth not decide it.
How do we do that?
One; realize it’s our mission to find out what’s going on with God. Read the Bible. Pray. Study. Have a little faith.
My atheist friends will say something along the lines of: “Well I am not going to believe in something I can’t prove.”  Really?  Well how can you prove God is not here? Guess what? You can’t.
Seek. Ask. Look around.
If you buy the wrong color car, so what? If you chose the wrong hair style, big deal, it will grow back.
If you make the wrong choice about if there is a God or not, you have laid everything on the line. Even if you don’t want to “play”, that is not an option. You were born. You’re playing.
Enjoy the ride,
PS – Two books you may enjoy – “America’s Four Gods”   and “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist”.  Google them. Amazon Them.

PPS – After you decide there is a God, the next step is finding out what is God like. That, my friend, will take at least another week or two. (Someone has an over-inflated opinion of their writing skills.) 

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sirens (Dr. Jim White)

Jim White and I grew up together in York, Nebraska for several years as boys. His folks were associated with York College during that time frame. There are several other connections including his brother, Charles, coaching my brother, Dave, and his York High School teammates to the Nebraska State Class B Tennis Championship in Dave's senior year. Jim has worked at York College as well as Harding University during his professional career. Jim is now the minister for the Southwest Church of Christ in Omaha, Nebraska. Here are his wonderful thoughts. (Aside: Jim was the best WHIFFLE BALL player ever!) Keep me in your prayers as my time in Vietnam is close to the half way point! 

I was driving back into town recently when the bad weather prompted a warning. Coming down a major street my wife thought she heard something so she rolled down the window. It was a tornado siren. We probably shouldn't have been out and about at the time, but we were returning from a long trip and we were trying to get back to our home. Now, our first clue that things were bad was the warning we received on our televisions prior to leaving on the trip. We had checked the weather that morning and there were indications that the weather might be bad. The second clue was the ominous sky and the lightening that was streaking through the air. That rain was beginning to fall was probably another indication that there might be some weather in the area. Now we had the third reminder--the sound of the siren.

When I was a little boy, the church bell at my grandparent's church was rung thirty minutes before classes started, when classes officially started, and when the worship services started. There was a ministry of bell-ringing. That bell was a reminder to the community that something special was about to happen. (It also meant we better get into gear and get our clothes on!) The other day I was driving down the street of my home town and heard a bell chiming. It took me back to those days long ago and reminded me of times past.

While sitting in my office yesterday, I heard the wailing of a siren growing louder and then quieter as it passed our building. I wondered what the emergency was. Was it a house on fire? Could someone have been hurt in an accident? Was there an elderly person who needed assistance getting to the hospital? By law the vehicles in the road must yield to the screaming emergency vehicle. There was something that took precedence over a casual drive down the street.

Earlier this morning, our pre-school director informed us that they were going to have a fire drill this morning. The horn used for this warning is obnoxious and noticeable. I guess that means it serves its purpose. Children will file outside and be prepared in case of the unthinkable.

There was a commercial several months ago about a new car on the market. It would remind the owner that there were some things that needed to be attended to. In the commercial, the owner of the car would be ready to do something inappropriate when the car horn would sound. Wouldn't it be nice to have something like that in our lives? We have sirens to warn us of tornadoes, bells that chime to let us know church is ready to start, other sirens that warn us to get out of the way of emergency vehicles, and buzzers to tell us to get out of the building because there is a fire. But wouldn't it be nice to have some kind of warning system to let us know we are treading on dangerous ground?

We do have something. He's called the Holy Spirit. He's there to nudge, urge, prompt, encourage, and remind. He's there placing verses in our minds when temptation comes up. He warns us that there is an emergency and we should be alert. He lets us know that something special is about to happen. Our problem? We just don't listen. You rarely notice the ambulance until he's right up on you. Church bells, especially if they are regular, just become part of the white noise we experience every day and we tend to ignore it. Fire drills, well, we blow them off as just a drill.

But God is very serious about listening to the Spirit's call. Paul tells the Galatians to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh. How will we know the difference? Listen to Paul's words. "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." (Galatians 5:24, 25) Keep in step. Hear the warnings. Heed the alarm. Listen to the reminders. One of the most significant problem in our lives today is we have too much noise in our lives....so much so that it drowns out the Spirit's calling.

I don't know why I've heard all of these "bells and whistles and warnings" lately. Maybe it's to remind me of the Spirit's lead in our lives. Listening, hearing, really hearing and willing to let Him lead us.

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

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Again, our thoughts tonight are from my good friend, Ken Ellis! Continued prayers requested for my mission to Vietnam, now in Week # 2!

I continue to marvel at God's ingenuity in planning the most intricate details of His creation, especially the interactions of a flock of geese while in flight.  It's particularly surprising to me how much a flock of geese has in common with the family of God.

Lesson 1:  I never tire of seeing a flock of geese flying in a tight "V" formation.  But what's with all that honking that's going on?  It's not like they are on I-75 during goose rush hour and are honking to get other geese to move out of the way.  Well, it seems those honking in the back of the formation are encouraging the lead goose to keep up its speed.

Each of us should be "honkers" for one another, encouraging each other to maintain a steady pace towards our goal of living the Christian life with our eyes set on eternity.

Lesson 2:  When the lead goose tires of flying up front, it drops back into formation, and another goose flies to the point position.

One person can't possibly care for the physical and spiritual needs of an entire  congregation.  Each of us has unique talents and abilities and must step up sometimes as leaders to support those who have heavy, tiring burdens to bear.

Lesson 3:  As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the geese that follow.  By flying in the "V" formation, the flock provides 71% more total flying range than if a goose were flying alone.

When we work together as a body of Christians, we can often achieve a goal much faster and easier than when one of us works alone.  Working together builds trust and unites us in doing God's work on earth.  Teamwork pays dividends.

Lesson 4:  When a goose falls out of formation, it experiences the drag and resistance of flying alone.  It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the birds in front.

Being in the company of fellow Christians provides an uplifting, positive, spiritual experience, a resistance to temptation and a feeling of belonging with those with whom we share common beliefs. 

Lesson 5:  If a goose gets sick or is shot and falls to the ground, two geese leave the formation and stay with the goose until it either dies or gets well.  They will then join another passing flock.

As members of God's family, we have a responsibility to take care of each other during difficult times and nourish each other back to physical or spiritual health. 

In conclusion, we are each made in God's own image, yet what we might consider to be a lesser creation can teach us valuable lessons about God's divine wisdom for His family.

(Thoughts for this article were taken from website "www.agiftofinspiration.com.")

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In the Presence of Greatness (Ken Ellis)

My devotional tonight is again from the pen of my good friend, Ken Ellis. Please remember me on my mission in Can Tho, Vietnam!

I think it may have been the spring of 1964 when our high school band
was invited to play for a visiting celebrity at our little town’s city hall. The
owner of a local quarter horse ranch was hosting someone who had come to
town to look at his horses, and his guest had been invited to make a speech
while he was in town. Our band played a few songs, someone made a few
introductory remarks, and up to the podium stepped Ronald Reagan. I would
give almost anything to remember what he had to say that night.

It was the summer of 1965, and I was headed home. As a recent high
school graduate, I had spent the summer hitch-hiking the Appalachian
Mountains of West Virginia as a Bible salesman for the Southwestern
Company out of Nashville. As I boarded the Piedmont Airlines jet in
Charleston and walked down the aisle, one of my boyhood idols occupied a
window seat looking straight ahead as the passengers filed by. There sat
Mickey Mantle, bigger than life. As I passed by all I could think about was
“wow, I had seen the Mick in person.”

Washington, D.C., summer of 1981. I was in D.C. as part of a three man
negotiating team with General Dynamics. We were visiting the Israeli
Embassy to negotiate the sale of a wind tunnel for F-16 fighter aircraft the
U.S. was selling to the Israeli government. We arrived in D.C. late that
afternoon, checked into our hotel, and then walked to a nearby restaurant for
dinner. Soon after being seated, there was a commotion in the rear of the
restaurant. In walked none other than Muhammad Ali on the arm of a pretty
young woman. They sat down just two or three tables from us. Most of the
customers lined up for autographs and referred to him respectfully as

Los Angeles, sometime in 2000. I was traveling with Bill, a work
associate, to visit potential contractors for an upgrade of the Oil Museum in
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I liked traveling with Bill because his department
picked up the tab. Bill booked us at the Beverly Wilshire on Rodeo Drive.
Little did I know upon check-in that the next morning I would have breakfast
with Sidney Poitier. Well, I sort of had breakfast with him. He was
sitting two tables away finishing breakfast as we were seated. It looked like
he had eggs that morning.

My most recent exposure to “greatness” of the celebrity kind was in
Nashville in 2008. The hotel we were staying in had twin glass elevators. As
I exited one of the elevators, I came face to face with Rock and Roll Hall of
Famer Little Richard. You may remember his first big hit “Tutti Frutti.” Or
you may not. He smiled and said, “Hello.” As I walked past him, I blurted
out something like, “I love you man. Are you coming back as a judge on
American Idol?” He replied, “Yes,” but he never did.

Each of these men were celebrities in their own fields, but all they
could offer me in this life were pieces of paper with their names scribbled
on them. Eventually, all that will remain will be fading memories for those
who idolized them. We may never achieve celebrity status in this life, but
someday each of us will stand in the presence of Jesus Christ. And when
that day comes, we shall all stand “in the presence of true and everlasting

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of
glory that will never fade away. 
I Peter 5:4.

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