Sunday, January 28, 2007
I met truck driver Ron Hall, the man behind the wheel of the rig in these pictures, during a 50-car pileup on I-90 in Erie. PA.
Ron opened his door when his truck came to a stop during the pileup. Ron looked down, and realized that he was dangling 200 feet above the Winter Green Gorge. He thought he was going to die.
When he looked back across the bridge, a man in a Carhart sweatshirt was walking the 8-inch-wide guide wall in an attempt to save the trucker before his rig fell. The man climbed on the wrecked rig, broke out the windshield, pulled Ron out of the cab, and then walked him back along the ledge to safety.
When Ron Hall approached me, I asked if he was one of the drivers in this wreck.
He said, “No. I am the Power Ball winner who was behind the wheel of the truck dangling over the gorge. Last night, one person won $250 million in a lottery. Today I tell you I am luckier than that person because some man put his own life in serious jeopardy just to save my life. When we made it to safety, I was in tears. I turned to thank him, but he had walked away into a snow whiteout, and I never even got to get his name."
In the eyes and heart of Ron Hall, he had met a hero or an angel. Whatever the case, in a world where there is so much bad, there is also some good when one man is willing to put the life of someone he did not even know above his own!
I have had the good fortune to produce photos and videos for stars like Pat Monahan, NFL Hall of Famer, Dan Marino, All-Pro Quarterback, Marc Bulger and so many others. But when the time comes to sit down and write a book, you can bet that the unknown hero and the grateful trucker are sure to be featured in a prominent fashion.
I hope you all can see a few of my photos and understand why this act of bravery has me in tears more than 24 hours since Ron hall walked up to me on that bridge.
I wish you all a great day and no matter what life throws at you take time to value what little time we truly get to be alive!
Thank you, Ron Hall for sharing your story with me. And to the hero that saved Ron, we may never know your name, but I would guess that when your day finally comes there will be a place on the other side of the pearly gates that already has been reserved for you.
Postscript: "MYATG" is my new motto that stands for, Meet You at The Gate!
Editor's Note: Thank you Mike for sharing the inspiring story and pictures! Visitors who would like to comment on this amazing story can click the Comments button below to post comments.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
I will enter and give thanks to
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Soon after I finished reading the Old Testament, I began thinking about the many times that God commanded the Israelites to keep the Sabbath holy. A typical Sunday for me was church, and some work or catching up around the house. But as I thought about what I read in the Bible, I finally decided that I should make Sunday a day of rest and celebration of the Lord.
Of course, immediately after making the commitment, my workload increased. One Sunday afternoon, I felt the need to go out to do some photography. I had two projects that required new sports images. But then, I thought about my commitment to not work on Sunday, and I nixed the idea of going out to shoot. But, still, there was a seriously strong urge to go out anyway.
Finally, I gave in and drove to a local park where I could capture different types of action images. I shot pictures for about an hour, but the pictures were lousy. The day was hot, I was frustrated, and, what’s worse, I had broken my commitment to not work on Sunday.
As I walked back to the truck, I saw that a tire on my truck was almost flat. I remembered the clicking sound that I’d heard for the past several weeks while I was driving. I thought that a rock was embedded in the tire tread and assumed that it would eventually throw itself out. Clearly, I was wrong.
I drove slowly to the nearest gas station and pulled up to the air compressor. I got out of the truck and could see a huge, metal bolt embedded in the tire. In fact, the tire had stopped so that the bolt was precisely at the top of the tire—there was no way that I could miss seeing it. I put air in the tire, and then drove home slowly. On the drive home, the constant clicking sounded twice as loud as before.
About halfway home, it hit me—the restless feeling I to go out shooting was the Lord’s way of getting my attention. I realized that I had been driving on the bad tire for weeks at highway speeds without the tire losing air pressure. The Lord sent me out that Sunday so that I’d finally see that the tire was about to fail. The next day, I bought a new tire.
I think about how much work the Lord went through to get my attention, and I’m thankful that He didn’t give up on me. I still do not work on Sundays, but I also pay careful attention to restless urges—just in case the Lord is trying to get my attention.
Monday, January 22, 2007
- God cannot speak to us if we are talking all of the time.
- God cannot guide us if we think that we already know the way...Christians ask for directions.
- Any promise that we make to someone else is a promise we make to God.
- It is not about me.
- It is all about Him.
- We don't have to know everything. He already knows everything, and He's happy to share with us.
- Jesus showed us that love and forgiveness are possible even in the most tragic of circumstances.
- Don't worry. Hand it over to the Lord instead.
- He will never leave us or forsake us. Really.
I've always said I believed that Cody, my six-year-old son, is going to be used in a very special way. He has such a big heart for the Lord and for others. In school, he's learning so much about children around the world who have a very difficult way of life, who don't have things like we do, and who are not shown love. He asked me if we could go to some of these countries and bring back kids that don't have a home, a Mom, and a Dad.
And the other day he did something that blew me away.
What about Heaven?
I had just left the house to take the kids to school. Grace, my daughter, started talking about heaven. If it had just been me and her in the car, I would have probably just answered the questions that she asked me. But Cody was in the car, and he started talking to her about heaven trying to make her understand. Then he told her about hell, too.
He said if we don't have Jesus in our hearts, when we die we will go to hell. And once we get there we can't leave. He told her that that is where Satan and all the bad people go to live forever.
I just watched them from my rearview mirror—remaining silent—letting Cody do all the talking and watching how Grace was listening to her brother. He was very serious about what he was talking about.
Can Scobby-Do Go?
Grace asked if Scobby-Doo could go to heaven. Cody said, “No, because he's not real.”
Then Grace said, “I don't want to go to hell—I want to go to heaven.”
Cody asked, “Do you?”
“Yes,” Grace said.
He told her to put her hands together. Cody said, "If you want to go to heaven, then you need to say what I tell you to say."
Then he led Grace in a prayer that was so sincere and honest and completely from his heart.
Cody prayed, “Jesus, please come into my heart. I love you and I want to live in heaven with you forever.” Grace repeated the prayer word for word. And with those few words my six-year-old son led his four-year-old sister to the Lord.
I don't know if she completely understood everything that she was saying. But I know that she meant what she said. I had prayed with Cody two months before he turned five. To this day, he can tell me word for word what we said.
I wish I could take credit for the amazing things that he does. But it's not me at all. I pray hard for my kids. And we have been blessed so far with being able to send Cody to a Christian school. He loves church and learning. They both are like little sponges right now.
It's amazing how I learn things from Cody. He understand more now than I did at 12!
I wanted to share this story and hope that it blesses all of you.
Editor's Note: Thanks so much to Vickie for sharing this inspiring story! We encourage you to share your stories with us. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be sure to comment on Vickie's story by clicking the Comments button below.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
In Job, God challenges our assumptions with Divine insight, with startling imagery that is often beyond our imagination, and yet, with imagery that tantilizes our imagination.
We glimpse God as the All-Knowing Creator of the universe, and all in His own words. How marvelous is that?
or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
He walked into the pub and laid his Bible on the bar...
By Bryan Lowrie,
It is strange how God works, and it is wonderful at the same time. I’ll share an example. I got off work a couple of Friday’s ago and went to a local watering hole here in town. I met Leigh, my girlfriend, there. We had been there for about 20 minutes when I got a business call. I didn’t have the information that I needed and had to go out to my truck. As I was leaving, a guy sat down beside Leigh. I noticed him as I was walking out but didn’t think anything about it.
I was in the parking lot for about 15 minutes, and then I went back in. The guy was no longer sitting beside Leigh. We talked for awhile and Leigh mentioned that the guy’s wife had just filed for divorce and he was very upset and emotional. I thought, 'Well, that stinks. I’ve been through that, and I know how hard it is.'
A little while later he came back around and joined us. Leigh introduced us. After talking for a little while I told him that I was sorry about what he was going through. I could see the pain in his eyes. I shared with him that I had been through the same thing before and understood how painful it is. They have a 5 year old son.
He asked how I got through my divorce, and I said, “Faith---Faith in God that it would all work out. Sometimes we don’t know how but he has a plan as along as we believe in Him.” We continued to talk for awhile. He mentioned that he had started going to our church a couple of Sunday’s ago. I told him about our church and pastor. I stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with Christians. I offered to meet him for coffee any morning he wanted to just talk and read the Bible. He said he would like that.
The following Monday he called and wanted to know if we could get together that evening. Well, the Cowboy’s are playing the Eagles on Monday Night Football. I looked up at the sky and aksed, “God, why tonight? Don’t you know your team is playing?” But, this wasn’t on my timetable, it is on His. So I called the man back, and told him that I would be happy to meet him. I did mention the Cowboys game, and, thankfully, he too was a Cowboy’s fan and had no intention of meeting during the game. He was hoping for 6:00, before the game started. That was a small prayer answered!
At 6 p.m., I walked into the local watering hole with my Bible in hand not really knowing what to expect and really not having expected to meet in this particular environment on this particular subject. But, I had faith, and I walked on in anyway.
We talked for awhile, and then he turned and looked me in the eyes and said, “Thank you.”
I said, “You’re welcome, but for what?”
He said, “For Friday night.”
“Okay, anytime,” I replied.
“No, you don’t understand,” he said. “I was saved Friday night.”
I asked him what he meant exactly. He told me that he had a powerful feeling come over him after our conversation and there was a huge burden lifted off of his shoulders. He didn’t understand it, but it was definitely there. He called his family and friends and told everyone he knew. I told him that was called being “radically” saved. I told him that was fantastic! I was very happy for him. I shared with him the importance of surrounding himself with the right people to stay on the right path but he was in for a wonderful journey.
He told me that he knew now that most of the problems in his life were because of him, and he finally knew why. He had been molested by their family doctor 17 years earlier. He had lived with that without ever telling anyone. After Friday, he confided in his brother only to find out that his brother had been molested as well. Both of them had harbored that horrible secret without knowing that the other had the same. They were finally able to release that emotion with each other after so many years.
The story gets better
A woman had been sitting behind us listening to our conversation. She asked if she could join us. We were at the bar and through the course of our conversation I had referred to Scripture a number of times. She apologized for having eaves dropped on our conversation, but she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Not only that but she saw that “Book” sitting on the bar and was shocked that there were two Christians at the bar talking about what we were talking about and reading a Bible. She said she had been molested as well and had never told anyone before.
She sat down on the other side of him and they commenced to having an in-depth conversation about that for about half an hour. When it was all said and done, he looked at me and said, “Man. This is really real!” I said “Yes, it sure is.”
He said, “You know, I came here looking for help and ended up helping someone else.” I said, “Yep, God works in ways you would never dream and tonight is proof!” We stayed until half time, and then parted ways. He was in church the following Sunday. He is trying to work it out with his wife and now has a new found hope.
I didn’t really do much. God put him in front of me, I opened the door, and he walked through the door.
The Lord is always there, whether or not we pay attention.
For example, look at the slender fir branch holding a chunk of snow two or three times its own weight. If you look closely, you see that God creates the perfect tension, the perfect balance of weight, temperature, and position to defy the laws of gravity.
And if the Lord can do this with trees and snow, how much more can He create a perfect balance in our lives?
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Peace with God: http://www.occ.org/resources/christianfaith/peacewithgod.asp
Bible Resources: http://bibledev.azaz.com/bibleresources/passagesearchresults2.php?passage1=Genesis+17&book_id=1&version1=31&tp=50&c=17
Bible Places Blog: http://blog.bibleplaces.com/
Purpose Driven Life: http://www.purposedrivenlife.com/
Living Proof Ministries: http://www.lproof.org/
Overlake Christian Church, Redmond, WA: http://www.occ.org/index.asp
Christian Faith Center: http://www.caseytreat.com/
Campus Crusade for Christ: http://www.campuscrusadeforchrist.com/
The Xtreme Team: http://going.imb.org/go2years/information/xtremeteam.asp
Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: http://www.billygraham.org/
Investigating Faith (Lee Strobel): http://www.leestrobel.com/
Promise Keepers: http://promisekeepers.com/
Travis Cottrell: http://www.traviscottrell.com/main.html
Firefighters for Christ: http://www.firefighters.org/
World Vision: http://www.worldvision.org/worldvision/master.nsf/home/
Lifeway Christian Stores: http://www.lifewaystores.com/lwstore/
In mid December 2006, the Seattle area was hit with a powerful wind storm with some wind gusts up to 90 and 100 mph. Power lines fell onto the pavement like spaghetti on a platter. Huge fir trees were ripped from the ground and crushed homes and cars. More than 1 million homes, including mine, were left without electricity. At first, I coped well enough with the power outage. Using a large gasoline-powered generator, I could run essentials including the refrigerator, the computer, space heaters, and a small portable television. Unfortunately, the heating system wasn't powered. But my having the generator was far more than most people had, and I was thankful. On the first day after the storm, I filled the generator with gasoline...and I continued to fill it three or four times a day from the next six days. I was comfortable enough though the temperatures dropped into the low 30s, and the house was chilly to say the least. Somehow, however, every day had the feel of camping out, and every day it became harder to find a gas station that had both electricity and gasoline to sell. I carried 5-gallon cans of gasoline back and forth daily. The car, the house, and my clothes smelled either like gasoline or generator fumes or both.
The Stress Increases...
By the end of the sixth day without electricity, I was feeling the stress-- stress from keeping the household systems running, watching the water rise in the backyard from the rain, and trying to work despite the ongoing fallout from the wind storm. I also realized that the biggest stress was from my own selfishness and self-centeredness. I wanted electricity back, and I was trying to act like everything was okay.
Within six days, I'd become an irritable and angry person. I stopped morning prayer. Instead, I pulled on clothes, so I could go out to a cold garage, pour oil and gas in the generator, and then come back in the house and march around the kitchen to warm up. Then I was off to a warm shower so that I'd be presentable for whatever the next crisis might be. But Dec. 20 was a tipping point. The septic system wouldn't pump, and the glowing red light told me that the system was full. I plugged it into an extension cord from the generator, but the light continued to glow red. I was at a loss. It was the last mini-crisis, and I couldn't solve the problem.
About 10 p.m. on the sixth night, I turned off the cell phone, the little TV, and I opened my Bible at random. The passage that I opened to was Psalm 20 that begins, "May the Lord answer you when you are in distress. May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion... May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed..."
He told me to ask...
Certainly that was an appropriate message for me. I bowed my head to pray. I seldom ask for the favor of the Lord especially when I know that other people are in much worse circumstances than I'm in. Praying for myself seems too selfish. But with the drone of the generator in the background, I listened with bowed head. The Lord very clearly told me, "You have to ask." I hesitated for a long time because that’s a very hard thing or me to do. But He told me that He delights in giving good things to His children. He told me that His resources are unlimited, and that my asking does not deprive others. He told me that when I receive His favor, I then have an opportunity to give His love to others who are in need.
So I asked. First, I asked Him to fix the septic system pump, and then I asked Him to turn on the electricity. Then I asked for forgiveness for my selfish behavior. I turned over all of my anger and resentments to Him. I also turned over my sense of "sole responsibility" for the house and the septic system to Him. And I told Him that I need His help to keep the house going. When I said Amen, I felt instant and complete relief.
And then He answered...
I started the nightly shut-down routine. I lit candles in the house. I put the blankets by the fireplace to warm. I grabbed the flashlight and went to the garage where I turned the generator power panel switches to Off. The garage was pitch black except for the light from the flashlight. I turned the generator off and closed the door. Then I went back to the power panel and turned all the switches to "Line" – just in case the power might come on during the night.
Using the flashlight to light my way, I went to the door leading into the house. I turned the doorknob, and, at that precise instant, the lights in the garage come on. I was stunned and confused. Surely, I thought, I must have made a mistake shutting the generator down. It took seconds for me to realize that, yes, indeed, it was real electricity powering the lights in the garage. I went through the house turning on lights. They all worked!
I stopped at the kitchen counter and prayed a prayer of praise and thanksgiving! This was His answer to prayer, and it came complete with His perfect timing! I opened all the furnace vents--throwing the cost of electricity to the wind. I turned up the heat to a full and glorious 65 degrees! I turned on the electric blanket to high. For the first night in the past five nights, I would sleep in bed instead of on the sofa by the fireplace.
His faithfulness is amazing and wonderful.
The next day, I went out to buy warm food for the power crews who were working in cold rain to restore electricity for those who were still in the dark.
I've learned that it is okay to ask. And, of course, He is faithful to answer our prayers.