Hair

Here are some things you may not know about hair. If you are blonde (coloring doesn’t count), you were given about 150,000 hairs to work with. Brunettes must get by with 100,000 and redheads with just 60,000. So, if you’re a frustrated redhead, it’s okay to express your frustration in many ways, but don’t pull your hair out; you can’t afford to.

The average eyebrow has 550 hairs. (As an aside to all men, feel free to trim your eyebrows before you look like a poodle.)

Ten percent of men shave only with an electric razor, while 30 percent of women do. The average beard has 15,500 hairs. Half of Caucasian men go bald, compared to 18 percent of African Americans and almost no American Indians.

Fifty percent have gray hair by age 50 (more if you have more than two kids). Cutting your hair does not make it grow. The life span of one hair is five years.

And here’s one more truth. God has your hairs numbered. While that isn’t hard for the follicly challenged, it says something about how intimately you are known by your God. So get to know him. Life is short.

You’re hair today, gone tomorrow.

Huddles

I was insecure as a child. I think it goes back to my infant years. When Mom used to rock me, she used those big rocks. My insecurities carried over to my teen years. When I watched football games on television and the teams went into their huddles, I thought they were talking about me.

Actually, there was a day when they didn’t huddle up at all. The quarterback would tell each player what to do. Then it all changed at the powerhouse of college football: Gallaudet University. Located in Washington, D.C., Gallaudet is a school for the deaf. The quarterback calls the plays by sign language.

In the old days, one of their quarterbacks noticed that the defense was watching him call the plays. So he asked the players to “huddle up,” so he could call the plays without being seen by the opposition.

The custom continues today, on the football field and in the church. Yes, in the church! In most churches, we are more concerned with “holy huddles” (meetings, gatherings in our buildings) than we are with putting points on the board (ministry, service).

Church, it’s time to break the huddle and run some plays!

Birthdays

Today – December 12 – is a big day for birthdays! This is especially true for the entertainment industry, and for those who are, let’s say, among the older among us.

Born on December 12, 1893 – Edward G. Robinson

Born on December 12, 1900 – Sammy Davis

Born on December 12, 1915 – Frank Sinatra

That’s not a bad roster of births. But there’s another big day coming, just over a week away. We call it Christmas. On that day, December 25, we celebrate the birth of our Lord. And Jesus has something very different from the men mentioned above. Let me explain.

Died in 1973 – Edward G. Robinson

Died in 1988 – Sammy Davis

Died in 1998 – Frank Sinatra

See the difference? While Robinson, Davis, and Sinatra are no longer with us, Christ is. The one who was raised on the third day is with us today. So as you play your old Frank Sinatra Christmas album, rejoice that, while ol’ blue eyes is no longer with us, the One he is singing about is.

First Football Game

A man took his blonde girlfriend to her first football game. After the game, he asked her how she liked it.

“I loved the game,” she said. “But I can’t understand why everyone was killing each other over 25 cents.”

“Over 25 cents?” asked her boyfriend. “What do you mean – 25 cents?”

She explained, “All the fans kept screaming, every time they hiked the ball, ‘Get the quarter back! Get the quarter back!'”

That is what is known as a simple misunderstanding. Unfortunately, life is also full of huge misunderstandings. Such as good works get us into heaven. Or God only loves us when we “live right.” Or there are many roads to heaven.

Clear communication doesn’t matter so much when you are watching a football game. But when playing the game of life, it means everything.

The Remedy

A  man went to his doctor, who told him he had a bad illness, and had just one year to live. So the man decided to talk to his pastor. After he explained the situation, he asked what he should do.

His pastor had an answer. “What you need to do is to go out and buy a Dodge pick-up truck from the late 1970s. Then go marry the ugliest woman you can find and buy an old trailer house and put it halfway up a mountain.”

The man asked his pastor, “But I have a terminal illness. Will this help me live longer?”

His pastor replied, “No, but if you do the things I just said, it will be the longest year of your life?”

Life is about quality, not quantity. For some of us, this next year will actually be our last. Let’s treasure every moment, capture every memory, and take in every sunrise. In the process, may we lean on God more than ever; this is the great remedy for life.

Obvious Questions

A young family was touring the FBI Headquarters. They were shown pictures on the wall of the ten most wanted men. The family’s young lad asked, “Why don’t you just keep them when you take their pictures?”

Here’s another great question, asked by a little girl of her dad, who was a pastor. “What do John the Baptist and Kermit the Frog have in common?” Her dad was clueless. “I have no idea, honey. What do John the Baptist and Kermit the Frog have in common?”

“They have the same middle name!” she said.

Kids indeed ask some wonderful questions. That’s how they learn.

Questions must be a good thing, because there are a lot of them in the Bible. “What is your life?” “What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” “If a man dies, shall he live again?” “What think ye of Jesus?” “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?”

Kids are full of questions. The Bible is full of questions. Life is full of questions. But there is good news. For every problem there is a solution, and for every question there is a God.

The best way to get in trouble is to turn somewhere else for the answers to life’s most important questions.

 

Celebration of Joy

Pastor and author Bruce Larson writes, “The bottom line for you and me is simply this – grimness is not a Christian virtue. If God really is the center of one’s life and being, joy is inevitable. If we have no joy, we have missed the heart of the Good News.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest, paleontologist, and philosopher, put it even more simply. “Joy is the surest sign of the presence of God.”

I have discovered two truths in my Christian journey. First, if you walk with God, you will always be in trouble with someone else. Second, you will experience outrageous joy. James, the brother of Jesus, said it like this: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).

Joy is the result of walking with God. Joy is a mark of mature living. Joy is the nature of God. Joy is the promise of God. Joy can be yours today. You will meet a lot of somber saints along life’s path. Keep walking.

St. Teresa of Avila said, “From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us!”

Amen.

The Rushmore Report – The Faith of George Bush

The 41st President of the United States died Friday night at his home in Houston at the age of 94. George Herbert Walker Bush was a quiet man who lived a life of a quiet faith. He rarely spoke out about his faith, but to him it was real. It was a faith he embraced from childhood. Last year, historian Gary Scott Smith noted that, above all, he was for all his life a man of quiet but persistent faith:

Bush was raised by devout Episcopalian parents and remained affiliated with this denomination almost his entire life. His father Prescott, a Republican senator from Connecticut, and his mother Dorothy led family worship every morning, using readings from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer and A Diary of Private Prayer by Scottish Presbyterian theologian John Baillie. They strove to teach their children how the Bible applied to daily life. While worshiping for many years at Episcopal churches in Houston, Washington, and Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush’s theology and social policies have more in common with evangelicals than with many fellow Episcopalians.

While flying a combat mission for the Navy in September 1944, Bush’s plane was severely damaged on a bombing mission, forcing him to parachute into the Pacific Ocean south of Japan. The Japanese hunted him, but a U.S. submarine picked him up. Bush thanked God for saving his life and asked, “Why had I been spared and what did God have for me?”

Their three-year-old daughter Robin’s battle with and eventual death from leukemia in the early 1950s both tested and deepened Bush’s faith. He declared that “prayer had always been part” of his and his wife Barbara’s lives, but it became more fervent during this ordeal. “Our faith,” Bush testified, “truly sustained us.”

Bush saw God as active and all-powerful and the Bible as divinely inspired and authoritative. “One cannot be America’s President,” the Republican frequently asserted, without “the strength that your faith gives to you.” The Bible, which had helped shape America’s values and institutions, Bush attested, “has always been a great source of comfort to me.” He affirmed that Jesus was God’s divine Son and frequently referred to Christ as “our Savior.” Moreover, Bush peppered his speeches with biblical quotations, precepts, and stories to underscore his positions.

Bush’s cabinet meetings always began with prayer. The Bushes prayed together every night before going to sleep. “My husband,” Barbara declared, “prays and believes enormously.” During his presidency, Bush referred to prayer in 220 different speeches, proclamations, and remarks. In hundreds of letters Bush thanked citizens for praying for him and testified that he drew “great strength” from their prayers.

Consider the beginning of Bush’s first inaugural address, which bears the eloquent touch of Peggy Noonan — and reminds us of the kind of honest piety and simple grace that is now so rarely heard from our leaders:

We meet on democracy’s front porch. A good place to talk as neighbors and as friends. For this is a day when our nation is made whole, when our differences, for a moment, are suspended. And my first act as President is a prayer. I ask you to bow your heads.

Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love. Accept our thanks for the peace that yields this day and the shared faith that makes its continuance likely. Make us strong to do Your work, willing to heed and hear Your will, and write on our hearts these words: “Use power to help people.” For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people. Help us remember, Lord. Amen.

He concluded with these words:

There is much to do. And tomorrow the work begins. And I do not mistrust the future. I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater. And if our flaws are endless, God’s love is truly boundless.

Some see leadership as high drama and the sound of trumpets calling, and sometimes it is that. But I see history as a book with many pages, and each day we fill a page with acts of hopefulness and meaning. The new breeze blows, a page turns, the story unfolds. And so, today a chapter begins, a small and stately story of unity, diversity, and generosity — shared, and written, together.

May the Lord bless him and keep him.

From the Book of Common Prayer:

O Almighty God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, who by a voice from heaven didst proclaim, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord: Multiply, we beseech thee, to those who rest in Jesus the manifold blessings of thy love, that the good work which thou didst begin in them may be made perfect unto the day of Jesus Christ. And of thy mercy, O heavenly Father, grant that we, who now serve thee on earth, may at last, together with them, be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; for the sake of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord … 

About the Author

Deacon Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. He is a husband, deacon, journalist, writer, preacher, coffee addict, and frequent blogger with a national following.

This Day in History

It all happened in a day . . . November 30. How many of these events do you remember, that all occurred this day in history?

  • Earliest eclipse on record (3340 B.C.)
  • Second siege of Pensacola, ending with Britain’s failure to capture Pensacola, Florida (1707)
  • U.S. Senate begins impeachment trial of Federalist Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase (1804)
  • Civil War Battle of Franklin, Tennessee; the South lost six generals (1864)
  • Lucille Ball marries Desi Arnaz in Greenwich, Connecticut (1940)
  • Civil War begins in Palestine, resulting in creation of the State of Israel (1947)
  • Only documented meteorite to hit a human directly, crashes through house in Sylacauga, Alabama (1954)
  • Michael Jackson’s album “Thriller” is released; becomes best-selling record in music history (1982)
  • Official end of Operation Desert Storm (1995)
  • Exxon and Mobil merge to form ExxonMobil, the largest company in the world (1998)
  • Jeopardy Show champion Ken Jennings finally loses, having won a game-show record $2.5 million (2004)

Yes, a lot can happen in a day. How ’bout these for good days – the resurrection of Christ, the creation of the heavens and the earth, the Sermon on the Mount, the parting of the Red Sea.

It’s amazing what God can do in a day. And only heaven knows what God plans to do in your life – today!

Banks

A farmer who had experienced several bad years went to see the manager of his bank. “I’ve got some good news and some bad news to tell you. Which would you like to hear first?” asked the farmer.

“Why don’t you tell me the bad news first, and get it over with?” the banker replied.

“Okay. With a bad drought and inflation and all, I won’t be able to pay anything on my mortgage this year, either on the principal or the interest.”

“Well, that is pretty bad,” said the banker.

“It gets worse,” the farmer continued. “I also won’t be able to pay anything on the loan you gave me for that great machinery I bought.”

“Wow, is that ever bad!” said the banker.

“It’s worse than that. You remember I also borrowed money to buy seed and fertilizer and other supplies? Well, I can’t pay anything on those things, either.”

The banker said, “That’s enough! Tell me what the good news is.”

“The good news,” replied the farmer, “is that I intend to keep on doing business with you.”

You and I have the greatest Banker in the universe. Despite our defaults and faults, debts and moral bankruptcies, he still does business with us.