Afternoon Rendezvous

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The pace of work at Bill’s office has been in a full-fledged frenzy.  He has been working diligently, with little relaxation, as he has labored countless hours in landing a new account for his marketing business.

Seeing a beautiful autumn afternoon, Bill checks his calendar.  All looks free for an afternoon rendezvous with one of his favorite places . . . a splendid 18 holes on the golf course.

As he quietly leaves the office, Bill instructs his secretary to hold down the fort . . . “keep the boss off of my back for three hours.”

About two hours later, Bill’s boss shows up.  He needs to catch up with Bill about this new account.  Let’s eavesdrop on the conversation between the boss and Bill’s ever-protective secretary.

The boss asks the secretary, “Where’s Bill at?  I need to check on his progress with our newest account.”

She dutifully replies, “He’s working on his game.”

“What game?”

“He’s working to land this new account that’s better than par.”

“Well, I hope he keeps his eyes focused on the prize, just like an eagle.”

“Oh, I’m sure he’s looking for lots of birdies, perhaps an eagle or two”

As the boss leaves the office, he turns around and smiles, “Bill really is my ‘ace in the hole’ around here.”

Meanwhile at this same moment on the golf course, Bill tees off on the short Par-3, 13th hole.  His ball carries straight and true, lands softly on the green, and meanders right into the hole. 

A hole-in-one . . . an ACE!

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Incredible!

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Autumn fills with sounds of cheering fans and the excitement of Friday night high school football games.  We pick up the action with play-by-play announcer “Cato the Cat” Johnson as he calls the final seconds of the game between the undefeated Valley High Bulldogs and the lowly Vernon High Bengals.

Welcome back football fans as the undefeated Valley High Bulldogs are poised to garner their 10th division championship in a row.  The winless Bengals of Vernon High have put up an incredible fight against overwhelming odds tonight, but their time in the limelight is about to be extinguished by the mighty Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs are poised to add to their lead with the score at 7-2.  The stingy Bengals have only yielded one score, and its defense has scored their only points with a safety back in the first quarter.

From the Bengals five-yard line, the Bulldogs are facing a second down and goal.  They line up in their favorite power run formation.  The ball is snapped.  But wait . . . fumble!

The Bengals have recovered!  Oh my, what a turn of events.  However, the Bulldogs still hold the lead, and the game clock only shows enough time for one more play.

The Bengals face nearly the entire length of the football field—95 yards to be exact.  With only one more play, it appears their woeful season will end on another sour note.  At least the marching band has performed quite well this season.

The Bengals line up in a spread formation.  The Bulldogs’ defense sets up in a prevent mode.  They only need to stop the Bengals here, and their string of championship crowns will continue.

The ball is snapped.  Instead of passing, the Bengals hand the ball off to their speedy halfback Kurt Warner.  With a power sweep to the right, the Bengals are pushing the ball up the sideline.  There is a phalanx of blockers in front of Warner.

Only two players stand between the Bengals and a touchdown.  One blocker takes out a defender, and Warner fakes left and hustles right, leaving the last tackler humbled on the ground.

Nelson is on his way . . . to the 30, the 20, the 10 . . . touchdown!!

The Bengals score, and the game is over.  Vernon High 8, Valley High 7.

Oh my football fans!  We have seen an incredible finish for the ages.

Life isn’t always as basic as a seemingly simple high school football game.  Just as Vernon High comes into the game as a hapless underdog, Jesus Christ is perceived to be a loser and an underdog when he is taken to Calvary and a cruel Cross.  Football fans underestimate the resolve of the Bengals, just as people underestimate Christ’s purpose.

The Vernon High team experiences an unbelievable moment, but it pales in comparison to the stunning moment when Jesus’ followers find the empty tomb. 

Incredible!

 

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Filling the Freezer

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“The freezer will be full of meat this winter,” Pete tells his skeptical wife as he heads to the mountains for his annual elk hunting trip.

Montana’s Big Hole Valley offers some of the best elk habitat in America.  Pete has been preparing for his fall elk hunting trip over the summer, and he plans to bag a large bull elk this fall to fill up the freezer with delicious and tasty elk meat.

In scouting the mountains, Pete knows exactly where the elk will be when he returns for bow hunting season.  Armed with his very effective and precise compound bow, he knows success is just one accurate shot away.

Hiking into the mountains, Pete stakes out a familiar area and waits quietly in the tall grass and brush.  The anticipation builds as his body stays on high alert.  The nervous tension only adds to the anxiousness of the hunt.

Suddenly, an enormous bull elk wanders through the trail, just as Pete expects.  His position provides a nearly perfect angle and distance.  He takes careful aim with his bow, pulling it back with careful precision.

Plummeting to the ground with a groaning thud goes Pete!

The arrow flies harmlessly into the trees.  Pete’s shoulder has popped out, and the throbbing is excruciating.  He rolls around on the ground in acute pain.

Deliberately and triumphantly walking past the stricken bow hunter, the elk looks down at him with a slightly confident look as if to say, “I guess your freezer will be empty this winter.”

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Lost in the Woods, Chapter 3

Here is the final chapter in this three-part story.  In case you missed the first two chapters of “Lost in the Woods,” here are the links to them.

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The shadows of the early evening begin to change the look and feel of the woods.  Grandpa Ted has been making steady progress towards the cabin.  He expects to reach it in about an hour.

Without warning, his right foot fails to notice a big hole hidden in the grass.  Down goes Ted in pain and agony!

His ankle feels like it is broken, but he assumes it is more likely sprained.  Standing up very gingerly and a bit off balance, he tests the injured ankle.  It hurts like a son-of-a-gun, but he pushes onward.  Not even an injured leg will keep him from finding Pete and Willy before dark.

Another night sky arrives, and the brothers are still feeling the ill effects of eating too many huckleberries much too quickly.  Willy asks his older brother, “What are we going to do?”

Pete, feeling just as scared, answers back, “We need to keep believing.  Help is coming.”

As the sun sets and darkness curls around the cabin, the brothers look out the open doorway of the cabin.  From the edge of the clearing, a narrow beam of light comes from the woods.  A shadowy man hobbles towards the boys.  Pete yells out, “It’s Grandpa!”

Pete and Willy run out to meet their Grandpa.  They are smiling and talking so fast that Grandpa can barely say a word.  Finally, the reunion settles down, and the grandsons realize their Grandpa Ted is injured.  They take care of him the best they can.

With Grandpa’s help, the boys start a small fire in the fireplace.  They find the food in Grandpa’s backpack, and everyone enjoys a feast of cold beans with fire-grilled Spam from a can.  “The best feast ever!” both grandsons admit at the same time.

The brothers and their Grandpa settle in for a night of sleep in the cabin.  By dawn, all are awake and eager to begin the journey home.  Grandpa’s ankle is badly swollen.  Willy finds a longer, sturdy tree branch—just the perfect tool—for Grandpa to use as a crutch.  Pete will carry the now much lighter backpack.  Together, the grandsons will make sure their Grandpa Ted makes it back home, too.

Following Grandpa’s internal compass, the trio makes steady, yet slow progress in their morning walk towards home.  The love of each for the other will insure all make it back safely.  God has indeed been watching over all three of them.

They finally arrive at home, and Mom and Dad are overjoyed to see their two sons.  Everyone is exhausted and in need of some much needed warm food, a shower, and some rest.

The time is 11:52.  Grandpa Ted promised to have the boys home back by Noon, and he is good to his word.

At last report, Grandpa is mending at home for several weeks.  The badly swollen ankle is indeed broken!

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Lost in the Woods, Chapter 2

This is the second chapter of a three-part story.  If you missed the first chapter, follow this link to catch up on the story:  Lost in the Woods, Chapter 1.

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With daylight growing shorter, Grandpa Ted gathers a few necessary supplies for his rescue mission.  He quickly and efficiently fills a medium-size backpack with water, food, matches, first-aid supplies, and a flashlight.

As he departs, Ted tells his daughter, “We’ll be back by Noon tomorrow.”  She and her husband hope so, yet they feel plenty of apprehension running through their already frail emotions.

Unaware about Grandpa being on his way, Pete and Willy are growing restless.  Having no food or water, the brothers decide to venture out from the cabin—but not too far.  As they search for anything to quench their thirsts or fill their empty stomachs, the boys cannot help but think of their dire situation.

With his intimate knowledge of the woods, Grandpa Ted hopes his grandsons have found the old cabin.  He knows it will provide them with basic shelter as well as a safe refuge.

Moving as quickly as his ancient legs can walk, Ted soon realizes he will need to pace himself.  His 63-year old body begins to remind him that he is no longer a young man.

The brothers discover a creek during their search, and they bury their faces in the cool water for several long drinks.  Up ahead along the creek, Pete spots some bushes which are loaded with wild huckleberries.

The boys plunge into the bushes as their hunger screams for more and more huckleberries.  Eating too quickly, they consume far more berries than their stomachs can safely digest.  Feeling sick, the brothers finally make it back to the safety of the cabin—looking pale and ready to drop.

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Photo courtesy of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

Stay tuned for the final chapter.  Be prepared for a few twists in the action as Grandpa Ted and his grandsons hope to be reunited.

Lost in the Woods: Chapter 1

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Pete and Willy can sometimes be adventurous boys.  Being ages ten and eight, they never stop finding excitement to fill up their lives while bringing plenty of anxiety to their parents.

The boys slip away from home one night for another adventure.  Taking a flashlight, they plan to wake-up all of the “critters” in those nearby woods.

Morning arrives, and the boys’ disappearance is noted by two very distraught adults.  The boys’ parents find a note from the brothers.  At least the fearless duo felt the need to inform Mom and Dad about their trip into the woods.

During the night, the brothers’ fortunes have not gone well.  Barely into the journey, the flashlight’s beam grows dimmer and finally dark.  The boys realize they should have been better prepared before departing on their journey.  A brief thunderstorm adds to their misery.  Now lost in the darkness, the wet and chilled boys begin to feel their enthusiasm fading by the minute.

Willy tells Pete, “We’ve really messed up now.”  The brothers stumble, and sometimes crawl, through the dense forest under a dark, cloudy, and moonless sky.

Finally, their fortunes change just a smidgen.  They discover a run-down cabin in a small clearing.  No lights, no heat, and no food—the boys at least have found some shelter for the rest of the night.

Back home, a frantic morning phone call brings Grandpa Ted to the boys’ home.  Ted consoles his worried daughter and her equally concerned husband, as he tells them, “I’ll find the boys.”

Ted grew up in these woods, and he knows every square mile.  He promises to locate the boys as quickly as possible.  “We’ll be back before Noon tomorrow,” Ted says in a reassuring voice filled with total confidence.

Meanwhile, the two brothers have made it through the night.  The old, abandoned cabin is not much of a place, but at least it provides Pete and Willy with a roof over their heads.

Remembering some wise words from their Grandpa, the boys realize they must stay put.  With a morsel of confidence, Pete tells Willy, “Help is on the way!”

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Icy Caper

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Police issue an “All-Points Bulletin” in a flash.  The local jewelry store has been robbed by an elderly man dressed in a white suit.  Patrol cars frantically scurry here and there—no luck!

Detective Joe Friday joins the hunt.  His crime-solving skills are legendary.  He always reminds each interviewee, “Just give me the facts.”

Driving down a quiet residential street, Friday spies a white ice cream vending cart on a corner.  Selling ice cream treats to the neighborhood children, the gray-haired man hands out love and more.

Pulling up behind the cart, the renowned detective surveys the scene.  Calling on his car’s radio for back-up, he knows he can’t wait.  The last of the children walks away with their frozen, sweet treats.

Approaching the man in the white suit, Friday pulls out his gold detective shield.  With a confident voice and a smile, he asks, “Do you happen to have something ‘hot’ on ice today?”