I have a hero. He became my hero in 2016. His name is Hunter Renfrow. And you're probably saying, "Who?" From a large family of six in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Renfrow grew up playing football with his siblings in the backyard. As he grew, it became obvious that he was an incredible athlete. At his high school, passing was a rarity, so his athleticism was put to use to scramble in the quarterback position.
If you were to paint the U.S. from Maryland to the most southern tip of Texas then west to southern California you'd outline the natural habitat of a vile creature. Every year five-thousand people are sent to the emergency room, twenty-five-thousand seek medical attention, and some have even been known to die after an unsuspecting run-in with these beasts. Sharks? Spiders? Snakes? No... Fire ants.
Have you ever been homesick? I mean, really homesick? It's a horrible feeling and probably one of the worst feelings I dealt with as a child. Around 11 or 12 years old I thought it would be a good idea to go to... clown camp. I'm a little embarrassed to mention it now. And I could have changed this story to Baseball camp or Football camp and you'd never know the difference. But I'd be lying. Just trying to keep it real. Don't judge me too hard.
A couple of weeks ago I took a ten-day trip to South Carolina to meet with other pastors and tell them about what God is doing in Boston. It was my longest trip away from my family since... ever. Being a dad is stressful and I was looking forward to a few days to myself. I was going to get an extended taste of the single life, something which I haven’t known for thirteen years.
There are songs out there that are designed to make you cry. I'm sure you can think of one or two that just hit you right in the feels, but do you remember that emotional classic "Butterfly Kisses"? It seems to have been designed to make a daddy cry. I know, I know, the song is super cheesy and manipulative, but…
My son just turned three in June. Compared to a lot of toddlers and young children that I’ve been around he is very pleasant. He pops up at 6:15 am ready to play and goes through toy after toy, book after book and song after song until he goes to bed at 8 pm (after 30 minutes of stalling). It’s draining keeping up with him, but extremely exciting to watch him grow.
Would Allie have married me if she knew she was marrying an undefeated debater? While I never actually join a debate team, I probably should have. I have always found classical debate so much fun. Sometimes I even watch strange debates for entertainment. If you haven't yet picked up on it, I'm a huge nerd.
We need rules. Rules help us get through life, conduct business, and get around on the streets (less true on Boston roads). Rules restrain us but also create safety that allow for freedom. Some people like rules more than others, and some would say my firstborn status makes me like rules more than the next in line.
In 1989 Hurricane Hugo was bearing down on the coast of South Carolina. Hurricanes were nothing new in the Carolinas. You might think of them as summer Nor'easters. Each year one or two hit the coast with varying degrees of intensity. Sometimes we might go to the beach and watch the massive waves break (A brave few would surf them) and other times we'd go out and play in the giant gusts. But every decade or so the big one hits. That was Hugo.
Every week I try to find some sort of life event or world event to write about. This week I dove into my own past to search for a time I trained for something……. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I literally couldn’t think of a time that I actually trained for any athletic event. Where I grew up they have the annual Cooper River Bridge Run 10k where 40,000 people participate. Once, I thought about training to run it. Never did. That’s not to say I don’t keep active, because I do. I’ve just never trained for an athletic event.
Maybe, like me, you've read and seen some of the heartwrenching news regarding our southern border over the past couple of weeks. Boston made national news this week as hundreds of Wayfair employees filled Copley Square to protest their employer's sale of beds to migrant detention centers. Today, there is a lot of passion regarding this issue, and much of it is for good reason.
Allie and I recently celebrated our thirteenth wedding anniversary. It’s crazy that she’s put up with me for that long… but it’s actually been even longer. We also figured out that she has known me for longer in life than she hasn’t known me. We met at the end of the summer of 2002 when she was 15 years old. You can do the math.
Have you ever heard of the Tylenol murders? My millennial self had never heard of them either until a recent episode of the Stuff You Should Know podcast. The murders took place in this ancient time known as 1982. Truthfully, that was only three years before I was born, but it was definitely a different era. An era where everyone trusted stuff on the shelves that had zero protection against tampering.
If this series has been really encouraging to you, piqued your curiosity, and you’d like to keep studying, I’ve done my job. I knew Skeptic had no chance of giving you the final answer for all these questions. The reality is, only Jesus will do that at the end of time, but I hope this series may have sparked a curiosity to know more… because there is a lot more to learn.
A few months back I was talking to a friend about his adjustment to married life. He told me a funny story about how his wife wanted to surprise him with brownies. Brownies, that sounds pretty awesome. Who wouldn't want to be surprised by sweet chocolaty goodness? It was a caring gesture and without hesitation, my friend obliged his bride by eating one of these chocolate delights.
In 1915 Peter L. Jensen invented the first moving coil loudspeaker, and his invention is still used today. Every Sunday a group of amazing and dedicated volunteers put four of them up at Curley so we can have sound amplification. You can have your face melted off by your favorite guitar riff or belt to your new summer jam because of the loudspeaker. It’s an amazing invention that has allowed people to hear and experience wonderful speeches like Dr. King’s “I have a dream,” and music like Queens, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Redemption for the atheist is annihilation. It’s in this annihilation that "…humiliation you suffer in your life will be forgotten. Every mistake you made will not matter in the end. Every bad thing you did will be voided. If our life is all we get to experience, then it's the only thing that matters. If the universe has no principles, the only principles…