1991-1992 Last Word Columns

Living on Borrowed Time (January 1991) – Jackie and I spent a week in our little cabin in western North Carolina in October. One rainy morning we got up to drive across the mountains to meet friends for lunch. Coasting slowly down the steep wet driveway, I heard an inner voice. “This could be your last trip. you could be killed on that slick mountain highway.”…

Encouragement (February 1991) – When I was in high school, I had a football coach who met every player at the sideline as he came off the field, shook his hand and said, “Good job!” I remember very little else about him — but I remember that. No matter how badly I had played, he shook my hand when I came off the field…

Intercession (March 1991) – The summer after I graduated from high school, my father had surgery for a double hernia. The operation was performed in a small hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, near my parents’ summer cabin in Hendersonville…

Quiet Time (April 1991) – Every year for the past 15 years, a group of us — dressed in old clothes, carrying shotguns, rifles and sleeping bags — have gathered in a little hunting cabin deep in the swamps of South Florida. We come from different towns and states. Each year we add or subtract someone, but the core group had remained the same. The four days are spent in the woods southwest of Lake Okeechobee on the edge of the Florida Everglades — 30 miles from the nearest phone…

Mother’s Prayer Book (May 1991) – Several years after my father’s death, I had the heart-warming task of moving my mother into a Baptist retirement center in Florida. My father had donated the property to the center before he died. Dad never got to live there, but Mom stuck to the plan. She moved only a few things with her, urging us children to divide up the rest…

God Will Do It Again (June 1991) -The pain turned out to be my friend. It began about the first of the year. Lower back. then down into my hip and thigh. Finally below the knee. My doctor, suspicious that the cancer might return, ordered X-rays, a bone scan, then a CAT scan of my abdomen. All were clear. Yet the pain persisted…

Wrestling With God (July 1991) – One of the modern Greek playwrights wrote of the novice who went to stay on an island with an elderly priest. One afternoon the young cleric, eager to learn, walked with the venerable man along the craggy shore. As their robes swirled in the wind, he finally asked the big question. “Father, do you still wrestle with the devil?”…

Lizzy’s Miracle (August 1991) – Back around Christmas, 10-year-old Lizzy Gross told her mother, Lestra: “Mommy, I’m seeing double.” That night Lestra mentioned it to her husband, Johnny, who is minister of music at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. They prayed…

Following Jesus (September 1991) – A quiet pebble beach is located on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It is under the shadow of the Golan Heights, not far from the ancient village of Bethsaida. It was here, early one morning, that Jesus stood and shouted across the water to His friends in a fishing boat…

What is Masculinity? (October 1991) – The new emphasis on men, while encouraging, is not all good. Poet Robert Bly’s book Iron John stayed on the best-seller list 30 weeks this year. Bly has been the one to inspire many men to head off into the woods on weekends, where they stand around campfires, pounding on their chests like gorillas and uttering primordial screams in an effort to regain their lost masculinity…

Using The Name (November 1991) – I arrived at the Founders Inn on the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) campus on a Thursday afternoon. I was to be Pat Robertson’s guest on “The 700 Club” Friday morning, then speak that night at the CBN Partners’ banquet in the hotel ballroom…

Dealing With Fact (December 1991) – One of my major mistakes, as I was finishing radiation treatment, was to read Michael Landon’s biography. I didn’t read much. Only the last pages describing his death from cancer. But I shouldn’t have done it…

Philistines and the Media (January 1992) – When Dan Rostenkowski, chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, was asked by a reporter if any of his checks had bounced in the congressional bank, he swore — and sneered, “None of your business.” The question, he said, was an intrusion into his private affairs…

Dual Status (February 1992) – A growing number of us, I have discovered, have tasted heaven but returned to (or remained on) earth. We are the ones who have literally “entered into His presence.”…

Bridge-Builders (March 1992) – Most of my adult life, it seems, I’ve been trying to build bridges between people who don’t want to come together. Last fall I got tired of the process and decided to build a real bridge — the kind made with timbers and nails…