Charlie Cannon, Part 1

“And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him.”  Matthew 4:19-20


Lindy Mitchell leaned out the Jeep window for a kiss. “I’ll be back in an hour. Don’t get lost, or we might have to send a search party in after you.”

Mace Mitchell grinned. How well my wife knows me, he thought.

“Don’t worry–I have a list.” He pulled his wrinkled, yellow piece of paper from his jeans and waved it. “Just call me when you’re leaving the grocery, Lins, and I’ll be ready. Love you, Choo-Choo.”

“Ditto, Kiddo.”

He watched her blond head blip around the corner out of the parking lot, then he grabbed a buggy.

Smoothing out the paper, he raked a hand through his curly hair. Picture hangers. Doormat. Interior paint, #2891 Ocean Breezes. Okay, he’d head on over to Paint first.

On his way there, he envisioned the pastel blue-green color Lindy picked for their bedroom.  Once they decided to paint, it’d taken Lindy several tries to find the right color.  No black, no purple, was all he asked. So last night when she held up her tiny paint chip against their stark white walls, he heartily agreed.

Yeah, he’d try his best to get in and out of here today, and not aimlessly float down the aisles to play with the newest and coolest the store had in their displays. It was his plan to get the bedroom taped and completely knocked out by noon, then buzz on over to the church to tweak the sound and graphics for tomorrow’s worship service.

At Paint, the young guy behind the counter was mixing another order. He wiped his hands on a paint-splattered apron and approached. “Kyle” said his nametag. “May I help you, sir?”

Mace pointed to the list. “I certainly hope so, Kyle. I need two gallons of this in your best interior flat.”

Kyle nodded. “Be right back.”

Kyle went about gathering cans of base paint, cracking the lids, and sticking them under the color machine. Mace watched as several codes were punched on the keypad and long and short dribbles of color slid into his paint. Opposite them, the paint agitator stopped its monumental shaking. Kyle strode to the monster of a machine, removed another customer’s can from its bowels, scooped out a paint daub on his finger. Mace chuckled as Kyle had to rummage under the counters for a decidedly low-tech hand-held hair dryer to dry the paint color he’d swiped on the lid.

Mace went back to his list. While the paint’s getting mixed, I should head on over to hardware for those wall hangers to put up those pictures Lindy’s been dogging me about. Then over to flooring to get a replacement doormat, thanks to Ranger, who’d gotten bored last week and decided to chew up the old one.

Mace started forward, almost bumping his cart into a guy who’d since appeared at the paint counter. Surprise shot into the other man’s full-bearded face. “Hey, sorry about that,” apologized Mace. “Hope I didn’t get you.”

“Naw, not a problem.” The man met Mace’s eyes. A flicker of recognition lit the gray eyes, then receded.

I know him too, thought Mace, but where do I know him from?

Kyle walked up with the finished can of paint, set it on the counter. “Here you go, Mr. Cannon. Will there be anything else for you today?”

Cannon. Charlie Cannon? Could it be—?

Thankful For. . .My Church Family

This is a story of how the church should roll. .  whenever there is a tangible need, we should love on our brothers and sisters in Christ and seek to fulfill that need. All because Jesus has made a difference in our lives. To Him be the glory. . . .

Al and I were present at a church family member’s house re-dedication recently.

Becky Woods, who lost her husband Danny to pancreatic cancer a few months ago, also faced major water damage a few weeks later to a large portion of her home. A couple of church members felt impressed to take this project on themselves for Becky. They used the insurance money Becky was issued to oversee and carry out the remodel, which had now grown to a whole-house project, while Becky was allowed to stay in town with daughter Kristy and son-in-law Mark.

Several drastic changes took place: Drywall and flooring were replaced. Wallpaper came down and fresh paint went up. Bathrooms were updated, along with a lot of other little niceties put in their place. Oh, Becky got a new flat-screen TV, replacing the outdated, water-damaged one in the den.

It was a new home for Becky! When she arrived, my husband Al prayed a prayer of dedication. He prayed that God would give Becky a new beginning and that God would use her and her “new” home to bless others through her in Jesus’ name. As Becky walked through and touched each lovely thing, Becky marveled at how God had provided for her, again and again.

I was thankful to witness in person, God’s faithfulness displayed through His people. We are never more like our heavenly Father than when we are giving . . .and are transformed through Holy Spirit’s power to literally become His hands of love, His feet in shoe leather.

We humbly praise God from Whom all blessings flow. . . !

Lookin’ up,


Jesus Really Loves the Children

I just finished the NY Times bestseller Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the real-life story of a pastor who recounts the story of his son, Colton. Colton lay violently ill in a hospital with appendicitis at the age of almost-four years old and took a short trip to heaven. Yet God saw fit to return Colton to his earthly family, back from the edge of death.  Colton, who did not have enough theology to frame the fantastic and comforting details he encountered, began speaking of things in heaven he’d witnessed, to the sheer amazement of the adults around him. If you’d like some eye-opening descriptions of what an eternity with God might/will look like, I encourage you to buy or borrow this book.

If there was one subject in particular Colton enthusiastically repeated over and over, Todd Burpo says, it was that Jesus really, really loves the little children.

He said that Colton would wake up in the morning and remind him, “Hey, Dad, Jesus told me to tell you. He really loves the children.” Or he would babble over dinner about it. Or at bedtime while brushing his teeth, Colton would firmly preach the same message: “Hey, Daddy, don’t forget. Jesus said He really, really loves the children!”

In Mark 10, Jesus’ disciples had come up with their own method of crowd control. They fussed at all the parents dragging their broods out to see Jesus. To their credit, the disciples probably had honorable intent, not wanting to squander Jesus’ valuable time and attention on those in the crowd they considered insignificant. But Jesus, of course, saw what was happening, and had a radically different take on things!

“Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it. And He took them up in his arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.”  Mark 10:13-16, NKJV

Todd Burpo also points out statistics showing that most people who come to know Christ as Savior, do so when they are young.  So, to those of you who minister to children in some way. . .

. . . Who still have children at home and are actively engaged in teaching them about the Lord–

. . . Who sing songs to or sit in the floor to play with little ones in the nursery–

. . . Who fill children’s heads with exploits of God’s heroes in Sunday School or extended session–

. . . Who patiently listen to children to spout their memorized Bible verses in Awanas—

. .  . Or those who brave the youth group, daring to live out a godly life before those young people–

You are in terrific company! You are doing what Jesus might Himself be doing, if He were here in our world today. Blessings!

Lookin’ up,