April 2000 – “You’re not going to believe what happened to me after I talked with you yesterday,” said the voice from the other end of my cell phone line. If, indeed, cell phones have lines, which I don’t think they do since they are “cells.” Funny, when I was studying about cells in sixth grade science class we never could have imagined that one day they would grow to be as big as a small portable phone. Back then they were too small to see even with a microscope. These scientific and technological advancements are starting to scare me.
The voice was that of my good friend Brannon Howse. Brannon lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. For two years now he and I have been coordinating conferences around the country that we call “Understanding the Times: A Worldview Weekend.” We believe it’s important that Christians educate themselves about what it means to have a biblical worldview and be able to challenge competing worldviews such as secular humanism.
As we hold these Worldview Weekends with great speakers such as Josh McDowell, we are finding that many Christians are hungry to learn better how to defend and advance the Christian faith. We are encouraged to find many Christians who love America deeply and want to see her return to a fear of God and a respect for the moral values which made our nation the greatest on earth.
In 1 Peter 3:16-17 Christians are exhorted: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
If you read the AFA Journal, you know how our American popular culture has become increasingly hostile to those who believe the Holy Bible is the authoritative word of God. The idea that the Bible is relevant for us in the year 2000 is something that is scorned and ridiculed. Scoffers and sceptics ask: “Who knows what truth is? Who is to say what is right or what is wrong?”
Sadly, many Christians don’t know why they believe what they say they believe. Let me encourage you to do a survey with your Christian friends. Give them a blank sheet of paper and ask them to write down the Ten Commandments. Then test yourself.
A year ago a gentleman asked me to do this without warning. I named nine. I knew the tenth when he said it, but it should have been so burned in my mind as to be second nature.
“What happened, man?” I asked Brannon as I walked to the glass overlooking the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. I had just arrived from Memphis. I was at the gate waiting on my flight to Amarillo where Brannon and I were holding a conference.
Brannon doesn’t like to fly. In fact, to tell a little secret on him, before he gets on the plane, he takes a little medication that allows him to relax. But if he takes too much, he stutters when he wakes up.
When I had last talked to him he was sitting on the tarmac in Abilene, Texas. He had flown from Minneapolis to Dallas, but because of severe weather, his plane had gone into a holding pattern for more than an hour waiting to land. This was not good for my friend. This was bad. After going round and round north central Texas, the pilot finally announced to the passengers that they were being sent to Abilene due to a shortage of fuel. There they would refuel and wait on instructions to return to Dallas.
“Well, after I talked to you we sat on the ground in Abilene for four more hours and didn’t get off the plane,” said Brannon.
“No, you’re kiddin’ me, right?” I responded.
“Oh, it was bad, man. They don’t normally handle jets the size of the one we were on so they didn’t have the thing – whatever they call it – to pull up and let us get off the plane.”
“So what did you do?”
“After a couple of hours someone had 10 pizzas delivered to us and the pilot came over the loudspeaker and said he had two cheese pizzas and was willing to trade one for a pepperoni. At that point I took some more medicine.”
I started laughing in the phone as I watched one big jet after another lift off the runway.
“What happened then?” I asked Brannon.
“Well, we finally were cleared to fly back to Dallas and got in about midnight.”
“So what time did you get to Amarillo?”
“What do you mean Amarillo? That flight was cancelled and I couldn’t get a hotel room. I slept on a cot in the airport. I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.”
My mind began to turn.
“So, where are you now?”
“I’m sitting here at the gate waiting on my flight to Amarillo. Why?”
I turned around, continued talking in my cell phone, and began scanning the people at my gate. Sure enough, across the room, about 20 yards away, was my buddy Brannon.
“I’m walking toward you, man,” I said to him. “I see you.”
“What?” he responded. I could tell by his speech his relaxing stuff was kicking in.
At that time he turned around and looked right at me. We both began to laugh out loud. Quickly the people around us noticed what was happening and everyone cracked up. Now I was in Brannon’s worldview and he was in mine. All medicated and ready to fly.