The first week of May 2013, I was booked to speak at various venues and drove 3,000 miles in just under a week (alone). That is doing some serious driving! It was an honor to return to Columbus, GA and speak at Providence Baptist Church and this is second time in less than a year they had me address their great group. The accomodations were super and I had the privilege to stay half the week at Fort Benning Army Base. My father served in U.S. Army and a tour in Vietnam and it was wonderful to interact and see up close how the soldiers live. What a beautiful facility and I hadn’t felt that safe in a long time sleeping on a secure base with 24 hour protection with soliders residing all around me on that beautiful base. You cannot but be patriotic to see and talk with the men and women who proudly wear our flag and fight for freedom.
PAUSE AND PRAY for all our military and they are FIRST CLASS. After leaving Columbus, the very next day I drove to Phoenix City, Alabama and taped TWO television shows on their network airing on cable to both Georgia and Alabama. That was my second time at that studio taping and on one show I was honored to be the guest but on the second show the host graciously stayed home and told me he wanted me to have all 28 minutes and just share whatever was on my mind. That is a leader right there who will unselfishly open the door and get out of the way.
I will tentatively scheduled to speak that next Sunday in Macon, GA and at last second with a scheduling conflict they rescheduled for Fall 2013 and I had a dilemma. Be dissapointed and go home or stick around and trust that something was in the works around the corner. After catching up with some dear friends in Warner Robbins, GA we toured the Air Force Museum and what are the odds but my picture was affixed to the wall honoring former Senator Sam Nunn from Georgia. A large mural was displayed that I recall from a previous visit of all 100 United States Senators! No joke, Forrest Gump could be my middle name 🙂
The next day we elected to return to Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, GA. The home church of our 39th President Jimmy Carter. I had met President and Rosalynn Carter on two other ocassions. Once in Philadelphia, PA and the other at this same church in early 2000. I learned long ago that just because I am not on the platform speaking doesn’t mean I can’t sit back and enjoy and learn from others. After my wife’s permission to stay I took my dear friend, Bob and together we went to attend church. When in town, President Carter actually teaches Sunday School and its not every day you can sit under the teaching of the former leader of the free world and listen to him speak on the greatest Leader of all time.
After going through the Secret Services they ushered us to the front row. I didn’t ask for it, put in for it or demand it. Someone once wisely said: “If you DEMAND you don’t DESERVE.” So true. We were like Bob Ucker (FRONT ROW) and after a few moments, former President Carter and his wife with Secret Service in tow came out. After graciously asking where we were from he asked if any ministers were in the house. Bob hit me in the shoulder and the President asked more questions and then asked me to open up in prayer. It was an honor and in corporations and classrooms my speaking is inspirational and motivational but all public service is a form of ministry when you desire daily to invest in others.
Below is the clip and President Carter gave the kindst endorsement after my remarks. That afternoon, I drove 15 hours non-stop home but it was worth every mile because looking back what looked like a dissapointment with a temporal cancellation in Macon, GA was a eternal promotion in Plains, GA. Had I got “bitter” we would have missed out on the blessing. Looking back, I thought I was going to pour into a couple hundred people but God had other plans and was fortunate to minister to an individual who just happened to be a former President.
APPLICATION: When its tempting to look down remember to LOOK UP and trust that the best is ahead!
BONUS: Fifty years ago today, on July 24, 1963, a 16 year old, unknown teenager on a trip to Washington from a small town in Arkansas called “Hope” had the privilege to meet President John F Kennedy. That transaction and initial introduction between Bill Clinton and JFK changed his young life, altered his course and the rest is history. President Kennedy would be shot dead in downtown Dallas in less than four months. My friend, Beverly Massaggee was 18 at the time and standing next to the presidential limo on the Grassy Knoll as President Kennedy was assassinated. On July 1993 (almost thirty years to the date) my father whom served on the Inaugural Committee for President Bill Clinton had an appointment with Dad to ‘thank him” personally for all his hard work to help provide security for his special day. Dad graciously opened the door for me to meet President Clinton on the steps of the U.S. Capitol along with VP Gore and Speaker of the House Tom Foley. Its almost unheard of to get a pic with three of the most powerful people in the world and same pic. #Grace