Sometimes People Surprise You

It’s not unusual for people to be rude and inconsiderate. And it’s not hard for us to imagine teenagers acting in the same manner, but just because a behavior is common doesn’t mean it should ever be acceptable.

This past week a couple of teenage girls were talking and laughing and disrupting a movie for other patrons. One lady who was there with her daughter asked them to please be quiet and they simply laughed. Fortunately, when the two girls arrived home their 16 year old brother (who was with them) told their mom, Kyesha Wood, everything that happened. He explained how the woman approached the girls at the end of the movie and told them her husband had just been laid off and it was the last time she would be taking her daughter to the movies for a while – and they had ruined it. What the mother did next surprised me. She went on Facebook to try to find the lady who had confronted her daughters – not for revenge, but to apologize on behalf of her daughters. Here’s what she posted:

”This is a long shot, but I’m looking for a woman that was at Tannehill Premier tonight seeing Cinderella at 7pm. I dropped my teenage daughter, step daughter, and son off at the movie. My son later told me, much to my humiliation and embarrassment, that my girls were rude and obnoxious during the movie. The woman I’m looking for addressed them and asked them to be quiet and they were disrespectful. ‘After the movie she approached my girls and told them that her husband had been laid off and this was the last movie she would be able to take her daughter to for a while and my girls ruined that for her. If you are this woman, please message me. I can assure you that these girls are being strongly dealt with and appropriately punished. This rude, disrespectful, and awful behavior is unacceptable and they owe you an apology. My husband and I are having them write your apology letter tonight and we would like to pay for your next movie and snacks out of their allowance. Please message me if this is you. I apologize profusely for their disrespect.

The Facebook post went viral and Kyesha connected with the young mother who had been disrespected and her two daughters wrote a letter of apology. Yes, I was surprised to see a mother go out of her way “to make things right”.

But wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we were no longer “surprised” by the Kyesha Woods of the world, because they were the norm.

It sort of reminds me of an old saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I think the saying is credited to a Jewish carpenter who lived a long time ago 🙂

In His Grip,




In His Grip,

Terry Lafferty

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I am sitting here having watched the video and having read several accounts of the Oklahoma University fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s hate-filled, racist antics on board a chartered bus. I must confess that as I watched the video clip tears filled my eyes and there was a deep churning of disgust in the pit of my stomach. How can we be so educated and yet so ignorant?

 This is the next generation! Is this how far we’ve come? Now, I know that this is just one group at this school and it’s not everyone, but for goodness sake, one group is too many! We should be past this. We have all of the knowledge we need. If you prick our fingers, do we not share the same life-giving blood? Does not the same God-designed DNA run through all of our bodies, whether we are white, black or any other color? Haven’t we seen that there are brilliant men and women of every race and ethnicity? What will it take to move us past this outdated ignorance? If you look INSIDE, do you not see someone with the same hurts and hopes as you, the same insecurities and fears – someone who is looking for acceptance, just like you?

 There were at least two students who recorded the actions of those on the bus. And, I could be mistaken, but I have a suspicion that they did so because they did not agree with what was going on. It would have been nice if they had put a stop to it, but perhaps this will have a much more profound impact on the perpetrators and the rest of us who are watching from afar.

 When we live lives without God, or with a distorted view of God, the result is often “educated ignorance”.

 I pray that we, as a people, might begin to value life – every life – from God’s perspective. When we do that, we will experience the difference between walking in the darkness and walking in the Light and, oh what a difference! 

In His Grip,


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It’s Never Too Late

I read a great story this week that reminded me that it’s never too late.

It all started 13 years ago when a person paid for his meal at a pizza parlor with a bad check. Stores and restaurants must deal with this and write it off as a business loss – as did this restaurant owner. In fact, he just forgot about it until this year. Last month the restaurant owner received an anonymous letter along with a money order for $54.39 to cover for the original bill and compounded interest. Below is an excerpt from the letter:

“I think of this often and I am incredibly ashamed and embarrassed at my behavior. I have visited your store several times in the last few years and have always wanted to confess and ask you to forgive me, but I have not been able to summon up the courage, so I just eat my pizza and leave.”

This story should inspire us that it’s never too late. It’s never too late to right a wrong or to ask for forgiveness.   It’s never too late to try to mend a relationship. It’s never too late to make someone’s life a little better and never too late to overcome the obstacles in your own life. Life is so much more than where we’ve been and what we’ve done wrong.

As long as we have breath, we have hope – hope to find our purpose, hope to live as we were created, and a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus.

It’s never too late – what’s your next move?

In His Grip,


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I’m Trying to Understand

I’m trying to understand, I really am. When I look back over my life, I can sometimes understand why I did it. But as I’ve matured I’ve seen the delusion in my reasoning. So, I continue to be baffled when I see it in the lives of those who seemed to have gained prominence and achieved much success in life.

From Hillary Clinton, who recalled an event (running for cover under sniper fire) that never happened, to Brian Williams (NBC anchor) who is currently suspended for telling a fictitious story about his time in an Iraq war zone to Robert McDonald, the Secretary of Veteran Affairs, who was just exposed on national television for lying to a homeless special forces veteran by telling him that he too was in special forces, these high profile people felt the need to lie to others, but why?

These three individuals have reached great heights, if not the pinnacle of their respective careers, and yet none of them felt secure enough in what truly happened in their lives, so they invented an event that might make them look more credible, heroic, or honorable. Did any one of those lies help advance that agenda? Possibly…but at what cost? The cost of one’s career, or worse yet, one’s integrity?

The lesson I am learning from these stories is one about the human condition. It affects each of us, regardless of what place or position we have achieved in this life. Our successes and triumphs will never be enough to cover the insecurities that we carry around as human beings living in a fallen condition. The desire to impress others will always be at our doorstep because we are consumed about what others think of our resume, our accomplishments and our life in general. And it will be that way until we say, “It is enough.”

It is enough that I am a child of God! It is enough that God accepts me based on his grace, not my grand slams. It is enough to be loved by the King of kings and Lord of lords. I have nothing with which I can impress God.

I am persuaded that if we can be secure in his accomplishments, then there will be no need to enhance our own.

Can you say, “It is enough.”?

In His Grip,


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What do you care about? How do people know what is important to you? Sometimes I wonder if we are better at speaking our passions than demonstrating them. I hear people complain about our government, but the voter turnout statistics are abysmal. It seems to me if we really cared, our concerns would be supported by our actions.

Case in point: The Hagerman School District in New Mexico had three candidates running for three vacant school board seats. They were running uncontested. All they needed was one vote to win election to the school board, but not a single ballot was cast. No, not one! Zip, zero, zilch!

Of the 1500 residents, no one cared enough to cast a ballot, not the superintendent, the current school board members – not even the candidates themselves! Now I know that some people had valid reasons for being unable to vote, but 0% turnout, you have to be kidding me. As a matter of example, the school officials should have voted. It’s hard to persuade others of the importance of anything if those who are viewed as leaders are not leading the way by action.

This story illustrates to me that if I am truly passionate about something, if I truly care about something, it will show up in my life, not just on my lips! I can tell people all day long about how important it is to serve others, but who will listen if I am not serving.

I will conclude with the question I started with: What do you care about? There are many people in this country and this world that say their faith in God is extremely important to them, but if the evidence from their lives were gathered to support their claim, would it be convincing? I want to leave no doubt as to where my #1 passion lies. I want the deeds of my life to fully demonstrate to the confession of my lips. How about you?

It’s easy to say, “I love you, Lord”, but much harder to live out that passion.

How are you doing?

In His Grip,


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One Millionaire’s Perspective

This week it seems there are several depressing, local stories that are grabbing the headlines, and I have grown a bit weary of hearing and talking about them. So I just wanted to share something on the other side of the spectrum. 

Perhaps you have heard of Ronald Read, a Vermont native who recently passed away at the age of 92. For the most part, Mr. Read led a modest, unassuming life. He grew up through the depression, was the first in his family to graduate high school and fought in World War II. After the war he returned home and worked as a gas station attendant for 25+ years until the station closed down and he decided to retire. But retirement didn’t suit him well, and he started working as a part-time janitor at the local J.C. Penney’s store. He remained there for 17 years before retiring for good at the age of 76.

The surprising fact about Mr. Read is that before he passed away, he had amassed a fortune of eight million dollars. Most of which he bequeathed to a local hospital and library. And nobody had a clue of his wealth. You see Mr. Read lived a very frugal life, he cut his own firewood, he wore old, worn out clothing, sometimes held together with safety pins. He drove a second hand Toyota Yaris and would even park far away to avoid paying for a metered parking spot. Once, someone even paid for his meal, because he looked like he could use a little help.

When I read a story like this, one word jumps out – Humility. How many millionaires would willingly and contentedly go to work as a janitor? That’s humility. This isn’t Undercover Boss for a day. This is a man whose attitude says that not only is no job beneath him, but there’s no person beneath him as well.  

Most of us are eager to tell others of our accomplishments, presumably so they will be impressed and/or treat us differently. Not Ronald Read. He wasn’t concerned about others being impressed by him.

I think that Mr. Read has grasped humility in a way that I am still seeking out. A lesson worth learning.

In His Grip,


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SnapChat, Voicemail and YouTube

I’m guessing that Deron Puro never thought that an angry, racist voicemail left on another person’s phone would have such a far-reaching consequence!

It all began when Mr. Puro’s twin boys sent bullying Snapchats to Brad Knudson’s, African-American daughter, Dee. When the Puros would not answer the phone or the door to talk about the situation, the police and school were brought in, mainly because the Knudsons have a friend whose 13 year old son committed suicide after being continually bullied.

The Knudsons who are Caucasian feel blessed that they were privileged to adopt their beautiful daughter 11 years earlier; and as all parents they love her dearly. So with the knowledge and approval of Mr. Puro, Brad Knudson made a YouTube video including voicemail recordings with the racial epithets. As a result of the visibility, Mr. Puro was fired from his job two days later. Ouch! I’m sure he didn’t see that one coming.

Generally speaking, I think we have a tendency to compartmentalize our lives. We have our work compartment, our home compartment, our church compartment, our play compartment, etc., and we don’t mix them too much. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it seems that most people think their work life has little effect on their home life or the spiritual life and vice versa. And while I think that some separation is necessary, I also think that somehow we are missing out on God’s design for us. Do people at your place of employment know the same you that your family at home knows or that your church family knows? If not, why not?

We were created to be whole individuals, a part of this community called humans. Created to be the same person even in different environments. There’s harmony in this design. No need to remember where you are, only whose you are.

If this story teaches us anything, it is that the destructiveness of sin reaches not only to its intended target and beyond, but often comes full-circle to bite the sinner in the proverbial butt. With sin, no one walks away unscathed! 

But with God, there is forgiveness to the one who seeks it.

In HIs Grip,



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