Top Ten Ways to Squeeze Good Out of Bad
Copyright © 2006, 2021 by James N. Watkins
Published by XarisCom
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ™ NIV ™ Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked (MSG) are taken from The Message: The New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs in Contemporary Language paraphrased by Eugene Peterson, (Colorado Springs, NavPress, 1993, 1994, 1995). Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation Copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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Excerpted from Squeezing Good Out of Bad which was originally published in 2009 by XarisCom, Gas City, IN USA
You can purchase the audio book of the complete original book on Amazon.com
To my family, who has been a source of encouragement through life-puckering problems.
When life gives you lemons . . .
10. Don’t confuse them with hand grenades
Identify the problem
9. Check the delivery slip
Determine if it’s your problem
8. Sell them on eBay
Profit from the problem
7. Paint smiley faces on them
Laugh at the problem
6. Join a citrus support group
Share your problem
5. Use as an all-natural, organic astringent
Grow from the problem
4. Don’t shoot the delivery driver
Forgive the problem-maker
3. Call in the Master Gardener
Take the problem to a higher level
2. Grow your own orchard
Live a fruitful life despite—or because of—the problem
1. Give off a refreshing fragrance
Live a lemon-fresh life
When life gives you lemonsdon’t confuse them with hand grenades
Identify the problem
Life is filled with lemons; those life-puckering, lemon-juice-in-the-eye events we all encounter.
Some are only temporary: intestinal flu, crashed computers, lactose intolerance, sadistic dental hygienists, overdrawn checking accounts, and IRS audits.
Others, however, leave a long-lasting bitter taste: chronic illnesses, family feuds, prodigal children, and death. M. Scott Peck in his best-selling book, The Road Less Traveled, writes:
Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.
Or to put it more succinctly, Roger Anderson reminds us:
“Some days you’re the pigeon; some days you’re the statue.”
There’s another possibility, however. What we may perceive as a lemon—some life-puckering problem—may indeed be the event that produces a sweet, fruitful future for us—eventually.
Sometimes it’s helpful to put everything in perspective. Is this truly a hand grenade or is it more in the category of a hangnail?
For instance, ask yourself, would I trade this problem in on a hangnail? How ’bout a headache? Harmonica concert? Hernia? Hair loss? Holdup? Hurricane? Hand grenade?
I would have traded some hand grenade shrapnel for the restoration of a broken relationship or miraculous resurrection of a loved one. Mostly, though, my problems are somewhere between a really bad hangnail and a mild headache. I’ve had very few “hand grenades” in the carryon of my life.
We can look at each lemon of life as a hand grenade that threatens to destroy us or as fruitful experiences that prompt us to grow emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.
When life gives you lemons check the delivery slip Determine if it’s your problem
We had just moved into our very first house when a burly police officer appeared at our front door. “I have a warrant for the arrest of. . . .”
Oh no, I thought, they found out that I ripped off that tag from under the new sofa reads, “Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law.”
Fortunately my name wasn’t on the warrant! Unfortunately, we learned that the house we had just purchased in a nice suburb used to be the neighborhood crack house. And that funny weed growing within the shrub was indeed “weed.” I was glad to tell the officer, “I’m sorry, you’ve got the wrong person.”
And sometimes the lemon delivery driver comes to our front door, and our name is not on the delivery slip, either.
Fred Smith, the president and founder of FedEx delivery, reminds us that we need to learn to distinguish problems from “facts of life.” If I can do something about it, it’s my problem. If I can’t do anything about it, it’s simply a fact of life.
Trying to sort out what part of the situation is a fact of life and which part is a problem is a tough question, but one that must be asked. We can’t take on problems that are not our problems. Yes, we can pray. Yes, we can seek help. But we don’t need to take responsibility for things that we had no control over.
So, when the lemon delivery driver comes to your door, ask to see the delivery slip. And if your name’s not on it, don’t sign for it!
When life gives you lemons sell them on eBay
Profit from the problem
Okay, you’ve determined that the delivery slip for that load of lemons really does have your name on it. Rats! But as the worn-out proverb goes, when life gives you lemons, sell them on eBay!
For instance, in 1834, a businessman was thrown in jail for not paying his debts. He had spent his savings trying to improve the durability of rubber and, even while in prison, continued experimenting with numerous additives. Several years after his release, he tried mixing sulfur with rubber, but accidentally spilled the mixture on top of a hot stove. As he cleaned up the mess, he discovered that heating the mixture was the key. So, in 1844, vulcanized rubber was patented by Charles Goodyear.
In 1886, Dr. John S. Pemberton created a “brain tonic” to cure headaches and hangovers. Unfortunately, the Atlanta pharmacist’s concoction of cocaine, cocoa leaves, kola nuts, and fruit syrup didn’t sell well. According to tradition, Dr. Pemberton discovered some stock boys had added club soda to the brain tonic for a refreshing—and apparently, recreational—drink. However, Asa D. Chandler is credited with carbonating Pemberton’s unsuccessful elixir in 1892 to create what is now known as CocaCola. And Coke no longer contains “coke.”
During World War II, British scientists discovered that short-wave radar could detect enemy aircraft, but were unable to perfect the magnetron tube that produced the short waves. In 1945, Raytheon employee, Percy Spencer, noticed that the candy bar in his pocket had melted as he stood in front of the switched-on magnetron tube. Rather than complain about a ruined lab coat, Spence was intrigued and placed a raw egg in front of the tube. Since the yolk and white of the egg quickly reached the boiling point, Spencer not only had a melted candy bar in his pocket, but now egg on his face. He had accidentally created the microwave oven.
So, we need to ask ourselves, how can I profit from this truckload of lemons on my front porch?
It’s probably not financial gain, although Dr. Pemberton’s failed brain tonic has sold quite well as a soft drink. More likely, it will be the kind of personal growth that the apostle Paul describes. (And keep in mind, he was getting beaten up and thrown in jail on a fairly regular basis.)
. . . we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
I’m still up to my neck in lemons, but I believe I’m seeing perseverance, character, and hope emerging from the lemon crate of my life. And, because of these life-puckering problems, I’ve produced the book you’re holding. A book I hope sells half as well as the other failures listed above.
When life gives you lemons paint smiley faces on them
Laugh at the problem
There are times in our lives when the lemon truck backs right up to (or through) our well-kept and tastefully-decorated front door and dumps a whole load of life-puckering problems on our just-waxed hardwood floor. It’s not a good thing!
Here are some suggestions for transforming life-puckering situations into laugh-provoking stories for your next family reunion.
Don’t take your situation too seriously
Some situations are serious such as the time Lois and I flew into a remote Native village with an Alaskan bush pilot. During the take-off he casually remarked, “We’re about fifty pounds over take-off weight, but I think we can clear the trees at the end of the runway.” (We obviously did or someone else’s name would be on the cover of this book.)
But few life situations are life-threatening! Seriously!
Greek theater divided plays into two categories: “tragedies” and “comedies.” Tragic tales had dire endings—such as the bountiful body counts at the end of many of Shakespeare’s play. In comedies, however, the hero and heroine always lived “happily ever-after” or at least had a pulse at the curtain call.
Conrad Hyers writes: “Humor is not the opposite of seriousness. Humor is the opposite of despair.”
It is God’s providential control of this world that keeps us from despair. Perhaps that is why Flannery O’Connor writes that Christianity is serious business that creates serious comedy. “Only if we are secure in our beliefs can we see the comical side of the universe.”
So, the apostle Paul provides the ultimate punch line in his letter to first century Christians: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
It’s the ultimate “good news/bad news” joke of life.God is able to take tragedy and turn it into a “comedy” in the Greek sense of the word.
So, we can learn to see the lighter side of most situations—or at least be consoled that someday they will make great stories—or an anecdote for a book (nothing terrible happens to authors, just terrific anecdotes). So, don’t take your situation too seriously. And . . .
Don’t take your senses too seriously
How we look at things determines our attitudes and actions. Some people simply refuse to see the humor in situations. Their life is filled with a dark seriousness. Humor lets us see beyond sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell to detect all the interesting surprises, inconsistencies, and contradictions to which many people are blind and deaf.
A large part of humor is looking at things from a slightly different perspective, so be sensitive to the funny things around you. For instance, Lois recently came home from shopping with toilet paper that claims to be “100 percent recycled.” (I don’t even want to think about that!)
Don’t take yourself too seriously
For six years I worked as an editor at a very refined and dignified publishing house. (Can imagine me working in a place like that?) During that time I saw the emotional and spiritual damage that occurs when people take themselves too seriously. The incredible amount of time and energy to keep up a “dignified” front and the unbearable pressure to perform perfectly squeezes the life—and humor—right out of a person.
Fortunately, the editorial department seemed to attract what the rest of the building judged to be “the crazies.” And with that label came wonderful freedom. If deadline pressure became too great, Patsy my editor would dance through the office blowing soap bubbles. Roxanne released her tension with rubber band wars, by calling out for pizza mid-afternoon, or one morning riding my daughter’s Christmas bicycle, which I had hidden in my office, down the hallowed halls of headquarters.
When life gives you lemons join a citrus support group
Share your problem
Did you know that there are actually “lemon addiction” and “lemon support groups.” Yep! Just type those phrases in the google.com search engine, and you quickly learn that lemon can be slang for lesbian as well as a code for explicit sexual content in Japanese cartoons. (Nope! No naked lesbians here!) And since there are numerous sexual addiction support groups, apparently “lemon addiction” is no laughing matter.
Whatever kind of “lemons” we’re dealing with—physical, situational, or sexual—there is hope and help. But only if we’re willing to admit to trusted friends, “Hi, I’m [insert name here]. I am powerless over lemons and my life has become unmanageable.”
I’ll admit that I’ve had to work at becoming transparent and vulnerable. I tend to be one of those people when asked, “How are you?” I will say “Fine” even if I’ve spent all night on the porcelain pew with food poisoning. I could have a week to live and would still answer, “Fine.” (The opposite is equally dangerous: people who are so transparent that they’re a pane.)
At some point, I decided I might as well admit, “Hi, I’m Jim and I’m a mess.” In fact, I shared a talk at the church my wife and I once pastored called “I’m a Mess! You’re A Mess!” After the mess-age, several came up to me and gave me big hugs. One woman in particular clung to me and cried, “I am such a mess, but I have hope now that I know you’re a mess, too.” Yep, I’m a mess, you’re a mess. That’s why I assured them we have a Mess-iah!
Admitting our “life-puckering problems” is often the first step to healing. You have to be real in order to heal!
Levels of assistance span everything from a talk over coffee at a friend’s house to imprisonment in a psychiatric hospital. Let’s work our way up.
My good friend and author of Ninety Minutes in Heaven, Cec Murphey, quips, “I don’t know what I’m thinking and feeling until I write it down.”
It also serves as a record of the ups and downs of my life. And, as I wrote earlier, there are often benefits that are unseen at the time, but show up later in my journals. That gives me hope.
However, make sure that the executor of your will has orders to burn them at your death. (I can’t be completely honest if I’m afraid my journals will end up being read by friends or relatives—or worse, being used as evidence in my sanity hearing.)
My wife and I have been through a whole truckload of lemons the past few years (and the delivery truck just keeps bringing more). But we have been so loved and supported by our family and friends.
Sometimes we need a bit more expertise in dealing with the lemons of life. Many colleges and some houses of worship have trained laypeople to provide helpful counsel.
A good peer counselor treats you as an equal, thus, “peer,” but has been trained to help you talk through the options available to you. They will also know what resources are available.
They are skilled in “active listening” (actually paying attention while you talk rather than thinking what they’re going to say next) and “reflection” (rephrasing your thoughts to help clarify the issue and asking open-ended questions to help you explore options).
Small groups based on common interests are often safe places to bring your load of lemons. The writers group I belong to is a safe, confidential group to share the frustrations with editors and rejection slips, as well as personal issues.
People with common challenges often form groups for emotional and educational support such as alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, death and grief, mental illnesses, overeating, “lemon addiction,” and writing for a living.
Most of all, you want a group that makes you feel safe and secure to share your feelings without pat answers or condemnation. But you also want a group that lovingly challenges you to confront any issues that are holding you back from completely resolving the problem. Avoid, however, any group that promises a cure or suggests that support groups are a substitute for medical treatment.
Sometimes the need is beyond what peer counselors and support groups can provide. When choosing a counselor, try to find someone who has personally dealt with or treated the issue you are facing. You’ll also want to be sure the person is fully-trained and certified for the level of care they are offering.
If you’re willing to admit you have a problem, and seek help at the appropriate level, you’re in no danger of ending up on the news or in a psychiatric prison.
When life gives you lemons use as an all-natural, organic astringent
Grow from the problem
Lemon juice in the eye is painful. And let the record show, I do not like pain. But . . .
Pain produces perspective
In 1991, I endured three surgeries in three hospitals in two months to pry a stubborn stone loose. The experience provided a whole new way of looking at life.
Every morning that I don’t wake up in a hospital bed is a great day. Every day I can avoid stitches, IV needles, or dry heaves is terrific. Kidney stones put everything in perspective!
Pain produces perseverance
The New Testament reports that the apostle Paul was given the power to heal the sick and raise the dead. Impressive pain relief! But somehow God chose not to heal Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.” Commentators and speculators suggest he was suffering from malaria, poor vision, an especially powerful libido, or all three. Now if I were Paul, I’d be pretty discouraged. Here I am working 24/7 healing lepers and paralytics, as well as occasionally raising to life a few corpses, and I can’t even get relief for my own pain.
But Paul wrote: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom. 5:1-4).
Pain produces purpose
Okay, Mister Smarty Pants Author, you may be thinking. So what is God’s role in pain? Does He cause our pain much like a dentist or personal trainer does to bring a greater good? Or does He allow tragedies so He can come and pick up the bloodied pieces and make something good? Or is He simply vacationing in Cancun and hasn’t recently listened to His voice mail?
I can say with the utmost confidence—and I have a degree in theology and an ordination certificate—I don’t have a clue! I really don’t. I do know, however, that whether God causes, allows, or simply takes a “hands off” approach to pain, He does lovingly, actively, miraculously work it for our good (Romans 8:28)
I’ve spent a lot of spiritual perspiration trying to answer the questions of “why” in my life, but I’ve come to the conclusion that’s a fruitless effort.
In fact, I believe he teaches us to ask these questions:
1. What can I know? What is God teaching me through this pain?
2. How can I grow? What spiritual strength and character am I developing through this pain? How can I become more like Jesus?
3. Who can I show? How can I use these lessons to teach and comfort others in pain?
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
And so when life gives us lemons, don’t ask why, but ask God how He can use them to cleanse and exfoliate us of the oily, greasy buildup in our lives.
When life gives you lemons don’t shoot the delivery driver
Forgive the problem-maker
“I need to go shoot something,” I announced to my wife as I stormed out of the house with a handgun, a shotgun, and two rifles. Lois and I had just received disastrous news.
“You did say something not somebody?” Lois asked nervously. I showed her the trash bag filled with Diet Coke cans and headed out to the country to work off some powerful emotions. (I love guns, but I’ve never shot anything with a pulse. Go figure!)
I riddled the cans to shreds with my private arsenal as I worked out my feelings:
All the way through the emotional alphabet . . .
But Lois, although heartbroken, was absolutely gracious to those who had hurt us so deeply. Me, I was reloading.
So, one human reaction to lemon deliveries is to let go of our the emotional pressure! Cry. Target shoot. Scream. Throw pillows.
The Old Testament Joseph had his share of lemons, beginning when his rotten brother ripped up his coat of many colors, beat him up, threw in a deep hole and sold him into slavery. Then his owner’s wife—the original “desperate house wife”—accused him of rape when he refused to be seduced and he ended up in prison. However, God orchestrated the pit and prison to bring him into the palace second only to Pharah to save his people from famine. So, when his brothers showed up to buy grain, they have no idea this powerful leader is their brother. Joseph responds:
“Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them (Gen. 50:19-21, italics mine).
I like that line: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”
Forgiving the lemon-delivery driver
Jesus is clear that we must forgive those who have “intended harm.”
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matt. 6:14-15 NLT).
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25).
The Greek word used in the Gospels for forgiveness literally means to “let go of.” Forgiving is a willful, deliberate “letting go” act, but it’s also complicated with feelings. We can forgive, but we can’t always forget. We can forgive, but we can’t stop feeling the hurt or betrayal. We can forgive, but we can’t undo the fallout that may have changed our and others lives.
Call in the Master Gardener
Take your problem to a higher level
We’ve talked about handling a lemon of a problem in a variety of ways. Determining if it is or isn’t our problem. Squeezing it into a money-making machine (Coca Cola, Post-It notes, this book, etc.) Laughing at it. Taking it to a citrus support group. And using it as a tool to make us stronger.
But all of these strategies depend on human effort and ingenuity. Sometimes that just isn’t enough.
Most people don’t turn to God until there’s a major crisis: trapped in a foxhole, facing an approaching hurricane, dealing with the horror of a terrorist attack, the stock market tanking, unemployment, etc.
But He has designed us to draw our strength from Him, not on an emergency bailout basis, but in a daily relationship.
Often we cling to Romans 8:28 as a good luck charm.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose . . .
But that is followed by verse 29 and that purpose.
. . . to be conformed to the likeness of his Son. . . .
When we stop at verse 28, we’re missing the purpose! Please consider three propositions from God’s Word:
1. God does promise to take that load of lemons and somehow, miraculously, work some good out of it.
2. The purpose for all these “things” working for “good” to those who love God is to make us more like His Son, Jesus.
3. That’s humanly impossible!
Yes, Humanly impossible, but possible through God’s “work.” Through a life-giving relationship with Him.
When life gives you lemons grow your own orchard
Live a fruitful life despite—or because—of the problem
While the word lemon doesn’t appear in the entire Bible, Paul picks up on the fruit theme in Galatians 5:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (5:22).
Fruit is an appropriate metaphor since . . .
Unlike my illustration of lemons that show up unexpectedly on our front porch, this fruit is the result of life-long—and sometimes painfully long—growth.
Fruit grows from its own tree
Jesus notes that “a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matt. 12:33).
You don’t get apples from an orange tree, or good fruit from a bad tree. So, the fruit of the Spirit—which grows in one’s life—is the natural outgrowth of the nature within. John writes in his first letter:
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (4:7-8).
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (4:12).
Fruit thrives by pruning and fertilizing
If we allow the Gardener to prune and fertilize us, we can expect the fruit of the Spirit (John 15).
When life gives you lemons give off a refreshing scent
Live a lemon-fresh life
Type “lemon scented” into google.com and you’ll find over 178,000 sites featuring the phrase!
Of course there are hundreds of lemon-scented furniture polishes, disinfectants, and assorted cleaning products including, and I quote, “lemon-scented vacuum cleaner bags.”
Lemon scent is hot in candles and incense promising to “invigorate” and “awaken the spirit.”
Plus, there are lemon scented bar soap, cough drops, refrigerator deodorizers, and even an electronic/dance/house/techno band” called “Lemon Scented.”
Apparently, everyone loves the fragrance of lemons!
The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 2:14-15:
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
Do you suppose this fragrance Paul is describing which invigorates and awakens the spirit is “lemon fresh”? If so, when life gives you lemons give off the refreshing fragrance of Christ.
That in a nutshell—or lemon peel—is the message of this book. God miraculously takes the lemons that are dumped into our laps and uses them to produce in us “the likeness of his Son.”
1. Being conformed to the likeness to Christ is the essence of holiness.
2. Holiness comes through allowing God to shape us into that likeness through hardships and heartaches.
And that message is probably why this book won’t sell as well as the latest “prosperity gospel” book. Hardships and heartaches don’t sell well!
And so, I hope I’ve clearly communicated that by “good,” I’m not referring to happiness, pleasure, prosperity, a “God loves you and has a wonderful Porche for your life” healthy and wealthy kind of good.
The Greek word Paul chooses for good, agathos, can be translated “of a good nature, useful, helpful, excellent, upright, distinguished, or honorable.”
Since I’m writing this book backward, it’s appropriate to end with an introduction because: a) I’m writing this book backward and b) it’s an introduction to a brand new person.
For ten years, I’ve directed a writers’ conference at the Sandy Cove Christian Conference Center on the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay. One morning as I was making sure the stage was ready for the morning session, I found an envelope on the podium addressed to “Jim.” I was shocked with what I found inside. It was a “Thank You” card with the following hand-written message inside: “We can see Jesus in you.”
I immediately turned the envelope over and checked the address once more. Yes, it was addressed to “Jim” and yes, I was the only Jim on the program. I was stunned!
You see, the closer I feel I’m getting to Jesus, the farther I realize I am from His character. The more I pursue holiness, the more I discover my wretchedness. And the more loving I try to be, the more selfishness and ego-centricity I find growing like mold in the corners of my life’s refrigerator.
And even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered (Hebrews 5:8).
What? Read that again. I believe in one triune God, so it could be translated, “God learned to obey God . . . through the thing he suffered.”
Perhaps as Jesus walked through life, was tempted in the desert for forty days and as he was “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53:3), he was being strengthen and trained to face his greatest act of obedience: the excruciating beating, then death on a cross.
Suffering prepared the Son of God to obey God the Father. And so suffering remains one of God’s most effective tools to teach his children obedience and a life of holiness. I have learned absolutely nothing from success, but I have learned much from suffering—from “lemons.”
I trust this book has been an “introduction” to a whole new way of thinking, and most important, a whole new person.
When life gives you lemons, be conformed to the image of God’s Son.
And, if you were helped by this short eBook:
1. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story.
2. Visit jameswatkins.com for more helpful, hopeful humor
3. If you have a blog, say something nice about it and add a link to www.jameswatkins.com/lemons.htm
4. Use it as a study book for a small group and Sunday school class.
5. And, most of all, put the principles into practice to live a lemon-fresh life.
“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 2).
James N. Watkins
Jim is the award-winning author of sixteen books and over two thousand articles. His books have won a Christianity Today award for Book of the Year and Christian Retailers Choice awards, while he has won five awards for his work as a writer and editor.
He served as an editor with Wesleyan Publishing House and instructor at Taylor University, and currently is a popular conference speaker. His most important roles, however, are as child of God, husband, dad, and “papaw.”