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(THE WONDERFUL LADY, ZULA GORE, REFERENCED IN MY STORY, PASSED AWAY IN 2011 IN LAKE HAVASU, ARIZONA, ACCORDING TO THE INTERNET SEARCH I DID RECENTLY....HOW I WISH I HAD DONE THAT 'SEARCH' EARLIER AND BEEN ABLE TO TELL HER OF THE GREAT IMPACT SHE MADE ON MY LIFE....PoP)




THE FOLLOWING IS A MESSAGE BASED ON THE MOST BEAUTIFUL STORY EVER TOLD AND ON AN EVENT FROM PoP'S CHILDHOOD THAT HAS HAD A PROFOUND IMPACT ON HIS LIFE SINCE THAT EVENT.


THE CHRISTMAS STORY
(SMALL BEGINNINGS: THE HOPE OF THE WORLD)
AND
A BIRTHDAY STORY
(LITTLE THINGS MEAN MORE THAN YOU KNOW)

ASHLEY, WILL, DREW, MAGGIE, OWEN, ABBY,...

If anyone ever tries to tell you that you are too little…. That you are a ‘nobody’ and will never make any difference in your world, or someone else’s world……"

DO NOT LISTEN!

When you find yourself wondering if some ‘little’ thing you are thinking about doing will matter, or thinking: ‘Who am I ? What difference can I make?’

STOP THINKING THOSE THOUGHTS!

Remind yourself of this story from PoP’s life.

The year was 1948. It was September and the week of his 8th birthday. He was growing up on a small farm out in the country near the village of Horn Lake, Ms., and was just beginning the third grade.

On that particular Saturday morning, he was messing around outside, like 8 year old boys tend to do, when he saw a strange car coming slowly up the gravel driveway to his old farm house. He watched it come all the way up to the top of the hill, where the house sat, and around the small shed where the water well and tank were.

As the car stopped rolling and the motor stopped running, the driver’s door began to open. PoP could hardly believe his eyes! Out of the car stepped Miss Zula Gore, his third grade teacher. She had just graduated from college in June, so Horn Lake Elementary School was her first real teaching job. (PoP and all his buddies thought she was too pretty for words….the prettiest teacher ever!)

Though he was surprised to see her, PoP was even more surprised to see her holding a wrapped present. As she handed him the gift, her words: “Happy Birthday!” almost took his breath away.

With his words of “Thank you!”, PoP tore the wrapping paper away and gazed on the first book that he could call his very own. It was “THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON” written by Johann David Wyss. (This is a picture of the book cover, as PoP remembers it.)

After a few more words with PoP and his mama, Miss Gore got into her car and made her way back down the hill of the driveway and to the main road. (It never dawned on PoP to wonder how she found her way out into the country and to his house. She lived in Hernando, so she would have had to make a special effort to get directions to the farm.)

Anyway, it wasn’t long after she left that PoP found himself a quiet place, sat down, and opened his book to the first page. Within a few minutes of reading, something magical happened: though seated firmly on the ground of that small dairy farm on Church Road, PoP (in his mind and imagination) soon found himself in the 1880’s on a genuine sailing ship headed for Australia. (Maybe some day you will read about this classic story, or even read the book itself. It tells of the adventures of this family on their way to make a new life for themselves. Along the way some very tough things happen and they have to learn to work together in order to survive. The story teaches many true lessons of courage, faith, hope and love, and is ageless.)

Now, the reason for my birthday story: Miss Gore taught that year and then moved on to a new place. PoP has grown up and become your “PoP’. He and Miss Gore have never seen each other since the end of his third grade year. And, Miss Gore has never known how her small act of kindness on that Saturday changed his life forever.

PoP’s mama and daddy did not have much of an opportunity to go to school, which was true for many people who grew up in the early 1900’s. He didn’t see them read much of anything other than the Bible a little, so he didn’t have books as a part of his family house. It may seem like a little thing, but that book was a treasure to PoP. Through it, the ‘eyes’ of his mind and heart were opened to a whole world of people, places, and things. Because of that book, he became ‘hungry’ to know about more and in him developed a love of reading which continues to this day.

There have been many times over the years when this thought came to PoP: “I wish Miss Gore could know what her simple act has meant to me.” And, over the years, PoP has woven her and her gift into sermons and talks he has made about literacy, in the faint hope that someone listening might realize that they know her and help PoP make a connection to her.

Anyway, something Miss Gore probably considered a small thing made a ‘big’ difference in PoP’s life. So… when you have an idea, or a chance to do something kind for someone never think that it won’t matter. Your kind, helpful action, or a smile, or a friendly word could change a person’s day, or even their life forever.

NOW, ON TO THE CHRISTMAS STORY PART!

We sing the Christmas carol, “O, Little Town of Bethlehem”, because God chose that little place in the world to begin the life and work of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus. More than the small town, God chose a stable, where animals were sheltered, to be the birthplace of Jesus! Think about this: Jesus didn’t need a Fisher Price toy farm set. He was born in the middle of the real thing!

And, think about this: God announced His plan to save the world---His whole creation---you and me-- with a single, silent star, and a small choir of angels singing to a group of ordinary, everyday, smelly shepherds out in a field! It was such a small thing that no one else in Bethlehem noticed God’s announcement, or the birth of His Son, our Savior.

That’s why everywhere PoP has been as a pastor he has preached a Christmas sermon entitled: “Small Beginnings, The Hope of the World”. For, you see, “little things” are always full of the possibility of growing into something bigger than anyone might ever think.

Whenever you ‘hear’ a voice inside, or ‘think to yourself’,

“You are too little, too unimportant to make any difference.” “You are just one person, so what can you do?”

PoP wants you to know that those words and thoughts are not from God, your Heavenly Father. Quite the opposite God’s actions over the centuries have shown us that He uses ‘little things’/‘small beginnings’ again and again to start His most magnificent and world changing works!

As this comes to a close, PoP can recall seeing your mama and daddy holding you as a tiny baby. More than that, GG and he have had the thrill of holding you in their arms when you first entered their world. Now, they have had the great joy of seeing you grow from those small beginnings into a ‘big blessing’ to them, and they can only imagine what wonderful plans God has for the rest of your life.

May be presence of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit guard your mind and heart each day you live! We love you!

CHRISTMAS 2013Pop & GG


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