When I was a teenager, I was in the Boy Scouts.  My dad was the scoutmaster of our Church-sponsored Troop – Troop 150 in Mishawaka, Indiana.  My appreciation of nature; and accumulated outdoor skills were developed and nurtured during those 8 years as a Scout.  I learned to swim during that time, and – as a result of that training – saved a little boy from drowning once.  I earned lots of ‘merit badges’ for practical things I still use today.  Over those teenage years, I achieved the rank of ‘Life’ scout – falling short of my goal of ‘Eagle’ scout because of entry into college.

Parents, I would encourage all of you to consider Scouting for your sons and daughters.  The values learned through scouting last a lifetime – learning accountability, self-reliance, teamwork and discipline are all good character attributes for any of us.  Adults, I would encourage all of you to consider participating in Scouting as adult leaders.  Hours of sacrifice to be sure; but the rewards are worth the effort.  I was there, first-hand, to see what it meant for teenage boys to develop a close relationship with my dad, their Scoutmaster.

In a way, I can picture the relationship between Jesus and his disciples much like scouting, in the sense that this group of men were being molded by Jesus for a mission of service and outreach in the world, in much the same way that Scouting leaders teach young people to become responsible citizens.   Proverbs 22 says  ‘Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.’  While we think of this verse in terms of Bible-based training, our kids should be associated with role models and leaders and peers outside the home and church that exemplify the best in Christian behavior.  (Scout Promise)  On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.)



June, 1967.  Sitting on the beach, watching people swimming in the lake; hundreds of them.  Notice a kid on an inner tube who had floated out past the ropes.  A minute later, I notice the inner tube; but no kid.  Where did he go?  What should I do?  Do I get involved?  Do I ignore what I saw?

I don’t know why I got up and raced over the beach and swam like crazy through those hundreds of  people, out into deep water – but I did.    As I approached the inner tube, the kid was about 3 feet down, struggling to get to the air.  I pulled him up.  When he broached the surface, with a look of desperation, he said simply ‘Help Me.’  Out of all those hundreds of people, that little boy was alive because, by the grace of God, I noticed his plight and I did something about it.

Are you a lifesaver?  You can be.  God has called us to follow Jesus’ example and serve.   Remember the picture of Christ, washing the disciple’s feet?  We are called to be ‘Footwashers’ for Christ.  The Book of  James puts it this way: ‘15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?’  Remember our theme this year ‘Get out of the Boat; Give Hope!’  John Maxwell has said ‘People don’t care what you know; until they know that you care!’  Show YOU care by helping someone today!  Matthew: 25:40   40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’