“Don’t Let Me Miss The Glory”

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May 062018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Don’t Let Me Miss The Glory”.

By:  Ron Woodrum

 

     Back in 2010 we had the privilege of attending the Bill Gaither concert at the Coliseum.  All the usual guests were there to sing all the usual songs.  It was a marvelous evening of worship and Christian fellowship.  But in the middle of the concert there was a hidden surprise.  The pianist, Gordon Mote, shared a recording of his own.  He played and sang the song Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory.  That was the highlight of the entire evening!

 

In the view from the mountains

There’s a story to be told

In the crashing of the ocean

There’s a power that no man will ever hold

 

All the stars in the Heavens

Decorate Your Handiwork

And like a mighty choir

They’ve come to celebrate Your worth

 

Don’t let me miss the glory

Don’t let me miss the grace

All creation is singing

To the honor of Your name

 

Don’t let me miss the wonder

Don’t let me miss the grand design

And the lighting and the thunder

Lord, open up my eyes

Don’t let me miss the glory!

 

In 1982 Larry Walters attempted to join the Air Force and to realize his life long dream of being a pilot of a fighter jet.  He wanted to become a real life Top Gun Pilot.  But Larry failed his eye exam.  His poor eyesight put the kibosh on those Top Gun dreams.  Larry was not to be denied!  He had entertained his own idea of flight for over twenty years.  He had seen some helium weather balloons hanging in an Army Surplus store.  He had an idea.  On July 2, 1982 he purchased 42 balloons…filled them with helium…tied them to his Sears and Roebuck Aluminum lawn chair, strapped on some water jugs for ballasts…packed a pellet pistol to shoot the balloons out for descent, added some sandwiches, a parachute, and a CB radio…and of course a few beers, and he was ready.  He intended to release the balloons, rise to about 100 feet in the air, level off, and travel from San Pedro, California across the desert, to the Rocky Mountains.  So he released the rope tethering his homemade aircraft he had named Inspiration I, with high hopes!  Would his experiment work?  Would it ever!  In a matter of a couple of minutes Larry was past his intended 100 feet.  He quickly ascended the heavens, at a rate of 1,000 feet a minute, to a height of 16,000 feet before leveling off!  He was way up high, and he was scared, he had lost his appetite for the sandwiches, and never gave another thought about relaxing in his chair and slamming a couple of Miller Lites!  Not at 16,000 feet!  In all the excitement he lost his glasses!  He now had another problem…he was drifting into the flight paths of incoming planes to Los Angeles International Airport.  A clearly worried Walters used his CB radio to transmit mayday calls picked up by the Airport Flight Towers.  Two TWA incoming LAX flights had already notified the Flight Tower that they just passed a man, in a lawn chair at 16,000 feet, holding a pistol in his lap!  The tower had made a radar fix on him and were tracking him.  Despite his precarious situation, after the initial shock wore off, Walters was the picture of calm.  He told those now monitoring him that he knew he was in trouble, one way or another.  He would either plunge to his death, get sucked into a jet engine, or else get busted big time when he landed!  Eventually, after mustering up enough courage, Walters began shooting out the helium balloons one at a time.  He began a slow descent, but as he descended, he lost grip on the pistol, and dropped it before he could complete the job!  Ninety minutes after lift-off from San Pedro, he was back on terra firma…well almost.  his balloons got caught in some power lines in Long Beach, knocking out electricity in several neighborhoods.  His chair was dangling 5 feet off the ground when he unhooked his homemade seat-belt and hopped down to his welcoming committee from the LAPD!  Larry was charged with “operating a civil aircraft for which there is not currently in effect an Airworthiness Certificate”.  His original fine was $4,000.  Helium balloons?  Lawn chair?  Pellet gun?  What’s not airworthy?  That charge was later reduced to $1,500 and he was charged with “operating an aircraft near an airport without establishing and maintaining two-way communications with the control tower”.

Walter’s stunt earned him his requisite “five minutes of fame”. When asked why he did this stunt? Walters replied, “A man cannot just sit around in his lawn chair!”  He was now famous as “Lawn Chair Larry”.  He appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson; Late Night with David Letterman, earned a 1982 honorable mention from the Darwin Awards; He won the Bone-Head Award from the Bonehead Club of Dallas, Texas.  He appeared on a few game shows; he was featured in a Timex watch ad in the early 90’s.  The Smithsonian requested his lawn chair for its museum, but he had already given it to some neighborhood kid who had asked first!  He tried his luck as a motivational speaker, but that soon faded.  He soon withdrew from Public life and spent a lot of time hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains outside Los Angeles…and doing volunteer work for the U.S. Forest Service.  But after losing out on his dream…and enjoying his short-lived fame as “Lawn Chair Larry”, in 1993, only 44 years old, after missing the glory he longed to see, but never experienced, Walters committed suicide in the Los Angeles National Forest, shooting himself where he hurt the most, in his heart!  Missing out on the glory…he became another member of that generation LOST IN SPACE…WITH NO TIME LEFT TO START AGAIN!  A member of the tragic generation instead of the triumphant generation!  What a tragedy!  It reminded me of the words of Thomas a’Kempis who wrote, “to walk inwardly with God, and not to be held in any other outer affections, is the state of a Spiritual man”…to miss that is to miss the glory…and to miss it all.  If only a friend would have told Larry Walters that reality instead of being a member of the Lost generation, he might have belonged to the Lasting generation!  We can make a difference for eternity in the lives of those we meet and know!  If we don’t miss the glory!

 

 Posted by at 12:50 pm

“The greatness of a man is the measure of his surrender!”

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Apr 292018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “The greatness of a man is the measure of his surrender!”  By:  Ron Woodrum        Most of us are very familiar with the ministry of the Salvation Army.  We have all given donations to the Red Kettle, and probably many of us have even taken a turn or two at “ringing the […]

 Posted by at 2:29 pm

A VITAL VISION FOR THE CHURCH-ONE NEEDED FOR REVIVAL?

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Apr 222018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: A VITAL VISION FOR THE CHURCH-ONE NEEDED FOR REVIVAL? By:  Ron Woodrum        A.W. Tozer wrote several years ago “If we, (who belong to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ), are ever going to bring back spiritual power to our lives-we must SEE God and Jesus AS THEY REALLY ARE!”.    We are […]

 Posted by at 2:28 pm

“IDENTITY-YOU CAN’T GO BACK HOME TO FIND IT!”

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Apr 152018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “IDENTITY-YOU CAN’T GO BACK HOME TO FIND IT!” By:  Ron Woodrum         In 1975, two years before his death, Charlie Chaplin was visiting France.  He visited nearby Monaco, and while there he entered “Charlie-Chaplin Look-Alike Contest”.  He thought he was a shoe-in to win the prize money, and everyone would have a […]

 Posted by at 12:52 pm

GOD’S PLODDER-PERFORMING THE DISCHARGE OF SMALL DUTIES…RESULTING IN GREAT THINGS FOR GOD

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Apr 082018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: GOD’S PLODDER-PERFORMING THE DISCHARGE OF SMALL DUTIES…RESULTING IN GREAT THINGS FOR GOD. By:  Ron Woodrum        The father of modern missions is William Carey, a Baptist missionary in the late 1700’s who gave his life to reaching the Hindu world of India.  William Carey was born in England on August 17, 1761.  […]

 Posted by at 11:18 pm

THE TREASURE OF AN EASTER WEEK SNOW

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Apr 012018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: THE TREASURE OF AN EASTER WEEK SNOW By:  Ron Woodrum   This past week we were all surprised by the sudden winter storm that left 5-7 inches of very wet Spring snow as we began the week leading up to Easter.  God used the snow to give a message to Job.  Isaiah and David […]

 Posted by at 1:09 pm

“EMBALMING THE OLD MAN / EMBRACING THE NEW MAN”

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Mar 252018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE:  “EMBALMING THE OLD MAN / EMBRACING THE NEW MAN.” By:  Ron Woodrum   Charles Swindoll, in his book The Grace Awakening, tells a humorous story that was told by the late J.Vernon McGee during one of his preaching assignments in Chafer Chapel at Dallas Theological Seminary.  This is what Swindoll shares, “I remember […]

 Posted by at 2:23 pm

“We have not seen the last of the best!”

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Mar 182018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “We have not seen the last of the best!” By:  Ron Woodrum Revivals have been a big part of my life for over six decades.  I was saved in September of 1968.  My parents were saved the next fall, November 1969, during a revival with Gerald Thompson as the Evangelist at the Salem […]

 Posted by at 8:34 pm

“We Can Stand Fast!”

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Mar 112018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE:  “We Can Stand Fast!” By:  Ron Woodrum A young boy was standing out in a pasture, holding the bridle leading to his horse. His horse was an old sway-back mare. A passer by asked him, “Hey son, can your horse run fast?” He smiled, as he replied, “No sir, but she sure can […]

 Posted by at 8:17 pm

“BILLY GRAHAM-THE REAL ‘LEFT-BEHIND’ STORY”

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Mar 042018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE:  “BILLY GRAHAM-THE REAL ‘LEFT-BEHIND’ STORY” By:  Ron Woodrum         In his book, Just As I Am, Billy Graham reminds us that the ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was and is a team effort.  He writes, “The dedicated men and women working with us have been willing to do anything and […]

 Posted by at 1:31 pm