Tag Archives: decision-making

How I Almost Invented the Zip-Line and Other Bad Decisions

How I saw myself

“Let’s tie a rope from the top of this cliff down to that tree and slide down,” I said standing atop a thirty foot cliff. I was ten years-old and full of myself, being one of the older and cooler kids in our gang, and also having just been named the starting pitcher of my Pee Wee baseball team.

“Great idea,” said Tim, who was slightly older and, in reality, a lot cooler because it was his rope.

I tossed Tim’s rope down and secured the top to a large rock. Tim tied the other end to a tree. We then cut a short piece off the end to loop over the zip-line.

“It was my idea so I go first,” I said.

“It’s my rope.”

“I go second then.” We tied a safety rope around Tim’s waist and slowly lowered him down.

“I’m going again. Without the safety rope,” Tim said when he came back up. He zipped down the second time laughing and shouting.

Finally my turn came. I sat on the edge of the cliff with my legs dangling over. My brother and a tall kid looked up at me. Fear turned my mouth desert dry.

“Go! Or are you chicken?” Tim chided.

I launched myself into thin air. Unfortunately, Tim, not being a Boy Scout, was not trained in knots. The bottom knot came untied and I fell straight down, landing standing up, on my left leg. I felt and heard it snap. The tall kid took off running for home.

“I broke my leg,” I whined when everyone gathered around me.

“You did not.”

I pointed to my left foot which was hanging sideways on my leg. Both bones, compound fracture, end of my baseball career. I’ve regretted that day, especially years later when I realized I almost invented the zip-line.

Unfortunately, jumping off that cliff was not my worst decision. I’v made many more. So many that at times I’ve been afraid to make one at all. I’ve frozen at the top of the cliff, so to speak.

My Top Six Worst Decisions:

6. Dropping out of high school for a job at Gordon’s Greenhouse that paid $1.75 an hour.

5. Climbing to the top of a glacier to see if “Those really are bear tracks going in that cave.”

4. Moving from the Mile High City, gateway to the Colorado Rockies, to Bloomington, ILL, popcorn capital of the mid-west.

3. Breaking up with my future wife, Dee Dee, when I was in the 8th grade.

2. Trusting Tim’s meager knot tying skills.

1. Buying a used Chevy Citation. For the sticker price, without bartering.

I have good reason to not trust Tim or myself. But I’ve made some good decisions too. Or more correctly, just as not all that glitters is gold, so too, not all that begins daft ends dark.

My Top Five Best Decisions:

5. Dropping out of high school for a job at Gordon’s Greenhouse that paid $1.75 an hour. I’ve seldom quit anything since and have been married 33 years and now have a doctoral degree.

4. Climbing to the top of a glacier to see if “Those really are bear tracks going in that cave.” That’s just really a great story I’ll tell another time.

3. Moving from the Mile High City, gateway to the Colorado Rockies, to Bloomington, ILL, popcorn capital of the mid-west. My youngest daughter was born, my oldest daughter met an incredible man and married him, and I am grandfather to the two best grandkids in the world to name a few unexpected outcomes of that move.

2. Trusting Tim’s meager knot tying skills. I now know that scars, physical and emotional, are–at the same time–the most tender and tough parts of me. And if I had become rich and famous because I invented the zip-line, I would not have become a pastor.

1.  Finally marrying Dee Dee. You knew that was coming. Plus, there is nothing even God can do with a used Chevy Citation.

Does Life Just Work Out for the Best?

But this is not simply a case of life “working out for the best.” Nor is it proof “everything has a reason.”


Shallow platitudes and blind fate had no hand in my worst decisions becoming my best. This was not a mere learning my lesson. I still don’t trust ropes or philosophies tied by the mere hands of man. Only God can bring beauty from ashes and joy from weeping and give even suffering a reason. As I look back, I see God’s hand, gently–or not so gently–redirecting my poorly chosen paths. And because of that, I (more often now) face decisions–and life generally–boldly, fearlessly. Because this turning of worst to best is the powerful work of God’s perfect love. It’s called redemption. And that is where I place my trust and base my decisions.

Eugene C. Scott decided to get up this morning. That was either a good or bad decision depending. He also believes living spiritually means living fearlessly. You can join the Living Spiritually community by clicking here and liking the page. He is also co-pastor of The Neighborhood Church.


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Waiting For God

Years ago, I spent a couple of days working on a road construction crew. Going into this temporary job, I wrestled with a couple of preconceived ideas about road construction workers. First, from what I could tell, most of the crew stood around and watched one member do all the work. The second bias was similar to the first one: they didn’t work hard.

Well, the day arrived for me to join the work crew. We hopped into a pickup truck and drove to our destination. After the truck dropped us off we looked at each other for a moment. The crew leader wasn’t doing anything. So, I asked him, “What do you we do now?”

“We wait,” he replied as he prepared a comfortable spot for himself on the grass.

“We wait? I asked. I couldn’t hide the astonishment in my voice.

“Yes, we wait.”

So, I joined my boss and watched the drivers whiz by giving me the same incredulous looks that I had given road construction workers in the past.

Yet my experience gave me a deep spiritual insight into the ways of God.

Please join us in our daily Bible conversation.


Isaiah 62:6-65:25
Philippians 2:19-3:3
Psalm 73:1-28
Proverbs 24:13-14


Isaiah 62:6-65:25. “Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them” (Isaiah 63:10). “Rebellion” and “grieving the Holy Spirit” aren’t identical in meaning, but they do give us an insight into what grieves the Holy Spirit. The word “grieving” in this passage means to grow tired or weary. When we rebel against God, he grows tired of the push and pull. Obviously he doesn’t grow physically tired, but he stops fighting us.

Philippians 2:19-3:3. Paul warns the Philippians to beware of the mutilators of the flesh” (Philippians 3:2), people who claimed that men must be circumcised in order to be in good standing with God. Instead, Paul says, the people who are truly circumcised are the ones who “worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3). In other words, God’s chosen people are those place all their hope in Jesus to save them and make them right with God.

If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends! Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: http://www.bibleconversation.com.


After spending a couple of days working on the road construction crew, I realized why I so often see them standing around.

While sitting on the grass next to my supervisor, I finally asked him, “Why are we waiting?”

“We can’t do any work until the shipment of asphalt arrives,” he told me.

Imagine how we would have looked if our crew had tried to patch a road without any asphalt? Not only would we have looked like fools, but it would have been a complete waste of time.

Yet many people do that every day.

The prophet Isaiah prayed, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4 italics added).

I don’t know about you, but when I encounter a closed door in my life, I tend to do everything in my power to knock it down. I’m not good at waiting. In the end, I look like a road construction worker laboring without any asphalt.

Impatience reveals our lack of faith in God. In my past, I accepted job offers because I was too impatient—too short on faith, really—to wait for the right job to open up. In the end, I regretted my choice.

At the same time, waiting isn’t the same thing as laziness. The word means “earnest expectation and confident hope.”

In the next month or so, our church will be launching a mentoring ministry that will focus on fatherless teens who attend the high school where we meet. When we hatched the idea a year ago, we had no one to direct the ministry. We’re a small church plant, so we didn’t have many people to choose from. But I’ll admit, I was tempted to volunteer myself. My lack of faith nearly led me to take on a time commitment that would have either doomed our mentoring ministry or severely impaired church. I didn’t have the bandwidth to pastor a church, write, and lead a mentoring ministry without one of those areas suffering greatly.

So what happened?

A couple of months later, a couple began attending our church—and the wife had 15 years of experience as a youth pastor. Not only that, but her kids graduated from the same high school where we meet. When I asked her to lead the mentoring ministry, her eyes lit up and she nearly said “yes” on the spot.

So Lynn has taken the bull by the horns and is doing a better job of organizing the ministry than I ever could.

But it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t waited.

What is God calling you to wait on?


What spoke to you in today’s reading?

Do you struggle waiting on God? Why?

What is God wanting you to wait on?

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

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