Monday, April 21, 2008

What is the fruit?

This weekend I was going through one of my 26-or-so piles of papers and bills trying weed through what I needed to keep and what I needed to toss. I found a paper that I had made some notes on a couple months back but had lost. It was something that I had intended to blog but, as things do, it slipped my mind. The notes were some I had written while doing the route and listened to talk radio, like I usually do. John Croyle was on the show, talking about something near to his heart.

Probably anyone who has anything to do with Alabama in general knows something about the Croyle name. I, innocently coming from MI then Arkansas, knew nothing about Bama football, Bear Bryant, or John or Brody Croyle.

Let me go back to my first encounter with John Croyle. When we first moved to AL, I taught at New Hope High School. The week before school started there was a teacher enrichment day, and the speaker was an amazing man with amazing stories and an awesome message about the importance of children and the effect that we can have on them. After the day was said and done, I couldn't remember the man's name, but I remembered who he was. Turns out it was John Croyle. Fast forward to a couple months ago--I heard him again. And on the radio he had the same effect on me.

John Croyle played football for Bear Bryant. He had the option of playing pro football. He felt in his heart that he wanted to start a Boys' Ranch. He decided to start the ranch instead of play ball. He is full of stories about how God touched his heart. How things worked out. How bills get paid. How hurt, broken parents carry their poor, hurt children to his ranch and hand them over and turn around and walk away. Then the staff at his ranch takes the children in and gives them a home and family environment. After years of taking in boys, a girl was brought to him that needed help. He wasn't allowed to take a girl in, and she was sent home with her family. She was beaten to death. So John Croyle opened a Girls' Ranch too. It's amazing. Really.

Getting to the part I took notes on....On the radio, he was talking about how at the end of his college career he was feeling led to start this ranch but so many were encouraging him to play pro ball. He went to talk to his coach--apparently one of the best coaches of all time. His coach asked him what his heart was really telling him to do. He encouraged him to follow that feeling and told him that he would be able to do an amazing job and that he could really change lives. John Croyle commented that there are basically three kinds of people.

There are people who Impress.
There are people who Impact.
There are people who Inspire.

The "impressers" and the "impacters" have short-term, surface-level influence on others. Sometimes they even leave a mark on someone that sticks around for a long time but really doesn't affect their life or change their outcome. The "inspirers", though, encourage others to really DO something. To make a difference. To follow their heart. His coach inspired him to make his dream a reality.

He went on to say even after all these years as the director of Big Oak Ranch, and after changing the lives of hundreds of children, he daily asks himself 3 questions. I wrote them down, because I really think that asking and answering these questions on a regular basis can really help me keep my life and actions on track. They are a good way to make sure my actions are guided by the right motive.

I will leave you with these questions, but first I encourage you to visit the website of the Ranch. Read through the History section, and go to this page to see a picture of John and his wife. Then say a prayer for this man and his family as he devotes his life to changing the lives of children because he feels God calling him to do so.

1. What is God calling me to do?
2. Am I doing it?
3. What is the fruit of that action?

1 comment:


Thanks for sharing that, Stacy. I'm glad you found the notes so you could share it with us. :) I need to post those questions somewhere were I can see them. It is not always easy to do what God is trying to tell us to do and to truly make a difference in people's lives. I know there's a lot of things that hold me back whether fear, selfishness, or whatever Satan might use to keep me from doing things that could really impact others. I've never heard John speak, but I've heard he's pretty amazing. You know Andy's fiance Bethany? Her sister and brother-in-law actually heard John speak and were so moved by everything he said and did that they are started a boys and girls ranch similar to his in Cookeville, TN. It's called Mustard Seed Ranch. They are getting ready to open it up to boys and girls there pretty soon after it's all finished. Rex, Bethany's brother-in-law, goes to Big Oak Ranch a lot to learn from how they are doing things there. I think it's pretty awesome! Andy and Bethany are getting married on the ranch. John came and spoke at one of their fundraising dinners.