Posts Tagged ‘person of the week’


December 2, 2009 1 comment

My basketball career began in the first grade with a purple jersey, white shorts, white knee-high socks with two purple stripes each, and I hope white and not purple Converse All-Stars (can’t remember that part of my statement-making, intimidation-producing ensemble). Despite my embarrassing uniform, my grandfather, Kenneth Hope, was always–without fail–at every single game with a paper bag over his head.

Okay, maybe he didn’t have anything on his head, but he did have something in his shirt pocket and something else in his pants pocket. In his shirt pocket he carried a mini spiral notebook–you know, those 2 1/2 by 4 inch note pads with spiral bindings on top. That’s because my grampa was my personal statistician. Throughout the game he wrote down on that pad all my points, free throw attempts and makes, assists, rebounds, and steals. In his pants pocket he had a few one dollar bills and some loose change. After the game he’d calculate my earnings, adding 10 cents per point and subtracting 25 cents per missed free throw. Then he’d reach into his pocket, pull out some cash and coins, and make my day.

He had a similar system for when I was pitching in Little League baseball–always in the stands even on the hottest of Texas afternoons (one heat stroke to prove it!). He travelled with my AAU basketball teams on all of our trips, whether we played in San Antonio, TX, Kingsport, TN, Salt Lake City, UT, Tulsa, OK, or Orlando, FL. He was always in the stands for all my high school basketball games, and he even made several trips to Henderson, TN, when I was playing ball at Freed-Hardeman University.

In short, Grampa Hope has always been interested in my success and involved in my life. That’s why he’s the Person of the Week. And more importantly, that’s why he’s the best grandfather a kid (or grown up) could ever have.



November 21, 2009 2 comments

Curious as to the identity of this silhouetted man? Maybe a few vague, suspense-building clues will help. He’s a guy (hence the personal pronoun at the beginning of this sentence and the word “man” in the first sentence). We met when we were in elementary school, although we went to different schools in different states together. He was my suite mate in college for ONE year, during which time he became convinced to propose to his girlfriend, start planning a wedding, and never step foot in Benson dormitory again. (Coincidence? I think not.) He was a groomsman in my wedding. He’s a coworker of mine and one of my closest friends. And one thing I should mention about the silhouette to avoid any confusion: the dip on the crown is not a wave in his hair; it’s apparently a dent in his head that I hadn’t noticed before.

How about a drum roll? Okay, nevermind. I’ll just tell you. Justin Gerhardt is the person of the week. And here’s why:

  1. Justin is super TALENTED. Among other things, he’s a great thinker and a brilliant writer, as you’ll see by taking a look at his blog. He’s also a gifted communicator who’s effective when speaking to an audience of 800, teaching a class of 30, or counseling 1. He has a way of connecting with people, and in turn, connecting these people to Jesus.
  2. Justin is also a great FRIEND. When you need someone to listen, he’ll listen. When you need someone to make you laugh, he’ll say something ridiculous. If you still need a laugh, he’ll say something even more ridiculous. If you’re tired of laughing…well, you get the idea. When you need someone to tell you you’re an idiot, he’ll get the message across and somehow leave you feeling pretty good about yourself. When you need someone to critique a sermon or paper or plan or whatever, he’ll share insightful suggestions that greatly improve the final product. When you need someone to sympathize with you, he’ll tell you he’s sorry and mean it. He’s just an all-round great friend.
  3. Justin and Jen have a MARRIAGE that’s the envy of many (envy in a good, I-want-to-make-my-marriage-better kind of way). If you were to ask Justin what he loves about Jen, I’d guess that somewhere on his long list would be the way Jen admires and supports him. And if you were to ask Jen what she loves about Justin, I’d guess one of the many things she would say is that Justin is thoughtful and affectionate. From the outside looking in, they seem to have the Ephesians 5 thing pretty much down to an art.

Well, there you have it. Now the only thing left for me to do is collect my $50 from Justin for including this excerpt from his autobiography in my blog. Just kidding.

He actually owes me $75.


November 13, 2009 4 comments

You get two for one this week. That is because my person of the week is a pair of wonderful persons–Ken and Julie Hope (my mom and dad). A lot of you reading this post know my parents and already know what special people they are. But for those who don’t know them, it is my pleasure to introduce them to you.


My dad was a record-setting All-American pitcher for Oklahoma Christian back in the day and is now a father of four, grandfather of four (and husband of one, of course). He’s preached for the same church in Garland, Texas, for over 25 years, which is no small feat in itself. What I admire most about my dad is his consistency. He’s anything but wishy-washy. He’s steady, not prone to extreme emotional highs and lows. He doesn’t make rash decisions or do things on a whim that he’ll regret the next day. He’s strong, dependable, and wise. And for that I admire him. But here’s why I love him: because he has been more than a consistent example throughout my life; he’s been a consistent presence in my life…catching me when I jumped off the diving board into the deep end, holding the seat of my oversized bike when I was learning to balance, insisting that I extend my arm when I threw a baseball, baptizing me into Christ after delivering an emotional speech, and spending countless hours coaching my summer league basketball teams. As I told him recently in a birthday card, I only hope I can come somewhere near living up to the high standard of fatherhood that he has set for me.


And my mom. When we kids were growing up she was a stay-at-home mom, but now she works as an Administrative Assistant at a Garland elementary school. Of the many wonderful traits she possesses, there is one that outshines them all. She’s gonna kill me for divulging this, but she has fulfilled her suppressed childhood dream of becoming a cheerleader. (No, she never wore a skirt and jumped around on the sidelines at my ball games.) But she was and still is a cheerful, supportive, energetic, bubbly presence in my life. Like an unfiltered ray of sunshine, she has always been eager to laugh, eager to put people at ease, quick to get over frustration, and quick to share others’ excitement. Even though it’s been 13 years since I graduated high school and left for Tennessee, she still is the one person I want to call first when anything good happens to me. Because I know when I share my good news she’ll share my excitement and intensify my joy. Like a superhero who never shows her suit, my mom (though having never been seen with a megaphone and pom-poms) is the best cheerleader in the word. And that’s why she’s my hero.


November 7, 2009 1 comment


This week’s Person of the Week is a lady I know particularly well–my wife, Heather. Besides being a preacher’s wife (yippee!), she’s the mother of our two young kids, an actual board certified doctor (optometrist), and a committed Bible class teacher at church. Of the many admirable qualities she possesses, there are three that top the list.

  1. Heather is incredibly forgiving. In the spirit of 1 Corinthians 13:5, she keeps no record of wrongs. Whether she’s suffered a minor slight or endured a major offense, when she gets over it, she’s over it. No hanging it over a person’s head (namely mine). No using it for ammunition in a future argument. You’ll likely never hear her bring it up again. In fact, even when you jog her memory she sometimes can’t even remember being wronged.
  2. Heather is a wonderful mother. She wants so badly to always have a close relationship with Haven and Pierce. She thinks a lot about what sorts of things she can do both now (while they’re still young) and later (as they grow older) to be involved in their lives and be their biggest supporter. She’s aware of the little amount of fleeting time we have to raise our children, and she’s determined to make the most of it.
  3. Heather is unassuming in a most beautiful way. This quality manifests itself in her unpretentious interactions, her openness to differing opinions, but most noticeably in her commitment to dependability. She gets this quality–I might add–from her dad, who is a humble and faithful and responsible servant himself. Like her father Lyle, if Heather agrees to do something, the last thing she’ll do is shirk her responsibility and leave others scrambling to pick up the slack. She doesn’t think she’s an exception to any rule. Part of what makes her so special is that she doesn’t realize just how special she is. Her true beauty is the hidden person of her heart–the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4).

I could say more, but you get the idea.

Shortly after Heather and I started dating, my grandfather asked me if I thought I’d end up marrying her. My response was, If I don’t marry Heather, I’ll marry someone just like her. Fortunately, I didn’t have to settle for an imitation. I got the real thing–the woman of my dreams.