It Could Have Been Me

August 27, 2010

Our family has had our share of struggles, hardships and challenges this year, but through it all God is sovereign and good! Yesterday my department had an officer involved shooting incident. Thank God the officer was not injured. This is an officer’s worst nightmare. You know it could happen any day at any moment, but you hope it never does. Even if you do everything perfectly according to the law and your training, you are still subject to the reaction and second guessing of other officers, the public, the media, the victim’s family, and possibly civil or criminals courts. Not to mention the short and long-term psychological effects on you, your family and those around you. It could have been me. In His infinite wisdom, God decided I shouldn’t go to work yesterday.

I was scheduled to return to work for that shift after being off for two days. I was in a meeting at the church when I received a text from my wife saying that she was going to the emergency room. (She is home now and is fine!) I took my son home and found out that she was going to be admitted. (We did go over to see her.) I knew she was stable and they just wanted to do some tests to make sure everything was alright. Normally, under these circumstances, I would have called my mother or mother-in-law and had one of them stay with the kids.  I would have gone into work. It is extremely rare that neither of them are available to babysit. On this night, however, my mother was in Virginia Beach and my mother-in-law was in Atlantic City. I was stuck and had to stay home with the kids. I later found out that several times my wife thought about just going home, but then she would feel worse and feel like she should go get checked out. Wow wow wow!

Thank you God , for protecting me and my family in countless ways that I am totally clueless about, and thank you for making me aware of it once in a while!



August 27, 2010

A few weeks ago I was having lunch with two of my co-workers when the topic of religion, forgiveness and heaven came up. One asked the other, who is Roman Catholic, “Don’t you know if you’re going to heaven?” He responded, “I sure hope so!” He continued to talk for a minute explaining why and then asked, “Do you?” We responded in unison, “Absolutely!” The conversation continued for quite a while with a lot of teaching about what the Bible says and why we are so sure of our eternal destiny.

A few days later I gave him a copy of Andy Stanley’s “How Good is Good Enough?” He read it and returned it. He said, “I’m still not sure.” At least he is open to discussion and he seems to be seeking answers. All we can do is share. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal truth and give someone that certainty. Are you sure, or are you just hoping? If you earnestly seek Jesus, you will find Him!


July 15, 2010

Wow! I can’t believe it has been almost five months since I wrote a post. Facebook status updates take less time and thought! Anyway, here are some sports thoughts and updates:

Upward Basketball 2010 was a huge success. The league officials and organizers do a great job at evaluating players and creating equally matched teams. Except maybe this year. Somehow I ended up with a somewhat “stacked” team. We did not lose a game on the scoreboard, although we technically forfeited one because we only had four players and had to borrow a player from the other team during the game. At times it was a little embarrassing how well the boys played. They were awesome!

More important was how awesome they displayed class and sportsmanship. I only had to teach them once about excessive celebration and making the other team feel bad. Throughout the season I saw them apologize for rough contact, ask players if they were ok and help up players who fell down. They displayed great character and compassion. Every player improved over the course of the season, and we accomplished our goal of everyone making a basket in a game. One player had never played basketball before. He made his first basket in the last game of the season! It was the highlight of the year for me and for the team. I am so proud of all of them!

Fast forward to baseball season. Michael had a good year and his team won the league championship. After three years of experiencing the losing side of sports, it was cool to see how he handled himself on the winning side. He also made his first all-star tournament team. I think he might be the first player ever from our family to have his name on the back of his jersey! He hit his first triple in the first tournament, a shot down the third base line that rolled all the way to the fence.

I love sports and I am competitive. I just hope I do a good job of teaching him and other kids where sports comes in compared to the important things in life. Forgive me if this sounded like boasting. I will boast in the Lord. We are truly blessed and I am forever grateful! Thanks for reading. Hopefully my next post will be in less than five months and have more substance!

Thankful for Favor!

February 24, 2010

      I am so thankful for God’s favor in big things and small things. Monday was one of those small things. Sunday night the touch screen on my phone broke. Monday morning I asked God for his favor with my phone situation. I called AT&T and was referred to their warranty department. After some troubleshooting, I was told that since I was a loyal AT&T customer (or something like that) they would switch the phone out. I was told I would get a refurbished phone with a 90 day warranty.

      Instead of waiting on the mail or paying for express shipping, I opted to go to the service center on Penn Avenue. I gave the employee my phone. I was promptly told my damage was considered physical damage which would fall under my insurance. I was then told I didn’t have insurance. (I already knew that.) Without me saying anything (other than silent prayers), the next thing I heard was: “This isn’t covered, but since they sent you down here, I’m going to go ahead and switch this out for you.”  To top it off, I was given a brand new phone which is still covered under my original manufacturer’s one year warranty! God is good!


January 18, 2010

      I must start this post with a disclaimer. I am well aware of the fact that I am not better than any other person. I am also well aware of my sin and my need for grace and forgiveness. God does not grade sin as we humans tend to do. My sin is not better (or worse) than someone else’s. Nor am I any better (or worse) than someone else. We all fall short of the glory of God and need His forgiveness.

      When I was relatively new at Allison Park Church several years ago I remember a heroin addict had stolen someone’s purse during a service.  I was talking to Debbie Lynch about it. Of course, I was full speed ahead to find out who was at the service, who the suspect was and to arrest him. (That is my job, after all.) I don’t remember all the details from that conversation. I do remember Debbie saying to me, “Darin, the church is for sick people.” Hmmm. Doctors are for sick people, not the well. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Her statement to me had a profound effect on how I look at myself and others.

      In my profession I have become familiar with many people for the wrong reasons. I am starting to see many of them at church. I don’t know if words can express how I feel when I see them. Prior to that conversation and a lot of work by the Holy Spirit in my life, the words would have been mortified. Suspicious. Judgemental. Condemning. Now they are gratified. Exhilarated. Awestruck. Humbled. What a privilege to get to witness firsthand the power of Jesus and a transformed life! Seeing them worshipping God and some actively serving is so powerful! The best part is God gets all the credit and glory! Hallelujah!


January 12, 2010

      I have to brag about my boys on our kindergarten-1st grade basketball team. I also have to confess that I am more competitive than I would like to admit! These young kids already know about winning and losing in sports. It is very easy for me to teach them about sportsmanship and that winning is not the most important thing, which I truly believe. To me, this applies to sports at all levels, not just younger kids. Yet I do like and want to win.

      Anyway, about the team and the game: Our games consist of two halves with three six-minute periods each for equal and predetermined substitutions. After two periods we were losing 16-0. I felt embarrassed. I felt totally inadequate as a coach. I quickly realized that I hadn’t taught them anything about defense during our first two practices. I felt terrible that I had not properly prepared them for what was the very first game ever for many of them. I felt bad for them as they were obviously not enjoying the experience. I don’t mind losing a game, but being shut out in basketball???!!!??? I am so proud of the kids and how they handled themselves. No tears. No angry outbursts. They just did their best and kept playing.

      As the players took turns sitting out for a period, we told them to watch how the other team was playing defense and going after the ball, and to do the same thing. The team exploded! It was amazing to watch. I hadn’t looked at the score since the second period until there were two minutes left in the game. We were up 34-20. I think the final score was 36-20. Then I felt bad that I hadn’t looked at the score earlier and done a better job of managing ball distribution and scoring opportunities!

      Boys, you played the whole game with class and sportsmanship! I am proud of you!

The Witness

January 6, 2010

      My dad was recently in a very minor accident. He collided with a pick-up truck as he was pulling in and the truck was pulling out of a parking space. The contact was so light that the driver of the truck didn’t know they had collided. As my dad got out of his car, a woman yelled, “Hey! That guy just hit you!” My dad replied that he thought they had collided. The woman ran towards the truck waving her arms and yelling, “Hey! Stop! There’s been an accident!” The next thing you know the woman comes over to my dad with the driver’s license, registration and insurance, saying, “Here’s all his information!” Something didn’t seem quite right, and my dad asked, “Do you know that guy?” “Yeah!”, says the woman, “That’s my ex-husband!” LOL!

Random Thoughts

December 12, 2009

I’m tired.

I can’t believe next Friday is the first Upward Basketball practice! I can’t wait.

Yesterday was depressing. I went to the funeral home for Officer Michael Crawford, then I watched the Steelers lose to Cleveland.

I am blessed. God has been so incredibly good to me!

Buy 1 Get 1!!!

November 18, 2009

Dear Family & Friends,

Last year, I worked with the local Marines to fundraise to buy bicycles for
their Toys for Tots program. We were able to purchase 31 bicycles and
present them to the local Marines at a NAIFA <> (My
Professional Organization) Luncheon. This year, I’ve set a goal of 50

I am writing to ask for your help. I really need it on two fronts: First,
I’m asking for volunteers to help me transport the bicycles from the Toys
87,-80.007505&spn=0.011921,0.> R Us location on McKnight Rd in the North
Hills of Pittsburgh on Thursday, December 10th at about 9:30 am. If you’ve
got a bike rack, van, SUV… you’re my kind of volunteer! We’ll transport
them in a caravan to present them to the Marines at the Club at Nevillewood
<> . The will be
presented at the Annual NAIFA Toys for Tots Luncheon.

Second, I really need your help by donating a bicycle. I know things are
tough right now, but this is a great cause!!! If you can’t buy a bike, buy a
wheel! (I’ll take whatever I can get). If you can’t donate the full amount,
perhaps I could ask you to raise some funds through family or friends for me
so that we can reach the goal. The cost of a bicycle is $90. Through a
generous grant from my company, Thrivent, – if you buy a bike, I’ll buy a
bike! That’s two bikes!!

I want to thank Toys R Us on McKnight who is giving us a great discount and
assembling the bikes for free.

Checks can be made payable to Thrivent Chapter 30712 and mailed to me – 2179
Linwood Dr, Allison Park, PA 15101. (412) 492-1788

I am on somewhat of a tight timeline, I needs checks in my hands on December

Here’s a link to some photos of the event last year: Picture
803846_fGJUN#434847648_tNcvB> Link

If you would, please write soon if you’re able to donate your time or
treasures or both!

Thanks for your generosity. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

Al Todd

Give Thanks

November 18, 2009

by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

November 18

Pebbles in My Shoes (Part One)

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.


Do you mind if I camp on a verse for a couple of days? First Thessalonians 5:18 demands our attention.Do you ever feel as though the “little” circumstances of life are about to overwhelm you?

It is said we are worn down less by the mountains we climb than by the grain of sand in our shoes. I agree.

Would you like to know what pebbles seem to frequent my sneakers?

  • People who try to make me feel guilty;
  • My unbalanced checkbook;
  • My garage (It continually proves the second law of thermodynamics-the universe is moving from order to disorder.);
  • The incessant ringing of the telephone;
  • Sibling rivalry;
  • A drippy faucet, a smoking fireplace, a leaky pipe in the ceiling;
  • Car problems that always occur at the most inopportune times;
  • A whining child;
  • Things that aren’t where I left them, or forgetting where I left them;
  • More sibling rivalry;
  • An unresolved conflict with a family member;
  • Tripping over all the stuff that six children can drag out!Little things get to us-frequently.

    Honestly, big problems are difficult, and there are more serious problems that do confound us, but today, right now, this is where I live-in the midst of the little things.

    It’s called reality. It reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw on a pickup truck some time ago: Reality is for those who can’t cope with drugs. I really do understand why we have a culture of “cop-outs.”

    Is God involved in the details of life? Could God possibly want to teach us something in a flat tire? Does He really want to invade every moment of our days, or would He prefer to reserve the 9:30 until 12:00 time slot on Sunday mornings?

    Give thanks-in everything.













    Why not bow in prayer right now and by faith give thanks in everything?

    Discuss: What little circumstances often cause frustration for you?


    Moments Together for Couples Would you like your own copy of this devotional?