Archive for May, 2006

Grilled Chicken & Rollercoasters

I read an article in Fast Company that revealed how few restaurants actually grill their chicken.  Most of the time, the chicken is loaded up with all sorts of seasonings and chemicals and baked.  Then, and this is the best part, they use a contraption that gives the chicken those nice grill lines.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I knew this already.  But the article was just another example of how not-real real-life can be.  No matter how much that chicken wants to be grilled, it’s not gonna cut it.  And do you know why?  While there may be more than one way to skin a cat, there is only one way to grill a chicken, and that’s to just grill it.  Doesn’t matter what the chicken looks like.  Doesn’t matter what it tastes like.  That chicken isn’t grilled.
This week has been up-and-down, and it’s mostly my fault.  I’ve gotta learn how to stay more levelled out.  It seems like one exciting thing has happened after another, and then it’s over so quickly, and all of the adrenaline that had built up is gone in a flash.
Erin is heading out this week, and I’m eating at Pei Wei tomorrow and picking up the Summer 06 T-Shirts, and greeting interns this weekend, and having a pool party next Sunday.  Life is going wild in the best kind of way.

peace.

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John 9

The lesson for Sunday is going to be over John 9.  I made some quick mental notes about the chapter:

  • Because of what the disciples ask, I assume that the thinking of the day said people born disabled were the result of sin.
  • Jesus doesn’t deny that per se, but says that this man was born blind to glorify God.
  • The man is healed when he lets Jesus touch him and when he obeys Jesus by washing in the Pool.
  • The man’s parents were scared the Pharisees would kick them out of the church.
  • The Pharisees cannot come close to wrapping their mind around the healing.
  • Even the man doesn’t understand the healing, but…
  • The man says, "Here is what I know, I was blind, Jesus did something, and now I can see."

I somehow always forget about this story, and then I’ll read it and all of this confidence overwhelms me.  There’s not much I understand about my life.  I usually doubt that I am the right person for a situation and I feel like I am so underprepared to be of any use to God.  But this story reminds me that I don’t have to understand much as long as I can admit "Jesus has touched my life, and that makes a difference."

peace.

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Tony So I was lucky enough to be at the AAC for the Playoff Game last night.  I say lucky because I had free tickets, not because I somehow made a difference in the outcome.  It was a must-win game for my Spurs, and somehow they were outlasted by the Mavericks.  Tough game to lose.  It went back and forth and back and forth.  In fack, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better basketball game before.  And I know it’s only a game, but there were life-lessons all over the place.

A :: The Little Things Are Important

Hear me out, but Brent Barry lost this game for us.  The Spurs shot 53% from the field (58% from 3), had more steals, more fast break points, and only had 2 fewer rebounds and assists.  The Spurs played almost flawlessly.  The Mavs also played at an extremely high level.  When there are two powerhouses playing top-notch ball, it’s only going to take an inch in either direction to decide the game.  "It’s the small things," says Bruce Bowen in Marc Stein’s article

Barry was that small thing.  After a mysterious (you could also say incorrect) blocking foul on Duncan, Barry took the ball and started running around like an idiot.  *BEEP* "Delay of Game!" Since it was our second, Dirk gets a technical foul shot.  And there is the difference in a tie at the end of regulation and a Spurs win.  While you can’t control how terrible Dick Bavetta is as a ref, any pro should know not to take the ball when it’s time to shoot free-throws.  It might have been a split second decision, but I really feel that it is the play that cost San Antonio the game.

B :: You have to finish things

While exiting the arena, I heard all sorts of Mavericks fans screaming "Bring on Detroit!"  First of all, Detroit is having it’s own problems vs. the Cava-Brons.  But second, San Antonio is not dead just yet.  (see Phoenix Round 1)  I admit the Spurs will probably have to settle for second-best Texas team this year, but you never know what can happen.  If the ball bounces differently the past two games, the Spurs leave Dallas up 3-1.  I know it’s an exciting time in Mavs town, but you can’t look too far ahead.  Finish strong.

C :: You have to take advantage of Opportunity

For two straight games, Dirk has made clutch free throws to either win or force overtime.  Tony Parker, on the other hand, missed 2 crucial free-throws in OT.  If you are going to be handed a chance to make a difference, you had better take the ball and run with it (unless you are Brent Barry, then please don’t literally take the ball and run with it). 

I don’t know when I’ll get back to another playoff game, but last night’s was a game for the ages.  I hope to see it on ESPN Classic one day, and everytime I watch Dick Bavetta struggle to make a call, and Jason Terry shooting over Duncan, and Finley losing the ball out of bounds, I’ll think back on how much truth about life is involved in basketball.  Well, I’ll probably cry myself to sleep, but in the morning I’ll think about truth.

peace.

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Camry O’Fury (Part 1)

The wait is over.  It has been 20 months, but Erin and I now own two running vehicles.  We have had our Jeep Cherokee for a while, and as of yesterday, we are the new parents of a 2003 Toyota Camry.
Car buying is akin to a day at the beach for some people, but for me it is the equivalent of a root canal.  Every car is a crap-shoot, and I always feel like the house is going to win.  I try and inspect potential vehicles very closely, but eventually I realize that I don’t even know what to look for.  But the real thing that gets me is the salesman.
I think every stereotype of a car salesman is true.  They are not really interested in what I am looking for, they are chasing the bottom line.  Everything I say or don’t say is a clue for them about what angle they should take.  You can’t say you like something or admit it’s a good price unless you want to give up all of your bargaining power.  I would love the find the dealership that actually is interested in it’s customers, not just it’s profits.
On that same note, I think people outside of the faith would love to find a church that is interested in them and not just converting another lost soul.  There are probably loads of people who are struggling to find meaning, and when they turn to the church, they get a half-hearted pitch trying to sell a half-hearted faith.  Guests are another customer.
As a minister, am I a used-car salesman?  Do I try to cover up any messy parts of faith, so faith is easier to sell?  Am I selling faith?  Am I selling Christ?  Lord help me if I am.  I want to invest my life in others.  I want to help them live.  I want to point them to something so big it is unimaginable.  But I do not want to sell them a cheap, unwanted life.

peace.

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David Blaine is a Chump

David_blaine_biography_1Anyone catch "Drowned Alive" the other night?  Magician David Blaine was attempting to hold his breath for 9 minutes, while freeing himself from chains that held him inside of a bubble.  The 2 hour special showed Blaine training and featured stories about other people attempting to hold their breath for long periods of time.  Every so often, the scene would switch back to Blaine preparing to enter the bubble.
The moment arrives where David descends into the water, and the countdown begins.  This is not the first David Blaine special I’ve watched.  Some people like Siegfried and Roy, others David Copperfield, and still other Criss Angel.  But not me.  I’m a David Blaine fan.  I’ve seen him levitate, trap himself in a block of ice, stay perched on top of a tower, perform crazy card tricks, even freak out Deion Sanders at Dallas Cowboys training camp.  I can’t tell you how excited I was about seeing him break the world record.  But about 7 and one half minutes in, David begins to have trouble and starts convulsing and the divers jump in to save him.
What a disappointment!  And on such a gigantic stage!  I’m disappointing every day, but not on live TV in front of millions of people.  How do you live that down?  Does he even have a shot at another primetime special?  Magicians seem like a dying breed, and this certainly won’t help.  Why won’t it help?  Because David Blaine proved that magicians can’t do real tricks.  Everything they do is an illusion, and when they take the step into reality, it ends in about 7 and a half minutes.
Has there been a better TV time in a while?  Chris gets kicked off of American Idol, NBA playoffs are on, 24 is nearing an end, and George was back on the Apprentice.
Shot the best golf score of my life today, and finished the day with a 20 foot putt for par.
My daughter is gorgeous…look for new pictures soon.  I’m out.

peace.

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Decisions, Decisions

Call it an epiphany.  An "Aha" moment (not like listening to Take On Me, more like saying Eureka).  Sometime today, it dawned on me that leaders need to be decisive.

Unpacking :: Leaders need to make decisions.  No one likes that guy who can’t ever decide where to eat dinner.  He acts like he’s happy eating anywhere, when really he hates 90% of the places you suggest, he just won’t man-up and say so.  You aren’t going to make that guy a manager or leader in your life.  Why?  Because he can’t decide!  When push comes to shove, your leaders need to know they hold the power and responsibility to make a choice.
There are a bunch of other things that go into that.  Because they hold final say, leaders need to be keen observers and astute listeners.  They need to have high character and be selfless.  But in the time of need, the last thing they need is hesitation and doubt.

Goal for the week: Make some decisions.  Believe in myself.  Stop hesitating.

Enough self-help mumbo jumbo.  Spurs close it out tomorrow.  Lakers (hopefully) finish it out in 5 minutes.  After much deliberation, I’m still really confused about T.O. playing in Dallas.  I resolve to play golf next week.  I also resolve to not eat out by myself for the next week.

I’m tired.  peace.

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Good Conversations

Erin and I were on the phone today trying to decide whether or not we are going to get HBO, and she starts yelling "Get your hand out of the potty!" 

I assume she was talking to Emma, but who knows, she could’ve been reprimanding herself.

I knew there would be perks to parenthood, but hearing statements like that never get old.

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