Archive for July, 2006

The Rangers Lose Again

Call me crazy, but I’m starting to like baseball.  Before this season, baseball was only an irritating part of SportsCenter that kept football and basketball from getting more coverage.  Even the year baseball went on strike, there was still some loser talking about it every day.
But things changed when I moved north.  I’ve seen baseball games before.  I watched 2 Mariners games in the Kingdome (RIP) and I saw the Astros play the Phillies in 1988 in the Astrodome.  I was part of a youth choir that sang the national anthem twice at AA games (1 of which featured current big league slugger Paul Konerko).  I watched as Yankees choked against the Red Sox in 04 and I watched as the White Sox choked the Astros last year.  But now I watch baseball.  I care about baseball.  I check the standings in baseball.   Why?  There are two reasons.
First, I have a team to root for.  I’ve kind of been a closet Yankees fan for a while.  I like Joe Torre, and I love the city of New York, so why not cheer for them?  But it’s too easy to be a Yankees fan full-time.  I need a team that I can punch-the-clock for everyday.  And I’m declaring it out loud right now-I’m a Rangers Fan!  Having some loyalty completely changes the game.  The trade deadline is Monday, and I only know that because I’m hoping the Rangers will pick up a pitcher.  The top three in the AL West are only separated by half a game, and I know that because the Rangers are in third place.
But the real reason I love baseball is the fact that you don’t have to be anywhere near perfect to be considered great.  Ted Williams is considered one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game.  53 years ago, he had a .407 Batting Average.  Since then, no one has topped the .400 mark.  Consider that for a second.  Ted got a hit 4 out of every 10 times.  That means he struck-out/ground-out/flew-out/etc 60% of the time!  That’s more than half the time!  And he’s still considered the best!  To even think that someone would get a hit 7 times out of ten, 8 times out of 10, 9 times out of 10 is ridiculous.  If that was your goal, you would be setting your standards so high that you could never reach them.
How does that translate to real-life?  Should I only do good work 40% of the time?  Should I only change 40% of the poopy diapers?  Would that make me the best dad or employee – probably not.  However, should I have realistic expectations for myself?  Should I know my weaknesses and how to manage around them?  And most importantly, do I know how to celebrate when I’ve reached my expectations?



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Sermon Idea #1

In case you were unaware, I’m preaching at the FBC on Sunday August 6.  I’ve been considering what I’m going to speak on, and I thought I may throw some ideas on here so the three of ya’ll that read could give me some feedback.

Phillippians 3:8 says: "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing
greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost
all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ."  There is this sign at SuperTans here in Athens that says something like, "Not only can you get a tan, but you can pay water/electricity bills and mail things and send money."  I was struck with the thought of how much stuff that is and that Jim Collins (Good To Great guy) would not be happy with them.  It occured to me that you probably don’t have to do that many things to be a good SuperTans.  In fact, to be a good SuperTans, you probably only have to do one thing really well.

Isn’t the same true for us?  There are not that many things we need to know or consider valuable or ascribe worth to for our lives to count and make a difference and be fulfilling.  Phillippians would say that there is only one thing we need to know and that is the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus.  Phillippians would say that if we know that one thing, then everything else is not only unimportant, but it’s considered rubbish.  One thing.  That’s it.  That’s all we have to know.  One Thing.  (I sound like Curly in City Slickers)


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Rapid Fire

On the way to Rob Bell the other night, an interesting situation arose whilst I was driving the church bus.  We were on a 2-lane (1 lane for each direction) road with concrete barriers to the right and a large ditch with obstacles to the left.  The speed limit was 35 mph, and all of a sudden I notice an ambulance on my 6.  What do you do?  There is no shoulder, no way of pulling off the road to the right or to the left, and you are in a large vehicle emblazoned with the church’s name, address, etc.  How do you do the right thing in this situation?  Is there a right thing to do? 

It rained yesterday.  Not long, but it was beautiful while it lasted.  The day went from crazy bright and hot to wind picking up and sun going away to rain to this cool breeze afterward.  Not long after the rain stopped, I hopped in my car and drove home.  On the way, steam was rising from almost every bit of road.  Before the drops-o-goodness had fallen, it must’ve been 100 degrees, so I can only imagine how hot this pavement was.  It was a strange sight to see the road giving off a visible reminder of coming into contact with only a little bit of cool water. 

On July 4, I feared for my life.  I rode the Kite Tube.  Mind you, I remember a time when it was fun to just be pulled in a regular donut-looking tube behind a boat.  Then people started making the tubes flat and pulling two at a time and there were banana boats and then other odd-shaped inflatables and finally some that if you were able to sling them just right may momentarily lift off the water.  The Kite Tube changes all that.  It’s purpose is to fly off of the water.  The whole toy is designed so you can be pulled by a boat and fly up and down behind it.  No one else had tried it, and I wanted to be cool-youth-minister-guy so I volunteered.  Nothing cataclysmic happened…I rode it…I flew up…I flew down…I flew off.  My dad caught it on video and watching it later, it didn’t look scary at all.  I would’ve have sworn in court that I was at least 60 feet of the water, but the video proved I was only about 4.  Riding that demented contraption, I felt so out of control and scared to fly off of it.  If only I could’ve seen the situation from another angle, I probably would have enjoyed it more.

Enough short stories for now. peace.

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Slice of Something

I don’t think I’m an angry person.  I can think of a few things that make me terribly upset:  drivers who don’t signal, Ginobilli’s game 7 foul on Nowitzki, and the fact that Wonder Years isn’t out on DVD.  But for the most part, I try to stay happy and enjoy life.  Which leads me to the most depressing website I have been to in my whole life.
I have been to Slice of Laodicea before.  I don’t remember which article I read, but I know I was disappointed with the way the readership interpreted everyday events.  For some reason, I chose to check out the site again.  I don’t know if I thought things would be better or I just wanted a reason to be discouraged, but The Slice is still The Slice.
Like I said, not much makes me upset.  But The Slice makes my blood boil.  I don’t want to spew my venom on the people of the site, but I wish I could tie their ideas onto the biggest boulder and toss it into the sea.  Why?  Because there is not a single person who reads / writes on that site with love leading them.  Even with the highest powered microscope, you wouldn’t be able to find a shred of grace.
How can people get so caught up in their own ideas and thoughts and forget what Jesus thought was the most important?  How can people not see the forest for the trees?  How can so many people think they are doing God a favor by denouncing other people?  How can people completely separate themselves from the world around them and seclude themselves inside of their own private bubble?
I don’t even know why I am so put off by this.  It has been a dramatic 7+ days and I think I’m finally sick of people missing the point and getting caught up in stuff that doesn’t matter.  There are so many bigger ideas out there, but the good old folks at The Slice are worried about mega-churches.

Anyone else beginning to feel like summer is almost over?


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