The softball season ended for me tonight and my wife and daughters were there to see my glorious winless departure from the game. That’s right, we didn’t win a single game. We came close a few times but as we all know… “close don’t count.”
We realized that in our ten years of knowing each other, this was the first time Anita came and cheered me on while I played on a sports team. As athletically obsessed as I am this was surprising. One of my favorite parts of tonight was hearing my girls rooting for my buddy Steve and me. There is something about the voice of a three year old screaming for you that gives you an added measure of confidence and pressure at the same time. I mean I didn’t want to let my girl down did I?
I can only hope to walk away from this experience of constant defeat with the same class and patience that my boy Brady Quinn had on Saturday. To truly appreciate how much self control this kid has you have to go back to the beginning of his senior season at Notre Dame. It was his face on every single college football magazine and news story as my Fighting Irish were touted as the favorite for National Champs and he was to be the Heisman trophy winner. As Notre Dame began to drop in the polls and Quinn’s performance against high-level opponents looked shaky, he remained positive and upbeat. I’m impressed with Quinn for all of these things. I’ll be even more impressed if he doesn’t allow the some-what embarrassing fiasco of draft day to create a rather large chip on his shoulder. As the consummate Irish fan, I do believe Brady will be very successful as the Brown’s climb back into Super Bowl contention and Jamarcus Russell fades to yet another first pick quarterback bust.
At any rate, humility is what was impressive on Saturday. With the crack down on behavior off the field, Roger Goodell will probably push Quinn to be the new face of the NFL. Wouldn’t it be nice if the church could be thought of as humble? I’m quite sure if Christians everywhere began swallowing their pride and started putting others first the image of a dogmatic, intolerant, uneducated religious people would begin to fade. I know that what impresses me most in someone is humility. When I began getting to know Todd Fields (a worship leader at North Point) the thing I walked away telling people that he was the most humble person I’ve ever met.
Humility is what impressed people about Jesus. He always put others first. His reasoning for leaving Heaven was humility. The Bible in fact tells us that if “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Humility is difficult because it is counter intuitive to everything culture teaches us. Culture says, “promote yourself, and get what’s yours. If you don’t do it for yourself, no one will give it to you.” Humility… Christ says, “the first shall be last and the last shall be first.” Man will my softball team be good in heaven.
Okay, so I said I’d go on record…not a guarantee. Don’t worry about Brady, he’ll be a success wherever he goes. That’s a guarantee.
I love this day! To say that means that I’m officially old and obsessed. Today is the NFL Draft. And I’ll be sitting in front of a television for the next few hours. I’ll also go on record to say that I believe my boy Brady Quinn will go at the third pick. GO IRISH!!! Let’s hope my falcons can pick up a few players as well. Here we go!!
Lacunar amnesia is the loss of memory about one specific event.
I’m convinced that people who seem to be unusually selfish (including most teenagers) must be suffering from Terminal Lacunar Amnesia. I say this because I can’t fathom the idea that people are that selfishly detached.
I’ve seen and been a part of so many situations where it appears as though the person asking for a service or permission seemingly has no recollection of events or services granted to them in the past. I say this not only as a person whose been asked, but also as the person behaving stubbornly selfish. I’m sure my Mom and Dad could give you plenty of examples of my Terminal Lacunar Amnesia. Just to give them a chuckle…yes, I remember the Guns N’ Roses t-shirt.
Let me explain a little more. We all have those friends that seem to always ask for something. The difference between that and what I’m griping about is found in the reaction to the answer. I don’t mind having friends who are needy. (let’s be honest, I am a needy friend and I’d just like to have some real friends) It’s when that friend or person is told no and how they react that shows whom they are deep down inside. A person with TLA (Terminal Lacunar Amnesia – I added the “terminal” part by the way) is told no he or she will not remember any circumstance from the past in which they were told yes. It’s amazing actually. The complete inability to recognize how they were served; some would just call it a selfish immaturity. Again, it really has to be something more doesn’t it?
Well, perhaps not. Maybe it’s just something we all have to work through; both as those suffering from the so-called disease and those in an authority role over them. I think we all have our moments of regression. When we feel like we need or deserve a raise, we suddenly forget anything our employer has done to help us. When an outcome or circumstance doesn’t go in the manner in which we’d hoped, we convince ourselves that we are the constant victims. When God seems to ignore or reject our request or situation, we are quick to forget the extraordinary lengths to which He went to make a relationship with us exist in the first place.
We are a selfish people. We usually only recognize it when we see it in others. Truth be told…we’re just a bunch of mirrors. We’re all suffering. We’re all selfish. We all need to be told no every once in a while and we all need to get a little perspective.
Pakistan or Kenya? That’s the big question Anita and I are asking God over the next few days, weeks, or however long it takes. I’m sure some of you have an opinion.
We met with Dave Lewis today about the trips. Dave is the Director of Care Ministry at our church. Care Ministry oversees much of the Pastoral “Care” side of our church. Divorce Recovery, Marriage Building, Funerals, Counseling…you know, all the stuff most Pastors hate about their jobs. Dave is one of “those” guys. The kind that the second you’re around him, you want to spend as much time with him because you know you’ll learn so much. He’s a great friend too. Dave has been mentoring me over the last few months and he’s always more concerned about “me” than what we “trying to accomplish.”
Dave filled us in on the background and loose details of both trips today. I know I’m supposed to be the Spiritual leader in this marital equation, but I’m going to be relying a lot on what the Lord lays on Anita’s heart with this. If I had my way, I’d be on both trips and much more. Not because I want to escape or anything. I’ve just seen first hand what kind of effect the Intimate Encounters curriculum can have on a marriage and I can’t wait to be a part of God’s healing in the lives of others.
With all that said, I’m asking that you would pray on a few levels for us.
1. Pray that God would give us discernment and a clear direction on where He wants to use us.
2. Pray that we would have a united peace about this trip as a couple.
3. Pray that God would provide the money and bring the rest of both teams together quickly.
4. Pray that God would prepare our hearts for what we will encounter and that He would prepare our girl’s hearts for the time that we will be away.
5. Pray that our families also have a peace about our trip and that some of them would be able to take care of the girls in our absence.
Thanks everyone. We’re very excited and overwhelmed at the same time. Please just lift us up.
Some things in life you truly don’t understand until you experience them. I could make an incredible list of those things but I’ll get right to my point.
In Romans 12 there is an interesting list of how the body of Christ is made up of many parts and each parts plays a role or has it’s area of service. One of the roles listed has always seemed a bit out of place to me. That is until I experienced it.
Encouragement. What an odd little action. Encouragement requires little of the person performing the service yet has such an undeniable effect on the person being served. You’re probably thinking that you encourage people all the time or “Don’t people encourage you as a communicator?” Yes and no. The thing about encouragement is that it really matters who it comes from.
My mom encourages me all the time. She has all my life. In those times that I felt like no one else gave one, she saw the potential and the good in me. Not to discount my mother’s encouragement, but it affects you differently when it comes from someone unexpected like a boss or someone outside your family that you hold in high esteem. Or even if you’re encouraged in an area you feel you struggle in.
Someone called me yesterday (a person who rarely calls and I have a great deal of respect for) and encouraged me for the way I handled a situation. It was just a simple two-minute phone call in traffic (don’t worry I have Bluetooth). He probably didn’t think twice about it for the rest of the evening. I however, have been infused with confidence and joy. That’s the difference an encouraging word can make. Especially if you serve a person you know looks up to you. That’s why God included encouragement in that passage; it changes people. If a person feels better about himself or herself mentally and emotionally, it actually makes his or her physical health improve. All that from a simple phrase or conversation.
The only thing that’s difficult about encouraging someone is getting over the strange awkwardness of saying the actual words. The only thing stopping you is pride. Pride is what makes you worry about the way what you say will be received and how you will be perceived. Let’s get over ourselves enough to recognize the incredible opportunity we have in the lives of those around us. Make a phone call. Send an email. Here’s a thought, write a letter. Encourage someone today.
(wow, I feel like I was just in a PSA or something)
The word for today and the last little while in my life is “Peace.”
Tonight I found myself eating dinner out on my patio with my wife and two daughters. Anita let a steak thaw out today so I could have it for dinner. I grilled some hotdogs for her and Savannah Grace. (I know, no need to tell me, I’m a romantic…. steak and hotdogs) The weather is perfect here in Atlanta right now and as Savannah Grace came to the table from playing in the back yard I caught a glimpse of how good I’ve got it.
In comparison to most of our friends here and the American perspective on success, I don’t have a lot. In fact, I even said to Anita tonight, “We don’t have much babe, but what we got is good.” But comparison doesn’t do a whole lot expect frustrate those on the perceived short end.
The truth is that as in debt as we are, (thanks Private Baptist University and “credit culture”) our little family is more than likely in the top 15% of the world’s wealthy. God has sustained us over the last year as we learned to live off one salary. He has provided extra work for me in order to maintain a nice house, electricity, water, natural gas, and two vehicles.
I complain way too much about what I don’t have. I’m sick of being that guy. Instead, I will make every effort to enjoy the peace that God has laid on my life. Peace that I have a Savior for eternity. Peace in the love of my wife. Peace in the health and laughter of my daughters. Peace in the blessing of my incredible job. Peace in the friends that surround me and encourage me. Peace that God in Heaven is concerned about me. He knows the hairs on my head. I will embrace this peaceful time and prepare my heart for the days that the storms come. Don’t forget that He promises the storms as much as the peace. And as I find myself in those storms, I will remember that my God has not abandoned me. He is with me even till the end of the age. I will remember that the days of Peace will come again. If not here on Earth, I will wait for those days in my ultimate home in Heaven.
“For he has delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.”
This just in… the DYNAMO have won!!!
That’s right. Our soccer team finally did it. We won our game on Saturday 5-3!!! I’d love to tell you that I was dignified and acted as if I’d been there before, but I was so freakin excited!! Winning does in fact feel better than losing. The best part is that this was the team we played in our first game and kind of got destroyed.
It was amazing to see the boys put in to practice what we’ve been going over and over again all season. I couldn’t be more proud of the effort they gave. One of the coolest things was that each player had their best game. In fact my nephew almost scored a goal near the end of the game.
I know it’s just a rec league soccer game and winning isn’t everything, but I was starting to feel like I just wasn’t cutting it as a coach. Thank you God for what most people couldn’t care less about but You knew it would me a lot to me and seven boys on a field Saturday. Thank you for giving us a chance to celebrate.
I have to thank my friend Larry Hubatka for introducing me to one of the funniest comedians I’ve seen in quite a while. Larry writes a very entertaining and witty blog. You should check it out. Anyway, while reading Larry’s blog, I clicked a link he had and it sent me to You Tube and a I spent the next half an hour watching different clips of comedian Jim Gaffigan. The funniest of the clips is the Hot Pocket bit. However, he has a great bit on religion and it could really spark some thought. Check it out and let me know what you think.
My wife and I were finishing up a marriage Bible study tonight and we came across this little quote from Donald Barnhouse:
“Love that goes upward is worship, love that goes outward is affection, love that stoops is grace.”
I’ve never heard it put that way but that really is a great definition for all three. Of course the word that makes you read it twice is “stoops.” But that’s exactly it. God “stooped to our level.” That’s grace. God on our level; loving on our level. I love the interchange between Peter and Jesus after the resurrection. You know the whole “Peter, do you love me?” Before I go on I must preface with this with a disclaimer.
I get irritated by a lot, but one of those many things I’m about to do.
*Using the phrase or direction of “in the original Greek” while speaking on Scripture.
With that said…here I go.
I understand that “in the original Greek” the question and answer between Jesus and Peter is a tad confusing. Jesus asks Peter twice if he “agape” loves him. Peter responds each time that he “phileo” loves Jesus. Finally, Jesus asks Peter if he “phileo” loves him and Peter, now with his feelings hurt, says that Jesus knows that he “phileo” loves him.
And there it is…the stooping. Jesus on Peter’s level. God came down. Grace is extended. Not necessarily the redemptive part we so desperately need, but the stooping love of a high and holy God. He’s taken care of the stooping love…our response should be the upward and outward side of love.