Sunday, December 28, 2008

Interesting Read

Friends,

I have had a number of friends tell me about the book "The Shack" over the past few months. I decided to read through it over the Christmas holiday. I have to say that it was a very interesting book from a number of perspectives. It was not necessarily easy to read, but it was good to read. I do not want to say much more, but I will say that I think it is one of those books that every Christian should read...whether you end up agreeing with it or not. I would be happy to dialogue concerning the book with anyone who would desire to do so...just give me a holler. Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly...NFL (Week 16)

Friends,

Week 16 Update...
The Good: Giants (Earth and big time Wind, but no Fire). Titans (Albert who? -- just kidding...old man Collins leads smack down of Steelers). Panthers (FG blown left is the difference in loss to G-men). C olts (8 game winning streak...hard to bet against Peyton). Steelers (Mr. Just-win-baby has bricks for hands this week). Falcons (Amazing rookie QB and a miraculous turnaround to make the playoffs). Ravens (Usual brutal "D" and another tough rookie QB who leads them). Cowboys (Need to win a big game now). Patriots (Cassel piling up the free agent $...playing like Brady). Dolphins (Pennington has old score to settle upcoming).

The Bad: Bucs ("D"...as in "disappear" since Kiffin announcement). Jets (0-4 on West Coast, Favre looks old...hints at retirement -- hard to believe :-). Bengals (Bragging rights(?) for Ohio). Seahawks (Upset Bretts in the snow). Packers (Can't close the deal in last five 4th quarters). Eagles (I mean...they just have to come back here after losing to the Redskins). Chiefs (QB of the future found in Thigpen). Raiders (What happened to the no "O" Raiders?...they actually looked like a normal team for once).

The Ugly: Cards (Obviously not a cold weather team). Browns (4th string QB equals 0 points). Broncos (Fading away quickly...down to 6th RB and still no "D"). Rams (Let another one get away in the 2nd half). Lions (...and they are still on track for the O-fer).

The ???: Broncos on verge of snatching division defeat from the jaws of victory...Chargers on verge of big comeback in division -- can they do it? Probably.

Super Bowl: Still believe...Panthers vs. Colts
Stupor Bowl: Lions vs. Browns

Blessings,

Don

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Cowboys...Then and Now

Friend,

Somewhere between 1971 and 1973, I left my allegiance to my beloved Chiefs, with Len Dawson and Co. to become a disciple of Roger Staubach and the Dallas Cowboys. I was a diehard follower through the great days of the 1970s as the Cowboys were regular Super Bowl participants. I was always sorry for my friend Steve who was a fan of Bud Grant's Vikings with Sir Francis and the Purple People Eaters, who lost four Super Bowls. As a Cowboys fan, you have to fast forward through the ordinary 80's ruled by the 49ers (may they live in infamy). Actually, you really had to respect Bill Walsh, Joe Montana and Co....although, I have to say that I have taken some enjoyment out of their mediocrity over the past dozen years or so. :-)

So now, we move on to the 90s, the decade of the triplets (bless Troy, Emmitt and Michael). Jerry Jones' ownership, Jimmy Johnson's leadership and the benefit of the Herschel Walker trade brought the Cowboys back to the glory days and a triplicate of Super Bowl victories...making them the team of the 90s. The Bills happened to be the 90s version of the Vikings...the 2nd best team four years in a row. Another hallmark of the Jones' ownership, not unlike his counterpart for the Raiders, has been willing to take chances on misfit players...some of which have worked out while others have not.

Fast forward to the late aughts and we have a 11 year drought from the Super Bowl. It is not from lack of effort it seems, but just that everything has not come together for a Jones' team. He continues to bring misfits into the fold...but I think that the latest few additions have led to a subtraction of team unity, which is troubling. This year's version of the Cowboys have a chance to make the playoffs, but have fallen far short of expectations. Ahhh, expectations...what a funny thing (not funny "ha ha," but funny "strange"). Last year they were 13-3, which few expected and were successful I believe, in part, due to lack of expectation. This year, I don't think that anything less than a Patriots 18-1 season (actually 19-0 was expected) from last year was going to be acceptable. This year's team has won games this year that they shouldn't have, and lost games that they should have won. So...they have to beat the Eagles, who also have had an up-and-down year. It will be in Philly, which will be a great challenge.

This brings us to the leader of the pack. It is hard to figure if it will be the Jekyll or Hyde Tony Romo that will show up and lead the team. Don't get me wrong...I love Tony Romo the person, but he is going to have to learn to win the big games when everything is on the line. He has not been able to do this to this point...so I have to declare that I am suspect of Romeo the fb winner. It takes me back to the glory days of my other fave team, the Seahawks -- they of the Dave Krieg era of the 80s. Like Dave was then, Tony is like the little girl with the curl on her forehead -- when he is good, he is very very good, but when he is bad...he is horrid. In relationship to player personnel...although he still a decent football player, it is time for T.O. to go. It is time to complete the RW2 transaction. His downside outweighs his upside anymore...actually, come to think of it, has his upside ever outweighed his downside? Witten, Williams, Crayton and Co. will be just fine.

I have to finish with stadium highlights, coaches and coming full circle with the "then 'boys." Even though the Cowboys blew a game they should have won Saturday against the Ravens, the closing ceremony for Texas Stadium was powerful, poignant. It was great to see Roger, Tony D., Lee Roy Jordan, Bob Lilly and Co. for a final round up at their old rodeo home those many years ago...almost brought a team to my eye. And I will say...nobody, I mean nobody, will replace the coach in the hat. Although, in relationship to this, (which some may not want to hear), coach Wade is doing fine. He is a genuinely nice guy who has been a winner everwhere he has been. I am glad that he has been given the go ahead to be back next year (although we'll see how the Eagles game goes)...two years is just not enough time to tell what he can do with the team. If Jerry is smart, he knows where his "D" comes from, despite the recent breakdown. As I have said, a little housecleaning and developing a team leader are essential -- hello...DeMarcus Ware, are you listening? Finale...the new digs are quite impressive from the outside. Even standing near the Ballpark in Arlington, Cowboys Stadium next door seems to engulf it. Jerry's humongous new stadium that will seat 100,000 people is nearly complete...I suspect that he will be making a few bucks in the new place. ;-) Blessings,

Don

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Christmas Apologetic

Friends,

Approximately fifteen years ago I made a pulpit statement that the next great war would be ideological...it would not be fought with guns and bombs, but with "pen and ink," signs and votes. Indeed these days are now upon us. Special interests that are opposed to the will and the Word of God (cloaked in religious language and even in religious settings) continue to press their agendas and it is continuing to exacerbate the currently negative and digressive socio-cultural and "spiritual" climate that we are living in today.

This message is, more or less, a clarion call for good stewardship -- and to good purpose...one of the most blessed days for Christians is under fire. There has been a movement -- by certain of these special interest elements in our society and others of the world -- to seek to remove Christmas from American society. Their effectiveness has been gaining momentum in recent years. The reason for the intense focus by the world upon Christmas is that it has been the single most representative event that Christians...and the American people themselves, historically... have focused upon in relationship to Christianity itself -- and this, therefore, makes it a relatively easy target.

Now, what many of these entities will say, is that we need to have the breadth and openness to allow for people to worship Hannukah, Kwanzaa and a host of other holidays (including Christmas) at this time of year...and I do not know of any Christian who has been opposed to this principle. However, what is not communicated is...that Christmas should not be allowed to continue to be celebrated right along side the other holidays. Many of those who are so sensetized about their holidays getting the attention they deserve are intolerant of Christmas, and Christianity in general, for the reasons mentioned above. (Is it not a wonder that "the liberal left" are upset at our incoming president about his choice of one who would offer prayer at his inauguration?).

The boisterous governor of my birth state, in a display of "her authority," recently allowed certain atheists to post an offensive, primarily anti-Christian, message at the capital building...certainly coincidental that it happened to be at this time of year. :-) Even our beloved AOL today posted the message "hello polar bear, goodby nativity" in a subtle, yet understood message concerning the cultural shift of many away from Christmas. Happy Holidays is acceptable...Merry Christmas is not. Many Christians have allowed themselves to become desensetized. We need to continue to promote our holiday and be proud of the time of year that our Savior, Jesus Christ was born...whether it was December 25th or March 25th...this is an important time of the year that we recognize Jesus -- "the Reason for the Season," the Word become flesh. This is especially important to those who have been there and done that already, culturally, and particularly religiously, in settings where Christmas was discouraged or forbidden. There is no doubt that Christmas is not a legal holiday, biblically, even though it may be so culturally...but it is most certainly a spiritual holiday, religiously, as well as culturally. Let's not allow Christmas to be taken out of the rightful, spiritual, as well as, cultural context where it belongs. I am not willing to surrender celebrating Christmas. Take care and God bless,

Don

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Asteroids

Friends,

For the umpteenth time, there was an article in the news about an asteroid that might, I repeat might, make contact with the Earth in the 2030s. Now...I don't want to rain on the parade of all of those asteroid watchers out there, especially since I am an astronomy buff myself -- but I will take the 44, 000 or whatever to 1 odds and bet that we will not get tagged by an asteroid. I would be willing to bet that the odds are better than we are invaded by aliens and are all taken into captivity...uhh, maybe that's not so funny coming from a guy in Stephenville, the nouveau alien capital.

Anyway, this asteroid stuff doesn't fly (pun intended) with the big picture plan of how this big blue rock is going to meet its Maker. According to Peter (2 Peter 3:10), this old earth (or new, depending on how you look at it) is going to be incinerated...so, I will put my money on a supernova of some sort, considering it strictly in astronomical terms that the Lord could easily work with. It wouldn't take much tinkering with the chemical formula of the sun in order to create such an event. I think that the God who could pierce the firmament and bring waters from the deep in order to create the flood is quite capable of an event that could take out our solar system out to the asteroid belt...no problem ;-).

So...speaking of asteroids (and coming full circle), I think that the above explanation is more plausible than the asteroid theory. Besides, if we haven't figured out some sort of supersonic, laser or nuclear asteroid deflector or disruptor by 2030, then what good are we anyway? If we could just get the guys who created one of the greatest video games of all time to work on it, I am certain that a resolution to the asteroid problem would come quickly -- like...just equip the new version of the space shuttle (whatever it is going to end up being) with some blaster on its nose and voila! Pleasant dreams. Blessings,

Don

P.S. I hear that you will be able to purchase one of the three remaining space shuttles for your very own once they are retired in a couple years...starting a $40 million or so. :-)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Player of the Year

Friends,

I found out this morning that our own Brad Mills was named our district's offensive player of the year for 2008. This is a big honor...and it couldn't happen to a nicer young man. I wrote an article in an earlier post where Brad was recognized (see Football Files, 11/25/08). It is important to recognize when our friends and family have achieved success...and this is certainly the case here. He is a loved and appreciated by his family and friends. Congratulations! Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly...NFL (Week 15)

Friends,

The Good: Panthers (Riding the RBs). Colts (7 game winning streak...Manning is old self again). Steelers (Nothing flashy with Roethlisberger...lives by the motto -- just win baby -- and so he does). Cowboys (From team turmoil to back in the hunt after critical win over the not-so-Giants). Titans (Haynesworth hurt...what does it mean? It can't be good). Giants (No Jacobs...then ???). Falcons (Appear to be the real deal). Bucs (Would be in trouble if not for Chargers, Raiders up in the next two weeks). Eagles (A whole lot of momentum). Vikes (Who needs Frerotte?). AFC East (Who wants it?).

The Bad: Bills (Lost 7 of 8...having to rely on Loss-man). Bungles (Better efforts move them up to bad...it's a start). Seahawks (Beat Rams...now there's some bragging rights.) Packers (Missing Favre, perhaps? "D" isn't helping out this year). Redskins (Abandon ship! Abandon ship!).

The Ugly: Really...I mean either Western division, be it AFC or NFC. Browns (Down to Dorsey for the doormats). Chefs (Peterson's leaving can't be good for Herm...or is it?). Raiders (Ruining Russell). Rams (Need to start from scratch). Lions (...and they are still on track for the O-fer).

Super Bowl: Colts vs. Eagles...if it's up to momentum. (See Giants...2007)
Stupor Bowl: Lions vs. Chiefs

Blessings, Don

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lone Star Christmas

Friends,

We had the opportunity to go to the Granbury Live concert hall and experience the Lone Star Christmas concert with our friends Willard and Helen. I just have to tell you that were thoroughly engaged and blessed by the performance. All of the singers, players and actors were exceptional! We really did not know what to expect when we went this evening as we had never been to Granbury Live before, but we were really blown away by the two hours we spent there. We will go back for other concerts. We were also amazed at how many of the performers had spent some time in the NW and the NE...it's a small world after all. ;-)

For those of you who read this who are within driving distance, I really encourage you to go to the Christmas concert before they finish next weekend....this will be the last set of performances. Go to Granbury Live and purchase your tickets...you will be blessed. Those of you who are in other parts of the country or the world...sell the sacred cow, buy some tickets, fly in and come to the concert! :-) Take care and God bless,

Don

Friday, December 12, 2008

Interesting Thoughts

Friends,

"I am sick of opinions. Give me a humble, gentle lover of God and man...a person full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality or hypocrisy. Bigotry is too strong an attachment to our creed of opinion. How unwilling men are to allow anything good in those who do not agree with them in all things. We must not narrow the cause of God to our own beliefs, but rejoice in goodness whenever it appears." -- John Wesley.
Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Playoffs? Did Somebody Say Playoffs?

Friends,

Well, we have the latest installment of the BCmesS on our hands. I wish I could feel good about this system...me and everyone else. But, it never just seems to be quite right. It was originally intended to set up a match for the #1 and #2 teams in the land. Now, it really is, in essence, a system whereby 10 teams are lined up in bowls based upon priority or power of conference, which is unfortunate. So, the default is the SEC. The BCmesS believes that if there is an undefeated or one loss SEC team (or in the case of LSU last year -- two losses), that they should be in the Big Game. So, Florida is this year's representative. This year, it so happens that the Big 12 had a number of great teams, guided by great QBs. It made it pretty easy to discern that a team from the Big 12 was likely going to be a representative in the Big Game...now which one would it be(?). The Big 12 had a three way tie in order to determine which team was going to win the South Division and therefore be the representative in the Big 12 championship game. Texas beat Oklahoma, Texas Tech beat Texas and Oklahoma beat Texas Tech. Yet, since Oklahoma beat Tech so badly...and so late in the season, it was easy to dismiss Tech from the big picture. Every other major conference that has a conference championship boils it down to the top two teams in a division to decide who will be their division rep in the championship game. If the top two teams play, which they do most years, then the head-to-head winner goes on to play in that conference's championship game. Sounds simple. But, not in the Big 12. They allowed all three top teams to be considered and left it up to the BCmesS to determine who would be the rep in the Big 12 championship. In EVERY other conference, Texas would have been the rep, because it would be head to head against Oklahoma, whom they beat in the regular season. This just happens to make some sense. Any other team would drop for ease of determination, and keep the BCmesS out of it, which would also make a whole lot of sense.

So, when it came down to the final two weeks, the polls had Oklahoma #2 and Texas #3 behind #1 Alabama, with Florida at #4. The BCmesS had Oklahoma #3 and Texas #2. Tell me if this makes sense??? After wins by both schools over the final weekend...Texas over a weaker Texas A & M, whereas Oklahoma clobbered a stronger Oklahoma State, 61-41...the final set up was the polls had Texas #2 and Oklahoma #3, whereas the BCmesS had Texas #3 and Oklahoma #2. Once again ??? So, the NCAA has eschewed sportsmanship in order to encourage profit with this system that results in Oklahoma scoring over 60+ points five weeks in a row in order to make their case that they should be in the BCmesS Championship. They must have made their case, because they are there...even though they lost the head to head with Texas. On top of this, Florida jumps Texas and ends up in the BCmesS Championship even though they lost to a more inferior team at the time, Mississippi, and Texas lost to strong Tech. Oh...and did I mention that Texas beat Oklahoma? :-)

Now, I am sure that this all makes about as much sense as Alice, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter, but you know...what would life be like without the BCmesS? Well, let's consider a few other things. Undefeated (12-0) Boise State, who defeated Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl a few years ago, is not invited to be one of the final ten teams in the BCmesS big picture even though they are ranked number nine, but Utah (#6) is...and they will play Alabama in this year's Sugar Bowl, as is two loss Ohio State (#10), who will play Texas...yes, THAT Texas...in the Fiesta Bowl. Now Boise State is relegated to a minor bowl in San Diego or some such place, but will at least be playing a challenging TCU. Also, one loss Texas Tech is also relegated to a minor bowl, as well. But, this is not the point. It all just reeks of favoritism, which is why -- THERE MUST BE A PLAYOFF. Pit Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas Tech, Utah, Boise State, Penn State and USC and ??? in some sort of playoff where a true national champion may be crowned. Now, it may not end up being the #1 team at the end of the regular season, but it would be exciting. In the past three years in the NFL two #6 seeds have won the Super Bowl. The Steelers and Giants got hot at the right time and became the best team. Same could happen for the NCAA. It would be poetic justice, and just cool, if Boise State had a chance to win the championship. They should have the opportunity! Blessings,

Don

Friday, December 5, 2008

Living in 2008...But Not For Much Longer

Friends,

Found!...pretty funny stuff -- you know you're living in 2008 when...

1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in ten years.

3. You have a list of fifteen phone numbers to reach your family of three.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses. (It will be Facebook in 2009).

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.

11. You start tilting your head sideways when you smile :-).

12. You know to whom you are going to forward this message. (Don't do it! ;-)

13. You are too busy reading to notice that there was no #9 on the list.

Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Agape Love

Friends,

If you only love on and off like a light switch, you do not love others like God wants you to love. Jesus said, “If you only love those who love you what credit is that to you?” (Luke 6:32 NIV).

His point is this: Anybody can love those who love them. Becoming a master lover means you learn to love the unlovable. It’s when you love people who don’t love you, when you love people who irritate you, when you love people who stab you in the back or gossip about you. This may seem like an impossible task and it is...that’s why we need God’s love in us, so we can then love others: We know and rely on the love God has for us (1 John 4:16 NIV). When you realize how much God loves you -- with an extravagant, irresistible, unconditional love -- then his love will change your entire focus on life. If we don’t receive God’s love for us, we’ll have a hard time loving other people. I’m talking about loving the unlovely, loving the difficult, loving the irritable, loving people who are different or demanding. You can’t do that until you have God’s love coming through you. You need to know God’s love so it can overflow out of your life into others.

Love must become your lifestyle, the habit of your life. But it starts with a decision. Are you ready? Your life is worth far more than you think, and by learning to love others with the love God gives you, you will have an influence far greater than you could ever imagine. If you will commit to this, you will experience love as God means it to be, filled with hope, energy, and joy.

My prayer for you is...that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love (Philippians 1:9 NCV). © 2008 Rick Warren. Blessings,

Don

Monday, December 1, 2008

Triple Treat

Friends,

This evening there will be an unusual, yet spectacular, event in the southwestern sky. The planets Venus and Jupiter will be very close, and they will be joined by a crescent moon. If you have been looking up for a couple of weeks now, you have seen the two brightest planets in the same general area. Tonight, it is likely that they will be able to be viewed all together through a telescope or binoculars. This is closer than they will appear until the year 2052.

J. Rao of "Space" indicates that...a very close conjunction of the crescent moon and a bright star or planet can be an awe-inspiring naked-eye spectacle. The English poet, critic and philosopher, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) used just such a celestial sight as an ominous portent in his epic, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." In addition, there are juxtaposed crescent moon and star symbols that have appeared on the flags of many nations, including Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, Algeria, Mauritania, and Tunisia.

Keep in mind that this head-turning display of three celestial objects crowded together will be merely an illusion of perspective: the moon will be only about 251,400 miles from Earth, while Venus is nearly 371 times farther away, at 93.2 million miles. Meanwhile, Jupiter is almost 2,150 times farther away than our natural satellite at 540.3 million miles. Interesting stuff. Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Football Files

Friends,

An article ran this week in Abilene about Brad Mills, one of our young men at church. He was player of the week for the second round of the playoffs for our greater region. This follows his honor as player of the week for the Ft.Worth Star-Telegram earlier in the year. Not too surprising...he has been doing it all year. He started the game off last Friday with a 74 yard touchdown run...and he just ran from there. :-) He is a great guy...and we are proud of him. Blessings,

Don

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Stephenville running back takes Player of the Week
Monday, November 24, 2008

BIG COUNTRY PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Brad Mills, RB, Sr., Stephenville -- Revenge is a dish which is best served through a punishing ground game.
And in Stephenville's 31-6 romp over Wichita Falls Rider on Saturday, running back Brad Mills was the Yellow Jackets' weapon of choice.
Avenging two straight season-ending losses to the Raiders, Stephenville returned the favor in back of 204 yards rushing and two scores from Mills.
Stephenville now advances to face El Paso Parkland at 1 p.m. Saturday at at Odessa's Ratliff Stadium.
"He was a huge factor," first-year Stephenville coach Joseph Gillespie said. "Then again, he's been a huge factor in a lot of our games."
Mills scored on runs of 74 and 6 yards, but had a 60-yard touchdown run called back because of a penalty.
He also caught two passes for 25 yards while Stephenville rolled up 435 yards in total offense.
"He's a heckuva football player, but Brad Mills will be first one to give credit where credit is due, and that's up front," Gillespie said. "It was a big night for Brad because of his athleticism but also because of the offensive line."

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P.S. Speaking of Abilene. I understand that we are getting in to basketball season, but what is it with the basketball score at the ACU football playoff game last weekend(?) -- they beat West Texas A & M 93-68. That is absolutely crazy! Go ACU.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Satellite Photos

Friends,

Here are some wonderful satellite photos of earth...check them out. Note the places that show day and night! :-) http://www.greatdanepro.com/Blue%20Bueaty/index.htm

Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Funny Stuff

Friends,

As we have had some leaky roof problems with our church building recently...that now have been repaired, this comic came along and I just thought it was poignant. :-)

Blessings,

Don



Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Greatest GM of Our Time

Friends,

I have to say that Pat Gillick must be living right. This, or that maybe he is just the best general manager that baseball has seen in a long time...maybe ever. Mr Gillick was the architect of the great Toronto Blue Jay teams of the late '80s and early 90s as he was able to help guide them to two World Series wins. The Blue Jays had accomplished little up to that point...but Mr.Gillick turned them into champions. He then came to the other expansion team of the mid-70s, the Seattle Mariners in the mid-90s. Seattle had not history of winning whatsoever -- believe me, I was one of their long-suffering fans. :-) My friend Art and I used to joke that we would be ancient before the Ms ever made the playoffs. Yet, thanks to Mr.Gillick who was able to come in and perform some of his "managerial magic," he was practically able to turn the Ms into an instant contender. He led them into the playoffs in '95, '97, 2000, 2001, which was remarkable. Since Gillick left, the Ms have returned to their former status of "not-so-loveable losers." So, what did Mr.Gillick do after he left Seattle?...why he went to Philadelphia. You mean the same Phillies that just won the World Series for the first time in 28 years? Yes...he was also the architect of this team. And now...he has retired. Three MLB teams with a history of losing...he turned them into winners and gave the fans of Toronto, Seattle and Philadelphis something to cheer about. Thank you Mr. Gillick for all of the good that you have done...and enjoy your retirement -- you deserve it. Blessings,

Don

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Better Path, Perhaps

Friends,

I have seen this message several times and just wanted to share some thoughts...

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I wish the old paths were before us instead of behind us.
THE OLD PATHS...I liked the old paths, when Moms were at home. Dads were at work. Brothers went into the army. And sisters got married BEFORE having children! Crime did not pay; Hard work did; And people knew the difference. Moms could cook; Dads would work; Children would behave. Husbands were loving; Wives were supportive; And children were polite. Women wore the jewelry; And Men wore the pants. Women looked like ladies; Men looked like gentlemen; And children looked decent. People loved the truth, And hated a lie; They came to church to get IN, Not to get OUT! Hymns sounded Godly; Sermons sounded helpful; Rejoicing sounded normal; And crying sounded sincere. Cursing was wicked; Drugs were for illness; And divorce was unthinkable. The flag was honored; America was beautiful; And God was welcome! We read the Bible in public; Prayed in school; And preached from house to house To be called an American was worth dying for; To be called a Christian was worth living for; To be called a traitor was a shame! Preachers preached because they had a message; And Christians rejoiced because they had the VICTORY! Preachers preached from the Bible; Singers sang from the heart; And sinners turned to the Lord to be SAVED! A new birth meant a new life; Salvation meant a changed life; Following Christ led to eternal life. Being a preacher meant you proclaimed the word of God; Being a deacon meant you would serve the Lord; Being a Christian meant you would live for Jesus; And being a sinner meant someone was praying for you! Laws were based on the Bible; Homes read the Bible; And churches taught the Bible. God was worshiped; Christ was exalted; And the Holy Spirit was respected. Church was where you found Christians on the Lord's day, rather than in the garden, on the creek bank, on the golf course, Or being entertained somewhere else. I still like the old paths the best!

“The Old Paths” was written by a retired Minister who lives in Tennessee.
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Consider...

Solomon says...Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?" For it is not wise to ask such questions. (Eccl 7:10, NIV).

I understand the concern and the sentiment being made in "the Old Paths" message, but in my life and experience...I simply do not agree with it in many respects. This is a retiring statement...so as to say, nothing can be done to make today better in the church than yesterday; the church of yesterday will always be better, therefore why even try. At least this is how I have seen it work itself out in the lives of too many people that I love...senior saints and others that I have known and loved. The message appears to reflect that..."the Spirit did all of His best work then." I refuse to give in to this. If this was the case, why should we even be open to learning, or spiritual insight, because it doesn't really matter -- preaching and ministry were better then anyway. For example...why should I even be preaching today, because it will never measure up to what some individual was saying a generation ago. I do not believe that this is true. In fact, I believe that preaching could very well be better today in many respects...(although I cannot disprespect yesterday's or tomorrow's preaching). Today's preaching generally does a better job of trying to remain expository, that is, true to the context of what particular passage is being presented. I think we need to be very careful about what we say or think is "better" or "worser" in relationship to the church or life itself. I think that these judgments can and do trap us and do not permit us to grow and continue to be all that we can be for the Lord. We must remember that, in relationship to the subject at hand, in the Lord's hands all things can be a blessing and bless!

If we are overly compelled by or dwell on the past (or the future, for that matter), we may very well have very little to offer the present situation. The Thessalonians were admonished by Paul for being as overly concerned about the future as many today are about the past. The church and the world would be a much better place if people of all ages, races, social status, genders (that would be both :-)...would do their best to come together to be open to God's leading and be a blessing and try to understand what God's Spirit is doing today. In many respects, societal life was good a generation ago...in other ways it was not so good. In some ways life is better today...and in other ways it is worse. It is what we choose to make it! :-) Blessings,

Don

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The People Have Spoken...What Are They Saying?

Friends,

Well...the people have spoken. We have a new president. "What exactly are the people saying" is the question that has been on my mind? This is not intended to be anything personal against any candidate or party, but just some general observations about human nature and "the system"...of the world in general and politics in particular.

I do believe that this election, like most elections of yesteryear, is about reaction. I get the strong feeling that this election was really about ABBOALH -- anybody but Bush (like he has any opportunity left) or anybody like him (in their opinion or estimation)...and especially so when we take a good look at the final tally. It matters not so much what the stakes are morally, or perhaps in other significant ways -- the people wanted change and this is what they have received. Like most elections, we have candidates that are either more or less somewhat known to the people. I do not think that candidates that are elected are really, truly known for what they believe. We really don't know what they are going to say or do...we may have ideas or opinions about it...we may speak reasonably or fearfully about it -- but we don't really know. Most of the time, it is that the candidate is "charismatic" and "looks presidential" (in other words, we like him, even if we don't really know him)...and most of the time they "tell us what we want to hear" in order to get elected. The most intelligent are the ones who are able to package it in such a way that is most believable. (Is that a bit cynical? Naw :-). It all could end up being better or worser than what we believed was going to be the case. I am not trying to say that "people in general are dumb" as it pertains to politics, just that they are militantly pragmatic -- if it works for me today, great...if it doesn't work tomorrow, then change it. Now this does and could all end up being "Dumb" or "Smart," but we always need to remember Who is in control. This is important.

One thing is certain, I believe that most Christians are concerned about the course of our country. It seems that at least for "a season," the overall votes have been more for "secularism" or "humanism" than anything else...once again, this is an observation or an opinion, and it could be wrong. I am wondering, as my friend "onedaysoon" says, that if this all could be "a statement from the Lord." It is possible. What "the statement" is or could be will certainly be revealed as days, weeks, months and years go by. (Remember the wisdom of the woodcutter :-).

Nevertheless, we all need to be reminded, that even though we Christians live here and are citizens of the United States of America -- and I continue to say God bless the USA :-) -- we are truly citizens of another place...working, serving, blessing until we really get home.
Blessings,

Don

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fireproof

Friends,

A majority of our congregation went to see the movie "Fireproof" starring Kirk Cameron last night. I have to say that it was a powerful presentation. It is not necessarily an easy movie to watch in many respects, but it is so good. There were very few dry eyes by the end of the movie, as the producers make a great case for strengthening, reenergizing marriages. Our whole family went and we enjoyed it.

Too many marriages are troubled and on the rocks...as the one depicted in the movie. I will just put out a shout out to every married couple...that they should go to see this movie, whether their marriage is on solid ground or struggling. Marriage is one institution that has taken some serious hits, in the past couple of decades particularly. The divorce rate is running over 50%. Unfortunately, this number is not any better for those who are Christians. It is a sad thing when a marriage does not make it. Some are preventable...others simply do not work for a host of reasons. Too many marriages die from selfishness, with one spouse or the other (or both) unwilling to part with their addiction(s) -- alcohol, drugs, gambling, pronography, shopaholism, materialism, etc. -- in order to keep the proper perspective and priority for their relationship. Another undeniable certainty...the world system of today continues to assault the sanctity of marriage as it seeks even to redefine the very core of what marriage is supposed to be, which is one man, one woman -- for life. This was God's plan from the beginning...and it will be so until the end of the world as we know it. Thanks to those who put together the movie "Fireproof"...it gives us a story to show us that a marriage that is in trouble can make it with the help of the Lord.

Blessings,

Don

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How Low Can You Go? (Updated)

Friends,

It is not a pleasant time to be a football fan in the NW, or a fan of NW professional sports this year in general. The Seattle Seahawks, Washington Huskies and WSU Cougars are a combined 3-19. Oh, to be living in the glory days again of Don James with the Huskies and Mike Price with the Cougars...and even up to last year with the Seahawks. At least the 'hawks have an excuse, since they have been decimated with injuries. But, things are compounded by the fact that the Mariners lost 100 games this year... frighteningly like waaaay too much of their history, hearkening back to the 70s and 80s. The biggest blow was that the Sonics vacated Seattle and will begin play this week as the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder. (Didn't see that one coming -- not ;-). Something has to give, right? Well, at least the Trail Blazers are still doing well in Portland. They are no longer the Jail Blazers, having revamped their image. And now they have Greg Oden back this year after he missed all of last year with injury. He is supposed to be the second coming of Bill Russell...except that he is hurt yet again and is beginning to look more like the second coming of Sam Bowie. As if to add insult to injury, ESPN interviewed Sam Bowie about Oden...an ominous sign. Hopefully, he will be more like the Blazers' Bill Walton, at least as far as his production goes. (Warning: you are now about to enter the satire zone -- why do they even play 82 regular season games in the NBA...we could just do the dozen or so that is necessary to get to the Lakers, Hornets, Celtics and Cavaliers, who are likely going to be the final four anyway, right? :-).

Speaking of Portland...on a seriously sad note, news came out yesterday that Cascade College is going to be shutting its doors after the Spring 2009 commencement. Having graduated from Columbia Christian College, before it reopened as Cascade College, it is unfortunate news, and a huge setback for Christian education in the NW. Thanks goes to OC for sustaining Cascade for the past 15 years, but with the economy and other factors, it made it so that CC could no longer stay operational. I have a lot of great memories of my time spent there and cherish the friends that were made. I thank the Lord that Cascade has made it possible this year for alumni to connect up through their connections website. It has been great to get reconnected with many friends that I had been out of touch with for quite awhile.

At least there is some good news :-)...for the third week in a row, the #1 Texas Longhorns are playing "the game of the century." This week they "lock horns" (pun intended) with the Red Raiders from Texas Tech. Both are undefeated and have the #1 and 2 QBs in the Heisman trophy race. So, it should be an exciting weekend. I am betting that whoever loses the game will still have over 40 points...we'll see.

An update on the World Series...although I have said very little about it (in fact, this is it...after all what is there to say -- it was the Phillies and the Rays (of sunshine) ;-), I have to give a shout out to one of my all time favorite players. Congrats to Jamie Moyer of the Phillies, a long time Mariner who carried the M's pitching staff for a number of years. Jamie is on or around 45 years old, which is like Methuselah in baseball terms. I remember when Jamie came up with the Cubs organization back when I was a late teenager and he has pitched so well for the past 15 years or so. It is just great to see one of the good guys in the game get rewarded for a job well done.

Blessings,

Don

Monday, October 27, 2008

Live Long and Perspire :-)

Friends,

Dan Vergano of USA Today shares…Star Trek fans, take heart — Mr. Spock's fabled home star, the nearby Epsilon Eridani, could harbor an Earth-like planet. NASA astronomers today report that the triple-ringed star has an asteroid belt and a Jupiter-like giant planet in roughly the same orbits as in our own solar system. Only “850 million years old” (in humanist years ;-), a fifth the age of Earth's sun, Epsilon Eridani resembles a younger twin to our solar system. About (only...ha ha) 62 trillion miles away, it is the closest known solar system.

It was borrowed by the creators of the TV series 'Star Trek' as the location of Vulcan, the planet that gave us the super-logical science officer Mr. Spock. "We certainly haven't seen it yet, but if its solar system is anything like ours, then there should be planets like ours," say astronomer Massimo Marengo of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.

The NASA Spitzer space telescope results, which measure the infrared heat given off by dust and ice rings circling the star, suggest Epsilon Eridani possesses three jumbo worlds, revealed by dust-free circular lanes in its asteroid belt and more distant comet belts. The circular asteroid belt that, like ours, orbits within 300 million miles of the star is particularly surprising, Marengo says, because earlier studies had suggested the star's Jupiter-like planet followed a looping path that would have destroyed the narrow belt. Instead, it must follow a nearly circular orbit.
Because Epsilon Eridani is smaller, dimmer and younger than the sun, the "habitable zone" for Earth-like planets there is closer to the star, says planetary theorist Sean Raymond of the University of Colorado-Boulder. "An Earth-like planet could actually form in the (star's) habitable zone," he says, if the report of a well-behaved Jupiter-sized planet bears out. Another planetary theorist, Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institute of Washington (D.C.), is doubtful, suggesting such a planet is "likely to be too massive and too close to allow Earth-like planets to form in the habitable zone." Jokes Marengo: "Of course there is disagreement among Star Trek fans about whether the planet of Mr. Spock could be at Epsilon Eridani, because it is such a young star and Vulcans are supposed to be an advanced civilization." (Truth is stranger than fiction... or in the case of this article, perhaps it is the other way around -- science fiction can certainly be stranger than truth :-). Blessings,

Don

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Freedom to Love

Friends,

This thought occurred to me some time ago(?)...and for some reason I found it, so I thought that I would share...

True love cannot be the result of decree, force or manipulation. Anything that I do to deprive someone of the right to choose is a violation of his or her personhood. When I sense that my own right to choose is being threatened, then I know that I am not being loved...and the doors to ministry are not open. Paul tells the Corinthians that "love does not seek its own" (13:5b). Most times, the best solution is to yield until I feel free to make the right choice. Many in our society, and even some believers, see submission as a sign of weakness. I think that all we have to do is look to the life of our Lord and Savior to understand that submission is indeed a sign of grace and strength. Blessings,

Don

Monday, October 20, 2008

Light Bulb

Friends,

You may have seen this...but it's worth repeating ;-)

After considerable research by the Barna group, the age-old question has been answered: How many people does it take to change a light bulb? --

Charismatic: Only one. Hands already in the air.

Pentecostal: Ten. One to change the light bulb and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

Catholic: None. Candles only.

Baptist: At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad.

Epicopalian: Three. One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks, and one to talk about how much better the old bulb was.

Mormon: Five. One man to change the bulb and four wives to tell him how to do it.

Methodist: Undetermined. Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely burned out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb or tulip bulb. Church-wide lighting service is planned for Sunday. Bring the bulb of your choice and a covered dish.

Nazarene: Six. One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church guide on lighting policy.

Lutheran: None. Lutherans don't believe in change.

Church of Christ: They do not use light bulbs because there is no evidence of their use in the New Testament.

Unitarian: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey, you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your bulb for next Sunday's service, during which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life, and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

Amish: What's a light bulb?

Blessings,

Don

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Trouble in Paradise 2

Friends,

At the beginning of the week, it appeared that all four wheels had come off of the Dallas Cowboys wagon...as well as the spare. Ahh, but that was before the Cowboys savior came...Roy E. Williams, the wide receiver, not to be confused with Roy L. Williams, the injured defensive back. Speaking of injured...is there anyone on the Cowboys who does not have an injury after last week's game? Tony Romo was out with a broken pinkie finger, and now may be back in if he is needed -- and I think that they are going to need him. No big offense to backup Brad Johnson, (who has won a Super Bowl), but if Tony is getting hurt behind the all-of-the-sudden shaky O line, what are defenses going to do to a tree like Johnson? Anyway, back to the injured list...Terrence Newman, Felix Jones and even the poor punter, Mat McBriar are also hurt -- in fact, McBriar is out for the year. Tell me, how often does a punter get put out for the year(?)...crazy. Yes, but UT alum, Williams is back where he belongs...out of that wasteland of a team that is the Detroit Lions. And how do we know that he is the Cowboys savior? Jerry gave up a 1st, 3rd and 6th round draft pick for him. That is nuts. Are we sure this isn't Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss or even our very own T.O.? Roy Williams??? Granted he has gone to the Pro-Bowl in the past, but he hasn't even been the favored QB target on the Lions this year. Nevertheless, I wish Roy all the best...and that he is a Cowboys pro-bowler for many years to come. Speaking of T.O...he says that he is excited that Williams is on the team. Uhh...yeah, but for how long? He may be able to take a defender or two away from T.O as he goes down the field from time to time, but T.O.'s problem has been getting off of the line of scrimmage. He has been getting manhandled of late by physical corners and has not been getting into his routes. So...it's just a matter of time before the T.O. bomb goes off. And my bet, is that Jerry is hedging his. Maybe, just maybe, he is at long last learning a lesson about bringing troubled players to the Cowboys. With Pacman gone (for good, it appears), I think that with another, younger #1 receiver now on board, it is just a matter of time before the 'boys cut ties with their current #1. I love the Cowboys...but if there was ever a time in the regular season when they needed to step up over the past few years, (last year's playoffs notwithstanding), this is it! We will all know after Sunday's game with the lowly Rams which direction this season is going to go. If they can put it all together in the midst of the injuries and turmoil and make an against the odds run...wonderful! If not, goodbye Wade and hello Jason. The rrrest of the story...is that I have to admit my affections as a Saints lover, as well. (How can a believer not love a team called ...the Saints? :-) As NFL player of the year to this point, QB Drew Brees is second to no one. And no one questions the explosiveness of Reggie Bush. Now, if they can only quit committing foolish penalties and get their defense to play halfway decent, they stand a chance to make a good run, as well. One thing is certain, they ain't the Aints anymore. Blessings,

Don

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The BIG Big 12

Friends,

What a year for the Big 12. The SEC is always the power conference out of all the major Division 1A conferences year in and year out, and yet, it would be awfully hard not to bestow the honor to the Big 12 this year. The Big 12 has had multiple teams in the top 5 all year long. The Red River rivalry on Saturday was an instant classic, especially if you are a Texas fan. Colt McCoy had a sensational game as #5 Texas kept coming from behind and ultimately knocked off #1 Oklahoma. Now it appears that Texas will be #1 this week...hopefully not the "kiss of death" as it has been for other #1s this year -- especially with an angry Missouri up next (at home at least). McCoy is in the drivers seat for the Heisman trophy with his performance against Oklahoma. Yet, has there ever been a better conference for QBs than the Big 12 this year? You have McCoy and Bradford from Oklahoma, who was the Heisman front runner until yesterday, and will still be in the top 5. Chase Daniel at Missouri was also top three for the Heisman until yesterday when Mizzou lost to Oklahoma State. He will still be in the top 5. Then there is Graham Harrell at Texas Tech who has broken all of the Red Raider passing records. And you hear little about Todd Reesing of Kansas and Zac Robinson of that undefeated OK State team that knocked off Mizzou...who would be at the top in stats of any other conference if not for the big boys ahead of them in their own conference. Come the draft next April...and depending upon who enters the draft, there could be two or three QBs picked in the first round from the Big 12 conference alone! This would be amazing. Nevertheless, we will continue to see what unfolds as the season goes along, but to this point, I do not remember a more exciting season for any conference...and there is so much hanging in the balance. All that matters at the end of ther year is that the Big 12 have the National Champion (preferably Texas :-) -- this would be wonderful. A final shout out to the Colorado Buffaloes, who are not one of the upper echelon teams in the Big 12 North, but who should finish around .500. My high school friend Ron Collins is their D coordinator, so they earn some sentimental points. Blessings,

Don

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Success

Friends,

I received this from a senior friend of mine...and thought this was too good not to post here, as I close up shop on the etc. blog --

SUCCESS:
At age 4 success is........not piddling in your pants.
At age 12 success is......having friends.
At age 17 success is......having a drivers licence.
At age 35 success is......having money.
At age 50 success is......having money.
At age 70 success is......having a drivers licence.
At age 75 success is......having friends.
At age 80 success is......not piddling in your pants.

:-)

Don

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Election Encouragements

Friends,

*Don't buy into all of the fear-mongering regarding any or all of the candidates.
*Don't trust polls.
*Trust God.

Blessings,

Don

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Matter of Major League Perspective

Friends,

Playoff time in the major leagues always reveals some biases. It is interesting to note that the Cubs, who were the prohibitive favorites in the NL after having the best record all season, were expected to do well. On the other hand, the Brewers, who barely made the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, were expected to lose to the Phillies. So, here we are a week later and for the second year in a row, the Cubs are gone in the first round -- huge disappointment...unmet expectations...downright failure. And what is so tragic about it is that many were rooting for the Cubs to lose...with the thinking being, after all , why break 100 years of bad karma, etc. The Brewers? They are gone too, but not with the same level of fanfare, disappointment and the like. After all, they weren't really supposed to be there anyway. So, they slink away with the same disappointment and unmet expectations if you are a Brewers fan, but just not the same outcry as with the Cubs. The winners -- Dodgers and Phillies. The Dodgers are the underdog, and the Phillies are the favorite...but should anyone bet against Joe Torre and troops in the playoffs? Yes and no, I suppose. But, once again, win or lose -- even for these teams -- it will be a matter of perspective. My underdog for the year has to be the Rays. As I shared before, once they were able to be rid of the bad influences in their name, they have done quite well. Go Tampa Bay. But, the Angels aren't dead yet either, although they are on life-support, so to speak. But, how can believers not feel pretty good about the Angels, even if you are a Sox fan? :-) Blessings,

Don

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sideways

Friends,

We have seen many shots of galaxies face on. Spiral galaxies are particularly beautiful. Here is a shot of a galaxy that is literally "on edge" toward us...


Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Trouble in Paradise

Friends,

The Cowboys, inexplicably, lost to the Redskins at home last Sunday. It did not take long to figure out why. T.O. started yapping after the loss that "he was not getting the ball enough." It is pretty apparent that this sentiment would go back to the week before and the Cowboys victory over the Packers where they relied heavily on the ground game. So, T.O. figured in on fully a third of the offensive plays Sunday, while they quit handing the ball to running backs Marion Barber and Felix Jones. Let's do some math...handing the ball to the running backs more = victory. In this case, giving the ball to T.O. more = defeat. T.O. needs to go to school on himself -- his own past -- and just be quiet and play before he torpedoes the whole promising season for the Cowboys. Besides, I get tired of Skip Bayless saying..."I was right once again about 'Team Obliterator'." Blessings,

Don

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Woodcutter's Wisdom 2

Friends,

More from the marvelous story about the woodcutter...

The man responded, "once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don't judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read only one page of a book...life is so vast and yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is a fragment. Don't say that this is a blessing -- no one knows. I am content with what I know; I am not perturbed by what I don't."

"Maybe the old man is right," they said to one another, so they said little. But down deep, they knew that he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had returned with one horse. With a little bit of work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.

The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again, the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments. "You were right," they said. "You proved you were right. The dozen horses were not a blessing...they were a curse. Your only son has broken his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer than ever."

The old man spoke again. "You people are obsessed with judging. Don't go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one knows...we only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments."

It so happened that a few weeks later, the country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying...because their sons had been taken. The enemy was strong and there was little chance that they would return. "You were right, old man," they wept. "God knows that you were right. This proves it. Your son's accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you. Our sons are gone forever."

The old man spoke again. "It is impossible to talk with you. You always draw conlusions. No one knows. Say only this: Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows if this is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know -- only God knows."

**********************************************************************************

The old man was right. We only have a fragment. Life's mishaps and struggles are only a page out of a grand book. We must be slow about drawing conlusions. We must reserve judgment on life's storms until we know the whole story.

I don't know where the woodcutter learned his patience. Perhaps from another woodcutter in Galilee. For it was the Carpenter who said it best: "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself."

Blessings,

Don

P.S. Is there any application from this story that can be made to our culture right now? To the financial crisis? To the election? To.....???

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Woodcutter's Wisdom

Friends,

"The end of the matter is better than the beginning," penned the sage.
"Be...patient in affliction," echoed the apostle Paul.
"Don't judge a phrase by one word," stated the woodcutter.

**********************************************************************************

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before -- such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength. People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused. "The horse is not a horse to me," he would tell them. "It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend?" The man was poor and the temptation was great, but he never sold the horse.

One morning, he found that the horse was not in the stable. All the village came to see him. "You old fool," they scoffed..."we told you that someone would steal your horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever hope to protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better if you had sold him. You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. Now the horse is gone, and you've been cursed with misfortune."

The old man responded, "Don't speak too quickly...say only that the horse is not in the stable -- that is all that we know; the rest is judgment. If I've been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge?

The people contested, "Don't make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse."

The old man spoke again. "All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I do not know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can't say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?"

The people of the village laughed. They thought the man was crazy. They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn't, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money. Instead, he was a poor woodcutter...and old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it. He lived hand to mouth in the misery of povery. Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.

After fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn't been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him. Once again, the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. "Old man, you were right and we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us."

To be continued...indeed, blessings,

Don

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Making Melody to the Max

Friends,

I always enjoy the opportunity to go to workshops and lectureships in order to be encouraged, stretched and to grow. Our family enjoyed the ACU Summit the past two days. The speakers are generally good, but what stands out to our family is the singing when the large group is gathered together. I don't know if it the nice round, acoustically blessed coliseum, the sheer numbers, or what (?), but the Spirit moves the spirits of those who are there to make tremendous melody to the Lord. I thought on the way home...we should just bring as many outsiders to such an event as possible, just so they could experience the pure power and beauty of the singing alone, not to mention the good messages. Perhaps, this is just a little bit of what heaven will be like...we know that we are going to sing -- praise the Lord. Blessings,

Don

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Give Him A Break

Friends,

With a minute left in the Broncos-Chargers game last Sunday, Broncos QB, Jay Cutler, dropped back to pass and fumbled...and the Chargers recovered. Referee Ed Hochuli blew the play dead quickly calling it an incomplete pass. All the Chargers would have had to do would be to run out the clock for the win. Instead, the Broncos, given a new lease on life, took the ball into the end zone and made a 2 point conversion for the win. After the game, Hochuli, a veteran NFL official (rated top 3), and who has done playoffs and Super Bowl, went over to apologize the Chargers coach Norv Turner saying, "I blew the call." Turner would say at his perss conference that it was "inexcusable." Perhaps...but it was an error, a mistake. Hochuli has repeatedly apologized this week, but has been continually receiving hate mail from Chargers "fans." What does it take? This ref has manned up and said he was sorry and yet continues to be vilified. Unfortunately, this is a pretty sorry statement about the direction our society has been going for quite awhile in relationship to sports...it has become life and death -- thanks to Las Vegas oddsmakers and unreasonable Fantasy Football nutcases. Hochuli made a mistake...and yet, you would think that he was worse than OJ (and I am not going there any further :-). It is unfortunate that this was a critical mistake that likely cost the Chargers the game. But, this is the nature of refereeing, officiating. The major leagues (NFL, MLB, etc.) have already instituted instant replay...and yet there will always be some human element involved. So...give the poor man a break -- let him have his life. Blessings,

Don

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Aqueduct

Friends,

John H. Morgan says that our life in Christ can be compared to an aqueduct, the stone waterways that would bring water from nearby mountains into parched cities in Italy and Spain and are still is use in some countries today. The objective foundation of our spiritual lives -- the Word of God -- is like the huge, stone aqueduct itself. The subjective element -- our daily walk with the Lord, empowered by His Spirit -- is like the fresh water flowing through it. Some Christians neglect the Word of God and seek only the subjective experience. But, without the solid Word of God to contain and channel that experience, the experience itself drains away into error and is lost. Other Christians boast of well-engineered aqueducts based on extensive knowledge of the Bible, but they are bone dry. They bring no water (spiritual refreshment). Strong spiritual lives require both the knowledge of the Word of God and the intimate daily relationship with Jesus Christ.

Sounds like a smart fellow. I wonder if he has read John 4:24? Blessings, :-)

Don

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Locked Out

Friends,

After quarterback, Jake Locker, of the University of Washington scored a touchdown in the final seconds of UW's game with BYU, he tossed the ball into the air. The officials threw a flag and penalized him 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. This, in turn, moved the ball back 15 yards for the ensuing extra point attempt, which was (of course) blocked. UW lost the game 28-27. Now, there are a number of issues that come into play here. The new NCAA ruling is such that any display of emotion (like tossing the ball in the air) is "against the law" and laid out to discourage end zone celebrations...even if Locker, for instance, was not taunting anyone in any way. In fact, when Locker saw the flag, he was ready to get after the person who committed the personal foul, but then, incredulously, was forced to come to the realization that he was the unwitting, guilty party. This is more archaic than the NFL (no fun league :-) that has rightfully cracked down on certain celebrations that are "over the top," but certainly not so stringent that a guy could not spike the ball, slam dunk on the goal post, toss it in the air or some such thing. Lighten up Pac 10, NCAA. The officials should have enough leeway and common sense to be able to tell the difference between what is taunting or excessive celebration and what is merely an exhuberant expression. This pharisaic ruling needs to be done away with (as a vast majority of the great, and wise :-) sports talking heads agree) and a more reasonable, balanced regulation needs to be adopted. Unfortunately, this turns into another illustration of the all too common occurence that refs shouldn't decide games, just be the facilitatators of them. Now, Tyrone Willingham, who is already on the coaching hotseat, may ultimately suffer the consequences of this loss (that may or may not have happened, but UW at least would have had a fair, fighting chance in OT).

For what it's worth, Locker is a great athlete. I watched him pick apart (by his running and passing) our area Prosser team in the Washington state 3A championship a few years ago...a team that had the new all-time leading state passer in Kellen Moore (now at Boise State) and, who were not only previously undefeated, but had wiped out the competition all year. And so...here is a crazy prediction -- Locker, inspired by what has happened over the past week, actually leads UW to a big upset of the University of Oklahoma this weekend. Yeah, I know it's crazy, but what I have I got to lose, really ;-). Blessings,

Don

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Case for the Race

Friends,

Somebody tell me...aside from the Olympics, when was the last time that the 100 meter dash had any meaning on the international stage? I didn't think so -- I can't remember either. :-) It was probably when it was the 100 yard dash. And yet, here we are a couple of weeks after the Olympics and sports commentators and anchors have actually been giving us information on a a 1oo meter race in Europe between Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt, the two big Jamaican stars from the Olympics. Bolt had to actually come from behind to beat Powell and did so in 9.77 seconds (which is still amazing). Understand that normally, if Usain Bolt had not been the 2nd biggest sensation at the Olympics, this event in Switzerland (I believe) wouldn't even be a blip on the sports radar...but have a guy break three world records, and what do you get? Coverage. The next thing you know, we are all actually going to have sports coverage and even care about the next big swimming event ;-). Blessings,

Don

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Danger Zone

Friends,

WARNING! You are about to enter the political zone. (Special note: I have often said, I do not blog about politics...isn't religion dangerous enough?) Nevertheless, here is a rare foray into the void.

WOW! Sarah Palin's speech last night was outstanding. I usually don't spend a lot of time watching these conventions, but I was compelled to hear her last evening. Overall, I have been impressed by the things that I have been hearing about her -- in spite of the skewering her family has received from the liberal media the past few days. (Another note: what kind of mongrels are some of these people anyway?) Considering how she has been ripped...for her to stand up in front of millions of people and deliver as she did -- it was impressive, to say the least. (Have I tipped my hand yet?) I am not going to say anything negative about the other contenders (as, I reserve such for religious discussions :-), but if I were them, I would be concerned about the bump that she is going to give to many folks. Granted, there is a long way to go, but I would have to say that, at least she is off to a good start. We'll have to see how her boss does this evening (?).

Don

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Humorous, Minor Case in Point

Friends,

Concerning pre-suppositions. When considering my message last Sunday, I was talking about the fact that the gospel came to Colossae, in no small part, thanks to the help of a fellow named Epaphras. Now, I have always known this guy to e-PAPH-russ...for forever, and yet, when one looks up his name, it is pronounced -- EH-puh-FRASS. Funny. House wars and church conflicts have started over less, I am certain...but, I just thought it was interesting. (CAR-ib-be-an or car-ib-BE-an, tom-ay-to or to-mah-to ;-). Blessings,

Don

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Similar Experiences

Friends,

Don W., Jerry, Stephen, Toby...Nicodemus. What do these folks have in common with Nicodemus? Seeking Jesus. Why does the story from John 3 inspire us so? Is it the innocence? Is it the one on one...meeting Jesus? Is it that we can relate to this man in so many ways? I have always loved this story because Jesus sets Nicodemus straight. He tells him about Christian baptism -- be born of water and Spirit -- and that settles it, right? Get it right Nicodemus! I guess I have always thought that Nicodemus was somewhat clueless. What is wrong with him? Why doesn't he get it? (And this always has been easy enough to say, since I/we have had the benefit of the 2000 years since the Word became flesh :-). After all, he should at least understand the "water" aspect of baptism, since he was a teacher of the Jews, he should have been aware of mikvah -- the ritual purification washings which the Jews would undergo. Also, he should have been aware of what was taking place concerning the baptism of John. Still, he thinks that being "born again" is to re-enter the womb and go through the process all over again -- ugh! But, it is the Spirit...that is also causing him to stumble. There is not a great deal of mention of the Spirit's work in the Old Covenant...enough that Nicodemus should have been familiar with Him, but in this context? No. The Ephesian disciples (Acts 19) would also be "brought up to speed" by Paul in relationship to the connection of the Spirit to baptism. As with the Ephesians, the Spirit is an important part of the equation for Nicodemus to consider (v.8) as it relates to understanding Christian baptism.

It is likely that the wind was blowing the evening that Jesus and Nicodemus were having their conversation...it may have been an easy segue for Jesus to talk about the Spirit. It is interesting to note that the word "wind," (pneuma in the original language), is the same word used for "the Spirit," as well as "breath." In fact wind or breath are symbols of the Spirit of God elsewhere (Job 33:4, John 20:22, Acts 2:2). Like the wind, the Spirit is invisible, but powerful -- He is subtle at times, and at other times, mighty in His work. We can't fully explain or predict how the Spirit is going to work in the life of a believer...but we know that he does, be it like a breeze, or like a storm. This is precisely why so many people resist Him. Many Christians want their "faith" and "religion" to be nice and comfortable. Yet, as we see with Nicodemus, even, this is not always going to be the case. Striving to live by faith is challenging...it requires allowing God "to tip over our religious box" so that His Spirit can really begin working in our lives. Nicodemus had to know that this was going to take place, as He came to Jesus by night, so as not to upset the Sanhedrin apple cart.

The key to the whole discussion is found in v.10. Nicodemus came at night, but he is still in the dark. He has difficulty understanding "new birth" even after Jesus has fully explained it to him -- "are you the teacher of Israel, and you do not understand these things?" He should know the truths from the OT Scriptures, but this "teacher" knows only the facts. One of the great struggles for Nicodemus is that he, being one of the religious leaders, would not submit to the authority of Jesus (3:11). I believe that this is why Jesus says what he does to him here. After all, why wouldn't Nicodemus think just like the other "religious Jews" -- "Rabbi we know that you have come from God...because no one could do the signs you do unless he was from God" (v.2). Always looking for signs were the Jews. So, perhaps, it is not so much that Nicodemus is "innocent" here, as much as he is "ignorant," which is a significant difference.

I am convinced that Nicodemus did not have an easier time seeing Jesus and grasping what the Lord was sharing with him, in part, because he could not let go. He would or could not let go of his human reasoning, his pre-suppositions of things that he had already been taught. In this case, he was not going to understand what Jesus was saying until he let go of what he had already known and accept Jesus at face value -- by faith. How many others did Jesus have contact with where the same general situation was evident...the Samaritan woman(?), the rich, young ruler(?), the man born blind(?), the centurion(?). And what about us? How many of us in our own day and time have to let go of what we have been taught by good, well-meaning people in order to see Jesus by faith? How many of us are willing to ask the Nicodemus questions or some similar and be taught by and about the Spirit of God? We have to be willing to lay it all on the table, as Jesus challenges Nicodemus -- all of our reasoning, pre-suppositions. This isn't easy...in fact, I have heard that it is often painful, difficult. :-) Jesus was as straightforward with Nicodemus as anyone in the Word. The facts were indeed all laid out on the table for him. Did He come to understand? Read John 7:50-53, 19:38-40 and consider. Blessings,

Don

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Alcohol...A Losing Battle

Friends,

Article after article in the newspaper of late is...about alcohol. College orientation...mainly about the effects of and dealing with alcohol. I, personally, am "alcoholled out"...and that's not because I use it -- I don't. I am disturbed by what an increasing idol it continues to be in our culture. We don't often like to talk about it, nor the fact that it so often walks hand in hand with "drugs," because this is not pc. But, whenever we are talking about and dealing with amongst the greatest of the maladies of our society...it is "alcohol and drugs." Now, this is not to say that I am going to take a (non) Biblical stance and try to declare that drinking alcohol is a "Sin" or some such thing (as some have sought to do), because I have studied it out and, in my opinion, no such statement can be made. The Word only deals with the excesses...of alcohol, sleep, food, etc. At the same time, I don't think that anyone is going to be in "dire straits" from having a little alcohol now and then. Paul indicates to Timothy that some wine would help his stomach, illnesses (1 Timothy 5:23). It has been well-attested that a little wine can have health benefits. But...like so many other things, too many folks don't know when to "apply the brakes"...knowing when enough is enough. This is especially so when it comes to young people. They don't have the experience with or understanding to realize just what alcohol can do to them or to others. Unfortunately, it often takes a tragedy -- the all too frequent drunk driving accident or alcohol poisoning that claims lives -- to stop people in their tracks for a time, but then once the shock wears off...it's back to it. And this is all against the backdrop that Six Flags is strongly considering adding alcohol at its closest site to us...as it has already done at a few other sites. Our own county is considering whether it should no longer be a dry county, but become wet (have alcohol in stores and businesses). Finally, there is legislation to consider dropping the drinking age from 21 down to 18 on college campuses. There are a lot of proponents as well as opponents for many of these above topics under consideration. We all need to consider.

In my opinion, I do not believe that a whole lot of good is going to come spiritually, societally and otherwise from continuing to loose the ties on alcohol (as well as drugs, sex) wholesale for our youth and culture. (Take a good look at the Netherlands and see what libertinism has done to their society). Even now, we have movies like "Step Brothers," "Pineapple Express," and now "The House Bunny" that continue to "increasingly" and (as they see it) "innocently" mainstream and glamorize playboy, drug use, and the like. What our culture needs is a spiritual re-awakening to see that abuses related to alcohol, drugs, fornication, pornography, R and X-rated (is there any longer a difference?) movies, gambling and the like...are a dead end street, spiritually. Hedonism is the way of the devil, and the Lord is ultimately going to bring destruction upon those who deploy, promote and participate in what it offers. Paul has the final word...."do not be filled with 'spirits' (wine, alcohol), but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18, my paraphrase). Blessings,

Don

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic Tidbits

Friends,

Remember, sarcasm is just one of the many great services I offer...
It is remarkable that the U.S. is still in the lead in the overall medal count (last I checked), considering the judging in the gymnastics and diving competitions, particularly, and over the entire Olympics, in general. How many gold medals should the U.S. team have as opposed to silver or bronze...this is a good question, but it doesn't really matter, as we'll never know. I have heard of "home field advantage," but ??? -- this is ridiculous. I have never heard of the home team at a football game being spotted seven points to start, or a basketball team being given a 20-0 lead at the beginning of a game. And the worst part is that the IOC just seems to look the other way. I know, I know, the Chinese need to come out of this smelling something like a rose, but...the organization has obviously come to mean Incapable of Correction or Inconsistent on Consistency.

Being a big track and field buff, I had to feel sorry for the U.S. trackster, Lolo Jones, who had a gold medal in her grasp only to trip over the ninth of ten hurdles, lose momentum and finish 7th. One works for four years and all they have to do is get through the final...only to have it go bad. It makes a person somehow wish they could do the best two out of three (for her sake)...but, such is life. At least her teammate won, even though that doesn't ease Lolo's pain.

Whats up with the U.S. track & field team overall(?)...a lot of blown opportunities. Tyson, where did you disappear to, my friend?

Usain "Lightning" Bolt from Jamaica (what are they feeding those Jamaican kids anyway? :-) has been nearly as incredible as Michael Phelps, (only with six fewer events ;-). He not only won the men's 100 and 200 meters by a ton, he also set world records for both -- a feat not even Carl Lewis or Jesse Owens could accomplish as wondrously great as they were on the track. Unfortunately, his "showboating" has turned off a lot of people. There is the part of me that says...give him a break, he is 22, and simply showing some unbridled enthusiasm. So, even though he may be an all-time great track Olympian, hopefully he will not be known as "lightning dolt."

How can you beat Nastia Liukin (from the Metroplex...yea!) and Shawn Johnson in gymnastics? You can't...(unless you are a judge :-). They were terrific and took home a number of medals in the team and individual competitions. How could anyone not just root root root for these two, especially Shawn Johnson, the bubbly girl from Iowa. And, without the Hamm brothers, what a great story was Jonathan Horton (from Houston) stepping up to be the men's team leader and doing just a terrific job!

Finally, you go girls...gold medal in soccer. Excellent!

As for volleyball, softball, baseball, bmx, shooting, trampoline, diving, and a couple dozen other sports...maybe for another time and another place, (actually not baseball and softball...bummer). Blessings,

Don

Monday, August 18, 2008

Prayer Thoughts

Friends,

We just received word that Carol (Horne) Hughes, the mother of our friends Monte & Rosie passed away. She had been battling cancer for such a long time. She was such an amazingly strong, spiritual individual. Please keep this wonderful family in your prayers. Also, please keep our friends Brandon Scott and Devonna Lee and their families in prayer as we heard about the passing of their mother yesterday. We are all part of such a wonderful extended family of God. It is so good that we can lean on each other at these times. This was evident last evening at our prayer service. Also, for the several men who prayed for rain last night...your prayers have been answered! Blessings,

Don

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mars Photos

Friends,

Here are some recent photos taken by the latest Mars lander...sent to me by a loved one...

Don

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Heart Sayings

Friends,

I am putting a new column in my blog on the right called "heart sayings." These are little one line sayings (generally) that I will change every few days that are good for the heart (spiritual). Just some things to consider as you go about your day. :-) Blessings,

Don

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sweet 16!...If Only

Friends,

The female U.S. gymnasts had a great team Olympics, winning the Silver medal, but to hear a lot of people talk, you would think that they were dismal failures for not winning the gold. Ahh, such is perspective...the guys win the bronze, which was unexpected, and it was like they won the gold, but the American girls are always expected to have the gold medal, therefore it is a disappointment. I, for one, am very proud of what they accomplished. What is disappointing is that the Chinese were somehow allowed to fake some passports and pass off their 12 or 13 year old gymnasts as 16, which is the stated legal age in this competition. If these girls are sixteen, then I have some moon dust to sell you. I have seen 4th graders that looked older. :-) So, nothing escapes finding a competitive advantage, whether it be blood doping for athletes or surreptitiously hiking up some numbers. It is unfortunate, but it has always been this way. Thankfully, there are always some great stories, like Michael Phelps, that we sports lovers can hold on to that carry us through to the next big thang. Go U.S.!

Don

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

No Fear, No Regrets

Friends,

They may have won the Bronze medal, but the US men's gymnastics team were all gold to any American watching their performance last night. They gutted out routine after routine with great spirit and strength, not getting the marks they deserved...nevertheless, they simply excelled. The Chinese, with the "home field advantage" won the Gold...and deserved it, as they were spectacular for most of the evening. But, we're not talking about them. This men's team, that few gave a chance to medal because they were missing their two leaders (ex-Olympians Paul Hamm and his brother Morgan), came through with a bunch of young first time Olympians who had nothing to lose. Jonathan Horton, their inspirational leader, at one point yelled..."no fear, no regrets" -- and they had none. Excellent job guys!

Don

Monday, August 11, 2008

Swimmingly Good Stuff

Friends,

IN YOUR FACE, French swimmers! :-) Alain Bernard brashly stated to the media that their (his 4x100 team's) whole goal in coming to the Olympics was to smash Michael Phelps' American 4x100 relay team. The French were favored, of course, but "pride goes before a fall" and their smack talking came back to haunt them as Jason Lezak, the oldest male swimmer on the U.S. team, swam the race of his life in the final leg and overcame Alain "the mouth" Bernard and won it by outtouching him at the wall. Lezak was down by at least a body length on the final turn, but seemed to just float on the Frenchman's wake as he made up the distance to claim victory. The victorious picture showing the Americans "screaming" in celebration is classic. I can't wait to watch the whole event tonight at some point. And thanks to Lezak's effort, Phelps is still on board for his quest for 8 Olympic gold medals. Here's hoping that he pulls it off. Blessings,

Don

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cool Blue Traveler

Friends,

Here is a pic of a cool (blue) comet spotted August 3rd...it's blue (and fuzzy) because of the ice and dust particles coming off of it as it travels through space -- enjoy!

Don


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Do Us All A Favre

Friends,

Mr Commissioner...it has gone on long enough. Do us all a Favre and help the Brett Favre situation along if you would. What a mess! There is no soap opera on television that could possibly rival this. It was hilarious to listen to the ESPN Sports Center anchors joking about life being "all Favre...24/7," and to hear them bemuse the cameras being there in Milwaukee as his plane touched down with the paprazzi running around like a bunch of chickens and saying... "Air Force 1 rarely gets this much attention." It would be even funnier except that it is all so unfortunate. True, Favre did retire in the Spring, and true that most of the sports talking heads were saying..."he'll be back." A fellow does have a right to change his mind, but it appears that the Packers brass have had all of the Favre that they would like, with his threatening to retire the past couple of years only to change his mind. So, here he is...a first ballot Hall of Famer, three time league MVP, Super Bowl winner and MVP, holder of the longest consecutive games played streak, led the team to the NFC Championship last year after having one of his best statistical years...and on it goes -- and the Packers are saying, "no thanks...thanks for playing, but see ya." Now, I understand the Packers wanting and needing to move on and get on with their plans, but they could have been much nicer about the way they have been doing their business. They made a commitment to Aaron Rodgers to be their starting QB and drafted a QB (Brian Brohm) to be his backup in the second round, so Favre wasn't in their plans. (How many snaps has Rodgers taken? How many starts does he have? How many touchdowns has he thrown? Yeah.) Nevertheless, the Packers do not want to let Favre go as a free agent so that he doesn't end up with the Vikings (who are in the Packers NFC North division) and come back to haunt them at least twice next year. So, the Packers want their cake and to eat it to...as they will not let him go, but they will not allow him to be the starter. So, what happens next? Favre says he can't go back to Green Bay and be a backup, so he is now saying that he wants to be traded, with the Buccaneers and Jets being the most prominent suitors...so, who knows? It just stinks that Favre can't finish his career in a Packers uniform, but...it is a business, and even a shoe-in Hall of Famer is finding out just how much of a "business" the NFL is. Here's hoping that Favre finds a good team and that he has a couple more great years. Take care,

Don

Monday, July 28, 2008

I Have Seen It All Now

Friends,

I thought I caught a glimpse of it the other day when watching the sports channel, but I did not see enough of it to know whether it was real or a joke. Then, yesterday...in black and white (and read all over)...in the FW Star-Telegram...on the sports page -- there it was! What, you ask? A description of the new sport that's all the rage -- chess boxing. I'm kidding, right? I wish that I was. I cannot believe that some bozos have turned the wonderfully, artistic game of chess into something that only Rambo could appreciate. Chess boxing? How could anyone come up with this combination? Chess boxing? I believe that this may be the only way for the once semi-entertaining (Muhammed Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard) and now obsolete sport of boxing to keep an audience. I can hear the conversation now between two bruisers as they sit down and match pawn to queen 4 and 5. "I would like to think about my next move, but you hit me so hard in that first round, that my medulla oblongata is no longer functioning correctly." This is assuming that boxers would even know what a "medulla oblongata" is. If they did, they probably wouldn't be trying to beat each other's in. In fact, I am slightly stunned that boxers are even able to play chess. I know that I am stretching for laughs with the sarcasm, but it just strikes me (no pun intended) funny. Kids, don't try this at home. Blessings,

Don

(An "extra" because several has asked me -- how do they do this? They actually box "regular " boxing rounds and then "play chess" between rounds. Someone suggested that you have 32 boxers actually playing a form of "live chess," where you could have one "bishop" duke it out with an opposing "rook." Now, this would be cool to watch. Perhaps, someone needs to start this and call it "boxing chess" ;-).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

(Nearly) Over Tour

Friends,

For the third year in a row, it appears that Spain is going home with the yellow jersey -- which belongs to the leader of the Tour as it goes, and ultimately to the winner. (Where is Lance Armstrong? :-) Stage 21 of the Tour de France is primarily a ceremonial event, and barring the extremely unforseen, Carlos Sastre is going to be this year's champion. Granted bicycle racing has had its problems over the past decade (performance enhancing drugs, primarily) and detractors (because of the above), but it is still a marvelous, strategic sport to watch. This event has to be the most physically demanding, athletically, of anything in the world of sports...it would be the eqivalent of running 21 consecutive marathons over the course of a month -- impressive. The competition is truly amazing, as the strategizing that takes place amongst individuals and teams is tremendous. I had the opportunity to watch several stages (of the 21 total) while in WA, thanks to the fact that my folks have cable. Versus, "the Tour de France" channel, is only available on cable. (Somebody at Dish needs to get with the program. :-). So, tomorrow is the finale and the tour will be complete. These guys will go on to do other tours in other countries, but none hold the allure or importance of the one that goes through the French Alps...good stuff. Blessings,

Don

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wright Thinking

Friends,

A story I shared recently bears repeating.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright once told of an incident that may have seemed insignificant at the time, but had profound influence on the rest of his life. The winter he was 9, he went walking across a snow-covered field with his reserved, no-nonsense uncle. As the two of them reached the far end of the field, his uncle stopped him. He pointed out his own tracks in the snow, straight and true as an arrow's flight, and then young Frank's tracks meandering all over the
field.

"Notice how your tracks wander aimlessly from the fence to the cattle to the woods and back again," his uncle said. "And see how my tracks aim directly to my goal. There is an important lesson in that."

Years later the world-famous architect liked to tell how this experience had greatly contributed to his philosophy in life. "I determined right then," he'd say with a twinkle in his eye, "not to miss most things in life, as my uncle had."

from Focus on the Family letter, September 1992, p.14.

(Gotcha ;-). Blessings,

Don

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Update

Friends,

I just wanted to let you know that we are having a great time visiting with friends and family in the NW part of our world. We miss our friends and family in Texas and look forward to seeing you all when we get back. It was great to listen to Toby speak this past Sunday. He is doing such a good job and he has grown as a preacher (in his ability...not his size :-). I was pleased to be asked to preach this Sunday in Cashmere (where we were in the early and middle 90's). We are looking forward to visiting with the brethren up there, as well. My family is doing reasonably well...and we are pleased about this. I would like to say we came to cooler weather up here, but it has actually been hotter. There have been a number of fires up this way and we have taken some pictures. Fortunately, none of them have been threatening. I have a bowling grudge match with my friend Kal today...a Coke is at stake. That's about it for now, so, signing off...God bless,

Don

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wat 'er They Thinking?

Friends,

This is not something that you should try at home (unless you are a nut case). A fellow named Darren decided to set a world record last week. His feat? Doing a bellyflop from 35 1/2 feet up (3 stories) into a foot of water in a kiddie pool. His technique is to skip across the water when he lands. Okay... Also, a large catfish in Germany, (obviously distraught over Germany's losing the Euro Cup to Spain), swallowed a soccer ball which caused it to choke (to death, unfortunately). Two words to the wise...Darren quit while you are ahead, and to all catfish -- soccer...sucker -- think about it. True stories (crazy, but true)...have a great weekend,

Don