Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 16

Friends,

Week 16 Update...
The Good: Cowboys (No mo Romeo...now Romo finally making the plays that count...hopefully it's good enough); Chargers (Not just Rivers to Jackson, the "D" has really made the "D"ifference); Eagles (Aside from Kevin Kolb, just can't root for them...against my religion); Pats (Maybe Belichick CAN still motivate...was there really any doubt?); Packers (Playing tough on the frozen tundra); Panthers (Tell me again...why wasn't Matt Moore starting all year?); Browns (On a roll...won three out of four -- enough to save the Mangenius? Probably not)

The Bad: Colts (Well, Mr. Polian and Mr. Caldwell, I hope the strategy of resting your players and ticking off your team...works); Saints (Didn't expect to see THEM here, but can't lose two in a row after starting 13-0, especially when loss #2 is to the 2-12 Bucs); Giants (Who can figure out this team?); Vikings (Bad time to be on the slide); Broncos (Probably just slid out of the playoffs); Chefs (Not cooking); Titan-ics (Had the playoffs on the line...and went belly up)

Ugly: Bills (The savior -- T.O -- has not gotten it done, but he had no QB this year either); Seahawks (Never tanked it under Holmgren); Skinned (Looks like Shanny, presumably, will have his work cut out for him); Lambs (And with the #1 pick, the Lambs take...); Lions (Toothless)

The Owe-The-Colts-One-Big-Time Award: J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets

Super Bowl: Packers vs. Chargers
Stupor Bowl: Lambs vs. Bills

Blessings,
Don

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunset from Space

Friends,

The thin blue line of Earth's atmosphere and the setting sun are featured in this image photographed by the crew of the International Space Station while space shuttle Atlantis was docked with the station on a recent mission.

Blessings,
Don

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Light of Revelation

Friends,

Charles Swindoll offers this: Take the year 1809. The international scene was tumultuous. Napoleon was sweeping through Austria…nobody cared about babies then. But the world was overlooking some terribly significant births. For example, William Gladstone was born that year. He was destined to become one of England's finest statesmen. That same year, Alfred Tennyson was born to an obscure minister and his wife. The child would one day greatly affect the literary world in a marked manner. On the American continent, Oliver Wendell Holmes was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And not far away in Boston, Edgar Allan Poe began his eventful, albeit tragic, life. It was also in that same year that a physician named Darwin and his wife named their child Charles Robert. And that same year produced the cries of a newborn infant in a rugged log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky. The baby's name? Abraham Lincoln. If there had been news broadcasts at that time, I'm certain these words would have been heard: "The destiny of the world is being shaped on an Austrian battlefield today." But history was actually being shaped in the cradles of England and America. Similarly, everyone thought taxation was the big news…when Jesus was born. But a young Jewish woman cradled the biggest news of all… the birth of the Savior.

It is amazing how history can be so different…changing all the time, and yet, remain the same in so many respects. We consider the cycle of life today…that the Savior was born in Bethlehem of Judea, approximately 1813 years before those mentioned above who would shape the history of the world. Jesus’ birth did indeed change the history of the world…and His was the most significant birth of all time. When Jesus is born, it is a time of rejoicing for a host of people. Some faithful Jews had been looking for Him…and He came, as prophesied. The wise men come from the East to pay tribute to the new born Lord and Savior; many others come to pay tribute as well…and among these are two senior saints at the temple (Luke 2:21ff). Simeon and Anna are part of the faithful Jewish remnant that had been eagerly looking for their Messiah...and it is a poignant moment when they are able to visit with the baby Jesus. In this visit, Simeon sees a great salvation in Christ going out to the Gentiles…Jesus is the light of revelation to all people! Anna is a godly senior widow, who devotes herself to serving God through worship…fasting and prayers. She comes up just as Simeon is praising the Lord for the baby Jesus, so she joins him in song. What we understand is that from the very beginning, Jesus’ life is about touching people with His life…and He still does so today.

Simeon’s Song by Michael Card is a cool video -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBZiPRPogn0

That Old Man in the Temple...Waiting in the court...Waiting for the answer to a promise
And all at once he sees them...In the morning sunshine...A couple come and carry in a baby

Chorus
Now that I've held Him in my arms...My life can now come to an end
Let Your servant now depart in peace...Cause I've seen Your salvation
He's the Light of the Gentiles...And the glory of His people Israel

Mary and the baby come...And in her hand five shekels...The price to redeem her baby boy
The baby softly cooing...Nestled in her arms...Simeon takes the boy and starts to sing

Chorus
Now's the time to take Him in your arms...Your life will never come to an end
He's the only way that you'll find peace...He'll give you salvation cause
He's the Light of the Gentiles...And the glory of His people Israel

Blessings,
Don

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 15

Friends,

Week 15 Update...
The Good: Colts (Peyton refuses to lose); Cowboys (Perhaps a December to remember after all?); Saints (Playing not to lose finally gets them a loss...it might be their last one); Chargers (Rivers to Jackson -- the greatest thing since Manning to Harrison?); Eagles (Soooo many weapons on both sides of the ball); Titans (Can they really make it all the way back? In a dogfight with seven other teams for two AFC Wild Card spots...it'll get interesting, for certain); Pats (Finally...a win on the road that wasn't in England); Josh Cribbs and Jerome Harrison (It's nice that the Browns have a couple of guys that can really ball for big Mike); Matt Moore (No need for Delhomersimpson)

The Bad: Vikings (No...not bad Brett -- not now); J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets (Let one get away that will cost them the playoffs); Broncos (Just when it appeared that they were going to turn it around...they lose to Oakland at home???); Seahawks (Their Matt is ice...cold, that is); Lambs (Love the old blue and yellow...thanks for ditching the navy and gold); Lions (Give Cards a scare) and Cards (Shouldn't be being scared by the Lions); Chefs (Beat Steelers, but lose to Brownies?)

Ugly: Nick Folk (He gone...bye bye); Bearlys (Hey Broncos -- about that QB trade...); Packers "D" (Solid all year, but let one get away with no time left...oh well, you can't win 'em all); Brett & Brad (Chillin' relations); Skinned (The swinging gate play...oh my horrors -- don't let "the swinging gate" hit you on the way out JZ...which is too bad, because he is a great guy)

The Back-To-The-Future Award: Shawn Suisham (Back with the Cowboys just in time to exact revenge on the 'skins -- hopefully)...and the Steelers (Super Bowl replay -- another Ben to wide out fabulous end zone grab for a win)

Super Bowl: Saints vs. Chargers
Stupor Bowl: Lambs vs. Bills

Blessings,
Don

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Athlete of the Decade

Friends,

Tiger Woods was named athlete of the decade this week. I have a great respect for what Tiger has accomplished on the golf course over the past ten years, and he is certainly a worthy candidate. I have to take issue with the sports talking heads who have basically said -- "it was really a one person race," and as the vote turned out, this is precisely what happened. C'mon folks...what about a certain Texan named Armstong? Lance Armstrong only rewrote the Tour de France record books (seven wins) this past decade. He has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing with performance enhancers, so this should not be held against him...especially given that it seems that nearly all athletes are under suspicion -- even Tiger, as of this week. Of course, this would be assuming that cycling would even be considered a sport to some of these folks. Yet, since when should cycling be disparaged over golf? I love golf, but...golf? Should golf really be valued over cycling as a means to determine who should be the best athlete of the decade? I can't think of a more strenuous sport than 21 days of bike riding across the mountains and plains of France. I simply don't believe that it should be a runaway...Tom Brady, Michael Phelps and Kobe Bryant should also have merited more consideration. But, when it all comes down...I still would have to cast my vote for Lance. Blessings,

Don

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Earth-like Planet Discovered

Friends,

As I shared within the past year, it was only a matter of time -- astronomers announced this week they found a planet relatively nearby that has water and is about two and a half times the size of our home planet. This new planet probably has too thick of an atmosphere and is too hot to support any life similar to that found on Earth, as it has an estimated temperature of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit -- I am truly amazed that we can gather so much information from such a great distance...approximately 40 light years away. This discovery is considered as a major breakthrough in humanity's search for life on other planets. "Super-Earth," as it is being called, has an astronomical designation GJ1214b. I think it should be called "the Big Boiler."

The new planet orbits a star that is much smaller and not as bright as our sun. This is significant in that many astronomers have just passed by any planets that would circle around smaller stars, because the assumption has been that any such star with a satellite would have to be at least as large as our own sun. In a way, the newly discovered planet was sitting right under astronomers' noses...instead of using high-powered telescopes attached to satellites, they spotted the planet using an amateur-sized, 16-inch telescope on the ground. Another very cool consideration is that this discovery of this planet goes a long way toward negating the notion that Earth-like planets could form only in conditions similar to those in our solar system. Most planets discovered by astronomers have been gas giants that are more similar to Jupiter than to Earth. And even though there is water on this planet, it is very not very similar to Earth in other respects...some of which have been mentioned. It is all fascinating to consider, however. Thank you, Lord for your wondrous works! Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 14

Friends,

Week 14 Update...
The Good: Saints (Better get the "D" to come around or...will only win SB by 10 instead of 20); Colts (Outrun Broncos); Chargers (The anti-Cowboys are undefeated in Decembers the last few years); Vikings (Tame the Bengals); Eagles (Peaking...didn't we just see this last year? -- Stop it!); Packers (Can they catch the Vikes?); Bengals ("O"? No.); Titans (Thump the Lambs...what did we expect, really?); Brandon Marshall (21 catches...NFL record -- what happened to the guy that used to pout like Randy Moss? He's a happy man with all the balls coming his way)

The Bad: Cowbrains (As Aaron says...another December NOT to remember); Pats (Not a very convincing win...seem to be coming apart at the seams); Falcons (Once again...No Matty Ice or Burner Turner leaves them with no h"O"pe); Bearlys (Once mighty "D" is no mo); Browns (Even a win over the once mighty Stillers can't get them off the list); Seahawks (Can't Holmgren come back?); Panthers (And with their first round draft pick, the Panthers choose QB...)

The Ugly: Randy Moss (WAAAAAAHHHH! :-); Cards (Go from good to ugly in one week with 7 turnovers...yuck!); Lambs (First string, third sting...it doesn't matter); Stillers (Can it get any worse? One wouldn't think so); Lions (...And back to ugly); Yuccaneers (Morris is not a cool cat...and he's on the hot seat); Chefs (Losing to the Bills nets them yet another week as bottom feeders)

The What-A-Difference-A-Bingo-Caller-Has-Made-In-Our-Offense Award -- Sherm Lewis (Redskins)

Super Bowl: Saints vs. Chargers

NFC Chumpionship: (Take your pick) -- Lambs vs. Yuccaneers, Lions vs Panthers (Kitty Litter Bowl)

Blessings,
Don

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Race for the Heisman

Friends,

It has been awhile since there was so much uncertainty concerning who should win the Heisman Trophy. The Heisman is usually given to the best player in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision -- or, for most of us, Division 1A). I have always found it ironic that, in most years, the Heisman has gone to the best player on the best team. This may make sense some years, but in other years, there are some outstanding players that would not sniff the Heisman because they play for an average or mediocre team. With this said, I offer some praise for Boise State's, Kellen Moore, who, if he played for Alabama, USC or Texas would win this year's Heisman hands down. He had the best passer efficiency rating, by a great distance, of any of the major quarterbacks in the competition, leading his team to a 13-0 record. He has also thrown 39 touchdown passes against only 3 interceptions...the best percentage of any of the best quarterbacks in the nation.

With all of the above said, let's look at the five actual candidates, and I will tell you who should win it and who probably will win it. Two quarterbacks -- Colt McCoy, Texas and Tim Tebow, Florida, two running backs -- Toby Gerhart, Stanford and Mark Ingram, Alabama, and a defensive lineman -- Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska.

I will start with the most outstanding defensive player in the nation. Suh came on the scene at the 11th hour thanks to a nationally televised, dominating performance in the Big 12 Championship Game. A lot of voters are going to jump on the Suh bandwagon, and this is their prerogative, for certain, but...very few people had even heard of him before the championship game. Some do not like it that a Johnny-Come-Lately could win it without all of the publicity all year long, but...once again...the award is for the best player in college football.

Both quarterbacks had great statistical years, but forgettable conference championship games, really. Neither led their teams well -- Florida lost, and Texas would have, if not for a minor miracle. Still, even though the poor performances are going to stand out in many voter's minds, the award is for the entire year...and either would be deserving, although McCoy had a better year, overall, I believe.

The running backs were each outstanding in their own way. Gerhart carried the Stanford offense on his back all year long to an 8-4 record. Ingram helped to lead Alabama to an undefeated record in the SEC and a win in the championship. It is my opinion that most voters will go for Ingram, because he is the "best player" on the "best team," which, as I have said, is usually enough to do the trick. I think was a very good player, but I would beg to differ on this perspective a bit, because I believe that Alabama is 12 -0 primarily because of their outstanding defense. So, if a team Heisman could be given, it should be to this unit that just shut down Tim Tebow, as well as everone else this year. With regard to this, I believe that Gerhart was more valuable to his team, leading the nation in statistics for running backs and just won the Doak Walker Award recognizing him as the nation's best running back.

So, with all of this said...I would love to see Colt McCoy win the Heisman for sentimental reasons, but I do not believe that it will happen due to the Big 12 Championship performance, which is unfortunate, because I believe before that game he was the leading contender. He would be third on my list. Gerhart was a beast, and as the nations acclaimed best running back, he would be second on my list. Because he was so dominating all year long, and given his championship game performance -- even though he is on the defensive side of the ball -- Ndamukong Suh should win the Heisman as the best player in the land. In my opinion, he is the most dominant player at his position since we saw Mr. Reggie White dominate at the collegiate level and in the NFL. It will be interesting to see how it nturns out. Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 13

Friends,

Week 13 Update...
The Good: Saints (Cajun magic keeps them undefeated...or so they say -- ha! It's because they are the SAINTS); Colts (Put an end to the Titans nice little win streak); Chargers (Colts need to be sweating any meeting with this team...their usual playoff ousters); Cardinals (Looking more and more like last year's SB team...which is scary); Vikings (Oops...for one week only, right?); Eagles (A Vick sighting...in Atlanta, no less); Packers (A frozen win is still a good win); Bengals (Just about have the division clinched...whouda thunk?); Broncos (No longer playing like the Donkeys); Bruce Gradkowski (Who?)

The Bad: Texans (What happened to that sure-fire playoff team? They are sinking into Galveston Bay quicker than you can say Hou...); Brownies (Houston, we have an offense! -- of sorts); Pats (Like the tin man...they need some heart); Falcons (No Matty Ice or Burner Turner leaves them with no h"O"pe); Lions (Gone from ugly to bad...hey, it's progress); Bears (Will take a win...even if its against the Lambs); Ravens (Froze up in frozen tundra land); Lambs (And with their first round draft pick, the Rams choose QB...)

The Ugly: Shawn Suisham (Decent Skins kicker commits ultimate kicking sin -- 23(?) yarder to ice the game...and it costs him his job); Stillers (Melting down...just can't lose to the Raiders and Chefs in the same season...and do so in ugly fashion); Yuccaneers (Freeman finds too many of the other guys this week); Chefs (How many teams that hire good offensive coaches have "Ds" that STINK...well, these guys, for one)

The Who-Are-These-Guys-And-What-Have-They-Done-With-The-Rudders? Award: Oakland/Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

Super Bowl: Cardinals vs Chargers
Stupor Bowl: Chefs vs. Yuccaneers

Blessings,
Don

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Week in Sports...at Least in Part

Friends,

It has been a busy news week at the sports newsdesk. No bigger story than the Tiger Woods situation. I haved loved Tiger as a golfer and as a person. His indescretion is a very disappointing development, and it certainly causes one to question a number of things. I am thankful that we live in a forgiving nation that is willing to forgive their favorite stars. In fact, all of Tiger's sponsors have said that they remain behind him, and this is their prerogative...proof of His power and draw as an icon. It all just seems so very simple for the public, however. Here is hoping that he and his family will be able to work through this very difficult time.

Bobby Bowden retired this week, Charlie Weis was fired and Mark Mangino "resigned." None of them is too surprising. Don't feel too bad for Charlie, former head football coach at Notre Dame...he has ($)millions of reasons not to lose too much sleep, and will land on his feet somewhere soon -- he is a hot commodity. Bobby has been my favorite college football coach since I was a kid...so, this is a sad thing for me. He is 80 and has done a wonderful job for 34 years at Florida State...he built the Seminoles team from nothing. It is too bad that the FSU president and company couldn't have given him one more year to go out on his terms...I think this would have been the proper thing to do. Concerning Mangino, there is something rotten in Kansas. Yes, there are allegations that he was "rough" on kids...and if so, then he would need to be disciplined, but there is so much more to this that we are not hearing about. Mangino has taken Kansas football to heights that it had never been before the past three years, including 12-1 a couple of years ago. Granted, they were 5-7 and lost seven in a row to end the season, but someone in the administation (athletic director, perhaps?) didn't like him and wanted him gone...so, he is -- just gotta love dirty politics...

I want to finish with former Texas star quarterback, Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans. He has experienced a resurgence in his career over the past five weeks that practically no one would have thought would happen. Despite all of his detractors, I am glad that he is doing well. I don't know how can someone not root for him to succeed at this point. I have been a Vince Young fan from day one, and even though he had a really difficult time last year, I had hoped that he would get another opportunity...be it with the Titans or someone else. So, after starting 0-6, the Titans have now won five in a row with Young at the helm and take on the mighty, undefeated Colts this weekend. I am a big Peyton Manning fan, as well...but, for this weekend, I am rooting for Vince and the Titans to knock the Colts from the unbeaten ranks. Oh...and "go Longhorns!" Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 12

Friends,

Week 12 Update...
The Good: Saints (Set themselves apart, in my opinion...after dismantling the Pats); Colts (Four comebacks in a row for the cardiac kids -- but they keep on winning); Vikings (Favre for MVP); Chargers (Rivers is flowing -- I know, I know...bad pun); Cowboys (Feasting on the Raiders); Titans (All of the Vince haters need to start repenting); Packers (Just keep putting up the points); Bengals (Ran all over their division opponents...6-0); Bills (New coach mixing it up...to good results, so far); Vince Young (2005 revisited...beats Matt Leinart in the last minute again)

The Bad: Stillers (We'll see if Champs have any steely resolve left); Fins (Stampeded by the Toronto Bills); Yuccaneers (New QB looks like the real deal, though); Pats (Just no answers for the Breeses...but who has had any, really?); Not-So-Giants (No Eli will spell doom...and I am okay with Giants stinking, strangely enough :-); Cards (If they have to rely on Leinart for long...yikes!)

The Ugly: Rudders (Can we have yet another QB with our #1 pick?); Brownies (Ahhh...7 points -- now that's more like the team we're accustomed to); Mice of the Midway (Rumor mill has Fisher going back to his homeland -- intriguing); Loveable Losing Lions (They're back...Stafford has a lot of potential, but looked like the old, gunslinging Favre, or current Cut-it-out-ler); And...speaking of bad QBs -- Panthers (Delhommer Simpson finds more of the other guys, once again)

The Roller Coaster Award: Jacksonville Yoyos
The Lone Star Dream: (Last NCAA note) Texas vs. TCU National Championship (Pretty well over -- bummer!)

Super Bowl: Saints vs Chargers
Stupor Bowl: Brownies vs. Panthers

Blessings,
Don

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Unusually Large Meteor...Very Cool!

Friends,

You have got to see this amazing footage of a large meteor...part of the Leonid metoer shower this past Tuesday night. It crashes into the atmosphere on the upper right side of the screen...and indeed looks like some sort of alien invasion, but in South Africa, not here. ;-)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAoUyXGWm0w.

Blessings, Don

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 11

Friends,

Week 11 Update...
The Good: Saints (So many weapons...); Colts (Ditto); Vikings (His Favreite year? I think so); Chargers (Go whipping past the Donkeys into the AFC Worst lead); Cardinals (Better hope Warner isn't out long); Pats (Smacking back the smack talkers, eh?); Titans (4 wins in a row -- have Denver and Tennessee exchanged teams?); Packers (Start quick and hold on against Niners); Fins (Finding ways to win...and without Ronnie -- pretty impressive); Jags (a very quiet 6-4...big rebound from last year); Matthew Stafford (400+yards and 5 TDs...are you kidding me?); Chefs (Again...are you kidding me?)

The Bad: Bengals (Can't beat the Steelers one week, then lose to the Rudders); Falcons (Snelling does well, but not the "D"); Stillers (Can't lose to the Chefs -- sorry EM); Donkeys (4 losses in a row...time to panic? Yeah); Mice of the Midway (The "savior"...ain't); Belles (See Dick go bye bye...which is too bad, but Fluffalo is BAD); Cowboys "O" (December swoon in November? Yikes!); J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets (Not so smackin' now)

The Ugly: Brownies and Lions "D"s (Yo...no show); Cowboys 7, Skinned 6 (Perfect definition of an "ugly" win...Skinned still find ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory); 1976 Expansion Revisited -- Seachickens (Score 41 on Jags earlier in the year...how can you be so bad now?) and Yuccaneers (Yuck, Yuck, Yuck...).

The Game of the Year? -- Lions 38, Brownies 37 ...what??????????
The Who-Are-You-And-What-Have-You-Done-With-Brady-Quinn_Award? -- Brady Quinn
The Lone Star Hope: (Brief NCAA note) Texas vs. TCU National Championship (Still alive for another week)

Super Bowl: Vikings vs. Colts
Stupor Bowl: Seachickens vs. Fluffalo Belles

Blessings,
Don

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just Because...

Friends,

From my father-in-law...bless him -- changed a bit to protect the innocent... :-)

A group of friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos for the day. That night, one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under the weight of an eight-point buck. "Where's Henry?" the others asked. "Henry had a health issue of some kind...he's a couple of miles back up the trail," the successful hunter replied. "You left Henry laying out there and carried the deer back?" they inquired. "A tough call," nodded the hunter, "But I figured no one is going to steal Henry!"

Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 10

Friends,

Week 10 Update...
The Good: Saints (This Bush was burning); Colts (Would you like a ribbon on that gift?...complements of BB); Bengals (5-0 in their division...proving to be doggone tough); Chargers (LT playing like his old self all of the sudden); Cardinals (Playing more like last year's version); Titans (3 in a row...owner needs to chill); Cheeseheads ("D" makes its occasional appearance); Skins (Betts they can't do this regularly); Banana Girl's Team (114 pts...CTCC FFL record)

The Bad: Pats (Not trusting the "D" is costly...but then again, it is Peyton we're talking about with 2 minutes left); Falcons (Ryan experiencing Sophomore jinx); Broncos (Three's a trend this way, as well...no Orton means no "O," but "D" has been the real problem of late); Lions (Stafford was reasonable...but until he finds Megatron, they will stink); Roy Williams (The receiver -- not the DB or UNC Coach...although either of them could have probably made some of the catches that he didn't); Cowboys (Get trapped by a trap game...and they shouldn't have)

The Ugly: Brownies (Ugliest offense I have seen in watching 40 years of football...this team has no clue); Commitment to (HA!) Excellence Team (Run over by the Chefs...stinky -- tied for biggest circus with Brownies); Mice of the Midway (Way too many pics for this to work...Cut-it-out-ler continues); Bills (What...T.O. is now making noise?)

The Somebody-Please-Put-Them-Out-of-Our-Misery Award -- Brownies
The Lone Star Hope: (Brief NCAA note) Texas vs. TCU National Championship (Still alive for another week)

Super Bowl: Vikings vs. Colts
Stupor Bowl: Brownies vs. Cut-it-out-lers

Blessings,
Don

Monday, November 16, 2009

Moon Water

Friends,

You probably heard that NASA launched a fascinating $79 million probe about a month ago in order to discern if there was any water on the moon. The idea was for one portion of the probe to blast the moon with explosive force, causing a geyser (hopefully) to rise up into the air, and then the second part of the probe would collect a sample of any water that might be there. Well... bingo! It was official, as of a few days ago -- water has been discovered on the moon.

The NASA probe discovered beds of water ice at the lunar south pole when it impacted the moon last month, mission scientists announced. And this is not just some small amount, but a significant amount of water has been "unmooned." Ultimately, the goal is to return astronauts back to the moon by the year 2020 in order to do further checking on the lunar surface to see what the future might hold. If mankind is ever going to be able to colonize the moon in the form of establishing a lunar base, finding water that could be usable was an important step in the process. So...to this point -- mission accomplished! Blessings,

Don

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 9

Friends,

Week 9 Update...
The Good: Saints (The Comeback Kids ride again); Colts (Dodged one thanks to Texans kicker); Steelers (Here you go, Erik -- look complete right now...grudge match with 85's team this week); Cowboys (Big time win against Eagles...the faithful are becoming believers again); Cardinals (Roller coaster was up for last week...hope it is back down at home against 'hawks); Titans (Nothing spectacular with Vince...just inspiration, I guess); Pats (Heading toward another showdown with Colts); Good Bay (Yuccaneers?)

The Bad: NFC Least -- Ugglees (Hahahahahaha!), Mutants (Defense seems to have quit on new DC), Skinned (Riggo says owner has "dark heart"...getting uglier in the capital); Niners (Lose four in a row?...you're on the bad list); Broncos (Two smack downs in a row...but 'skins should be good medicine this weekend); Bad Bay (And we thought it was Tampa...not! How long before Rodgers gets hurt with his OL giving up record sacks?)

The Ugly: Brownies (At least they had a bye week to ease the pain...now BQ is the new hero, once again -- YAY!); Mice of the Midway (If not for the TE, the Cards game would have been REALLY ugly); Lovable Losing Lions (The Lions had me nervous...up 17-0 against 'hawks, but thankfully, they reverted to their old form -- 5 pics works just fine :-); Dirty Birds (Only 7 points for the vaunted Baltimore O? Uh oh)

The Going to Make Someone Mad Award (Ha ha) -- Me...Go Bengals! (Only because I have two of their receivers ;-)
The Lone Star Hope: (Brief NCAA note) Texas vs. TCU National Championship (BTW...Iowa finally got what they had coming to them...a loss, and they will get another one this weekend).

Super Bowl: Cowboys vs. Steelers -- why not? Just like old times.
Stupor Bowl: Commitment to (Ha ha) Excellence Team vs. Lambs (Even on bye weeks, they can't escape)

Blessings,
Don

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Battlefield

Friends,

Our country celebrates Veteran's Day today, and this may be the most poignant time to remember in recent years...at least for our family. With the tragedy that took place at Ft. Hood this past week, and the ensuing lock down that affected our nephew's family, it brings the struggles for freedom and the threat of the enemy very close to home in may respects. In addition, our nephew, Dirk, who has been on his fourth tour of duty in Iraq, was seriously injured when the armored vehicle he was riding in struck a land mine this past Saturday. He is recovering and has been upgraded from serious condition...but, he will have to undergo back surgery in the near future. Dirk was fortunate...many people who experience what happened to his vehicle do not survive. I am thankful that he will be coming home soon and will not be going back.

However, there will be others who will go or go back and fight for us in Iraq and Afhanistan. I am grateful for the sacrifices that they and their families make on our behalf. The enemy terrorists that we fight are perhaps the most dangerous and deadly that we have ever fought, because they are so covert. It reminds me of the enemy we fight in the spiritual battle on a daily basis. He, too, is covert and seeks to cause us to stumble and destroy us by putting temptation and trial landmines in our path. There are times when we are able to steer clear of these, and at other times, we hit them and are damaged. We need, always, to humble ourselves before our almighty Lord who leads us and guides us through the darkness of this world...into His light. And, one day, we will not have to worry about the darkness at all, because we will be in His eternal light...for the battle will be over. Blessings,

Don

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bat Men

Friends,

Tis the season for bats...and not just because of the holidays. The other evening (October 31st, of course), there was a bat swooping in on the Spurs as they were playing the Kings at home. Rather than continue to be bothered by the nuisance, Spurs player Manu Ginobli took matters into his own hands, literally. He swiped the bat out of the air and knocked it to the floor, in a feat of athletic agility that was remarkable. Now, there are a couple of things to consider here -- first...had Ginobli really thought it through, he might have allowed "the bat authorities" to come and take care of it. What is one primary thing that we associate with bats? Yes, that's right -- rabies. So, now Ginobli is having to undergo 16 rabies shots over the next 30 days...with long needles, no less. Yikes! Second...of course where would we be without some of the PETA folks getting involved...or in this case -- PETB...people for the ethical treatment of bats. I am being a bit sarcastic, to be certain, but once again it begs the question -- a rogue bat, really? I mean...c'mon man.

Transitioning from the furry type of bat to the wooden type...it has been quite a World Series. It is a shame that the Phillies are not winning the overall series, for a number of reasons. One...I tend to root for the Rangers, Mariners and anyone playing the Yankees...just the way it is. :-) Second...Chase Utley, the Phillies second baseman, is not going to get near the props that he deserves if the Phillies do not win...which looks unlikely...but, you never know, as there are still two games to go. (One is actually going on right now, but I have no idea what the score is, as I have not caught up to my DVR yet :-). Utley has nearly single-handedly carried the Phillies, having hit five home runs, which is remarkable...and he ties Reggie Jackson, Mr. October, for the most in a series. So...I guess we can now anoint Utley, Mr. November, right? Either way, he has had an amazing World Series and deserves a lot of respect and honor for his performance. Hats off to you, Mr. November.
Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 8

Friends,

Week 8 Update...The Good: Saints (Doing just enough to win...but is it good enough? -- probably); Colts (Like the Saints...a slow week, but still more than enough); Cowboys (Props to Romo, who looks like Favre the past three weeks -- good company); Vikings (Is Favre 40 or 30?); Titans (Look like last year's team...well, at least for one game); Texans (Can they be on the list? Sure...but losing Daniels hurts), Eagles (Sometimes...WOW, other times YOW)

The Bad: Cardinals (Just when we thought they were starting to peak?); J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets (Can't stop their mouths...or the Dolphins); Broncos (An excusable let down?); NFC LEAST --Giants (All of the sudden look, well...soft still -- hard to believe, but I'm still okay with it) and Skinned (Ahhh, the bye week...now for some more ugly beat downs); Bad Bay (MNF looks pretty good, eh JG?); Seahawks (Missing key players...seems like every year)

The Ugly: Brownies (Can it get much worse? Probably); Bills (T.O. Scores!); Lambs vs Lovable Losing Lions (The Stupor Bowl comes to life early...save for Stephen Jackson, who was great); Jags (How do you tank against the Titan-ics?)

The Back to the Future Award -- Vince Young
The Fortunate: (Brief NCAA note) Iowa (Cardiac) Hawkeyes -- five pics and still win big to stay undefeated -- team of destiny or density?

Super Bowl: (Been with it from the beginning...so far, so good) Saints vs. Colts
Stupor Bowl: Yuccaneers vs. Brownies

Blessings, Don

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Focus on a Family

Friends,

One of the truly meaningful, rewarding and fascinating experiences in life is to witness the birth of a child. I had the privilege to be able to see all three of our children come into the world…and it was life-changing each time -- literally and figuratively. The birth of a child is a wonderful miracle from the Lord. Going back to the Old Testament, once again, we understand how amazing it must have been for two parents, aged 90 and 100 to witness the birth of their child! This adds even greater meaning to “miracle of birth.” When Isaac, whose name means, “laughter,” comes into the world, he changes his parents’ lives. His coming would bring both sorrow and joy to Abraham and Sarah. When we consider the persons who are involved in this critical event in Israel’s history, we learn some valuable lessons about life and relationships.

The birth of Isaac reminds us that God keeps His promises…in His own way and in His own time. This is a miracle of God, in every way, and not some marvel of human nature. In spite of their occasional failures, Abraham and Sarah believe God, and God honors their faith. Isaac’s birth also means the rewarding of patience. Abraham and Sarah have waited 25 years for their son. Faith is a journey of love and trust. This is all a step forward in the accomplishing of God’s purpose, as it also signifies in its own way, that the future redemption of a lost world would also rest on another baby boy. Isaac would beget Jacob who would, in turn, give the world the twelve tribes of Israel, from whom the promised Messiah, ultimately, would be born.

One final challenge and principle from which we can learn --Isaac is born free, while his half-brother Ishmael is the son of a slave. Freedom is a key theme in Paul's letter to the Galatians, and one of the key blessings in the Christian life. It means to experience all and to do all that God has for us in Christ. Some believer’s choose to live like self-willed Ishmael, when they have been called to live like Isaac. But, no one is more free than the child of God who delights in God’s will and does it from the heart!

In many ways, this story of Abraham’s family describes our existence. By the grand and miraculous hand of God, we enter into this world…free! At the same time, we experience the flesh and sin as we grow, much like Ishmael. Yet, like Isaac, we are set free, once again…only by the blood of Jesus Christ in order to be able to experience freedom and life! The next time you feel defeated or discouraged, remember this family…Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Ishmael and Hagar, and that faith and promises go together. The ultimate lesson that we can learn is that God’s provision is over all. He loves and cares for His children. There were different promises given to each of these individuals, but they were fulfilled by the Lord in His own way and in His own time. We must trust God and His provision in our lives…living according to His Spirit and not the flesh. In this, we experience joy! Blessings,

Don

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Followers Needed...

Friends,

S. I. McMillen, in his book None of These Diseases, tells a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?" Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst. To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower."

Blessings,
Don

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 7

Friends,

Week 7 Update...
The Good: Saints (As I said last week --doesn't matter what "D" they face, just figure on 40+...and a comeback for the ages this week); Patriots (Well, at least the Brits were able to see one good team); Colts (Just motoring along to the SB...maybe); Broncos (Orton to Marshall...who'da thunk?); Good Bay (Nothing like the Brownies to help the spirit); Cardinals (The "O"?...How about the "D"?); Cowboys (All of the sudden, they are Miles ahead); Steelers (Looking more like last year's version...it's all about da "D"); Bengals (Cedric does some entertaining); Alex Smith (Hello SF starter)

The Bad: Mice of the Midway (Benson does make them pay-backs); Dolphins' Second Half (Ouch!); NFC LEAST --Giants (All of the sudden look, well...soft -- hard to believe, but I'm okay with it) and Skinned (New owner please?); Bad Bay (Can they stay in England?); Shaun Hill (Goodbye SF starter)

The Ugly: AFC WORST -- Chefs (Well, LJ just talked and tweeted himself into a place on the bench...sorry to whoever has him for FFL...) and Rudders (How low can you go after such a good win); Brownies (May get second shot at a #1 QB in three years); Titan-ics (At least they didn't lose this week...they'll probably take it :-); Lambs (Having to play Peyton when you're winless can't be much fun); Jay Cutler (Cut-it-out); Jake Delhomme (Jake the snake-bit)

The "How-Do-You-Blow-A-21 point-2nd Quarter Lead Award?" -- Not so Fintastic

Super Bowl: Saints vs. Colts
Stupor Bowl: Commitment to (Ha!) Excellence Team vs. Lambs
Two former L.A. teams...now we know why they don't want another pro team. :-)

Blessings, Don

Thursday, October 22, 2009

To Be Church Or Not To Be

Friends,

Our entire culture has formed in us a need to be simple and pragmatic according to its standards...the ironic thing is that it is not unlike how Jesus lived -- but with a much different focus, of course. Many "missionally minded" folks think that being Jesus-like, exclusively, means going out and serving the poor and needy, being involved in some meaningful work "out there," but...the greater, and more difficult work, in many respects, is to get the "believers to live like believers." Jesus spent an awful lot of time with "the church"...twelve guys and some others...trying to helping them to truly understand the truth -- no small task, even, in three years' time. This doesn't happen very well from a distance, but by "getting our hands dirty," helping the church to be what Christ called it to be...from "the inside," messy, frustrating and difficult as it can be at times. Blessings,

Don

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"My Grace Is Sufficient for You"

Friends,

One of the fascinating things that we learn when we study many of the personalities in the Scriptures...God's people...that they were altogether flawed. Most of the leaders that the Lord chose to lead His people had some personal struggles in one way, shape or form...or another. Moses killed a man...David was an adulterer and consented to have more than one person killed...Abraham bold-faced lied on more than one occasion...Elijah suffered with depression and struggled with his faith...Noah struggled with strong drink...even Paul certainly had nightmares from all of the heinous things that he had been a part of before He met the Lord on the road to Damascus.

Yet, even Paul would come to grow and understand..."My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). You see...this attitude is truly reflective of the heart of all of those godly people who came before who were washed in the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 9:11ff). Were they flawed and did they make mistakes? Yes...but the general course of their lives was focused on pleasing the Lord...being His people -- they were faithful to Him. Some might ask..."how could this be?" It is because God does not look at all of the imperfections in His people, rather, He sees His Son in the place of those imperfections. This does not mean that God's people were or are sinless...but blameless. This is what the blood of Jesus is able to accomplish for us...it takes the focus off of us and puts it upon the Lord. He knew that we were not good enough nor were we ever going to do enough to merit salvation...so, He paid the price for all of us by sending His son to die for us and take away our sins. When God's people seek to live according to His will...it is not those who are self-sufficient who are going to understand this grace that He has to offer, but those who adopt the mindset of the tax collector that Jesus shares concerning in His parable in Luke 18:13, "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'"(NIV)

Paul shares with the Corinthians in 1 Cor 13:8-12, "Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (NIV) We must mature and grow in our understanding of God's grace in our lives. Paul could see imperfectly or immaturely, because he was looking at things from a human point of view. He was growing and learning in his spiritual walk with the Lord and as he would grow, spiritual matters would become much more clear to him. He also knew that one day, there would no longer be a fog or haze in relationship to understanding spiritual concerns because he would be with Jesus and all of those matters would be cleared up, figuratively and literally.

Way too many Christians live lives enslaved to things...negative attitudes, addictions, ambitions, etc. because they have not come face to face or grips with the principle of grace that Paul mentions above -- "My grace is sufficient for you." When we grow in love and in our understanding of this principle, day by day, life begins to make more sense and we are able to be free to be whom the Lord has called us to be in Him. Like those who sinned before but were set free, we also will be able to have the freedom to move, live and enjoy life according the the Spirit whom He gave to live within each one of those who are His people. Blessings,

Don

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 6

Friends,

Week 6 Update...
The Good: Patriots (Brady must have been getting tired of the "he might be washed up" talk); Colts (First week Manning doesn't go for 300...byes will do that to a guy); Broncos (Just keep finding ways to get it done with McGenius); Saints (Doesn't matter what "D" they face, just figure on 40+); Vikings (The cardiac Favres hold on for another W); Cardinals (Looking more like last season's version all of the sudden); Falcons (Matty Ice is playing nice); Williams and Stewart (The dynamic duo was back...at least for one week).

The Bad: Eagles (And how do you lose to the Raiders...unless you just didn't prep much); Giants Secondary (Oh well...at least they are not alone); Brownies (Make it two ex-Pats defensive coordinators that should have stayed as such); Steven Hauschka (Ravens shouldn't have a three game losing streak...); Lions (No Megatron and No Stafford = 0 points); Bears (Gave away way too many chances in the red zone).

The Ugly: Titan-ics (Sinking ever lower every week...giving up 59 shows that they quit); Seahawks (From world beaters to clueless in one week???); J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets (Three "Ls" in a row...and the Sanchize is now looking more like a pick-sy); Skinned (How much have you spent DS? Sorry JZ...looking at bye week bye bye); Lambs (They put up a fight, but...how does it go again? Bad teams find a way to lose).

The "How-Do-You-Rush-For-300 Yards-And-Lose Award?" -- J-E-T-S (Answer: QB throws 5 picks -- Bummer).

Super Bowl: Saints vs. Patriots
Stupor Bowl: Titan-ics vs. Skinned

Blessings, Don

Friday, October 16, 2009

Coming Clean

Friends,

For three years, David Chakhvashvili gave hundreds of lectures throughout his native Republic of Georgia. He spoke on such subjects as “the technological revolution,” “the atom,” “modern medicine,” and “love in the advanced society,” all…for only $20 per hour. This all would have been fine and dandy had it not been for the fact that he was found out to be a fraud – he was a janitor who had no scientific training whatsoever. Chakhvashvili evidently received inspiration from the place where he worked…the Georgian Academy of Sciences. He had printed cards identifying himself as a professor…”doctor of technical sciences.” Well, Mr. C. was not the first person in history to masquerade as someone that he was not. Such is the life of some in our world….living self-deceived -- living a lie. The truth of the matter is that the truth will catch up to them sometime…they will be revealed. Not so funny how this works, but people’s sins do have a way of finding them out…which brings us back to Abraham and Sarah in a familiar situation.

After arriving in Gerar (Gensis 20), Abraham begins to walk by sight instead of by faith, and he becomes afraid…not too surprising, given our human nature. Once again, we see that fear of man and faith in God cannot dwell together in the same heart (see Proverbs 29:25). Abraham lies to Abimilech, telling him that Sarah is his sister; it is the custom of the land for the king to have a harem of women, and Sarah would fit right it. This is the same story as in Egypt…second verse. The basic cause of Abraham’s failure is that he and Sarah have truly failed to deal with their sin. They may have admitted their sin to Pharaoh, and confessed it to God, but…the fact that they did not genuinely judge their sin and forsake it, brings it back to the fore.

Abraham and Sarah have convinced themselves that they are not telling a lie at all…only a half-truth, which, of course, is not as bad as a lie! (Being facetious). Yet, it is worse…a half-truth has enough fact to make it believable, and enough deception to make it dangerous. The fact is that a lighthearted admission is not the same as a broken-hearted confession of sin. (See Psalm 51:17). Abraham may sin, but he is saved…he makes a mistake, but his life is not enslaved to total sin and worldliness – he is accepted before God. One preacher said, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully.” When we sin, deliberately, there are consequences and discipline that takes place (see Hebrews 12:1ff). Thanks to what Jesus has done for us…shedding His blood…we have forgiveness for our sins. We must be willing to confess our sins in order to be forgiven. When we do, the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us (1 John 1:1ff), and we have forgiveness and restoration.

Paul shares with the Roman Christians that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23). James helps us to understand the negative progression that takes place in our lives when we give in to temptation (1:13ff). We can learn a lot from the janitor and from Abraham -- “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we purpose to deceive.” If we choose to chase after sin…one will lead to an even greater sin, and so on, until we are lost. We cannot hide sin forever…it will be discovered. We are not going to be lost for making a mistake, even if it purposeful…but, we will endanger our souls by sinning habitually…setting our hearts on some particular sin or group of sins that quench the Spirit and take us away from the Lord. We have only one recourse for life and godliness, salvation and peace with God…and it is twofold – submission and confession. God is not going to turn a deaf ear toward a truly penitent sinner. When we humble ourselves before the Lord and confess our sins, asking for help…God can and will forgive us our sins. Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 5

Friends,

Week 5 Update...this week we are going to mix it up again and add the adjective "very," as I have never seen such a disparity between good and bad teams five weeks into a season.

The Very Good: Colts (Going beyond the borders...this Collie has some bark and bite); Broncos (Doing it with the NFL's best "D" to this point...and for all of the naysayers out there -- Orton's not too bad either :-); Saints (Retooling over the bye for the G-men); Speaking of...Giants (Toying with Al's Franken-stein); Vikings (Nothing like the Lambs on the schedule to keep the win streak alive); Bengals (No "C" squad here...Carson, Chad, Cedric, Caldwell and Co. appear to be for real); Eagles (And now we know why they drafted Maclin); Bears (How's that QB trade working for ya?); Miles Austin (It's about time the Cowboys found their new #1); Seahawks (At least for this week, they looked like world beaters).

The Not All-That-Bad: Chefs (Cassel plays like a #1 for once and KC gives 'boys a scare); Lions (Hanging with the champs); J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets (Couldn't stop the Wildcat, but "O" showed signs of life); Panthers (At least break into the "W" column, but still need lotso help)

The Very Ugly: Brownies 6 - Bill-ys Goats 3 (As very ugly as it gets. Say it ain't so DA...2 for 17 in the passing dept? This even makes JaMarcus look great. Say Trent...How's T.O workin' out for ya?); Speaking of...JaMarcus Russell and the Commitment to HAHA Excellence Team (Blocking dummies for the Giants); 49ers (Whoa...did someone get the license of th-atlanta truck); Jaguars (Did y'all even practice for this week?); Titans (We want Vince! We want Vince!); Lambs (Continue to bleat themselves).

The Welcome-To-The-Big-Time Award -- Miles Austin

Super Bowl: Vikings vs. Colts
Stupor (Championship): Brownies vs. Bill-ys Goats

Blessings, Don

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Leave Him Alone

Friends,

I will keep this brief, but heartfelt. I understand that Bobby Bowden is aging a bit, but he is an institution at Florda State, having been there for over thirty years as head coach. He is also the second winningest Division !a coach of all time, ranking just behind Jo Paterno. One of the things that rankles me, in this case, is our pragmatic society that says -- if it works for me today...great, if it doesn't work tomorrow...change it. This may be so in many cases. But, Mr. Bowden has earned the right to leave on his terms. He shouldn't be getting pressure and made to feel guilty just because his team is 2-3 at this point. Joe Paterno, at Penn State, had this happen to him a few years ago. The octogenarion had experienced a difficult year, and all of the vultures started swirling, and the carnivorous media types were wanting to know when Jo Pa was going to be done. The next year, he was 11-1. This could very well happen to Bobby Bowden. So...leave him alone. Let him enjoy the twilight of his career without being under intense media scrutiny...asking him if he should be fired or when he is going to step down. There are just some people who should be untouchable...Pat Summit, Joe Paterno, Coach K. They have earned some grace. Blessings,

Don

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Court Takes on Authority to Decide How Much Faith a Child Should Have

Friends,

The following is further proof of precedents being set by "society"...there is, in many ways, no longer a separation of church and state, but it is becoming more and more evident that the state is going to continue to dictate to the church what it can and cannot do.

Inside the Issues with Alan Sears
How would you like it if someone talked this way about your daughter or granddaughter?

"(She is) well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level."

Not bad, huh? But not good enough for a court in Laconia, New Hampshire. A 10-year-old there (the daughter of divorced parents, living with her mother) recently wound up under the professional assessment of a court-appointed "marital master" - who tries family cases and makes recommendations to a judge - when the father wanted to change how the child was being educated. The child has been home-schooled since first grade, with a curriculum that meets all state review standards. She also attends three public school enrichment classes and is involved in a variety of extra-curricular sports activities. And the "marital master" freely concedes that she's doing great.

"It is clear that the home schooling...has more than kept up with the academic requirements of the...public school system," he says. But, in his opinion, that's not enough.

The "master" said, in effect, "Sure, she's happy and healthy and smart and well-adjusted and gets along great with her peers, but she's also a little too...Christian, for my taste." He suggested - and the court readily agreed - that she should be ordered into a government-run school, where her beliefs could be muddled by a non-Christian environment.

The "marital master" based his decision on conversations others testified they had with the little girl, whose "vigorous defense of her religious beliefs," he said, "suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view." Apart from the obvious question of what right a court-appointed observer has to determine how much faith is appropriate for a child, the case is stunning for its violation of New Hampshire's own legal precedent: the state's Supreme Court has specifically declared that "Home education is an enduring American tradition and right."

"Parents have a fundamental right to make educational choices for their children," says ADF-allied attorney John Anthony Simmons of Hampton. "In this case specifically, the court is illegitimately altering a method of education that the court itself admits is working. The court is essentially saying that the evidence shows that, socially and academically, this girl is doing great, but her religious beliefs are a bit too sincerely held and must be sifted, tested by, and mixed among other worldviews. This is a step too far for any court to take."

ADF attorneys are looking to appeal this bizarre decision in the days ahead. Please pray for their efforts, for this family, and for the many like them across America who are trying to stand for their faith against the aggressive intrusions of activist courts. Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 4

Friends,

Week 4 Update...
The Good: Colts (Peyton is going where no QB has gone before...4 300+ yard games to start season); Saints (They actually have a "D"? Their team is much Sharper); Giants (Playing like their name); Vikings (Did Favre have a big Pack chip on his shoulder?...Nah :-); Patriots (Welker is always welcome); Bengals (Doing it with mirrors? Doesn't appear to be so...just good old #85 -- gotta love him); Bears (How's that QB trade working for ya?); Broncos (How's that QB trade working for ya?); Eagles (No more byes...will the real starting QB please stand up?); 49ers ("D" playing like coach played...all out); Steelers (Not quite all the way back, but rushing Rashard might be one solution); Team "Can't Be Beat"...but for how long?

The Bad: Jets (The Sanchize comes back down to rookie reality, unfortunately); Hey Mark Clayton (Ravens)...you gots to make that catch; Cowboys (Time for a genuine shake up); Bills (Time to scrap the two minute offense...it ain't working); Chefs (Hate to say it...but, like the Brownies...you spent way too much for a 2nd string QB); Lions (Well, at least it was nice for 1 week); Seahawks (Make Peyton look, well...supernatural); Refs...(Pats vs Ravens) getting a little bit ridiculous with the protecting the QB calls...or is it flag football, now? :-)

The Ugly: Lambs (Good heavens! Thanks for the 36 fantasy points to the Niners, though ;-); Buccaneers vs Redskins (Take your pick of ugly); JaMarcus Russell (35 % to 36 % passing efficiency...now there's some improvement to be proud of); Commitment to HAHA Excellence Team (Time to switch from Cable to Dish); Titans (Just how bad do you miss Jim Schwartz? Your loss is Lions gain?)

The Welcome Back to 2007 Award -- Derek Anderson

Super Bowl: Still liking -- Saints vs. Colts
Stupor Bowl: Lambs vs Team That Needs to be Committed (aka...Raiders)

Blessings, Don

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Blowers IS the Swami!

Friends,

There has been a lot of joking with some friends lately about prognosticating football teams and games...but nothing like what I am about to tell you. Mike Blowers, former utility infielder for the Seattle Mariners, and now, a Mariners broadcaster, offered what has to be the greatest prediction of all time -- even trumping my prediction of a couple of weeks ago that the University of Washington would beat USC. ;-) He said that newby Mariner’s infielder, Matt Tuiasosopo, (yes of THAT Tuiasosopo family) would, in his second at bat, on a 3-1 pitch, which would be a fastball, hit his first home run into the left-center field seats. You should have heard the pandemonium in the broadcast booth as Dave Niehaus made the home run call in the young man’s second at bat and on the 3-1 fastball…and yes, to left-center field. All Blowers could do was laugh. Kudos to Mr. Blowers, who now needs to quit his day job and assume his mantle as the King of Prognostication…and take it one the road. lol Blessings,

Don

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

House for Sale

Friends,

A man became envious of his friends because they had larger and more luxurious homes. So he listed his house with a real estate firm, planning to sell it and to purchase a more impressive home. Shortly afterward, as he was reading the classified section of the newspaper, he saw an ad for a house that seemed just right. He promptly called the realtor and said, “A house described in today’s paper is exactly what I’m looking for. I would like to go through it as soon as possible!” The agent asked him several questions about it and then replied, “But sir, that’s your house you're describing.” Hmmm. :-) Blessings,

Don

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 3

Friends,

Week 3 Update...
The Good: Colts (I appear to owe Mr. Manning & Co. an apology on my prediction that Indy would stink :0); Saints (No Brees, but RB Thomas running like a "Gale" Sayers); Jets (The maturation of the Sanchize right before our eyes..."D" is still not too bad either); Brett Favre (The ancient one just keeps on doing amazing things); Vikings (A + B = W); Ravens (The second coming of Willis); Bengals (Save for a fluke, would be 3-0); Bears (Johnny comes lately and is coming on strong); Giants (Eli is earning his greenbacks); Kevin Kolb (Donovan who? Well...we S'ville folks would love that, but probably not yet); Eagles (Nothing like the Chefs to get a team back to feelin' good.); Matthew Stafford and the Lions (Good for them...here for one week and one week only).

The Ugly: There is no bad this week -- just ugly! I don't know if I have ever seen THIS much ugly this early in a season. Lambs (Can't lose your two starting WRs and QB and expect good things to happen...bummer); T.O. (Hahahahahahahaha!); Larry Johnson (Hey...didn't you used to be Larry Johnson?); Redskins (JZ is one of my heroes, but he had better dust off his resume after losing ugly to the Lions); JaMarcus Russell (35 %? C'mon man...you are an NFL quarterback!); Commitment to Excellence :-p Team (See JaMarcus Russell); Byron Leftwich (O-fer the game...practicially handed the starting job and gives it away in week 3); Bsucs (See Byron Leftwich); Brownies (Again...BQ is the answer? Nope -- doesn't just looks like Rick Mirer...now we know that he IS Rick Mirer).

The Bummer To Be You Award: Chad Pennington -- Probably done forever, which is too bad.

Super Bowl: Saints vs. Sinners...not really -- Colts
Stupor Bowl: Bsucs vs. Brownies

Blessings,
Don

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Proliferation of Explicit Materials and Personalities

Friends,

It is with significant sadness that I offer this commentary. The mainstreaming of immoral values continues to grow at an alarming rate. One does not have to look very far, as we are daily inundated by commercials and news in relationship to the subject at hand. The headlines on many of the ISPs...AOL, in particular...offer repugnant news that, at one time...and at best, could only be discerned from tabloids at the news stand. Hugh Hefner is now a mainstream commercial personality...and in one recent commercial, crows about how he likes "so many choices." We get inundated by former playboy bunny, Kendra Wilkinson, and NFL wide receiver, Hank Baskett's relationship and marriage...which prompts the question -- who cares? Well, obviously some people do...or it wouldn't be such big news. Sometimes, the influence of the world is much more subtle, as some schools are offering sexually explicit materials as "literature" in order to "educate" their students.

The interesting, albeit disturbing, thing is that much of this is couched within the purview or even "world view" of Christianity. Many of these folks who would offer or espouse these immoral views believe that their perspective is within what Christ would say is "acceptable." This is not the value system of the Jesus I read about in the Word...the world's perspective of Christianity couldn't be further from the truth. Nevertheless, such is the "blending" that takes place when the immoral base of society comes to the fore...it has been so, even throughout history. Many societies that have been decidedly anti-Christian have claimed to be Christian in scope and purpose.

The abnormal of society has become the norm, which, not long ago, was about respect, wholesomeness and love...but, has given way to disrespect, immorality and lust. We can see where previous societies in history have gone (away) who have allowed this to become the base value system of their society. If we follow the consistency of the historical record...it is not a matter of if but when. Blessings,

Don

Thursday, September 24, 2009

All for One, One for All

Friends,

We live in a world that promotes individualism…so much so that some sociologists say that we are living in a time of “rugged individualism” – you don’t bother me, I won’t bother you…and we’ll all be the better. The message of community has been lost in many respects…even in the church. This is something that we need to continue to battle, because we are a community. In fact, what we do in partaking of the Lord’s Supper, is called – communion…and communion, community and communication all have the same root. In Romans 12:3-8, Paul is seeking to give a message of encouragement to a church that has been struggling some with community.

The Jewish and Gentile Christians there are having some difficulties working together, and Paul is seeking to give them some guidance. He wants to help them…and us…understand that each person is an important part of the body…the church, even though the body is made up of individuals. And everyone works together for the good of the whole. If we belong to each other, we are to minister to each other. Paul tells them, and us, to examine ourselves…take a good look in the spiritual mirror…to determine if our attitudes are more selfish or if we are becoming more Christ-like. It is important for believers to perform spiritual self-examinations on a regular basis…but, it is necessary to do this in all honesty and humility. It does us little good to merely glance in the spiritual mirror, instead, it is necessary that we take a good look. We need to be all that we can be for the Lord to the benefit of our own spiritual growth, and the growth of the body…the church.

And so, this principle is particularly relevant in relationship to our spiritual gifts or talents. It is important that we do not overrate or under-value the unique gifts that the Lord has given to us. Some of these talents may come naturally, while others we may develop…all are God-given -- and He doesn’t make mistakes! In turn, we can help others find their talents, whether this is teaching, helping, serving, encouraging, giving, and the like. It is the Lord’s desire for the body that His people be equipped to serve (Ephesians 4:11-13). In the church at Rome, as well as at Corinth, it seems that some are comparing their talents to those of others -- the greatest reason that they are overrating or undervaluing themselves. As with the church in Corinth, Paul uses the illustration of the human body to describe the multiple functions of the spiritual body, the church. Though these believers have the appropriate gifts, they lack the Spirit…particularly the fruit of the Spirit of love. Love is the life-blood that keeps the body alive. If there is no love, then there is no life.

The temptation is for us, as individuals, is to think…”if only these members were like me, the church would be a better place.” If only everyone was an “eye,” so to speak. The eye is not better or worse than the big toe, elbow or mouth. Each member of the body is important and serves its purpose…so it is with the body of Christ. The idea is that, even though there are many parts to the body, there is still only one body -- this is the unity. This should offset the danger of individualistic thinking that permeates our culture. As we, Christians, fellowship together in one body, any self-centered thinking should be cast out – we should be looking out for the best interests of others in the body, rather than ourselves. Once again, there are three truths – the unity of the body…all work together, the diversity of the members with diverse talents…all are different, and mutuality…each belongs to all the others. The beauty of unity in diversity is that this should help us in our appreciation of one another…we should not be fearful. By faith, this is the way that God made us…and it is okay! We may be black…white, young…old, a newer Christian…a more experienced Christian, progressive…conservative, and whatever other distinction that we could determine, and it is all good! This is the way God made the body!The more that we are able to respect this, the more that the body is able to grow!

This is all a good and challenging proposition in many respects. We learn a number of things that are very significant for our spiritual health and well-being. Those who might think that they can choose whether or not that they can belong to the Body are gravely mistaken if they think that it is a matter of choice. We really can’t decide whether we are going to be involved, or not. Either we are, or we are not, part of the Body. This whole message implies and indicates connection and communion. There is no “choice” -- it is not a decision…it is an imperative. In other words, we are purchased with blood, and are made a part of the body when we are converted to Christ. We, as the body, are connected to the Head. The greater the Body’s capacity to be open to the leading of the Head, the greater the capacity for opportunity and growth. Some bodies do not grow, because they are not or have quit being connected to the Head. There can be no severing of ourselves, for as gruesome as it is to consider from a physical standpoint, it is even worse in a spiritual sense. Those not connected to the Body are not connected to the Head. This may not be a message that some want to hear, but it is a spiritual reality. This is all with due respect to the principle…that where two or three are gathered in my name…I am there with them. If there is commitment and connection, there is community.

As we begin to consider the life and activity of the body, the church…this is all very significant. We need to consider these principles, especially as it relates to the beginning of our small groups and other activities. I don’t think anyone can say -- I am not going to be involved in these things…in the fellowship of the saints -- and not expect that there isn’t going to be a negative spiritual effect. As has been mentioned, being “transformed” to be like Christ also involves fully, and personally, realizing our connection to the Body. This does away with any selfish individualism – no one should think or feel that the church is about “me”…what I want. It is not about “you” or “me”, it is about “us!” Any decisions that we make or are made with regard to the whole, are decisions made concerning “us”, and these need to be respected…this is critical in order for the Body to continue to grow in unity. Like the 3 Musketeers, we are to be all for one and one for all. We are to experience unity, even though we are diverse. We respect the diversity that we have…we are all different and it is okay – we don’t have to think alike, act alike, be alike. We all belong to each other…we can’t say – I don’t need this certain member to be a part of the body, because this is not the way it works. We are all connected…and the life blood that flows and holds us together is love! If the church continues to cultivate an atmosphere of love, warmth and acceptance, building relationships, finding our talents and using them, building up one another…then there will continue to be spiritual growth and prosperity, individually and collectively!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 2

Friends,

Week 2 Update...
The Good: Saints (Second best offensive point total in history after two games...they make it look like a Brees); Ryans (Matt looks like Peyton Manning, Rex looks like the Staypuff Marshmallow Man...but, boy can he coach up the "D" -- keep calling those J-E-T-S fans, Rex); Falcons (See Ryan, Matt); Vikings (See Adrian Peterson run, and run and run...how's that new team working for you Brett?); Ravens (He won't take no Flacco, just dish it out); Jets ("D" backs up the smack talk); Bengals (Bungles-No-More...Chad's Lambeau Leap wins him back some fans...and it helps that he looks like the receiver of old, too); Bears (Cutler makes the trade look good for da Bears this week); Giants (Plaxico who?); Chris Johnson (197 yards rushing...why don't they just let him run the wildcat too -- sheesh!).

The Bad: Tony Romo (Oh, Romo, Oh Romo...wherefore art thou?); Eagles "D" (Sadly, seriously seems to be missing Jim Johnson); Steelers "O" (Gots to find a running game); Chefs (No home cookin for them...how 'bout cooking up some "O"?); Lions (Stafford needs to throw to Megatron on every down); Jags (Looks like more blackouts looming), Bucs DBs (Making every QB look spectacular so far); Chargers DBs (See previous reference); Packers (Not supposed to lose these games at home).

Ugly: No "D" for Titans or Texans makes some FFL owners very happy; Redskins over Lambs...9-7...sure this wasn't the Natinals and Cards? Couldn't be -- the Natinals could never score this many runs in a game; Patriots (Think Josh D might come back and coach up the old "O"?...Nope), Browns (So BQ is the answer?...looks more like Rick Mirer than Joe Montana),

Hyde to Jekyll award -- Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub and Jake Delhomme...Jekyll to Hyde award -- Tony Romo and Tom Brady (Yikes!)

Super Bowl: The "D" wins championships SB -- Jets vs 49ers
Stupor Bowl: Lambs vs. Brownies

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tony Is Not the Answer -- Yet

Friends,

Tony (Don't Call Me Romeo) Romo found his December ways in September last night against the Giants. To say this is a disappointment would be an understatement, because this is a game the Cowboys clearly should have won in front of the NFL record 105, 000 fans at the new Jerry Dome. I don't want to say that Romo was terrible, but he was awful :-) ...1 TD and 3 pics (granted, one of them was a fluke, but the pass was poorly thrown). Once again (and again, and again), I have to question if he is the guy to lead the Cowboys to the playoff promised land...the jury is STILL out. It just seems like he is shrinking violet in the games that he really needs to be the BMOC...that he may have been paying too much attention to the press clippings that were talking about the Giants having, perhaps, the greatest front four in NFL history -- just the kind of news to send a shaky QB off to "psych out land." This can all be forgiven and forgotten if he really does learn, but it is awful hard to change personalities and the synapses in the brain. Some QBs -- see Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas -- just have had that I-Don't-Give-A-Rip-What-You-Think-Because-I-Am-Going-To-Kick-Your-Tail mentality, and others are more like Dave Krieg of the Seahawks of old, who could look like Dan Marino one week and Dan Aykroyd the next. There seems to be a correlation between the small college QBs that make it big -- see also Jon Kitna -- and those who play for USC, Miami, or Michigan. Those on the bigger stage seem better able to handle the glare of the spotlight. It's time to quit apologizing to the media and Cowboy fans for yet another forgettable performance and make something positive happen for a long stretch...preferaby through the Super Bowl. Oh well...things could be worse...at least we don't have the Raiders' Russell throwing and completing 30 some percent of his passes. So ends the arm chair quarterback's assessment. :-) Blessings,

Don

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Body of Christ

Friends,

The church is not called a collective, but a Body. If anyone would come to it with the misconception that the church was some massing together of persons as if they were pennies or chips, this person would be corrected by the discovery that the Head of the Body is completely unlike its inferior members – they do not share divinity with Him, except by the Head and Body analogy. What the analogy does do for us is to relate the connection of the Body to the Head…that we are creatures with our Creator, mortals with the immortal, redeemed sinners with the sinless Redeemer. His presence…the interaction between Him as us…must always be the overwhelmingly dominant factor in the life we are to lead within the body…
paraphrased from Transposition and Other Addresses in Daily Walk. Blessings,

Don

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 2009 NFL Week 1

Friends,

Week 1 Update...
The Good: Cowboys (Romo and WRs look super...gotta love the Bucs DBs -- where is "Toast" Patterson?); Saints (How good was it to have the Lions week 1, Drew?); Vikings (Adrian Peterson is a BEAST!...one of the most impressive group of stiff arms I have ever seen on his TD run); Eagles (Just have to come after the 'boys -- too bad they can't play Jake D. every week...no McNabb could spell trouble); Steelers (No running game, but Big Ben comes through, as usual); Ravens (Looks like Flacco is going to be even better...a dangerous team); Jets (Just dispatched what was supposed to be a good offense...if Buddy Jr keeps the "D" playing like this, it could be a big year for the J-E-T-S...Jets, Jets, Jets!); Brandon Stokely (Don't know if it is good, as much as it is lucky...but he has play 2nd best play of the year, so far -- AP's run is 1st)

The Bad: Bucs (From week 16 last year --"D"...as in "disappear" since Kiffin announcement); Bills (Good teams find ways to win...bad teams find ways to lose, typically); Raiders (See last statement...but they will be better this year than most think -- just not now); Lions (Wellllll, they scored 27 points against a generally bad "D" team -- Stafford 0 TDs, 3 picks...hmmm, but gave up 45...to Drew no less. It will be another long year for this team); Bungles (Don't think any team is going to win many games scoring 7 pts...in last 30 seconds...even if they lost it on a miracle deflection); Bears (Bad...Cutler, multiple picks...hahahahahahaha -- bad luck...lose Urclacher. This team could go from decent to bad, quickly); Note to the Lions...let Mr. Stafford carry the clipboard this year...he is going to get messed up -- remember Joey Harrington?

The Ugly: Panthers (I dunno...1 TD, 9 picks and 3 fumbles in your last two games -- I like Jake D., but even "manning up" isn't going to save him or the team if he keeps playing like this); Lambs (Picking up where they left off last year...no "O" -- oh my); Dolphins, Texans (See first part of Bungles description); Message to Leodis McKelvin (Bills) -- take a knee, man...take a knee!

Super Bowl: Vikings vs. Ravens
Stupor Bowl: Lambs vs. Texans

Blessings,
Don

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Living Sacrifices

Friends,

Paul tells the believers in Rome to act on the mercy they have received and not be idle, as these leads to trouble. Unbelievers use the body to pursue the sinful desires of the flesh, whereas believers are to use their bodies to glorify God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Once a person has made the life-changing decision to follow the Jesus Christ, there should be a continual focus on Him and renewal by the Spirit. We continue to present our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2) through serving one another and outsiders...visiting, assembling together and the like. This is the idea behind the word – latreia, which means to live the life, walk the walk. It is not just about Sundays, but this is a general word for worship that covers the whole range of our Christian experience. Every day is a worship experience...in a sense, when I yield my body, mind and spirit to the Lord in service. This is reasonable, spiritual worship – it is to be deliberate and intelligent…in contrast to the sacrifices of the old covenant that were dutifully performed.

This is a continual, daily challenge, as Satan is, through the world, wanting to control our thinking, making us conformers to this world. The world, here, is not physical geography, but the world system of natural habits, and the values of sinful man apart from God. There are always two potential occupants for our hearts – we can be submissive or prideful, wise or foolish, sheep or goats, for God or for Satan – there is no middle ground. Believers adopt a new value system, based upon a new, higher concept of life – eternity. It is not of earth or time. We must allow God to continually transform our minds – metamorphosis is the word, literally translated from the original. It is the same word used concerning “the transfiguration” (Matthew 17:2).
God transforms His people by His Spirit and through His Word. By meditating on His Word and making it a part of our inner man, God makes our minds more spiritually focused. As the mind controls the body, so the will controls the mind. This can be a real struggle for some, who may want to give their minds and bodies to serve the Lord, but are unwilling to break their self-serving, rebellious will. Those who believe that they can control their lives through “will power” usually fail. It is necessary to surrender our wills through prayer – “Your will be done, O Lord.” In allowing His will to be worked out in our lives…it proves His will to be omnipotent. It is only when our wills are yielded to the Lord that He can use us and give us the “spiritual will power” to be victorious over sin, Satan and the world system.

Satan will seldom blitz us all out, although he is capable of doing this. Most believers can recognize this tactic and can steer clear of such traps. It is the subtle, imperceptible drifting away that snatches many believers. Satan lulls them to sleep, spiritually. We can’t allow this to take place. What is the solution? Latreia -- giving your whole live in submission to the Lord so that He can use you for His will…body, mind and spirit. It is only when we “let go” and “let God” be in control of our lives that we quit giving in to the world so much, making the big mistakes…but allowing the Lord to help our lives make sense!

A friend, Stan, posed this question on his facebook: What are the signs of spiritual recession? Then, what are the signs of recovery? Another friend, Avery replied...wonderfully: A sign of spiritual recession…isolation from other believers. You just don’t feel like you belong OR THAT anyone can relate or would offer love without conditions. A sign of recovery…ministry and service to others. He adds – once I get out of myself and begin to serve others, I am made aware, once again, that it has never been about me BUT ALWAYS about Him. This path I have found is the starting point of my spiritual recovery…fellowship soon follows.

Food for thought. Blessings,

Don

Monday, September 7, 2009

Things I Haven't Considered About Space

Friends,

For all of the wonderful things that astronauts see when they travel up through the atmosphere and out into space...there are some things that I just had not considered. For one thing, the shuttle astronauts were not prepared for smell of space. This is not something that had ever even occurred to me...that space would have an odor. They say that there is an odd tang in the air...and it is not tang -- it is apparently from outer space. After astronauts come in from their spacewalks there is a distinct smell of space on their space suits. It's not like anything that anyone has ever smelled before. It is described as something akin to gunpowder or ozone. The sounds of spaceflight have also been surprising, especially when Discovery fires up its large maneuvering thrusters. Discovery's seven-astronaut crew is in the middle of a 13-day mission to deliver fresh supplies and new science gear to the space station. All of the changes that have been made to the station over the past few years are truly a marvel. Recently, they have added a new solar array and some new modules. The space station itself is due to be completed in a couple of years. Blessings,

Don

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Year in QBs

Freinds,

Tis the season...no, not that season yet, although it is getting closer, but...are you ready for some football? Here in these parts of Texas, football is BIG stuff. One can't talk football without talking about the guys that make it happen on the filed -- the quarterbacks. I have been a football fan since I can remember...and that would have to be about Super Bowl III with the Jets and the Colts...and yet, I can't remember a time when quarterbacks were such big news. I mean, there have been a lot of good college and pro QBs over the year's, but never have so many been so big and so in the news as in recent years.

I want to start with the pros. This would have to begin with Brett Favre and Michael Vick...they have only dominated about 80% of the sports news all summer anyway, so might as well continue talking about them. Favre has gotten a bum rap from a lot of people for his retire, rehire, retire, rehire shenanigans, but the man can play. I think he can still play...which is pretty remarkable for a guy who is almost forty, played 260+ games in a row and taken all of the hits he has. He IS the epitome of the tough guy QB, out of the Johnny Unitas mold. I don't blame him for changing his mind, when he can still play...but we'll see if he will ever really be able to truly retire -- I doubt it...I think they will have to drag him off the field. Vick has been the subject of intense scrutiny. Although many folks have had a lot of problems with what Mike Vick perpetrated, he has done his time in prison and should be allowed to play again. He needs to keep his nose clean...so, here's hoping he can do so. I will say this...the idiots from PETA need to get a real life and quit making trouble. We all know what he did, and it was terrible...now, leave him alone and allow him to get on with his life. Everyone deserves a second opportunity. Will Romo be able to carry the Cowboys? We'll see...I am saying, "yes," and that they will win their first playoff game in over a decade. Aaron Rodgers will continue to improve. Matt Hasselbeck will be the comeback player of the year and Jay Cutler will excel with the Bears. How will rookies Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez do? I think that they will hold their own.

On the college level, there is news a plenty. Who will win the Heisman? Will it be Tim Tebow for the 2nd time? And, will he lead Florida to its third title in five years? It would be a good bet. How about Colt McCoy or Sam Bradford? It is truly up in the air. My choice is Jevan Snead, from Stephenville and now playing for the Ole Miss Rebels. He has been playing in a pro-style offense, similar to that of Matthew Stafford who was the first pick in this year's NFL draft. I believe he could come out of nowhere to do it, and here's hoping the local guy makes it happen. Blessings,

Don

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Do We Know the Bible by Heart?

Friends,

In His book, “Taking the Guesswork out of Applying the Bible,” Jack Kuhatschek says…while studying in the Holy Land, a professor of mine met a man who claimed to have memorized the entire Old Testament…in Hebrew! Needless to say, the astonished professor asked for a demonstration. A few days later, they sat together in the man’s home – “Where shall we begin?” the man asked. “Psalm 1,” replied the professor, who was an avid student of the Psalms. Beginning with 1:1, the man began to recite, from memory, while the professor followed along in his Hebrew Bible. For two hours the man continued word for word without a mistake, as the professor sat in stunned silence. When the demonstration was over, my professor discovered something even more astonishing – the man who had accomplished this great task claimed to be an atheist! Here was someone who knew the Scripture better than most Jews or Christians ever would, and yet, he didn’t even believe in God! This is not exactly what the Lord had in mind in giving us His Word. It is one thing to know the words in God’s Word in your head…it is quite another to study with an open mind and spirit so that they impact your heart! We Christians have a great responsibility to truly know the message of Jesus Christ that is found in God’s Word and make it our own. Blessings,

Don

Monday, August 24, 2009

Surviving August

Friends,

This (surviving August) is not just talking about the weather in Texas...it is about Texas weathering August -- their pitching staff, that is. I have mentioned here, there or somewhere, that the true test of whether the MLB Texas Rangers will be in the playoff hunt through the summer and to the end of September, is if their pitching staff would hold up. In years past...conditioning, whether physical, mental -- or both -- has come back to haunt them. With Nolan whipping the Rangers' pitchers into shape, it seems to have made a difference...not only are they holding their own through the dog days of the Texas summer, but they have been excelling. Scott Feldman, Derek Holland and Tommy Hunter, among others, have all pitched impressively this summer. Here's hoping that they can stay strong through the last month of the season...that they can overtake the Red Sox...and be the Wild Card for the playoffs. Playoffs? Did somebody say, playoffs? (Sorry, Jim Mora Sr. :-). Blessings,

Don

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lightning x2

Friends,

I write this as the thunderstorms are nearly over our building. :-) Usain Bolt is quickly becoming the most amazing athletic story of this generation. He set a new world record in the 200 meters, yesterday, running it in 19.19 seconds...which is incredible. His nearst competitor was at 19.81...nearly a whole second off the pace! This is like miles ahead on the track, as Yogi Berra would say. Hats off to the lightning bolt -- the only question that lies ahead...will he break 19 seconds? This would be track and field miraculous. Blessings,

Don

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lightning Strikes Again

Friends,

Usain "Lightning" Bolt of Jamaica broke his own world record in the 100 meters yesterday at the World Championships, running it in an amazing 9.58 seconds. The second place finisher, American, Tyson Gay ran a 9.71, which would have been very noteworthy as the second fastest time ever, next to Bolt's 9.69 he ran last year in the Olympics. Instead, Gay wasn't even sniffing Bolt's dust. It is truly cool to watch Bolt run...at 6'5", and with a big stride, he is not your prototypical sprinter. I don't know what he is doing...hopefully not illegal supplements -- one has to wonder...but it is working. He has brought excitement back to track and field's premier event. He makes it look so easy. It took so long for the 10 second barrier to be broken, and then to even get below 9.8...now he may very well run in the 9.4s or some such...unimaginable even 10 years ago. So...count me as impressed. Blessings,

Don

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Like Father, Like Son

Friends,

After the healing of the man who had lain by a pool for those 38 years, the Scribes and Pharisees seek out the person who would dare do such a thing on the Sabbath (John 5:19ff). When they find Jesus, they ask him why He healed the paralytic on the Sabbath(?). Jesus replies with an equally bold statement to accompany His actions – “my Father is working ‘til now, and so am I!” The point is not lost on the Jewish leaders, who instantly understand His claim: He is making Himself to be equal with God…blasphemy -- and the penalty is death! They are threatened by all of this because they cannot disprove it, so…they try to destroy Jesus and just get Him out of the way. What is truly amazing is that instead of denying their accusation, Jesus endorses it! Would there really be a need for any other response? No.

Jesus claims to be equal with His Father in His works. If healing a man on the Sabbath is a sin, then the Father is to blame! Jesus does nothing on his own accord, but only that which the Father is doing. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness to use His divine powers for Himself, He refused to act independently…rather; He is totally dependent on the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit. And not only His works, but the Father shares His love (v.20), as the first three gospels open with the Father calling Jesus, “My beloved Son” and echoed by John (3:35). It is this unconditional love that is the motivation behind the revealing of the Father’s works through Jesus. Jesus presses on, mentioning His authority to raise the dead. This is another blasphemy in the eyes of the Jewish leaders – God alone has this power. Jesus is also able to give spiritual life to the spiritually dead…and He is not done with this subject.

Jesus speaks of four resurrections. First, there is a resurrection of the spiritually dead to life. Those who listen to Jesus and obey Him will be able to participate in eternal life – this should be our hope and goal in coming out of the old dead world to life in Christ. The second resurrection Jesus mentions is His own. The grave could not hold Him, because He is life (1:4). He laid down His life and took it up again. Because He has life in Himself, He can share it with all who trust in Him! The third is the ultimate, final resurrection, where believers will be raised from the dead physically/eternally and given a new glorified body. This may be similar, perhaps, to the one Peter, James and John saw on the mount of transfiguration – a body suited for eternity. The fourth resurrection is one of judgment, and this involved only those who are lost and outside of Christ. Theirs will be a negative judgment with resulting eternal separation from God. All four resurrections have, or will take place. Through all of this, Jesus claims equality with the Father in executing judgment. The Father will judge the world through His Son, whether or not they respond to Him (see Acts 17:31).

In order to support His teaching and argument, Jesus also shares four witnesses with the Scribes and Pharisees in order to give evidence that Jesus is who He says. In yet another interesting twist, the OT Law required the testimony of two or three witnesses (Numbers 35:30, Deuteronomy 17:6). The first is John the Baptist, whom the Scribes and Pharisees had interrogated carefully. John knew who Jesus was and faithfully declared what he knew to the people of Israel. In chapter one, John told the people that Jesus is Lord, Lamb of God, and Son of God. The second witness is the miracles that Jesus performs. There are seven key “signs” in this gospel that prove Jesus is the Son of God…His works, being the Father’s works. The third…His Father, on that mount of transfiguration, and other thoughts that have been shared. Finally, and most condemning for the Scribes and Pharisees, the Scriptures…the Old Covenant. Their covenant pointed to the Messiah, and now that He is among them, they cannot see Him because of their blindness and hardness of heart. Verses 39-40 are quite telling. They lack the very love that Jesus has lived, shared and wanted them to understand. They claim to know the Word of God, but do not know the God of the Word.

In our culture, we are very familiar with the legal system and the things associated with it thanks to the multitude of movies, real life and television dramas over the years. The court of justice has been part of our judicial system in this country since its birth. In general, courts have been in existence for thousands of years, and are even evidenced in the Bible. What is the purpose of legal counsel, witnesses, testimony, judge and jury? The court is filled with a multiplicity of words and emotions…and for what? It is to provide for us the means by which we can have justice – wrongs righted, rights justified, laws upheld. So, is it a surprise that Jesus appeals to His audience in making His case concerning whom He is? He is simply speaking to the Scribes and Pharisees in legal language that they would understand…He is on their level making His case.

What is the point? That we, like the Scribes and Pharisees should know and fully believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We cannot deal with Jesus as the Jewish leaders did...on legal terms. We must accept Him on His terms. Antagonism toward the Father and His Son is rampant in this world we live in today. The media, politicians and even people we know scream at us that God is not real! Why is there war, suffering, they ask? Why poverty, trouble? Why do bad things happen to good people? Satan is running wild in this present world…we don’t belong here! God gives us the answer and solution in His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus took the sins, attitudes, antagonisms of this world, including those of the religious people, and died on a cross so all could be set free. Do we believe the evidence? We see and understand that Jesus was able to influence many people – disciples, Nicodemus, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea among many others. What we truly believe concerning Jesus makes all of the difference for you and for me concerning our eternal destiny. Blessings,

Don

Thursday, August 13, 2009

NFL Preseason

Friends,

The NFL Preseason kicks off in earnest tonight. It will be interesting to see what happens this year. I am going to make a few bold :-) predictions and we'll see if some of them come true. If last season is any indication, then...I might have a slight chance. The story that won't go away is Michael Vick. He will end up with a team, probably before the end of the week. Even though it will be a hard sell to whatever city where he ends up, I believe he will be a productive player and help said team. So...we'll see if it is the Steelers, Patriots, Packers, Panthers or Redskins that land him. -- at least, I believe these are the best possibilities.

In the NFC, the Cowboys are going to have a good year, now that they are minus the T.O. and Jessica distractions and Wade is running the "D". Romo is going to do well. Now, whether they win the Super Bowl or not, that is another question. They may very well have problems getting by the Eagles in their own division. I will be surprised if they do not win a playoff game this year and get the 13 year old monkey off their backs. The Saints can't possibly finish last again in their division with their prolific "O", but their "D" can't be any worse than last year. I think that last will fall to the Bucs...rather, the Bucs will fall there. This will still likely be a tough division with the Saints, Falcons and Panthers all battling for #1. Concerning the North --who cares? There is not a team in the division that excites me...although it is intriguing to see "how far up" the Lions can go from 0-16. The only two players that matter are Adrian Peterson for the Vikes and Calvin Johnson for the Lions. The one big curiosity will be to see what Jay Cut-it-out-ler will do for the Bears. It will be awfully tough for the Cards to repeat what they did last year. Even with his amazing trio of receivers, Kurt Warner will be hard pressed to get them back to the SB. If they do, I would call it a minor miracle -- I guess these can happen in AZ(?). The Seahawks and Niners will be much improved and could snatch away the division. The Rams will be better, but are still not contenders.

The AFC is going to be more complicated, as usual. The truly mighty teams of the league reside in this conference. It's hard to bet against the Steelers, although Big Ben finds himself out of sorts again. What is amazing, is that these types of things never seem to affect him, and he always manages to be a winner. If I do have one bet against the Steelers, it is the Patriots. With Tom Brady back and the team reloaded...again, it will not surprise me at all if they do not hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February -- in fact, I say that they will do it. The Dolphins will likely continue to improve in the East, as will the Jets with Rob Ryan guiding the "D". The T.O. Barnum and Bailey circus lands in Buffalo, but it will take more than him to turn them around.
Can't see much from the North, with the Bengals likely being the best of the under .500 Ohio teams. The Ravens surely can't be as good as last year, right? Don't think so. The Colts will miss Dungy, while the Texans could very well snatch the South. They will be much improved and get off the 8-8 mark they have had for a few years now. The Titans will be good, but not great. The West is a toss up to me...although, I think the Chargers and Broncos will be at the top. The Broncos are revamped, but I believe that Kyle Orton will actually be better for them than Cut-it-out-ler. The Chiefs will be better with new coach Todd Haley, he of the Cards "O" success last year..but not good just yet. The Raiders management stinks, but they could win more games than most people suspect. They showed some improvement in many areas last year, but much will depend upon QB Russell...they will go where he takes them. I will say with certainty that there will be some surprise team that jumps up to contend that no one was expecting...seems to happen every year. If I had a guess, I would say either the Bengals or the Raiders. So...stay tuned. Blessings,

Don

P.S. Okay...how about Vick to the Eagles (several hours later)...first prediction --NOT.