Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This weekend I heard a speaker say several times, "There's nothing better than. . ." It struck me as ironic that so many things could have that statement applied to themselves. I only say this because we use phrases like that so much of the time.
For example, I want to start this post by saying that there is nothing more pathetic than a sick child. There probably, in fact, is something more pathetic, but it has not seemed this way for the past week as Matthew has been sick for the first time. Poor little guy. On the bright side, he is a lot more snuggly with Karina and I when he is sick, and you can't beat that (I just did it again; another one of those phrases).
I know he is just a little guy (15 months old), but I have found myself praying that God would teach him something about perseverance through his time of sickness. James 1 talks about God's intention to grow us in perseverance through trials, and I don't see why God couldn't teach Matthew something about this, even at his age. It has also struck me that I am not a man marked by perseverance. I desire to be, and it has helped me to begin to view even the smallest of trials and inconveniences as God's way of growing me up and helping me endure.
It is good to remember that God has our best in mind, and that his intentions toward us are good. It gives a whole new paradigm for trials, temptations, and all of life.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Are we even Admirers, much less Imitators?

It can be sad how little we can think and talk about Jesus in Christian communities. We talk about being Christians, about morality, about reaching our culture, about being relevant, and about building marriages and families. All of these can be valid sub-categories, but are we trying to do Jesus' commanded work in our human wisdom? Hmmm.
Do we admire Jesus? Not just from a distance in a detached way, but do we really admire the man? Do we stand in awe of his wisdom and compassion not in a theoretical way, but in deep reality as we look in the Gospels at the life he lived here on earth? We are called to be followers of Jesus. His learners. His apprentices (disciples). Is this even possible if we do not at our core admire the man?
When I read the Gospels, I admire Jesus and I want to talk to my friends about him. It is not a task. It is fun and exciting. I want my deep admiration to pour out so that all can see how great this man I follow is. Do we in our churches have any more than a detached gratitude toward Jesus for his sacrifice? Do we admire how he lived, loved, spoke? Do we imitate his courage, compassion, and determination?
Just food for thoughts. Hopefully, this makes you want to read the Gospels more. That would be a result I would be more than thrilled about.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Here We Go, Sports Fans

The baseball season ended, only one game left in football, and the basketball season is approaching its All-Star weekend. Because of this, I thought I would do some picks for Dan's All-World Teams. Argue with me on the specifics if you like. All awards are for regular season only.

Catcher: Jason Varitek (Boston Red Sox)
First Base: Albert Puljos (St. Louis Cardinals)
Second Base: Brian Roberts (Baltimore Orioles)
Third Base: Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees)
Shortstop: Derek Jeter (New York Yankees)
Left Field: Manny Ramirez (Boston Red Sox)
Center Field: Andrew Jones (Atlanta Braves)
Right Field: Miguel Cabrerra (Florida Marlins)
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox)
Starting Pitchers: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis Cardinals), Dontrelle Willis (Florida Marlins), Roger Clemens (Houston Astros), Bartolo Colon (Anaheim Angels), Johann Santana (Minesota Twins)
Closer: Mariano Rivera (New York Yankees)
Manager: Mike Socia (Anaheim Angels)

Football (I'm not going to do Offensive Line or anything; just the top 5 at positions I know about)
1. Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts)
2. Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
3. Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle Seahawks)
4. Carson Palmer (Cincinatti Bengals)
5. Jake Plummer (Denver Broncos)
Running Backs
1. Shaun Alexander (Seattle Seahawks)
2. Tiki Barber (New York Giants)
3. Edgerrin James (Indianapolis Colts)
4. LaDanian Tomlinson (San Diego Chargers)
5. Larry Johnson (Kansas City Chiefs)
Wide Receivers
1. Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers)
2. Santana Moss (Washington Redskins)
3. Marvin Harrison (Indianapolis Colts)
4. Hines Ward (Pittsburgh Steelers)
5. Chad Johnson (Cincinatti Bengals)
Tight Ends
1. Antonio Gates (San Diego Chargers)
2. Tony Gonzalez (Kansas City Chiefs)
3. Jeremy Shockey (New York Giants)
4. Todd Heap (Baltimore Ravens)
5. Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys)
Defensive Players
1. Brian Urlacher (Chicago Bears)
2. Dwight Freeny (Indianapolis Colts)
3. Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh Steelers)
4. DeAngelo Hall (Atlanta Falcons)
5. Michael Stahan (NEw Yok Giants)

Basketball (top 3 at each position)
Point Guard
1. Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns)
2. Allen Iverson (Philadelphia 76ers)
3. Chauncey Billups (Detroit Pistons)
Shooting Guard
1. Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
2. Richard Hamilton (Detroit Pistons)
3. Dwane Wade (Miami Heat)
Small Forward
1. Lebron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
2. Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics)
3. Tracy MacGrady (Houston Rockets)
Power Forward
1. Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)
2. Dirk Novitzki (Dallas Mavericks)
3. Elton Brand (Los Angeles Clippers)
1. Shaquille O'Neal (Miami Heat)
2. Ben Wallace (Detroit Pistons)
3. Yao Ming (Houston Rockets)

Have fun.