Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - 55

Winter Olympics, my son wants to Luge
The shaking in Chili's 8.8 magnitude
Air travel disrupted from volcanic ash
The Deepwater Horizon goes down with a splash
Half way through the year and news slows just a little
Then miners in Chili get stuck in the middle
Finish it off with eclipse from the moon
Bring on the new decade, don't end too soon!

I broke the rules a bit, first time for everything I guess, but these are the major events I remember from this year.  I know there were more, as seen here, but these were important to me in some way.

Happy New Year!

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas is and is not . . .

I shared this with my Community Group from church the other week, and have now heard something of the sort several times since then.  After that I decide to go ahead and post it here.

So the year is coming to an end and I got to thinking about everything that has happened.  Lessons I've learned, mistakes I've made, joys I have shared and I wanted to put in perspective what I would like to walk away with after this year.

But then I got distracted, who would have thought, and started thinking about Christmas.  After a minute the two came together.  When I’m in January and I look back at Christmas with Kristy and Linc what will I think about, what will he?  What’s important?

Kristy used to have some VHS tapes of old Christmas shows recorded off of TV.  Fat Albert, Charlie Brown, Santa is coming to town, stuff like that.  While it may be very vague, there is always a hint of Christ in those.  There is always a slight look at the Birth of Jesus be it ever so indistinct, it is there.

I watched Shrek the Halls the other night – while the entertainment value was so so, there was no Christ.  We are trying to change the meaning of Christmas.  And I mean in Christian culture too.

Christmas is not about getting, we all know that, and it’s not about giving in the way that we do.  We give so that someone else can have something, and hopefully thank us for it!  But that giving is a correlation of the gift Christ gave through Himself in that manger, do we clarify that?  I don’t do that well!  I suck at that!

Let me tell you what Christmas is NOT about . . . it’s not about getting or giving or family or friends or hanging out or a couple days off.  This holiday is about the fact that Christ loved us so much he came down to live on this earth in our flesh for 30 some years so that we wouldn’t have to be under the bonds of the Law anymore!

Those things aren’t bad, don’t give them up, they are great, I love them all and enjoy them during this time of year.  They are good things. 

But don’t lose Christ in them, point to Him through them!

Here is a version of the Christmas Story, combined from Matthew and Luke, it’s a little loose, so cut me some slack but it's easy to read for all ages.

That is why WE celebrate Christmas, not the culture, not the world, not even  many believers, but that is why Christians, followers of Christ should be celebrating this season!

So how, is the question, and it is different for everyone.  It could be stories or traditions, but think through these things as it is quickly approaching, think through how you’re gonna do this with your family and friends.  So that when both you and them look back they see Christ through the giving and receiving and relaxing and hanging out and being together. 

Men, this is on us, it's our responsibility to make this happen.  Thankfully I was given an incredibly smart and creative wife to be a part of creating memories that lead to Christ through this season.  But it is our responsibility as husbands, fathers, and men to ensure that it happens.

Find the ways to build the memories that lead to Christ.

Merry Christmas!

The Story of the Birth of Christ

This is taken from the Gospels of both Matthew and the Luke in “The Message.”  There is some left out but it is the story of the birth of Christ. Easy to read and a little less of the thou's!  I liked it enough to put it here for anyone.
The Birth of Jesus
The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn't know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced. 
While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God's angel spoke in the dream: "Joseph, son of David, don't hesitate to get married. Mary's pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God's Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—'God saves'—because he will save his people from their sins." This would bring the prophet's embryonic sermon to full term:
   Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
   They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for "God is with us"). 

Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God's angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus. 

About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancĂ©e, who was pregnant. 
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod's kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, "Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We're on pilgrimage to worship him." 
When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, "Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?"
They told him, "Bethlehem, Judah territory. The prophet Micah wrote it plainly:

   It's you,
Bethlehem, in Judah's land,
      no longer bringing up the rear.
   From you will come the leader
      who will shepherd-rule my people, my

Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, "Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I'll join you at once in your worship." 

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! 

They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country. 

Later, when Herod died, God's angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: "Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead." 

So he went back to Nazareth with them, and lived obediently with them. His mother held these things dearly, deep within herself. And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Touchdown Tuesday - Stay Classy!

My wife has a couple DVD's of Christmas shows recorded from back in the day.  Most of them still come on, though there are some ancient ones of Mickey Mouse and an obscure Fat Albert Christmas (hold that reference, it's coming back up).  There are terrible, terrible commercials riddled throughout that she adores as they are from her childhood.  Cabbage Patch Kids, Skittles, some Betsy Ross thing, and news men that make me think "Anchorman" was based on a true story. 

Incredible Feat:  So about the time they sowed the 50th star on the flag Brett Favre was drafted to Atlanta, then traded to Green Bay.  There has never been a QB so feared and loved by the opponents defense.  Loved, because he took chances, some that went extremely badly.  Hated because often times those chances taken by the gun-slinger had a football angel fly in and steer the ball around.  This is the most amazing record in sports, that could only be broken at QB by Manning, in 6 years!  It will forever be etched in my memory from the frozen tundra that a man defied odds and built a physical and mental toughness that surpasses anything in sports.  A moment of silence. . .

Now - GO AWAY!!! We love you, go home!

Implosion!:  Fittingly, though God gave Brett one more day to try, it did not happen.  It is one of the most amazing video's  of the Metrodome collapsing (see below).  Go check it out, so cool!  I did wonder what would have happened if the game had not been postponed, there would have at least been a bunch of people in there.  Looks like something out of Tom & Jerry a little. Just freaky.

Hey, Hey, Hey:  I did some thinking about Fat Albert Haynesworth.  I don't have any issue with the fact that he wants to be the best at his position.  He should, I want guys who want to be the best.  The problem is he wants to be the best by himself.  Not a position in this league that can be the best without a surrounding cast.  Just thoughts I had since last week.

Never Wash this Hand Again:  After a loss, Tashard Choice goes to Mike Vick and gets him to sign his glove on the field.  I've been back and forth on this but ultimately, go get it, and don't blame it on your cousin, because you wanted this!  Had it been a Cornerback or a Defensive Lineman that would be a bit different, but they don't play against each other on the field, If everyone is so upset, mail me the glove, I'll hold it for you!

18 Games and Injuries:  There are some people making a huge deal about the fact that 2 extra games will make for an inordinate rise in injuries.  Really?  I'm confused, mainly because most injuries are not that of over-usein the NFL, they are freak falls, landing wrong, getting rolled up on.  2 games adds 2 more chances for this to happen, but they are flukey injuries, and even concussions, so rampant now, would be affected by this.  You can't say Aaron Rodgers would have done something different earlier, or later in the season.  Injuries just happen, they just do.  These guys, the good ones anyways, are finely tuned atheletes.  They'll get paid more to play the same amount of games.  Take the money and run!

Finally Fantasy:  So I went down in a league this week thanks to Kyle Orton, and I pulled one out with the Giants Defense coming up BIG!  (Sorry bro, I thought I was gonna lose).  How did you fare?  By the way, if you need a QB because Kyle was terrible and may not play all game next week (though they are saying he will start) or Rodgers went down and is questionable - check out Jason Campbell.  Playing against the Broncos who let Arizona drop 40 on them.  Maybe a shallow sleeper.

So curl up on the couch with some cocoa and watch some old Christmas cartoons, but hang on because the playoffs are right around the corner!

Oh, and we would love to hear your thoughts on any of this or anything else in the comments!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Race the Sunset - 55

Race the sunset as it falls on horizons
Aching for light and life
Grasp the moon, it carries across the sky
Laying me down for the night
Grab the stars, they burn, I don't care
Excitement is always the game
Stand in the grass with my rake and blower
Is it more than a daydream?

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Theme Thursday - The Results

He stood in the back of his truck as he raised his fist towards the sky with a resentment for too many days gone by without answers. From the depth of his gut and soul he unleashed a growl of frustration towards the clouds that trudged slowly. Water streamed from his face, soaking his hair and resting in the shirt he had ripped from his chest but still hung on the bulked up shoulders of a man who had reached his boiling point.  The rain continued to hide the salty liquid anger pouring from his eyes at what seemed to be an even greater rate.
Enough was enough, the tests, the hurts, the confusion.  Little things he could handle, the bigger could be tolerated but he seemed destined for more.  As he desperately cried for vengeance against the one who tested and provided because it was more than he could bear he took a step as if to get a little closer.
The water had puddled underneath his feet and the force with which he took this step caused gravity to grab his body and throw it to the bed.  He lay there, striving to keep his eyes open as they filled with water and tears.  The thoughts raced through his head of friends advice as fast as the pain from the shoulder he cracked in his fall.
Why was this . . . just why.  He had helped himself, the logic was sound, there were too many thoughts . . . just why?  He was tired of this test that took everything.  The tears now mixing with the water in the truck bed longed for the end.  The end of the test, the end of the pain, the end of his life.
His anger came down to questions, his fear came down to concerns, and his love came down to its basics. With the outburst of his just emotion gone, the truth in his soul arose.  He wept now, not from anger, but from sorrow.  He would not forsake, he would stand.  He would not raise his fist he would raise his hands.
The future didn't matter, the next moment was light years away but here he stood and adored.  Eventually happiness would be returned, though joy had been his choice.  The future held the things, not as his reward for the test, but to show him even more through the pain that each moment, each aspect of life screamed for his attention to the author, the finisher, the creator and sustainer.  The test was not from Him, the results would be all for Him.

This is a Theme Thursday post with the theme of Test.  Read some more stories!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Touchdown Tuesday: Confession

I am currently learning how important confession is to our lives.  The openness and freedom it can bring is revolutionary in all sorts of ways (See my Cam Newton post).  This week both I and some other players are ready to come clean.  Can you handle the truth?

First Confession:  Last week I again proved my lack of prophetic nature (prophetic, not pathetic).  I shrewdly announced, publicly of course, that the Texans would beat the Eagles.  I have ordered my sandwich and will be eating that crow a little later.  Eagles fans, forgive me.  (I pushed the button).

3 Games Left:  4 in the season but 3 until Brett Favre hits 300.  So, for the next 3 games Brett starts, plays a couple of series and then sits.  The last game is all the future and Jackson, but more power to the gun slinger.   The Vikings season means nothing, get him his record.  Remember Brett rolling over for Strahan to get the NFL single-season record of 22 1/2 sacks? (Go ahead and confess Brett, we know it was staged)  What goes around comes around? 

Wah, wah, wah:  There was one crying child already this season storming off the field, forgetting Galileo's revelation that the earth revolves around the Sun, not individuals.  (That was Vince Young by the way)  Now there's another, and actually another.  Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Barry Richardson, here's a thought, "You skrewed up, you don't deserve to be out there right now."  Push my coach and you'll sit the rest of the year, we will see what the Chiefs do.
The better baby after this week is Albert Haynesworth, though he doesn't seem to be worth the panties he's been wearing.  Now called out by a teammate (DE Philip Daniels) saying he's selfish and basically get the crap out.  Big Al's response on a radio show was to the effect of me, Me, ME!  Confirmation.  Called to the principals office on Tuesday, but he's mad right now so he won't go till Wed.  He wants to be the best but this is a team game, if you're only after you, go play golf or tennis, wait, then you've got to depend on a racket or clubs.  Hey Al, here's hoping you slide on the bench and get a splinter in your . . . well, back to confession for me.  (Weren't two of these guys coached by Jeff Fischer?)

It's not my fault!:  This is Peyton Mannings confession, or at least it should be.  Excuse the "pun"nishness  but he is Man-ing up at the podium taking the blame.  What we realize though is that every super hero needs a little help.  Peyton makes receivers great and running backs seem excellent.  The RB's always benefit from his excellence, however, we are currently seeing how he it goes both ways.  With no need to defend the run at all because Donald Duck is in the backfield it is all about the pass for a defense.  (Please heal Mike Hart)  This QB is trying too hard because he has too.  Patience, they'll be fine - next year!

Guys I want:  This week we sit with the Steelers.  Big Ben Rothisberger - With a busted ankle and a broken nose, he makes what may be the smartest, strongest play I've ever seen a QB make.  Throwing off the defender then hurling the ball out of bounds to save the play was brilliant.
Troy Polamalu:  He may be the greatest football player I have ever seen. He seems to know where to be and when to be there.  How he came free on that last play, I will never know.

Finally Fantasy:  Playoffs start in most leagues this week.  I confess, I am hesitant to mention my thoughts here as some in my league may or may not read this and steal my pick ups, but, in fairness to the 6 people that are interested.  Earl Bennet has a sneaky 3 double digit fantasy games in his last 5.  Looking for a guy after Bryant went down (ouch by the way) he is out there in 99% of leagues.  

My final confession, I was actually worried Carolina would win last week when they were up 14 nothing.  Now they came through and forgot there were two halves to a football game, but even still, what kind of fan am I!  

Friday, December 3, 2010

55 - Heisman

Cam walks to the podium, eyes beady with anticipation after hearing his name resound throughout the sports world:  Heisman!

He raises the trophy, then lowers it.

Eyes, confident in position, scan the crowd. A grin grows, "I don't want your trophy, keep the cash I made you and thanks for getting me to the pros!"

I don't know, or honestly care about college football or all this Cam Newton mess, I just think it would be hilarious if an athlete in college only to go to the pros would admit that their "education" was how to be an athlete!

Plus, if he will help the Carolina Panthers win, it doesn't matter to me what he did in college!

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Theme Thursday: Stone

Stone, that's what they used to call me
Back when I was phased by nothing,
Weather, Pain, Emotions
That's what a man is, immobile

Stone, rock solid on my convictions
Because they are right, right?
They are founded on truth
So they should be yours too

Stone, that's what I saw
As the sun crested and lit up the valley
It is forgotten that the stone mountain stays dark
Standing immobile, overlooking without intervention

I am resistant to the beauty around,
The love attempted to be given and thanks
I don't need this soft feeling
And all they need is a rock foundation

Stone, Cold, Immobile
Wrapped in a suit, placed in a box
Wondering about the light
Eternally cloaked in the separating dark

Too many stories of too many male's roll towards this reality.  Being a man is not being a stone.  We fight hard, play well, and seek love deeply.  Shake the facade, strive to the Creator. 

-Ordinary Warrior

This is a Theme Thursday post with the theme of Stone.  Come and play!