Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Welcome to the Dark Period

The month of February is the dark period of sports. When the Super Bowl ends, there is nothing really compelling to watch or talk about until the NCAA Tournament (unless you are a NASCAR fan - see Daytona). The NBA, NHL, and College Basketball are fun to watch during this time but there is nothing that forces me to follow them. While I'll watch a game to pass time, I don't adjust my schedule to watch the games or even make it a point to spend 3 hours on to check stats. I don't think "Oh boy, another regular season game!" but instead think "I guess the Virgina Tech vs. Wake Forest game is better than watching that Walker Texas Ranger rerun."

While Baseball's regular season is long, it keeps people's interest during the summer since there is a game everyday and your favorite team will play at least 6 days out of that week. It is always top of mind. The NFL and College Football have regular seasons where every game matters. Even though each team only plays once a week, the excitement builds during the week leading up the games. I guess NASCAR is popular for this same reason. The only variable is the time the games are played.

On the other hand, the other leagues have no set day for teams to play on. Schedules are set at the discretion of T.V. contracts. NBA teams can play back-to-back nights while taking three days off in a row. A NHL team can have three games one week and one the next. It is hard to keep the excitement level high when for your team doesn't play on a consistent schedule or is top of mind. I guess I can put a team's schedule in my outlook but it is not the same as a routine of some type. Besides, I'm to lazy to do that.

That's why the playoffs are nice for all of them. Teams (at least in the NHL) play two games, get a day off, and then play two more. That is at least bankable and excitement can build. It doesn't hurt that the games means something but consistency helps remind people the games matter.

I wish this was a winter Olympics year (since they usually take place in February) but I guess I will spend my extra time this next month reading a John Feinstein book.

Friday, January 25, 2008

First Impression vs. Last Interaction

Seth Godin posted an interesting treatise concerning the First Impression vs. the Last Interaction. It got me thinking about Churches in this light. We go a long way sprucing up the building and the surrounding but if the people inside are uglier than the building than they will never like Christ. That is what the whole book Unchristian is about. The last experience most have with the church/Christ is bad and that taints them until they can have a new first impression with Jesus.

Today, I was at the doctor with my wife and we had the same doctor I had for my physical back in October. During that time, I talked with the lady doctor about my new job and the church. Today, she remembered me and says she has been listening to the podcast online and she has been hoping that her husband will come some time. I pray that she continues to have a good last experience through the podcast that her and her husband will one day show up and start/continue their journey with Jesus. . .

Thursday, January 24, 2008

This always hurts to hear. . .

For those who don't know, Granger Community Church is a very huge and innovative church in the South Bend Area of Indiana. I found out through the Blog world that their High School Minister, Corey Mann, had to step down for having an integrity issue. While he didn't "go all the way" to a physical affair, he admits to making bad choices that lead to an emotional attraction with another woman (not his wife) thus forcing him to step down. You can read it in his own words here.

It is a good reminder to always look at my standards and see how I orient my life. I am finding out more and more how hard it is to put my wife over all things not God. I realize how much it actually helps me when I do.

I respect Corey's courage to come forward into the light. I pray I never get that far. . .

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"I've read that before but. . . "

Recently, I'm reading a good series of posts regarding spiritual maturity over at Vince's blog. He called the series "Waaaaa, I'm not being fed." I've been both convicted by it and encouraged by it. If you have ever used this phrase, raise your hand (my hand is up).

One of the greatest moments of pride in my spiritual journey was when after two years of at a great church up in Toledo I left because I wasn't being "fed". Truth be told, I was craving more Bible knowledge and the appearance of spiritual maturity without the responsibility of it. I was at a church where I kept hearing the same things over and over again. I kept saying "I've read/hear that (insert story/verse/passage here) before but. . . " every time I studied the Bible.

In my heart, I was trying to position myself as mature when actually I wasn't not really living the Bible. If I didn't live it out, did I actually know it? I don't think so. I started to then listen to the things I read over and over again and see if I actually "knew" it and lived it. I came to realize that I didn't. Once leaving that church, I began to see how good I had it. It wasn't until recently I realized how stupid I was in that scenario for leaving. How ignorant I was for not taking advantage of everything that church was offering me to serve and live out the Bible rather than just ingest Bible knowledge without Bible exercise. I also wanted my glory in a smaller context rather than a face in the crowd of then 2,000 (now 7,000 and soon-to-be 3 campuses). I have thus repented of spiritual obesity.

I realized that it is the important things that I need to hear over and over again. I need to hear my wife say "I Love you" lest I forget. I need to read traffic lights every time I drive in order to know how to navigate lest I try to live off my previous driving experience. I need to keep practicing the basics of guitar playing lest I fall into bad habits. I need to always be remind of the Gospel lest I start acting like the know-it-all God wannabe that I prone to act like on a daily basis.

It is not about how much you know but how you use it. I am happy with where I am at now and I accept that as part my past. I yearn for all now to not repeat my mistake of assuming Bible Knowledge = Spiritual Stud.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm still alive after the snow

First of all, I'm pumped for Sunday night. I'm speaking to the High Schoolers on something that is a passion of mine: healthy relationships and moral boundaries.

Second, it seems like there are some crazy flash games out there. I found this one (thanks for relevant magazine) that makes stacking books fun and last week on Ysmarko's blog, a game that makes physics fun. Wow!

Thirdly, I saw a really neat video showing how to create the D-Day invasion with only three people. Check it out.

It just makes me think what else can be done with a couple of smart computer geeks. . .

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm a new contributor!

I'm excited to announce that I will be contributing to a new blog called Ecumeniball (as well as this one). It is a Co-op of Pastors who write on sports. I'm probably going to contribute on my day off since sports is one of my hobbies. I really excited about it. Here is my first post over there and my Super Bowl Prediction.

Last weekend, I was reminded how good one man can be. A lot of people rag on Brett Favre in recent years for his gunslinger attitude and his age but man, did he have a good game over the weekend! Even after Ryan Grant's pre-game jitters lasting into the second quarter (see two fumbles in the first quarter resulting in Seahawk touchdowns), Favre was able to lead his team to a convincing 42-20 win. On one play, the guy should have been eating turf, thus forcing the Field Goal Unit to come out, but he some how managed to scramble to his right (in the snowy conditions), and while falling, complete a pass for a first down to his tight end.

Farve needs to be in the Super Bowl simply because he will make the game fun to watch.(that and Eli Manning should forfeit his right to play in the Big Game because he is now busy with his other sport - licking Oreos). While Green Bay is one of the youngest teams in the league, the poise they showed on Saturday Night points to Brett's leadership trickling down to every member of his team. I know Brady's 26-28 performance overshadowed Favre's but the guy was 18-23 in awful conditions with 3 TDs. That's a pretty good day's work. To think, I laughed in the preseason when he said that he thought this Packers team was going to be something to reckon with after an awful 2006 season.

With that said, my Super Bowl prediction: New England vs. Green Bay. The Super Bowl XXXI rematch would make for an interesting game. The juggernaut New England Patriots against Superman and his young guns. The Comeback story versus the Dynasty. The good guys versus the sneaky cheaters. Rich Eisen and ESPN will have plenty to focus on for the two week pre-game show with this match-up. Besides, I want to see Green Bay in there if only to see Frank Caliendo do his John Madden impression for FOX (the network broadcasting the game) in which he will mentions Brett Favre a thousand times instead of the traditional one hundred being that Favre is actually playing in the game for once.

With no disrespect to the Lightning Bolts, they don't stand a chance. Though San Diego's D can at least mimic what Jacksonville did over the weekend with their good cover corners, the Chargers are too banged up on offense to put up enough points to match New England. Even though LT is probably coming back for game) and Volek is probably an upgrade over the inconsistent Rivers, it is hard to see any scenario where the Chargers win. The Indy win wasn't too surprising since they have had the Colts number of the last few seasons. Beating New England in Foxboro will be much harder.

Besides, Brady proved that he will be the QB we will be talking about for the next ten years. It would only be fitting that he gets a chance to take the torch from Favre by beating him in the Super Bowl. The Giants will put up a good fight but the Lambeau mystique will be too much for young Eli. Green Bay punked them in the Meadowlands earlier in the season without a strong running game and I think they will do it again.

Regardless who plays, I just hope it is a close game that is entertaining because we all know that very rarely the Super Bowl is actually the best game of the season.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Weird sports weekend. . .

First of all, I hope the bad Golden Globe show last night forces the studios and the writers to settle their strike.

Second of all, I bet the NFL is smiling right now that at least the Giants (the #1 team in the #1 TV market) and the Packers (probably one of the most rabid fan bases - they own their own team for crying out loud and the Best QB in the league over the last 20 years) will be in the Super Bowl this year against the Patriots. Though I think San Diego's D can hang with NE's offense, I just think the Chargers are too banged up to put points on the board. LT going down was big (even though he might come back). My prediction: New England/Green Bay Super bowl rematch from 1997 when Farve took out Bledsoe. If not simply to see this,

Third, what happened to NC State this weekend against UNC? BTW, what happened to Michigan State, Washington State, Vandy, and Texas this weekend? It was also nice to see Cincy start to climb back with wins over Nova and Louisville.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

There have been some really good articles this week. . .

Recently, I heard that a blog was originally used to log all the places a web surfer has visited over the last day. Well, here comes a lot of links covering a variety of issues.

  • This sounds like common sense but child materialism linked to self-esteem.
  • Seth Godin brings up two good posts in two days. One covered "Dumbing Down" a message and the other about non-profit giving. Keep in mind, this is a marketing guy and not a Christian. I agree 100% with him and I think it applies to the church.
  • Apparently the Young Life leadership of RDU has problems with YL's stance of the methods used to advance the Gospel. Mark at YS has a good collection of stuff on the issue.
  • Last week on my date night with Lori, we saw Juno. I had some problems with it but overall very enjoyable and dealt. I like generally what BWIII and Dr. Nancy Brown said about it (though you might find them somewhat contradictory and keep in mind I don't agree 100% with either one).
  • I saw this study on Momlogic regarding Teen having Sex in school. It is three parts and tis quite eye opening.
  • And now for something humorous (for all of you guitar hero fans out there). Thanks to ViralBlog for pointing this out to me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

If I were a two year old, I would hang bang to this!

Lullaby Renditions of U2.

Oh man.... Forget Baby Einstein!

They've also got: Coldplay, Metallica, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Green Day and a bunch more! They even have Tool and NIN. While I have listened to Radiohead and Coldplay to relax, I never thought Closer (by NIN), Sober (by Tool), or even Longview by Green Day could be nursery tunes. I'm glad there are no lyrics.

Check them out here.

(From Scott).

BTW, Stupid Buckeyes hurting themselves last night against LSU. LSU outcoached the Buckeyes but I want to stop hearing about SEC speed. LSU scored all of those points because OSU Offense went MIA in the second quarter (partly due to LSU's defense, Todd Beokman doing his Happy Feet Impersonation and forgetting about Beanie Wells' happy feet). I watched the whole game and it wasn't as lopsided as everyone says. LSU should of won congrats. OSU got stupid.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

I'm jacked to be back. . .

While I love vacation and seeing family, I'm glad to be back in Raleigh. I also realized something. I got into to ministry to be investing in people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Last month, it was hard because I was in a lot of meetings that took up my time. I also had to get a lot of work so I could keep my family time pure. So I was working a lot by myself. I like reading but usually around people in a Library or a "Five"bucks.

I realized recently I missed a lot of the students and hanging out with them. I miss interacting with them and seeing the joy in their life. I am also really pump up by some of things I'm planning for this next few months, especially the relationship series starting on the 20th of this month. One of the biggest issues in Teen culture is Dating and Sex. Don't believe me, look at the top songs from iTunes:

The Top 30 songs all deal it in some form (I know I listen to them all and watched the Videos on YouTube). It's an important issue that I can't wait to see what God's word says.

See you soon. It is good to be back.