Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Humbug

About half of my students are wearing costumes today.

Most of them will either be going to parties tonight or to the school dance.

They've been eating candy all day.

It's Friday. We're at the end of 11 straight weeks of school with only one day off. And somehow I still need to teach them how to complete a square so that they can take a quiz today.

There's a reason this is my least favorite school day of the year.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Week

It's been a week since I blogged. I thought this week would be less crazy than last week. I was wrong.

I just took four pages of notes for a paper I have to write for next week. The paper can only be five pages long. This does not bode well. At least I have the constant problem of having too much to say rather than not enough.

Tonight I get the paper back on the book I struggled through. Anybody wanna wager on the outcome?

Thursday, October 23, 2008


In a couple of weeks, I'll have yet another birthday. I will be the same age as Vice-Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin. Do with that information as you will.

Eight days after that, I will celebrate my other birthday. I was baptized into Christ on Nov. 11, 1979. On that day, I became a new creation.

44 years ago today, my mother was baptized. She was great with child. So I was sorta baptized twice I guess. I don't know why, but whenever I write this date on my whiteboard, I always remember. And I always wish her a happy birthday.

Wouldn't you like to know, in your own Christian community, everybody's New Birthday? I can't think of a better reason for a party.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come" (2 Cor. 5: 17)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


In studying the church recently, I have often found that I am truly studying community, albeit a whole new sort of community.

Wherever Jesus went, new communities sprung up. Communities different from any that existed or had ever existed. These were groups of people who were joined by their faith in God, their belief in His Son, and their common indwelling of the Holy Spirit. These were people bound not by class or ethnicity, but by love.

After Jesus' ascension, the care of these communities was left to men and women. They were specially gifted by God, they had the example of Christ, and they were led by the Spirit...still the awesome responsibility they shared amazes me. Imagine sharing the seed of the gospel, seeing it flower and grow, and then finding a group of Christ-followers who looked to you for constant guidance. It's no wonder that Paul had so much to say about pastoring. He needed good leaders and lots of them! Finding Timothy must have been a dream come true.

2000 years later, everyone who finds him or herself in charge of a community of believers has a duty no less overwhelming. In some ways the care of the church today is more difficult than ever. Our caretakers have the mistakes, the misinterpretations, the mistranslations, the man-made traditions, the cultural differences, and the sheer distance of two millenia to overcome. This is one reason I strive to remind people that God has no interest in us recreating the 1st century church. His desire for us is to be the 21st century church.

So the next time you see a pastor or an overseer or an elder of your church, give 'em a hug, huh?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Good Signs

Yesterday I preached about the inclusivity and unity of the church and only received one angry phone call. So that's a good sign, right?

Yesterday the Red Sox lost and the Rays advanced to the World Series. So that's a good sign, right?

Today my students are all studying hard and seemingly concerned with passing Wednesday's quiz. So that's a good sign, right?

This weekend my son played Lego Indiana Jones, watched Star Wars Clone Wars, and looked at pictures from the upcoming Star Trek movie with me. So that's a really good sign.


Friday, October 17, 2008


Last night during the break in class, Jim and I walked out to his car to listen his radio for a score of the game. Good ol' reliable Jon Miller, giver of the every-five-minute score told us that it was 5-0 Rays. Given that the game was about 2 1/2 hours old, Jim smiled, turned off the radio, and said, "That's it. It's over." We smiled and went back to class.

Stinkin' Red Sox.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Beach and Back Again

Lisa and I both got nasty colds for our anniversary. Wow, thanks! We went to the coast anyway because we figured we could be sick as easily there as here. It was beautiful and we had a time. Not a bad time, not a great time...a time. James had fun digging holes in the sand and we enjoyed watching him. Still, the beach isn't as pretty through kleenex.

I missed a couple of days of work and find myself scrambling to catch up now. I'm preaching Sunday for the first time in a few months and really looking forward to it. Next week holds the real challenge. I'll be preaching again and I'll have a paper due Thursday. I've been staying ahead though, so I'm not too worried. Still, if I'm not very blogalicious for a while, you'll know why.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I met my wife in a bowling alley.

Tres romantique, non?

She was the best looking person in the place, by a factor of about 100. She worked behind the counter and I began to find more reasons to go bowling than ever before in my life.

As God would have it, she ended up joining the league I was in. It took a while, but I eventually asked her out. We went out. Had a great time. It took a while, but she eventually went out with me again.

Rather than give a detailed account of our courtship on this, our 10th anniversary, I thought I would use this incredibly public forum to describe the moment I fell in love with her...truly, madly, deeply.

There was an older couple in our bowling league. Very nice folks. He had a stroke and they were gone for quite a while. When they came back, he was in a wheelchair, barely able to talk, his mouth slightly drawn downward on one side. It was hard to see him like that as he was a big, friendly man. His wife sat with him, smiling, caring for him.

Everyone was happy to see them and there were lots of hugs on their return. But most were uncomfortable spending much time with them and nobody really knew how to talk to him. So, after the initial welcome, it was bowling as usual. They sat in the back, together, watching.

Then Lisa went missing. Nobody knew where she was and it was her turn to bowl. And, in a league, when you're up, YOU'RE UP!! I found her and I'll never forget it and if you've ever met her you already know where she was. If I'd known her then as well as I do now, it's the first place I would have looked.

Lisa was sitting right between the couple, chatting them both up. All three were smiling and sharing and I was just struck by this incredible person and her ability to relate to anybody, including convalescing people three times her age.

That was it. It was all over. And today I'm celebrating the tenth anniversary of the second best decision I ever made in my life. I love you, baby. Happy Anniversary.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Newsboys Pics

My wife takes very good pictures.


Last night's Newsboys concert got me closer to happy. It always takes me a while to recover from an Angels elimination and this year, for many reasons, was especially harsh. But even though the band only played for about 1:15, it was a wonderful time. God was praised. The Word was preached. The music rocked. A large group of local Christians came together and raised voices and hands. And my son was there.

He had a tough time. Even with his "monster-truck-goin'" earphones on, the music was too loud for him, especially at first. I like it loud, but the look on his face reminded me of Greg's reaction to a similar show. We discussed taking him out. But just about the time it looked like he'd had enough, it was time for "Breakfast."

As you Newsboys fans know, when the band plays "Breakfast in Hell," a lot of people start throwing Cap'n Crunch around. 'Cause, y'know, when the toast has burned and all the milk has turned, and Captain Crunch is waving farewell...when the big one finds you may this song remind you that they don't serve breakfast in hell. So the family in front of us turns around and shares their big box of Cap'n Crunch with us. James gets great big fistfuls and starts throwing them skyward. 7-year-old bliss. (By the way, I believe that the difference between the "Cap'n" of cereal fame and the "Captain" sung about in the song is attributable to the lead singer's Australianness. And the fact that I spent time pondering that says more about me than about him.)

There were only a couple of songs left after that, including one where the drummers platform rises on hydraulic lifts high off the stage, does a full 90 degree turn so that the top of his head is now pointing straight at the audience, and begins to spin. So now he's drumming and spinning while sitting on what ought to be the wall. James thought that was pretty cool. Heck, I thought that was pretty cool.

As I've said before, I love going to concerts. Getting to share that love with my son for the first time was something I'll never forget. I just hope he remembers the music, the cereal, and the spinning drummer, and not the initial pain in his eardrums.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Angels in 4

I actually meant that they'd win in 4.

Sheesh. Could the home plate umpire have been any worse? I wonder if he has a nice home in Boston somewhere.


This was a rough weekend for Angels fans. Friday night's game felt like old times as K-Rod gave up that 9th inning bomb to JD Drew. Sunday's game got off to a rough start as Hunter and Kendrick let a weak pop fly (which should have been the last out of the inning) drop between them for a 3-run single. I'll say that again: a 3-run single!

My family quietly left the room for a while at that point.

The ship was eventually righted, however, and the Angels showed that they can actually win a post-season game against the Red Sox, for whom Randy is rooting and there can be no valid explanation for that. We're still friends though Randy. Which proves just how MUCH I love you, brother.

So we're still alive. I have at least one more game to truly care about this season. And if, if, we can squeak another one out tonight, we actually go back home tied. I picked the Angels in 4. Angels in 5 anyone?

Meanwhile, the #22 Bulldogs lost to Hawaii. I'll leave it to other blogs to comment on that mess.

As important as the Angels series is to me...and I'm just going to come right out and admit that it is important to fades to complete irrelevance when contrasted with the message we heard from the pulpit yesterday. I know up there in the upper right hand corner it says that I'll always put Bible before baseball, but today I wanted to save the best for last.

A brief history: The Rodriguez clan are a vital part of the legacy of the College Church. I grew up with Larry. Michael is a dear friend and an elder. Dan was my teacher at church camp, and he is now a man I hold in the highest regard. Dan's two sons, M1 and M2, are preaching the gospel in China.

Yesterday, one of the M's shared some stories of their work. It seems that the two major colleges in all of China are across the street from each other. The greatest minds from all Chinese provinces attend these two schools and those who M & M are converting are students there. These are people with bright futures and high levels of potential influence. One of them acted as escort to the Chinese Premier when he toured one of the campuses.

We heard stories yesterday of the excitement in new Chinese converts. We heard stories of people coming up from the waters of baptism praising God. We heard stories of men and women walking up to strangers and asking them if they wanted to learn about Jesus. We heard one story of a rainy day on a Chinese campus, three young men bursting spontaneously into song, drawing a crowd, and then preaching the gospel to them.

Got chills yet? Sound anything like the book of Acts to you? It's 2008 and the good news of Jesus Christ, his current reign, his coming reign, his death, burial, resurrection, promise to return, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the great love of God for His children is spreading! Chinese students are accepting Christ as Lord and purposing to plant churches in their home provinces. Europeans, hardened to spiritual things, are rubbing shoulders with the redeemed. Americans, prisoners of entertainment and pornography, are learning how to break free. The gospel is still alive and working its way through the ends of the earth!

If that doesn't get your week off to a good start, I don't know what will.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Lackey made one bad pitch.
Bay made one great swing.
Ellsbury made one great catch.
Youkilis made one great play.
Vladdy made one dumb mistake.

And I've got that famliar October feeling again.

It ain't over, but I think Friday's game is a huge one for this franchise. A win rights the ship and gives us confidence that the best team in baseball can go all the way. A loss makes a sweep in Fenway a necessity, and possibly gives the front office the idea that all the spending just isn't paying off.

This is going to be an important off-season for the Angels. They have contract decisions to make on Anderson and Rivera, and they have to decide whether to offer K-Rod and Teixeira crazy money. I think they can sign Anderson for less and let Rivera and K-Rod go. But this team needs Tex. A one-and-done postseason gives a lot of people a lot of reasons not to sign him.

Am I putting to much stock in one game?


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Archive Strolling

Every now and then, I like to stroll through the archives of this blog. Sometimes I'll do it by searching for a particular word or phrase. More often, I'll check back to see what was happening in earlier years on or around this same date. I did that yesterday, September 30, 2008. I found some interesting things:

September 26, 2007:

It's looking like the 2 best teams in baseball are going to square off in a 5-game series to open the playoffs. This still bugs me. I admit the need for the extra round of games, the Wild Card makes it necessary, and I happen to like the Wild Card. But it doesn't seem fair when the fate of the two best teams is decided by a best-3-out-of-5.
Tonight, 2 of the best teams in baseball (props to the Rays and Cubbies) square off in Anaheim. The Angels won 100 games for the first time in franchise history this year. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that ESPN's pick to win the West, Seattle, lost 100 games, thus becoming the first member of the 100/100 club: 100 Losses, $100+ million payroll.

The 3-out-of-5 format still frustrates, but I like our chances. The Angels went 8-1 this year against the Red Sox, including a sweem at Fenway. Also, Manny is whooping it up in Dodgertown, while Teixeira is giving much-needed protection to Vladdy. Angels in 4.

September 30, 2005:

Listened to (not watched, mind you, but listened to) my Angels clinch the West for the second straight year. They were playing the A's so the game was blacked out here since, you know, Fresno is in the Bay Area. ... How much would I LOVE to get back to the Series??? Angels/Cards anyone?
As a life-long Angels fan, it's been great seeing my team in the playoffs 5 out of the past 7 years. It's a recurring theme I'm getting used to. Now, of course, we expect to win. Anything less than a World Series appearance will be disappointing. Another World Championship and this blog will write itself for the rest of 2008.

Also in the same blog post was this:

Met with some men I respect a lot who are trying to work on ways to get a pulpit minister again at College. We've been without one for almost ten years now and it's time.
College has officially made an offer to hire a pulpit minister. This, mind you, three years after this entry. I still feel that a full-time minister is best. But I have to admit that the past three years have changed how I feel about preaching. I'm excited for the future of the church, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to miss it. I'll still have opportunities, but certainly not as often.

Okay, enough reminiscing. If you don't mind too much, please root for the Angels. Remember, in the Bible, the angels are the good guys.

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