Monday, January 31, 2011

Another Jerry Rant

P. T. Barnum once said 'There is a sucker born every minute." No doubt, Jerry Jones believes in that same philosophy. He is offering $250 tickets (must be bought in blocks of 4) to be able to be OUTSIDE THE STADIUM and watch the Super Bowl on video. That is outrageous! But guess what? People are scarfing these tickets up.

Having been a Cowboy fan for most of my life, I never cease to be amazed at the blind loyalty of the fans to Jerry's comedy act. By far, now the longest stretch of mediocrity in Cowboy history. And yet most people still view him as a "winner."

Here is another thing that I don't get, and I can't believe that the NFL has agreed to it. They are going to allow the above-mentioned fans who are going to be watching the game on a video screen to be counted as in attendance so that Jerry can claim to have hosted the largest Super Bowl in history. Why not count the people at the surrounding restaurants and bars who are watching the game? Let's just make up definitions for what "attendance" means. If someone drives by our church building on Sunday mornings, can we count them in our attendance figure? Or how about the nursing home residents that our deacons go and hold services with on Sunday morning? Or people who wished they could be there, but are sick at home.

I know, I'm on a rant again. Jerry does this to me a couple of times a year. The Cowboys used to be the class-act of the NFL. How they have fallen! Now, as much as I hate to admit it, the class organization is probably the Pittsburgh Steelers. So the Cowboys get to watch the two organizations that have historically been the biggest thorns in their side duke it out in THEIR backyard. How ironic is that?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Grieving "Lasts"

As we continue in our grief journey, I have had plenty of people warn me about all the "1st." 1st birthday without Jenny. 1st Mother's Day. 1st Father's Day. 1st Christmas. And on and on.

But one thing I was not prepared for is "lasts." Right now, in every direction I turn, I am reminded of "lasts." Last time we went out to eat together was on a Sunday in late January. We met Jenny and David and Malaya at Chili's in Keller. Last time I saw her before she went into the hospital was Saturday, January 22nd at one of Malaya's basketball games. I had just gotten a Blackberry and she was proud that I had entered into the 21st century. Josh tweeted yesterday about the last conversation he had with her was a year ago last Wednesday. And Beverly stayed with her on Thursday night before she got sick on Friday because Beverly had a plane to catch the next morning.

So a year ago tomorrow began our journey. January 29th: The day Jenny got sick with "the flu." As you may know by now, that was a wrong diagnosis. She had strep. She was given a prescription of Tamiflu and we thought everything would be fine. What we did not know was that strep was racing through her body unchecked for 6 days. A simple dose of antibiotic and this precious daughter, wife, mother and friend would still be with us.

Oh God, may we lay it all at your feet. And may we rest in Your peace.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Union

I try not to be very political in my blogs. Part of that is because I have become fairly cynical about politics. Over the last 20 years, I have watched one side be in power -- and then the other. And seemingly nothing gets done. For instance, how long do we have to hear that there is a Social Security crisis -- but never anything done about it?

I liked many things I heard from President Obama last night. I realize that such speeches, like sermons, might move people for a few hours -- and are then forgotten. But I am guardedly hopeful that perhaps both parties are getting the message from the American people: Get some things done in a bipartisan manner -- or we will vote you out.

At the risk of offending some, I do have to wonder about one thing. I am a fiscal conservative. But I don't understand why Republicans are so opposed to investing in alternative fuels. Isn't it obvious that at some point we are going to HAVE to do that? To be proactive about it would create many new jobs, as well as allow us to be less dependent on the very people who would love to see us "submitted" to them (the Middle East). The only reason I can think of as to why there is so much opposition to it is because so many are beholding to the oil lobbyists.

Just my opinion.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sold-out Discipleship

I find myself longing for intimacy with God more than I ever have in my life. Why does it seem to be so difficult? I know it has a lot to do with previous rut patterns, but I sure wish it was as easy as saying, "Today is going to be different than the last 54 years." After all, choosing poor patterns in the past wasn't all that hard!

I know a sold-out life is a process. I just want to speed the process up!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why Did We Elect Them?

The political rhetoric in our country is receiving a lot of attention these days. None more than Sarah Palin's "crosshairs" remark. Some in the media have attempted to pin the events in Arizona on her. Yet NOTHING about the insane murderer suggests that he acted for such a reason.

I heard a quote on talk radio from President Obama in which he said something to the effect of "if the Republicans bring knives to the table, we will bring guns." Interesting how this has not received any media attention.

Then yesterday, a Congressman compared those opposed to the Obama healthcare bill to Nazis who were guilty of the holocaust. Really?

I have read enough history to know that the current rhetoric is nothing new. In fact, if you go back to the 1800s, it was much worse. Does it need to stop? Absolutely.

In fact, wouldn't it be refreshing if both sides of the aisle quit with the posturing and name-calling -- and actually constructively dealt with the problems of our nation? What a novel idea.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My New Normal

I haven't blogged in a while. Last week was an interesting one. It began Monday when I went in for some oral surgery. That afternoon I began feeling bad, and when I got home I was running a high fever. So I stayed home sick for a couple of days. Then on Friday I had a medical procedure (test) that required intense preparation on Thursday. So my body was pretty worn out by the end of the week.

I still don't have anything to blog about today. I continue to be overwhelmed by what grieving people deal with. We made it through the holidays in a bitter-sweet way. More good moments than bad. But I have been blindsided by what I am going through now. As we approach a year since Jenny went into the hospital, every day I am reminded of what we were doing at this time last year -- and how healthy she was. Not a clue as to what awaited us in a matter of a few days.

Saturday Beverly and I went to Malaya's first basketball game. The last memory I have of Jenny before she entered the hospital was of her cheering for Malaya last year. I could hear her voice Saturday cheering her daughter on.

I rest in His peace.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

2nd Chances

It's a feel-good story that is sweeping the nation. Ted Williams, an ex-drug addict and alcoholic, found himself a homeless beggar. His piece of cardboard acknowledges that he has a God-given gift: his voice. And what a voice it is!

Since being "discovered," Ted has been offered a number of jobs. According to "Good Morning, America" today, he has accepted a job with the Cleveland Cavaliers as an announcer. They will provide him a house, as well as a salary.

In an interview, Williams thanked God for giving him a second chance. I love that!

But then I got to thinking: What would I put on my piece of cardboard in hopes of receiving a 2nd chance? What would you put?

Truth is we don't bring anything that causes God to say that we deserve a 2nd chance. And I am not suggesting that Mr. Williams meant that. We bring a tattered piece of cardboard -- covered with sin. And in return, we are bathed in grace.

I wish Ted Williams the very best! And I hope he continues to walk in grace.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Forgiving as We Have Been Forgiven

I read the following quote yesterday. A theologian by the name of Soong-Chan Rah suggested that "before grace can be extended, forgiveness must be asked." This led to the following online response to Christianity Today magazine: "If Jesus Christ had taken such an approach, we would all be hopeless."

I cannot say that forgiveness comes easily for me. It is truly something that I have to choose to obey. But I have never understood people who want to limit extending forgiveness like the above theologian. It seems SO unChristlike.

Interestingly, yesterday I also began reading Philip Yancey's new book, What Good is God? In it he references a website called (Adopt a terrorist for Prayer). I went to the website, run by a Christian who serves in the U.S. military. I must say, I had to stop and think about this for a while. But I think this guy is right.

Here is an exerpt from the homepage of his site:

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" Matthew 5: 44

Why Pray for a Terrorist? Why Pray for a Sponsor of Terrorism?

Where is the Christian response to terrorism? If the struggle against violence done in the name of Islam is primarily spiritual, then defeating it requires a spiritual response.

This site features FBI and State Department identified terrorists and terrorism sponsors. Terrorism inspires fear. According to Jesus, the antidote of fear is love.

When we hate, we are reactive victims. When we love we seize the initiative. Love for country helps soldiers to risk their lives. Love for children enables parents to discipline them without being intimidated. Love for us took Jesus to the cross. Love for enemies will give courage to face, overcome, and transform them and the environment that breeds them.

Historically, Stephen was the first fatality in terrorism directed against Jesus' followers. As Stephen died from stoning, he prayed, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." Later, Paul, who had supervised Stephen's stoning, met Jesus in a vision and repented.

Can we pray like Stephen prayed then? Would Paul have repented if Stephen hadn't prayed?

If you are interested, I would encourage you to visit the website. Peace.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Blessed New Year

This year "Happy New Year" rings kind of hollow to me. So instead I am wishing people blessings in this new year. And I am discovering in new ways that blessings can come even when we are not in the "happiest" of times.

So to all I wish a blessed New Year! May the peace of God rest on you.