thumb licks [4.20.13]

My daughter’s Beauty.

The Danger in Talking About Why We Should be Involved in a Church.

Nebula’s in 3-D. The Creator’s art.

7 Ways to support your pastor.

Where are the honest atheists?

Godly lessons from sports.

Bigger than we think. The doctrine of Creation.

Debunking 3 common myths about the resurrection.

How to interpret Christianese.

What is Love?

football vs. soccer

Two things I really like: John Cleese and Word Cup soccer. Now I completely understand the differences between football and soccer! Why didn’t we have this dialogue earlier!? No wonder American’s don’t understand soccer.

nearly perfect forgiveness

On the last out of the last play of a perfect game Umpire Jim Joyce emphatically signaled safe setting off a roar of groans echoing through the stadium. Everyone who saw the play could see that Jason Donald of the Cleveland Indians was out at first base.

The call could not be reversed. It was final. No instant replay. Just a bad call leaving a bad taste in the mouths of Detroit Tigers fans who have never seen a pitcher in their pinstripes pitch perfect game in the entire teams existence.

Joyce later admitted that it was a bad call. It is rare for an umpire to acknowledge a mistake. It really shows genuine humility and character. The veteran umpire personally apologized and hugged the prospective perfect pitcher Armando Galarraga after the game. In the locker room following Joyce said, “It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the [stuff] out of it. I just cost that kid a perfect game.”

Today at the game the team awarded Galarraga with a brand new Corvette. Joyce and Galarraga met at home plate and the pitcher presented the umpire with the Tigers’ lineup card. Joyce shook hands with Galarraga and patted him on the shoulder. Joyce wiped away tears and and went to work. The MLB gave Joyce the option to not work today’s game, but Joyce chose to stick with his job behind the plate.

Joyce later said to reporters, “I wish my family was out of this. I wish they would direct it all to me. It’s a big problem. My wife is a rock. My kids are very strong. They don’t deserve this.”

This is a wonderful lesson of forgiveness and restoration. Joyce’s willingness to admit fault was courageous, but Galarraga smile despite being ripped a perfect game was priceless.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”

lambeau leap

Sarah and I went attended our very first professional football game on Monday Night. We ventured up to the Frozen Tundra of Green Bay Wisconsin to watch our favored Packers beat the Baltimore Ravens, 27-14. It was a balmy 13 degrees in Lambeau Field, but that is normal for America’s Dairyland this time of year. Sarah was toasty. We bundled up in layers of clothes and huddled together with the thousands of other fans dressing in their Green and Gold gear.

It was a dream come true. I have never been to a Green Bay Packers game before. I have visited the historical stadium on numerous occasions, but never for a real game. I had a tear in my eye as we walked the tunnel through the atrium into the stadium. The Pack performed amazing defense, the crowd was an eruption of joyous and boisterous cheers, the air was crisp as an ice box, and the cheeseheads were out in full bloom. We had no sympathy for the Ravens, even though Sarah and I saw the great story of Michael Orr from the movie Blind Side. What a night to remember.

I have not been to Wrigley Field or the House that Babe built, but Lambeau is one epic arena. They are the Yankee’s of the NFL sporting 13 championships and innumerable Hall of Famers. We sat under the names of men like Ray Nitschke and Reggie White ‘the minister of defense.’ I got the honor of meeting Nitschke while working at Schmidt Sporting Goods as a teenager. He was a gentleman in person, but on the field a terror.

One word summarizes our MNF experience: priceless.

Go Packer Go!

go brewers

The last time a baseball team from Milwaukee made it to the playoffs I was just becoming potty trained and mouthing my first few words, “Robin Yount!” Ah, those were the days!

This year the Brew Crew barely squeezed into the playoffs as a wild card. I am excited and proud to say that I am a Brewers fan. Though I do not support the binge-drinking associated with Miller Park, I am a big fan of the sourkraut filled brats and the 7th inning stretch Weiner Race. Go Polish Sausage! And let’s go Brewers. Roll out the barrell and get another win for Bernie and the gang.

b4 Favre

A lot of people have been asking me lately what I think about the whole Brett Favre fiasco. Why? I am unsure. I am not a sports expert nor does my opinion really matter. I suppose it is because I am an avid cheesehead that no longer lives in the Dairy State.

In case you were wondering what my thoughts were on Favre, here it is:

  • I am glad the drama is over. As the old saying goes, “save the drama for your mama.”
  • I am glad the Packers had moved on and put faith in their new QB and team post-Favre.
  • I am glad Favre found a spot on a new team. Go Jets. I am a fan, only for Brett’s sake.
  • I am glad to be a Green Bay Packers fan!!
You know, before Brett Favre the Packers were the Packers–the New York Yankees of football. They will always be the Green Bay Packers with or without Favre. Favre will always be known as a GBP (as my good buddy Caleb Korth says in his thick Wisconsin accent, “Favre 4-ever.”), and one day this mess will be forgotten about when his number is official retired, if he ever decides to retire.

the slump

It is really embarrassing to strike out in slow pitch softball. The ball comes in nice and SLOW, not to mention a softball is twice as big as a baseball.
The night was going great. I had a double and an in the park homerun. Our team was winning. All was about to change, for me. I suppose it all went to my head, I thought I could crush every ball to the fence. The only thing that got crushed was my pride. Whiff! The next 5 at-bats I struck out. Sure I could make the excuse that it was one-pitch league, that I was tired, or that the pitcher was good (throwing them low and short, which really gets me drooling). I was so frustrated with myself. I wanted to throw the bat, curse like a sailor, and sit on the bench in a pout. But the team wouldn’t let me…
The other players on my church softball team came along side me and saught to encourage me. Rollie, the coach, gave me some back-to-the-basics pointers like, “Keep your eye on the ball…follow through with your swing…step-up in the box…forget about your last up-to-bat” He really encouraged me.
I was having what baseball calls a slump. I was determined to shake this slump with the encouragement of my teammates. My next at-bat I step up to the plate, took my stance in the front of the batters box, picked up my elbows, looked to the sky for strength from my God, and then watch the pitch slowly reach the plate. I swung. Crack! The ball made contact with the bat and rifled over the shortstops head. Base hit. You would have thought I won the game. I almost cried. My teammates were cheering, and I was relieved because the strikeout slump was over.
Slumps happen in others places than softball or baseball. They can happen in life. Have you ever been in a spiritual slump? I know, I have. How do you get out of a spiritual slump? The same way you get out of a sporting slump…by getting back to the basics, by surround yourself with teammates that will cheer you on and encourage you to get back to the plate and hit that ball. Nothing is more satisfying that sticking to the game through the slump, stepping up the the plate, and keeping your eye on the Prize–JesusChrist.

Oh, go milk a cow!!!

Don’t you hate it when people think out loud. Like we want to hear their idiotic jargon. I was enjoying the Wisconsin-Purdue game on Saturday with my family. A perfect day for football. Of course, the Badgers were giving the Boilermakers a royal spanking. However, there was this guy behind us belching boyish comments. Every time WI would score, which was a lot, he would yell silly comments like…

“Oh, go milk a cow”
“Why do you go make some cheese”
“Wisconsin, isn’t that where Jeffrey Damer is from?”
“How about them Packers this year?”
Needless to say, he received the silent treatment. Why start a verbal fight that wouldn’t get anywhere, but hot-headed? So now everytime someone gets on my nerves, in the memory of Captain Crazy-Mouth, I tell my foes to “milk a cow”!!!
This event reminded me of the Christian life. As Christians we wear our Red-Crimson (like Badger) colored clothing stained with the blood of Christ, which leads to ridicule by the Black-as-sin enemy crowd. All the while we come out on top as the winners in real life. Like that rationalization?