Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I had been pulling for the Rays because my best friend in baseball, Gabe Gross, is on the Rays' roster. Rays' third base coach, Tom Foley, is also a long-time friend. The Rays' Cinderella season ended too soon but they have a solid nucleus to build on for next season.
I'm pleased that Pat Gillick (pictured), Phillies' GM, won the World Series in his final term with the World Champions. His expertise was instrumental in the Toronto Blue Jays' two World Series Championships in 1992 and 1993. CONGRATULATIONS, Pat!
Spring Training will roll around before we know it and the Blue Jays will contend next season.
Mark my words!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Every Christmas we receive a card from the Kingery family. Mike played for many years in the big leagues with several different teams.
Mike and Chris have eight children and I just discovered this photo on the web page for Mike's baseball school.
Hopefully I'll get to hear this talented family before we get to heaven. If not, we'll all join the heavenly choir and sing "for the ages to come."
Monday, October 27, 2008
He poses this question:
"What's making you bite your nails these days? I don't mean the little foxes that nibble at your mind. I'm not referring to those unimportant intruders that interrupt your day like a dripping faucet, a misplaced set of keys, or a flat tire in the morning. I'm referring to the ulcer-causing, big-time, mental monsters that crawl into your head, then go with you to bed and steal your sleep. Also there are the relentless worries that take away the delight of a much-needed weekend holiday. I have in mind those dread concerns that you can't shake off. Does anything make you anxious like that?"
Good question! My answer? Of course I battle with many intruders that wage war with my peace.
Swindoll continues, "Stubborn anxieties work like petty thieves in the dark corners of our thoughts as they pickpocket our peace and kidnap our joy."
"The tough stuff of anxiety threatens to strangle the life out of us, leaving us asphyxiated by fear and grasping for hope."
Swindoll's own definition of anxiety reads as follows. "Anxiety is the painful uneasiness of the mind that feeds on impending fears."
"In the mildest form we simply churn. In its most severe form we panic."
I'm reminded of an old hymn that surfaced in my mind as I was reading Swindoll's book. It goes something like this:
"All your anxiety, all your care,
Bring to the mercy seat - leave it there;
Never a burden He cannot bear,
Never a friend like Jesus."
Give it up! Give Him your anxious thoughts! By the way, I'm talking to myself!
Ann closes her post with the following cry to God:
"Father God, when today hurts, remind me that this is just part of the living, love and lament. They come together. How You know it."
David's final note:
Living, love and lament. We NEVER are free from the lament so let's not pretend that it's not there. It's part of living. It's part of love.
Friday, October 24, 2008
This afternoon I was speaking to his father Brian in the Memorial Centre here in Peterborough. David's younger brother Gavin is in town for a hockey tournament.
When I arrived home I had an e-mail from David. Tonight the Bombers were in Johnstown, PA to play the Chiefs. David started in net and got the shutout as Dayton squeaked past the Chiefs 1-0.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
What a night! It appeared as though the Jays were going down to defeat to the Phillies and I headed down to the clubhouse to console the guys. I was wrong!
Carter's home run secured the Jays' 2nd straight World Championship and I was the first guy at the clubhouse door. Rather than consoling I was congratulating and celebrating!
Where have the years gone? The memories will live on forever. Thanks for the great times, Joe!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I'll be working in the area of Donor Relations, visiting donors and staying in touch by phone, letters and electronic communication (e-mails).
The SIM Canada office is based in Scarborough (Toronto). I'll be on the road several days a month, will be in the Toronto office several days and will be able to work from my Peterborough office as well. This 4-day week position which will be "right down my alley."
I will be leaving my contract position with Christian Horizons effective November 2nd but will continue to work some relief shifts if and when my schedule permits.
I'll continue to carry on the letter-writing ministry to athletes, Epistle Sports Ministries, and our exciting and profitable ministry to the Peterborough Petes through Hockey Ministries International will continue.
Thanks for your prayers as I make this transition. Missions has always been a passion of mine and this will give me an opportunity to be involved in a tangible way.
Monday, October 20, 2008
My good friend Gabe Gross and the Tampa Bay Rays are World Series bound after knocking off the Boston Red Sox last night. We wish Gabe all the best as he gets to fulfill a dream.
The following article appeared in the TAMPA TRIBUNE last week:
ST. PETERSBURG - When Coach Tony Dungy won the 2007 Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts, he took advantage of his moment in the national spotlight to give the glory to God.
Gabe Gross of the Tampa Bay Rays does that every time he steps up to the batter's box.
In choosing the Christian worship song "Blessed Be Your Name" as his walk-up theme at Tropicana Field, the Rays' outfielder publicly declares his faith before live crowds and TV audiences at every home game.
"It's about the Lord giving and the Lord taking away," Gross, 29, said of his chosen song during a phone interview from Boston. "In good times and bad, we need to honor him no matter what. That's what I believe and what I want to represent in my life."
His music selection – Christian songwriter Matt Redman's 2005 Dove Award winner for best worship song - is a departure from the fare selected by most of his teammates.
Some of their theme songs: "Knocking Doors Down" by Pimp C (pitcher Scott Kazmir), "Low" by T. Pain featuring Flo Rida (infielder Willy Aybar) and "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath (outfielder Rocco Baldelli).
Gross, who was raised a Baptist, makes his off-season home in Auburn, Ala., where he attended college. He and his wife, Kelly, recently announced they're expecting their first child in May.
"It's been a blessed year all the way around," said Gross, who was traded to the Rays from the Milwaukee Brewers in April – just in time for the team's transforming season that took them from worst in 2007 to first in the American League East Division.
He admits "there are definite challenges" to being a professional athlete, particularly when players and salaries rise to star status. Some get drawn into an intoxicating lifestyle of drugs, material excess and late-night partying and end up in legal or personal trouble.
Putting his faith first keeps him focused on what he considers most important, Gross said. He attends Sunday chapel led by the team chaplain while on the road and has a few Christian friends on the team to talk with when he needs support.
It's not about winning or losing. It's about staying in the word of God," he said.
On the road or at home, he begins every day in solitude with his Bible, drawing inspiration from the Scriptures.
And fans may spot him in worship out in right field during a game, singing a worship song out loud to himself. He and evangelist Billy Graham share the same favorite hymn: "How Great Thou Art."
He had another motive in picking "Blessed Be Your Name" as his signature song. He wants to connect with other Christians in the stands.
Jenn Carideo got the message. She recognized it the first time she heard it at Tropicana Field.
"I thought, 'Wow, this isn't something you expect to hear at a baseball game, of all places.' It put a whole positive spin on the experience for me," said Carideo, who attends First Presbyterian Church in downtown Tampa.
She gives kudos to Gross for making a "bold statement" about his beliefs in an atmosphere where it may not get a friendly reception.
'"It's refreshing that someone is man enough to do that," she said.
She also likes the idea that her 4-year-old son, Mac, also an avid baseball fan, hears the same song in church and at the ballpark.
The Rays need one more victory against the Red Sox to win the AL Championship Series and earn a spot in the World Series. Game 5 is Thursday night in Boston. Games 6 and 7, if necessary, would be played in St. Petersburg this weekend.
Is Gross turning to prayer for a World Series slot?
"Oh, I'm just enjoying the experience right now. We're having a blast," he said with a laugh. "My prayer is that everything I do will honor God, no matter what happens, but it sure would be nice to take it all the way."
By MICHELLE BEARDEN | The Tampa Tribune
Published: October 15, 2008
Here's that "old" devotional thought from the past:
My favourite scripture verse is Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” I quote it often. The “epistles” I send out often bear this verse. To my discredit, some of my friends often quote God’s word back to me when I fail to fall back into those everlasting arms.
The founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance penned the following words that meant much to me this morning:
“Art thou sunk in depths of sorrow,
Where no arm can reach so low?
There is One whose arms Almighty
Reach beyond thy deepest woe,
God th’ Eternal is thy refuge –
Let it still thy wild alarms;
Underneath thy deepest sorrow
Are the everlasting arms.”
- Rev. A. B. Simpson
Run to your Refuge today and find solace in those strong arms!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Tim Challies posted the following on his excellent web site today:
Here’s a quote I've heard often and one that has stirred me every time. It describes John Paton (pictured), missionary to the New Hebrides, leaving his home in Torthorwald to attend missionary school in Glasgow (just to get to the train he had to walk some forty miles). His godly father accompanied him for the first portion of the journey.
Here is what happened:
"My dear father walked with me the first six miles of the way. His counsels and tears and heavenly conversation on that parting journey are fresh in my heart as if it had been but yesterday; and tears are on my cheeks as freely now as then, whenever memory steals me away to the scene. For the last half mile or so we walked on together in almost unbroken silence - my father, as was often his custom, carrying hat in hand, while his long flowing yellow hair (then yellow, but in later years white as snow) streamed like a girl's down his shoulders. His lips kept moving in silent prayers for me; and his tears fell fast when our eyes met each other in looks for which all speech was vain! We halted on reaching the appointed parting place; he grasped my hand firmly for a minute in silence, and then solemnly and affectionately said: "God bless you, my son! Your father's God prosper you, and keep you from all evil!"
Unable to say more, his lips kept moving in silent prayer; in tears we embraced, and parted. I ran off as fast as I could; and, when about to turn a corner in the road where he would lose sight of me, I looked back and saw him still standing with head uncovered where I had left him - gazing after me. Waving my hat in adieu, I rounded the corner and out of sight in instant. But my heart was too full and sore to carry me further, so I darted into the side of the road and wept for time. Then, rising up cautiously, I climbed the dike to see if he yet stood where I had left him; and just at that moment I caught a glimpse of him climbing the dike and looking out for me! He did not see me, and after he gazed eagerly in my direction for a while he got down, set his face toward home, and began to return - his head still uncovered, and his heart, I felt sure, still rising in prayers for me. I watched through blinding tears, till his form faded from my gaze; and then, hastening on my way, vowed deeply and oft, by the help of God, to live and act so as never to grieve or dishonor such a father and mother as he had given me."
Saturday, October 18, 2008
This version was recorded with Legacy Five before the Lord called Roger home after a valiant battle with cancer.
Who are your heroes of the faith?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I've got good reason to do so if only to cause you to ask.
My lips are sealed. You must surf over to Ann Voskamp's place, her Holy Experience.
There you will learn.
And you will discover much more at Holy Experience. You will note the reflections of a farmer's wife, a godly mother, an excellent writer, a woman who struggles with the rhythms and rigors of life...and seems to win.
Check out the cheese! JUST DO IT!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
This Conference and Retreat Center is operated by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Several years ago I paid a brief visit to The Cove but I've never stayed there...yet.
God's handiwork is clearly displayed in nature and His Word is faithfully proclaimed at The Cove.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I'm only 50 pages into this memoir but I've found myself laughing hilariously one minute and then, quickly, feeling Miller's angst as he relates the struggles his family encountered.
Here's a short trailer concerning the book and a DVD that is also available. I'm looking forward to my journey through Life Is Mostly Edges.
Here's a recent post from Ann's Holy Experience:
In my own way, I have known dark. A black memory's suffocated for years, this recurring nightmare of my younger sister's body falling under the wheel, her lifeless little body laying still in a pool of blood in our laneway. That horror-moment's smoldered at the fringe of dark days, branded our nights.
Too, my mother’s mental hospitalizations, depression, and hauntings studded my childhood, months of me trying to fill Mama’s shoes that were painfully too large for little girl feet.
Then divorce shattered our home, cracked our memories.
Agoraphobia strangled me during my university years.
I cried with the rain the day I miscarried.
For me, in my own way, I have known moonless nights. Others know nights to fall far darker, inky, impenenetrable black.
Terminal diagnosis, dug graves, empty wombs, living nightmares with no dawn in sight. Is He really enough? Dayenu?
Like Jacob, on moonless nights we wrestle in the dark with He who allows this dark, this anguish. “I will not let you go until you bless me.”
Like Jacob, we struggle with God: Why this? Give me something different! Do you not love me? I didn’t ask for this, I don’t want this. The pain of this is unbearable, inhumane. Bless me! Bless me! He renames us. We are Israel, the God-wrestlers.
Abram, Sarai, they know this writhing too, this wrestling in the night and how the cold dark wears at a soul.
Hadn’t God heard their pleas for a child, a babe of their own, with Abram’s eyes and Sarai’s nose, to hold close and dream over?
Month after agonizing month, Sarai is empty, nothing moves in her, their nights have no little one to swaddle and comfortingly kiss. They simply cling to each other in the moonless silence. God had promised. But has given nothing—or something: cutting sorrow. They self-medicate the pain.
Sarai gives her husband Hagar and says. “Go. Sleep with her. Do what it takes to takes away this burning ache. Relieve this sore soul.”
Come a night nearly a year later, the dark is pierced with a baby’s cry. A child! One to hold! A babe to rock, a son to love, a man with their name! The dawn must be close and warm? Instead the nightmare continues, Hagar and Ishmael, this thorn stabbing deep in Sarai’s side.
For thirteen long years, the moonless night hangs. Then, finally, God appears: "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, 'I am God Almighty, El Shaddai.' ” El Shaddai, literally translated, reads, "God Almighty who is all sufficient" or "God Almighty who is more than enough."
Dayenu. More than enough.
A quarter of a century since the promise was made, and the dawn had never come. Thirteen stretching years of the pain of Hagar’s son while Sarai’s womb shriveled. In the smothering dark of that night, God now comes and says “I am El Shaddai. I am enough.” In a hopeless, impossible situation He says, “Come. Know me as the One who is enough, the sufficient God, El Shaddai.”
Dayenu. More than enough.
Is He really enough? Elizabeth Elliot writes her intimate experience of this God who makes such a claim:
“But it is precisely when we do not have what we would ask for, and only then, that we can clearly perceive His all-sufficiency. It is when the sea is moonless that the Lord has become my Light.”
Is it so? When I do not have what I would ask for---peace, certainty, painless days, settled nights --- when I don’t have all that my soul cries for, it is then I stumble into the mysterious, buoying truth: He is enough. He reveals Himself as the light, the dawn, when my night is the darkest.
Grieving Boothe, having just lost her baby girl, writes courageously of her moonless sea of sadness:
“Sitting in the sorrow means embracing all the emotions, all the incredibly painful stabs of disappointment and anger and frustration and agony that jab at the heart almost every single second of the day...
It means finally, finally, embracing the fact that He has created nothing that will give us as much joy and peace and fulfillment as Himself.”
It is good that we have wrestled, for now we know: He alone is El Shaddai, the one who shows Himself to be enough precisely when we do not have what our heart howls for. Like Jacob, we haggardly come through the night. But the God-wrestle has left us changed. In the black, He has touched us.
We limp and we remember.
Like Jacob, we name this place, this moonless night of wrestling, Peniel-- literally meaning "God’s face"--- for in the middle of the black, we have seen God face to face.
And feeling along His features, we find Him to be El Shaddai: Enough. The dark becomes our dawn. Lord, let the dark come. For in the dark, when I think I don't have enough to make it through to the dawn, is the only place I'll find that You alone are more than enough. In my dark, You dawn. In the dark places of today, let me touch Your face and know You: El Shaddai.
Today's drink of Scripture: "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of El Shaddai." ~Psalm. 91:1
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Crispy fallen leaves blanket the forest floor
Sun beams catch the rising mist
making it suddenly visible
Cooler air filters through the wooded bush
Squirrels scurry to bury their new-found treasures
Summer is over and we can't call it back
Autumn has arrived.
If only we could freeze it before the
Real deep freeze arrives.
Fall beauty is unsurpassed
He is immutable
And I'm thankful
What a beautiful time of the year!
We are grateful to God that my mom was able to come home from the hospital for the weekend. She had been there for over 11 weeks!
God is certainly GOOD and we praise Him for the blessings He lavishes on us.
Be blessed today!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Listen here to a moving song entitled For God So Loved. Be blessed and encouraged as you're reminded of God's great love.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and to Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. - 2 Corinthians 1:20
When the great pastor and hymnist, Isaac Watts, grew aged and sick, he had a visit from a friend. As they conversed, Watts spoke of once hearing a minister preach about "the plain promises of the Gospel."
It was a phrase Watts liked. "And so I find it," he told his friend. "They are the plain promises of the Gospel that are my support, and I bless God they are plain promises, which do not require much labor or pains to understand them, for I can do nothing now but look into my Bible for some promise to support me, and live upon that.
"God has given us His promises to use as a shepherd uses his rod and staff to support himself, as a house uses its foundation to remain solid, as weary Jacob used a rock for a pillow and had dreams of heaven.The Lord does not forget His promises. We can cling to them, but even better—we can rest in them. They will never fail.
I'll read the histories of Thy love,
And keep Thy laws in sight,
While through the promises I rove,
With ever fresh delight.
- Isaac Watts
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Does there seem to be no answer as you cry out to the Father?
Does it seem as though He has deserted you?
HE HASN'T! He rides the storm with you and His everlasting arms are always undergirding us. Trust Him. Praise Him in the storm. He's trustworthy and He will bring you through.
Click here to hear "I Will Praise Him In The Storm" by Casting Crowns.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Sad but true. Yesterday I toured one of our local churches, an old edifice that I've always admired. The architecture is incredible! I've often wondered what revival might look like if it hit our city...and it happened in that church.
The tour guide asked if we'd visited the old Sunday School hall. I said "no" and she said, "it's no longer used for Sunday School, it's used for yoga classes." Sad!
Many Christians see no conflict with Christ followers being involved in yoga. Until somebody can convince me otherwise, I do have trouble with that. Yoga's roots in Eastern religions warn me to keep my distance.
Hope you have a great weekend!
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Who is this person? Doesn't this sound like someone who tells it like it is?
Here's her self profile:
Freelance writer, retired nurse, friend to the broken-hearted. Out of sync with the world; utterly dependent upon God. Artsy, creative, and warm. Sensitive. Sometimes too sensitive. Introspective. Sometimes too introspective. Funny - I crack myself up. Missionary with a pen; soul mate to the weary. Easy going til I get freaked out. Sentimental, hormonal, sometimes both at the same time.
I believe in knee-mail, giving from the heart, speaking the truth in love, standing up for what's right, walking by faith, and relying on the inexhaustible grace of God. I've discovered that psycho-babble can't help me, the self-reliant can't understand me, but true spirituality is a living, breathing, saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
"The waves bore him away; but, strange to say brought him back a little later, and he said, 'Are you saved now?' 'No,' I said, 'I cannot honestly say that I am.' He said again, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,' and shortly after he went down; and there, alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed. I am John Harper's last convert." (Aguilla Webb)
Taken from the "Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations" by Paul Lee Tan
"For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." - Psalm 103:11-12
Do not let any of the things of the world or past mistakes paralyze your hearts. I believe there are Christians who have allowed some of their past mistakes to paralyze them. You were so bright and cheerful in your spiritual life once, and then you made some tragic mistake or had something happen to you. You got out of it somehow, and prayed and wept your way out of it. But it did something to you, and now you cannot lick it.
Past wrongs that have been done to you, past failures, times you thought you were going to win and did not, or present sins or discouragement-these things are not mental at all. They are deeper than that; they are subconscious, and they prevent us from believing. I most urgently exhort you, and I trust God Almighty to deliver you; to sponge that out of your spirit; to sponge that out of your heart so you are not hindered by unbelief.
Rut, Rot or Revival: The Condition of the Church, pp. 162-163
"Lord, I'm surely not the only one who desperately needs this reminder this morning. So many of us struggle with past sins, failures, or hurts. I pray for all of my fellow-servants who need deliverance, who need to have the past sponged out of their spirits and hearts. Amen."