Not So Instant Replay

Yesterday Americans from sea to shining sea gathered in homes, around picnic tables, in stadiums, and on sidewalks to pay tribute to those men and women who died while in military service.  We, in addition, remembered loved ones who passed in other ways.  In one way or another, you remembered.  What did you recall?  Where did the memories of that special someone lead your thoughts?  In his poem Nostalgia, Billy Collins writes . . .

As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past, letting my memory rush over them like water rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.

This week, amidst the rush of life, push pause and allow the rush of memory into your day.  Recall that sunny day last year when you watched the eagle soar.  Remember the smile of your daughter as she called out, "Look, Daddy!" as she leapt from the diving board feet first.  Replay the words of love spoken over the phone by your son that began with "Hi, Mom" and ended with "I love you, too."

Think about the moments of the past.

Toss The Corn

I threw a grasshopper, a cowpie, and a dirty bag.  My oldest son followed by tossing a dirty rollup, a hanger, and a screaming eagle.  Before you conclude that my son and I need to register for an anger management class, allow me to explain.  Each of those terms refers to various throwing results in the game of Cornhole.
If Cornhole is foreign to you, as it was to me several years ago, it is a game similar to horseshoes with beanbags rather than than shoes for horses.  My wife and kids bought a game set for me a few years ago for Father's Day.  I enjoy playing (except for the losing part).

The game causes me to wonder.  Who concocted Cornhole?  Whoever it was, he or she bagged a few handfuls of corn and decided to aim for a target (a hole in this case).  Then one or more people joined in.  In a short time, I imagine, lawns chairs were pulled up, stumps were repurposed as stools, and wagers were placed while beverages were poured and snack bowls filled.  Let the games begin!

The origins of traditions fascinate me.  One or a few people took ordinary objects and explored new uses.  Whether necessity or boredom matters not, either often proves to be the mother of invention.  What would happen if you and I explored new ways to serve / act / pray / love / work / invent / care as we took our Ordinary lives and placed them before God?

What ideas do you have? Let me know.  Let me hear from you.

Babies, Baseballs, and Batting Averages

A word to parents:

My great grandmother told a lie – a well-meaning lie, but a lie nevertheless.  To my mom, then pregnant for the first time, she fibbed...

“Don’t worry.  The instructions come with them.”

Babies arrive with tears, hunger, curiosity, even a touch of sinful nature, but certainly not instructions.

When God creates each child, He, as said proverbially, “breaks the mold.”  So, even if by some alignment of the stars, parents master the art of raising their first, their second child sends them back to their rookie year in the minor leagues.

Today I hope that you, as you parent, feel like you hit two runs in for the Cleveland Indians.  You may, however, feel like you just took three strikes for the third time as you stood at the plate for the Akron RubberDucks (yes, that’s actually a team).

Fear not.  You remain on the team!

All parents enjoy when their children live by the words of Colossians 3:20.

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
As you strive to place your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, parenting life as an offering before God, and long for 3:20 to exist in your home, pledge to heed and follow the words of Colossians 3:21...
[Parents] do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
That will make it much easier for them to follow 3:20.

Play ball!

Signed and Delivered

Six hundred thirty-one years ago today, representatives of the nations of England and Portugal signed the Treaty of Windsor, the oldest extant diplomatic alliance in the world.  In addition to signatures, a marriage sealed the deal.  King John I (Portugal) and Philippa of Lancaster (England) married, thus symbollizing peace between their prospective homelands.  Peace sealed through sign and vow.

When we pen our "John Hancock," we vow to . . .
     pay our mortgage
     have sufficient funds for the amount designated on the check
     remain faithful to our marriage vows
     return the rental
     abide by the rules

Signatures and vows authorize and assure.  Yet vows are broken and contracts betrayed.  Checks bounce, houses return to banks, and rules are broken.  In our world of counterfit signatures and fingers-crossed promises, we can, nevertheless, rest assured in at least one promise that will always remain kept and honored. 

I cherish guarantees.  You may remember the days when George Zimmer guaranteed each man that when he left Men's Wearhouse, "You're going to like the way you look."  I imagine that most of the time his guarantee proved to be true; not all the time, however. 

There is one absolute guarantee.

The Scriptures tell us . . .

"Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant."
The better covenant is the gospel, the promise that when we call upon the name of the Lord, we will be saved.  He guarantees it