Archive for June, 2006

Presidential Scholarship award winner Andrew Benecke presented President Bush with a copy of John Piper’s Life as a Vapor.  This great little book (a 31-day devotional) makes a great gift.  It is a solid reminder that our days are done quickly.  As a result, we ought to find our delight in the right things.  It is a series of meditations on James.  That a Presidential Scholar gets it, is awesome.  I’m guessing he’s viewing his intellect as a gift to be used in the Redeeming King’s service.  Bone cancer has a way of doing that to you.  And so does a war.  The story is mostly about the war and politics.  The picture, and mention of this gift, is nearly an afterthought.  But it is the little things that can become the biggest things.

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Please Danny, No AI

The Hub is still hopping on the talk of Allen Iverson coming to the Celtics.  This is not a given.  Other teams are interested, such as Atlanta and Denver.  The questions are: Do they have the assets Philly wants?  Are the 76s willing to trade within the division, facing the wrath of AI often?

Well, I’m not too excited about this.  Like Jackie Mac and Bob Ryan, I see serious chemistry issues here.  He’s a great player, and a lousy teammate.  We all could be wrong, but thus far there is no evidence to the contrary.  Yes, he gets alot of assists for a ball hog.  My guess, most of those are in the open court and NOT when in the half-court offense when he tends to pound the ball looking for his shot.

Ainge said in an interview with Shira Springer that he didn’t feel the pressure to win NOW.  But this move puts the emphasis on now.  I want to win- but I right now I’d like to do with Pierce as the main man.  There are other talented guys the Celtics are considering, who would be able to work with Paul, not be the alpha dog.  AI is not one of those.  Get the brain doctor on this guy before signing off on this.

The team would certainly fill some more seats, and the ownership has to like that idea.  The Celtics would probably live on the line with the way these 2 guys draw contact and how the refs now seem to be calling games (crap, just got whistled for fouling DWade, again).  But that makes for boring basketball in my book.  Let them run the floor.

I see the potential for greatness, and a title here.  But the potential of trainwreck looms far larger.  Danny listened to my pleas concerning Redick [ 😮 ].  So maybe he’ll listen to me now [:-)].

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Make That 12 Straight

This win streak has been built on great pitching, great defense (like Coco’s catch last night, and many a play by Gonzalez) and timely hitting.  Well, for the most part they’ve just been spanking the ball.  The swept the best team in the NL (hopefully a sign of things to come).

The Sox have come together after some serious injury issues.  They have gone from behind the Yanks to being up 4.  It is great to see what this team is capable of doing- they weren’t really showing that earlier.

Now they get to visit some old friends in Florida- the Marlins, who have been playing much better as of late.

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I can be so cynical.  But there is so much goofy stuff out there that aides and abets my cynicism.  Like this church, the Pointe.

This would be going beyond contexualization to worldliness, in my book.  Christian pirates?  Isn’t that like Christian mobsters or prostitutes?  Doesn’t Jesus call us out of such sin?

  • What You Can Expect:

              A relaxed, comfortable environment where you can be yourself.
  •           Energetic music that will rock your life.           A place where you can test drive timeless truths. 

              A nurturing environment where your kids can grow spiritually.

The whole message seems more driven by culture than truth rather than truth impacting culture.  I love movies, but I don’t base my sermon series on them (or TV shows like CSI or 24).  I don’t think it’s just that I’m getting old.

HT: Justin Taylor

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Pedro pitched so well in Fenway, until tonight.  He gives us 8 runs, 6 earned in three innings, and the Sox bats are adding more.  He never had to face the Red Sox offense before.

So the Red Sox remain the only team that Pedro has not defeated.  Maybe next time…

Josh Beckett seems to be over his slump, as he has strung together a series of great starts in this 12 game win streak.  Schilling has altered his grip and has improved.  A rotation of Schill, Beckett, Wake & Lester looks pretty darn good right now.

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The Celtics sent Raef LaFrentz, Dan Dickau and the 7th overall pick (here’s where I’m not buying) to Portland for Sebastian Telfair and Theo Ratliff.

The shocker was the inclusion of Raef & Theo (not mentioned in Chad Ford or Andy Katz’s material).

Raef was primarily a perimeter player offensively, and had gotten to be a defensive liability.  Though Theo is long in the tooth, he does provide some solid interior defense.  He’ll play less than Raef did (opening the way for young guys), and has one less year on his contract.  I’ll take Telfair over Dickau anyday. 

But did we have to give up the pick???  I can see pictures of a GREAT player slipping to #7.  I figured we’d at least get a 2nd round pick. 

Update: The Celtics are rumored to have made a deal for the Sun’s pick Rajon Rondo from Kentucky,  Hmmm, another point guard who can’t shoot.  Well, unlike Greene at least he can pass.  And apparently play defense.  Not sure I’m loving this.  Dicky V. isn’t.  Sounds like Rajon is the Alex Gonzalez of basketball, maybe.

Sadly, they took Foye for the Blazers, who then traded him to Minny for Roy.  I think the Blazers, free of John Nash, are doing a good job, but my head is spinning….

Leon Powe: 6’8″ 245 lbs.  Went to CA (Oakland).  He averaged 20 and 10 at the power forward spot.  Could be a bruiser?

Katz says the Celts are accumulating assets to pursue the AI trade.  I’m not too excited about that.  But in this day & age, how do you get a $17 million dollar player for rookies?????  None of this makes a whole lot of sense to me.

The Sports Guy Draft Diary is classic Simmons!  If you haven’t yet, read it now.

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Draft Express, NBA Draft Net have the Celtics taking Roy.

Hoops Hype still has us taking Thomas.

Inside Hoops still has Foye, but will update this afternoon.  PBN does too.  The Globe’s Peter May joins the Foye chorus.  And Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy, has the Celtics taking Foye as well.

 College Hoops has the Celtics getting Alderidge.

Jeff Clark (CelticsBlog) has us taking Gay.

NBA Draft Central is the same as yesterday.

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We have moved into the 21st Century folks.  If you are interested in hearing my sermons, just click.  Today you will find only one as we begin fresh with a new series from Sunday.  But each week (vacations/study leaves excluded) there should be a new one up there- technology permitting.

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… as they should be.  According to the ESPN Draft Preview, the Celtics’ decisions will be the major factor in how this draft plays out tomorrow night.  The Telfair deal is still a possibility.  They are checking into Dan Dickau’s medical records to see how he’s healing.  It may also be contingent on who is available for the Celtics at 7.  If Roy or Foye (my choice) are there, or perhaps Bargnani, the Celts would most likely hold on to the pick.

The AI deal is still being discussed, but the Cavs are the new 3rd wheel.  No draft picks would change hands, so it could come down after the draft.  In addition to Wally, the names mentioned were Big Al Jefferson and Gerald Green.  This would say the Celtics are going for it NOW- since AI doesn’t have much shelf life left.  I’m not liking this trade rumor.

The Hawks continue to shoot themselves in the foot.  They have promised Sheldon Williams they will pick him #5.  They really need guard help, not a short center. 

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Ozzie Vs. Myers

Some of the sports talk radio guys have been all over the fact that Brett Myers has not been suspended for his arrest last week for domestic violence while in Boston.  Some note a huge disparity between his crime and Ozzie’s offense that drew a suspension and fine.

I see a big distinction here.  Though what Brett Myers is accused of doing is worse, it was not work related.  As a result, not typical fodder for disciplinary action.  Some teams do, some don’t.  But the league typically does not.

Ozzie committed a work-related offense.  Oh, some hosts claim that since it was an off the record conversation, he shouldn’t be held accountable.  No one should have known about these comments.  Here’s a news flash Ozzie, and mindless radio hosts- there are NO off the record conversations with members of the press.  They are NOT your friends.  They are paid to write stories just like this.

My solution: put Ozzie the Bully in the ring with Brett the Mauler.  Steel cage- loser gets a big suspension.  Winner gets a bigger one!

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Yes, Mr. Thomas.  The Hall of Fame Point Guard who has successfully set back or destroyed the Toronto Raptors, the Indiana Pacers, CBA and New York Knicks in quick succession.  He gets the great privilege of coaching this group of guards that he has assembled the past few years.  Mr. Dolan has given Isiah one year to turn this mess around.  I’m fairly certain this is the curtain call for Mr. Thomas, unless the team makes “significant progress” which is unlikely. 

The stats: 25 players traded away.  18 players traded for.  About a .400 winning percentage, and Isiah will be the 5th coach of his 5 year tenure. 

Sadly, this will mark the end of much comic relief that has been provided.

ESPN Page 2 talks about his Touch of Doom.

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Say a few prayers for Peter Gammons who had surgery today for an aneurysm in his brain.

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WorldNetDaily has a shocking article on the problem of drug gangs buying legit businesses to launder money, and elections to affect their policies including hiring opportunities.  The article builds on the claims of Rep. Tom Tancredo.  WorldNetDaily interviewed former federal task force member and police officer Richard Valdemar.  His new book, In Mortal Danger, details the problem, drawing on his first-hand knowledge of problems in S. California.

Lest someone think he is a racist- he is the grandson of a legal immigrant, a hispanic immigrant.  A wealthy businessman will buy up businesses and begin to build relationships with those in power.  No one will know that his money comes from the drug cartels.  He saw this process beginning in the 90’s.  In his estimation it was bad enough that he moved from CA.  He sees it happening elsewhere.  Whether politicians want to admit it or not, the rule of law and the safety of our citizens are at risk until we get serious about the border.

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I was recently talking with a person from another church that I know.  They were frustrated with the new pastor- he wasn’t “as advertised”.  Well, he did the advertising.

I don’t point the finger at him.  I have often heard that you need to aggressively sell yourself.  The lay people on search committees expect you to aggressively sell yourself.  Candidating becomes about how gifted you are, and not about character.  Humility would stand in the way of selling yourself.  An humble man makes an honest estimation of his strengths and weaknesses.  Obtaining a call is not a competition, but the pursuit of the Father’s will.  Yet, we’ve changed the goal (often due to financial pressures, which are real).

The Jollyblogger addresses another aspect of this problem during his recap of the PCA General Assembly.  Search Committees operate, at times, duplicitously.  They may visit a church to hear the pastor, but give another reason for being there.  Pastors are looking for a new call, but are afraid to tell their Session lest there be repraisals (which has happened).

I’ve often been dismayed by the fact that this secrecy means a search committee, or Minister & His Work committee is unable to talk with the Session of the pastor’s current church.  Such honest discussions might help both the church and pastor repent of sins contributing to the very reason the pastor wants out.  But… some pastors slip out before charges are filed, or without facing how their own pastoral style harms the flock.  Likewise, churches never really hear what everyone else seems to know, that they have a reputation for chewing up, and spitting out, pastors.

I don’t have answers to these problems.  But I see that how we do things perpetuates many of the problems in our churches.  I’m thinking we need to rethink this whole thing, and repent.

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The 2005-6 Boston Bruins have been utterly dismantled.  It began with trading away the season’s MVP when he was still the Most Frustrating Player.  Joe Thorton ended up playing the rest of the season like we wish he would have played in Boston.

Draft Day saw former Rookie of the Year goalie Raycroft traded away for a goalie prospect.  Sad to see he already needed a fresh start.

Now Boynton is gone, gone, gone in a trade.  The young core, the foundation on which the future was to be built, has been shipped on to points various.

Tonight it was announced that Coach Mike Sullivan was fired as well.

I hope this new GM knows what he’s doing.  Obviously there was something seriously wrong with the Bruins.  This had better make things better, not worse.  (and here’s hoping the Celtics don’t have to follow suit- though some people think this ought to happen).

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The Sox swept the Phillies in Fenway to move to 9 games in a row.  Pap was not Mr. Automatic, as a solo  shot blew the save.  It took Big Papi, again, to give us the walk-off win in the 12th.  Gotta love Big Papi.  The defensive shift is costing him on the BA, but we pay him for power and RBIs, and he still produces BIG.  They want to rob him of that to get a better BA, well what matters is the Ws, and the Sox are racking some up to go up 3 on the Yankees (that lead will HAVE to increase).

Now we face the only remaining good team in the NL, the Mets.  The AL has absolutely slaughtered the NL in interleague play.  Theo’s stat guys say a move to the NL would be worth 10 wins.  The way they are playing right now, I’d be tempted to say 20.  But the Prima Donna called Pedro returns Wednesday.  I’m okay with him taking more money, but the whole jealousy thing about Schill is just ridiculous.  Give it up, Pedro.  Just tell us you equate money with respect, and you think you deserved more than Curt (without whom you never got to the Series).  But the Mets are a good team, whichever league they are in, and this should be a great series.

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Draft Express has Danny picking Tyrus Thomas, again.  NBADraft Central does too, but adds “for Chicago?” to the mix.

ESPN has the Celts taking Rajon Rondo.

Hoops Hype, & College Hoops have us still taking Marcus Williams.

Inside Hoops has Randy Foye.

Pro Basketball News has not updated its mock yet.

Lots of trade rumors as well.  We’ve been connected with AI, Samuel Delambert, Chris Duhon, Andre Miller & Sebastian Telfair among others.  Some still hold out hope for wrangling either Jermaine O’Neal or KG from their prospective teams, but I’ve seen no legit rumors (quite the oxymoron).  If you want to get utterly over-whelmed try HoopsHypeAndy Katz has more.

Sadly the draft coincides with Pedro’s return to Fenway in a Mets’ uni 20 years after the debacle of the World Series we should have won.  I don’t blame Billy Buckner- he shouldn’t have been out there.  Made for a fun episode of Chicago Hope once- a Sox fan lawyer that couldn’t get over it and was institutionalized.  But this is about the Celts, sorry. 

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if you want to listen to this sermon, it’s now on Sermon Cloud

Intro:  We follow people, period.  Celebrities, musicians, authors, teams/athletes, professors.  Magazines, websites, shows etc. help us stay up to date.    We dress, talk, & vote like them!

Big Idea: Jesus is perfect & perfectly willing to help.

Context: Writing to a Jewish audience, Matthew is proving that Jesus is the true son of Abraham and David through whom God will fulfill all the promises given to them.  After a miraculous, prophecy-fulfilling birth Jesus was affirmed to be God’s much loved and delighted in Son.  He must be tested before His ministry.

I. Jesus didn’t have a perfect life.

         He was a blue-collar kid who mourned the loss of those He loved.

         He was tested to prove He was the Son of God, Abraham & David (Mt. 1:1).

         Jesus was tempted, just like us.  What can we learn from this?

         Temptation is not accidental– but appointed by God (led by the Spirit, Heb. 4).

         Temptation reveals who you are under pressure.  Ill. Fighting with the copier

         Temptation is painful because we’re put to the test or tried to reveal quality.  Ill. PSAT

         Temptation is on-going for a follower of Jesus.  Satan returned to test Jesus.

         Temptations are Shortcuts: seeking blessing without God, faith and obedience.

         Abraham & David tried to fulfill God’s promises in their own power.

         Shortcuts are a means to MY prosperity, protection or power.

         Athletes =>steroids.  Enron=> cook books. Parents =>stop the crying.  Students => tech

         The world is upside down, and all its conventional wisdom leads us astray.

         Jesus talks about everyday stuff- the stuff we face & He faced stuff just like it.

         The Sermon on the Mount: temptations we face at home, school, work, playground.

Transition: Jesus was a man just like us; He understands our circumstances perfectly.

II. Jesus practiced what He preached perfectly.

         Adam and Eve failed the test in the Garden.  Israel failed the test in the wilderness.

         We fail the test each and every dayIll. I wouldn’t make it 40 days w/out food.

         Jesus was tempted, but still was without sin.  He didn’t have to learn from mistakes.

         Jesus resisted by seeking the Father’s glory first

         Jesus resisted by living for more than just Himself.  Ill. Cinderella Man vs. Baer

         Loving God’s Word is better than prosperity.  Ill. Cinderella Man (stolen food)

         Loving God-given limits is better than unnecessary risk.  Ill. Rock climbing/MI:II

         Loving God Himself is better than power.

 Transition: Jesus experienced temptation just like us, but obeyed perfectly.

III. Jesus is perfectly able & willing to provide grace.

         Jesus obeyed; meriting grace for us.  Sinners, we receive the benefits of His obedience!

         Jesus suffered the penalty for our disobedience on the Cross.

         Jesus sits upon the throne of grace, offering grace to us (Heb 4).

         Tempted: ask for grace!  Grace empowers you to walk obediently (Matthew 16). 

         Afflicted: ask for grace!  Grace empowers you to persevere in hardship.

         Guilty: ask for mercy! Mercy removes our guilt, so we can still right with God.

Conclusion: There are too many voices telling us what to do.  They want us to follow them, do life their way.  But their way is marked by failure and sin.  Jesus blazed a trail of perfect obedience in the midst of imperfect circumstances.  Jesus doesn’t want you to buy his tapes and books.  He is perfectly willing & able to give you the grace and mercy you need to follow Him in your imperfect circumstances.

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Review: Walk the Line

The events of this film take place before 1969, when I was still a young un.  Since I'm not a country music fan, I didn't know much about Johnny Cash.  He would pop onto my radar periodically, particularly when joining U2 for a song.

This is an engaging, and profoundly sad story.  It displays the inestimable power of a parent to shape the life of a child.  After his brother dies tragically, Johnny's father lashes out in anger that God took the wrong son.  He viewed his surviving son as worthless.  This was no momentary attitude of a greiving father- he continually attacked his son's weaknesses, rather than affirming any strengths.  Cash spent most of his lifetime shown in the film trying to earn love, and always coming up short.

Some key points in his life included his audition with the legendary Sam Phillips.  Sam was bored stiff with Johnny's rendition of gospel songs.  He wanted Johnny to sing some thing he believed in- from the heart.  He had a wounded heart- and his songs of pain & longing struck a chord with Sam Phillips, and a nation.

In a nightmare of a marriage, Johnny has a hard time handling fame.  He sets his heart on June Carter.  She becomes his idol- unable to win his father's love, he seeks to win hers.  Unable, he increasingly turns to drugs to ease the ache in his soul.

I felt emotionally set up when Johnny and June finally have sex.  With all their baggage, you feel good for them- isn't that nice… But they are committing adultery.  Apparently June felt guilty, withdrawing from him.  And this sends Cash into a complete crash and burn.

But she loves him enough to fight for his soul.  She's the one who helps him get off drugs, even though he doesn't want to.  We find that somehow they both address each other's wounds.  Reeling from her repeatedly messed up love life, she stumbles back to Jesus.  And it is she who holds his hand to return to the God of his youth.  So the movie ends on a high note.  Cash comes across very sympathetically- tragically flawed but not malicious.

This is not the movie for escapist fun.  But it is a good character study of the profound effects of fatherhood.  Therefore it is worth watching.  And I just may have to listen to more of his music.

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Just listened to Driscoll’s “fathers’ day” sermon.  It was very good and he gave a number of clues to help you identify the idols in your life.  “What, who me?”  Yeah, all of us.

He really developed the theology of idolatry well too.  It is from 1 Corinthians 10, as part of his series, Christians Gone Wild- 1 Corinthians.  Worth checking out.

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