Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All the pieces fit

2 Sundays ago, I turned off my television and wondered where it all went wrong. How did a team that had all things going in their favor had played so badly. A promising season was ended it appeared. Yes the Eagles still had a chance, only a few things had to break their way.

The Houston Texans had to beat the Bears or the Giants, who had nothing to play for , had to beat the Vikings. The Bears and the Vikings were both playing for their playoff lives. Then if that broke right then the Tampa Bay Bucs who were also playing for their playoff life had to lose to the Oakland Raiders in a game scheduled for Tampa.

All year we had heard how teams from the West Coast travelling East and playing at 1 PM simply stunk up the joint. In addition, this was no normal West Coast Team. This was the Oakland Raiders and it wasn't your daddy's Oakland Raiders. This was not Ken Stabler and Marv Hubbard, and Cliff Branch. This was JaMarcus Russell, Michael Bush, and Chaz Schilens.

So imagine my surprise when the Texans won and then in a stunner the Raiders overcame a 10 point deficit to somehow beat the Bucs. So now only piece of the puzzle was left. We needed the Eagles to beat the Cowboys.

I guess after the year in sports it has been for Philly teams, I should not have been surprised. But after almost screaming myself hoarse for 3 hours, I sat there Sunday night stunned at what had happened. They were in! Hope was alive still and again.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tradition


Those that know me well understand I often have problems with tradition. It is not because I am not sentimental it is simply because I believe we sometimes use tradition as an excuse not to try new things. This is especially true in the church.

So, I find it amazing how much I value the traditions of Christmas. I love the fact that my parents and my sister and her family come to our house and we eat a nice dinner and exchange presents then head off to Christmas Eve Worship.

I love the "tradition" that my wife and I have started of setting budgets for Christmas presents every year and then seemingly never following them. I love the tradition of my wife baking and now creating Christmas ornaments. I love the tradition of getting together with friends on the days following Christmas.

So, no all tradition is not bad.

What are some of your traditions?

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's a God thing


Earlier this week, I was walking up my steps and looked over at the photo gallery that my wife has on the wall. I was looking at some really cool pictures of vacations that we had been on. However, I did not remember the exact details of some of the pictures.

I looked at my wife and said, "I just don't have a good memory" and she agreed.

Later in the week, I was working in the office and someone asked me how I "remember my sermons", the question was asked I believe because I rarely if ever use notes. I began to explain the procedure that I use to prepare for a sermon. However, halfway through the description I realized that it didn't really answer the question. So in the end I simply said, it was God.

It really is a God thing. I do the work and preparation that I was taught in seminary. I read and prepare and pray all during the process. I read and keep up with the news all week. I do all those things that I am supposed to. Yet, as I step from behind the pulpit on Sunday, it is not about me. It is about God.

I am in no way trying to imply that those who preach from a manuscript or from an outline or some combination of those things is not somehow in the midst of a God thing. Quite the opposite.
However, for me God has enabled me to deliver the Word in this way and I am thankful for it.

So as I stand up there every week, a little afraid and unsure of myself, I know that I can simply turn it over to God. Because it is a God thing I can be certain that I will not "Fail", instead I will be able to do what God intends for me. So my part is to simply remain faithful to the Gift God has given me and do then needed preparation and rely on God, through the Holy Spirit, to ensure that God's word is fruitful.

Thank God, for God.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wiped Out


I am a little tired today. Perhaps it is from the weekend at church and with family and friends or perhaps it is staying up to watch the Eagles game last night.

I am not sure. But when I saw this picture of my son from our last vacation I said that is exactly how I feel. So today I think I am going to try and boost myself spiritually. I think I will do a little preparation for Sunday and a little sermon prep and then work on me.

This is such a great time of year in the life of the church but we need to be careful that we don't expend all of our energy and wear ourselves out. I think this picture reminded me of that. I need to focus back upon the important things of Advent and Christmas. I need to focus in on God and Family.

All I know is that I needed a reminder and God, through this picture, provided one.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Father Brian Forgive me


I have sinned, it has been several victories since my last confession. Just when you're out they pull you right back in. Right around that awful tie against the Bengals I assumed that the season was over. If I wasn't convinced then the debacle against the Ravens convinced me. Yet here we are a couple of big wins later and the Eagles are in a great position.

They are in a position to ALMOST control their own destiny. IF we get a little help from the Falcons, and I believe they will be so kind, then we just need to win out.

So with Westbrook and McNabb starting to play like I thought they would all year and the defense stepping up, we might just end up being one of those scary teams you simply don't want to meet in the playoffs.

So Father Brian, for these and all the other sins that I have forgotten, please forgive me.

My penance is to do an Eagles chant? No problem
E
A
G
L
E
S
Eagles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Advent - It's Time


Advent is upon us already, and I am already being asked about Christmas songs for church. Why do we rush through Advent? Is it simply because we haven't taken the time to really learn what this season is all about?

For me Advent is a time to simply remember the story. Remember the story of a mighty king who humbled himself enough to be a helpless infant. It is the story of a love so powerful that time and space could not contain it.

It is also a story of that same love that continues to shine through in the world. It is that awesome wonder that we feel when we see our child being born or in the joy of friends and family. It is that moment of fellowship that is so powerful and touching that it brings tears to our eyes. It could be in a piece of art that catches your eye. It could be a beautiful song.

It is also a story of a love that will never die. It is a love of a God who has not left us and will come back again.

Advent is a wonderful time. Let's not rush through it.