Monthly Archives: March 2011

Clueless

(Warning, Baron Carson — this is a sports post)

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant has been sued by a New York-based jewelry company for $246,000 worth of bling that Bryant is allegedly late in paying.

Bryant’s most expensive purchase was a $60,000 custom charm bracelet. He made the purchases on four different days last year, spending as much as $144,000 on Feb. 8, 2010, according to court documents.

Dez Bryant is making between $1.680,000 – $2,410,000 per year from his five-year contract with the Cowboys (before taxes). That’s quite a bit of money, but spending a quarter of a million dollars on jewelry is downright stupid — there’s really no other word for it.

78% of NFL players go bankrupt within two years of retirement. If the NFL or its teams really cared about the players they claim to value, it might be a positive step forward to contractually obligate players to attend a sequence of financial planning seminars to help learn to save, invest, and NOT SPEND HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON SHINY GARBAGE!

When combined with Bryant’s other recent mishaps, this is getting downright embarrassing for us Cowboy fans.

At least Jessica Simpson isn’t hanging around any longer.

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A Few Nephew Shots

My wife and I came in late, but managed to see our nephew, Lincoln, play a little baseball while his brother, Harrison, ran amok throughout Tinsley Park in Bossier City. I’m testing out some new actions I bought the other day, and came out with a few shots I really liked…

Creepy Crawler

Little shortstop.

Ranger

Dirty mouth.

Dirty Mouth Harry

Just after ratting his dad out by letting us know how much that bat cost:

Just Like His Dad

Exiting together:

Brothers Walkin

A Quick Reminder for Modern Preachers

If there is any other passage of the Bible that should be highlighted and read again and again by modern preachers (especially those who are hungry for greater things and are influenced by successful ministries of all varieties and denominations), then this is it:

1. I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom:
2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.
4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.
6 As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:1-8 (NLT)

Fellow ministers, in our desire to acquire the best in resources and inspiration, let us maintain a healthy filter. Remember that there is a way that seems right to a man, but ends in death (Proverbs 14:12). Do not be swayed by those who have become malleable to the desires and teachings of modern culture.

The Word, in its entirety, is our guide. In our quest for relevance in a shifting world, let us band together in Truth, and preach it like eternity depends on it.

Stand firm.

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Counter-Culture

Within every culture, there are those who spit in the face of the status quo and blaze their own trail. Then there are the multitudes: the vast majority who look alike, sound alike, and pursue almost identical goals.

Everyone likes to think of themselves as counter-culture. It has always seemed cool to be unlike everyone else.

When I was young, I quickly realized that I was a nerd. It’s necessary to make the distinction that I was not a “geek,” which is a slightly more endearing term. I was a nerd. I liked Star Trek and Star Wars. I was as interested in Michael Jordan’s statistical analysis as I was in his jaw-dropping highlights. I didn’t realize how odd most of this was until I was made aware that I sat at the “Nintendo table” at school. Today, almost every male aged 10-34 plays video games, but in the early 90s, it was still mostly the dominion of the dweebs. I was a nerd, and I was suddenly aware of it. I became addicted to games like SimCity and Civilization II, where I created my own kingdoms and wreaked havoc upon the minions that inhabited my nation. The weird thing about it all? I was kind of proud to be a nerd.

When I became older, I finally discovered my love for Apple’s Mac computers. I bought an early iBook, and have never looked back. I’ve brought 60 people into the Mac realm, with 59 of them now being Mac-centric Apple fanboys, and the remaining one just not caring enough about anything tech-related. When I first bought my iBook, I was the only college student in any of my classes that didn’t have a Dell, HP, or Gateway. It made me feel special. I felt different. I know that’s a little self-congratulatory, but we all need to feel special from time to time.

I didn’t like Macs because they were different — I liked them because I thought they were better. The same applies to all of our perceived preferences. But when we realize that we’re standing out because of our interests, it makes us think of them a bit differently. They’re not just something we like; they set us apart, and that comes with a realization of peculiarity that can feel isolating or privileged, depending on our mindset.

Living a Christian lifestyle in an increasingly godless society has placed many of us in a position that we never thought possible in a so-called Christian nation: we are now the outsiders (cue NEEDTOBREATHE song). A nation that was founded upon Christian virtues and principles has begun pushing Christians from positions of prominence into the closet.

  • Worldly culture dictates that the Word of God is not to be taken literally.
  • Christian culture maintains that the Bible is the inspired, fully true Word of God.
  • Worldly culture dictates that divorce is perfectly acceptable for struggling couples.
  • Christian culture maintains that divorce destroys lives and is frowned upon by God.
  • Worldly culture dictates that sex before marriage is to be encouraged.
  • Christian culture maintains that the marriage bed is sacred.
  • Worldly culture dictates that success is to be largely determined by material possessions and status.
  • Christian culture maintains that true success is found only in a life lived for Jesus Christ.
  • Worldly culture dictates that there are many ways to Heaven.
  • Christian culture maintains that salvation is found in no one else but Jesus (Acts 4:12).
  • Worldly culture dictates that the universe, this planet, and humanity itself was an unlikely accident.
  • Christian culture maintains that we were created by a loving God for a specific purpose.
  • Worldly culture dictates that pleasure in any form is paramount.
  • Christian culture maintains that where we spend eternity is paramount.

For those who do not rationalize the Bible as only a philosophical work of literature…the statutes, principles, and teachings it offers hold true in 2011 just as they did in 33 AD. I have tested the Word of God in my own life, and I find it holds steady and true. When we follow the plan set in His Word, we are the ultimate counter-culture mavens, living by faith.

Years ago, I attended a large youth conference in which a preacher took a quote from Audio Adrenaline singer Mark Stuart wildly out of context. He blasted Stuart for saying (I’m paraphrasing because the article is no longer archived on the web – Newsweek: Jesus Rocks!), “Christianity has always been about rebellion.” What the preacher failed to include is Stuart’s clarification: “…rebellion against popular culture.” Stuart went on to describe how Jesus’ teachings were rejected by the religious leaders of His time, and how the message He preached was unpopular with many. Stuart was absolutely right. Jesus wasn’t even accepted by His own hometown. Jesus taught people that instead of taking an eye for an eye, turn the other cheek when struck by a brother. This was radical thinking!

We are different, but we’re not different so that we can feel special. We are different because we are following a different path. Our lives our not ordered by secular humanism, but by God’s Word. And just like I felt compelled to convert Windows users to Mac OSX, every Christian MUST have the desire to spread the news of what God has done in our lives, and encourage others to follow the same path. I mentioned earlier that recognition of our distinction will make us feel either isolated or privileged. I hope that every Christian realizes how privileged we are.

Our differences must not make us arrogant, but desperate — desperate to share this counter-culture message of faith, hope, and love. That is our mission, and if it makes us a little “weird,” then so be it. We’re just a little different.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”

1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)

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Laugh It Out

Gramps (BIll Dean), Laughing it Out

 

“A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

– Proverbs 17:22 (NLT)

I like to laugh. Who doesn’t, right?

But I really like to laugh, and when I get going, I’m about 99% positive that it gets annoying to the people around me. I can’t help it. I’m the guy who laughs at a funeral, and only holds in the volume by shaking maniacally until it subsides. I wheeze-laugh, snort-laugh, and shriek-laugh. I’ve snorted milk, Mountain Dew, water, and orange juice through my nose as a result of sudden laughter. I’ve laughed so hard I dry heaved. I’ve been criticized by some because I joke too often and laugh too loudly.

I don’t care.

Long before we discovered laughter’s medical benefits, the Word of God said, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” It wasn’t until 2,000 years later that we discovered laughter increases healthy-enhancing hormones like endorphins and neurotransmitters. It increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells, resulting in a stronger immune system and fewer physical effects of stress. A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs, and works out the shoulders. Even the heart benefits from laughter, which improves the functioning of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Laughter isn’t just good for you — it’s great for you! Get off your mopey, uber-serious high horse and join the rest of us. Laugh until you cry! Laugh until your abs are sore! Laugh until people give you dirty looks! Laugh it out!

“But look, God will not reject a person of integrity, nor will he lend a hand to the wicked. He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

– Job 8:20-21 (NLT)