Monday, January 26, 2009

Change is in the Cards

I love football. I especially love Chiefs football, but given the team’s performance the past few seasons, I have had to change the way I watch the game.

So, I have adopted a couple of other teams as surrogates for which to root during this winter of my discontent (a winter that I trust will soon be over now that we have a new GM and will soon have a new head coach). I have always liked the Green Bay Packers. Those are real football fans up there, and I admire their loyalty to their team through thick and thin. But it was kind of weird watching someone other than Favre at quarterback.

I also like the Chicago Bears and their straight-forward, no holds-barred brand of football. They just line up and hit someone. But as much as I love to see them play defense, their offense has been painful to watch.

Now, if you know anything about football, then you know that rooting for the Packers and the Bears wasn’t much more fun than rooting for the Chiefs this season. So I also found great solace in rooting against a few teams.

For example, I never tire of rooting against the Oakland Raiders, though in recent years they’ve been so bad that it has lost some of its magic. I also love to root against the Denver Broncos, a team that personifies evil, in my humble opinion.

But this coming Sunday, I will find myself rooting for a team that I have never given a second thought to supporting—the Arizona Cardinals. Actually, I have a hard time remembering that they are not the St. Louis Cardinals since that is the name by which I knew them growing up. They didn’t move to Arizona until 1988, and over the past 20 years, their main contribution to the NFL was to look for them on the schedule, assuming that would be counted as a win for whoever the Cardinals played.

But this has been a year of “change”. As if the election of the first African American President wasn’t remarkable enough, along comes the Arizona Cardinals to defy all expectations, beating three other playoff teams, claiming the title of NFC champions and winning the right to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Superbowl.

It’s the story of rags-to-riches. The story of a team that was down-and-out, but which kept working and striving to reach the top. So I’ll be rooting for them and their quarterback, Kurt Warner (who has a great Christian testimony that he’s not shy about sharing). Because such a story gives me hope that a team that has gone 6-26 for the past two seasons might actually compete for more than a high draft pick within the next season or two.

Now that’s change you can believe in.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'd Rather Be Blogging

I still remember when I first started using the Internet as a ministry tool in 1995. There were quite a few people in the church I pastored asking me what I was talking about. “Inter-what?”, people would ask.

Over the years, I have been both greatly aided and terribly frustrated by technology. Sermon preparation looks very different for me today than it did 15 years ago, though I can’t say that the sermons have improved much. Email takes up a disproportionate amount of my time each day. While it sometimes makes it easier to conduct business, I’m not at all sure that it helps us to communicate any better.

At the rate that technology is advancing, I can send emails from my phone and show pictures on my computer. I can watch movies without a TV. I can program the DVR in my living room from the desk in my office. But I still can’t find my stapler.

You can “google” me and learn I am the pastor of Life Spring Church. You can keep up with my daily activities on “Twitter”. If I wanted to, I could update you through Facebook or MySpace. But alas, I don’t want to.

However, as a further concession to the 21st century, I am going to try my hand at blogging. At first I was resistant to this idea, mainly because it sounded so much like jogging, which I have managed to avoid for the better part of 47 years. But I was assured that I wouldn’t have to change my clothes or shower afterwards, though no one could promise that I might not get winded (I can type really fast). So here it is. My first official blog.

So here we go. Periodically (I can’t make any promises as to how often) I will share with you my thoughts. Not because they are interesting or meaningful. Not because you need to hear what I have to say. Not because I am profound. But mainly, just because I can. I live, therefore I blog. At least for now.

If I start to bore myself, or if I fail to keep up with it, then I’ll stop. But we’re going to give this blogging thing a try. And the neat thing is, you can share your thoughts as well. (See that button that says “comments”. Click it. No, really, try it. It won’t delete anything–at least not anything important.) We can dialogue this way. It’s called an “online community”. It’s the technological version of Koinonia.

The Apostle Paul said, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22) I have always believed that Paul would be creative in using various means and methods to lead people to Christ (while never compromising the message one little bit). So I think the great Missionary would have used email and videos and powerpoints to spread the Gospel. And given how Paul loved to write, I think he would have been a blogger too. Especially if he could do it without working up a sweat.