KKK Plus 17

maxWhat thought comes to your mind when you think of a K or a series of them?

  • If you are a fan of the Kansas City Royals, you probably think of Kauffman Stadium when you think of a K.
  • When most people think of KKK, the Ku Klux Klan comes to mind.
  • The KKK plus 17 may have never entered your mind until today.

 

The 20-K club is one of the world’s most exclusive groups, and it consists of just 4 members.  The 4th member was added last night in an amazing performance by Max Scherzer–he struck out 20 Detroit Tigers last night!  When Scherzer trotted off the mound last night, he walked into the record books, and his name now appears alongside of Randy Johnson, Kerry Wood and Roger Clemens (who recorded 20 K’s twice).

While Scherzer’s 20 K performance gained him admission into an exclusive club, it’s not the most significant membership in the world. The one of most significance is not entered by performance, but through a person—Jesus Christ:

Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  ~Romans 10:13

The K in the case of Romans 10:13 is the Kairos.  The ancient Greek’s defined the right or opportune moment in which a person could do something or make a change as their Kairos moment.   The present is always the Karios moment to join the “whosoever” club:

“Don’t boast about tomorrow, for you don’t know what a day might bring (Proverbs 27:1).”

A Parade of Champions

kcrIf you know anything about sports, you know that the Kansas City Royals just won a hard fought and entertaining battle on the baseball fields of Kansas City and New York; and, they have been crowned World Series Champions.

With child-like enthusiasm, baseball fans from near and far are descending on Kansas City today to celebrate with the Royals.  They will savor the sweet taste of victory and delight as their team winds its way through the streets of Royals Town USA.

The language of sports has been spoken for thousands of years.  Paul used the competition of the Isthmian Games as means to share spiritual truth.  He also spoke of a parade of champions that features Jesus as the parade Marshall:  “Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him (2 Corinthians 2:14).”

The parade route in Kansas City with be lined with thousands of spectators, and it will be a great time for adoring fans to shout out to their favorite players.  The procession that Paul spoke of is one of triumph that calls you to more than a mere spectator.  You are to be a participator and speak up for Jesus.

You are the means through which God spreads the sweet fragrance of His love and mercy.  Wave your banner, and give thanks for the victory you have in Him.

Dodgers, Mets, and the Beanball

utleyNo one ever likes to see a player writhing on the field in extreme pain. That, however, is the picture that will remain in the minds of sports fans following Game 2 between the Mets and the Dodgers. When Chase Utley slid into second base he did more than just break up a double play, he also broke the leg of Ruben Tejada.

I’m not a betting man, but I think the odds are high that the Mets’ Pitchers have already painted a target on Utley.  He is a marked man who has to know that Game 3 means he has at least one pitch that going to come in hard, fast, high and inside.

The Quotable and Notable Game of Baseball

two_boys_bat_largerWhen I was a kid, many of my Summer days were spent at makeshift ball diamonds at Graham Park, Skelly School or the water tower by Tom’s house.  The evening hours would find most of us at the ball diamonds by McDonald’s Stadium—as in Jim McDonald, not the golden arches.

I have a pretty good understanding about the ins and outs of baseball, but one thing has troubled me for many years:  Why does everybody stand up and sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” when we’re already there?  

This is what I do at 4 AM of a morning:  I give a lot of profound thought to the perplexing mysteries of the universe.  I also try to search and discover the true meaning and purpose of life.

I may have found some answers to secrets of life in the quotes below.  Read these and study the stats on today’s sports page, and you might stay busy until game time:

  • There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens. ~Tommy Lasorda
  • Bob Gibson is the luckiest pitcher I ever saw. He always pitches when the other team doesn’t score any runs. ~ Tim McCarver
  • Ninety percent of this game is half mental. ~ Yogi Berra
  • There are two theories on hitting the knuckleball. Unfortunately, neither one of them works. ~Charlie Lau
  • The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until the ball stops rolling and then to pick it up. ~ Bob Uecker
  • I watch a lot of baseball on radio. ~ President Gerald Ford
  • I can remember a sports writer asking me for a quote and I didn’t know what a quote was.  I thought it was some kind of soft drink.                ~Joe DiMaggio

Here’s one final quote to illustrate the lack of sophistication in those who don’t love the game:  “The baseball mania has run its course. It has no future as a professional endeavor (Cincinnati Gazette editorial, 1879).”

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

The Courage to Say: I Need Help

Bronx, New York 9/25/15 CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees reacts on the mound after Melky Cabrera #53 of the Chicago White Sox scores on Alexei Ramirez RBI double during the second inning in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium on September 25, 2015 (Paul J. Bereswill)

When you combine his 6’7” dominating physique with his left arm that chucks a baseball with the heat and intensity of a flamethrower, CC Sabathia can be an intimidating presence.  This fierce competitor with the heart of a champion made a public statement yesterday admitting he’s  been beaten.

Sabathia will not be going on the injured reserve list, he will be going into a treatment program for alcohol rehabilitation.  Sabathia said:

“I love baseball and I love my teammates like brothers, and I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series . . . It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right. I want to take control of my disease, and I want to be a better man, father and player.”

Kudos to Sabathia for being honest with himself, so he can be truthful with others.  He’s not alone in this battle.  As many as 1 in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or an alcohol related problem.

If you find yourself in a situation similar to the one that CC Sabathia is facing, I encourage you to take three immediate steps:

  • Resolve to make the necessary changes.
  • Assess your peer group: Are they good friends who have your best interests at heart or are they just drinking buddies?
  • It is highly unlikely that you can whip this on your own, so seek professional help.

For those who are on the outside looking in, I remind you of the words of Paul:  “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).”  When your friend or family member asks for help, be willing to listen and to encourage him and he takes the first steps towards sobriety.

Step Up To The Plate and Take A Swing

pMLB2-19389877dtThis is the time of year when some guys go into some sort of a sports-like-hibernation.  Football season had ended, and they blankly stare at the TV screen yearning for the next kickoff.

Not me, I love the game of baseball, and I watch several games each week.  My fondness for Americas’ game is due to the many memories of my dad and the times we spent together on a baseball field.  He coached, his boys played, and the family rotated from one field to another playing and watching games.

Weather permitting, I played baseball almost 7 days a week. My buddies and I would ride our bikes to a designated field or park and choose up sides and the game was on.

There were usually 3 or 4 of the boys who were the best of the best, and all the other boys wanted to play on their team.  You wanted them to pick you because your odds of winning were much better when you were on their team.

While I was reminiscing about this favorite summer pastime, I thought of John 15:6.  Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that remains, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

The greatest All Star of all times has chosen you to play on His team. He promises to equip you and empower you to accomplish His will.

The game has begun, so why not step up into the batter’s box and take a swing or two?

Are You Among the 21%?

21percent_in_red_and_3d_NLI doubt there are many of us that number ourselves among the elite 1% of the world’s wealthiest people.  You may, however, find yourself among those who will be changed by the 21%.

What is the significance of 21%?  If you add it to your situation, it can make a big difference:

  • If you are concerned with your IQ, you probably already know that 50% of IQ scores fall between 90 and 110. If you add 21% to a score of 100 you become a person with very superior intelligence.  If you subtract 21% from 100, you will find yourself among the ranks of those who are classified as having a “borderline deficiency in intelligence.”
  • The average life expectancy is 71. If you add 21%, you would live to be 86.  If you subtracted 21%, you would only live to be 56.
  • If you are 71 inches tall you might be able to play basketball by adding 21% to your height. At 86 inches tall, you would be taller than LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers  If you subtract 21% from 71, you would be about 4 ½ foot tall, but still taller than Eddie Gaedel.  At 3 foot 7 inches, Gaedel was the shortest player to ever play in an MLB game; and, he did it in 1951 when he played for the St. Louis Browns.
  • If you weigh 171 pounds, 21% would be the difference between tipping the scales at 207 pounds and weighing only 135 pounds.

If you are a person who likes to travel on an airplane, 21% means you may have to buy new luggage. The International Air Transport Association has set some new guidelines for carry-on bags.  The IATA is recommending that bags should be 21.5 inches tall by 13.5 inches wide and 7.5 inches deep which is 21% smaller than current standards.

What would happen if you made a 21% change in your life?  How would your life be different if you followed these old guidelines?

Let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us, and stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Silencing Sound

I’m watching the Royals and the Orioles play game one of the American League Championship Series, and I just reached for the remote. The chants of the crowd that are an invigorating sound to most fans is just nauseating noise to me.

As a result of a head injury in 1972, I have trouble tolerating noise that is prolonged and loud. Whether it is eating in a restaurant or listening to music, what is relaxing to many of you is painful to me. This is why research that focuses on “silencing sound” is interesting to me.

Researchers have discovered that noise cancellation can be achieved by a principle called “subtraction by addition.” Unpleasant acoustic waves are neutralized when an opposing wave is produced to counter the original sound wave. This “subtraction by addition” equals digital silence.

We live in a hyper-active world that is filled with noise pollution and a mindset of louder is better. Like Elijah, we think we have to have an earth-shattering grandstand event to meet our needs and to keep us going. Elijah thought God would appear to him in an amazing manner like a powerful wind, an earthquake, or a blazing fire, but God came to him in a still small voice (I Kings 19).

When Elijah subtracted his preconceived notions about God, he began to discover what he had been missing—the presence of God. To know the presence of God, practice the principle of Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Turn down the volume, turn off the technology, mute the phone, and focus on God. You may discover that silence is really is golden.

I almost forgot, a little over four hours after I started writing this, the Royals defeated the Orioles in the 10th inning. Hmmm…a Kansas City versus St. Louis would make for a great World Series.