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.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Wise Words and the Letter “Y”

y-300Your letter for today is the letter “Y.”  You may ask why “Y?” I’ve selected “Y” because there are three “Y” words that can be wise words.

Some people think it is wise to start the day with a cup of Yogurt.  Others think it is a good idea to begin the day with some exercise and Yoga movements. Both of these are probably good for the body, but I prefer a third “Y.”

The “Y” that intrigues me the most is known as a Yogism.  I have always like the wit and wisdom of Yogi Berra.   Yogi played 19 years in the Yankees organization, and he appeared in 14 World Series—10 of the 14 series ended in championship wins.

One of the better known statements of Yogi is. “This is like déjà vu all over again.”  There are several others as well:

  • A nickle ain’t worth a dime anymore.
  • When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
  • Baseball is 90% mental, and the other half is physical.
  • You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.

Yogi also said, “I never said most of the things I said.”  This reminds me of something that Solomon said about the things you might say:  “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb: they drip sweet food for life and bring health to the body (Proverbs 16:24).”

When you speak to people today, make sure you are engaging in a healthy conversation.

Baseball, Peanuts, and Superstitions

Take-Me-Out-to-the-Ball-Game-logo-FINAL-285x300During the Royals and Giants game on Wednesday night, I started eating roasted peanuts that were salted in the shell. When the 5th inning came to an end, I went to the cupboard, grabbed the peanuts, a soda, and returned to my chair. I popped the first peanut in my mouth and almost immediately the pop returned to the Royals’ bats.

If I was truly superstitious, I would eat from this same bag of peanuts for the remainder of the World Series. Baseball is a sport that is noted for its superstitions. Wade Boggs was one of the more superstitious players:

• He had to eat fried chicken before every game.
• On the nights he was in the lineup, he had to take batting practice at exactly 5:17.
• When he warmed up for a game, he would field 150 groundballs—not 149 or 151.
• Before he stepped into the batter’s box, he’d write CHAI (Hebrew for LIFE), in the dirt.

The superstitions of people have been a matter of discussion for thousands of years. Even the Apostle Paul addressed the issue with the philosophers on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-24): “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious.”

The word “religious” is a Greek word (deisidaimonesteros) that means superstitious. The problem with the “men of Athens” was not that they worshipped too little, but they worshipped too much. These people had an altar for every god they could think of, and they even had one to “The Unknown God.”

In Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, he said the conundrum is not that God cannot be known, but that people choose to not acknowledge Him:

“God’s anger is revealed from heaven against every ungodly and immoral thing people do as they try to suppress the truth by their immoral living. What can be known about God is clear to them because he has made it clear to them. From the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what he made. As a result, people have no excuse. They knew God but did not praise and thank him for being God. Instead, their thoughts were pointless, and their misguided minds were plunged into darkness. While claiming to be wise, they became fools. They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for statues that looked like mortal humans, birds, animals, and snakes (Romans 1:18-22).”

How do you acknowledge God in your life?

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.