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Archive for the ‘Great Cloud of Witnesses’ Category

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Leroy Jethro Gibbs has his numbered rules (never say you’re sorry, never involve a lawyer, etc). There are a bunch of them.

My friend Michael has adopted what he terms N.U.T.: Non-negotiable Unalterable Terms. He currently has identified 1 through 5.

While I’m in the “initialization” mood (BNFMK, anyone?), I think I will create my own alphanumerical sequence. How about I.W.W.D.?

I’m not sure, however, that I want to begin with my first identified item
as number one. To do so might come at the expense of a subsequently defined item gaining higher numerical standing.

So, let’s begin with lucky number 7.

IWWD #7: When the Bings are on vacation, they don’t “bypass” finding a place to worship on Sunday morning.

So, greetings will be extended at the Bypass Church of Christ in Vicksburg, Mississippi this fine humid morning.

IWWD: It’s What We Do.

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It’s graduation weekend in Edmond, America, and you know what that means: hitting the reception circuit. So many kids, so many cake/punch/hors doerves opportunities, so little time/so little stomach space. And memories: so many memories. How could they have all grown up so fast? It seems like just yesterday that Baby H graduated; I think it always will. Babies A and B start HS soon, and you can only wonder where the years are going.

After completing our Saturday reception circuit (there are more to come on Sunday), we stopped at one family’s house to drop off a little graduation gift. As the young lady turned to go back into the house, it hit me: I had coached this girl as a 6th grader on H’s basketball team, way back when. It could only have been yesterday, it seems.

A basketball coach, I am not, and yet this time afforded me the first of several opportunities to coach each of my kids in the fine sport of round ball.

This was a small church based league, with only about 4 or 5 teams total, 6 girls on each team. Accordingly, we played each team at least twice in a simple 8 game season. As those teams go, we were OK. We had a couple of decent players, and then just a few girls who wanted to have fun. We won a game or two, and we lost a couple of games. One of the losses was quite one sided, as that team had set up an elaborate (for this league) half court line screen offense. This was a “color wrist band” man defense only league, so the screen effectively freed up the point guard to go shoot a layup almost every time down the court. “Help Defense”, as it is referred to, was a foreign concept to these girls as they chased their matching color around the court, and I was not sure the rules would even allow it.

In a “let’s have fun and grow in mind, body, and spirit” league, this loss still hurt. It felt like the other team took unfair advantage. So, I did what any red blooded American male would do in that situation: I appealed to the league office! My question was simple: can we “switch” defenders when running up against that type of offense? After some discussion, the answer was yes. It was game on: time to begin preparing for the upcoming rematch.

This league only allowed one practice for an hour a week, and you only got a half court for that. But, the girls seemed to understand the concept of our new defensive strategy. At it’s heart was one word: “SWITCH!”. Simply put, the girl whose color match set the screen would pick up the ball handler and stick with them until the other girl could get free and they could switch back.

The date for the rematch arrived, and my girls were practiced and ready. As the game began, the other team complained “they can’t do that”. But, the ref/commissioner explained to them that, with the type of offense they ran, we could. “Do that”, we did. It worked beautifully. As they game wore on, we were behind, but began a comeback in the last few minutes of the second half.

With only seconds remaining and the game tied, we picked up a turnover and began to run back down the court. The gym was packed, as many had arrived for the game that was to follow. Every person was on their feet cheering, and the roar felt almost deafening, relatively speaking. My heart still races today when I think about the moment, 6 or 7 years later. As the clock fell below 10 seconds, we passed it to the girl on the right hand lower block (her name was Morgan, I think), she shot and scored, and time expired. We won, and had beaten the only undefeated team in the league. That team finished the year with only one loss: the one orchestrated by us.

We finished the season at 4-4, but that moment was our championship. Parents rushed the court and hugged their girls, and there were huge smiles all around. But the look on the opposing coach’s face as we shook hands was my “Lombardi” moment. We had changed our ways, we had adjusted, and we had overcome in a “that’s not fair” scenario.

So, back to graduation weekend. If I had any advice for Alex, that all grown up girl who just graduated, or anyone else, it would be that one thing: “SWITCH!”. Take what life throws at you, but don’t give up and accept it. Respond. Get advice (and buy in) from important friends. Adjust. Change. Quit the things that are holding you back. Develop new habits. SWITCH.

As you have those late game moments in life, your heart racing, may this simple philosophy serve well. Make it a great life. The “cloud” crowd is cheering for you.

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Wordle: bing

What’s in a word, or a collection thereof? Word, Wordperfect, Wordle, WordPress; the list of programs and products devoted to sharing our words and thoughts could go on and on.

John 1:1-9:

In the beginning the Word already existed.
      The Word was with God,
      and the Word was God.
  He existed in the beginning with God.
  God created everything through him,
      and nothing was created except through him.
  The Word gave life to everything that was created,
      and his life brought light to everyone.
  The light shines in the darkness,
      and the darkness can never extinguish it.
  God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

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A John the Baptist, I am not, but like a stump preacher in a digital equivalent to Times Square, viewed by some as crazed, why would anyone want to share so much with so many, in such a public forum as WordPress?

In the words of Paul in I Corinthians 9:22, maybe it is to “Become All things to all men, that I might save some”.

I visited with a distinguished older gentleman in the hallway after worship this evening, and he expressed his respect for campus environments and the opportunity to influence so many for Jesus. Those were just the words
I needed to hear.

As of this moment, I have 464 Facebook friends. Some are friends, some coworkers, some college students, some friends of my teens, and some are people who likely just want to “creep on me”.

There have been 2,881 reads to date on this Blog. Many are likely from the group of 464, but some are complete strangers who “stumbled upon” the space. And, even if from the FB family, I can say things here that I likely can’t say in a conversation to the masses. Things will be read where listening might not occur.

If you are a reader, thanks and apologies are likely in order. In the meantime, this is my voice, and Jesus is my tune.

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It’s an old family joke. When one of the “A” girls would see the romantic interest of a guy they liked, the response would be “she’s no prize”.

Sometimes, oftentimes maybe, do we say the same about ourselves?

An athlete, I am not, but I am getting repetitive. And I want to be a winner. Not to win, mind you, but to run with purpose, and therein win the prize.

I Corinthians 9:22-27: When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings. Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

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There has been much to do about “The Cloud” lately, that netherworld where files are stored and data sent and retrieved.   It’s a wonderful thing (and technically, I presume this blog resides there), but there’s another cloud I’m appreciative of:

We watched them runnin’ down the aisles,
Children’s time, Sunday morning.
The preacher asked them who they loved,
They all smiled and started pointing to their mom,
Their dad,
The teacher from their kindergarten class;
And each and every one
Had just come from

A cloud of witnesses
That would see them through the years
Cheer them with a smile
And pray them through the tears
A cloud of witnesses that would see them to the end,
And shower them with love that never ends
A cloud of witnesses.

They stuck together through the years,
The best of friends faith could foster
So when they found out one of them
Had heard the news
He’d lost his father,
They ran to him
And prayed and put their hands upon his head,

And slowly one by one
They’d all become

A cloud of witnesses
As they sent above a prayer
They took a hold of hands and
circled ’round a friend
A cloud of witnesses with a faith just like a rock,

They helped him give his father back to God
As a cloud of witnesses

So when it comes the time
That heaven calls
They’ll come running to see the ones who’ve gone before,
And made the journey home to find waiting for them at the finish line,
Cheerin happily they will run
and they will see

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A could of witnesses
Lined up on a street of gold
As they run the final mile.
That leads them to a throne.
And through the cloud of witnesses
They see God upon the throne.
And as they fall into His arms,
They know they’re home in
A cloud of witnesses,
Surrounded by a could of witnesses

Music and Lyrics by Mark Schultz

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