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The Parable of Tee Ball

My youngest daughter just finished her tee ball season. Let me tell you I love tee ball. Is there anything as entertaining as a bunch of four and five year olds running around like chickens with their heads cut off on the diamond? I think not. When the most common coach corrections are “don’t play in the dirt” and “NO, NO, run to that base, THAT base!” you are in for some grade A entertainment.

One of my favorite moments in tee ball is when a team is playing defense. The ball is hit, and everyone on defense, and I mean everyone, except for the one playing in the dirt, regardless of position chase after the ball. Each player abandons their base, their position, their place, to get that ball. It is nothing for three or four or the entire team to pounce on the ball, the field, and each other trying to get that ball. It reminds me of the old Bugs Bunny cartoon, where the dogs yell, “dog pile on the rabbit” as every dog pounces on Bugs trying to catch him.

Once the pile of tee ballers is formed, they wrestle and fight to be the one that emerges from the pile with the ball. The one that gets the ball stands and holds the ball high for everyone to see showing that he or she was the fastest glove on the team for that play. Continue reading

The Parable of Saturday Mornings – Devotion

If you think I preach a lot, you should come live in our house.  Most people only hear my sermons on God and the bible, but my family, gets to hear me preach on anything and everything.  They have heard sermons on a wide array of topics from how to properly set a baseball glove down, to how to spit, to a complete and thorough defense of Jar-Jar Binks in the Star Wars’ pre-quels, to…well, you get the idea.  One sermon that my kids hear often, usually weekly, is my sermon lamenting Saturdays today compared to Saturdays from when I was kid.

I tell my kids Saturday mornings use to be glorious.  Each network had on nothing but cartoons from 6 am to noon.  I remember waking early and watching the snow until the TV channels began to broadcast.  That’s right kids.  Channels were not on 24 hours a day back then.  You eagerly watched snow until at 6 am, then, you stood at attention in your living room because they played the national anthem.  Why did they play the national anthem?  Because kids, when something awesome is about to happen such as a football game or church the Sunday closest to Independence Day, you play the national anthem, and boy howdy, Saturday Mornings were awesome.

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The Parable of Medicalese – Devotion

Being a pastor, a large part of my job is hospital and doctor’s office visitation. I’ve learned one thing in my years and that is the medical field has their own language. They might be speaking English, but it’s a whole lot different that what I learned growing up in the South. Let’s look at how crazy these terms can get.

A nephrologist is not a person who studies ancient Egyptian gods. It is a kidney doctor. A stethoscope sounds more like a tool to find dinosaurs than a tool  to help you listen to the heart and lungs. Cyanosis is not how you say goodbye in Japanese. It means bluish skin. Cephalgia is not the stuff that grows on ponds. It a head ache, and the medical profession is the only place I know where “positive” means bad and “negative” means good.

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The Parable of Night Tracks – Devotion

I grew up in a small town, and in that small town we had 10 channels, 2 of which were CBS.  The only difference in the CBSs was the nightly news: one from Panama City and the other from Dothan.  One channel we didn’t have that I really wanted was  MTV.  Music was a huge part of my childhood as I am sure it was in yours.  I wanted to see music videos.  I heard of them, but never saw one.  We only had music videos on a show called Night Tracks on TBS.  As the name suggests, Night Tracks came on television in the middle of the night.  It was 12:05 am, technically on Saturday morning, to be exact.

I asked  my parents Friday after Friday after Friday; can I please stay up and watch Night Tracks.  Side note, I love DVR.  Now, back to the topic at hand.  I asked over and over, and my parents continually said you’re too young to stay up that late.  When you are older, we will let you.  I am not sure how old I was.  I would guess 7 or 8, probably still too young to stay up past midnight.   I’m sure I wore my parents down, but they finally said that I could stay up and watch Night Tracks.  I was so excited.  I felt so cool.  I couldn’t wait to tell my friends that I was able to stay up and watch Night Tracks.  I couldn’t wait to tell them all the cool stuff in these music videos.

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The Parable of Dance Class – Devotion

I have two daughters that are involved in dance, and through them I have learned a great deal. I have learned that all dance is not the same. There is ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, among others, and each one of those dance forms has its own shoes. I know the difference between a plie and an arabesque. I can even do the first five positions, although my toe pointing could use a little work. Lastly, I learned that buns are not just pastries from the oven, and I can even put one in your head if I have enough pins.

Without a doubt my daughters’ favorite part of dance is the recitals and performances. They love the sparkly outfits. The will argue over whose outfit is the cutest. They love getting on stage in front of a crowd and being the center of attention. They love the flowers they will receive from mom after their performance. They love everything about the show.

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The Parable of the Magician – 2015 Holy Week Devotion 3

I love magic and magicians.  You pull a rabbit out of a hat, and you will have my undivided attention.  There is just something fun about watching a magician or better still magicians on stage, doing something that seems impossible.  I remember being in high school, and my family went to see David Copperfield in person.  It was amazing.  He made people float.  He made the right card appear every time.  He made people disappear, and even flew around auditorium.  I am still scratching my head.

Well, I have watched numerous shows and even read a book or two about magic, and I am going to let you in on a little secret on how magic works.  The secret to many a magic trick is to get the audience to look the wrong way.  The magician does this in many different ways.  The magician waves his or her right hand around like it has spasms, while the left hand is pulling out the right card.  The magician has dancers that are breaking it down like M. C. Hammer and Paula Abdul on the left side of the stage while the elephant exits stage right.  The magician can accomplish so much while your eyes are looking in the wrong direction, and the magician uses all kinds of bells and whistles and fireworks to ensure your are looking at the wrong thing while the trick is being tricked.

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The Parable of the in Home Workout – 2015 Holy Week Devotion 2

P90X, Body Beast, Crossfit, Insanity, Plyo, Zumba and on and on, the in home workout business is booming. Some are videos. Some are books or magazines. There are even workout apps where you can get fit in the comfort of your own home. You no longer have to drive to the gym, get dressed, workout, drive home, and go about your day. This business is booming for several reasons. First, people are extremely busy. The 20 minutes of driving time to the gym is precious to those with kids. I know I would rather have a tea party with one of my daughters that spend it driving, no matter what great tunes I have on my iPod. People just do not want to give up that time. Second, many people just do not have access to a good gym. Whether they live in a rural area, or whether they do not have the funds to make another monthly payment.

The in home workout sought to face this issue head on. Instead of paying monthly, you pay a one time fee for a video or magazine. Then, your home becomes the gym. Also, there are plenty of free in home workouts that you find on the internet. The idea is that with minimal equipment, a dumbbell or two, yoga ball, pull up bar, you can get in shape in your own for much less than the cost of a gym.

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The Parable of Rotten Pecans – 2015 Holy Week Devotion 1

When I was a kid, we had a old rotten pecan tree in our back yard.  It dropped hundreds and hundreds of pecans in our back yard every season, but with one big problem.  Since the tree was old and rotten, the tree could not hold the pecans on the tree long enough for the pecans to get ripe.  All of these pecans that fell in our back yard were inedible.  They were not ripe.  They were extremely bitter.  We use to play jokes on our friends by cracking these pecans, placing them in a bowl, and enticing our friends to eat them.  We wanted to see that ugly face they would make with they tasted the bitterness of an underripe pecan.

Not only were these pecans inedible, they were dangerous.  Like a young boy should, I ran around our neighborhood barefooted.  I don’t know if you are aware, but their is a sharp point on the ends of a pecan shell.  When I, and others, would run through our back yard, we would step on the points of these pecans and it hurt.  As we were hoping on one foot because of the pain shooting through our damaged foot, we would undoubtedly hope onto the point of another pecan and damage our other foot.  It was right out of a cartoon.  I cannot tell you how many times this happened to me and my friends.

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