Saturday, April 30, 2011

Analyst, Fan or Follower series: Crossing The Line

(From Easter, my notes on Sunday morning, Dr. Chris presiding, FBC Ruston)

At the Alamo, legend says a line was drawn in the sand and each man in the Alamo crossed it, signifying each man's decision to stay and fight til the end no matter what. Crossing the line for Christ in this case means commitment.

Romans 5:8 "God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

1. He died a horrible death for us
Matt 26-27 Christ was spit on, struck flogged, crucified...

2. He walked out of the tomb to give us life
I Cor 15:3-7 Paul's testimony of those the risen Christ appeared to
* Does the Cross lead you to become a follower? Christ is saying, "If I can walk out of the tomb, I can do ANYthing."

3. The Cross Won't Change Your Life -- Unless You Let It ...


Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding: A Milliner's Super Bowl

I don't necessarily love a Royal Wedding. Or hardly any wedding! They make you wait too long to get to the cake.

But I do love a hat. My spousal unit looks great in a hat. I wish women wore hats more. Men too.

(On a semi-related note, this first gentleman, who I'm fairly certain is a Duke, or if not at least a Clemson or an NC State, has got on the best looking tux pants I've ever seen. Those are some killer trousers. Just sayin...In fact, kudos on the entire haberdashery statement. Ditto the kid slightly obscured to his right.)


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sadly, I Keep Forgetting I’m Supposed To Be Happy

(Published as today's 'E-thought' available each weekday by free subscription at

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11 (NIV)

In Vacation Bible School we’d sing, “If you’re happy and you know it say ‘Amen.’”

And all of us little ones would yell, “AMEN!,” mainly because the preacher had just told us to, but maybe because we really WERE happy, or at least didn’t know enough to know we weren’t.

We grew up. We got busy. Had our hearts broken. Found out people didn’t act right. Paid to have a transmission replaced. Clocked in.

We became unhappy.


For years, I missed it all. “Don’t be afraid,” the angels said. “I bring you good tidings of great joy…” I heard them say they were bringing me rules to follow, a tough row to hoe, but don’t worry: it will be worth it in the end.

Except that’s not what they said.

They were bringing me good NEWS. Not something that I had to do, but something that had been done FOR me, already. Good tidings of great joy. The gospel. The Good News. “I am coming to you NOW … so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them…” (John 17:13, NIV)

A heavenly host shouted the good news across the sky -- but I missed it. We reject a Savior because we misunderstand. We don’t even know who he is. We miss the sign of the water into wine. We forget that heaven is a feast. We neglect to taste, and see that the Lord is good.

Where the gospel is not believed and received, there can be no joy. A fallen world will not allow it. But where the gospel lives and shouts and sings across the sky, there can be nothing but.

“Ask, and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:23 NIV)


-- teddy

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pop-Tarts From Step Pop

Well, ok ... it's not a GREAT present. But they are good until February of next year!

Happy Birthday to Emily, from your Loser.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Onion Field by Joseph Wambaugh

Meant to read this book since high school; got around to it this week..

The felt for a while as i was reading that it wasn't very good, but then i realized it's because i wanted it to be In Cold Blood, and no true crime book is going to be In Cold Blood, so i ended up glad i read this piece of true crime by an LAPD detective who went on to become a famous writer. The movie from the '70s stars James Woods; Ted Danson is in it too. 1979 I think. The book was published in 1973; the killing happened in 1963, the night of March 9. It hurt me. I like the guy pictured ahove and his story within this story hurt me too...(I also like what he has on and wish the outfit were mine, only not ripped.) ...

I won't tell you how things blew up on that night or how things blew up in the trial phase but my favorite lines were a prosecutor's who got to thinking something that I believe now more than ever..."They made movies and wrote books about courtroom drama. It was all a hoax. There was no drama. Not in a real courtroom. It was all a cruel joke and an incredibly silly thing to devote one's life to...We're not remotely concerned with a search for truth, he thought. The advantage to the defense is the passage of time and the courts permit it and pervert justice. Who respects the system? Not the defendants surely. Not the public. Not ME, God knows! ... When lawyers were permitted to obstruct and even stop this pathetic process, then it was not even madness. There was some dignity in madness..."


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Man at The Masters

(Our old friend Donnie Golfgame, who now edits and writes to daylight in Florida, was invited to the Masters and attended Thursday and Friday. Today he filed this small report. I am jealous.)

All I can say about The Masters is that it's everything beautiful I've ever heard about it, and more. It's like Disney World, the way it's run and caters to massive crowds. Like a Disney World you might go to where you can see the most beautiful amusement rides ever and, yet, not be able to ride one gosh-darned ride! All I wanted to do was hit one golf ball -- just one, mind you -- but not one tour pro was willing to give it up to me. (Haha!)

Surreal moment: Standing at the practice range and realizing I was near arms length to Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer -- this just moments before they moved to Hole No. 1 for the ceremonial tee shots, which were both long and straight and well, beautiful to the point of tears...


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kix & Brooks

(Reprinted from today's Times and News-Star)

Shreveport’s own “Kix & Brooks,” one of our favorite country music singers, songwriters and guitar pickers, was in Ruston this week doing three of the things he loves best: playing golf, seeing friends and telling stories.

For the past eight years, Brooks and NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, a noteworthy one-two Shreveport punch, have hosted a golf tournament at Squire Creek in Choudrant to benefit their alma mater, Louisiana Tech. But this is the first time Brooks has shown up without a professional playing partner back in Nashville.

Brooks and Ronnie Dunn made “Brooks & Dunn” (I’ve always preferred “Kix & Brooks” because, well, Ronnie Dunn’s “not from here”) the best-selling duo in country music history. But for now, the two are pursuing separate careers.

“Me and ‘Slim’ are still the best of friends,” Brooks said. It’s just that after 20 years, both of them wanted to do things without having to run it by the other. In golf terms, they’re no longer playing a two-man scramble.

Both are still featured in updates on the Brooks & Dunn website. Dunn is already on a solo tour; he’ll be in the Riverdome at Bossier City’s Horseshoe Casino May 6.
Meanwhile, Kix is hosting “American Country Countdown,” is partner in a Tennessee vineyard and winery, and is still writing and will record again, “maybe even with Ronnie,” he said. You never know.

He’s also in the middle of filming his second movie. He had a small role in “Thriftstore Cowboy” and showed up in Choudrant last week looking rode hard and put up wet, on a break from a lead role as a lawman thrown in jail in “The Last Ride.”

“If I look a little scruffy,” he said, “it’s because I’ve been in prison the past five days. Compared to what I’m gonna be, I’m pretty now.”

He’s come a long way because once he hit the semi-big time, Kix found out quickly that there are times when the most challenging role to play is yourself. Kix apparently wasn’t very good at it; neither was Ronnie Dunn.

When he and his singing co-star had written and recorded their first two hits, “Brand New Man” and “Workin’ On My Next Broken Heart,” they found themselves in New Orleans, not-yet-famous and accidentally light-headed on a new hole-in-the-wall-bar discovery called Jello Shots. They also discovered a karaoke country music bar in, of all places, the French Quarter.

Hello, darlin’.

Kix asked their tour manager to walk in and find out if they had “all our stuff” on the karaoke machine – “all our stuff” being their catalog of two songs. They did! So … Brooks & Dunn waited their turn, then got on stage and, with people dancing and the duo’s faces on multiple video screens all round the joint, they sang their two hits while people danced and cheered and sang along.

“We knocked ’em out!” Kix said.

Walking off the stage, he looked at Dunn. The karaoke bar was still cranked up with energy. “We killed ’em!” he said. “They love us!”

Basking in the glow of appreciation from a free performance for their fans, Brooks and Dunn humbly walked/stumbled off the stage and ended up behind one of the female patrons. And Kix heard the happy karaoke fan screaming in her friend’s ear, “Boy, those two guys sure LOOK like Brooks & Dunn,” she said, “but they can’t sing a lick!”

True story.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Analyst, Fan or Follower? -- Reasons to Follow

(These are my Sunday notes from FBC Ruston/Dr. Chris Craig)

Luke 22:7-20

The Lord's Supper is About What Christ Did For Us

1. We Are All Sinners
* "Passover" in Jesus' day celebrated the first Passover and the Israelites freedom from Egypt. They needed a physical savior.
* Jesus begins Lord's Supper to Symbolize our need for a spiritual Savior ... Rom 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

2. Christ Bled and Died for You
Lamb died at original passover to save sons ... physical
Lamb of God died to save sons .. spiritual
vs. 19 Bread broken equals body broken
vs. 20 Wine poured out equals blood poured out

3. This Should Forever Change Us
Lord's Supper is for everyone but is intensely personal, intimate

4. We Should Live Our Life In Light of Jesus' Sacrifice ... "my body, given for you."

A man's son died in a bicycle accident. The man took the bike and placed it in a storeroom. And now and then through the years he would go look at the crumpled bike, blood dried on it, and the same feelings from the day of the accident would come back. The bicycle was a physical symbol of that day's events.
The Lord's Supper is a physical symbol of what happened on Cruxification Day. What does the Cross represent to you?


Thursday, April 14, 2011

'The Pastor'

Translator of "The Message," professor and writer Eugene Peterson was pastor of a Maryland Presbyterian congregation for 29 years. Recently retired, Peterson here shares his memoir, filled with the clear writing he's known for, the don't-miss-the-point storytelling, the honest mistakes along the way, the discomfort with actions of some congregations and their pastors -- including his own, and himself.

I think you'd like it; at least think about it ... Reading it should help you better understand just what a pastor is and what a pastor does; the "is" should determine the "does." It would be impossible to read this memoir and not have a better understanding as to why so many pastors are leaving the ministry ...

And he's just such a 'pretty' and thoughtful writer.

Wonderful book...I give it a fish and three loaves.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wood. You.

(Published today in E-thoughts...)

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac…Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, … ‘but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb…’” -- Gen. 22:6-8 (NIV)

“And they compelled one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.” -- Mark 15:21 (KJV)

Jesus always does the hard part. It might not seem that way in our human moments of trial or suffering, but it is a reality crystal clear when we view our lives through His.

Simon could not have known when he woke up that day that his life would in mid-morning change forever. He was, after all, just passing through. By divine circumstance, his path crossed the path of the beaten and bleeding Savior.

A scared and timid step forward, a shove, and Simon was in an unwanted spotlight, “compelled” by a soldier’s whip and order into a moment that would capture his life in God’s Word for eternity.

But it would also capture his heart.

Few people run toward the cross. Most of us have to be compelled by the soldier of misfortune, suffering, disease and any of a thousand pains and problems. And even then, we pick it up kicking and screaming.

But I hope we can be like Simon. Surely after looking into Jesus’ eyes that day, after seeing up close Christ’s shredded back, his crown of thorns, surely Simon knew that, in comparison, the yoke was easy. Jesus always does the hard part.

How could Simon look at that and not be changed forever?

In the days and weeks after, as news of the Resurrection spread, I imagine Simon’s horror of that day turning into an overwhelming feeling of honor. I imagine him on his knees and, through tears, gazing toward Heaven, arms extended, awed, overcome. I imagine his arms around his sons, his grateful whisper in their ears: “I walked with that Man…”

Have I stood on the Via Dolorosa on a day when the Lamb was passing by? Have I heard bloodthirsty calls from the crowd and seen a virgin’s son, an innocent man, bearing a cross toward the most important, galvanizing, meaningful moment in history? Have my eyes met his on that Way of Grief? Does my back yet feel the wood? Do I cherish the Old Rugged Cross?

-- teddy

Thursday, April 7, 2011

'Down Goes the Antichrist' (5th in a series from 2nd Thessalonians)

2 Thess 2:5-9 Sunday nite at church the preacher played a clip of Joe Frazier hitting the canvas and Cosell's famous call, "Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!" I enjoyed it. Marshall's George Foreman did too, I'm sure. We don't get to see a lot of boxing in our church, except when tithes run low and offertory plate passers start to use muscle to make us turn loose of the folding money. The illustration from the clip (which i'm sure Smokin' Joe would have objected to!, but which we loved) was when Christ returns, he knocks out the antichrist. And Satan. A twofer. And that's all she wrote...

1. The Antichrist and Satan are at work on Earth (v 6, 7)

2. There's a restrainer holding them back (v. 6), maybe govermnent/law or the church or the Holy Spirit...

3. One day the restrainer will be removed and the 'lawless one' will have more freedom (v. 4, v. 8-9)

4. Satan and antichirst KO'ed, rendered helpless upon Jesus' return... (v. 8-9); Rev 19:20; Rev 20:10. -30-

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Well ... I Liked It ....

(Thanks to the Merced Sun-Times for the photo, UConn's Walker shooting, Butler's Howard defending in UConn's 53-41 win in the men's finals; thanks to AP for shot of Danielle Adams driving against Notre Dame in A&M's 76-70 victory Tuesday night in the women's title game.)

Butler couldn't find water from a pier. Couldn't hit water falling out of a boat. Couldn't hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle. Couldn't find their butt with both hands. And on and on...

But I loved Monday's NCAA title game.

It's been pretty much blasted and it was no work of art but I loved it. I wouldn't have enjoyed it in February but as the cherry on top the hot fudge sundae, it was fine with me. Historically poor shooting: it happens. UCONN scores just 53 points -- and wins. By 12! No recap here, just grateful for what was a wonderful tournament. Reminds me of some books i've read. GREAT books and then the end comes and it's neither good nor bad, just sort of leaves you there, like real life does sometimes, and you go "Whoa." Anyway, that was Monday's game. I haven't covered the finals since Kansas beat Oklahoma and that was 50-50 at the half!, and then since Robinson made those free throws for Michigan to beat Illinois the next year. Down-to-the-wire scraps. BUT, there was beauty in Monday's game too, just a different kind. Anyway, loved it...WONderful tournament...

Watched Coach Blair and A&M beat ND for the women's title last night. Good for Coach Blair. I have not watched much women's basketball at all this year but the girls in the finals, those two teams could hoop. Very entertaining. Very happy for Coach Blair, who came to Tech with his star player, Debra Rodman, from South Oak Cliff in Dallas back in the day and was an assistant for the Lady Techsters. Now four former Lady Techsters coaches have won NCAA titles (as coaches): Sonja Hogg and Leon Barmore (both at Tech) Kim Mulkey at Baylor and Coach Blair in College Station...


Monday, April 4, 2011

The miracle of parking a phone while driving

(Reprinted from The Times and The News-Star, April 3)

Texting, texting all day long,
on my hand-held telephone.

Kitchen, den or patio,
I can text while on the go!

My favorite place to text outside
Is when I’m cruising in my ride.

The road belongs to me alone
When I want on my telephone.

I drive, but still I answer rings
Since driving, I can do four things:
That’s texttalkdrive AND hit your car.
It takes some skill, but I’m a star!

This won’t make a dent in what my small brain perceives to be a big problem, but, as country crooner Lyle Lovett said, or perhaps texted while driving his horse, “A man has to try. What are you if you don’t try?”

I am not an extremely intelligent person. I’m probably in the same IQ category as the guy who took a laxative and a sleeping pill on the same night.

You’ll see a fish riding a bicycle before you see me accepting any academic awards.

I’m not a bright man.

But, I do have my moments. I married a smart person. I will stop and ask for directions. I know to come in out of the rain. I can change a flat. And I long ago retired from texting while driving.

Each of us knows by now, personally, of at least a dozen accidents caused by people reaching for their dropped cell phones or talking or texting while driving. A grandfather told me last week of his teenaged grandson who had recently wrecked while texting and is now paralyzed from the waist down.

I am not a good driver to begin with. In fact, I’m probably the second worst driver in the world, and I will take over the top spot should my dad pass away. So I need all hands on deck while steering a vehicle.

It has not escaped my attention, though, that most people are circus acts while driving. I sat outside the house this week and counted the first 10 cars that came by. Seven drivers were on their phones.

I tried again later. Eight out of 10. Must be fires everywhere.

This week I was at a red light and the guy behind me was hit by the woman behind him. Both were on their phones. A conversation on my home phone with a friend two months ago ended with, “Oops, I’ve got to call you back. I just hit a car.”

What the…

I am probably more uneasy about this than most because I was on the front end of getting rear-ended back when cell phones were making their initial splash. A woman picked me off at a Dallas intersection. Just a dent, but a nice dent. She was very nice: she handed me her insurance information and her cell phone number and – this is the honest truth – she never got off her phone the whole time. She had to be the National Security Advisor or the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, is all I can figure. In 1999, was the head of national security blonde, female and mid-40s? Had to be...

On the wide open road, I can understand talking and driving. Otherwise, these are my rules, which my family knows: I can text or talk and drive if I am on fire, if I’m bleeding, or if I’m taking a call about a liver transplant. Short list. Otherwise, my phone’s in park, for my safety and for yours.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

If I Die in a Combat Zone, (Box Me Up and Ship Me Home)

Fourth Tim O'Brien book I've read in the past six weeks. Probably that's enough for me unless he comes out with a new one. For now I'll skip the other two or three novels he's written. This completes my initial jump into Vietnam War literature, something I was way, way behind on.

In order of how I liked these books...

The Things They Carried ... SO glad I read it. Would recommend it to anyone.
In the Lake of the Woods
If I Die...
Chasing After Caciatto

"If I Die in a Combat Zone" is a memoir, published in 1975 and an account, not tremendously detailed in a day-to-day way but very detailed at moments, of O'Brien's time as a grunt in Southeast Asia in 1969. His feelings about the war, "a wrong war," and his fear as a foot soldier, he does not hide.

His comments are simple but so clear. Stuff like ...

"It's sad when you learn you're not much of a hero." "Is a man once and for always a coward? Once and for always a hero? "It is more likely that men act cowardly and, at other times, act with courage, each in different measure, each with varying consistency. The men who do well on the average, perhaps with one moment of glory, those men are brave... "You promise, almost moving your lips, to do better next time; that by itself is a kind of courage."

And he is quite the sentence writer and moment catcher:

"The first sergeant, probably to show us he had guts and could take charge, walked up front with the company commander and the RTOs, and we moved slowly. "I was watching the first sergeant. He lurched backward, and dirt and a cloud of red smoke sprayed up around his thighs. He stood and gaped at the short explosion. He didn't say anything. As if he were trying to back out of the shrapnel and noise, he took three steps. Then his legs disintegrated under him, and he fell heavily on his back. "It exploded right under him. No one felt any particular loss when the helicopter landed and we packed him aboard."

And finally...

"You learned, as old men tell it in front of the courthouse, that war is not all bad; it may not make a man of you, but it teaches you that manhood is not something to scoff..."


Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's a Long Way to October...

I think it was '83 when TBS aired a special by that name. Since they were the SuperStation and almost all Atlanta's games were on TV, they had a lot to draw from. Manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Bob Gibson were often miked, the Braves won the division .... I still have it on VHS, need to watch it again. At the time, this was very mod TV...

And here we are, nearly three decades later. Time is the great mystery...

The game is the same tho. Above, the starting rotation of the NL defending champ Phillies. (Pic is from the NY Times.) And for the sake of argument, predictions:
NL: Phillies wild card, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Rockies are division winners
AL: Rangers, Minnesota, Boston win divisions, Angels are wild card.
In the World Series, Colorado beats the Angels.

Have a good season!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Antichrist (4th in a series on 2 Thessalonians)

2 Thess 2: 3-17

v. 3-4 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

1. The Antichrist IS going to appear
anti means 'against' and can also mean 'instead of'
1 John 2:18, 22 and 7
'antichrist is coming'
'antichrist is a man who denies Christ is the Son'
'antichrist is man who denies Christ is coming in the flesh'

2. There Have Been and Will be Many Antichrists
1 Jn 2:18 "many antichrists have come..''

3. There Will Be One Main Antichrist
v. 3 'Let no one deceive you...' ... we need to know the TRUTH
v. 4 "he'll exalt himself above all called God..."

v. 3 "not until rebellion..." meaning a falling away spiritually, which likely means the church falling away spiritually, not necessarily the non-church, which has already fallen or has remained fallen...
"then the man of lawlessness will appear, the son of perdition..." this phrase is used one other place in the NT, in John 17:12 when speaking of Judas, one "doomed to destruction..."

1 John 2:18 ... "this is the last hour..." In John's day, 'last hour'' meant a season of time...

and 'temple' is a Pauline metaphon for 'church'

1 John 2:19 "...they went out from us ..." people of the church is they? many antichrists might come from the church in the last hour? ...