Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Bride: A Gift to Be Enjoyed

Apart from Jesus Christ, my bride, Kristal, is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I pray that the infinite God of grace might grant me one thing: that I might be able to love, serve, delight in, wash (with the water of the word), and cherish her as He loves, serves, delights in, washes, and cherishes the Church (Epehsians 5:25-31).

Today we celebrate three years of exceeded expectations. To the unmarried: marriage is not a drag as the world would have you to believe. Marriage, in the fun, yet sufficient, words of Kristal, “Rocks the planet off its axis!” Only the selfish and pridefull chagrin the thought of commitment. Unconditional and sacrificial commitment in the covenant of marriage is not a ‘ball and chain,’ it is a channel through which mutual love and satisfaction flow. The only good reason to remain single, and it is a plenty good reason, is for the sake of being wholly devoted to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Divine Blueprints

Today as I was reading my devotional I noticed something that I had never noticed before (this happens on a regular basis--I have much to learn). Did you know that David received blueprints from the hand of God for building the temple (which he then passed along to Solomon) in a similar way that Moses received blueprints from the hand of God for building the tabernacle? See 1 Chronicles 28:19 and compare it to Exodus 25:9. Interesting! God takes his dwelling place seriously.

Now take a look at Hebrews 8:3-5:
For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; therefore it was necessary for this [priest] also to have something to offer. Now if He were on earth, He wouldn't be a priest, since there are those offering the gifts prescribed by the law. These serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was warned when he was about to complete the tabernacle. For He said, Be careful that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain.
The pattern that God showed Moses on Mt. Sinai was the real deal tabernacle, the eternal one in heaven itself. The actual tabernacle that Moses built was just a physical, earthly representation. I wonder if David saw the same thing. Hebrews 8:3-5 really makes me question those dispensationalists who look forward to a rebuilt temple as if an earthly copy could in any way compete with the true one. In essence, dispensationalists drool over the match box while the Ferrari sits unused in their driveway. I look forward to entering a temple which doesn't need to be rebuilt. It doesn't need to be rebuilt because it is eternal, unchanging, unpenentrible, undefiled. Unlike the earthly one, the type and shadow, it could never have been destroyed in the first place, thus making rebuilding unnecessary. As they always say, and I will change it to fit my purposes; "If it can't break, don't rebuild it!" This is the temple we now enter confidently (Hebrews 4:16). Moses' temple and David's temple were nothing but claymation models. What is the facsination over such small representations when the Scriptures point us to the glories themselves!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tennis Hopes Become Reality

Following up on my last post: Well, although I have yet to see Nadal and Federer square off in the French Open championship match, I can happily say that Andy Murray (the guy on the right) officially overtook Novak Djokavic's (the guy on the left) #3 ranking.

Interestingly, I just read in an article by Iaian Rogers that Murray looks to Nadal for his motivation to improve his game (the 0.000034% of you who want to read this article can access it by clicking here).

I do not foresee Murray taking over Federer's #2 ranking this year; however, Murray, at 22, is still quite young while, at least in tennis years (I guess it is sort of like dog years), Federer is reaching old-timer status (at almost 28). He is not there yet, but it would be safe to say that Federer's time is running short, and I forsee Murray being the one to take his place when that time comes.

One thing is for sure, Murray would certainly like to break up the Nadal vs. Federer epic. After all, he said the following in an interview:
"Rafa and Roger are probably the two best players ever, so I'd love to try and break that up... The rankings reflect my good run and I just need to try and focus on winning."*
I don't think the question is if he will be able to do it, it is when. On the other hand, tennis stars often times come out of the wood work, jumping from being virtually unheard of to being in the top 10 within one single year. Unfortunately I lost my crystal ball, we'll just have to wait and see. Yes, I find following tennis to be a good lesson in theology. God is sovereign over all, even over rich, sweaty, long-haired tennis guru's.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Will The Rival Continue?

As many of you know, tennis is my favorite sport to watch on TV. Thankfully, our satellite company throws the Tennis Channel in as part of the standard package. Last year Nadal took over the #1 ranking in the world from the seemingly unstoppable, Roger Federer. Ever since Nadal secured the #1 ranking he has been virtually unbeatable. Federer had something of a meltdown at the Australian open when he lost to Nadal in the championship match. It seemed as if Federer finally realized that Nadal was not just going to be a force to be reckoned with on clay--he realized that Nadal had upped his game and was going to push him to the breaking point on every surface. Federer has not seemed to be the same since--he has lost his edge.

Although Nadal is by far my favorite player, it has been disappointing to see Federer pose so little threat to Nadal. One of the things that made the match up between Nadal and Federer so fun to watch was how neither of them seemed that they were able to win--it was always neck-and-neck, down to the very last point. It seems that once Federer lost the Austrailian open he lost something of his pizazz.

However, there are many naysayers out there who think that Federer, speaking in tennis terms, has died, never to return to the top again. Although there has been an apparent difference in Federer's confidence over the last few months I would have to completely disagree with those who think that Federer's reign as a champion is over. I have even read some sports columnists who suggest that although Federer, as a 26-year-old, is only 1 major shy of tying Pete Sampras' all-time record of 14 majors, he will never match Sampras' feat. I tell Kristal about 10 times a day (I am sure that she really doesn't care--I just need someone to vent to, and unfortunately I am the only one on the face of the planet who actually, like a goober, avidly follows tennis) that the only reason that Federer would not surpass Sampras' all-time record is if he has become mentally defeated. Federer still moves and jives like he did when he was virtually unstoppable. Nothing has changed in his ability, and I really don't think that Nadal has improved so much that he has out done Federer. If Federer could get over this hump of depression I think that we can expect to see the Nadal vs. Federer hype continue.

The French Open starts at the end of this month (May). I am waiting with bated breath to see how things will turn out. Nadal is on course to break Bjorn Borg's record by winning 5 consecutive championships on clay in Paris. What makes this even more exciting (at least for a geek like myself) is that Federer has never won the championship at the French Open, making this the only Grand Slam that he has not won. To be honest, I will be stoked no matter the outcome of the final at the French Open so long as Nadal and Federer are in the finals. The worst thing, in my opinion at least, is if Novak Djokavic were to win. Whatever the result of the French Open, I just want to see Federer at the top of his game battling back and forth to reclaim his #1 ranking.

The Federer/Nadal rival must continue. I am an optimist who thinks that Federer is merely in a slump. All athletes go through slumps. I am not sure why sports analysts react to slumps the way they do. Every athlete goes through slumps, and it should surprise no one that Federer needs time to get used to being contested by someone as athletic and determined as Nadal.

My predictions: I expect the rival between Nadal and Federer to continue, and I expect Federer to surpass Sampras' record by at least one or two majors. I also expect to see Nadal, if he can remain injury free, come close to Sampras' record as well.

As for other top ranked tennis players: I find Novak Djokavic to be a bit prideful. He doesn't possess the humility, grace, and 'love for the game' that Nadal and Federer seem to have. It seems that Djokavic likes to win to prove himself to those who doubt him while Nadal and Federer like to win because they love the game of tennis. On another note, I am definitely excited about Andy Murray. Murray is not always the most animated tennis player, but he certainly is going to pose a large challenge to Nadal, Federer, and Djokavic. My hope is that Murray dethrones Djokavic from the #3 ranking. In regard to Andy Roddick: although I was thinking at the beginning of the season last year that Andy Roddick had become a 'has been,' he has really stepped up his game. I am looking forward to seeing him play this year, and especially at the U.S. Open.

I hope my tennis commentary has enlightened your day (ha).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Prayer Update on Sam

A few weeks ago I put up a post asking for prayer for a 15 month old boy, Sam, who goes to our church and has stage 4 neuroblastoma cancer. I just wanted to direct you to the website that Sam's parents, Matt and Jen, are using to keep people updated regarding Sam. The link is Please visit the site often and continue to lift Sam, Matt, and Jen up in your prayers. Thanks.