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Baseball Brawls Not Conducive to Victories for Baltimore Orioles

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in Baltimore Orioles, Sports | 0 comments

baseball brawlIn the recent series against the Boston Red Sox, the Orioles had one of those testy moments in the second game that reminded me of past baseball brawls.  In this instance the score was tied at 2-2 when the Red Sox batter took exception to a pitch that he thought was too close to his head while he was attempting to bunt.  Nothing much physical transpired — just a lot of shouting and gesturing — but my thoughts went back to the David Ortiz mound charge of Orioles reliever Kevin Gregg that led to a much more intense brawl on the diamond.

In the current incident, Boston went on to score the lead run later in the inning and closed it out for a victory; then followed that up the next day by overcoming a 5-0 deficit in the late innings for a surprising victory in the bottom of the ninth as the Orioles usually solid defense imploded with 3 errors — including a wild throw to the plate that let in the final run.

I need someone to research the facts for me … but my impression is that these incidents have not turned out well for the Baltimore club.  Either we were already behind and the brawl had an element of frustration (remember way back in 1998 when Armando Benitez plunked Tino Martinez of the Yankees in the back after a Bernie Williams home run and the New York club took obvious exception) or the aftermath of the fracas proved to be a letdown on the part of the Orioles and either immediate defeat in that game or a disappointing outcome in the game that followed.

Now I am not insinuating that the Orioles can be intimidated or that they back down in any way … I am just curious whether the historical record will bear out my recollection that baseball brawls have not turned out to the Orioles advantage in terms of the win-loss column.  This would take more extensive analysis than I am prepared to undertake.

Credible Witnesses to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in Christian | 0 comments

Credible Witnesses to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Have you ever been called on to be a witness in a court case? I had an interesting experience back in the beginning of my working career. I told you this story once before. I worked for about a year for a company that purported to help inventors bring their good ideas to the marketplace. I was in charge of their research team to write an initial report analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each invention. The firm charged a fee for this service and then if the idea had some merit they would try to sell the inventor on the next phase which involved some initial prototype development and even eventually marketing the product. The problem was that the company was unethical in some of the services and the value they offered to their clients. They misrepresented certain things. I ended up documenting what I could see that was out of bounds and left the company once I understood what they were doing.

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Cool Website #43: Scripture on Creation

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in Cool Websites | 0 comments

scripture on creationDr. Ben Scripture certainly has a unique name that gets your attention and is a perfect match for his platform to support Creationism: Scripture on Creation.  His website features his radio program where he tackles a wide range of scientific topics that have relevancy to the debate over evolution vs. creationism and the ramifications of the worldwide flood.  He has both the theological training as well as the scientific background to equip him to analyze these topics.

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Don’t Make a Deal with the Devil — Isaiah 36:1-37:7

Posted by on Apr 13, 2014 in Christian | 0 comments

Don’t Make a Deal with the Devil — Isaiah 36:1-37:7

I have a verse posted on the wall in my study above my computer that reminds me every day of the Lord’s ability to rescue me in times of trouble.  I posted it there when I lost my job after 28 years with the same company just as we were starting to trust God for the planting of this church 5 years ago.  It was a time of satanic pressure and intimidation.

Psalm 50:15

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”

Satan has a different message and a different agenda for our lives.  He loves to put us in the crucible of pressure and hardship in order to solicit our surrender to his seductive temptations. “The Lord can’t save you,” our antagonist cries out.  “I have something to offer you which will meet your needs and bring you comfort and happiness.”  Isn’t that what Satan offered to the Lord Jesus to try to dissuade Him from going to the cross – look at all the kingdoms of this earth I would freely give you – just make a deal with me.

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Take Me Home, Country Roads — Isaiah 35

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Christian | 0 comments

Take Me Home, Country Roads — Isaiah 35

When we are away from home for any extended period, our hearts long for a return to that place where we belong; that place of joy and refreshment; that place of love and security; that place that just feels right to us because we were created to live there.

[Almost like the TV show Cheers – where everyone knows your name …]

I love John Denver’s classic hit song, Take Me Home, Country Roads:

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Slaughter and Desolation — Isaiah 34

Posted by on Mar 30, 2014 in Christian | 0 comments

Slaughter and Desolation — Isaiah 34

I don’t know how much you have heard of the controversy over the new biblical epic movie “Noah” that has just hit the movie theaters.  Apparently, some of the key truths of the Genesis narrative have been turned upside down in this rendition of the world-wide judgment flood.  The most significant aberration to me is that the major sin which stirs up God’s judgment is not portrayed as lust or wickedness or idolatry or sensual indulgence … rather, God is upset over man’s failure to be good environmentalists – a very politically correct twist on the biblical plot.

In our passage today, as we reach the culmination of chapters 28-33 in terms of God’s judgments against the nations, the Creator God unleashes His pent up wrath in graphic images of slaughter and desolation that impact not only the wicked nations but the lands they inhabit.  God does not function here as some modern politically correct environmentalist.  He wreaks havoc with His creation in preparation for the blessings of the millennial kingdom.  In chapter 34 we are going to see the horrifying picture of a once productive land devastated by slaughter and destined to desolation; while in chapter 35 in summary fashion we will see the reverse: the desolate land being rescued and restored to unprecedented productivity and fertility.

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Appreciate the Savior — Isaiah 33:13-24

Posted by on Mar 23, 2014 in Christian | 1 comment

Appreciate the Savior — Isaiah 33:13-24

Review of the first half of Chapter 33:

When God springs into action, the destroyer is destroyed and God’s people are delivered.

I. (:1-6) First Movement: Judgment and Deliverance – Woe #6 – last one; climactic

-          Judgment pronounced against both destructive and treacherous behavior

-          Deliverance prayed for – we need God’s grace to persevere each day

-          Dynamic Judgment effects – Dispersal and Looting of the Wicked Nations

-          Dynamic Deliverance effects – Exaltation of the Lord in Jerusalem

II. (:7-12) Second Movement

-          Desperate times cry for divine intervention

-          Deliverance associated with the exaltation of God – “I will arise” theme

-          Judgment executed in the last days (:11-12)

Applications:

-          Near term: Threat of Assyria in Isaiah’s day

-          Eschatological: Day of the Lord scenario

-          Application to the church today

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Judgment on the Destroyer and Deliverance for Zion — Isaiah 33:1-12

Posted by on Mar 16, 2014 in Christian | Comments Off

Judgment on the Destroyer and Deliverance for Zion — Isaiah 33:1-12

Accountability is coming says the Lord and He will destroy Judah’s enemies and deliver His people.  It might look like the Lord is silent; but He will arise and spring into action and sovereignly put down the destroyer in order to establish justice and righteousness in the Promised Land.

As we get to this 6th and final Woe of our section which began back in Chap. 28, we see the same type of near term and far term reference that we would expect.  In the near term, the destroyer is the godless nation of Assyria under the leadership of Sennacherib – making a treaty with Judah and accepting her tribute money but still coming to her doorstep in 701 B.C. with the intention of destroying Jerusalem; However, God mercifully intervened and drove them off;

In the end times, the AntiChrist will arise and make a covenant with the Jews – appearing to be her friend and advocate (Daniel 9:27).  But in the middle of the 7 year Tribulation Period, he will break that covenant in a treacherous way and unleash the power of wicked nations in a last ditch attempt to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.  Once again, God will intervene and arise in judgment on the destroyer and deliverance for Zion.

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Cool Website #42: 101 Homeschooling Sites to Follow in 2014

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in Cool Websites, Education | Comments Off

homeschooling sitesIf you have an interest in resources for homeschooling, there is something for everybody at this convenient portal site: 101 Homeschooling Sites to Follow in 2014.  When Karen started homeschooling our children ages ago, she was one of the true pioneers.  She had to look diligently for good resources and had to create her own coop types of support networks to facilitate the process.  Today curriculum choices can be overwhelming — there are so many good options.  It is very helpful to be pointed in the direction of easy places to look for different interests.  Just to give you a quote from the site’s mission statement:

Students don’t all respond well to standard teaching methods, and teachers who can employ a variety of strategies to personalize each student’s education and keep them engaged will be the most successful with pupils of all ages. Homeschooling is becoming a popular choice for parents who feel that their children need highly personalized education and individual attention, but not every family has the means to make homeschooling work. To be successful, current and future educators will need to have the ability to provide individual attention to students while meeting the needs of a whole classroom.

Over a year ago, we published a list of the 25 Best Sites for Homeschoolers in 2012, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Educators, students, and homeschooling bloggers loved it, and it was clear that there’s plenty of room for sharing and learning between all of those groups. With this list, we want to highlight even more of the most amazing websites for homeschoolers.

For families that choose it, homeschooling can be an incredibly enriching and rewarding experience for the students and the entire family. These sites feature diverse opinions and materials, and are not ranked or rated here, merely presented as excellent sources of information for anyone interested in homeschooling.

Check it out!

Top Ten Reasons the 2013-14 Terps Men’s Basketball Team Are the Most Frustrating All Time

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Maryland Terps, Top Ten Lists | Comments Off

Top Ten Reasons the 2013-14 Terps Men’s Basketball Team Are the Most Frustrating All Time

The Terps ACC run is now history as Florida State unceremoniously dunked them out of their final ACC tournament in the last second.  This game proved to be a microcosm of the entire season.  All of the ways in which Turgeon’s Terps inflicted pain on their fans throughout the season were highlighted in this win-or-go-home crushing defeat.  Sure the Terps can be praised as gritty — coming back from an 11 point deficit deep in the second half.  Sure they faced adversity with one of their starters not able to post due to back spasms and another knocked out in prime time with painful dislocated fingers.  But don’t fool yourself — the Terps problems were largely self-inflicted.  There would be no high level of frustration if the talent pool was still as empty as when Coach Williams jumped ship.  The reality is that Turgeon seems to be able to recruit (a valid criticism of the later years of Gary’s era) but he lacks the ability to get the most out of his talent in game situations — unquestionably a great strength of Gary’s.  The level of inconsistency is reflected in their overall final record of 17-16 — no way a team with this type of balanced talent should end up with 16 defeats.

Here are the Top 10 Reasons why they are the most frustrating of all time:

10)  Turnover, turnovers, turnovers.  The rock is precious.  Every possession should be treasured.  But the Terps played careless and sloppy — making lazy passes that the Florida State defenders could time out and deflect to take the other way for easy lay-ups.  We lost too many of the hustle plays for loose balls.  Maybe we just lack overall team quickness.

9)  Turgeon indecisiveness.  He never seems to settle on a lineup and establish roles for his players.  Every game is a roulette wheel as to who will be in the starting five.  This game he had some injury issues that led him to start his two big men — but after early fouls, he inserted Jake Layman before anybody had even worked up a sweat.  What gives?  Some players think they are one bad shot away from being pulled — somehow the coach needs to be able to build the confidence of his players in order to get them comfortable and get the most out of them.

8) Inconsistent three point shooting from players that should be contributing more.  There were times in the season when Layman went cold and when Faust seemed in another world.  Speaking of Faust — what a waste of great natural talent.  He just makes too many dumb plays that give the opposition tons of momentum.  Not sure what you can do about that problem.

7) Failure to close out the last 2 minutes of every first half with intensity and effectiveness.  Many of their losses came in the first half when they had good chances of creating a bigger cushion at half time but let things slip away.

6) Five Games lost in their final possession — when the pressure was greatest, they just were unable to execute.

5) Stumbling, bumbling, fumbling in the paint.  We have no true post players on the offensive end who can play with their back to the basket and make offensive moves to score consistently.  Mitchell was great at smiling big-time as he lumbered up and down the court — but he could never seem to clamp his mitts on the ball.  For every nice fluid move, there was the inevitable turnover that just made you groan.

4)  Failure to leverage the slashing and driving capabilities of their toughest and best finisher — Dez Wells — especially in the first half of games.  The officials in the tournament game were happy to call fouls in favor of the aggressor . . . but the Terps seem clueless on how to set up Wells for the right type of spacing to exploit his driving prowess.  Maybe he is too unselfish in the first half or maybe he feels he needs to pace himself.  Regardless, you cannot hope for second half miracle finishes to bail out inconsistent performances.

3) No natural point guard that can get you into your offense and facilitate execution of the plays that are called.  I like Seth Allen — he got off to a tough start coming off the injury but always competed and was willing to step up and take the tough shot.  He gets the credit for lifting the Terps to victory in the Overtime period against Virginia.  He made some huge threes and some nice drives to the bucket throughout the season.  But to be effective he needs to look first to score himself rather than run the offense.

2) Lack of interior toughness.  Maryland has plenty of size — at least in terms of bulk — but it does not have the quickness and toughness to compete to win the battle on the backboards when it matters.

1)  Low overall basketball IQ.  Turgeon seemed unable to get into their heads and get them to learn even the most basic concepts.  They came across as one of the most  undisciplined teams in Terps’ history.  Maybe Turgeon is just not very good at commanding their attention and delivering on the X’s and O’s in-game tutelage.

 


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