A&M — UCLA Game as a Microcosm of the Church

I know that using a title like that, I might get accused of over-spiritualizing the football game between Texas A&M and UCLA on Saturday. For those of you who did not watch the game, the underdog Aggies took a 24-9 lead into the fourth quarter. This is well and good because I was hoping for an Aggie win to start the season, especially against a team that was ranked at Number 16 in the AP Top 25 polls. The fact that A&M was not ranked showed you how the sports writers of America view the Aggies. In the top 50, but not 25.

Nonetheless, the Aggies took a lead and for the first time in years, it was obvious that A&M had its defense back. Historically, A&M has always had great defenses and it was what made them fordable in years past.

But the lead, in a nationally televised game, had an effect on the coaching staff. Sumlin & Company decided to get very conservative in their play calling when it came to the offensive side of the ball. The theory goes that when you enter in the fourth quarter, you get conservative, and run the ball, so that nothing bad really happens. Or you just make short passes to pick up a few yards here and there. In other words, what gave A&M the lead in the way they played up until that point, was being abandoned in the hopes of holding on to the lead to get the win.

It was almost enough to cause them to lose the game. They quit with the game plan that gave them the lead. Anyone who watches sports has seen this happen time and time again. It’s quite frustrating for fans who have to watch their team slowly dwindle away and lose. In fact, just watching it happen, and seeing your team pull out the victory at the last moment, is really quite hollow because you know that in the end, your team…well, got lucky.

Now, take the same analogy and apply it to the church. What makes the church successful is when the body of Christ is being faithful to our calling, preaching God’s word, administering the sacraments, worshiping in Spirit and truth and striving for a life of holiness as the people of God. When we depart from those fundamental issues that we have been called to, is when we become weak.

I have watched the church over the last 25 years trying to make great strides in reaching and changing the culture. The effects of the efforts have been devastating to the state of the church. While the mega-church movement is alive and well, holiness is absent. While God’s love is readily preached, nothing of His holiness and judgement is mentioned. In an attempt to accommodate the culture, so that we somehow become more relevant, we have become just like the culture, tattoos and all. The church, as a whole, is no different than the culture we were seeking to change.

What happened? We lost focus with what makes the church, the church and tried to be more than what we were called to be. No where does God call us to change culture. He calls us to be holy, because He is holy. Yes, I know we are to make disciples. But those disciples are supposed to come into conformity with Christ and His word. In fact, there is scripture that says we should not be conformed to the world, Romans 12:1-2. Sadly, in trying to save the culture by becoming like the culture, we lost our identity as the people of God.

We are no different than a 1,000 coaches out there, who get satisfied with a lead, and lose focus with the calling. Coaches are called to win, not coast. And the church is called to be the people of God, not like the culture. Hopefully, we will repent and the LORD will still allow us an overtime win.

Do We Need Olympians Who Take Stands for Christ?

I’m happy that Olympic Divers Steele Johnson, and David Boudia both won silver medals for their synchronized diving. I’m really impressed by what Boudia said. This is a wonderful story. I’m also grateful that both are brothers in Christ.

Where I get a bit wary with stories like this, is the implication that because they were “in Christ” that they won silver medals. They could have just as easily won the silver medals without Christ. In fact, there are many people who are doing that even this very day.

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NBA Shows Us the Nature of the Beast

The NBA announced on Thursday that they are pulling their All-Star Game out of Charlotte, NC, for 2017 because of that state’s law that keeps pedophiles and perverts out of the women’s bathrooms and locker rooms. Read the story here.

The NBA is perfectly free to make such a move. But it reveals two things about who they really are. The first is the more obvious: it shows that when it comes to morality, the NBA has cast its lot with evil doers. I have written on how commerce, and entertainment, are rooted in the worldly systems, and lack any real anchor to truth or morality. Through the league’s action, we are seeing this reality.

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Johnny Manziel Needs to Grow Up

I know, we were all enamored with Johnny Manziel four years ago. His haphazard style of play, helped him defeat powerhouse Alabama on the road and led to him being the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. We thought that there would never be anyone like him again on the field.

Now, four years later, every time I hear the name Johnny Manziel, I cringe. While he brought a lot of attention to Texas A&M University, along with the Heisman Trophy, I think most Aggies would confess that Manziel has been an embarrassment ever since. He is like a 16 year old with no restraint. He thinks life’s best moments are tied up in standing at a bar with frat boys getting plastered and shouting how plastered they are getting. He thinks the life that is best, is that of a drunken frat boy and shouting “dude!” He is empty headed.

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Going Kyle Field!

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The crowd noise was deafening as the Gamecocks made their way toward the south end of the field. The Aggies’ defense had held the Gamecocks in check for two plays, then on the third play, the Gamecocks broke through for a 25-yard gain. They picked up another gain on the next play to the Aggies 40-yard line. It seemed they were going to score with how easily they moved the ball. Every time the quarterback set up under his center, the crowd just got louder.

I leaned over to Heidi so she could hear me above the noise of the crowd, “we’re due for a turnover.”

A few seconds later, Donovan Wilson intercepted the ball and ran it 60-yards for a touchdown, Aggies took a 35-21 lead. Kyle Field erupted and I couldn’t help but laugh that I made that call.

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Soccer, Easy to Understand, Hard to Play

As I sat watching my son play soccer, it dawned on me that soccer is not a complicated game. However, it is quite difficult. It is one thing to see what needs to be done in order to move the ball down the field and score. It is quite another getting 10 year olds to do it. But I guess the same could be said about a lot of sports, easy to grasp, hard to carry out. The following photos are of Andy’s (my son) team seeking to carry it out. They did quite well for a while, but their opponents finally overcame the sluggishness both teams were facing for playing so late on a Saturday. The Gunners lost, 3-1.

Andy got to be a team captain and witness the coin toss.

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ThePutt

58, 54, the Par That Got Away, and Texas A&M Basketball Coaches

ThePuttNext Saturday will be the six-year anniversary of my venture into the world of golf. I was reminded of this when Mark M., on Facebook, when he noted that his Wichita State Shockers had won another game in the NCAA Basketball Tournament and I reminded him that I was happy for him, just as long as Texas A&M hired away their coach the way they did with Mark Turgeon back in 2007. All of that got me to thinking about how all that came about, about taking up golf and about how my game is doing now, six years later.

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Aggies-Longhorn Game a Matter of Law?

AndyTEX011Apparently a Texas legislator has filed a bill in the house that would require Texas A&M and the t.u. longhorns to play football every year. If you will recall, the t-sips opted out of the rivalry after A&M bolted the Big 12 for the SEC because A&M was tired of the bully tactics of the t-sips. In a snit, the t-sips refused to play A&M any longer, even though A&M was ready to keep the rivalry alive.

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Alabama Rolls To National Championship!

OK, there is my prediction. Let me be on record, I’m picking Alabama to win the National Championship tonight over Notre Dame. And while I’m not a professional sportswriter, or even an amateur sports writer, my pick is just as valid as the boys over at ESPN.

Gene Wojciechowski over at ESPN gives 10 reasons Notre Dame wins the National Championship. You can tell he is stretching because he says Notre Dame’s quarterback is a whole lot like Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Really? I really don’t remember anyone mentioning Everett Golson in the same breath as the Heisman Trophy. I’m surprised he didn’t make the logical jump that Notre Dame beat Oklahoma. A&M beat Oklahoma. A&M beat Alabama, therefore Notre Dame will beat Alabama. It would have been as good as any of the other reasons he gives.

Ivan Maisel gives his 10 reasons ‘Bama wins and I think they are more convincing. The number one reason he gives is that ‘Bama has the experience. That alone counts for at least 14 points in my book. But it’s not just experience in National Title games, it is experience in big games every week. Yes, Notre Dame had to rise from the ashes to get to this point. But let’s face it, when they went into play a team like the Sooners, the Sooners were not thinking that they were playing a national powerhouse. ‘Bama has been a national powerhouse for years, and managed to keep that moniker because they are so good. For all we really know about Notre Dame, they’ve had to have some really lucky games to remain undefeated. I’m not trying to take away from their season. They’ve had a great season. But I don’t think it will be enough to beat ‘Bama.