Monday, December 15, 2008

World Series Update

This update is incredibly difficult to write.  Not because it invokes any sort of pain, but because it is almost impossible to summarize a trip where I experienced one of my biggest dreams in life:  seeing the Phillies win the World Series.  Whether I am a loser for having this dream is up for debate, but while on this website, we will assume that it is an admirable dream.  One that makes you smile.  And think of butterflies.   

Background story:  Remember that dance at my wedding, where I absolutely killed our first dance consisting of fox trot, swing, salsa, and a splash of quick step?  I'm not bragging, just pointing out reality.  For me to pull that dance off is nothing short of miraculous (or sinful depending on your outlook).  Anyway, for those that don't know me, I'm actually not a huge fan of dancing.  In fact, agreeing to take dance lessons was only birthed out of our biggest disagreement of the engagement.  My response to her request was similar to:  "If I'm going to spend 10 weeks of my life in a dance studio in order for you to have your dream, then I get to live out my dream when the time comes."  Words spoken like a future sacrificial husband.  Anyway, Tatum took the incredibly favorable odds and agreed that I could go to a World Series game if the Phillies are in it.  Backdrop complete.


When the dream came into focus:  NLCS series.  I was in the middle of one of the busiest months of my seminary career.  I was recording the games and watching them at 10pm.  The last thing on my mind was going to the World Series.  When they beat the Brewers, my friend Wick, who was the best man in my wedding, let me in on the secret.  Since he works for the Padres, he was able to reserve 4 WS tickets at face value to each game in Philadelphia.  In other words, more was riding on the series that I had realized.  I almost convinced myself that I could not go.  Luckily everyone around me is not as dumb as I am.  I bought the plane ticket when the Phillies were up on the Dodgers 3 games to 1.  We bought Tatum's ticket after they clinched.  The trip was happening.  I was speechless.  Especially when Wick dropped off the tickets with an authentic World Series Phillies jersey for me to wear. 

I could write a whole book on this weekend, so I will just give you a few of the highlights.  If you want every little detail, just ask.  I really don't mind telling them.

Ø  Sat next to Mitch Hamels on the flight into Philly.  Yeah, that's Cole Hamel's brother.  I tried to talk to him as much as I possibly could while maintaining my cool, "no-big-deal" façade.  Learned about pitching and his brother.

Ø  Went right from the airport to Game 3.  Getting there 2-1/2 hours early is not as cool when the game is delayed another 2 hours.  Great game that ended with a walk-off squibbler.  Crawled in bed at 3:45am.  Quite a day. 

Ø  Tatum went to Game 4, which was quite a treat.  The only game with good weather and four home runs.  Even Joe Blanton was hitting home runs!  She had a blast seeing me in my element and enjoyed all the energy that comes with the Phillies dominating.

Ø  Game 5 was 3 days long.  The rain did not bother me at first due to adrenaline, but the game got ridiculous.  Then we had to stay around another hour to find out if the game was officially suspended.  Then came the decision.  Do I spend $250 to change my flight to watch the rest of the game?  Plus use two more vacation days?  Well, I decided I could not afford that.  Therefore, God took care of it and cancelled my flight.  I was the only one in the airport who was ecstatic at the "inconvenience."  I then stood at the game the following night with full confidence that they would win.  Ok, a few doubts. 


Overall, I watched 27 innings without the Phillies trailing at any point.  I was able to go with my wife, my brother-in-law, and 6 different friends.  I own 4 rally towels.  I drove from Lancaster County to Philly (1-1/2 hour drive each way) 6 times in 6 days.  Our tickets were row 4 of the upper deck.  And I watched the Phillies clinch a World Championship for the first time in 28 years!  This picture sums up how I felt.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Grateful for November!

Well, I made it through the month of October. Although one of the busiest months I can remember, it was also quite fulfilling. As noted in the previous entry, I was quite busy at church, which I will update below. Beyond those big events, I also had an intensive class, which is 30 hours of class in one week (6 hours per day). Mixed in throughout the month were some really fun, and of course unavoidable trips: bachelor party weekend in Big Bear (mountains a few hours away), weekend in Kansas for a wedding (see picture), a trip back to Philadelphia for a little thing called the World Series, and a few big birthday celebrations. I will have to give a separate entry for the World Series, since that was one of the greatest moments of my life. If that's not enough, I was sick for a week and sliced open my finger while washing dishes. It needed 7 stitches and I couldn't use my right hand for about a week. Did I mention that my computer has been so inconsistent that I had to shop for another one? Yeah, you can say I'm grateful for November.

I wanted to give you an update on the prayer requests from last entry. Here are some quick updates on the events:

  • Nancy Heche, or at least the topic of how the church can respond to homosexuality, was quite the draw. We had over 200 people come out to interact with this topic. I thought it was a huge success and Nancy really challenged us to transform our response to the homosexual community from fear and anger to love and respect. Although we have a long way to go as a church, the dialogue started as to what our role is. If you would like to listen to her talk, you can follow this link: Go to the bottom and you will see the talk under the heading of H20.
  • As expected, the classes on evangelism did not attract quite as big of a crowd. We averaged about 10-15 per night and had some great discussions on what it looks like to share God's love for us with the people around us. There are a lot of misconceptions, so it is always fruitful to reexamine what evangelism is all about. I led the first night and focused mainly on the motivation of compassion, what our culture looks like, and different styles of evangelism. We were blessed to have James Choung speak the second night. If you are interested in the way he presents God's story to others, you can watch his YouTube video. Its only 3 minutes long: The final night consisted of a panel from our church.
  • Finally, we had another Men's Event. We had about 60 guys turn out for this one, which is not bad considering we were competing with the baseball playoffs and Monday Night Football. We had about 7 different recipes of chili represented along with some nachos and hot dogs to complement them. We discussed our view of God and how that can often be related to how we view our earthly fathers, whether they were healthy or not-so-ideal role models. Through a few testimonies and group discussion, I'm hoping that the men left at least with some questions and ideas to begin their journey on this topic. I think men often strive to be better Christians and do not realize that they are approaching God through a faulty view of Him. Hopefully we will be able to encourage each other in this process.
As far as the growth group training and Tatum's core group, I will update on them next month since they are still in progress. Also, stay tuned for an update on how I was such an integral part of the Philadelphia Phillies becoming World Champions!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Busy October

Well, this is my first attempt at passing along an update to all my supporters through the infamous blog. Although I hope to expand this site in order to update you on other areas of my life, and to include some of my writings both in and out of school, I will start with updates on my ministry at Flood. Who knows? Maybe I'll become one of those bloggers that has so many readers that it becomes my full-time job and I have really annoying advertisements on the side!! Let's hope not. The goal of the blog is that I'll be able to update more often with less to say!

Things have been busy this fall, both with the start of seminary and the increase of church activity. Our falls are always busy with all the college students coming back and the rest of our church coming back from vacations. With Tatum having an exremely busy semester in her nursing program, we have had to try really hard just to communicate on a regular basis. Also, we have learned a lot about sharing errands and cooking 10-minute meals. But we are enjoying life.

Some quick highlights from the fall so far. We had our growth group launch at the beginning of September. Although we did not have as many new growth groups as I was hoping, we were still able to plug some guys into community. Also, we just finished up another round of new to faith. We had twelve go through the class, with 10 of them picking the seeker section. Its always a blast to dialogue with people that are authentically asking questions. Please pray for us as we meet up with them 1-1 over the next couple weeks.

Also, Tatum is two weeks into her second core group on finding redemption from their sexual past. It is definitely a different group this time around, but Tatum has been blessed so far. Pray for these girls as they share their stories over the next few weeks, most of them for the first time.

Finally, here are a few things that are going on this month that you can pray for. I'll update you as they happen.

  • We are having a class on Homosexuality this coming Sunday. With gay marriage becoming legal in California, and having a younger demographic, this is a big issue at our church. Nancy Heche, who's daughter dated Ellen DeGeneres, is coming to speak. She taught my class over the summer and has an amazing story.

  • We are having a 3-week class on Evangelism which I am overseeing. I'm excited to see others get excited about sharing their faith. Please pray that God would speak through me and the guest speaker.

  • We are having another Men's Event on October 13th. We will be tackling the issue of how we view God and how that relates to our relationship with our earthly fathers. I am excited for men at our church to start down this path.

  • Finally, we will be having two growth group leader trainings going on this fall to hopefully have more growth groups in January. Pray that God would raise up leaders.

That's it for now! Thank you so much for your support! Oh, and in case you didn't figure it out from the photo, Tatum, along with many others, gave me a new set of golf clubs for my 30th birthday! I was just a tad excited. Now I just need to learn how to use them.....