Opening Day is Here!

People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball.  I’ll tell you what I do.  I stare out the window and wait for spring.”  -Rogers Hornsby

That is right my friends one of the greatest days in the Spring, Opening Day for Major baseball. Baseball is America’s beloved past time, and holds many great memories for me. It represents everything that is great about summer, from the beautiful weather to the delicious stadium dogs at  Turner Field. Humphrey Bogart once said”A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz.” It is the only thing in life a man can fail seven out of ten times at and be considered great.

Baseball is something I hold very dear to me, because for the longest time it defined me. I started playing at the age of 4 and didn’t finish till I was an 18-year-old senior in high school. It was the one thing I could do to get my mind off of everything in life. There was something about lacing up the cleats and putting on that old hat that made everything okay.I had the pleasure on being on some great teams, and having some great coaches who have influenced my life in a very positive way.

You know what really grinds my gears? People who bash this great sport and call it boring. Albeit I know at time the game can be slow, and to the rookie spectator find it boring. Baseball though is a sport one should truly appreciate. It is not a sport you can pick up in a season, or two it takes years of practice. I truly believe that it i one of the hardest sports to learn, because the game as so many aspects to it. Discipline, mental toughness, and the ability to be able to forget the last play and go get them the next one. The art of the game of baseball is one that should be truly appreciated.

The 2011 season should be an exciting one no doubt. My team, the Atlanta Braves, are saying good-bye to Bobby Cox and welcoming Fredi Gonzalez to the dugout. Will he be able to carry on the success of the franchise, and claim a divisional title over the mighty Phillies? The AL East will be exciting as always as the Red Sox and Yankess duke it out for the division. Can Tampa Bay with the new additions of Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon be good enough to replace Carl Crawford and compete? Will the Al West be extremely boring once again? Can the Cubs finally win a World Series? I don’t know the answers to these questions, all I know is we have 162 games to let them figure themselves out.

With that being said Play Ball!   …….Oh and Go Braves!

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Out With the Old, In With the New

Today was a day that I will never forget, for good reasons. My church I attend back home has been sitting on the same piece of property for 107 years, until today that is. Over a year ago we decided to relocated, we bought a K Mart and so began the process. I really didn’t think much about till services that are traditional I realized were the last one’s in that building. It was weird, but today it really sunk in. Well it should, I mean today was the last service in that beautiful sanctuary. No big deal though right, I mean we still meet next Sunday just at a new place.  I mean I shouldn’t be emotional it’s just a building right?

To me, it was more than a building. It was my second home, where I spent the majority of time in the summers, where I found out who I was, where I learned my jump shot, where I met my best friends, and most importantly where I met my personal Lord in savior. I got in trouble in that building, I got baptized as well, and made the most recent important decision in my life. It holds some of the best memories of my life, and I will never forget that.

It will be weird not going to that building, but I am so excited about what will happen. You see all those memories were great, but they are not because of the building. It is because of the people in that building, the people are who make up the church. None of those memories would have happened with all the people, the 12th Street family, and I am grateful for that. I am even more grateful that these people are moving to the new building. I have confidence that more memories are to come.

If you do not have a church home and are close to Gadsden I encourage you to visit. God is moving and it is evident. Though I am older and my life is about to get “real” in the years to come, I look forward to making new memories at the new location. I know that they will come because the 12th Street family is a family that seeks God, and he will bless this place. Although today was bitter sweet, I rejoice for the memories we had in that building. As the old saying goes “Don’t be sad its over, be thankful it happened.” I am thankful that it happened. God is good, and will continue to be.

Some of my best friends at the last service

Freedom


free·dom

/ˈfridəm/  Show Spelled[free-duhm]

–noun

1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.

Physical freedom is important, but what about spiritual freedom?

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

-2 Corinthians 3:17

Luckily the Lord gives us that freedom. John 8:34 says we are slaves to sin. Which is true, we can all name one sin we/have struggled with and owned us. When something owns you, there is nothing you can do to escape it.

Think about it like this, slavery was a terrible time in our history in the United States. Slaves often escaped from their owners, thanks to slave codes though even when they escaped from their bondage to a free area, eventually they were sent back. Trapped and seemingly stuck in this turmoil for the rest of their life. We all know how the story goes though, we fought a war and men gave their lives to end slavery. Because a price was paid, these people were no longer owned and trapped in the bondage they once were.

Same is for us as Christians, a sin can own us. There are times when we can escape to church or another “safe area” but eventually that  sin comes knocking back. When it owns you, you cannot get away from it. Luckily for us, Jesus paid that price so sin could not own us and we can have freedom.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

-1 Corinthians 10:13

The video I posted speaks of that freedom, “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free, my God my Savior has ransomed me…” He paid that price so us as believers don’t have to struggle with sin, and we should not let a sin own us. That is not of God, and he will deliver you from it! I pray for anything you are struggling with, that you will allow God to conquer it and believe he will. I promise that freedom, well nothing beats it.

videoplay?docid=-327895906834380216#

March Madness Baby!

2011 NCAA Bracket

 

That is right folks, the stretch of days that I most enjoy as a sports fan. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, also dubbed as “The Big Dance”. One of the greatest things I enjoy during this week is sitting down and stressing out while filling out my bracket. Everyone wants a perfect bracket, which is literally impossible without divine intervention. Everyone knows there will be upsets, sometimes epic upsets. There will also be a team that makes an unexpected run (Butler, George Mason, etc.) the hard part is picking these upsets and runs, and worrying that the one’s you picked will totally mess up your bracket.

One pick can totally mess you up, I can attest to that from last year. The year before though was the best bracket I have ever made in about 6 years of doing it. I finished in the top 700 out of 40 million brackets on ESPN.com,   game right and team from the “Sweet 16” to the Finals. I will literally spend this weekend, probably with friends, huddled around a TV getting mad and cheering for teams I have no allegiance with. It’s the beauty of making your own bracket though, you feel connected to the teams you pick.

Two years ago I picked Villanova to make the “Final Four”. I remember many people called me dumb and said it was a terrible pick. After they made it to the “Sweet 16” I ordered a “Nova Nation” shirt and cheered them all the way to the “Final Four”. There is just something about the satisfaction of getting it right, while your friends get it wrong.

This years bracket is one that made me mad at first. The school I attend was shafted out of the tournament which left me bitte last night. Today though I got up and filled out my bracket, because I love this and look forward to it once basketball season begins. So I would like to invite you, yes you to my bracket group. Follow these instructions and see if you bracket is better than mine:

1. Go to ESPN.com

2. Fill out the bracket on the main page

3. When complete select join group

4. Search “256 Bracketology”

5. Join and see if you can beat me

It is as easy as that, join in and see if your bracket is the best in the nation. I am not going to lie this years bracket was one of the tougher ones I have seen. The upsets are hard to pick, and the top teams are very good. I may change mine before games start. Which games start tomorrow SO FILL OUT YOUR BRACKET NOW. I figured I would share my “Final Four” with you guys to close out today’s blog (Or at least my picks as of right now) I have no mid majors making a run that for, and the highest seeded team I have is a 3. So without anymore delay I give to you my “Final Four”: Kansas, UCONN, Syracuse, and  Pitt. We will see how that works out, probably horribly.

“Do Not Fear, For I have Redeemed You…”

Pretty powerful, huh? Also easier said than done. I did my quite time a lot earlier today than I normally do it. Mainly because my 1:00 class was canceled, my 3:00 was just presentations, and there is a current flood in Tuscaloosa. So while I am working on a paper that is due tomorrow, I decided to go ahead and spend some time with my father God.

Not a bad way to start the day, I normally do my quite time at night. The main reason is, I am not a morning person. I sleep as late as possible, and get in a rush getting ready so I can be on time. I take time to talk to God before I start my day, but my quite time I do at night. I like that because I can reflect on my day; what I did right, what I did wrong, and what I could have done better. It also leads into my next day, because it is the last thing I do before going to sleep.

Which leads me to the title, that quote comes straight from Isaiah chapter 43. The full quote from the verse is:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine….

Easier said than done right? I can’t tell you how many times in life I have been scared and people said ‘don’t be afraid, God is with you’. And it is true, he is but I am also a human as well. It is only natural to fear, but God did not give us that feeling. Fear is not what he wants us to experience, he has given us peace a peace beyond all understanding.  It is amazing though to think the creator of the world has called us by name, and we are His. He says ‘you are mine’, I can’t even fathom that sometimes. How someone so perfect, can look at me and accept me for who I am. Tenth Avenue North have a great song about this, take a listen

My favorite part is the chorus:

“You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.”

The whole song is true, we have all rehearsed the lines. We know what to say and what to do to pretend we are okay. Truth is, we don’t understand God’s love, we can’t fully grasp it. I will never understand how someone could sin their son to die for me. I have no children, but ask me when I do if I will let my son die for a criminal. I can tell you the answer to that right now, I couldn’t do it. I don’t understand how God could. This is now about where we have been, but what our brokenness brings us to. And it brings us to God.

Verse 2 says:

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

What that says is pretty simple if you ask me. No matter what trial or tribulation we face in our lives, God is going to be with us. And as his children, he is not going to let anything of this world overcome us. Christ himself said he has overcome the world.No matter what it is God is with us, even when it doesn’t seem like he is. I am one of those people who likes to do everything themselves. I feel like I can do it, and it will get done best if I do it. I have a problem entrusting people to take care of task, because I want it done right. God sometimes has to get my attention and tell me to let Him do his thing, it’s quite silly that I do that too. Anything we do in life is going to be easier if we let God be in control.

Here is an example from my life, for the longest time I had trouble deciding on what I was going to do after college. I wanted to go to Law School, I know for a fact I could be a good lawyer. Then I though about going on and getting a Master’s Degree in history and teaching at a Junior College and possibly pursue a doctorate degree. I never had peace about any of those things, mainly because I was planning my life without God’s influence. I could have done one of those things, but  I would not have been happy in life. We must follow God’s plan if we want happiness, because His Will will make us happy. Recently, I have come to the fact that God wants me to work with kids, thus pursuing my degree in Social Science Education, and accepting a call into the ministry. I don’t know where those two things will take in me in life, but I can tell you I have peace about things for the first time about my future.

I let worrying about my future become the rivers and fires in my life. When I trusted God, and leaned on Him to help me make a decision, he did not fail me. I guess to wrap this long blog up, place your trust in him. He calls you His, which is the highest thing you could ever be called. He will not lead you astray, and happiness is the road you will travel for a long time.

God Bless!


Blogging the Anti-Study

Hey you! Long time no talk, lol jk its been like two days. Well as I posted on the ‘book to day (Facebook for those ignorant of the intertez lingo), all that stands between me and the beloved spring break is:

1. 8 more classed

2. Tutoring at High School

3. Teaching at Central High School

4. A test

5. Three papers

6. Three nights of work

So, basically I have a lot I should be doing, but I decided to spend the evening with you. How lucky right? Don’t be modest. I am really in need of Spring Break, like really. My life has been pretty much in full swing since January 12, but I am happy for all the things that have happened. But I have only been home one time this semester, so I am looking forward to seeing some friends and family members. Nothing major planned, I am going to Chattanooga one day and maybe Six Flags!

I will be unfortunately be catching up on some school work as well during my break. I will make sure to spend the most of the time relaxing so the last 5 weeks of school will not be unbearable. I saw where someone posted “All spring break is, is a trap to see who really wants to graduate.” I kind of agree, because it is so busy right now and I have a lot of work I need to catch up on. Blah I hate school.

My verse of the day is:

“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Philippians 2:4

Pretty powerful verse I would say, right? Basically, we do need to look out for ourselves. It is human nature, but we also need to watch out for our brothers and sisters. We should help others, in ways that we are able to. I am not saying donate all your monies by any means, but if you can help someone you should.  I know, I know easier said than done. But there are a lot of things we can do to help others as well, other than money. Donating your time and work is something that is invaluable. I challenge you and myself to this month to finding something to help out someone less unfortunate. I hope you do that!

God Bless!

My Bucket List

Tonight is a Friday night, and I am sitting at the apartment because tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM I have to take the APTTP. So there end I could not go out and have any fun tonight, but to some extent I am okay with that. I got to watch for the first time because of this The Bucket List. For those of you who are incompetent (jk) a Bucket List is a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket (i.e. die). I have had one for a while, but I haven’t really updated in a while. I figured I would share what I have with you so far on my list.

Some of the things on my list I have done, most I haven’t. My list is far from complete, and some of the things may be hard to do. But these are things I would like to experience during my time on this earth. This is what I have so far, and would love you hear what is on your list!

My Bucket List

1. Visit every US state

2. Go to a game at Fenway Park

3. Go To New York City

4. skydive

5. See a game at every SEC football stadium

6. Buy a meal for a stranger

7. Graduate from college

8. Learn a foreign language

9. Learn to play an instrument

10. Fly in a hot air balloon

11. Visit Europe

12. Go on a foreign mission trip

13.  Go sailing

14. Go to an NFL game

15. Go to an NBA game

16. Make a difference in someone’s life

17. Coach a team

18. Learn to tie a tie

19. Swim with dolphins

20.  Fly a plane
That is all I have so far, what’s on your bucket list?