29 August 2012

Empty space

One of the themes I see in my photos is 'emptiness.' Living in a suburb gives me time to ponder and space to do so as well. But city living crashes all around and the signage and the noise and the busy-ness continue to take away time to ponder. So the easy thing to say is that it's never empty space or empty time in the city. That's not true, but it's easy to say.

What is clear is that people tend to try to fill up what is lacking. There is an apparent need in humanity to fill space. Consider government access that the local councils or state have set aside for future roads or public parks. As I look at newer suburbs, the roads grab more and more area, the parks less and less.

In Seoul the river Han is the only real green space that I generally see. The crowded nature of city living and the multi-level office/ residence towers abound with advertising and people and noise all day and night. Empty space is a treasure and a longing.

Maybe that's why I like this shot. I took it in Kurrajong, up the side of the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. The cemetery gives natural emptiness in so many ways. The back of the block is empty. The view of the valley/ city of Sydney puts all the busy-ness of city living in perspective. The mad rushing appears like a calm sea from above.

When we take time apart, we don't come apart. Our lives are calmed. Our God can speak to us.

Have a nice day.

28 August 2012

Blog collections

This week I attended the Sydney Jewish Writers Festival and thought about the next book I need to write. I write regularly, of course, on the Blog, and in emails, and in Flickr, and articles for many sources. But writing a book, that's another story. I wrote my own testimony of faith into the booklet "Who ever heard of a Jewish missionary?" It was published in 1999 and I sell heaps of them annually.

Compiling a book from former writings seems easy, but also sounds disjointed and thus quickly uncomfortable for the reader. So, I'm pondering how to compile blog collections into an easy format. Perhaps if someone looked back through the years of blogging here, they would find a few themes which I regularly re-visit.  Then those would become chapters in this collection. But that sounds like a lot of work for someone.

I'm ever able to be inspired to put thoughts to paper. But what would a reader read, and keep reading, and what would make the reader ask for more?

Then I ponder the Bible, a series of apparently disjoint random thoughts from 40 authors into 66 books which makes the Bible a book of books. OK, maybe the 66 are really chapters. Maybe they each carry a steady theme and thought. Maybe each of the authors from Moses to Amos to King David to Paul and John have one major thought as they write their ideas. What would their blogs have looked like back in the day?

I'll ponder that one, and maybe that will be part of the intro to the book, "Lessons from the Rearview Mirror." Coming to a book shop near you...give me time.

27 August 2012

Austen Tayshus and me

Austen Tayshus and me by bobmendo
Austen Tayshus and me, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.
[At Sydney Jewish Writers Festival] Another comedian and I shared a moment yesterday. During his comedy act, Austen (probably not his real name), noticed my name tag, called me out and told me, "Mendelssohn converted." I was sure he meant Felix, the classical Romantic musician and composer. Still, what did Austen know?

The conversation from the stage continued, "Bob? What kind of Jewish name is Bob?" Of course, I didn't comment that Austen was not very Jewish, nor were half the Jewish names Jewish at the Sydney Jewish Writers Festival at which we were in Kensington.

Still, I was fascinated by his conversion comment to me. It was a bit incorrect, as neither Felix nor I ever left our Jewish roots. But both did and do believe in Jesus. We'll have to work on AT.

His Catholic friend Steve took the photo on my camera. Neither AT nor I are photoshopped in, but it looks like we both were.

26 August 2012

Choose one or the other

Wesley Mission by bobmendo
Wesley Mission, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

I'm writing at 7 in the morning on a Sunday in Sydney. It's sunny outside and the winter weather has been mild to say the least in the last 3 days. I'm going to play tennis with my daughter when she arises, and then will be off to church as is my custom, the last 3+ decades. What will you do? What will most Sydneysiders do this morning?

This thought comes from this photo taken last Monday in Perth, out west. I had preached 6 times in the 48 hours from Friday night. Not at the Wesley (pictured), but my hotel was just next door to the Wesley. I passed it often in the weekend. I liked both the building and the starkness of it. What I mean by the building's starkness is that it was free-standing. Nothing blocked the site. Back when it was built, I imagined that it stood that much more alone, but the city developers have allowed it to be quite visible. Good for them, eh?

Historically in Europe and probably when Australia was young, the church in the village or the hamlet or the town was to be the tallest structure. At times this was an imposition of culture. At other times it was an expression by the town of its comprehensive wish. Either way, no tower, no house, no landmark could be taller than the church.

This is obviously not so, in Australia, as the photo depicts. No trick photography here, that's the St George Bank tower overwhelming the little church. As I shot the photo I thought of the words of Y'shua, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"

(recorded by St Matthew in his biography of Y'shua (Jesus) commonly titled The Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6, verses 20-25)

Are these words still true?
What will you be doing this morning?

24 August 2012

Emptiness

Emptiness by bobmendo
Emptiness, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

I was going to take a photo of a glass which was half full. But this lone tree seemed that much more stark, much leaner, much more empty.

In fact, no one would possibly confuse this with a half-full type of tree. This is an empty tree. Not even a possum nest or the beginnings of any (other) life form is visible. It's an empty tree.

On this golf course, Joondalup Golf Club and Resort, outside Perth, Western Australia, where so many beautiful bushes and flowers and trees abound, you have to wonder why the course designers and the course managers don't remove such an eye-sore.

But perhaps they don't consider this tree an eye-sore. Even as many people evaluate the 'not-yet' nature of so many others as yet undeveloped folks. I'm glad someone looked at me, in the beginning of my faith journey and didn't say, 'cut it down. It's no good." People saw good and goodness in me, and decided to be patient. They saw the work of God going on in me, and knew God was bigger than all my shenanigans.

Maybe that's going on in the course in Perth as well. Maybe they know that this winter will be over soon, and that they will see green buds and green leaves growing in abundance here. I'd like that. I'll keep you posted!

Reality bites

Master of Camden Lakeside by bobmendo
Master of Camden Lakeside, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

My friend, Ian Baker, played one of those rounds of golf about which we all dream and then with one blast of the alarm clock find that we have been dreaming. But last week at Camden Lakeside in Sydney's southwest, he had a spotless round of 18 holes ending with 50 stableford points. Usually a very good round would be a total of 36 points. But that day, he bettered par by more than 14 points, qualifying him for this award plaque that our Captain Rod Bailie made for him. Well done, mate!

Then he was presented with the award and some serious cheering at the Monash Golf Club where we played yesterday. 145 other guys played yesterday also, and many were there when Ian received his well-deserved praises.

One of the axioms by which I live on the links is "Golf has a way of reminding you who you are not." To be fair, this was an axiom I invented but which is duly informed by one of those Bible quotes, "Pride comes before a fall."

I'm not saying Ian was proud. I'm not saying Ian is a proud man, or that hubris identifies him, in fact, the exact opposite is true. He seems a lovely and humble guy. But the axiom holds true.

So today I read the scores for yesterday.

B - 47 BAKER, Ian HC: 18 Total Points:19

That means he finished 47th in the B grade competition, and only had 19 points. Sorry to all those non-golfers. Let me explain. He didn't do very well yesterday. And my axiom holds its salt.

Now I'm not picking on Ian. He had one of those golden rounds. And I hope he has another one sooner than later.

The title of this blog is "Reality bites" because even when we are on top of our game, or doing well, or feeling the best, there will come some situation or problem or person who will remind us that we are just ordinary folks. And that we are all about the same as each other.

This fact might make you uncomfortable, but really it's meant to be a relief.

Paul the Jewish rabbi-turned-apostle wrote the following: "For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Messiah Y'shua (Jesus), who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” (1 Corinthians 1.26-31, Jeremiah 9.24)

We all are in the same boat.
We all are normal folks.
The one about whom to boast is Y'shua.

I wish this for Ian and for you and for all who read this blog.

20 August 2012

Is this necessary?

222/366 Was there a doubt? by bobmendo
222/366 Was there a doubt?, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

You've heard the phrase, "Stating the obvious" and this should be the poster for it. This shot, taken in Subiaco on Sunday startled me. Its simplicity was one thing, but it's waste was quite another. I wondered what the 'author' was thinking when he stenciled the letters onto the top layer of bricks. Maybe you have an idea?

But stating the obvious is something I hear often in radio and television interviews. Often it's the result of bad questions tossed up by the interviewers. They ask the pop star, "Are you proud of your latest recording?" What's the singer to say? They state the obvious, and someone thinks that's good television.

Or the opposition in a political debate is asked, "Do you believe that the government idea for (fill in the blank) is good for the country?" This is asked AFTER the opposition has made it clear that the exact opposite is true and useful and helpful to the people. What is the politician to say? They state the obvious.

I work as a missionary in Australia and have lived here for 14 years. Last year I became a citizen. Even so, people ask me, "Do you like it here?" What do they expect me to reply? "No, I can't stand the climate." or "The people are shocking." I must like it at least a little or I wouldn't be settling for now in this fair country.

As a missionary, then let me state the obvious.

Y'shua ( Jesus ) is the Jewish Messiah, slain by violent sinners under a Roman occupation in the First Century, and God raised Him from the dead on the First Day of the week to fulfill prophecy and to grant all who believe in Him to have eternal life.

That's obvious to all who already believe.
That's an obvious statement for those who don't believe but anticipated the words.
That's NOT obvious to those who are new to this concept or who have misheard it in the past.

I suppose that's why I say it again and again.
That's why I still hand out leaflets and share what I believe on websites and blogs like this one.

May you hear these words of eternity and embrace them.

May you then state what becomes obvious to you, to those who need to hear it in your sphere of influence.

Let us exalt His name together forever.

18 August 2012

Jews, still Jews, in Messiah

A dear Christian friend wrote me today, "How much time can a messianic Jew stay on the other side of the cross, when so much is shadow and all fulfilled in Jesus? a sincere question, Bob"

What is striking about this, is the 'other side' comment. I wrote some years ago about a diorama I saw in Tel Aviv, entitled "Bearing the Cross" which in visual actually asked the same question. (Here it is:  Bearing )

It's a worthy question. The obvious retort by a Messianic Jew is ...what makes you think that fulfillment means dismissal? That is, why is Passover to be relegated to 'back then' when Y'shua practiced it? When Paul said, "Christ our Passover" ... and not "Christ our Easter" or "Christ our Anzac..." In other words, the conversation in the 1st century would have been "Gentiles for Jesus? Crazy!" and now we are knocking around the idea of Jews not being Jews any more. Strange, eh?
 
He replied, "I am all for contextualing the Gospel to fit the situation eg. Christian muslims, as long as the reality is not lost in the shadow"
 
And I think the writer of Hebrews would agree with that.  Shadow is not a worthy reality. "For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near." (Hebrews 10.1) That's why so many Jewish believers in the First Century withdrew from Temple worship. The issue for the writer of Hebrews was some of their colleagues who were withdrawing into Messiah-less Judaism. The warnings are clear and continual that the withdrawing will not help anyone.  
 
That said, Jewish life and practice is not shadow. Not in and of itself. Jewish life and practice which follows Torah and the words of the Older Testament are not wrong. Are they? Consider these: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image"Ex. 20.4   (wrong? I think not!)  More covenant teaching: "Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. "(Ex. 20.14-15)  (Wrong? Not on your life!)
 
OK! So you say, those are merely decalogue and thus sacrosanct. I get it. How about these then:
"Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me." (Exodus 22.29)  or "Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness." (Ex 23.1) or "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." Lev. 18.22   Do you still have a problem with Torah? Or do you think homosexuality is inconsistent with God's plans?
 
More commands are here: "And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God. And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.  Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.  Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee. " (Lev. 19.9-19)
 
Get it! Torah is not shadow. Torah is the constitution of the Lord for the slaves who were recently freed from Egypt who didn't know how to get along in life. We STILL don't know how to get along in life, and thus this was God's wisdom for mankind. It's good news!
 
What is shadow is the missing of the Son of Man who came to fulfill the whole lot and bring man back to relationship with God. And (here's the essence of shadow) thinking that if we fulfill biblical commands that somehow we are accepted and acceptable to the Almighty. Shadow is so much less. Reality is that Y'shua is all God ever wanted us to be and to do. He is our joy and our righteousness and our wisdom from above. Faith in Jesus gives us eternal welcome by the Lord to us all.  Anything less than that is ...less than that.
 
So Jewish life and practice when informed by Torah is enriching. Passover makes sense in the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Shavuot (Pentecost) makes sense in fulfillment in the readings of the Newer Testament spirit pouring, and the abundance of power to fulfill the Law God gave us so much earlier. Wait until Tabernacles (SUkkot) is fulfilled in Zechariah 14's anticipation in the future...what a day of rejoicing that will be.  Being Jewish is not a sin from which a Jew has to repent. Being a sinner who doesn't accept the Messiah of Israel ...that's a shame and a waste. That will leave us only in shadow, longing for something better. And that's found in faith in Jesus. 
 
 

14 August 2012

BDS, boycott Israel. Really?

A few years ago, Iran's Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khomenei urged the Muslim World to boycott anything and everything that originates with the Jewish people.

In response, Meyer M. Treinkman, a pharmacist, out of the kindness of his heart, offered to assist them in their boycott as follows:

"Any Muslim who has Syphilis must not be cured by Salvarsan discovered by a Jew, Dr. Ehrlich. He should not even try to find out whether he has Syphilis, because the Wasserman Test is the discovery of a Jew. If a Muslim suspects that he has Gonorrhea, he must not seek diagnosis, Because he will be using the method of a Jew named Neissner.

"A Muslim who has heart disease must not use Digitalis, a discovery by a Jew, Ludwig Traube.

Should he suffer with a toothache, he must not use Novocaine, a discovery of the Jews, Widal and Weil.

If a Muslim has Diabetes, he must not use Insulin, the result of research by Minkowsky, a Jew. If one has a headache, he must shun Pyramidon and Antypyrin, due to the Jews, Spiro and Ellege.

Muslims with convulsions must put up with them because it was a Jew, Oscar Leibreich, who proposed the use of Chloral Hydrate.

Arabs must do likewise with their psychic ailments because Freud, father of psychoanalysis, was a Jew.
Should a Muslim child get Diphtheria, he must refrain from the "Schick" reaction which was invented by the Jew, Bella Schick.

"Muslims should be ready to die in great numbers and must not permit treatment of ear and brain damage, work of Jewish Nobel Prize winner,
Robert Baram.

They should continue to die or remain crippled by Infantile Paralysis because the discoverer of the anti-polio vaccine is a Jew, Jonas Salk.

"Muslims must refuse to use Streptomycin and continue to die of Tuberculosis because a Jew, Zalman Waxman, invented the wonder drug against this killing disease.

Muslim doctors must discard all discoveries and improvements by dermatologist Judas Sehn Benedict, or the lung specialist, Frawnkel, and of many other world renowned Jewish scientists and medical experts.

"In short, good and loyal Muslims properly and fittingly should remain afflicted with Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Heart Disease, Headaches, Typhus, Diabetes, Mental Disorders, Polio Convulsions and Tuberculosis and be proud to obey the Islamic boycott."

Oh, and by the way, don't call for a doctor on your cell phone because the cell phone was invented in Israel by a Jewish engineer.

Meanwhile I ask, what medical contributions to the world have the Muslims made?"

The Global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000; that is ONE BILLION TWO HUNDRED MILLION or 20% of the world's population.

They have received the following Nobel Prizes:

Literature:
1988 - Najib Mahfooz

Peace:
1978 - Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat
1990 - Elias James Corey
1994 - Yaser Arafat:
1999 - Ahmed Zewai

Economics:
(zero)

Physics:
(zero)

Medicine:
1960 - Peter Brian Medawar
1998 - Ferid Mourad

TOTAL: 7 SEVEN

The Global Jewish population is approximately 14,000,000; that is FOURTEEN MILLION or about 0.02% of the world's population.

They have received the following Nobel Prizes:

Literature:
1910 - Paul Heyse
1927 - Henri Bergson
1958 - Boris Pasternak
1966 - Shmuel Yosef Agnon
1966 - Nelly Sachs
1976 - Saul Bellow
1978 - Isaac Bashevis Singer
1981 - Elias Canetti
1987 - Joseph Brodsky
1991 - Nadine Gordimer World

Peace:
1911 - Alfred Fried
1911 - Tobias Michael Carel Asser
1968 - Rene Cassin
1973 - Henry Kissinger
1978 - Menachem Begin
1986 - Elie Wiesel
1994 - Shimon Peres
1994 - Yitzhak Rabin

Physics:
1905 - Adolph Von Baeyer
1906 - Henri Moissan
1907 - Albert Abraham Michelson
1908 - Gabriel Lippmann
1910 - Otto Wallach
1915 - Richard Willstaetter
1918 - Fritz Haber
1921 - Albert Einstein
1922 - Niels Bohr
1925 - James Franck
1925 - Gustav Hertz
1943 - Gustav Stern
1943 - George Charles de Hevesy
1944 - Isidor Issac Rabi
1952 - Felix Bloch
1954 - Max Born
1958 - Igor Tamm
1959 - Emilio Segre
1960 - Donald A. Glaser
1961 - Robert Hofstadter
1961 - Melvin Calvin
1962 - Lev Davidovich Landau
1962 - Max Ferdinand Perutz
1965 - Richard Phillips Feynman
1965 - Julian Schwinger
1969 - Murray Gell-Mann
1971 - Dennis Gabor
1972 - William Howard Stein
1973 - Brian David Josephson
1975 - Benjamin Mottleson
1976 - Burton Richter
1977 - Ilya Prigogine
1978 - Arno Allan Penzias
1978 - Peter L Kapitza
1979 - Stephen Weinberg
1979 - Sheldon Glashow
1979 - Herbert Charles Brown
1980 - Paul Berg
1980 - Walter Gilbert
1981 - Roald Hoffmann
1982 - Aaron Klug
1985 - Albert A. Hauptman
1985 - Jerome Karle
1986 - Dudley R. Herschbach
1988 - Robert Huber
1988 - Leon Lederman
1988 - Melvin Schwartz
1988 - Jack Steinberger
1989 - Sidney Altman
1990 - Jerome Friedman
1992 - Rudolph Marcus
1995 - Martin Perl
2000 - Alan J. Heeger

Economics:
1970 - Paul Anthony Samuelson
1971 - Simon Kuznets
1972 - Kenneth Joseph Arrow
1975 - Leonid Kantorovich
1976 - Milton Friedman
1978 - Herbert A. Simon
1980 - Lawrence Robert Klein
1985 - Franco Modigliani
1987 - Robert M. Solow
1990 - Harry Markowitz
1990 - Merton Miller
1992 - Gary Becker
1993 - Robert Fogel

Medicine:
1908 - Elie Metchnikoff
1908 - Paul Erlich
1914 - Robert Barany
1922 - Otto Meyerhof
1930 - Karl Landsteiner
1931 - Otto Warburg
1936 - Otto Loewi
1944 - Joseph Erlanger
1944 - Herbert Spencer Gasser
1945 - Ernst Boris Chain
1946 - Hermann Joseph Muller
1950 - Tadeus Reichstein
1952 - Selman Abraham Waksman
1953 - Hans Krebs
1953 - Fritz Albert Lipmann
1958 - Joshua Lederberg
1959 - Arthur Kornberg
1964 - Konrad Bloch
1965 - Francois Jacob
1965 - Andre Lwoff
1967 - George Wald
1968 - Marshall W. Nirenberg
1969 - Salvador Luria
1970 - Julius Axelrod
1970 - Sir Bernard Katz
1972 - Gerald Maurice Edelman
1975 - Howard Martin Temin
1976 - Baruch S. Blumberg
1977 - Roselyn Sussman Yalow
1978 - Daniel Nathans
1980 - Baruj Benacerraf
1984 - Cesar Milstein
1985 - Michael Stuart Brown
1985 - Joseph L. Goldstein
1986 - Stanley Cohen [& Rita Levi-Montalcini]
1988 - Gertrude Elion
1989 - Harold Varmus
1991 - Erwin Neher
1991 - Bert Sakmann
1993 - Richard J. Roberts
1993 - Phillip Sharp
1994 - Alfred Gilman
1995 - Edward B. Lewis
1996- Lu RoseIacovino

TOTAL: 129!

The Jews are NOT promoting brainwashing children in military training camps, teaching them how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of Jews and other non-Muslims.

The Jews don't hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics, or blow themselves up in German restaurants.

There is NOT one single Jew who has destroyed a church.

There is NOT a single Jew who protests by killing people. The Jews don't traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and death to all the Infidels.

Perhaps the world's Muslims should consider investing more in standard education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems.

Muslims must ask 'what can they do for humankind' before they demand that humankind respects them.

Regardless of your feelings about the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians and Arab neighbors, even if you believe there is more
culpability on Israel 's part, the following two sentences really say it all:

'If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel."

Benjamin Netanyahu: General Eisenhower warned us. It is a matter of history that when the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead.

He did this because he said in words to this effect: 'Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses - because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened'

Recently, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offends' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred.

It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it.

It is now more than 65 years after the Second World War in Europe ended.

Now, more than ever, with Iran, among others, claiming the Holocaust to be 'a myth,' it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.

This e-mail is intended to reach 400 million people. Be a link in the memorial chain and help distribute this around the world.

How many years will it be before the attack on the World Trade Center 'NEVER HAPPENED' because it offends some Muslim in the United States?
They may or may not be the "chosen race"  but thank God so many chose to help the human race.

13 August 2012

Basketball coaching

I watched the men's final game at the Olympics late last night. It was on from about 11 pm until the Americans came through with 7 to spare for Gold medal honors. It was anyone's game throughout the contest, as 11 points was the maximum spread. And that not until the 4th quarter.

All through the game I kept shouting at the television, for Coach Krzyzewski to hear, "Get those boys moving!" I saw so much standing around, it looked like a Grade 8 Junior High School dance with boys on one side, staring at the other side of the hall.

To be fair, the "Dream Team" didn't really need much coaching. They are superstars, each of them, from LeBron James and Kobe Bryant to James Harden and Anthony Davis, who played the last minute or so. But what I noticed was that when they did play as a team, and moved a bit, even without the ball, they were unstoppable. Most of the game, they stood flatfooted, and it was a one-on-one game of 3 pointers or driving layups for the USA, while the Spanish moved the ball around in a normal 'team' effort. I think that's why they were so close after all. Pau Gasol got layup after layup, driving without the ball, while the Yanks stood watching.

I'm not disappointed in the result, but only in the (lack of) action. Who didn't love the alley-oop to James, but those US pass/assist/buckets were few and far between. We ended with 13 assists, and to be fair, most of those were just passes to open 3-balls. Spain had 22 assists, and looked better. But we shot well enough, especially from the outside, and squeaked by.


I noted something similar when watching Coach Hugh McCutcheon not coaching the US women in their loss to Brazil in the finals of women's indoor volleyball. No playbook; no pad; just a bit of 'go get 'em, ladies,' 'get the next side out' and "USA!" Teams, no matter how well made up, need a coach.

Why am I telling you this? Because my wife was tired of hearing me coaching during the games. And this is possibly something you might want to work on in your life and when it's time to coach, go ahead and do so.

After all, God doesn't just send us a playbook, tell us to read it, cheer us from afar, and hope we do all right. He made a new covenant (Jeremiah 31) and put it in our heart, so we can do it in his strength. He is with us, to the end. Even now.