"Play Ball!" Cubs' preseason games start this afternoon!

So, yesterday afternoon Wendy and I were sitting across the table from one another. Multiple laptops were open, and papers were strewn across the table as we worked on different projects. I was lost in concentration on a call that I was analyzing for a client.

“I can’t wait for the Cubs to start playing,” Wendy said in a sudden, random blurt. I looked at her. “I’m so excited for baseball season to start,” she added with a longing look.

How many husbands get to hear their wife utter those words?

I am soooooooo blessed 🙂

Weekend Fun

Gaelic Storm at the Val Air Ballroom February 25, 2011

It’s a fun and somewhat unusual weekend for Wendy and me. The weekend kicked off last night at the Val Air Ballroom where we met our friends Kevin & Becky to see Gaelic Storm in concert. Enjoy the picture I took with the mighty Blackberry. Gaelic Storm is always a lot of fun and it was good to run into several people we knew at the concert. Pat & Peg came with Marty & Susan and we enjoyed a bevy together before the concert began. We ran into Calvin, who is related to Kevin. I also was excited to see Dennis and Angie, friends from the old Westview Days.

When we got back to Pella, we headed over to the VL’s house. The VL’s are skiing in Colorado for a few days, so Wendy and I are playing houseparents to Aaron. He’s been a blast and we’re having a ball.

Chapter-a-Day Jeremiah 40

“My job is to stay here in Mizpah and be your advocate before the Chaldeans when they show up. Your job is to take care of the land: Make wine, harvest the summer fruits, press olive oil. Store it all in pottery jugs and settle into the towns that you have taken over.” Jeremiah 40:10 (MSG)

Some days, it’s pretty simple: Everyone has a job to do, and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

My job this day, as I write this, is to shovel the snow off the driveway so I can drive to Des Moines and keep my client appointments.

See you for Jeremiah 41 on Monday.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and glennharper

Chapter-a-Day Jeremiah 39

The figure of Jeremiah on the Sistine Chapel c...
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Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave Nebuzaradan captain of the king’s bodyguard special orders regarding Jeremiah: “Look out for him. Make sure nothing bad happens to him. Give him anything he wants.” Jeremiah 39:11-12 (MSG)

I can’t imagine it. Jeremiah has been preaching the destruction of Jerusalem for 38 chapters. He’s been beaten, hated, mocked, shunned, imprisoned, and thrown into a well for saying it’s going to happen. Now, he is witnessing the very thing he’s envisioned and proclaimed for years. He’s going to see all the bad things he prophesied come to pass. And, the King of Babylon himself is giving Jeremiah special protection, ensuring that Jeremiah will live to witness it. [Note to reader: the short book of Lamentations is Jeremiah’s poetic witness to Jerusalem’s destruction]

I would have to believe that Jeremiah’s heart was torn into shards. He would have wanted to gloat that he was right, but how can you do such a thing? Not only did he have the burden of proclaiming such a terrible thing, but now he has to witness the atrocities himself.

I don’t always understand God’s designs. I don’t know why God seemingly allows some to have a cake walk of a journey while others, like Jeremiah, are destined to walk through fire. I don’t fathom the mysterious dance of sovereignty and free will nor can I comprehend the continuous interplay of good and evil.

Some days, I just keep walking.

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Pursuit of Happiness #17

While there are movies that I think are better movies for this reason or that, Casablanca remains my favorite movie of all time. There are so many iconic moments and memorable lines, but this lesser known moment from the film never fails to stir my heart.

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Chapter-a-Day Jeremiah 38

King Zedekiah caved in: “If you say so. Go ahead, handle it your way. You’re too much for me.” Jeremiah 38:5 (MSG)

King Zedekiah is an interesting study in leadership. Let’s quickly examine his tosses and turns in this one chapter:

  • He caves into one group of officials and lets them throw Jeremiah into the well.
  • An Ethiopian official tells the King he shouldn’t have done it, so the king changes his mind and orders that Jeremiah be hauled up from the well.
  • The King then decides he wants to hear what Jeremiah has to say and calls Jeremiah in for a secret chat.
  • The King then refuses to do what God tells him to do through Jeremiah, because he’s afraid of what the Judean political party might do in response.
  • The King then makes Jeremiah swear to lie about their conversation because he’s afraid of what his officials might say.

I’ve observed that people generally don’t follow, nor respect, leaders who change their minds and change their course like a shifting wind. Unbridled fear leads to poor decisions. Zedekiah provides an classic word picture of weak leadership. Unfortunately, everyone in Jerusalem suffered for it.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and spodzone

Chapter-a-Day Jeremiah 37

“And tell me, whatever has become of your prophets who preached all those sermons saying that the king of Babylon would never attack you or this land?” Jeremiah 37:19 (MSG)

“Old Testament Persons for $800, Alex.”

“A contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah, he was a false prophet who told the King that Babylon would never attack.”

[cue sound effect: crickets chirping]

I doubt even Watson the robot could get that one. The reality is that history did not record the names or messages of the false prophets. Perhaps there’s a random name etched on the fragment of a tablet or scroll and referenced  in some obscure archaeology dissertation. But, let’s be real, it’s far from general public knowledge. Jeremiah’s story, however, and his writing are read and referenced by millions to this day 2500 years after he lived and died.

Forgive my little foray into navel contemplation this morning. I’ve been thinking a lot about relevance lately. I’ve been noodling on the idea of legacy. What of my life will be completely forgotten when they close the casket? What, if anything, will survive? Will anything from my life have any lasting value or significance?

What struck me in reading today’s chapter is the contrast. Jeremiah spoke what was true. And, while it was wildly unpopular and landed him in a dungeon, it has lasted the test of time. The other prophets spoke what was, in the moment,  convenient and popular. Still, it was untrue. Even if history does record their names, it is nothing more than a tough piece of obscure trivia that would probably too tough for final Jeopardy.

Despite my many failures to this date in the journey, I really want my life, my words, and that which I produce to be marked by what is true. Perhaps, it will then have some lasting value.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Shawn Smith