Goalies For God

Rais Mbohli

Please, Lord, please save us. Please, Lord, please give us success.
Ps 118:25, New Living Translation

And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew, 21:9-10, RSV

“Hossana!” means “Save we Pray”

How can you not get all wound up over the World Cup? I mean, with Mexico’s loss and France’s win, and the USA in the Round of 16, what’s not to like? At the end of the day, we may long remember the goals that are scored, but we will soon forget the goals that were saved, and we have the goalies to thank for all of it.

Goalies unfortunately don’t get the respect and reverence they rightfully deserve. I mean, for those of us who love scoring, we have to admire and esteem, honor and appreciate the play of the goalies. I mean game in and game out, some of them are turning in some of the most supreme and superlative sessions I’ve ever seen. Just ask Algeria’s goalie, Rais Mbohli.

Goalies are routinely the most animated players on the field, often seen barking orders to the field players who may or may not be actually listening to the lunatic who AGREED to get pelted with 80 mph soccer balls. Algeria’s Rais M’Bolhi kept the Germans out of his net for the first 57 minutes despite a few close calls, and kept the Algerians in the game while keeping the match closer than it could have been by being mobile, hostile, and agile. Algeria eventually fell to Germany, the team that may well be the eventual champion?

As believers, we are to act as goalies, preventing the opposition from scoring on our teams and our troops, our gangs and our groups, and everyone else in between who we care for and care about. We are defenders; we protect and prevent, we shield and we shelter, we safeguard and we are the vanguard – in effect, we work to save. It’s a spiritual concept. Goalies save their teams from losing and from dropping, from being scored upon and from being tallied against. It’s a powerful and sometimes untenable position. But somebody’s gotta’ do it.

God is the ultimate goalie and He is our consummate goaltender. Some may contemptuously counter that they have not been shielded and sheltered from many bad and besetting things. But have you ever asked yourself, what COULD have happened had not the Lord been or our side? The old saints were wont to say that God keeps us from “dangers seen and unseen.” Amen to that.

So be a goalie. Be a goalie for God. Prevent an offense, put an end to an argument, foil a filibuster, scatter an unscrupulous cluster, fend off a frenzy, avert a disaster, save your sister, befriend your brother, rescue a rival, recover a relationship, mend a marriage, and participate in your own resurrection. The life that you save just may well be your very own.

The Fault In Our Stars

fault-in-our-stars-landscape-poster

Good people increase the value of every other person they influence in any way. Kelly Ann Rothaus

The film “The Fault in our Stars” is a must see. So if you haven’t seen it, STOP READING, go see the film – go right now, and then continue. Go see it because it’s funny and it’s serious, it’s a comedy and it’s a drama, it’s romantic and it’s stoic, and it’s everything else a great film can be.

The Fault in our Stars staring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort received mixed reviews. Notwithstanding, if you love a love story and love to see love in action and love to love as well, this romance is for you. It teaches us how to love, again. The smiles that are forced in pain and the seriousness that comes with play are fused and forged together in this heartwarming, tearjerker of a film.

Our stars have faults, our idols have cracks, and our favorites have fissures. It’s no secret that the worst in us can come out of the best of us. Our lives are lived with a sometimes cruel combination of love and hate and ups and downs and ins and outs and unfairness and equity and right and wrong and good and evil. And without love and laughter, we might as well cancel tomorrow. And so, not to spoil the film for those of you who haven’t seen it yet (slackers!), the film teaches us life lessons. It reminds us and beckons us and summons us to recall and recount the power and potential and capacity and competence of love.

It has been said that we learn more from our failures than from our successes. And so this special film teaches us the laughter of love through the sorrow of sickness; the beauty of hating illness and the horror of hurtful healing; the heights of newfound passion and the depths of long-lost affection; the lighter side of death and the heaviness of life.

The film teaches the lessons we need to learn about the power of coming together and the weakness of staying apart; the fullness of being joined and the emptiness of being separated; the joy of a cold winter day with the one you love and the sadness of a beautiful spring day alone. These are the lessons of our fault filled stars.

This film teaches us that without love we feel the coldness of the sun and the warmth of the moon. Without love we know the joy of nothing and the distress of everything. Everything is inverted and infested, ingrown and overgrown, backwards and twisted, upside down and wrong side up. This film teaches us to live, and to love, no matter what. This film teaches us the power and passion and persuasion of love.

Without love we believe we can know the number of the countless stars, yet we doubt that we can have even the fraction of effect on any one person in our corner of the world. It has been said that “the effect of one good hearted person is incalculable” (Oscar Arias, Former President of Costa Rica). Amen to that.

So in this game of life, we must live, laugh and love. All three together are the essential ingredients for all of our days and the balance of our years.

There Might Not Be a Place for You in the Church, and That’s a Good Thing

Please accept this Reblog that I would call “Blessed Are the Underdogs.”

all our lemmony things

If you know me at all–whether it’s just through my blog or whether you’re one of my co-workers or even my best friend back in Idaho–you know how I feel about fitting in. Scratch that. I simply don’t fit in. And chances are, neither do you. If you’ve read some of my past blogs, you know very well that I’m an advocate for the black sheep. And often times, the black sheep can even wear the white wool. Believe me.

Over the course of keeping this blog I’ve had the honor of meeting so many kinds of people. People who homeschool their children and can peaches on Sunday. People who struggle with mental illness. People who have had everyone in their family die and who literally live alone and have no one to call. People who were raised in Utah and long to break out. People who run businesses and people…

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Turning A Loss Into A Win

USA Tie

David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back.
1 Samuel 30:18-20, NIV

Everybody who understands the rules and regs of Word Cup play, please stand up! I mean I was all upset that we, the US Team, didn’t even score, and lost to Germany 1 Nil! All my friends at work, however, were telling me, NO! We move on! Really? Ok, so I’m not up on all of this World Cup stuff, but since when is a loss a win?

Everybody who knows when a loss is a win please stand up. I, for one, am standing. When you love your enemies, when you do good to those who hate you, when you’re genuinely smiling and beaming when others are frowning and steaming, you’ve turned a loss into a win. The US will advance and play, while others, who won, will retreat and have to call it a day.

Everyone who comprehends the need to turn losses into wins and then in fact works to turn losses into wins, win the wonder of Heaven. All of creation is waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God. All of Heaven and earth are waiting for the materialization of the children of the Kingdom of God. The entire known and unknown worlds are waiting for those of us who have lost houses and lands and family and friends and jobs and cars and everything else you can lose to regain and recall and recover all. The thought of that sends chills up and down my spine, and the hairs on my arm are standing up.

Everybody who knows what I’m talkin’ about shout YES! Biblical King David knows what I’m talking about. Just ask him. David turned a bad loss into a big win. He lost his wives and family at Ziklag. He lost his possessions while trying to plunder others belongings. He lost the confidence of his men while trying to gain their trust. Yet David turned this loss into a win.

And so that’s what we all need to learn to do. We need to learn and practice and execute how to turn loses into wins. So don’t throw in the towel. Don’t give up the ship. Don’t surrender the fort. A loss is not the end of the world. Advance and move on, and turn your losses into wins.

Kissed Your Sister Lately?

USA-tie

Kissing your sister is an expression used to describe when there’s a lack of joy, pleasure or passion in doing something. (True enough if you were ‘kissin’ your sister”–blechhh!) If an experience was dull and unexciting, someone might say “yea, it was l like kissing my sister.” And the expression can be used to describe almost anything that was dull, lifeless, boring that someone would not want to repeat doing. In sports, the latter meaning works best.

Sometimes you just have to be thankful you got what you got, because sometimes you just get what you get. And other times you have to be acknowledge that what you got is what you’re going to get. A tie is akin to kissing your sister. That’s all we got. And that’s what we get. That’s what the US Soccer Team ended up with after Portugal’s best player, held in check for 90 minutes during regulation and for 4½ of the 5 minutes of Stoppage Time, placed a picture perfect pass on the head of his teammate as he headed in the equalizer. Unbelievable.

Sometimes you just have to take what you can get. It’s not what you want, but it’s what you got. Sounds like many a Christmas present I got as a kid and some as an adult. And spiritually, life has a way of dishing out some unwanted and unsolicited gifts that come out of nowhere or drop like anvils from the sky. And so we need to learn to count our blessings, because it could be worse. So we thank God until it gets better.

Sometimes you just have to move on. And after a tie with Portugal, that’s exactly what the US Team will do in these 2014 World Cup Games. A win would have been unprecedented and unparalleled in US Soccer history, so we were obviously all excited as the US was up 2-1 in Added time, only to watch Portugal’s soccer phenom do what he does best – break the hearts of the other team, and their fans as well. Go figure.

So cheer up. The Bible tells us to “Be of good cheer.” It’s not over. Whatever your condition or position, whatever your situation or circumstance, whatever your post or place, don’t fret. It’s not over. So let’s just face it – sometimes we need to stop our whining and crying and moaning and groaning and pouting and shouting and just move on. And that’s what the US team will do. A tie, even though it’s akin to kissing your sister, is not the end of the world. The US men’s team will play Germany and hopefully at least kiss their little sister one more time.

We can only hope.

You’ve Gotta’ Believe!

USAvPortugal in World Cup

I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time. Ecclesiastes 9:11, New Living Translation

I’m watching the USA / Portugal World Cup Match and the US is down 1 Nil early in the 1st half. The US made a bad mistake, didn’t clear the ball, and Portugal got a cheap goal to take an early lead. I’m not a soccer, I mean “Football” fan, but I am a sports fan. And I know, or at least I think I know sports.

I know that time of possession is big in any sport, and in this match, the US is having trouble holding onto the ball. That one will preach. I also know that the US was being passive, and not aggressive, and I know that the facts figured against the US, as they’ve lost every match when they fall behind early. But you’ve gotta’ believe.

I know that “the race is not given to the swift nor the battle to the strong . . . but time and chance happeneth to them all.” After a slow start, the US has had numerous shots on goal, some going wide, some going high, and some falling short of the goal. But the way they’re playing now, by pressing and pushing and persisting, I believe. I believe that the US CAN win. However, it’s another thing altogether to believe that the US is GOING to win.

I don’t believe in chance, I believe in Providence. No, God does not choose sides in sports, but I do believe that thing called faith figures formidably in the outcome of games and looms large in consequence of contests. The New Living Versions may say it best: “it’s all decided by being in the right place at the right time.”

So you gotta’ believe. It’s a wonder to me that more people don’t believe in God, especially those who are waving those “WE BELIEVE” signs at this match and at games and contests the world over. It’s about who wants it more. That’s what I believe. And to want it more you have to believe.

I’ve come to know that the theistic arguments for the existence of God give us the noun “Faith.” The noun or “thing” of faith includes “the fact of God, the meaning of God, and the purpose of God.” These three combine to form the crux of the theistic argument for the existence of God, and give faith, the noun, a reason to become faith, the verb. Thus the noun, or “thing” of faith, while in contrast to the verb or “Act of faith,” in order to be active and activated, must be combined with this “Act” of faith in order to be realized and real.

So do you believe? In the ability for the USA to win and advance? In the ability of God to work common and every day miracles, and uncommon and extraordinary wonders in your life? Win or lose, come what may, you’ve gotta’ believe.

What’s In A Name?

Copy_of_RedskinM

What’s the big deal? I mean it’s ok because we use slang all the time, right? Wrong. The name “Redskin” is not just the name of the Washington, D.C. football team. If you Google this term, you will find the following definition: “Redskin” is a term for Native Americans. Its connotations are a subject of debate, although the term is defined in current dictionaries of American English as ‘usually offensive’, ‘disparaging’, ‘insulting’, and ‘taboo.'”

What’s the big deal? Names are emblematic and expressive, symbolic and even sacred. How so? Just read your Bible. Every name in Scripture means something, and no name was given to mean nothing. Moses means drawn out of the water, a name representing how Pharaoh’s daughter found the babe in the ark on the River Nile. Elijah means “the Lord is my God,” a name reprimanding Israel for worshiping the false god Baal. And Jesus means Jehovah is salvation. Another name for our Lord is Immanuel, which means God with us.

So what’s the big deal? The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins’ trademark. Federal trademark law does not permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups. Here’s a look at the Redskins’ logo and team imagery throughout the years.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/us-patent-office-cancels-redskins-trademark-registration-says-name-is-disparaging/2014/06/18/e7737bb8-f6ee-11e3-8aa9-dad2ec039789_story.html

Robert Raskopf, a lawyer who has been representing the team since the 1992 case was filed, was not concerned about the ruling. He noted that Wednesday’s decision came from a divided panel of judges, with one of the three dissenting, and that the earlier case was won on appeal. In that case, the court did not rule on the merits of the case but ultimately said the plaintiffs did not have standing to file it.
(Tom LeGro and Natalie Jennings / The Washington Post)

So what’s the big deal? In our polemically, politically correct culture, if you offend one, you offend all. It’s a shame that it’s come to this, but the hopefully innocently yet to some harmfully and improperly chosen name means more than just a mascot and is more than just a moniker for a football team. On the other hand, Dan Snyder, the Redskins owner, is adamant that the name is not going to be changed. In fact, this whole U.S. Patent Office thing has happened before, and been overturned.

So, what do you think? Should the Washington Redskins change their name? Or is this whole name thing much ado about nothing? Come on; just think about it; other terms that have offended the least amongst us have been changed recently. The Redskins name may not have been any big deal in the past, but it sure has become a big deal now.