Saturday, January 12, 2008

Next time you feel like quitting...

I just finished watching the movie "Dodgeball" -- a fun little comedy romp. The plot involves your basic group of underdog misfits trying to accomplish something big (in this case the national dodgeball championship - hey, it's a goal).

Anyhow, there's an incredible scene where the team leader -- Peter LaFleur played by Vince Vaughn -- decides to quit just before the final game, he doesn't even tell his team-mates, he just sits at the hotel bar.

That's when Lance Armstrong comes up to the bar to order some water, recognizes Peter and tells him he's been watching the Dodgeball games and that he's pulling for Peter's team -- and Peter tells Lance that he's decided to quit, and the following discussion takes place:

Lance Armstrong: Quit? You know, once I was thinking about quitting… when I was diagnosed with brain, lung, and testicular cancer – all at the same

But with the love and support of my friends and family, I got back on the bike and I won the Tour de France five times in a row.

But I’m sure you have a good reason to quit…

So, what are you dying from that’s keeping you from the finals?

Peter LaFleur: Right now, it feels a little bit like… shame.

Lance Armstrong: Well, I guess if a person never quit when the going got tough, they wouldn’t have anything to regret for the rest of their life.

But good luck to you, Peter. I’m sure this decision won’t haunt you forever.

Is that great or what!

So, print out Lance's words and the next time you feel like giving up, well, I'm sure that decision won't haunt you forever.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A truly incredible weekend

2008 got off to an awesome start for me -- the first weekend of '08 was spent with my father and my son at a men's retreat with approximately 160 other men from Evangelical Free Church of Hershey, PA.

Of course, the question came up more than a few times -- what's three guys from Newark, DE doing with this group from Hershey, PA? The answer to that one is simple, we came to see the guest speaker - John Fischer.

I have been reading John's books and listening to his music for probably 20 years now - his insight is pretty darned impressive. If you ever get a chance to see him in concert or attend a seminar or retreat weekend where he is speaking, just do it - you will be challenged and encouraged. In the meantime, try to get one if his books and sign up to get "The Daily Catch" - a daily e-mail from John that helps put a lot of things into perspective.

Just to give a very simple, scratching the surface kind of review of some of the things John spoke about this weekend:

1) Christians should have a fearless faith - ready to see the world through a wider lens, appreciate more of the creativity, truth, and beauty that exists regardless of the conduit through which it arrives

2) to quote from Proverbs 25:2 - "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings" - so search (or ask, seek, and knock)

3) People today are searching for transcendence, significance, and community -- ideally that is exactly what a church based on the gospel should be offering, you fill in the rest

4) Many of us might need to look into a 12-step program for pharisees (myself included)
As an added bonus, I had the privilege of serving on a Saturday afternoon political panel with former Pennsylvania State Representative Jeff Coleman, Ron Hostetler (former candidate for U.S. Congress), and Steve Hoke (truly brilliant mind - knows more about Constitutional principles than most will ever hear about in their lifetimes). The discussion was moderated by Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

The weekend was also awesome on a personal level -- as mentioned before, this was time spent with both my father and my son -- it was great to get a "guy's weekend" together. We got to talk, share, play Risk, and enjoy a great time meeting dozens of quality people together.

A quick note to the guys at Evangelical Free Church -- you guys put on an excellent event, every detail was well planned and executed, thank you for doing all you did to make this such an awesome experience!

To see several photos from the weekend (including the midnight dodge ball games, the lost hikers, and concert shots), click here.

About the school prayer thing...

I recently came across a great piece concerning the school prayer issue, here's an excerpt:

And now let’s add to that the attempts by misguided school officials to compose “nonsectarian” prayers that would pass constitutional muster (“We affirm our Supreme Being, creator of the Universe,” things of that sort), and you have to assume that we’re well beyond 100,000 attempts to circumvent the court’s unambiguous ruling that you can’t pray in school, period.

And by the way, that very first Supreme Court school prayer case, Engel v. Vitale, revolved around a 22-word “nonsectarian” prayer that’s perhaps the lamest one ever written. It’s impossible to write a lamer one or a less offensive one, so just stop trying! Don’t believe me? Okay, I’m gonna go ahead and quote it:

“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country.”

That’s it. That’s the entire New York State Regents’ Prayer. That’s the prayer that the Supreme Court struck down as a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Anyone who went to a New York public school in the fifties had to recite that every day, to the point that baby boomers, if reminded of it today, can’t get the annoying echo out of their head, like a bad Barry Manilow song—which is fitting, because Barry Manilow himself was actually one of those kids who had to recite the prayer beginning in the third grade and continuing through his graduation from Eastern District High School in Brooklyn. For all we know it’s the source of his lyrical inspiration.
I invite you to check out the whole piece here, then check back to share your thoughts...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

List of possibilities...

First, the disclaimer, I'm blatantly stealing this from another blog:

Click here to check out Anonymous Opinion.

Now that that's out of the way, here's a fun little exercise -- go down the list and check off everything you have done, then think about things you might want to do, of course there's items on here no one would actually want to do as well.

Feel free to share any thoughts. I went through this and can say that 67 of the items apply to me -- so far.


And, may 2008 bring about many adventures, opportunities, and blessings!


01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said "I love you" and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm.
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn't care who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life