1) A storied rivalry.... the best in all college football. Number 1 versus Number 2. A Big Ten Championship. A shot at the National Title. The Heisman Trophy. A coaching legend dies on the eve of the game.
How much bigger could it have been?
Fortunately the game itself lived up to hype... so much so that it might have vaulted Michigan into the BCS Championship with a loss. However, USC, who has two games left to play and if they win them both they'll move ahead of Michigan in the polls and the computer.... which doesn't bum me out. I think the reality is that USC has maintained a strong program under the leadership of Pete Carroll, and they will probably be rewarded for doing so.
But if they both lose just once, it'll be Game of the Century II.
2) There were TWO big wins by Ohio teams yesterday. Big win in Cincinnati last night, as the Rutgers questions gets settled once and for all. Barely 20,000 made it to Nippert Field to see the 7th ranked team in the country last night. The Shoemaker Center seats about 19,5K for UC Basketball, and it'll be sold out every game. It'll be a long time before Cinci is a college football town. Great win, though... and led by a QB who was starting and playing his last game as a Senior.
3) Very nice service this morning at Shawnee. Our new youth pastor, Mike Stinson, preached a good sermon about worship. High School and Middle School students from the church did a super job of conducting worship. A friend of Mike came into town to lead worship, and he did a solid job. Left believing that God really does want to put my life's work up on his refrigerator. Kudos to all involved. A long-time member of the congregation said it was the best sermon she'd ever heard a youth pastor at the church give, which is a heck of a compliment.
Hey, wait a minute.... wasn't I a youth pastor at this church?
That's OK. I'm praying the youth ministry, and its youth pastor, thrive!
4) We'd ask for your prayers for Aimee's mother. Carol was admitted to the hospital on Friday when she was unable to get her breath. Apparently one of the side effects of the chemo is turning out to be her lungs filling up with fluid coupled with an irregular heartbeat. She was scheduled to come home to day, but as they were preparing her to be discharged she had a scary episode where her heart rate raced and she was not able to breath, so now the doctor is trying to figure out how to stabilize this situation. Liver cancer is just tough to beat, so once again, your prayers are very much appreciated.
5) Am looking forward to Thanksgiving, as not only will all the usual family members will be present and accounted for, but Fred and Kathy Diehl, mom's brother and his wife, will be coming in from West Palm Beach for the first time in many, many moons. Their family has been dealing with a number of personal issues, and without getting too specific, I'd also ask you pray for them and their daughter, Katie, although, specifically, I'd ask that you'd pray that Katie would discover how wonderfully made by God she is, and and how much she is loved by Him and her family.
6) On a message board within our campus online messaging system last week, Dr. Ben Witherington, most likely Asbury's most famous and respected scholar, stated that he was disappointed with the dismissal of the school's former president, Jeff Greenway, and that he believed the dismissal was pre-meditated (as opposed to official statement being released by the Board of Trustees, that this was not the case). When the other most respected faculty member, Dr. Jerry Walls, affirmed digitally that he agreed with Dr. Witherington, that alone was enough to generate a lot of conversation on campus. But when these statements made it into a number of newspapers and online publications across the country, a debate ensued as to whether or not the leak of the email posts to the "outside world" was ethical or not.
How many people could read this statement? All 1000+ students, and thousands more alumni. I guess, I'm wondering how this issue can even be debated when the "secret" is shared with tens of thousands of people. I'm guessing Dr. Witherington is smart enough to know the effect of his words. Just hard to believe people working on graduate degrees can be so naive.
7) Just saw about the 3000th ad for the movie, "Val Kilmer: The Rise of Taj"...... let's just say nobody from the film need wait on a voice mail from the Academy. The sad thing is that it'll appear on two screens here in the local theatre, while a movie like "Babel", which is actually thought-provoking, won't come within sixty miles of our fair city.
8) Here's a link to a page where you can listen to last week's episode of "This American Life" (http://www.thislife.org/ - scroll down to the episode named "Heretics"). It's the story of a pastor who's church declined from over 5000 people to less than two-hundred not because he had an affair or stole money, but rather because he stopped believing in Hell. I only heard a snippet of it in the van, and was so intrigued I found it on the web after we returned to my folks' house. If you've got the time, give it a listen.
9) Don't know if you heard about it or not, but Tom and Katie got married this weekend in Italy. I know you probably missed it. Just wanted to bring it to your attention.
10) Just flipped on "Intervention", a show which details the descent of individuals into drug addiction, and the last ditch effort on the part of family and friends to convince that individual to go to rehab. Right now, a beautiful young woman who has dropped out of school, become a stripper, and is the subject of two bench warrants for her arrest is throwing her life away in exchange to be drunk and/or high. You can see the pain in the faces of her parents, family, and friends who feel helpless in the face of addiction.
Anyone who says that evil is on the wane because humanity is evolving past it, needs to watch this show. The pain and emptiness of sin is real in this world, and there are billions of people are sacrificing themselves in some way to lies that have convinced them that they are not worth anything more than a moment of escape from immense self-loathing.
Let us not rest until all people understand that the sacrifice has already been made, and by grace is theirs for the taking. That's what it means for Jesus to be the way, the truth, and the life. The way out of destruction. The truth that love shared is the only thing that makes life worth living. And that life is meant to be lived, not in denial or isolation or at the expense of others, but fully and completely in ways that give others hope, and co-creates a preferable future for all.