Another Split Doubleheader

Our church softball team won our second game tonight!  We played the Ocean City Worship Center.  We won the first game (our second win of the season) and they won the second one.  It was fun, of course, but I was very, very frustrated with myself because I didn’t do well at all.  It’s so frustrating to enjoy playing softball so much and to really want to be good at it, but to keep messing up.  And I was so excited about the games tonight that I was watching the clock tick by all day!  Maybe I was too anxious.  It’s kind of weird, because I do so much better at practice than I do during games.  Anyway, I got on base several times, but only had a couple solid hits.  My fielding could’ve been a lot better, too, especially the line drive I didn’t catch.

But, of course, it’s still fun to play the game.  And it was pretty cool getting our second win!  Our last regular season game is next Tuesday.

Published in: on August 24, 2007 at 12:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Bobby Doerr’s Tract

A couple days ago I pulled out my old baseball autograph collection from when I was a kid.  There were several that I’d forgotten about.  One thing I found that was really cool was something that Bobby Doerr, Hall of Famer and former second baseman for the Boston Red Sox, sent me.

Bobby Doerr (right) with teammate Ted Williams. 

Not only did he sign the card I’d sent him, but he also sent me a catchy and concise tract.  As a 12-year-old I didn’t pay any attention to it, but as an adult, I realize what a great idea that was.

So why do I still have it?  That’s one of the cleverest parts: he signed it!  After all, who’s going to throw away some tract if it’s signed by a Hall of Famer?

What a great example of using your influence to share the message of God’s love in Jesus Christ!

Published in: on August 23, 2007 at 7:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Classy Carolyn

Welp, Carolyn’s back at school.  The kids don’t come until next week, but she’s been going out there since last week to attend meetings and get her classroom set up.  This is her third classroom in four years!  It’s a lot of work.  On top of all that, next week is also when she begins her second class en route to her Masters degree.

Every summer she helps me out at work.  I don’t know what I’m going to do now that she’s back at work!

Published in: on August 22, 2007 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Hall of Fame Weekend

About three weeks ago my dad and brothers and I made a trip to Cooperstown, New York, to see Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Okay, so I should have written about this before, but hey–vacation is a busy time!  There’s so much to tell about that amazing weekend, I’d have to write a book to share it all.  So I’m going to share our adventure with you through pictures.  For those of you subscribing by email, I apologize–I know this will make a huge file.  But here it goes:

We set out on Friday morning, July 27th.  It should have been a six- to seven-hour drive, but it stretched out to about 11 or 12.  That was mostly due to abominable traffic for much of the ride.  But, of course, we did stop for lunch–and to play baseball for an hour or so at an American Legion field somewhere in Pennsylvania.  It was dark when we arrived at our motel a few miles outside of Cooperstown, so it wasn’t until we emerged from the room the following morning that we discovered this amazing view:

We headed into Cooperstown on Saturday morning and set up our chairs at the site of the following day’s induction ceremony.  A friend of my dad’s had cued us in on the fact that the place was already filling up with chairs and blankets as people marked out their turf!  From there we went to the Hall of Fame Museum and bought admission tickets.  Before heading to breakfast, we took a few minutes to admire a new display of Ripken memorabilia.

After enjoying a decent breakfast that took a loooong time because the restaurant’s capacity was beyond maxed out, we headed back to the museum.  It was then we realized we’d made a mistake in not going before breakfast.  The place was packed wall to wall on every floor.  We could barely even move, and it took about a minute to go forward one step.  Every floor was like that!  The next day we learned that we were in the middle of the largest crowd the museum has ever had on a single day.  Nearly 15,000 people went through its stiles that day!

Since it was so crowded, we decided to leave which we eventually succeeded in doing.  We headed over to the Hall of Fame game, an annual contest between two minor league teams at Doubleday Field near the Hall of Fame.  One of the teams was the Aberdeen Ironbirds, owned by Ripken.  It was a great surprise when Ripken made an appearance before the game.  It was his first public outing in Cooperstown that weekend.  At one point the crowd started yelling, “Thank you Cal!  Thank you Cal!”  He turned around and waved, signed a few autographs (for the players!) and left.

The game was hot and sunny, then it rained for about 45 minutes, then it was hot and sunny again.  It was a very good game, lots of action, several homers.  Former Orioles Brady Anderson and B.J. Surhoff made appearances on the sidelines during the game.  The only sour note came when the Ironbirds pitcher took a line drive right in the last place a guy wants to take a line drive.  He actually made the play at first before collapsing.  It took the paramedics about half an hour to get him off the field.  They brought out a tarp, covered him, and did their initial examination right there on the field!  That is one sight you couldn’t pay me to see.  I don’t know yet how the guy turned out, but I’ve prayed harder for him than for anyone else I don’t know personally!

We went back to the museum, where it was much less crowded.  As you might expect, we saw some absolutely amazing stuff.  I haven’t yet uploaded pictures from inside the museum, but when I do, I’ll post some pics like the first baseball used in a professional game (from the 1800s), Babe Ruth’s locker, Ty Cobb’s jersey, and stuff like that.

I don’t remember where we ate dinner that first night, but we probably just bought hot dogs or hamburgers from someone grilling on the street.  Seems that’s how we ate most of the weekend.  The town really capitalizes on Hall of Fame weekend!  Everyone is out there selling something on the sidewalk.

We went back at evening to check on the site we’d staked out for our seats at the induction ceremony.  While we were there, we climbed up on the stage where the ceremony was to be held the following day.  We figured we needed to break in the podium for Cal (and for Tony Gwynn, the San Diego Padres great who was also inducted), so we posed for pictures and made induction speeches there at the podium on the platform.  Ripken and Gwynn made history the following day by drawing the largest crowd–75,000 strong–ever to attend a Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  But little did they know that the previous night, my dad and brothers and I, escaping the scrutiny of the media, made history by drawing the smallest crowd ever as we inducted ourselves with our own little ceremony.  I think we had about eight in attendance.

As you can see, Cal tried to look like me in his induction speech the following day.  His speech was pretty good, but mine was better.  Probably because I stole it from Lou Gehrig, complete with echo effect.

You’ll see Cal surrounded by some of the greatest players ever to play the game.  That’s pretty cool and all, but I was surrounded by some of the greatest fans ever to love the game.

Here’s the Hyde guys at the induction ceremony:

From left to right that’s my younger brother, Dylan, my dad, me, and my older brother, Jason.  Notice all the Orioles gear.  Of the 75,000 people in attendance, I’d guess 65,000 or maybe even 70,000 of them were Orioles fans–and dressed accordingly.  It was like a private affair for Orioles fans!  All 53 of the Hall of Famers who were present were introduced.  Each one who was an Oriole got a long standing ovation.  And during the national anthem, the “O!” toward the end was the loudest I’ve ever heard, even louder than a riled up Memorial Stadium crowd.  One of the speakers in the ceremony even said something about how Baltimore must be empty that day, because all the people there had gone to New York!  Even one of the local Cooperstown dogs was a big O’s fan.

Here’s a shot of Ripken and Gwynn with their brand new Hall of Fame plaques, immediately following the ceremony:

After the ceremony we enjoyed a nice dinner at a real restaurant, then went to see Cal’s plaque newly installed in the Hall of Fame.  As you can see from the picture below, we got quite fried during the ceremony.

Cal’s plaque is the one on the bottom (Gwynn’s is on top).  Here’s a closeup:

Cooperstown is a beautiful place and we had an amazing weekend.  In the picture below, the sun has gone down and a  Cooperstown moon rises to bring an end to one of the most special and enjoyable days of my life.

Published in: on August 20, 2007 at 7:28 am  Leave a Comment  

The Green Machine Strikes

It finally happened last night.  Our softball team won a game!  It’s the first win in the history of the Green Machine.

We played against High Tide 2 (High Tide is a Baptist church in Delaware with two teams).  The humidity was terrible and we were slow to adjust.  The first game was probably the worst we’ve had.  We only scored one run!

In the second game, we actually took an early lead, then squandered it.  But we held on, pulled ahead, and came into the bottom of the last inning with a slight advantage.  We had to hold them in the bottom of the last inning, but we didn’t do it.  They tied it up, sending the game into extra innings.

In the top of the eighth we had a pretty strong outing and added a few runs.  We held them in the bottom of the inning to win by four–though at the time I thought it was a lot closer than that.  What a relief when we made the last out to notch the win!

As that second game got closer to the end, the thought popped into my head that I had the potential to blow it like Bill Buckner did in the 1986 World Series (poor guy–he had a really good career but will always be remembered for that error!).  I was even playing first base.  Sure enough, on what would have been the out to end the game, I botched a throw to first.  It dropped as it came toward me and I was too slow to realize I needed to turn my wrist to make a basket catch.  So the ball hit my glove but not at an angle where I could hold on to it.  It fell in the dirt right in front of me and was just spinning in place in the dirt.  As time seemed to go in slow motion, and the runner got closer and closer to first, I tried with my sweaty and slick hand to snatch up the ball.  I finally secured it about half a second after the runner crossed the bag.  I felt terrible.

Something really cool happened in the bottom of the last inning.  It was one of those life-lessons-from-sports kind of moments.  Our second baseman (er, basewoman), Betty, missed a pop up in the seventh inning that allowed some more runs to score, tying up the game.  It rattled her confidence so much that in the bottom of the eighth inning she asked our designated hitter, Rick, to play second in her place.  He asked if she was feeling well or was hurt.  She said no, that she just didn’t want to blow it for the team.  So Rick, a guy with a lot of class who is a true encourager, refused to go!  He crossed his arms and adamantly insisted that she could do it and he wouldn’t sub for her.

In a near panic, Betty was forced to go back out to second.  Now here’s the really cool part: she made two putouts, including the game-winning out!  The first one was a pop up that she caught.  The second was a hard grounder with a runner on first.  She scooped it right up and had the presence of mind to dart over to second, tagging the bag several steps ahead of the runner, to nail down the win.

One of the best parts of the game was that we had two precious little fans: my nephews.  My brother Jason and his wife Kristi brought their two little guys, Justin, age 4, and Kevin, 2.  They’re huge sports fans.  They were really into the game.  In fact, at one point when it looked like we might lose the second game, Justin started to cry!  Afterward he told me that earlier in the game we were losing, but explained that at the end of the game we “winded.”  He really got a kick out of our team name, the Green Machine.  He laughed and said it was “silly.”  Justin paid such close attention to the game and remembered so much that it was amazing!  It was really cute after the game, because both little guys went out to home plate, took a swing, and ran around the bases… about a dozen times.

So maybe the Green Machine isn’t exactly a threat to dominate the post season, but who cares?  We won a game!

Published in: on August 17, 2007 at 12:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

CrossWay On Purpose – Session 7

Last night we had 9 people for Session 7 of CrossWay On Purpose, our church-wide Bible study.  This time it was a little bit different.  Instead of looking at a smattering of short passages that deal directly and concisely with the church, we spent our time in the first chapter of Revelation.  This chapter serves three purposes for our study:

(1) Like the other Scriptures we’ve studied, it contains wisdom about who God wants our church to be and what He wants us to do.

(2) It presents an absolutely amazing picture of Jesus Christ.

(3) It sets up the next two chapters, which we’ll begin studying next week.

Here are some direct applications for CrossWay that we gleaned from this rich chapter–we found that we are:

  • to testify to what we’ve seen & experienced
  • blessed when we read, hear, and take to heart the prophecy
  • to teach what Jesus has revealed will happen in the future
  • God’s servants
  • loved by Jesus
  • freed from our sins by the blood of Jesus
  • a kingdom of priests
  • to be anticipating Jesus’ return
  • to comfort each other
  • to be in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day
  • to be in a state of worship
  • to revere Jesus

This passage reminds me a great quote from the ever-controversial Mark Driscoll, a Seattle pastor who is one of my favorite preachers.  In typical Driscoll fashion, he comments on this description (among others) of Jesus in Revelation:

“There is a strong drift toward the hard theological left. Some emergent types want to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pithy Zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. In Revelation, Jesus is a pride fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up. I fear some are becoming more cultural than Christian, and without a big Jesus who has authority and hates sin as revealed in the Bible, we will have less and less Christians, and more and more confused, spiritually self-righteous blogger critics of Christianity.”

That’s definitely a quote from a Calvinist and not a Mennonite, but there’s a lot of truth in it!

We spent the last few minutes of our time together talking about various things, deciding to wait until next week to dive into Revelation 2-3.

Published in: on August 16, 2007 at 12:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Still Here

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted on here.  That’s because it’s hard coming back from vacation!  After a whirlwind two weeks in New York, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and D.C., I’m a bit rusty.  But I’ll get this thing going again real soon!

Published in: on August 15, 2007 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Breath of Life

Genesis 2:7: “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Wow, what a moment–the creation of the first human being!  A man who never had human parents, a man who for a time was the only person on earth.

How cool, though perhaps creepy, it would have been to be there and witness this event, to see Adam’s lifeless, motionless body, then see him suddenly burst into life as God breathed into him His own breath, setting human history in motion.  I can imagine his lifeless eyes filling with light and excitement, and a smile filling his face as he looks around him in wonder at this brand new world.

It’s wonderful and awesome now just to breathe and realize that every single breath I draw in is God’s gift of life to me.  Breathing is a regular reminder of how close God is.  He is so near!  It is a regular reminder that He is my source of life.  He is the One who created me and gave me my very first breath, and He is the One who sustains my life with every breath.  And not only that, but He gives me eternal life by breathing into me His own life-giving Spirit.

Published in: on August 12, 2007 at 7:21 am  Leave a Comment  

The Gospel

Tomorrow we’re starting a two-week series about evangelism.  Or, more accurately, it’s about the Gospel.  There is so much misunderstanding, among both Christians and non-Christians, about what it means to be a Christian.  Much of this stems from a lack of knowledge and understanding about the Gospel.

The Bible explains quite thoroughly and clearly what the Gospel is and what it means for us, but there is still a lot of confusion.  Some simply get distracted and need reminders about the core truths of the Gospel.  Others have never heard it, but have seen some awful alleged representations of it.

So over the next two weeks we’re going to look at what exactly the Gospel is, how it affects us, and what we are to do with it.  I’ll give you a recap of the first week on Monday.

Published in: on August 11, 2007 at 7:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Action Compassion

Isaiah 30:18: “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.  For the LORD is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for Him!”

This passage uses such strong language to express God’s feelings for me.  He longs to be gracious to me!  That is such an amazing reality to think about.  He doesn’t only long to be gracious to me–as if that wouldn’t be enough!–but He also does something about it: He rises up to show me compassion.  He acts.  He moves.  He responds to His feelings with action.  And He wants me to do the same.

Whenever I have the desire to be gracious to someone, this desire comes from God.  And when He gives me the desire to extend grace to someone, He doesn’t do it so I can just sit around enjoying the feeling.  He wants and expects me to do something about it!  He wants me to “rise up” and show them compassion.

He has risen up–from the grave!–to show me compassion, and He has rasied me from death so I can be of service to others.  God wants me to rise up and show compassion–His compassion–to the people He has made.  He is a God of justice.  Let me wait on Him, wait for Him, and be blessed!

Published in: on August 10, 2007 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment