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Damn. Just Damn. Well, Bourbon Too. Damn and Bourbon.

Damn. Just Damn. Well, Bourbon Too. Damn and Bourbon.

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Tomorrow morning.

The morning after.

It sucks. It’s hard.

You wake up and your brain is in a fog, and then all the broken pieces start to come together, and you remember…we lost yesterday.

Damn.

I’m always all-in with my Jayhawks, and losses have always been hard, but in 1998 KU had a team that was so dominant they only lost 1 game in overtime all season long. I lived and died with that KU team. Coming in to the NCAA tournament they were the overwhelming favorite to win the national championship. And then along came Mike Bibby and Arizona in the Sweet 16. We lost. We finished 34-2. Ever since that loss that crushed me, I’ve learned, like so many coaches tell us fans, “to enjoy the ride”.

College basketball is a crazy, unpredictable game. Especially in today’s game with so many “one-and-done” players. Why does everyone enjoy the ncaa tournament? Well, that’s an easy answer(s) – the bracket pools (which I would never take part in because they’re illegal ;) and the upsets that happen during the tournament. We love to cheer for the underdogs.

We love it when David beats Goliath.

That’s why it’s hard to be a Kansas basketball fan.

I’m thankful to be born into a family who are crimson and blue through and through.

We are college basketball royalty. With our history and traditionKU is and never will be the underdog.

Kansan by birth, Jayhawk by the grace of God. 

KU is a blue-blood program.

The inventor of the game James Naismith was our first coach.

University of Kentucky and the University of North Carolina’s basketball arenas are named after Kansans and alumni of KU.

Adolph Rupp (University of Kentucky) and Dean Smith (University of North Carolina) both attended and played at KU under Phog Allen.

With the lofty status comes yearly expectations (strong desires) of Final 4 and nothing less. I have those expectations myself, and while that might seem a bit cocky I’m glad my school is so successful that we expect nothing less. Thus, when KU loses in the tournament we not only are depressed we also have to endure pot-shots from people who love to see Goliath go down; from those who would rather cheer for us losing than see their own team succeed.*

The NCAA tournament turns college basketball into a crazy thrill ride with ups, downs, and loopty-loops that sometimes leave us wanting more, and sometimes make us sick to our stomachs. The morning after an NCAA loss feels like the morning after a night of binge drinking…and probably similar to morning sickness (although personally I’ve never experienced the latter so I can not give a specific account of the similarity between the two). You can’t do anything about it – you just have to endure it and get through it. Unfortunately, the earlier in the tournament your team loses the harder it is to endure because the tournament lasts for 3 weeks.

If you want to enjoy a couple team sports where the long season proves who is the best team you should follow European soccer or Major League Baseball. I love both sports/leagues.

But I love the NCAA tournament and my Jayhawks even more.

This is going to be a long next two weeks.

I’m appreciative of friends who are respectful to me after a loss. And I have many friends who know how I love my Jayhawks and they are genuinely kind to me after a loss. And then I have Mizzou friends…I don’t need to belabor this point any further. (see above *)

I try hard to refrain from replying to people who are on social media solely looking to provoke a reaction.

Provoking a reaction isn’t the same thing as saying something significant. 

- Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes

KU has given me so many thrilling memories and amazing history to be part of…

  • 5 national titles
  • 14 Final 4s
  • 10 straight conference titles
  • #2 school in all-time wins
  • deep tournament runs
  • countless All-Americans
  • all of my Allen Fieldhouse memories
  • consistently a #1 or #2 seed in the NCAA tournament
  • etc

…that I’m glad I won’t have to stoop to enjoying another’s school loss moreso than what my own school, or conference, can accomplish.

Being a KU fan is funny at times. We do not have to endure the similar drama of bubble teams and whether or not we will make the NCAA tournament – we haven’t missed the tournament since 1989. KU-drama is worrying about what uniforms we are going to wear in the tournament.

Tangential Sidenote – CBS should be ashamed and needs to stop showing the pictures of crying children. It happened two years ago with Hoiberg’s young son and today with a young KU fan and also a young Wichita State fan. Yes, it shows the passion of the fan-base…kindof…they’re children who believe their lives are over if they lose. But more importantly in today’s world of social media those scenes are made into tweets and posts that are like wildfire all across social media.

I have an annual tradition. After KU loses in the tournament I focus on what I have to look forward to in the future. It helps relieve the sting of the loss and bring my (in)sanity back to a level of “normal”.

It’s cathartic.

I’ve got so many great things going on and things to look forward to:

  • a great job I genuinely enjoy.
  • Springtime! Everything is blooming, things are green, and more people are enjoying the outdoors.
  • the Kansas City Royals – hope springs eternal in spring, although with David Glass as owner the hope only lasts for a couple weeks
  • Sporting Kansas City
  • the Masters on tv
  • working on lowering my handicap
  • grilling steaks, pork chops, steaks, steaks and some more steaks
  • perfecting the art of smoking meats – brisket, ribs, and pulled pork
  • enjoying cigars while outside
  • vacation to Mexico
  • vacation to Florida

…and most importantly

…my awesome Wife and my awesome Son.

I listed all the fun and important things I have to look forward to, but it also doesn’t hurt that I have a full bottle of bourbon in the pantry for tonight.

It’s also cathartic.

You might say it’s a necessary medication.

You might say I’m only kidding.

Or you might not. ;)

Maybe writing this whole post is just cathartic for me.

The sun will rise tomorrow and I’ll remember my list of things…

…starting tomorrow.

Like I mentioned, this is going to be a long next two weeks.

But tonight it stings…and you know what? That’s ok.

Pour me another glass.

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Posted by on March 23, 2014 in culture, sports

 

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A Real Decade of Dominance at KU and Bracket Musings

Here are some random musings as our minds turn to brackets in just a few short hours this evening.

A Baker’s Dozen Years of Dominance at KU:

- Most students graduate from college in 4 years…except this guy. I got one year smarter than all of you who were so eager to leave college. I stuck around increased my knowledge and graduated in 5 years.

- KU has won the Big 12 title 12 out of the past 13 years.

- Consider this: 4 years = 1 cycle: working our way backwards and including this year, there have been 3 1/4 cycles of students (13 years), at a total of 14 college institutions, that have tried to win the Big 12 regular season title.

- Only 2 schools in the past 13 years have succeeded.

- KU and Oklahoma State.

- KU won the title in 2002 and 2003.

- Oklahoma State interrupted KU’s 2-year win streak and won the Big 12 title in 2004.

- KU finished 2nd in 2004.

- 2004 was Bill Self’s first year at KU.

- In 11 seasons at KU, Bill Self has never finished worse than 2nd place in the regular season of the Big 12.

- Bill Self finished tied for 2nd in his first year (2004), and then every year after that he won the conference title.

- For those of you lacking in sufficient math skills that’s 10 years in a row Bill Self at KU.

- We give him grace for what he did in 2004.

- KU has won the title back to back, to back, to back, to back, to back, to back, to back, to back, to back.

- All those back to backs impress these two guys.

Greer says, All We Do Is Win. Everybody’s hands go up!

Greer says, All We Do Is Win. Everybody’s hands go up!

Bracket musings:

- Depending on how the rest of the brackets and match-ups turn out, right now I’d prefer to be a 2 seed in the MidWest with Wichita State as the #1 seed in our region. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time.

- I want to avoid Michigan State and Louisville.

- Florida and Arizona State are weaker than they seem.

- No team is without some major flaws this year.

- I want to have Joel Embiid back asap.

- I think we can survive the first two rounds (technically the 2nd and 3rd rounds – oh how I wish the NCAA would wise-up and change it back – so dumb).

- Nadiir Tharpe needs to play well.

- Everybody needs to play well!

- Teams don’t advance without solid guard play. Not necessarily dominant guard play but solid guard play.

- We might have to “boat race” a few teams considering that our defense is not as dominant this year.

- This should be a March full of tons of exciting games.

- I don’t know if there will be any major upsets in the tournament this year because this year, teams outside of the top 2 seeds are all fairly similar.

- Even the teams in the 1 and 2 seeds (the top 8 teams) aren’t exactly dominant.

- Enjoy March Madness!

- Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!

Relax and enjoy the ride!

Relax and enjoy the ride!

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2014 in sports

 

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Dear Mother Nature, You Suck

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Dear mother nature,
You suck.
Last week Topeka got 13″ of snow and yesterday in Topeka it was a high of 15 degrees with a wind chill below freezing, and today they have a possibility of more snow – that honestly sounds lovely to this Northerner.

Here are my complaints: This past Friday In little Rock we barely got 3″ of snow, and while it unfortunately, but not too surprisingly, and also somewhat humorously, to me, crippled our lovely city, all of that snow had already completely melted away as of Monday. No trace whatsoever – like it never even happened…except for the people who are still going to pick up their cars that they abandoned after getting stuck the evening of the semi-frozen-torrential-white-out which amounted to the previously mentioned whopping 3″. Three inches.

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photo courtesy of LR Fire Dept – we drove up this hill past all the abandoned cars

Two nights ago…let me rephrase that…for the past 5 nights (prior to Tuesday) Little Rock meteorologists forecasted a possibility of 7″ of snow coming in on Tuesday; in a way such that seemed like they were promising a winter storm of biblical proportions…

…I was giddy with anticipation…I wanted to stay up all night to watch all the snow come down…but instead of 7″ we got zero snow, not even a dusting, nothing, zip, zilch, nada.

$5,000,000…wait, what’s that number you ask? That’s my estimated guess of the revenue of Kroger and local liquor stores from people stocking up on essentials to survive this potential apocalypse. They were the only people smiling along with me when the weathermen forecasted the 7″. But again you dashed my hopes.

Additionally, this weekend I’m going to visit my family in Topeka to celebrate my Mom’s birthday, and my Son’s first birthday. All this week in Topeka it’s supposed to be in the upper 40s and by Saturday you’re going to make it be 60 degrees?! C’mon, are you kidding me?! Hello moron, the snow will melt! But you’re well aware of this and you’re doing it on purpose. I know how you work. Thanks a lot. Sheesh.

The only good thing to come of the heat wave you’re sending Topeka this week is that hopefully it will melt the ice on my parent’s lake…

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current picture of my Parents’ lake – yes there is a lake out there

…so we can have the Second Annual Blaylock/Wilson Polar Bear Plunge.

2013

2013

But I bet you’ll do something to kick me while I’m down.

Sincerely,
Livid in Little Rock, and Tepid This Weekend in Topeka.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in creation, Uncategorized

 

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I’m Under Pressure…But God Is My Release Valve. (this title is tongue in cheek)

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There are a couple things that will get me fired up pretty quickly – racism and bad theology. This post is about bad theology…but don’t worry I have a post about racism in the works too…and it’s a doozy.

But first let’s focus on bad theology…

Too often we mis-interpret and then also re-interpret thoughts and passages in the Bible into a way that makes them more palatable to digest. We also like them to specifically apply to our own lives and to our own specific situations. When this happens we end up passing down a lot of God’s teachings as mis-truths. So then the bible turns into a collection of urban legends and we miss out on his beautiful truths that are present right in front of us.

Like today for example, I was reading an article about how people were trying to find Biblical truths regarding if being gluten-free was acceptable to God. So they were dissecting how Jesus said he is the bread of life, all the stories about unleavened bread, etc, etc.  So while they’re looking for evidence to vilify or verify their question they will completely overlook MUCH BIGGER truths contained in those passages. They are taking square peg truths and trying to make them fit into round peg individual experience holes. C’mon people – we have more important things to focus on.

I digress…

The meat of this post is focused on this next thought. Consider this…

“God will never give you more than you can handle.”

I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before. Yeah…it’s not in the Bible.

This is a complete bastardization of 1 Corinthians 10:13.

This thought is taken so far out of context as to what the scripture is actually talking about.

This verse is talking about temptation, not suffering (enduring more than we can handle). HUGE difference. We can control what we give into with temptations. We can not choose we suffer from. People use misuse this snippet of the passage and choose to proliferate christian life as all puppy dogs and unicorns, and that we can shrug off the hard times in our lives because God will wave his magic wand and make the “more than we can handle” disappear. It’s a pacifier, pat on the back for Christians. I will say that most of the time this phrase is said unintentional and innocently enough…and most of the time it’s meant to help people make feel better. But it’s wrong. It’s become one of those sayings that is said so often that people now automatically assume that is what is said and meant in the Bible. This is why we need to be careful about our theology.

For a MUCH better explanation of what I’m trying to say, go here – it’s an article on Relevant (the magazine) that talks about this issue specifically. They do a much more eloquent job of explaining the situation.

Now..a final quick, side-note indirectly related to the topic of this post. It’s just something to keep in mind since I love talking about the interplay of theology and living our lives…

This is from Zack Hunt’s post, Do Heretics Really Go To Hell?

In other words, Jesus doesn’t really seem to care much about our theological orthodoxy.

He seems to care a lot more about our orthopraxy, that is to say whether or not we actually lived our lives like he did.

Again, that’s not to say that ideas aren’t important. They are. But I don’t see anywhere in any of Jesus’ descriptions of the final judgement where he says or even implies that our salvation rests on agreeing to all the right doctrines.

Look, I love theology and I think good theology can lead to good living, just like bad theology can lead to bad living. But I’m convinced it’s the fruit of our theology – the way we live our lives and how we treat others – that determines the goodness of our theology, not whether or not our ideas adhere to a particular theological system.

 

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2013 in culture, theology

 

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“Happy Holidays!”…ha!…we tricked them!

(This was originally going to be a Facebook post but being that discretion is the better part of valor I decided not to post it on Facebook so as not to piss off people on FB…but I will link to it :)

………………………….

I think I’ve got this Facebook filter thing figured out so I’m sending a secret post to all my Christian friends who are putting on the armor of God and going to battle in the holy war on Christmas. There’s been much to do on our favorite “news” channel Fox News that there is a war on Christmas by people saying, “Happy Holidays” instead of offering animal sacrifice and bowing down to praise Jesus and saying, “Merry Christmas”. Well, don’t get upset when one of your pagan, heathen friends wishes you “happy holidays”. The etymology of “holiday” is derived from “holy day”. So we tricked them! They have no idea they’re actually saying john 3:16 when they say “happy holidays”. We win again!

Share this post in the next .0002 of a second and God will give you $10,000,000,000 in unmarked bills, a can of spam, and a unicorn!…whoops, too late; God will now send the fleas of 1,000 camels to infest your sweaty God-forsaken armpits.

Now for a little bit of sanity…my disclaimer.

*disclaimer -

It’s almost as if Christians feel like they are Ralphie and have been bullied by the big bad culture, Scott Farkus, long enough so now they’re coming out swinging.

If you don’t know the entire above post was lathered in sarcasm and a bit of tongue-in-cheek then you don’t know me very well. Let me put it another way…this post is a joke! We (humans) need to focus on the things that actually matter: racism, poverty, homelessness, those without access to medical care, and hunger (among other broken issues/systems). I think all that will keep us plenty busy. If this post pissed you off..take a step back, take a deep, cleansing breath and lighten up.

And remember, if you are getting all bent out of shape when someone says, “Happy holidays”…

…”You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31. That’s kind of a big thing to remember seeing as Christ said to love God and lover our neighbors and there are no commandments greater than these.

The God of the universe became flesh & lived among us. And we honor that by whining when someone says “Happy Holiday”? It’s ridiculous. – @rachelheldevans

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2013 in culture, theology, Uncategorized

 

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Random Reminiscing and Reflecting Before Today’s MLS Cup Championship

From:

Kansas City Wiz

 

To today:

Sporting KC

  • I attended the very first Kansas City Wiz game in 1996.

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  • I always thought it was funny when the Kansas City Wiz played the Dallas Burn.
  • It was a favorite game of urologists.
  • The Wiz were forced to change their name to the Wizards in 1997.
  • The Urologist union had nothing to do with forcing the name change.
  • A computer company in Baltimore was actually the reason they had to change their name.
  • “Nobody Beats the Wiz” is evidently true.
  • The Wiz and Wizards played all their games in cavernous Arrowhead Stadium.
  • Arrowhead Stadium seats 79,451.

Arrowhead Stadium

  • The Kanas City Wizards normally averaged around 10,000-15,000 people per game.
  • When you put 15,000 people in Arrowhead it seems like a drop in the proverbial bucket.
  • The largest crowds to watch the Wizards would always be when they brought in Michael W. Smith to play a concert after the Wizards game.
  • Those crowds would top out around 30,000; which is alot for a soccer game in the United States.
  • Arrowhead still seemed cavernous with 30,000 people in attendance
  • The noise factor for the Kansas City Wizards at Arrowhead wasn’t a big factor because the noise drifted skyward.
  • …Back to Christians and soccer fans.
  • Talk about two worlds (subcultures) colliding at Arrowhead- Christians and soccer players.
  • I’m not saying soccer players aren’t Christians.
  • I’m both a soccer player and a Christ follower.
  • What I am saying is soccer players tend to be a bit more experimental towards…well, everything; and soccer players come from all walks of life and ethnicities. Christians, while they also come from all ethnicities, are still very segregated when they all come together.
  • Roll a ball out and all soccer players no matter the ethnicity joining in will start playing.
  • Throw a bible in the middle of “Christians” and Christians will spend time sharing what they disagree with.
  • I am not a fan of Michael W Smith’s music.
  • Cheesy Christian music is not my thing.
  • But when I stuck around one time to listen to one of his concerts after a Kansas City Wizards game, I laughed hard at his self-deprecating humor towards one of his hit songs, “Friends are Friends Forever”, during the concert.
  • He made the comment that he was absolutely sick of the song but knew he would be booed if he didn’t play it.
  • Fast forward to the year 2000.
  • I sat in a bar in Overland Park (Kansas City suburb) watching the the Kansas City Wizards win the MLS Cup championship.
  • After I cheered for them winning the Cup, the guy sitting next to me said, “Soccer? Who cares?”
  • I actually prefer the name Wizards over Sporting KC.
  • But I prefer the ownership and organization of Sporting KC over the previous ownership group.
  • The Hunt family was a fantastic ownership group that brought soccer to Kansas City but Robb Heineman has been even better.
  • Considering how successful Robb Heineman has been with the club he could call the club “the one legged pink flamingos” and it would still be cool.
  • No offense meant towards one legged pink flamingos.
  • The ownership of Sporting KC flat out gets it. 
  • Sporting Park (where Sporting KC plays) is flat out awesome!

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  • I guess I like saying “flat out”. I presume it’s because I’m from Kansas and everyone thinks Kansas is flat.
  • If you believe that is true for every inch of Kansas you’ve obviously have never been to Kansas.
  • Sporting Park is not cavernous, but it is VERY loud.
  • In fact, Sporting Park is perfect.
  • It seats 18,467 very loud fans.
  • At most games there are 19,000+ fans in attendance.
  • Don’t tell the fire marshall.
  • More sports venues might be trending towards smaller stadiums/arenas, etc with TV/home becoming a more popular (read cost effective) venue for watching games.
  • I can’t believe how far soccer in America and the MLS has come.
  • I remember training as a freshman in high school and our soccer team being called homophobic slurs by the football team…because we play soccer.
  • I also remember my first high school coach having to be restrained from going after a high school football player (twice his size) because the football player was making the homophobic slurs towards us.
  • I am looking forward to seeing how far our society can progress towards a less phobic attitude towards things that are different or things we don’t understand.
  • We need to have tough conversations about a lot of things to make our society better.
  • Rome wasn’t built in a day.
  • But it was a pretty good empire after people worked on it a bit.
  • Give us some time.
  • For today…let’s bring the Cup home to Kansas City!
  • Sidenote: My attempt to show my Kansas City Wizards Tony Meola and Preki bobble head doll, which is being kept in the attic, was thwarted due to the ice in my driveway which prevented me from pulling the cars out to get into the attic.
 
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Posted by on December 7, 2013 in community, culture, sports

 

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Legalistically Content

“If Stanley Hauerwas is correct to assert that most Christians in America today are ‘functional atheists;’ that is, most Christians live in such a way that it makes no difference that God raised Jesus from the dead, then surely even more Christians today are inadvertent heretics, trodding paths of belief the ancient Church long ago labeled dangerous detours.” - Tamed Cynic

Grace. Such a boring, overused, misunderstood, and cliched word. But also a powerful, meaningful and “awefully” refreshing reassurance of how we can have contentment in our lives. Grace can counteract the subversive power of legalism. Normally, when I see a blog-post on “grace”, or “mercy”, or “hope” or any other christian-ese terms I won’t read the post, but hear me out on this one.

Unfortunately legalism is rampant across the evangelical church’s landscape but I see it quite a bit more now that I live in the south and it’s something that needs to be corrected before a person tips too far to the side of a Pelagianistic theology.

Maybe legalism in some way stems from the Enlightenment era that taught us knowledge (or at least the attempt at the accrual of knowledge which to the church meant bible studies, time alone with god, Sunday school, read the Bible in __ days plans etc) is power. Or maybe legalism stems from the Protestant work ethic which has been taken hostage and also misconstrued as an individualistic, American work ethic to pull yourself up by your boot-straps; but no matter where it originated from the legalistic mindset can sink in so perversely within a person that it can trick a person into relying on themselves for rescuing them from a life of sin (“salvation“) instead of recognizing what Christ has already done for them on the cross. Grace. We need to embrace and rest in this word.

Admittedly, I’m a results driven person, I like results; plus I’m in sales and it’s my job to produce results.

RT @BestSalesTips: By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals. #selling #sales

The results-oriented mindset obviously works great for my job (my managers smile upon good results) but when the results-oriented mindset carries over into my theology sometimes my spiritual activity (busyness) can be misconstrued by myself as “spiritual results” that I personally have accomplished. This is not a good thing. About ten years ago I came out of the heavily-bunkered-in legalistic camp (mindset) that I was entrenched in for most of my Christian life prior to that point. I was trying to do so many things in my life to please God that I left no room for grace. I used to believe that if I can control my activities then I can drive results and again, results (in my mind) were good so therefore I was reinforcing this behavior on my own by simply being involved in an activity. Do this, do that, pray now, pray like this, serve now, serve here, put your right hand in, put your right hand out, put your right hand in, and shake it all about etc, etc, etc. Well, the evangelical church, to drive involvement into their own Christian ghetto (churches place high emphasis on driving numbers – results) they constructed church programs and activities which unfortunately helped propagate this system in my life which pushed me towards thinking that spiritual activity pleases God and therefore if God is pleased he will “save” me. If you extrapolate that line of thinking out logically, in essence my activities would help me in attaining my own “salvation” so it is up to me to save myself. The “works/legalistic” mindset pushed me further away from the understanding and realization of grace – what Christ had already done for me on the cross.

Not long after trying to be involved in as many church-related activities and individual activities as possible my mind and life had a blowout by ultimately not being able to control everything in my life and I swung the pendulum the other way into a laissez fair, anything goes lifestyle. Bad move too. What happened in that time period is a post for another time.

RT @darrinpatrick: Anyone who tries to control everything in his world ends up with a very, very small world. via @RickWarren

In summation, legalism is man’s attempt at attaining something that the grace of God has already provided. I’ve rambled on a bit but I feel Darrin Patrick (pastor at The Journey Church in St. Louis) has hit the nail on the head with his teaching on legalism and grace. I can wholly identify with what Darrin is talking about in this teaching. If you have 35 minutes to spare (in actuality we all do) you can listen to Darrin’s teaching here, or watch it here.

Like I said before…grace. We need to drop the need for “doing/knowledge” and instead embrace and rest in the contentment and wholeness of this word – grace. Robin Williams epitomizes and illustrates what happens when instead of spitting out what we know, we are able to step back and breathe it all in. (Good Will Hunting)

Contentment via grace because of what Christ did for us.

 

Cheers! Vaya con Dios.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in theology

 

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