Sunday, July 09, 2006

On Monday evening, the annual Home Run derby will be held in conjunction with the All-Star game festivities at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

What is the over-under on the number of times Chris Berman will say "Back, back, back, back...?"

On a side note, I had the opportunity to watch the Pirates and the D-backs two summers ago at PNC Park. The park is beautiful, situated at the confluence of the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela rivers with a magnificent backdrop of the Pittsburgh skyline. Next to AT&T Park in San Francisco, it is my favorite ballpark for the scenery and ambience, not to mention the organ music isn't canned as in most modern ballparks. PNC is one of the few places where authentic organ music played by a living human being actually rings throughout the park.


Here are your up-to-the-minute AL West standings heading into the All-Star break:

Texas 45-43
Oakland 45-43
Anaheim 43-45
Seattle 43-46

The scary thing for the Rangers, A's and Mariners is the fact the Angels have weathered the storm. They looked dead in the water six weeks ago but have revived to surge within 2 games of the lead.

The Rangers go into the break tied for first, but their place at the top is tenuous, to say the least. Ever since the Phil Nevin trade, the Rangers have been treading water.

If nothing else, the logjam that is the AL West promises to make for an exciting race down the stretch for the remainder of the summer.


Tonight, I spoke on baptism in three streams: the historical stream, the contemporary stream and the Biblical stream. I was really into the message, excited about covering familiar, if not neglected, turf.

As I closed my lesson and moved into the invitation, I recognized most in the audience as disciples of Jesus, those who'd already been baptized.

But with the singing of the invitation song, a blessing entered the aisle. Jacob, the 10-year old grandson of a couple in our church whose here visiting for the week, walked to the front and excitedly announced to me: "I want to be baptized."

Pardon my shock, but the days of spontaneous baptisms just don't happen anymore. Sometimes, I read about the past with envy at preachers/evangelists whose stirring altar calls illicited scores of respondants desiring immediate baptism.

What struck me most, though, was the reality that the Word had sunk deeply into the heart of a 10-year old boy during the 35 minutes I spoke. As I spoke, the truth of God's Word obviously did a number of young Jacob's heart.

I asked his grandparents to come to the front and, after visiting momentarily, announced to the assembly that Jacob wanted to be baptized but that we would talk more about the meaning of baptism and discipleship (per his grandparent's request). He and his grandparents met in my office following church and we are going to continue the discussion throughout this week, in advance of Jacob's father's visit next weekend.

What a refreshing night and powerful reminder that the simple message of Jesus and the salvation available through incorporation into Jesus through baptism still touches even the youngest of hearts.