Monday, August 20, 2007

Profiting from the Prophets

So that little passing diddy last Thursday about my girls arranging their entire week around the debut of High School Musical 2 wasn't unique to them. Apparently, 17.2 Million other little girls and their mothers tuned in making it the most watched cable television show of all-time, eclipsing the debut of Monday Night football on ESPN last fall.


While my girls were doing their part to help set television viewing history, the Woodward Park softball game was involved in a run to the championship. We prevailed over Cross Church in the loser's bracket final and then bested New Covenant 19-18 to set up a winner-take-all showdown that didn't begin until nearly 10:00 pm.

Unfortunately, New Covenant won the finale 22-17 making the Woodward Park'ers runners-up. It was a valiant effort and if not for a series of questionable umpiring calls -- and it has been brought to my attention that the umpire making the questionable calls just happens to attend church at New Covenant -- WPCoC might have brought home the title.

Nevertheless, I'll not blame the umpire. Rather, I'll blame Gary Villamor (you know, we do live in an era where passing the buck and the blame is routine. Can't I get in on that too?).

Gary is the fine preacher for the Dos Palos church and author of the excellent book No Middle Ground: The Church in a Compromising Position. Gary and his lovely wife, Shirley, gave up their Friday evening to watch us play. Unfortunately, the late hour caught up with Gary and Shirley and they made their exit from the ballpark following game two. I told Gary as he and Shirley walked away that they had been our "good luck charm" and couldn't leave until the third and final game was over but my pressure didn't prevail on them. He laughed as he left, declaring, "I'll catch it Monday on your blog!"

So, since I can't blame the loss on the fact that I made a 3rd out at 3rd base (a cardinal sin taught me in tee-ball league), and it won't be right to live with a grudge against a well-meaning umpire for the next year, I'll lay the blame at the feet of Gary Villamor.

Gotcha, Gary!


Speaking of championship standings, how ironic that last Friday on my dad's birthday, my dad's favorite team -- those lovable losers known as the Chicago Cubs -- found themselves in first place in the National League Central at the end of the day.

Somewhere, I think I hear the echo of Harry Caray crying, "Holy Cow!"


Last night, I began a Sunday evening sermon series through the obscure, oft-overlooked prophecy of Malachi. Tucked away at the end of the Old Testament, Malachi means little more to many of us than an answer to a Bible trivia question: what is the last book of the Old Testament?

Yet, Malachi serves a critical role in the history of God. The last prophet among four centuries of prophets, Malachi serves as the bridge between the Old and the New. His voice, the last to be heard among the people of God for some 400 years, is the voice God uses to announce the coming "Elijah," i.e. John the Baptist, the forerunner to the Messiah.

The prophets' role throughout the Old Testament is a difficult one. They are used by God to reawaken his children from their malaise; to shock them out of their lethargy. Doing so often brought extreme duress on the prophet mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Still, the Malachi's of Old remained true to their calling in the face of their difficult task and our appreciation of God's activity among his people is enhanced as a result.