Monday, March 31, 2008

March Madness = April Angst

My brackets - all of them - are busted. My pick to win it all was knocked out in the Sweet 16. My Duke Blue Devils - whom I picked to lose in the Sweet 16 - didn't make it out of the 2nd round. But how awesome is this? For the first time in history, all the #1 seeds made it to the Final Four. A week ago I said Carolina would win it all, but now I'm not so sure. After much consideration, I've rated each team's chances to win the national championship. Here they are in order:

The Memphis Tigers looked AWESOME against a really good Texas team. I say they're the team to beat.

North Carolina will be outmatched by Memphis' depth and athleticism.

UCLA looked good, but not quite good enough to win it all.

It's an awesome tournament when a team as strong as Kansas isn't even considered a favorite. I say of the four #1 seeds, Kansas is the weakest.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What Might Have Been

Tonight we had a guest speaker come speak to our students. His name is Randy Au (pronounced "Awe"). He is the senior agent on former president Bush, Sr.'s security detail here in Houston. He attended Harding and is a friend of one of my youth deacons. Randy began by sharing some insight into his life in the secret service. He told stories of kicking in doors and shoving shotguns in "dirtbags" faces; standing post at the door of the oval office the day Clinton was impeached; flying on Air Force One AND Two. Every guy in that room had the look on their face of a boy at his first memorable big league ball game.

It made me reflect on the path of life I ALMOST chose. In high school I took several classes designed to prepare students for a career in law enforcement. I wanted to be in federal law enforcement of some kind - most likely U.S. Marshall's or the Secret Service. I attended a weekend police training for students interested in law enforcement at the local JuCo. I would watch movies about the FBI or other government agency and ask myself, "Okay, how much of that is REALLY true?" I knew what I wanted to be: a guy with a gun and a badge.

I remember the day that changed. I was driving to school one morning and took a different route because traffic was "bad" in Odessa that morning. I took a road that went directly past my church and as I drove past I found myself longing to be at church. I was confused at that reaction and realized I felt that longing because I liked the "Cory" at church more than the "Cory" at school. I didn't want to be school-Cory, I wanted to be church-Cory that day. "What better way to ensure that I will always be church-Cory," I thought, "than by giving my life to Jesus in ministry?"

I still wonder from time to time what life would have been like had I gone to A&M to pursue a business degree, headed off to a training facility somewhere on the east coast, and landed a job staking out bad guys, storming crack houses, and chasing fugitives. I don't regret my choice for a moment, though. Ministry is where I MUST be, where I am called to be, and where I long to be. I'm content experiencing the other world only through the stories of guys like Randy Au.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Move Your Hands!!!!

How far is too far when it comes to disciplining our children? Last year a woman named Sally Lieber tried passing a bill in California that would make spanking a child under the age of 3 a misdemeanor. If convicted, a parent could face up to a $1,000 fine or a year in prison (somehow removing a parent from their child for a year doesn't seem to be the way to make them a BETTER parent).

If you were a California lawmaker, how would you vote?

The bill eventually went away because there was no real way to enforce it without infringing on privacy laws. But when it comes to spanking, should there be legal limitations?

I'll be honest, Christina and I spank our boys. I know some of you don't believe in "corporal punishment," but it's how we were both raised and how we have chosen to discipline our children. We use spanking only as a last resort. Our first priority is to redirect bad behavior through distractions, use time-out, or simply let Levi verbalize his frustrations (eventually Titus will be at that point, but he's not really into verbalizing when he can just scream). Also, we only spank with our hands, we always explain why we are spanking ("You heard Daddy tell you not to do that, then you did it anyway, so that gets a spanking."), and I always make it a point to tell Levi the same thing after I spank him: "Levi, I love you very much and it makes me very sad to have to spank you. But I want you to learn to listen and obey."

So how 'bout it, do you spank your kids? If you don't have kids, will you if/when you do? What is and is not appropriate when it comes to spanking?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quick Story

I know I said I wouldn't start posting everyday, but I have to share a story about Levi.

Tonight he found a Bible beside our bed and started "reading" from it. The story was about Jesus and a goat. It went something like this:

"This story is called 'Jesus and the Goat.' One day JEEE-sus (he sounds like a southern gospel preacher when he says 'Jesus')was in a city. A man came to him and JEEE-sus healed his foot. He had to heal it because a goat peed on it and made it stink."

I may have to start paying closer attention to what he's learning in Bible class.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

3's a Crowd

Hey everybody. I hope you're all doing well out there. Sorry I've slacked off on my blogging habits. I'd like to say, "Don't worry, I'll post something new everyday." But, quite honestly, that's not happening.

For those of you who are unaware, Christina and I are expecting our 3rd child, Seth, in about three weeks. I absolute love being a dad. With the exception of my wife, there is nothing on earth that can make me smile any bigger than walking in the front door and seeing two faces that are a beautiful blend of mother and father running at me as though I'd been away for years. To hear my boys yell, "Daddy!" when they see me makes all other things disappear, if only for that brief moment.

I can't wait to meet Seth and see what he looks like, count all his fingers and toes, hear his cry, cut the cord, and hold him all swaddled up in those not-so-soft hospital blankets. I can't wait to see how Levi and Titus will be around him. We're trying to gear Titus up for being a big brother, but he doesn't exactly share Mama well. So feeding times might be ugly.

Children are one of, if not the GREATEST, blessing we receive from God on earth. As parents we get an insight into the heart of God when our hearts ache for our children. For me, though, I love knowing that the depth to which I love my sons is matched only by the depth to which God loves me. When my heart skips a beat over hearing my boys call out, "Daddy!" God's heart skips when we run to Him. Not only is He the creator of my child, He is the creator of the love I feel for my children. And while he may have my eyes or Christina's smile, it is God's image that will be stamped on Seth's heart and woven into his soul. Praise God for the blessing of a new child.