"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Friday, July 29, 2011


Final: conclusive or decisive: a final decision.

This past Wednesday I ran into a person that I watched from afar since I was in high school and finally had the pleasure to meet on the basketball court in 1991. In the 90's we played basketball against each other more than a few times, and over the years I have seen this person from time to time and have always admired the type of man he is and the way he carries himself. Every time we see each other now, because of his approachable demeanor and his easy smile, I find our conversations to be positive and encouraging.

After receiving his email address I decided to leave this person an email and follow up on our conversation and to remind him about checking out mybabyroc. Below is the email:

Great seeing you yesterday. I was talking with Troy in the pro shop afterwards and he said the “old guys” won by a stroke… nice. I told Troy we all should get together and play golf sometime. I play a lot out at Heritage in Hilliard and Worthington Hills. Anyway, here is the link to my website … the foundation of the site is Jesus Christ and the goal is singular; to reach out to believers and non-believers alike and to encourage them. I have failed more than I have succeeded in life and I believe the #1 thing people need is encouragement. Failure doesn’t have to be final, it just has to be managed. You manage it by acknowledging it, accepting it, and learning from it so as not to make the same mistake again. Making the same mistake again and again ultimately becomes a character issue not a behavior issue.

It was in writing this email that I realized the words that I shared about failure were true. Failure is never final and should never be thought of as fatal; failure ultimately needs only to be managed. The three things that we all should remind ourselves with each failure are to acknowledge, accept and apply.

I call it the Triple-A.

Failure has been commonplace in my life and the lessons I have learned from them have proved to become my dear friends.

As we all struggle with poor decisions, less than best performances and failure we have to realize that we can recover from these situations.

First, we have to acknowledge our failure. Dr. Phil always say's; "You can't change what you don't acknowledge. By acknowledging our failure we move one strong step closer to removing denial in our lives. Denial is one of the biggest obstacles to growth and maturity in our lives.

Secondly, we have to accept our failure. We all are going to fail. Some of us will fail more than others, but if we are to move on from our failures we have to accept them. Once we accept them we can start the process of eliminating shame and guilt. When I had two children in the same year, eight months a part, by two different women I was devastated. I felt embarrassed, ashamed and guilty. It wasn't until I accepted my failure in having a family the incorrect way did I start to accept my fate, and ultimately my responsibility. Once I acknowledged my failure and accepted it I was free of the guilt and shame. Did I make a huge mistake in judgment? You bet. But once I realized that this wasn't going to be fatal and that this situation wasn't going to be the final chapter in my life I was ready to move on in a positive direction. Lastly, acceptance of our failures is not the same thing as approving or condoning our mistakes. Acceptance is the release we give ourselves to carry on in a positive direction; acceptance is freedom.

Thirdly, when we fail we have to make sure we learn from the situation, and apply the truth and reality of the failure to our lives. Learning from our mistakes is the key. We have to have the mindset that there is a take away, something I can learn, from my failure. We need to learn from it so as not to make the same mistake again. Making the same mistake again and again ultimately becomes a character issue not a behavior issue.

Do we all fail? Yes.

Everyone fails miserably at some point in their life.

But we don't have to let our failure define us.

Failure doesn't have to be final or fatal; it just has to be managed.

I hope you are encouraged by the words you have just read and I also hope you're always mindful of Triple-A (Acknowledgement, Acceptance and Application) and leave agony, anxiety and angst behind when failure arrives at your front door.

sbb 29.7.11  


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Greatest Show on Earth

Parables: a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.

Parables provide common ground

 "So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me'."
-John 8:28

After reading the title of this piece I wouldn't be at all surprised if many of you thought I was referring to the latest Harry Potter movie, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollow PART 2", as the greatest show on earth. Many of you wouldn't be alone. The seventh Harry Potter movie released by Warner Bros. two weekends ago grossed over $169 million at the box office making it the single largest weekend release ever. "Deathly Hollow" also set the record for the largest opening day ever taking in $92.1 million on July 15 of this year.

And as good, or great, as the Harry Potter series is claimed to be by Potter fans - I have only seen one; the first one. I plan on buying them all on DVD and go into hiding for one complete weekend to watch them all - I will reserve my right as a silver screen aficionado and unequivocally state without hesitation, or reservation, that The Godfather and The Godfather II are the greatest movies to ever be made. I will spare you the details on why these silver-screen gems are the best only to say that The Godfather and The Godfather II both received an Academy Award for Best Picture, making Godfather II the only sequel to ever win an Oscar for Best Picture. 

I will also go on record to say that The Godfather III was the worst movie ever made.

For those who were not thinking of a Harry Potter flick or Francis Coppola's grand film when reading the title, and were thinking of the 1952 Oscar winner for Best Picture, starring Jimmy Stewart and Charlton Heston, you would be correct. The Greatest Show on Earth was produced, directed and narrated by the great Cecil B.DeMille and has often been mentioned by Steven Spielberg as the reason why he wanted to be in films.

The Greatest Show on Earth was the first movie Spielberg ever saw.

Just as a side-note, DeMille's historic Hollywood film grossed just $14 million at the box office.

At this point many of you might be wondering where I'm going with all of this silver screen trivia, facts and useless information.

And you would be correct in wondering.

The reason being is because this past weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio I had the pleasure to listen, and hear, Pastor Chuck Mingo preach the gospel at the Crossroads church where my oldest son, Logan, attends. 

The title of the sermon was; "Jesus: the Greatest Show on Earth"

Jesus: The greatest Show on Earth

Chuck opened with the movie Harry Potter and shared with us that he was seeking an answer to the question asked by many: "Why do words and phrases sound better with a British accent?" I agree, everything sounds better with a British accent. He also went on to share that one of the most compelling dynamics surrounding Harry Potter, aside from the British accents, is how the movie is entrenched with mystery that is revealed often through the character Dumbledore who is fond of speaking in riddles and parables in his quest to defeat the evil Lord Voldemort.

Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore would be best described in the words of Winston Churchill when commenting on Russia: "Russia (insert Dumbledore) is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside of an enigma."

And as riveting and thought provoking as Dumbledore's riddles and parables are there was one that came before him that spoke in parables also, and his name was Jesus.

At times the answers are few when trying to decipher through a parable or riddle but as Chuck said this weekend; "There are some answers that are discovered only by taking the next step." 

Jesus can, and will, aid us in taking that next step in understanding, growth and maturity.

If we will let him.

That is the key, if we let Jesus into our hearts He can aid us in all we do, but before that to happen we must first seek His face and desire a personal relationship with him.

Pastor Mingo used one of Jesus' most famous parables, the farmer and the seed (Matt.13: 1-9), to describe three dynamics when seeking Jesus. I found it ironic and illuminating that I just heard a sermon at my home church (CWC) based on the same parable and had written about it in great length a few days prior to hearing the message at Crossroads. (The Seed & The Soil part 1 & part 2). In Chuck's sermon he wanted to share with the congregation what it looked like when we seek God's presence in our lives. 

Let me first share what Matthew 13:1-9 states and then review the three dynamics of seeking the face of Jesus and then share a few practical steps to aid us in applying these dynamics to our daily living.

"That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
-Matthew 13:1-9 

POINT #1: seeking the face of Jesus depends on the receptivity OF THE soil.

Our attitude and our openness is a major factor in the growth we will eventually experience in our lives while here on earth. Many times the composition of our "soil" is full of doubt, rebellion, and misguided principles and priorities. Our life can be full of shallow thinking and behavior that will enable a shallow heart to continue to be shallow and keep it from growing deeper roots. Our soil can at times become unreceptive because of discomfort and busyness. It has almost become "un-American" to be uncomfortable. News flash, if we live long enough we will surly experience times of discomfort. Case and point, our air conditioner went out two weeks ago for two days; it was miserable, but it was a teachable moment for the entire family. What we were reminded of was that God didn't put us on this earth to be comfortable; He put us on this earth to be obedient. Also, we can experience a dysfunctional level of busyness. It has been said that the devil can make you so busy that he doesn't have to make you bad. The take away is that our heart first must be receptive to His presence in our lives before we can truly seek His face.

POINT #2: seeking the face of Jesus depends on our acknowledgement OF THE potency of the seed.

There is nothing more valuable, wiser or life transforming than accepting the God's love, God's seed, into our lives. There will be nothing that will be more fulfilling or worthwhile than seeking the face of Jesus and having a personal relationship with Christ. Once we acknowledge and embrace this truth we will open ourselves to a precious and personal relationship with Christ that will transform our life. The good news is that when we couple "good seed with good soil the result is good fruit." Galatians 5:22-23 states:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

The takeaway here is pretty obvious: good seed plus good soil equals good fruits and Galatians 5:22-23 describes some really good results in the form of the holy spirits fruit.

POINT #3: seeking the face of Jesus depends on our recognition OF HIS grace.

The good news for all, the believer and the non-believer alike, is that God cast His seed on us all. There is no distinguishing characteristic one must have nor is favor shown to any particular person. The only prerequisite is that you must believe; believe in who He said He is and why He accepted death on a cross by Crucifixion. The one thing that separates our God and Christianity from all other Gods and religions is GRACE. There are no works that can qualify us, or behavior that can disqualify us, from God's grace nor separate us form His love.

Nothing can separate us from His presence if we choose to seek His face and have a personal relationship with Him.


In the end, when review and reread the scriptures we at times can be more confused than we were before reading. There are times that we can listen to a sermon or a message and be left experiencing emptiness because we find our self confused and lost. Many times we can become confused by the parables and become more familiar with the meaning of Churchill's words: "...a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside of an enigma." The good news is that God is with us along this journey of confusion, doubt and lack of knowledge. He will share with us the meaning of His parables and security of His love if we will just ask. 

Mathew 7:7 says; "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Psalm 105:4 states; "Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always." The take away is that there are times in our lives that certain things and specific answers will only be discovered by taking the next step. 
The good news is that God is willing to take that step with us; knowing that if we seek Him we will certainly find him, and if find Him we will have then found the truth.

In the end, take practical steps in searching for Christ and begin the process of first checking your soil to see if your soil is capable of receiving God's seed. Secondly, prioritize seeking Jesus in your life by reading his word, praying and finding a body of believers to spend time with on a consistent basis. Finding a home church will aid you in this process. It is impossible to seek Jesus alone; without reading His word, praying and spending time with body of believers on consistent basis you will find yourself discouraged and defeated at every turn. Thirdly, act on what you find no matter the circumstance of life you find yourself in or the condition of your soil. God already knows where you are emotionally, mentally and spiritually and the good news is that He takes everyone. And that includes you and me.

Everyone is invited to the greatest show on earth.


sbb 27.7.11

Sunday, July 24, 2011

10 Words to Live By

Improve: to bring into a more desirable or excellent condition: He took vitamins to improve his health.

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
-Psalm 119:11 

One of the greatest basketball players, if not the greatest, that has ever played at the Ohio State University was Jerry Lucas. Lucas was a three time 1st team All-America from 1960 to 1962, he won a National Championship in 1960 and later in that same year Lucas won an Olympic Gold Medal in Rome. The U.S. Olympic men's basketball coach Pete Newell later called Lucas "the greatest player I ever coached, and the most unselfish." Lucas later went onto star in the NBA for eleven years and to eventually be named one of the 50 Greatest NBA Players (wiki) of all-time in 1996.

And as an impressive side-note, Lucas graduated from Ohio State as a Phi Beta Kappa.

Once you begin to research Jerry Lucas' career you soon realize that his accomplishments could be discussed for some time. A small town boy from Middletown, Ohio Lucas is truly one of the greatest basketball players that have ever played the game of basketball.

1961 & 62 College Player of the Year.

Two weeks ago I had the distinct privilege to listen to Mr. Lucas speak at Cypress Wesleyan Church (CWC) (Video). Lucas shared with those in attendance that how as a boy he had an active and curious mind. He loved to read and to learn. So much so that he mastered the ability to take any word and alphabetize the letters of any word. The word "HAD" would be "ADH", the word "CAT" would be "ACT". I know crazy; crazy like Rain Man.

And though his ability to arrange the letters of words alphabetically would seem somewhat useless it is just the beginning as one peers into the mind that is in a word brilliant. At an early age, Jerry realized that being a successful student in school took knowing not only how to learn but also how to retain that learned information. He became determined to develop ways to make the learning process EASY, FUN and LONG-LASTING. Like a farmer who plants small seeds in the soil and carefully tends them so that they grow, Jerry has devoted his life to cultivating ideas and methods for fun and easy memory-retention. The resulting methods are now known as The Lucas Learning System™ and have earned him the title of Doctor Memory™.

1961 Sportsman of the Year.

As Lucas ended his talk he shared with audience that he routinely rises from bed between 3 and 3:30am to spend time with God. He also described a childhood that was different, difficult and at times depressing.

And with all of his success athletically he was left feeling empty.

See Lucas was raised in a house that God wasn't spoken of nor honored.

When Lucas was in the NBA a good friend shared with Lucas that his life, like others, had three areas; Body, Mind/Soul & Spirit. His friend Bob went onto share with him that he had excelled in the areas of the body and mind, but was empty and void of any growth in the area of his spirit; after hours of speaking with Bob, Lucas gave his life to Christ in a LA hotel. 

Not too long after that Jerry memorized the entire New Testament. 

All 260 chapters.

Word by word; verse by verse.

Now that is amazing.

As he finished his talk Lucas shared "10" words that can improve our relationships and how we can remember them, and take them with us everywhere we go.

"Our relationships are the most important thing we have", he said. Our relationship with God and our relationships with others are vital.

I agree.

Relationships are all we have.

Below are the "ten" words that can start building, strengthening and improving our relationships with our family and all of those around us.

1. RUN
 Think, and picture, a group of TV's running in a race. Now remember that the TV is the enemy of the family when used poorly and irresponsibly.
MESSAGE: Run home to your family every night, not your TV... Spend quality time with your family.

Think, and picture, you putting shoes on the feet of your family and friends.
MESSAGE: Be a servant to those around you. Be a humble servant.

Think, and picture, children playing in a tree.
MESSAGE: Spend quality, one on one, time with your children as often as you can.

Think, and picture, Jesus standing behind your front door every time you get ready to walk into your home.
MESSAGE: Take on His character when you're with your family. Treat them as He would treat them. 

Think, and picture, an empty swimming pool full of pages from the bible. Picture pages and pages of God's word; bible after bible that fills the swimming pool like water.
MESSAGE: Dive into God's word daily. Spend more time reading the bible. Start with Proverbs. Read a chapter a day that corresponds with the day of the month. Today is July 24th, read the 24th chapter. There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs.

Think, and picture, your mouth full of sticks.
MESSAGE: Don't speak poorly of others. If you can't say anything good about another don't say anything at all. That is pretty easy to do if your mouth is full of sticks... I'm just sayin' ;) 

Think, and picture, your home in the heavenly clouds.
MESSAGE: Create an atmosphere at home that is heavenly; create an heavenly atmosphere.

Think, and picture, a gate made of a sweet "bar" of candy.
MESSAGE: Belief + Action = Results... sweet results!  

Think, and picture, vines running along the legs of your kitchen table and all along the sides of the table:
MESSAGE: The family table is where life begins. Eat together as much as humanely possible together as a family. Discuss your day, your difficulties and your dreams. The family table is a very special place. 

10. HEN
Think, and picture, a hen laying "love" instead of eggs.
MESSAGE: Spread God's love... EVERYWHERE.

So there it is: 1-Run, 2-Shoe, 3-Tree, 4-Door, 5-Dive, 6-Sticks, 7-Heaven, 8-Gate, 9-Vine and 10-Hen.

Ten easy ways to improve who we are and how we deal with those we love and cherish.

In closing, as I grow older and mature as a husband, parent and friend I realize that the world in many ways is against all of us. To me there is no more evidence of that truth than the effort that must be put forth raising my kids in the world we all live in today. In many ways the world and all of its lies, and pressures, are trying to depress, deny and defeat all that our/my children learn at home. The world tells our children that what they have learned at home is outdated and of little use in the "real world"

We as parents are in a war with the world and the stakes are high.

We cannot afford to lose.

In my garage, and in our house, are constant reminders for our children communicating how much we care about them and that our home is safe and secure. We have constant reminders of things we believe in and what we ultimately want them to carry with them into the world. These words, ideas, sayings and our faith are the weapons we use to protect our kids against the world's treacherous terrain.

Ten words to live by...

On the garage wall before you come into our home are the words that Jerry Lucas shared with our church two weeks ago. I was so moved and inspired by them that I want our family to see them every day as they come and go. I also painted the words "We're Happy UR Home", surrounded with each child's (and Mom and Dad's) hand prints, to remind everyone that is a part of this family that we are glad they're home and that we love you very much.

"We're Happy UR Home"
(p.s. Logan's hand print is being added today!)

We can't remind those we love enough that we care for them dearly and that they're very important to us.

We really can't  

Remember, don't forget to memorize, and carry with you, these ten words and begin today to cherish the people you call family.

God really can do remarkable things to, in and through us.

He really can.

"God's voice is glorious in the thunder.
We cannot comprehend the greatness of his power."
-Job 37:5
 sbb 24.7.11