Saturday, July 26, 2008


Well, another year of church camp has come and gone. Our theme this year was "Passion." We spent the week talking about God's passion for us and our passion for Him. I was filled with a sense of peace as I realized just how big our God truly is and just how passionately He loves us. I realized that I have a God Who is so incredibly powerful and enormous that He breathed out the stars (Psalm 33:6). Not just "Twinkle, twinkle little star" type stars, but stars so big that if the earth was a golf ball they would be the size of Mount Everest! (Just think about that for a minute!) My God, Who is that big, loved us, frail, sinful and pathetic as we are, with enough passion to send His one and only Son to die for us so that we could be with Him again. That knowledge fills me with a sense of peace that I cannot describe: it is peace that transcends all understanding. (Philippians 4:7) It also fills me with a passion: a passion to tell others about this awesome, powerful, loving God.

I also have a passion for kids. Hence the reason I just got back from high school church camp yesterday and am leaving to go to junior camp as a junior counselor tomorrow. :-) This is my first year to go to junior camp, and I am really looking forward to it! It should be completely exhausting and insanely fun at the same time! ;-)

So tell me, what are you passionate about?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Four Words:

Josh Hamilton, Michael Young!!!

(For those of you that don't know, these are two of my very favorite Texas Rangers!)

Let's start with Michael Young. He's the shortstop for the Rangers.
(If you're not interested in baseball that much, skip to the Josh Hamilton story; it has way more than just baseball!=D) Tuesday night was the Major League Baseball All-Star game. Michel Young was voted into the game as the back-up shortstop to arguably the most popular player in baseball, Derek Jeter. Jeter played the first 6 or 7 innings of the game before handing it over to Young. However, it was tied 3-3 in the 9th inning, so the game continued...and continued...and continued! All the way to the 15th inning. In the bottom of the 15th, with the bases loaded and 1 out, Michael Young hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring the winning run from 3rd base!!!

Now, if you're not a baseball person and you didn't watch the game, I'm sure that doesn't sound all that exciting. However, for those of us that watched the entire record-breaking 4 hour and 50 minute game and are die-hard Rangers fans, IT'S AWESOME!!!!!!!! =D

Josh Hamilton. Those who know his story all share the same sentiment: Wow!

Josh was an outstanding baseball player in high school, and he went straight into the Minor Leagues after graduating in 1999. He played 4 injury-laden seasons in single A ball from 2000-2003.

Then, on February 18, 2004, Josh Hamilton was suspended from baseball for drug abuse. He battled this addiction, as well as others, for a long time. One day, tired of fighting the battle, he showed up on his grandmother's front porch. She took him in, on the condition that he would never again do drugs. He never has. But more than his grandmother's love and guidance, Josh freely, openly and eagerly acknowledges that it was God who shed light into the darkness of his life and welcomed back His prodigal son.

In 2006, Major League Baseball granted Josh Hamilton permission to play in the Minor Leagues, which he did. Then, in 2007, Josh broke into the Major Leagues with the Cincinnati Reds. In spite of playing only half of the games that season, Josh hit 19 home runs, drove in 47 runs and hit for a .292 average. In the off season between 2007 and 2008, Josh was traded to the Texas Rangers. This year, as of the All-Star Break, Josh has hit 21 home runs, driven in 95 runs (which is two more than the number of games he has played in!) and has a batting average of .310. He has stunned Rangers' fans, as well as most of the baseball world, for this first half of the season.

But the story doesn't end there. When Josh was in the middle of his battle with addiction, he had a dream that he was hitting in a Home Run Derby in Yankee Stadium. At the time, of course, the dream meant nothing to him. On Monday night, however, his dream literally came true. Not only was he voted to be the starting center fielder for the American League in the All-Star game on Tuesday night, but he was also selected to hit in the Home Run Derby on Yankee Stadium. This is the final season that will be played in the House that Ruth Built, and the All-Star game and Home Run Derby were held there this year.

But it wasn't enough that Josh was hitting in the Home Run Derby in Yankee Stadium just as his dream had predicted. When Josh was in high school, a man named Clay Council pitched batting practice to him. Josh made a crazy promise to this high school coach: he promised that when he made it to the All-Star game and hit in the Home Run Derby that he would have Clay Council pitch to him. Nearly a decade later, Josh not only remembered that promise, he kept it. Seventy-one year old Clay Council pitched to Josh Hamilton in the one and only Home Run Derby ever held in Yankee Stadium.

Want more? The former record for most home runs hit in a single round of the Derby was 24. When that happened, surpassing the former record of 15, everyone was amazed. On Monday night, Josh Hamilton smashed that record and hit a whopping 28 home runs in the first round! For those of you that have never watched the Home Run Derby, each player gets 10 outs, which (in the Derby) is any swing that isn't a home run. That means that out of 38 Josh Hamilton swings, 28 were home runs! Truly incredible! As Josh cranked out one 500+ foot home run after another, the crowd at Yankee Stadium, which usually isn't very receptive of non-Yankees, began chanting: "Ham-il-ton! Ham-il-ton! Ham-il-ton!" It was simply amazing to watch!

Unfortunately, those 28 home runs didn't carry over into the final round; and, as you can imagine, Josh was quite tired by then. He lost to the other finalist, Justin Morneau, 5 home runs to 3.

What did Josh have to say afterwards, you ask? "I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for giving me this opportunity. It's amazing over the past few years what God's done in my life, and how quickly He's done it." He smashed records. He wowed the world. He lost the Derby. And when they stuck a camera and a microphone in his face, all he wanted to do was praise his God! Yes, there are still a few worthy role models left in baseball today!

I was reading in the Psalms earlier, and this one jumped out at me as a perfect picture of what God has done for Josh Hamilton...and what God has done and continues to do for each and every one of us. Our God is good, and He continually comes to save His children who call on His Name.

Psalm 40

1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord...

12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot
They are more than the hairs on my head,
and my heart fails within me.

13 Be pleased, O Lord, to save me;
O Lord, come quickly to help me...

16 May all who seek You
rejoice and be glad in You;
may those who love Your salvation always
"The Lord is exalted!"

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Rangers Update

Good news for all of you Rangers' fans: THEY'RE 3 GAMES ABOVE .500!!!

That might sound unremarkable to you, but it has been a very long time since they had a record as good as 46-43. They are now only 1.5 games out of second place and only 7.5 games out of first place! I'M EXCITED!!! (As if you couldn't tell that for yourself, right?=D) And...

The Rangers have 4 players going to the All-Star game! Woohoo!

Go Rangers!!!