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The Scorekeeper

We’ve all heard the old saying “It isn’t if you win or lose but how you play the game.”  In our society that saying just isn’t true.  We watch sporting events every week and countless players interviewed after the games will say “the important thing is we got the W.”   I remember when my son first started playing basketball.  They had this YMCA basketball league and to my surprise they didn’t keep score.  This absence of a scoreboard struck me as unrealistic.  The thinking was that kids that young didn’t need to be all concerned about if they won or lost.  Being around sports my entire life I found the games to be an effort in futility.  They were playing the game but it was like it didn’t matter how they did.  When I participate in sports I am always the scorekeeper.  I don’t know why I originally took up the role.  I think it is the fact that nobody else ever jumps to do it.  To me the scorekeeper cannot miss a beat.  They need to call out the score after every made basket or winning point.  When others keep score I notice that points are made without them calling it out.  That leads to confusion later as the proper score gets incorrectly called as the game goes on.  I’ve found that in the order of things calling out the score let’s everyone know the game situation.  Everyone is on the same page and the score is never confused unless the scorekeeper makes a mistake.  If that happens the other players will quickly correct them and the game goes on with the proper score agreed on.

In organized sporting events we don’t need to keep score in our heads.  The scoreboard and official scorekeeper are all part of the game.  In the professional ranks people are paid good money to make sure that the score is right.  I’m reminded of watching numerous basketball games where the scoreboard isn’t working right.  Usually it isn’t the actual score as much as it is the time clock.  When the referee comes over to try to correct the problem the scorekeeper will invariably throw their hands up in confusion.  It strikes me as funny that the person in charge of keeping things straight has no idea what is going wrong.

With the knowledge of how important the score is and how people want to know the score Ernie Harwell the great old Detroit Tigers announcer used to make sure he said the score often.  Ernie’s broadcast was on the radio and he realized that people were tuning in and out all of the time.  For them it was important to know what the score was.  For those listening from the beginning a reminder didn’t hurt anything.  By saying the score often they were sure not to get the score mixed up.  Ernie Harwell - WJROneOfAKind.jpg

The official scorekeeper in baseball has traditionally been a rather interesting job. The actual score of the game is easy but the insides of the score can be difficult.  Many a controversy has arrived as to if a batter is credited with a hit or the fielder an error.  That particular controversy is very important to the person hitting the ball.  Getting a hit raises their batting average which is a meter at to how well they are doing their job.  When the scorekeeper scores the hit as an error on one of the opposing teams fielders it is scored like the batter made an out. Even though they are on base and eligible to score a run their batting average has went down.  Players have been known to bug the official scorekeeper continuously over calls that were made affecting their batting averages.  One time Babe Ruth hit a towering popup.  Not only did he hit long home runs but he also hit the highest popups anyone had ever seen.  Players circled around trying to gauge this towering fly and one of the players got a glove on it before it dropped to the ground.  The official scorekeeper gave the fielder an error on the play and Babe was furious.  Every time he saw that scorekeeper he brought up that pop up that he felt should have been a hit.  To his credit the scorekeeper held to his original conviction and never changed his decision in spite of all of the pressure Babe put on him.Related image

Now when we go to a professional event the scoreboard is so big it dominates our thinking.  Not only do we see the score we ,can also watch the game on the scoreboard.   A giant screen can give the viewer an at home view of the action that they might have missed originally.  The scoreboard has come a long ways through the years.  It used to be done by hand with someone hanging numbers on an actual board.  Now everything is electronic and when things go wrong some kind of specialist has to be called in.  Fenway Park in Boston still uses the old fashion way of keeping their scoreboard.  There is still a person inside the famous Green Monster Wall that does the scoreboard by hand.  This old school feature in their ballpark takes us back in time.  Even with all of the technology of today’s scoreboards the obvious thing is most important.  No matter what else is going on that draws our attention the most important thing is to show us the score.  Image result for green monster scoreboard

As important as it is to know the score in a sporting event you would think that keeping score would be something we should do in life.  In fact some of us are constant scorekeepers.  Have you ever heard yourself say “I’ll get even with that person?”  We say or hear other things like “that person gets all of the luck.”  Rick Springfield had a song with the lyrics “I’ve done everything for you, You’ve done nothing for me.” These are all indications that we are score keeping.  

Unlike the basketball game with no scoreboard our efforts in life without a scoreboard are not futile.  If we truly want to please God we cannot be score keepers.  Jesus doesn’t want us to keep score because when we don’t he gives the ultimate victory.  He talks about loving our enemies and if someone sues us and takes our shirt give them our coat too.   Romans 12:19 states It is written “It is mine to avenge; I will repay”, saith the Lord.  In life the ultimate score keeper is in heaven.  He see’s everything and in the end he will settle everything.  It is our job on this earth to walk our road he has set out for us.  There is no room to compare ourselves to other people on their own path.  When we focus on loving God and doing his will it takes away all of the burden of keeping up with everyone else.  “Peace I give to you”, he tells us.  We will never get that peace when we are concerned with the world’s scoreboard.  Giving up keeping score frees us up to do what we are supposed to do in a loving way.  We are supposed to put others first.  When we do that it may look like we are losing on the world’s scoreboard but great is our reward in heaven!

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A Missing Light On My Computer

Yesterday throughout the United States people were looking up at the sky with special glasses on.  The glasses were designed to block the rays of the sun that the moon didn’t block.  It was one of those events that doesn’t happen often.  The moon was lined up between the sun and the earth for a limited time.  In some places it was close to a 100% blockage.  To others like where I live it was closer to 80.  Still it was a sight that people were lined up to see with glasses in place.  Some places went dark in the middle of the day.  Others like mine became dull and reminded me of the darkened horizon before the sun sets.

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This past week I have noticed a bright light missing from my computer.  I discovered the light a couple of years ago when a skinny lady from Kenya with a huge smile and a joyous attitude entered my computer world.  Her name was Lydia Jeritoch although I noticed that many people called her Jeritoch.  I wasn’t sure if I was calling her by her proper name but she assured me that either was acceptable.  One day someone shared one of my stories with Lydia and the next thing I knew there was a request on my Facebook page to accept her friendship.  Not knowing her I sent a message asking why she wanted to be my friend?  I don’t remember how she responded but I’m thinking she told me she read a story and that she was a Christian.  However it happened she became a tremendous blessing in my life, an avid supporting friend, and an enthusiastic supporter of my writing.  Although our initial meeting was somewhat dim in my memory, the light she shined since has lit up my computer screen for the last two years.

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Many months passed since that delightful time.  Lydia was thrilled when at the end of 2015 her story was the lightenload story of the year!  Since she was in Kenya and our time zones are so far apart we didn’t always see each other online.  However there were times that I woke up in the middle of the night and there she would be.  She posted about how great her God was often and I could always feel the joy in her heart.  At the end of 2015 I was having my own health issues.  They wanted to do a bunch of tests on me that left me wondering if my time here was limited.  One night I saw Lydia and asked her to pray for me.  Lydia was only too happy to and I knew that she was a friend I could count on and really cared!
A few weeks later the tests were done and I was pleased to tell Lydia the happy news that after much testing nothing was found!  If it were possible I think she was even more ecstatic than I was!  She mentioned that she was weeping with joy!  My story link is listed below.
About a week ago I happened to get on Facebook and Lydia’s picture was staring at me.  Someone was breaking the news that Lydia had passed away.  From the details I could gather she had been in the hospital for only a couple of days.  It seemed that she was having heart issues again.  Just the day before I had seen a post that Lydia made in which she was glorifying God in her typical way.  Nothing was mentioned about any discomfort she was going through.  It was obvious she had her sights on encouraging others and not complaining about her own problems.
The eclipse yesterday to me is a reminder of her.  Though her light may have seemed to diminish much like when the moon got in front of the sun it found a way to shine through.  Eventually the moon passed from the line of the sun and we realized what a wonderful beautiful gift the sun is.  That is how it is with Lydia’s light to me.  Without it being present I notice that a true friend has departed.  Although it was never going to work out where I would actually meet her in person, someday I will.  Until we meet again I will never forget the light that she gave which shined for her God to a hurting world.  Her light is physically gone now and Facebook is much dimmer, but Heaven is a little brighter.
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Secret Agent Man!

I know there are many Secret Agent’s out there!  My prayer is that you will let your light shine for all to see!

Secret Agent

By Lewis Hamilton
From the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997

I keep my beliefs to myself
as much Lord, as I can
Please don’t make me testify
I’ll be your secret agent man

I‘ll mingle with my co-workers,
we have to get along
But deep down in my spirit
I’ll sing your gospel song

They’ll never know just how I feel,
I’ll hide it, that’s my plan
I won’t stand out from the rest
I’m your secret agent man

I go to church on Sunday
I hope that is enough
But talking to my fellow workers,
that would be too rough

Bless me Lord, as I sit there
as quiet as a mouse
Bless the things that I do
and everyone in my house

For you know Lord, I do my best
well almost all I can
Please don’t make me stand out
I’ll be your secret agent man

The Lord talked to me the other night
while I was sound asleep
He told me I was wrong
in the attitude I keep

He said he’d be ashamed of me
if I was ashamed of him
So there he changed my attitude
after I confessed my sins

Now I don’t cover up my light
I shine it all I can
There is no place in God’s army
for a secret agent man.

corresponding verse Mark 8:38

Hey Jude

When I was a kid in 1968 my sister had a lot of 45 records.  I used to compare the times of the songs which were listed on the front.  Almost all of the songs were between 3 and 4 minutes long.  The longest song by a wide margin was Hey Jude by the Beatles.  Hey Jude was 7 minutes and 14 seconds.  That was 3 or 4 minutes longer than any other song that she had on those 45’s and she had a ton of 45’s.  On the back of Hey Jude and for you kids out there 45’s had 2 sides was the song “Revolution”.  The Beatles were recording on the Apple label which was green and designed like an apple.  In the song Hey Jude the lyrics go “Hey Jude, Don’t make it bad, Take a sad song and make it better, Remember to let her into your heart then you can start to make it better.”

THE BEATLES 45 RPM - "Hey Jude" & "Revolution" on Apple Label VG condition

Ironically in the Bible there is a chapter in the New Testament called Jude.  We don’t know much about Jude except he was the brother of James.  Where Hey Jude was the longest song in her collection the book of Jude is one of the shortest books in the Bible.  Apparently Jude had seen something happening in the church that was very disturbing.  People were entering the church and spreading untruths as to what the true gospel was about.  They were bringing the idea in that they could live their life without a change in their behavior.  Do anything and say anything you want was their motto.   This attitude was dividing the church and Jude an unknown felt the need to write a letter reprimanding the church.  The letter was all about warning the early believers that these people were dividers and were a threat to destroy the true gospel.

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Years ago there was a man that showed up one day at my church.  Nobody had ever seen him before. He came in with an agenda and that was exposed when he sat in the adult Sunday  school class.  At the time the pastors wife was going through a horrible ordeal.  She was sick almost all of the time and nobody could pinpoint what was wrong with her.  The pastor many times came to church by himself.  It turned out that she was suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning that the parsonage was spewing.  This particular Sunday, despite her illness, she had struggled to make her way to church.  The new class member started questioning the churches faith.  He was stating that if anyone was sick all they had to do was pray and believe.  He questioned the faith of the church and brought hard feelings.  The pastors wife was particularly offended by his divisive message because she and her husband had been praying for healing.  Now this person was there questioning their faith and judging the church as a whole. After a week or two that unknown visitor left and was not seen again.  He came, divided and caused pain and then probably drifted to another church.

Somebody recently made a point in a speech that I heard that there are three types of gatherings.  There are Groups which are all about entitlements and social class ruling.  there are Gangs that come in with ideas and force them on the entire population, and there are Teams that work together.  The Teams are people that no matter what their position are willing to sacrifice for the good of the whole.  Whatever job that needs to get done they are willing to do.  It may not be something they are totally comfortable doing or do often, but for the good of the whole they do it anyway.

The opposite of this Team player is the Gang mentality that has a specific agenda.  The people that had infiltrated the church in Jude’s day were of the Gang mentality.  They were pushing their own agenda which was contrary to the Gospel.  They were in fact trying to make their own rules and leading others down a path of destruction.

Isn’t it ironic that the Beatles were recording on the “Apple” label.  We always have associated an apple with the fruit that was the center of man’s first sin.  In the Bible it is the forbidden tree that God said not to eat. The serpent was a disrupter and was very jealous of God’s paradise.  One day he tempted Eve and she ate the fruit and gave it to Adam and he ate too.  Adam and Eve had listened to another voice and had doubted that God was telling them the truth.  That is the same attitude that was in Jude’s time and continues to this very day.

The words “Hey Jude, Don’t make it bad, Take a sad song, and make it better” only partially apply to the task of the people of the church.  Ours is not a sad song.  Ours is the happiest song anyone could ever sing.  The Gospel is about Jesus dying for our sins and giving us a path to heaven.  That is good news and should cause us to rejoice.  We should not be out to disrupt the ship.  We should as a Team, be on board willing to do whatever it takes to keep the ship sailing straight.  We are not here to revolt and cause a Revolution, which the other side of the record is against.  Changing the lyrics of Hey Jude a little gives us a great recommendation.  Remember to let him into your heart, then he can start to make you better.

Thinking back to my pastors wife’s dilemma, it wasn’t her lack of faith that was the problem.  It was the poison that had penetrated into the walls of her house.  She was mysteriously sick for quite awhile.  One day they had their house inspected and the root of her illness was discovered.  That is exactly the same idea that Jude was getting across to the church.  There are people that have come in and are poisoning God’s house with false ideas.  These people need to be called out to change their attitudes or leave so that the church is working as a team without sickness from poison in the house.

 

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