Final Four Picks

Well I got 5 million dollars riding on my picks this year.

Here they go!

Tennessee vs. Georgetown
Memphis vs. UCLA

Memphis vs. Tennessee

Memphis 77 Tennessee 69

Some of you know my deep love for U.T. sports, but it is time for Memphis to bring it home!

Categories: sports

A Conversation With Emily

March 10, 2008 1 comment

Today on The Cross Eyed Commentary will be speaking to Emily Jones. She is the child actress with the hit t.v. show ‘Potty Time.’ She is the daughter of Mike and Dana Jones and resides in Pennsylvania. Due to her age we had to bring in a special interpreter so that she could tell her story.

Mike: So Emily tell us about yourself.
Emily: Well I am about 2 feet 6 inches tall and weigh about 15 lbs. I am an Aries which means that I am independent, generous, optimistic, moody, and impulsive.
M: How old are you?
E: I am currently 10 months old, but will have my first birthday on April 18th.
M: Are you looking forward to your first birthday?
E: Not really. I think birthdays are overrated. I would rather party the other 364 days in the year instead of just one.
M: There are rumors out there that you don’t change your own diaper is that true?
E: That is a personal topic and I will not answer that question.
M: Sorry about that. Will you please comment on the teeth you recently acquired?
E: Certainly! Most babies only wait a few months to get their teeth, but I wasn’t ready till last week. So I decided to get three in at the same time.
M: Wow! Was that painful?
E: (sarcastically) What do you think?
M: Sorry I was just curious. Well tell me a little about your family.
E: Well my mom stays home with me everyday and watches my every move. She is pretty easy to entertain. All I have to say is ‘Momma’ and I have her attention. She has not caught on yet, but that will be our secret. I also have a crazy father who is a preacher and a mental health therapist. Many people do not know this, but my mother writes his sermons for him.
M: Really?!
E: Oh yes! She is usually done with them by Thursday afternoon and then he just practices them until Saturday night.
M: He must be lucky to have her as a wife.
E: You don’t know the half of it man. Let me tell you about my big sister Mikayla. She is one class act. She plays with me all the time. She sings to me when I cry and loves to wake me up in the morning so that I will not oversleep. You cannot find a cooler sister than her.
M: Sounds like you have a great family. I have one last question before I finish. You’re fans are just dying to know. Which do you prefer: the bottle or a sippy cup?
E: I’m offended you would even ask me that question. Sippy cup hands down. They are nicer on your gums and much more festive than a bottle.
M: Well thanks so much for spending some time with me today Emily answering these questions.
E: No problem. By the way where is my mom? She needs to come get me I still can’t walk yet.
Categories: Family

Free Man or a Sovereign God?

In order to approach this topic it is necessary to first define freedom. Freedom is the “exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.” When it comes to man’s freedom in relation to God power and sovereignty, we have the right to choose our actions with the knowledge that God will allow us to carry out our desires. The writer uses the term ‘allow’ because God is in control of everything.

Proverbs 16:9 says that “the mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
Although God has the power to control our actions He gives us the ability to act on our own behalf or choose to have Him be our guide. These two ideas, man’s free will and God’s sovereignty, are not opposing viewpoints. They are meant to work together. God proclaims that He can use a bad situation created by man and convert it into something that glorifies Him. This action is seen repeatedly throughout Scripture.

Pelagius and Augustine approach the topics of original sin, freedom of choice, and other issues from competing points of view. Let’s look at these issues in the chart below to gain some clarity and discuss if they line up with Scripture.

Pelagius

Augustine

Creation of Adam:

Adam was created free of sin, in a mortal body, and having a free will.

Creation of Adam:
Adam was created free of sin, in an immortal body, and having a free will.

The Fall of Man:
When Adam fell it affected him and no one else. It brought spiritual death not physical.

The Fall of Man:
When Adam fell it brought physical and spiritual death to all.

The Birth of All Men Who Follow Adam:
Men come in like Adam before the Fall (innocent, mortal, free will)
They enter into sin by free choice

The Birth of All Men Who Follow Adam:
We are like Adam after the Fall. No longer innocent, become mortal, and with a corrupt nature. We don’t have a choice but to sin. Our sin begins at conception.

Scripture seems to agree with Augustine in the areas of the Creation of Adam and the Fall of Man. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Man then had the choice of following after God or doing whatever pleased them. This remains true even to this day. There was no sin in the Garden of Eden until Eve ate the Forbidden Fruit. It appears that it was God’s intention for man to live forever because there was a tree in the Garden that gave eternal life. He gave them permission to eat of every tree, but eventually bans them from the Garden so that they could not access this tree. This supports Augstine’s view of man’s immortal body, without sin, and having a free will.

The wages of sin is death. Once sin was committed it changed everything in the world that God designed. Man would now have to work instead of God providing for them. Man would now die because they did not access the tree of life. Man would now experience pain and suffering. Man would also be affected by their own sin and the sins of others. Man would also experience war and violence even though God created us to live in peace with one another. These among many other reasons are how sin has caused us to have a disconnected relationship with God. Two questions still remain: How does man become holy? At what point does our sin affect our relationship with God?

In reference to the two above questions, Pelagius and Augustine both understood part of the truth. Man is born innocent with a bent towards sin. This means that initially we do not sin because we do not have the ability to understand the difference between right and wrong. We conduct ourselves according to the rules and regulations that we have been taught. Depending on the culture we come from our actions can vary significantly. There is a point, however, when we have the ability to choose to do either the right or wrong thing. When we purposely choose to do what is wrong instead of what is right we then take on the sin of Adam. “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” The Scripture seems to support Pelagius’ view that we sin by free choice, but as Augustine thought, we have a corrupt nature. These two views are not necessarily exclusive of each other.

The thoughts of Pelagius and Augustine are still debated today. Regardless of which one you tend to follow it is important to remember that no one has the ability to be holy without the love of our Father God, the death of Jesus on the cross, and the active work of the Holy Spirit in our lives everyday.

freedom. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/freedom (accessed: February 13, 2008).

2 Romans 8:28.

3 Genesis 1:31.

4 Genesis 3:22
5 Romans 6:23.

6 I John 3:4

Categories: God, man

Preparing for Marriage

February 28, 2008 Leave a comment

The following statistics are from the Life Innovations Group:

• Premarital preparation can reduce divorce rate by 30%. (Stanley, Amato, Johnson & Markman,2006)

• Couples who participate in a premarital program significantly increased their
couple satisfaction. In a recent outcome study, couples improved in 10 out of 13
relationship categories. (Knutson & Olson, 2003)

It has been my practice for several years now that I will not marry anyone unless they had received premarital counseling. I have received some flack for this decision, but am thoroughly convinced that wavering in this area will not benefit anyone.

I have repeatedly seen couples rush into marriage because they “love” each other, but will not take the time to have some prepatory counseling. I do not understand why so much time is spent planning that one day when little effort is put out to secure a marriage that is supposed to last a lifetime.

We quickly forget that marriage, although a spiritual ceremony, is also a legal matter. Judges have been performing weddings for years and always will. You can even go out to Vegas to have Elvis to marry you if you so choose. I say this because having a marriage in a church is not a right, but a priviledge. If this is the case then the church or minister should have the right to make stipulations when it comes to whether or not couples can be married there.

The most important aspect we should never forget is that marriage is serious matter. Outside of becoming a Christian it is the most important decision anyone can make. If it is that important shouldn’t we take the time to prepare for it properly so that we give our marriages a chance to make it?

Categories: marriage

Benefits of Marriage

February 27, 2008 2 comments

Life Innovations, the creator of the Prepare/Enrich curriculum, has just released some interesting Marriage and Family Facts that they have found from their research.

I want to share some today about the benefits of marriage and look at more of this information later this week.

Benefits of Marriage

• Married people live longer than unmarried or divorced people. Nonmarried women have 50% higher mortality rates than married women and nonmarried men have a 250% higher rate than married men. (Waite & Gallagher, 2000)

• Married people are happier than single, widowed, or cohabiting people. About 40% of married people report being very happy with their lives, whereas only 18% of divorced people, 15% of separated people, and only 22% of widowed and 22% of cohabiting people report being very happy. (Waite & Gallagher, 2000)

• Married people have more sex and a better quality sexual relationship than do single, divorced or cohabiting individuals. (Waite & Gallagher, 2000)

• Married people are more successful in their careers, earn more, and have more wealth than single, divorced or cohabiting individuals. (Waite & Gallagher, 2000; Antonovics & Town, 2004)

• Children from homes where the parents are married tend to be more academically successful, more emotionally stable, and more often assume leadership roles. (Waite & Gallagher, 2000; Manning & Lamb, 2003)

• Adolescents living with their biological parents are less likely to have sexual intercourse. (Pearson, Frisco, 2006; Sieving, Eisenberg, Pettingell, & Skay, 2006)

• Adolescents living with both biological parents exhibit lower levels of problem behavior than peers from any other family type. (Carlson, 2006)

• Males whose parents never married are significantly less likely to marry and more
likely to cheat on their romantic partners. (Colman & Widon, 2004)

There is so much talk about marriages being in trouble that I had to share some positive aspects for us to think about. Now I am not suggesting that you should get married just because the statistics are favorable for being married, but there are too many benefits that some are missing out on because they do not stick with their marriage vows. I am a firm believer that if each person approaches marriage seriously and prayerfully then the results from it would be overwhelmingly positive.

There is constantly debate on how we can make our communitives more positive. I believe the answer is found in couples staying committed to and working on their marriages so that their children will be given a good example to follow. This is one area that each of us can improve in.
Categories: marriage

My New Baby

February 26, 2008 Leave a comment


She has finally arrived! I bought my first guitar last week and she came in yesterday. I am the new owner of a Martin DX1 Acoustic Dreadnought guitar. I have wanted to play guitar for years and finally saved up enough to get one I could enjoy for years.

When I was 16 years old I bought the MTV Unplugged edition of Eric Clapton on c.d. I listened to it over and over again. I was amazed at his playing ability and have been a fan since. I knew that he was a great musician, but had no idea at that time he was a legend. That experience has fueled my passion to learn.

At this point I am doing video lessons and have the sore fingers to prove it. I do realize that I will never be a Clapton, but am content to have some fun and hopefully have a hobby that will keep my attention for years to come.

If any of you out there play let me know. I can always use some pointers.

Categories: guitar

Answered Prayer

February 16, 2008 1 comment

Since coming to the Lebanon Valley Church of Christ in September of 2006, one of the goals was to have an eldership in place at the congregation. It has been approximately 7 years since we have had elders at our congregation. For several months we have been praying and teaching on the topic to prepare the congregation for the eventual transition back into having spiritual leadership in the church. I am excited to report that we will be installing three elders on Easter Sunday this year. I want to thank each of you out there for your prayers and concern for this process.
Categories: church