On Galarraga's 28 Out Perfect Game

By Kyle
I'm a fan of many things, but both baseball and justice top the list.  Yesterday, there was injustice done on the baseball field and I want to address it.  Armando Galarraga, a young Tigers pitcher, had retired 26 batters in a row without any errors, hits or walks.  Then Jason Donald hit a ground ball to the first basemen who threw it to Galarraga who was covering first.  Donald was out, but was called safe by the first plate umpire.  It created a huge mess.  But Galarraga then went back and got the next batter out.  But all is not right.  How can we create justice here?  The way I want to approach it is to take the individuals involved perspective and to see what provides justice for all.

ARMANDO GALARRAGA: A classy guy who was clearly robbed of having his name among some great names as one of only 21 guys who have pitched a perfect game.  After the bad call, he amazingly had a nervous smile on his face.  No angry words, just disappointment.  And nothing will take that back.  In fact, he will forever be honored by the unique situation that happened.  Giving him a perfect game won't change what happened.  What's done is done.  However, what happened should not have happened.

JIM JOYCE: Another classy guy.  This guy made a mistake.  And he had to publicly admit it.  He cried in front of America for one call he got wrong.  His family received death threats.  In one call, his whole integrity was under scrutiny - his job was under question - and his reputation was tarnished.  This guy tried to make the right call and realized that he was wrong.  But by the time he figured it out there was nothing he could do.  What's done is done.  Thankfully both those guys are classy enough to move past it.

BUD SELIG: The bad guy.  He throws people to the wolves and then makes little changes to policy that don't prevent things like this from happening in the future.  With current technology, plays like the one that tainted the perfect game could easily be reviewed quickly in order to ensure that the call on the field was correct.  But Selig always talks about the "human element being a part of baseball".  Being human means not only that humans make mistakes, but also that we need accountability and help to make good decisions.  Resisting change that helps to aid people making good decisions is foolish and should be punished.  What happened could have been prevented had Selig listened before.  If Selig had considered how to protect his umpires and players.

FUTURE UMPIRES & REFS: What would you rather have?  A system that if you make a mistake chews you up and spits you out, or a system that helps you make the right call and if you don't make the right call, helps to correct you and gives you relief.  For me, I want to know that the place I am working and the people in my life are all about accountability - pointing me in the right direction when I make a mistake so that I don't have to make huge mistakes that jeopardize my integrity, my job, and my reputation.

YOU: Do you have structures and people in your life from making mistakes that could destroy your life?  None of us are perfect, and often all it takes is people helping to right us in the situation that completely diffuses these situations.  Make sure you have accountability in your life, in your job, in everything!

New Videos

By Kyle
A couple of new videos - sorry about the lag in content, but its good stuff - worth the wait!


Biblical Thoughts

By Kyle
After deciding that instead of finishing my "12" books that I resolved to read by the end of the year in favor of reading the entire Bible through in 3.5 months, I have now decided to bring some of my perceptions that I find interesting to you...This will be short and little points, not everything by any means, but hope you can enjoy:

  • God's promise to Jacob ended up being much less cool than it sounds, but its still an amazing promise by God: "'I am God, the God of your father,' he said.  'Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.  I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again.'" Genesis 46:3-4 - This promise took over 470 years to be fulfilled.
  • The reason for Israel's slavery in Egypt was because of their brother, Joseph. (Genesis 47:21)
  • The Lord's Supper has deeply rooted meaning in the Passover, but we often ignore this connection.  The bread and blood represented God passing over judgement on His people.
I also thought something I never thought I'd think last night "I can't wait till I can get to Leviticus".  Reading about the Tabernacle dimensions can get boring!


By Kyle
What a week!  Mix our launching of our new fall program line up for our youth group with the fact that I've been nasty sick creates a pretty tough week.  Barely keeping your head above water is not the way I like to get started with launch!

Thankfully God is bigger than me and I think that this week was very good and that God is using what He's put into place!  Pray for our youth!

Thoughts from the Latest Episode of Glee

By Kyle
Emily and I watched the first episode of the show "Glee" last week.  It was charming and had some interesting redone music.  So we sat down this evening to watch the new episode tonight.  And in an age where people are panicking because the president is giving a speech to our children to stay in school, a lot of parents tonight probably missed the garbage that was thrown into their kids heads.

The episode tonight had a lot to do with sexual tension, and I do not want to avoid that issue.  I think its very true that teens today have a very, very hard battle to stay pure with the sexual culture the way it is.  Our kids are feeling huge amounts of sexual pressure and have no clue how to deal with it.  But tonight, Glee provided an simple explanation that the director obviously believed and it can be summed up in this pivotal speech by Rachel:
"You know what? This is a joke.  Did you know that most studies have demonstrated that celibacy does not work in high schools?  Our hormones are driving us too crazy to abstain.  The second we tell ourselves that we have no room for compromise, we act out.  The only way to deal with teen sexuality is to be prepared, thats what contraception is for."
Do you want to know why celibacy often doesn't work?  It's because all we care about is that a student committed to say "no".  In fact, I know personally many people who have made commitments to be celibate and have failed.  They had given it over to God and made sure to let everyone know what choice they had made.  Many even had rings to show their commitment.

But the reason that so many students are having trouble staying celibate is not because they don't want to.  When we get married, we commit to the other person to be true and faithful, and we mean it, so why do people fail that?  Does that mean that we should give up getting married and trying to make marriages work?  No way!

There is no formula to staying celibate, but in my opinion, if you don't have a strategy to go along with your celibacy, then good luck, because you are playing with a time bomb and just hoping that your hormones don't get the best of you.  Here are some strategies that I have found to work:

  1. Set boundaries, then set boundaries around the boundaries - So many people who say "I won't have sex" have no problem going with their boyfriend or girlfriend and making out with them.  I know this from experience.  And when it happened, it was hard to not go further.  Teenagers love to test boundaries and so the best thing you can possibly do is to set your boundaries as far away from what you want to stay away from.
  2. Set boundaries in your emotional life - Our culture has told us that sex is physical and not much else.  However, that really is pretty inaccurate.  Sex is very emotional and social.  What I mean by that is that if you are deeply, deeply connected to someone emotionally, there can be a huge temptation to take that emotional connection to a physical realm.  I think this is the main reason why students fail at staying abstinent.  
  3. Limit your time together with that special someone - Likewise, on the social level, how much time you spend with that person can lead you into going places sexually/physically that you never thought you would.  When a relationship starts, times are often few and can be so charged with excitement, and as time goes on your get comfortable and start intertwining the things that you do.  Pretty soon, you spend so much of your time together.  And often when someone is spending all their time with that special someone, 2 things happen - 1.) they often lose other friends, and 2.) they often get physical in a way that they did not expect to.
  4. Get friends and/or parents involved - Talk to people that you can trust about whats going on.  BE HONEST!  You're not helping anyone by lying.  If you friends and parents know your boundaries, then they can help keep you accountable for it.  But don't wait for them to call you on it.  Use integrity and also check yourself when you find yourself coming close to a boundary.
  5. Talk about getting close to a boundary before you cross it - I think a lot of people can see the end coming when they are going to come close to a difficult situation.  But our tendency is to say, "oh, I haven't done anything wrong, though".  If you talk with people about getting close, they can help you deal with it before you cross the line and feel guilty.
  6. Remake your boundaries every 6 months - A 5th grader wants to stay away from the opposite sex because they still have cooties, an often 8th grader is too terrified to say or act on their feelings, and an upperclassmen in high school can get into a pretty deep relationship.  I know those are generalizations, but they are made to show that a teenager changes A LOT during their years.  And with that, the way you perceive sexual issues changes A LOT.  What you felt 6 months ago might not apply today.  So remaking your boundaries does not mean that you should lower your guard each time.  Instead, talk honestly with someone about how you've been with the boundaries.  Ask these questions:
      1. What has been easy for me to keep?
      2. Has there been anything that might not fall under any of your boundaries?
      3. What has been hard for me to keep?
      4. Of the answers for 2 & 3, what things should I create more boundaries around?
      5. Of the answer to 1, what things can I safely allow myself do without risking my purity?

Now these are just my thoughts that I have put together through the years. Take them if you need.  Shape them if you want.  But please, don't leave it at "I'm not going to have sex until I'm married".  I don't want anyone to tell you that you can't control yourself and your sexuality!

Updated Photo Gallery

By Kyle
So, I updated the photo gallery on the website.  You can access it by clicking "+ MORE PICS" on the right sidebar.  Before, you could only view 20 pictures total, but now you can view as many as we post.  Right now, there are 79, but we'll make sure to have lots and lots and lots.

Check out the pictures here

This one is for you, Dad

By Kyle
As some of you might know, my (Kyle's) dad stabbed himself in the chest with a knife while trying to open one of those annoy plastic packages that are impossible to open.  When he told me the story, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry...because it was so funny, and yet terrible at the same time.  He could have killed himself...scary.

So, today I ran across this: "How to open clamshell packaging"

The ultimate solution: either use a can opener or don't buy them.  Thankfully, there is also the argument that they are terrible the environment so many companies and stores are going away from using this stuff.

Do your part - don't stab yourself.