Football & Faith

When I was a little boy, I always knew when Alabama lost. I didn’t always know when they had won unless it was to Tennessee of in-state rival Auburn, but boy, I always knew when they lost. 

My father is an extremely passionate man. When Alabama had a good day, so did he. When Alabama lost, things weren’t pleasant. 

My dad has since calmed down, and he no longer gets too caught up in all of it. Last night I got to sit beside him and watch my beloved Crimson Tide win their third title in four years. 

Just before kickoff, my dad commented, “Man, I am so sick at my stomach right now.” 

So was I. Never in a million years would I think that my team would be doing what they did last night. Sitting through all the coaching changes and scandals and suspensions and 6-7 seasons, I never though I’d see the Tide high ever again. I was wrong. And for that I’m thankful. 

It got me thinking about what our faith hinges on. What do you place near and dear to your heart? I’m an Alabama fan much more than just watching them play football. I’m an Alabama fan because that’s who I am and where I’m from. But the most important reason I watch Bama is because my family does. I can share that with them. It’s most certainly not our only common bond, but to me, it’s an important one. 

But as important as Alabama football is to me and how excited I get about it, it’s not the most important thing in my life. I see, last night especially, that it is the most important thing in some people’s lives. My faith in God does not hinge on Alabama football, nor will it ever do so. My faith in God is infinitely more important than any game played on a field. 

Where we place our faith - where we let our faith reside - will determine who we are. Alabama football will not get me to Heaven. Just like making money or having a great career or excelling in any part of life, none of those things will get me to Heaven. Only God’s true and living Word should be the guideline for my life. 

I guess I thought about all this because I need to be brought back down to earth, so to speak. When things are going well - when our team is on top - it’s easy to rest and be happy and forget how God has blessed us. But we can’t do that, just like we can’t forget how much He loves us and how much we need to serve Him. 

God Bless you today. And Roll Tide. 

The Light Network: TWiT for Christians

I’m an avid follower of the TWiT network - This Week In Tech - and have been for years. One, because I’m an uber-geek when it comes to all things tech, and two, because the shows themselves are so well produced. 

The Light Network launches today, and it’s basically TWiT for Christians. With shows like Preachers In TrainingBiblical ManlinessThe Book Club, andCulture Shock, this network promises to deliver high-quality guests and content for Christians, ministers, and youth ministers. 

Go check out The Light Network and give Robert Hatfield your support. 

My, How The Tables Turn

I quoted Urban Meyer, working as an analyst for ESPN at the time, on October 1, 2011: 

Texas A&M is now 0-7 against a conference that they will play in next year.

My, how the tables have turned. 

This quote was after the A&M-Arkansas game in 2011, and at the time, Arkansas was one of the premier college football programs, and after a coaching debacle, had an awful year this year. On the other hand, Texas A&M had a phenomenal year, which included knocking off my beloved Crimson Tide, Manziel getting the Heisman Trophy as a Freshman, and annihilating Oklahoma last night in the Cotton Bowl. 

Just goes to show you how quick things can change, both in life and on the football field. 

What Will We See From Apple in 2013?

Life is filled with interesting predictions, and maybe they’re about what the weather will be like or what will happen in the economy. Most predictions - long-term ones at least - are wrong. So that’s my preface to this article. 

I want to predict what’s going to happen in tech for 2013.

Apple will release a TV set-top box, not a television. Everyone, including Wall Street, thinks that Apple will unveil an Apple-branded television set sometime in 2013. I tend think differently, much like Andy Ihnatko. Why would Apple want to get in the mess of the TV business? And televisions are not something like iPhones that customers will buy once every two years. I don’t know about you, but I won’t be lining up every September to get an new $2,000+ Apple TV set. 

No, I think that Apple, for now, will stay out of the television business, but will release an awesome new Apple TV. The hockey-puck sized device will be transformed into a all in one media-consumption and linking device for all your iOS devices to with AirPlay mirroring, and I think the Apple TV will finally be opened up to the App Store. As successful as games on iOS have been, think of being able to charge $39 for a great console-style game that you can play with your iPad or iPhone as a remote. 

I also believe that Apple will introduce Siri into Apple TV, but more as a control mechanism rather than looking up stuff. It will be voice-guided controls for playing movies, opening apps, and yes, checking on factoids to wow your friends. 

Alongside a new suped-up Apple TV, Apple will release an update to the iPhone 5 named the 5S, and they will keep in line with not naming new iPads by numbers and unveil a 5th-gen iPad with the same white and black design as the iPhone 5 and iPad mini, complete with chamfered edges and all. Speaking of the iPad mini, a new retina or high-res version will be released in 2013 as well. Timetables for these releases are problematic at best, because Apple has recently changed their product cycles around a lot.

We will see iOS 7 as well, and it will be mostly the same, but without the skumorphic designs of Game Center and other Apple apps. We may also see some refinement in the UI, but I mostly believe that iOS will stay the same. Right now, I don’t know if there’s a new feature that will be a killer. 

Am I right about these things? Probably not. But that’s why they’re predictions and not certainties. Because if it’s anything we’ve learned, it’s that anything Apple does is a certainty. 

How Big Is Your God?

What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever seen? 

During my time in the Marine Corps, I got to travel in some Air Force C-5 jets. Now, if you’ve never seen one, they’re huge cargo planes that can fit two helicopters in the back with the rotors taken off. They’re enormous. And granted, they’re not the largest thing I’ve ever seen, they’re just the largest thing I’ve ever seen that could FLY. 

Think about big things today, big problems. Think about all your problems, whether it’s about your money, your children, or your future. 

What’s a problem that’s too big for God? 

In Joshua chapter 10, the Lord’s people are basically waging war to take back the land that God gave them in the first place. And then, starting in about verse 12, we read of a crazy thing that happens: God causes the Sun to literally stand still, so that they would have more time. He didn’t just cause it to stand still for a couple of hours - it was like that for a whole day! Verse 14 says that there has never been a day like it, before or since then. 

God is big enough to do anything for you. If He can stop the sun from setting, he can help you solve your problems. God is bigger than our problems, our relationships, our parents, our kids, our teachers, the President, our homework, sports, or any other wants/needs/desires. God is bigger than all of it. 

Do you want a better job? Ask God. Do you want a better relationship with your spouse? Ask God. 

You see, Joshua asked God to let the sun be still, and God made it happen. I don’t know if there is such a unique time in all the Bible when God obeyed the voice and request of a man. 

We put God in a box. We limit Him to what He can do, and we think He can’t possibly solve our big problems. But God is bigger than all of those. 

Put your faith and your trust and your problems upon God today.

A Nightmare BCS Scenario [BCS]

It’s almost that time of year again, almost time for the first BCS rankings of the year. It’s like caffeine for College Football fans. 

I got to thinking about what would we the coolest (and at the same time the worst) thing to happen if a nightmare scenario were to happen in the BCS this year while doing our weekly radio show on Tuesday night on WJJM-FM here in Lewisburg, TN (listen every Tuesday night at 8PM CST here). Here’s a scenario for you:

Now, there’s the possibility of LSU and Alabama in a rematch in the BCS Championship Game. 

Tell me this isn’t awesome and terrifying at the same time. 

Awesome for SEC fans. An All-SEC National Championship would break records, and would probably be a great game. 

Terrifying for the BCS and every other conference in the nation. It would be the first time any conference rivals or teams in the same conference would have met in a BCS Bowl. It would anger all the other conferences, most notably the #3 team in the BCS. It would finally make a case for a +1 system/playoff in College Football, because the people holding the money (the BCS, ESPN, ABC, and all the others) would make sure this never happened again. 

But it won’t happen. Even if everything fell into place, LSU and Bama would still have one loss, and even a close loss this late in the season would probably mean doom for any team that gets it. And most importantly, the 1/3 of the BCS formula that is the human voters would never allow it to happen. I’m sure the SEC coaches would vote for it, but the rest of the nation doesn’t want to see the SEC’s influence get stronger. 

Anyways, just playing a little devil’s advocate for you this Friday. It won’t happen, but it’s fun to dream. 

What Do You Know About Amos? [Obscure Bible Books]

See if you can figure out what these people have in common.

Thomas Edison: plagued by sickness and temporary deafness, Edison had only 3 months of actual school in his entire life. He grew up in a small home Port Huron, Michigan. He was home schooled by his mother through most of his life. Through selling candy and vegetables at nearby train stations, he was able to supplement his income and launch into several entrepreneurial ventures. One of his most notable accomplishments was the founding of a little company called General Electric, one of the most largely publicly traded companies today. His estate still holds 1,093 patents from all over the world. Some of his inventions included a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures. This all from a guy who was kicked out of school after 3 months as a little boy. 

Elvis Presley: born in Tupelo, MS in 1935 in a shotgun house that was not a lot bigger than this room, Elvis Presley’s humble beginnings had his first performance ever at a local state fair, and he sang and placed fifth. While in school in 1947 in Memphis, he was a loner who was regarded as “that trashy kid who played hillbilly music.” But you know how the rest turned out. After signing a record deal in 1955 with a local record label, his first TV appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956 skyrocketed him to super-stardom. For nearly 20 years, only the Beatles would rival his success as a musician. All this from a guy who was born in a tiny house in Mississippi and whose parents were jailed when he was very small. 

Steve Jobs: was rejected by his original adoption parents at birth because they decided they wanted a girl. Following high school graduation in 1972, Jobs enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Although he dropped out after only one semester, he continued auditing classes at Reed, while sleeping on the floor in friends’ rooms, returning Coke bottles for food money, and getting weekly free meals at the local soup kitchen. In 1976, he founded a little company called Apple Computer, and because of his late-life productivity, it is now the most valuable company in the world, surpassing companies like Berkshire-Hathaway and Exxon-Mobil. Not bad for a guy who was given up for adoption by his own parents and quit college after a few months. 

Jesus Christ: Let’s not forget the man who quite literally split time and changed the world single-handedly. He was the most important of them all. Jesus grew up in an humble manner as well, the son of a carpenter and lived in a place that wasn’t well-respected at the time. His ministry converted thousands in three years, and billions ever since. 

The Prophet Amos: universally known as the “farmer prophet”, he was nothing extraordinary like the prophets before and after him. He was a layman, a working man. Saying of himself: “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but … a herdman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit” (7:14).

Amos was an ordinary guy, just like me and you, who God used to do amazing and world-changing things. 

I’m just a ________. What can I do to change the world?

You might say this to yourself all the time, I know I do. I’m just a high school baseball player, softball player, soccer player, what can I do? I’m just a average student, a college dropout, what can I do? I just a resident of Lewisburg, TN. Not exactly a glamorous place. What can I do to change the world?

Amos wasn’t a prophet or priest or the son of either. He was just a shepherd, a small businessman in Judah. Who would listen to him? But instead of making excuses, Amos obeyed and became God’s powerful voice for change.

God has used “just-a’s” such as shepherds, carpenters, and fishermen all through the Bible. Whatever you are in this life, God can use you. Amos wasn’t much. He was a “just-a.” “Just-a” servant for God. It is good to be God’s “just-a.”

Facts About The Book of Amos

Background: Upon the success and victory of Jeroboam II over Syria, the people enjoyed great prosperity. This resulted in wantonness, luxuriousness, and gross sin. Calf worship, which 200 years before had become the kingdom’s religion [I Kings 12:25-33], had been “mixed” with Baal worship. Priests were committing shameful acts and the people were living as though God did not exist. Amos was sent to Bethel, the center of the calf worship, to exhort the king and the people to repent of injustice, greed, drunkenness, swearing, adultery, and oppression. He threatened them with captivity in case of impenitence, thundering out the judgment of God. He backed up his messages 40 times with the use of the expression, “thus saith the Lord.” His preaching brought such conviction the king ordered him out of town. Although his message was stern, his oft-repeated invitation was to “seek the Lord.”

Period: In the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam [1:1] two years before the earthquake” [1:1]. Josephus (a historian at the time) states this earthquake took place when Uzziah was struck with leprosy. Amos prophesied ca. 764-755 B.C. He probably knew Jonah and Elisha as a youth, Isaiah and Micah as an older man, and was a contemporary of Hosea and Amos was the third prophet.

Purpose: To teach us that you can be ordinary and still do great things for God. To teach us that the sins that separate us from God must be judged before fellowship can be restored [I John 1:9].

Key Verse: “Prepare to meet thy God” [4:12]. 

Prophecy: Amos was considered a prophet and the book is a book of prophecy. There are four main prophecies that he foretold that came true:

• Destruction of Samaria: 3:15 Stated: ca. 760 B.C. Fulfilled: 111 B.C.

• Earth darkened: 8:9 / Matthew 27:45 Stated: 755 B.C. Fulfilled: At Christ’s crucifixion

• Famine of hearing the Word of God: 8:11 Stated: 755 B.C. Fulfilled: After Captivity


 

The “Woes” of God [6:1]

• For being wicked: Job 10:15

 • For calling evil good: Isaiah 5:20

• For hypocrisy: Matthew 23:13

• Against riches: Luke 6:24

 

Conclusion: The Book of Amos ends with a glorious promise for the future. “’I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God” [9:15]. 

So, just when you think you can’t make a difference, remember Amos and his ordinary, humble beginnings, and realize that God can brings lots of people to Christ through you. 

Portions of this post were taken from here

"Stay hungry. Stay foolish."

Steve Jobs

"Apple and Facebook are both massive control personalities; getting them to agree on anything would be…difficult."

Alex Lindsay, talking about iOS-Facebook integration on Twit

What Do You Know About Ecclesiastes? [Obscure Bible Books]

Imagine for a second that you have Bill Gates’ money. No, seriously. You can do anything you want, go anywhere you want, and buy any item you want. Your house is more like a complex, with office buildings and arboretums and personal gymnasiums. You have an enormous cash pile at your disposal, and oh, you still hold tons of influence in the most successful computer software company in the world. 

Wouldn’t you get bored?

I know what you’re saying - “Uh no, Chad. I wouldn’t. I would have the time of my life.”

But think about it. When you’d done everything, went everywhere, and bought everything you wanted, what would you do then? You’d be bored, and you’d search for meaning in something higher than yourself. 

King Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, realized this. He had everything. Power, money, influence, women - everything he desired was literally at his fingertips. But later in life, when he wrote Ecclesiastes, he realized that there is so much more to life than having money and getting everything you desire. 

Some facts about Ecclesiastes

Name: The word “Ecclesiastes” means preacher or one who preaches

Contents: The design of this book is to expose the vanity of all worldly enjoyments; to show that man’s happiness does not lie in natural wisdom and knowledge, worldly wealth, civil honor, power and authority, or in the mere externals of religion, but in God and the worship of Him.

Character: Poetic philosophy.

Subject: The experience of a man who tried everything under the sun to satisfy his heart and found that it was all vanity and vexation of spirit.

Writer: Solomon: 1:1, 12, 16; 12:9

To Whom Written: His subjects in particular and man in general.

Key Chapter: 12 – A call to remember God.

Key Word: Vanity, found 37 times.

Key Thought: The vanity of earthly life: I John 2:15-17.

Spiritual Thought: Happiness and hopefulness are impossible apart from God.

Next week (Lord Willing) we look at our next Obscure Bible Book: Amos.