Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter, Happy Birthday, Happy Re-Birthday

Happy Easter! The LORD has risen. The LORD has risen indeed! We had wonderful Resurrection Sunday services this weekend at College Heights Christian Church. There were no Bible School classes, and we added two additional services. We attended the service in the chapel (old auditorium) at 9:30. My boss, Mark Scott, preached a moving sermon on the them Beyond the Cross. His 3 points were these:
Beyond the Cross there is:
  1. A Corpse
  2. An Occupied Tomb (though not for long)
  3. An Empty Tomb
Happy Birthday! Today my daughter-in-law, Emily, celebrates her birthday. Happy Birthday, Emily.

Happy Re-Birthday! When I realized that Easter Sunday would be April 8, I did some quick math, and realized that today is the 45th anniversary of my own baptism into Christ. Lots of things that I had 45 years ago
, I no longer have, but I was pretty certain I could put my hands on my Baptismal Certificate. It is stored in a family Bible (King James Version) that the Clayton Christian Church of Deerfield, MO (where I preached during my undergraduate years) gave us as a wedding present. Check it out below, I was baptized on April 8, 1962 (if you click on the image it will open it up in a separate window at a larger size). The certificate was filled out by someone in the congregation that had nice penmanship. The signature (Fred Fish) is in my father's hand. Mom was over for lunch today, and remembered that when I was ready to follow Jesus' example in baptism, I asked Dad to make an appointment with me to talk about it.
May the Risen Christ smile on you!


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Roger Powell, Jr.

I'm writing these words from the La Quinta Inn in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Rose and I left Joplin at about 1:30 PM on Good Friday, and drove to Little Rock. We watched the Arkansas RimRockers defeat the Sioux Falls Skyforce by a score of 123-120. We drove to watch Roger Powell Jr. (nicknamed The Rev) play. Roger scored 19 points and had 7 rebounds. You can get a box score of the game here. I had tried to get the phone number of his parents in Joliet, IL, to try to make contact with him before coming, hoping to get to meet him. I couldn't get a number for his parents, so I tried the next best thing. I called the Arkansas RimRockers, and explained that I had followed his career since high school, through the University of Illinois, at Rockford, IL in the CBA, briefly at the Utah Jazz, and now on the Arkansas RimRockers of the NBA D-League, and that I was driving from Missouri and would like to meet him face to face. The message was passed on to a David who is the PR guy for the players on the team. I had left my cell phone number, and about the time we were crossing the state line from Missouri to Arkansas, I got a call back from David. I was instructed once I got to the arena to ask for him, and he would try to arrange a meeting with Roger, possibly before the game, but if not, we could certainly speak with him after the game, as it is customary for the players to remain in the gym and sign autographs.

We got to Little Rock, checked into our motel and headed to the Alltel Are
na. We bought tickets just before 6:00 PM (tip-off time was 7:00 PM), and the doors to the arena did not even open until 6:00. We got inside, found our seats, and located David. He said he would mention something to Roger. We saw the team on the court taking warmups, and David said something to Roger. He waved at us, and indicated that he would come over and talk to us in a bit. He came by, talked to us, and seemed to be genuinely moved that we would drive 4 hours to see him play. We talked about how I knew his father, playing ball with him in Joliet. He asked us if we would have some time after the game, maybe to catch a bite to eat.

After the game, there was
an auction of the jerseys worn by the players, with the proceeds going to charity. The Arkansas RimRockers are an affiliate of the Miami Heat, and the Arkansas players wore Miami Heat uniforms. Powell wore number 25 (his normal number is 43). His jersey went for $260. We waited for him while he showered. He came out dressed very nicely. There were some people from his local church family in Little Rock that we met, and then we found a restaurant near our motel, and shared a meal. He was happy to share a meal with us, because normally he eats by himself. As a Christian, his conduct is different from team members. At the restaurant, he called his Mom and Dad, and I got to speak with them for a while.

Roger is licensed to preach, and has a ministry (Roger Powell Jr. Ministr
ies). The D-League season will end within the next week, and Roger will go back home, and begin his ministry work. During the summer, he'll likely be invited to Summer Camps for some NBA teams, and feels confident that he can make it to the Senior League. He has the talent, the work ethic, and Christian character that today's young people need as a role model. I hope he makes it. He promised me tickets when he does make it. I have his cell phone number and his personal e-mail. Roger, I'm going to take you up on it!

He has garnered the attention of basketball experts. He is leading the NBA D-League in scoring (points per game); he will be awarded the NBA D-League Sportsmanship Award for the 2006-2007 season at their final home game. The most appealing thing about him, though, is his genuine Christian character, and desire to serve God. He's a hard working basketball player, who puts on his hard hat, picks up his lunch box, and shows up to play. But above all, he's committed to Jesus Christ, and signs Philippians 4:13 every time he signs an autograph.

Roger Powell, may God bless you

Thursday, April 05, 2007

It's Been Too Long

Two of my readers (is that 67% of them?) have been clamoring (that's an overstatement) for me to write again. I've been very busy lately, and haven't had time. The trip to Chile (I promise to write a post about that) was great, but I came back very tired. I think it took 2 weeks to recover.

Baseball season started, and the Cubs have broken my heart already. I hope it will get better. My Cardinal friends heart is more broken, as they have yet to win a game!

We have been in pre-enrollment, which is always a busy time. Also, it is Easter Week. I will teach tomorrow morning, dismissing my OT class just a few minutes early to go to the chapel for our All Campus Good Friday service.

When that is over, Rose and I will go to Little Rock, Arkansas. That's right. I used Hotwi
re to get a room at the La Quinta Inn in North Little Rock for tomorrow night. Roger Powell (University of Illinois, 2005) plays for the Arkansas RimRockers, who have just two remaining home games (Friday and Saturday night). We'll be there at the Friday night game. They play at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock. I called the team today, and there will be plenty of tickets available.

Roger was just named the winner of the 2006-2007 Jason Collier NBA Development League Sportsmanship Award. I played basketball with his father back in the 1960s. His father was a 4-year starter at Illinois State (top 25 team for a while), while I was relegated to intramurals :). Roger Powell Jr. was called Rev at the University of Illinois. He is a licensed preacher in his church. I am trying to find a way to make contact with him so that we can actually meet him, and talk to him.

I promise I will write a serious piece about my teaching trip to Chile before too much longer.

May the blessings of the risen Christ be with you!