Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Whole AAU World

For some of you reading this, my writings will be boring and totally irrelevant, but if you dare - stay with me for a point....

I spent Friday night and all day Saturday with my son, Matt somewhere between Tullahoma and Lynchburg, TN for an AAU basketball sub-state tournament. This is where some of the top teams in the region get together to determine who gets to compete at the state level, etc...

Matt's team of (10) guys won all three of their games against some great competition, and that was neat, but that is not the point of my blog entry.....

When we were not playing, we had to wait on some 11-year old teams to play their games in between our 17-year old games (even though, yes, Matt is still a ripe young 16)

These 11-year olds is the point of my blog.

I wish you could have seen these teams. Oh my - their uniforms, their coaches attire, their "fans/parents" attire, their "travel bags", their attitudes, their "swagger", their whole demeanor........what is the deal with that? These are 11-year old kids!!!!!!! They are in the 5th grade - in elementary school!!!! You would have thought you were in Chapel Hill or Durham, NC.......(I know - only hard core basketball fans will get that one!!)

It's a whole 'nother world - this AAU world.....where people spend loads and loads and loads of money, all of their weekends traveling and supporting their 11-year olds to "I'm-not-so-sure-what-is-next-except-hopefully-and-ultimately-an-NBA-contract" ideal!

I watched these 11-year old boys "hover" around the one parent who "kept the book" to see how many points they scored. It was frightening. I wanted to be optimistic and believe that this is encouragement for kids who might not have anything else to get excited about - to rally around, but that is not what I felt. I felt an immense void - a hollow feeling of "is this really all there is to get excited about"?

What happens to these young kids - these 11-year olds who don't make it to the NBA? What happens to the ones who don't get a college scholarship? Do they then attempt to "live their 11-year-old lives" through THEIR kids when they become 11?

Sorry - I am now beyond blogging and am rambling, but it really did get to me. After all, I was "one of them" (to an extent). I spent my weekend with (10) guys and a few parents. I love these kids, and I believe in them way beyond their basketball abilities. I will always remember this and other weekends that will follow......

So, maybe there is more to it than believing that the "pie in the sky" is the NBA. Maybe some of these 11-year olds I saw this past weekend will grow up to be solid, law-abiding, God-loving-serving parents who will believe in the AAU world of 11-year old basketball, but keep it in perspective of what life is really all about....

uhmmm.......makes me wonder who is intentionally ministering to this "world"???? Where is the church for this AAU world? After all, everyone - even the 11-year old AAU world needs Jesus, right?

I will ponder more on this subject - for now, my eyes and heart were opened this weekend - yes, even in the most remote parts of middle Tennessee.....

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

April 26, 1984

I remember that Thursday morning as if it were yesterday. A parent never forgets the birth of their first child.

I remember getting up very, very early and actually jogging before getting Karla to the hospital. I remember writing a check for $950 before Karla could be admitted to the hospital because our insurance did not cover the birth of our son.......the first of many checks, and all too glad to write everyone one of them!

Thank you, God for this beautiful gift of life - I honestly cannot believe it has been 22 years!

Happy Birthday Seth Byron Worley - you are a treasure to everyone you meet, and thanks for letting me be your Dad....

I love you.....
(I really wish I had some more pictures on my computer to "really" embarrass you!)

Friday, April 21, 2006

How Does He Do It?

This guy is 62 years old!

I am (8) years younger and after watching him in his latest movie today, maybe there is hope for those of us who wonder.....

Maybe it's his $200 million net worth????......nah, I doubt it......

Our Security

I love it that this little girl is holding the arm of her brother. I find myself holding the arm of God often, don't you?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter - 2006

(I took this photo of Ben and Karla today in my office - where does that kid get all that hair???)

I hope you had a fabulous Easter Sunday!

I guess I have now lived long enough to experience so much of what this day means to me as a believer, a minister, a husband, and a father. I love this day for so very many reasons.

I am blessed to have been introduced (at an early age) to what Easter is all about.

I am blessed to work with extraordinary people who understand how to come together to create beautiful and elegant Easter worship experiences for thousands who come to worship on this day.

I am blessed as a husband and a father to cherish simple traditions of this day with family and friends - doing things that we have done for many, many years together - may we never take them for granted.....

and finally - how I wish I could fully grasp what it means to live in the power of the Resurrection.....

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Now THIS Is Customer Service!!

Before you read one of the most delightful "your product has been shipped" e-mails ever, I must give you some background and history, so please stay with me.....

The year is 1978 (I am 26 years old), and I am browsing through a record shop in Temple, Texas just looking for some new records (yes, LP vinyl!). While I am perusing, I notice some of the most amazing music playing in the background, with lead vocals that are blowing me away. When I go ask about it, the guy points to the cover of the LP sitting high on a shelf and it is the solo LP of a guy named, Bill Champlin. I bought the LP on the spot. It immediately became a favorite. Bill Champlin has since become lead singer for the ever popular group, "Chicago", but nothing will ever take the place of that original recording - at least in my mind.

Fast forward to last night when I was hitting several of my friend's "my spaces", and I ran across this. This guy produced the Bill Champlin recording and has either played guitar, produced or written songs for pretty much every big name who has ever recorded music in the pop/R&B/jazz fields.

So, I went to his site, and immediately purchased his most recent CD.

Finally, here is what I really wanted you to read. This is the ACTUAL e-mail I received from them today letting me know that this CD has shipped:

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Thursday, April 13th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.
Your picture is on our wall as 'Customer of the Year'. We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,
Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little CD store with the best new independent music

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hairball - So Many

I hate to admit this, but I don't like Tuesdays very much. For the most part, they are filled with meetings, most of which don't agree with me. I confess my lack of willingness to accept Tuesdays as "part of the job", but they are painful.

This confession is not meant to point fingers or place blame with anyone. I am blessed to work with skilled, qualified, and enjoyable people, and I am "seasoned" enough to recognize that meetings are just once again "part of the job". It just has to do with me.

I read this book several years ago, and I guess I am "doomed" to read it annually - just to keep my perspective. There is something that is just plain inherent about places like where I work that can for the most part be described as a "hairball".

There are so many things to do, so many expectations, so many demands, so many meetings, so much paperwork, so many e-mails, so many needs, so many prayers to be prayed, so many praises, so many dark places, so many secrets, so many hurts, so many ridiculous complaints, so many unreasonable people who remind me God loves everyone, and so many people involved in so many varying types of ministries, programs, events, and "causes"......well, it just gets downright overwhelming at times....and Tuesdays seem to magnify this in my life......

Please do not misunderstand me - I have an uncomfortable feeling that this is what it is like when we are called to minister within the local Church. I guess I just needed to whine a bit, not really knowing why and what it will accomplish, if anything.

My heart tells me that at the end of the day that God gave me as a gift, I am very much needing to thank Him for it - even for the meetings I did not want to sit through, for the things I loved about it, and even for the things that made me weary and sad.......

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Yet Another Worship Controversy?

I know the title of this post makes everyone so excited to jump right in and read with guns blazing. Ha!

I have to tell you, though, that if you go here and read ENTERING THE "DRAW ME CLOSE" CONVERSATION, it will certainly make you think and wonder and ask yourself some good (and difficult and necessary questions) about your own attitude towards worship.

So, if you dare - take the time ro read it, but be prepared to be challenged - I don't think you can read this and be sure got me in many ways....