Archive for December, 2008

What’s in a Birth

December 29, 2008

My sister and her family have traveled for years and I finally had the time and means to visit. Now my sister lives in ACC Country (Atlantic Coast Conference) so I wore my Razorback apparel proudly. Yes the SEC is the overall top conference in college. I know other schools and conferences have their years, but the SEC reigns supreme.

However, this is actually about my trip with my son to a small section of the Atlantic Coast and the sites we visited.
Our first priority was D.C. and all the memorials.  Even though the weather was frigid and blustery we braved the elements to view part of our nation’s heritage.

Have we forgotten what they stood for?

Have we forgotten what they stood for?

First was the Jefferson Memorial, what a site, and the words he penned, ” awesome.” Next was the Washington Monument and all its glory. The Lincoln Memorial was next and was spectacular to say the least. Now before I tell you every little step and everything we saw, I will just share which site was the most moving for me and why. The Vietnam Memorial actually moved me to tears. As I slowly strolled alongside the wall of names silently reading the names in my head, I was overcome with emotion to a war that I don’t exactly understand. Even though I read the names silently in my head, they seemed to resonate loudly in my soul as I felt a question arise in my spirit. When we Christians stand before God, will he read aloud the names of those we didn’t share the gospel with like I read the names of those who sacrificed on foreign soil? I don’t know the exact answer, but it made me realize that no person in this world is insignificant. I don’t want to add any more names to the memorial of lost souls that I passed by without saying the name of my savior.

Downtown Annapolis

Downtown Annapolis

The next day we visited Annapolis, Md, the city and of course the Naval Academy. What a fun day that really didn’t take as much time and wasn’t nearly as cold as the day before in D.C. We walked the bricked paved streets and sidewalks of downtown with all of its charm. We also snapped a few pics of Chesapeake Bay and some of the boats in the harbor. However, the most interesting part of the tour was walking the installation grounds of the Academy. Now only cadets and military personnel are allowed on campus, but because I was with my brother-in-law who is a Army Major I too could have access. Now that is, as long as I was with him. You and I can’t access the Father in heaven unless we are with the Son. As long as we are with him, we can walk into the most Holy of Holies. My brother-in-laws position with the service covered my civilian condition. As far as the Naval Academy law read, I was in good standing. Thank God for his Grace and sacrifice. Thanks to my bro-in-law, my condition matched his position on Annapolis grounds.

The next day was Christmas itself, and we celebrated our Saviour with worship, reading of his word, a time of reflection(sharing what we are most thankful for) and the all important gift exchange. What a great day.

We went back to D.C. for the celebration of my child’s day of birth with a visit to the National Archives. Words penned here can’t express what all our founding fathers put on the line to give us all life and liberty. I wondered (even out loud) why some of the visitors were there. Much has been said about the articles that lie in the National Archives building, but I sense the documents were stained with the hearts and souls of our founding fathers. Now I can’t speak for all the visitors that day, but the six of us were astounded by the history that echoed in the “Rotunda.”

Our last day was wrapped up with a visit to downtown Baltimore for a quick visit to the birthplace of Babe Ruth and a long visit to the Aquarium. Attractions like these (aquariums) may hint at the lie of evolution (or just downright broadcast it), the fact is, you can learn a lot about the detail of God. In the Gospel of Matthew chapter six, Jesus was speaking of the lilies of the field. Even Solomon was not arrayed like these. All of the fish reminded me of God’s detail in his creation. There were times when I would smile and almost laugh out loud knowing God had fun on the fifth day. Yet this creator loves us much more. The story is in the details.

The birthplace of "The Babe"

The birthplace of "The Babe"

Babe Ruth, arguably the best baseball player to ever live, is celebrated in small part to his birthplace in Baltimore. I had an overwhelming sense to play catch with my son while I was there. Now that would have been a great twin-killing. We celebrated all kinds of birth on our trip. We celebrated the birth of our independence, the birth of Jesus, the birth of my son, the birth of “The Babe” and the fifth day of creation. However, it was the celebration of the Savior as to why we celebrated in the first place.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas as we did. Oh, have a happy new year as well.

What’s in a title

December 23, 2008
All-time Sac fly leader

All-time Sac fly leader

My name is Curtis Matthews and I live in rural Northwest Arkansas. Which means that I’m a virtual nobody except to those whose lives I touch from day to day.
Now the title to my special little blog should tell you what my favorite sport is, and maybe what my two favorite stats are in baseball.
Double plays are a pitchers’ best friend, but what about sacrifice flies? I believe that “sac. flies” are a lost art in baseball today. It might come as a surprise that the major league leader for sac. flies in baseball is a Hall of Famer. How bout that as a stat. With today’s ballooned salaries and stat-hungry players, homers and game winning hits are the order for the day. This is especially true with the advent of up to the second highlights through an enormous array of outlets feeding us.
Show me a guy who will hit the sac. fly, and I’ll show you a real baseball player. Oh by the way, the player second overall with sac. flies, he’s in the Hall of Fame as well.
Now in today’s me-first world, sacrifice itself is a lost art as well. Get rich quick, speed climbing on the corporate ladder, work deceit, and anything goes attitudes doesn’t say much about team oriented jobs.
Now for the real heroes of life, the ones who have sacrificed. You can go to Websters and get a dandy definition for sacrifice, but I’ll speed things up for you. When you put others first, you are sacrificing.
You tell me the heroes of your life, and I’ll bet there is plenty of sacrifice behind the scenes or maybe out front.
Now that is a long explanation to why I love sac. flies, but the underlying reason for the title of my blog is my respect for those who sacrifice.
How about double plays? Most all double plays take teamwork. It’s like getting two for the price of one. A double portion or twice the blessing. The best part, it benefits the whole team.
You show me a pitcher who can produce the ground ball, and I’ll show you a pitcher who believes in the defense behind him. Defense wins championships, Right?
Now if you don’t like baseball , then substitute the basketball player who takes a charge(sacrifice) then gets to shoot free-throws (double play or second blessing).
By now you should clearly see the picture.

This is truly how I want to live my life. Sacrifice and turn two. My truest hero, Jesus of Nazareth, not only sacrificed his life for me and you, but turned two in the process. He died, then defeated death and gave us access to him through that sacrifice.
I believe that through every great blessing in life there is sacrifice and a double blessing from God in the process.

I hope to continue to show you sac. flies and double plays in forth coming blogs. By sacrificing your time to read this blog, I pray that you may turn two, a double blessing if you will.