Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Playoffs, Players, & Stranger Prayers

Say hello to your 2010 NCAA Basketball Champions:

Congrats Duke! I was so glad to see Zoubek, Scheyer, and Thomas get this one. After four years of constant criticism, they've worked hard to improve each of their individual games, and become a better team overall during each year of their enrollment.

But, college is over, and now my 2nd favorite time of the year has begun: The NBA Playoffs. There are a lot of things I don't like about the NBA, but when it's all said and done, it's still basketball, and truly the greatest players in the world. These playoffs looked to be exciting coming into it; and through the first game of each series, they have not disappointed! Look at these 1st round matchups:

Durantula vs. The Black Mamba


Flash vs. Grimace Glen Davis and the Diva Celtics

Birdman vs. Mormons

 Texas Showdown: Mavs and Spurs

Superboy vs. Laser Cats Bobcats

A Rose for the King

Old fast guys vs. Blazers' bench

and Hawks vs. Bucks Rogers

I'm a little worried for the Heat, but I think they'll pull through after a tough loss in Game 1. I enjoyed watching it for the most part. Wade looked great, but struggled to even get a shot off during the last 15 minutes of the game. The scuffle brought some excitement, and the series should be a physical one with plenty of tempers flaring. I was glad to get home in time to watch the 2nd half, after a long couple days!

We had a community teen event called Love Your City this past weekend at the local YMCA. 11 church youth groups united in service and worship on Friday night and Saturday. Our group spread mulch at the YMCA, which also happens to be where our church meets on Sundays, so that was nice. I'm glad we could help out the Y, but I really wish our students could have experienced serving someone who was really in need. But they'll get plenty of chances to do that this Summer and in the future.

I chose to come home after tearing down following the closing service on Saturday night so that I could watch my Heat! So, that meant going to the church office and Wal-Mart around 11:30pm, which I don't really mind. After making some copies at the office, I headed to Wally World for my Quaker Oatmeal Squares because I was tired of eating peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast. On my way there, I saw a young girl with a backpack, rolling a suitcase through the dark across the McDonald's parking lot. I drove by, but broke my neck trying to see what was going on because this was definitely out of the ordinary. I did one of my famous U-turns and parked at McDonald's to see that she had found a seat in the lighted area in the front of the building. She seemed to be having a heated discussion on her cell phone, because she was holding it in front of her mouth instead of the more traditional form; so I stalled for a minute and led by the Holy Spirit or insanity got out of my car and approached her.

I asked if she needed anything, or any kind of help, and she said her mom was on her way to pick her up, but she could use a cigarette if I had any. She seemed young but looked older from some weathering of a hard life. I didn't have a cigarette, but she didn't seem too disappointed. I told her that it seemed like she was having a rough night and I just thought I would stop to see if she could use any help. She said that she and her girlfriend had gotten into a big fight and she left. Then she said, "God bless you," for stopping to help I guess, so I thought maybe she believes in God . . . or just listens to a lot of country music. I introduced myself and she said her name is Daphne. I warned her that what I was about to say may sound weird to her, and then I asked her if there was anything I could pray about for her. Understandably she had a surprised look on her face, and said just that her mom gets there safely. I warned her again that this might be weird, and then I asked if I could pray with her right there at McDonald's.

This is just the 3rd time in my life that I've asked a stranger if I could pray with them, and all three have been in the past few months. It took me some baby steps to get to this point. The first step was offering help to someone, but God has done a number on my heart this past year, and just helping someone's physical needs would leave me feeling that something was missing. So, I tried asking if there was anything I could pray about for them, which was hard to do the first time! Still feeling that God wanted more from me, I tried asking if I could pray with them right then and there, and I haven't been turned down yet!

Daphne was flabbergasted. I like that word. She was teary-eyed and grateful. We prayed, and she thanked me and said, "God bless you," again. She didn't know that He was blessing me right then. She offered me a friendly hug and was on her way, saying that she was going to go back (to her girlfriend, I presume). God planted a seed that night in her heart, and I pray that it grows. I am a sinner. I'm pretty sure I was cursing the TV while watching the Heat game by myself, feeling silly hatred for Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis and the Celtics, but God still used me that night. It's humbling, and I am thankful for His grace, every day.

Because of that encounter, I wasn't even too upset when Wal-Mart was all out of my Quaker Oatmeal Squares! I was flabbergasted, though.

Beard of the Week:
Ball Don't Lie: Lakers' Playoff Beards

Beat of the Week:

Baller of the Week:
The King is the reason the Cavs are up 2-0 against the Bulls. 40-8-8 tonight!

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