9 Days and 3100 Miles.

The midwest is boring. There are no mountains to view. Hot springs and geysers are nowhere to be found. Can’t find any faces carved out of rock on a mountain either. But if you pile into a minivan and drive thousands of miles, you can see these things for yourself.

And that is what we did. Me, my wife, my 2 kids, and my in-laws. 9 days and 3100 miles.

We saw Mount Rushmore:

mount rushmore

Yellowstone National Park:

Yellowstone 2

Grand Teton Nation Park:

grand tetons 2

And finally, Wall Drug:

wall drug

It was simply amazing to behold such varied and wonderful features. It was a great combination of God’s handiwork (Yellowstone and Grand Tetons) and man’s workmanship (Mt. Rushmore). I didn’t even mention the Badlands!

For the month of September, I am going to highlight each place I have pictured here. So if you feel up to a road trip, follow me and let’s go!

FYI, this blog is now http://www.twominuteswithtim.com so please, share it with your friends and they can hop in the van on our upcoming trip as well.

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Stay in the game. No matter what.

Monday night was epic. At least in my world. You see, I play co-ed softball for my church. In fact, I have been playing for 10 years and coaching for the last 8 of those. Our team is 8-0 this year. I don’t think that I have ever been 8-0 in a season before, ever. This year has been different. We keep winning. This last win was an epic come-from-behind win on Monday night. Not only did we come back to win, we did it in a crazy, abnormal kind of way. Let me explain.

softball glove and ball

We were the home team. The other team bats first and they score 5 runs in the first inning. Not good. I was starting to think this could be a long night. We only scored 1 run that inning. Second inning saw no score for either team. After the third inning, there was a small ray of hope as we edged closer. The score was 6-4 but we were still losing. The next three innings came and went. We scored nothing and they added 4 more runs. After 6 innings, they had 10 and we had 4. This does not look good at all.

So here we go. The 7th and final inning. They are up to bat. In the first six innings, we have made some major errors. If I think about it, we committed more errors in these 6 innings than we have all year-long. But being the optimist that I am, I still think there is a chance. And kudos to my team, they never gave up. So, we get the three outs before they score any runs. Now we get to bat. Down by 6 and only three outs before the game is over.

We are at the top of our lineup. I hit a double to lead off the inning. The next two batters both get on base and I score. 1 run. Our #4 hitter hits a long fly ball and both our runners tag up and score. 2 runs. Batters 5 and 6 get on base and batter number 7 hits a shot to right center. He is fast. At this point, I am coaching first base. As soon as he hits, I start waving my arms yelling at him to score. Like he needs any encouragement. =-) So his hit scores 3 more runs.

You doing the math? Game is tied! And, we only have 1 out! Batter #8 hits a blooper which is caught. Now there are 2 outs and our #9 batter steps up to the plate. Here is the funny part. He has almost no experience in playing softball. He does not even own a glove! What’s more is that he is a soccer dude. As a player and referee, he knows the game of soccer. He has only batted up 8 or 9 times this year. This is it. It comes down to him. He may not be a softball expert but he has heart. And the heart matters. He hits a routine fly ball to the right fielder. Now all he has to do is run. Run Forest Run! And boy can he run. He plays soccer! Of course he can run! He proceeded to run around the bases so fast that they didn’t even bother making a play on him at home. 1 more run.

And we win! 11-10! I am not really sure if my words are doing it justice but it was absolutely one of my favorite softball moments. It will stick in my mind for a long time.

funny softball pic

 


Switching gears. We live in an evil world. Sin is blatant and rampant. I don’t really watch the news because it seems that everything is bad. Why just tonight, my wife told me that Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy broke up! What!??! What is this world coming to? Death and destruction, without putting too fine a point on it. Hell. That is what this world is coming to. And doesn’t it seem like God isn’t really doing anything? Do you ever feel like the evil is so much and the good is so little? How can I, one out of 8 billion, make a difference? 

I think our world is in the 7th inning. We have one last at bat. There have been lots of mistakes but the game isn’t over yet. There is one more batter to go. He may not appear to be everything we would hope for but he has heart. And the heart matters. Here are some verses from Matthew 24

1Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” 3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

 

Note verse 13. You see, it is not about being the best or having all the talent. It is about staying in the game. I am glad that I stayed in Monday night’s game.

No matter what, you need to stay in the game.

You screwed up?

Your sin comes out?

You feel like throwing in the towel?

Your friends are leaving you?

Divorce?

Addictions?

Jesus says to you, “Stay in the game. I love you. I will come for you. Keep playing and stay in the game.”

So be encouraged. Stay in the game friend!!!