Bet On the Game Changer

When recently discussing sports betting with someone well in the know, he told me to never bet on football or basketball because there are too many variables, especially in the college game…

He said he places most of his bets, and has made most of his money, betting on baseball…

Baseball, he said, is a sport of one-on-one battles between pitcher and batter, which the pitcher wins about two-thirds of the time. And when you take the best pitchers, the pitcher can win about 5 out of 6 times…

The pitcher has the most control of any player in any sport. As such, he bets the starting pitchers…

He puts money on guys like Holliday, Lee, Verlander, and Sabbathia, and their teams win their starts about 4 out of every 5 games, if not better…

So – the way to make money betting is to find out who the best player is and bet them, not the actual team…

The same parallel can be made for Christianity, with Jesus being the best player and everything else being the teams (there’s not really a smooth transition between gambling and Jesus – I’ve tried for a while now)…

If you bet the team, you are placing your life in the hands of other Christians, your parents, your pastors, your friends, your money, your good deeds. But if you place your life in the hands of Jesus, he has promised us heaven (John 14:2) – and he never loses…

So – when placing the ultimate bet – would you rather place your trust in the ones who play or the one who IS?

P.S. – Jesus can hit a curve ball…

The Laws of the Powells

We are all governed by a set of laws – some legal, such as no jaywalking, some scientific, such as gravity, and some cultural, such as not letting your kids go to USC.

Also – recently, we learned the Law of the Tides – took nearly two hours for the waters to rise enough to move the boat.

Well, over the years, the Powells have noticed a few other laws at work.

The Law of Conservation of Hair:

Similar to other scientific laws, like the Law of Conservation of Mass or Energy, this law states hair is neither created nor destroyed – only repositioned.  The number of hair follicles you have post-puberty never changes – it just migrates.

Take most men, including myself, for example – as the hair on our head decreases, it suddenly begins to appear in other places – the back, the chest, the ears.

The Unalienable Right to Pick Your Nose:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This law says you shall not be kept from picking your nose.  We know this to be true in that we have never met someone who is unable to pick their nose.  Think about it – the smallest of noses go hand in hand with the smallest of first fingers.  The petite girl with the tiny nose always has tiny hands and the largest of men with huge hands also have monstrosities for snouts.

Just think about it.

Powell’s Theory of Parking:

Powell’s Theory of Parking has yet to make it to Law status because we have not been able to determine the final parameters for when this theory works and when it doesn’t…

This theory says that if you pass up an open parking space in favor of searching for a better one, you will no doubt not find one, but after parking further away, be forced to walk past an open space much closer than the one you first forfeited.

The Law of Saturdays:

The Law of Saturdays states on your one day to sleep in, you will invariably be woken at the crack of dawn by something – usually kids. One the rare occasion the kids are still sleeping, you will be awoken by lawn mowers, dogs, birds, or the need to go to the bathroom. All will result in you thinking the day should be over by 4:00 pm.

The Law of Lines:

The Law of Lines states you will be behind someone in line that totally disgusts you. The most common occurrences are found at amusement parks and grocery stores. For the Powells, it is typically teenage PDA or loud cell phone talker.

Other theories and laws not fully vetted:

  • Law of Date Night (states that on a night without children, you will be exposed to kids at every stop)
  • Law of Traffic (you WILL get stuck behind the school bus or a police officer when you are desperately late)
  • Law of Fire Alarms (as soon as you lose power, at least one fire alarm will beep incessantly until you are able to replace the battery)

Other theories and laws fully vetted and not required to be discussed:

  • Chicken Curse – ask any USC fan about Navy or the Citadel
  • Murphy’s Law
  • Law of Supply & Demand – even though gas prices may downgrade this to a Theory

The Bible & Aunt Sally

Can you name the 50 state capitals? How about just the states?

I’m sure you knew it once – I did. I used to know them in alphabetical order…

And then, I moved on to something else and left the capitals in the dust. I didn’t work with them and I began to forget them…

How about the planets. Can you name them, in order?

What if I told you about my excellent mother – would that help?

Mother Very Excellent Mother Just Ordered Us Nine Pizzas.

Is that easier?

Can you remember the mathematical order of operations? What if I told you about my Aunt Sally?

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.

How ’bout now?

Why don’t we apply the same processes to the Bible? Why don’t we create fun ways to remember verses and core concepts? Why can’t the Romans Road be put in alliteration? Makes me wonder if someone’s life might be a tad different if you could spout off the verses using Uncle Pete and an awesome dad…

Just a thought…

To Be or Not to Be – Which is Better?

Recent message board fodder takes aim at the debate over whether or not alums have higher standing as a fan…

I’m sure most schools have a similar debate…

Does someone who gave 4-5 years of their life, not to mention a good bit of money, mean more to the athletic department than someone who has never seen the inside of a classroom, but is a faithful donor, and may have given just as much money to the booster club…

Which group of people has more say? Should there be a separation?

The whole episode reminds of the debate about Jesus’ followers soon after his death…

There were some who claimed to have a higher standing among Christians because they saw Jesus and knew Jesus and maybe even hung out with him…

Jesus knew this would happen – we are all human – and this is what he said when talking with Thomas:

“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

So, you tell me – which is better – to be have a love for a place where you have a history or to have the same love for a place you’ve never even visited?

Willy Powell, Clemson University, class of 2001

Bringing Your A-Game to Prayer

The first time I remember the term “A-Game” was Tiger Woods describing the round of golf he just completed. His “A-Game” was the best he could play, with his “B-Game” being pretty good, but not great, his “C-Game” being average, and so on through the grading scale…

On a side note – Tiger (the pre fire hydrant Tiger) reminded me of the curve breaker we all had in our class. You know the one – got a 97 on the test, which ruined the curve for everyone else, and then complained that the one question she (I went there) missed was unfair. When Tiger was on, no one could compete with him. He’d destroy the field and then find a few shots he could have played better. Maybe I’m more like Phil Mickelson – I’m fine being #2 and still making muchos moula…

Back to our discussion on the A-Game…

I struggle with prayer. I’m an only child (shocker) and prayer is not about me. Prayer is about knowing your role and I’m not good with that. Prayer involves an honesty that leaves me a little uncomfortable and I don’t like uncomfortable situations. Prayer involves saying I’m sorry and reliving my bad moments and I’d rather just forget them…

Prayer is a lot of things that I am not and takes a lot of things I am unwilling to give – like effort…

To bring your A-game to prayer, it takes work and effort and being intentional. Things I am not…

Oswald Chambers said this about prayer:

Prayer is an effort of the will…We have to learn to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful, deliberate prayer.

Having a secret stillness before God means deliberately shutting the door on our emotions and remembering Him…Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything.

There are times when I have been able to remove all else and focus on Him or times when I have been able to think not of my own needs or desires – and it has been amazing…

In these moments is when I realize that prayer does have an A-game. And it also reminds me of many times of C and D-game level prayer and these are the times when I struggle with prayer.

In the same way that bringing your A-game to prayer will result in moving mountains, bringing your C & D-game to prayer will result in being stuck in the valleys…

Raise Your Hand If…

We play a game in our house called “Raise Your Hand If…” and it’s played by choosing things that you either like, don’t like, have done, have not done, etc…

For example, we might say “Raise your hand if you like Clemson” and all Powell hands go in the air.  The next question may be Raise your hand if have a “K” in your name, and on Delaney Kate would raise her hand, or we would do “D” and Delaney and Addy would raise their hands, etc…

Sometimes we try to trick them Simon Says style by asking a lot of easy questions where everyone raises their hand, and then throw in a “Raise your hand if you like the Gamecocks”.  Their reactions are priceless when they realize they blasphemed the Tigers – even brought them to tears before.

But what if we were sitting around the dining room table and you were to ask this question: “Raise your hand if you’ve ever run out of gas” – how would you answer?

Unfortunately, after today, I would have to answer by asking you a question – “What am I driving?”

I’ve had some run-ins with gas gauges in the past and I can now add boat to the list of vehicles I have been in operation of that have run out of gas (regrettably a good number of these occurred after my 21st birthday) .

Boat will now slide into the list beside cars (yes – plural), truck, SUV, golf cart, riding mowers & tractors (you don’t spend three summers working on a golf course without some gas casualties), go kart (one of those amusements versions), and miscellaneous water recreational toys (from growing up on a lake – which makes it all the more surprising I’ve never had to have a boat towed, until today).

Luckily we are required by law to have a whistle – as trying to push and pull the boat was having no success (we may have even been pulled further from the dock by the wind and tides).  Our whistle eventually found a couple and their John Boat who were willing to tow us back to the dock.

The day leaves me with two thoughts – what kind of omen is it when a Clemson boat runs out of gas and is brought to safety by a Carolina fan in a War Eagle boat?

And, can anyone else raise their hand with me?

The Courthouse Lobby & High School

After spending an hour in the Beaufort County Courthouse lobby this morning, I began to realize there are striking similarities between the lobby & high school…

Like:

  • I’m wearing clothes I don’t normally wear and I feel really out of place…
  • I’m greeted by guards with way too much power.  In high school, it was Hall Monitors and School Resource Officers.  In the Courthouse, it’s the Bailiffs…
  • I can’t stop sweating…
  • I’m constantly staring at the door – hoping a certain someone is NOT coming…
  • I’m hanging out by myself – and I’m okay with that…
  • The people I do talk to are cordial, but not real.  Just Southern etiquette required pleasantries…
  • The crowd beside me is talking very loud, with each person trying to tell a story to out do the person before…
  • The crowd all of a sudden goes into whisper mode – and I’m sure they’re talking about me…
  • I’m bored…
  • I’m anxious about what will happen next…
  • I’ve read everything on the walls – and learned quite a few things.  In high school, it was who to call to have a good time (like the bathroom doors in restaurants).  At the Courthouse, I learned the Constitution does not use double esses – Congress is spelled Congrefs and class is spelled clafs…
  • Random people in official uniforms walk the hallways.  In high school, it was the ROTC members.  In the lobby, it was police…
  • I’m still afraid to use the bathroom…

And lastly:

  • I need a recess…