Super Bowl XLIX Preview

Football

The Super Bowl is only a few days away.  Super Bowl XLIX (or 49) is taking place in Glendale, Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium.  The matchup for this year’s Super Bowl pits the New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks.  The defending champs (Seahawks) vs. the team of the 2000s (Patriots).

There are a lot of storylines going into this game, aside from deflated footballs or players not talking to the media.  Tom Brady is playing in his 6th Super Bowl, the most starts for a QB in a Super Bowl.  He’s trying to win his 4th Super Bowl which would tie Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana for most Super Bowl wins.  The Patriots are trying to win their first Lombardi Trophy since 10 years ago in Jacksonville against the Philadelphia Eagles (they’ve lost their last 2 trips).

On the Seahawks side, Russell Wilson is the first QB in Super Bowl history to start in the Super Bowl in 2 out of his first 3 seasons.  Pete Carroll was the previous coach of the Patriots before Bill Belichick.  The Seahawks are trying to win back to back Lombardi Trophies and be the first team to repeat since the ’03-’04 Patriots.

It will be interesting how things will turn out on Sunday.  We have the team that was essentially the last dynasty (Patriots) verses the team that is trying to be the new dynasty (Seahawks).  Brady and Gronk vs. the Legion of Boom.  Wilson and Lynch vs. Belichick’s defense.

Like last year, when it comes to picking, it will be more with my heart than my head.  But I will say that there’s a legit defense for the head argument.  The Patriots are a really good team.  They have arguably one of the best coach/QB combos of all time.  However, this team is not one of their better Super Bowl teams, even of the recent ones.  But they are a dangerous team.  The Seahawks are the defending champs.  They had to overcome huge odds (and a horrible first half in the NFC Championship game) to get back to the Super Bowl.  They had some injuries to their defense (Thomas, Sherman) but they should be good to go for the game.

16 time World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair once said “To be the man, you got to be the man.”  Right now, the Seahawks are “the man”.  And NBA championship winning coach Rudy Tomjanovich once said “Don’t ever estimate the heart of a champion.”  And right now, the Seahawks are the “champs”.  That defense and the Legion of Boom can argue (and even more so if they win) to be one of the best ever.  So I think the Seahawks will get it done and will beat the Patriots and go back to back.  Seahawks 27 Patriots 17

Advertisements

Remembering Auschwitz

Auschwitz Gate

Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp from the Nazis by the Soviet Army.  It was at Auschwitz that over a million people including Jews, Poles, Roma (Gypsies), prisoners of war & others were tortured and killed.  It is one of the most despicable acts done in history.

Auschwitz Sign

I visited the city of Oswiecim where the remnants of Auschwitz back in 2009.  I was in Poland for that summer as an intern as part of my work for my master’s of divinity.  There was a group of us that worked together that took a trip down from Krakow where we were working to visit Auschwitz.

It was an eerie feeling to say the least.  I remember walking through the camp and just feeling sadness and remorse.  My heart broke for all those lives that were lost there.  I was angry at the Nazis for what they had done.  I didn’t say much throughout our time there.  I just took it all in and contemplated.

It was a place that was a stark reminder of the depravity of sin.  It was also a reminder of the hope that exists even in the midst of such darkness.  Even in such a place as this, God was still there.  He was still in control.  Like how the Nazis were eventually defeated, sin will ultimately be defeated because of the work that Jesus did on the cross.

To this day, I still remember my visit to Auschwitz.  It is something that will always be a part of me.  On a day like today, I’m reminded again of its significance.  May we never forget.

Auschwitz

Sunday Devotional: Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Growing up, I was involved in Bible Drill.  Part of doing that was memorizing verses.  This was one of those verses that I memorized.  And it is a good verse to remember.  Paul is giving instruction to the Philippians about a variety of topics.  He ended one of his thoughts with this sentence.  It’s a good reminder to think about the things he listed.  If one thinks on these things, they are helpful in focusing on God and what He wants for you.

So this week, let us think on things that are true, that are honorable, that are just, that are pure, that are lovely, that are commendable.  Let those things be in the forefront of our minds as we go about this week serving Him.

Into The Flood Again: Thoughts on Alice in Chains “Would?”

Having lived through the 90s, my musical influence is shaped by the music of that decade.  That decade included of course Grunge music.  The center of Grunge music centered around Seattle & several bands that were the mainstay of that sound came from that city (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains).  Having lived in Seattle in the mid 2000s, I saw first hand the connection between that sound and the city & gave me a better appreciation for that sound.

One thing you can always count on with watching the Seattle Seahawks play is the bump music (music playing going to and out of commercial) or a highlights package will be a band connected with Seattle.  So after the Divisional Round game against the Carolina Panthers, there was a highlight package from the game.  The highlights were set to the song “Would?” by Alice in Chains.

It had been a while since I heard that song but after watching that highlight video I searched it out.  The chorus stuck out to me the more I heard it:

“Into the flood again
Same old trip it was back then
So I made a big mistake
Try to see it once my way”

Of course it got me to thinking (especially the second part of the chorus).  How often have I messed up and wanted people to see from my perspective?  Then turn it around, how often has someone else messed up and wanted me to see from their perspective?  Too often we forget grace when it comes to others who wrong us but when we wrong someone else we want that grace shown to us.
God has shown us grace and mercy to forgive us of our sins, of how we wronged Him.  How can we not then show that to others?
Is it easy to do?  No, it’s not easy but at the same time we have experienced it and know what it feels like.  We should be willing to share that with others so that they can experience it as well.
The song ends with the line “If I would, could you?”  Think on this, if someone would apologize, could you forgive them?  If you’re a Christian, hopefully the answer would be yes.  So as we go “into the flood again” that is life, let us have the response that shows mercy and grace to those around us.

Sunday Devotional: Nehemiah 4:15-20

When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work.  From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall.  Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other.  And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built.  The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me.  And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another.  In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” (Nehemiah 4:15-20)

Nehemiah headed up the efforts to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem.  However, there were some discouraging times and there were forces trying to keep the Jews from rebuilding the wall.  But that didn’t stop the people.  Nehemiah and the people worked hard and defended the workers as they went about the work.  More importantly, they had God fighting for them and protecting them.

This week, there may be some discouraging times.  There may be those that are enemies that try and discourage the good work you’re doing.  Remember that you are not alone.  God is there to protect you and watch over you while you do the work He’s called you to do.  Be encouraged and keep fighting the good fight.