Category: Dallas Stars (Page 1 of 7)

A Matter of Relevance

The number of times each professional team in Dallas has played in a conference/league championship game/series since 1995:

Dallas Stars – 7
Dallas Mavericks – 5
Texas Rangers – 3
Dallas Cowboys – 0

The Hardest One

The final two-and-a-half minutes of Game Six were gut-wrenchingly glorious. Dallas needing one goal to tie, Oettinger off the ice for the Stars’ man-advantage, furious shot after furious shot, pinging off the pipe, bouncing off Skinner’s pads, juicy rebounds crawling across the crease–a frantic flurry that ended with Edmonton hanging on and advancing to the Stanley Cup Final and sending the Stars back home for the offseason.

The Stars outplayed the Oilers at Rogers Place for all 60-minutes last night. They outshot Edmonton 35-10; it’s the first time in NHL history a team won a playoff game with just ten shots on goal. Dallas owned the puck for more than 75% of the minutes. You can make the case that Dallas played their best game of the Western Conference Final last night. And they came up short. By one goal. By a couple of inches.

And it’s over.

Here are my thoughts in the immediate aftermath of this terribly disappointing development.

Lord Stanley’s Cup is the absolute hardest trophy to win in all of sports. It’s a grueling gauntlet. To win the NHL Championship, you’ve got to breeze through at least one of your playoff series. You’ve got to sweep at least one of your opponents or win a series in five games. It’s too physically taxing, it’s too emotionally draining, it’s too hard otherwise. Dallas had to chase last year’s champions, the Vegas Golden Knights, after dropping the first two games at home, and took seven games to finish them off. They dispatched the previous year’s champs, Colorado, in six games, but the finale took two overtimes, so it was like a seventh game. And it caught up to them. The draw was difficult, yes–Edmonton had a much easier path to the Conference Final. But if the Stars are going to fight so hard through the season for home ice advantage, then home ice needs to be an advantage. They dropped Game One in each of the three series and were chasing things from there on out. It’s too hard.

In a seven game series, the better team is going to win. Dallas suffered too many injuries to key defensemen and exerted too much energy in playing from behind in every series. It was obvious by the end of Game Four that the Stars were done. At this point of the postseason, the Oilers are the better team. Now, understand, this is NHL hockey. It’s not like other sports. One thing we love about hockey is that things can change so quickly. Most of it’s quite unpredictable. If the Stars get one little break last night we’re playing a deciding Game Seven at the AAC tomorrow and, in Game Sevens, anything goes. That’s how close it is. That’s what makes those last two minutes so incredibly wonderful and crazy. The thing about a seven game series, though, that you can’t deny is that the better team almost always wins.

Last night’s loss is especially painful for longtime Stars veterans like Joe Pavelski, Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Ryan Suter. The window is closing for these loyal Stars and you just don’t know how much longer they can keep it up. The Stars have 13 players under contract for next year and most of them are entering the prime of their young careers. Miro, Roope, Borque, Logan, Wyatt–these guys have all played in back-to-back Western Conference Finals and they are going to break through to a Stanley Cup soon. I’m guessing at least 30 of the NHL’s 32 teams would trade rosters with the Stars right now and love it.

I’ll say it again: NHL playoff hockey is the best thing in sports; yes, it’s better than football. It’s lightening fast, requires incredible skills, ultra-physical, and the only sport that offers a true “sudden death.” It’s the two-and-a-half-hour heart attack. The Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win. And the Stars gave us a dynamic run for it again.



Worship Rules

Jason Robertson got the playoff hatty last night as the Dallas Stars came from behind to beat Edmonton 5-3 in Game Three of the Western Conference Final. It had been ten games since Robo tickled the twine, but he found the back of the net three times at Rogers Center to propel the Stars to a two-games-to-one series lead. Well, he found the back of the net twice; his third goal was pushed/crammed/willed through Skinner’s right pad and skate to complete the hat trick. The Stars fell behind 2-0 in the first period–we’ve seen this before–and then scored three goals in a 3:33 span in the second period to take the lead. Welcome back, Roope Hintz, who assisted on two of Robertson’s goals. Having Hintz back sure clears up a lot of room for Robertson to operate.

The brooms will be out at AAC tonight as the Mavericks are one win away from the NBA Finals for the first time since they won the whole thing in 2011. If Dallas can complete the sweep and knock out the T-Wolves this evening, it’ll be the first time in NBA history that both conference championship rounds were decided in four games. Boston eliminated the Pacers last night, winning the Eastern Conference four-games-to-none. No Dereck Lively tonight–he’s out with the sprained neck he suffered in Sunday’s game–so there’s a whole lot more riding on Gafford’s play in the paint. I don’t think Maxi Klieber returns from his injury tonight. I think the Mavs do the best they can with a combination of Gafford and Dwight Powell, put Minnesota out of its misery, and then take the full eight days between now and the start of the Finals to get both Maxi and Lively fully healthy for the Celtics. Dallas’ extraordinary depth is being tested now. The Timberwolves are going to take everything to the rim tonight and attempt to bully the Mavs. This is going to be an ugly low-scoring game tonight. And Dallas is going to win it.


I’ve said in this space and from the pulpit here at GCR several times lately that we need to be less concerned about how we do church and more concerned with how God does church. We should relax about our rules and stop worrying about our methods and submit to what God’s Spirit is doing. Instead of fretting about how we do church and debating whether we’re doing it right or wrong, we should just chill.

Well, hold on, preacher! The Bible seems to care about what we can and cannot do during church! The guy who wrote a third of the New Testament laid down a few rules about our Sunday assemblies!

Okay. If you insist. Let’s go there.

I’m assuming you’re thinking about that troubled church in Corinth and the letter Paul wrote to correct their mistakes.

The apostle Paul knows that what we do when we’re together shapes us. Our habits in our worship assemblies are forming us into a particular kind of people. So, Paul’s main concern is that our worship gatherings reflect the Gospel. Our Christian assemblies have to reflect the character of Christ. When he writes to other churches, he expresses his deep desire that Christ be formed in them, that they imitate Christ Jesus who said himself he came not to be served but to serve and to give his life for others. Paul says being united with Christ, having the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, means considering others better than yourselves, looking to the needs of others.

So, yeah, he spills a lot of ink in his letter to the Corinthians to fix what they’re doing wrong.

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul says your meetings are doing more harm than good. How harsh is that? It’s brutal. Your church is so bad, your people would be better off if they just slept in on Sundays. Paul says your church is divided. You’ve got cliques and little groups among you and I see it around the table. When you come together, he writes, it’s not the Lord’s Supper you eat; you are eating your own supper! You’re not waiting for others, you’re not sharing God with others; people are going hungry, people are being humiliated; the rich Christians are getting stuffed and drunk and the poor Christians are starving and being singled out as not really belonging. What am I supposed to say to you? Nothing good! So, then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. Consider the needs of each other. Treat one another as equals.

That’s Paul’s consistent instruction when it comes to what happens in church: consider the others, pay attention to the others, put yourself last.

These Corinthians Christians were showing off their spiritual gifts. They were clamoring for the spotlight in their assemblies and looking down on others based on their spiritual gifts. In chapter 12, Paul says the gifts of the Spirit are given for the common good, they’re supposed to benefit everybody, not just you. In fact, he writes in chapter 14, since you’re so eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in the gifts that build up the church.

What’s the problem with speaking in tongues? Well, sometimes there’s no interpreter and nobody knows what you’re saying and it’s not doing anybody any good but yourself. And sometimes y’all are talking over each other, trying to upstage each other, and it’s a mess. You’re not thinking about others. So, brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. Take turns. Speak one at a time. And if you don’t have an interpreter, don’t speak (sigao) until you get one.

Same thing with prophesy. Take turns. Speak one at a time. Why? What’s the point? So that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. And if you’re speaking and someone else has something to add, the one speaking should stop speaking (sigao) until it’s his or her turn again.

Same thing with women. They were evidently disrupting the gatherings; they, too, were speaking out of turn. Paul uses the same Greek word for stop speaking, sigao. Be quiet until it’s appropriate to speak. Put yourself last. Consider others more important than yourself.

Paul didn’t say stop eating, do away with all the meals. He said, when you come together to eat, be nice to others, treat everyone as equals.

He didn’t say stop speaking in tongues. He said, when you speak in tongues, be considerate of others.

He didn’t say stop prophesying. He said, when you prophesy, take turns. Be polite.

He didn’t tell women to stop praying and prophesying. He said, women, when you pray and prophesy, do it like this. Don’t offend people. Don’t elevate yourself.

So, yes, you’re right. The Bible does give us strict rules about our Sunday worship assemblies. And they’re all centered around treating people the way Jesus treats people. That’s it. Those are the worship rules in the Bible.

We worry about our Sunday mornings. We’re anxious to do everything right. Instead of worrying about whether a worship practice is prescribed or legal, we should be asking if what we do and the way we do it fosters community and equips us for mission. Applying the Gospel to our assemblies is much more important than trying to get it right. Do we value all people? Do we treat everybody the same? Are we striving to make everybody feel welcome and like they belong? Are all people loved in here?

None of the New Testament gives us a set of legally specified and timeless rules for conducting a worship assembly. The New Testament gives us Jesus and the Gospel, embodied by a community, and gathered by the Holy Spirit around word and table, where every person can experience and express the Good News freely and equally, in the name and manner of our Lord Jesus.



Don’t Miss This

I don’t know how to do this. Nobody does. It’s completely unprecedented. How do I read all the stories and watch all the highlights? How can I possibly keep up with all the phone calls and texts? How do I keep the Mavs and Stars gear clean and ready to be switched out at a superstitious moment’s notice?

The Texas Rangers are the current World Series Champions and both the Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks are playing in the Western Conference Finals. Last night’s dramatic come-from-behind win by the Mavs in Minnesota marked the first of at least twelve consecutive days when the Stars and Mavs will alternate games in their respective series. The Mavericks are slight underdogs against the Timberwolves, but Luka and Kyrie combined for 63 points last night to take Game One. The Stars are slight favorites in their series, and they’ll drop the puck this evening in Game One against longtime playoff rival Edmonton. And, by the way, did I mention, the Rangers just won the World Series.

You’ve got to understand, nothing like this has ever happened before.

Back when the Cowboys were going to and winning Super Bowls in the ’70s, they were the only game in town. The Rangers were a recently relocated Senators team playing in a minor league park out on the Turnpike and the Mavericks and Stars didn’t even exist. The last time the Cowboys won some Super Bowls, in the ’90s, the Mavericks were the worst team in the NBA, the Rangers had still never qualified for the postseason, and the Stars had just moved to Dallas from Minnesota.

We are right now in the middle of the greatest twelve months in North Texas professional sports history. This is it. It’s never happened before and it’ll very likely never happen again. This is the year, right here, August 2023-August 2024, when three of the four teams all played in the conference championship series and two of them (three? maybe?) won it all.

I was asked at lunch yesterday if I miss being in Dallas sports radio. The answer, this week, this month, is Yes.

Don’t miss this. Don’t let this moment get away from you just because you don’t fully understand hockey or because you’re got some weird beef with the NBA. Watch this. Let this be the week you began to appreciate the two-and-a-half-hour heart attack that is an NHL Stanley Cup playoff game. Let this be the week you first marveled at Luka Magic and Kyrie Clutch.

Don’t miss this.

Here’s the video to get you ready for Stars-Oilers tonight.



Blended Worship

Here’s my calendar for the next two weeks:

Wednesday May 22 – Dallas Mavericks Western Conference Finals Game 1
Thursday May 23 – Dallas Stars Western Conference Finals Game 1
Friday May 24 – Dallas Mavericks Western Conference Finals Game 2
Saturday May 25 – Dallas Stars Western Conference Finals Game 2
Sunday May 26 – Dallas Mavericks Western Conference Finals Game 3
Monday May 27 – Dallas Stars Western Conference Finals Game 3
Tuesday May 28 – Dallas Mavericks Western Conference Finals Game 4
Wednesday May 29 – Dallas Stars Western Conference Finals Game 4
Thursday May 30 – Dallas Mavericks Western Conference Finals Game 5
Friday May 31 – Dallas Stars Western Conference Finals Game 5
Saturday June 1 – Dallas Mavericks Western Conference Finals Game 6
Sunday June 2 – Dallas Stars Western Conference Finals Game 6
Monday June 3 – Dallas Mavericks Western Conference Finals Game 7 (if necessary)
Tuesday June 4 – Dallas Stars Western Conference Finals Game 7 (if necessary)

We’re a long way from this–we’re only halfway through both of these championship tournaments. But what if Dallas becomes “Title Town” and the Cowboys have nothing to do with it!


Here at GCR Church we practice what a lot of people call a blended style of worship. Blended worship. Some people call it mutually miserable. With blended worship, we are equal opportunity offenders. Everybody’s miserable part of the time. There’s some part of this worship service you’re going to hate–we guarantee it!

I make fun of it. But, most of the time, I’m pushing for it. Because, if nothing else, it’s a way of driving home the point that we are not a monolithic church of just one style or one generation or one approach. We’re a diverse family of Christian disciples. So, every Sunday, we sing a pretty good mix of newer contemporary worship songs and older classic hymns. We do it all.

It helps us, I think, to emphasize that our Christian faith and our community of faith at GCR is not a one-track deal. We’re trying our best to foster a culture where everybody connects with God. We’re not perfect at this. But we try to communicate with our blended styles and practices that everybody is invited, that everybody is welcome, that everybody can hear and be heard, and that everybody can sing their song.

And that God will transform us when we sing somebody else’s song.



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