Category: Dallas Stars (page 1 of 3)

What If?

Prediction: Stars lose tonight. The Dallas Stars are off to the best start in ten years, not just in the win-loss column, but in several other categories, too. The Stars’ power play and penalty kill are both on an NHL record pace. Dallas has scored nine power play goals in their first three games with a league-leading 56.3% scoring rate. And Joe Pavelski and John Klingbert are killing it at both ends of the ice.

But they lose tonight. This evening at home against Detroit, Dallas will debut their new alternate sweater and uniform and it is hideous. They’re calling it “Blackout,” but it looks like something out of Tron. Black is the primary color and the trim is called “Skyline Green” to match the neon tubes that outline the legendary 72-story Bank of America Plaza (InterFirst Plaza a long time ago) building in downtown Dallas. On a hockey player, it looks more like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle green. They’re not as bad as the alternate unis and logos they suffered through for two seasons back in 2003-2005 . But they will lose tonight with these awful sweaters and they will become a jinx for this club. They’re too gimmicked up. They don’t look real. It looks like something out of an energy drink commercial.  They won’t be able to win in these things. Starting tonight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ten months into the global pandemic and counting, the national surveys and polls show that the people around us are searching for what’s significant and lasting. They’re looking for something solid and dependable and real. Transitioning now into the post-pandemic future, they’re seeking what’s trustworthy and true. The people you’re running into every day are disappointed, disillusioned, and divided; but they’re open to something different. They want an answer to everything that’s gone wrong; they’re looking for a solution to everything that’s broken. That way, that truth, that life is our Lord Jesus Christ and you’ve got him! And the time is right now to make him known to our desperate and dying world.

Your life, your words, your attitude can be the walking, talking proof that good overcomes evil. You can show people that love is greater than hate, that unity is more fun than division, that peace is far more effective than violence, and that forgiveness always beats revenge.

What if you and I remained calm when the people around us are anxious and demanding? Everything is turned up so loud right now, what would it mean to others if you were quiet and calm? I think it would be noticed.

What if you and I spoke with humility and grace? Instead of saying things so other people will like you or approve of you, what if you only said things that were encouraging to others and built others up? That kind of language would really stick out.

What if you and I tried to love everybody? What if we were known for how kind and graciously we treated others, even when we disagree? Wouldn’t that get people’s attention?

And what if we committed to that right now? Instead of being paralyzed by what we’ve lost in the past or stuck while we wait for the conditions to be perfect later, what if we committed to seizing the opportunities all around us right now? Opportunity is not something that happens at a dim distance somewhere in the future; opportunity is what you and I have right in front of us today!

Here’s our new normal: the virus and the political and social chaos have laid us bare. We’ve been cooped up in our homes with our broken habits for months and it’s revealed to us that our lives, this country, and the world are in more trouble than we thought. The folks around us know right now, more than they’ve ever known in their lives, that the answers cannot be found in government, science, technology, or in just trying harder. They’re looking for the way, the truth, the life right now more than they ever have. And you’ve got that in Jesus Christ!

The new normal is not to be feared. It is to be embraced and engaged as God’s time and place for something beautiful and eternal and new. What if right now you committed to living in a way that points others to what and who they need the most?

Peace,

Allan

3-2 (2OT)

Thoughts and Prayers

Only one team in NHL history has ever come from down three games to one in the Stanley Cup Final to win the championship.

The Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942.

So, you’re telling me there’s a chance!

Go, Stars.
Allan

Light at the End of the Bubble

Stars Cash In on Vegas!

Lord Stanley, here we come!

The Dallas Stars beat Vegas last night in a wild come-from-behind overtime thriller to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in twenty years! NHL playoff hockey is by far the most exciting thing in sports and the Stanley Cup is truly the most difficult trophy to win. But after scoring three unanswered goals against the top-seeded Golden Knights, the Stars are four wins away.

You can’t help but fall in love with this grinding, never-day-die, team of destiny. They changed coaches in the middle of the season, they’re playing with a backup goalie who had never started a postseason game before this season, and they’ve got more playoff goals from a minor-league call-up than from their leading scorer. Alex Radulov plays with such determination, Jamie Benn seems to be everywhere, the defensemen are scrapping and scoring like the Stars teams of the late ’90s, and Khudobin is absolutely standing on his head in net. This team is never out of it — so fun to watch.

It’s not too late to get on the Stars bandwagon. Just don’t shave until they get four more wins.

Peace,

Allan

Secure in the Face of Our Feelings

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.”
~Psalm 125

A lot of us grew up with a view of our salvation as something we slip in and out of pretty easily. According to what we do or don’t do, what kind of day we’re having or the last time we prayed, we might be saved or lost. If you’re not on constant guard, if you’re not vigilant in doing everything in exactly the right way, your mortal soul is in jeopardy. Losing your salvation could happen to you gradually or all of a sudden. Your status with God is fragile. Your salvation is a delicate thing. You’re worried about your worthiness. You’re anxious about your standing. There’s always a question. Always a doubt.

There’s a Greek word for this: Baloney.

There’s also a West Texas word for it. But I can’t use it here.

The Scriptures are clear that our salvation with God in Christ Jesus is secure. We don’t have to wonder about it. We don’t have to look over our shoulders in dread at what might take us out. The Christian life is not like walking a tightrope where every single step is a life or death deal.

Of course! I know this. In my head. I know this as a solid, indisputable fact. In my head. But my heart doesn’t always acknowledge this truth. My gut sometimes disagrees. Sometimes we do get anxious about our own salvation. Sometimes we do slip into uncertainty. We slip into fear. Or maybe we don’t slip into it; maybe we kinda live there.

Did I know what I was doing when I was baptized? Have I really been forgiven for my past? Have I really been good enough? Am I really doing enough?

Legalism is a disease we all have. We’re all in different places in our recovery, but nobody’s completely cured. If doing the rules and obeying the commands is what saves me, then, yes, I should be worried. But if it’s not… thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

I want us to consider Psalm 125 this week to banish our insecurities and grow our confidence and Christian assurance. I’d like for these holy ancient words to get into our souls and remind us that we are safe and secure in Christ  in the face of our feelings, in the middle of our sufferings, and despite our sins.

There are three things — I’m speaking very broadly here — that get in the way of the solid security we have in the Lord. The first of these is our feelings. The way we feel. Our feelings can hijack our security.

Psalm 125 says, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” But I do get shaken. It happens a lot. One day I’m full of faith and confidence as a beloved child of God, the next day I’m questioning and doubting almost everything. I wake up one morning full of energy and assurance in what God’s doing in me and through me, the next day I’m gray and moody and not real sure God’s doing anything at all. One day I’m a man of God, the next day I don’t know.

Cannot be shaken? That’s not me at all. I can be shaken by almost anything. Sadness, joy, success, failure, a bad meeting, another change in the coronavirus restrictions, a phone call, a disagreement — I’m like a thermometer, just going up and down according to the weather around me.

OK. Maybe so.

Think about the children of Israel. Up one day and down the next. Hot and cold all the time. One day they’re marching in triumph through the Red Sea, the next day they’re griping because they used to eat steaks and cheesecakes in Egypt. One day they’re worshiping God in his holy presence on Mount Sinai, the next day they’re dancing in the valley around a golden calf. One day they’re eating with Jesus in the upper room, listening to his words, basking in his love, pledging their allegiance; the next day they’re receiving warmth from someone else’s fire and swearing with holy curses they never met Jesus.

Up and down, up and down, like a yo-yo. You get whiplash with these people.

But the whole time, there’s something very solid and very steady: They are always God’s people. That never changed. God is faithfully and steadfastly with them. He never leaves them. He never forsakes them. He’s right there with his mercy and grace and love. You get the sense that everything that happens with God’s people happens in this bubble of God’s security. It all happens, the good and the bad, with this God who is always with them, constantly redeeming and restoring, forgiving and loving.

Following Christ is an up and down thing for us. But we don’t rely on our feelings. Our feelings about God are not as important as the facts about God. I had a professor at Austin Grad, Dr. Michael Weed. If somebody was talking about a church service or a worship experience or a spiritual conference and said, “I felt the Holy Spirit,” he would say, “Maybe. Or maybe it was indigestion.” His point was that you have to go on more than just feelings. Feelings can be deceptive. You can’t always trust them.

So we refuse to trust in our ups and downs; we choose to trust in God. We refuse to believe in our darkness and doubts; we choose to believe in God. Not feelings, but facts.

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death!” ~Romans 8:1

You know what the law of sin and death is: you sin, you die! We’re not under that law anymore! Why? Because by the sin offering of Christ, “the righteous requirements of the law have all  been fully met in us.”

My salvation relationship with God cannot be shaken. I’m a mountain. It’s not psychology, it’s geology. My security doesn’t come from how I feel today, but from who God is both now and forevermore.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The puck drops this afternoon on the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but I have little confidence in our Dallas Stars. They’re facing off against Calgary in this best-of-seven series, with some of the youngest, fastest, most skilled players in the NHL. But something’s not right. They can’t score a goal to save their necks. They’re great defensively — Stars teams always are. But they’re averaging less than 2.6 goals per game this season. Can’t light the lamp. Can’t put the biscuit in the basket.

Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn don’t look right. And we’re not sure if goalie Ben Bishop will even be dressed. What does “unfit to play” mean?

This same Stars team took the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Blues to seven games in the second round of the playoffs last year. It was wild. Thrilling. I believe NHL playoff hockey is better than football, the most exciting thing in the wide, wide world of all sports. And the Stars were playing so well before the global pandemic shut it all down. I was so sure the Stars were ready to take that next step and go all the way to the Conference Finals and maybe beyond this year. But the four month layoff has been disastrous. I guess. The Edmonton bubble isn’t working.

But it’s still playoff hockey. It’s still the coolest game on earth. It’s the only sport that has a true sudden death. It’s the only sport in which outcomes turn on an instant that you and I never see coming. So, here’s hoping I’m wrong about the Stars’ chances against the Flames. And here’s to playoff beards and penalty kills, to empty nets and overtime. Here’s to the start of sport’s most entertaining and most demanding championship tournament.

Peace,

Allan

« Older posts