Author: Allan (Page 1 of 427)

Settle It In Seattle

The Texas Rangers’ magic number is “2” after last night’s crisply played 5-0 win in Anaheim. And now it’s on to Seattle for the regular season’s final series against the Mariners. Four games against the M’s. You couldn’t write a better setup.

Any combination of Rangers wins and Astros losses that equals two gives Texas its first AL West title since 2016. Technically, the Rangers will clinch a Wild Card berth with just one more win. Two wins gives them the division championship. A Wild Card slot means the Rangers play a two-out-of-three first round series, with all three games on the road. The division crown means a first round bye and home field advantage in the ALDS. There’s a lot riding on these four games in Seattle.

And this is the perfect script. Seattle has been a nightmare for the Rangers lately. Since 2020, Texas has a better record in Houston than in Seattle. The Rangers are 4-22 in Seattle during the three seasons from 2020-2022. They have been both blown out and walked off in Seattle too many times to count over the past three-plus years. Corey Seager’s batting average at T-Mobile Park is .133! Now, to get into the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons, Texas must win one game at there. Win two and they clinch the franchise’s eighth division championship. Can they exercise those demons? Can they beat the one team in the one place that’s given them so much heartache? Who wrote this? It’s delicious.

Texas could win tonight, clinch the playoff berth, and spray champagne all over each other in the visitor’s clubhouse. Then they could rinse and repeat and win tomorrow night and spray more champagne all over everybody for winning the division. It could be a really fun next couple of nights for the Rangers.

The beauty is that nobody saw this coming six months ago and certainly nobody saw it coming the way it has. The team that spent $250-million on pitching is being led now by Dane  Dunning and Jose LeClerc. Dunning leads the Rangers in victories. LeClerc appears to be this team’s closer now. And it’s working.

The 162-game season is coming down to the final four games. Everything’s going to be settled in Seattle.



Getting Close

The Rangers were in a coma last night, sleepwalking through a 9-3 loss to the Angels. But, thankfully, the Mariners beat the Astros in Seattle, so the magic number is down to “3” with five games to play. The fear here is that, for the past six weeks, the Rangers have followed five and six game winning streaks with four and five game losing streaks. Let’s hope in the rubber match tonight that trend gets broken. And let’s be thankful Corey Seager’s wrist is not. Broken.


The A/V guys are training Tim and Dan on the new  equipment today, the painters are finishing up in the hallways, and the new chairs are being moved into our remodeled worship center at GCR. This is exciting — we’re getting close. After worshiping God together in our church gym for the past 37 Sundays (but who’s counting?), we’re finally moving back into this beautiful space.

Tonight, right after our MidWeek gatherings, we’re asking everybody in our church family to help us move the chairs out of storage, down a short hallway and into the worship center, and set them in their rows. Tim will direct us — he’s got the master diagram — and it should take less than the 30-minutes we have planned. Everything is marked, the design is familiar, the chairs on each end will already be in place, and it will probably be a lot of  fun. It’s an all-church, all-call, all hands on deck, intergenerational participatory event to move into place the last pieces of our remodeled room. Together.

Our Lord has been very good to us in that gym for the past nine months. He has been gracious to provide during this remodeling. But now it’s time to move back into our worship center, the sanctuary, the sacred space where God has been meeting with his people at GCR every Lord’s Day for 60-years. I can’t wait for Sunday.




Magic Numbers

The Rangers’ magic number is “4” after going back-to-back-to-back in the 6th inning in Anaheim last night and beating the Halos 5-1. Jon Gray gave Texas a solid start, the Rangers had baserunners in every inning but one, and Garcia, Garver, and Lowe went deep to hang on to the 2-1/2 game lead over the Astros. Three home runs in a row and four in a span of six at-bats. They’ve hit at least four homers in a game eleven times this year, three times in the past week. The Rangers lead the AL in home runs at 227. And with six games to play, Texas’ magic number is four to winning their first division title in seven years.

I love the drama of this last week of the season with so much on the line — every pitch, every at-bat, every shift and catch and throw, every scoreboard crawl at the bottom of the screen updating us on the Astros. I don’t like that this is all happening on the West Coast. These late starts and long nights are going to catch up with me before the week’s over.


My magic number for the Cowboys now is “6.” I’ve predicted a 10-7 season for Dallas this year and I’ve got a couple of dinners with a couple of good friends riding on it. I think I’m in good shape. I’ve done the math.

The Cowboys have ten tough games left on their schedule: home games against the Rams, Seattle, Philly, and the Lions; and road games at San Francisco, the Chargers, Philly, Buffalo, Miami, and Washington. Let’s say they split those ten games. Can you find six wins in those ten games? No way. That’s five losses, giving me a total of six.

That means Dallas only has to lose one of these remaining “easier” games: at home against the Patriots, Washington, or New York; or on the road at Carolina. That gets me to seven.

Jerry Wayne is blaming Sunday’s loss in Arizona on missing three starting offensive linemen  due to injury. Well, the offense didn’t give up 222 yards rushing. Dak is blaming the media. Funny, I didn’t see David Moore or Tim Cowlishaw or any ESPN or FOX commentators suiting up for the Cards. That’s absurd. To his credit, McCarthy is shouldering some of the blame for his own play-calling inside the red zone. I would add that’s it not just inside the opponents’ 20-yard line; it’s all over the field from the start of the game until the finish. It’s the whole offensive philosophy. The Cowboys went to this dink and dunk “Texas Coast” offense because they don’t trust Dak. And it’s hard to come from behind by dinking and dunking down the field. Dak can’t throw deep, the defense knows it, and they’re already loading up. Let the Cowboys get the short stuff, keep everything in front of us; they can’t go ten or eleven plays down the field without shooting themselves in the foot with penalties and mistakes.

This gets worse for Dallas, not better. And it’s so delicious.




The Texas Rangers’ magic number is “5” for clinching the division championship in the American League West. Over the weekend, the Rangers completed a three-game sweep of the Mariners while the Astros were inexplicably being swept by the 102-loss Royals, giving Texas a 2-1/2 game lead in the division with seven games left in the regular season. The Rangers are healthy again, using the same batting order in four straight games for the first time this year. They’ve won five in a row after losing the previous four in a row. Evan Carter is providing a tremendous spark, the starters are gutting through some tough outings, and Bruce Bochy is proving to be the bullpen whisperer. It seems like the Rangers are getting hot at exactly the right time. Everything has changed.

The Dallas Cowboys shocked all the people who don’t pay attention by laying a massive egg against the previously-winless Cards in Arizona. And it was the same three culprits it always is. One, Jerry Wayne. How else do you explain the lackluster effort on defense and all those penalties? The Cowboys gave up 222 rushing yards, 7.4 yards per carry, allowed a score on each of Arizona’s first half possessions, and committed ten penalties in the first half, the most by any team in a half in twelve years. The Cardinals had zero turnovers for the game and punted twice. Evidently, Dallas thought they could just show up and the Cardinals would lay down. Classic Jerry trickle down effect. Two, McCarthy. So, he’s calling all the plays now. The Cowboys got inside the Arizona ten-yard line on all four of their second half possessions and came away with a grand total of two field goals. McCarthy went for it and failed on fourth and four, knowing that points were terribly hard to come by. Dallas is now 6-15 on red zone possessions through three games. And, three, Dak. Nice end zone interception late in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys QB throws high to open receivers and throws into triple coverage when the game gets tight. Dallas lost to a backup quarterback and a winless team while reportedly having the most talented roster they’ve had in decades. Nothing has changed.



Playoffs Start Today

For the first time since divisional play began in 1969, a MLB division is heading into the regular season’s final ten games with only half a game separating three teams. Houston is in first place in the AL West and the Rangers and Mariners are both a half game behind. By fluke of the schedule, Texas plays seven of its last ten against Seattle. Head to head. That means the playoffs start today.

It’s been a wild ride, for sure, to get to this point: meaningful games in September. An incredibly unforeseen blazing hot start, a just as unbelievable free-fall out of the playoff picture, and wildly inconsistent sputtering ever since. Bullpen blowups and season-ending injuries. Five Cy Young awards on the DL. That awful three-game set against Houston. Yet, here we are: meaningful games in September.

Not only does just a half-game separate the Rangers, Astros, and Mariners in the division,  but Toronto leads the Rangers and M’s by a half-game in the Wild Card race. Four teams competing for three postseason spots in the next ten days. The Rangers control their own destiny here, especially with seven of their games against Seattle.

If Texas overtakes Houston and wins the AL West — the Astros own the tie-breaker over the Rangers, so Texas would have to finish ahead of Houston — the Rangers would earn a first round bye and host a division series. If they sneak in via the Wild Card route, they would likely play the Twins in a best two-out-of-three series, with all three games in Minnesota.

Yes, this is much more than any of us bargained for when the season began. Yes, for the first time in months, Texas has its All-Star lineup intact and healthy and playing every day. Plus rookie sensation Evan Carter. Yes, the Rangers have Bruce Bochy and all his playoff experience and success at the helm. But it feels like fool’s gold.

The pitching just isn’t there.

Regardless, autumn officially begins tomorrow and the Rangers are still very much in the thick of a division race. If they can take four or five of these final seven games against Seattle, they will likely be in the playoffs for the first time since 2016. And that’s fun no matter how short lived it might be.

The playoffs start tonight.

Let’s Go Rangers!
Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap!


New Creation

“By him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible… all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things and in him all things hold together… God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood shed on the cross.” ~Colossians 1:15-20

The Creator of the universe, the Creator of all things that have ever existed, the One who spoke and breathed all things into being, and the One who created you and me — the Creator is also the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus. God through Christ formed and shaped his creation in wonder and beauty and awe. And God through Christ entered his magnificent creation to reconcile all of it. To redeem it and restore it. To recreate the heavens and earth and to recreate me. And you.

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation… This is the Gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven.” ~Colossians 1:21-23

The flesh and blood of Jesus Christ was hung on a cross and the whole world went dark again. All the darkness and emptiness and loss that the powers of evil could conjure — it all came together to kill the image of God. But his cruel death resulted in the ultimate and forever defeat of all those dark powers. Chaos and turmoil and sin and death and Satan were eternally destroyed on that great day.

God looked into the deep darkness of the cross, he looked into the lifeless void of the grave, and he created everything brand new all over again. For all of us. For you and for me. Jesus says, “Because I live, you also will live!”

“If anyone is in Christ, there is new creation! The old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ!” ~2 Corinthians 5:17-18

God’s beautiful design and purpose in creation began with Jesus Christ. And his plan for the redemption of all creation runs through Jesus Christ. What Jesus did at the cross shows us what God will do to bring his new creation to every man, woman, and child he’s ever placed on this planet. The same creative love and power that triumphed on the cross in Christ is the same love and power that created and sustains the whole world. The same Jesus who created you is also redeeming you.

Your destiny is not determined by fate or fluke or luck, but by our loving and gracious Father. The earth is not a random accident in the chemistry lab of the universe. There is meaning and purpose to all of creation. But we can’t understand it, we can’t comprehend creation or God’s purposes for creation apart from Christ.

If the heavens and the earth and everything and everyone in them are created by Christ and exist for Christ, then it’s never meaningless or without direction. And it’s never beyond the reach of God’s Holy Spirit. It’s never out of range of God’s holy possibility. It’s never past God’s capacity to create.

I wonder if, right now, your life feels formless and empty. Is there a void or a darkness in your life? Does chaos reign instead of calm? Is there any pain in your soul? Is there bitterness in your heart? How much disappointment is in there? How much hurt? How much sin?

God’s Holy Spirit is near. God’s Spirit is hovering, he is moving over you right now. He is hovering over your darkness, he is moving over your emptiness. He sees your pain and confusion. He knows about your sin. He is near. He is hovering. Moving.

And you pray. Maybe out loud. Maybe through tears.

Create in me.

And God says, “I can.”

Lord, breathe into me.

And God says, “I can.”

Make something new out of the chaos of my life.

And God says, “I will.”

Shine light into my darkness, Lord. Bring life into my soul. Create in me your holy image and your Holy Spirit.

And God says, through our Lord Jesus who was and is and is to come, “Behold! I am making all things new!”



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