New Address for This Blog

Thank you for bearing with these difficulties!

I think that this will be the last post here at https://jimhamilton.wordpress.com. The switch to wordpress.org seems to have taken place, and the lights are now on over at http://www.jimhamilton.info.

If you’re subscribed to For His Renown, to keep getting posts on this blog, please click this link (http://feeds.feedburner.com/ForHisRenown).

If you subscribe to the blog via email, you can head over to http://www.jimhamilton.info, enter your email address in the little slot on the right hand part of the page, and hit subscribe. I won’t be mad if you sign your family friends up, too.

If you’re kind enough to have me in your blogroll, I would be most grateful if you would update the address to http://www.jimhamilton.info.

If you value this blog, would you help me get the word out on the new address? Anything you find easy to do would be appreciated, whether that’s a blog post or a tweet or a Facebook like on the new site. Thanks for your help.

Thanks for your patience with this transition, and thanks for reading!

As always, may everything said on this blog be For His Renown.

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Filed under Current Events

Technical Difficulties, Please Stay Tuned

Well, the various servers involved are saying that it could take a while for the switches that have been flipped to turn on the lights over at the new site, so please bear with me. If you already tried to go subscribe at the new place, I’m sorry that there was nothing there to cooperate with you. I’ll put up another post when the lights come on–I put up the one last night because we thought it was the last thing we needed to do before we flipped the switches; then we flipped the switches and nothing happened.

So please forgive me for the delays, and please keep an eye peeled for a post that says the new feed works.

In the mean time, I think this is one of the most encouraging videos I’ve ever watched. My friend Chip Stam is suffering in the hospital, and some dear Christian gospel singers came by to encourage him. Sometimes the blessings of God go beyond the power of words to describe:

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Filed under Current Events

I’m Moving, Please Go With Me!

This blog is moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

For His Renown is for that–God’s glory, and it’s also for you, dear reader. So please forgive me for this hassle, and please do go with me:

1. If you subscribe to this blog through an RSS reader (Google Reader, etc), please do resubscribe with the new domain. You can do so with this link. If the link gives you trouble, maybe try it tomorrow, or perhaps mosey over to http://www.jimhamilton.info or http://www.jamesmhamilton.org and do the RSS drill on the new site.

2. If you are subscribed to my website through WordPress.com, perhaps receiving new posts via email, please do re-subscribe by going to the new site and entering your email on the right side of the page under “Subscribe Via Email.”

I am grateful to Greg Dietrich’s diligent, generous, industrious, knowledgeable labors that made this happen, and I’m grateful to interact with you through this blog. Praise God for Greg, and we’ll continue this conversation over at http://www.jimhamilton.info.

God bless you for the kindness you’re showing me by making this change.

(If it doesn’t work tonight [Wed, March 9], it may be because the servers take some time to update. Perhaps you’ll be so kind as to check back tomorrow. Again, my apologies).

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Filed under Current Events

Book Blurbs You’ll Never See on a Cover

Dan Phillips was musing on the blurbs that might show up on the back cover of his forthcoming book, and he came up with some gems that no author would ever want to see:

  • “Nice try! Really… nice!” (Dr. Heinrich Borfmann, Bogotron Seminary)
  • “Moments of true semi-adequacy!” (Edie Contralto, Cupboard-Keepers Ministries)
  • “We had such hopes for little Danny. And now, this. Oh dear. Well, at least he’s not in prison.  …He’s not, is he?” (Verna Fleebner, Glenoaks Elementary School [retired])
  • “Ambitious, but… well, ambitious!” (Pastor Eulie Lapidary, Church of Holy Perpetuity)
  • “Brings to mind the greats. Longingly. By way of contrast.” (Varf Konkelman, talk show host)
  • “This one part was terrific!” (Bob Fernbern, mechanic)

Note for those, like myself, who struggle with gullibility and overly literal interpretive habits: These are fictional blurbs that Phillips made up.

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Filed under Great Quotes

Jayber Crow on Silence in Worship

Jayber on those beautiful moments of silence when the congregation stills itself before the living God:

“I liked the naturally occurring silences—the one, for instance, just before the service began and the other, the briefest imaginable, just after the last amen. Occasionally a preacher would come who had a little bias toward silence, and then my attendance would become purposeful. At a certain point in the service the preacher would ask that we ‘observe a moment of silence.’ You could hear a little rustle as the people settled down into that deliberate cessation. And then the quiet that was almost the quiet of the empty church would come over us and unite us as we were not united even in singing, and the little sounds (maybe a bird’s song) from the world outside would come in to us, and we would completely hear it.But always too soon the preacher would become abashed (after all, he was being paid to talk) and start a prayer, and the beautiful moment would end. I would think again how I would like for us all just to go there from time to time and sit in silence. Maybe I am a Quaker of sorts, but I am told that the Quakers sometimes speak at their meetings. I would have preferred no talk, no noise at all.

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Filed under Art, Books, Literature, Worship

Congrats to Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth on Their Book on Pujols

Congratulations Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth on their new book on Albert Pujols, Pujols: More Than the Game.

I am very confident in the success of this book for two reasons: first, I was in Wal Mart with my boys over the weekend, and we browsed through their book selection. Lamb and Ellsworth’s book Pujols is there! If it’s in Wal Mart, it’s everywhere. I expect to see it in Borders and Barnes and Noble and whatever those bookstores in the airport are called. How do I get my book on the shelves in Wal Mart? The other thing that guarantees its success is the positive review it got from Challies. Case closed. Widely available and strongly recommended.

Congratulations guys!

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Filed under Books, Current Events

Better to Honor God Than to Win

Here’s the guest post I was invited to contribute to the Family Ministry Today blog:

I love basketball and baseball. I love leaving it all on the court. I love the exhilaration of teamwork, the ball off the sweet spot, the basketball whispering through the net, the discipline to play defense, after-practice ground balls (or free throws), staying in the hitting cage until the hands bleed or the coach can’t throw anymore or the daylight is gone. And I love to win.

These things aren’t on the surface for me. They’re in me bone deep because they’re all wound up with my relationship with my dad. Growing up, my dad was my hero. He was also the high school basketball coach, and I think he worked (and works) harder than anyone else I know. My dad loved me and made sacrifices for me, and I wanted to please him. The best way to do that, I thought, was to lead the team my dad coached to the state championship. At some point, I think 8th grade, I promised I would do it: I told my dad that we would face Corliss Williamson’s Russellville Cyclones in the State Championship, and that we would win.

I failed. We weren’t even close. We didn’t even get to play in the state tournament my senior year. My mom was a great comfort in those days, and she had long been planting seeds, saying things like “basketball isn’t everything.” One day those seeds would bear fruit.

I’m sad to say that along the way I adopted an “anything-to-win” mindset. Thankfully, there were lines that I couldn’t cross, lines that have been obliterated at every level in recent years. Lines that only need the name Barry Bonds mentioned for you to know what I’m talking about.

I failed my dad, but even in failing to win that state championship, he knew I loved him. I said it with words. He heard it more clearly spoken by all those summer days in the gym doing dribble drills, shooting more shots than I could count (counting a bunch of them trying to track shooting percentage—I had this big chart on the wall in my room), running the stairs, working out in strength shoes, doing everything I possibly could to improve. I’d seen my dad work, and I did my best to follow in his footsteps.

One afternoon the summer before last my sons and I were playing wiffle-ball in the backyard with the kid who lives next door. Something happened that triggered a realization in my mind. Seeds planted by my mother, watered by the word of God, suddenly sprouted, pushing up through the soil of my thinking. I don’t remember if the game had ended and my son was on the losing side or if it was just a tight play that went against him, but he threw a fit like the world had ended and all was lost. I recognized the sentiments and the behavior, and I could tell you worse stories about my own actions when I was 15 not 5, things that took place in settings more significant than the backyard. Suddenly I knew, I think for the first time, what my behavior had implied, and what my son’s showed in that moment.

All at once I realized that the antics were announcing that the most important thing in the world was performance and the outcome of this silly game. As I took my son in my arms that afternoon, a phrase came to my lips that expressed something I should have known long before: it’s more important to honor God than to win.

If athletics are going to be anything other than a training ground for thuggery, athletes have to know that it’s more important to honor God than to win. For kids to accept the bodies they’ve been given and refuse performance-enhancing drugs, they have to know that it’s more important to honor God than to win. For us to be able to honor our opponents whether we win or lose, we have to know that it’s more important to honor God than to win. For sports and competition to bring out the best—rather than the worst—in us, we have to go at it like it’s more important to honor God than to win.

It’s more important to honor God than to win. If I love my dad by giving it all I’ve got, but I dishonor God along the way, all I’m left with is an emotional connection to idolatry—and the idol of sports and the relationships associated with it will let us down every time. But if I seek to honor my father and mother because I’m seeking to honor God, the emotional connection is not empty and hollow but solid and everlasting in its shared experience of the two great commandments. We love God by loving people, by playing hard, by soaking ourselves with sweat and disregarding screaming lungs and skinned knees and reaching, striving, straining, winning or losing, for the praise of the one who is worthy.

The great goal of competition is not, therefore, victory. No, victory must be redefined as winning or losing (with all our might) in a way that honors God, because it’s better to honor God than to win.

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Filed under Bible and Theology, Discipleship