Words With Friends and Cheaters

A game of Scrabble in Tagalog.

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My husband is over-the-top obsessed with Words with Friends.  For those of you living in the dark ages, it’s basically the game of Scrabble designed to allow users to engage in games with each other via their i-appendage (iPhone, iTouch, iPods, and iPad).  

At any given time, Tim has about five games simultaneously running.  He is playing his boss and his bosses ‘wife”, our football coach’s son, a dad from baseball, and some random guy he met in the Words with Friends cloud.  I thought about being jealous of all his new wordie friends and the enormous amount of time he dedicates to this hobby (for about a minute), but then decided it was too much fun watching him kick some serious Scrabble bootie to get mad at.  The truth is my sweetie-pie is a strategic word genius.  Give him a few letters and a board (even a mini one) and the man can make some magic.

Occasionally people accuse him of cheating.  Clearly, anyone who would suggest this ridiculous concept does not know my honest to a fault hubby very well.  In seminary, he once went to a professor and confessed he hadn’t done all the reading. He actually admitted his earnest and sincere effort to read every page and subsequent failure to complete the last few chapters of one of the thirty books assigned.  I still scratch my head at that one (Honey, I think the professors knew the reading load was a tad overwhelming…just saying).

Honest Abe has got nothing on Tim Keller.

But this whole concept of cheating brings up some rather interesting observations… because quite frankly, I know quite a few who do cheat! (No names of course)

What factors influence a person to be so competitive as to cheat on an itty bitty game played over the internet?  No money is involved, no status, nothing other than bragging rights to the one loser you just beat.  So why cheat?

I googled Scrabble Word Finder and about twenty cheater apps popped up.  It seems like we have a culture of cheaters that enable other cheaters. 

Too bad someone can’t morph a lie-detector test into an iPhone app.  But honestly, when a player types in argute or ascesis for a 110 point word, it’s pretty obvious Pinocchio is playing the game.  

So, fess up people…do you cheat or play fair?

New iPhone APP-The Man Script

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

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I have an idea for a new iPhone app.  I am confident it will redefine marriage and solve the disparity between Mars vs Venus communication quagmires.  Basically, it all boils down to a script for men. 

Any man, employing these simple top ten phrases will successfully navigate the difficult and treacherous road to a women’s heart.  Finally, the man-fixer and the woman-emoter will live in peaceful harmony.

When a man feels like saying “that’s dumb,” the iPhone will translate with proper tone and enunciation, replacing his words with, “I never thought about it that way, how compelling.”


MAN THINKS                                                 iPhone AP REPLIES:

How can I fix this problem?                     That must be difficult dear

Oh no, she’s got that bitch face on          Tough day?  How can I help?

Your boobs look hot!                                   Honey, you take my breath away.

I want sex!                  I am the luckiest man here to be going home with you.

Those jeans make your butt look fat.  Those jeans make your butt look hot! 

If I go through the motions, can we have sex? Let’s just hang out and talk? 

This dinner sucks.      This is interesting, how did you go about preparing it?

Celine Dion tickets? If I pretend to like them, will I get sex?     I love this gift! 

You spent how much money to look exactly the same? 

                             I noticed you got your hair done, it looks lovely!

If Only It Were As Simple As Having God On Speed Dial

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

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I have Jesus on speed dial.  When a monumental crisis is looming or I need directions for the roadmap of life, I just grab my iPhone and hit God.  Generally he answers on the first ring, but sometimes I am put on hold due to turmoil in the Mideast or the occasional tsunami. Fortunately, I have a special ringtone, so he generally gets back to me within five minutes – max. 

Yeah right!  If only hearing God’s voice was that easy.  Though we were initially designed for this type of connection, Adam and Eve, bless their sinful hearts, interrupted our ability to walk side by side in the Garden and hear God call out our name.  So, until that glorious day, when we will meet him face to face, we are left with a deep desire within to know our Creator. While this yearning is enough to motivate us into action it is often wrapped in confusion. Does God speak to His people today like he used too in Biblical times?  What does his voice sound like?  Will I recognize it? And ultimately, how do we pursue something so incredibly elusive?

What we often forget in our eagerness for instant gratification and fast answers is that all relationships take time to develop intimacy. Our ability to discern God’s voice is directly related to the depth of our relationship and the journey we have experienced with our Father. Over time, as our spiritual journey matures, our recognition of the myriad ways God communicates will sharpen.  And though we may not be able to hear an audible voice on speaker phone, we can learn to quiet our heart, open our eyes and hear God loud and clear.

When Samuel was a young boy, and God called him out of sleep to give him a message, he did not have the ability to recognize God’s voice and needed Eli’s assistance. But as he grew into a man and eventually into the judge that would lead Israel, he trained his ear to hear the Lord. The name Samuel means “listens to God.” It implies action.  Samuel was intentional.  He paused and…he actually listened!  In a world of incessant noise this may be one of the greatest challenges we face as believers.

One of the ways God speaks is through circumstances.  Doors open…doors close and opportunity knocks. Relationships develop, sparks fly, and something is created out of nothing.  Miracles happen, rescues are made and battles are won.  The first step is awareness in what the Spirit might be communicating through daily living

The other day, I had a great opportunity to hear God and it only took a jackhammer for him to get his message across.  As a busy mother of three children, time alone is nonexistent, and so I was eager to chaperone my daughter’s cheer squad for a long practice at our church, because I knew I could go off and hide while the coach drilled the girls.  I settled down in the nursery with my nine month old baby for a nice quiet afternoon, anticipating that the baby would entertain herself and I could pen about ten thousand words.

My first mistake was thinking the baby could be so easily duped by a few flashy toys and some tasty snacks, but I was determined to be productive.  I managed to write a whole paragraph when my laptop suddenly died.  Because it was plugged in to the charger, I was baffled. But, it refused to start and I was getting frustrated.  Fearing a blue screen, I checked and rechecked, only to realize that I had brought the wrong charger.  I have an HP and I was trying to connect it to my husband’s Dell power brick. OK God, I chuckled, you want me to go Old School and use a pen.  In a posture of sincere adaptability, I sat on the floor with a journal and a pen, to calm the now fussy baby and continue on my literary quest for greatness. 

One sentence in, the baby grabbed my pen and laughed. Every time I attempted to write she batted at the paper, the pen, my face…whatever she could get her little hands on.  Then she started crying.  In an act of surrender I put down the pen and asked God what he wanted me to hear.  I grabbed the bottle and a blanket and reached for the baby. She snuggled close into my arms and I began to rock, rock and rock.  Finally we found our rhythm.  As the baby relaxed and fell asleep, I knew in my heart that I needed to lean into my Father’s arms the way the baby was resting in mine. 

God was giving me a gift.  I had hours alone with my sweet angel, without distractions, time to bond, sing worship songs, giggle and play peek-a-boo. Letting go of my agenda was the only way to experience his plan for me.   Later on the day, she fell asleep again and I was able to write again…deeply humbled, blessed and cognizant of God’s love. 

Ironically, it doesn’t take much for God to communicate a message.  I heard him loud and clear through a power cord and a fussy baby.  The challenge is to be aware, because God is always moving!

First published on Everyday Christian, October 19, 2010

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