I recall the playgrounds of my youth, not very fondly. I always hated it when it was time to play some kind of team sport. The two best athletes would just naturally be the team captains and they would take turns picking their teams. I was always the last picked. I was an awful klutz and a terrible athlete, really not an athlete at all.
I read an article this morning calling for the banning of that practice in school. The author commented about how it permanently harms kids, like me. You would think I would be in favor of such a ban, but I don’t think I am. I would be sensitive to the situation for my own kids, grandkids and such, but I think that horrible practice had an overall positive influence on me.
I was the first kid in my graduating class to join up. Vietnam was going on. All those other big tough kids ran off and hid in college. Not me I joined the Navy. Not the marines, the team picking experience motivated me. It didn’t make me insane. Lot of my motivation in life that led me to success in college, and law school and, to some extent, in life, I can trace back to school yard humiliations.
I am glad that Jesus doesn’t pick His team that way. In fact, I really don’t understand how He does it. He sure doesn’t pick the kids I would pick. He seems to choose those who can’t speak very well to preach the gospel. He picks the shy to share His word. He picks the weak to build His kingdom. Not much of a team captain is He?
No matter if you were the team captain as a kid or the last kid picked. Be aware the rules are different now. The next Billy Graham is probably drunk in an alley somewhere now, not studying at our finest seminary. Paul was a murderer before He was the great evangelist.
Don’t feel qualified to make a difference in a world that so desperately needs a change? Get ready, Jesus has a job for you.
Get ready to be picked and be blessed.
We are fond of saying that we have “seen the light.” I wonder how often that expression really comes with a true revelation. In fact, the experience of the light doesn’t begin with clarity of vision, but with blindness.
Consider Saul of Tarsus, who would become Paul. His encounter with Christ began with being knocked off his horse and experiencing a time of blindness. When a bright light suddenly comes on in a dark room, we shield our eyes. The experience is too much. We have to be accustomed to the light.
I believe there is a purpose in that sequence especially in spiritual matters. When we experience Christ, we need to be overwhelmed and blinded for just a bit. In order to see clearly for the rest of our days, we need to experience a time of blindness to all we knew before and become accustomed to seeing things in a new way. Christians, true followers of Christ, see the world completely differently from everyone else. We should be considered “different” by the world; because we should be different.
There is a current “christian” philosophy which teaches that we need to be more “acceptable” to the world. The basis for this theory is that the reason that Christianity is rejected is because it’s not palatable to the modern taste. If we try to change light so that it’s easier to accept, it isn’t light any more. The shock which comes with an encounter with the real Christ is necessary. Jesus is radically different and following him doesn’t involve a minor course correction, it requires a 180 degree turn.
The next time someone says, or you think, “I’ve seen the light” apply this test: if you think you can see better that wasn’t the light you saw, it was something less and less than the true light isn’t worth following.
When we become blind to the ways of the world, we become real reflections of true light in it.
Shine and be blessed.
Today in south Louisiana we’ll find out who the real LSU Tiger fans are. For someone like me, who is a Florida Gator fan, it’s been a long year. All this talk about the game of the century and the team of the century. Going out everyday to a sea of purple and goal. Well the “team of the century” stunk up the Superdome last night and turned in the worse performance in BCS history. Never before has a team been shut out in a BCS bowl game (national championship or not). Not only was LSU shut out but they only crossed the 50 yard line once only to be pushed back a few plays later and eventually fumble the ball. I texted my grand daughter who was there throughout the game. I wanted to be there just to give her a hug. She was crushed.
This morning I don’t think I’ll face a sea of purple and gold or hear talk of dynasties. But I will run into a few real fans. I think I’ll give them a hug. A real fan sticks with you when you fall. He loves you when you stink. You real LSU fans. Love you guys. You others who bought your fan status at Walmart. I won’t miss your obnoxious bragging. Your purple and gold gear with the price tags still on. Go find yourselves another band wagon.
This is a day for real fans no matter who you cheer for to stick together. You tiger fans. Your guys will probably be even better next year. Couldn’t be much worse than last night. Sorry. Couldn’t stop myself.
Give some thought this morning to friends and family members who haven’t been doing so well. Who seem to stumble and fall every day. Those folks you are so used to seeing down that you’ve given up on them. Never give up. Jesus doesn’t give up on you and sometimes everyone else does. Give someone who is down a hug today and a lift.
If it makes you feel any better, as a Gator fan, I don’t look forward to facing Tigers next year. I’m sure they will play us better than they did Alabama last night.
And, oh yes, at least til next year. Roll Tide.
Sunday was a great day at church. The Spirit was moving and much kingdom business was done on an individual basis. The Spirit was moving so much that the Pastor never got to complete his sermon. This isn’t completely unusual. In fact, it happens quite frequently. That’s often a good thing. I’d rather have the Spirit than a full sermon any day.
We did get a hint at the sermon and it seem like it would have been a good one. Pastor proposed these New Year Resolutions. The good thing about New Year Resolutions which are proposed on the 8th day of the year, is that you don’t feel bad that you’ve already broken most of them. I don’t know what Pastor intended, but this is what I would have done with these.
Here they are, with my comments, of course:
I will carry my own Bible to church every Sunday. This is a good one. I carry my bible because my iPhone is always with me. Sometimes I even have my iPad. I have bibles on both.
But I don’t get much credit for this. Even when I’m diligently following the discussed scripture, people think I’m checking my Facebook page or my email. But they should be minding their own business anyway. I would change this one a bit. I find just bringing your bible doesn’t mean much. And you’re going to hear scripture on Sunday anyway. I would change this to: I will actually open my bible every day and read something.
I will become a worker for the Kingdom of God. I have been saying this so much that when I say it, folks roll their eyes at me. I like to think Jesus was serious when he spoke. I don’t find a single example of Him joking. When He said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God.” I kind of think He meant it. Good one Pastor. I give you an “A.”
I will speak life and not death. This one is too serious to joke about. Whenever I see the motto, “Speed kills.” I think “Words kill faster.” I have killed joy, enthusiasm, love, and lots more with my words. I have had these things killed in me with words as well. Another good one, Pastor. I know some folks I hope heard you (I mean beside me.)
I will say the answer and not the problem. This is the way I look at this one. Most of the time I don’t know the answer. So I think my Pastor is saying, “Just shut up.” He’s way too nice to say that, but I’m not. So if God hasn’t given you the answer (you see I don’t want an answer you came up with), then please, “Just shut up.” Pray for wisdom and an answer. In the meantime, we already know the problem, so “Just shut up.” Sorry Pastor, that’s how I roll.
I will bless and edify and not judge. Heaven on earth. That’s what we would have if everyone followed this one. I guess it should start with me. Blessings to everyone reading this. You are a great person, just because you are reading this. See. I’m not judging your motives. That’s pretty easy. Try it.
I will build disciples. I think I know what Pastor meant here. We can’t build disciples. That’s Jesus’ job. What we can do is be used by Him to build disciples and thus build His kingdom. I’m sure that’s what he meant and, if so, another good one. Isn’t that our whole purpose. If that’s not our purpose, what is it?
2012 motto: “Living to Give” Years ago I took a two year study of scripture. Kind of like the old Saturday Night Live routine in which we are told you only remember one thing from each subject. Just memorize that and you’re good to go. For example, economics all you remember is “supply and demand.” Math, all you remember is “Pi R square” For me the main thing I remembered from that course was that Israel, and now each of us, has been “Blessed to be a blessing.” We have been truly blessed. The reason is so we can bless others. Blessings we keep inside wither and rot and die. And that’s really nasty. I think Living to Give says the same thing.
Pastor. It was a great sermon. Sorry we missed it.
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore1234