What it takes to be an All-American

It’s been an enjoyable time of year for college football fans, especially for those who are watching their teams compete for bowl wins- or better yet- a championship.

It’s a time to reflect on players who are chosen to be All-Americans. These athletes are recognized for their ability to run, throw, catch or block.  It’s the ultimate honor for players who have set themselves apart on the playing field.  It doesn’t come easy…but their skills are honed by hours and hours of practice and repetition.

This begs a question.

Am I willing to be an All-American in my walk with Christ?

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.  Colossians 3:23-24

We all have the potential to be great examples, but it takes work.  Discipline. Commitment.

I struggle with this daily.  Am I fulfilling my role as a Christian?  Am I the husband, father, son, friend and servant that Jesus calls me to be?  The answer is often “no.”  I’m not preparing myself for greatness.

I need to remember that someone is watching me at all times.  My wife.  My children.  My parents.  My co-workers.

I need to continually ask if myself if my actions are consistent with a Christ-centered life.  Most importantly,  I need to be honest with that answer and have the courage to make the changes and sacrifices that are necessary.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15

My prayer this week is to have the discipline to act “as one approved.”

Let me know how I may pray for you.  God bless.

Standard

The Ultimate Gift

IMG_4395_2Zaevion Dobson was shot and killed last week in Knoxville.

I had not met Dobson, but I’ll never forget his name or the impact of his life.

Dobson was a victim of a shooting late Thursday night.  Each day there are senseless acts of violence throughout America, but this one was different.

Dobson, a brave 15-year-old sophomore, heard shots being fired.  Without hesitation, he threw his body across three young girls walking nearby.  A bullet hit Dobson, but no one else was injured because he acted as a human shield for his friends.

Think about that.

When gunshots are fired most people duck or run…take cover.  Not Dobson.  His first instinct was to protect his friends- even when it cost him his life.  What a gift he gave to these young women.

This incident reminded me of the frailty of life.

It also made me grateful for Jesus, who died for us all.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. …  Romans 5:6-11

This time of year we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  We also need to reflect on the gift of salvation He gave to us…and His willingness to die for you and me.

Let not your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in me.  John 14:1

This world needs more people with courage like Zaevion Dobson.

And we also need to be grateful for the ultimate display of courage from Jesus.

Please pray for the family and friends of Zaevion Dobson.  Also pray for Fulton High School and the Knoxville community.

Also give thanks for Jesus protecting us from a death in sin.  Jesus gave us the hope of an eternal life.  What a blessing.

God bless all of you.  Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

Standard

Praying with the Dead

IMG_7489I had signed up to deliver Christmas baskets for the needy through our church. The idea was to take groceries, clothing and toys to families who were struggling financially.

But the end-of-year holiday crunch had caught up with me. I was facing a huge deadline at work and kept putting off the delivery of my baskets. So here it was…December 23…and I was hastily trying to get these baskets delivered to homes all across Knox County.

My heart wasn’t in it.

Carson, my six-year old daughter, and I had five homes to visit.  Our instructions were to deliver the baskets and to pray with these families before leaving. At each stop I rushed through the prayer-thinking only about the next stop on the list.

Our last stop was in a desolate part of the county. The directions led me to a gravel road that curved up a mountain. After sunset we stopped in front of a battered, aging trailer.  Surely no one lived here…

A frail woman opened the door and welcomed us inside. Her trailer was sparely furnished and very cold. I could feel gusts of wind pushing through cracks in the windows and doors. It was obvious that she lived alone.

She told us that she was facing a losing battle with cancer. She had been hopeful that her treatments would help, but rounds of chemotherapy and radiation had ravaged her body and weakened her ability to fight the cruel disease. She told us that she had a few months left to live.

It was a sobering sight.

I felt sorry for this woman- fighting cancer all by herself. I didn’t know what to say, as I was overwhelmed with grief.

Carson reminded me that we needed to pray. The three of us stood in her trailer and I said a soft, sad prayer for her.

Then it happened.

We were turning to go and she asked if she could pray for us. She took our hands and led the most beautiful prayer I’ve ever heard. She prayed for me as a husband, father and son. She prayed for Carson as a daughter and leader at her school. She prayed for family’s health and happiness. And she prayed for our “unselfish act of service” that night- and how much that visit had meant to her.

With all her pain and suffering- she thought of us. She prayed unselfishly for us while facing the reality of death.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

She told us that she had no fear about her circumstances.  She had already overcome this world.

Carson continued to talk and hold her hand as I returned to the truck to get extra food we had packed. We wished her a Merry Christmas and headed back out into the night.

I fought back tears as we drove down that mountain. I was ashamed that I had approached this task with such a bad attitude.

We delivered food for her that evening, but she returned to us an even greater blessing. She gave us a gift of hope.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

I pray that we all have good attitudes this holiday season. I pray that we find someone to lift up during this time of year. Perhaps in doing so- we’ll be the ones who receive the blessing.

Please let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

 

 

 

 

Standard

Nothing to Wear…

FullSizeRender

Getting ready to go somewhere…anywhere…is a chore at our home. Five people sharing two bathrooms complicates the matter.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle doesn’t come from a crowded closet or bathroom, however. The simple decision of “what to wear” often throws a huge roadblock into the preparation.

I’m not going to publish the names here, as I need to protect the guilty. (I also need to note that the folks that cause the waiting are also some of the most beautiful people I know…)

In a broader sense, I wonder how much time we put into our preparation to be followers of Jesus.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

How much effort do I put into clothing myself with compassion and gentleness?

If you ask those I work with- or better yet- those in my home, I’m afraid that I might receive a failing grade.  I’m not routinely working to be kind or patient.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

I have to be intentional in my preparation to be a Christ follower.  I need to make reading the Bible a habit.  I need to meditate on and study God’s word.  And I need to pray for wisdom and discernment.

Filling my heart and head with the teachings of Jesus is the best preparation for my daily walk.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.  1 Peter 2:21

Pray for me to be more intentional about my faith.  You all deserve it.

And let me know how to pray for you.

God bless.

 

 

Standard

Get Out of My Face

014

We’ve officially entered the holiday season.  Thanksgiving day kicks off approximately five weeks of celebrations, including Christmas and culminating with New Year’s Day.  It’s a period of spending time with friends and family.

The irony of this month of fellowship?  It also brings out the worst of us.

Stores are crowded.  Streets are congested.  Our schedules are packed.  It’s cold and rainy…and nightfall comes quickly.

If we aren’t careful, we can become irritable.  The holiday season can be stressful and depressing.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.  Philippians 2:14-16

That’s a powerful passage.  Paul was encouraging the Philippians to be different. Do everything without complaining or arguing.  Paul asked them to be a light…to shine like stars.

It’s the same for us today.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 5:14-16

Be a joy for someone every day during this holiday season.

Don’t let busyness distract you.  Make sure to let your light shine.

Someone needs it.

Please pray for me.  Let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

 

 

 

 

 

Standard