Thursday, April 28, 2005

Father Knows Best

Job 28:"28 And this is what he says to all humanity: 'The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.'"

Fear the Lord- this does not mean a cringing or terror- but it is a deep felt reverence for Him. He could crush us in our sin if He chose to do so and we would be without complaint. He is in charge of my health,my financial status, He protects me- If He does not protect me, I am not protected- If He does not provide for me, I am not provided for. I desire to please Him (though it is a pitiful, sin ruined urge) because of the "fear" or reverence.

True Wisdom- Is a gift. It is found when we began to see life and relationships through His eyes, His wisdom is a proper perspective of priorities and attitudes. It is a discernment to understand human motives based on common human nature. It is a challenge to love God and love others.

Forsake Evil- this is a tough one. I am entangled in the evil of this world. I find myself caught up in the entertainment of our day with way too much emphasis on materialism and pleasure. I am watching TV less and reading God's word more. I am praying more and allowing God's people in His church to spur me on to good deeds. I have a long way to go.

Real Understanding..... it is really enjoying life. I have a very rich life of love and adventure.Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Make My God Nice, Warm, and Furry

If the culture war and post modern deconstructionism wasn't tough enough- now evangelicalism is getting sniped from within. I'm ten years behind on this one- but open theism has just crossed my radar. It is a new slant on the old desire to explain man's freedom and God's sovereignty.

In this latest spin (endorsed by Intervarsity Press BTW), God willingly restrains himself from knowing and acting in the future based on man's actions. It is His way of dealing with our frailty. He is now "Open" for change based on our ability to lay hold of Him by faith and prayer.

I am no theologian, and I'm sure I could be taken to task in my poor characterization of this well thought out theory- but can I be honest? Do we not get afraid of characterizing a God that we completely understand? I may be wrong- but if I can explain my God, predict my God, put my God in restraints, and have no fear of is very possible that I made Him and He is no more than an idol.
I'm sorry, but the God of Creation is so far above me that I am awed by Him and most of Him is a secret mystery (Deut.29:29). He is completely sovereign and yet uses my choices- He is immutable and accepts my prayers- He is love, but will ruthlessly destroy sin- I can't explain all of that, but I trust His word on the matter.

I am so tired of human extremeism. As I peruse the world wide web, I find fundamentalists who reject all but the King James Bible and liberals who have deleted all theology to whimpers and whims.

There is truth, and it is most true when we are humbled and GOD is glorified!

Dark shadows are growing in our land- the light is dim- I'm saddened when the shades are being pulled down by those inside the church. Lord help us... please.

Caleb's Social Security Plan

10 "Now, as you can see, the LORD has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise – even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. 11 I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. 12 So I'm asking you to give me the hill country that the LORD promised me."

Alive and Well - Strong-Able to Travel- Willing to Fight- Hungry to Conquer. What a resume at 85!

There are some interesting notes here.
#1 Caleb trusted the Lord and clinged to His promises.
#2 Caleb persevered through rough times- wilderness living was no leisurely lifestyle
#3 The tough times forged a rugged man
#4 Caleb was patient to receive what God promised
#5 Caleb was willing to do his part- climb and fight
#6 Caleb respected authority

Lord, may I live life like Caleb. Give me a fire that does not flicker out as I grow older! I want to be an old man one day on fire for Your kingdom!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Gratitude for the Gift

Acts 4"18 When the others heard this, all their objections were answered and they began praising God. They said, "God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of turning from sin and receiving eternal life."

Thank you Lord for including me in the covenant of grace. I am a gentile- and I was born in sin. My family did not have a legacy of faith and I was lost. In that, You reached out to me! You had someone share the good news of salvation through Christ.

If that were the only gift You had ever given me, I would still need to praise You forever. But You do not stop there. I am overflowing with blessings!


Monday, April 25, 2005

Muggeridge on God


Well, is there? I myself should be very happy to answer with an emphatic negative. Temperamentally, it would suit me well enough to settle for what this world offers, and to write off as wishful thinking, or just the self-importance of the human species, any notion of a divine purpose and a divinity to entertain and execute it. The earth's sounds and smells and colours are very sweet; human love brings golden hours; the mind at work earns delight. I have never wanted a God, or feared a God, or felt under any necessity to invent one. Unfortunately, I am driven to the conclusion that God wants me.

God comes padding after me like a Hound of Heaven. His shadow falls over all my little picnics in the sunshine, chilling the air; draining the viands of their flavour, talk of its sparkle, desire of its zest. God takes a hand as history's compere, turning it into a soap opera, with ham actors, threadbare lines, tawdry props and faded costumes, and a plot which might have been written by Ted Willis himself. God arranges the lighting —Spark of Sparks—so that all the ravages of time, like parched skin, decaying teeth and rotting flesh, show through the makeup, however lavishly it may be plastered on. Under God's eye, tiny hoarded glories—a little fame, some money . . . Oh Mr M! how wonderful you are!—fall into dust. In the innermost recesses of vanity one is discovered, as in the last sanctuaries of appetite; on the highest hill of complacency, as in the lowest burrow of despair. One shivers as the divine beast of prey gets ready for the final spring; as the shadow lengthens, reducing to infinite triviality all mortal hopes and desires.

There is no escape. Even so, one twists and turns. Perhaps Nietzsche was right when he said that God had died. Progressive theologians with German names seem to think so: Time magazine turned over one of its precious covers to the notion. If God were dead, and eternity had stopped, what a blessed relief to one and all! Then we could set about making a happy world in our own way—happy in the woods like Mellors and his Lady Chatterley; happiness successfully pursued, along with life and liberty, in accordance with the Philadelphia specification; happy the Wilson way, with only one book to take to the post-office—one book, one happiness; happy in the prospect of that great Red Apocalypse when the State has withered away, and the proletariat reigns for ever more. If only God were D. H. Lawrence, or Franklin D. Roosevelt, or Harold Wilson, or Karl Marx!

Alas, dead or alive, he is still God, and eternity ticks on even though all the clocks have stopped. I agree with Kierkegaard that 'what man naturally loves is finitude' and that involvement through God in infinitude 'kills in him, in the most painful way, everything in which he really finds his life . . . shows him his own wretchedness, keeps him in sleepless unrest, whereas finitude lulls him into enjoyment.' Man, in other words, needs protection against God as tenants do against Rachmanism, or minors against hard liquor."

I am a simple football coach- here is an intellectual great- and we both agree...time to stop protecting yourself from the One who loves you!

Clear Boundaries and Reasonable Requests

Scripture is a great balance for our lifestyle choices. Christians do not rely on "good deeds" to earn or deserve salvation. We see faith as a relationship instead of rituals. But as culture continues to slide into depravity, our lines of distinctiveness grow more clear. So, I am making a list of things that I believe are clear and reasonable expectations of believers.
Believers should regularly attend worship that is Christ centered and holds a high view of Scripture.
Believers should regularly study the Bible as the sole authority of faith and practice.
Believers should practice fidelity in marriage and abstain from sexual practice outside of marriage.
Believers' speech should be free from profanity.
Believers should make entertainment choices that show a commitment to glorifying God.
Believers should love,forgive, and laugh- they should enjoy life.
Believers should be hopeful not pessimistic.
Believers should be thankful and have a spirit of gratitude.
Believers should align themselves boldly with Christ and willingly share the good news.
Believers should pray without ceasing.
Believers should love children and seek to protect them.
Believers should be willing to serve others- especially the poor and needy.
I'm sure there are many others....
What do you think? Would this make a difference?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Surest Way To Success

Joshua 1:"8 Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed. 9 I command you – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

God's word is a winning edge for life. It is our guidebook. It teaches us about God and his values. It encourages us when we are down, and rebukes us in love.

We need to study it all the time and meditate, mull it over, ponder it. And we need to do this with a spirit of obedience.
I have been so encouraged this year through very hard times because of God's wonderful word.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Half Life and Fading Memories

"When Moses heard that, he fled the country and lived as a foreigner in the land of Midian, where his two sons were born. Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush. Moses saw it and wondered what it was. As he went to see, the voice of the Lord called out to him, 'I am the God of your ancestors the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses shook with terror and dared not look." Stephen's Defense in Acts

What Was It Like?

That day he walked across the desert soil as before. He scanned the horizon and listened for his sheep. As a few realitves and workers looked on him, a dirty shell of a man, did they even know that they were in the presence of the Prince of Egypt. As he leaned on his crook, there was no evidence that this man feasted in the presence of kings. After 40 years, he didn't think much of that past life anymore. He was a murderer, rejected by his people, and forsaken of God.

As an 80 year old, his life was over. He was in a twilight of existence which would end in a merciless snuff of breath and life.

And yet, the God of eternity did not waste a minute of the desert wandering. His servant Moses, who He loved, was in a training ground. He would walk on the desert soil again, the triumphant shepherd of a different flock.

Oh Lord- I want my life to count for You- there is no meaningless time!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Paths of Pain and Prosperity

Deut 30:15 "Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between prosperity and disaster, between life and death. 16 I have commanded you today to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, laws, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and become a great nation, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. 17 But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. 19 "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! 20 Choose to love the LORD your God and to obey him and commit yourself to him, for he is your life. Then you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

I'm finding my reading of Deuteronomy to always be the choice. Moses seems to put before people God's promise that does not change- Choose God and live.

Someone reading this may be confused because the amount of misinformation in our culture. I saw a TV program the other night with a gay pastor- her view of scripture was twisted and manipulative. It has been done that way since the garden.

I trust the Holy Spirit to guide in the whole counsel of God. I trust in the power of God's word- I trust in Jesus. I pray you will do the same.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The God of Joy and Dread

Happy Sunday morning! It is a beautiful morning in Nashville. This is a beautiful land filled with breathtaking farmland and hardwood mountains- all in full bloom!
My Bible reading this morning was Deut 28- wow- what dreadful images. God promised great benefits to the Israelites if they fully followed Him-but incredible promises of cursing if they did not follow HIm. Many of these passages are dismissed by modern man as ancient stories to scare silly women and children. "God would never do such" they say. But I believe He can and does. He protects His glory and Holiness- that is what a God can do!

We are missing a reverence for God's wrath- and that scares me.

Oh Father, please forgive me and please forgive us. We Do not know what we do. You are a consuming fire and we treat you like a harmless match.

I praise You for the joy and praise You that Jesus has delivered Me from Your side of dread. Please protect and provide a new outpouring of Your Spirit on this land. I want us to be a shining city...not a burning Babylon.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Choose Wisely

Acts 5" 38 "So my advice is, leave these men alone. If they are teaching and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. 39 But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God."

My prayer and hope is that God is in my fight. How do I do this?

I study the Bible because I believe it is His word.
I pray.
I fellowship with others and learn from their counsel.
I think.

As I have done this I am even more convinced that the truth belongs to Jesus.

We all need to be careful- if we are against God- we will not win.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Spring Football Pt 2

"Acts 5:13 No one else dared to join them, though everyone had high regard for them."

Appropriate verse this morning- we had a coaching meeting last night and our numbers a dwindling- as can happen this time of year. I am beginning my second spring and I feel like that his is my most crucial year. We started with 32 rising 9th graders (now in 8th grade)- but as we get closer to spring practice- their numbers are dropping.

The number 1 reason is fear. It is the best argument for a freshman only team. Even though I would never have a rising frosh go against bigger boys in practice, and I have told them that, they still see a lot of work- possibility of that match-up and they drop out before even trying.

We will not cut them off- but I hope we keep a good % of that group.

This does allow for a little social commentary on parents. It amazes me how often I hear- "I just let him decide"- My dad did not operate that way- and now I love him for it.

Football is a very tough game- it develops tougher people- it is a great game- at our school it is a needed tool.

Lord, no matter how all this goes- I will not doubt Your goodness. Thank you for loving me.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

When God Was Cursed

Deut. 21:22 "If someone has committed a crime worthy of death and is executed and then hanged on a tree, 23 the body must never remain on the tree overnight. You must bury the body that same day, for anyone hanging on a tree is cursed of God."

It has been written before that God grew the tree that formed the cruel cross of Calvary. When the Son of Man had the weight of that tree thrown on his bleeding and throbbing wounds, He felt sin to be the heavier burden. The Innocent Man, Who had never sinned, was about to die as the vilest criminal in history. "God made Him who knew no sin, to become sin, that we might become the righteousness of God."- all the blasphemy, greed, selfisness, bitternes, jealousy, sexual perversion, and wickedness weighed so heavy on His heart.

He pushed with all that his beaten body could exert. The sinews and tendons were presssed to extreme limits. Scripture says that He did this for the "joy set before Him"- the joy of receiving the redeemed as His brothers and sisters, adopted into God's family.

The pain of the nails were nothing to the pain of bearing sin. As the broken body stretched under the pull of gravity, He felt the full weight of sin.

As He hung on the tree, He became cursed of God. I will never get over hte reality that it should be me on that tree- 100 times over.

Lord does 'thank -you ' not sound so hollow?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Let God Be God

Deut. 12: "12 Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to those who have lived many years. 13 "But true wisdom and power are with God; counsel and understanding are his. 14 What he destroys cannot be rebuilt. When he closes in on someone, there is no escape. 15 If he holds back the rain, the earth becomes a desert. If he releases the waters, they flood the earth. 16 "Yes, strength and wisdom are with him; deceivers and deceived are both in his power. 17 He leads counselors away stripped of good judgment; he drives judges to madness. 18 He removes the royal robe of kings. With ropes around their waist, they are led away. 19 He leads priests away stripped of status; he overthrows the mighty. 20 He silences the trusted adviser, and he removes the insight of the elders. 21 He pours disgrace upon princes and confiscates weapons from the strong. 22 "He floods the darkness with light; he brings light to the deepest gloom. 23 He raises up nations, and he destroys them. He makes nations expand, and he abandons them. 24 He takes away the understanding of kings, and he leaves them wandering in a wasteland without a path. 25 They grope in the darkness without a light. He makes them stagger like drunkards."

I hear complaints about God all the time. Why did He do this? Why did He not do that? Where was He when this happened? How could He be that way?

One of our problems is that we do not understand the concept- "HE IS GOD"

He can and does as He pleases and no one can stop Him. He is in a power and position that we are not. The creation has no right to complain about the creator.

The best news is that our God is good, great, and merciful. If He were evil or "human", I would be in BIG TROUBLE. So I watch the world daily with great interest.

He prospers some of my plans, He thwarts others- Some days He orchrastrates sweet moments- He ordains days of pain and defeat. But, Because He loves me- those days of pain are days of blessing.

Yesterday was a downer day- but as a drifted off to sleep I praised His name. He is God...He is MY GOD and I completely trust Him.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Ministry of Music

As I write these blog posts- I am usually listening to Christian music on my itunes. I really like contemporary christian music and country music. I still listen to my old 80's classic rock, but there is great ministry in the songs of Stephen Curtis Chapman, Casting Crowns, Matthew West, Todd Agnew, Switchfoot, and many others.
I worry about the popular music today- more profanity, violence, and perversity than ever.
Is this just the generational friction? No different than moms hating Elvis? I don't know- I guess the Elvis resisters could predict the outrage of 50 cent.
Country music has become influenced by the "musik mafia" movement. I like the songs that value God, family, and country.
So as I now hear Todd Agnew sing "Grace Like Rain"- I'm thankful for that ministry. I'll sing in my heart to my Savior all day!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Choice

Deut 6: 26 "Today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! 27 You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today. 28 You will receive a curse if you reject the commands of the LORD your God and turn from his way by worshiping foreign gods."

Because we live in the light of the new covenant- this choice is very clear and distinct.- What do you do with Jesus Christ? If you accept Him, trust in Him, follow Him, learn to love Him - You will be blessed. The blessings include forgiveness, answered prayer, direction of God's Spirit through His God-breathed Bible-blessed relationships, joy in living, peace, purpose, success! and many more!

Rejection of Christ is a curse. He became a curse for you as He suffered on the cross. If you reject Him, you will not survive. You will gradually be hardened to the ways of God and declare yourself to be His enemy. In effect, you are worshipping something else- which is usually yourself.

Choose Christ while He is still offered.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Spring for a Football Coach

T.S. Eliot wrote that "April is the cruelest month".I've been amazed at how busy my work is these past few months. Football is a year-long endeavor for a coach. I have been interviewing coaches for staff needs we have - Meeting with current coaches for plans about off season workouts and spring football (May 9) - writing communications to parents and players about spring and summer plans- tracking players who are scattered all over- 8th grade, track, soccer, baseball, work - etc. We try to keep tabs on them and get them in weightroom as much as possible.
I've also been meeting with youth coaches and our parents who have questions or concerns. There is a lot of misinformation that spreads so quickly. And of course I do teach.

In all the running around, God has been good to keep peace and endurance. The best help has been a daily Bible reading at crosswalk .com and a more concerted effort to pray.

If I did all of this just for income or football wins- it would be a work in vain. My desire is that my life glorifies God by demonstrating His goodness, including the awesome story of forgiveness through faith in Jesus.

Father, I need Your help in every work for success. All of these concerns about players, parents, plans I commit to You. Thank you for all Your blessings!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Love or Destruction?

"Deuteronomy 6:9 Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and constantly loves those who love him and obey his commands. 10 But he does not hesitate to punish and destroy those who hate him. 11 Therefore, obey all these commands, laws, and regulations I am giving you today."

I make a comment from time to time in this blog about a "gamble". The gamble is that person who, using their intellect as their guide, rejects God.

Now, if they are right- no problem.


What if this verse is right.

It sounds like He is not going to change His mind anytime soon. Are you ready?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Another Precious Promise

Deut. 6:"1 "These are all the commands, laws, and regulations that the LORD your God told me to teach you so you may obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, 2 and so you and your children and grandchildren might fear the LORD your God as long as you live. If you obey all his laws and commands, you will enjoy a long life. 3 Listen closely, Israel, to everything I say. Be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you."

I would love to have a long life-I would love for things to go well with me-I would love to have children in a land flowing with milk and honey.

This is just a small speck of the promises of God.

My part is to be obedient to Him- fear Him. Obedience means to revere His Son- trust in Him- I desire to obey Him out of love- I am always short- but He is always faithful.

Father- I need to know You more- I need to take my desire to obey more faithfully- we both know the many areas I am short- I claim Your promises and know that You are powerful to fulfill. I need forgiveness and by faith proclaim it in Jesus.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Cultural Trends

One change that I have noticed over the years is a decline in the area of parent/ teacher/coach relations. I know I am over generalizing and stereotyping, but I do see a disturbing trend.

1) Rapid networking of disinformation and gossip- I am amazed at how many incorrect stories and opinions get tossed around. A lot of times, even good parents create perspectives based solely on the reporting of their teenager.
2) Improper voicing of opinions and criticism- There are a number of vocal parents who do not shy away from making public statements regarding teachers or coaches even in front of students.
3) General intolerance of mistakes- in a society who has adopted tolerance as a main virtue, it is surprising how much of our culture has lost mercy and forgiveness.
4) General feelings of discontentment- there seems to be more alarmist and negative attitudes interpreting situations
5) General lack of trust of authority figures- our culture is not willing to accept the opinion of a qualified expert in their field of knowledge.

We do have some great parents at our school- but if this continues- we will find it harder to work with young people.

The Power of the Protector and Provider

Job 5: "6 But evil does not spring from the soil, and trouble does not sprout from the earth. 7 People are born for trouble as predictably as sparks fly upward from a fire. 8 "My advice to you is this: Go to God and present your case to him. 9 For he does great works too marvelous to understand. He performs miracles without number. 10 He gives rain for the earth. He sends water for the fields. 11 He gives prosperity to the poor and humble, and he takes sufferers to safety. 12 He frustrates the plans of the crafty, so their efforts will not succeed. 13 He catches those who think they are wise in their own cleverness, so that their cunning schemes are thwarted. 14 They grope in the daylight as though they were blind; they see no better in the daytime than at night. 15 He rescues the poor from the cutting words of the strong. He saves them from the clutches of the powerful. 16 And so at last the poor have hope, and the fangs of the wicked are broken."

Once again- the person reading this has made a choice- God is there or He is not. If you believe He is not there, then you see my faith as foolish and simple. You see all of this as either randon chance or product of aliens. How do you explain evil? Do you believe it exists? How do you handle struggles? Is there hope?

Go and present your case to God.

As I read the above passage, I am filled with admiration for my Father. I am humbled that He cares for me. He provides for me- He protects me. If He is not in your life- You are not protected, nor provided for.

But you can be adopted by HIm today- cry out to HIm. He has provided a greatway to Him. It is a person, and His name is Jesus.