Monday, May 30, 2005

Every Day a WIN!

Romans5:"1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us – they help us learn to endure. 4 And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. 5 And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."

What does each day bring? Some days are exciting days of the sweetness of life. God gives these days- wonderful memories of family, experience, or achievement. Some days are painful, even tragic. These days are evidence of the curse of sin- I am a sinful man among sinful people. We experience brokenness, sickness, cancer, strained relationships and decay. Some days are just normal, forgettable days- but every day is a SPECIAL day.

It is special because of this wonderful "Therefore"- MADE RIGHT WITH GOD- WOOOHOOO! PEACE WITH GOD! YEAHHHH!

Wow- Paul wrote this in chains and with a body wracked with pain and scars. Yet he says, "privilege"- condidence- joy-rejoice- This is no "pie in the sky Art Linkletter stuff" this is true- EVERY DAY IS A WIN- whether good or bad, happy or sad! That makes me FIRED UP!

The hard days are blessing us with endurance of confident expectations! GOD LOVES US! WOOO HOOOOO! MY HEART IS FULL OF LOVE! AMEN- BLESS THE LORD FOR THIS SALVATION!!!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Furnace of Faith

Romans4:"20 Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything he promised. 22 And because of Abraham's faith, God declared him to be righteous.
23 Now this wonderful truth – that God declared him to be righteous – wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. 24 It was for us, too, assuring us that God will also declare us to be righteous if we believe in God, who brought Jesus our Lord back from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised from the dead to make us right with God."

I keep coming back to this wonderful section. God is glorified when we are secure in HIm. He will do what He says. The bleaker the circumstance, the less likely it is to be true, the more that faith is formed, the more that God is glorified.

Contrast this to King Saul when he couldn't wait on Samuel.
I Sam. 13 "11 but Samuel said, "What is this you have done?"Saul replied, "I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn't arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. 12 So I said, 'The Philistines are ready to march against us, and I haven't even asked for the LORD's help!' So I felt obliged to offer the burnt offering myself before you came." 13 "How foolish!" Samuel exclaimed. "You have disobeyed the command of the LORD your God. Had you obeyed, the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your dynasty must end, for the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart. The LORD has already chosen him to be king over his people, for you have not obeyed the LORD's command."

Father, please help the circumstances of doubt and darkness forge a faith that pleases You! I do not want to be like Saul, always jumping to my flesh of control because of fear-I want to be an Abraham, trusting in You when it seems all is lost! You show Yourself to be the great Victor in those moments! It is more glorious to win when the war seems bleakest! My God and My KING!

Friday, May 27, 2005

The New Jew? A Paraphrase of Romans 2

17 If you are an Evangelical, you are relying on a knowledge of God's word for your special relationship with him. You boast that all is well between yourself and God. 18 Yes, you know what he wants; you know right from wrong because you have been taught his law. 19 You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a beacon light for people who are lost in darkness without God. 20 You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that in God's law you have complete knowledge and truth. 21 Well then, if you teach others, why don't you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? 22 You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you do it? You condemn idolatry, but do you steal from pagan temples? 23 You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. 24 No wonder the Scriptures say, "The world blasphemes the name of God because of you." 25 The Evangelical ceremony of baptism is worth something only if you obey God's law. But if you don't obey God's law, you are no better off than an unbaptized sinner. 26 And if the sinners obey God's law, won't God give them all the rights and honors of being his own people? 27 In fact, unbaptized sinners who keep God's law will be much better off than you evangelicals who are baptized and know so much about God's law but don't obey it. 28 For you are not a true believer just because you were born to evangelical parents or because you have gone through the evangelical ceremony of baptism. 29 No, a true believer is one whose heart is right with God. And true baptism is not an outward show but a change of heart produced by God's Spirit. Whoever has that kind of change seeks praise from God, not from people.

Oh Lord- I know I steal- I know my heart can be so far away from You! Please allow Your Spirit to continue our relationship of truth and love- not just going through the motions. Please be real to my children!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Spring Football - the Final Report

A blessed and profitable spring! Virtually injury free and a lot of fun. We were a little more physical and there is no comparison to where we were last year mentally.
We played a little intersquad scrimmage last Saturday with officials- big crowd and great weather!

Now the summer- 6 weeks of work to wall to wall football.

Without You Lord- there is no chance! We need to become warriors and brothers!

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Psalm 52:8b" I trust in God's unfailing love forever and ever. 9 I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will wait for your mercies in the presence of your people."

In a society of microwave moments, it is hard to find God's timing. In the light of eternity, even the span of our lives is only a vapor. So we pray and wait. God is not slow, He is not late, He is seldom early. He is right on perfect time.

My best place is to trust. I have great confidence in God to fulfill His promises. His love is unfailing.

So we wait. God's people expect You to continually demonstrate Your glory! Thank you for mercy!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Set Apart

Acts 26:15 "'Who are you, sir?' I asked."And the Lord replied, 'I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. 16 Now stand up! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and my witness. You are to tell the world about this experience and about other times I will appear to you. 17 And I will protect you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am going to send you to the Gentiles, 18 to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God's people, who are set apart by faith in me."

Here in Paul's defense we get a beautiful picture of the gospel (good news). As enemies of God we deserve to be set apart for destruction. I am a gentile, who used to live in darkness and was held firm in the power of Satan. Through the message of Christ, I am now set apart for the glory of God. He opened my eyes and transferred me from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of light! I have received forgiveness and have been given a place in the house of God. All of this confirmed by faith- trusting in Christ to keep these promises (assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of these promises even when not seen).

My prayer is that you will do the same. All of my blessings are undeserved- you can be set apart for these blessings today. It's time to turn to Jesus Christ. He is a wonderful protector and provider!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Naomi's Trail of Tears

Ruth1: 8" But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back to your mothers' homes instead of coming with me. And may the LORD reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. 9 May the LORD bless you with the security of another marriage." Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept.
16 But Ruth replied, "Don't ask me to leave you and turn back. I will go wherever you go and live wherever you live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 I will die where you die and will be buried there. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!" 18 So when Naomi saw that Ruth had made up her mind to go with her, she stopped urging her.

19 So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was stirred by their arrival. "Is it really Naomi?" the women asked. 20 "Don't call me Naomi," she told them. "Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. 21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me home empty. Why should you call me Naomi when the LORD has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy?""

"I am back in Bethlehem, I have heard that God's blessings still exist. It seems that it always retreats from me.
The day I left, as I stepped on the threshhold, all the memories of this land overwhelmed me. The short moments of happiness with my husband and sons are now only reminders of my pain.
I tried to send the daughters back, maybe they can recover from the mourning and grief. Ruth refused.

We all just sat there and cried.

I used to be so happy,but my soul is lifeless because of the pain. Even the warm welcome seemed useless. My friends looked at me strangely when I told them to call me bitter. Why has God made me suffer? Ruth just quietly watches me. It almost seems that she is praying. I used to believe like that. But now I know, there is no hope for me."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Source of Sweetest Victory

Psalm 44: 3 "They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strength that gave them victory. It was by your mighty power that they succeeded; it was because you favored them and smiled on them. 4 You are my King and my God. You command victories for your people. 5 Only by your power can we push back our enemies; only in your name can we trample our foes. 6 I do not trust my bow; I do not count on my sword to save me. 7 It is you who gives us victory over our enemies; it is you who humbles those who hate us. 8 O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise your name."

As I coach, I'm into winning. Winning is not the most important thing, but we do keep score. I have a great opportunity into the lives of my players because they see my commitment to success. If they follow me, then I have a chance to direct them to follow the Savior.

But I hope I never forget who truly gives the victory. He loves us, protects us, and provides for us. He allows defeat to be used even as a blessing!

O God my King, command today great victories for Your church throughout the whole world!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Always Alert

Judges 18"7 So the five men went on to the town of Laish, where they noticed the people living carefree lives, like the Sidonians; they were peaceful and secure. The people were also wealthy because their land was very fertile. And they lived a great distance from Sidon and had no allies nearby. 8 When the men returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their relatives asked them, "What did you find?" 9 The men replied, "Let's attack! We have seen the land, and it is very good. You should not hesitate to go and take possession of it. 10 When you get there, you will find the people living carefree lives. God has given us a spacious and fertile land, lacking in nothing!"

Times of most comfort allow for lapses of calamity. Our enemies are always on the prowl. Isn't it sad, the condition of the human heart? One of my biggest faith builders is that the Bible is the only source that explains and represents the true human condition. I see jealousy and covetousness everyday- I am suseptible of both.

Later on these men come with smiles on their face and evil intentions in their heart.

Lord, give us discernment- but mostly provide protection. Without You- there is no hope. It is like stopping the tide or preventing the rain.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Habits of Hollow Holiness

Judges 10:6 "Again the Israelites did evil in the LORD's sight. They worshiped images of Baal and Ashtoreth, and the gods of Aram, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, and Philistia. Not only this, but they abandoned the LORD and no longer served him at all."

The Israelites are just like us. The slide is gradual. It's not like in January they serve the Lord and in March they switch to idols. Instead it is a gradual wandering. Notice the above verse- they worship and then they abandon and no longer serve at all. This indicates that for a while they try to serve both. For a while, God is there with the idols. But the idols always crowd out the Lord.

Eventually, the people of God do evil right in God's presense.

Our idols? Images (entertainment, fashion)- The gods of materialism, substance abuse, leisure, social status, political agendas, covetousness.

We serve these gods because we think they bring fortune, fame, power, and pleasure. We think they are secure and worthy of our tireless service.

Lord, help me keep good things from becoming idols. May you reign above all- including my family and football. Through Your Spirit, help me serve YOU!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Winning Edges Pt 3- Learning to Love

Matthews24:3 "Later, Jesus sat on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and asked, "When will all this take place? And will there be any sign ahead of time to signal your return and the end of the world?"
4 Jesus told them, "Don't let anyone mislead you. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Messiah.' They will lead many astray. 6 And wars will break out near and far, but don't panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won't follow immediately. 7 The nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come. 9 "Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because of your allegiance to me. 10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and will lead many people astray. 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 13 But those who endure to the end will be saved."

II Timothy3:1 "You should also know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control; they will be cruel and have no interest in what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly."

Our biggest weakness, in my opinion, is a lack of love for one another.
Part of this is cultural- we live in selfish times where we have lost the true meaning of love. We make fun of each other, we get jealous, we love things more than people.
How do you love better? You spend time together- sweat, work, hurt, and bleed together. You learn to forgive others. I forgive all the time and need forgiveness all the time.

We keep our matters private and special within our group. Other students are your friends- your football team mates are your brothers.

You learn to pray for one another. You don’t have to showboat on the field because your brothers come over and celebrate a great play with you.

Your brothers hold you accountable to live right. You find worthwhile and fun things to do together.

Even better: you fight for a position and lose to another teammate-because you love the team and the brothers- you pull for that guy to do well. All my state championship teams has had that happen.

If you cannot seek to love these team players and coaches- please do not stay in this family. But remember Jesus’ command- ‘love one another’.

Winning Edges Pt 2- Learning to Battle

Judges 3:1 "The LORD left certain nations in the land to test those Israelites who had not participated in the wars of Canaan. 2 He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle.
10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him (Othniel), and he became Israel's judge. He went to war against King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram, and the LORD gave Othniel victory over him. 11 So there was peace in the land for forty years.
27 When he arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, Ehud sounded a call to arms. Then he led a band of Israelites down from the hills. 28 "Follow me," he said, "for the LORD has given you victory over Moab your enemy." So they followed him. And the Israelites took control of the shallows of the Jordan River across from Moab, preventing anyone from crossing. 29 They attacked the Moabites and killed about ten thousand of their strongest and bravest warriors. Not one of them escaped. 30 So Moab was conquered by Israel that day, and the land was at peace for eighty years."

One thing that sets football apart from any other sport is putting on armor and going to war. It is not natural. I remember being so afraid at times playing football- but I faced my fear and became more of a man.

This life requires learning to fight. One day you may have to fight for a job, for your wife, fight against disease or a tough situation. You may have to fight for your faith. Jesus was a great fighter. He used tough words against the Pharisees, he fashioned a whip and drove out the money changers, he carried a cross up the mountain bleeding and hurting for me.

Becoming a champion means- learning to battle. Become a warrior in training!

To My Wife on Mother's Day 2005

You are the hardest working and best mom I have ever known. As much as I love my mom, you shine above and beyond.

I hope you remember why I chose you. I liked your realness- you were tough- not like those air head types that would fall apart at the drop of a hat- you knew how to work hard- you could dish it out and take it-but you also were tender- you were a person of excellence.

Those attributes have made you a great wife and a wonderful mom. You are a compassionate mom- you get teary eyed after a tough day of discipline. You are a warrior mom- you fight against all the sin all the time- I like that! You are an energetic mom- you work me in the ground with your tireless pace- I love that and admire that.

You have high standards…maybe even impossible- but I like that- you challenge us to be above ordinary.

You are a praying mom- a devoted mom- an outstanding mom

The fruit of your labor is obvious. All the diapers and dishes, all the van rides and parties, all the financial strain and sleepless nights…is all worth it

Our family is whole and solid- balanced and fun. Our children are beautiful testimonies to the power of the Christian family. I love our family- it is because of you and God’s favor!

On this special week and a special day- May the peace of Christ let you soak in some blessing.

Knowing you- you will be back fighting again on Monday!

Winning Edges Pt 1- Leadership and Followership

Judges 4:24 "And from that time on Israel became stronger and stronger against King Jabin, until they finally destroyed him.
5:1 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song: 2 "When Israel's leaders take charge, and the people gladly follow – bless the LORD!"

A friend of mine says quite frequently, "Everything rises and falls on leadership." This is a true statement. Leaders take charge. I love leaders who make decisions based on principles of virtue and stand- even if the whole world stands against them.

But also notice the value of "followership". We need to honor the God-ordained authority in our lives and follow "with glad hearts". It means that I do not need to question every motive. I follow in the peace of God.

When leaders lead and followers follow- bless the Lord. It honors God.

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity"- Psalm 133:1 It is like an abundance of blessings than runs above and beyond imagination. (Paraphrase 2 and 3).

This is a winning edge against the opponents in our lives.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Fight of Faith

Judges 3:1 The LORD left certain nations in the land to test those Israelites who had not participated in the wars of Canaan. 2 He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle.

10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him (Othniel), and he became Israel's judge. He went to war against King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram, and the LORD gave Othniel victory over him. 11 So there was peace in the land for forty years.

27 When he arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, Ehud sounded a call to arms. Then he led a band of Israelites down from the hills. 28 "Follow me," he said, "for the LORD has given you victory over Moab your enemy." So they followed him. And the Israelites took control of the shallows of the Jordan River across from Moab, preventing anyone from crossing. 29 They attacked the Moabites and killed about ten thousand of their strongest and bravest warriors. Not one of them escaped. 30 So Moab was conquered by Israel that day, and the land was at peace for eighty years

This will be an interesting post to see if I can land on the balance of truth. We are losing two huge skills in our land today- the ability to love and the ability to fight.

Jesus did both so well. He loved with great compassion, but He also knew how to attack sin- verbally (vs the Pharisees) and physically (turning the tables on the money changers). The crucifixion was an act of incredible fight.

Jesus predicted that in the last days that "the love of most will grow cold" and He also predicted that many would "fall away from the faith". A lack of love and a lack of a fighting spirit.

One of the things I love about football is that it teaches both at the same time. The passage in udges brings out two very interesting points. God allowed enemies to teach the Israelites how to fight. You have to be able to fight in this world of sin. The passage also points out that after great victories, the land is at peace.

Lord, teach us the right way to love and the best way to fight!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Spring Football pt 3

Practice begins a week from today and we are beginning to give out equipment. I'm not sure how many we will have out because of baseball, track, and soccer- but I do think that it will be worth it. We have such a long way to go that it is hard to not get discouraged. I feel like I am fighting a battle everyday- there are so many distractions and the kids today are very soft and selfish- all this works against the building of a team.
I'm going to stay energized and focused- and I'm praying like crazy for God's blessings.
I'll check back soon and give an update-