Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Sunday Soccer and the End of History

Another impact of post-modernism is a loss of a pattern or rhythm of life. As Communication and Informational technologies (CITs) explode- a big casualty is TIME David Lyon in his book, Jesus in Disneyland, gives a remarkable summary of what sociologists are seeing in the compression of space and time.

The speed of life is approaching warp dimensions. Instant communication, insatiable consumer appetites, and the extended present of cyberspace has put us in a world more liquid than solid. A rolling stone may gather no moss, but our culture’s tread is fractured.
There is no long lasting stability. No life long careers or marriages.

“To disrupt time is to generate uncertainties, to loosen anchors, to dissolve meanings.” Life is more disposable. Is it any wonder that stress and exhaustion is at an all time high?

One important aspect of God’s Sabbath command is a need for pace. God set the pattern- 6 days work and a PAUSE. That pause is to reflect and gear our minds toward Him. To have our souls cleaned and missions adjusted. It helps us to see eternity.

I believe the blue law days are forever done. I live in an NFL town and Sabbath ends at kickoff (or 2 hours before if you tailgate).

Travel youth sports jump right in to the rapid stream of the post-modern pace.

The stereotypical 10 year old is being molded by his parents for success by meals on the go, the chalice of college scholarships, motel bills, and pilot seat DVD’s. Any wonder why a 55-minute worship service is “boring”? We have squeezed minutes into seconds and pushed God out in the process.

I’m sorry – but when I drive to church on Sunday morning and see the soccer fields buzzing with activity at 9:15 A.M., I get really discouraged.

I’m not afraid of getting behind. I worry about what happens when we leave God behind.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Any More Goosebumps?

As I continue to observe our postmodern culture and the influence on our youth, I get most concerned about their apathy. Nothing seems to excite our youth. They do not seem to be inspired. They seem to be coasting.

I refer to it as a spirit of casualness. They appear too cool to care and make fun of people who get really juiced about something. Even my daughters have been made fun of - you don’t want to be accused of being a “track freak”- (which means you practice everyday.)

This may be a by-product of affluence. I have players who have been everywhere and done everything- so there is nothing left to excite them.


It could be a by-product of our postmodern consumerism. It is a radical departure from our Puritan and reformed heritage.

“The frequently caricatured puritan ideals of asceticism, self denial, fixed boundaries that would lead to delayed enjoyment, saving for a rainy day and marriage for life are clearly out of kilter with the culture of the so called me generation that does its own thing and where anything goes.” (Lyon, Jesus in Disneyland)

Consumerism affects what inspires us, what excites us, and what connects us.

What caricatures your life?

The Kingdom of Christ or The Kingdom of Consumerism

Excited by the Glory of God or My Goods on Display?
Inspired by The Love of Christ and stories that tell that narrative or Flamboyancy- “What is bigger-better-cooler?”
Connected by a love of people or a love of things?

Please pray for me. I want to find a spark to inspire a football team. And right now I feel like all the kindling is wet.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Church vs Cyberspace

Thanks to David Lyons, "Jesus in Disneyland"

Church - Cyberspace

Authority - Anarchy
Continuity - Instant Fluidity
Community - Individuality
Wholeness - Fragmentation
Purpose - Inconsequentiality

The destabilization of the post modern movement has put an incredible strain on our society and is paying horrible dividends to our youth. Can anyone but me hear the creaking of broken foundations and fear the weight of sin?

If we do not move back to the Church side of this equation - what hope is there for long term success?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

True Believer?

Nice comments below by John McArthur

Are You Really Saved?

John MacArthur: When I was in high school I had a very dear friend—played on our baseball team, played on our football team, we were buddies, he played first base, I played short stop, he played a backup quarterback position, I was a tailback—and we were close. His father was real active in a church group and, of course, my father was a pastor and we did a lot of personal evangelism in those days, we’d go down to the Pershing Square in LA and witness. Ralph went away to Redlands University—I saw him after his second year, after I’d been away to college, and I was so glad to see him and he said, “John, something’s changed.” I said, “What?” He said, “I’m an atheist.” I was shocked. I said, “What do you mean ‘you’re an atheist’?” He said, “I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe any of that “blankety-blank” stuff in the Bible.” I just didn’t have a category in my theology to put him in at that point.

I went away to college. I had a very, very similar experience with a number of guys that I knew, who named the name of Christ at one point in time, and who abandoned Christ. The guy that sticks in my mind most of all—I was in my senior year at college. He was my running mate in the backfield; he was a great football player. We had great times together. He was a youth pastor on the weekends; he taught the College Sunday school class in a Presbyterian church, and I taught the College Sunday school class for my dad—we always compared notes. He graduated. I went on to seminary. He went on to get a Ph.D. in Psychology; he went to teach at Cal. State University in Long Beach, and I picked up the Times one day to find out that he had brought nude students into the classroom and was demonstrating sexual stuff in front of the whole class. He was defrocked—kicked out of the school…found out he was selling drugs on the side…he wound up with a seven-year prison sentence. You know, when you play football with a guy for three years, you get close. He was the student body president, I was vice president; his father was a pastor, a good friend of my dad’s; to this day he denies Christ.

I went away to seminary—the son of the Dean of my seminary married a Buddhist and set up a Buddhist altar in his house after graduating from Talbot Seminary. I struggled through a lot of that kind of stuff. Then, I went to a church and I baptized a guy who was a porno film maker and within 2 months, he was back making porno films.

As a pastor, I have seen them come and go and come and go and come and go…and trying in my own heart to access the nature of true conversion was very much a personal struggle with me, not a theological one. Then, I began to study the gospel of Matthew and I preached in Matthew for 8 years at our church and in that process of going through Matthew, I began to come to grips with the whole gospel record, because I was doing a study of the synoptics and John at the same time. I began to fix on how Jesus evangelized and what he called for and so forth and born out of that, I began to look at the church at large.

I began to look, for one thing, at the Charismatic movement, which I say this with compassion in my heart, has been, without question, the most disruptive disastrous thing that has happened to the church in the last 50 years. It has devastated the church in America in a number of ways. I wish I had time to go in to them. And then coming behind it, this psychological salvation stuff. The combination of this has created the illusion of salvation in our society.

I’m not trying to make people insecure; I’m just trying to make sure there aren’t some people thinking they’re on their way to heaven, who are going to wake in hell, and fulfill Matthew 7:21-23 and say, “Lord! Lord! What about us?” That, to me, is the most frightening passage in all of Scripture. It’d be one thing to go to hell and know you were going there, it’d be one thing to go to hell and not expect anything different; it’d be another thing to go to hell and wonder why you got there when you thought you were a Christian. I just don’t want any responsibility in my life or any of your responsibility with regard to that doctrine.

So, that’s really what motivated me through the years, just going over that and trying to deal with the reality of that issue and then watching people who name the name of Christ, but their life is the same.

Board Member: Another question here then, John. If I were an unsaved man coming to you today in desperate need of salvation, and were to ask you, how I can receive eternal life, what would you tell me? How much would I have to understand concerning Christ, to get saved? Please give the Scripture you would use.

John MacArthur: Well, you’d have to understand who Christ is—I mean, you can’t believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved unless you know who the Lord Jesus Christ is. You would have to understand that He is God in human flesh who came into the world to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin and that He accomplished the atonement on the cross, paying the penalty for your sins and thus allowing God to grant forgiveness to those who put their faith in Him.

So, you’d have to explain Christ and then it would be a question of believing in Him. The issue is what do we mean by belief? Do you believe that Jesus came into the world, God in human flesh? Yes. Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again the third day? Yes. Do you believe Jesus died as a substitute for your sins? Yes.

Is he saved? Not necessarily. I believe all that; so do the devils…James 2, “…they tremble…” There’s something else. There’s got to be some content in this believing. Jesus said, you know, He didn’t commit Himself to people who believed in him. Many believed on Him, but “He didn’t commit himself to them because He knew what was in their hearts,” remember that?

So, the first question I try to ask in the book is: what is the nature of saving faith? What is it that sets saving faith apart from non-saving faith? I am sure that every person in this room would affirm that there is such a thing as a non-saving kind of belief, right? The Catholics will sign on the dotted line, everything in the life of Christ, His death, His resurrection…That doesn’t save them. What does? Well, somehow, saving faith has to have some component. Let me suggest the components to you.

Component #1—Saving faith forsakes all human means of salvation.

Listen to the apostle Paul. Acts 9 was the history of his conversion; Philippians 3 is his heart attitude. You want to know what Paul was feeling on the Damascus road? Read Philippians 3. What does he say there? He says, “I was circumcised the eighth day. I was of the nation Israel. I was of the tribe of Benjamin. I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. As to the law, a Pharisee. As to zeal, persecuting the church. As to the righteousness which is contained in the law, I was,” what?, “blameless.” I mean, that’s some heavy-duty credentials.

What was all that stuff to him? That was all of his asset column; that was all profit. “These things I counted as gain,” first. Right? This was my assets. Why? Because his hope of salvation was in those. Salvation by race; salvation by ritual (circumcision); salvation by rank (tribe of Benjamin—one of the highest ranking of all tribes. I mean, they got the territory in which Jerusalem existed; they were the only son born in the promise land, and on and on it goes).

And then he says, “I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews.” What do you mean? I’m a Hebrew son…Hebrew parents. I kept the tradition. I kept the language. I kept the customs. I got it all. When it comes to zeal, do you want to see a sincere believer in God?! I killed the opponents of the old covenant. I killed the opponents of salvation as I understood it. That’s how zealous and sincere I am. The guy had it all. As to the law: blameless, from the human viewpoint. They couldn’t hold anything on me. I kept the law; I was a Pharisee: strict, loyal.”

6,000 Pharisees—that’s all there were at that time; he was one of those—that small little elite group. So, he says, “That’s all in my asset column and I hoped in my salvation for that and then I met Christ on the Damascus road.” And, you can believe this: he already knew the facts of Christ, right? And he already knew what the gospel preachers were preaching—that’s why he was persecuting them. But, all of a sudden, he met Jesus Christ and what he saw was skubalon, rubbish, excrement…and he trashed it.

And what does that say? That says that salvation comes to someone who turns his back on any confidence in the flesh whatsoever. Paul says, “I counted it rubbish. It was gain to me—I counted it as loss.” He doesn’t say, “Well, it was nice, but it wasn’t adequate.” He says, “It was excrement.” That’s the word skubalon. “Why?” you say, “to be a Jew, to be from Benjamin’s tribe,…why was it such a vile thing?” I’ll tell you why. Not because in itself it’s wicked, but because when you trust in it for salvation, it’ll damn your soul. That’s the issue. So, he says, “I counted it all loss in order that I might gain Christ. And what did I gain? The knowledge of Christ, the righteousness of Christ, the power of Christ, the fellowship of Christ in His sufferings, and the glory of Christ in the resurrection to come.” That’s the exchange.

You say, is that taught in the gospels? Absolutely. What did Jesus say in Matthew 16, “What will a man give in exchange for his,” what? You see, Paul had to make an exchange. He had to give up all of the stuff he was trusting to trust only in Christ. That’s exactly what Jesus meant in the parable of the treasure and the pearl. When the guy found the treasure, he sold everything he had and took the treasure. When he found the pearl, he sold everything he had and took the pearl. It is an exchange of all that I have trusted in for my salvation, for Christ. It’s all rubbish.

So, the first thing about saving faith is it has no confidence in the flesh. It is by pure grace, through faith, plus or minus nothing.

Component #2—(I believe you must affirm this to a person) is that it involves a turning from sin.

How can anybody argue with that, when that’s what Jesus preached: repent…and that’s what John preached: repent…and that’s what Paul preached…”We preach repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ,” Acts 20. It’s “Repent! Repent!” Now, I know people say it means you change your mind about who Christ is; I don’t believe that. I mean it is a conscious recognition that I am a sinner and I am turning from my sin to a Savior. I think that is just all through Scripture.

And then I believe there’s one more element of that saving faith and that is…

Component #3—it is a commitment. It is the entrusting of my life to the Lordship of Christ.

Now, let me say this. I believe that you are turning from all confidence in the flesh, you are turning from sin to a Savior who can forgive your sin, and you are committing your life to the care of a sovereign Lord. Now, let me say this. I do not believe that at the moment of salvation, you or anybody else, fully understands all the implications of that kind of a thing. I’ll tell you right now, you may not understand it a few years after your salvation because it’s an ever-increasing awareness of what that meant.

“But, ah,” you say, “well, is that a human work, to turn from your flesh?” No. “Is it a human work to repent?” No. “Is it a human work to submit?” No. That is the divine work. It’s God who produces the loss of confidence in the flesh. It’s God who produces the repentance. It’s God who grants repentance; it says in the book of Acts, “God granted the Gentiles repentance.”

Are you willing to turn from anything you’re trusting for your salvation and trust only in Jesus Christ? Are you willing to turn from your sin—commit it to Him—ask Him to cleanse your life…and, are you willing to follow Him? What did Jesus say, “Make a decision for me”? No, He said, “Follow Me.” Continuity—that’s the way I would give the message. I don’t think everybody understands the full implications of it.

The second thing I tried to point out in the book—the first is the nature of saving faith—the second is the nature of conversion. What is conversion? If you tell me conversion is where you get saved but don’t change, I got a problem because I don’t understand that that’s what the Bible teaches. So, maybe we need to talk about that…that’ll probably come up.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Devotion for My Team

1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.

You know from freshman Bible that we live “in the last days” and Christ is preparing His return. It may be today or 100 years from now or longer, no one knows. But we need to prepare and live lives of expectancy.
Everything you do should be devoted to Him in light of this, including your football and future.

Also know that there will be difficult times in this life. It’s not that everyday is a disaster; we have many good days. We live in a blessed time, but the days are evil and the Prince of the world has put in place a pattern of living that we are commanded to “not conform to”.

Sin impacts all that we do and are involved in. It is all tainted. As much as I want football to be a glorious time for you and you have all relationships pure, and all memories great, I know that it just won’t happen. I hope your football experience is awesome, but I know that it will never be perfect.

I also want you to know that I find it to be harder and harder to coach in these times. When I say that, I’m not mad at you and I’m not trying a psychological technique on you. I am just being honest from my gut.

The list that follows is primarily why it is hard.

I have some good friends who are leaving coaching. They are worn out because of difficult parents and tough situations. As our culture erodes values, it gets more difficult for a football team to succeed.

At the core of all great football teams is character. Unselfishness, team goals, unity, trust, perseverance, courage, toughness, a never say die spirit – all of these things must be in place. And they are found less and less among young people.

2 For people will be lovers of self,

Selfishness kills a football team. Conversely, every great team I have ever coached was unselfish. The best offense I ever coached was in 1999. We rushed for 2600 yds and passed for 2750 and averaged 48 points a game. We won the state championship 56-14. I never had a player that year ask for me to call their number. No one really cared about their stats or whether they were going to college. It was have fun, glorify God, and win.
We live in selfish times. It is a me first society. I worry that all your role models point to themselves after plays – “look what I did”- I worry that AAU and travel sports is a showcase for individual skills and talent- I worry that you measure success on whether or not you get to play in college- I worry that you only participate in sports where you will get most of the playing time- I worry that you are happy when you do well regardless of the team and sad when you do poorly, even if we win. I worry that you only try when you feel like it- and I worry that you will follow my leadership only when you agree with it. Everything is placed under the idol of self.
I challenge you to try and die daily to yourself. Abide in Christ, submit to God ordained authority, and give yourself away to something bigger.

lovers of money,

Consumerism is dominating our times. We begin to identify ourselves with what we own or buy rather that who we are. Instead of “he’s a good guy”, we say “he drives a Lexus”. I challenge you to not give preference to anyone in our school just because they have material wealth. Never look down on anyone that you perceive has less than you.

proud, arrogant, abusive,

We all hate pride. We point it out so easily in others. I want our team to be dominated by genuine humility. What is that? Does it mean that we don’t have a “swagger” or confidence? NO. I want us to be fiery and confident when we play. But I want us to treat others with great respect. We do not look down on others, even our opponents. We never make fun of their facilities or snub our nose at them. We never haze at any time our younger players. We never say, “you’re just a scrub player” or you’re just a manager”- we honor all the roles that make for a championship team. We watch our words and speak positively and encourage.

disobedient to their parents,

You get tired of this one. But this relates to the 5th commandment and includes your coaches. You are to subject yourself to all of the God-ordained authority in your life. It is good to learn to live there. What good is it if you only obey when you want to? Prove yourself to be counter cultural and obey when you don’t feel like it. Your parents and coaches are not dumb. Treat authority figures with respect and be ruled by them.


Oh Lord, give us “attitudes of gratitude”. Do not feel guilty that you live in this country and have all that you have, but be grateful. Thank all the people who serve you. ‘Thanks mom for driving me today”- ‘Thanks dad for helping me”- say thank you to janitors, lunch room ladies, teachers, youth workers. If you lose that spirit of thankfulness, you have lost a lot. There are millions who would trade places with you- they would take your health, your family, your financial stability, your school… in a heartbeat.

unholy, 3 heartless,

Holiness is “set apart by God”. Be humble (vs 2) and Be holy. Allow yourself to be counted on God’s side. Identify yourself with Him. Be bold enough to say, “I play for God’s glory and pleasure.” And have a heart…CARE. Be excited. Don’t be too cool to care. Let it matter. Live with passion. Reject this “age of casualness”. It is Ok to cry and laugh and cheer.


Some people can not be pleased. Don’t be that way. Look for the good and be less critical. Be thankful and content.


Have you spoken against someone? Have you spread a story that you did not know to be true? Did you make fun of someone behind their back? In this world accusation often means conviction. Please don’t fall into that trap of sitting with the mockers and spreading lies of slander.

without self-control,

This one is huge! Discipline. Learning to control your body and appetites. Teach yourself to say NO. Tell yourself when to sleep, eat, study, and play. Do not be an undisciplined person.

brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous,

No one likes these kinds of people. If we have someone like this, I need to know. I need to have the courage to remove them from our midst. They make everyone unhappy.


I think about your driving. What makes you a good athlete is that you are a risk taker. But do your risk taking in sports, not on the road. Actions do have consequences, connect the dots.

swollen with conceit,

Think of your Savior. He “emptied Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”. The smallest package in the world is a man all wrapped up in himself.

lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

We live in luxurious times with a ton of leisure. It is great to enjoy pleasure, but it always has a price. Learn to earn your pleasure. Work first and then enjoy. Do not get addicted to sensuality, instead , be disciplined. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.

This is a scary verse. Are we worried only at how we appear?

Avoid such people.

Paul tells Timothy to avoid having influence from these types of people. Which list characterizes your friends?

6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,

How are you treating the females in our culture? Are they objects for you to conquer and use? We cannot depend on them to lead us to holiness, we have to stand up and be real men. How are you treating someone’s sister or MY daughter?

7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

Scary verse 2- We are dependent on the Sprit to teach us.

8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

Jannes and Jambres are not specifically mentioned in the OT. It is believed that they were sorcerers in Pharoah’s court who used signs and wonders to discredit Moses. If you always “bow up” to authority and oppose, it will eventually discredit you.

10 You, however,
Now the good stuff – Please consider your coaches, your parents, teachers, and me as your Paul.

have followed my teaching,- we try to point to Jesus and the Bible

my conduct, - we try to live what we preach and teach

my aim in life,- we have a direction and it is true North- SOLI DEO GLORIA

my faith, - given to us by God’s grace in Christ

my patience,- I hope you see it

my love, - I hope you see this even more

my steadfastness, - We will stay to the end and fight to the last whistle

11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra--which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.

Paul was made fun of and complained about in Antioch
He drew bitterness in Iconium
Was stoned and left for dead at Lystra
God took care of Him- He will lead us in the tough times.

12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

The Bible is no “pie in the sky fairy tale”- Faith in Christ is for champions.

13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

If you are reading this feel critical or resentment- WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO WAKE UP? You need to stop fighting the Lord. He died for you, is living for Him too much to ask? Please lay down your weapons, bitterness, and pride.

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed,

Run the race with courage, Read the Bible. Pray with and for your brothers.

knowing from whom you learned it

Jesus, Paul, heroes of the Bible, parents, grandparents, Sunday School teachers,
teachers, coaches, administrators, youth workers

15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings,

All the learning in the Scriptures is of great value

which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Scripture bears witness of Christ and teaches about the Gospel- Good News for Bad People- Jesus died for our sins and arose from the grave- Salvation is by trusting in Him!

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Do not neglect your Bible study. It is not a textbook for class. THESE ARE WORDS OF LIFE!


I confess that I am not talented enough to lead these young men as they need. I pray for them right now. Fill up my deficiencies with Your grace and lead us to a championship season for Your glory! Make us tough and unified and keep us healthy.

I pray for a fiery competitiveness that is not seen much today. I pray we feel free enough to shout and celebrate with our brothers. I pray that when we sweat and bleed and cheer and cry that we feel Your presence. I pray that it matters to us.

I pray for a love and trust that is beyond our flesh. I pray that we would criticize less and encourage more. I pray that we treat all members of this team with respect and honor. All roles are valuable in Your sight!

I pray Your blessing on each player. Bless their families and protect them. Please. Oh God, deliver us from evil. May You raise up warriors for Your kingdom and train them well.

May they leave our fields of battle with honor and special memories. Shoot them as flaming arrows into a dark and dying world- may they spread compassion and service to whatever field You choose for them.

May CPA football produce missionaries, doctors, accountants, engineers, pastors, and all other professions for Your kingdom. May they be men of integrity and lead their homes and communities without fear. May they love their wives and children with Your love.

And finally, bless my coaches! They are truly wonderful! Give them the fruit of their labor and their heart desires. Protect their families while we are away in long hours and redeem the time for You!

Father, I have never needed You more than this season. Let this be a breakthrough and break out year. SOLI DEO GLORIA.

In Jesus- may it be so!