Friday, August 31, 2007

Standing on the Promise Alone

“There can be no doubt whatsoever that all the troubles in the Church to-day, and most of the troubles in the world, are due to a departure from the authority of the Bible. And, alas, it was the Church herself that led in the so-called Higher Criticism that came from Germany just over a hundred years ago. Human philosophy took the place of revelation, man's opinions were exalted and Church leaders talked about 'the advance of knowledge and science', and 'the assured results' of such knowledge. The Bible then became a book just like any other book, out-of-date in certain respects, wrong in other respects, and so on. It was no longer a book on which you could rely implicitly.”
The Authority of Scripture - Martyn Lloyd-Jones

This past Sunday evening, we had the privilege of hearing from Dr. Robert Peterson, a distinguished Bible professor from Covenant Theological Seminary.

As I sat and listened to him, I was impressed with his precision perfect handling of the Word of God. He said what it said. He did not editorialize, he did not justify- he did no philosophical maneuvering.

He paused and allowed for questions. I raised my hand and asked a question that had popped in my mind during his discourse. He answered that the scriptures did not contain an answer to my question. I brought up that John Milton had thought about my subject and explored it in Paradise Lost. Dr. Peterson looked at me and said somewhat sternly, ‘Nice literature, but it is not God’s Word.” I took the criticism well.

We all tend to add things in the gaps where the God’s word is silent. Sometimes we feel a need to justify God or play philosophy over the “whys”. But Dr. Peterson is the most correct- Stand on the WORD! Let is say what it says. That is exactly what Jesus did when He was face to face with the Tempter.

Thank-you Dr. P- that was an admonishment I needed.

II Timothy 2:15 “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.”
This Sunday we have a new room- we will meet in the choir practice room behind the sanctuary. Our topic will be “Sola Scrpitura” Scripture Alone. My prayer is that it will always be our only rule of faith and practice!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Miracle of Death

My wife Lisa used a phrase last night that has left me stunned. I cannot get it off my mind. She said that she experienced her father’s death as a miracle. Miracle?

It can’t be a miracle can it? Death is an enemy. It is what we fight against and what we fear. It can encompass more pain and agony than life can seem to bear.

Birth is a miracle. Death is a disaster. Right?

She said to her it seems like birth is God exhaling life. He breathes the life giving force on the jar of clay.

As she was with her sweet dad, a hero of life and faith, she watched God…inhale.

He was absent from the body and present with the Lord. She said it was a miracle.

We had all prayed for his healing. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1998. We all were hurt. This man was a husband of 53 years, the father of 6 wonderful children, and 17 beautiful grandchildren.

God responded to our prayers with another 10 years. They were tough years, especially at the end. But they were special. Life is special, regardless of the toil.

Then, as an 81 year-old hero who fought death to the bitter end, it was time to move on. Our prayers were answered fully as he was now eternally healed! Oh the hurt! To love much is to hurt much.

My wife was blessed to be there. She watched God inhale. And His sweet breath translated this man of a deep faith in Christ into paradise. He was loved by Jesus and reunited with his spiritual family.

John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

One day we will join them. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man,
And skill a man
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!
How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!
How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,
And with every purpose fuses him:
By every act induces him
To try his splendor out--
God knows what He's about.
--Author Unknown
Seeing the whole story from beginning to end gives ample evidence that God is great and that He is good.
But what about the middle? Think about those long, dark nights. Imagine all the hauntings and accusations Scott must have felt. Is God there? Does He care? Why don’t you answer me God? Am I being punished? HELP!

“God will not give us grace for our vain imaginings. It is when we are actually
in the time of trial that the grace is given.”
(Dr. Lane Adams, former pastor, Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis)

“If you want a comfortable religion, do not pick Christianity” CS Lewis, God in Dock

Aragorn in “Lord of the Rings”
"Hold your ground! Hold your ground my brothers,
I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.
A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day.
An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down,
but it is not this day!
This day we fight!!"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

NFL Hall of Fame

Did you see the National Football Hall of Fame enshrinement speeches? I know, I know… old men in yellow jackets, sweating profusely, and giving speeches is not a stop the channel surfing moment.

But I am always riveted by what these men say. These men represent the best of the best. They are the elite in a sport that requires a warrior like spirit and an incredible will to win. Most of these men play from 8 to 15 years in the league. I cannot imagine what that is like on the human body.

What they say is always inspiring. Hall of Famers have talent, but talent alone does not get you into Canton. These men have leadership skills and character. Here are quotes that are more common than rare:

Roger Wehrli (Cornerback, St Louis Cardianls)- “Finally, many of you know me as a man of faith. I believe that God has guided each and every move I've made. He's put the right people in the right places to bring me here, and I thank Him with all my heart for taking a little guy from a little town with little dreams and making me fit to wear the title of Hall of Famer.”

Bruce Matthews (Off. Line, Tenn Titans) I'd first like to say how honored and blessed I am to be here. If someone had told me when I was a kid that one day I would play in the NFL and let alone be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I wouldn't have believed them. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be standing up here today, and I'd like to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for blessing me and my family so much…I've never been more aware of how much the Lord Jesus Christ has blessed me and loves me than at this very moment, and I want to thank Him again because that is where the credit is due. Thank you all for this amazing honor. Thank you.

Thurman Thomas (RB, Buffalo Bills) “To my wife Patti, what a design only God could have planned. I was a senior at Oklahoma State when I met a freshman golfer from Buffalo, New York. We dated my senior year. I got drafted to her hometown of Buffalo, New York. That's been almost 20 years. I sit here today and I say thank you, Patti, my friend, my wife, my mother, mother of my kids. It's been 20 years since we've been together, and I would like to take this time and this opportunity to let it be another 20 years we can spend together, but also with the plan of asking you, Will you marry me again? I love you.”

Rayfield Wright (2006 inductee, Dallas Cowboys) “First of all, I’d like to give praise and thanks to our father in heaven and through his son Jesus Christ that has given me the ability to play sports.”

If you read the transcript of the entire speeches, you will see that these are not token mentions.
These men have inspirational stories of family and faith.

The point: Jesus Christ makes a difference. He not only saves, He changes men. If you looked at Hall of Famers in all walks of life, you will see that Christ produces champions.

Let us allow Him to make champions out of us!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Creed to Live By

The 2007 football seniors met for a leadership retreat at the beginning of the season. We worked through expectations, goals, and requirements for this season. In the six sessions, each senior was asked to consider what it meant to be a leader and a Biblical man.

One of our activities was to begin writing a CPA football creed. This was based on the inspiring “Commodore Creed” that Coach Bobby Johnson uses at Vanderbilt. We have challenged the seniors to work with the coaches to come up with a creed that expresses the special process of CPA football and include our Christian distinctive.

I split the seniors into three groups and made it a competition to see which group could come up with the best “creed”.

Here are some of their individual lines within the results:

“Alone you will fail, together we will succeed”

“We suffer together so that we can persevere together”

“Be bold to stand against culture”

“Train and play like a champion”

“Live with humility”

“Honor your brothers”

“Christ, Brothers, Soldiers”

The coaches and seniors will work on this throughout the season and present our results at the football banquet in January. I know this will be a great process and these seniors will write a great creed. They have Christ as their example and God’s word as the standard.

Football is a special game. The pressure of competition and the physical contact creates a need for “brothers”. The heat and humidity of tough two-a-days and the soreness of a body from intense hitting forges a relationship that is very hard to communicate. It is the hard work and sacrifice that makes “Friday Night Lights” a significant rite of passage for millions of young men in our culture every year.

I am also confident that this process will be more than words. These guys are writing a creed that they will live by.


I believe in football- a special gift from God.

It is more than a game. It is a mirror of my soul and a molder of men.

It has taught me that a team is better than a man.
That service is better than selfishness.
That sweat and tears and toil is the path to victory.
That respect is earned and “free and easy” is cheap.

One day my journey will end.
The “two – a – days” I hated will be gone.
The sound of contact will only be an echo.
The hours of weight lifting and running- no longer required.
No more film, no more practice, no more ice bags.

Gone too will be the glory-
The thrill of Friday night and heartbeat of anxious moments
Singing silly songs of victory in the locker room
Experiencing quiet pleasures of a job well done

But for everyday I breathe on this planet
I will never forget
That I am a Lion
My Savior is the King
And my brothers are with me every step along the way.

Soli Deo Gloria

John Wayne Speaks Truth

“Everyone wants to feel useful in this old world, To hit a lick for
what’s right and say a word against what’s wrong even if you get
walloped for saying that word. Now I may sound like a Bible
beater yelling up a revival at a river camp crossing meeting, but
that don’t change the truth none. You do the one or the other. You
do the one and you’re living, the other and you’re dead on your
John Wayne, The Alamo

I have been thinking about this classic quote all week. Jo House did a nice job
of showing two things- culture has changed, but even the “oasis of
civilization” without Christ doesn’t solve the problem of sin.

Our HERO is even better than John Wayne. True grit on the cross and he rose
from the dead to boot.

How tough and tender was our Lord! Have you ever thought about the fact
that Jesus kept His scars? Those scars were proof of the battle He had
endured. We often want the easy road. But the hard road offers the greatest