Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Final Post of 2011- Review and Preview

I want to thank everyone who has read and responded to my blog. This is the last post of 2011 and I am looking forward to a productive 2012. By the way- don't buy into the Mayan calendar, when Jesus says 'no one knows' it includes the Mayans.

Could the world end in 2012?... yes... We need to prepare for it today, but there is nothing especially cataclysmic about 2012- but as I always say- the signs are clearly in place, there is NO EXCUSE to not be ready for the King's return. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Re-cap of 2011 on Jayopsis "Jay's View":

As of today- I have had 12,549 page views which I think dates back to mid 2009.

I had 1,417 visits in December.

The most viewed blog of 2011 was "Either Way You're in a Fight" on 4/24/11- 672 views!

The series on Proverbs was the most read series with over 1200 visits in April 2010.

The most commented and linked posts were about my diet (Jan 2011)- my rough count was that it was re-posted or linked to 20 different sites on the WWW.

My most controversial blog was the one about Osama Bin Laden on 5/6/11- one of the problems is that in my first draft I mis-spelled OSAMA by typing it as OBAMA and I got lit up over the title.

As far as e-mails- I still get a lot of theological critiques: some say I am too reformed, some say I am not reformed enough. Some want to debate Calvinism. I usually don't get into theological debates on the internet- it is too hard a forum to get in long debates.

My audience*.......

United States
United Kingdom
 *according to google

Those of you who comment or e-mail me- THANK YOU- it makes me feel good that I can encourage anyone in their walk with Christ!

What I will be doing in 2012? I am going to be spending Bible Study time in all the chapter 12's in the Bible. I don't know how many will result in blog posts, but I plan to read, study, and meditate on the passages below:

Genesis 12- The Call of Abram- 20 vs
Exodus 12- The Passover-51 vs
Lev 12- Purification rites after childbirth- 8 vs
Numbers 12: Mirium and Aaaron oppose Moses-16 vs
Deut 12- worship and idolatry- 32 vs
Joshua 12- list of Kings Defeated- 24 vs
Judges 12 -Jephthah's Conflict with Ephraim
I Samuel 12- Samuel's Farewell Address
2 Samuel 12- Nathan confronts David31 vs
I Kings 12: Rehoboam's Folly-Divided Kingdom 33 vs
II Kings 12: Jehoash repairs temple 21 verses
I Chron 12: Mighty Men vs 40
II Chron 12: Egypt Plunder Jersusalem 16 vs
Nehemiah 12:Dedication of Wall 47 verses
Job 12: Sovereign God 25 vs
Ps 12: The Godly are Gone- 8 vs
Proverbs 12:Lists 28
Eccle 12: Ending remember God- 14 vs
Is 12: The Lord is My Song 6 vs
Jer 12:Jere Complains- God Answers 17 vs
Ez 12: Judah's captivity 28 vs
Dan 12: The End 13 vs
Hoseas 12:The Lord Indicts both Kingdoms 14 vs
Zechariah 12:The Lord will give salvation and the one pierced 14 vs

Matt 12: Lord of Sabbath-50 vs
Mark 12- Parable of Tenants- Down to Tithing- vs 44
Luke 12- Be Ready vs 59
John 12- Triumphal Entry- 50 vs
Acts 12- James Killed Peter Imprisoned vs 25
Romans 12: Living Sacrifice- 21 vs
I Corinthians 12- Spiritual Gifts
II Corinthians 12: Paul's Thorn 21 vs
Hebrews 12- Do Not Grow Weary-29 vs
Rev 12- Woman and Dragon- 17 verses

As always my goal is to present the truth of the gospel and a transparent walk with Jesus Christ. I am NOTHING special..just a sinner saved by grace- my heart breaks for those who have never yielded to this free gift by simple trust- stop trying to earn your way to heaven, trust today in what Jesus has done- experience HIS love today!

 I have been faithfully writing this blog since late 2004 and I see no reason to stop now....

Grace and Peace in 2012!

Jay Mathews

Saturday, November 26, 2011

How Football Pain Points to the Gospel

Yeah- the sun came up today- but it didn't make me feel any better.

Man- it hurt deep last night. Great love and great investment and great hopes sets a heart to be cut deep- deep- and deeper still.

No one likes to see anyone cry- but there is something about a young man, handsome, so full of life- hugging his brother and shaking in tears that cuts me. It is not natural, but it is a reality.

My prayers are always interesting this time of year. They go something like this- Lord I want to celebrate after the game tonight, but if You appoint this time for me to minister....please give me Your grace and power.

And so last night, where we didn't quite play to the level we needed and the other team did- it was over. They survived and we died- and I went senior to senior, player to player- hugging them harder than I ever had- face to face- their sweat and tears- and I whispered words that I wish would take the pain away:

"I'm so sorry. I love you. I'm so proud of you. Your best days are in front of you."

People who read this and don't have some kind of connection to football won't quite get it. After all, it is just football...

No, if you are in it in any kind of investment- it is a microcosm of life.

The summer is new life.

The boys of summer push hard, everyone is undefeated. Yeah, we know that you only get to wear those pads for a short while- some lucky ones get 4 years of varsity football- most get 1 or 2.

The pictures are all smiles- the days are long- the pageantry is pure beauty.

Then comes the Fall.

 Football pain can be cruel. Physical pain includes wraps and ice and crutches and MRI's. Every player, starter or back-up, bears war wounds. I witnessed the most painful injury this season I have ever seen on a practice field. I still hear him screaming in pain- it is a haunting.

But there is spiritual pain as well. Losses, frustrations, 'I'm not playing', relationships can get strained.

I don't get to escape that as a coach. Long hours devoted to football- decisions- slips of the lip- sensitive ears. This life has pain.

But there is also the JOY! Thrilling plays and victories. Headlines and High fives!

But the sands trickle and the hour glass is getting full.

At some point there is a dividing line- some teams qualify for post season and some don't.

Time Change and Whispers of Winter

And then the death matches start- week by week- one is alive and one has died.

When you win those- the thrill is softened a tad as you stare into the faces of the vanquished.

The comes the potential for the biggest hurt of all- you win and win and win- and the big prize is within millimeters. Last night was the third semi-final loss I have experienced in 20 years of coaching. They were all on the road. The trip back home is hollow. You wake up the next morning and it just attacks you- aww man- it did happen.

Then the long winter of discontent.

So what do we make of this? Why expose yourself to this potential pain over and over?

Because of the gospel. The good news of Christ is the only reason I can keep doing it. It is the only reason I can keep doing anything in this world of vain and empty promises and broken hearts and dreams.

How about these tweats from our players last night:

"When we win we praise Him, when we lose we praise Him. As much as it hurts I still love my God, my team, and my school."

"...God will always be with us and we will be strengthened by Him"

"Never hurt or cried so much in my life. We fought hard! I love my team and I'm PROUD TO BE A LION!"

And I could go on and on.

Football mirrors life:
Relationships- complex- important- the need for forgiveness and service
Character matters
Work to a goal
Highs and Lows
Victory and Defeat
Joy and Pain
It has an end

Here is how I summarize it in a nutshell:

God made everything good, in love He gave man freedom- only in freedom is love possible- but it also makes selfishness and sin possible- man chose sin- and because of sin- we suffer.

Football exists in this world of sin. When we fail, we all think back to decisions, I think I could have done more....

If there were no gospel- then I would stay in this death spiral of thinking that  I have to measure up.

But I can't- I will say wrong things- I will do wrong things- life is not undefeated. In my 20 years, I have 3 state championship rings- and I am a LUCKY ONE! But 17 other years have fallen short of the ultimate prize.

One day, my hour glass will run empty- I will walk wounded and defeated to the gates of heaven. I could have done more.


He might say, "Why should I let you in?"

What can I say and be honest?"Lord, I don't deserve to be in. My only hope is Your mercy, Your love, and the sacrifice of the cross. I have nothing to add except my sin."

And from what the Bible says- He will wrap His arms around me and say "Come in my Son."

And all that pain will be gone. All the disillusionment and disappointment. All the hurtful words and lies. All the lost opportunities. All the mourning. He will wipe my tears, He will hug me cheek to cheek.

I will see my mom and grandmother with perfect bodies. I will see celebration. I will play football again with my brothers (or something similar but better).

Last night, one of my players, a young man of incredible talent and passion- just sat there in his pads. He did not want to take them off. I know the feeling.

But they recover- quicker than I do.

I had a final group chat with my receivers.

Jay M: It was a great honor to coach you guys this season. Love you and will be praying for you.
Player 1: Thank you coach... I'm sorry I didn't make the play .. it was fun
Player 2: Same here- love ya
Player 3: _____ man. I could not be more proud of you-ur nothing but a baller
Player 4: thanks for everything you did for us coach-loved playing with you guys- wish it didn't have to end
Player 2: yes coach...love you
Player 5: we still have a lot of senior year left. Hate it ended the way it did- but it was a lot of fun. Thanks bros.

SO I will take a break and before long the juices will start stirring- and I will once again work with high hope and big dreams.

And know that only the Lord makes it meaningful. I trust in His plan. Until He returns.

I Corinthians 15:58

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Give thanks with a grateful heart:

I'm sitting here overwhelmed with good feelings of thanks. I am thankful for the rich life the Lord has blessed me with. It starts with salvation- an understanding of eternal forgiveness- not of my own doing. It is the ultimate gift.

Then I have to go to my wife- my best friend of 23 years ( and close to 30 that I have known her). God chose her to be that constant companion through times of plenty and times of need. I have to think back to Dec 9 - the day I was fired- and my heartbroken drive to my wife's office to tell her the news. She gave me the sweetest response and the most solid support during that time.
Here I was- about to have a daughter graduate- and looking into a vast, dark unknown- in a woeful economy and high jobless rate- and she just celebrated. God will take care of us- and boy, did He ever!

Give thanks to the HOLY ONE:

 Who is like the Lord? He is completely HOLY and lives in unapproachable light. If I were to come into His HOLY presence I would be vanquished... obliterated. But I am covered... I am justified.... I am adopted- WHAT A SALVATION!

Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son: 

Because of my sin- I was sentenced to a life apart from the HOLY ONE. But Jesus, because of deep love- became the sacrifice for me. It is Him and Him alone who deserves the thanks for this good news.

AND NOW- let the weak say "I am strong":

I am weak- I am able to do nothing good in my strength. I am lazy, and cold, and apathetic. I get down on myself and lose confidence. I let Satan fill me with doubts and fears- but IN HIM- I am a champion- Born again- adopted SON of the KING!

Let the poor say I am rich:

We struggle financially at times. We live month to month. We are completely dependent on God providing- but HE DOES! We don't live extravagantly, but I feel so wealthy. I have clothes, food, a nice house, my children are blessed with a world class education, my oldest daughter is excelling at a great university. We have health care and have experienced so many fun times. I don't know how we have done it, but He has always been faithful!

Because of what the Lord has done for us!

I sing, I praise, I celebrate- In Christ, there is great riches! In Christ, there is great blessing!

May we all enjoy Him more fully this thanksgiving day!

Thank you for:
My beautiful, loving family
My faithful friends
The blessing of Briarwood Christian School and Church- a steady, spiritual family!
A life of warm and rich memories
Excellent health
Food and shelter
More fun than a man should have
Hard times- that have made me stronger and wiser

I pray for: Our nation to be healed- we are divided and in deep debt and deeper sin
We need a revival of YOUR grace- we need an awakening of YOUR gospel.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Guest Blogger: David Haas

I have made recent contact with David Haas who has a great heart for encouraging cancer patients. He has written a number of blogs on this important topic and I am happy to lend space for his latest journal.

Energy Levels in Cancer Patients are increased through Moderate Exercise
by David Haas

Cancer patients face challenging ordeals as they begin to piece their lives back together once they have gone into remission. Remission in itself is a celebration, but the battle is not yet over. People who have fought and won against cancer still must deal with the challenging issues of feeling back to normal physically and emotionally and in trying to obtain a healthy amount of energy.

Mesothelioma is a common type of lung cancer that affects both men and women. This cancer, and other forms of cancer, can rapidly result in the need for chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation for the patient. If these treatments are successful and the person is able to enter into the remission stage, the person then is challenged with trying to redevelop healthy habits that can put him or her back into a good feeling of self, both physically and mentally.

A doctor for a cancer patient will often recommend mild to moderate forms of exercise for the patient to help the body to recover from the heavy burdens of treatment. Walking, yoga, light hiking, swimming, and mild aerobics are healthy forms of exercise that many doctors will recommend for their patients who are in remission stage from cancer.

Experts at the University of Rochester
state that exercise for cancer patients is wise and should also be taken step-by-step. Gently getting reintroduced to a habit of exercise is the best possible way to begin reincorporating physical activity into someone’s life who has survived cancer, or for someone who is currently going through cancer treatments.

For the exercise to be consistent, it should be enjoyable so the person will be more motivated and more inspired to stick to a normal exercise regimen. Salsa dancing classes provide a fun but mild form of exercise. Golfing, bowling, and nature walking are also activities that can stimulate both the mind and the body and help the person to begin to feel and look significantly better.

These activities are socially effective as well and help the person to overcome issues of shyness or self-consciousness after many months or weeks of cancer treatments. Energy levels and confidence levels can be gradually increased with the incorporation of regular and appropriate forms of exercise into the weekly schedule.

Please read more about David:

You can also see his personal writing at http://www.haasblaag.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 17, 2011

OH WOW- Lessons Learned from the Life of Steve Jobs

A few quick references below: My analysis begins after the Issacason quote:

The repeated last words of Steve Jobs

Published On Mon Oct 31 2011
“Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow,” said Jobs as he lay on his death bed.
“Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow,” said Jobs as he lay on his death bed.
Richard J. BrennanNational Affairs Writer
On his deathbed, Apple founder Steve Jobs stared into the future as he had so many times in life and uttered these final words, “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.”


One sunny afternoon, when he wasn’t feeling well, Jobs sat in the garden behind his house and reflected on death.  He talked about his experiences in India almost four decades earlier, his study of Buddhism, and his views on reincarnation and spiritual transcendence.  “I’m about fifty-fifty on believing in God,” he said.  “For most of my life, I’ve felt that there must be more to our existence than meets the eye.”He admitted that, as he faced death, he might be overestimating the odds out of a desire to believe in an afterlife.  “I like to think that something survives after you die,” he said.  “It’s strange to think that you accumulate all this experience, and maybe a little wisdom, and it goes away.  So I really want to believe that something survives, that maybe your consciousness endures.”He fell silent for a very long time.  “But on the other hand, perhaps it’s like an on-off switch,” he said.  “Click!  And you’re gone.”Then he paused again and smiled slightly.  “Maybe that’s why I never like to put on-off switches on Apple devices.”

Jayopsis: I have been thinking a lot about Steve Jobs... how can I not? I use an iphone/ipad/ and imac every day of my life. I bought his bio on ibooks and I listen to itunes all the time.

I have been grieving his loss... and my faith makes me shudder at the potential consequences of his life. Beautiful, creative, driven, admirable- but like any human... deep flaws... rebellion, refusal to acknowledge the source of all his extraordinary gifts, seemingly selfish, sometimes cruel.

To borrow a technique- what if I am wrong and Steve Jobs is much better that I have outlined (or how his bio presents him)- what if he only committed 3 sins a day? In 40 years he would have committed over 40,000.

If sin is no big deal- then no problem- right?

But sin is a big deal- all men leave a wake of hurt and mayhem behind- false promises, hurt relationships, dream killing, addiction enabling, heart breaking, and God hating words, attitudes, actions- both passive and active.

When Apple went public when he was 25, Steve Jobs was worth 256 million. When Pixar went public, his 80% share was worth 1.2 Billion!

But how much money can you pay to wipe away a debt of sin? How many good deeds can appease a life that looks at the sacrifice of the Son of God and says.. 'No Thanks'?

This is where atheists/agnostics/ and non-believers get critical and skeptical... "How dare you to judge! How can you condemn him?" 

And I don't... I admire him. I miss him.

The ultimate question is- when a man stares into the dark abyss- what was in his possession to appease the True and Living God? What if Steve were wrong about the on/off switch?

See, at the root of the issue was Steve Job's determined fight for autonomy. His parents would ask him to not do something- He said "No- I will do what I want ..when I want" and he lived his life out that way. Dr's told him to get surgery and he said "No". 

And that is ultimately what Hell is- the place where people place themselves for a life of looking at the universe and saying- 'No one will tell me what to do'.

C.S. Lewis said it much better:
Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others . . . but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God 'sending us' to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE Hell unless it is nipped in the bud.

I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened. And yourself, in a dark hour, may will [a grumbling] mood, embrace it. Ye can repent and come out of it again. But there may come a day when you can do that no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood...
   —excerpted from The Problem of Pain and The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), included in The Quotable Lewis, 1989 Tyndale

Ultimately, it is not for any of us to know for sure the eternal state of Steve Jobs. He stepped out of his body and into the presence of God. I fully trust God to be fair and loving, just and compassionate.

The question is still before the living- What can wash away my sin?

Christians for 2,000 years have had a consistent message- NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS.

What are you going to do with the question?

For more info on the Biblical view of Hell please visit this article by Tim Keller:
The Importance of the Doctrine of Hell