Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tebow Time!

Tebow Time!

Luke 23:34a says, “Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” I wonder if Tebow has prayed this after he reads some of the Twitter, Facebook, or other comments media sources have reported on about his behavior on the field. The main comment that inspired me to write this blog was Terrell Suggs negative statement about God being on Tebow’s sideline during games. Suggs went even further in saying he didn’t need God on his sideline. At the time I read it I couldn’t believe someone would even say something like that about God because I didn’t think he would want to offend his teammates who might be Christians. Suggs plays for the Baltimore Ravens and I believe Michael Oher is a Christian. (Michael Oher from “Blind Side”) There have been other players around the league who have said that Tebow is going over board in sharing his belief on the field and in the media room. I have read some other Christian blogs that have said he’s a little too much. I have to state for the record how can someone, if genuine, go too far in demonstrating his or her love for Jesus Christ. Jesus died for us! I think we shout it out daily in the streets! I completely believe Tim Tebow is a devout follower of Jesus Christ and how he acts on and off the field is the way he truly is at home. We as humans can get on each other’s nerves in the way we act or demonstrate our love for things. I saw a couple a weeks ago where the big running back on the Giants scored a touchdown against the Cowboys and then stood in the end zone humping the air. No one lost their mind about this crude behavior. Most fans would call it a touchdown celebration dance but I would beg to differ. My four year old was watching the game with me and has started imitating everything he sees these guys do but luckily for me he missed this act of “dancing”. All I’m saying is if we’re going to tolerate this type of celebration that only brings glory to self then how can it hurt for someone to give glory to his God in a very humble way be a problem.
I know there a lot of other good Christians who have a quieter approach to honoring our Lord but I don’t think Tim Tebow has had a choice in the attention he’s gotten. If you don’t like hearing Tebow give thanks to Jesus you have a choice to turn off your TV or don’t follow the Denver Broncos at all. The media snaps shots every time he does something. Tebow isn’t scheduling press conferences and preaching sermons. He is just showing up playing the game and if you put a microphone in his face he’s going to give credit to our Lord Jesus Christ and I’m going to tell you right now if the Cleveland Browns start winning Colt McCoy will be doing the same thing. These young men understand the platform they have been given and that’s to give glory to the one who gave them eternal life. It makes me feel good to have Jesus’ name in the headlines where it rightfully belongs. I think this young man has done a wonderful job in how he’s handled himself under this spotlight. I’m definitely a Tebow fan and I can’t wait to get my Tim Tebow jersey to where all over the place. I had a student tell me I was on the Tebow Bandwagon and I told him I love people who stand up for Jesus! I don’t know if the Broncos will defeat the Patriots this weekend but if they do Tebow will give all glory to God and his teammates before he takes any credit. The eyes of the NFL will be on the Broncos and Patriots this Saturday night and for the first time some people might find out about Jesus Christ because of a football game. Isn’t it funny how God can take someone who’s not suppose to be in the QB position and make it work beyond belief of so-called experts. Win or lose on Saturday night God will be glorified! Passion’s Path is a great place to take a walk!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Choice for All

A Choice for all
Daniel 6:24

I had grown up going to the Catholic Church and had a very shallow idea of what the church was really about or who God really was much less that Jesus was the Son of God. When it came to church and its greater meaning I was without doubt very ignorant. No one in my family as far back as I could remember went to Church every Sunday. I remember my great-great granny reading her Bible and I can’t recall too clearly but I bet she read some stories to me because I recollect sitting in front of her with her Bible on her lap with it open. My brother and I went to CCD on Wednesday nights and that was the extent of my church experience outside of weddings or funerals. There were a couple rare occasions we went to church and it was after my dad and mom had split a couple different times. Each time as part of the reconciliation my mom wanted us all to go to church as a family. My dad agreed to it and for a couple weeks or maybe even a month we would attend as a family and then things would return to the way it was. My dad lived the way he was raised and that was without God. My dad came from an abusive family and my poor father continued what his father had taught him. I received many lessons from my father but surrendering your life to God wasn’t one of them. My dad died when he was 44 years old and the pastor who led the funeral service told me my dad gave his life to Christ before he had died but at the time I still didn’t have a clue what that meant but I know it made feel good on the inside. I had many strong manly influences in my life but none of them showed me a path that walked with God on a daily basis. My mom and Aunt took me to church after my dad’s passing on a pretty consistent basis but I still didn’t have a clue where Jesus fit in to the story with God. I knew he was the Son of God but I didn’t connect with him being anything of great importance especially in my life. (That was difficult to even type, thank you for forgiving me Jesus!)

            Building off what I had learned from the marriage I grew up watching, I got married when I was twenty-two for all the wrong reasons. I thought I was in love and we were expecting our first child. I had already gotten off on the wrong foot with doing things out of order and without God at the center of my life or at the center of this marriage. The marriage lasted a very tough nine years. During those nine years we had two wonderful children but as a couple we were going in opposite directions and leading us away from each other. I had been perverted by the devil in my lusts for other women and for that I take responsibility for destroying my family. I allowed the devil to consume my wants and desires. I never kept my vows or tried to be the strong leader I needed to be for my wife or my children. Finally after nine years we separated and then divorced a little after that. I wasn’t physically abusive like my dad but as far as mental abuse I had been really horrible in the way I treated my ex-wife. I was so in to getting what I wanted that I didn’t give my children the true amount of love they deserved.

            I was staying at a friend’s house back in my hometown and one night while resting on the couch I finally came to the conclusion that I was partied out. No longer did I want to be alone and continue wasting this life I’d been given. I went to work and little did I know I was working at a table separating some belts with the very person God would send to be my wife. My wife and I got off to a rough start because neither one of us were attending church or had biblical teachings in our life as we were dating. We continued to date and went through some rough times but it was nothing we couldn’t work through. Once again I found myself in a situation that found my girlfriend at the time pregnant and a wedding date not yet set but there was one thing that was different. I was finally mature enough to know I was actually in love and wanted to spend the rest of my years on earth with this woman. We tied the knot and living a normal life or what we thought was normal to us from what we had seen and learned from our previous marriages but something was still missing. My wife had mentioned she wanted to go to church and the idea was stirring in my mind but I still had not responded. It’s funny how God works but God gave us a house with a church literally in the backyard. I had gotten invitations from one of my Jr. High football players, a hair stylist, and finally the pastor came by one day when I was mowing my yard and invited our family to attend but still I hadn’t really decided to go to church yet.

            While all these events were taking place my brother in law was talking to me about God and what Jesus was doing in his life. I would ask many questions to my brother in law and he would feed the answers the Holy Spirit told him to tell me. It was Sunday afternoon my brother in law said the words that would forever shake me to the core on what I believed about God and who Jesus was to be in my life. He told me as the leader of my family that I could lead them to heaven or I could lead them straight to hell. I always had the idea that everyone was pretty much on there on when it came to spiritual things but now I heard it was on me. I sat there trying to let all this new information set in and try to formulate what I should do next. Through our previous conversations I knew it was all leading to somewhere and that destination was Jesus Christ. We continued to talk the rest of the trip but when the car finally parked in the garage, sitting in the passenger seat of the Toyota Highlander I gave my life to Jesus Christ. This was a decision I didn’t take lightly and I realized my leadership had a tremendous amount of responsibility. In the story of Daniel, where God protects Daniel in the lion’s den and then what happens to the people who were responsible for lying on Daniel in the first place. The decision those men made affected their entire families. Daniel 6:24 says, “And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions-them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.” I wonder or considered the decision they had made would also affect the lives of their family’s lives. I’m thankful my brother in law listened to the Holy Spirit and shared the Gospel with me. As leaders, the choices we make affect us all!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Give an Answer

I was hosting a youth gathering at my home recently where I showed them a recorded message from France Chan. In the message Chan talked about how we receive so many messages and do nothing with them. He gave the analogy of telling his daughter to clean her room and she didn't do it until about the fourth time of being told. He said what if his daughter came back like we do with how we treat the word and direction we've been given by God's word. "Dad I wrote down what you told me about cleaning my room, Dad, I memorized that you said to clean my room and finally Dad, some of my friends and I are going to start a three week study of what it would look like to clean my room. This is a funny analogy but it is so true about how we avoid what the word of God is telling us every time we read the word or a message from God. So many times we just take the word and read it but do not take action steps in following what God has spoken into our lives. In Mark 8:34, Jesus tells the crowd and His disciples to deny themselves, take up the cross, and follow him. In this one verse Jesus gives us three specific commands to do if we wish to be true followers of the way, the truth, and the life. For me we really can't proceed with reading any further without dealing with this one verse of scripture. First, Jesus' says to deny ourselves and He means more than just denying ourselves from personal items and desires. We're to deny ourselves to the point that we see the will that God has for our lives. It's like the Brandon Heath song, "Give Me Your Eyes" so we may have a glimpse of how God truly intends for us to see things.
Secondly, Jesus wants us to take up our cross and not just sometimes. Your true cross can't be put down when things get tough or when you think it's too hard to continue any further with the weight upon your shoulders. When my son was in the hospital with an unshakable strain of flu it was without a doubt the most difficult struggle my family ever had to face. I spent most of the time of his stay in the hospital by myself while my wife took care of our remaining family back at home. I look back on what my son had to be thinking and how I was trying to strong for him. As my son's condition continued to deteriorate it came to a point where they wanted to intubate my son once again and he looked at me in the eyes and without saying a word, he said no. I went down the hall to call my wife and to pray about this difficult decision. The numbers the doctors were giving for his survival were not favorable so through prayer I allowed my son to make the decision for himself and God gave me peace about it. The Holy Spirit never left my side during the whole ordeal. My son carried his cross to the point of death. He never got mad at God or asked why was him that was dying. My son actually looked at me and apologized for getting sick. God used this young man in so many ways it's incredible. (Many future blogs will include more of his story) He never put his cross down or denied that Jesus was the Lord of his life. 
Finally, Jesus says for us to follow him. It is time for us to take the scriptures that are written in the Bible and really absorb what is being said through them. The gospel demands a response and not just a click on the like button on facebook. Following Jesus will be the most difficult thing you'll ever have to do but at the same time the most rewarding. I'm not talking about following Jesus in the current state of just feel good messages where people just want goose pimple feeling but following a cause that will cause the hair on the back of your neck to stand up and get you out of your comfort zone. We need to quit Americanizing our savior who died on the cross for our sins. The God who is calling you to action isn't going to give you suggestions on how to live but give you undeniable commands on how to live. If your life is feeling boring or mundane then you're not following Passion's Path.

I'm not a great writer but I think we all have something to say that matters. 
I hope you enjoyed the first installment of Passion's Path.
God Bless you all!