Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27, 2009 - In The News

Every player wants the coach to notice him. I can picture those kids sitting the bench and trying to lean just right for to catch the coach’s eye. Or the kid that makes sure he sits right next to the coach on the bench and talks non-stop to be noticed. Every once in a while there is even the player that point-blank asks the coach to put him in. (I even talk to players at times to explain how they should conduct themselves on the bench to be noticed. If they are messing around or sitting slumped back appearing uninterested, the coach is probably not putting them in.)

The simple fact is that we all want to be noticed. We all want to catch someone’s eye. I often preach about the fact that God (the Coach) is on our side. He has taken notice of us – He is on our side. Yet there is a bit of a twist to how this should play out in the Christian’s life.

From the worldly perspective we want noticed to bring glory to ourselves. (A player wants to find his name in the newspaper.) From the Biblical approach the goal of our lives should be to bring glory to God.

Even throughout Christ’s earthly ministry He chose to bring glory to the Father. Think about it – He could have performed a miracle for everyone He saw, yet He even used that power sparingly, so as to make it about the Father and not just about the miracles.

We, as God’s team, are ambassadors for Him. (See 2 Corinthians 5) Our primary objective is that God’s name and grace be lifted up! Make sure He is getting “the press.”

Psalm 67
1 God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah 2 That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. 3 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.4 Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, And govern the nations on earth. Selah 5 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. 6 Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us. 7 God shall bless us, And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20, 2009 - God is on your side!

It is the off-season for the NBA and the trades are in full swing. Basically each team is sizing up the opposition and trying to figure out how they will rise to prominence. In other words each team wants to know how to beat the Lakers in the West and the Magic in the East.

You see this with the Cavaliers getting Shaq, thinking he is the missing ingredient for a championship. (They needed someone that could counter Dwight Howard.)

Dwayne Wade has publicly wooed Lamar Odom to “come back home” to play for Miami. The Celtics are adding pieces to their puzzle. And it goes on and on.

It boils down to teams trying to gain an edge on or match-up with the competition. Don’t we feel overwhelmed sometimes in life? Often things appear to be more than we can bear. Life simply gets hard at times!

Can I simply give you a quick reminder this week? If you are a child of God, you don’t need to trade for anything else. God is on your side! No matter what life has for you – God is bigger. No matter what life has for you – God is better! No matter what life has for you – God is sufficient to meet your needs.

A couple of references for you:

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Psalm 3
1 LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. 2 Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah 3 But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. 4 I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah 5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me all around. 7 Arise, O LORD; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. 8 Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah

Romans 8: 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 13, 2009 - So what do you think of ...?

So what do you think of Josh Powell as a player? What about Didier Ilunga-Mbenga or Sun Yue? What about Jason Thompson? Cartier Martin? Roko Ukic? Mike Wilks? And my list could go on and on. These guys are some of the greatest basketball players in the world yet you may not have recognized any of the names on the list. All play in the NBA, and the first 3 are members of the championship Lakers.

These guys all have to be great to be lacing them up in “The League.” Yet sitting at the end of the bench does not bring much notoriety. And although I am sure they don’t mind getting their paychecks, I also know it has to gnaw at them to be sitting while the action is going on.

Many in the church are simply being benchwarmers – and I don’t mean while sitting in a pew – I mean in life. The fact is most are content to simply go through their lives not caring if anyone notices what “team” they are on. The church body has often bought into the philosophy that says “who cares what people think.”

Scripturally we should care what people think. Our testimonies are of great importance and not just from the standpoint of what we don’t do. Sure it is important to not be getting drunk, cheating, lying, etc. Those types of things kill one’s testimony. Yet it is just as important to be of good reputation concerning the positives. People should see a hope in us. People should hear us proclaim God’s goodness. People need to see us “playing in the game.”

There is a new Matthew West song I love that simply says, “I don’t wanna go through the motions; I don’t wanna go one more day; without Your all-consuming passion inside of me; I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking ‘What if I had given everything?’ instead of going through the motions.”

It is time to get busy Christian! People need to know who you are and ultimately who He is!

1 Peter 3: 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

1 Timothy 3:7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

I love the old question that is asked: if you were on trial for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 6, 2009 - Stud or Dud

We have gone through the NBA draft and now it will be time to see how these picks pan out. Their respective teams have held news conferences to introduce them to the masses and made comments concerning what each of these young men will do for their clubs. With some of them, (such as the foreign-born players mentioned in last week’s devotion), all we have to go on is the hype. Others have made names for themselves in the college game, yet that is an entirely different thing than the NBA. Beyond the draft some players have simply switched teams raising hopes (i.e. Shaq as the savior of Cleveland to bring them a longed for title.)

The fact is that the games will have to be played, the box scores reviewed, and a determination made as to whether the players lived up to their hype. Some will go down as heroes (studs), while some are considered to be a bust (duds).

This is on my mind because I am in the midst of an outreach in London that is truly focused around the identity of Jesus Christ. Yet this is not a new thing. In Scripture even the trial of Christ was based upon His identity. Afterwards we see often the message for people to change their minds about this Jesus whom they crucified. They are told He is the Messiah and they should believe on Him to be saved. He was/is the Messiah!

The way to judge this is by looking at the “game.” The “pre-game hype” included around 300 prophecies of the upcoming Messiah and Christ fulfilled them all. (Even the Islamic crowd I am dealing with in London believes Christ “played a perfect game.)

The Jews that had Him crucified were not looking at the “box score” of fulfilled prophecy and a sinless life – they wanted an earthly king as their Messiah. They were looking at things from a political standpoint and not a spiritual one.

The people of today unfortunately will look at Him as a prophet or teacher, but miss that He is the Messiah – the deliverer. He is the only one that can bring us the “championship” of eternal life – via His shed blood on the cross for our sins, and His resurrection from the grave that overcame death an gives us new life!

10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4)

Christ lives up to the hype! I challenge you to present the person of Christ to the world. He is our hope. He is our future. He is the Messiah!