From Devastation to Triumph… From Marcus Lattimore to Buster Posey.

How do you respond to a devastating experience? The choices range from hope, depression, to denial. This past week the sports world showed us two sides of devastation, the beginning of it and the triumph over it. If you are a college football fan, your heart had to go out to Marcus Lattimore and his knee injury. I’m a Gator fan but I hated to see this University of South Carolina young man go down. Lattimore is not only praised for his running ability, but he is praised for his character and strong work ethic.

Latimore’s injury reminded me of another devastating injury. On May 25th, 2011 the San Francisco Giants were playing the Florida Marlins. At the end of this game the Giants’ catcher Buster Posey suffered a devastating leg injury also, from a collision at home plate. The shock and pain on Marcus Lattimore’s face, as he laid there on the football field reminded me of the pain Buster Posey was going through while beating the ground in pain after his injury.

What gives me hope in all this is what I witnessed Sunday night October 28th, 2012. The final pitch of the World Series was thrown to Buster Posey for a third strike and his second championship. This is the same Buster Posey that came back from devastation to win the MVP of the National League. Yes, it’s the same Buster Posey that won the Hank Aaron Batting Award, and the same Buster that hit a two run homerun in the final game of the World Series. That happens to be the same World Series that was a four game sweep.

I witnessed almost all of Buster’s home baseball games when he was in high school. He was a kid that everything seemed to go right for which was a lot because of his lifestyle. I can remember when I first started watching him, I would always say a prayer under my breath when he came up to bat. Don’t act like you have never said a prayer at a sporting event. The ball parks are  very spiritual places. I would usually pray, “Lord, help him get a hit.” However, somewhere during Buster’s junior year at Lee County High, I began just to pray, “Lord, just let this pitcher throw him something he can hit.” Watching Buster, one knew he had college and major league talent. His working hard in all aspects of life made things click for him in life and when he singled out baseball as his sport that was it. However, real character is not always noticed until it is tested. Posey’s character and work ethic was tested on May 25th and the months that followed.

As much as I can know about Marcus Lattimore, I see a young man of natural talent but also one of character with a strong work ethic. I believe he will also comeback from his leg injury. My prayer for Marcus is that he not only come back from it, but that he triumphs it.

Seventeen months after May 2011 it was awesome to watch the catcher for the San Francisco Giants jumping up and down in a World Series celebration. I hope one day Marcus Lattimore’s legs are experiencing the same triumph in the NFL. That’s what hope is all about, and I choose hope.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Job 13:15

My hope is in You. Psalm 39:7

The Tale of Two Birds… Big Bird and America the Eagle

This 2012 presidential election may end up being the tale of two birds. After Mitt Romney suggests that Big Bird needs to carry his own weight, hundreds of thousands have blown up twitter with unending whining and complaining about Governor Romney trying to kill Big Bird. I think it’s fascinating how we can major on the minors and minor on the majors in this country. Even though we give $430 million to PBS, it is a very small amount when one looks at our 16 trillion dollar deficit, which is almost equally attributed to, by both the democrats and the republicans through the years. And then you have President Obama’s smart aleck remark; “Thank goodness someone is finally getting tough on Big Bird.”

The sad part of all of this is that there is a bigger bird involved in this story. A bird that our forefathers loved, cherished, preserved, and would never have let come this close to dying while bickering about a Sesame Street character. The bird I speak of is America the Eagle.

This administration, along with others in the past has crippled and caged this great bird with taxation without good representation. “We the people” has become we the corporate lobbyist while little has been done about cutting wasteful spending, capping deficit spending, balancing our budgets, and depleting our national deficit. It is time the American people wise up and get tough on President Obama, his administration, the Senate, and Congress, demanding them release this bird and let her sore once again.

Our forefathers did important things to keep this Eagle healthy; they focused on the majors and kept government limited and small. Many often would quote from the Bible, which was cornerstone to their worldview. Today, I believe they would be focusing on our national debt and quoting Proverbs 22:7 which says, “The borrower becomes the lender’s slave” because they would be up in arms if they knew we have allowed this great bird to become a slave to China.

Americans, be careful focusing on Big Bird and not the Big Question. What I find most interesting and the one thing I can honestly say I like about Governor Romney is his litmus test. Whether he gets elected and whether he really applies this test is yet to be determined.

I would throw out President Obama and Governor Romney for a president, a Senate, and a Congress that would honestly apply this test. We should all be asking, “Is this program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?” because how we answer this question will determine if either Big Bird or America the Eagle will survive.

Let Freedom Ring… and Work.

The eagles are really active at the lake right now. I enjoy watching them and I am blessed to live and hang out where they do. This past weekend I watched an eagle chasing an osprey. The osprey had a fish he had worked hard for and caught. The eagle, instead of using his energy to catch his own fish, decided to use his energy to take the fish from the osprey. They were flying like crazy in all different directions. Finally, the osprey dropped the fish back into the lake and the eagle dove down and got it. Obviously, the eagle was showing his power and superiority but not his best character. I recalled this sight while listening to Dave Stotts explain why Benjamin Franklin did not want the eagle to be our national bird.

Benjamin Franklin wrote to his daughter, Sarah Bache, in 1784,

For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the representative of our country. He is a Bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead tree near the river, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.”

Franklin’s logic was brilliant. The Bald Eagle to him was a royal symbol that took advantage of the less powerful. Franklin did not want to see our government represented this way, as a government that over powers, over taxes, and takes from the people. He envisioned a government that had high moral character in truth, fairness, and equality. Franklin knew his country had just fought a revolution over taxes and freedom. He did not want to see the new power become a power to tax and therefore destroy. However, what Franklin feared has now become reality.

Ben Franklin was right and our government has developed a royal attitude. The proof is in how our government cannot stop taxing and spending on things our forefathers never envisioned us collecting for or wasting money on.

As Americans, we need to pray that our country does not personify the bad characteristics of the eagle. We should pray that our country would have a strong work ethic, run efficiently, and we should work to these ends. At the same time, may we, as individual citizens, not become lazy like the eagle on the days when he steals from the working osprey but instead that we would be like the working osprey so we may enjoy the fruit of our labor. As Psalm 128:2 says, “You shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you.” Hopefully, the government will not take it away from you.

Don’t Judge Me Bro!

“Don’t judge me.” Have you ever heard someone say this? It’s a very popular response when people make a judgment call on someone or something. We, as Americans, seem to have a schizophrenic relationship with judging others. On the one hand we cry foul play by saying, “Don’t judge” and on the other hand we can’t seem to stop making judgment calls. In fact, I would say we actually love to watch judgment in action.

Take for example the TV shows that millions of Americans tune into each week. One can find judgment on all levels. American Idol has their judges. Survivor has a weekly judging party and ends the season with a jury. People love drama and get in on the judging themselves. The People’s Court, and shows like it, seem to be doing well too with Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, and Judge Joe Brown. People love to watch the action.

So, why the cry of do not judge? I believe one reason is that the Bible says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Jesus said these words and it is important to read the words which follow because if one just takes that one verse out of it’s context, people would never have the right to make a judgment call according to Jesus. Good thing He elaborates on this topic a little. He goes on to say, “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2). My first thought about this statement is that if I just lower my standards, I’m good with Jesus and off the hook. If I have an “anything goes” standard of living, and I sport that same standard to everyone else, then that is how God will judge me someday. Here again, it’s good Jesus explains His train of thought.

Jesus continues, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3-4). I think Jesus was stating the obvious here, we all have our problems and issues. Some may be small like a speck and some have issues like a log in their eye. I don’t know if you have ever had something small in your eye like a gnat or a speck of dirt. If you have, I’m sure you realize how irritating it can be. It is something you go to a mirror for or someone else that can help you.

I believe God has given us two things in life to help us with our eye problems. One is a spiritual mirror, which is the Bible. If one studies it with The Holy Spirit’s influence and guidance all the logs and specks become clear and the remedy for them is understood. The second thing God gives us is Spirit Controlled Christians. They are people who can help you see things that you and others around you can’t see. This is why Jesus finishes up this passage and thought with, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5). I believe Jesus has two goals here, first, to clear up your vision and then, for you to help clear up others. His goal is for believers to judge rightly, not to never judge. This is why The Apostle Paul says later, “Don’t you know that God’s people will judge the world? And if you are going to judge the world, aren’t you able to judge small cases? Don’t you know that we will judge angels? Then we should be able to judge the things of this life even more!” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).

So… how is your eyesight? Get in front of the spiritual mirror daily and find some Spirit controlled people to connect with weekly. Don’t forget when Jesus gives you better vision, don’t just enjoy it, help someone else to see clearer.

Hall of Fame

“And the world’s gonna know your name
 cause you burn with the brightest flame. And the world’s gonna know your name
 and you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame.” ~ Hall of Fame by The Script

Will they remember your name? How about you, can you remember the name of your grandfather? How about your great grandfather’s name? Many of us live with the goal of making some sort of Hall of Fame yet if we go back far enough we find it hard remembering particular people of big events unless we are a sports or history buff.

April 18th, 1874 was declared a day of national morning for the British Isles. There was not a student or factory worker that did not know that Britain’s greatest hero was being buried that day. It was eleven months after his death but because of three African friends his body made it back to his homeland. However, his friends first buried his heart under a Mpundu tree in Chitambo, Zambia because they felt it belonged in the country he so dearly loved. Then they prepared his body and carried it over 1,000 miles to the coast of Africa to the British authorities. He was taken back to his homeland and laid to rest in London. On his tombstone is inscribed a portion of one of his last letters written to a friend about his most passionate topic, slavery. It reads, “All I can say in my solitude is, May Heaven’s rich blessings come down on everyone, Americans, English, Turk who will help to heal this open sore of the world.” They said of this national hero that he served three masters, as a missionary he was, first and foremost, a servant of God. As an explorer he was a servant of science, and as a denouncer of the slave trade he was the servant to humanity.

I recently attended a class where the professor was telling us about his trip to London. As he visited Westminster Abbey, he was looking for this hero’s grave in the church. He walked all around the gravestones but ended up asking a lady overseeing the abbey that day. He told her who he was looking for and she replied, “Last name again, please?” He said, “Livingston… David Livingston.” He was amazed that the name did not ring a bell for a person that was first of all, British, and that worked in Westminster Abbey. She went to her records and on finding David Livingston’s name, she was amazed that the grave was right in the middle of abbey in such a prominent location.

I found the story interesting because most of us work our whole lives trying to make a name for ourselves. I can remember one year at church camp getting a silly superlative award at our camp banquet. It said, “Most likely to be disappointed if they don’t become famous.” I first kept this award because it was a fun memory of Camp 1982. I have continued to keep it because it’s a reminder that my ultimate intention is not to become famous or to make a name for myself but to love Jesus, and to love people just like Livingston did.

David Livingston is probably the greatest missionary to come from the British Isles and one of the greatest explorers in the world. Yet today, most of us know little about him. His grave probably would not be a one we would look for on a visit to London. Few would know of his passion for abolishing slavery and slave trading. In most circles his name would not stand out. He surely did not make a name for himself with the Westminster Abbey staffer that day. Good thing that was not what he was trying to do on his mission to love Jesus, and to love people.

A Cup of Cold Water In Jesus’ Name

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward. Matthew 10:42

People try to classify Chick-fil-a as hateful because they love God, love people, and love the Bible. The following video shows what I saw Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 when I showed up at our local Chick-fil-a. The atmosphere was electric, the spirit was loving. The people there were either supporting the American Constitution, loving Dan Cathy, loving Jesus, loving the Bible, or all the above.

This video shows that Chick-fil-a  has taken the high road on this Pro-Family Values issue. Some try to label CFA as hateful but all of the hateful stories I have seen are coming from the homosexual side of this issue. The man in this video thinks he took away from CFA and from this nice young lady. Actually this man took nothing from this company or from this young lady… but gave the company and this nice young lady an opportunity to give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name. I’m proud that the Cathy’s motto was Read Mor Bible, and Be Mor Jesus, before it was Eat Mor Chikin.

Chick-fil-a is a rare bird, an endangered species. I am proud of the Americans, and the Christians who showed up on Wednesday to support them and to say, I hope we don’t let this special bird die off because it’s as sacred to our heritage as our American eagle.

Common Sense Appreciation Day

Chick fil-A Appreciation Day August 1st, 2012

August 1st, 2012 is Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day. It’s has come about because of Dan Cathy’s stance for what the Bible says about marriage. It’s clear that the Bible says that marriage is meant to be between a man, and a woman for life (Matthew 19:5). One cannot find a homosexual marriage in the Bible. In fact, the Bible teaches that the homosexual lifestyle is a sinful lifestyle and it condemned in the Old and New Testament (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:26-27). So in a sense, Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day is really Bible Appreciation Day. Imagine that, one can support the Bible by eating good chicken… not to mention the Waffle Fries.

However, I like to call the day, Common Sense Appreciation Day because of the obvious reality that a man was made for a woman, and a woman was made for a man. The reality that we only procreate when a man and woman are involved proves this fact. I do not want to over state the obvious so I will leave you with an illustration from the electrical world.

Common sense tells us how these plugs work.

If you are around an electrician enough you will hear them talk about male and female parts. Notice the picture to the right. Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how these parts work. You’re not going to get much from two female plugs working together or two males. The funny thing is that the common sense of a young child can figure this out.

It is sad that, for the most part, we live in a culture that has lost their God sense, their ethical sense, and their common sense. We have rebelled against God, our conscience, and our mind. I pray that that all rebels will start rebelling by reading the Bible more. Now there’s a real rebellion! Hardly anyone is reading the Bible anymore. It may be the last rebellion. It would be a rebellion that would restore our God sense, ethical sense and common sense. May the rebellion begin… Read more Bible! Eat more Chicken!

P.S. I’ll save the Constitutional Sense thoughts for Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul. https://www.facebook.com/events/266281243473841