What uncommon things do we want to become common?

Things like:
our children having mutual love and respect for each other.
our teenage children having love, honor, respect and obedience for their parents.
us continually becoming better friends and lovers.
our family totally trusting God in all things and putting our faith in Him to fulfill his promises.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Be a Follower of Jesus, not just a Fan

By Creg

I just finished reading “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman. It was convicting & challenging, stepping on my toes quite often.

He starts in John 6 where Jesus offers himself, but the question is, would that be enough?

Vs 35 Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me
will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Suddenly Jesus is the only thing on the menu.

Vs 66 From this time on many of his disciples turned back and no
longer followed him.

Jesus doesn’t soften his message to make it more appealing. He doesn't seem surprised by the fact that his popularity has plummeted.

Kyle then relates how he has cheapened the gospel in some of his past preaching. He writes:

Think of it this way. Imagine that my oldest daughter turns 25. She isn’t married but she really wants to be. I decide I’m going to help make that happen. So, imagine I take out an ad in the newspaper, put up a billboard sign, & make up T-shirts begging someone to choose her. I even offer some attractive gifts as incentives. Doesn’t that cheapen who she is? Wouldn’t that make it seem that whoever came to her would be doing her a favor? I would never do that.

Should we do that with Jesus?

Kyle defines a fan as someone who wants to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them. He also says that fans try to follow Jesus on their own power & will eventually be frustrated by failures & overwhelmed by life’s circumstances. And because of that they will have a hard time coming up with stories about how the Spirit has worked in their life.

Kyle is describing the first 20 years of my Christian walk.

What about you?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Getting Things Right, Step #1

By Creg

Chris right after his baptism.
Chris had only been out of prison for a few days, but he knew he had to get things right. Step #1 in that process is being born again.

Born in Aman, Jordan Chris was adopted when he was 1year old. His father was in the oil business so they moved around a lot. Chris has lived in Norway, London, Egypt, Vermont, and finally ended up in Houston where he graduated from high school.

When he was 9 his parents split up & he moved in with his dad. He was baptized at 14 in a Norwegian Lutheran church in Houston because that's what you did at that age in the Lutheran church. In 2009 his wife was tragically killed in car wreck, leaving Chris with 3 small kids. He says depression took over & he started drinking & using drugs. He eventually gave the care of keeping his 3 kids to his in-laws. Last year he ended up in Abilene going to Faithworks & that's where we met him. He's been going to church & bible study & decided he is ready to turn things over to God, so he was baptized Tuesday afternoon. That night he took the bus to Houston so he can file for his immigration papers which were lost recently. He's hoping to get things right so he can get his kids back soon. May the Spirit be with you, Chris.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sterling's Last Game

By Creg

What a difference 2 years makes. Last year was Sterling's first season of playing tackle football. He joined a home-school team for Jr High kids & I volunteered to help coach. If you know Sterling very well you probably thought the same thing I did when he asked to join the team. This soft-spoken, mild mannered, polite, wouldn't-hurt-a-fly personality wants to play tackle football? The kind where you try to knock people down & get hit by other guys! He remembers his first play in last years first game saying, "I was so nervous I was shaking." By his last game this year, a 24-12 victory against Dallas Lakehill Prep Academy, he was a dominant player on offense & defense. He was the only player on our team who could tackle #42, their fullback, by himself.
Sterling, #50 with black elbow pads, lining up on offense, across from Mr. Big.
 Sterling was the team leader in total tackles, tackles for loss, & QB sacks. He was the most improved player on the team.
Sterling beats his blocker & sacks their quarterback

Sterling drive-blocks his man downfield.

On the sidelines with Steele, Sierra, Sterling, & Creg.

When I quit teaching 4 years ago I thought my coaching days were done. These past 2 years coaching Sterling's team made me realize how beneficial my 19 years of experience were. I coached under some excellent coaches in Abilene &what I learned allowed me to help this team prepare & be competitive in games against bigger & stronger teams. I'm not the same coach I was in my first few years of being on the sideline. My philosophies & strategies have changed as I've learned the ins & outs of different offenses & what makes plays work.

Thinking about Sterling's growth & maturity as a player and mine as a coach got me to relate this idea to spirituality. If we've been a Christian for decades & still have the same beliefs about everything, have we grown any? Obviously I'm not talking about the absolutes of Jesus, God & the Bible. I'm thinking of the "disputable matters" that Paul talks about in Romans 14. If our ideas about these matters haven't changed in 20 years, have we really been studying & challenging ourselves? Doesn't maturity involve change?

Part of Sterling's growth as a player involved a lot of difficult practices where he pushed himself to get better. Part of my growth as a coach was to listen to different offensive philosophies so I could compare them to what I knew & then make a decision based on those differences.

Maybe part of us growing spiritually is listening to those who have differing opinions on the "disputable matters" where we push ourselves to understand & maybe accept other views. And it might be difficult.