“You Have Chosen Poorly”

Poorly

Photo Credit: YouTube

I am a big fan of the Indiana Jones movies. Once in a while, since I was his only son, (with two sisters) my dad would take me out with him to see a “boy” movie – a tradition I continued with my own son when he was little and now with my son-in-laws as well!

There is a scene in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” where Jones and the “villain” need to choose the cup Christ drank from in order to receive eternal life. The villain (since he had the gun) chooses first, and picks a beautiful silver cup and, of course, not really knowing who Christ was, drinks from the cup stating, “this cup is certainly the cup of a king” (or something to that affect). His outcome of course was not a good one after he drinks the water. I’ll save you from the gory details of his demise. I DO, however love the comment of the guardian when he observes what unfolds and simply states, “He chose poorly”. Jones on the other hand knowing history and of Christ, knows Christ was a carpenter and picks the simple wooden cup to drink from. The guardian of the cups response to his choice was, “You have chosen wisely”.

Life is full of SO many choices. Some as simple as what to have for breakfast and some difficult because of their possible lifelong effects (college choice, vocation, whether to marry and who to marry…).

However, there is one more choice which greatly affects THIS life AND the life after death! We can choose not to believe in Christ and serve ourselves OR we can choose to accept him as our savior and allow him to direct us all the way into and throughout eternity. According to scripture, one road is more difficult and less traveled and there is no road in between:
Matthew 6:24 says:
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”  Then Matthew 7: 13 and 14 says:
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

This poem by Cooper Abrams (who revised this version of the Robert Frost poem) “The Road Not Taken” says it all:
Two roads diverged in a forest glen, and I wondered which I should take,
And long I stood and pondered, looking
down each road as far as I could,
to see what choice I should make.
I looked for direction to made my choice.
One was well traveled, broad and wide,
and looked easy as it crooked through the glen. 
The other was strait, narrow and clearly less worn.
Which road, I contemplated, would I have the better end.
Then there appeared a Man with a book in his hand,
It pages He knew so well, He sternly spoke and with authority said,
”This book the end of both roads will show.
It says the wide road will take you to dark depths,
to a place you do not wish to go.”
He then smiled said don’t look so grim, 
I prepared the narrow way for you take, 
where you never go alone,
For this strait road is the only way, 
and I will go with you and take you home. 
It was years ago I stood at that the fork in the road,
and the Man’s sound counsel I took. 
The road was as he said, 
and the end as stated in the book.
Two roads diverged in a forest glen, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
I let the Savior lead me by His word,
And that has made all the difference.”

In college, I came across a “Daily Bread” devotional that was titled, “Two Roads to Choose”. It stated that we had just one life to live and two choices of how to live it: serving ourselves, or serving Christ. I made the decision that morning while reading that devotional that the choice for Rich Rose was to serve Christ wholeheartedly -thus my life’s verse of Col: 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” It was a choice I do not regret and is what God desires for each of his children!

Consider what choice you have made. It’s not too late to give your life fully to Him and let your creator fulfill his purpose in you for this life AND forever! When you finally meet Christ, will he say, “you chose poorly”, or you chose wisely”. Take a lesson from Indiana Jones and chose the simple wood cup of a carpenter…

“Uniquity”

Trevor Dunaway

Photo Credit: Trevor Dunaway via CC Flickr

“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

 For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.  If they were all one member, where would the body be?  But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations,various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healing, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts.
And I show you a still more excellent way.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27


As the HS chapel leader years ago at Norfolk Christian, I started off
the chapel season one year creating this “sniglet” (a combination of
two words with a meaning utilizing both words) to create the word
“uniquity”. I always liked making up sniglets (and still do) when a
normal word just doesn’t make it like “slibble” – a slip/dribble – the
process of stepping on a soccer ball while dribbling but wiping out
and falling on your back!). As you can guess, uniquity is a combination of being unique and unity. This was my hope for the HSstudent body that year. My desire (as was all the HS teaching staff) was to see each student continue to be the uniquely created individual
that God made them to be; and to see them utilize those gifts and
talents in the HS community to strengthen the body and do their part
to make it stronger, function better AND be, of course, unified as a
child of God AND loving and accepting of each other’s differences.

This word could be used for all Christians whether referring to their relationship with the body of believers, their function in the church or even in their own family. In this chapter,
Paul says that, just like the different parts of the human body,
whether the brain, heart, eye or the seemingly most insignificant
part, ALL the parts are important to the proper function of the body.

This illustration is symbolic of body of Christ. All members are
important, bring a special gift to the group, AND should appreciate,
acknowledge, accept and encourage those gifts, talents, personality
traits  and skills those in the body bring!

These verses were always part of the first devotions I would have
with my soccer teams at our preseason tournaments leading into our
first games: “So that there should be no division in the body, but
that it’s parts should have equal concern for one another. If one part
suffers, every part suffers with it,  if one part is honored, every
part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ and each of you
is a part of it.” I Cor. 12: 25-27.

Know what your “part” is in the body of Christ, do all you can to
utilize it to build up the body, and appreciate and encourage what
each member of the body of Christ contributes!!

Only Two Things Deliver

John Christian Fjellestad

Photo Credit: John Christian Fjellestad via CC Flickr

“Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.” Proverbs 22:4

What things do you always carry with you? My stock answer has always been: my Bible, my ball, and my best playing shoes. 😉 Today’s text introduces two more ‘must adds’. They’re so simple but crucial. They’re small but they don’t always fit so easily. In fact, some think they won’t fit, don’t fit, can’t fit, so they often stay left behind. But without them God says it’s about impossible to experience what we really hope for in life.

God says that there are just two things that bring the big things we all look for: wealth, honor and life. Only one pair can deliver this trifecta. Nothing else can…for very long.

What brings real wealth, honor, and life is humility and the fear of the LORD. Humility keeps our powerful urges for control, approval and comfort from taking over and messing things up. Humility helps us trust the process, trust God. Then ‘Fear of the LORD’ brings us to where our needs for control, approval and comfort are best met. Without humility and the fear of the Lord our pursuit of wealth, honor and life can never bring us the control, approval and comfort we really long for. Only two things, humility and the fear of the Lord can.

LORD, make it very clear to us that the only real, sustainable way to wealth, honor and life is found through humility and the fear of the Lord. Don’t let us look for it any other way. Only two things deliver.

Be strong.
Stand for truth.
Live for eternity.
Coach Mo

Bonus Coverage: 5 extending footnotes
that define this verse’s 5 terms:
WEALTH brings power and control. Thats why we want it. That’s the endgame. True wealth brings freedom from control and freedom to control. True wealth never brings slavery. Wealth = Control
HONOR signals approval, recognition, the feeling of accomplishment we get when others believe we’re great, have value or make a real difference. Audience matters. ‘Audience of One’ matters more. Honor = Approval
LIFE seeks satisfaction, a sense of contentment and fulfillment that a life well lived brings. Life = Satisfaction
HUMILITY brings a correct view of self. It’s not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less. Gotta have this to live on well. Humility = Seeing Self Straight
FEAR OF THE LORD’ simply means a proper view of God, seeing God for who He really is. Fear of the LORD = Seeing God Straight

The Bookends

Canned Muffins

Photo Credit: Canned Muffins via CC Flickr

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ… The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 3:18

Let’s talk about winning streaks! When you or your team get on a roll and establish a great winning streak, the first and last wins become the big bookends, usually the most memorable and notable in the string. Can you think of a great personal winning streak…and those bookend games that housed and defined the streak?

Uniquely, The Bible points to 2 words that open 13 straight of its books and 16 of the last 21. Those streaking words are ‘grace’ and ‘peace’. And equally harmonic and powerful, for each of those last 21 books of the Bible, either ‘grace’ or ‘peace’ also becomes the last word or thought mentioned 17 of 21 times (including 14 books in a row). Thus, the Bible bookends so much of its powerful messages around these two words.

The sheer weight of these opening and closing repetitions should command our attention too. Perhaps this is the way we should open and close our conversations also, so that no matter what else is said in between, grace and peace will consistently enter our conversations and close them too.

Do you talk like this? Do you approach others, depositing these kinds of messages, making people feel God’s grace and peace with you? Of all the things you wish for others, is this the pair you package and deliver? Get on a good winning streak of grace and peace in your life…and get others on that streak with you.

LORD, of all the things I talk about each day, help me to speak grace and peace. Help me to experience your grace and peace and then bring it to others. Let me get on a roll and help others to win because they stand tall and confident, bookended by Your grace and peace, too.

Grace and peace to you!!
Coach Mo

New Body Parts

Coach Rose

An X-Ray of Coach Rose’s Knee!!

As some of you know, I recently had a hip and double knee replacement surgery. These were the first surgery’s I have had since my appendix was removed in 5th grade! These 3 joints had become more and more a source of pain and anguish to me. They were inhibiting movement to the point where all the activities of my life (vocation, family time, exercise, house projects and simple daily chores) revolved around what my injured joints would  and would not allow me to do. These new joints (the hip is perfect but the knees are still coming along) I am hoping will increase the activity I can do and take away the pain these injured body parts were causing.
However, there are other parts of my body that often inhibit me and affect my relationship to others and to God that surgery (unfortunately) cannot repair or replace. There have been many times in my life I needed eye, tongue, ear, heart, feet and even partial brain (my thoughts) replacement surgery…

My eyes: watching things on TV or movies or the internet that cause impure thoughts
My tongue: which forms my words, certainly has shown it is damaged many times with mean, angry or sarcastic comments  “But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” – James 3:8.
My ears have certainly shown they need replacing as well when I have allowed myself to listen to inappropriate stories of friends, gossip or movies, music or whatever that were not “for the use of edifying”
My heart which has often failed God or given its loyalties to other things (idols of sorts)
My feet: which have taken me to wrong and inappropriate places or NOT taken me to places where I should have gone.
My brain (thoughts) which far too many times have been not been spirit controlled. I could go on and on. I suppose some of these body parts could be replaced too.
Jesus was pretty clear about misused or sinful body parts in Matthew 18: 8+9. FORTUNATELY, Christ’s death on the cross took care of our sin and our imperfect body parts! Yes, science has “fixed” 3 of my joints but it is Christ’s propitiation for my sin that really heals these imperfections in my body and he forgives my sin with my imperfect humanness as far as the East is from the West! May we all trust his faithfulness to us and have peace and comfort by it.

Colossians 3:23, “Do everything heartily as unto The Lord, not as unto men.”

How Is Your Vision?

National Eye Institue

Photo Credit: National Eye Institute via CC Flickr

We have all gone to the doctor’s office and have had our eye sight tested. We stand back at a certain distance, cover one eye, then report to the physician the letter that they are pointing to. At the end of the test, the doctor can determine how good or bad our vision is.

Well today, I have a “Vision Test” for you.

As we approach the end of the year, it is a good time evaluate how we did as increasingly devoted followers of Christ in 2015. Below is a “Vision Test” to see how you are doing in looking beyond yourself towards others. Take the test by answering yes or no to the questions and then add up your scores at the bottom.

_____ I am involved in serving the Lord in at least one ministry of the church

_____ I have at least three non-Christian friends.

_____ This past year, I invited at least one new person to church.

_____ I prayed for my non-Christian friends this week.

_____ In the past two weeks, I have shown love to someone outside my family.

_____ I regularly correspond with at least one of our missionaries.

_____I introduced myself to one new visitor at church this past month.

_____ In the past three months, I have shared the Gospel with another person.

_____ I am acquainted with at least one local outreach ministry.

_____ I regularly support one of our ministries.

———————

Total Number of yeses: _______________

9-10: Congratulations! You have great outward vision!

7-8: You are doing great!!

4-6: You are making a good effort.

2-3: You need to take it up a notch.

0-1: You have been diagnosed with nearsightedness!

How did you do?

 

 

The Heart of A Champion

US Department of Agriculture

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture via CC Flickr

In 1990, the Colorado Buffaloes football team was on the road to the national championship. Before half the season was over the Buffaloes had already defeated ranked teams Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, and tied #6 Tennessee. They also faced the toughest schedule in the nation. But even throughout all this success, Colorado coach Bill McCartney still had a huge RED problem. You see, his next game was against the highly ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. To make matters worse, going into the game Colorado had lost 23 straight times to Nebraska when playing at Nebraska’s home field in Lincoln. What could he do to motivate his players?

McCartney knew that teams always play best when they have a sense of team, that selfless attitude that takes his players out of the mind set of playing for themselves and into the mind set of playing for the team. With this attitude, when the team gets glory. the player gets glory. Outstanding individual performance means little if the team does not perform well as a whole. Bill McCartney is also an outspoken Christian and he always sought to demonstrate the principles of Christianity to his team even while motivating them. So with that in mind he came up with a plan to motivate his players. In the last meeting before leaving for Lincoln, he called his players together and said this.

“At the end of the game each one of you is going to receive a $70 game ball with the score printed on the football. Before we leave tomorrow I want you to call up somebody close to you and tell them to watch you play. I want you to play your heart out, and play each and every down for that person. Tell them that you are dedicating your game to THEM.”

Well, the plan worked. On a soggy, cold, rain swept Nebraska field, Colorado overcame a 12 point 4th quarter deficit to defeat the Cornhuskers 28-12. Coach McCartney to this day attributes the win to the selfless play of his team even when they were losing. It allowed them to muster up every bit of strength and courage to come back and win. Their strength came from an attitude of selflessness.

Being a Christian is all about being a team player and submitting to one another out of love. The attitude is, “Give the other person the glory,” and “Let the other person go first.” So today, your game plan is to pick someone else on the field and play each and every down for them. Play selflessly. Play without trash talk. Play with humility. Play with dignity. Play with class.

At the end of the game you’ll want to be able to say, “I played a great game for You today, and I played with the heart of a champion.”

~ Author: Nathan Naversen

Perfect Ref/Perfect Sub/Perfect Win

Daveynin

Photo Credit: Daveynin via CC Flickr

“All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.” 2 Thessalonians 1:5

Referees are paid to call only what they see and to call it right. They can’t guess. They can’t assume. And they can’t be mistaken or fooled. They must cover ground faithfully to take in all that’s there. They must take great pride in seeing the game properly, getting the most accurate feel for the game and it’s people. Finally, they must know the rule book well and apply it fairly, judiciously, uncompromisingly. The best referees do all this at breakneck speed.

Players must honor and adjust their play or get in foul trouble. Playing the game of life too often means inevitable foul trouble and need of a substitute. In order to guarantee victory a change has to be made.

God is Ultimate Referee, Remarkable Substitute, Eternal Reward. He loves the game and it’s people. He sees all, knows all. Nothing escapes His attention. He knows the rule book perfectly and applies it with both unflinching truth and prodigal (extravagant) grace. His play on our behalf insures our triumph and His glory.

Let’s see all this play out in 2 Thessalonians 1:5. Here’s what God wants us to clear about:

  1. God’s judgment is right. Deal with it. He doesn’t miss a call. He examines both our blamelessness (righteousness) and our blame (sin). He wants to see righteousness win and grieves when it doesn’t.
  2. God offers hope that we can stay out of foul trouble, that we can be ‘counted worthy of the Kingdom of God’. This hope is found through His Son. The Son becomes blame-bearer and sin-substitute. Our sins (serious foul trouble) get pinned to Him.
  3. For those counted worthy, suffering is temporary but triumph inevitable. The most perfect wins often push through the greatest pain. Hang in there!

The bottom line of the Gospel simply becomes this:

Holy God in love became

Perfect Man to bear my blame.

On the cross He took my sin.

By His death I live again.

May you live loving the game, the ref, the substitute, the journey…and live again!

Love you, too!

Coach Mo

Kingdom Reach

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10

In about 1000B.C., the Chinese of the Chou empire period named their country ‘Zhongguo’, meaning ‘Middle Kingdom’. Unaware of other high civilizations to the West, they believed their empire occupied the middle of the earth, surrounded by barbarians. The nickname they gave themselves stuck for many centuries but eventually thwarted their ability to grow and progress. In the end, the empire was overthrown, decayed from within.

We too can think of ourselves as center of the universe. I see it in lots of players, teams, schools, businesses. When we do this, when we set the definitions for everything – right, wrong, good, purpose, control – we leave no room for any outside forces to define, inform or shape anything about us. We live in a secret vacuum as if in our own Middle Kingdom.

That’s why the core prayer that Jesus gives us in His lesson, ‘This Is How You Pray’, starts out with straightforward worship of God and then invitation of another kingdom, God’s Kingdom, to come, rule and reign and set the definitions in us day by day. He doesn’t want to see us get stuck in our own little middle kingdoms. Another kingdom needs to invade ours. Otherwise we’re doomed.

So let’s worship God each day and allow His Kingdom’s rule and reign to reach into ours. Let’s long to see the domain of the sovereignty of God in Christ extend everywhere, in heaven, on earth, in me. And let’s play a vital role in this beautiful movement.

How far does God’s Kingdom reach get into you and through you?

LORD, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…

Wanting His reach extended in me and through me,
Coach Mo

Pushing Through

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

“But I trust in Your unfailing love. My heart rejoices in Your deliverance. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for He has been good to me.” Psalm 13:6

Psalm 13 shows us what to do when we find ourselves asking tough questions like this:

* How long will You forget me? (v1)

* How long will You hide from me? (v1)

* How long must I wrestle with my thoughts? (v2)

* How long must my heart sorrow? (v2)

* How long will my enemies triumph over me? (v2)

All these questions make me think that maybe Psalm 13 was written by an athlete or coach going through a tough season, rough injury, personal performance slump, real loneliness, broken relationship, or a long losing streak. And it’s written to an audience that will likely feel the very same way.

BUT Psalm 13 ends with a great 3-Point Play. Let’s take a look at what’s declared to help us push through:

* LOOK BACK AT WINS. One of the best ways to get through a tough stretch in life is to take a good look back. Note a salvation seen in the past, a deliverance experienced, a victory won. Resurrect the win to trust that it will happen again. He has been good. (v5)

* LOOK UP FOR POWER. Make sure there is a strong, real object to your faith and hope – the LORD. Only empowered ones truly push through. In His unfailing love, God delivers. (v6)

* SING OUT IN PRAISE. A last great way to push through is to find a good praise song and start singing it. Sing out about who’s been good to you. Sing in praise. Let the praise build the expectancy to push through again. (v6)

Pushing through,

Coach Mo