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?

 

 

A Few Good Men

Kat

Photo Credit: Kat via CC Flickr

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

One man committed to a cause is greater than 10,000 merely interested spectators. A few good men is better. That’s how the greatest armies, greatest teams are built.

God is looking for such men. His missions are crucial. High stakes define them but they grow great through everyday faithfulness. His team is built on abandon, selfless, brave volunteers who say ‘Yes!’ and take on His noble missions with fearless honor.

Pushbacks:
* Heard the Lord talk like this to you? Recognize a true call and holy cause? Need to turn the volume down on other things?
* Feeling yourself moved by high calling? What could this be? Attaching any strings or fully surrendered?
* Willing to step up, step out, and offer full commitment to a cause greater than yourself, the greatest cause ever? Employed by God and engaged in mission?

LORD, let me feel Your heavenly surge and upward, outward cause. Don’t let me contract the disease of me and die in the dumps of disservice. May I take rank with You in holy mission.

Maximum effort.
Heart for others.
Bring honor to Christ.
Coach Mo

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

Taming the Foolish Child

Photo Credit: Tim Oiler via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Tim Oiler via CC Flickr

A little while ago, I came across a great story told by Rudy Ruettiger, a renowned player for the Notre Dame football that inspired his squad for years with his determination and work ethic. Hollywood eventually made a motion picture about his exploits and help to inspire thousands of people around the world.

In the following story, Rudy tells a touching story of him and his father and how a certain situation turned his life around…forever.

Coach Muller

———

Notre Dame is a legendary place. A spot on the team means a chance at great fame. Rudy Ruettiger is a legend himself. He made the Notre Dame class. He then went on to become the heart of the Fighting Irish. His dad, Daniel Ruettiger, was a war hero and legendary dad. 14 kids. Married a world-class mom. Worked three jobs. Yet he always found time to attend his kids’ games.

“Bullied, badgered and mad, I became a rebel in school. Sophomore year it came to ahead. I befriended a rough kid who well could have spelled my end. A big fight was planned for that Friday night. My friend said, ‘Rudy, we’re tough. Let’s go.’

I foolishly agreed. I had a big head. It was a chance to show off. I’d smear those kids who had made me so mad.

I waited until the family was fast asleep. Quietly, I slid out of bed, pulled on my clothes, and tiptoed to the back door. I was careful not to make a sound.

Dad knew something was up. He cut me off at the door. With his hand on my shoulder, he insisted we talk.

I admitted where I was headed. The kids we would fight had belittled us. It was our turn to teach em’ some stuff.

That’s when Dad rescued my future, and maybe my life. He replied, ‘You are no man when a meaningless fight is your way. You become a man by knowing when to walk away. Learn it now and remember.’

I’m blessed that Dad stayed up to catch me that night. Bad news came the next day. Several were badly hurt in the fray. With a blow to the head, my friend was now dead.

It could have been me, or I might have been cuffed and taken away. Either way, that would have spelled the end of my dream – no Notre Dame.

Dad, you were the best: You taught me to stop the big talk; to get in life’s game, then go out and fight to make the big plays. You taught me to know when to walk away.”

By: Rudy Ruettiger

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” ~  Proverbs 1:8

Watch Your Words

Photo Credit: Ahmed Sinan via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Ahmed Sinan via CC Flickr

“Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” Proverbs 30:6

According to Hebrew tradition, when manuscripts of Scripture were being copied, if a scribe made one single mistake with the pen, the whole manuscript was ditched and the scribe had to start over. No sopyt (typos) allowed. A supreme commitment to perfection and accuracy had to be maintained because God’s Word is flawless and even its expression ‘on paper’ had to rep this.

Sometimes we too get sloppy with words. We don’t say what we mean or mean what we say. And sometimes we get sloppy in recounting what other people say as well. We say what we want to remember and skip the rest. It marginalizes the original author and exalts our pride, that we know the story better. Either way we get sloppy it gets us into trouble.

Since God’s word is indeed flawless (v5), we better be careful how we bear it. We must steer clear of adding to it. And in case you don’t think we do things like this, read on…

Here’s how we add to God’s words:
• We take too much liberty to put our own spin on things. We discount what He said in favor of how we feel it should be (like many these days view the U.S. Constitution and the Basketball Rule Book that defines charge/block calls, verticality, and flagrant fouls).
• We change definitions. We soften our stance on sin, grace, faith, righteousness, scriptural inerrancy, etc. Changing definitions greatly changes things.
• We put our opinions or that of others on par with what God says, creating equality of thought. We create other authority icons. That’s a technical foul. 😉

Instead, let’s work a little harder and more carefully to:
• know more of what God says about everything, His whole counsel.
• resist the rush to say what we think He means or what God should have said or done.
• simply take God at His word, letting the Word speak for itself.

When you read the Bible, are you more apt to say what you think or dig deep enough to be sure of what God actually said and intended it to mean? Be careful. It’s just not anyone doing the talking.

LORD, help us to know You at Your Word, to know You better, to watch our words, and to make You known as You really are.

Be strong.
Stand for truth.
Rep well.
Coach Mo

How To Improve Our Self Talk

Photo Credit: Ahmed Sinan via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Ahmed Sinan via CC Flickr

“Pay attention to My wisdom. Apply your heart to what I teach you. Treasure its sweetness deep within and have all of this ready on your lips. Believe me—these are truths that work.” Proverbs 22:17-18, 21

Many of us struggle with our self talk. We either don’t know what to say or say  way too much that’s negative. Either way, it ends up detrimental.

God wants us to have good things to say…life-giving things to utter to self and others too. He says so here in Proverbs 22. The key to having good things to say boils down to this:
1. BE ON THE ALERT FOR WISDOM. Since God has much to say all the time, give ear. Be on the lookout. Passionately pay attention to wisdom. As good outflow starts with good inflow, good self talk starts with good God talk. We can’t repeat what we haven’t heard.
2. MAKE WISDOM PERSONAL. Tuck wisdom deep within. Allow God’s wise words about who we are and how to live life get to the heart of who we are. Make space. Make time. Self talk always overflows from the bottom of our hearts.
3. MEMORIZE WISDOM WORDS. Have wise words ready to be spoken. We can’t speak wisdom (grace and truth) to ourselves without having made this a part of us first. Our self talk really improves when we memorize God’s Word and speak it back to ourselves.

On the lookout for wisdom? Applying it to self deep within? Memorizing God’s wisdom, grace and truth so well that it automatically translates into great self talk?

LORD, help us to speak the truth in love to ourselves faithfully well. Don’t let us settle for scummy self talk, devoid of Your wisdom. Help us to hide Your Word in our hearts and speak Your Word to ourselves in transformationally great ways. Amen.

Nothing detrimental.
Bring honor to Christ.
Coach Mo