And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why I Find Myself Supporting Tim Tebow

After all my years of teaching my kids why they should not to idolize athletes, musicians, actors, and any other celebrity I find myself “supporting” Tim Tebow. For years I have been thankful for many Christians in the public spotlight, Kurt Warner, John Rhyes Davies, Phil Vischer, George Bush, and only a thimble full of others. And when I say thankful I wish to imply that I have a joy to hear of them sticking to Christ as their hope and joy in the public spotlight.

But, in an awkward sense I am finding myself on the Tim Tebow bandwagon. I am not a football fan, but I am a great fan of not compromising your love relationship for Christ for a few dollars or the spotlight. Over and over I have been disappointed, disillusioned, and just plain dissed by those who say they love Jesus and then accept sponsorships by Budweiser or take on character roles that degrade the personhood of their Savior. (Alas my Devil’s advocate friends will have a few things to say about where a person is in their walk and how I ought not to judge. But we can handle that topic in another post. Let me suffice to say, love sinners, even Christian ones, but don’t take lightly the Name of God.)

Tim has set a great track record thus far. I n many ways I believe that I would have faltered where he has stood strong. There are Tim Tebow haters on Facebook. Websites abound producing false gossip and counterfeit photos. Many of the sports headlines are twisted just enough to create doubt to his character. He is under an attack by the world in ways that I myself am not prepared to stand strong against.

And through it all, Tim seems to handle public pressure well. And that is why I am supporting Him. My support is through prayer. It also involves not listening to gossip, nor making him out to be what he is not. Tim is just a fellow Christian. He is not a “Superstar” or some other fantasy figure. What I believe he is though is someone who is committed to Christ and taking an opportunity to not be ashamed of His Christianity when given the chance to glorify God. We all can attain to that victory.

So when I pray for Tim, I pray that he perseveres. I pray he does not succumb to the hype of his fans or the urges of his handlers. I pray that he remain humbly fearful of God, bold and wise in witness. I pray he has wisdom for each trial and learns to count it all joy, and that the office he holds does not become a burden.

Here is a link that illustrates what I am sharing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sermon Notes for Sunday: Getting more out of the Christian life by letting experiences and words sink into our ears

Sermon Notes for Sunday November 27th

Saints and friends, As I try to do from time to time, I attempt to provide you with my rough notes for the day's sermon. Often the actual message diverges from the notes to some degree. But as always I am providing you with these as a means of being a tool for your own study during the week. REMEMBER: God tests us weekly on what was preached in the Sunday sermon. It is our choice to participate in preparation through the worship service. And, as always, I pray we all have a victorious week.

Getting more out of the Christian life by letting experiences and words sink into our ears. Luke 9:37-45

Today is our last in our study of Luke till after Christmas. For December, I hope to go deep with the meaning of Christmas in a short series of messages. Then, Lord willing, we will take on a short series at the beginning of the year as to the Basics of Being a Church. This will be from Romans.

Last time we encountered the Mount of Transfiguration. The point that Peter and the others were to get was “This is My Son, My Chosen One, Listen to Him!”

Now the text Luke 9:37-45 Story telling mode

This is a dynamic situation. Many had heard about Jesus, now they could see Him


  • Jesus
  • Peter James John
  • Other disciples
  • Father
  • Possessed son
  • The gathering crowds

The disciples could not cast out the demon, even though a few weeks prior they had been able. (Matthew reveals that this one required prayer, which is another sermon altogether)

Jesus notes and expresses pointed things

  • This is a faithless generation
  • It is a twisted generation
  • “How long am I to be with you and to bear with you?”

The crowd wanted a show. They want to be amazed. They were missing the person of Christ and looking for a show.

Jesus rebukes the evil spirit

Jesus heals the boy.

Jesus restores him to his father

The result is that all were astonished at the majesty of God. It took the sight of something spectacular. They were surface level people. This is not faith. They were not awed by Jesus, only by what He could do for them.

You can see this often in people’s prayer. They ask God for things, they thank God for things, but they rarely do they worship God or embrace the awe of God for God just being who He is. Yes there is a connection of being and action. However, too often we dwell on the stuff and not on the person. For Christmas to be Christmas we must steep ourselves in the person of Immanuel.

EXAMPLE Jerry prayer story: challenging congregation to praise God for being God. To pray and not ask, but to dwell on the person of God. This is where love works. It isn’t about the gift, but about the holiness of the giver.

Notice, while this is going on Jesus pulls the disciples into a teachable moment.

Let these words sink into your ears.

Son of man to be delivered into the hands of men.

· Even though the crowd marvels, one day they will turn on Him. Their praise is as deep as their entertainment.

· Failure to know Him is failure to go deep.

· The common man fails to be in wonder of God unless there are miracles and evidences to prod them on.

The disciples did not understand

The meaning was concealed from them, by God, that they might not perceive it. (That the Son of Man is to be delivered)

They were afraid to ask.

· When we don’t understand we must seek out the answers.

· God, in His time gives answers. He gives the picture to go along with the pieces of the puzzle.

What happens each time Jesus tells of His death?

  • They rebuke Him
  • They don’t understand
  • They do not ask
  • They handle things from a fleshly viewpoint.

By asking and seeking (Matthew 6:33) we shift from a flesh standpoint to a Holy Spirit standpoint. We must make the effort. In the same way we must ask of God to reveal Himself in our own life situations. This is to His glory and your love.

EXAMPLE: My family went to a lighthouse on vacation. You can choose to remain on the ground and "be in awe". (Fleshly) OR you can ascend to the top and be in awe. (Spirit) Do we choose a ground worldly perspective or choose to seek out God's viewpoint?

Remember as I shared last Christmas: Shepherds marveled, but Mary Treasured.

Here is the point:

Jesus is God’s Son, His Chosen One. We too must listen to Him.

We must Let these words sink into our ears. (Spiritually)

The Holy Spirit rewards with revelation those who abide and seek Him first.

This is the only way to grow and to not be like the crowds, but to be a disciple.

Every thought, every decision, every bit of thankfulness, of awe, of wonder, of science, of economics, of personal relationships, of raising your kids to be adults, of dad’s being courageous, of “Tim Tebowing” is the disciples joy, their love for God in action that fulfills the purpose of life.

We truly were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thanksgiving with “the Indians”?

When I think of the first thanksgiving I dwell on the wonderful blessings of God’s providence. In that celebration feast the “Indians” came to the pilgrims to feast over three days. God was glorified. The Indians were honored for their service to these newcomers, and a precedent was born.

This Saturday my family and I get to have our turn at one of several “Thanksgiving” meals we will soon celebrate. Over the years we have adopted several international students who attend the local college. Often they visit us at home, come to the kids basketball games, and are included in many of our family events. Saturday we will find ourselves sharing the story of the pilgrims with Nigerians, Ethiopians, and Indians, as well as students from Viet Nam, the Philippines, and Dubai. By the way, the Indians are actually from India, not North America.

The students love this meal. Before we dine, we take time to share the story and meaning of Thanksgiving. We also share around the table what we are thankful for. Then my wife, a Tennessee gal, serves us some southern cooking. We will have turkey, real cranberry sauce (Not can shaped), biscuits, and a huge favorite with those from India, gravy! There will also be pumpkin pie and the students all time delight, sweet potato casserole, heavy on the marshmallows.

I get excited at our family’s turn in playing host to folks far from home. In many ways it is like the first Thanksgiving. There is an essence of glorifying God by involving our lives for the gospel benefit of others.

As a sad postscript, none of our friends from India were able to make it to the meal. However, we were thrilled to add a student from Hong Kong. I had originally written this article some days ago, and the essence is still worth posting. My thought remains, “if God has commanded us to go to the nations and share, if they are in our back yard we ought to invite them on in”. Thus I write to encourage you, reach out to those who are different, those who are from other lands, do this to the glory of God.