I ran the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon on Saturday, December 1. It was a pretty day, and I had a nice run. It was my fifth complete marathon [26.2 miles]. While running I saw a sign that read, “Run 26.2 miles because 26.3 miles would be just crazy!” After the marathon I was in much pain, and will be for several days thereafter. Yet, I am eager to run another one. You may wonder why people run marathons. Here are a few reasons:
- To achieve something, a marathon may be a goal or dream or on the bucket list
- To overcome something, people run to cope with the problems of life
- To push the limits, to get outside one’s comfort zone
- To be physically fit
I am certain most people could run and complete a marathon. But, it takes lots of training and discipline. To achieve anything worthwhile in life it takes training and discipline. If you want to get a degree, lose weight, or learn a craft, it takes training and discipline. It is even needed in your walk with Christ. Do you want to be more like Christ? Do you want to read your Bible more? Do you want to improve your prayer life? It takes training and discipline. 1 Timothy 1:7 says, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” You might decide to run a marathon. That would be great! Regardless, challenge yourself to grow in your walk with Christ. Press on. Don’t give up. Pursue and enjoy God!
The statue has come down. The legacy has been tarnished. The name JoePa, which was received with praise, is now frowned upon. Joe Paterno, the former football coach at PennState, is deceased, but his name will live in infamy. Under his watch, several children were molested by one of his assistants, Jerry Sandusky. A new report reveals that JoePa was aware of the problem, but did little to stop it. After the details of the report surfaced, swift actions followed. The school tore down his statue and the NCAA vacated over 100 of his wins. There are several lessons to learn from this tragedy. For one, we cannot turn a blind eye towards sin. Someone said, “Evil prevails when good men do nothing.” How true. Secondly, it only takes one bad action to tarnish your entire life. Be careful. Lastly, it is a reminder that the best of men are men at best. We are not to worship people, but God alone. People loved, adored, and even worshiped Joe Paterno. Even now, some will defend him to the hilt. The choice is clear: Jesus Christ or JoePa. One turned his eyes away from sin, one died for our sins. One was perfect, one was not. One is worthy of our praise, one is not. You may not worship JoePa, but we all have our own “JoePa’s”, people or things we worship. It is time to tear down the statues in your heart. Respect your parents, teachers, government officials, and your pastor. Don’t worship them. Worship God alone.
If you had to move, and you could only pack one box, what would be in it? I thought about that recently. I just moved from Quitman, LA to New Roads, LA. I am now the new pastor at First Baptist Church in New Roads. I am excited to be here, but I am not a fan of moving. I have lots of stuff. There are boxes of clothes, boxes of books, and to be honest, boxes of junk. I realized I am blessed. I also realized I could do without most of what I have. Then a thought came to mind, “What if I had to move all my stuff using one box. What if I had to narrow down all my stuff to one little box, what would I put in it?” I thought of 4 things:
1. My Bible – my relationship to God is of great importance
2. Pictures of My Family – my relationship with my family is important as well
3. Running Related items – my shoes, watch, and I-pod, because I love to run
4. Coffee Related items – a coffee pot, a cup, and coffee, because I love my coffee
I would probably put a few other things in the box. But, the four stand out to me. If you had to narrow your stuff down to four things, what would it be? By the way, when we die, we will be put in – a box. Just a thought!
John Lennon was a Christian. At least, that is what some believe. A new documentary, along with previous biographies, claim John Lennon was a secret Christian and a closet conservative. He was apparently a fan of Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, and Billy Graham. Not only that, he often sang songs of praise and mocked at the idea of evolution. Was he really a Christian? I do now know. Singing songs of praise and interest in preachers does not equate salvation. But, one thing I do know, there is no such thing as a secret or closet Christian. A follower of Christ will be bold to live for and proclaim the Gospel. It would be easy for you and me to criticize the life of John Lennon. But, if we were honest, we often live as secret Christians. We prefer to blend into the crowd. Dont’ be a secret Christian. Besides, there is no such thing. Live in such a way that people know you are a lover of God and Christ.
Traditional New Year’s Resolutions
1. Lose weight
2. Stop smoking
4. Quit chewing fingernails
5. Get out of debt
6. Watch less television
7. Get organized
8. Learn something new
9. Enjoy life
10. Spend more time with family
Try these Resolutions for 2011
1. Go on a Missions Trip
2. Have a Family Quiet Time monthly
3. Memorize one verse a week/month
4. Financially support a needy child
5. Hand out at least one tract a week
6. Share your testimony with 6 lost people
7. Regularly attend Sunday School
8. Be more thankful for the little things in life
9. Pray for the entire world
10. Read through the Bible
Our relationships are often like Gas Pumps. You mean they are stinky and expensive? No. Almost all gas pumps are prepaid. You see, their automatic default is a lack of trust. They assume the worse – you are going to drive off without paying. We treat people this way sometimes. We assume the worse. Our default is judgment and mistrust, rather than grace and mercy. We assume the worst of others rather than the best. When you and I prepay, we are also being punished for the 1 or 2 idiots that actually steal gas. In relationships, we often punish our spouse, our children, or friends for what someone else did to us. Someone made you angry at work so you unleash your anger when you get home. Someone took advantage of you and you cannot trust anyone now. Do not treat people like gas pumps. Assume the best of others and do not punish them for the 1 or 2 idiots who actually use and abuse you.
I admit it – I like Brett Favre. He has not handled his “retirement” very well, but he has much to be admired. I like the fact that he is passionate about something and shows it. I like the fact that he never gives up or gives in. I like the fact that he is 40 and is still in the game. I am nearing 40 (5 more years), so it is encouraging to see him still playing. You and I could learn something from Brett Favre. When it comes to the Great Commission, there is no retirement. Regardless of our age or condition, we are to be going, teaching, and making disciples. We are to be just as excited and passionate about serving God as Favre is about playing ball. Don’t hang up your cleats or your calling just yet. Retirement comes when you get to Heaven. Serve God and savor every moment!
Glen Coffee just retired at only 23 years of age! That seems awfully young to end your career. He had a dream job – playing football in the NFL. After one season he called it quits. Why? It was not because he got in trouble. It was not because he lacked talent. It was to obey God’s call upon his life. While at Alabama he met Jesus and has a passion to serve him. He believes the ministry might be in his future. He is going back to finish school and then will see what God has in store. You have to admire someone turning their back on a $2.5 million contract to obey the call of Christ! What are you willing to turn your back on? What are you willing to abandon to pursue God’s call upon your life?
I just bought a window AC unit for my storage building. Why? So my dog Houdini could have some cool air! He is spoiled rotten. I opened the box and started to install the AC. It did not work. I tried to fix it myself. It still did not work. I was very frustrated. I drove back to Wal-Mart to exchange it. The new one worked right out of the box. The Lord taught me a valuable lesson from that experience. I wanted the AC to work more than I wanted His Spirit upon my life. Why do I say that? I was desperate for the AC to work. Am I really that desperate for the Sprit? I was frustrated and bothered that I had to go back to Wal-Mart. Am I that frustrated and bothered when the Spirit does not have His way in my life? Am I that upset when He is not free to move in worship? Think about your own life. When it gets hot you yearn for cold air and glass of ice water. When was the last time you yearned for the Spirit? Do you really want Him to fill you and totally control your life?
I just got back from Mexico. Before I left people warned me, “It is unsafe. People are kidnapped, etc.” I was not kidnapped, but I was mobbed. It happened in the shopping/tourist district in Playa Del Carmen. It started out with one or two men and then several gathered around me. They did not mob me for money, my camera, or my cell phone. Get this – I was mobbed for Bibles! I was handing out Spanish New Testaments. When the men found out we had them, they wanted one for themselves. One wanted one for his daughter as well. The desire was so great we ran out of Bibles. The mission trip was amazing. The people in Mexico are so friendly and hungry for God’s word. People in Mexico yearn to be like America and come to America. This is one area we need to be more like Mexico. We need a hunger for God’s word as well. When was the last time you were mobbed for a Bible? Adio’s.