Outdoing One Another

We will start this post out with a little Jeopardy question that goes like this.

Me: “I would like NBA for 1000, Alex.”

Alex T: “Gary Payton, Reggie Miller, Larry Bird and Charles Barkley were all notorious for this.”

Me: “What is trash talking?”

Ah, yes, trash talking- truly a lost art amongst today’s athletes.  The idea of getting into an opponent’s head and affecting their play takes pure genius.  Trash talking comes from being competitive and wanting to win.  Growing up playing basketball as a vertically challenged, slow white kid, I needed an edge somewhere.  Running my mouth gave me that edge.  Although, if you can’t back up what your “preachin”, you quickly find yourself sitting out of a lot of pickup games.  I even carried my trash talking into my adult years.  In fact, I almost came to fisticuffs with a pastor’s son during a church league softball game once (see the classic Tim Wilson song, “Church League Softball Fist Fight”).  I even trashed talked my own son during backyard basketball games.

So, you are probably thinking doesn’t trash talking kind of go against the Bible and the teachings of Christ?  Well, kind of sort of. But, in I Kings 18, Elijah trash talks the prophets of Baal pretty hard.  And, when you get to the Gospels, Jesus wasn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with the Pharisees.  I also think the Apostle Paul liked trash talking.   In some of his writings, the Apostle Paul showed his competitive side by making references to different types of competition (see I Corinthians 9:24-25, 2 Timothy 4:7 and Ephesians 6:12).

However, one verse that gets overlooked that Paul challenges us into a competition is Romans 12:10, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”  What, did Paul just lay down a challenge?  Yes, he did.  His challenge is to, “Outdo one another in showing honor.”  In today’s culture, we are conditioned and taught to take advantage and tear down the other person.  God’s instruction is to honor and lift up your brother and sister.  And, they should try to outdo you by showing you honor.  What would our homes be like if each of us tried to “outdo the other in showing honor”?  Who has the Holy Spirit put on your mind to honor today?

Romans 12:10 ESV
“Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor”.

Heavenly Father, show me who I can lift up and bring honor to today.  In Christ’s name, Amen

Advertisements

Life is Anticipation and College Football

Today is August 31, 2017. We are only two days away from what I would consider the happiest time of the year. We are talking about College Football season.

If you’re not a football fan, that’s fine too, this will still relate to you. I want to talk about anticipation today. For me, I’m anticipating The University of Alabama to have another fantastic season. I’m really looking forward to Alabama’s Junior Running Back, Bo Scarbrough, to be one of the most exciting players to watch this season. The guy just runs like Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis.

My question for you today is, what are you anticipating? Is it something as petty as football? Are you ever anticipating anything spiritual? For me, often times, the answer would be a resounding no.

The events I’m anticipating: Football on Saturday, certain music coming out this year, certain movies coming out this year, and especially dinner. Guys, I’m probably making a frozen pizza.

20100203-frozenpizza-tombstone2.jpg

With that being said, I recently have been reading in Joshua. Which has always been a book I have neglected in the Bible. However, it is pack full of powerful lessons and rich history.

I want to focus on a simple verse from Joshua that I read last night. It really got me taking a look at what I’m most hopeful for and provided some much-needed perspective. I highly recommend you reading Joshua in context though.

Joshua 3:5 ESV
“Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

What are you anticipating? Is it matters of building up the Kingdom or is it simply JUST early stuff?

By the way, there is nothing wrong with anticipating some Alabama Football.

Stuck In The Middle With You

Isaiah 1:18 ESV
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord”

2 Timothy 2:23-26 NIV
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.  And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.  Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

45 years ago, one of the classics of all time was released- Stuck in the Middle with You by Stealers Wheel.  Who would think that a song released 45 years ago would be relevant today?  Stuck in the Middle with You contains some of the most memorable lyrics of all time.

 “Trying to make some sense of it all,

But I can see that it makes no sense at all,

Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor,

‘Cause I don’t think that I can take any more

Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,

Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”

I don’t know about you, but that is exactly how I feel.  Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right.  They even show up at protests in their clown/joker suits.

Let’s say that 10% of the population are Klansmen/Neo-Nazis/White Supremacists and another 10% are Antifa/Marxists.  By the way, I think that is a very high estimate.  That means there is 80% of the rest of us stuck in the middle (probably more like 90 or 95%).  80% is the voice of reason.  No, we may not agree on everything, but we should be able to reason with each other.  We are the people that make sense.  We are the people that need to stand up and say, “No” to the clowns and jokers.  No, we will not be a part of your scheming and dividing.  Those of us stuck in the middle will not allow you to run amok over the rest of us.  If you all want to go fight this out, then go take it to the parking lot and have at it, the rest of us are having a party.  I am happy to be stuck in the middle with you.

For followers of Christ, we need to take 2 Timothy 2:23- 26 to heart.  We need to be the ones leading the call for reason.  We are the ones that understand that “red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight”.  We, Christians need to be a guiding, calming force in the midst of the chaos.  We are to be the city on a hill.

Dear Heavenly Father, use me to be a calming voice of reason in the midst of the chaos that is taking place in the world today.  In Christ’s name, I pray,  Amen.

 

The Beauty in Devastation​

The date is August 29, 2017. Houston Texas is literally underwater, and it seems very gloom for the fourth largest city in America. I read that they have received forty-nine inches of rain since the start of Hurricane Harvey. I’ve also heard that this storm has also produced over nine trillion gallons of water. It’s rained so much that the Weather Channel has had to come up with new colors to represent the accumulated rainfall on their maps.

However, I read a post on Social Media today that really hit me in the feels. The user stated “THE SUN CAME OUT” with some Sun Emojis at the beginning and the end of her post.

Houston has a long way to go but isn’t it beautiful how something we take advantage of almost on a daily basis can have a whole new perspective in the midst of devastation.

I want to leave you with a nice verse tonight since this is the first post. Also, this is one of my favorite verses. There is so much chaos in the world and Harvey has only contributed to it. This should make us rest easy!

Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save, he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

What lessons do you think we can learn from this season of Hurricane Harvey?

 

Vision and Mission

The goal of this site is to exhort believers, or even non-believers, using common day language, references, and illustrations. Everything will be pulled back and related back to Jesus, scriptures, and faith-based teachers.

Our “Blogs” are going to be more like Devotions. They’ll be easy to read, relatable, and encouraging.

I had a Preacher-friend who had a gift when using pop culture/media references to really nail home his points. He often related these Star Wars stories, HBO theories, and over-coffee anecdotes to relate to some of our most day-to-day struggles.

These devotions, they should do the same.

Make sure to also take a glance at our “Plans” page. This will also discuss future endeavors, as we peel back this onion.