What Makes a Team

In January of 1969, the upstart New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts in what was considered one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.

Most people remember Joe Namath’s famous prediction of a victory over the heavily-favored Colts. The bold statement made national headlines just days before the game.

What’s lost in the story were the contributions of the coach, Weeb Ewbank, and an eclectic mix of veteran and rookie players.

The Jets were successful because of their team environment.

What are the traits that create a successful team? I think that there are five:

  • Show gratitude
  • Invest in people
  • Listen
  • Celebrate achievement
  • Be someone worthy of trust

Coach Ewbank did all of these things in 1968. It was a true team effort.

We know that the Bible has quite a bit to say about teams:

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

Jesus Christ died to give us freedom from death and power over sin. While He suffered alone, He never intended for us to face life’s obstacles by ourselves.

We need teams.  We need spouses, family, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Christianity, my friends, is a team effort.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Who are your teammates in your daily walk with Jesus?

My prayer this week is to strengthen my team…to encourage and lift up those around me so that I may also be encouraged.

Let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless you!






The Walking Dead

Several members of my family are fans of the television show, The Walking Dead.  Apparently we aren’t the only ones- with over 14.2 million people who view the apocalyptic series each week.

While the show involves zombies- viewers will tell you the plot centers around the “living”…human beings trying to survive and reestablish order.  The zombies are a dangerous backdrop. They have no independent thought…the zombies simply “exist.”

I sometimes feel like a zombie in terms of my faith.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

I know what I need to do.  I need to be active in my faith…reading, meditating and studying God’s word.  I need to share the good news of Jesus with others.

But I often fall short.  I allow life’s events to distract me.  My days can become driven by work, family concerns and general busyness.  Before I know it- my Bible study and prayer time suffer.

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.  Revelation 3:15-16

This verse always hurts my heart.  Jesus doesn’t want me to be lukewarm in my daily walk.  He demands action…heat…passion.

Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  2 Timothy 1:13

My prayer this week is to keep my focus – and minimize distractions that keep me from living a full life in Jesus Christ.

Because a zombie-like walk through life leads to a dangerous path.

Please let me know how I may pray for you.  God bless.


The Ultimate Gift

IMG_4395_2Zaevion Dobson was shot and killed last week in Knoxville.

I had not met Dobson, but I’ll never forget his name or the impact of his life.

Dobson was a victim of a shooting late Thursday night.  Each day there are senseless acts of violence throughout America, but this one was different.

Dobson, a brave 15-year-old sophomore, heard shots being fired.  Without hesitation, he threw his body across three young girls walking nearby.  A bullet hit Dobson, but no one else was injured because he acted as a human shield for his friends.

Think about that.

When gunshots are fired most people duck or run…take cover.  Not Dobson.  His first instinct was to protect his friends- even when it cost him his life.  What a gift he gave to these young women.

This incident reminded me of the frailty of life.

It also made me grateful for Jesus, who died for us all.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. …  Romans 5:6-11

This time of year we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  We also need to reflect on the gift of salvation He gave to us…and His willingness to die for you and me.

Let not your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in me.  John 14:1

This world needs more people with courage like Zaevion Dobson.

And we also need to be grateful for the ultimate display of courage from Jesus.

Please pray for the family and friends of Zaevion Dobson.  Also pray for Fulton High School and the Knoxville community.

Also give thanks for Jesus protecting us from a death in sin.  Jesus gave us the hope of an eternal life.  What a blessing.

God bless all of you.  Merry Christmas.





A life worth living

Grady Bogue Keith Carver graduation

I’ve had a knot in my throat all week long.

My good friend Grady Bogue died two years ago this week.  I miss him everyday, but this particular week is always a tough one for me.  I cannot imagine how difficult it is for his family.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.  Psalm 116:15

We’ve all been influenced and touched by special people in our lives. People who have lifted us up when we fell down.  Men and women who served as examples for us…through their words and actions.

I met Grady as a professor, but over the course of twenty years he became a mentor, advisor and good friend.

Grady was ethical, fair and treated everyone with respect.  He always used the right words on every occasion.  He was an intellectual giant, but a humble servant.  I stated in his eulogy two years ago that he was a champion for the underdog.  While he is gone, his lessons and example remain.

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.  1 Corinthians 15:22

Cancer took Grady’s body, but it could not take his spirit.

We need to seize everyday, every moment to make life better for others.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10

Life is fleeting.  Try to make your life one worth living.  A life that inspires others.

“O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?”  1 Corinthians 15:55

I pray that all of us discover our God-given gifts and talents to help others.  It’s our duty…and our friends and loved ones deserve it.

God bless you, Grady.  I miss you.


What to do when your neighbor is dying 


Our neighbor has died.

John had been sick for some time. I hadn’t seen him in almost a year, as cancer had weakened his body and trips outside the home had become few and far between.

One day I saw a number of cars in John’s driveway. His wife, Grace, met me in my front yard and let me know that hospice had moved in. She asked if I would like to say goodbye to John.

I was embarrassed.  I had often asked Grace about John when seeing her out in the yard. I had not, however, visited with John in a long time. I had prayed for him for a year- but I hadn’t prayed with him. I had failed him.

I went into the house and said a silent prayer for John as he slept peacefully. He died late that evening.

And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.  Ecclesiastes 12:7

I have since wondered about other neighbors in the same condition.  Not just those who are physically sick, but those who are spiritually troubled.

People with heavy hearts, tired souls and troubles that give them little hope.  Maybe it’s a bad relationship.  Perhaps depression.  Or maybe life has dealt them so many blows that it’s just hard to keep going.

These are our neighbors.  They need our engagement in their lives.  They need hope.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.  I Peter 5:10

I pray for a greater awareness for pain and struggles that others may be dealing with.  I pray that I can help a neighbor with their burden…and that someone might have the awareness to help me when I am struggling.

Please let me know how to pray for you.  God bless you.