When Life Kicks You…

IMG_2788My son is a kicker on his high school football team.

It’s a tough position.  There are so many ways that kicks can go wrong.  There are bad snaps, holds and blocking. The wind, rain or cold air can impact the trajectory of the ball.  And sometimes- you just miss.

We often talk to our son about three things when he has a bad kick:

Learn from the past.

Focus on the present.

Realize the potential of the future.

Think about what’s happened and try not to repeat it. Turn your attention on the current kick, and try not to think about the last one. And finally…visualize a good, solid kick.

It’s a parallel to our lives as Christians, isn’t it?

Past mistakes and current struggles can separate us from Jesus. We are our own worst enemy….feeling stuck in sin and drowning in a state of despair.

Jesus offers hope.

Learn from the past. An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Proverbs 18:15

Focus on the present. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2

Realize the potential of the future. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. John 5:24

This week I want to focus on how Jesus defeated sin on the cross so that we might experience grace and forgiveness. My prayer will be to learn from my past, accept forgiveness and move ahead a better, stronger person.

Please let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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Running Away from Home


I’ve returned to the region where I was born and raised.  On a weekly basis, I’m seeing faces and visiting places that I’ve not seen in decades.

It all came full circle last Thursday.  I was set to talk to a group of high school seniors at a rural high school in northwest Tennessee.  As we pulled up to the school- I was overwhelmed with memories from over forty years ago.

My dad was a high school basketball and football coach in the area.  Some of my most vivid memories involve those games.  Sitting on the bench with the team.  Watching dad make coaching adjustments at halftime.  And the bus rides to the road games.  Yes- the lengthy rides on those long, yellow school buses to little towns all over West Tennessee.

And here we were….forty years later…pulling into a beautiful school that time had forgotten.  The football field, the tiny gym- even the shape of the oval parking lot- was all the same as when I was a child.

All at once I had returned to my roots.  It seemed that those forty years had gone by in an instant.  I thought about my parents, my relatives in the area and those great players on dad’s high school teams in the 1970’s.  It was a time of innocence for me.  Purity.

I’ve experienced quite a bit of “life” since then.  Disappointment, heartache and pain.  I’ve hurt others and done plenty that I regret.  Life’s much more complicated now.

But it doesn’t have to be.

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”‭‭ Joel‬ ‭2:12-13‬

God invites us to come home- regardless of how long we have wondered.  We are to bring our sadness and pain to Him….just return to Him with all our heart.  He’s “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love…”

Jesus has provided an avenue for a homecoming…and I’m grateful for this road home.

Please pray for me to become a more complete husband, father, son and worker as I transition back to this region.

And please let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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Level playing fields

Our boys are experiencing a special season- and they know it. 

JT is an eighth grade kicker, punter and safety for his middle school team.  Our 5th grader, Britton, is an offensive guard and defensive tackle for the same team. 

Britton normally wouldn’t be playing with JT’s team. After all, he’s still in elementary school. 

But his 5th grade team didn’t have enough players- so the middle school coach invited Britton to “play up” and practice with the older team. 

While Britton hasn’t played much, he’s learned a lot from the older players and the coaches. He’s gotten stronger, learned much more about the game and become more disciplined in his preparation.  

And it’s brought our boys closer. 

They talk about the games at the dinner table. In the car, they share jokes about things that happen at practices. 

Despite their age and skill differences- JT and Britton are sharing a common experience. 

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”  Mark 16:15

Isn’t that how the Bible draws it up?  

No matter our background…no matter our experience…no matter our status- the love of Jesus and the promise for salvation is for everyone. We have a shared experience. 

There’s no preferential treatment. Everyone is free to accept the same level of love, comfort and redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

We are all united through Jesus. Teammates. And we should teach, support and pray for one another during our time together on earth. 

Please let me know how I might pray for you this week. It would be my honor as your teammate. 

God bless. 

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Inconsistency

arrowwood 2016It’s still hot as blazes outside, but football is in the air.  The boys are practicing with their team.  Our daughter is working with the pep club on Friday nights to foster school spirit at the high school games.

It’s our favorite time of the year.

I recently caught an NFL preview on ESPN.  One of the commentators was discussing Cam Newton, the uber-talented quarterback of the Carolina Panthers.  Cam can beat you with his arm.  He can beat you with his legs.  He can beat you with his mind.  He’s a prototype quarterback.

Almost.

They went on to say that the only thing that’s disappointing about Newton is his inconsistency.  You never know which Cam will show up…good Cam (who is very good) or bad Cam (which makes big mistakes).

Those comments hit me in the heart.

What about my own consistency?

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.  I Corinthians 15:58

What would Jesus say about my everyday effort?  Do I work hard to further develop spiritual gifts?

I’m afraid that the commentator could say the same about me.  I need to be more consistent in my own daily walk with Christ.

What should my goal be?

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  Luke 10:27

Like Newton, I need to hit the field with purpose.  Reading the Bible.  Meditating on the words.  Praying for guidance.  Putting it to practice.

Please pray for me to be more consistent with my faith…and let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

 

 

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