Today’s Son-day surprise is a good ole Sunday funny for ya!!! Hope everyone has an awesome day at church!!! Heard something that’s kept me pretty convicted and kind of lit a fire under me with as much as I find myself comfortable and complacent in this life with Christ. Hope it can fire you up in a similar way and be a great reminder throughout the week ahead;
Great reminder to serve Monday-Saturday like we serve today and worship the Lord those days as well like we do today. I don’t say that to hurt any body’s feelings, I say that to call all of us out because Jesus Christ whom we follow is so much bigger than any Sunday-limited, comfortable Christianity. He’s made us for more and people need to know how awesome He is!!! Let’s get it this week!!!
“It’s The Thought That Counts
Choosing a gift for an elderly mother…
Three sons left home, went out on their own and prospered. Getting back together, they discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother.
The first said, “I built a big house for our mother.” The second said, “I sent her a Mercedes with a driver.” The third smiled and said, “I’ve got you both beat.
You remember how mom enjoyed reading the Bible? And you know she can’t see very well. So I sent her a remarkable parrot that recites the entire Bible. It took elders in the Church 12 years to teach him. He’s one of a kind. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse, and the parrot recites it.”
Soon thereafter, mom sent out her letters of thanks:
“David,” she wrote one son, “The house you built is so huge. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house.”
“John,” she wrote to another, “I am too old to travel. I stay most of the time at home, so I rarely use the Mercedes. And the driver is so rude!”
“Dearest Jeffrey,” she wrote to her third son, “You have the good sense to know what your mother likes. The chicken was delicious.”
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” –Hebrews 12:1
I overheard my dad telling an old baseball story from when I was younger today and I thought I had heard them all since I was living them but I must have missed this one. This story isn’t meant to relive the glory days with you or any of that, just noticed something pretty awesome that goes right along with our lives and God’s Word.
Growing up, I had hit my growth spurt early on so I was always one of the bigger kids in my age class. When my size came to baseball, it helped me out a ton. When I was younger I could throw pretty darn hard from the shorter mounds so when the other team would see me coming to the mound to pitch, they were terrified. In those early days I threw hard enough to back it up because that’s what you expect from an overgrown man child of a twelve year old right? Well getting a little older, I kept getting taller but the taller I got, I lost a lot of my power. So my dad was relating to a game when I was around 14-15 years old, I had taken the mound to pitch and we were playing at East Cobb which is one of the big time baseball complexes in the South that a lot of major league talent has came from. I say all that to say that the teams we played there were no joke and the team we played that day was no different.
At this point in my pitching career I wasn’t the same fire-baller that I used to be, I pitched with control, being accurate with each pitch is where my bread was buttered. My dad had been sitting behind the plate that game and there was a couple more dads from the other team sitting beside him. They saw me walking to the mound, the big ole lanky kid who looked like he could throw gas. Then I started warming up….no gas! I threw pretty slow at this point compared to other top-notch pitchers and when these dads from the other team saw how fast I threw, they started saying, “Geez! We’re going to light this guy up!” They were excited because they thought since I threw slow that their team would destroy me with hits. I’m sure my dad wanted to say something but I just began pitching, hitting my spots, throwing with accuracy and using my long arm to deliver a pretty weird angle for the batter to see where it was coming. I must have been having a really good day because I pitched a no-hitter into the sixth inning before they finally started getting hits off of me. I had no idea these dads said that, even until today but I just went out there and pitched and you can say things went a little different than they had expected.
My dad was saying with each inning, the guys got quieter and quieter, and he also said he really wanted to say something after I had proved them wrong but he just laughed. I don’t tell you that to say look at how good I used to be at baseball. That was just one good day out of a lot of bad. I heard that and thought if I would have heard those guys, how would I have handled it? I want to say I would of been even more fired up to pitch my best to show them what’s up but honestly knowing that would have probably messed me up from just going out there and pitching with not a care in the world.
I also asked myself, how would I have handled that kind of criticism today? How do I handle the criticism that I do face today? Even if it’s not direct verbal criticism, maybe it’s someone constantly expressing doubt in you, maybe it’s being around negative voices, complainers, excuse makers. When we go into the race of life, all this surrounding noise can be a huge weight to carry on our shoulders. With other’s doubts in you, that can cause doubt in yourself and really hurt how you pitch, or handle daily life. With others speaking negative, excuses or complaining all the time around you, that too can rub off on you so easily and you may start developing those same habits in the way you pitch or run this race. The Lord says in Hebrews 1, “we are surrounded by such a huge cloud of witnesses.” Every where we go, everything we do we are surrounded by witnesses. Maybe they are negative voices in your life but at the end of the day they are “witnesses” so they witness every move you make, every pitch you throw and how you handle things in your life.
It’s easy to say, “those things don’t affect me, they aren’t weighing me down.” But the truth is do they really not affect you? Sometimes we can be blinded to the weight that holds us down, to how much it holds us down. I encourage you to take some evaluation in this area and give yourself a spiritual check-up to make sure you aren’t carrying weight that you don’t have to carry.
I can almost guarantee the two possible reactions I would have had on the pitcher’s mound that day if I would have heard those dads. And these reactions go right into how we react to other’s voices today. I would have gotten fired up and tried to throw harder, prove those guys wrong. In the process of that I probably wouldn’t have pitched nearly as good as I did. Throwing hard wasn’t my game so trying to be someone I’m not to prove someone else’s opinion wrong would have been just dumb. Or I would have been filled with doubt, worry and insecure about how good of a pitcher I was. I would have pitched scared and probably never had made it out of the first inning. You see how easily voices in our lives can weigh us down and make us handle life and pitch differently than the Lord has called us to pitch?
The Lord says clearly hear on how to live in front of all these people watching us. Throw off the weight of their voices, criticism, doubt, negative, so you can run with endurance in this race of life God has set before us. With that weight holding us down, we are held back from running this race the way God has intended and we’re missing out on the freedom that He’s given us to just run, weightless, not trying to be anyone we’re not but just being who God made us to be. Not reacting out of strife, trying to prove people wrong but going to the mound, muting the voices, just you and God playing the game of life how He has called us to play it. What’s really cool to think about is like today I was thinking, “man, I really proved those guys wrong.” The only reason I was able to was because I didn’t hear their opinions. Whether you hear them or not, mute them, put them to the side, you don’t need to carry that weight and you don’t have to. Just pitch, keep throwing pitches the way God has shown you how to throw them and those people in your life will be impacted greatly. Maybe their doubt, negative talk, the excuses or complaining they do, maybe that affects them in a huge way seeing you run weightless through this life. Maybe that changes their negative to positive, their complaining to thankfulness, or their excuses to hope?? Think about that? This race of life God has given us to run is so much bigger than me and you! Put aside all that weighs you down and just keep pitching!!!! You may not see the impact in the moment, or in my case in this story, you may not even know who you’re impacting by your attitude to run freely with endurance with God. Just keep pitching!!!! God is using you and is going to use you in amazing ways before others so keep pitching!!!! You may not see it now but it’ll be worth it when we hear our heavenly Father telling “old baseball stories” about us one day!!!
“6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.8 Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.”– Proverbs 3:6-8
“20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.21I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.”– Galatians 2:20-21
Hope everybody had a super cool Tuesday! Going right off of yesterday’s God Gold, this lesson of God being our ONLY source of power for us to live this life has been huge for me! Not because I’ve learned it and lived it because it’s been real daggum hard to humble myself enough to put me to the side long enough to receive this truth in the fullest. I pray this power source lesson sequel can be a big blessing to you and hey, if you’re in a power struggle between using what you got and stepping aside to live in what God has, I’m right there with ya! But it’s alright! God is teaching us, growing us and molding us to be better by doing less and trusting Him more!
It’s been a constant battle for me in this life following Christ, after years of playing sports and living in this world, my mindset is so wrapped around the “I just have to work harder to overcome, please God and be better. It’s on me and the work I put in.” It’s what we can so easily lean on since we’ve attacked life and our problems this way for so long and the world around us tells us these lies to attack life in this way. But it’s just not true at all. The past few days, I’ve realized more than ever that to come to God as the source of my power, I must first remember the Gospel. The truth about my desperate need for Him in all areas of life. Without need for God and His power in our lives, then we usually don’t ask for help right? Because we’ve got this under control, right??? NOOOO!!!!!
The Gospel speaks the life-giving and life-changing truth so clearly to us, the whole purpose for Jesus sacrificing Himself on the cross for us was the fact that we were so wrapped up in sin and death, there’s nothing we could do to change that no matter how hard we work. Jesus saved us and by faith, He gives us the opportunity to live as one with Him, living in His power, drawing our strength from Jesus Christ, the perfect and righteous Son of God!!! So what’s the point of trying so hard to be strong and courageous. to be better? With our faith and dependence set on Christ and Christ alone, He gives us everything we need to live strong and courageous lives!!!!
It’s this awesome view of the truth that in this relationship with Christ, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
You see that? Your old self, the one that used to have to work and “do enough” to gain acceptance and worth in this world. your old self is dead dude. Seriously, coming to faith in Christ means you have died to your former life and ways of living and now you live with Christ in you!!! Yeah you heard that right!!! The I mentality, “I can do this, I just need to work harder, do more.” Christ loved you so much that He died for you because it’s the only way for us to ever experience life in the fullest and have access to God and His awesome power. We can try all we want but the “I” will never be enough! That’s the Good News, you’re not enough but you don’t have to be because Christ was perfect, Christ made the sacrifice died the death so we could die to our old life of slavery of weakness. Then Christ rose from the grave so we can rise into new life with Him, full and real LIFE!!! The “I” is washed away and now you live by faith in Christ who is one with you! How awesome is that?!?!?
I read verse 21 here and couldn’t help but think of this scene from Christmas vacation. Clark Griswold spends all day putting up Christmas lights, hitting every spot of the house, working like a wild man to make his house as beautiful and awesome as possible for his family to enjoy. He does all this work, everything is just perfect, then he goes to plug in the lights and what?!?! No power!!!
Watching Him run around clueless and so upset that after all that work he did it still wasn’t enough reminded me of me, or us really. We do all this work, dedicate ourselves to be better, to make our lights shine brighter than anything the world has ever seen so others can see God’s light shining through us. But just like Clark, we so often do all this work with no result. Just lights with no power.
In verse 21, it states clearly how completely wrong this legalistic, “do enough” mentality, leaning on the power we have zero of. It’s a waste of time. it’s like saying all this God did for us to send His Son to die on the cross for us, to give us new life, new strength and a new source of power is meaningless. The more we run off our power and trust in what we got, we are saying that the Gospel wasn’t enough, what Jesus did wasn’t enough. We forget so easily that without Christ, we have no power, we can do nothing. We can set the lights up all day but we can’t make them shine. Even though we are undeserving God made a way to have access to Him when there way no other way. He gives us complete access to His power to lean on and trust in because He knows we are lacking. If we could obey God, please Him by what we can do then what’s the point of Christ doing what He did? Zero.
So we can see that there is nothing, I mean NOTHING that we can do, but that’s okay. The Good News is even though we are undeserving of what Christ has done for us, although we are undeserving of having access to God’s power, He has given His Son up so that we can put our helpless striving behind and go directly to the source of the power. God’s awesome grace allows us to experience life in ways we could never do alone, it’s His power!!!
When Clark was out there freaking out because he couldn’t get the house to light up, have you been there? Feels like no matter how hard you try you just can’t get your lights to shine? Well preach the Gospel to yourself, stop striving and working, go straight to the source of your power, which is God and God alone!!! Then grab the extension chords of your life, the struggles, the problems you can’t seem to get past and go to the source. Bringing life’s hard times together with God as the source of your power, SHAZZAM!!!! LITTT!!!!!!! Preach the Gospel to yourself and go to the source!!!! Let’s light the world up guys!!! He’s given us plenty to do it!!!!!