Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Journey of Life

I am forever amazed at all the things in life that I have experienced in my short 29 years on earth. Many experiences have been joyful, and some sorrowful. There have been instances in my life in which everything seemed easy. Likewise there have been times in my life that I did not know how I would get through. And there have even been times when I questioned God as to why He was not there. And then times when I realized that He never left my side. I come to realize that the life I have lived, and the remainder of what is in front of me is a journey that everyone has to follow to it's end. The choices that we make, affect what experiences come about, and ultimately what will happen in the end.

The biggest part of this Journey, has been my commitment to serve God above all else. I have submitted my life to follow Jesus Christ where ever that may lead. And one day I will be home. However, I am not home yet. This place that I reside here on earth is nothing more than a path on my journey. And everything that I go through is just there to show me who I truly am.

Hebrews 12:1-3
"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Every bad thing that occurs in our lives is nothing more than a trial. A bump in the road so to speak. How we handle this trial, or twist, helps us to identify where we really stand in our faith. As the scripture above says, run the race with endurance. This means that there are going to be many things to deal with along the way. Just because one tragedy occurs does not mean that we should give up on life, and/or question God as we sometimes do. We need to continue to seek God in those times for strength and assurance. And by continuing to fix our eyes on Christ, we can finish strong. Not only that, but we are able to show others who we really are. Not by the things that we say, but how we continue to praise God in all of our circumstances.

Psalm 23:4
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;"

I count every trial that I have been through a blessing. That have shown me how strong, and sometimes weak, my faith is. They have taught me to rely on God more than I rely on myself and others. They have taught me to look to God for understanding of situations, and not just asking for help. Because everything that God does, He has a purpose for. And we need to realize that it helps us to grow.

Romans 5:3-5
"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

So how is your journey coming? Do you tend to see more mountains to get over, than valleys to ease through? If so, that's okay. Look for what God is trying to teach you and fix your eyes on Him. Because the journey we are on, is nothing compared to the joy and victory we receive at the end when we finally make it home.

Thanks for reading, and God bless you all!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Time for another soccer analogy! My team is doing very well this year. Part of it is due to some of the talent that I have, some due to those that have been playing for me for a few years are steadily improving, and thirdly, we are playing more like a team. Everyone has a job to perform. They have a particular assignment on the field. When everyone does their job, we are hard to beat. It is when we have a break down, that bad things happen. Players get to close to each other, their tempers flare, and we give up goals. Usually a good "talking to" at half time is needed to stress unity on the field to achieve our goal, to win. I believe that this is true for Christianity as well.

1 Corinthians 12:11-13
"But all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit."

Each Christian has their own gift from God. Mine may be different from yours, or maybe not. We are different people, but we need to keep in mind that we must work together in unity to glorify God. A good Christian co-worker of mine referenced the tower of Babel to me as we were discussing this topic. All of the people that were constructing the tower were one. They were unified, and thus, there was hardly anything they could not do. Now, their motivation was wrong, and thus their judgement was to be split apart, but there is a lesson to learn there. If we could come together about Christ, in the same manner that those people did about their motives, we could have an extremely positive impact in our communities, schools, workplaces, and even the world.

So how do we do this? It seems that many different denominations have their own ideas as to how things should be. And they spend a great deal of time arguing or picking fights about the things that each group does. For instance, at my church, the ladies wear a head covering during service. We do this per the instructions given in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. And we receive a lot of criticism for it. The point that I am trying to make is what are we allowing to be our guide for Christian living, and are we living by that guide?

2 Timothy 3:16
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;"

We need to let the scriptures be our guide, and we need to follow that guide. Think about a group of men on an expedition. Now, imagine them going to explore a region without someone to guide them. What happens? They become lost. They begin to fight among themselves over what to do and which way to go. The expedition then falls apart and fails. They all tried to lean on their own understanding and interpretation. Many times we do this. We try to understand the ways of God, and insert our own understanding to the point that it is equal with Him, whether the scriptures support it or not. And this is why we fail. This is why we have problems with unity.

James 1:22
"But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves."

Not only do we need to let the scriptures be our guide, but we must follow them. We always have trouble when we get away from them. It is not always easy. And there will be struggles. And we will fail from time to time. But, if we honestly do our best to follow what the bible says, easy or not, God's grace will carry us through the mistakes.

In closing, we need to be unified in Christ. We need to let the scriptures be our guide, and we must follow them. Because anything short will cause us to fail at our mission, of sharing the gospel of Christ to a lost and dying world.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless you all this week!

Monday, March 12, 2012

How am I remembered?

Last week, I had a home soccer game against an in county rival. Before the game started, one of my athletes from a while back showed up to watch the game. I had a chance to talk with her about what she was doing now, how was college going, don't you want to put on a uniform and get out here again? As we talked, she conveyed how much she missed high school, and how she wishes she could play for me again. She said that I was different from most coaches. I asked her how, and she replied that I live the way I talk. She said that people know what I believe when they are around me, and that I do not mind sharing that when I have the opportunity. I'll be honest, I had to fight real hard to keep my pride in check. Words like that from someone in the past makes me feel that what I am doing is really worth all the hard times that I go through. This led me to think on what kind of mark are we leaving in our wake. How are people going to remember me?

Hebrews 12:1-3
"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Every where we go, we are surrounded by "witnesses". Those that are watching all that we do. Some, we have a direct influence in their lives; through work, church events, extracurricular activities, etc. Some, are just in the background. Those that are just in the crowd or passing us by when we act on something. We are always being watched. Now this is not to cause us to panic and look around us at all times looking for that person that is watching us. Instead, more of a motivation to make sure that we let Christ be seen through us.

The scripture above teaches us to lay aside every encumbrance and sin that entangles us. We are to do that not only for ourselves as we run the race of life for God, but those that are watching the race. By doing our best to live our lives for God, people see that. And if we talk about Christ with others, we need to be showing it in our walk. One of the most hurtful things I've seen, is to see someone who is always talking about Christ, and living just the opposite. Now, they may be talking a good game, but they don't show up to play. It's like I tell my athletes, don't say we are going to beat someone, and not play hard on the field and get beat. People are always watching. If they hear what you say about God, and then watch you live differently, why should they want to seek God as well? Their only example might be of someone who says, but doesn't walk it.

So, how should we go about this? We fix our eyes on Jesus. We do not just read the bible, but we become students of the bible. When we see an area in which we are weak, we make the changes in our lives. We pray for strength and guidance, and then use the strength and guidance given. And we must understand that this is not just a one time thing. We have to run our race with endurance. This means that we will do this to the end. We must constantly remind ourselves of what we are doing, and who we are living for. We must constantly combat the sin in our lives that bog us down, and gives ammunition to those who appose us. And maybe, just maybe, one of those people that are watching, will seek God, because of the faith that they see in us.

How will you be remembered?

Thanks for reading, and God Bless you all this week!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Going the Distance

As most of you know that read this blog every week, I love soccer! IT has been a privilege to be able to coach the varsity boys and girls teams at my school now for the last three years. Through this time, I have seen many athletes grow, improve, and enjoy the game as much as I do. The only bad thing about soccer that I have seen through the years is the number of injuries on the field. Many people may not think of soccer as a rough sport, but on the contrary, it is. Some of my players have coined the phrase "football without pads!" as a jive to the school's football team. It never fails that at least three to four times a season, and sometimes more, I will have to go onto the field and carry someone off. Now I like to think of myself as a strong individual. But there has been on an occasion that I was not able to carry some of my athletes off the field. I have coached some really big guys in my time. And there have been occasions that I have had to even carry those kids to the bus, which may be around 100 to 300 yards away. That gets tiring even for some of the girls that I have had to carry. But, it also never fails that many of their team mates pitch in to help. A lot of them will even carry the hurt players gym bag and the player at the same time. They take good care of each other no matter how difficult it may be. This reminds me of a story in the bible.

Luke 5:17-20
"One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”"

Here we see a group of men who were willing to go the distance for a friend. They knew that Jesus was there, and that He was performing miracles. The believed that Jesus could do the same for their friend. When they got to the house where Jesus was, they found that they could not get through the crowd. However, this did not deter them. They climbed onto the roof, carrying their friend as they did, tore a hole in the roof and lowered him down. I love the last verse in this story, especially how it begins. "Seeing their faith..." that being the faith of the paralytic's friends.

How have we gone the distance for someone lately. Have we ever really gone the distance to help those around us in need. Whether they are a friend or not makes no difference. Christianity is the only religion in which we are taught to love our enemies, and to do good to those who mistreat us.

Luke 6:27-28
"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."

There are many ways that we can go the distance for those around us. Imagine what it would be like if all Christians would resolve to go the distance for those around us every day. Lives would be changed, and people would become saved! So I encourage you today, go the distance when you see someone in need. You never know, God might have put them there just for you to help and witness to. And it might be all they need to finally put their faith in God and receive salvation.

Thanks for reading and God bless you all this week!