I love the game of football. Not so much for the action or the violence or anything quite as masculine as that. I’m a fan of strategy. What the average Sunday watcher doesn’t see is the block that gets made which opens up a hole for the running back to run through. Everyone on the field is important, even a wide receiver on a running play!
When I reflect on my own life I think we can learn a lot from football in this aspect.
There are very few moments when I can claim I heard God clearly. I will tell you boldly that we have a relationship but the clarity of His voice isn’t always there. One time a few years ago I asked (ok pleaded) that God would use me. He said,
“If you want to be used, you need to be usable.”
At the time I had a bad attitude, I was selfish and although to the outsider it looked as if I was doing the right things, it was a show.
Later that year I felt led to start a non-profit called Heroic Event (currently being re-designed) and throw an event or conference designed to highlight businesses and non-profits that were making a difference. The event was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and if judged by attendance, it was a huge failure. Dejected, I cleaned up after the event and headed home. On the way there I prayed, “Why Lord? Why would you lead me to do this only to have it fail?”
“If you want to be used, you do not get to choose how you are used.”
I was rocked. I knew that was Him and not me. So I’m asking,
ok, so how was I being used there?!”
The conference we had set up was able to see 300 and it was at an arena. In addition, the speakers we had lined up were CEOs and Non-profits of some of the most successful in the Atlanta area. Unfortunately, we only had about 45 or so people show up, including my Mom and the speakers themselves.
There was one woman in tears at the event. She would later say it was the inspiration she needed to get on with her life.
I was reminded of this when I prayed and God showed me something, “what does it matter to me if I (HE) loved her so much He caused me to act?”
That settled it. The event was a success. Maybe not in the world’s eyes, but if I was moved somehow to allow God to touch someone then it was a touchdown for me.
I think we often compare ourselves to the players scoring the touchdowns. I don’t think we’re prideful in this comparison in terms of we want their greatness. I think more often it’s a comparison of adequacy. I don’t want the fame, I want to bring fame to the name of Jesus. Without the measure of success (wins, touchdowns, stats) it’s hard to tell how we’re doing.
What I’ve come to understand is that in the Body of Christ most of us are blockers.
In many ways, the blockers are more important than the runners or the quarterback. Without the blocking, the throw doesn’t get made, the run stops in the backfield. In my lifetime, the only running back that made it without a great offensive line was Barry Sanders. Consider this, no one blocker is more important than the rest, yet when one single blocker misses the play is over, it’s a sack, a tackle for a loss or worse.
In this video you can see the most important person on the field isn’t Devonta, it could be Mohammed Sanu as he blocks the very person that should have made this tackle, or it could be Alex Mack the center who snapped the ball and blocked his person, …
When you’re questioning your purpose or your impact, remember that you might be a blocker.
I was reading a post on FB about Islam and there was so much hatred from every side. Not just Muslims or Christians but Athiest, Agnostics and everything in between. If you consume any sort of media whether it’s radio, tv or internet you’re likely to break the commandments.
You say, “But Josh, I am not committing adultery/theft/killing, etc.”
While we could unpack that one, I want to focus on what Jesus said. Jesus was asked about the commandments and His exchange was not unlike what we see playing out from supposed “good people.”
And a certain lawyer stood up to test Him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”
And he replied, “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.”
Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this habitually and you will live.”
So love God and put him first (how we doing out there?) and then … wait for it. Love others.
I can sense even myself tuning this out but something hit me yesterday when I was reading, there’s a second part to this famous scripture that just got me when I read it.
But he, wishing to justify and vindicate himself, asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?
and WHO is my Neighbor? (I hope it’s not THEM).
This starts the parable of the Good Samaritan. It’s easy to jump to the great parable and start imagining helping that wounded person but we don’t struggle with the Samaritan, we struggle just as the lawyer did. It’s that question that makes me think, “I’m breaking the commandments.” Who is my neighbor? Jesus told the is story because He knew that this lawyer was one who was just hoping Jesus would give the Jewish answer. The answer that says, “All Jews are your neighbor,” and at the same time the unspoken answer, “Samaritans are not your neighbor.” The answer was the one you call vile and talk about with your friends… THAT’s your neighbor. You know, “THOSE” people.
So the real question is who is “THEY” in your life.
Who are you thinking about? Is it someone that might identify with the LBGT crowd? How about someone who’s got a different ethnicity than you? When I asked myself this question I jumped immediately to the terrorists. It’d be easy to think of extreme evil like I did, but I think if the events have anything to speak to us this year, it’s that our challenge isn’t with the obvious evil out there, it’s with our neighbors.
“Yeah, but I tell them, ‘I don’t agree with you but I love you.'”
Right now, for most of the “theys” in your life if you were to say, “I love you, I just don’t agree…” your response will be received with disdain. The reason is clear. The time for TALKING is over. Talk is cheap, anyone and everyone has opinions and words are used so fleetingly they’ve lost the heavy weight that they carry. Don’t mistake my writing, words still have the power to lift up and tear down. A trip to FB will leave you less happy simply from reading it.
We’ve abused our ability to speak so much that our good intentions are no longer taken at face value. Our constructive criticism is just deconstruction.
So what’s the solution? ACTION.
Find your “THEY” and befriend them. Don’t critique
how … anything. That does not mean stand by and support any behavior that you don’t agree with.
Do what Jesus did. He ate with the known sinners. Matthew was a tax collector at the time, paramount to our modern day mafia. He didn’t condone what Matthew did but He loved him. SHOW YOUR LOVE.
You’ve heard this before, but, “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” I think we could rewrite that for 2016, it’d be no one cares what you say, until they see how much you care.
As we write our goals for 2017, let’s make a difference in one of “them’s” life. Pick someone you’re thinking about (I know you are), you likely might need to apologize, perhaps repent to them, buy them lunch/coffee and dig in deep. Get to know the person. See them for the masterpiece they are that God handcrafted as your brother or sister. Don’t get hung up on whether they see the world differently than you. See the potential that God see that can use their fresh perspective to change the world.
At this point in life we’re all familiar with the map apps. While there are other apps out there such as Waze or Mapquest, I think the perennially go to is Google Maps (They bought Waze). Ultimately they all work similarly. They use your location and the place you want to go, give you a bird’s eye view then zoom into the street view. The biggest problem with this is that the street view (particularly Google’s streetview) is almost completely useless unless you have a clear picture of where you want to go. While it’s cool to see a place before we go (particularly useful in real estate) it’s frankly, the most useless feature of Google Maps in my opinion. Here’s the thing about God…
God has us on street view.
If you’ve ever gone to a new place and were rushed and just entered the address and left, it’s a bit maddening. You go into an unknown area and have to completely trust your map app not to kill you with a left turn or drive you into a lake. Personally, I like to see the entire map, the turns and the streets ahead of time so that I’m not in the wrong lane when it’s time to turn or I don’t take a route that is always going to be bad. Unfortunately for me and anyone else wired this way, God has us on street view. (more…)
I’ve been writing in a paper “journal” and doing affirmations in the morning to “improve my attitude.” Nothing comes close to intimate time with God. Here’s what I was writing this morning and thought I would share.
No number of affirmations will correct behavior or attitude without action. It’ll be fake action – going through the motions – without an unsubmitted heart to Jesus. Being grateful though is a state of change, however. It’s easy to complacent in your gratefulness.
This year we’ve had many answered prayers that have gone unnoticed.
- We now have close Godly friends to challenge us
- Our bills are paid and we are able to save and give
- Our kids are healthy and excelling in school – and more importantly are becoming children with integrity
- Even our jobs have become more purposeful
What is my vision for 5 years from now? I hate that I don’t have any other answer then a monetary one. I want what God wants, but I don’t always know what he wants. There’s a cloud, a mystery that won’t unravel but stays stuck the longer I stay think about it. The vision, the dream is out there, not here, it’s in giving, not taking, in submitting not conquering.
I recently completed the Bible In 90 Days “plan” from YouVersion. To be honest it took me 100+ days, but I did finish the entire thing by reading around an hour or two a day. It was an experience that I will repeat, just not this year. I recommend every believer do this as soon as possible because… (more…)
Back in February we had Heroic Event
and wanted to share with you the experience.
Not a single person told me it was a good event…
THEY TOLD ME IT WAS LIFE CHANGING!
Are you kidding me? I can’t think of an event outside of a spiritual setting that has received this kind of feedback.
Finally, can I tell you a story? (more…)