Posted by: jmartin7 | July 28, 2010

Citizenship

There is a great debate going on throughout America today that will either unite us or splinter us into warring factions. That debate centers on illegal immigration.

The influx of undocumented workers flooding through our mostly unprotected borders is finally getting nation-wide attention due to a recent law passed by the legislature and people of the state of Arizona. This law, which in effect bans illegal immigration in Arizona, has the support of 57 percent of Americans. That’s 57 percent of the entire country, not just Arizona! That kind of support could effectively reshape the US Congress this year and in the 2012 elections. You can certainly see why Arizona’s ban on illegal immigration is garnering so much media attention.

But, what would Jesus have to say about today’s hot topic of illegal immigration? Who’s side would He gravitate towards? How would His views on the subject be received in the United States and around the world? These are, of course, questions that no one can answer with any credibility. However, when we consider how we should feel about illegal immigration, we must base our opinions on the truth of God’s Word, the Bible and not on public debate. We, as Christians have this responsibility and we will be held accountable.

Now, I am no expert on the biblical view of illegal immigration. I’m not even sure the subject is addressed or even mentioned anywhere in the Bible. However, I do know that the Bible, God’s Word, is very clear on the subject of obedience. Obeying the law of the land is very important to God. There is no equivocation regarding this truth. God is a God of order, law and obedience…period. Therefore, He expects that a nations leadership be held responsible for upholding the laws of the land, including immigration law!

If I as a citizen break the law, I am subject to any punishment that the local, state or national courts deem necessary. However, these laws have to be enforced by said jurisdictions before they can become effective. If I steal a car or rob a bank, I am, in effect saying that I am above the law and the law has no jurisdiction over me if I’m not caught. If I am caught, regardless of what I believe, I am responsible and I will be held accountable for breaking the LAW.

That seems to be a debatable topic in the US today, much to my amazement. Why would someone who illegally enters our country be held accountable to our laws since they are not legal Americans? I mean, there are serious minded people in the media and in our government who actually debate this question on a daily basis. What concerns me more is that there are Christians who debate this topic as well! May God open our eyes to the spirit of lawlessness that is running rampant in our nation and among our people!

Folks, here is the answer plain and simple based on the Word of God: Satan is a master deceiver who wants to bring confusion to our great nation by causing many of us to believe a lie. The lie that the rule of law is open to any opinion is, well, a lie. Laws have been put into place in our country to not only protect our citizens but to also protect our freedoms and liberties. Lawlessness must not be tolerated…period.

What concerns me most is that those who draft these laws and put them into place refuse to enforce them. They should be held more accountable than the ones who break them. Our representatives, senators and president swear an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. They also swear to uphold and enforce the laws of our nation as elected representatives. Regardless of opinion, that is the truth and should not be open to debate on any level. Truth is more important that the facts. When truth is debated, we have lost our way as Americans and Christians.

Janice and I have a number of friends who are of Hispanic descent. We love them and would do anything we could for them. That will never change. They have each paid the price to become Americans and we are proud of them. Each of them has taken the oath of citizenship and have sworn to support, protect and defend our beloved Constitution. They are Americans! I fail to see why anyone who enters our great nation would refuse to do so legally and not be willing to pay the price for the freedom that is offered here. It’s as simple as that. I also fail to understand why our government refuses to uphold the laws of our land. Maybe it’s time to hold THEM accountable to the laws that so many young men and women have fought and died for. Maybe it’s time to read God’s Word again and find out what it says about lawlessness. We must look to the Holy Bible and to the history books and realize that no nation that refused to enforce the laws of the land and allowed a spirit of lawlessness to invade it has ever survived. That’s the truth and if we embrace the truth, we will remain free!

May God truly bless America!

Jack

Posted by: jmartin7 | July 9, 2010

The Man Upstairs

I’m not the biggest NBA basketball fan. I prefer the college basketball game simply because of the tempo and excitement compressed into a 36 to 40 game season as opposed to an 80 to 90 game NBA season. I don’t usually watch professional basketball games until the playoffs. But, I do watch many college hoops games throughout the season, especially after January when football is over.

That being said, I will admit that I was one of the millions who tuned in to see LeBron James announce his decision to play basketball in Miami beginning next season. It was astonishing to hear a professional athlete say that he was willing to take less money to win a championship. We’re not talking about a measly few million, Mr. James will be giving up at least $30 million dollars in hopes of winning an NBA title. That’s not a guarantee either. He could go to Miami, play with his superstar friends and never win a title. But, he certainly increased his chances by leaving Cleveland to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to form what could be one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.

So, why, you might ask am I beginning my first blog in several days with something you already know? Well, because of one little statement that LeBron James made during his announcement. When asked a question about how he made his decision to join the Heat, LeBron gave several factors that went into making the decision. One person that he gave credit to was “the Man upstairs.” It was a brief salute to God that may have gone completely unnoticed by most people. But those statements always catch my attention, especially when they are made by professional athletes.

You see, I love it when God gets the glory for even the smallest thing. I’m not suggesting that LeBron James is a Christian although that is entirely possible. But, I’m always intrigued when an athlete or movie star or any other celebrity makes reference to “the Man upstairs.” What does it really mean to refer to the Creator of the universe as “the Man upstairs?”

Usually when you hear that term, the person is speaking of God the Father. Although, since Jesus is “upstairs” seated beside the Father, they could be referencing Him as well. But why is the term “the Man upstairs” used to describe a holy God? Couldn’t we just use His proper name Jehovah or how about calling him God Almighty or for that matter just call Him Lord? I marvel at how afraid some people are to just let God be…well…GOD! He IS you know.

He is the Great I AM…He is eternal Father…Jehovah Jireh…Creator of everything. He always has been and always will be. He’s never had a beginning and will never have an end. He’s not just upstairs, He’s EVERYWHERE at all times. He fills everything with His presence continually. In Him is no weakness or shadow of turning. He is perfect love and perfectly just in all He does. He never had a creator but He created all things for His good pleasure…including you and me!

I absolutely love to hear God called by name. He is worthy of being recognized by name…not just by title. After all, He allowed Himself to put on mortal flesh in the form of His son, Jesus so that He could restore relationship with us, His creation. Jesus came that we might have life with the Father eternally and that is reason enough to understand that we can now have a relationship with Him. We will soon spend eternity with the Savior of the world, the Holy One, the Lilly of the Valley and the bright and morning Star. But do we dare call Him by name when we pray or even when we reference such a holy, holy, holy God? YES!!

I love it when my wife Janice speaks my name. Since we have children, I don’t get to hear her call my name often since she always refers to me as daddy around them. But when we’re alone and no one else is around, I love to hear her sweet voice call my name…Jack. I believe Yeshua loves to hear His name too! I believe we have that privilege as His brothers and sisters, the privilege to just speak His name…Jesus.

Let me encourage you to call Him by name, especially when you pray. I sometimes think we reference Him as simply “God” too often without ever mentioning His name. We are blessed to have a real relationship with Jehovah God and I’m sure He loves to hear us call His name. I know it may seem strange when you pray but go ahead and let our Father know how much He means to you. Brag on Him with those you know by calling Him Jehovah or Yahweh. Explain to them that He is more than just a god or some far off deity. He is Father, Lord, Savior and King. Not simply “the man upstairs.”

Oh, and remember…there is only One King…and He doesn’t play for the Miami Heat!

Jack

Posted by: jmartin7 | July 3, 2010

Kick the ball

When I was a child, things were very different than they are today. I remember being able to get up in the morning and tell my mother that I was going to my cousins house up the road and then not come back home for hours. Sometimes, in the summer, I would leave the house and not return until that evening. My mother never really worried because of “the neighborhood watch.”

Now, what you know as the neighborhood watch and what we knew to be the neighborhood watch are two totally different things. Where I grew up, the neighborhood watch consisted of about 10 little old ladies who would watch everything you did and just hope you messed up. Back then, I had more parents than I could count on both hands and feet. And these aunts, grandma’s and neighbors would snitch to my mom in a heartbeat!

Then there was “Ms. Flossie.” Her name was Flossie Allen and she was the greatest fear any child could imagine in our neighborhood. On Saturdays, especially during the fall, our gang of thugs would meet at my cousin Timmy’s back yard and play football. We had some pretty rough and tumble games and things would sometimes get out of hand, especially when we would kick the ball off after a score.

When the time for kickoff came, we had two options. We could either kick off toward the road and hope no cars were coming or we could kick off toward Ms. Flossie’s garden. Now, just so you know, there was a fence between cousin Timmy’s yard and Ms. Flossie’s. But as you also know, kicking a football is not an exact science for young boys between the ages of 10 and 14. So on rare occasions, once kicked, the ball would travel at such a trajectory that it would sail over the fence and land in, you guessed it, Ms. Flossie’s garden.

Now, if you want a mental picture of our next move, think of the movie “The Sandlot.” There was the fence that we could not see over. There was the football on the other side of that fence. There was the unknown of just what else was on the other side of that fence and then…the back door would open and close with such authority that we would run for cover like we had been shot out of a cannon.

Immediately, and I mean IMMEDIATELY we heard the most horrifying sound possible. It was Ms. Flossie. What she said brought chills to the deepest part of our souls. “Boys, you kicked that football in my garden and I promise you that you’ve seen it the last time! I’M GONNA TELL YOUR M0MMA’S!!”

Time stood still for what seemed like an eternity. We had been busted and we would never see our precious football again! Life, as we knew it was coming to an end and Ms. Flossie was the angel of death. Surely no one person could be that cruel, that angry, that vindictive. But alas (I’ve wanted to use that word for a long time), it was over. No more football for us. Ms. Flossie had won.

Now, I could end the story there but I won’t. You see, Ms. Flossie went to the same church that most of us boys attended. She was actually one of my grandmothers best friends and for whatever reason, she loved me because of my singing. The Sunday after all hope, and our football, was lost, Ms. Flossie came knocking at my grandmothers door. It was right after our Sunday afternoon meal when our family would come together to eat. When she entered the room, she was greeted by everyone as I slowly sank down underneath the kitchen table. In her hand she had our prized possession, the football. She was not angry and calmly called my name. “Jackie, you come here young man and talk to me. Here is your football. Please make sure not to let those boys kick it over my fence again.” Then, she did the most amazing thing…she hugged me and told me that she had some baseballs that we had sent sailing over the fence and that if I would come to her house, she would get them out of her garage and give them to me. WOW!!

My life was forever changed! No longer would I look at Ms. Flossie the same. In that moment, she went from alien to friend and that relationship would last for years to come. As time went by, I came to realize that she was one of the kindest neighbors we had. When she died, I was asked to sing at her funeral and I gladly did.

You see, life has a way of opening up truth to you in moments when you think the worst is coming. I don’t have any profound thoughts here but I do know that people are pretty much the same. Many are out there waiting to be loved and trusted and, even in this day, friendships are something that can last for a lifetime. The investment is well worth the effort.

When I’m finished writing this blog, I’ll click a button and publish my comments to Facebook for all my friends to read. That’s how quickly we can share our lives with others. It doesn’t take much time to pick up the phone or send an email so why not take a moment and be a friend to someone today.

Go ahead…kick the ball!

Jack

Posted by: jmartin7 | July 2, 2010

He Never Lets Go!

One of my favorite songs of late is “You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman. I love what the song has to say. We sang it this Sunday at church and as I was singing it the light began to come on. It’s true…He never lets go of us because He never abandons His promises! We ARE His promise.

I’ve been around the church scene since I was a child. I grew up in the church and have been singing regularly since I was a teen. That was a long time ago and the songs have definitely changed. I still love the great hymns of the church like “Amazing Grace,” “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” and “All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name.” Those songs lift me and cause me to remember the greatness of God and the faithfulness of His AWESOME son Jesus.

Thankfully, many Christian artists of today are carrying on that wonderful tradition of reminding us, as we worship, of the mighty hand of God. This worship song by Redman, in a very non-traditional way, takes us to a place where we realize just how loving and faithful our Father is in His relationship with us. He NEVER lets go!

Our lives are filled with peaks and valleys, ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies. We all experience times when things couldn’t be better and times when it seems that things can’t get any worse. That’s life. But in the midst of all of these times, our heavenly Father, the great I AM is carefully watching over every event in our lives. That very thought causes me to marvel at His greatness! The Creator of the universe is actively involved in my small existence so much that He notices every little event that goes on in my life…WOW!!!

The Bible says that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” To me, that says that we are all an unfinished vessel that continues to be shaped and fashioned by the hand of the Master. Think of a master woodworker who has thousands of projects sitting before him. Which one does he pick up and work on today? Where will the first stroke of the blade take him as he begins to carve out the promise? What will be the end result?

It is said that a true craftsman can take a block of wood, look at it for a moment and see the finished product. That amazes me. I look at that same piece of wood and all I see is, well, a block of wood. That’s the difference between vision and sight. I see the wood, the artist sees a swan.

No craftsman of any worth works on the next project until the one is finished. Not our glorious, heavenly Father. He patiently designs and crafts billions of unfinished pieces every day. However, He always sees the finished product even before He begins. We are His workmanship and what He always sees is an eternal work. Not just what we’re going through today but what we will look like in glory. Our God is an AWESOME God indeed!

One last comment: As I look back on our worship service at Anderson Mill Road this past Sunday, I think of how often the name of Jesus was mentioned. That name, that wonderful name was the focus of both our time of worship and the word that Pastor DJ preached. When His name is exalted, the enemy flees and the glory of God is revealed. I’ve been in many church services where the work of the devil seemed to be the focus of the entire service. The subject of “spiritual warfare” tends to lift up Satan and his work sometimes more than the fact that Jesus “destroyed the work of the evil one.” We, as the body of Christ, need to be careful when we come together that we ascribe glory to our mighty God instead of talking up the power of Satan. He is a DEFEATED foe who has no power in and of himself. He is eternally limited in his influence with God’s property and can only be given the power to act in our lives if we give it to him. When we place our focus on Jesus and His authority, the devil has no outlet to do anything in our lives. OUR GOD REIGNS!

So, when someone begins to tell you how much the devil is trying to get hold of you simply tell them, “My Daddy has me in His arms and He NEVER lets go!!”

Jack

Posted by: jmartin7 | June 29, 2010

Who Are You Talking To?

I sometimes talk to myself. I admit it. Now, there are numerous reasons why I talk to myself but one of the best that I can think of is that it’s hard to find someone with whom to hold an intelligent conversation (well, I thought it was funny)!

Anyway, I believe it’s accurate to say that there are more people who talk to themselves than we know. I see it all the time, especially in church. Those poor misguided folks on Sunday mornings are always bowing their heads and whispering to themselves. I’m not quite sure what they’re saying but it’s sometimes a fairly lengthy conversation. And they have some type of radar that allows them to know if someone is getting close enough to them to hear what they’re saying. Just try it. When you see one of them with their head hung low and see their lips moving, try to sneak up on them and listen. I guarantee you that the head will rise faster that fat on buttermilk! It doesn’t matter how stealth your approach is, they’ll pick up on it every time.

Not too long ago, I actually worked up the nerve to approach one of these self conversationalists and ask them the question that was rocking my very soul…WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?

To my absolute surprise, this usually stoic person gleefully smiled and said, “I’m talking to the Lord.” THE LORD? You mean Jesus or God or someone like that? “Yep, he said, I’m praying to Jesus Christ Himself.” Well now, I’ve heard of such things happening but I’ve never received such a powerful and confident response as that one.

You see, this young man went on to explain to me that when we pray, Jesus takes our prayers and literally presents them to the Father God. But it doesn’t just stop there. God actually allows Jesus to intercede on our behalf with all the power and authority that He was given when He conquered death, hell and the grave. That’s pretty amazing!

But hold on, it gets even better! As we pray, we begin to lose ourselves until our very wants and desires become His. The more we spend time with the Creator of the Universe, the more we become like Him and begin to hear His heartbeat. WOW!! To know that His desires can become my desires is a very incredible thought.

Andrew Murray, the South African missionary in his book “199 Treasures of Wisdom on Talking with God” says it most powerfully when he says, “When earnest prayer has melted away all earthly passions and desires so that I delight in God alone, then my prayer changes until I do not so much pray as I live in God.”

What a wonderful thought. To live in God! That should be our hearts cry from the moment we awake in the morning until we close our eyes at night. I delight so much in my Lord and Savior that I am not satisfied until I become like Him and my very existence is complete in Him. Those types of prayers please our Father and cause Him to have great joy. Our relationship with Him becomes sweeter and more fulfilling as we submit to His desires for our lives. It may not be an easy thing to do but dying to our desires so that He might live through us brings perfect peace and a renewed passion for Him.

Our time here on earth is so limited that, to me, it only makes sense to spend as much of that time as possible in the presence of God. The most effective way to reach His heart is to take the opportunity to seek His face. My son, Ethan wants to be like me (bless his heart). He wants to spend as much time with me as possible which sometimes means that I have to lay down what I want to do and just listen to him talk about everything that is on his heart, and I do. That’s what Daddy God does. I believe He would stop the universe from moving if it meant a moment of time with us. He loves when we just come to Him and want to be in His presence, where He is.

I believe Daddy wants you to know that it’s your time to talk. He’s listening right now. You don’t even have to bow your head. Go ahead and spend some time with Him today. He loves you!

Jack

Posted by: jmartin7 | June 27, 2010

Church Socials R Us

I had the opportunity to go to my first church social in many years last evening. Now come on, you know what a church social is…right? It’s unlike any other gathering of believers. It’s a social event where you get together in the name of fellowship so that you can eat like there’s no tomorrow and then talk about all that you have just devoured. Plain and simple, it’s a wonderful excuse to have a pig out!

Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some food! Although I’m supposed to be watching what I eat, church socials are a time when God’s blessing is on everything you can possibly consume. But, the church social goes beyond food. It captures the very essence of who we church goers really are…party animals!

That’s right, we love to get together and fellowship over a meal or over a sporting event or basically for any reason we can possibly think of. It’s not enough that we go to church together, do Sunday School together, choir rehearsal together and Sunday morning go-to-meeting together. No, we are destined to gather together and just take time to get to know each other. That’s who we are.

If I’m not mistaken, and I rarely am, this whole church social things began in the book of Acts after Jesus was crucified. It just automatically happened. The disciples were lost without Jesus. He was gone and they were left alone to their own devices. So what do good Christians do…we get together and make plans to take over the world!

The bible tells us that the disciples were all together in one accord in an upper room fellowshipping (had to add that spelling to the online dictionary) when all of a sudden, Jesus appeared to them. Now THAT’S a social you’ll never forget! I believe Jesus knew that he could count on his most ardent followers to come together after he was crucified. He knew that once He was gone, they would figure out a way to begin working on a plan to continue His ministry on earth. One simple word…GO…would propel them into becoming who we are today…witnesses!

For over two thousand years we Christians have been striving to carry on His name and work here in the earth. It isn’t sometimes easy to be a witness today. People are very private in their personal lives and simply don’t want you trying to come in and rock their boats. But we are somehow compelled to tell our friends, relatives and neighbors about Jesus. We desperately want to share the truth about how wonderful life can be when you follow Him. Even though we have never seen Him face-to-face, we know that He lives and His love can radically change your life! That’s a message that is worth sharing regardless of the cost.

People need the Lord and there is no better way to share the love of Jesus than to spend time with them letting them see the Jesus in you. I believe that’s what church social are for. They are important because they teach us how to fellowship with believers first and then with non-believers. It fits right in with the gospel. The early church knew how to fellowship together and then they went out and changed the world! So why not us?

There you have it. Now you’re armed with the knowledge that you need to just go ahead and pick up the phone and plan your next church social. Come together in the name of Jesus and then go out and make disciples. You’ll be glad you did!

Jack

Posted by: jmartin7 | June 25, 2010

Good news…bad news

I love Fridays. Well, most Fridays anyway. I had an appointment for a physical today and was worked over pretty good. I can say that I have a very caring and compassionate physician who takes the time to explain everything. Dr. Mark is simply the best and his staff are kind and very sensitive to my needs.

The human body is an amazing thing! It can withstand neglect and abuse and usually bounce back with no problem at all. I have been blessed all my life to have good health and I am very grateful to God for how he has been faithful to bring healing to me. I have absolutely no complaints. Physically, life is very good and will continue to be as long as I listen to and obey Dr. Mark and his fine staff.

But what about the times when we receive bad news from the doctor? How should we respond to and with whom do we share what we believe to be bad news? Since news about our health is so important, it’s always a good idea to pray daily for our health but to also take whatever actions are necessary to sustain our health. I trust Dr. Mark and his staff. However, there is a greater Physician who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above what any earthly doctor can do. The issue is do I trust him with not only my physical, emotional AND spiritual well being on a daily basis or just when I “need” Him?

GOD IS FAITHFUL! There is no dispute or doubt concerning that reality. He is always there for us no matter what circumstance we face. My God is concerned and actively involved in my life and yours. However, the question remains, how actively are we involved in our relationship with Him on a daily basis even in the times that we don’t have physical, emotional or any other problem? He is still Lord, but do we give Him access and control over our daily lives to the point where we allow Him to BE Lord? I can assure you that in times of crises and times of refreshing, our King reigns and provides us hope in the time of need. He created us in His image and His likeness and desires for us to live that way. All He wants from us is OUR faithfulness.

I believe in God. I believe that His son, Jesus died for my sin and has given me eternal life. I believe that His precious Holy Spirit lives within me and helps me daily to not just live but live victoriously. That is TRUTH! My God Reigns over every circumstance and every problem. My place in this life is to rule and reign with Him and allow Him to have complete access to and control of who I am.

There is an old praise song that we used to sing years ago titled, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” It’s been years since I’ve thought about that song but it is still a great song to sing. I can tell you the truth…I never want to live in myself again. I want to live in Christ so that regardless of what happens or what news I receive, I respond with faith in Him.

I received both good and bad news today from my physical. The truth is that the bad news will require a change in my lifestyle that will allow me to see my children become adults, marry and have their own children. I will continue to grow old with Janice and have the opportunity to make the remainder of our lives together glorious. I’m happy to say that my outlook for a happy life is good and I look forward to many healthy years to come!

Now may God, our glorious Father grant us wisdom and knowledge in Him. May we as a family grow together in our love and service for Him. Knowing that the end result will be an eternity WITH Him.
That’s GOOD NEWS!!

Jack

Posted by: jmartin7 | June 24, 2010

Things go better with friends!

It’s hot outside! Too hot for me and probably anyone else who is looking forward to fall and the beginning of football season. I can’t wait until the leaves begin to fall and crisp, cool air makes its way to my house.

This is the time of year that makes me want to go to the mountains, take my wife and children to the pool and do anything possible to stay cool and refreshed. Fall and winter are my favorite times of year. To me, these are times when I can enjoy being outdoors with my family when the air is cool and I can actually put more clothes on to be comfortable instead of having to take them off!

Our family took the time this week to go to a friends house for a cook out and pool party. Thank the good Lord for friends who have swimming pools. These are the kind of relationships you want to develop and nurture over the years. People who want to spend time with you just because they…well, want to just spend time with you. These are people who refresh my soul. These are true friends! It’s like the old Coke commercial used to say…things go better with…FRIENDS!

I appreciate true friends. Folks who allow you to just be yourself. Those who love and appreciate you for who you are, not what you can do for them. Real friends welcome you into their homes and actually share their lives with you, not talk about you. Janice and I are blessed to have friends like this and hope we provide that type of friendship as well.

True friends, close friends are hard to come by these days. Janice and I have been blessed to have been acquainted with many people whom we have called our friends. However, we have also been blessed to have several people that we trust implicitly with whom to share the most important aspects of our lives. These dear ones are actually more family than friends. People who would do anything for you and for whom you would give your life…literally. We share a common trust and a common Lord.

Why not take a moment and think about your true friends. Thank the Lord for these precious people and ask a special blessing for them. Call them on a regular basis and spend some quality time together as often as possible. Go ahead…take a fresh drink of friendship!

Jack

Posted by: jmartin7 | June 19, 2010

I Want To Be A Boy Scout Again!

It’s Saturday and boy was I looking forward to sleeping in. Have you ever had one of those mornings where your eyes just popped open and there was no way you were going to be allowed to go back to sleep. Yep, this is one of those mornings. I guess that’s alright because sleeping in is highly overrated anyway.

So, as I lay there in bed I couldn’t help but think about being a Boy Scout. I was a
Boy Scout when I was young and loved it! I was able to do some pretty cool things back then like tying knots, camping out in the woods, learning first-aid, tracking snipe (then after about an hour I found out there is no such thing as a snipe), hanging out with other boys my age and all the while learning some pretty cool things like…the Boy Scout Pledge.

So, what is the Boy Scout Pledge you may be asking? Well, of course you know that any reasonable boys club type organization has to have a pledge…right? I mean, boys just can’t get together and not pledge something. It’s…THE LAW!

So in case you didn’t know, a Boy Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent. There you go. Twelve of the most difficult things for any 11 to 16 year old boy to even attempt to be! And yes, I still have them memorized.

When I think back on these most noble attributes from the Boy Scout handbook, I can’t help but think how difficult these are to walk out in life. There are some pretty powerful concepts here. I mean, how many parents actually teach their children to be trustworthy or loyal or thrifty or…reverent?

REVERENT?? What in the world does reverence have to do with being a Boy Scout? Isn’t that one of those “churchy” words that you don’t hear anymore? Hmmm…let me pull up my handy online copy of Webster’s dictionary. Now, lets see. Here it is…REVERENT: expressing or characterized by reverence or…WORSHIPFUL. (momentary pause and wonderment)

Yes, worshipful! What a novel concept to teach an eleven year old boy. In an age when almost every adult influence teaches us that worshiping the Creator of the universe is either antiquated or not allowed in public forums, the Boy Scouts get it right!

I want to teach my son, Ethan to be reverent. A not just in church reverent but an everyday reverence. I want him to know that there is such a thing as knowing that God is a Holy, Holy, Holy God and that He should be approached as such. I want Ethan to know that the Lord says to “Be holy as I am holy.” What an awesome concept to think that God would equate me with having the ability to be holy! I could never attain holiness by my own efforts. Only in and through Him can I possibly reach any measure of holiness. But, it begins with reverence. I believe that in this day and age each of us needs to step back and take time to realize that eternity is closer than we think. How can we approach the living God face to face when we have never practiced how to be reverent here?

Let me end by giving my own simple definition of reverence: I fully understand that He is God alone, and I am not. Take a moment and meditate on what it means to be reverent and let the Holy Spirit speak to you. Go ahead…be a Boy Scout today!

Jack

Posted by: jmartin7 | June 18, 2010

Winners

The Los Angeles Lakers have won the NBA championship again.

So what, you may be saying. It’s not like the Celtics REALLY had a chance now…come on! Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and company fought their way to another title by stepping up and shutting down Boston’s guts and glory big 3 of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. The Lakers are NBA champions again!

Some reflection on this amazing victory might be appropriate right now but…well…I’m in the mood to reflect on winning. What does it mean to be a winner. Now, I know you will probably want to stop reading this about now but take a moment and bear with me.

Most folks view winning as simply the opposite of losing. True enough, but for us Christian folk winning is much more enticing. Winning for those who live for Christ means that we are not striving for ourselves. Winning means that we will commit ourselves to honoring the mission of Jesus in this life by giving our lives away for others.  Say WHAT??

That doesn’t sound like winning to a lot of people simply because it doesn’t place the emphasis on me and what I’ve done. Instead, it actually means putting my desires in the back seat and placing the call of Christ in the most prominent position. I must actually die to my desires and plans and take on HIS desire and plans for my life. Therefore, it is no longer I who live…but CHRIST!

A lot of sincere people who attend church do ministry and love God struggle with this issue. Everything we hear teaches us that it’s alright to pursue a chosen career path and still include Christ and church and all that stuff and, quite frankly, I have lived that way all my life.  But, how many of us have taken the time to actually pursue Christ before we choose and pursue a career? Take a moment and think about it. Have we really put Christ in the driver’s seat or have we simply allowed him along for the ride. I pray that Janice and I will be able to lead Brianna & Ethan in that direction. Please pray for us.

“For I am crucified with Christ, and yet I live. Not I but Christ who lives within me.” I love that song by Philips, Craig and Dean.  Might be a good idea to download that one today and meditate on it for a while. Simply put, to win…to REALLY win is to lose our lives and commit to following Him. That’s what makes us all WINNERS. You see, life is too short to struggle with the decision to lose our lives and allow Jesus to live HIS life through us. Even at my age I’m ready to lose my life today in order to live my remaining years for Him.

So come on and let’s play to win…today!

Jack

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