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Archive for April, 2008

I was utterly shocked to hear these words flow from my father’s mouth, “as a junior college basketball Taylor was pretty mediocre.”  Not to say this was not true, It was just unexpected.  The scene of the verbal slander was my wife and mines post rehearsal dinner for our wedding.  It was a cold January 7th 2005.  The rain was lightly falling outside of the intimate venue we had secured on Lake Guntersville.  The wedding party consisting of around 30 close family and friends enjoyed a warm night of great food, fun, and many good stories and jokes(most of them at my expense).  That is until my dad began to speak.  Allow me to preface this by saying, I have the world’s greatest dad.  He taught me every sport I know how to play(except volleyball, I picked that up on my own).  He was never too busy or tired to spend time with me.  He has been a model of consistency and godliness my whole life.  He was never perfect, but he never had to be for me.  He was always available, and that’s what mattered most to me.  Dad was one of the last people to speak that night.  He is humble and chill enough to let everyone have their turn before his own.  But when he speaks, people listen.  Which is what makes this story even more funny, it’s probably the one thing many people remember from that night(well aside from the story I told about my room mate in college catching himself on fire and receiving 2nd degree burns on his face and arms.  That story is for another time).  Dad began by talking of how proud he was of me, and my maturity as a Christian man.  He told of how grateful he was to have someone as wonderful as Tenly to be my wife andhis daughter in-law.  He then preceded to tell everyone what a great high school athlete I had been.  He told them of my playing four sports in high school, and haviing the oppurtunity to play any four of them in college.  This was going great I thought to my self.  That’s when out of nowhere he dropped the bomb, “but you know as good a high school athlete as Taylor was, he was a pretty mediocre junior college basketball player.”  The room immediately erupted with laughter.  I said “gee thanks dad.”  But in typical dad from he had a point to make, and it wasn’t a joke at my expense.  Throughout my playing career, my accomplishments on the field had been an idol in his life.  Now allow me to interject here, my father was never overbearing, he never put undue pressure on me to succeed(I did enough of that myself).  It was simply the satisfaction of watching his son compete and succeed that he idolized.  Truth be told I had the same idol in my life until Christ saved me form my sin in 1998 as a freshman playing JUCO basketball at Snead State Community College in lovely Boaz  AL.  Dad said what he learned most from my playing days at Snead, was an idol my sports had been to him.  He said it was a wake up call for him when I got to Snead, and I wasn’t the best player on the team, in fact I road the bench pretty hard that year.  He said that is when God oped his eyes to his sin.  He realized his happiness should have nothing to do with the number of points I scored, or assists I dished out.  He looked out on the court(mostly during warmups) and saw a young man who was not being as successful on the basketball court as he had once been.  But off the court he saw a young man once gripped by sin anddepression in spite of all his athletic success, growing as a Christian.  It was no coincidencethat while my basketball game was not prospering as it once had, my personal life with Jesus Christ was.  Dad saw his son for the first time in a long time happy again, and it was in spite of his mediocre play on the basketball court.  My dad and I both grew a lot that year as Christians.  That first year at Snead was nothing like either of us exected or dreamed of, but then again I din’t plan on becoming a Christian my first semester of college.  I know dad is really proud that he was in attendance to see my only 3 point basket of the year in my first game.  I’m sure to this day he cherishes all 4 points I scored that year.  In his heart though I know he cherishes even more how God broke both of us regarding our sin of sports related idolatry.  AndI believe he is most proud of me not for what I accomplished on the court, but rather off of it, including presenting the gospel message to one of my teammates Travis, and he in turn praying to receive Christ as savior and Lord.  Thanks be to Jesus Christ that he takes captive human hearts like mine and dad’s and crushes idols in His wake!                       

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I know what Al Gore says.  I know what Oprah would like you to believe, and in honor of Earth Day (April 22) I have a suggestion; make earth day and all other days red, not green.  Green is a fine color, reminds me of spring time along interstate 64 from Louisville to Lexington KY filled with green grass on rolling hills and horse farms.  Red on the other hand reminds me of blood. I’m not thinking of blood like the time I was seven and wrecked my girl cousins bicycle on the now infamous “Taylor Hill.”  Wearing nothing more than my swim shorts, I flew over the front of the bicycle and skidded down the pavement.  The doctor at the hospital later said it was the worst case of road rash he had ever seen.  Nineteen stitches and some serious flesh wounds all over my body later, I was OK.  The blood I am thinking about was much more gruesome, and its implications far more reaching.  Jesus death on the cross, his blood shed for mine and your sins provides me the color I need when assessing our planet and its current and future condition.  I’m no tree huggin, pot smokin, save the whales, activist.  I’m a conservationist of the truest kind, a biblical one.  Psalm 24:1 says,  1The (A)earth is the LORD’S, and [a]all it contains, The (B)world, and those who dwell in it.  As a born again believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ I consider it my duty and pleasure to honor Christ in all aspects of my life.  Since Psalm 24:1 states that the world and everything  within it belongs to Christ, and I belong to Christ, I fell the need to do whatever I can to take care of His world.  The World belongs to Christ, I am just one of many stewards of it.  No matter what you feel about global warming, or even the lack there of, taking care of Christ’s earth is a something we as Christians must be proactive about.  How we perceive the earth and care for it is a theological issue, one in which reflects our view of Christ and His Lordship.  I am not Al Gore so I will not give you statistics concerting our planets current state.  I am not Oprah so I wont be able to devote an entire show (of blog in my case) to all the little ways we can “go green”.  I am a Christian however, so before I watch any documentary such as An Inconvenient Truth, or listen to someone lecture about scientific discoveries, my mind is made up.  God made the world to display his glory through Christ. Likewise, God made me to display his glory through Christ.  My desire is to see Christ glorified in all my life.  And since the earth through Christ’s rule gives so much to me, I figure the least I can do is be a good steward in return.  Go green if you like, but red is the color of the king, and its His world.                      

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The gospel of Jesus Christ requires anyone seeking Him for salvation to come to Him in faith as the one whose blood can forgive them of sin and unrighteousness.  That individual who seeks Jesus great salvation must also make the choice to repent of his/her sin nature and submit themselves to His Lordship.  Faith and repentance don’t stop at the point of  salvation (justification) but it is an on going process which doesn’t end until death(glorification). Each day a believer is privileged by God to walk His earth, he/she should confess wrong doing before a holy and righteous God, and repent of that sin.  Believers are able to do this because, we are given the Holy Spirit to point us to Christ and conform us to His image.  Our standard is God’s Word, and specifically Jesus of Nazareth.  None of us have met that standard.  All have and will fall desperately short (Romans 3:23).  The great theologians from the 70’s southern rock band Lynard Skynard  wrote a song entitled Give me Three Steps in which a gentleman finds himself in a tight situation.  The story involves an unnamed gentleman, lets call him Lynard for convenience sake (who is apparently also a bottle blond), a girl named Linda Lu, and a man (her husband) who has a gun.  The first part of the story plays out like this:

 “I was cutting the rug
Down at a place called the jug
With a girl named linda lu
When in walked a man
With a gun in his hand
And he was looking for you know who.
He said, hey there fellow,
With the hair colored yellow,
Watcha tryin to prove?
cause thats my woman there
And Im a man who cares
And this might be all for you.”

At this point things look bleak for Lynard aka the “fellow with his hair colored yellow”, so what does he do?  Something unexpected from a rock star in a honky tonk, he asks for forgiveness and repents.  Staring down the barrel of a gun this is what he says, 

 “I said, wait a minute, mister,
I didnt even kiss her.
Dont want no trouble with you.
And I know you dont owe me
But I wish youd let me
Ask one favor from you.
(chorus)
wont you give me three steps,
Gimme three steps mister,
Gimme three steps towards the door?
Gimme three steps
Gimme three steps mister,
And youll never see me no more.” 

When your at the mercy of another, especially one who has a gun, the best thing to do is say your sorry and  get out of there as quickly as possible.  This story is no so much different from yours or mine in many mays.  While ours may not take place in a bar with a girl named Linda Lu, or a man holding a 44, we all this situation in one form or another.  If we put on our theological lenses we can see that Linda Lu represents the sin our friend Lynard is tempted with. It is likely that he was having himself a good ol’ time at the Jug having a few beers with the boys when, across the room he spotted a women he thought looked nice, good ol’ Linda Lu.  Now I wasn’t there, but I can bet you it wasn’t linda Lu’s intellect or winsome humor and personality that attracted him, probably more her looks.  So there he was lusting after Linda Lu (a married woman though he doesn’t seem to know or care at this point) he decided to approach her.  He asked Linda Lu for a dance, she accepted of course.  Things went going well until Lynard was confronted with his sin by someone acting as a judge and ready to bring about justice in the form of a shotgun.  Truth is, this is a great picture of ourselves before God.  We find ourselves in places we shouldn’t be, doing things we shouldn’t be doing.  There are many forms of Linda Lu in our lives, they come in all shapes and sizes.  Temptation is all before us and around us, we must always be on our guard(I Peter 5:8).  Linda Lu’s husband is hates at the fact that some man is dancing with his wife.   Likewise Our God hates our offenses against him.  How much does God hate sin?  So much that he crucified his own Son, and had to turn His back on Him as he bore our sins on the cross(Psalm 22, Mark 15:22-39).  God can not allow a sinful being to have a relationship with him, because He alone is pure, holy and undefiled by sin.  That is why Christ died for us, to make a way for us to have a relationship with God.  Christ is our mediator for us to God.  When God looks upon us, He no,longer sees us merely in our fallen and sinful condition, but rather as redeemed saints, covered by the blood of his son(II Corinthians 5:17, Romans 5:8, Galatians 2:20).  When we sin the best thing we can do is confess   (which is to recognize that before God that he is right, we are wrong, and we have not met his standard), and repent(that is to do a 180, turn and do an about face, or walk in the other direction) of sin.  When the Holy Spirit speaks to our being and confronts us concerning our sin before God, we as Christians are required by scripture to confess and repent(Romans 10:9-10, Matthew 4:17, Mark 6:12,Luke 13:5, Acts 3:19, II Corinthians 7:10). How often should we confess and repent, daily.  You may ask repent daily?  Do we have that much sin in our lives?  I know I sure do.  Besides, how many of us can treuly say we have mastered the greatest of all the commandants, to love God with our whole being, and our neighbor as ourselves(Matthew 22:37-39)?  On that basis alone we have sinned, and need to confess we have not met God’s standard, and need to repent of the things in our lives that keep us from fulfilling what God requires of us.  Just as Lynard faced the consequence of his sin in the form of a gun, the consequences of our sin without Christ are much more bleak and serious, eternal death and separation from God(Romans 6:23).  But just like our friend Lynard who made his great escape unbelievers too can escape the penalty of sin and death by confessing that we have sinned before a righteous and holy God, and would rightfully deserve hell and condemnation for our them a part from Christ.  Then confess Christ as saviour and Lord , and turn form one’s old lifestyle of sin and shame.  Lynard asked for forgiveness and three steps.  We too have had to/must ask forgiveness of God for our offenses directed at him, but we don’t need three steps to get there, He only requires one, and that one is right toward the cross.   

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 God wants us all dead!  Imagine if I went around busy downtown Atlanta telling passers by this without the first hint of an explanation.  I would get strange looks, odd reactions, and probably a good cursing as well.  This statement like all others demands an explanation, no matter how true it might be.  God does want us all dead, just not in the way we often think of death.  God wants us to die to ourselves and bend the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ(Romans 10:9, John chapter 3).  This is of course a spiritual death, not a physical one.  It is also the process or event Jesus spoke to Nicademus about in John chapter 3, known as re-birth.  The phrase perhaps most often associated with people dying to self and comming to Christ is “born again.” As Christians we are all made new through our faith and repentance in the Lord Jesus Christ(II Corinthians 5:17).  We often spend great amounts of our mortal lives not thinking about death, but as Christians we should remember our death often.  We should recall the ways in which we used to think, act, operate(Romans 8:5-6), and rejoice in the truth that Jesus has crushed the head of the serpant and won for us the victory over our sin nature. The death of our nature is a one time event that comes when we recieve Christ’s atoning work on the cross, express explicit faith in him for salvation, and repentance of sin.  It is true we should deny ourselves daily of our old sinful pleasuers and things that distract us from Christ, but we only spiritually die once, just as physically dying is a once in a lifetime experience.  What would yu say if I said if Jesus wants us physically dead too.  Would you believe its true?  Well it is and here is the proof, Psalms 116:15  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.  Of course this is only in his perfect time and plan for our lives.  God is looking forward to the believers physical death as well. Why, because that is the heart of the father.  His heart is full of love for us in Christ, and he cant wait to welcome us in loving arms.  He cant wait to end all our suffering, sickness, doubt, inaduqueces, and pain.  This father anxiously awaits his childrern coming home.  The only way we as humans can ever go to the home in heaven God has prepared for us, is to recieve Jesus Christ as savior and Lord (John 14:6).  We are all going to die in this life, may we pray and share the truth with those who have yet to do so in Christ.  In the 1980’s Jon Bon Jovi sang a song entitled “Dead or Alive”  in which he says, “I’m wanted dead or alive.”  Our God just wants us plain ol’ dead , so through Christ he can make us alive.  In the Christian faith, death=life in Christ. 

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I was talking with a friend recently who was a bit perturbed.  This individual had been approached by the minister of the music at the church she attended about singing a song.  She agreed and even offered a request of the song she would like to sing.  She was going to sing on Easter Sunday and thought she had the perfect song picked out.  She told the minister of music about the song and a video that accompanied it.  Everything was fine until she described the video to the MM.  The video that went with the song showed scenes from Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ.  After discussing her idea with the MM, he concluded that showing scenes from The Passion would be just too violent for the church audience too see.  I cant say for certain but he probably didn’t wont to offend any old ladies, or give any children nightmares.  Now I realize just how graphic and violent the movie is, having seen in shortly after it came out.  But aren’t those preciesly the types of effects the cross should have on us, offense and nightmares.  This got me to thinking about something a professor of mine said in seminary.  He believed our children’s Sunday schools were in theological crisis because of the passive nature of those teaching the material the way the way they painted a  picture of Jesus as someone who could be “their special friend”  if they asked him into their heart.  He also felt many teachers were not teach other stories of the Bible in their right context especually when it comes to issues of judgment and sin.  Most children in the local church know the story of Noah’s Ark, but do they know why Noah took two each kind of animal on the ark?  It is because God regretted making man, and was about to judge all living things by way of torrential rain and flood waters, save Noah and the passengers on the ark (Genesis 6:5-7). Noah and the Ark is a story about judgement, and judgment of the worst kind, God’s judgment. I will make sure my child knows that while it is fun to try to make all the animal sounds on the ark, it is not fun to undergo a Holy God’s wrath and judgment.  Likewise we would be wise as parents not to paint a picture for our children of Jesus that looks like the one I saw growing up, a beautiful 30 something man with long brown hair who hugs lots of children, and walks in  pastures with sheep by his side.  I want the image of Jesus beaten, and bloody on the cross gasping for his last breath saying, “father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34) burnt into their minds.  I dont wish bad dreams upon my child, for we all know how real they can seem.  But if my child one day awakes me and through tears explains she/he had a nightmare about Jesus dying on the cross, I will hold her/him and explain that Jesus did that because he loves us so much, that are sin caused Him to do that, and his death brings us the opportunity for new life in the form of salvation.  But I want the images of Christ on the cross to be burnt into the minds of my children, that of all of the images burnt in their minds. I will tell my children at the earliest age possible about Jesus death on the cross, and his resurrection three days later.  There will be many things I will censor my child from, but the cross is not one of them.  If I have a boy he needs to see that Jesus is the conquering warrior king of the cosmos (Philippians 2:10-11).He needs to know a Jesus that while meek and humble, he is strong, courageous, and fearless as our savior and king.   I want my son to know through Christ what a Biblical husband is supposed to do and be, love his bride just as Christ loved the church, and laid down his life for her (Ephesians 6:25).  If I have a daughter I need to show her what to look for in a man of God. Most importantly I want my daughter/son to see what his/her, my sin did to our precious Jesus.  I want them to know sin always costs, and Jesus loved us enough to pay for them.  Nightmares and images can be frightening, but the thought of them becoming a cultural Christian frightens me more, and hell frightens me most.  

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Just moments ago as I arrived home I offered my wife something, a peace offering of sorts, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.  Earlier that day prior to my leaving for work we were a bit at odds.  Whose fault was it?  Some pride on my part, some pride on her part.  But I knew the way to make peace with her, and I did just that.  After dinner with a member of the Tech men’s tennis team I stopped to obtain the olive branch of peace. I told the tennis player that was with me, I needed to make peace with my wife and this was the way to do it.  When I arrived home my wife was nowhere to be found, so I instantly new what that meant.  She was at our neighbors for their weekly dinner and dancing with the stars.  I made my way over to our neighbors place, knocked on the door and was greeted by a smiling face, our great friend Morgan.  She quickly invited me in and offered me some dinner.  I graciously declined dinner because I had not come to eat.  I had come to do one thing, offer a treaty in the form of glazed and crueler doughnuts.  As I approached my wife her eyes widened with surprise.  I hugged her and said I had come to make peace.  As I said those words I passed the peace offering from my hand to hers.  She immedietly was filled with laughter in the way only a pregnant women can be.  So we made peace and all was well.  But as I was walking home it hit me, God has made a peace offering for humanity.  What is this peace offering?  It’s not a what but a who, and his name is Jesus Christ.  By boss Derrick Moore often says, “in order to have the peace of God, one must be at peace with God.”  To be at peace with God is only possible through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Because of sin, man is an enemy by nature against a holy and just God(Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12, Romans 5:10).  But God in his great wisdom and love, made a way for his love and his wrath against humanity to be satisfied without comprimising his justness(Romans 3:23-26,Romans 5:1-2,Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:1-5,).  His name is Jesus Christ.  Jesus was the perfect sin offering that would please the God’s wrath and condemnation against man(Romans 8:3).  Not only have Jesus enabled us to have peace with God, but we are now called “sons of God”(Galatians 3:26).  We are not only forgiven, we are family!  All this is made possible because of a God who loved us enough to crucify and put to death his son.  I told the tennis player I was with that the way to a woman’s heart leads through Krispy Kreme.  May we be reminded daily and tell those whom we encounter, the only way to the heart of God is through his son(John 14:6).

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Welcome

Welcome everyone.  This is the home to my new blog and the weekly word.  I hope to get the next ww out by the end of the week.  Until then may you all be blessed in the Lord Jesus Christ

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