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Archive for September, 2009

Dave Matthews, yes that Dave Matthews has spoken correctly concerning President Obama, racism, and humanity,  he  just didn’t take it far enough.  In a recent interview with CNN he was quoted as saying, ” “I found there’s a fairly blatant racism in America that’s already there,” Matthews said in discussing the opposition to some of President Obama’s policies. “There’s a good population of people in this country that are terrified of the president only because he’s black, even if they don’t say it. And I think a lot of them, behind closed doors, do say it.”  Matthews, never one shy as to sharing his opinions political or otherwise, speaks truthfully to the heart of an evil and pervasive issue in our culture, racism.  Now, I don’t fully agree with him, not if he any way suggests that people who oppose Pres. Obama do so solely on the basis of race (which I dont think he is doing, but I am not inside his head).  I oppose Pres. Obama on several issues, none of which have anything to do with race, and everything to do with my view of God, Scripture, and Humanity.  I will confess to you all that i once struggled with racism.  Prior to receiving Christ at the age of 18 I held prejudice in my heart toward certain individuals of other races.  I had friends who were not of the same skin color as I as well.  But this ultimately this was not a race problem, it was for me and is for many Americans a sin problem.  Racism is an ugly manifestation of sin in the form of pride.  Pride that would make you and I believe that we are so how better, smarter, or more important than someone else.  This pride can be acted out in many forms including  jelesouy, bitterness, anger, hatred, and ignorance.  But we friends as Christians are not ignorant, and the Bible is clear that in Christ there is no distinction among races, genders, or social classes. 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus-Galatians 3:27-3:28.  Paul writing here to the Galatian Christians is challenging them to overcome even the slightest hint or idea that one gender, race, or social class is beneath or bellow the other.  We are all the same in God’s view of our relation to himself, sinners in need of redemption (Romans 3:23-26).  Furthermore, Jesus teaches Nicodemus and us in   John 3:16 that his salvation is for the world (that is all humanity) and not Just Israel, or anyone else for that matter.  In the Great commission found in Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus tells his disciples to “go unto the world” as they preach the gospel, baptize, and are commanded to make go is best transalted as “as you are going to the world”.  So it is assumed by Jesus here that his disciples clearly understand from his teaching and their time spent with him, that the gospel knows no racial, no social, o economic barriers.  It is neither the poor man’s gospel, nor the rich man’s.  It is not merely good news for Asians, and West Africans.  The gospel is good news for all who believe (Romans 1:16).  Dave Matthews is right racism is a big problem in our culture.  He erred in not taking the problem to its root (sin) and offering it’s solution (Christ).  Jesus Christ is the only ultimate cure for racism in this life.  We can be cordial with one another, accepting, even friends, but to love anther’s heart as fully and completely as the Bible requires (Philippians 2:1-11) it takes Christ in us.  God brought me out of sin (that is the power sin in my life) and racsism over 10 years ago.  I had friends of other races and ethnicities, but I did not love the nations.  God has given me a love for all people, that is greater than any love or affection I could conjure up on my own.   The gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer for racsism Mr Matthews…I pray all Americans and nations will find the freedom and joy that comes in that.

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Apparently Americans are rebellious, so says John Murray a tennis coach and clinical psychologist. “If you look at our history we’re a rebellious people,” said Murray, the Palm Beach, Fla.-based sports psychologist. “We’re tea-in-the-harbor and telling people to get lost. We have a little John McEnroe in all of us.” Murray was commenting on the recent Serena Williams episode from the US Open that resulted in Serena suffering a point penalty and thus defaulting the semifinal match to eventual champion Kim Clisters. I don’t know John Murray, but if I ever met him I would tell him rebellion is not an American problem, it’s a humanity problem.  Surely what Serena did was out of line.  Ineed the punishment fit the crime.  This is not to say she is not a classy person or player.  From all I have seen of her over her career she has been great for the game both on and off the court.  She simply lost her composure and acted out in a manner that is not acceptable between the tennis court lines or anywhere else for that manner.  Murray notes in that same interview that tennis players are well known for that type of behavior, especially in the decade of the 80’s.  Jimmy Conners and John McEnroe are both famous in the tennis world for their on the court outlandish tirades (especially Johnny Mac).  Both had hot tempers and would tell any umpire or line judge exactly what they thought ( better cover your children’s ears) .  I don’t think it is right nor fair to compare Serena to Jim Bo or Johnny Mac.  For her career, she has handled herself much better on the court than those two.  And apparently off the court Johnny Mac is a great guy, Jim Bo…not so much.  So what Serena did last week is nothing new to the sport of tennis, and rebellion is nothing new to humanity.  Rebellion is as old as our own existence, it comes from our father, Adam.  When Adam and Eve wilfully choose to disobey God and take of forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden, rebellion and sin became a reality for every man and woman who would follow (Romans 5:12).   Because  Adam’s blood runs through our veins we too are wickedly rebellious and bent on pleasing ourselves and acting out against or creator and our fellow man.  We are much more rebellious than we would ever like to admit or even realize.  And if not for the second and greater Adam we all today would still be living in a desperate rebellious state against God.  But thanks be to God that while were in our rebellion and sin, He sent His Son to die on our behalf (Romans 5:8).  The second Adam is not like the first.  The Second (Christ) perfectly obeyed and carried out the will of His Father, even to the point of death (Philippians 2:8).  Adam brought on us all sin, rebellion, and death.  Christ provides for us the opportunity to overcome sin and rebellion, while obtaining abudent life now and eternal life tomorrow (John 10:10, 3:16).  So Dr Murray… you see rebellion did not begin back in the days of early settlers fighting for independence, freedom and civil rights,  it has been around since the days your and my father listened to the voice of the serpent instead of the voice of God.  On the court outbursts are nothing more than a cry from the heart shouting to anyone who will listen the effects of the fall on us all.  Rebellion is possible for the non-Christian as well as the Christian.  We believers just have the power to overcome that rebellious nature by the blood of Christ and the power of the Spirit (I John 4:4).  To act out on the tennis court is well, natural.  To serve and love God unfortunately is not.  It took Christ’s death to bring us back to God, and no matter what you read in a self help coping book, death is not natural.  Death is a result of sin, and was not present prior to it.  So if you are currently in rebellion from God whether as a believer or non-believer, turn to Him confess your rebellion and walk away from your sin.  It is the only way to true peace and satisfaction this side of eternity.  Telling officials where you plan to stick that tennis ball and childish outbursts on the court are wrong, but life long rebellion and denial of Christ as the only way to God is ultimate and final.  Serena I believe will bounce back.  No one bounces back form hell.  May we all stop rebelling while there is still time.

I Corinthians 15:21-23       

21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

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Roger Federer loves him some Roger Federer.  I like Roger Federer.  He is my favorite player in the game today.  He carries himself with great class, and some sense of humility.  He is without question the greatest player who has ever played tennis up to this point.  But as great as he is  in my mind and minds of the rest of the known world, he is even greater and more liked in his own mind.  Now days in interviews, prior to warm ups, and trophy presentations Mr. Federer bears the emblem marking his allegiance and identity…   

  

This guy is obviously the greatest at what he does.  He is a handsome man, who seems to be gracious, humble, respectful of all his opponents, and from all accounts well liked.  Roger has a lot going for him, perhaps too much.  The RF symbol pictured above can be found on his hats, pre match attire (i.e. Jacket), shoes, match gear (polo), and even his hotel pillow cases.  In the event that he ever forgot who he was, Roger would not have to look far to remember.  He has built for himself a great earthly empire around his tennis game and his name.  Which is precisely the reason I have great concern for Roger, it’s his name that he bears so prominently wherever he goes as he advances his own personal kingdom.  Often , the greatest obstacle that comes with being a son of Adam is not that we hate Christ (though deep down we do).  Many if not most non-Christians believe Jesus was a great man, a wise teacher, a good role model.  The greatest obstacle for you and me and Roger Federer is ourselves.  We by virtue of having Adam’s blood running through our veins, love ourselves more than anything or anyone else, especially Christ (John 1:1-14).  If left to our own we would all follow the path of Adam and Eve in the garden.  None of us would choose God, and none of us do choose him, as we follow our father (Adam) in the path of sin and rebellion against God (Romans 3:23).  We don’t learn from our Christian parents how to love ourselves more, but God and others.  We come into the world only concerned about one thing, ME.  This is why the gospel according to Christ is presented as death and re-birth (John 3:3, Romans 6:3-4).  This is a violent process of our sin nature and natural man being killed, and we being re-born as new creatures  in the person of Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 5:17).  But death is never natural.  Our own physical death is not natural in the original created, pre-fall existence.  Death, both pyhsically and spiritually came as a result of sin and rebellion.  God’s Genesis one creation was good according to His own Word, and sin and death were not present.  So, too our own spiritual death is now not natural.  Because of the fall, we by nature do not desire to please God (Romans 7:5, 7:18).  Our hearts desire is only for ourselves, our personal gain, well being, preservation, and fame.  I am thankful in many regards I have not had the obstacles to overcome that Federer has… fame, fortune (His New York US Open hotel room runs him 3,075 a night.  Multiply that by 2 weeks and you get $43,050.  That is more more than I make in a year), and success.  Indeed, it would be extremely difficult for me or anyone else to explain to Roger Federer that he needs Christ. Why?  He would very likely reply.  Would you or I be able to show him (through the Spirit working in us) that he has all things and yet nothing, because he (likely, understand I don’t know his heart) has not eternal life (Matthew 16:26).  If Roger Federer ever comes to Christ (which I have have no indication he has) it will be because the Spirit of God speaking through His Word and overcoming Roger and Adam within.  The world and all it’s pleasures a great obstacle to the gospel, but ultimately the greatest obstacle in coming to Christ for you and me and Roger is ourselves.              

      Matthew 16:26   26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

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