Archive for October, 2009

Timeout Taylor…

Timeouts in sports can be strategically effective when called at the proper moment.  Take football for example, if a coach see’s something he does not like prior to play…he can call timeout in attempt to make a proper adjustment before the next play is run.  Similarly, in sports such as basketball and volleyball a coach may use a timeout when the other team goes on a big run in an attempt to stop their momentum.  Just a few weeks ago God called a timeout on me.  I believe he was desiring to make some changes and stop some momentum.  As most of you who read this blog know, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome over two years ago a short time after completing my 4th marathon.  Today, by the grace and goodness of God I would say I am 95-97% recovered.  In the past year, and especially theses most recent months I have been able to do things that were not possible just over a year ago.  I am playing competitive league tennis here in Atlanta twice per week, and hitting two to three other times per week.  I am currently playing the best tennis of my life.  I am also lifting weights regularly (2-3 times per week) and am now back to where I was prior to getting sick in regards to the amount of weight I am able to lift.  This is all great news, and all thanks be to God for this report.  However, God reminded me of something the other day.  I was really beginning to feel good about myself, getting stronger in the weight-room, playing good tennis, and then God impressed it upon me.  It was a gentle reminder he spoke to my inner being about self reliance and where I place my trust.  I have maintained that one of the reasons I believe I got sick in the first place was for God to bring about in me a greater sence of dependence in him.  I also believe I had made running a small idol in my life, and all idols whether great or small are sin.  God was like…”Do you forget that easily?  Was that difficulty I brought you through so long ago?”  God called me out, or rather a timeout.  He had to stop the momentum of my self reliance and refocus the game plan back on himself.  he didn’t like the play I was running, because I was checking out of his plays to run my own at the line of scrimmage (to use a QB football analogy).  I had to confess my sin to God and repent of my idolatry and self reliance.  I had to confess to him that I was finding too much worth and placing too much value in my new found strength and success.  I am in the process of repenting/overcoming this sin.  Please pray for me in regards to this, as  need Christ, and I greatly desire your prayers.  God’s desire for all his children is they would become like his son in every facet of their being, and He  has a way of causing this to happen and getting our attention.  God called a timeout on me, pray that I would listen to His wisdom and run the play he has called for me.


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If I had been alive during the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s I would have fought, marched, and pleaded with law markers to afford equal rights to all peoples regardless of skin color.  I would even more fervently prayed to the God of Jesus Christ to work and advocate on the behalf of discriminated African-Americans.  I don’t have those same feelings or prayers for the gay rights movement, and here is why.  The Bible is not against race.  After all God created all peoples who inhabit all nations.  The bible is however explicitly against homosexuality even and especially if the President of the United States is not.  Obama speaking last night at a Human Rights campaign dinner said he would work to unsure that gay and lesbian couples were held in the same regard as straight couples (if that is even proper to say considering you never ask anyone what type of wedding they are going to this weekend, and the fact that God himself only recognizes the union between the bride and bridegroom) in regards to legal marriage.  And then he said this… “It’s not for me to tell you to be patient,” Obama said, “anymore than it was for others to counsel patience to African Americans petitioning for equal rights a half century ago.”  So how are these two very different movements alike aside from the fact that discrimination is involved?  Can sexual preference be equated with skin color?  Yes, I know what gay right’s activists will say…”we were born this way”.  To which I would say yes, precisely, you were born a sinner like the rest of us, and instead of embracing and reveling in your sin, you should confess and repent of it before a righteous and Holy God who opposes it.  I too have many sin problems, homosexuality is just not one of them, but I am not  in any way encouraged or permitted by scripture to continue in that sin (Romans 6:1-14).  Our “Christian” professing president  apparently does not read the same Bible as I.  One in which being a Jew or Gentile no longer matters because of Christ (Romans 1:16, Galatians 3:27-29), but being gay does because it is not the way God created and established male and female relationships(Romans 1:18-32).  If you are reading this and you are gay please understand this, I do not oppose or dislike you in any way.  On the contrary, I have great love for you in Christ.  So much so that I desire the Truth of His Word, His Love and His Person to be shared with you and all other peoples.  I am simply against sin, all sin, and homosexuality as defined by scripture is sin.  Our President may not be Christian or man enough to say, but the Truth of God’s word must be heard.  Please I beg of you do not look to a man for your validation, but rather look unto Christ and love in which you can be freed from the power and bondage of sin including homosexuality.  Rights based on sexual preference and rights based on the color of skin are not equitable when it comes to civil rights issues.  I don’t care how many Nobel Peace Prize’s are president wins for making promises it will never be equitable.  Instead trust in the promise of Christ and his Word that any man or woman irregardless of sexual preference or identification can be born again and have new life in God (John 3, II Corinthians 5:17) because of Christ and His death on the cross.  We live in a world fallen, entrenched in the power of sin and the evil.  Pray for all those who live under such bondage and oppression that the light of Christ would shine through and illuminate their dark and rebellious hearts (all of which we at one time had).  And long for the day when Christ returns and there is no more racism, no more homosexuality and no more sin.  The gospel is the answer to all our worldly problems and the only way to peace, not just worldly, but cosmicly where the greatest award is not for thinking and talking about peace, but ruling with peace over the cosmos (II Timothy 2:12).

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Last night it finally happened…Perry Rose bled.  The incident occured at our neighbor’s house prior to dinner.  P. Rose was “scooting” around the living room as Dax my giant wiener dog was chasing Sugar my neighbor’s dog.  As they chased each other around the coach Perry Rose fell victim to a hit and run.  She scooted directly into the path of an on-coming train also know as Dax.  She went rolling as I leapt to my feet out of the chair from just across the room she began her frantic cry.  The cry where she has trouble catching her breath between cries.  I quickly rescued her from just of the rails of the train track.  I held her close to me as I tried to console my baby girl, then it happened…My neighbor said “she is bleeding”.  I looked down to see blood covering her shirt and blood coming out of her mouth.  The situation went from concern to serious in a hurry.  I immediately began to inspect the inside of her mouth to see if she had bitten through her lip or tongue.  She has a mouth full of teeth for a 14 month old, so that was a real concern.  I was relieved to find no evidence of either nor did I see any visible cuts on her lip or tongue.  I calmed her and proceeded to go next door to our house to clean her up, change her shirt, and put her bloody shirt in some cold water (momma said today I saved the shirt, so good).  She was completely fine within minutes and ready to play again.  Still, the sight of her blood stuck with me.  I know it is the first of many accidents involving blood, but this was the first and one I will always remember.  It also caused me to think about Christ and his blood shed for the remission of sin.  I wondered how his father must have felt to watch his only son bleed.  Perry Rose only had a busted lip, Christ was executed Roman style on a cross.  It also brough to my attention that when blood is involved the situation always becomes more serious.  It caused me to question whether Christ’s blood was at that moment affecting me as deeply and profoundly as it should.  I pondered in view of Christ’s blood shed for me why I don’t take sin more seriously.  I mean if Christ does not shed his blood and die on the cross, then you and are still in our sin and rebellion.  His blood changed everything, it brought salvation to sinners and caused him to die on our behalf.  I pray real change would occur in you and me in our view of God, sin, and ourselves.  Perry Rose’s first shed blood will engrained in my mind forever.  Pray that Christ’s blood shed would be even more deeply engrained in my mind and heart each day.  Let us never forget sin is serious, in case we forget just remember the blood.

Hebrews 9:22b “and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

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I will begin by stating that Biblically I find nothing that is against drinking alcohol in moderation.  Only drunkenness is condemned by scripture (Ephesians 5:18, as well as may other text).  So if having a beer or glass of wine with dinner (which according to many MD’s a glass of red wine at dinner is good for the heart) why not drink alcohol?  Do I enjoy the taste of a cold beer?  Yes, I do like the way beer tastes.  I have not had a beer in almost five years since my honeymoon with my wife where I might have had two beers the entire week.  The primary reason I don’t drink alcohol is you.  You being whoever reads this blog, calls me friend, see’s me at Tech on a daily basis, fellow church members, and anyone else I might hope to influence for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Just by my having one beer at a restaurant in Atlanta I could do great damage to one’s faith.  Paul addresses a similar but different situation in his first letter to the Corinthian Church.  The issue he is attempting to settle here is between two groups, the weak and the strong.  Both groups are believers and believed to be worshiping together regularly.  The “weak” believe eating idol meat should never take place and be a forbidden practice by believers since the meat had been previously offered to idols prior to being sold in the market place.  The “strong” who are more mature believers have a proper understanding of food and eating.  They know that even though the food was offered to idols, idols are not real.  Demonic forces behind the idols are real, but the idol figure itself possess no quality of being or power over anything.  Only the demonic forces behind the idols have power and are at work against mankind.  The idol is still considered clean in God’s eyes, because he has deemed all foods clean and beneficial to eat (Mark 7:18-19 Acts 1-23).  The “weak” who were not apparently as mature in the faith as the “strong” still believe that eating meat offered to idols would defile the believer’s body (give some credit to them here for wanting to take the absolute best care of their own temple where the Holy Spirit takes up residence).  So how does Paul address the situation.  Does he tell the “weak” to grow up and get with the new covenant of Jesus?  Does he tell the “strong” they are absolutely right and should fell great about their greater spiritual maturity?  No, he says the perfect thing right on time  I Corinthians 10:19-33…  

19What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?  20No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. 21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we? 23All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 24Let no one )seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. 25Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; 26FOR THE EARTH IS THE LORD’S, AND ALL IT CONTAINS. 27If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go,eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake. 28But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; 29I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? 30If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks? 31Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; 33just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, 

I like Paul, do not wish to be a stumbling block to anyone else who may not understand fully what the Bible says regarding alcohol and consumption by the believer.  Paul’s issue was idol meet mine is alcohol.  Working on a college campus with college students I get asked this question often.  And this is the primary reason I don’t drink, so others might not lose faith, stumble themselves, and in any way see Christ as less beautiful, less satisfying, and less Savior and Lord because of me.  The second reason I don’t drink alcohol is for others, but also for me.  I have concern that if I did begin to consume even an occasional beer or glass of wine I would come to enjoy the drink more than I should.  now by this I mean I fear that I can not trust myself enough to just have one beer.  Being that I enjoy the taste of beer and considering the fact that during my high school days I became drunk with drink on many occasions, I fear it would be easy for me to quickly get into a deep trap of sin and rebellion against God.  I don’t trust myself enough with alcohol as a daily or weekly part of my life.  Maybe this is me being “weak” in this instances.  But I must know my sin weaknesses and safeguard myself against them through the person of Christ.  Besides I have never heard anyone tell a guy(Christian) with a beer in his hand, “hey bro God is truly the all satisfying savior of my soul and I realized it while you  were drinking a beer.  No one is gonna come to Christ because you drank a beer.  People come to Christ because the message of himself is shared and the Holy Spirit moves in that particular person’s  heart (Romans 10:14-17).  So in short I don’t drink alcohol because I don’t believe it will ultimately do others or myself any good for the name of Jesus Christ.

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So tonight I am Firehouse Subs for dinner enjoying my usual hook and ladder sandwich when something strange happened.  Two girls came walking in with the intent of eating, both left without placing their order.  Here is what happened…As the two young ladies (likely mid to late 20’s) came in, the man making the sandwiches commented to one of the girls ” I cant let you come in here wearing that shirt”.  This particular young lady was wearing a Florida Gators shirt.  Without so much as demanding an explanation or sharing in a laugh the other girl (not the one wearing the Florida Gators shirt) said “fine lets get out of here”, and the two girls walked out just as quickly as they cam in.  Everyone in the place just went dead silent and started looking at one another in disbelief.  It was a “what just happened moment”?  The awkward meter went through the roof as the man behind the counter stood there with a look of bewilderment on his face.  It was a classic case of taking something more literal than it was meant.  It was also a case of some serious bad attitude.  In the Bible I accept certain things literally, such as…Adam and Eve were deceived by an actual serpent, Jonah was actually in the belly of a whale, and Jesus was physically raised from the dead.  At other times however the Bible is not meant to be taken literally.  Jesus says in Matthew 5:29-30 speaking on lust and adultery in the heart,  29If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.  So if we take this passage literally if we sin in our hearts by means of lusting after another person we should gouge out our right eye.  And if our right hand cause us to sin we should cut it off.  Well I don’t know about your church but no one in my church has cut off their hand because of sin and no one I know has gouged their eye out over their lust (except maybe that one guy…but he just thinks he’s a pirate).  That is beacuse Jesus is using exaggeration here to make a point.  The point he is making is this is a heart issue that manifests itself through the members of our body.  The bible is full of all different types of literature and language use in order to communicate God’s Truth to us.  That includes (but is not limited to), metaphor, hyperbole, poetry, prose, song, exaggeration, narrative, and wisdom.  Understanding what type of writing style the author is using is critical to rightly understanding the authors intended meaning.  Many people (including Christians) who read the Bible don’t do enough background work and spend enough time in study in order to learn the essential things in rightly interpreting a passage such as context, background, and literature type.  Those that do this are very similar to the girl I saw in firehouse today, they simply interpret without considering all the factors involved (uh like humor).  So learn from firehouse girl and don’t assume too quickly, otherwise you may wish you had that eye back.

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