Thursday, July 30, 2009
Ephesians counsels theives--I'm not accusing you of stealing; stay with me for a minute--to go get a job. Their goal should be to not only meet their own and their family's needs, but to have a surplus so they can help others.
I say, "Amen!" to Paul.
I'm going to give you credit, Michael. If and when you get that chance on the gridiron I figure you will be show some generosity. Any of us who are blessed to have regular incomes ought to do so.
When you do give to someone less fortunate than yourself, make sure it looks like you are helping them, not helping yourself look better. Jesus said a good bit about that in the first part of Matthew 6. One graphic line he used is about not letting one hand know that the other hand is giving someone a gift. I think that pretty much leaves out a publicity agent. Come to think of it, we preacher-types have to be careful about that one too. We sometimes "let slip" from the pulpit news about how we helped someone.
Maybe we can work on that one together. I figure there are some other folk who struggle with that one as well.
Speaking of struggling. I'm still not sure: When the President invites me over to sit down at the picnic table with a "cold-one," I'm still struggling for the right answer. I certainly don't want to be the cause of a needless decline in his his poll numbers, or mine.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
OK, Michael, first let's talk about debt.
First you don't want to get in it, at least no more than you are, or were. I say "were," because from TV commercials that promise to eliminate credit card or IRS debt, to celebrities who claim to need $10K a week just to live in spite of the fact that they owe $10 gazillion, it seems that our culture regards it as acceptable to not pay our debts--or at least to put debt retirement way down on our list of financial responsibilities.
If you get the job you are after, #1 on your list of things to do with your salary is not:
- To be seen with two lovely ladies at a posh New York restaurant.
- To by a car that costs more than most people's house.
- A new earring.
- Don't even think about buying a dog. (Adopt, maybe)
- For more on this matter listen to Dave Ramsey.
Psalm 15 speaks about the person of integrity keeping his word even when it costs him. Proverbs says that when we are debt we are servants of the one we owe (22:7).
The honest way to get free is to pay what you owe. In this regard we need to remember that not everything that is legal is right. Here is a headline to make:
"Second-chance Quarterback Makes Paying Debts #1 Priority."
Drive a used car. Live in a modest apartment. Buy your clothes at Walmart. You have no right to live high, while you have unpaid debts.
If people figure out you are serious about this, you'll get a lot of interviews.
(If anyone else is reading Michael's mail, translate the above to your own situation. One of the tragic transitions I have observed in my lifetime is how people have gone from asking the question, "What do I owe?" to the query, "How little can I get by with paying back?)
Help me out. I need advice.
I figure it is just a matter of time. I need to know what to do when President Obama invites me to the White House for a beer. We all know that his rapport with older preachers who are of a persuasion that used to be called "Fundamentalist" (before that word got ruined by the radical fringe). So I figure any day now at a Rose Garden press conference, my name will be mentioned--"I'm having my people get in touch with him to see if we can sit down and have a beer."
Here's my problem. I don't drink beer. I know that the Bible doesn't prohibit it, but I conclude, based on Biblical principles, that not drinking is the best course of action both for me personally, and as an example to others.
So do I turn President Obama down? My wife would never forgive me. She would love a trip to the White House. She doesn't drink beer either, (If alcohol becomes an option I figure she's be a wine person.) but I figure she'd get a courtesy invitation to talk decorating with Michelle.
Or maybe I show up and just kind of move the glass around--or maybe since I make less than $100K it would be served in the can or bottle. No doubt there is an under-secretary of style who makes such decisions.
Do I have an obligation to tell the Leader of the Free World about the dangers of alcohol? Some of my preacher brethren would think I had failed if I didn't.
Or should I memorize 1 Corinthians 9 and drink away? It seems that another group of my preacher-type brethren have concluded that unless I get over my alco-phobia I will never get to talk to upwardly-mobile movers and shakers like the Obamas. (Not to mention the good-ol-boy crowd, who emblazzon their brew preference on T-shirt, truck, and Junior's diaper bag.)
I'd appreciate advice as soon as possible Officer Crowley and Professor Gates are up. Sean Hannity is angling to be on deck. I need to be ready for the nod.
Monday, July 27, 2009
I don't keep up with the scores, who's playing what position, and there are aspects of the game I don't understand. OK, guys, go ahead, make fun of me. From time to time something about the game will get my attention, though. It was a long time ago, but being a kid from the suburbs of the Windy City, I enjoyed the Bears big run--Refrigerator Perry, Walter Peyton, Jim McMahon, Mike Singletary, and of course Iron Mike Ditka became fairly familiar names to me.
I follow college football even less than NFL, but when Michael Vick played for Virginia Tech, I would watch whenever I could. I was in awe. When he went to the NFL I figured he would get clobbered, broken up, crippled, but he continued some of the same escape-artist magic. Instead of being brought down by linebackers, and defensive-linemen, he became a victim of stupidity, arrogance, immaturity and just plain old-fashioned sin.
I just heard that the NFL commissioner has cleared Vick to play.
If you happen to see Michael at 7-11 please pass this on to him.
Michael, I read shortly after your arrest that you professed to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. I sincerely hope that is true. A lot of people will tell you that your sins can't be forgiven--or at least can't be forgiven that easily. Not so. Moses, David, Mary Magdalene, the woman taken in adultery, the thief on the cross, Peter, and Paul all give testimony to the contrary. Yes God forgives those who trust Christ. (John 3:16, Romans 10:9-13, and Ephesians 2:8-10)
Know that we are not forgiven because we change. We change because we are forgiven. Michael, if you have trusted Christ you don't want to be what you once were--the you that drove your life to the tragedy it became.
I figure you struggle. I know I do. The Apostle Paul recorded his conflict in Romans 7. Know that God has given us the resources for victory. Prayer, God's word, the support of God's people. The ability to build new Godly habits to replace the old wrong ones.
There is no doubt that you have an incredible gift. At least you had one. I know you desperately hope that you still do. I don't know you, but I hope you can still elude defenders and throw and run like you did. If you are sincere in your statements that you have changed, I hope someone gives you a chance. Know that if someone gives you a chance, that it is a gift and that it is chance. Nobody owes you anything. You are trying to reenter a profession that depends on people buying tickets and tuning in. Really you need not just one person to give you a chance, but a few million. If we do, don't make us regret it.
Maybe some people who read this will chime in with some thoughts of their own, but let me share with you some thoughts, not just for you, but for all of us. You see the Bible says that not just football stars, but all of us have received a gift from God. (See James 1:17)
I, and maybe some others, will share some specifics later, but all of us need to know that if what I have is a gift from God then what I get from investing that gift, ought not to be used selfishly. 2 Corinthians 5:15.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
As I said in a previous post, our numbers have been down some this year, but we have great group of kids, and an outstanding bunch of leaders: We have several new additions to our staff.
My grandson pronounced tonight's message as awesome. I can't argue.
I heard reports of several teens who trusted the Lord this evening. There were 12-15 who responded to the invitation in some way.
Tomorrow we finish up at Jackson River Sport Complex. The band from Sunday, One Day Closer, will be back. John will be speaking again.
Thanks for praying.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Sunday we began TEENWEEK. We were supposed to have a combination of kayak/canoe-ing and outdoor activities. I can't remember ever looking a weather report where the chance of precipitation was "100%," but when I looked at the forecast on Sunday morning that was the case. For mid-day the forecasters regarded rain as a certainty.
Thanks to the good work of the folk over at Faith Baptist, we were able to move the operation inside.
Last night we had nearly 140 teens over at Jackson River Sport Complex. I'll post some photos as soon as I'm able, but for now picture this: The picnic shelter at JRSC full of kids and leaders listening to a message about Real Love--God's love.
Tonight we are at Faith Baptist for mud and water-balloon games.
Wednesday at Clifton Middle School.
Thursday at JRSC--One Day Closer will make a return appearance.
for more info. go to ahteenweek.com