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Sucker Punch

The Victor Ortiz vs. Floyd Mayweather fight was billed as ‘Star Power.’ This was the championship fight for Ortiz's WBC Welterweight title. The bout was held on September 17, 2011 and, from round one, Mayweather used his speed, skills and accurate right hand to tag Ortiz repeatedly. Mayweather seemed in control through the first three rounds, but in the fourth round, Ortiz found some success, landing a few shots and stinging Mayweather before bulling him into the corner.

Then Ortiz rammed Mayweather in the face with a seemingly intentional headbutt, busting open a cut on the inside and outside of Mayweather's mouth. Referee Joe Cortez immediately called timeout and docked Ortiz a point for the foul. Ortiz – seemingly acknowledging his wrongdoing – hugged and even kissed Mayweather in the corner. Cortez motioned the fighters back together to resume the fight. The fighters touched gloves and Mayweather seemed to half-heartedly return another hug from Ortiz. As the fighters separ…

Faith Like That

You will find an inspiring passage in Hebrews 11 that lists a number of individuals we are encouraged to follow. These people are known as our ‘Great Cloud of Witnesses.’ Through observing their example, we are to run our own life’s race worthy of their sacrifices.

Rahab is mentioned as being justified before God by her faith.

Matthew went so far as to honor her, a prostitute in Christ’s lineage.

So, what did Rahab have that was worth emulating? Why was a heathen harlot, who had most definitely done unspeakable acts against God, be honored as part of the ‘cloud of witnesses’ who ran the race ahead of us?

Faith…

Scripture says it. She had faith.

What did her faith look like?

Rahab bravely housed and hid spies that were from Israel. When she went up to check on them, this is what she said:

I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up …

What Language do you Speak?

Have you ever traveled outside of the country?  What are some of the things you do before traveling?  We know we should contact our bank, credit card companies, obtain a passport, and have the post office hold our mail.  You study a map of your destination; you understand the currency and exchange rate; and probably one of the most important things you will do is locate our embassy.  But what if we can’t speak the language? Then what? Are we lost?

Brethren, how is your daily walk? How are your quiet times and devos? Remember that seven days without prayer makes one weak! For me, I’ve just been counting it all joy. I’m too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed. I hope you don’t think I’m super-spiritual or that I’ve arrived. After all, I’m not perfect, just forgiven. Some people have accused me of being so heavenly-minded that I am no earthly good, but have patience with me please—God’s not finished with me yet!

These examples are typical of a language called “Chr…

Don't Abandon the Baby

Two Things I Hate About Christians:

Street Witnessing
Common Evangelism

Before you write me off as a heretic, let me explain…

I was downtown last week at a job site inspecting some work we had done when I walked out into a group of well-meaning Christians handing out those cheesy tracts that look like money.  You've seen this track before, the one that looks like a $20 bill.

Our exchange was something like this:

Spirited guy with tract, “Here sir!”
“No thanks.”
“No, really sir; take this and read it.”
“Really sir, I’m a Christ follower" (I intentionally did not say ‘Christian’) and went on, “You can save the paper.”
“But don’t you know anyone who’s not saved?”
“Yes, but I spend time talking to them instead.”
And I walked away, a little frustrated.

During a business lunch, a prospective client went into a dissertation against “emergent” theology and warned me about heresy and the need for sound doctrine.

I don’t know why, but the guy just kept talking. He’d ask questions and h…

Click

Michael wakes up in the hospital with his adult children, Ben and Samantha, looking down at him. He suffered a heart attack the day before and had since been unconscious.  Once his son and daughter are satisfied their dad’s condition has stabilized, they decide to leave- heading back to their lives across the country.

Michael, not wanting them to leave, fearing he would never see them again, unplugs himself from the lifesaving machines that are keeping him alive and heads out of the hospital. While trying to catch up to them, the angel of death, Morty, follows Michael outside, telling Micheal over and over again, “It doesn't have to end this way…there can be different results.”

Morty tries to convince Michael, unsuccessfully, to go back inside. Michael makes it outside, catches up to his children, and then dies. Morty reaches out his hand to help him up from the ground saying, “It’s time to go.”

If you don’t recognize the scenario, it is the 90’s movie “Click.”  I watched the mov…

Bon Voyage!

If you thought something was wrong with your email because you didn’t receive this particular devotional for the last two weeks, and you have even checked my blog to see if you were somehow inadvertently removed from the mailing list, I’ve been on vacation. No, seriously I took some time off.  If you know me, just hearing I actually took time off surprises you more than the weekly devotional not being in your inbox.

I went on a cruise for 5 days. This was my second cruise. After my experience with the first, I said I would never go again.  But enough time passed for me to forget about some of the details of my first experience, and I booked a second cruise. This time, the cruise would not be just for me and my wife, but for the whole family.  If you are asking yourself why I went on a second cruise after having a bad experience, I can’t explain it. If time really didn’t heal pain and hurt, your wife would never have sex with you again after giving birth to your first child.

Now that …

Breaking Bread

I read a story that took place in 2001.  It was about a house located in Chicago.  The home was in disrepair; there were weeds everywhere.  It had obviously been abandoned.  The residence found its way onto the auction block due to back taxes.  The house was purchased, and, as the new owner sent a crew to clean it up, they discovered something horrific.  Inside the run-down home was a man who had been sitting in his reading chair, apparently dead of natural causes.  Crumpled next to him was a newspaper imprinted with the year 1997.  The man had been dead a long time, four years.  Nobody noticed; not a neighbor or relative, or even a friend.  How could no one have noticed?

A Pharisee asked Jesus what was the most important commandment of all.  For Pharisees, there were 1,613 commands.  Jesus narrowed down the 1,613 to an absolute focus, and replied:

“The most important is this, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the f…

Go Fish

The game warden had a neighbor, who was on vacation and his neighbor went fishing every day.  The warden watched as each day passed and the neighbor came home always having his limit of fish and “then some.” After several days the warden asked how he was catching so many fish each day? His neighbor said “come with me tomorrow and I’ll show you.

The next day was calm and the lake was isolated enough that they were the only fishermen there. The warden baited his hook, threw it into the water and watched the bobber bob on the waves. Suddenly there was an explosion just a couple feet off the portside of the boat. In a few moments fish were floating to the surface and his neighbor was frantically scooping them in with a net.

He was about to ask his neighbor what happened, when he saw him light a piece of dynamite and throw it into the water… followed by another explosion.

“What do you think you’re doing?” the warden shouted.

“Fishing” the guy replied.

“But you can’t do that… that’s illeg…

No Christians Allowed

In the 1950’s, the term Christian was viewed in a positive way.  Today, people’s thoughts on Christianity vary more widely between positive to very negative.  Some just say they’re “neutral.”  Rewind the clock a couple of thousand years, and you are going to find that the very first time the phrase Christian was used, it was used in a negative sense.

The term Christian was used initially during the First Century in Antioch by pagans, who were making fun of those who were Christ followers.  They coined the term Christianos, which means Christ ones, little Christs, or mini-me.

It is easy for the world to view today’s Christians as that group of folks who seem to be against everything. If I were asked, “What are Christians most against?” I would probably answer, “Other Christians.”

What group fights more among themselves than those who are Christians?  Jesus never invited anybody to be a “Christian” -I believe- because of what the term has come to mean today.  This is why some days I f…

Don't Kill Time

Our culture doesn’t really place much of a priority on ‘honor.’

In Japan, when people meet for the first time, it is honoring to bow slightly -not a big deep bow-  but a bow to put yourself just below the other person to show honor. It is also honoring to always bring a gift when visiting another’s home. It doesn't have to be something expensive; it can be something very simple. When the gift is given, the giver always presents it with two hands and the receiver accepts it with two hands as a gesture of honor to one other.  (If only wide receivers could remember this concept with a football, but I digress…)

Imagine a visitor from another country coming here and wondering, “How do I show honor in the United States?"

There’s not much to tell because the general consensus broadcasts that it doesn't really matter.

We have become a people without honor.

In Mark 6 Jesus was returning back to His hometown; not His birthplace, but the place where He grew up. A year prior to this…

Entitlement's Nemesis... Gratitude

There was a consultant who was working with a group of college graduates. He said to the group, “There is one word used to describe the generation currently emerging into the workforce, and that word begins with an "E."

“Do any of you know what this one word is?"

The graduates offered answers.
“Exceptional!”
“Energetic!”
“Excellent!”

They chimed in with other words that described their positive attributes, all beginning with the letter “E.”  After some time had passed, the consultant gave in, “The number one most commonly used word to describe this generation as they move into the workforce, is ‘entitled.’"

The millennial generation is also known as the "entitled generation." Many in this age category feel like they are ‘owed’ and they deserve more.

But, before you simply agree with me and say, “yeah, those dang kids!” we must first realize we are responsible for this generation. We’ve created the monster by our actions and our attitudes.  You may be wo…

Authentic Integrity

I was at a QT convenience store this week buying some water. The cashier rang up the sale, I paid her, and she mistakenly gave me more change back than she was supposed to. I didn't realize it at the time. I went out to my truck, I looked at the money she gave back to me, and there was a lot more than she should have given me. My first thought was, "Wow! God is so cool!" But immediately I thought "No! You have got to go back and return the money!"

So, I walked back in and  said, "Ma'am, you gave me more change than I was due."

She said, "Oh my gosh! I can't believe you brought the money back! I can't believe it! Thank you so much, this means so much to me, thank you! I can't...." She went on and on and on!

I responded, "It's not that big of a deal!"

It's tragic that we live in a world that is more shocked by integrity than they are by the LACK of integrity.

What is integrity? It is when your behavior matche…

Loyalty... the Forgotten Virtue

In 1947 Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson both played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and they were great friends. Jackie Robinson was the first African American baseball player to break the race barrier. This was such a radical move for that day that some of his own teammates even turned against him. There were also many fans that responded to his presence in baseball with death threats.

Once, during a game in Cincinnati, while Jackie Robinson was playing second base, the crowd started throwing stuff, booing, and shouting horrible things. Short Stop Pee Wee Reese, a white player, took his glove, threw it down in the dirt, walked over to the Jackie, looked up at the booing crowd, and put his arm around his friend. The crowd fell completely silent.

Robinson later shared that that one simple act did more than save his career, but probably saved him in more ways than we could have imagined. Pee Wee Reese’s gesture was such a special moment in history, a statue capturing the two men commemorate…

“Goose is dead.”

Those fateful words, spoken by Commander Mike ‘Viper’ Metcalf, were a crushing blow to Lt. Pete Mitchell.  Mitchell, known by call sign “Maverick,” already knew that Goose had been killed during a cockpit ejection.  It threw the F-14 pilot’s life into a tailspin.  Although the board of inquiry clears Maverick of responsibility, he feels guilty for Goose's death, losing his own aggressiveness for flying. Maverick, whose “…ego was writing checks his body can’t cash,” refused to get back into the saddle.

The movie? Top Gun.  Soon after graduating from fighter weapons school, Maverick, along with  Iceman/Slider and wingmen Hollywood/Wolfman, were deployed back to sea aboard the USS Enterprise to deal with a crisis situation. Their orders were to defend a communication ship which had become disabled in enemy waters and to return fire if attacked by hostile Soviet assets in the area. Iceman and Hollywood were the first two US planes in the air, and they quickly encountered five Soviet M…

What's in Your Wallet?

Do you know what percentage of income the average person in Japan saves each year?  They sock away 18.2 percent of their annual income. In contrast, the average American SPENDS $1.33 for every $1.00 earned.

This boat won’t float for long.

Proverbs 6:6-8 says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!  The ant, it has no commander, no overseer, no ruler, and yet it stores provisions in summer and it gathers its food at harvest.”

The ant instinctively saves for a “rainy” day. We also should exercise the sense to save. There are three “circumstances” we are going to put into practice for saving:

1. We are going to save for emergencies.  “What emergencies?” you may ask.  Your plumbing will back up, your car will break down, or someone in your family will get sick and go to the doctor.

2. We are going to save for purchases.  You may need a new couch; you may want to go on vacation. The idea is to save up and pay cash. We’ve just had Christmas, and you may not have eve…

What did that Cost?

Where are the people that have the money?  Just looking around at ourselves and our neighbors we see people that have the home, the car, the toys, the look, and the debt, but not the money.  Many Americans today are pretenders.  We are pretending to live a lifestyle that we cannot really afford.

Proverbs 13:7 says, “One man pretends to be rich, but in truth he has nothing.” Another verse, Proverbs 12:9, “Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food.”  There are two groups of people in America; those that “have paid” and those that “have not paid…yet.”

The real differences between these two groups are the questions we ask. And, all too often, we as Americans have learned to ask the wrong questions.  What we tend to ask when buying something is, “how much money down is this going to take?”  And, “how much is it going to cost a month?”  Instead of asking “how much is the real cost?”

Another example is when someone walks into a business and a…