28 July 2013

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 separated from the hug, Mayweather caught Ortiz with a left hook. Stunned by the punch, and still not raising his hands to defend himself, Mayweather hit Ortiz with a flush right to the face. Ortiz dropped straight onto the canvas.  By all accounts Mayweather sucker punched Ortiz.

After the match Mayweather said "In the ring, you have to protect yourself at all times.  After it happened, we touched gloves and we were back to fighting and then I threw the left hook and right hand after the break. You just gotta protect yourself at all times."

Sucker punch – a cheap shot, an unexpected blow, something that really sucks.

Have you ever been sucker punched? Have you ever sucker punched someone? I have been on both ends. Sucker Punches are not cool. We are never ready for them. They knock the wind out of you. There you are on the ground, sucking wind, and the other guy is either pummeling you or running away as fast as he can.

Have you ever felt like you've been sucker punched by God? Not one of those love taps or holy nudges. I’m talking about feeling like you ran into a 1990's Mike Tyson fist. I remember when it happened to me recently…

I was asked to do pulpit supply for a church in southeast Oklahoma.  There I was studying in my office and I was reading through one of my favorite passages, Jonah.  I've read and re-read those four chapters on many occasions. I started reading chapter one; everything was fine until I hit verse 12:

“I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

That verse hit me like a sucker punch.

For years I’ve blamed all of the bad stuff that is going on in the world on the media.  It’s their fault for always showing all of the bad news and rarely sharing any good stories.  All of the violence, alternative lifestyles, and the lack of a moral compass that plagues our society is the fault of Hollywood for what they show on the silver screen.

For years I have been led to believe that those things have been causing the slow and steady demise of Christianity in America.  But not once did I look in the mirror and admit “this storm is my fault.”

Whether we want to admit it or not, we are living in a post Christian era in America.  Like Jonah I’m surveying the storm and can see it’s my fault.

As a follower of Christ, have I truly been living like “a worshiper of the living God” or does my life resemble the way the world looks? Am I living for Christ in such a way that non-believers around me look and say, “I don’t know what is different in his life but I want it.” Or, would they rather keep what they have because what they see in my life is no different than what they are doing?

Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

When you learn a truth, you cannot unlearn it and this sucker punch cranks it up to a whole new level.

I still get out of breath sometimes when I think back to that moment.

My question to you is, when has God sucker punched YOU? When is the last time – His Word – His Holiness – has left you gasping for air?

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