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Things I Wish I’d Known in High School

1.    I wish I had known that my high school years did not define me for life My teen years were a mixed bag of memorable highs and incredible lows. Now I realize that I am grateful for what I once considered some of the worst moments of my life. In many of those spiritual valleys you could not have begun to convince me that God was molding me or that those experiences could ever be of value. I have developed a heart of compassion for those who are wounded. Why? God gave me the privilege of being wounded early in my life. That sounds crazy as I read back over that last sentence. But I can now see that my struggles as an overweight, geeky and often outcast adolescent molded my heart to empathize with those who are hurt and ostracized by their peers. Had I been the coolest guy or the best athlete I most likely would not have developed a
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Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven…Eventually

Country music just seems to be a gold mine for topics to muse about. A catchy song called Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven  caught my ear. Kenny Chesney sings that everybody wants to go to heaven but they are just not interested in going any time soon. I am aware that Chesney is not a theologian so I am not throwing him under his tour bus but there is some shaky theology in this song. For example, these lyrics reflect the beliefs of many people and churches in this nation. It used to be mine. Preacher told me last Sunday mornin` Son, you better start livin` right You need to quit the women and whiskey And carrying on all night My issues might not have been whiskey and carrying on all night but I had plenty of my own. And that was my church upbringing. Preachers telling me I had to do better, shape up, quit sinning and live right.
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The Cost of Freedom

With the political rancor in our culture I fear we are losing some of the foundational things that used to unite all Americans. Memorial Day was special growing up and not because of cookouts and the end of school. My generation had fathers who served in World War II and Korea. We were told about the sacrifices made on foreign soil. We believed that freedom was worth whatever cost needed to be paid. We knew someone who had lost a husband, brother, or friend in combat. A song from Five for Fighting  called “Freedom Never Cries” is timely for this holiday. Writer/singer John Ondrasik writes personal and powerful songs that resonate with me. “Freedom Never Cries” is a song about how we take freedom for granted. Ondrasik talked about the song in an interview posted at liveDaily. “It was definitely a statement song that has a point of view. I think it kind of speaks to the fact that, I know at least for
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Only Here for a Little While

Regular readers of the Monday musings know that I love the power of musical lyrics to inspire thought and meditation. I was driving home from Newton, Texas after attending a beautiful memorial service for legendary high school coach W.T. Johnston. I thought about the amazing impact Coach Johnston had in only 54 years on this planet. A song popped up on satellite radio from the Righteous Brothers. If you believe in forever, Then life is just a one-night stand. I do believe in forever and those two lyrical lines reminded me that whether you only have the 54 years that W.T. Johnston got or you are given 100 years this existence is still just an eternal blink of the eye. Clearly your significance is not how long but how well you live your life. Not long after that I was cycling through the stations and a song called “We’re Only Here for a Little While” pops up. I kid you
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W.T. Johnston: A Life Well Lived

Over my forty-year sports broadcasting career I have met a lot of coaches. Some are famous. Some are infamous. Rarely does an interaction with a coach impact my life in a truly significant way. That happened to me when I became friends with a Newton, Texas high school football coach named W.T. Johnston. One of my assignments in 2017 was directing a number of Texas high school championship games for Fox Sports. Our preparation included a conference call with each coach. Most of the time the coaches simply tell us about their season and their players. W.T. Johnston did that in December of 2017. When a question was asked about his health challenges I was captivated by his story. Johnston had been diagnosed with sarcoidosis in 1998. That was the lung disease that ultimate took the lives of Hall of Fame football player Reggie White and comedian Bernie Mac. Johnston eventually needed a double lung transplant and at first it
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Life’s Tapestry

Years ago in a college dorm room far, far away I would drift off to sleep listening to Carole King’s Tapestry in spectacular portable cassette quality. Tapestry was the title cut of an album that Rolling Stone placed in their Top 50 all-time album list. Tapestry talks about how seemingly unrelated threads can be woven into something beautiful and even royal. I suspect that my life experience makes this a much more meaningful song than it was when we played it in a now demolished dorm room. My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue An everlasting vision of the ever changing view A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold So many threads of life that seem completely unrelated have come together to weave the tapestry of my life. My life tapestry sometimes feels tattered and ugly and ill-fitting. But as a follower of Jesus I
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A Timely Lesson from Ephesus

A favorite song from MercyMe cycled up at a good time. The lyrics from the song Greater perfectly describe my need to trust who God says I am. Bring your doubts And bring your fears Bring your hurt And bring your tears There’ll be no condemnation here You are holy, righteous and redeemed. That is the truth I have to remind myself just about every day. There is no condemnation in Christ. Yet I too often default to shame and self-effort. I have to daily remember that the grace of God is already mine. I need to remind myself everyday that I am redeemed. Paul spent a little over two years teaching and discipling the new believers in Ephesus. Just a few short years after he left Paul received reports that those new hearts had reverted to old habits. Things were a bit of a mess and the word came back that the old behaviors of rage, immorality, lying, stealing and
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