What Really Matters to Me?

I have been doing this church thing for a lot of years. I have sung hundreds of songs over the four decades or so that I have been a follower of Jesus. Some lyrics moved me to deep worship of God. Some times I really meant what I was singing. Other times I was singing through the motions while thinking about when the kick off was going to happen. One song has always made me uncomfortable. The song was put to music by the legendary George Beverly Shea in 1932. The words were a poem written by Mrs.Rhea Miller in 1922. I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I’d rather be His than have riches untold; I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands, I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand. Can I really say that I would rather have Jesus than silver or gold? Maybe my retirement fund will make that decision for me. Do I mean
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Curing Performance Addiction

Hearing a Beatles song today reminded me of a lesson I learned as a kid. “You Never Give Me Your Money” finishes with an English children’s rhyme. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, All good children go to heaven. I learned in a legalistic church that my eternal destiny was determined to a large extent by my performance. I had to be good. I had to do my part. The performance message was reinforced all around me in church and in life.. If you eat your vegetables you can have dessert. If you are good you get toys at Christmas. If you get all A’s you will get a monetary reward. If you behave your parents will be proud of you. So I learned to perform to get rewards and affirmation. Performance addiction is easy in legalism because you always have someone willing (and extremely happy) to challenge how well you are doing and where you can improve. So
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Should the Gospel Have a Warning Label?

On a recent flight I received the perfunctory peanut pack and noticed this odd warning. Packed in a facility that handles peanuts. Disclaimer: I am totally sensitive and supportive of warnings for those with peanut allergies. But it seemed a bit odd to have to disclaim that the place where peanuts are packaged handles peanuts. I remembered seeing this warning on a brass fishing lure with a three-pronged hook on the end: “Harmful if swallowed”. I am sure many large mouth bass would agree. There is another warning that we might consider posting for those who choose to follow Jesus. Caution – “In this world you will have trouble”.  (Read the small print in Mark and John, this truth IS in the brochure) Perhaps the most insidious tactic of the Enemy is to suggest that troubles demonstrate that God is not there or that He has abandoned us. I think one of the most dangerous ideas that Christians communicate is that
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Redeemed, How I Seem to Forget It!

A song by Big Daddy Weave cycled up on the playlist recently. Maybe you are better at this following Jesus thing than I am but I tend to be forgetful and slow to learn. A song called “Redeemed” summed up my struggle and encouraged me to know (again) that I am not alone in this battle. Seems like all I can see was the struggle Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past Bound up in shackles of all my failures Wondering how long is this gonna last Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “Son stop fighting a fight that’s already been won” That is the truth I have to remind myself just about every day. The fight has already been won. Yet I too often live as if my self-effort is required to make up for past struggles and efforts. That I need to earn the grace that is already mine. I need to remind myself
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The Secret to Life?

As I contemplate a major milestone birthday an appropriate song cycled up from Kenny Chesney. In the lyrics an interviewer asks a one hundred old man his secret to life. His response? Don’t blink! The lyrics describe how quickly this earthly journey goes by. Just like that you’re six years old and you take a nap and you Wake up and you’re twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife Don’t blink. He goes on to describe how quickly the years fly by. It seems like yesterday I was playing sandlot baseball. Moments ago I was in high school being Attention Deficit before ADD was cool. Wasn’t it yesterday I met the stunning Joni Banks. Couldn’t have been that long ago that I donned the hideous baby blue tux to wed my beloved. How did those adorable little boys get that old? Don’t blink. I have had, if I may borrow the franchise of Frank Capra, a wonderful life.
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Peter betrayal

What was Peter Experiencing the Day before Easter?

There is much written about Good Friday. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross is incomprehensible to my puny human intellect. There is much written about Easter Sunday. Christians around the world rejoice and proclaim that “He is risen!”. But there is not nearly as much written about one of the saddest and most confusing days in history. The Saturday between the Friday horror of Jesus on the Cross and the Sunday mystery of the resurrection. Some churches do observe Holy Saturday but it was never a tradition in my faith upbringing. I have been thinking about what that day must have been like for those who dropped everything to follow Jesus. How crushing those events had to be. I imagine the fear they felt that they would also be killed. And for what? On Saturday they feared they had given their careers and their very souls for a false hope. I think in particular of Peter. I identify
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Opening Day is Magic

This week marks my thirty-sixth Opening Day as a television director for Texas Rangers broadcasts. Someone asked me at church if I ever get tired of Opening Day. The answer is a resounding no! When I do it will be time to move to a rocking chair at the old director’s home. I feel like I am just behind Lou Gehrig as the “luckiest man on the face of the earth” to have been able to do this year after year. In my mind there is no more special day in sports than Opening Day in baseball. It is an annual rite of Spring to post this article on the magic of Opening Day. The smell of freshly cut emerald green grass delights the senses. The base lines painstakingly and perfectly defined by a grounds crew that is committed to perfection on this day. Red, white, and blue bunting give the ball park a festive World Series look. The players
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