In the movie Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, actor Jim Caviezel plays the role of the legendary golfer Bobby Jones, who dominated the world of golf through most of the1920s. The closing scene of the film has Jones, along with his friend and golf writer O.B. Keeler, driving into an open field overlooking rolling hills and beautiful trees just outside of Augusta, Georgia. Bobby gets out of the car and stands in the knee deep grass. He looks at Keeler and says, “We’re standing on the first tee. I’m going to call it Augusta National.” Bobby Jones saw more than grass and trees and hills. He envisioned a golf course, and not just any golf course. Jones envisioned the Augusta National Golf Club becoming one of the great golf courses of the world. In 1933 his vision became a reality and to this day each year Augusta National hosts the Masters Tournament, one of the four major championships of professional golf. (more…)
Archive for August, 2013
Let’s open our Bibles to Matthew 5:13. We’re listening as our Lord Jesus issues an urgent call to on-mission living to engage our city and our world with His love. As you’re turning I just want to remind you to stop by and pick up your free copy of the book I Am a Church Member. We’re reading it together just so we can get on the same page in understanding what it means to be a member of church that takes seriously the mission Jesus has given to us to engage to live an on-mission life. Now Jesus uses two very simple, yet powerful, images to drive home this truth. Read Matthew 5:13-16. (more…)
If you’ve tried lately to talk to your friends or family about the Christian faith, you may have discovered that people have a harder time today grasping the concepts than they may have in earlier generations. Terms that once were commonly understood by most people are now like a foreign language to nonbelievers (and even to some believers) in our culture. We cannot even assume the word “Christian” means what it once meant to people. Some understand it as anyone who isn’t another religion like Muslim or Hindu. Some understand it as someone who attends church, or who believes in the teachings of the Bible. To some the name “Christian” may be synonymous with a political persuasion. Through the years something has been lost in the translation. (more…)
ILLUSTRATION – Most of us here have had some exposure to Star Trek, either the TV series or the movies. Maybe your memories go all the way back to the Starship Enterprise and the crew of Captain James T. Kirk. I have to say that those early years of Star Trek were a little hokey for me. The younger among us have seen the movies that focus on Captain Kirk when he was a younger man, and that’s OK, I guess. In my book, the greatest days for Star Trek were the days of Star Trek … The Next Generation. Captain Jean-Luc Picard is an inspiring leader. So I have to confess that just about every time I think about the title of this new sermon series I’m beginning today, I can’t help but think about the words of Captain Picard … “Engage!” (more…)
A vivid memory from my childhood comes from an experience where I learned one of my first lessons in faith. My buddies and I were playing baseball in the front yard of my house when someone hit the ball up on the roof of our garage. Because the roof was flat the ball didn’t roll back to the ground, so someone had to go up after it. Since it was my house it became my duty to go up on the roof. We had no ladder so one of my taller friends boosted me up on his shoulders and I scrambled up the nine or ten feet on to the garage roof, retrieved the ball, went back to the edge expecting to be helped down by my “friends.” There was no one in sight. They thought it would be funny to leave me on the roof with no way to get down. I began to yell for help, but to no avail. Soon my dad heard all the noise and came outside to see what was up. When he saw my predicament he chuckled, then just held up his arms and said, “Jump.” Immediately I was confronted with a dilemma. Do I trust my dad and jump into his arms, or do I stay on the roof for the rest of my life? It really was not a big decision. I obeyed … and jumped! Why? Because I had absolute confidence in my dad. I knew that he loved me and wanted to catch me when I jumped into his arms. Furthermore I knew that he was strong and that he could catch me when I jumped into his arms.
That was a traumatic experience for a little guy, and I guess that’s why I’ve never forgotten it. But it has served as a repeated reminder to me of what it means to trust and obey. (more…)
Let’s open our Bibles together to Matthew 5:10. Today I’m concluding this series of messages on the radical statements of Jesus, known as the Beatitudes. Stand and read Matthew 5:10-12. Let your eyes rest on those words “theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” That was the blessing in the first statement, and it is the blessing in the last. The Beatitudes reveal the life of people who are following Jesus into the Kingdom of God. Please be seated.
Matthew 5:10 – Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Friends, when we are really walking with Jesus, truly following Him, we will walk with Him into difficult situations where we will, at the very least, find ourselves feeling like we don’t belong, and, possibly, in situations where we will be very much in danger. But that is what the Bible promises for Christ-followers.
2 Timothy 3:12 – Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
2 Timothy 3:13 – while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
You see as the time of Jesus’ coming again draws near, the opposition to Christ and to the Gospel will grow more intense, even in places like our own nation where we now enjoy a great amount of religious freedom. The Scripture tells us that there is such a tension between the lifestyle of disciples of Jesus on one hand and the attitudes and ways of the world on the other, that friction and even conflict will happen. (more…)
It’s been years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. When our girls reached the age of four or five they started attending “big church.” Parents of preschoolers know that during those years it’s awfully hard for a child of that age to sit still in a typically grown-up atmosphere like a church worship service. Since I am a pastor and don’t usually get to sit with my family in worship services, my wife Nan had the unenviable task of orienting our girls to how they should behave in a worship service. Perhaps in another blog I’ll tell some of the struggles she had in helping our kids learn to act properly in church.
Nan and I just returned from some time away in the mountains of New Mexico, where we spend most of our vacations. Whenever possible we enjoy attending a local church in the mountain village. As a pastor I always strive to be a worshipper even when I am leading worship in our church. On a few occasions each year I get to worship without the weight of the responsibility of worship leadership on my mind. I love pastoral ministry, but I also cherish those occasional opportunities to worship from the pew rather than the platform. It gives me an opportunity to practice what I preach and teach … to be reminded of how adults should behave in church. (more…)