Tailgater or bandwagon fan?

I enjoy sports like many if not most Americans. I am a fan but also admit I am a fickle one.

Win or lose I have neither gained or lost anything. For me it’s simply entertainment. I can take it or leave it. If my team is winning I tend to follow them more, if they lose I watch them less. I am a Detroit Lions fan but become quickly disinterested every year.

I am a fickle fan. A bandwagon fan you might say and not a tailgater.

Can this be the spirit of the age in post modern Christian Americans? Can we be fickle admirers of Jesus but not truly committed disciples?

There is a huge difference between an admirer of Jesus and a disciple of Jesus willing to follow him to the end.

It’s so easy in our common circles of non conflicting views to talk about the evils happening in woke culture in our highest institutions and churches.

But will we speak into hostile circles confronting the present evil of this age? This in my view is the difference between an admirer and a disciple.

The good deeds of Jesus gained him many bandwagon admirers but it was his words that pared down this crowd to the core group of true disciples. Committed tailgaters.

There are admirers of Jesus in many American pulpits and pews but I’m afraid many are not disciples.

Jesus said to his brothers. “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.” John 7:7

As disciples we testify of evil and call people to repentance through the gospel. We are to speak against the evil in the world that much clergy practices and preaches.

Admirers walk away from this but disciples don’t regardless of the consequences. We speak the truth in love regardless of cost.

Jesus said this to his tailgaters.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:18-19

I’m not interested in bandwagon faith. I admire Jesus but he wants much more than my admiration. He calls for a committed tailgaters faith.

What about you? Are you a admirer or a disciple?

The Comforter has come

The image of a mother kneeling and lamenting at her sons coffin draped with an American flag has troubled me this week.

We know all too well the depth of sorrow the death of a child brings on a soul.

Grief grips you tightly. There were days that I thought I’d never be free from its grasp.

The mourners of those 13 kids will be comforted in the coming weeks and months. It will come in odd ways through various means.

God is the healing balm for their souls. It’s applied daily and slowly until the wounds develop a scar and the sharp pangs subside to subtle aches.

The ache and scars never leave however.

God employs his people in this therapy. I remember their faces, their prayers, their presence and comforting silence.

The Holy Spirit is our comforter. He blankets us with love, soothing the pain of the soul.

There will be comfort in the coming days for these bereaved. Compassionate empathy and comfort will be dispensed. Most likely through other gold star parents.

When comfort comes we know it is directly from God who dispenses through whatever means he chooses.

Nothing is wasted with God. Our pain is someone else’s gain. Let us use our painful past to comfort those in present distress. It’s a God thing. It’s how he comforts the afflicted.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The saplings in our lives

I called my friend Barry when I was deep in grief and unloaded all my burdens on him.

I was angry. I was angry with people and circumstances that day. I spewed all my frustrations on my friend that sunny afternoon.

After my release of emotion I apologized for my rant. He replied, “Mike, if you are in the same place a year from now I’d be worried about you.”

Many years earlier before the death of my son Barry and I had a conversation about anger while sitting on his back porch.

He pointed at the enormous white pine in the back yard and made an observation.

He said, “You see that tree? When it was a sapling you could walk up and pull it out very easily with your hands. But now it has deep roots and years of growth. It will take a lot of hard work to remove it now.”

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The New Earth

The Grand Canyon

It’s earth day. The world is busy as ever trying to extend her shelf life. Climate change is real. The scriptures affirm its reality but how it happens is much different than the scoffing world expects.

God is patiently waiting for men to turn to him. But like the flood the day of the Lord will come and ignite the heavens and earth on fire.

2 Peter 3:10 says, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”

Since we know the ending Peter reminds the believer how this truth should change us.

2 Peter 3:14 “Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.”

Peter calls to a different kind of activism than the world. To be sober minded, rooted and growing in grace.

2 Peter 3:17-18-“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

The best earth day is the New Earth Day that is to come.

Isaiah 65:17

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.

If tomorrow never comes

I am not absolutely sure, but I think the death of a child might be the deepest pain that an individual can experience in life.

I am confident however it has been my deepest hurt in life. There are things I would do differently if I had known Jake would die at 22.

Tuned into XM radio the other day Tim McGraws famous song Live like you were dying began to play.

https://youtu.be/_9TShlMkQnc

As I listened to the words again I thought about our easily forgotten destiny.

We all know that everybody has an expiration date. It’s not a thought we rest on too long. It’s uncomfortable. But if we did it just might change us for the good.

If you knew you or a loved one had a week to live what would you do? What would be on your bucket list?

Not to be too dark but we all are on a death march. We aren’t promised tomorrow and if we knew that tomorrow would never come for us what would that change today?

Two condemned criminals on crosses next to Jesus were in that very spot. Hear the words of a man who began to live like he was dying and the gracious response to him by our Lord.

[41] And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” [42] And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” [43] And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:41-43

Listen to the thief’s confessions about himself and his new faith in Jesus at deaths door. This is truly the beginning of living like he was dying and he received eternal life.

Today is the day of salvation. It’s the only day we presently have.

If we lived today, and every day, as our last day the world would be a much better place. Live like it is because it just might be. We aren’t promised tomorrow.