Category Archives: Gospel

Faith-Sight

today 161“Faith-Sight” by Lance Brown, Sports Chaplain at Vanderbilt University

“Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see.” -Unknown

What kind of faith-sight do you have? Let me try to explain. Most of us know what kind of eyesight we have. Some of us are nearsighted, farsighted, 20/20, etc. But how far can you see with your soul? How far do you trust Christ beyond what you can physically see? This is your faith-sight. At times I’m nearsighted in my faith and yet other times I’m farsighted. It is rare that my faith is 20/20!

What about you? Do you trust the Lord beyond what you can understand and see? Do you trust Him with not only today, but also the rest of your life?

What does God’s Word say?:

We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Hebrews 11:3

These have come so that your faith– of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire– may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:7-9

Have you ever been on a ship at sea? Everywhere you look there is water. No land can be found. If you trust your eyes, it can be a pretty hopeless feeling. It requires faith in the captain to trust he knows where you are going and how to get the ship there.

There are times in my life when I feel a little overwhelmed and everywhere I look there is water and I can’t seem to find any land. It is at times like this that my faith in the Captain (Jesus) has to kick in. You can’t trust your physical sight, you must trust your faith-sight! Just a thought!

 

 

 

 

Baby Pierce

 

Today in our blog I want to share with you a post from a good friend, Baby Pierce. His Mom, Lindsay, and I are good friends and I had the privilege of being their pastor during his birth. She helped Pierce a bit with this! Read and enjoy – then pray for both heroes’.

 

Letter to a football player

If you follow college football, you probably know by now that the Universityof South Carolinasuffered a terrible tragedy yesterday. If you were watching the game, you couldn’t help but be heartbroken as we saw a talented, young football player, one of the best in the nation, Marcus Lattimore take a nasty hit to the knee. Now this injury would be tragic regardless, but the fact that Lattimore had fought his way back from a similar injury last year only to have another major setback. This wasn’t just a set back. Everyone watching knew that this could very well be a career ending injury. We watched as the crowd grew unified in their cheers. Players from both teams flooded the field – all waiting for their hero to arise. And we watched, as Marcus was carted off the field. Across team lines, folks were flooding the internet with support, their hearts broken, for a young man whose hard work and talent seemed lost in an instant.

As you know, we’re not strangers to having our dreams turned upside down in an instant. And so, today, Pierce and I set out to do our part in encouraging Marcus. It’s funny, because it’s probably the last thing I thought I’d ever do- spend time writing a fan letter to a well-known athlete. But I remembered the messages that flooded in when Pierce was so sick. I remembered how much they touched us. And the ones we received from strangers… they were oftentimes the ones that humbled us the most.

So here it is – our letter to Marcus, from one hero to another.

Dear Marcus,

You and I are very different and yet so much alike. I’m only 18 months old, but to so many, I’ve become their hero. And yesterday, you became a hero in so many hearts.

When I was born 4 months early, doctors didn’t predict I’d go far. In fact, they only gave me a 5% chance of survival. And then, when I suffered a devastating brain bleed, their predictions for me grew even dimmer. But during my 4.5 month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, one thing became obvious: I am a fighter. And another thing is obvious: you are too.

You see you are a hero, whether you ever make another football play. I’ve found that what defines a hero lies not in his ability to do something. No, a hero is instead found when his character shines greater than his inability to do something. What makes us heroes is not our abilities. What makes us heroes is our strength to rise above the circumstances handed to us, our ability to say “Jesus is enough. He is good and He will give me the strength I need to make it through this trial.

Baby Pierce

Today in our blog I want to share with you a post from a good friend, Baby Pierce. His Mom, Lindsay, and I are good friends and I had the privilege of being their pastor during his birth. She helped Pierce a bit with this! Read and enjoy – then pray for both heroes’.

 
Letter to a football player

If you follow college football, you probably know by now that the Universityof South Carolinasuffered a terrible tragedy yesterday. If you were watching the game, you couldn’t help but be heartbroken as we saw a talented, young football player, one of the best in the nation, Marcus Lattimore take a nasty hit to the knee. Now this injury would be tragic regardless, but the fact that Lattimore had fought his way back from a similar injury last year only to have another major setback. This wasn’t just a set back. Everyone watching knew that this could very well be a career ending injury. We watched as the crowd grew unified in their cheers. Players from both teams flooded the field – all waiting for their hero to arise. And we watched, as Marcus was carted off the field. Across team lines, folks were flooding the internet with support, their hearts broken, for a young man whose hard work and talent seemed lost in an instant.

As you know, we’re not strangers to having our dreams turned upside down in an instant. And so, today, Pierce and I set out to do our part in encouraging Marcus. It’s funny, because it’s probably the last thing I thought I’d ever do- spend time writing a fan letter to a well-known athlete. But I remembered the messages that flooded in when Pierce was so sick. I remembered how much they touched us. And the ones we received from strangers… they were oftentimes the ones that humbled us the most. 

So here it is – our letter to Marcus, from one hero to another. 

Dear Marcus,

You and I are very different and yet so much alike. I’m only 18 months old, but to so many, I’ve become their hero. And yesterday, you became a hero in so many hearts.

When I was born 4 months early, doctors didn’t predict I’d go far. In fact, they only gave me a 5% chance of survival. And then, when I suffered a devastating brain bleed, their predictions for me grew even dimmer. But during my 4.5 month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, one thing became obvious: I am a fighter. And another thing is obvious: you are too.

You see you are a hero, whether you ever make another football play. I’ve found that what defines a hero lies not in his ability to do something. No, a hero is instead found when his character shines greater than his inability to do something. What makes us heroes is not our abilities. What makes us heroes is our strength to rise above the circumstances handed to us, our ability to say “Jesus is enough. He is good and He will give me the strength I need to make it through this trial.” If we do this, we will demonstrate to the world the courage that it takes to face tragedy head on. We will show them that a true hero gives it his all, even if it means he only gains a small amount of progress. Even if it means his goal takes years to accomplish.

Every day I work hard to accomplish goals that come so easily to healthy children. I spend hours in therapy just so I can learn to reach my favorite toy. I have to struggle to get my left hand to work the way I want it. Sometimes I wonder why? Why did this happen to me and why can’t God just heal me and take away this struggle?

But I know that God is using my pain for good. And He will use yours for good as well.

He has given me a new path, one that’s reached so many people that would not have been impacted had I been a healthy baby.

Please don’t let self pity rob you of an opportunity to demonstrate to the world your heroic capabilities. And don’t let it steal your joy. But when you do start to feel that dreaded pity (and it will come), remind yourself that God is Sovereign – that seemingly coincidental and accidental play that was ordained by Him. Just like my seemingly accidental and premature birth was also ordained by Him. And as mad and frustrated as that makes you, know that there is purpose. There is purpose in your pain. There is purpose in my pain.

Maybe one of the purposes for my pain is to encourage you?

As you go forward, remember that people will be watching. They’ll be watching to see how you handle this. Does it end your career? More importantly, does it end your faith? Does it end your joy? Or does it do the opposite- increase your joy, increase your ability to show your strength and make you more than just a football star? What if this injury is the start of a bigger and better purpose for your life?

One last thing: give your mom a hug. My mom is my biggest fan and I know yours is too. And know that in many ways, the pain she feels is far greater than yours. All of her dreams and desires for you, they’ve been devastated and destroyed in the same instant you were injured. But she will be rooting for you. She’ll likely be the one standing beside you, telling you that you can do ANYTHING, go ANYWHERE from here. (We’re all praying that we will be able to see you make more football plays!)

And you can. You can because you and I must cling to the promise that “With God all things are possible” and trust that He is at work in the midst of our pain and suffering.

From one hero to another,

Pierce

Gracious Act

After all the years of being a powerboat chaplain with tunnel boat racers the most amazing thing about our community is the way they help each other out when somebody is in need.
More than once I have seen a racer loan another racer the mystical finishing touch to their race set-up: a beautiful, competitive racing prop!
 
What did the fellow racer do to deserve the faster racing prop?  Absolutely nothing!  He just happens to be a “family” member in need.
 

What we are talking about here is grace: receiving something you really do not deserve.  A racing prop is a delicate thing, easily bent or broken…and expensive!  The loan is a gracious act.
 
This is what God does for us in the race of life.  He gives us the greatest gift of all.  Though we do not deserve it, He graciously gives us His son to add the finishing touch to our lives.
 
“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”  Ephesians 2:8
 
Father, I do not deserve it, but thank you for the gift of your Son as the finishing touch to my life.   Amen.

About the author – Laurie Vidal is a Sports Chaplain for Powerboat Racing. He writes an occasional devotion called the “One Minute Gun”. In powerboat racing there is a “one minute gun” to warn the boaters that they have to be in position and ready to go.

 

Dogs, Fleas and Friends

One of the best ways to change is to surround yourself with people who live as you aspire to live.” -Unknown

There is an old saying that if you run with dogs you are going to get fleas. It sounds like something an old farmer would tell his son as he sends him off to college! I know I will be accused of being “old school” here, but there is a lot of truth in your choosing of friends impacting who you are and even who you will become.

One of the things I have always stressed with my kids is the importance of choosing their friends wisely. Aimee and I try to get to know our children’s friends and their friend’s parents so we can have an idea how they were raised and if they will have the same core values as our family. For some this may sound too hands on, but why would I not be hands on with arguably the greatest influencers in my kid’s lives?

What does God’s Word say?:

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20 (ESV)

“Do not let anyone fool you. Bad people can make those who want to live good become bad. Keep your minds awake! Stop sinning. Some do not know God at all. I say this to your shame.” 1 Corinthians 15:33-34 (NLV)

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 (NIV84)

I have always tried to take my kids to school in the mornings. One, because Aimee is NOT a morning person and she might kill one of the children and two, because it is one of the best opportunities to talk and pray with them as they start their day. Nearly every pre-school prayer I have with my kids ends with “help them to make the right decisions even if everyone around them is making the wrong decisions”.

The truth is whether you are in kindergarden, college or CEO the people you choose to surround yourself with will be your greatest influencers. So look around, if you are hanging with folks who are not aspiring you to live as God has called you to live then it may be time to find some new influencers. Instead of settling for friends who you are always trying to improve, why not find some friends who make you want to be better? Just a thought!

About the author: Lance Brown is the Founder and Director of WhoUWith? Ministries, established in July 2001. He also serves as the Sports Chaplain at Vanderbilt University.

A Real Man

 A Real Man

A Real Man treats woman with respect

A Real Man always acts like a gentleman

A Real Man is always polite, courteous, and considerate of women

A Real Man opens doors, holds umbrellas, and pays honest

compliments when they are do

 

A Real Man listens to women

A Real Man especially listens to his mother

A Real Man takes care of his mother and all the women in his life

A Real Man protects his sister, watches out for his girlfriend,

and takes care of his women friends

 

A Real Man respects the strength, courage and intellect of women

A Real Man treats women as equals, not as subservient inferiors

A Real Man treats women as human beings,

Not as objects for his own personal gain or pleasure

 

A Real Man always does right by the women in his life:

whether they are his family, friends, girlfriends or wife

A Real Man always does right by his family

He is there to be a father to his children,

he sets a good example for the next generation,

and he invests himself fully in his personal relationships

 

A Real Man always makes time for what is important

And he always makes time for who is important

A Real Man helps make the world a more respectful place

By his words and his deeds

A Real Man helps make the world a safer place for women

A Real Man helps make the world a safer place for all people

 

A Real Man helps make the world a better, safer more honest,

and more respectful place to live

 

A Real Man respects all women at all times

 

“The way you treat women will impact

every other area of your life at some point.

Communication

Roger Lipe is the Southern Illinois Representative for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and writes in a recent blog.
 
Communication
 
I Corinthians 6:11
 
Who are the best leaders among your teammates?  Would you say that they communicate freely or rather grudgingly?  Today, we’ll all receive a leadership lesson in communication.
 
In his second letter to the Corinthian church at chapter 6 and verse 11, the Apostle Paul wrote these words, “We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you.”  This is the nature of good leadership – free and open communication.
 
In the first century and in the 21st century, good leadership comes from the open hearts of leaders.  When leaders are open and honest with their teams, following is rather natural and productive.  Good leadership speaks freely and from the heart.  Such speech inspires and encourages teammates to be their best.
 
Take a moment to examine your personal leadership style, is it characterized by an open heart and free communication?  Do your teammates believe you when you speak to them or do they wonder about what you’re trying to get from them? 
 
As you approach today’s competition, open wide your hearts to each other and your communication will flourish.  Let your open hearts lead you to a great victory.

Beauty and Function – applies to Baseball Parks and Work

Here is an interesting article about an architect who takes his craft and faith seriously – one affects the other in wonderful ways.

He designed one of the best Baseball parks in our country, PNC Park in Pittsburg.

Here is a quote from the article, (Greusel likes to quote Winston Churchill): “First, we shape our buildings, then they shape us.