Monday, March 30, 2009

A Bible Lesson from NASCAR

I've been following NASCAR on and off for the last 8 or 9 years. I get really into it when team sports are lacking, then I really lose interest when football season returns. However, one driver I've always watched and admired is Jeff Gordon. Although disliked by many fans because he is from California and not North Carolina, Tennessee, or Georgia and his last name is not Earnhardt, Petty, or Waltrip, he has consistently been one of the best drivers on the tour for a number of years. Another reason I've admired him is that he has been open about his faith in Jesus Christ and has used his celebrity status to share his testimony with others.

An interesting thing to note, though, about Jeff Gordon is that he finished 2nd in the points standings last season and is first in this season's point standings despite not having a win since the 2007 season. That means that while he has not been the best driver in any one race in over 18 months, he has consistently been ONE OF THE BEST drivers throught that time.

In Hebrews 12, the writer comes off of a list of people in chapter 11 who displayed great faith in God. He says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Perseverence isn't about being the best on one day. It is about consistently being very good. The whole idea of Methodism is that we are to be methodical in our approach to our faith. Anybody can have a mountain-top experience and be a one-day champion for a short period of time, but the Christian life is about consistency. Let's pray that we have that consistency to run the race so as to with the prize, every day of our lives.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Faith and Colorado City Limit Signs

Our youth group just went on a ski trip to Colorado. On this trip, I noticed something about mountain towns in Colorado that I've never noticed before. On the city limit signs, they put the elevation, not the population. Some have both, but the elevation is always put above the population. In my opinion, this kind of negates the whole idea of having people, right? What makes a town important? People. What makes a town special? People. This strange trend got the wheels of my head turning a bit.
How often in the Christian church, do we advertise or "brag" about what is superficial or frivilous rather than what is important? When we discuss our churches, how often into the conversation do we ask how many members a church or youth group has? We may discuss the size of our budget or the big plans we have for great events that will be supplemented by our big budget. As individuals we do this as well. It is easier to talk about what devotional we read that morning instead of opening up to fellow believers about the problems we are facing in our own life. Why let anyone know we are struggling?
In Psalm 15, the writer is asking "Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?" The answer is one who is righteous and "speaks the truth from his heart." So, the thought I have is this? If we had a city limit sign on our heart or on our church, what would we put on it? Would it be something superficial and irrelevant or would it be something honest, and meaningful?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Unintentional Break

I have no clever picture or anything for this post. It seems I inadvertently took a break from writing a blog post. I've been busy at the office organizing some youth events and getting my desk back to where I can see the color of the top of it. I've also been working on a manuscript for a book on youth ministry I hope to get published somehow. I also make it a point to try not to take my work home with me or spend too much time on the home computer working on youth stuff--I'm gone enough as it is to evening meetings and youth events.

Sometimes it's good to just cut a few things out for a bit. Hopefully, I'll get inspired to write some more stuff soon, but for now, rest has been good--really good.