Over the years, fantasy football has become a rising fad among many armchair quarterbacks and I am among them. After winning my league in crushing defeat eight years ago, my fantasy football teams resembles the heritage of the Detroit Lions. We are simply awful. I am gladly holding down last place in our league and still searching, praying, hoping and wishing for the first win of the season.
Every year I wonder the same thing about fantasy football, “Why do I do so bad?” Well, I know the answer – I do not pay attention to football or my fantasy football team as much as I need to in order to win. Instead, I casually glance at my team every few weeks to be sure it is still there. Since I do not watch ESPN or read the paper, so I have no idea what players are good and which are on the injured reserve list. Face it, my football knowledge is so bad right now that if Terry Bradshaw were a choice, I would have drafted him.
One interesting thing is, I have the fantasy football app on my phone, which is in my hands several dozen times a day. I just never check it.
The same thing happens with our knowledge of the Bible. When we do not use our knowledge, or keep up with our reading and study then we start lacking in knowledge. Those once simple memory verses have all been forgotten. As with my fantasy football app, there is a Bible app in my hands several times a day.
I wonder if many Christians need to carry the Bible in their hands every day.
Have we lost the touch and feel of God’s word in our lives?
Have we replaced God’s Word with the self-help, motivational philosophies of the day?
Here are five quick thoughts to see how familiar you are with God’s Word:
5 – Your favorite version on Sunday mornings is the “pew version.”
4 – You think Daniel’s three friends are Larry, Moe and Curly.
3 – The preacher gives a lesson on lying from Mark 17 and you tell him you read Mark 17 all the time.
2 – Your children read from 2nd Hezekiah last night.
1 – You favorite Bible verse is “cleanliness is next to godliness.”
Just some thoughts,
Recognized this post? This article is a previous post on the Preacher’s Pen and has been brought back, revised and reposted on the new website format. It is my hope and prayer, these posts are bringing you some thoughts to motivate and inspire you to greater service. Over the next few months, new articles will be written and older articles will be revised and reposted. Stay tuned for more!
Last night, the comedian side of me was tearful. A man whose antics, voices and expressions brought my home a thousand laughs was suddenly gone at the young age of 63. He had just celebrated his birthday a few weeks ago and now, he is gone. He brought our family laughs in Mork and Mindy, Popeye, Good Morning Vietnam, Patch Adams, RV and Mrs. Doubtfire, along with thousands of other guest appearances in shows and movies. His comedic genius was great and his desire to make others laugh was clearly seen in his life.
My heart breaks for his family. Losing someone in this world is difficult; whether you know their time is near or whether they pass suddenly. Mr. Williams’s departure comes as a new Night at the Museum is going to be in theatres soon. Those on the outside saw his career continuing with laughs and more of the wonder character of Teddy Roosevelt. His last publically posted words were to his daughter, Zelda, wishing her a happy birthday.
In the wake of this tragedy, news is breaking that Mr. Williams suffered with depression on and off throughout the years. While most find this odd that a man of a million laughs, millions of fans and a life most who dream to live would suffer from depression, a few others find this to be consistent. While at the time of this writing the speculation is suicide tied to depression, our hearts still break and our prayers still go out.
Before I begin, I do not write the following words from scientific theory, applied psychology or theological studies, I write them from personal experience; this is my heart.
Every day people around you and me are suffering from depression. Many of those you may see as “having it all together” are suffering from this dreaded illness today. This illness can manifest itself is many ways and at various times. Some see depression as someone who sits around and gloats in their trials, tribulations and sorrow; and while this may be true to some, the effects of depression are not always present in the public eye.
I know of preachers who suffer depression but publically are professional, loving and involved in everyone’s life. Inwardly, they are struggling with their own lives and the future of their family. Their lives are a service to others continually, but on the inside they are raging and suffering. They are struggling, but to whom can they go? Everyone looks to the preacher to solve their problems; the preacher is not supposed to have any problems.
I know church members who suffer depression because they feel no one cares about them. How can this be, you ask? Easy. They are the ones that come and go in our assemblies without a handshake or a smile. They are the ones that no one gets to know because no one is sure how to talk to them. These members go home every Sunday and sit alone having left an assembly of joyful people.
I know of church members who do everything they can publically, but just as preachers, they are struggling with depression themselves. Every Sunday they put on the public face of prosperity so people will look to them as an example, not a case. Publically, they do “have it all together” but at home, at work and alone, they are questioning life and the path their lives are taking.
Many times, people who “have it all together” are the ones struggling the most. There are those who we know struggle but we do not know what to say or even what to do. They are the people on the prayer list who have been battling cancer for years, struggling with their marriage, trying to find a job, etc. Those are the ones we need to hold close as well.
There are people struggling with depression right now; some close to you and some far away. You will not be able to pull everyone out of depression’s pit, but you will be able to assist them. In the light of future events, many are telling others, “If you are thinking of Suicide call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.” I agree with their efforts because there are many who need professional counseling and help. However, giving someone a number may not help them. Sitting with them as they make the call will. Holding their hand as they suffer through the ups and downs of life will provide them with people around them to love and support them.
I am thankful the Lord gave us the church to depend on and strive for the prize together. This life is a constant battle and the awesome mind of the Lord gave us a community of people struggling through the same problems we do to love and support us, to pray for us and to help us in our time of need. How is your church family reaching out to everyone?
Here is how you can begin to help?
Get to Know Others – Break out of your church routine and get to know everyone. Church are a family, not a private club with your own table. Get up out of that pew and change pews ever week. Shake hands with people you do not know and get to know others. Want to have some fun? Walk up to someone and ask them their favorite color and why? Get the conversation started.
Stop Telling Others to Reach Out and Go to Them – We live in a lazy religious culture. We invite the community to church and never invite the church into the community. Jesus did not say, “Invite them and they will come,” He said, “Go into all the world…” There is a difference. The church building is not a “Field of Dreams” where we build it and they come; Christ already built it and we go to them.
Stop Just Praying for the Prayer List – Ok, before you jump me, you should pray every day, but why just pray? Why not use the hands, the feet and the abilities God has given you to serve those on the prayer list? I bet many of them will not see anyone during the week. So, why not cut their grass? Rake their leaves? Fix them dinner? Or just stop by to help clean their home if they will let you? Service is action, not words!
In the midst of a worldly loss, let us rise to the occasion!
Just my thoughts,
For those interested in the “Business Edition” of this article, you may go here.
Personal Note – This was not written as a cure-all, but as a start. There are thousands of people much more qualified than I to handle the situations others are going through. I am writing from personal experience. My prayers go out to those who are currently struggling through life and those who will struggle more. I encourage you to reach out.
“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” (attributed to Gandhi)
The above quote has, for years, been attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, a leader of the Indian people in the early part of the 20th century. Many have disputed the quote is directly from Gandhi, but some hold to the words as his. Whatever the case, let us take a moment and consider those words.
Be angry at those words it you will. Make excuses that Gandhi (?) does not understand the Bible or those words could be said about any religion, but be honest and consider the power behind those words.
The point – The actions of the followers must imitate the actions of the leader.
Christians have a constant eye upon them, because the world knows they are called to a higher purpose, by the Son of God. The world knows, somewhat, the overall teaching of the Bible, but wants to see it in the lives who proclaim to follow the one known as Jesus Christ.
Maybe today, you will be the shining light as Jesus has called you (Matthew 5.14-16).
Maybe today, you will prove Gandhi wrong and imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11.1).
The choice is yours – the choice must be made, the life must be lived.
How can you prove Gandhi wrong?
Read the text of Christ – Take into your mind that which you should be doing. For the actions of Christians to match the Savior, it starts long before “WWJD.” The process starts in understand What Jesus Already DID! You must dive into the words of Jesus and begin living, ever day, like He did. Listen to His words, cherish them in your heart and let me out in your actions.
Stop Talking and Start Doing – Christians can talk of the word all day, but they must act on their beliefs. Isn’t that what true faith is – actions based on beliefs? The writer James says, “Be doers of the word, not hearers only.” (James 1.22) I would also read how those faithful allowed their faith to come through in their actions, see Hebrews 11.
Love Must Prevail – If you can feed the poor, teach the rich, give of your means, convert the lost, but have not love, how has your life been changed. Paul understood the power of love and actions in 1 Corinthians 13 – give it a read, but more than that, give it a light in your life.
Just my thoughts,