Archive for February, 2010

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Public Apology

February 22, 2010

Tiger Woods got caught. His private life did not match the public image that his sponsors were paying him millions to project to the world. Since last Thanksgiving, and the public outing of his infidelity, the media, fans, and a lot of curious people have waited to hear from Tiger. At last, Tiger finally appeared to the world last week and gave his “public apology.” As I watched and listened to the commentary several things came to mind.

First, Tiger didn’t need to apologize to me. I still think Tiger is a great golfer. I enjoy watching him hit a golf ball. I never once looked to Tiger as a model to build my marriage and values. Certainly, an apology to his wife was in store. Seeking forgiveness from God was necessary. Adultery is a sin that is prevalent in our culture. It is wrong. But, he didn’t owe me anything. The media seems to love drama and they created a lot of drama around a golfer.

Second, there was a big debate around the question of whether Tiger was sincere or not. Does he really feel sorry for his behavior? I don’t think you can answer that question after one 13 minute speech probably written by a paid professional to try and keep the endorsement money coming. Repentance is only sincere when you go in a different direction. If Tiger’s behavior changes and goes in a different direction then he was sincere. In our culture where it seems like a public figure is apologizing weekly for their “indiscretions,” talk has become cheap. Confession and repentance are more than just writing a script and saying the words “I am sorry.”

Finally, Tiger talked about being centered. And, I really believe that is the most pressing question. What is the center of your life? The answer to that question will determine the direction of your life. Tiger asked the public (especially the sponsors) to “believe in him again.” That kind of thinking is what got Tiger into trouble to begin with. The question is not should we believe in Tiger, the real question is what does Tiger believe in? What is at the center of his life will determine whether his life is significant or just successful. Although many disagree, I believe Brit Hume got it right. He said,

“Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person I think is a     very open question, and it’s a tragic situation for him. I think he’s lost his family, it’s not  clear to me if he’ll be able to have a relationship with his children, but the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal — the extent to which he can  recover — seems to me to depend on his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist; I don’t think  that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.’”     (Brit Hume)

Turning to Jesus. Now that would be a hole in one.

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Decommit?

February 4, 2010

This week was an important week for High School football players. Student-athletes all across America signed athletic scholarships with thier college choice. For months college football programs have recruited players to sign and play for their school. During these months the players would “commit” to a school. In my world that would mean they have made a commitment to play football for that school and will sign their scholarship papers on national signing day. The recruiting process has become a closely followed and daily reported on event in America. There seems to be a fascination with what player is going where and will that player become a star. I noticed, what appears to me as a new word, began to emerge during the coverage of this event. Decommit. A player would give his word to a coach that he was coming to thier school, then later change his mind or as it was reported “decommit.” Is that a word? Is that possible? I remember a time when the whole idea of decommitting would be referred to as lying. You gave your word. I can’t place all the blame on the players. Because, the coaches and schools do thier share of lying as well. Many promises are made to the players (NFL, playing time, become a star) all in an effort to get that kid to play football for them. Forget about integrity, getting an education, being a better citizen,  or learning responsibility. Just score touchdowns or make a tackle and life will be great. Decommit. It seems like a fitting word to describe our culture. Decommit. If I don’t like something, if I find a better deal, a better wife, a better church, a better friend, a better god, then I decommit.

I am reminded of the Old Testament verse found in II Chronicles 16:9 (NIV)

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully commited to him.

I am thankful that even though He could, and probably should, God doesn’t ever say to me, “Stan, I found something better. I decommit.”

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Snow on Sunday?

February 1, 2010

I have been a pastor for 17 years. In those 17 years I have weathered a lot of snow storms, ice storms, water issues, and even a few floods. But, this week I did something that I don’t believe I had ever done…cancel Sunday morning worship. It was a disappointing decision, but one that had to be made. I wondered why does God let it snow on Sunday? You would think that God would not want anything to happen that would stop people from going to church and doing what He asked all of us to do. If God asks us to do something, does He not have the responsibility to make it easy? Actually, no. In fact, doing the right thing is often the hard thing. I would suggest that doing the right thing is rarely convenient or comfortable, but we  think God is being unfair if it is not.

I was in a discussion with my 8 year old son about this topic in our Sunday morning devotion. I mentioned that only when we get to heaven will everything be perfect and life will be without problems. To which he responded, “in heaven there will be one section with snow and another section with a beach.” I like how he thinks.

So, why does God allow it to snow on Sunday? Isaiah 55:8-11 (NIV) says:

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.

9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

I am not sure why God allows it to snow on Sunday. But, I do know that His ways are not my ways, and that in the end God will always accomplish His purpose for my life and His church. And, if my life is uncomfortable or inconvenient then maybe I should spend a little more time focusing on the children of Haiti, the poverty in the Sudan, or the genocide victims in Rwanda. Or, maybe God let it snow this Sunday so that I could slow down and remember that the cross was rather uncomfortable and inconvenient but Jesus didn’t complain in his suffering. He did it willingly so that I could have snow and a beach in heaven!

Have fun sledding.

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Hello world!

February 1, 2010

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