Today’s post is longer than a minute. I won’t apologize. If you take the break required to watch the linked video and still read the whole post, we’re into about 7 or 8 minutes. If you only have a minute today, bookmark this and come back to it when you have four more minutes to watch and three more to read.
Normally the week leading up to Christmas, I notice how cheery people are. Even some who wouldn’t consider themselves “church people” are wishing others well and forgiving things they’d otherwise harp on for days. It’s around that time I wish what you probably wish – “can’t we have the Christmas Spirit all year long?”
But, we forget. Don’t we?
We forget so quickly, that even a day after Veteran’s Day or Mother’s Day, we’re back to ignoring the vets or taking the Moms for granted again. This year, I’m going to prolong Father’s Day not because I’m a father, but because there is something about the Lord we need to remember “all year long”:
He invites us to call Him “Father”… not for a day, but for always.
I’ve got no verse for you today. Just read the Old Testament. Look at how many times “remember” and “Lord” appear together.
Let me tell you a story to illustrate this.
A son is wheelchair bound. Cerebral palsy – can’t talk, walk, etc., but through technology, can communicate via computer. Google “Team Hoyt” or “Rick & Dick Hoyt” when you can.
The point for today is this: the son can’t run, bike, or swim, but His dad can – and at his son’s urging, went into training in his late 50s to do a 5K, and eventually a triathlon. This means he puts his crippled son in a raft and swims with son in tow, gets out of the water and onto a bike carrying his son in a seat on the bike, then runs, pushing a wheelchair that carries his son. For an Iron Man race, it’s a 2.5 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run – hard enough for one man to do on his own, but somehow this dad does them all for two.
Father’s Day is a week behind us. Christmas is months away. Both can call us to reflect on our relationship with God in a unique and personal way. I’m not here to bother the single guys with thoughts of what it will be like, or isn’t yet like, to be a dad. I’m not here to challenge dads to “try harder”. My hope is that you’ll watch the video above and meditate on a couple of questions:
Q: What does the son really bring to the table when it comes to running an Iron Man Triathlon?
A: Could it be the same thing that you and I bring to the table when it comes to living righteously?
It’s been said that the only thing we bring to the equation of our salvation is our need for a Savior. What do you think? Some of us suffer from the “liability of ability”: the more gifted we are the more we think we made it all happen. This only leads to self reliance. Smaller package than what God desires for us.
In reality, we’re beggars telling other beggars where to get some bread. We’re quadriplegics being dragged, carried and pushed across the finish line of life. My favorite moment in this video is toward the end of the run where the son appears to be egging the crowd on as if to say “Look at my Dad! Give it up for my Dad!!!” His dad carried himself and his son through every mile of the race. What has God carried you through?
Humbled… How about you?
What if it can be Father’s Day everyday, beneath the wings of the Father of all creation who loves us enough to reach out to us even we are enemies of the cross? For the rest of the year, can we do better than the “Christmas Spirit”? Can we have the Father’s Day Spirit all year long? Can we all, everyday, just shout “Look at my Dad!”?
We’ve been faithfully serving, tithing, members at North Point Community Church for a long time now. We’re lovers and followers of Christ. But, we won’t be there on Wednesday night when Michelle Obama appears to talk about obesity.
Because you don’t like the First Lady? No, nothing to do with whether we like her or not.
Because you disagree with her political views? No, not because of the wide gap separating our political ideologies, per se.
Because evangelicals were born to boycott? Nopety-nope.
Because you don’t see the point in the FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States) appearing at your church, especially to talk on this topic? Yeah, that’s more like it.
Am I interested in hearing what she has to say? Sure, I’m intrigued to hear what any high level government official or celebrity has to say about kids in our nation. But, having recently come face to face with the ugly truth about my own flaws and overeating, I don’t see why it’s relevant to me.
Obesity is a spiritual problem, not a political problem.
Okay, I said it. Call me a narrow minded bible-thumping troglodyte if you must. But, as God has drawn my wife and I near to Him during a recent extended fast, I came to a deeper understanding of my own depravity, my own lack of self control, my own need for a Savior: I feed my flesh with more gusto than I feed my spirit. I reach for comfort food when I don’t really want food so much as I want comfort itself, which my God has promised to me in abundance if I’d just reach for Him instead.
Yes, there are great opportunities to witness to those outside the faith, but I’ll be doing it from the comfort of my own home as we watch it streamed online. Yes, I am grateful for our church being selected for such a media heavy event. But, relevance, please?
Am I being a wuss? Yes, a bit, because you and I both know that getting into and out of our church parking lot (even with the thank-you-Jesus-new-bridge) is hard enough when it’s just our church peeps. God forbid, we should have to brave those throughways when it’s every Tom, Dick, and Harry flocking to that building to see the most famous FLOTUS in American history.
The reality is, however, I think addressing childhood obesity with a program, a slogan (imagine: “Just Say No to Seconds”! “Read My Lips: No New Fat Cells”!), or a famous face misses the mark as much as a band-aid on leukemia. Obesity, especially childhood obesity, is not a merely a mindset problem, it’s not a political problem, it’s a sin problem. Without Christ, we are utterly lost and libel to do whatever we want, when we want, as much as we want. Have we forgotten Sodom and Gamorrah? Have we forgotten Romans, 8 verse 12 – “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it.”
One of the most poignant truths that jumped off the pages of my bible during this fast was just that – “Aarron, you don’t have to answer the door when chocolate cake is ringing the doorbell.” I need a savior. Kids who are struggling with overeating don’t need a slogan or a t-shirt, they need parents and teachers who have Christ in their hearts and an abiding relationship with the Holy Spirit, who can train them up to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh.
Am I wrong?
I’m not pointing fingers at the kids – they’re just eating what we feed them. So, yes, a change in accessibility to certain foods and a change of mindset and practice by those making food choices for our kids could go a long way. But, as long as a way as it could be, it falls far short of how far God would have us if we would pray for and trust Him for true, penitent, sweeping revival in this nation. Do, yes. But, abide, deny the flesh, carry the cross, and pray for revival, so we can stop putting band-aids on cancer.
Love you guys.
More details l8r this week. 4 now, just praise – 2day I am ever more aware of my brokenness, depravity, and poverty of spirit. Thank You, Lord 4 redemption!!!
Dr. Albert Mohler recently made one of my favorite new statements in his article on the controversy surrounding MTV’s Skins.
David Carr… suggests, plausibly enough, that MTV executives did not “set out to make child pornography,” but they clearly did not set out not to make child pornography, either.
I’ve always enjoyed Dennis Prager’s maxim – “Clarity is more important than agreement.” Dr. Mohler makes his point without disagreeing. Rather, he clarifies the argument – just because you didn’t mean to do something doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. There’s a drunk driving ad from Australia where a guy in a bloodied shirt walks through an accident scene pointing to a victim being loaded into an
ambulance – “See, he’s only a little hurt. She’s only a little grief stricken. She’s only a little dead… I was only a little over the limit.”
Sin is sin. Amen? I don’t know that I even buy Carr’s premise – MTV has always sought to push the limits. Offering something that can easily pass as child porn is merely a logical extreme of the path they’ve been on for the past 30 years.
It’s easy to poo-poo MTV and ride them just because… well, they’re MTV. I’m not going to claim I’m not glued to “Celebrity Rehab” or “Sober House”. Heck, I’m in the counseling/reform/healing business. Nor am I going to knock MTV for pushing the limits of what’s acceptable on TV. That’s too easy a target. What this whole controversy does do, however, is highlight the veracity of Paul’s argument in Romans 1 when he talks about how the gateway to depravity is when our “foolish hearts [are] darkened” as a result of us denying thanks and honor to God. From that point in the chapter, it’s a downward spiral of depravity whereby God hands the depraved over to their own depravity.
Don’t get up on your soapbox yet. Remember who you were before Jesus blinded you with the truth? I do. Hooked on porn, cussing like a sailor, living for me and my agenda. Wish I could say all of that’s changed – at least I’ve been delivered from porn and only cuss on “special” occasions… I didn’t mean to live for my agenda…
There it is again.
Let’s be honest about this – MTV doesn’t need our prayer any less than those of us who create the demand by watching these shows. Can we get serious about praying for real, sincere revival in America? If nobody watches it, it doesn’t stay on the air. The solution is spiritual. The Solution has a name. And, He is interceding for us now.
Will you join Him?
I’m not looking to promote or slander anyone in public office on this blog, specifically with this post. I would, rather, like to present the opinion expressed by a co-laborer in Christ – Dr. Albert Mohler. If you’re a fan of our President, great. If you’re not a fan of this President, great. The intent here is to present one academic’s opinion on what this President is conveying regarding the tragic issue of abortion.
What does this have to do with discipleship?
As followers of Christ, we are called to search the scriptures and allow our worldview to be driven by our theology, not the other way around. As we consider how we think about abortion, we have the opportunity to influence those around us either toward Christ or against Him. Do we honor His name when we permit, even promote abortion? Evaluating what is happening in the world is part of the prophetic call of everyone who purports to follow Christ.
Shall we call evil good and good, evil? Or, shall we pray for wisdom and discernment from God who gives it freely and without reproach? Will we admit that abortion is merely an echo of our own depravity, a choice to end a life that another may live as they choose, unaccountable to the Truth of God and abiding guidance of the Holy Spirit?
This is not a political problem. It does not have a political solution. It is a spiritual problem and can only be solved by a spiritual Solution. That solution has a name and it is Christ.
Read on, comment cogently, pray fervently.