Hearts That Hustle

May 8, 2013

“Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might.” –Ecclesiastes 9:10

Read: Ecclesiastes 9

It’s interesting that of the blessings, trophies and awards I’ve been humbled to receive throughout my life, one stands out as my most cherished. When I was a kid, my coaches gave me the “Hustle” award. Ironically, it was for a sport that I wasn’t particularly great at. Try and imagine running the 100 meter hurdles wearing swim fins. Got the visual? That’s me playing basketball. And even that might be gracious. But while I didn’t run the offense very well, or lead the team in rebounds, and although I was never the game’s high scorer, I was never out-hustled. For whatever reason — whether it be practice or a game — something inside my heart just would not let me be out-worked.

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I’ll Say, “No”

May 7, 2013

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” –Job 13:15

Read: Job 13

My wife is the runner in the family, so I typically don’t read her magazine, but the cover blurb on her Runner’s World caught my eye: “The Most Inspiring Runner You’ve Never Met.” And I can tell you that if he’s not, he’s close. Hit by a car at the age of six, Bret Dunlap spent weeks in a coma. His first word when he woke up? “No.” Seems he knew he had more life in him. And while he doesn’t remember saying it, the 39 years after the accident simply prove that he meant it.

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May 7, 2013

“Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” –Luke 18:25

Read: Luke 18

If you remember the move “Cast Away,” Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck Noland was a time-obsessed FedEx analyst with a simple job: deliver the mail on time. After his plane crashed, he got washed up on a deserted island where he spent four lonely years. Well, he wasn’t totally alone.

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The Silent Symbol

May 6, 2013

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, that you love one another.” –John 13:35

Read: John 13

Fingers crossed. Early Christians, in order to avoid persecution when they prayed in public, as well as to quietly identify themselves with other believers, would cross their fingers. Can you imagine if the only way you and I could share our faith was in such a way? Or even more unbelievable, by making that quiet gesture our predecessors risked their very lives.

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The Body Forgives

May 2, 2013

“If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge that to my account.” –Philemon 1:18

Read: Philemon 1

“Charge that to my account,” Paul told his friend Philemon. In our reading today, Philemon had a slave who stole from him and ran away to Rome. When this slave met Paul, Paul showed him how to be saved. Then Paul wrote some amazing words to Philemon. He said that this man who was once “useless to you” is useful now. And upon the slave’s return to Philemon, Paul wanted his slate clean; completely forgiven and welcomed home like a brother. From thief to saint, useless to useful.

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He’s Strong. We’re Weak.

May 1, 2013

“For by grace you have been saved and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” –Ephesians 2:8-9

Read: Ephesians 2

It just never seems to end, does it? This pursuit of health. For you, maybe it’s another day in the gym, looking at that same row of dumbbells. Or maybe it’s walking another lap around the familiar track with the expected turns. Either way, picking up the weight or the pace are the keys to change, improvement or even maintenance. More…again. Again, some more. Besides, you’re only as good as your last workout, so you huff and puff…(rough). Folks, aren’t we glad Heaven doesn’t require the same?

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Your Mission

April 30, 2013

“I hope you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” –3 John 1:2

Read: 3 John 1

I remember like it was yesterday, scrounging through an old box of books while whispering to myself, “Your mission, should you choose to accept it….” I’m smiling as I type this sentence. Great memories. See, in 1996, the movie of the year was the first Mission: Impossible, and I was bound and determined to see it. But as a young married couple, times were tight. With both of us working and in school, we watched every penny. I knew that in order for us to see the show, it was up to me. (Light the fuse, cue the music.)

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You’re Closest

April 29, 2013

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” –Romans 8:28

Read: Romans 8

Last week I wrote about my MRI experience for my spine in an entry titled “Be Really Still.” If you missed it, it might explain today’s entry. But what I didn’t write about was what happened moments before and after the test. On my way there, I stood next to a man less fortunate; homeless. My heart broke. And in that moment I whispered, “Lord, help him.” And then it was as if God said, “I am. You’re closest.” Oh friends. This is what our health is for. Let’s not be fit for fit’s sake, but healthy for Heaven’s sake.

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Even If It’s Dirty

April 28, 2013

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” –Matthew 28:19

Read: Matthew 28

There was something in the water yesterday. Twenty-five people were baptized in the late service alone, with more in both the early service and evening service to follow. Oh my friends. One by one, their stories of how they came to know Jesus were read. One woman had a learning disability and yet she learned the most important thing in life. Another man was being baptized one year to the day of a traumatic brain injury and he needed special assistance throughout. And even though I was a weeping mess, none of them hit me quite as hard as did the images from the prison ministry.

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Be Really Still

April 25, 2013

“Be still and know that I am God.” –Psalm 46:10

Read: Psalm 46

If you’ve never had an MRI procedure, let me paint the scene. You lay down and the technician gives you ear plugs to numb the deafening sounds that are soon to come. You get secured into position and after a short list of instructions, you’re sent inside this narrow tube. Claustrorphobes should skip the next sentence, because they send you in head first, so that your entire body is inside the casing, with just a couple of inches between the end of your nose and the inside of the cylinder. To say you feel vulnerable is no exaggeration. You battle mental questions like, “What if I can’t get out? What if the power goes out? What if?!”

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