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The Mission is being the Hands and Feet, not the Sunday Seat

Sunday morning church service has come and gone for now. Don’t worry, though. You’ll get another opportunity next week. Chances are that seat is really comfortable. It’s likely right in the middle of your comfort zone. No pressure. No work. No hassle. No mission. Just come and enjoy the show for a little while.

No doubt that is the definition of Christianity for some.
While I’m thankful that those of you who hold to that view are at least hearing the Word preached, I want to challenge you to broaden that perspective.

I’m churchy, man. I’m more churchy than Noah was Arky. But if Sunday morning is the central focus, what happens in my church Monday thru Saturday? Does it cease to exist as a force? If the Church is a living, breathing organism, what happens when the lights are out and the alarm is armed?

From a Kingdom perspective, the church building is just the rallying point. It’s the hub where you get energized to be the Church, not the destination where you merely have church. The church has the mission.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul said: “Ye are the body of Christ and members in particular.” Surely that was only for the leadership though, right? The pastor should be doing all that stuff while the rest of us spare parts count down the days from Sunday to Sunday.

Think about what Christ did in His earthly ministry. He ministered to the poor. He mended the brokenhearted. He set captive people free. He healed. He saved. He delivered. He preached the good news. And nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus tell His followers that all that stuff should stop as soon as He leaves.

Greater Works

As a matter of fact, John records Jesus saying, “He who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do (John 14:12 NKJV).”

The only qualifying statement Jesus made about who would do these works was “whoever believes in me.” He didn’t say, “Only those who go through seminary” or “those who lead churches”. That covers everyone who believes, from the pew-warmer to the pastor, and from the church-goer to the choir leader. Jesus was talking about the Church.

The Church has the hands that serve the community. It has the feet that carry the Gospel and the eyes that burn with passion for souls. That is the Church–the body of Christ.
I know it’s easier to sit in the Sunday seat inside the building we call “church”. And it’s certainly more comfortable.

Being the hands and feet of Jesus is what we are called to. Let’s get busy being what we’re supposed to be–the Church.

Victory Formation Christianity: Playing it safe til He comes

It’s as frustratingly maddening as it is sweetly exhilarating. If you’re on the winning side there’s no greater sight. If you’re the loser, you’d rather stick a needle in your eye than watch as it plays out. It’s football’s Victory Formation.

When the outcome of a football game is no longer in question late in the game, the team with the lead usually goes into an offensive formation that completely protects the quarterback as he takes the snap and almost immediately takes a knee to just keep the clock running. The losing side usually has no timeouts left and no hope of a comeback when the winning side begins this formality.

The Victory Formation is the winning side’s way of making sure they don’t turn the ball over causing a potential miraculous comeback-win for the opposing side. The Victory Formation is playing it safe.

Unfortunately, the Victory Formation mentality has crept it’s way into the Church.

The return of the Lord might not be that far away. Because of this perceived shortness of time, many Christians seem content with running out the clock from the Victory Formation while a handful of ministers and leaders continue the trench-warfare that comes with snatching people out of the fire (Jude 1:23).

The hour is too late and the stakes are too high to live out our Christian faith from the Victory Formation. 

Sure, it’s a safe way to play the game. There’s almost zero chance you’ll end up losing possession of the football. Might as well take a knee and run out the clock, right?

The Parable of the Talents

In Luke 19, Jesus gives the parable of the 10 talents. In the parable, Jesus says a man of noble birth was going away to become king and he gives 10 servants one talent each with the instruction “Occupy till I come.” Occupy meaning put this money to work or continue conducting business until I return as King.

The story continues with the nobleman returning to find one servant who earned 10 talents off the original amount given to him. The next servant had gained five. The final servant hid his only talent in a cloth and did nothing with his master’s money. He played it safe because he was scared of his master.

The telling reason Jesus gave this parable is all the way back in verse 11. Luke says “he went on to tell them a parable because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the Kingdom of God was going to appear at once.”

So it’s possible the people had a penchant to play it safe since they thought the Kingdom coming in power was imminent. Maybe the underlying attitude among the followers was one of complacency or worse–safety.

Aslan, the Lion in C.S. Lewis’s classic children’s story The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe represents Jesus. As the inquisitive children ask about Aslan, Mr. Beaver replies, “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Lewis got that one right. Jesus is anything but safe. Following Him is anything but playing it safe. As a matter of fact, Jesus Himself said, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross every day, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)” Does carrying your own method of execution sound safe to you?

It’s not time to play it safe. It’s not the time for the Victory Formation. There’s still a war over men’s souls. There is still a battle to fight. There’s still a devil loose.

Yes, we already have ultimate victory. We’re marching from victory to victory. But truly following the King is anything but playing it safe.

Overcoming Sudden Trials

Things are going smoothly. You feel like your steps are being ordered by the Lord as He positions you to move into a new season. You’re receiving fresh revelation and insight on a daily basis, it seems. Then it happens. Some random Satanic dart finds its way into your transition-zone, and it momentarily knocks you for a loop.

It’s nothing major, just a little reminder that there’s still an enemy of your soul who’d love nothing more than to cause a setback on your journey.

Maybe it’s a co-worker’s attitude, or a lying tongue spreading vicious rumors about you or your family. Maybe it’s an unexpected doctor visit and/or X-Ray in the middle of your day, or even a sudden negative report from your banker.

These sudden trials sometimes have a way of making us fear the future and doubt God’s plan for our lives.

In Numbers 13, it looks as if the Israelites are making progress on their journey. So, Moses, at God’s command, sends 12 spies to check out the Land of the Promise.

However, when only two of the 12 come back with a favorable report about the land, it’s setback-city.

The unexpected presence of giants and large fortified cities was enough to cause 83-percent of the spies to give up on the mission, and ultimately to give up on God.

Dynamic Duo

Thank God for two men that continued following God’s purpose for their lives. Joshua and Caleb didn’t allow this temporary setback to deter their vision of the God who brought them out of the land of Egypt.

The enemy always wants you to look at the problem. That’s why sudden, unforeseen circumstances arise in our lives.

How do we overcome the backlash? How do we stay focused when the enemy tries to disrupt our progress?

We look unto Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of our faith. The good old KJV translates Hebrews 12:2 this way, “Looking unto Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith.” Paul said, “He that began this good work in you will perform it until the day Christ returns.” (Phil. 1:6)

The sudden attack was meant for evil, but God’s still in control. He started it, he finished it. Keep your focus on Him and Him alone.

Sportswriting examples

From 2008-12, I was a freelance sportswriter. During that time, I primarily covered Tennessee Volunteers Football for bleacherreport.com. I had other duties for many other sites, some of which are featured in the pdf download available on this page. Multiple types of articles are featured on this download. From columns to letters from the editor to general reporting, you can see the attention to detail and my overall writing style. 

NFL Draft 2012 coverage

In 2012, I had the unique opportunity to be involved in covering the NFL Draft. As part of my responsibilities to cover the annual April event, I reported live from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. In addition to filing daily stories, I did multiple radio live radio interviews covering the week-long event. You can download a pdf featuring many of those articles here. 

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