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Category Archives: Patriotism

Grace, Freedom and the NFL

Boy, what a firestorm! The tension and controversy in America has reached a fever pitch over the last few years to where we have arrived at today. Not long ago it was just 49’ers  (ex) quarterback Colin Kaepernick (still doesn’t have a job) who intentionally thrust himself into controversy by refusing to stand for the playing of the National Anthem in protest of what he deemed to be wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States. Well, it’s a free country….and I don’t argue the subject of free speech. But, what we do with that freedom is an entirely different topic that oftentimes reveals the character of those who might use, or misuse it.

You may wonder about the above title and question how grace, freedom and these protests could be connected. I think, in principle, they’re very connected. Let me explain; Grace is an extremely important Biblical subject. It’s a wonderful thing! But it’s also one of the more controversial topics in the church today. It’s controversial mostly because it has been miscommunicated, ….and therefore misunderstood, ….and when all that happens it can easily be misappropriated. (used in an unwise manner)

Paul, in one of his letters, said it this way, “Brothers and sisters you have been called to liberty (freedom), but don’t use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh”. More clearly put, don’t use your freedom as an excuse to sin. It’s only the unwise, or maybe innocently by the immature, who would accept God’s perfect gift of grace and then use it as an excuse to sin. That would be an undeniable, gross misuse of grace! That’s where I see grace, freedom and these NFL protests intersecting.

The freedom that we enjoy in America is like none other in the entire world. It’s a freedom that has come at an extremely costly price. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have given their lives on the battlefield, here and around the world, in the name of freedom. I appreciate that; I’m grateful for it and it’s something that I would never, ever take lightly. So, it only makes sense to me to use that freedom in a wise, mature and conscientious manner. Everybody doesn’t agree….and that’s OK. But my opinion is that those who choose to dishonor the national anthem and the flag, are thus dishonoring the nation and those whose lives were sacrificed for our freedom. It appears to be a very immature, arrogant and unwise use of something so precious….and that cost so many, …..so much.

The NFL has some unbelievable athletes; best in the world for their God-given talent and abilities. But many of these young men have been coddled, babied and catered to since they were old enough to be involved in organized team sports. It’s a historical fact that many of these athletes making millions today won’t have any of it left after their careers are over. And, if the old adage rings true that “we all have 15 minutes of fame”, it’s a crying shame that these boys are using theirs’ this way. They’re influencing another generation of little boys in a very adverse, and negative way. I wouldn’t want that on my resume’!

Someone will probably cry, “racism”; But, c’mon …..give us a break! It’s not that. It’s called patriotism, …..and it’s makin’ a comeback!

“All things are lawful, but not all things edify; all things are lawful, but not all are helpful” – Paul

The way you handle grace….and freedom will tell the world just how deep your character actually is. 

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Life’s Like Football, It’s a Game of Inches

It Takes a Village to go Back to Back…..to Back to Back!

 

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Tragedy in Dallas: What Can I Do?

What a nightmare in Dallas! Police officers taking to the streets at a ‘Black Lives Matter’ march to protect the people’s ‘right to demonstrate’,  when the unthinkable happened. A lone gunman (supposedly) from an elevated position shoots eleven and kills five! Purportedly because he was upset by a couple of recent incidents where black people were killed by white cops.

This scenario has become all too familiar in our country. It’s a phenomenon that was virtually unheard of a generation ago. I remember as a kid when the guy went up in the tower on the University of Texas campus (Aug 1, 1966) and began shooting. Before the day was over, Charles Whitman, an engineering student, had shot forty-nine people, sixteen of them fatally. (starting earlier in the day with his wife and mother) Then there was the Post Office shooting in Edmond, Oklahoma. (Aug 20, 1986) A disgruntled worker entered the post office and began shooting. In roughly fifteen minutes twenty people were shot….and fourteen of them died.

These tragic events have become all to common in America. They’re happening at such an alarming rate that, as a culture, we don’t have time to recover from one to the other. Adding to the problem is the perception (maybe just my own perception) that the current administration is determined to fuel the flames of racial tension. There are a number of things that must change if this trend is going to be turned around. I’m certainly no expert, ….but I care, and it’s something I think about. There’s some practical things that we, as individuals…and Christian individuals more specifically, can do. But, first, a few things that would certainly help the dilemma.

  1. As a society we need to come to the realization….and the conclusion that “All Lives Matter”, and then flesh it out! As simple as that seems….it’s not being done.
  2. It seems that there’s an agenda to divide us all. “A house divided can’t stand”. We need to resist the temptation to be divided
  3. There needs to be more ‘voices of reason’ rising up among the black community. It’s just my opinion but there needs to be more Ben Carson, Allen West, David Brown (Dallas Police Chief) and David Clark (Sherriff, Milwaukee)….and less Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan.
  4. Responsibility in the media; Stop politicizing every. single .thing.! Stop giving airtime to race-baiters and hate groups.
  5. We need the help from the highest office! Racial tension is the highest since the 60’s! My opinion again, but not only are we not getting help…Obama is adding fuel to the fire.
  6.  The church needs to ‘rise up’!  We should be the voice of truth and reason during these uncertain times. The answers and solutions for the world’s deepest problems should come from the church! It’s gonna take a lot of help from the Lord to sort this one out! *We can’t be uninvolved!

I’ll write in Part 2 the things we can do as individuals. America has been the greatest nation on the planet. We’re at a juncture. What we do here will determine our fate for generations. It’s that important!

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Dependently Independent!

Sounds like an oxymoron, right! But not so. On this day that we celebrate Independence Day, it prompted me to think about our spiritual life and what’s been done for us but the Lord Jesus Christ.

240 years ago today the Declaration of Independence was signed. We became The United States of America on that day. We came out from under what was perceived to be unfair oppression from Great Britain. The Revolutionary War, which would recored more than 10,000 casualties, ensued and would continue for several more years. But the 13 colonies would prevail and bought for us freedom….and the reality of a sovereign nation. The Biblical principles that this nation was founded on is one of the key reasons that the United States of America is still the greatest nation on the planet.

Liberty is an important word as it relates to a nation….and it’s an important word as it relates to our spiritual state, as well. There are some amazing similarities  between the liberty we enjoy as American citizens….and the liberty we enjoy as born-again believers. The 13 colonies were under unfair oppression from Great Britain. Mankind was under the oppression of our sin nature. In the revolutionary war bloodshed was required to win our freedom. Those soldiers were willing to lay down their life for the possibility of true freedom. But the purchase of our ‘spiritual freedom’ was vastly different; there was only One Who was wiling to lay down His life for our freedom. And, that sacrifice was the only thing that would be able to buy our freedom. It would be available for anyone in every generation….and the only requirement is that we’d just believe!

Freedom might be more valuable than we can consciously understand. Since we’ve never experienced it otherwise in America we can’t imagine what it’d be like to not live in a free nation. Immigrants to America might have a better perspective on that than we do. Our spiritual freedom is, likewise, extremely valuable if you consider the alternative. It’d probably do us some good if we did that from time to time.

But freedom can be a tricky thing if we’re not careful. If a nation strays away from the Godly, and Biblical principles she was founded on, lawlessness and chaos is likely to ensue. It’s also true of our spiritual condition. We were ‘given’ our absolute freedom….from sin, and from the Law. But to continue on without the guidance of those same principles and the help of the Holy Spirit……Well, you can just imagine the outcome.

The wise person will develop a keen understanding of their spiritual freedom….and even though we’ve been given total independence…..we’ll take that independence and willingly become ‘dependent’ on Him! That’s what I call ‘Dependently Independent’!

So, on this day, I choose to be mindful of, and extremely grateful for, the freedom that we have as Americans…and I also choose to be mindful, and grateful, for the freedom I’ve been given in Christ Jesus!

Another one you might enjoy:

I’m All For Celebrating ‘Independence Day’, But I Think We Need A ‘Dependence Day’ Too!

“Freedom’s Just Another Word” …… But It’s a Whole Lot More Than That!

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“Freedom’s Just Another Word” …… But It’s a Whole Lot More Than That!

“Freedom’s Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose”; Kristofferson penned those words a generation ago. It’s really one of the great songs of any genre. And in my opinion nobody comes close to Janis Joplin’s rendition of it…although Roger Miller does run a good second; Waylon knocks it out of the park, as well (although I’m a little partial!). Kris wasn’t at all talking about the freedom that we have here in the USA, it was more of a love song, of sorts. And while I love that line in the song, on a day like today I think of freedom in an altogether different way.

With all that’s going on in America today, and as challenging as the future may be, we still have our freedom. There are countless billions around the planet that have never experienced this thing called freedom; it’s a word alien to their understanding. And for us, who have experienced it to the fullest extent of any nation on the globe, I think we should at least stop for a minute, say thanks, and think a little bit of what we really have.  Freedom didn’t just happen; it was fought for….NO, I mean really fought for! Thousands of patriotic Americans have given their lives so we can live free, and do the things that we do. For me, I don’t necessarily think I ever took our freedom for granted. But I remember years back after first watching, “Saving Private Ryan” (If you haven’t seen it, you need to!!), and looking through some tears that maybe, just maybe, I didn’t give freedom the ‘value’ that it really deserves.

So, today, as we celebrate our freedom it would serve us well to stop for a moment and reflect on all that’s been labored for…for us to be free! And even if “she left you somewhere near Salinas”, or even if you’re “busted flat in Baton Rouge” …….you’re still free! So “pull your harpoon out of your dirty red bandana” and blow something Red, White & Blue!

I say we enjoy it!!

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