Tag: friends

How Big Is The Game?

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I’ve mentioned this before. More than once.

I really like football. Especially the National Football League.

Just like a lot of folks throughout the nation.

But is that a good thing?

Lately, I’ve been going through a period of introspection; asking myself why I do or don’t do certain things. Why is entertainment so important to me? And specifically, why is the NFL so much a part of my life?

How big is the game…to me? How about you?

In just a couple of days, two teams, supposedly the best two out of a league of thirty two, will meet to decide which team is the World Champion.

And finally, after 60 minutes of playing time, two hours of instant replays and commercials, and thirty minutes during which a typically bawdy halftime show “entertains” the viewers, the Lombardi Trophy will be presented to the new champions; the Super Bowl XLIX World Champions.

Why is it such a popular game? Why do I enjoy it so much? Again, just how big is the game?

American Football has been around since 1892, but its popularity didn’t really take off until after that first Super Bowl game, which was played on January 15, 1967. Since then, and especially over the last twenty five years, Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest party days of the year!

I keep asking myself, “Is America’s obsession with sports a good thing?” And, more importantly, “Is MY obsession with football a good thing for me?”

Has the big game become too big…for me? For you?

Can I love both the game AND the Lord at the same time? Can I actually skip watching the big game, and not feel like I’m missing out on something? Not mope around like I’m being punished.

What would happen if I didn’t watch the game, or periodically check the score on my smartphone? Would my actions affect the game’s outcome?

What would I miss? What could I do with the three plus hours I would save by keeping the TV off?

I might miss some great plays. I could miss a few funny commercials. And yes, I just might even miss fellowshipping with my football buddies.

And there’s always the cheerleaders and halftime show to consider. “But I never see the cheerleaders…” Sure, Mike, sure.

But what could I gain by not letting the Super Bowl become so super in my life this year?

I just may have an opportunity to REALLY connect with friends. Something beyond an occasional high five, or, “Hey, bring me some chips on your way back from the kitchen!”

Maybe I’d have time to really appreciate my wife, and not just the party food she prepares for the Big Game. I could turn the control of the TV’s remote over to her for the evening and watch something she’d enjoy, instead.

Who knows? Perhaps I would find the time to read and meditate God’s word. Have a minute or two to pray. Quiet my heart enough to hear the Ruler of the Universe speak to my soul.

Like I said, I’m doing some serious thinking about my love for football. As far as I can tell, football has never added anything of real value to my life. Maybe it’s given you a lot, and that’s cool.

But honestly, I believe I just may be able to live without it.

Maybe I will.

“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times…” (Luke 21:34 – 21:36 NLT)

Longtime Friends

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Have you ever considered the value of friendship? I’m not referring to Facebook friends, or people who are merely an acquaintance.

No, I’m talking about people who will walk with you through thick and thin, good times and bad times, whether you have a lot or little.

Friends.

My wife and I are so blessed. We have friends we’ve known for a long time; some for thirty and forty years. They’re scattered all over the country, with some even living on a different continent.

Florida, California, Washington, New York, just to name a few of the places our friends call home.

And, of course, we have great friends right here in central Iowa.

We were visiting some friends in the hospital the other day, and as we were walking back to our car I began to realize how special long time friends really are.

Why are they so special?

Because of all you’ve invested into each other’s lives.

Time, tears, and treasure. Maybe even a few trinkets along the way.

Laughter, love, and lessons learned. Last minute lunches just to catch up.

Phone calls, emails, post cards that say, “Wish you were here” (and you really mean it).

Prayers, problems, and even the deep pain of losing a loved one.

Friends grieve with you, rejoice with you, because friends love you.

Don’t ever take for granted, abuse or misuse, someone you know. Long time friends begin as casual acquaintances. Some never make it past being just someone you’ve met, but some do. Those who do may become someone whom God uses to invest much into your life, and you into theirs. And that’s beautiful.

One more thought while I’m at it. My wife and I have known each other for over forty two years. And besides being married, we’re also lovers, partners, and friends. Yes, friends. Longtime friends.

“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
(Proverbs 18:24 NLT)

What Do You Have Against Jesus?

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“What do you have against Jesus?”

“So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” (John 18:29-30 ESV)

The evening prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, Jewish leaders brought Jesus to Pilate. Treating him worse than a common criminal, they demanded attention from Pilate. As Pilate observed the abuse, he asked them a simple question.

“What did he do?”

They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.”

What an answer! Pilate thought so as well. He told them, “Look, take him out of here and give him the punishment he deserves. But leave me alone.”

“But we want him dead!” That got Pilate’s attention.

Pilate had never met anyone who claimed to be God. But that’s why the religious leaders were so much against their prisoner; his claims were blasphemous, they said, and he deserved to die.

However, God vindicated Jesus by raising him from the dead. Case closed.

Well, not exactly.

Nowdays, for some strange reason, people all over the world have an issue with Jesus. People who have never met him talk as though they have personally witnessed his crimes against humanity. They act like he’s some kind of war criminal, or a person who’s bilked millions out of their life savings.

People will discuss religion, God, their church, their youth group, and even the amount of money they donate to charity. But mention, even briefly, the Name of Jesus…and some of those same people become red faced, their hands begin shaking, and you just know they’re about to call 911 and have you arrested.

Why? What does the world have against Jesus?

Has he ever been on the FBI’s most wanted list? Did he ever rob a store?

He’s been misunderstood, that’s for sure.

But did he ever make a promise he didn’t keep? Did he ever violate even just one of the Ten Commandments?

Did he ever speak ugly about labor unions or endorse Walmart?

As far as I can tell, his record’s clean. If my memory serves me correctly, all he ever did was love and help people.

Well, on second thought, he has been known to associate with some pretty shady characters. Rumor has it, he even had a prostitute as a friend. He took a little boy’s lunch one day, and acted like it was his own.

Once he interrupted a funeral. He actually had the audacity to open the coffin and raise the young man from the dead. Such inconsideration! No wonder people don’t like him.

Yeah, and there’s another time he ruined a perfectly good fishing net of Peter’s. Those things aren’t cheap at all. I heard that’s why he gave Peter a position in his organization; to keep him quiet.

He let his temper get away from him one day, and in the Temple of all places!

Also, shortly after he had John baptize him in the Jordan River, he was seen walking into the desert with the devil right behind him. He seemed to hang out with seedy looking characters, that’s for sure.

He had a couple of his associates steal a donkey one time. And (this is huge) he told his body guards to buy a sword; in spite of all of the sword control laws!

Sure, a lot of people say they were helped by him, those many years ago. But what has he done for people lately?

Is there anyone who will stand up and testify on his behalf?

Reader, I ask you: “What do YOU have against Jesus? What has he done to you or your family?”

Do you care to respond?

If Jesus was on trial today, would you be a witness for the prosecution?

Or, would you rather testify for the defense?

Please comment. I’d really like to know why you either despise Jesus, or love Jesus.

Thank you.

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