Archive for January, 2014

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I had the opportunity recently to hear a former major league pitcher speak at a meeting of the Better Men; an organization designed for a similar purpose as this blog, to assist and support men as they walk down the journey of life. Bob Scanlan, who pitched in the 90’s with the Phillies, Cubs and the Brewers talked a little about his career in Baseball, his current one in broadcasting, as well as some great Baseball stories. More importantly, he emphasized a whole lot about being humble. He made the statement that I really liked and will really resonate well with this audience when he said, “there are two kinds of people, those who are humble and those who are about to be”. Coming from a guy who played on one of the biggest stages, that was refreshing to hear.

But it wasn’t always that way, early on he was like many of the guys we see on the court or the field in the professional ranks, he was full of himself and acted as if the entire world revolves around him. As a result, Scanlan went through some real lows early in his career that caused him to change but his biggest change came when he accepted Jesus Christ into his life as his personal savior. The irony was that even after his experience with God, more bad career news followed; he got cut because he wasn’t living up to the expectations that people had in him…poor performance caused him to hit a new low in his life. What’s interesting though is he didn’t give up. He kept on persevering and slowly, over time he became a better pitcher and eventually got his break in the big leagues and he never looked back…

He told a story about a particular Sunday when he was pitching for the Brewers and he was preparing to face a very powerful hitting Indians lineup that included Albert Bell. As the beginning of the game neared, he knew he was ready and put his game face on… however before the game began, it was a Sunday tradition that local little leaguers would accompany the players to their positions for the national anthem. Scanlan was completely focused on the ensuing game and was not paying attention until he noticed the whole stadium had gone quiet. When he looked around to see why, he realized there was a boy in a wheelchair on his way to his mound and was struggling to get over the baselines where the dirt and grass met. When the little boy finally made it to where Scanlan was standing, he looked up with a huge smile on his face. When their eyes met, tears suddenly welled up in Scanlan’s eyes and he turned away from the child during the anthem so no one would see him cry…

When he went to shake the boy’s hand, he told his parents “your son is a blessing” and they both responded “we know”. Then he proceeded to go out and have one of the worst games of his career by giving up multiple runs in the first inning and he was out of the game by the second. Whatever intensity Scanlan had worked up before the game, had been lost as a result of the encounter with the boy.

After the game, Scanlan was angry. He was mad at the Brewers and Little League for having a day like this that screwed up his focus and caused him to fail. He had worked very hard to prepare for that game and he was gone before he had a chance to know what was happening. He struggled with a poor attitude for almost 2 months until it hit him…on that Sunday, that little boy silenced a crowd of over 30,000 people and even made a major league pitcher cry simply by his efforts just to get to the mound. On that day, he realized that life was not about him focusing hard to throw a baseball and win, it was about how he could touch people and impact them. How many of us get caught up in how great WE are and forget about what’s really important. Think about it, nothing you have ever done for YOURSELF has EVER been life changing for anyone else. Personally, nothing I’ve ever done for me has ever made a difference in this world…it’s only what I have done for other people that changed lives.

Guys, do you remember Scanlan’s earlier statement about being humble? “There are two kinds333-310Bk of people, those who are humble and those who are about to be…”

Which one are you? My challenge to you today is to work to get focused on what you can do to make an impact on someone else. It is SO EASY to do things for you, WE DO THAT EVERYDAY…but I am asking you to look around and see what you can do for the guy next to you. Then maybe the next time I see you we can say to each other…

“Hey brother, I just wanted to tell you that humility looks very good on you…”

Until next time guys…

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opinions_freewill2I was listening to another Podcast recently and something that Andy Stanley from North Point Ministries said struck a chord within me. How many of us actually do what we know we should do 100% of the time? This would mean when temptation strikes you and for that period of time where all of us have a choice, sin or not sin, how many of us really make the right choice? In my opinion, probably not very many of us could raise our hands here because that statement is very near impossible. In fact, Paul struggled with the very thing and asked the very same question:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.?” Romans 7: 15-20

Honestly, its kind of encouraging that I struggle with the same things the Apostle Paul did but that is another blog post…the point I am trying to make here is that Paul is simply saying that what causes us to do the things we shouldn’t ALREADY LIVES inside of you and me. Honestly, we were born with it…into it…and it covers us…what is “it”…

Sin…

I don’t know about you but it drives me crazy when I find myself literally doing something that I told myself not to, 30 minutes prior…and that happens all the time! Why do I let myself fall into the same pit over and over again? Honestly guys, it’s a human problem that affects everyone who was ever born on this earth. It started when our buddy Adam sinned inside the garden and that single act affected mankind forever…and without the cross, we were absolutely doomed!

But you already know all of that…

Lets get back to Paul…because he is pointing out something that affects you and me and he is asking the same questions we do. If I was to summarize what Paul is saying I would say, “Why do we let SIN control our lives?” I think that sometimes we are sold short on the idea that we get to sin all week and then on the weekend, come to church to wipe our “sin slate” clean. That was NOT Gods intent. His intent was that you live a life of freedom from sin all of the time. Well how does one do that? Let me tell you what Andy Stanley said from above to help all of us:

The 3 “D’s”

DECLARE – SIN IS NOT MY MASTER. Say that out loud to yourself…seriously, say it. SIN IS NOT MY MASTER. You don’t have to let sin control you. You don’t have to let sin reign, or be in charge, of your mortal body.

DECIDE – You have a choice to say NO to sin. I am speaking the truth to you guys. You can decide to not let sin rule over you. Everyday, Satan will secretly ask you if he can borrow your mind for a while so you can think about something you know you shouldn’t.

Do not lend Satan control any part of your physical body in order to sin.

DEVOTE – Every part of your life to God. Take a chance and be humble by submitting every part of your body during your prayer time to God.

Guys, look at what he is saying…YOU HAVE A CHOICE. SIN IS A CHOICE…saying NO to sin is literally the hardest thing in the world but yet at the same time, to overcome sin…well that is something a warrior would do…defeat an adversary in a battle.

Paul said it this way:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

Guys, all He is saying is this: as long as you stay focused on Him, each day, living our your life with your eyes pointed towards heaven…YOU ARE FREE TO MAKE A CHOICE AND HAVE VICTORY OVER SIN.

Does that mean you will stop sinning? Heck no, remember Adam from above? Sin seems to be a part of our DNA but with Christ, we can overcome…

Guys, I challenge you today when you get up each morning to say out loud…Sin is not my master. Say it as many times as necessary until you believe this in your heart, then you can have that victory I know you seek…

Until next time guys,

Andy Stanley is the Pastor of  North Point Church and  North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. His Videos and Podcasts are available at yourmove.is.