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Thursday, October 18, 2007


Hello my friends out there in blogville. I know that most of you are going through withdrawals because I have not posted in two weeks. I think that now everyone will understand how much really appreciate this blog. The old saying is that absence makes the heart grow fonder so now I am sure that you all are extra fond of this blog.

Actually I just wasn't inspired with anything last week to bring to you and I know that my blog readers expect nothing less than excellence and so I took a week off to prepare again for excellence.

I have a couple of updates for you. First of all, most of you will remember that about 4 0r 5 weeks ago I submitted a post that had my fellow staff member and my good friend (and my wife's boss :)) Mr. Bartlett's picture and I put it on there just to poke some fun at my pal. In case you don't remember here is what the picture looked like:

For some reason Bartlett didn't take to well to this picture, and he must not have liked it posted on the World Wide Web for all of my faithful fans out there to read. So Bartlett did something that deserves my respect... he sent me another picture. Here it is:

I made it a little bit smaller, because well I need to guard my friend against getting an ego. In other words I made his head smaller to keep him from getting big headed. :) But I will be honest with you... I like the first pic better. It makes me giggle. So that is this weeks survey question... which Bartlett do you like better: Big Headed or Small Headed.

Which brings me to my next point. I got some of you to fall for the oldest trick in the Christian joke book. Last week's survey asked how many of each kind of animal did Moses take on the ark. 4 people said 2, 1 person said 4, and 3 people said zero... and the answer is ZERO! Because Moses didn't take any animals on the ark, it was Noah so congratulations you three and for the other five... better luck next time... and for the other 199 people that viewed my blog since the survey was posted... answer the stinking questions!

Okay, one more order of business, and I know it is what you have all been waiting for... my Derrick Brooks picture. Without any further ado here it is:

Can you tell how incredibly nervous I was? I cannot believe that I was that close to the greatest football player in Buccaneer history! It was quite a night! In the picture with me is (from left to right, top to bottom) Doc Murphy, foot doctor and chaplain for the Haines City High football team; his wife, chaplain for the cheerleaders; my wife, the most beautiful woman God ever created; me; Coach Sam Wyche; and Mr. Derrick Brooks.

Now onto the meat of this post. I have been teaching the students at NRC the past few weeks something that I think I want to share with all of you, my faithful blog readers. I have been teaching a series called Lessons From the Master. The premise of the message is to sum up all of Jesus' teachings into four easy to remember lessons. I have been coming from the angle of if Jesus were physically standing in front of you and could only tell you four things what would they be? Of course, this is only speculation, but after much prayer and preparation I was ready to teach this series and would feel ready to give an account for my teachings.

So the first week was pretty simple it was to Love God. And we talked about loving God as your Abba Father. In other words to love Him as your daddy who can protect you from life's hurts. The second week we learned to Love Others and we looked a little more deeply at what love really is. We talked about the three different Greek words for love; Eros- physical love, Phileo- brotherly love and Agape- unconditional love. And when the Bible says to love your neighbor as yourself it means to love EVERYONE UNCONDITIONALLY! Wow! That is tough.

But last night's message was the most difficult for me because it is So Hard. Last night's message was to Love Truth. We looked very closely at the world's truth and at God's truth. The world believes that right and wrong is based on how you feel and the circumstances you are in and God's truth is absolute.

Let me give you an example that will rock your world. Imagine a woman is living on the streets with her daughter and neither one of them has eaten in three days. The mother decides to steal an apple to feed her daughter... is it still wrong to steal?

The answer is yes and will always be yes. Just because the truth is difficult doesn't make it any less true. Stealing is wrong always. That woman's circumstances are difficult and the world would say that in that situation it is perfectly okay to steal, but the Bible says that it is wrong to steal. Period.

I was trying to get these students to understand that all of their outside influences are telling them that truth can change and to do whatever is good for you, but the Bible says that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and that is never changing.

My goal in posting this, the same as teaching it last night, is not to condemn anyone. I told you up front that this was very hard. My goal is to get you to think about where you get your concept of truth. Do you get it from the outside world or do you get it from the Word of God?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Christ Follower

Hello everybody, hope you have had a good week.
It has been a bit of a disappointing week in blogville. We have had good numbers, and for some reason we had excellent weekend numbers last weekend, but we also have had some disappointments. First of all, I have not yet heard from Jimmy Blewett's people, but I am holding out hope that someone in New Jersey will read my blog and the word of mouth will spread, and I can meet my long lost race car driver relative. Second disappointment in blogville this week is that our 500th reader did not email me. I imagine it took place on Saturday and I am guessing it was as a result of someone catching on through or some other site that links me over and so the person probably has no idea who I am, but I still want to know if you were the 500th reader PLEEEEEASE let me know, I want to congratulate you.
Now moving from disappointment to utter bliss, outside of blogville in a place I like to call The Real World I had one of the greatest nights of my life this week. On Monday I was invited to sit at the VIP table at the annual fall banquet for FCA. This was initially a huge thrill for me! Not only have I never been a VIP before and not only did I know that FCA has a reputation of serving great steaks at their banquets, but I was excited because the key note speaker was Sam Wyche.

This is a picture of him back in the day coaching the Bucs and talking to our quarterback Craig Erickson. I am so glad we don't have those uniforms anymore and I am so glad we have a better QB. In school they used to say of the Bucs: Be Understanding Craig Stinks B.U.C.S.

Anyhow, I was excited to meet him, I knew that he used to go to the church that I got saved at, FBC Tampa and I also knew that he drafted Derrick Brooks so I was very excited.

Well, Monday afternoon rolled around and I realized that I didn't know what time it started and how to get to where it was at, so I opened back up the email that I originally got from my good friend Carlos. I didn't originally realize that the email had an attachment, and when I opened it up I saw the flyer for the banquet, and yes Sam Wyche was to be there... BUT SO WAS DERRICK BROOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For those of you that don't understand what this means to me, Derrick Brooks has been my favorite player since he was drafted in 95. I could not have met anyone in the NFL that would have got me more excited than him. Not only is he a great player (10 pro bowls, 2006 pro bowl mvp, 2002 Defensive player of the Year) but he is also a great Christian man. And when I got saved in 96 the whole Christian thing was knew to me, so reading articles and listening to interviews from Derrick and Tony Dungy and Danny Wuerfful did a great deal in showing me that being a Christian doesn't mean you have to be stuffed into a "No Fun Box" and that you can do what you love and be a Christian influence.

So we got to the banquet and we immediately went into the VIP room and I was standing 5 feet away from Derrick and was awestruck. Coach Wyche was next to him and was getting no attention so he walked up to us and started talking to Heather and me. Ordinarily that would have been the highlight of my night but DB was standing next to me.

Charlie Warren (great man!) announced that we were to get with our table and take pictures with the coach and 55. So we did! They were sitting down and we stood behind them and I could have talked to Derrick Brooks right then, and... I froze! I couldn't get a word out. Luckily I have the best wife in the world and she leaned over and started talking to him on my behalf. She told him that she had to memorize all of his vital stats before we got married (which was true) and I chimed in with "It was part of the wedding vows." Then we took the picture and I managed to get out, "It was great meeting you."

I was so excited, but it wasn't over. Something great happened. Half of our table showed up late. So we had to take the picture again. This time I wasn't going to freeze up, I got a sharpie and asked him to sign my jersey... and he did. I have never been so excited in my life (except for on my wedding day), and the steak was great and Derrick gave a great speech and the coach was awesome as well. I hope to have that picture of us with the greatest player ever to post on my blog next week.

So that was my exciting night and I want to transition into something else. If you haven't noticed I have a added a few features on the page. There is a section at the bottom that will give you news on Christianity, Bucs, and Youth so you can utilize that and there are also a couple of videos attached to my page.

I urge you to watch these videos this week after you get done reading my blog because they post great points. The main point they are trying to convey is that there is no special way that a Christian is supposed to look. In other words, just because you have on your church suit with your offering envelope sticking out it doesn't make you any more or less of a Christian than the guy in ratty jeans and a t-shirt.

This is something that I learned from the likes of Derrick Brooks. When I got saved I had this thought of what a Christian should look like and he definitely didn't fit that mold. Coach Dungy says that he is a Christian that happens to coach football but he is a Christian first and foremost.

That word unfortunately has taken a huge hit in recent years and it almost has a negative connotation to it now. I love the phrase Christ follower because it really simplifies things. Jesus never wore suits. Jesus never stayed away from lost people because they weren't like him. Jesus never was unaccepting of anyone. Jesus was a man of love and compassion. I would love to think that one day when I have breathed my final breathe that it would be said of me very simply, "He was a Christ follower." It doesn't matter that I am a Pastor, that doesn't make me any more or less of Christian. All that matters is that I, like so many others in this world, am doing my best to live like Jesus lived, not like people have told me to live.

To live is Christ, to die is gain!