Dabo Swinney talk

Attached is a link to Coach Swinney’s talk here in Columbus.  It’s long but it is full of wisdom.  He did a great job and poured so much of himself into the talk.  He left nothing on the field.  If you have children, I promise you, there are many lessons in this talk that will help you with your kids.

What you will see come through in this talk is here is a man who came from a terrible background but he persevered.  As he likes to say, “There is no handicap in life except a bad attitude”.   He had a clear vision for what he wanted the Clemson program to be about and the impact he wanted it to have on the players entrusted to him.  He has a strong faith and he knew God had a purpose for his life beyond “self” – exactly what we’ve been talking about these past few weeks.

God clearly had a purpose and mission for Dabo Swinney and he is living it out and in so doing, is impacting so many.

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Comfort must fall (pt 2)

Here are the slides from this morning … Comfort must fall

Like fear, the giant of comfort is sneaky – especially in the American church.  It is so easy to slip into the luxury of comfort, the safety of “home”, the deception that your ministry field is contained to just the four walls of your family.  There is so much more you are called to do.  Jesus came to this world with a gigantic mission and He left us to fulfill that mission.  The need in this community is a desperate one.  The kids your kids hang out with … need the Gospel.  Their parents do.  The other dads you hunt with or stand with at the ball field … need the Gospel.  Your neighbors do, your co-workers.

Louie Giglio reminded us last week … “The giant of comfort is all about getting us to settle for the easy road and slowly slipping into the mentality of “I want my life to be a stress-free, pain-free, difficulty-free life while I celebrate a Savior who had a life exactly the opposite of that.”

Truth is, too many of us have settled into the pursuit of our comfort as the operating system for our lives.

Our faith thrives best in times of discomfort.  Shakings come along in life and it is usually in those times of great shaking, great uncertainty, that God does His greatest work in our lives.  You must fight the temptation to seek comfort.  It truly is a daily denial of self.  It is turning away from “Me-ism” and looking outward … daily.  It’s a fight because our flesh and our enemy war against this desire.  The last thing the enemy wants is for you to live beyond self, outward for others.  But this is precisely how Jesus lived His life.

McManus said today – Love always builds for others. It looks beyond our convenience. You don’t give money so church can be more comfortable for you, more convenient for you, easier for youIf you’ve already experienced the life-changing presence of Jesus, it doesn’t need to get any easier for you.  If you have been set free by the power and love of Jesus, you’ve been set free for a reason, to do a great work to advance God’s kingdom.”

Jesus came to build for others.  He did not come for convenience, a cushy retirement and every luxury He could accumulate.  John Piper once said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like this – find the treasure, feel the joy, forsake the stuff.”  Amen.

Blessings to all of you this Christmas season.  Live outside self.  Minimize “me”.  Pour out into others.  Forgive quickly.  Love always.  Fight the good fight.  LiveUP!

Comfort … must fall

Why didn’t Saul fight?  He had the tools.  He was a warrior.

We sit in comfortable churches celebrating a Savior who lived a very uncomfortable life.  I want to make sure in my life that I don’t miss God’s purpose and plan in life and the payoff in eternity, because the giant of comfort has got a hold of me.

The giant of comfort is a sneaky giant.  It is possible we will miss out on God’s purpose because we chose the easy route.  “My crops are amazing.  Look at my barns.  So, we’re going to eat and drink and be merry because I’ve got plenty”And Jesus cut him short by saying … “You fool”  — (You do not want Jesus calling you a fool) —  “This very day, your number is up and you’re going to give a full account of your life to God”.

Jesus came with a purpose and a mission.  He did not come to choose the easiest path, to have a balanced life, and to retire in luxury.  He came to fulfill a mission and when He left, He gave me a mission.  “While you are on earth, do what I did.”

This giant is about settling for the easy road and slowly slipping into the mentality of, “I want my life to be a stress-free, pain-free, difficulty-free life while I celebrate a Savior who had a life exactly the opposite of that.”  Whoa.

They endured 40 days of taunting – but they were comfortable.  They had their tents, their fires and meals were being delivered to them.  But, they did not fight.  David comes along and accomplishes the mission in about 40 minutes.

Do not let comfort be the thing that keeps you from God’s purpose in your life.

All through scripture, we are taught that our faith actually thrives best in discomfort.  In scripture, think of the person who chose the easy route, who lived in ease, whose life was described by comfort, who never took a chance and suffered a loss … and plays a significant role in the story of God from beginning to end.  Who is that character?  No one.

None of the heroes and legends of faith had an easy road.  Faith thrives in discomfort.

Jesus – in the place of greatest discomfort – bought us all the benefit we have in our relationship with God.

Who has the most urgency in their faith?  The secret church in China or all of us in our American worship centers?  Who has the urgency in their prayer life?  Who has the urgency in reading the Word to know God more closely?  Whose very life depends upon their faith?

Faith flourishes in hostile territory because faith at its heart is counter-culture.  We are counter-cultural people in a broken world heading to an eternal destination.  We have a different view of life beyond just what we can get in the here and now.  Jesus calls us to this mentality, this lifestyle.

In times of no job, no purpose, unsettled and frustrated – it is soil such as this that you’d think your faith would die but, it is the very best soil for God to move in.

Out of the fog of discomfort, the Gospel pops up.  We look back and see “Wow, that was amazing.  There was so much discomfort, but God did so much.”  We don’t choose discomfort and that’s why God usually chooses it for us.  We need assistance in cutting the rope, so we can drift out into the current where God wants to move.

How do you defeat the giant of comfort?  You partner with Jesus.  “Jesus, I want to be wherever you are, do what you are doing and mission where you want to minister.”  It’s not the easy way but rather the Jesus way – it is the path of true significance.

The Glory of God (part 2)

Here are the slides from today > The Glory of God

At some point in your life, God appeared in your story – “and the Glory of God shone all around them and they were terrified” When God appears, your story changes.  He is beyond all comprehension.

Sometimes this happens quite innocently – you’re 12 years old, off at a church youth camp and God moves on your soul and you accept Jesus as your Savior.  For others of us, this moment comes when at the depth of our depravity and sin, we reach a level of brokenness that can only be saved by a miracle … and God … shows up.  Others of us have pursued our flesh, chased our pleasures, sought after money and possessions to medicate our broken souls and a friend introduces us to perhaps a better way … and we meet Jesus for the first time.

Whatever the case, when God truly comes into your life, whenever God moves upon your soul – your life will never be the same.  And you will know by the fruit it bears.  You will know it when that man walks away from his selfish desires of “me first” and changes seemingly overnight.  You know it when the drug dealer becomes a missionary.  You know it when a woman stands to testify and she can barely get the words out of her mouth about how radically transformed her life is because of Jesus.  HE is who we worship.  HE is why we praise.  HE is why we stand and sing and dance and why we move towards others in love as brothers.  HE is why we give up worldly pleasures to chase after more of God.  To God be ALL the Glory!

The missionary Jim Elliott famously said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” Let that soak in.

And so this morning, We challenged the current status quo and asked some tough questions.  Why are you saved?  Is it for prosperity?  Is it so you can be comfortable?  So you can lead a blessed and prosperous life?  So you can keep your faith to yourself because you’re really not comfortable intruding into others lives with a discussion of spirituality?

Why are you saved?

What purpose did God have in mind when He rescued you?  What is your calling?  What is your divine purpose?  You possess the most valuable treasure in the universe – a God who loved you so much that He GAVE Jesus … for you.  He did so … for a reason.  You have a role to play in HIStory.  What is it?

The problem with the “why are you saved?” question is that for many of us, we’ve fallen into the trap of living out an inverted theology.  Instead of “Glory to God in the highest” as our first and foremost, we’re living out “my” story.  It’s me.  Mine.  My glory.  My accomplishments.  The success of my kids.  The success of my career.  My pleasure.  My consumption.  My gratification.  My trips.  My luxuries.  My comfort.

To that end, I ask you, “If your sin is not gluttonous and ravenous, then what is it?”  I mean really.  Let’s just say it like it is.  Indeed, my sin is both full of a gluttonous, and ravenous hunger that cannot be quenched.  There isn’t enough sex, isn’t enough gratification, isn’t enough pleasure or money or applause, approval, devotion, attention to fill the hole in my soul.

And you know this too by its fruit – a man cannot sin in isolation.  His ravenous appetite for “more” always brings collateral damage to others.

The inverted theology explains so much.  It explains all the Goliath’s in our life and why they are so powerful.  It explains why we leave our church because the music is too loud or not reverent enough.  We leave because the kids program isn’t exactly how we think it needs to be or because the pastor won’t take the political side we need him to take.  We are there in church as a consumer.  Inverted theology fully explains the prosperity “gospel” because, after all, it is all about “me” and God wanting to bless me.  Inverted theology explains why we’ve watered down the Gospel, won’t take controversial stands and why we’ve embraced a “politically correct” stance.  We’re making it all about us instead of being all about God and what HE is doing.

I fear we’ve lost sight of that radical God and the earth-shattering transformations He has brought about in our lives.  When you know that God, you will chase after Him with all your might.  You will worship and sign and dance and you’ll not care what others may think about you.  You’ll “get” what Jim Elliott was talking about.  The things of this earth won’t satisfy and you know it.  You’ll want more of God and less of the world.  God saved you for a reason, for a divine purpose.  We live in a toxic “me-first” world and we have an enemy just waiting for the chance to trip us up and lure us into a self-absorbed lifestyle.  He lulls us into a spiritual complacency and a “nice, comfortable” Christianity and as Louie said last week, the enemy is fine with that as long as you invert.  If you make the story about you and your wonderful life, he is fine with you adding, “Oh, and I worship a great God”. 

What the enemy fears is you waking up to what is going on and re-inverting the story to put God rightfully back up on top of the story.  Now it is HIStory and I have a supporting role to play.  I will go anywhere, do anything He calls me to.  Will I have worldly success and all the creature comforts?  Surely not but I am giving up things I cannot keep anyway for treasure I can never lose.  A man told me today about a young girl hoping to go to North Korea as a missionary… North Korea!  He said, “that’s pretty risky” and she said, “Oh I never envisioned entering heaven with all my arms and legs anyway”.  Wow.

What are you going to do with all this … ?