Friday, December 11, 2009

Forever Blue

Tonight the Northside Eagles of Warner Robins, Georgia play in the state championship for the fourth time in 5 years. It doesn't seem that long ago that I put on the pads for that team and suited up for the greatest sport on earth. Actually it's been a while and it is disgusting how old I feel when I put things in perspective.

Not only am I old enough to have a child on that field but I am old enough too have one in college. When my father was my age, I was in my 4th year of college. My oldest child is 14 and my youngest 2 with my middle child 10.  I still have a way to go raising my family but everything is happening too fast. My kids are growing up too fast. Yet, the past doesn't seem that far away.

I can still smell the fresh mowed grass on the practice field at Northside. I can feel the burn of the sweltering heat and humidity that would make me stagger like a drunk when it got near unbearable. I can remember the stench in the varsity dressing room where sweaty pads and equipment hung, I remember when the first cool weather of fall was welcomed on the field as it rejuvenated an otherwise tired and drained bunch of young men. I remember feeling like superman on a Friday night, tearing through a defensive line to clear the way for yardage to be made. I remember the animal rage that built up inside and how great it felt to unleash it upon the opponent. I remember the drums of the band roaring like thunder in cadence. Very rarely did we taste defeat and when we did it was as bitter as anything I've ever swallowed. I remember gathering on cold Saturday mornings after the game to stretch out soreness we had from the night before and evaluate any injuries sustained during the game. Those memories will always seem like just yesterday. God bless the young men who suit up tonight to rage war for the top prize. For those of you that will play in your last game, may this always seem like just yesterday for you as well,  for the grass on the practice field always smells fresh cut.

Go Big Blue!

Friday, December 4, 2009

People Suck......God Loves Us Anyway.

I was saved way back in high school. However, I didn't know how to be a Christian and probably had some misconception of what a Christian is. Although I accepted Christ as my savior I still wandered lost in a world of sin with no repentance.

In my second year of college I was baptized. Still, I had no true direction other than I needed Jesus in my life. I continued to wander lost in a world of sin with no intentions to repent. Shortly after this my life went into a tailspin of sin as I feel I had become the pure embodiment of hell on earth. I tore others apart in my sinful rampage. Not only was I not a good Christian but I wasn't even a good person. I had pushed Jesus back into a small corner of my heart and tried to forget he was there. Still, He burned on in my heart like a pilot light flickering in an unused furnace, waiting to be turned on. There was no love in my life and certainly none in my heart. At least that is what I thought.

Eventually I finished college and lived through the carnage that had become my life. I eventually focused on career and met the lady that is the love of my life and luckily for me, became my wife. We started a family and the furnace was turned on so love could burn in my heart, warming the walls of what had been a cold void. We found a church for us to go to with our first child. I was trying to be a Christian or at least what I thought one should be. The church politics became heated and festered resentment in my heart for the church and the people in it. Church is no place for politics I thought. How dare these people taint the house of God with greed, thirst for power, and the fear of the unknown. I quit going to church and started to resent everything the "church" represented or at least what I thought it represented.

As I look back now I can easily see what went wrong. Jesus never turned his back on me. People with good intentions however, failed me three times. First when I was saved but given no direction. Second when I was Baptized but not guided. Third when I turned to the church and only saw people. Unfortunately people suck. Even in the very house of God where love should spread like wildfire, the sins of people do exist. Our imperfections as such will not change and only by the love of God do we have any salvation. Without the love of God we are hopeless. That thought is what made me realize that I was as hopeless as the politics within the church. People are going to make regretful mistakes. They are going to make them in dirty alleys and they are going to make them in the house of God. Still, He loves us. He forgives us. We too often forget that we have the ability to Love and Forgive as well.

Colosians 3:12-14

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Of all places where people should have love, compassion, and forgiveness for each other, the church should be first. An outsider looking in should be able to see the love of God at work. It should be at work within the hearts of people as imperfect as we are. For the love of God is the only perfect thing we have. What a sin to take that for granted.