Anyone out there remember that
commercial?The best part of waking up
is Folgers in your cup. Do you also remember when the coffee choices at the
grocery store were pretty much Folgers and Maxwell House?
Depending on what study you believe, I either
drink too much coffee or I have just the right amount of coffee to get all the
great antioxidant benefits.
I just enjoy coffee.And I enjoy a great variety in my
coffee.This explains why there at least
eight different blends in my pantry right now.
When I was still pastor of Eagle Mountain
Baptist Church and Cross Timbers Coffee Company was open on Main Street in
Azle, it was pretty much my office annex.So many meetings happened there over good cups of coffee.So many conversations.So many prayers.And probably a few too many Paninis and
Muffins (but I digress).
When CTCC was about to close, I went in and
asked if I could buy one of the “house” mugs with the logo.This place, this coffee, these friends had
been such a part of my life that I wanted to have that memento.It became one of my irreplaceable losses when
my office building burned in 2010.
So, what brought about this little trip down
memory lane today?I woke up and poured
myself a cup of coffee and started thinking about the best part of waking
up.As much as I enjoy my coffee, it is
only part of the picture.
The best part of waking up is waking up and
seeing Mrs. Sweetie right there next to me where she has been for almost 28
years.The best part continues when I go
and select the cups from our varied collection and pour whichever blend I
selected and prepared the night before.The best part continues when I take her cup to the bedroom and mine to
my rocking chair by the living room window.The best part continues as I sip the coffee and open God’s word and
spend time with the One who made me, who gave me the gift of a soul-mate, a
roof over my head, good coffee, and a cup to drink it from.
The Bible says, “Every good and perfect gift
is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not
change like shifting shadows.” ( James 1:17)That means that I didn’t earn any of the blessings I have.I might have worked hard for them and
purchased them, but even the job I go to is a gift from God.That perspective certainly comes to the fore
in the present economy.
The Bible also says, “Trust in the Lord with
all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all
you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The best part of waking up is knowing that
our lives matter to God, He has provided more than we deserve, and He has a
purpose for us to honor Him in all of it.
Put that in your cup and savor it. It is good
to the last drop.
I think I might actually be glad that the
Denver Broncos lost their playoff game with the New England Patriots last
weekend.Not that I am a Patriots
fan.On the contrary, I wasn’t rooting
for them at all.I wanted the Broncos to
win primarily because I wanted Tim Tebow to succeed.
Whether you pay much attention to sports or
not, if you are not aware of Tim Tebow, you haven’t been paying attention. The
general consensus is that he is a good guy and a gifted athlete who somehow manages
to have success even though he doesn’t have the particular skills to be a
really great NFL quarterback.
That’s where consensus stops.
He also happens to be one of the most
outspoken Christian athletes we have ever seen.In our culture, that leads to controversy, not consensus.It really bugs a lot of people when he talks
about Jesus at every opportunity.It
bugs a lot of people that he is constantly bowing in prayer on the football
field—so much that “Te-bowing” has become a worldwide phenomenon.
The great John Elway who is now in charge of
operations for the Broncos team he quarterbacked to two Super Bowl wins in five
appearances, has suggested that faith and football don’t mix.Even some other well-known Christian athletes
have suggested that Tebow’s expressions may be a little over the top.
Our culture likes our entertainers (yes,
professional athletes are entertainers) to entertain.It’s admirable to strut, chest bump, taunt,
engage in outlandish behavior on and off the field, and then apologize and go
into rehab.It’s ok to be a person of
faith and conviction.Just be nice about
it and don’t talk about it too much.After all, does God really care who wins a football game?And aren’t these guys really phony anyway?
One of my favorite quotes from recent years
comes from the brilliant Christian thinker, Ravi Zacharias. “The charge of
hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue.”I might add “excessiveness” to
“hypocrisy”.We sometimes don’t like
those overt expressions of faith because it reminds us of the shallowness of
So, with the blow-out win of the Patriots on
Saturday, what are you going to do now, Mr. Tebow?
"What I pray before games, during games,
after games, is regardless whether I win, whether I lose, whether I'm the hero
or the goat, that it doesn't matter, that I still honor the Lord because He's
deserving of it, and just like my effort shouldn't change, neither should that.
So that's how I try to approach it, and sometimes even in a loss you can honor
Him more. For me, I pray that my character and who I am doesn't change even
though you can be dejected, you can still feel hurt, you can be disappointed,
but you can still honor the Lord with how you handle things."
That sounds like someone who has really
figured out that his life matters to God.I wanted him to win the game, but I’m glad we got to see what happened
when he didn’t.
Keep on bowing down, whether anyone is
looking or not.
It all started with a simple Facebook status
update. I’m not one that constantly lets
the world know where I am and what I am doing.It happens randomly when the mood hits me.
Last Friday morning the mood hit me while
waiting for my 21 year old son to wake up.I know I kept those same hours when I was in college, but what was I
thinking!Anyway, I posted the
“Excited to be spending a final ‘guy day’
with my boy before he heads back to college next week. We are going to see Mission Impossible and then eat some
manly food that is not good for us. Final splurge of the semester break.”
I may not constantly update the world on what
I am doing, but I like talking about how much I love my family and how much fun
it is for me to spend time with my grown-up kids.I wasn’t expecting responses, but I got one
from a female college friend I haven’t seen in almost 30 years.
“Define ‘manly food’ please. Is it food that
puts hair on your chest, or already has hair on its own? Or both of those
swimming in grease with a large side of fries and dessert? Just wondering if I
have partaken in manly food by accident or on purpose in my past.”
Now I could have just chuckled at that and
left it alone (but the snoozing boy left me with time on my hands). So, the
mood hit me …
“There was a time when ‘manly’ and hair on
one's chest were synonymous. However, in the current culture, it is probably
not true. Most of the food of which we will partake today has had hair on its
own chest, though we will require that it be removed before it is brought to
our table. As the chivalrous males we both desire to be, we are more than happy
for any humans of the female persuasion to partake in manly fare without fear
of chauvinistic condemnation. So, enjoy, my fully female friends. You are even
welcome to follow up with a healthy belch.”
You may not find that particularly amusing,
but I did. It is not uncommon for me to think I am more amusing than I really
am. But, why didn’t I just let it die on Facebook instead of reviving it here?
And what does it have to do with the premise that our lives matter to God?
Those were your questions, weren’t they? Two
things occur to me as I reflect on this silly exchange.One is thatit is good to laugh.We take ourselves way too seriously
sometimes.The Bible says, “A cheerful
heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength ...A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken
heart crushes the spirit ... For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for
the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” (Proverbs 17:22;15:13,15).
The other is that manly men may have dirt
under their fingernails, but they don’t require dirt in their humor. It’s not
the kind of humor that is good for your heart if you wouldn’t say it to your
So, man up, boys and girls!Even our laughter matters to God.
It is 2012, for crying out loud!How did we get here?What are we doing?Where are we going?What challenges, adventures, surprises,
victories, losses, and changes are ahead?And what difference does it make? So go my New Year’s reflections.
To tell you the truth, I gave up on New
Year’s resolutions years ago.I have
eaten and slept myself out of so many of them that I figured there had to be a
better way.The quest to find that
better way continues annually as the big ball drops and the celestial calendar
clicks over to a new fourth digit.
I have discovered something in this quest.An annual review leaves too much blank space
between reviews.The more frequently I
ponder the focus of life, the more focused life becomes.So, while the whole New Year thing
particularly lends itself to reflection, I am trying to figure out how to bring
those times of refocus and reflection a little closer together.
There are people who believe, based on some
sort of Mayan calendar/galactic alignment/New Age thingy, that something
significant will happen in 2012.Some
have even suggested the end of the world on or about December 21. (Anyone
remember Y2K?Or a little book called 88
Reasons Why the Rapture Will Occur in 1988?)
I am here to tell you that something
significant will occur for each of us in 2012.It doesn’t take a psychic or a futurist to predict that.My prediction is based on the reality that
drives this blog each week – our lives matter to God.
Something significant will happen because you
and I are significant.The question is
not whether anything of consequence will happen to or for us this year.The question is what we will do with it.
There is a story in the Old Testament about a
Jewish girl who became Queen of Persia.Her name was Hadassah, but she is better known as Esther.Her cousin, Mordecai, discovered a despicable
plot that had been put in place to destroy the Jews.He went to Esther to ask her to go before King
Xerxes and plead for the life of her people.Esther was hesitant because of the custom which prohibited anyone from
coming before the king without an invitation.Here is Mordecai’s reply:
"Do not think that because you are in
the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain
silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from
another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but
that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther
Those words are the basis of my New Year’s
challenge to each of us.For such a time
as this, God has placed us where we are.Our lives matter so much to Him that He does not want us to miss out on His
purpose.He can do it without our
cooperation, but the loss would be ours.This is not just true every 365 days.It is true every 24 hours.
A prayer for each new day – You put me right
here, right now.Show me what to do with