"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Will You Be Disqualified?

Have you heard about the fastest man in the world? Usain Bolt, a track and field hero from Jamaica, is the fastest man to ever lace up his track cleats. In 2009, Bolt ran the 100 meter dash in 9.58 seconds. 9.58 seconds! I can't even tie my shoes in 9.58 seconds, much less run 100 meters! Bolt's name suits him very well.

However, last week at the world championships in South Korea, Bolt's speed was his downfall. Bolt "bolted" out of the block too early, disqualifying him from the race. Bolt refused to discuss the disqualification with reporters, but as they followed him around the track, he finally turned and gave these few words, "Looking for tears? Not going to happen."

The Bible is very clear that Christians are running a race. I guess we could say that Christians won't be disqualified for beginning the race too early, but we will be disqualifed for ending the race too soon. We can't quit until we cross the finish line.

I admire Bolt's maturity and confidence to say, "Yes, I was disqualified, but I won't shed a tear." However, if we're disqualified from our "race", we will weep bitterly, and the tears will keep falling for all of eternity. By the grace of God, may we echo the words of the apostle Paul, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness..." (2 Timothy 4: 7-8)

Keep running; finish the race; wear the crown!

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Turn off Your Light!"

An umpires job isn't easy. He calls balls and strikes and determines if runners are safe or out, often in the presence of angry spectators. Sometimes umpires must tell coaches, players, and even fans to "cool it", or they will be removed from the stadium. Last week at Oakland Coliseum, the home of the Oakland Athletics, umpire Tony Randazzo made the strangest request ever heard from the bases--"Hey fellas, can you turn off your jackets?"

Two fans sitting behind home plate were glowing. Not with bright clothing, but with actual neon lights built into their jackets. It caught the eye of Randazzo when he was standing behind second base, and he claimed that the jackets were a visual hindrance to the players on the field. Randazzo's request was challenged with resounding "boos" from the seats, but eventually the lights disappeared.

Jesus wasn't exaggerating when He described the power of our "light." From His hillside "pulpit" during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." (Mt 5: 14-15)

Unlike Tony Randazzo, Jesus will never say, "Turn off your light", but Jesus will always say, "Turn it on!" I hope we will listen!

Monday, August 8, 2011

"What Did You Say?"

Last week I read a very interesting article about marriage. The article listed nine things wives shouldn't say to their husbands. I found some of them to be very amusing. I hope they will publish an article listing 100 things husbands shouldn't say to their wives! Here are a few of my favorite "no no's" on the list:

1) "When are you going to find a new job?" (You might be upset with the time he spends at work, his lack of determination for the promotion, or the small salary he brings home. However, you're attacking his ability to support the family. If this is an area of concern, have regular discussion about jobs, career ambitions, and budget concerns.)

2) "Mother warned me you would do this!" (You're letting him know that there are "others" in your camp, and this "other" is a painful blow. Keep marital problems in the marital bond.)

3) "Do you really think those pants are flattering?" (Are you trying to hint that he's putting on weight? You may think you're being subtle, but he gets the point. Congratulations, he will now eat more pie and buy more "flattering" pants.)

All of this marital etiquette did get me to thinking: Are there some things we shouldn't say to God? What about these statements?

1) "Are you listening?" (Of course God is listening! God might be teaching you patience. Wait on God and learn from the opportunity. He always comes through!)

2) "Why did you do this to me?" (God didn't do anything to you. Life might be difficult and unfair. That's because we live on this side of Heaven. Have faith in God. He will always take care of you!)

3) "When will I get what I deserve?" (Do you really want what you deserve? You deserve condemnation, but God gave the Cross, and Jesus gave His life. What you "deserve" is the last thing you desire!)

Regardless if you're speaking with your husband, wife, or God, here's a simple reminder: Choose your words very carefully!

Monday, August 1, 2011

God's Gift

Today, Natalie and I celebrate two years of marriage. It's impossible for me to forget our wonderful wedding at Waterview Church of Christ. Hundreds of people came to witness that very special day. However, I've also found my mind drifting back to the softball fields where we first met.

It was a cool March evening at Harding University, and I was playing in a club softball game. These games were always very well attended, mostly by female attendees. Natalie wasn't watching me, but little did she realize I was watching her. I worked up the courage to speak with her after the game. We had a brief conversation, but in those five minutes, I knew she was special. She ran off with her girl friends for the routine "Sonic Run", forgetting about me as soon as she ordered her lemon berry slush. Poor girl; she didn't stand a chance! She was now being watched by the eyes of a "Hawk". Natalie Stancill was going to be my wife.

The last two years have been full of excitement, joy, but also many challenges. Since May of 2009, Natalie and I have graduated college, began full time ministry, moved to a new city, bought a new house, and received the fabulous, yet unexpected news that we will be having a baby boy. These aren't exactly "stress-free" conditions, and I'm certain that I couldn't have faced these challenges without Natalie. She's God's gift to me.

I thank God every day that He gave me intuition. That night on the Searcy softball fields changed the course of my life. I met the "gift", and I immediately knew she was mine. Very soon, someone else will realize how lucky he is to have her, Hayden. To have a mother like Natalie Hawk is a true blessing. It will only be a matter of time before Hayden joins me in thanking God for our priceless "gift"!