Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Forgiveness Challenge

I'm very grateful to my friend Lane Widick for agreeing to share this article that he recently shared on his personal blog.


By now, you’ve probably heard of Mo’Ne Davis and her stunning rise to stardom as the pitcher for a little league team in the world series. She even made the cover of Sports Illustrated!

Recently, a young man who played baseball for Bloomsburg University, made a statement on Twitter that is too vulgar to repeat on a Christian blog, but needless to say, you would be picking your jaw of the floor after reading what he stated.

The university promptly kicked Joey Casselberry, the player in question, off the team.

Mo’Ne had every right to be upset.  What was said about her shouldn’t be said about anyone, much less a teenager.

But do you know what she did?  She wrote a letter to the university, and it says this:

Dear Dr. Soltz (the President of the university),

I am writing about the Tweet sent out by your baseball player, Joey Casselberry, and his dismissal from the team because of it. While I admit I was pretty hurt when I read his comments, I felt sad that he was dismissed from the team. As many people know, my dream is to play college basketball and maybe even professionally. I know how much hard work and dedication it will take to get there, and to have that dream taken away would be heartbreaking. I am sure Joey Casselberry has worked very hard to get where he is and dreams of playing in the major leagues. For this reason, I’m asking you to please allow him back on the team so that he can continue to chase his dream. He made one dumb mistake. I’m sure he would go back and change it if he could. We all make mistakes and deserve to be forgiven. I hope you will give him a second chance and allow him to play.


Mo’Ne Davis

You know what, I’ve made dumb mistakes before.  We all have done things that we shouldn’t have done.  I find it refreshing to see someone who not only forgave the offender, but came to the defense of the defender.  What a lesson to learn from a 13 year old girl.

A lot of us may say we forgive someone, but we want their heads for what they did to us.  Forgiveness accompanied with actions such as that is not real forgiveness.  What if Jesus said “Father, please forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing,” but then followed that with “But in 3 days when I rise from the dead, I’m going to make sure each person that mocked me, beat me, spit on me, or drove a nail in my hands – is dealt with in a swift and proper way.”

We say things like “Well, in the business world, if this happened…” – but you know what?  I don’t think Jesus meant “Forgive others, but then treat them like the business world would treat them.”

Maybe we all need to learn a lesson from Mo’Ne.  If someone says they're sorry, no matter how vile or tame their words may be – we forgive, and truly forgive, and move on.  No need to be like the Queen of Hearts with a “Off with their heads” mentality.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

He's Worth How Much!?!

How much is a person worth?  If that person is an NFL super star the answer is, "a whole lot of dough!"

It's free agency season. The time of year when NFL players whose contracts have expired become the subject of a bidding war between teams vying for their services. Some of these star players will receive a contract worth more money that most people will make in a lifetime!!

HERE's a list of the 2015 free agent signings.

While some of the headline numbers are impressive, the key number is the guaranteed amount. For example: Colt McCoy will be the backup quarterback for the Washington Redskins. He signed a one year contract for $1.5 million. Only $150,000 of that is guaranteed. So if the team decided to cut him during training camp, he only receives 10% of the $1.5 million that was announced.

At the top end of the table even the guaranteed amounts are overwhelming. Defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh, is guaranteed to receive at least $59,955,000 over the next 6 years from the Miami Dolphins. Tight end Julius Thomas moves from Denver to Jacksonville for a guaranteed $24,000,000 over the next 5 years. Frank Gore signed a 3 year deal with the Colts that guarantees him $6,500,000.

Each player has a value assigned to him.

Many people look at these numbers, then huff and puff over how outrageous these amounts are. "How can someone playing a sport be worth $100,000,000?!?" "How are they making the world a better place?"

I'm not going to argue that these football players make a greater contribution to society than a preschool teacher. However, economics dictate that these players will generate the money they're paid. In fact, they'll generate more than the outrageous amounts they're paid because the owners of the teams will walk away with even more than the players!

Can you imagine if each NFL team listed it's profits each year? How much did each owner's wealth increase? Then we might have legitimate reason to complain. In the meantime, we're the ones giving our hard earned dollars to increase their wealth. That's a choice on our part.

Thankfully, in God's eyes we all have equal value. It took the early church a while to appreciate this fact, but in Acts 10:34-35 the apostle Peter announces, "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right."

How much are you worth to God? Enough to allow His Son to die for your benefit! There aren't enough zeroes in the world to write that number!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Many of my posts (like this one) support the little guy. I love to see the Davids defeat the Goliaths... unless the Goliaths are my favourites. In many ways this is a very biblical storyline. Weak, little, young David defeats strong, big, experienced Goliath by the power of God.

We find throughout the Bible that God uses outcasts and people with serious problems to accomplish his mission. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 1:27 we read that God intentionally "selected the world’s weak to bring disgrace upon those who think they are strong." (VOICE)  A little later in 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul describes how in a time of struggle God explained to him, "My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness." (MSG)

God's strength comes into its own in your weakness.

This really seems like biblical authority to cheer for the underdog. It justifies my dislike of the Yankees (MLB), Collingwood (Aussie Rules), Patriots (NFL) and Kentucky Basketball (NCAA).

The last on that list is particularly pertinent today as the Kentucky Wildcats just completed an undefeated regular season of college basketball. Their 31-0 season makes them a unanimous #1 in the Associated Press poll and a prohibitive favourite to win the national championship.

I find it all a bit boring really. 

Kentucky wins.  Kentucky wins again. Oh, that's a close one... but Kentucky wins again. et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Then I realised. God is like the 2015 Kentucky Wildcats. He's big. He's dominant. He's undefeated.

In Jesus, God defeated Satan. God defeated sin. God defeated death. And while we continue to play the game, the outcome is sure. God wins. Because we're on God's team, we win too.

When Jesus hung on the cross it appeared that Satan was victorious, but Jesus came back from the dead and the result wasn't even close. Now we wait the final trumpet [buzzer] when we get to celebrate with Him.

I don't always feel like a winner, so I need reminders that although I'm a David, God's even bigger than the Goliaths in my life. And I'm on His team.

I still don't like Kentucky, but if they help me think of my God I can appreciate them for that.

Stay close because I am going to tell you a mystery—something you may have trouble understanding: we will not all fall asleep in death, but we will all be transformed. 52 It will all happen so fast, in a blink, a mere flutter of the eye. The last trumpet will call, and the dead will be raised from their graves with a body that does not, cannot decay. All of us will be changed! 53 We’ll step out of our mortal clothes and slide into immortal bodies, replacing everything that is subject to death with eternal life. 54 And, when we are all redressed with bodies that do not, cannot decay, when we put immortality over our mortal frames, then it will be as Scripture says:
Life everlasting has victoriously swallowed death.
55 Hey, Death! What happened to your big win?
    Hey, Death! What happened to your sting?
56 Sin came into this world, and death’s sting followed. Then sin took aim at the law and gained power over those who follow the law. 57 Thank God, then, for our Lord Jesus, the Anointed, the Liberating King, who brought us victory over the grave. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 (VOICE)