Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Best sport of [the Christian] life

I like sports. Not going to lie. I don't really understand a lot of what is going on, and most of the time I can't see where the ball is. But the excitement of watching a game or the thrill of spiking that ball is exhilarating. I have played basketball on an official team, softball with my church, volleyball for my society, and I cheer for guys soccer here at BJU (Go Tornados!!! :D) I was thinking about volleyball and cheering in relation to the Christian life. Yeah, I know that's a weird comparison and stuff, but that's how my brain works, especially after spending 3 hours working on a computer project.
So, how does volleyball work (as the sport--not spiritualizing). Everyone works together to get the ball back over the net without letting it touch the ground. At least, that's the goal. It doesn't always happen. But we try. And we loose. But one of the main goals of our volleyball team is to have fun playing together, and as long as we do that, I chalk it up as a win. Anyway, in volleyball, the whole team works together to get stuff done. We all have a different position to play. Some stand back in the corner, someone serves, someone is front and center. Different people do different things. But working together is when we get stuff done. If I decided to tell my team to take a day off, because I was going to do it all myself, I wouldn't get anything accomplished, and I would be laughed off the court. I need the rest of them, and they need me. I can't  do it on my own, but no one person can.
So how does cheerleading work? I stand on the side of the court with 4 or 5 other girls, and we do the exact same thing (motions, words, etc). There is no individualism or seperate jobs for each of us. And in the end, if we win, no one notices the cheerleaders. It's all about the guys. We don't kick the ball into the net or throw it into the basket. We stand there and cheer them on.
So how does all this relate to the Christian life? I think there are principles from both volleyball and cheering that we can apply to the Christian life. The Christian life is a team sport. We each have different roles and responsibilities. Paul brings this out in the book of Corinthians. HE talks about how we aren't all eyes, or noses, or feet. The body of Christ is made up of all different types of people. There are the servers (people who get the ball rolling), the people who stand in the back and hit the ball when it comes to them, and the front and center people who seem to be everywhere doing everything at once. The church needs all of them to keep the ball moving. If one person tries to steal the whole show, everyone looses. We need to work together. There needs to be unity among the body of Christ.
At the same time, though, the Christian life is kind of like cheerleading. Most obviously, cheerleaders stand there and work (practice, etc.) but ultimately, when Z wins the Turkey Bowl, the guys are going to get their picture in the collegian and be famous all over campus. Not us. Which is totally fine. That's how it should be. They do all the hard work. In the CHristian life, we work hard for Jesus Christ, but when it's all said and done, He should get the glory. He did the real work in dying on the cross. Also, as Christians, we can "cheer on" other Christians, supporting them in their own race.
How are you doing in the Christian sports arena? Are you living as a cheerleader? Are you a volleyball-ist trying to steal the show? Work together. Support others. Give glory to Christ. That's what it's all about.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

French lesson!

"Would you be free from your burden of sin,
There's power in the blood! Power in the blood.
Would you o're evil a victory win?
There's wonderful power in the blood.
There is power! Power! Wonder working power.
In the blood of the Lamb.
There is power, power, wonder-working power
In the precious blood of the lamb."

Several years ago, my church went on a mission trip to Quebec. We learned several songs in French, and one of them was power in the blood, written above. For some reason, I was singing this song tonight in French, walking from one place on campus to another. And as I was singing it, I was thinking of the literal translation. If you know anything about language, you understand that a lot of times, words don't translate literally. In this case, the french translation of the chorus is:

  • Je suis fort, fort!

  • Oui, plus que vainqueur, 

  • Par le sang de Jésus!

  • Je suis fort, fort!

  • Oui, plus que vainqueur, 

  • Par le sang de Jésus, mon Sauveur!

  • The first line is what I was thinking about the most. In English, we sing, "There is power! Power!. . . "  Literal translation: Je--I. suis---it's a Be-verb, basically means Am. fort--strong. This is saying:
    "I am strong, strong!
    Yes, more than a conqueror,
    By the blood of Jesus!
    I am strong, strong!
    Yes, more than a conqueror,
    By the blood of Jesus, my Savior!"

    Is that not amazing? We are strong through the precious blood of Jesus. It isn't just that the power is there. It is in us. We are more than conquerors because of what Jesus has done for us! Praise God! We can have victory through the precious blood of Jesus our Saviour!!! If that doesn't make you rejoice, nothing will! 
    There's something about a foreign language that makes you see things in a whole new light. It puts a different emphasis on the words. It makes us think in a different way. Try looking up one of your favourite songs or a verse on google translate. Translate it into a different language. Translate it back to English. See what happens. 

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Come: A story based on Luke 14:16-24

    Imagine with me, for a moment, that you are the servant. Your master has prepared a giant feast and has invited his closest friends. You can't even begin to imagine or understand just how much this feast has cost. And because the master really loves his friends, he has bought the most expensive food and prepared it himself. You delivered "save the date" invitations a month ago, and 2 weeks ago, you hand-delivered personal invitations, and every friend said they would come. The only other job you have for this feast is to go tonight and pick up the guests in your master's limo. Alright. So you head out. First house. This guy has been the master's best friend since they were born. They did everything together. You know this is going to be an awesome night because this guy is  a ton of fun. 
    Knock, knock, knock. Door opens: "Hello, just coming to escort you to the grand feast my master has prepared for you."
    The guy shuffles his feet and won't look you in the eye. "Hey man, I'm really sorry. I'm not going to be able to make it tonight. I've got stuff going on. Tell your master thanks for inviting me, though. Really appreciate the invitation and hope he hasn't gone to too much trouble to get this together." Door closes in your face. You stand there with your mouth hanging open. 
    "OK, whatever. Maybe he isn't as good of a friend as the master thought he was. It's only one person. Lots of people have been invited. No one will notice his absence."
    You move on to the next house, and invite that person to get into the limo.
    "I'm sorry. I just bought a car and I need to work on the engine. Thanks though. Hey, by the way, nice outfit man!"
    "OK, this is really weird."
    Next house: Man comes to the door, looking sheepish when you ask him, trying to remain pleasant, to get into the car. "I'm sorry, I can't. My wife doesn't want to go out tonight." Meanwhile, from somewhere in the house, you hear a shrill voice yelling, "Horace! What have i told you about answering the door! Now come here! The dishes still need to be washed!" You give him a pitiful look as you head back to the car.
    House after house, friend after friend: they all come up with a pitiful excuse not  to come. You have visited every house on your list, and not one of them followed you into the limo. 
    As you head back to the master's mansion, you are very discouraged, and a bit fearful. 
    "This is bad. It's like they all got together and conspired to not come tonight. What is the master going to say? What is my lord going to do? Is he going to be angry at me? What will I tell him?"
    As you pull into the large circular driveway, you see the master standing at the bottom of the steps waiting to greet the guests. You slowly get out of the limo and walk over to him. His smile of joy turns to a mask of anger when he notices that no guests get out of the car. "Where are they?!" He calls to you. 
    "They were unable to come, my lord. I invited each of them, but they made excuses. It looks like your hard work and sacrifice was for waste."
    "No! It shall not be wasted. Go back out. Go to Walmart. Go to the slums. Find people that need me and what I have to offer and invite them. Bring them. All of them. Those that need me will want me. The people that I invited, those that I originally worked for have rejected me. I will go to those who need me. I will go to those who will accept me."
    So you go. You find those that will come. You fill the banquet hall. And nobody notices you as you serve the food. They see the lord at the head of the table. And you are glad. That's the way it should be. You didn't pay for the supper. You didn't have to sacrifice. You didn't have to prepare it. You just had to invite people to partake.

    Jesus came to the Jews, but they rejected him. He gave up heaven, sacrificed for them, but they killed him. So He went to those that needed him, that were willing to accept Him. We are the servants of the Lord. We don't have to pay or prepare. We just have to invite others to partake in the Lord's sacrifice. His anger isn't directed at us. It's directed at those who reject His sacrifice. And just like in the story, no one should be paying attention to the servant. The master should be getting all the attention. And we should be thankful, and more than willing to let Him get all the glory.