i’m a loser

Category : Jesus, Mark, choice, failure, faith, taking action

 

Success.  Failure.  We all experience these things.  Even if you’re Bill Gates or Tom Brady you will have both highs and lows in your life.  That’s just the way it is.  In fact, we’re all losers – we all have more failures than successes. 

In the AFC championship game a Steelers rookie dropped a pass that was a guaranteed touchdown.  He was so wide open it was embarrassing.  And yet at the moment that would have crowned his rookie year, he blew it.  A moment that would have sealed him in Steelers history, he choked and took his eyes off the ball.

We’ve all been there.  Well, ok, maybe we haven’t screwed up before a live TV audience.  But we’ve all screwed up in public ways.  And we have all wanted to lie on the ground and pretend we’re injured, just like Sweed did.  We think, “well if we’re injured, at least we have an excuse.”  Which feels so much better than admitting you’re a loser.

We live in a world that pretends you can be successful 100% of the time.  We’re told that life can be easy.  That it can be safe.  That the worst thing that can happen to us is to be placed in danger.  But the truth is, that’s a lie. 

The world is filled with failure.  And we are all losers. 

The question isn’t, “will I fail?”  The questions is, “will I get back up again?”  Limas Sweed almost didn’t get back up.  He almost stayed on the ground.  But something changed his mind.  Something made him get back up.  And you know what?  He became a winner.  He had two key plays that changed the course of the game.  He unleashed a devastating block and had a key catch.

In one game Sweed was both a loser and a winner.  That sounds a lot like our lives, doesn’t it?   

Peter had days like that too.  On the day Jesus was arrested, Peter put his best foot forward and declared,  ”even if all fall away, I will not!“  I think most of us would be thrilled to make such a bold statement.  We’d love to take a stand for Jesus that many people refused to do.  Yet, within a few hours Peter was hiding in fear, denying his relationship to Jesus. 

Peter was a loser.

But that’s not where his story ends.  And it doesn’t have to be where our story ends.  Peter went on to change the world with his life.  He got back up.  And because of that was able to do something amazing. 

That’s what God wants for all of us: to get back up.  We may be laying on the ground, just like Peter, but we don’t have to stay there.  We can get up and keep moving forward.  That’s the whole point of grace. 

There may be no better definition of faith then getting up one more time – especially when we don’t feel like it.  That’s what it means to live out a life of faith. 

God likes disappointment?

Category : 1 Timothy, God, faith, hope

   

Some days I can’t imagine why God would want me to be struggling so much. Why can’t I land that job, or have the perfect relationship, or get a winning season out of the Pittsburgh Pirates?

The truth is, God sometimes allows disappointment. And a lot of those disappointments happen when we go from dreaming about things to actually taking action. It’s in that moment we’re confronted with a choice – do we give up or press on? Do we trust what God has promised us? Or do we give up and walk away?

If God always made everything work out perfectly, we would never have a reason to choose him. We’d simply be choosing the path of least resistance. And while that may be fine for running water, it makes for lousy humans.

This is one of the crazy things about God – he doesn’t always play by our rules. Just like God’s primary goal isn’t our happiness, his primary goal isn’t how easy our lives are. There’s a reason Paul describes spiritual growth in terms of training saying, “train yourselves in godliness, for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

Being disappointed isn’t a punishment. Or at least it doesn’t have to be. Instead it can be the opportunity to change our perspective. It can allow us to flip our understanding of success. Fighting our way through a challenge, relying on God’s strength when we’re exhausted, trusting that God will deliver on his promises – all those things help move us closer to God. Which is always a good thing.

theology vs relationship?

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Category : God, faith, trust

   

Sometimes I get so worked up about the right theology I forget about being real and honest with God. I forget about having a relationship with him. It’s in these moments where I spend all my time looking for the right words, instead of just talking to God.

So why do I do this?

I don’t think it’s because I’m trying to impress someone. The times I feel the most pressure to be “theologically correct” are usually when I’m praying. No one can hear those thoughts. But I worry that God may be upset, or more accurately, disappointed.

I worry that God may be ignoring me because I don’t know the magic words to get his attention. Sadly this is so far from who God is. God isn’t looking for magic words; he’s looking for a relationship.

Fundamentally faith is about putting things into action, not about what you know. Having sound theology is important – the more you know about someone, the stronger that relationship. But if you’re waiting until you have perfect theology, or you get your thoughts exactly right before turning to God, you’re hoping in something that will never happen.

Sometimes we just have to trust that God knows what we mean. And believe that he wants to be a part of our lives. We have to give up the idea of having control over God’s actions, and trust that we can just talk to him.

what is hope?

Category : faith, hope, trust

 

Hope doesn’t mean you’re never depressed.  Or that you’re always feeling energized.  Hope isn’t even about being in a good mood

It’s about knowing there is more to this life than just this world.  It’s about knowing we are loved by God, and that there is something for us beyond our lives here on Earth.

So often I confuse the word “hope” with the word “easy.”  I think that just because God tells us to have hope in him, that it somehow translates to no problems.  To be honest, the more your hope is placed in God, the crazier your life gets.  Because when you start believing in him, he starts giving you these revolutionary plans.  Plans that will change the world.

Hope is trusting that God’s promises are real, and that he’s there when he says he is. 

Hope is the only way I know how to get through life.