Most of the blogs I’ve written in the last few months are about true painful and embarrassing experiences growing up. I’ll change it up this week and write about a more encouraging time. It’s much harder to remember these though.

Sports

I do recall Monday nights were reserved for Monday Night Football. If you’re around my age (I was born in 1962), the MNF music would come on and Frank Gifford would start talking about the game. Then Howard Cosell would welcome you to the broadcast. Very classic and memorable to this day. My mother would go play Mahjong with her friends during the game, while my step-father and I bet a quarter per week on our favorite team. About half-time I’d go upstairs to watch the remainder of the game on of my parents shag-carpeted bedroom floor, because my mother came in late and slept in my bedroom. I’d fall asleep somewhere in the 4th quarter. It’s one of the few times growing up I bonded with my step-father and it may be the reason why I love football now.     

Many things can be righteous OR sinful. Sports can be a trap. I am reminded of a time after my baptism that I was invited to join a Fantasy Football league, but the draft was during our midweek service. I painfully told them I couldn’t be there because I had church that evening. I read scriptures about denying myself… My wife encouraged me to ask a leader for advice, and although I was skeptical a church leader would recommend participating in a gambling Fantasy Football league, I agreed. Anthony Battle, who I respect deeply, surprised me with his response. He said I SHOULD join their league, but gave me specific advice about getting every phone number of all the members to spend time with them later and build relationships. He told me to buy snacks and gifts for everyone and be an example.  Frankly, I was blown away and he was right. It taught me a lesson that most things can be righteous OR sinful.  

Alcohol

Joe shared during our communion, that it took an alcohol addiction and a diabetic coma to realize he needed God and Jesus to rescue him. He was baptized in 2018 at the age of 57. Joe was born in 1962 also. Again, drinking alcohol could be sinful or not. I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t recommend it for people who struggle with overuse, but what if having a drink with non-Christian friends turned into a friendship that allowed you to share your faith?   

Change Your Life

Part 3 of “THIS SERIES CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE” started with Tony reminding us that part 1 was WE NEED TO CHANGE and part 2 was HOW TO BEGIN TO CHANGE. Part 3 is about the things that are obstacles to this journey. These potholes, distractions, and detours are called SINS. Sin is falling short or missing the mark, and choosing this, is forfeiting who you were meant to be. Tony detailed the arrest, “trial”, and torture of Jesus. The Messiah told Pilate that he could save himself if he chose to and despite the beatings, Jesus “amazed” Pilate with his words and behavior, however Pilate was pressured to the point of handing him over for crucifixion. Jesus’ death was a sin of many, OR it could be the righteous victory of many. Why would we continue to return to our sinful ways when Jesus did this for us? Stop befriending the sin that killed Jesus !  Let’s turn our failures into successes this week !