I am very fortunate that my son loves football. Actually, saying he loves football is quite the understatement. He loves watching football. He loves playing football. He loves talking football. He loves debating football. His ability to understand and retain football facts and statistics is remarkable and uncanny….especially remembering he is six. Most six year olds don’t say, “Dad, Brett Farve #4 is having a better year with the Vikings than he did with the Jets or the Packers.” It’s strange to hear him say, “Dad, the Falcons were 9-7 this year, but when Michael Turner #33 gets better we should make the playoffs.” I am not exactly sure how it happened or when it happened, but somehow I unknowingly created a monster. I can’t say that I hate it, though. Because of this, many of the memories Samuel and I are making are around football. We go to games together. We play football together. We wear jerseys on Sunday and watch the Falcons together. He served along side me as the “Junior Chaplain” for the football team at Chamblee High School this year. He didn’t miss a home game and loved handing out the forks and knives at the team meal. And rarely does a Saturday go by in the fall that he and I aren’t watching the Bulldogs together. The kid absolutely loves everything about football. One of the great joys I had this football season was to watch Coach Bobby Bowden and Tim Tebow finish out their respective careers, and to teach Samuel a little bit about what those men stood for outside of football and the legacy they left not just on the game, but on the world.
Legacy…. a word that can make you nervous.
Legacy….What am I leaving behind? What will I be remembered for? What will people say about me when I’m dead?
(Putting aside for a moment my feelings for the University of Florida…)
Tim Tebow left his legacy on college football. No other college player in my lifetime has taken a bolder stance for their faith than Tim Tebow. His unwavering consistency to share Scripture, truth, and the gospel has left the college football world with a tremendous gap with his departure. The more success he had, the more honors and awards he received, the bolder he became in the declaration of his faith in Christ and his passion for missions. What a legacy. What a challenge. I feel blessed that I was able to watch Tim Tebow. I am grateful I was able to share with Samuel that Tim Tebow’s legacy was much more than his abilities as a player; it was his uncompromising stand for truth and his commitment to share Jesus Christ to the world. I want to leave that kind of legacy.
I heard Coach Mark Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs share his story one time. He talked of his college years at the University of Miami and his roommate who talked with him about God. He told of his life after an unsuccessful college football career and about being cut by 3 NFL teams. Coach Richt elaborated about how all his hopes and dreams of a career playing football were lost. Soon after this time in his life, he was hired by Coach Bobby Bowden of Florida State in 1985 to work as a graduate assistant. Coach Richt then told a story of tragedy when one of their players was killed. He talked about how Coach Bowden shared the gospel story with the team and told them that if they had questions about their faith and their eternity, they should come see him, because his door was always open. The next day Coach Richt went to see Coach Bowden because he had questions about his faith and Coach Bowden led him in a prayer of salvation.
Coach Bowden’s legacy of faith now continues through Coach Richt. Imagine all the players whose spiritual lives have been shaped by these two men. Where do you even begin to talk about the legacy of Coach Bowden? Besides all the football accolades he attained (one of which being 2nd in wins in the history of college football), his legacy of faith on the thousands of players and coaches is immeasurable. Coach Bowden stood for truth and for Jesus Christ in his coaching for almost 5 decades, and is unwavering in that stance today. While Coach Bowden will be remembered by most for his coaching accomplishments, he would be the first to say he’d rather be remembered as a man of strong faith who invested in the lives of his players and coaches. I remember watching Coach Bowden’s last game this season with Samuel. Florida State was playing West Virginia and Coach Bowden took the FSU spear and threw it into the ground at the 50 yard line. It was quite a scene, and a memory that will stick with me forever. Coach Bowden was a man of strong faith, and a man who left a lasting legacy on the landscape of college football.
My prayer is that I will leave a legacy of faith for my children. I want them to remember me as a dad who lived out every day the principles found in the Scriptures. I want them to remember me as a dad whose life of faith and whose words of faith were consistent. I want to leave a legacy.
“Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.”
I went to Anna's Christmas performance today. It was quite entertaining. Anytime 50 3-yr olds sing together it is always fun. Anna was awesome on the first song. She sang loud and proud... and I took pictures! I was so proud. The next 4 songs, however, she didn't sing a word. Not one. She didn't open her mouth. In fact, she even refused the jingle bell her teacher gave her to ring during Jingle Bells. She put it on the floor and just stood there. When they got to the big finale of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," Anna had enough...so she left. Seriously, she just starting walking away from the stage. And if you know Anna, once her mind is made up...that decision is final!
Well, as much as I would have loved her to sing, she made memories. The older I get and the faster my kids grow up, the more important memories become. She didn't steal the show by any means, but she made me smile, and she made me remember her "performance." There are many things about Christmas that I love, but making memories with my children is at the top...except for maybe the nightmares I will have from seeing this Baby Jesus cake at Anna's "Happy Birthday Jesus" party. Creepy.....
I wrote this piece for our Girl's Magazine here at ATLstudents...
A Dad’s Thoughts…
There is something special about the relationship between a daddy and his little girl. It’s uniquely different in every way. As the father of a little girl, I desire for my daughter to experience God’s best for her life, and the best way to teach her that is to teach her to love and apply God’s Word to her life. Here are a few thoughts in that regard…
There is a passage of Scripture in the book of Proverbs that has very practical instructions for you in regards to how you deal with your heart. The heart is a big deal for you as a young woman. It is the control center of your emotions. It’s where love resides and is developed. In fact, the heart is such a big deal for you that the Bible offers some very important, but practical instruction on how to deal with it.
Proverbs 4:20-27 reads, “20 My child, pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings. 21 Don't lose sight of them; keep them within your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, and health to one's whole body. 23 Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. 24 Don't let your mouth speak dishonestly, and don't let your lips talk deviously. 25 Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. 26 Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established. 27 Don't turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.
The first instruction you need to pay attention to is GUARD YOUR HEART. To guard means to watch, to preserve, to keep close. Your heart is very precious to God. All your thoughts, dreams, aspirations, and goals come from your heart. Your fears, feelings, hurts, and hindrances reside in your heart. Be careful to GUARD YOUR HEART. Be intentional about what you let in your heart. Guard is an action word; it means to be intentional about protecting the most precious thing you have. The command center for all your relationships is your heart. Take that seriously. Remember, your heart is your life source.
The second instruction you need to be attentive to is GUARD WHAT YOU SAY. In today’s language and culture, the word “love” has lost its meaning. In English, there is one word for love and you ascribe to a variety of things. The same way you would describe affection for a person is the same way you would describe interest in a movie…you “love” it. The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and that language had multiple uses for the word love. As the Scriptures were translated to our language over the years, we have lost the true meaning of love. Remember, GUARD WHAT YOU SAY. Telling someone you love them communicates many different things, some good, and some bad. While I think there are appropriate times, places, and circumstances to communicate love verbally, remember to GUARD WHAT YOU SAY. Verse 24 in this passage reminds you to guard your mouth and your lips. Specifically, you are advised to not speak dishonestly and deviously. These words remind you to only speak truth. Especially in your relationships with guys, speak with truth and honor. Refrain from saying what you think they want to hear, that will only lead to trouble. GUARD WHAT YOU SAY.
The third instruction given in this passage is to GUARD WHAT YOU HEAR. Verse 25 reminds you to keep your gaze and your eyes ahead. This is a reminder to stay focused. Know this, a guy will tell you he loves you to get what he desires from you. GUARD WHAT YOU HEAR. Your instruction to keep your eyes fixed ahead literally means to pursue a direct and focused purpose and to avoid temptation. GUARD WHAT YOU HEAR. Don’t believe everything you hear, stay focused, and GUARD WHAT YOU HEAR.
The fourth and final instruction given you in this passage is to GUARD WHAT YOU DO. Verses 26-27 instruct that you carefully consider the things you do and the places you go. GUARD WHAT YOU DO. The word consider in verse 26 refers to being careful in your choices. It means to mentally weigh right and wrong. The word path references your journey. Think about your life course, the road you’re following. Who is it you are becoming? Are your choices helping you become who it is you desire to be? GUARD WHAT YOU DO. “Your ways will be established” refers to preparation. God has wonderful things prepared for your life. He has a future prepared for you that is full of hope and opportunity and peace. Be careful to keep your feet on the path and GUARD WHAT YOU DO.
As you continue to grow and develop physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as a young woman, please remember the instructions given in this passage. No matter what your life has been up to this point, you can begin now the discipline of “guarding.” Maybe you’ve already given your heart away; it’s not too late to guard it. Maybe you’ve already said more than you should in your relationships, it’s not too late to guard what you say. Maybe you’ve believed everything you’ve heard from disingenuous guys and others that only wanted to hurt you emotionally, it’s not too late to guard what you hear. Maybe you’ve wondered off the path a time or two; it’s not too late to guard what you do. You have a heavenly Father who loves you more than you could ask or understand. He loves you unconditionally for who you are and not what you have or have not done. He desires that you keep yourself pure and guard your heart above all else. Then, you will position yourself to experience His best for your life.
From the heart of THE Father… ….and the daddy of a daughter,
Maclane Forbus Student Ministries Pastor and Daddy of Anna
I watched the Kentucky Derby this weekend. I just don't get it. I mean, NBC had like 5 or 6 hours of television coverage. Seriously? In my opinion, The Kentucky Derby is the most over-rated, over-hyped sporting event in the world. Honestly, if it only lasts 2 minutes, it's neither sport, nor event.
And what is up with the names of these horses? Mine that Bird and Desert Party and Pioneerof the Nile are not good names for horses. A good name for a horse is Blackie or Patches. Lucky and Princess are pretty good options as well.
It rained hard a couple of days last week. Traffic was worse than normal. My commute is about 40 minutes on a good day, but on a rainy day it can be an hour. That's not fun.
On one of those rainy mornings last week, I pulled in the parking lot at work and it was pouring. I was already annoyed from the commute, and now I was going to get drenched getting out and getting my umbrella from the trunk. As I sat there getting my phones, keys, etc., an old man walked up to my car. He walked slowly and had one of those massive golf umbrellas. As I got out, he asked me if I had an umbrella and if I needed him to walk me to the building. I told him I had one in the trunk, but thanked him for the kind gesture.
We walked together to the building. I put my umbrella down and opened the door. I motioned for him to go on in ahead of me. He said, "no...you go ahead. I am going to stand out here and wait to see if anyone needs my umbrella." As best I know, he stayed out there all morning walking people from their cars to the building. Kindness. I thought a lot about it that day. I didn't think of the man really, just his kindness. I think at times I forget the basic things in life that matter. Being kind is certainly one of those.
I'm trying to be kinder to people. I'm trying to remember the little things that are so easily forgotten. In my life and work, I am doing my best to be like Christ in my teaching, in my leadership, and in my relationships. I am so focused on those aspects of His ministry that I easily forget He was kind, loving, humble, and gentle.
I am pursuing kindness this Christmas season. I'm looking for ways to share Christ through actions...even if noone ever knows I did.
I was thinking about Thanksgiving today. I think I would've been a pretty good pilgrim. I mean, didn't they live in tents, hunt all day, and then have a big feast? Maybe I am a pilgrim? Didn't they wear stretch pants?
I am looking forward to the holiday this week. It will be nice to spend some time with family. I get to hunt and spend time outdoors, which I greatly enjoy. Too bad turkey season is in the Spring. It is also nice to have a time and season to reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for...and I have tons.
Interestingly enough, the Bible has lots to say about gratitude and thanksgiving (not the holiday, the attitude). All through the Old and New Testaments, we see and hear God's heart about how and why we should be thankful. Psalm 100 tells us, Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are His-His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations.
What beautiful language the Psalmist uses in this psalm of thanksgiving. Many of the Psalms have similar language and give us a snapshot into the heart of God and how He longs for us to glorify Him with our thanksgiving.
Psalm 100 tells us to show thanksgiving through our worship (v.1), our service (v. 2), and with our praise (v. 5). We are also told why we should glorify God with thanksgiving. First of all, because of who He is. He is Lord (vs. 1), He is God (vs. 3a), He is creator (v. 3b), He is the owner (v. 3c), and He is the shepherd (v. 3d). Secondly, because of His attributes. He is good (v. 5), His love is eternal (v. 5), and His faithfulness endures forever (v. 5).
As you spend time with family and friends this week, remember to be thankful. Not only for what you have, but for the giver of all good things. And more than even that, be thankful because of who He is.
I love Fall. It's probably one of my favorite seasons...if it's not my favorite, it's at least in my top 4. A new season always seems to bring with it new things. Not just changes in the weather, but new opportunitites, new attitudes, and new feelings. This new season brought for me a new opportunity. I believe God wants to do in me something new...something brand new. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that "There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven..."
God's timing is perfect and He is faithful to bring to us new seasons. Not only the physical seasons (Summer, Spring, Fall, Winter), but spiritual seasons as well. Seasons bring opportunity for change, for transition, and for growth. There is a time for everything...and that time is in His time.
Not too long ago I was at my parents’ home in the Atlanta area for a short visit. My family and I were on our way to the lake in the mountains of North Georgia for a Memorial Day respite, and my parents’ home is a good place to stop and break up the trip. It was a nice day; actually it was a hot day. I was looking forward to hitting the pool with Samuel and Anna and working on my tan…not really. Unbeknownst to me, dad had a project he wanted us to start. On the back portion of his yard, my dad had cleared and leveled a pretty large area for a “playground.” Apparently, Papa had purchased a playground that he was going to build for the grandkids and he wanted me to help him get started. I’m not sure what mental picture you formed in your mind when you read the word “playground,” but I can promise you it wasn’t what papa had purchased. When I saw the picture on Box 1, my first thought was, “he bought the playground from the Biltmore Mansion on EBay and had it delivered to Loganville, GA!” This was not a playground, this was a starter home. Below the picture was the following disclaimer:
ASSEMBLY REQUIRES TWO MODERATELY SKILLED PEOPLE 20-24 HOURS.
I don’t know what your first thought would have been, but mine was, “how does the Biltmore Playground Company define moderately?” If they define moderately the way I define moderately, then we had a problem. I knew in my heart, as dad and I stood over “Box 1 of 5,” that neither of us was in the ballpark of moderately skilled. I wish I had the words to pen a description of the 90 minutes following the opening box 1, but I don’t. If I did, you would not find the phrases moderately skilled, progress, or on the right track in the description. Suffice it to say, complicated would probably be the word you would start with to explain the playground project.
The playground project demanded something from me that I didn’t have in order for me to find success. This was not a “come as you are, follow the directions and you will be fine” kind of project. It wasn’t for everyone. It certainly wasn’t for me.
I began to ponder my spiritual life. I began to think of the simplicity of Jesus’ teachings. I remembered that when He draws us by His Spirit and calls us to Himself, He requires nothing from us, only something of us. There is a difference. The playground project not only required something of me, (hard work, commitment, discipline, and obedience to the instructions) it also required something from me (a pre-developed set of skills). When Jesus prompted my heart, offered me His salvation, and invited me to join Him on a journey, He required nothing from me. He bid me to come as I was. I bring nothing significant to the relationship, only the sin and baggage of my life without Him and yet He gave me new life. He doesn’t require moderately moral, moderately good, or moderately ethical people. He wants me just as I am; hurting, broken, and in need of Him.
As I continue the journey with Him, He does require something of me; my life. That’s right, He wants our life. He wants of me the same thing that the playground project did; hard work, commitment, discipline, and obedience to the instructions. The difference is He requires nothing from me, which is good because I have nothing to give.
In Ezra 7:10, we read that the hand of God was on Ezra. We also get a glimpse as to why the hand of God was on Ezra. “The gracious hand of his God was on him, because Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.” Sounds like a pretty simple plan for spiritual growth, doesn’t it? I believe simple faith and obedience, like Ezra showed, is what Jesus expects of us. Ezra didn’t do a lot, but He did what mattered most. He did what was required of him.
2 Peter 1:3 reads, “For His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, by the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” As we, believers, journey with God, we have all the tools we need. Unlike the playground that required a skill set and my own tools, the journey requires nothing from me and even provides me with all the tools! I want to be an Ezra. I don’t want to make complicated something that God made simple. I want to determine in my heart to know God through His word, obey what His word says, and tell those things to others. I don’t have to be moderately skilled to do that, just obedient.
As of this writing, no significant progress has been made on the baby Biltmore, but I will keep you updated.
So I was listening to a sports talk show this morning on the radio and the guy talking was covering the topic of recently resigned Governor Eliot Spitzer from New York. (click here for story) He threw out a few statistics that I have heard before, though have never heard where they came from. He said 55% of marriages end in divorce. He also said that of marriages that stay intact, 70% of those consider themselves unhappy. Based on these stats, and the increasing number of high profile politicians, teachers, Pastors, musicians, and movie stars that quit on their marriage or commit a gross sexual transgression (affairs, prostitution, pornography, etc) that we (society) may need to change how we view marriage.
One of his suggestions was to treat marriages like sports contracts. Instead of making a life long commitment to someone, just make a contractual agreement with them. He suggested 5-10 years at a time. Are you kidding me? The logic was, if something isn’t working, then society needs to be smart enough and brave enough to evaluate it and make changes. He went on to say that most divorces are within the first 7 years, so that may be a good number to aim for in a marriage contract. I was not only surprised by the logic, but with the inconsequentiality that the host and the audience displayed for marriage.
Here are some thoughts that I had as I listened:
Society and culture are more unwilling than ever to accept any form of absolute truth as a governing factor in their life.
What am I doing, as a follower of Christ, a believer in Biblical, moral, and ethical absolutes, as a married person, and as a contributing member of society to be an example of what I believe marriage to be?
How do my neighbors perceive my marriage to be based on how they see me interact with my wife?
It seems as if people are more willing to change belief systems, truth, and societal norms than they are themselves.
For people that are not followers of Jesus, and therefore do not use the Bible as the sole means for Truth, how do they decide what they believe, and what do they use to measure their lives by?