Archives For Current Affairs

CheckmateAs another football season is about to begin, training camps are opening up.

However, there is one star Running Back who will not be in camp.

In 2014 Ray Rice was caught on video punching his wife–fiancee at the time–in an elevator. As the video went viral, the Baltimore Ravens were essentially forced to cut him from the team. Also, because of the despicable act the NFL also banned him for a period of time. Now that the ban is over, teams are not that likely to reinstate him.

All because of one foolish act.

One. Foolish. Act.

For Ray Rice it cost him millions of dollars. Let that sink in. Millions. That is costly.

And to some degree we have all paid a price for a particular act. Usually they are small things, like sleeping through our alarm one morning or eating too much during the holidays or even getting a speeding ticket.

But what about the more serious “foolish acts”?

Things that impact your entire life and derail you from the path you had planned to take.   Some things can even destroy your dreams.

I’ve witnessed the fallout of a happy marriage when a one-night stand destroyed it all.  Or what about the single Tweet that cost a young college-grad her job before it even started.  Or the person who didn’t get a promotion because of something posted on Facebook.

Many will have to watch their hopes and dreams crumble because of one foolish act. Sad.  Ray Rice is one of them.

Did you know the Bible tells about a person who could only look at his dream from a distance?  It was Moses.

In Deuteronomy 34:4 it says, “And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.”

Why?  Because of one foolish act during Moses’ time leading Israel to the Promised Land. Water was scarce and the people were complaining. If you are a parent and have ever traveled a long distance with your kids, perhaps you can relate a little.

At any rate Moses was human and lost his patience. In fact, he got angry. However, despite the circumstances Moses still needed to obey the LORD.

And the LORD had told Moses to speak to the rock.

But that’s not what happened.  “Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.”  (Numbers:20:10-11 ESV).

While it may seem like a small thing to hit the rock rather than speak to the rock, it was still an act of rebellion. Plus when you look more closely it appears to the people that Moses was the provider of water. After all, he is the one who hit the rock.

Had he spoken to the rock and water came out it would have been obvious that the LORD was the provider.

Because Moses that day, in a moment of anger, acted rashly and brought attention and honor to himself, he had to suffer the consequences.  God took it seriously, and that one foolish act proved to be very costly.

So stay alert in your decisions and your actions. Be aware of oncoming temptations. Don’t be sidelined by one foolish act.

Photo By Erik Drost [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By Erik Drost [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As a guy I typically don’t like to read instructions. Which means I sometimes get it wrong and sometimes it takes longer to accomplish the project.

Bottom line: I needed the help the instructions provided.

But the greatest help we need comes from people. (Yes, I do believe our greatest help comes from God, but God Himself often provides help in the form of people).

The city of Cleveland just won their first championship in 52 years because Lebron James had help.

Let’s back up. Lebron had earlier played for Cleveland seven years with no help and no title.

So Lebron left and headed for Miami. Why? He was chasing a ring. A championship ring, and it was obvious that no help was coming to Cleveland. Miami already had a star player and Lebron invited another friend to join with him in Miami. Now there are three superstars in Miami, just the kind of help Lebron needed. Two championship titles soon followed.

But Lebron’s heart was always in Cleveland — he grew up in nearby Akron. However, when he left earlier there were a lot of hard feelings. People even burnt his jersey. When Lebron was gone, Cleveland was terrible. So terrible they were awarded high draft picks. And they used a number one pick in the draft to draft a star player, Kyrie Irving. (Note: When Lebron was at Cleveland, they were a decent team, which meant they never were awarded high draft picks, which mean Lebron never got the help he needed).

After two championships in Miami, Lebron headed back to Cleveland with one goal: bring the city a championship. He knew Kyrie Irving was already there.  And he invited a couple more players to come with him. Why? He knew he needed help.

And let’s not forget that Lebron James is considered to be the best basketball player in the NBA….for the last ten years.

Even the best need help.

As a result, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Championship, and Lebron James was voted the Most Valuable Player of the series.

The best of the best needed help.

So where does that leave us?

In need of help.

In need of others.

In the Bible Moses had Aaron, David had his mighty men, and Jesus had his twelve disciples.

The best and the brightest realize their dreams need help.

Perhaps today the only thing standing between you and your dreams is help.

AncientOlympiaWhat’s my ONE thing?  That question is much easier to ask than answer.

This past fall Carol and I took a couple of weeks to celebrate 30 years of marriage. While traveling we visited ancient Olympia. This is where the first Olympics were held. They took place every four years from the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D.

The athletes actually had some amazing facilities for their time. This was before electricity and running water to be sure, but ingenuity ruled the day. There was an indoor gymnasium, an outdoor stadium with a track, and bath houses. Also, there was a temple to Zeus right in the middle of the sports complex.

The early games consisted of events like running, wrestling, and horse and chariot races. In today’s Olympics the site changes every four years, and athletes come from all over the world.

When they show up it is typically to participate in only ONE event. The fact is, it is very difficult to compete and excel in multiple sports. Swimmers swim and runners run. Ice skaters skate. And if the ice skaters decided to run, they would be considered failures. But as long as they skate, no one will notice that they cannot run very well. Stick to their ONE thing, and they look exceptional.

We admire people who have chosen to excel in ONE thing, yet we fall into the trap thinking that we can excel in several things.

As great an athlete as Michael Jordan was he never could excel at baseball, even in the Minor Leagues. So he wisely decided to stick with his ONE thing, basketball.

Now you may be asking, What is my ONE thing?

This is not an easy question to answer. It involves a number of things like honesty, clarity, understanding, choices, and time. There is no magic formula.

Olympians get this. Think about it.

1. Honesty: They start out being very honest about their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Clarity: That brings clarity as to what they will work on. Hint-It’s not their weaknesses.

3. Understanding: Over time they understand how to excel, improve, and increase their skill level.

4. Choices: They learn to say yes to some things and no to others. It may be saying no to TV and yes to fruits and vegetables. Those are hard choices for many, but not Olympians.

5. Time: In due time others notice their high level of skill, sponsors step in, and their journey to the Olympics begins.

These five things do not represent five easy steps. They simply illustrate that sometimes finding your ONE thing is not as easy as it sounds. But it also illustrates that you can begin the journey.

What’s your ONE thing? Why not start the journey today?

IMG_0440The events of the past week illustrate that we tend to do things if no one is watching. When the bombs at the Boston Marathon went off, one of the first comments I heard was, “With all the cameras in place, and all the cell phones with cameras, it should not take long to identify the perpetrators.”

Fascinating.

I wonder if the two brothers, who were quickly identified and pursued, even thought about the abundance of cameras.  I wonder if they thought about the consequences.

It all reminds me of the verse in Numbers 32:23 (KJV) which says, “…be sure your sin will find you out.”  Sobering.

God’s camera is always on.  He never misses a thing.  When you displayed a bad attitude at work or towards your boss, He saw it.

Sure, you may pull off your sinful act, and you may even attend a party that evening, but you will never get away.  Oh, perhaps for a time.  Maybe for a long time.

But one day you will be exposed, because God’s camera is always on!

Images_PrideAs the San Francisco 49ers head for the Super Bowl, one story caught my attention.  It was about the quarterback and his tattoo artist.  It’s a great story, but at the same time illustrates why pride should simply not exist. The story begins in the Philippines with a broken home.  Through a series of events the mom moves to the US, gets married, and eventually brings her son to Nevada to live.  Reno, to be exact.

One day the quarterback of the University of Nevada football team walks in to get some ink for his skin.  They hit it off and the tattoos kept coming until Kaepernick had his arms covered along with his chest and back.

But tattoos are everywhere.  No big deal right?  Yes, until K becomes the starting quarterback for the 49ers midseason.  Now he is on TV every weekend.  The tattoos begin to get noticed.  The team keeps winning, makes the playoffs, wins the NFC title, and is now in the Super Bowl.

Guess who else is getting tons of attention and business?  You guessed it.  His tattoo artist.  Currently he is booked three months in advance and now requires deposits.

As a result of his success should the tattoo artist be lifted up with pride?  Think about it.  He had nothing to do with his family life in the Philippines.  He had no control over his mother getting married and bringing him to the states.  And certainly nothing to do with living in Reno.  To top it off he had no control over a star quarterback walking into his small shop one day.

Kaepernick seems to be handling the instant notoriety very well.  He is careful to thank God on a regular basis.  In fact, his tattoo artist has noticed how grounded and humble the quarterback is.  It’s always refreshing to see someone hit it big and realize how little control he actually had over all the circumstances. Kaepernick was adopted.  He excelled at three sports.  What if he had gone into baseball?

Just one different turn and no one hears about Kaepernick or the tattoo artist.

So much of life is like that.  We didn’t choose our parents, what country to be born in, and what occupation our parents chose.

That leaves me with at least two quick thoughts on why pride should be more scarce, and humility more prominent.

First of all, who wants to hang out with a prideful person?  Exactly.  No one.  So why are some people so prideful?

Secondly, people are not responsible for what they are prideful about.

Think of all the things people point to about themselves.  Now add up how many they are in control of.

Your number is probably close to 0.  That’s humbling in and of itself, which underscores why there is no room for pride!