church Posts

Is Josh Hamilton still a role model?

The big news in the DFW area the past week has been the relapse of Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.  Hamilton has a long history of drug and alcohol addiction and just recently admitted in a press conference that he had gone out and drank one February evening and brought pain to his family, friends and fans.   I have heard many opinions regarding his relapse on talk radio and there seems to be a theme that is constantly recurring.  Is Josh Hamilton still a role model?  In addition to being an all-star and former MVP of major league baseball, Josh is also a devout Christian and uses his baseball fame to promote his faith.  Even more, he proclaims that it is his faith in God that allows him to experience freedom from his addictions.  To be sure, his past is one that needed redemption and his comeback story is remarkable.

Still the question remains…in light of his recent failure, is he still an example to kids, addicts, anyone?  I guess that depends on your point of view.  For me the answer is certainly yes.   In fact, I would say he might be the best example in the public eye of what it looks like to actually live out your faith in the world.

I think that most of us believe that we are not perfect.  Most of us admit to shortcomings in our life.  And yet at the same time most of us hold to some type of spiritual belief system that we gain strength from or even believe can change us.  Why is it then that even though we believe all of these things can exist together inside of ourselves, we don’t believe that they exist together inside of someone else?  Especially a celebrity.

Maybe the problem is that Hamilton has been so strong in espousing his belief in God.  Would it really have been necessary for him to hold a press conference to tell us that he had a few drinks one night if he hadn’t claimed so loudly that God is the one who enables him to stay sober?   Maybe this is why so many people don’t have the courage to state their beliefs at all.  If you say tell your co-workers that you follow Christ then you have to live up to it.  One slip up and you risk ridicule, you risk judgement, you risk isolation.  Seriously, which takes more courage – stating what you believe and trying to walk it out or staying quiet and living however you want?  Plus, the bonus for not speaking what you believe is that you get to call anyone who “sins” a hypocrite.

This is why I believe that Josh Hamilton is a role model.  I don’t think Josh has made his last mistake and I know I haven’t.  I think he will have to ask forgiveness again and I know I will.   He states what he believes, he attempts to live by it, and asks forgivness when he doesn’t.  There are fewer and fewer people doing that these days.

May I have such courage.

The Ultimate Endurance Sport

As the Giants are holding off Brady and the Super Bowl is wrapping up, it reminds me of a passage in Hebrews with that contains a sports analogy.

Do you see what this means–all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running–and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with God–he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
(Heb 12:1-3)

Have you ever had life get bogged down?  We all have.  Some days we wake up and we just don’t feel like doing all the things that are on the slate to do.  Sometimes it feels like life is just too much.  But we carry on.   Our lives are the ultimate endurance sport and here the author of Hebrews offers us insight on how to win the race and even do it with joy along the way.  There are a few things that stand out to me.

First, is the idea that we can’t finish unless we start.  So many times we want to see the whole picture before we move.  We want all the steps laid out like mapquest directions.  While that might work when using GPS (most of the time) it’s not the way life goes.  I love thinking about the Wright brothers and how they learned to fly by learning to fly.  They didn’t know how, they just started doing.  The truth for most of us is that we already know much of what we need to do to be a better spouse, parent or friend.  We already know the good habits we need to develop as students or in our careers.  We just need to get started.

Next we see that our lives have purpose.  Jesus kept his focus because because he knew that His life mattered.  His actions mattered.  It’s true for us as well – what we do matters.  As spouses, employees, parents and friends our actions make a difference.  When we choose to see our lives from a perspective of purpose it helps give us power to stay strong in the race.

Last is the reminder that Jesus experienced more trouble, obstacles and issues than any of us could imagine and he stayed the course.  Our connection to Him gives us the peace, strength and Joy required to live this life.  When we stop, unplug and find ourselves in Him, we are renewed for the journey.

Let’s make this week’s lap a great one!

 

3 Reasons Why You Need to be Confused

3 Reasons Why You Need to be Confused

A mentor of mine once said to me that “confusion is extremely important.”. Which I really like because of how often I find myself confused. It’s true though. You see, there are really only four types of people when it comes to understanding something, understanding anything actually. There are those who understand, those who don’t, those who are confused and those who have stopped trying.

So here we go, three reasons why confusion is actually a good thing:

First off, confusion means that you are trying to grow, trying to become something more than you are right now. So if you’re confused today I say bravo. Earlier this week I was in Las Vegas for business. That place has an undeniable energy. Yet, it’s a bit sad. We saw people crying, passed out, angry, strung out, and much more. Trying to escape who you are leads to bad things and is an awful way to live. Becoming is far preferable to escaping, but it’s hard work. It requires discipline, faith and yes, confusion. The bible tells us that heaven has big plans for us if we are willing to follow even when we’re confused. That’s faith.

Second, confusion leads to discovery (if we don’t give up). Galatians 6 encourages us to keep at it so that we don’t miss out on the reward. When we arrive at a moment where we just don’t understand what’s going on it’s not time to press the “flip out” button. Instead, think of confusion as a reminder to yourself that you are on the verge of understanding if you stick it out. Frustration leads to anger and eventually quitting. Failure is just an experiment that let’s us discover a new way not to do it.

Third, confusion puts us in a position to ask for help and that’s actually a very powerful place to be. What happens when someone asks for your help? You feel empowered, needed, valuable. As John Maxwell says leadership is influence and what better way to gain influence with others than to help them feel needed and valued by asking for help? The only reason you have to sweat it out yourself is just so you can revel in the pride of not needing anyone. But all pride does is keeps us confused for longer than necessary. Humility is the fuel for enlightenment.

So, do something this week that will force you into confusion. It means that good stuff is headed your way!

Yours in confusion, Travis

Shopping for Jesus

Shopping for Jesus

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A forward thinking research firm called Saatchi & Saatchi X conducts studies about how people shop and why they buy things. Here is an excerpt from some of their recent findings:

“We recently conducted a study to understand the emotional benefits that drive and influence shopping behavior. Those benefits, we found, include the satisfaction of deep needs for self-creation, mastery, security and connection. Shoppers today want to explore and think about how products can improve their lives. They do reconnaissance to gain the insights they need, and they’re driven to bond with others and enrich relationships as they learn. They are motivated by a desire to take charge of their own identities and the well-being of their families and homes.”