Wednesday, February 29, 2012



Webster’s dictionary says to encourage is “to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope; to spur on; to give help or patronage to”- in other words to empower or embolden someone to do that which is set before them.

To inspire with courage, spirit or hope.  I love that.  To fill with real courage not false bravado.  To inspire the spirit not to just leave them with a positive mental image.  To foster hope even in the midst of despairing circumstances.  That is encouragement.  In order to really inspire courage you have to be willing to walk with someone for awhile.  We can’t think the Waterboy was all that encouraged by the guy in the stands yelling “You can doooo it” and neither should we expect our friends who are facing tough circumstances will be spurred on that much  by a passing Facebook post.  It is not that those things aren’t good it is just that they fall short of what a friend really needs. 

During the third episode of Full Metal Jousting, Joe drew a tough opponent in Josh Avery and coming into the practice before his joust he had done okay, but was still a little bit unsure if he would be able to hit hard enough to be successful.  Now as the black team we could have used all of the encouraging words we knew and it might have helped a bit, but what Joe really needed was for his teammates to enter the list* with him and give him our best while we received his best.  You see true encouragement is best given shoulder to shoulder, not face to face.  It is easier to believe a friend next to you in the huddle than it is to believe your coach on the sidelines, unless the coach has been right there with you sweating through two-a-days. 

And that is one of the best things about Jesus - He was in the boat with them when they were freaking out, saying “fear not”.  He didn’t give them that bit of advice from the shoreline.  If we want to be encouraging to someone, and if we follow the Father’s example as we should, we are going to need to enter the list to really be able to inspire courage, spirit and hope.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friend Down

It is tough watching a buddy go down!

Many times I have watched my kids or my friends compete when it didn't go the way I, or they, expected. They entered the arena of competition talented, prepared, focused, and willing, yet the outcome didn't go their way. Still no matter how many times it happens, it always hurts my heart to see it. It hurts because it reminds us of something we know to be true but is seldom said - "life doesn't always work out the way we think it should". The lance sometimes knocks your friend out of the saddle, the final shot sometimes rims out, your kid may fly out in the last inning instead of knocking one over, and even with the best doctors, a good friend may still die of cancer. Sobering thoughts - maybe even sad thoughts, but real nonetheless. Life in this world is hard, sometimes really hard, but as a friend of mine says "hard as compared to what - death?" Maybe we need to remember in the midst of the heartache that at least we were in the game.

A few years ago, my son Layton was in a big baseball tournament in Dallas against a tough team from the Metroplex. With our team of nine year olds down two runs, two men on and two men out, Layton stepped to the plate in the last inning. With two strikes on him he hit a hard shot to right center field. While we were rising to our feet to celebrate, we watched the right fielder sprint over and make an amazing catch to end the game (and crush my son). My heart was broken for him but I was also extremely proud. Layton had stepped to the plate and swung. He hadn't shrunk from the heat of the moment. He had risked heartache and failure, and even though he hadn't succeeded he had experienced something many never will - the thrill of life- real life! Afterwards, I told my son what I feel the Father is telling us, which is to be thankful for the chance to be in the game.. (Jack) be thankful you got to enter the thankful for being able to take the thankful for stepping into the batters thankful for the time I had with my friend. For while these moments really hurt they also are the very spice that really makes life worth living.
 Watch Full Metal Jousting on the History Channel
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Full Metal Jousting- Getting Picked

What is it about being picked for teams that makes even grown men whimper?  Picture sixteen tough jousters desperately hoping that they are not the last one picked for a team….  As we all stood their waiting to hear who would be the first pick, I was analyzing the situation - wondering who it would be.  When my thoughts were interrupted by the realization that he had picked me! Immediately an entire new set of emotions began to take hold.  It is pretty nerve wracking to be chosen first. Being chosen first includes the responsibility that we feel to make the choice valid.  Some people will remember good first picks but everyone remembers bad first round picks (i.e. Ryan Leaf).  So, I found a small measure of anxiety beginning to come over me as the gravity of being chosen first began to set in.  Then I realized that this wasn’t the first time I was “picked first”.  That’s exactly what God did.  It has been said many times by better men than I that we were chosen by God- picked as it were- to be in Christ Jesus- to be on His team so I won't recover that ground.  However, I wonder if we don't secretly hope Jesus picks us somewhere in the middle of the pack.  I mean we don't want to think God chose us last like “alright I guess I will go ahead and take Rope.”  But, we also aren't comfortable with the thought that we might be chosen first. “Oh, great!” we think, “He picked me first - now I suppose he wants me to excel on His team.”  The thought of being a part of some enterprise bigger than ourselves is cool, but the thought of being an integral part of that enterprise is a bit intimidating.  This is why people love to cheer their teams on from the stands but would be scared to death to have any of the jobs on the sideline or on the field.  Ultimately, it really is true, God chose you first. You are His first pick, His number one draft choice.  Let that sink in for a moment… Before you become too overwhelmed with the thought "why in the world would He pick me - - I don't know what I am doing",  relax with the truth that He who has begun this work in you is able to finish the work and deliver you complete and perfect in Him.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Full Metal Jousting- Preview

 As many of you may now already know I recently took part in the reality show Full Metal Jousting.  I am sure this has provoked all kinds of questions.  Like... What is he thinking? Is he wearing makeup in that picture?  Did it hurt?  Did you win? and many others.  Some of the questions I can answer ( yes that is makeup,) others I can't (no I can't tell you if I won it) but I thought it might be fun to give a running commentary here of what the Father showed me while I was on the show.
Full Metal Jousting on the History Channel
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