The Gift of Your Membership

This week I’m in Augusta, GA, coming to you from one of the greatest golf courses in the world.

Well… sort of coming to you from there.

I’m not exactly a member so I just had a take a quick video because I was afraid I’d get kicked out.

Here’s the whole story:


(Here’s the YouTube link just in case)

For me, driving around the green hoping for a peak inside had to be good enough.

But that’s not the case with Jesus.

You never have to settle for good enough when you’re with Jesus.

He’s a member so you get to be a member. What a privilege that is!

Hear Him say “Come, see all the things I have for you.”

So much more than just good enough.

Have you ever gotten to “authorized personnel only” access to someplace special? How’d it feel?

I’d love to hear your story. Tell me in the comments or on Facebook.

God is good,

Peder

Live Like You’re In The Game!

I love tournaments. The competition, energy, tension. Win and play again or lose and go home.

The NCAA March Madness is a favorite time for many sports fans because of that.

The underdog taking on the favorite hoping for that one game where they take down the giant. The player who shoots the free throws to tie the game with no time on the clock or, better yet, the last second shot from deep beyond the 3-point line to win the whole thing.

In moments like that there is so much emotion: one team rejoices and one team feels empty. You see 18-22 year olds jumping around like kids who got some free candy or having faces of tears like someone took the candy.

It’s one thing to watch it but to be a player in it is a whole different ball game (no pun intended 😉 ).

photo credit

photo credit: O via photopin (license)

Some times you hear players after the game talk about “If only I would have did this or not done that.”

I even hear players put the loss on their own shoulders saying they cost their team the game. Noble? Maybe. Hard on the heart? Definitely.

Think about the disciples. They thought they had suffered the worst loss ever when Jesus was crucified and died.

The One who called them from mundane life to experiences of healings, miracles, intense conflict with people who wanted to kill Him. The one they followed for three years of their lives seeing things they wouldn’t know how to put into words.

The One who said He loved them and the One they loved was gone in a sequence of events of brutality, fear, betrayal. It’s a cloud of hopelessness.

This feeling of defeat and blur of confusion was endured for three days.

This wasn’t a ball game. For these followers is what the very heartbeat of who they were thrown into tornado of havoc and spit out with no compassion.

Imagine what it would be like for a team who lost a heartbreaking game in the tournament to get a call to find out their loss had been reversed and they were now declared the winners!

How would that feel for those players that they were still in the tournament and still invited to compete and play in the next game?

Magnify that emotion by a million and then you might taste what the Mary, Martha, and the disciples felt when they found the tomb empty and Jesus reappeared to them.

What was happening in front of them was inconceivable: Jesus had come back to life in front of them. What was happening inside of them was even more inconceivable.

They were being told not to go home and curl up on the ground in defeat but instead all things had been reversed and they were still in the game!

We’ve been told the same thing.

That should cause anyone to jump, shout, dance, even shed tears but oh they are tears of joy!

Does it do that to you?

We just celebrated Easter Sunday, the most crucial day in the life of a Christian. It put us back in the game.

How do you live after that? How will you live this year?

The disciples lived the wake of the resurrection of Jesus like they never had before. They didn’t want to waste their second chance.

You? Me?

We’re still in the game through Jesus Christ. Not only that, the victory is already ours!

Don’t live like you wish you would have, should have, could have.

Play!!!

God is good.

Peder

Sports, Church, And Family Are More Similar Than You Think

I spent this past weekend attending and coaching my three older kids in their sports. It’s so much fun. I am a sports fan on many levels. I love playing, watching, coaching, you name it.

Ethan’s 12AA baseball team on Friday night was in a tight game. Understand, Ethan’s team has had a really up and down season of some good wins but also really hard losses. It was affecting everyone because sports take emotion. We had won in the morning but it felt like a rough win.

The night came we played well with solid defense and a good spirit.

It had it gone back and forth and literally came down to the last inning. Our pitcher, Trayton, had just struck out the previous batter which was huge! They had two outs, runners on second and third, and their best hitter was coming up.

In his previous bat, this kid hit a rocket to right field over the fielder’s head. The coaching staff told Noah, our right fielder, to back it up.

Trayton threw two amazing pitches and put the batter in an 0-2 count. The coaches, parents were on fire, so loud, so intense. The batter then fouled off the next pitches. Even though we were up by one, the runners on second and third would go when the ball was hit so any outfield ball meant we had no chance.

Then Trayton threw an outside fastball…

CRACK!

Another rocket to right field! Nobody breathed. The coaches were silent. I heard some voices say “Oh no!” It felt like slow motion.

In right field, it was just Noah. All eyes watching, waiting. He backed a step and stopped. His glove went up, he leaned back, his glove went up as high as possible…

Catch! WE WON!

The coaches, players ran onto the field, screaming, cheering, jumping all over Noah.

It was so fun!!!

Ethan's 12AA team qualified for 3 state tournaments! Love the faces:)

Ethan’s 12AA team qualified for 3 state tournaments! Love the faces :)

Friends, I really see church and family being a lot a sports team. We have coaches (pastors, parents), team names (church name, family name), players (the congregation, children), the game (our mission, our life), and goal (1 Cor. 9:24-27, Malachi 4:5-6, Luke 1:17).

It should be intense, fun, full of action, voices cheering each other on, hugging, victories, and most of all delight and passion in the One who owns the team, the game, the purpose and by His grace allows us to play. Even more than that goes crazy with us and over us simply because He is our Abba Father and loves to watch us, coach us, and, I dare say, play with us!

It reminds me again to remind you. Respond and engage in worship at least like a ball game. Celebrate family and church family moments of marriages being healed, baptisms, weddings, sermons, the offering like it’s “the catch”!

Because it is way more important than that!

What are your thoughts? Agree? Disagree?

I Love March Madness!

I love March Madness. The time when high school and college basketball tournaments are in full swing. It’s when I take Allison and Ethan for a day to the girls and boys state basketball tourney and dream about what it might be like for them to play in it one day. It’s when I fill out my brackets for the NCAA Men’s Tournament and try to predict who will win. I watch my brackets and catch the games I can.

I love tournaments because of the whole lose and you’re done, win and you get to play again situation. Some of the intensity is heavy. Emotions run high, inspiring plays make memories, and the experience of the smaller, lower-seeded team upsetting the bigger or favorite to win team is a blast. I love the underdog, Cinderella moment.

Trying to pick a winner

Imagine if we knew the outcome. What would it be like to know your favorite team is going to win?

Would you still watch?

I would. Especially if I knew my team was beating a rival team. I know I would enjoy the game with less anxiety if we fell behind because I knew it was going to turn around to my team’s favor anyway.

Isn’t that what the life of being a follower of Jesus is suppose to be like? I mean, we know that because God is for us, nothing can stand against us (Romans 8:31b-32)  and the good work God began in us He said He will take to its completion! Check that it’s GOOD work! (Phil. 1:6)

I can live this life like I don’t know about the victory. I can treat my friends and family like I need to trust no one and gain control of any possible outcomes that may come my way. Man, is that foolish on my part.

If I remain in my Abba Father God and He remains in me, I get to experience what David or Esther or Gideon or Joseph felt, to mention a few.

Remember the war is won in Christ Jesus and by His grace we get to be part of the victory with Him.

I just need to live like it. The people close to me would appreciate it for sure. :)

God is good ALL the time!

Peder