Sunday Devotional: 1 Peter 2:9-10

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)

As followers of Jesus, we belong.  We belong as children of God.  We belong as a people that belong to God.  He has brought us to Him out of the darkness.  We have received mercy.  And for all this, we get to share that with others.

This week, let us remember that we belong to God.  Let us remember that He has redeemed us.  Let us remember he has given us mercy.  Let us share that good news with others!

Sunday Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

At the end of his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul shared some simple encouragements to them.  Some of them are the words that are in these verses.  They are pretty simple yet greatly profound.

As believers, we are to rejoice, pray and give thanks.  We’re to do those things always, without ceasing and in all circumstances.  We’re able do these because of Jesus.  He’s the one that gives us reasons to rejoice always.  He’s the one who gives us access to the Father to pray without ceasing.  He’s the one who blesses us so much that makes us so thankful through all circumstances.

This week, let us rejoice, let us pray and let us give thanks.  We have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to rejoice and we get to share that with our Heavenly Father.

Sunday Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.  For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Believers have hope.  We have hope because of Jesus.  Jesus died and rose again.  We have the hope to look forward to that death is not the end.  We can grieve but we can grieve with hope.

Paul wanted to encourage the Thessalonians with these words.  We also can be encouraged by these words.  This week, encourage one another with the good news of Jesus.

Friday Favorites: Favorite Sporting Event Moment

It’s Friday again so thought I would share another “Friday Favorite”.  This week I thought I would share one of my favorite sporting event moments.  There’s a lot to choose from and I’m sure at some point I’ll mention more of them.  But if I had to share what my favorite moment at a sporting event that I attended, it would have to be the “Music City Miracle”.

For those that don’t know, the “Music City Miracle” was a play that happened during the NFL Wild Card Playoff Game between the Tennessee Titans and the Buffalo Bills.  It took place on January 8, 2000 in Nashville.  It was the first ever NFL game that I watched in person.  I was on winter break from college and I was able to get tickets.  I actually stood in line and bought them (well I stood in line inside a mall at a store that was a Ticketmaster outlet).

My dad and I went to the game and they were pretty good seats.  They were lower level near one of the end zones.  The game was fun.  It was cold (again it was January).  The Titans led most of the game.  However in the 4th quarter, the Bills made a dramatic drive down the field and were able to take the lead with a field goal with :16 seconds left.

It seemed like the playoffs were done before they really got going.  Then this play happened:

Now, my dad and I are sitting in the corner near the end zone away from this play.  If you’re looking on the TV screen, it would be the upper right corner around the 10-15 yard line or so.  So the play happens going the opposite direction for us.  What I remember from the game was this, I see the ball caught.  I see the ball thrown towards the opposite sideline.  I see player running.  The stadium gets louder and louder and when player reaches the endzone, everyone goes wild.

The longest wait was the wait for the replay.  The referee came to the area near where my dad and I were sitting.  And this was during a time when they didn’t show replays on the big screen.  But when the ref declared it was a lateral and a touchdown, the crowd erupted again.  It was the wildest thing I had ever seen and got to experience in person.  I taped the game (on VHS) and later went back to watch it and see everything as far as the camera angles and such.  On the drive home, I got to hear the radio call, which has become famous.

Probably the only way to top that experience for me would be to be at championship event and my team wins.  Besides that, this has to be my favorite sporting event experience.

Thursday Quote Day: Scot McKnight

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features another quote from author and professor Scot McKnight:

“When we struggle in faith, in waiting on God, and in centering on God in our worship, we need to remind ourselves that Jesus has done each of these for us. Our weak trust, our failure to wait on God, and our blurred worship are all swallowed up in his perfect trust, patience, and worship.” (Scot McKnight The Jesus Creed)

Sunday Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

“Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13)

This passage was a prayer that Paul shared with the Thessalonians.  Paul would pray this regularly on behalf of the Thessalonian church.  The prayer had three points.  First, Paul prayed that God would allow him and Silas and Timothy to return to visit the Thessalonians.  That God would “direct our way to you”.  He had been hindered up to this point in writing the letter to return so he prayed that God would open a way and lead them back.

Second, Paul prayed that the Thessalonians would “increase and abound in love for one another and for all”.  They were known for their faithfulness and love for God and for others.  Paul wanted them to continue to grow in that and abound in it so that they can continue to do it.

Third, Paul prayed that God would “establish your hearts blameless”.  God is only one who is able to forgive us our sins (through the work of Jesus on the cross).  When we repent and confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness as John wrote in 1 John.  Paul cared about the Thessalonians and wanted them to be following Jesus faithfully.

This week, let us pray this prayer for our community and those around us.  Let us show the love of Christ to those around us.  And let us be faithful to follow Jesus with everything we have.

Friday Favorite: Favorite TV Show

It’s Friday so wanted to share another “Friday Favorite”.  This week I wanted to share one of my favorite TV shows.  Through the years there a lot of shows that I’ve watched and loved.  If I had to pick my go to show (which is very touch and I’m sure there will be more shows that will be highlighted in this series) it would have to be Law & Order.

Law and Order

Law & Order debuted back in 1990 and from the first time it aired I was hooked.  It’s a pretty basic premise for a show.  A crime was committed (most of the time it was murder) and the first half of the episode focused on the police detectives that were investigating the case.  The second half of the episode focused on the district attorneys who prosecuted the case at a trial.  Within the hour there was a resolution and the story ended (rarely was there a two part episode).

Even with a simple concept, it was compelling television.  Some of the stories were “ripped from the headlines”.  They were some based on actual criminal cases (but the cases were tweaked to fit the story the writers were telling).  Then there were other cases that were made up but still compelling.

The structure of the show lent itself to have turnover of the cast but even so there were a lot of compelling characters that came through the show.  There was some consistency for much of the series run with Det. Lennie Briscoe (played by Jerry Orbach) and Executive Assistant DA (then later DA) Jack McCoy (played by Sam Waterston) being on the show for a long span of time.  The focus was on the case and the work the detectives and attorneys did.

The show did have several spinoffs including one (Law & Order: SVU) that is still on the air.  But the classic version is the one that to me is the best.  I can still sit down today and watch an episode or two from any season and be entertained.  And the classic “bomp bomp” is still memorable when I think about that show.  Law & Order is my go to TV show to watch.