Feeling the Love

As you probably know, we’re playing in the NLDS tomorrow. I’m focused!

Your support for your team means so much to the players. Whether you root for the Giants or another team, your support is awesome! It means so much to everyone in baseball to feel the support and involvement of our fans.

Let’s expand our love. Let’s expand its reach from baseball to youth in poverty areas. They need us. There are so many kids in this world who live in poverty, and they will flat-out blossom with our support. Take a moment to click this link and buy yourself an indestructible soccer ball. Take it to school or the park and play with your family and friends. Because when you do, the One World Futbol Project will donate another soccer ball to an organization working with young people in disadvantaged communities. Buy one, give one!

It’s so much fun to play! You laugh and have fun. You bond with your friends or your kids. You dream about the things you can do. And guess what? Kids in poverty will do the same.

You can save a life today!

Children_One_World_Futbol_Tembisa

Thanks, and see you Monday.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

I’m taking the day off from my blog in order to focus on preparing for our Wednesday playoff game. In case you missed it, here’s Hunter Pence’s speech from yesterday. Just click on the title, “Hunter Pence Inspires.”

And say it with us! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Hunter Pence Inspires

See you Thursday.

You Can Handle Anything

Christians are taught to listen for God’s wisdom, and obviously I think that’s what we need to do. But I understand that the practice of listening sometimes raises a problem for theology. Doing theology in a systematic way will always lead us to ask, “How do we know that it is God’s voice we hear, and not the voices of our own preferences or needs?” Last time, I suggested that we can be sure we’ve received God’s wisdom when our actions make visible the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

If we don’t show self-control when we’re talking to other people, then we don’t hear God’s wisdom in our words. I’m not talking about controlling people, and I’m not talking about controlling situations. I’m talking about self-control. There are going to be times when people come at you, and you will want to take control. You won’t want them to win, not when they come at you. That’s natural! But we have to get past that.

It’s not about winning and losing, not when it comes to Jesus Christ and humanity. He has already won. He says, “You are in me, and I am in you. You and I are One with an O, plus I have won with a W. So you have to understand, when you are talking to other people, even when they are aggressive towards you, you have won already. You don’t need to be in control.”

This is your identity. This is you who are in Christ.

fruit of the spirit

There will be other times when you are talking to somebody or trying to help them, and all of a sudden something arises that is not written down on any of the pages of the Bible. I guarantee this will happen, and it can throw you! Wow, you say, he’s asking things, and she’s asking things, and the answer isn’t in my Bible. That’s when you’re going to say, “Holy Spirit, help me handle this the right way.” That doesn’t mean you’ll always have an immediate answer. But you can still handle it right. You can handle anything when you have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Sometimes as a believer, you have to have faith. Sometimes Christians fear that what they have from God won’t be enough. In those moments they reach for something else. They want so much to see an immediate impact or an immediate response. But sometimes, that’s not what you’re going to get.

You have to have faith. You have to trust that handling a situation with love and self-control is going to be enough.

See you Monday.

Listening For God’s Voice

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

I’ve been reflecting recently on justice and righteousness, the foundations of God’s throne. We are called to create justice and righteousness in the world, and to do it, we need God’s wisdom. But how do we know when we are receiving God’s wisdom? The Bible gives us a variety of examples. Jesus famously turned the money changers out of the Temple, but he also reached out in love to Zacchaeus, the tax collector, and made a disciple of him.

How do we know when to be loving and compassionate, and when to grab a whip and do some cleansing? How do we know when we’re doing what the Holy Spirit tells us to do, versus doing what we want to do? How do we know when we’re doing God’s will and not following our own will?

How do you know that the voice you hear speaking into your life is God’s?

Galatians 5I think you’ll know it because of the peace you’ll have when you’re sharing that wisdom. Have you seen people on their soapboxes sharing John 3:16 and they’re yelling? They’re actually sharing Jesus by telling people, “You’re going to go to hell if you don’t believe that God gave His only son for your sins!” There’s no way those people have complete and utter peace in what they are doing. I think they want to do the right thing, but they don’t know how. So they just yell it. Their faces are angry, and they spit it out. And then they say, “There, I got the Word of God out there. Now it’s their fault if they don’t accept Christ.”

They don’t show self-control. When people challenge them they don’t even want to listen. They just keep saying the same thing over and over again. I’ve seen it happen! Someone challenges them, and they just point their finger right in their face and go on yelling about John 3:16. That’s not self-control. It’s chaos!

I think you have to ask God for wisdom all the time, and you’ll know when you receive it because you’ll feel peace about what you’re doing. You’ll see the fruit of the Spirit. That’s how you’ll know.

A Story For You

I have a story for you.

A guy I know was speaking at a conference. He had some friends in town, and they asked him to meet with a woman they knew. This woman had been dealing with a lot of troubles. The friends thought maybe the guy could help her.

So he met her for coffee. They sat down together and he asked her, “How are you doing?” She told him directly, “You know, I’m not a believer.”

“Yes, I know that,” he said. He started to speak, but she seemed defensive and went on. “I don’t even believe that Jesus existed!” she told him. He opened his mouth to respond, and still she went on, verbally pushing him away.

Finally he got a chance to speak, and he told her, “I just wanted to know what you wanted in your coffee.”

Surprised, she said, “You don’t want to try to convert me?” And he said, “No, I just want to have this cup of coffee with you.” And she said, “Okay.”

So he went to the counter and got cups of coffee for both of them. By then she had calmed down, and so they sat there for a bit, quiet, just sipping. And then she said, “Why are you here?”

He looked right into her eyes and he said, “I’m here to have a cup of coffee with you.”

“You know I’m not a Christian,” she said. “I don’t believe in Jesus. So, if you know that about me, what can you possibly tell me?” And he said, “I can tell you that Jesus not only loves you, but He likes you.”

The woman started weeping. That’s all he said to her, and she released all that pain. He got her a cup of coffee and told her, “Jesus not only loves you, but He actually likes you.”

I can promise you that scenario is not in scripture. You cannot open up the Bible and find the place where it talks about how to handle a woman in a coffee shop who is angry and hurting. Sometimes, we have to ask for wisdom. Suppose the guy had told her, “Your time is coming. Jesus is coming back and it’s going to be too late. You’re going to go to hell.” He could have said that to her, but he would have turned her off. She would have walked out of that coffee shop, and she probably wouldn’t ever have believed in Jesus. But that’s not what he said. He didn’t react to her feelings or her words. He just let her speak, and he got her a cup of coffee. He earned enough trust that she was ready to listen to him. And when she asked, “What do you have for me,” he told her, “Jesus loves you, but He also likes you.”

And it’s all he had to say.

Ryan Vogelsong’s Faith

My teammate Ryan Vogelsong testified at Giants Fellowship Day last month.

Check it out. His honesty is so uplifting. He reminds us that even when we feel lost, God is preparing a path for us.

The Bible, man. It tells us what we need to know.

See you Thursday.

Selfless

There’s no better way to reflect God’s love than by helping someone in need. Why is this the best way? Because you have to be selfless to help someone in need. You have to be like Jesus.

Jesus! When He came down, man, everything He did was selfless. He didn’t have to, but He served everybody! He didn’t have to do any of the things that He did when He came here. He didn’t even have to leave heaven. Coming down here was the ultimate selfless act.

Can you imagine what He must have been thinking? I’m sure it was something like this:

I have to come to this little planet here, and help these people? You’re telling me that I need to come here, to this place, where they’re going to deny me, persecute me, judge me, run me to the edge of cliffs, and basically try to kill me all the time? Uh, really? Fun times.

He knew how hard it was going to be, but He did it. It was a selfless act.

Because I think He also said this:

You know what? I love these people, man! They are the reason why God, my Father, created life. He created life for the purpose of relationship. And I’m going to go down there and fix that relationship. I’m going to restore it. I’m going to feed the hungry, and I’m going to set the captives free.

It feels good to feed the hungry. Ask these Whitworth University students, who spent a day packaging meals for the hungry.

He came to restore us to God. That’s where Matthew 25 comes in, because that’s where Jesus separates the sheep from the goats. You know how it goes: “When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was in prison, you visited me.”

That is huge! Think about it. It’s so big! “When I was hungry, you fed me.”

We may not understand why there is hunger in the first place. I don’t think we can truly understand why, because it’s not our call. It’s God’s. But it doesn’t have to paralyze us, because we have a calling. We’re called to be selfless like Jesus.

Jesus was selfless to come here. He did it because He loves us, and He promises to remember every one of our selfless acts. He shows us the way. He shows us how to be selfless just like Him, and He inspires us to do it with love. “When I was hungry, you fed me.”

And here’s the greatest thing of all. When we’re selfless like Jesus, selfless out of love, we find fulfillment. Being selfless like Jesus brings the fulfillment that we crave. We may not even know we crave it, but we discover it. All we have to do is experience it.  Fulfillment in Jesus is exactly what our souls crave.

When you can say that you helped someone who was hungry by giving them something to eat, you’ll experience it. That’s when you’ll know.

See you Monday.