Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Questions Jesus Asks

One of my favorite versus of scripture is Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."   Christianity Today lists this verse as one of the "Most Shared Verses" shared through social media and e-mail - #4 to be exact.  But I often think the popularity of this verse is self-centered.  If I ask (and ask often enough) I will receive.  If I just keep looking or I just keep knocking, then this great thing will happen for me!

In his book Questions Jesus Asks - Where Divinity Meets Humanity, Israel Wayne turns this paradigm upside down.  He shifts the focus from the questions we are asking, to the questions Jesus asks in the Gospels.  He challenges the reader to contemplate these questions in order to find our own answers - the answers Jesus intends for us to discover, the answers that are meant just for us.
He isn't asking the questions for His own benefit but rather on behalf of the person being asked.  Jesus was full of love and compassion for people.  His questions penetrate the heart and probe our deepest motives.
 In this work, Israel Wayne presents twenty questions and relates each to a specific principle or concept.  He then breaks the question down,  through analysis of scripture and personal study, reflection and experience, in a way that is sure to cause you to think about the question in a way you never considered before.  For example, in his analysis of Matthew 16:26 Mr. Wayne poses the question "What will it profit a man?"  He relates to the concept of money.  He challenges the reader to think about how we are investing in eternity and the idea that everything belongs to God.  The wealth we accumulate during our lifetime is God's and is intended for us to use to do His will.  I know for me personally, it's really easy to get caught up in thinking about the next thing "I want" and to not give any consideration for the next thing that God wants.

Among the other questions presented are:

  • Who Do People Say That I Am? (Christology)
  • Didn't You Know? (Virgin Birth)
  • Who Are My Mother and Brothers? (Family)
  • What Are You Seeking? (Discipleship)
  • What Will It Profit a man? (Money)
  • Who Touched Me? (Healing)
  • Do You Want to Get Well? (Counseling)
  • Why Are You Afraid? (Fear)
  • What Is Your name? (Demonology)
  • What Were You Arguing About? (Servanthood)

What I really enjoyed about this particular book is that it's presented in a very straightforward way - no degree in theology required.  It's also very relevant to the present packed with real-world concerns. And while the subject matter is quite mature, Mr. Wayne has written in a way that anyone from teenager to adult can relate.  I also appreciate the fact that there is an appropriate amount of humor weaved throughout that ultimately allows you to really stop and laugh at yourself for a minute and eases the burden of thinking "Am I the only one that feels this way?" or "Am I the only one that's done that?"  I think it's important that we not take ourselves too seriously, but recognize that we are all imperfect human beings called to be perfect.

In our pursuit of perfection, it's easy to get caught up in our shortcomings.  In fact, the Devil wants us to get caught up in them because he wants us to be discouraged.  He wants us to get caught up in our personal desires - that new car, the next vacation, those season tickets.  He wants us to have doubts - I can't resist this or I just can't stop doing that, I can't change.  Jesus want's us to be without fear and not be discouraged (Joshua 1:9).  Jesus wants us to seek Him (Matthew 6:33).  Jesus wants us to have faith (Matthew 11:22).  Jesus wants to guide us on a journey discovery and Israel Wayne has provided a very thought provoking way to embark by examining the Questions Jesus Asks.  Now it's up to us to ask for clarification, seek to understand and knock to open the door of wisdom.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Warming up by the fire

This winter has been one for the ages.  I think most people can agree to that.  It's hard to believe we are only a few days away from Spring.  And while we are that much closer to warmer weather, today has even greater significance.  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent.  A time that most people associate with a black smudge on the forehead and giving up candy, TV, beer or something else we normally feel we can't live without.  But, rather than taking the traditional view of sacrificing our indulgences and eating fish on Friday, I'd like to propose a slightly different take.  I like to think of Lent as warming up by the fire.

There's almost nothing that compares to a good fire to warm up those shivering bones on a cold winter day, sitting around a campfire singing songs with friends, or simply chilling out around a fire pit in your back yard. It's welcoming and reinvigorating - it's healing.

Lent is perfectly placed as winter transitions to spring.  Winter is cold, dark and long, much like death.  Spring is warm, bright and full of life.  We all long and hope for those warmer days, to feel the sun on our faces and to see green grass, blooming flowers and budding trees.  Just as spring brings new life from what winter has left dead, Lent reminds us of the new life we have in Jesus Christ who saves us from our death from sin.  But, Lent isn't just about giving things up and it isn't just about remembering Jesus' passion on the cross.  Those are certainly aspects of Lent; however, they serve a purpose.  Lent represents a time of renewal and rebirth.  It's where we take time to pause and recognize our imperfections, our sins and our dependence on God.  More importantly, we commit to improve those imperfections, seek forgiveness and avoid those sins, and recognize that we are dependent on God's help.  We recall that Christ calls us to be perfect, he died for the forgiveness of our sins, was resurrected to conquer death,  and he sent the Holy Spirit to guide us in our journey.

Lent then is a time of renewal.  A time when we seek to draw closer to God.  Hebrews 12:29 tells us that "our God is a consuming fire." So let's take our cold wet bones, shivering from our sins and imperfections, and come warm up by the fire.

What are your thoughts on Lent?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Viva Golazo!

I have to say from the outset that I am WAY past due in getting this post up, and I have to apologize to my friends at Golazo for the delay.

With that said, you're probably wondering "what the heck is Golazo?"  Founded in 2010 by Richard Tait and Alex Rosenast, Golazo is a Seattle Washington based  soccer-passionate brand of all-natural energy and sports drinks with a Latino influence.  The term Golazo is spanish for a "super or beautiful goal." According to the Urban Dictionary, Golazo is a Spanish term "referring to an awesomely amazing goal." Inspired by the growing enthusiasm for soccer, the Latino influence in the sport and a quest for natural products, Richard and Alex saw an opportunity to serve a unique need.  They observed that kids were mixing Red Bull and Gatorade to get something energizing and hydrating, so they set out to create a beverage with the energy of Red Bull with as much hydration as Gatorade from all-natural ingredients.  Their tagline, "Born to Score," embodies their philosophy around human potential and the confidence that soccer can bring to people's lives.  The company's mission - "We Fuel Futbol."

I was fortunate enough to be able to sample their line of energy drinks.  These drinks are not available locally where I live, so I wrote to Golazo expressing my interest in the product and a desire to sample and write a review.  They were kind enough to send me a sample of each of their energy drinks.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

USWNT vs France

 I just had to share this Studio 90 post-match report on the USWNT win vs France.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hydration for soccer - six simple tips to help beat the heat!

How do you make sure your players are properly hydrated?  Here in Ohio, high school teams  are approaching the half-way point of pre-season and club teams are beginning to train for the fall - and it's frickin' hot!  As we get ready to start training, I'm concerned about how well my U-14 girls really keep themselves hydrated.  The body is somewhere between 60-70% water (depending on your source).  And that water is important for transporting nutrients to the cells in your body and it's also critical to the body's cooling process.  When we sweat, water evaporates and cools the body bringing the body's core temperature down keeping critical organs safe.  When we are dehydrated, the body loses it's ability to sweat, and therefore cool the body down, causing a number of problems from headaches and cramps, to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  Staying properly hydrated is critical to player safety and performance.  Here are six simple  tips to help beat the heat!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

America's 1st Online Soccer Academy - and it's FREE!

Summer is upon us and that means camps - lots and lots of camps!  There are residential and non-residentialcamps, most of which last anywhere from a few days to a full week.   Prices range from $80 to $500 depending on your choice.  This can be huge time and financial commitment.  In today’s economy, that can really be a challenge.  Breaking out of these traditional venues for training is Jared Montz, a former professional soccer player and founder of America’s first online soccer academy - and it's FREE!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nutrition for Soccer

Nutrition is a critical component of being an athlete.  Being a competitive youth soccer player presents some unique nutritional challenges in that, often, matches are very early in the morning making it impractical to eat several hours before; matches may be scheduled with very little time in between; and tournament play means frequently playing multiple matches in the same day.

It's important that you develop the proper habits for fueling your body to maximize performance.  Here's a short video from SportsmedAlabama with some great tips on properly fueling up.