Aaron Summers

5 Ways to Defend Against #YOLO

In Gospel Living on October 15, 2014 at 7:49 am

d-fence-defense-sign

I love college and fantasy football!  On Wednesday, I check to see if I have a fantasy player for Thursday’s game and then check the status again early Sunday morning.  Each Saturday I get up and look over the schedule for the day to see which games I am going to watch, DVR, or just follow on the Champ Drive App.  With that said, I believe football is becoming a problem.  Not for me, but in the way defense is shrugged off like an old musty garment no one cares to wash, care for, and wear.  Through the first six weeks, the NFL is averaging 24.2 points/team/game.  The FBS teams are averaging 30.2 points/team/game.  Last weekend Baylor and TCU combined for 119 points and over 1200 yards of rushing!

Where’s the defense?

I know what you are going to say: low scores are boring.  While I would tend to agree from a fantasy perspective, the game is designed to have both offense and defense.  In a mad rush for offense, our culture has created this monster!  We don’t defend.  We just outscore you.  Really?

Where is the balance?

Gone are the days of the Iron Curtain, Dog Pound, and Black Shirts of Nebraska.  What happened to the motto “Defense wins championships”?   We overprotect the QB by deriding defense-men if they even look at him too harshly.  We have stripped the DB’s of any ability to make the receivers nervous.  It’s all about the offense.  High scores create high ratings.  We watch to see if the other team can score again before the clock runs out instead of whether the defense makes a stop.

What about your life?  Are you all about the offense?  With the advent of #yolo, we see one more step toward a purely offensive, hedonistic lifestyle in our culture.  Who cares about control?  Who cares about consequences?  Like the player who was berated for smiling and laughing after a loss because he did not seem to have any concern.  Do you have any defense in your life?  Are there any processes in place that stop you from stupidity?  Here are 5 ways to rebuild your defense:

  1. Prayer – coming clean before God and letting the Spirit infuse you with control allows for a more controlled life.
  2. Small Groups – getting in a small group creates a level of assistance through accountability.
  3. Worship – sacrificing a portion of your beloved weekend to worship God with other believers allows for a recharge.
  4. Service – giving back through missions and ministries requires time management and control.  Like defense, it is required to win.
  5. Money – when we learn to give 10% to the church we exercise control.  If the highest paid players are always on offense, then defense will struggle.  Balancing finances will bring about a stronger unit for your life as well.

The  Lord  demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness. Proverbs 16:11

7 Items You Need to Change the World

In Gospel Living on October 13, 2014 at 9:55 am

together-we-can-change-the-world

The first time I traveled overseas was an interesting journey.  I had been appointed by the Tennessee Baptist Convention to be a Summer missionary to the Philippines.  There were several things I needed in order to go and I couldn’t wait until the last minute.  Between school and work schedules I carved out time to go to Memphis (90 miles).  I had to get shots, papers, a passport, and other travel necessities.  Of course, it wasn’t just one trip.  After several shots and a hand cramp from filling out papers, I returned to school.  I had 2 sore arms and leg the next day.  The TBC arranged all my travel plans. I was ready to go!

A few years later, I was organizing an overseas trip and became aware of all the fine details of travel.  Of course, 9/11 had happened, which changed a lot.  Yet, there were many things I was thankful to have handled on earlier trips that we now had to do.  We had a list of shots.  We all had passports.  We decided on the travel itinerary.  We applied for visas.  We registered with the IMB and State Department.  All of this was necessary for safety and proof of identity.

Nehemiah was going through the same ordeal as he prepared to travel out of country to go to Jerusalem.

The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?” With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.” The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request. I also said to the king, “If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah.  And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me. When I came to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, I delivered the king’s letters to them. The king, I should add, had sent along army officers and horsemen to protect me.

As we boarded each flight we produced the necessary documents.  As we arrived in Niger, we had several documents to produce in order to go through customs and be allowed entrance to the country.  Without the proper documentation, we would have been stuck and likely been sent away or detained!

If we, as followers of Christ are going to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission we are going to travel internationally.  Over 6,000 people groups have yet to adequately hear the Gospel.  If we don’t go, then who will?  We must take up the mantle and go to the ends of the earth until the whole world hears!

What do you need?

  1. Passport
  2. Money
  3. Sending Church or Church Group Going
  4. Flight
  5. Visas and Travel Insurance
  6. Shots
  7. Register with State Department (depending on country)

Many other items are just comfort things.  If you want to seriously be part of changing the world, pray up and get your passport!

3 Ways to Unpack Joy

In Journey on October 10, 2014 at 8:34 am

unpacking

Boxes adorn each room of our new house and, while it is exciting to be in a house, now we have to unpack it all.  Each night we take a few more and get them unpacked.  We are diligently trying to get this done before needing to decorate for Christmas.  Because of the hurried nature of packing, some things were not noticed.  As we unpack and try to find the right spot in the new home we come across some interesting stuff.

Last night, my wife comes in from a room where she has unpacked with a stack of pictures and an album.  The pictures are of me and my parents.  As we sat down to look through them, I noticed a few pictures I had not recalled seeing before of my parents and a couple of me.  We sat there for about 30 minutes just walking through my life from their wedding day to my college graduation.  It was fun. Unpacking can do that to you.  Each night someone in the house is finding joy in the bottom of a box.

In the Bible, we read “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” from Lamentations 3:23.  Every day that you awake, God’s mercies start new with you.  What a joyful spiritual idea!  Life can be filled with spiritual joy in the midst of physical or mental disaster.  Jerusalem had been overtaken by the enemy because of their disobedience to God.  In the midst of this disaster, Jeremiah writes that God’s mercies start fresh each day.

What are we talking about?

  1. After confession and repentance, God doesn’t hold a grudge. Humans do and this makes it hard for us to accept.  However, God, in his power and choice lets it go.
  2. In a disaster, God does not run away. Sometimes it feels like He does, but we must walk in faith not feeling.  God loves us and wants to bring us joy.
  3. No matter how bad yesterday was, you can start fresh with God today.

Tale a minute and unpack a spiritual box you have held onto in the back room of your heart.  Let God bring you joy!

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