Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite holidays of the whole year.  You have family, good food and football.  Each year as Thanksgiving rolls around, I always think back on the Thanksgiving’s of the past.  I think about getting up early on some Thanksgiving mornings and my dad loading us boys up to go rabbit hunting or quail hunting, well at least until lunchtime.   On other Thanksgiving mornings we would simply get up, watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and then head to my Nanny & Papa Schrimsher’s house for lunch.   No matter what, Nanny & Papa’s house was the ultimate destination for Thanksgiving.  My Nanny loved Thanksgiving because the family was together and she got to cook for all of us.  Her dressing was the gold standard for dressing.  My memories also race back to all of us grandsons getting some type of ball game up in the yard.  It usually involved my cousins Eric and Paul along with my younger brother Todd competing in a game that in our mind compared to the Super Bowl.

As I fast forward to Thanksgiving today, although traditions change some things remain the same.  My dad, cousin Eric and Nanny & Papa Schrimsher have all gone on to be with Lord and WOW I miss each of them!!  We now go to my mom’s house with the rest of the Schrimsher clan and then to Kim’s mom & dad’s house.   The food is still great!!  I love waking up and being greeted with the smell of one of Kim’s chocolate pies and sweet potato casserole coming out of the oven.   The casseroles, the turkey, the ham, the dressing and yes even the giblet gravy (yes giblet gravy is an acquired taste).

This year as you celebrate Thanksgiving, take time to take in the moment.  Take in time with your family, take in the traditions and encourage & teach your children that these traditions are important.  I fear that in the age of consumerism that we find ourselves in, that many families are replacing the traditions of Thanksgiving past to be the first at the Black Friday sales which now start on Thanksgiving night in many places.  Savor the time you have with those you love and never take the time for granted.  I have so much to be thankful for in my life.  Here are just a few:

  1.  I am thankful for the hope that my Lord and Savior has provided for me through His death burial and resurrection.
  2. I am thankful for Kim.  I am blessed to call her my wife.  She is my best friend , my hero, my confidant, my greatest encourager and my hero.
  3. I am thankful for my two beautiful daughters, Lillian and Olivia.  Each one special in their own way.  I am thankful that they love each other.
  4. I am thankful for a God providing Brandon to be Lillian’s husband and our Son-in-law.  I am thankful for his service with the US Army.
  5. I am thankful for the two, most perfect grandchildren.  John Patton and Molly Caroline you have stolen Sugar and Pops’ heart.
  6. I am thankful for that God gave me a Mama (Ma) that is a great example of godliness.
  7. I am thankful for my in-laws, Billy and Carolyn.  They have always treated me like a son and not a son-in-law.
  8. I am thankful for the traditions of Thanksgiving.  I pray that as time marches on that my children will have the same memories of Thanksgiving and will keep those traditions going for generations to come.

Flawed Versus Evil:  The Choice is Easy for This Writer

It Is amazing that some on the left are wanting to crucify Mrs Trump because some of her speech reflected the same things Mrs Obama espoused during her speech. Let me be clear, I think plagiarism is wrong. I absolutely think it is wrong and the speech writer should be fired post-haste!  However, let us examine a couple of facts that are undeniable where the liberal choice of President is concerned.

First, are you on the left as upset that HRC lied under oath which is a crime? Are you as upset that HRC allowed those without a security clearance to view top secret/classified (I have many friends that work in the defense industry that would be terminated and jailed for the same actions)? Are any of you upset with her lack of inaction and unconcern about Bengahizi? My guess would be that you likely are not bothered by these things because you are blinded by party loyalty. Some are blinded because she is a woman and “it’s just time for a woman to be President”. If you think we are better off than we were 8 years ago then you obviously have not allowed yourself to look honestly at our nation. We elected a community organizer that was going to bring everyone together, but yet we are more divided along racial and economic lines than we have been in my 48 years of life. Economically  those dependent on government programs to survive is at an all time high which has inflated the attitude of entitlement to the point where work is no longer honored. We are not respected and feared around the globe…..yes I absolutely want this great country to be feared!  We have the greatest fighting force of men and women ever assembled, but we lack the leadership to unleash it’s dominance on the Islamo-Facist that has a single desire to destroy our way of life at home and abroad. If you are ok with these things then by all means continue to support HRC because you will get more of the same and our country will continue down a path toward becoming apathetic and weak like most of Europe today!  

   I know there are some out there  that believe that ministers like myself should not publically voice our opinions in the public arena, , but understand that I am not stating these opinions on behalf of my church.  I am merely stating my opinion as a law-abiding, tax paying citizen.  I do not expect everyone to agree with me nor do I really care if people disagree with what I have stated because I am merely expressing my conscience where this nation and its future is concerned.  I have had people tell me that they cannot believe I would support Donald Trump, but I agree with something I heard someone else say a few days ago – ” I am voting for flawed versus evil”.   Donald Trump is no doubt a flawed individual, but then again after all are we not all flawed in one way or the other.  I think, however, that Mrs Clinton is evil.  She stands for the murder of the unborn even into to third trimester – that is enough for me by the way.   She has a mentality that will further divide the nation along racial and economic lines.   She is a criminal that was not convicted because we have leaders in place in the DOJ that placed her above the same standards that we the citizens are held accountable to uphold.  She has no conscience where Benghazi is concerned.  She will not acknowledge that she failed the men killed in the actions of the Islamic-fascist that raided our embassy which by the way is sovereign territory of the United States.  So in the end, if you are satisfied with more of the same then exercise your right to put this country in danger of being thrown onto the ash heap of history in future generations, but my conscience will not allow me to vote for evil, but only flawed.

Regards,

Keith

Radical Islamic Terrorism & American Unity

As I type this, we are two days removed from one of the worst terrorist acts committed on our soil.  Around 2:00am Sunday morning a radical Islamic terrorist walked into an Orlando, FL nightclub and opening fire killed 49 Americans and wounded 53 others.  I understand and have heard that it was a club frequented by the homosexual community.  I get that and frankly I’m not real interested in what anyone’s sexual preference was that was killed.  I am profoundly interested in the fact that they were Americans.   They were people with families and loved ones that cared for and loved them deeply.   They were citizens of this great nation that were gunned down by a gutless coward involved in a religion that by its own book calls for jihad and the bloodshed of any that will not convert.  Yes, I said it…..his religion was not a religion of peace.  For anyone under the banner of christianity or that calls themselves an American citizen that would think that somehow this event was justified because they happen to disagree with the lifestyles of those attacked are no more Christian than the guy that spewed his hatred in the form of terrorism.  I may not agree with the way that the people who were murdered by this individual lived their life, but that is not my concern.  I’m sure there were people killed on 9/11 that I didn’t agree with, but we did not marginalize their deaths because in that day we were all Americans.  This act of terror, actually an act of war, was perpetuated  on Americans.  We ALL should be outraged at the enemies of freedom that dared attack our homeland.   We should demand that our politicians act boldly and forcefully at home and abroad to deal with these barbarians in the only way that they respond to and that is brute force and strength.  Unfortunately though our current leader at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, while calling it terror cannot address this tragedy without it becoming a political issue to trot out the usual garbage about curtailing gun rights.  Hillary Clinton has declared that no one needs an AR-15.   If we look at the places in Europe where they have the strictest gun laws, in Paris for example,  the terrorist still got guns.   We also have every politician from both parties that cannot talk enough about the fact that the individuals killed were part of the LGBT community.  People LISTEN UP!!!  They were AMERICANS attacked by an enemy  that while being American had sworn allegiance to radical Islam, in particular ISIS. We must not allow this event to become a political event to try to promote one lifestyle.  I have a news flash for everyone:  THE MONSTER AND THE RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGY HE REPRESENTED IN CARRYING OUT THIS ATTACK HATES AMERICA AND EVERY AMERICAN! WHETHER YOU ARE STRAIGHT, GAY, BLACK, WHITE, RICH, POOR, CHRISTIAN, HINDU, JEWISH, ETC, ETC – THEY HATE YOU!!!   The terrorist desire to create chaos and division and we must as a nation rise above this evil that exist.

It is time we as Americans stand united as simply Americans and not continue to allow the politicians to divide us into “hyphenated Americans”.  We must stand together not to support this group or that group, but rather to support this great nation and the ideals of freedom as laid out by the Founding Fathers.    It is time that we demand our government leaders deal decisively with these animals whether they are at home or abroad.  If the ones we have in leadership do not have the desire to do it then it is time we as Americans throw them out of office and elect leadership that will first and foremost defend and protect this great nation from enemies domestic and abroad (Oh wait a minute, that is exactly the main thing a President swears an oath to do!!)  We must be vigilant as Americans and if we suspect something then report it.   We must band together to beat back this evil!!!   If you are believer pray for those families that have lost loved ones in the Orlando terrorist attack.  Pray for those survivors that are hanging on to life in hospitals.  Finally, pray for our nation……God is our only HOPE!!

Rejoice!

Keith

 

The Game Knows — The Game Knows

A Blog Post by Jordan Patterson, former Alabama Softball player……“The Game knows.” Throughout my career as a college softball player at Alabama, I heard that statement hundreds of times. From teammates, from coaches, and even from family. There was always a part of me that wanted to believe that the Game really did know. That it saw all of the extra work I put in. […]

via The Game Knows — The Game Knows

Living Among the Great Unwashed

As you read the title of this blog entry, you may think I am about to write from an elitist point of view, but actually quite the opposite is true.  The thing that has my thoughts turned toward the subject I am about to share my thoughts and heart about is a story I heard this week.  I was told the story of a headmaster at a private Christian school.  He referred to the kids that attend public schools as being “diseased”.   Just so everyone that reads this knows, my oldest daughter graduated from public school and my youngest attends public school now.  So what has me concerned and to be honest just sickened that the leader of a Christian institution would call other children that simply attend public schools diseased.

I believe that private school education is a great option for those that want that option for their children’s education.  I understand there are options as far as what can be taught that we simply do not have in the public education sector.  I get all of that, but this one thing does not cause the kids in public schools to be diseased.  Frankly, I prefer that my daughter be taught the principles of scripture in the home and at her church.  So what would motivate a highly educated, headmaster at a Christian school to refer to children like my daughter as diseased?  It is my humble opinion that the gentlemen has an elitist mentality because where this person is concerned, it is not the first time that this type of opinion has been expressed about those that opt to allow their children to be educated in the public school system and thus I guess be part of the great unwashed and diseased segment of the population.  It breaks my heart that the leader of a Christian institution would have this opinion of people, especially kids that just happen to choose a different option for their children’s education.  So why are those of us in the public education system considered by some as a little less desirable?   Well, here goes my thoughts.

First, maybe it is the fact that our kids don’t get a “Kingdom Education”.  Again as stated above this part of life should be taught at home and in the churches.  By the way, I can think of and know plenty of teachers and administrators in our public education system that are followers of Christ.  Many of these men and women set fine examples for our kids and have a very positive impact on their lives.  Secondly, maybe it is because of all the things that happen in our schools such as drugs, alcohol and sex.  Again, if the elitist (I DO NOT BELIEVE EVERYONE IN PRIVATE SCHOOL HAS AN ELITIST VIEW) believe that because their kids are in private schools that these things are not snares their children will have to navigate in their school life, they are sadly mistaken.  The same temptations that affect the young people in public school can also affect the young people in the private education system.    Thirdly, maybe it is because they do not pray in public school or teach bible classes.  In this area, it might surprise you that I as a pastor am not a big proponent of prayer in schools that is initiated by employees of the school system.  Would the same people (most of which are Christians) be ok with an Iman from the local Mosque or the local Hindu leader coming in and leading prayer?  Probably not, but the thought by some that we should have the freedom to sanction prayer in school need to understand that this same freedom would apply to every religious group.  Again, I just prefer that these things be taught in the home and church.  Does this make my child diseased in some way?  I think not, because my child knows how to pray.

My feeling is that perhaps this gentleman thinks these kids are diseased because some of them are different.  I wonder where people with this thought process go to church?  Do they allow their kids to attend Sunday School with the great unwashed from the public education system?  Some of them come from different backgrounds whether it be religious, economic or ethnic.  Perhaps, it is because some of them have life issues.  I don’t know what would cause anyone in the private education sector, especially the Christian education sector, to feel this way because I have a feeling that Jesus would not be pleased.  After all, he went to the least of society and loved them, healed them, ministered to them and even had them as followers while he was very critical of the religious elitist (Pharisees, Scribes, etc) of His day.    I guess, I will side with our Lord on this and just think that ALL kids are precious in the site of God no matter where they are educated.

In closing, I want to use these last few words to say thanks to all those men and women that have answered the call to be teachers, administrators, coaches, etc whether it is in public or private education.  I for one, when I think back on my days in school could name many teachers, administrators and coaches that had a tremendous impact on my life and I salute each of you.  You have the challenge of taking these young skulls full of mush and helping turn them into productive participants in society and so many of you do a fantastic job.

Rejoice,

Keith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refugees, Terrorism & Christianity: Do We Follow Scripture or Political Ideology

Certainly last Friday night, as the images of Paris rolled across our screen, the world was reminded of the evil that exist in our world in the form of  radical islamic terrorists.  So many people ask why would people commit such a heinous act?  The answer is quit simply that evil exist in our world.  I want to lay out some facts about the terrorist attacks in France.  First, all the terrorist with the exception one were French and Belgium nationals  (USA Today) and not part of some group of refugees.   Secondly, they were muslim and are of the opinion that any non-muslim must die.  Thirdly, these type people cannot be coddled, negotiated with or trusted.   Pure and simple these people and all the people representing terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. are evil and are the enemies of all mankind.   I am also as frustrated and sick of our current administration’s refusal to call these people what they are – evil, radical, islamic terrorist – as the next person with any common sense.   I also want to point out that the Christian population in Syria is approximately 1.8 million.  Syria has more Christians than any other country in the region.  With these facts, the question still remains of “What are we to do with the flood of refugees escaping the war ravaged country of Syria?”.

I will acknowledge that what I am about to share is based not on the politics of the moment or fear that is fomented by the acts of Islamic Terrorist.  It is based on the authority of God’s word and as a minister of the gospel, I must always side with the authority of scripture before any political party or the opinion that provides the biggest cheers.  I will also be totally honest in that I have struggled with this issue of accepting refugees from Syria, but after reading scripture I must side with what I believe to be God’s opinion on the matter.

The bible is very clear that God’s people are to “love their neighbor as they love themselves” (Matt. 22:39).  God’s word also tells us how we are to treat people in great need. In Matt. 25:34-40, where Jesus says that when we minister to the hungry, those in need of clothing, the thirsty, the imprisoned & the sick that we do it for Him.  The Old Testament has many passages that deal with the plight of the “alien”.  For me the one that solidified the fact that as a believer, in keeping with the example of scripture, that I must be in favor of welcoming refugees from the crisis in Syria is Jeremiah 22:3.  “Thus says the Lord: ‘Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless and the widow nor shed innocent blood in this place.” – Jeremiah 22:3 (ESV).  This passage tells us very simply based on the example God exhorted Judah to set that we are to do justice, be righteous, aid the ones being oppressed and do no wrong to the alien.  I am of the firm conviction that the Syrian refugees fit this criteria.  If we look at our nation’s history, we have a track record of accepting refugees.  In world WWII, we accepted many Jews and others.  We accepted them even as they were leaving Germany which was home to Hitler and the Nazi party.  We accepted the refugees from SE Asia as war was waged in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.  We allowed Cuban nationals into our country beginning in the 1960’s even as we were in the midst of potential nuclear war with Cuba and the Soviet Union.

As I close, I realize that I will have more critics concerning this blog post than those that likely see it my way.  Some may even call me a name, “unfriend” me on Facebook, quit following my twitter feed or refuse to read another blog that I post.  I’m prepared for these potential realities, but I am also at ease with the fact that I have followed the conviction of my heart and what I believe to be the mandates of God’s Holy Word.  I am reminded of the story of Jonah that was really about more that a prophet getting swallowed by a fish.  One of the main reasons for Jonah’s plight was that his disobedience to God was rooted in the fact that Jonah was more of a patriot than he was a prophet.  God help me to always be a prophet before a patriot.  Make no mistake, I love my country and I am patriotic, but my allegiance to God and His Word must come first.  So what are what are to do fellow citizens and fellow believers?  Are we to let fear and fear-mongering rule the day or are we to follow the edicts of scripture?  Even if our disobedience is rooted in fear and patriotism, it is still, none the less, disobedience.

Rejoice!

Keith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rudeness is So Unbecoming…..

One of my favorite movies (actually mini-series) was Lonesome Dove.  In one scene from Lonesome Dove, Newt (played by Ricky Shroder) was being physically whipped by a man in town as he and Captain Woodrow Call (played by Tommy Lee Jones) were purchasing supplies.  As Captain Call came out of the dry goods store, he observed what was taking place and sprang into action.  He summarily pick up something resembling a tire iron from the blacksmith and let’s just say he ended the whipping.   His parting words were, “I hate rude behavior in a man and I won’t tolerate it!”.  Well, I don’t have a lot of tolerance for rudeness in man or woman, but I won’t be taking up a tire iron – only expressing my thoughts on the matter.

You might be wondering what has my mind on the subject of rudeness.  It is something that happened as Kim and I had lunch at a restaurant as we were out one day this week.  As we sat enjoying our lunch, in walked a party of 10 ladies from a church group.  They had the same server as we did and by the way the young lady was an excellent server.  As they began to be seated, they started barking at the hostess that was showing them to their table about how the table’s seating arrangements would be, among other things.  Then as the young lady began to take their orders for what they would drink there was not a friendly face to be seen.  The young lady brought out their drinks and the rudeness began.  The apocalypse was upon us all!!  One lady asked for lemon with her water and did not receive the lemon.  Of course, she very abruptly let the server know about the missing lemon that may have threatened her very eternity (sarcasm).  Next as they raided the buffet it only got worse.  Here is where the real travesty would occur – more dark meat fried chicken than white meat and more drumsticks than breasts!!  One lady went so far as to make her way to the doorway of the kitchen and in a very demanding tone said, “WE NEED MORE WHITE MEAT ON THE BUFFET!!”.  As I sat there after witnessing this at the buffet, she almost gleefully announced to table, “I got them on the chicken!”  They continued to snipe at the server.  I know this is a rather lengthy explanation of my inspiration for writing this blog today, but I want to leave you with some thoughts to consider if you struggle with rudeness especially those of you that claim the name of Christ and desire to be a light for the gospel in this dark world.

#1.  Your rude behavior is not impressive to the general population around you. It does not make you important.

#2.  Remember who you represent!  Christ was characterized by humbleness, meekness and kindness. You are a not a good representation when you present rudeness to others.  When you announce to the hostess that you are with a church group (as these ladies did) be sure you represent Christ in way that pleases him – including leaving an above average tip (another subject for another blog).

#3.  Your age does not give you the right to be rude.  These ladies were part of a senior adult group.  You do not earn the right to be rude.  Actually as we grow older, if I understand God’s Word correctly, we should mature not become like immature children.

#4.  Not leave out the kiddo’s….It is not cute when you allow your kid to walk around to other people’s tables in a restaurant setting so long as they do not disturb your meal or act out in other rude behavior to the general public around you, if this describes your typical dining experience.  Education about rude behavior begins at home.  As a parent, do not accept rudeness from a child as “cute”.  “Yes sir”, “no sir”, “no ma’am”, “yes…ma’am”, “please” and thank you” are learned behaviors that parents would do well to instill in their children from a young age.  Proper behavior is learned and so is rudeness.

#5.  We are called to love our neighbors, be kind to each other and yes abide by the old Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”.  Rudeness does not fit into this equation for living peacefully with our fellow man (also a command of scripture).

Whether you are being rude to a server in a restaurant that is working hard for your benefit, the person taking your order at McDonalds or for that matter to anyone else you may come in contact with I have to believe that God’s opinion of rudeness in His children might reflect that of Captain Call from the comments at the beginning of this blog.  As I drove away from the restaurant, I could not help but ponder the question, “If that young lady serving that group of ladies from a local church group was searching for a church or maybe had an interest in learning of the Savior, how did these ladies impact her journey?”.  As you spend your weekend out and about this weekend maybe at a restaurant, hanging out with friends or as I will be all day Saturday watching Olivia play the game she loves (softball) please for the sake of the Kingdom of God and your own testimony, commit yourself to KINDNESS!  You may be the only Jesus the unknown person will see in that moment that you must choose kindness or rudeness.

Rejoice!!

Keith

Built to Belong: You Are Designed to Belong to Something

As this week draws to a close, we are in Ft Rucker, AL preparing to celebrate mine and Kim’s grandson’s first birthday.  The thrill that John Patton has brought into our lives is unexplainable.  During celebrations like this one, I am always reminded that God designed each of us to belong to various groups in our life.  For me personally, my family is the most basic and most important group in my life.  I often remind people of the fact that the family is the first institution that God designed when he created this world in which we live.  Family is more important than any corporate organization, sports teams and yes even the church.  Even as a pastor, I believe if the church intrudes through earthly demands on the family and it’s time then the church needs to make the adjustment and not the family.  Understand though that I am not saying the relationship of humans to other humans supersede our relationship to Christ.  We should reserve our deepest love and commitment to Christ and then our family (spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, etc) and then things such as church, teams and corporate entities.

In this fast-paced world we live, we clutter our lives with business at the expense of our families.  We as a culture are working more hours.  Many employers, including the corporation that I’m employed by, seem to think the business comes before the family which is absolutely a terrible way to do business.  Our athletic programs can over-run our schedules especially in families where parents want there kids to be involved in everything extracurricular to the point they never get any down which will inevitably bring about burn-out and maybe even resentment.  Churches sometimes can even become guilty of intruding so much into our time with piling on program after program at the expense of families having time to be families.  I am convinced more than ever from a pastoral point of view that the church would likely do itself a favor and strengthen it’s very foundation if it did a few things well that was less taxing on the family than trying to be a buffet of programs to the world.

In closing, just a few things to remember.  First, even with everything I stated above concerning church, I do believe it is important to belong to a bible believing church and worship consistently.  For some that is Sunday morning only (that’s ok by the way and will not endanger your eternal soul) and for others it is the normal Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday.  Being part of something bigger than you is important.  If you are lonely, there are great opportunities for you find a place to belong – God designed you to belong.  If you have a great family that you are a part of then give God glory for the family is His grandest organizational creation.

Rejoice!

Keith

The Eternal Hope of Grace

As I began teaching through the Gospel of Mark in our Wednesday evening Bible study this week at church, I was once again struck with how much God truly loves us.  Mark’s Gospel will complete our journey of studying the New Testament verse by verse and yet again the grace of God captures my heart.  It begins with the Son of God coming to the Jordan River to submit Himself to baptism by the forerunner John the Baptist and then submit Himself to 40 days of temptation in the wilderness by Satan.  As we weaved our way through the first chapter, I began to think that we should be overwhelmed by the grace of God.

As I ponder the other major religions of the world, they all are about man pursing their god, but the fact that Jehovah God had a plan before the foundations of the earth to pursue me is a bit overwhelming to say the least.  Think about it.  God spoke the very creation into existence.  He spoke everything we see into existence, yet in the midst of eternity past He had a plan to love mankind beyond our comprehension.  He not only had a plan to love mankind, but He gave up something that not one of us would give up for another person, His only Son.  Not only is this over-whelming, but then to think of what Jesus Christ subjected Himself to during His earthly ministry to make a way for our broken fellowship with God due to our sin is absolutely over the top on the amazing meter.

The current state of the culture that we live in today seems to be thumbing its nose at this amazing grace.  The culture takes every opportunity to displace any mention of Jesus from the public arena, while we are told to be tolerant and understanding of other religions.  Christians seem to face ridicule and now as we have found out in the Oregon potential death because of our faith in God.  Wait a minute, didn’t Christ actually say to expect these things?  Even more, Christ experienced all of this, even the cruelty of execution on a Roman cross simply  because of His unmerited love for mankind.   I write this to encourage you in a few areas.  First, understand that no matter what you’ve done or what your current state of life is at this moment, you are loved by God.  He will forgive you and accept as His own this very day if you will humble yourself, repent (be willing to turn your life around and forsake sin) and believe that Jesus died and rose again from the dead.  You don’t work for this.  Remember it’s grace alone not grace plus you performing good works to gain favor from God.  Secondly, if you are a believer and you have stumbled (by the way everyone one of us stumble – yes, even preachers), understand that the Bible says in I John 1:9 that we “…if we will confess (agree with God) our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us”.  The way back begins with grace.  Thirdly and finally, be willing to extend grace to others.  Be understanding because we are all fallen creatures.  We all have areas of our life with which we struggle.  As the old cliché’ goes, “But for the grace of God, there go I”.  Grace, it truly is amazing!

Rejoice!

Keith

The Team: Defining Success As a Team

When I think about the measure of success as a team, there are many things that come to mind.  Of course, success is measured many times in wins versus losses.   Championships may be another way that some measure success.  However, success as a team runs much deeper than measuring wins, losses and championships.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to win!  I am a very, very competitive person that wants to win no matter if I am playing checkers or coaching a ball team.  In this entry though, I want to just share a few things that many times get lost in the shuffle of wins/loss records.  I want to take a moment and share a few things that I believe define real success.

I think one of the first things that defines success as a team is chemistry.  Team chemistry teaches young people so much about life.  Our young people who participate in team sports, band, scholars bowl or any other team, must learn the value of team chemistry in order to be successful.  The concept of team chemistry will teach valuable lessons that will carry them through life into their jobs, their churches and most important their families.  What is team chemistry?  I would define it as the ability to come together, setting aside the individual goals while working together for the greater good and success of the team or organization that you represent.   Without team chemistry you might have success for a short-term, but remember life is not a sprint – it is a marathon.  Long term success is and should be the desire of any team, organization and yes, most importantly the family.

Secondly, if you are part of the team you should strive to make yourself better, but also you should have a drive to make those around you successful.  Remember, a team is not about individuals, but it is about a group of individuals driving toward a common goal to continually improve and be successful.  You make others better through encouragement, picking your teammate up when they make a mistake and moving on, but also holding each other accountable to always give 100% no matter if it is a team sport or a debate team.

Thirdly and finally, success is always defined by effort and the desire to get better.  Whether you win or lose, you must ask yourself, “Did I give my best effort and did I improve in some area?”.  Again, these two things carry on through life.  No matter what “team or teams” you are a part of throughout life, you will often be defined by effort and the drive to always get better.  Martin Luther King, Jr had this to say about giving effort, “If a man is called to be a street sweep, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well’.  After all, the drive for us to give our best effort is actually a biblical concept as expressed by the Apostle Paul in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  

Make team chemistry a priority, push your teammates to always get better and cultivate a drive to always give your best effort in everything.  These things will make you a winner and more importantly a success!

Rejoice!

Keith