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‘Inny’ or ‘Outty’?

Are you a man of faith?

I love that question! It can be a risky one to ask, but at the same time – it can be a great conversation starter. Why? Because it’s a loaded question.

We have all heard it said that there are two topics of conversation we should not engage in while attending a social gathering – Politics and Religion. On the surface, ‘Are you a man of faith?’ clearly sounds like one of those ‘religious’ questions. However, although it tends to be the context in which many of us respond to that question – ‘FAITH IS MORE THAN JUST A THEOLOGICAL TERM’ . Truth be told, there are many non-religious (unchurched) people who demonstrate tremendous levels of faith and at the same time, there are many within the Church who live unfaithful lifestyles.

Faith is not a verb – it is a noun. It is not an action – it demands an action.

Faith is the term we apply to our actions when we arrive at those points in our journey through life where we find ourselves at the precipice of our knowledge, where we stand on the rim of uncertainty with our toes being taunted by the forever invisible, ever present, always intimidating ‘unknown’ and we continue to walk believing that when we step out, one of two things is going to happen – We will have solid ground to walk on or we will learn to fly.

Perhaps you’ve seen the Indiana Jones movie where Indie has to step off the edge to find an invisible path across a precipice. He knows the path is there because he can see the path continuing on the other side of the void. At first he’s hesitant and has to be willing to have faith and lean in to take that first step.

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”~ Martin Luther King Junior

From my experience, success, victory, breakthrough, freedom, ______________ (You fill in the blank), often happens when you just lean into it. Our natural instinct is to hesitate, to dip a toe in, but this often leads to inaction. We sit back, deliberate, reflect, procrastinate, and take up navel gazing and thumb twiddling instead.

The “What if…?” scripts begin to play, our confidence fades, our commitment wavers and before we know it – we are back peddling instead of leaning in and running toward our future with confidence and courage.

Look guys, this is embarrassing to admit, but I have my own collection of navel lint. It has been harvested over the years in seasons of my life immediately after stepping out in faith only to crash and burn. Those experiences, as you can well imagine, have a tendency to steal your courage, to make you hesitant, to cause you to pull-back when you should lean in.

I learned a valuable lesson from those crash and burn moments, however. I learned that great faith in the wrong things does not keep me on solid ground nor does it teach me how to fly. I crashed when I chose to put my faith in money, man, and material things. They were not dependable or trustworthy and disappeared when I needed them most.

If that’s where you’re at, I want to offer you another alternative today. I want to give you another option in whom you can choose to place your trust. I personally believe it is the only option worthy of consideration and that option is Jesus Christ and His teachings.

Don’t just take my word for it – investigate for yourself. Regardless of whether you are already a member of the Christian community or you don’t currently attend church, read the Bible, or even believe in the existence of God, I invite you to lean in and evaluate your faith.

  • In what or in whom do you trust?
  • How has that been working out for you?
  • Do you have an ‘inny’ or an ‘outty’?

Simply be willing to re-evaluate your life with an open mind and honest heart. Get a Bible and start to read the Gospel of John in the New Testament followed by The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Apply what Jesus teaches to your life and see for yourself how the journey unfolds even if you (like Indiana Jones) can’t clearly see the pathway in front of you.

Here’s what leaning in means…

  • Be willing to explore the unknown
  • Be open to opportunities and possibilities
  • Start moving towards applying what you have read
  • Take one step at a time and notice how it impacts your life.

You are a man of faith. The question is – will the source of your faith keep you walking on solid ground, teach you to fly, or fail you in your time of need?

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8

NFL – A Lesson In Life?

At the very end of his post on NFL.com for October  3, 2011, way down at the bottom, after all the game highlights from the weekend, after all the observations about winners and losers, after weighing in on bad officiating, bad play calling, bad clock management, Chris Carter’s ‘dumb’ comments, The Lions 82% chance of making the playoffs, Romo trashing, and the ‘Philly-melt’, sportswriter Michael Lombardi took a moment to acknowledge the loss of his friend –  former Broncos and Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger who died last Friday having lost in OT his courageous battle with an opponent named ‘cancer’.

In his tribute to Mike Heimerdinger, Michael Lombardi wrote,” the NFL not only lost an outstanding man, but many of us lost a great friend. Dinger was a “man’s man.” He understood the value of friendships and was a close friend to many.”

“I am sad”, he said, “to say good-bye to Dinger. In the world of football, it is hard to find honest and uniquely caring people. Dinger was both and he will be missed.”

Football coaching legend, Vince Lombardi, observed that the quality of a person’s life, is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence”, regardless of their chosen profession – whether it be football, business, politics, government, or what have you.

Vince also said this, “After all the cheers have died down and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written, and after you are back in the quiet of your room and the championship ring has been place on the dresser, and after all the pomp and fanfare have faded, the enduring thing that is left is the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live,”

 

Mike Heimerdinger appears to have been a quality guy who operated with a level of excellence significantly surpassing that obtained by those whose lives he touched.  His honesty and compassion when combined with the value he placed on friendship gave him the ability to not just ‘touch’ the lives of those around him but leave a lasting impression in the process. Dinger left an imprint on his part of the world.  His words and his actions will continue to influence those who knew him even in his absence.

 

Truth be told –that last statement can be said about every man.  We will all enter eternity having spoken words and performed actions that will continue to influence the lives of those who knew us.  Long after we play our last play, score our last big sale, build our last house, buy our last car, write our last computer program, assemble our last widget, long after our workplaces are empty and the lights have been turned off, long after all the pomp and fanfare have faded – our influence – good or bad – on the lives of those who called us ‘friend’ will be, as Vince Lombardi said, “the enduring thing”.

 

Who are the three most influential people in your life?  Is their friendship having a positive or negative impact on your life?

 

How about you – what kind of friend have you become?  Are you a man whose honesty, integrity, and compassion for others are having a positive impact on the world around you?

 

“A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” – Charles Spurgeon

 

If you died tomorrow – what would your friends say about you?  Seriously!  Not sure? I dare you to ask them.  It might just change your world…

 

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