I wish you a wonderful Independence Day!!! Please have a safe one in all your activities.
If you haven’t noticed, I have been absent from these here parts for a bit now. What can I say? Life happens. Work. Stuff. I keep thinking life will calm down. After all, my kids are grown, with one engaged and the other about to start college. Hasn’t worked out that way, though.
I’ll have a brief July 4 post, and then plan to have a real post on Tuesday.
See you guys soon.
Most of us are aware at this point that Muhammad Ali passed away a few days ago. There has rarely been as controversial figure in recent history. Whether you loved or hated him for his braggadocio, his conversion to Islam or his refusal to serve in the military during the Vietnam War, it is difficult to recall anyone who was more of a lightning rod for controversy.
I loved Ali as a kid. I didn’t really watch boxing as a young child, but I would see him on Candid Camera and get excited any time he was on. This caused some conflict with my Vietnam serving father. Despite, and perhaps because of, my dad’s strong feelings I continued to like Ali, maybe just to spite him. That’s another story and the subject of another day.
The bottom line is that, for a time, Muhammad Ali was the most famous person on the planet, accomplishing the rare feat of the being the most loved and the most hated man alive. He even fought Superman.
DC Comics published an over-sized comic entitled Superman vs Muhammad Ali. In order to defend Earth against an alien invasion, Superman and Ali fought. Superman temporarily gave up his powers and Ali won the fight. The plot isn’t really all that important. What’s important is that Ali was so famous that he fought Superman. The closest thing most people could compare it to would be Michael Jordan being in Space Jam.
I’ve seen a lot of opinions on Ali since his passing. Some were in tribute. Many vilified. There was no middle ground.
I tweeted that what Ali did in life, ultimately, wasn’t important. What was important was whether he knew Jesus. What would Jesus have said to Ali if He had met him?
I think I know the answer. Or answers. They would have all been variations of the same one.
The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.
It’s the same for me. It’s the same for you. It’s the same for everyone.
Ali may have floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee, but if he had followed Jesus, he wouldn’t have felt the sting of death.
It’s easy to make strong, bold statements about someone like Ali. It’s easy to call him a draft dodger or a great humanitarian. But in Christ, there is neither draft dodger, nor humanitarian.
Someone responded to my tweet that Ali was a professed Muslim. This is true. Unfortunately, there will be plenty of professed Baptists dying in the same state as Ali, not knowing Christ. Plenty of whatever brand of Christianity we are part of will do the same.
My plea to you is to not die without knowing Christ today. We who follow Him can do all sorts of things to make this Christianity thing complex. It’s really simple.
The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.
There used to be a commercial on TV for canned vegetables. It went something like this:
When you have Libby’s, Libby’s, Libby’s on the label, label, label then you will like it, like it, like it on the table, table, table.
Now, honestly, I have no idea if I ever ate Libby’s green beans, corn or any other vegetable. I know that I didn’t for a lot of year because we had a garden and raised and canned our own. And I’m dangerously close to getting off topic.
The point is that I still remember what was on that label. It was Libby’s and it was supposed to be good. Libby’s was a good label.
It is so easy being a nerd now. In fact, it’s even celebrated and neediness has gone mainstream. It wasn’t always so.
I collected comic books back when I was a kid. And that was fine while I was a kid. There just seemed to be this unwritten rule than you gave them up at a certain age. That was just for weirdoes that lived in their mother’s basement, never mind that my room was in my parent’s basement.
I didn’t tell too many people that I collected comic books when I was still in college. Now? A badge of honor. Then? Not so much.
Two labels. Brands, so to speak. One that is good. Another that has been changed over the years.
You have a label. A brand.
Are you that guy that everyone knows and loves?
Are you the guy that no one has ever seen go to the store without buying a twelve pack? Every day.
Are you the lady who makes great apple pies that everyone wants at the church fellowship?
Are you the blogger who stirred up trouble in his own town?
No matter what, you have a label. Whether it’s a good one or bad is entirely up to you.
I know that you are aware of my obsession with comic book movies. I’m here to tell you today that it doesn’t end there. It extends to TV as well. I watch all of the CW/DC shows. You know, The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and, next year, Supergirl. I also watch Agents of SHIELD and I have all of the Netflix Marvel shows queued up. Yeah, you don’t have to tell me, my obsession is far from healthy.
The Mac Daddy of comic book shows, though, is The Walking Dead. It has gone from being an obscure comic not produce by Marvel or DC to being one of THE shows over the last few years.
During the fourth season of TWD, the characters started doing something a little different. When they met someone they would as them three questions:
1. How many walkers have you killed?
2. How many people have you killed?
That’s it. Before they would let someone into their group, those questions had to be answered to their satisfaction.
I wonder if similar questions wouldn’t be good in the church.
You get to know someone and ask them a couple of questions:
1. Have you ever gone to church?
2. Do you go to church?
Imagine the responses that you would get? And here’s the thing. You don’t get defensive or aggressive when they answer. You just nod along, talk to them and love them. If they want to come to your church, great. If they don’t, love them anyway and be their friend. Maybe they will come later because, well, you loved them and were their friend.
Let’s not stop there, though. You could modify the questions for those who are already a part of your church.
1. Have you ever been part of a small group? (Or Sunday School for some)
2. Are you part of a small group? (Or SS)
The answers to those questions will probably let you know what is keeping people from being part of your small groups or Sunday school.
Take those questions, modify them for anything that your church is doing. It may help you reach people for whatever mission or activity your church is taking up.
I don’t know about you, but I’m off work today. I hope you are doing more than just sitting around reading blogs.
I hope you take some time to be thankful and remember those you have given their lives serving our country.
Have fun today. It is the unofficial start of Summer. Dance in the streets, since the time is right.
Let’s make this the best Summer ever. We can do it.