Tag Archives: Kingdom of God

Simple Sabbath: Anthems, Cheeleaders and Downs…and Ups


What a great opportunity! You must be doing something right in your career if you are asked to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

February 6, 2011
Sunday –I put away the book I have been reading as my wife pulls the home-made pizza out of the oven. It’s Super Bowl Sunday at my house. It is getting close to pregame hype and kickoff. After a brief panic — “Ahggg, where’s the remote?” — I go old-school and turn the television on MANually.

Christina Aguilera singing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLV.

Nestling into my spot on the couch I am good to go. I have pizza, drink and smugly think, I don’t need no stinking remote, I’m watching all the commercials. (Yes, I have bad grammar in my thought life.)

And now singing our National Anthem,” I hear the public address announcer’s voice, “Christina Aguilera.” Two things go through my mind:
1. Hey, they shoulda got that Youtube, homeless guy to introduce her, that would be cool;
2. Oh, so that’s Christina Aguilera.

She starts singing and I quickly conclude, oh yes, she’s waaay better than me. This pizza is good.

“Don’t get any of that on the couch,” I hear a familiar voice from the kitchen say.

And then, whoops! What? Did she just… I think she messed up. FUMBLE! Another bite of pizza — nice recovery Christi, I muse, and for a brief second or two I feel badly for her. Bless her heart, thats gotta be tough. You know she feels just terrible.

As I reach for another piece of pizza I see the Facebook notice lighting up on my Blackberry. People seem to have opinions about our Anthem and Aguilera. Since I am viewing remote-less, I juggle my pizza and phone to read the comments. The early opinions seem to be that she is now the worst person on the planet. Ouch, tough crowd.

“Are you using a napkin?” that same lady in the kitchen asks.

Continue reading Simple Sabbath: Anthems, Cheeleaders and Downs…and Ups

Simple Sabbath: The Kingdom of God

Luther in Worms

When Martin Luther stood confidently before the Diet of Worms in 1521, he was emboldened by his devotion to the Word of God. Luther lived much of his early life oppressed by the guilt and burden of religion. But a careful reading of God’s Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit offered him freedom. Luther achieved liberty by faith in Jesus Christ. His voice sparked the Protestant Reformation. Yet, Luther faced an almost certain death unless he would recant and soften his position on the authority of Scripture. His response was this:

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.

Here I stand; I can do no other, so help me God.

Some 450 years later, another Martin would initiate a fire of change in America. Martin Luther King, Jr. became an iconic figure of the Civil Rights movement. Dr. King preached nonviolence in a war against segregation and discrimination. He was committed to non-retaliation; he preached the merits of love and a passion for peaceful, civil disobedience. And the backlash was intense – Dr. King was sharply criticized by both blacks and whites. He was beaten and struck with bricks; his house was bombed, and ultimately he was assassinated.

Both Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. suffered persecution as they prompted and promoted change.  But it was not only they who suffered—men and women who chose to follow these great leaders suffered consequences for their commitments to truth and justice. They understood that to share a leader’s vision meant that they might share in his persecution as well.

Admirer or Follower?

I have been greatly intrigued by the biographies of both of these great men.  Studying the contexts of their lives and the effects of their ministries inspires me.  I am staggered what they endured.  I admire them greatly.  But to be honest, I don’t know if I could have followed them. Why? I am a chicken at heart.  Daily, I pray for the grace to overcome obstacles that cripple my pursuit of truth. I want God’s will. I want to do more than admire the right path; I want to follow it.

The study of the Kingdom of God proposes a question for each person. Are we satisfied to be admirers of Jesus, or are we willing to become followers?  What are the implications of being a fully devoted follower of Christ?

Continue reading Simple Sabbath: The Kingdom of God