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Archive for the month “January, 2015”

God’s Huddle

You would have thought that Russell Wilson the quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks would have been jumping for joy.  After all his team had just advanced to the Super Bowl with an amazing improbable come from behind win over the Green Bay Packers.  Down 19-7 with 2 minutes and nine seconds left the Seahawks scored a touchdown to make the score 19-14.  Everyone knew that their only hope was an onside kick.  Incredibly the onside kick bounced off of a Packer player and the Seahawks recovered.  Before you knew it another Seattle touchdown made it 20-19 Seattle.  Seattle went for a two point conversion and Russell Wilson was rushed and was running backwards as he tossed the ball way up in the air.  Incredibly a Seattle player jumped up and caught it for the conversion.  Trailing by three points the Packers came rallying back and kicked the game tying field goal forcing overtime.  Wilson who was having a miserable game through the first 57 minutes of play threw a 35 yard touchdown pass that ended the game and left him reacting very unexpectedly.  Tears were rolling down his face during the prayer huddle.

Wilson throwing

After NFL games Christian players get together for a prayer.  It is decided that win or lose the prayer will take place.  The TV cameras grudgingly give us a shortened view.  Both the winning and losing teams are represented.  It is a statement that we have only played a game and we are all winners because of our faith in Jesus Christ!  The huddle symbolizes that there is someone far more important in our lives than football.  Football is our job and we do our best to win the games but we represent someone who is far bigger than any game.  Most of us have seen the prayer huddle after games.  Few realize how the huddle got started.  It was a game where the New York Giants played the San Francisco 49ers in 1990 in San Francisco.  As Brent Jones the 49ers tight end stated “Guys from both teams just wanted to make a statement, it caught fire from there.”  So what is said in one of these meetings after the two teams have pounded each other into the turf for sixty minutes?  “A guy from either team will offer up a prayer of thanksgiving and for getting through the game healthy”, Jones stated.

It’s amazing how often before the interview on national TV starts a player will shun the greatness everyone is willing to place upon him with the statement “I’d like to give all of the glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!”  The late Reggie White nicknamed, The Minister of Defense, took his belief one step further in the 1990’s as he and his defense led the fans in a chorus of Amazing Grace during a TV time out in the NFL championship game at Lambeau Field.  “It was incredible”, stated Pat Richie who was the evangelical chaplain for the 49ers.  “The defense was down there conducting the choir.”  Richie has a picture of the first Candlestick Park prayer huddle hanging in his Alamo office as a reminder that it all got started here.

While we see the games as spectators as fun and exciting, for the players there is a lot of stress involved.  For every player who seemingly is secure in their jobs there are so many that could be cut at any time.  When the thrills of the fast cars, big money, and fast life fade it is human nature to look for some kind of stability.  Many have found stability in Jesus Christ and on every team there are leaders that can steer them in the right direction!

Wilson prayer

Russell Wilson is going in the right direction these days.  Last year his team won the Super Bowl and this year they are back defending their title.  No matter what the outcome of the game look closely.  There will be a lot of distractions around the big game.  There will be funny commercials, a celebrated halftime performance, announcers singing praises, and dancing touchdown moves.  The game will end like all of the past Super Bowls where one team will be glorified and the other disheartened.  For all of the glory and fame that moment brings it slowly fades.  Who won the Super Bowl in 2000?  How about 2010 for that matter?  Unless you are a fan of the team that won you might have trouble remembering who won the Super Bowl two years ago.  Yet there is something that Russell Wilson said as he was about to get interviewed after his victorious touchdown pass.  “God is so good”, he stated through his tears.  There is a growing number of NFL players that feel the same way.  You will notice the prayer huddle after the big game.  The TV camera may glance over it quickly so keep your eyes peeled.  The shine from the big game will pass and the glory fade.  In a quiet circle God’s huddle will take place. Representatives from both teams will hold hands and a solidarity thankful prayer will be made.  Though their uniforms may be different their ultimate victorious team is the same!

Taking a prayer knee

 

 

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Hitching A Ride To Heaven

Have you ever felt that God was talking to you and you knew exactly what he wanted you to do? This was the case for a man named Bob Weiner. Just before Bob founded Maranatha Campus Ministries he had become engaged to a wonderful Christian lady named Rose Russell. They met in California but Rose was from Kentucky. When the time came for Bob to meet her parents he was nervous. Rose’s father was a distinguished Methodist preacher with many degrees and Rose was such a deeply committed Christian. Bob on the other hand had found Christ in California and in his own words was truly an honest to goodness Jesus person. Could he measure up to her parents standard of who they wanted for her husband? Many thoughts such as these went through Bob’s head as he was on the flight to Kentucky. As it turned out all of his worrying was in vain. Bob and her parents got along fine as Bob tried to show them that he was a mature Christian man and her parents had nothing to worry about. Bob had planned to take a flight from Kentucky to Chicago and then from Chicago back to California. Just before he booked his flight he heard a voice in his spirit. “Bob, I want you to hitchhike to Chicago.” At first Bob tried to dismiss the notion. It was several hundred miles away and besides what would Rose’s parents think? Bob was not happy about the situation. After all he had tried to convince her parents that his feet were firmly planted on the ground and he was a mature stable Christian man. Still the voice was strong and he could not say no. “I want you to hitchhike to Chicago.” Finally Bob told them of his plans. “You know”, he began “this might sound kind of strange but I really sense that the Lord wants me to hitchhike back to Chicago.” To his surprise her parents didn’t seem overly surprised. It was almost like if that is what he sensed God wanted he should do it!

Bob Weiner

Bob Weiner

Rose and her mother dropped Bob off at the edge of the city. It was run down and Bob cringed, but he knew he had to be obedient to that heavenly voice. The first person to pick him up was a sixty five year old man who had recently retired. The man told Bob that he normally didn’t pick up hitchhikers but there was something about Bob that made him stop. Later he admitted that his life was empty and he didn’t know what was missing. Bob told him what was missing was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He went on to tell him what Christ had done in his life and assured him that he would find the same peace and joy if he surrendered his life to the Lord. Within ten minutes after he picked Bob up they pulled over to the side of the road and the man was sobbing as he gave his life to Jesus! He wasn’t going much further and that was OK with Bob. Bob was beginning to see that he was doing exactly what God wanted!
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Once again Bob found himself on the side of the road with his thumb in the air. Within 20 minutes an old Chevrolet pulled over and the young man behind the wheel motioned for Bob to get in. “Where are you headed”, he asked. “Chicago”, Bob said. “Well I’m only going thirty miles”, which was fine with Bob. Bob knew something that the driver didn’t. Their meeting was no accident, it was meant to be. As they headed down the road the man started talking about the war in Vietnam and all the unrest in the country. He had just got back from Vietnam and had seen many of his friends killed. He couldn’t understand how everyone seemed ungrateful and why he couldn’t get a job. He had been searching and let it be known that he would do anything, but had been unsuccessful. That wasn’t the worst of it however. He had been told that his girlfriend was pregnant. He wanted to marry her but he wondered if he could ever support her? Bob started telling him about Jesus Christ and what a difference the Lord made in his life. At first the man was skeptical but when Bob told him he was specifically hitchhiking to Chicago because he felt the Lord wanted him to the driver became convinced! Before he dropped Bob off he too surrendered his life to Christ! Bob prayed with him to open the job door that up until now had been closed.

Another man picked Bob up a short time later. “I’m only going five miles”, he said. “I’m on my way to a softball game.” He was wearing a shirt with a church written on the front. “Are you a Christian?”, Bob inquired. “Well sort of…”, was his reply. As they talked further the man admitted that he wasn’t really living for the Lord. He went to the church and played on its softball team but that was about it. Somewhere along the line he had lost his enthusiasm. As they were driving he recommitted his life to the Lord. Tears were flowing down his face! I’m so glad that I picked you up! “Listen, would you come to the game with me? I’d like you to talk to the rest of the guys on the team.” When they got to the field he introduced Bob telling his team that this man changed his life today! Before Bob knew it he found himself on the infield dirt with all of the members of both teams listening to his testimony! Bob challenged them to recommit their lives to Christ and start living for him. By a show of hands three fourths of the players indicated that they wanted to turn their lives over to Jesus. Players were crying and hugging each other and as Bob described “it was an incredible scene!” The softball game was anticlimactic. Bob was having a wonderful time and had long since asked for forgiveness for his attitude before the trip. At the same time he began wondering when he would ever get to Chicago? He hadn’t gone over one hundred miles and still had a lot of territory to cover.

Church Softball

A late model luxury car wheeled off of the road just beyond him. At least I’ll be riding in luxury this time, Bob thought.
Luxery

The middle aged man behind the wheel told Bob that he was a professor at Southern Illinois University. He had two PH.D’s and seemed to know everything about everything. He was going to a meeting in Champaign, Illinois which was good news to Bob because that would take him down the road for awhile. “Have you ever accepted Christ?”, Bob inquired. The man shook his head, “No Bob, I’m an Atheist.” “I have some questions that no one has been able to answer.” “I’ll tell you what, if you can answer them to my satisfaction I will pull the car over right now and give my life to Christ.” “OK shoot”, Bob replied. The man’s first question was Where did God come from? The next two questions were also very philosophical. Bob sat silent for awhile as he prayed. “God if ever I needed wisdom I need it right now!” “Well”, the man stated as Bob sat silent. Bob was sure that the man thought he was thinking of an answer when in fact Bob was praying. OK Lord, here it goes. He opened his mouth but the words were not his. God gave him wisdom and Bob was speaking the words as they came. When he had finished talking the professor had a look of astonishment on his face. “I’ve never, ever heard an answer like that!” He paused for a moment then went on. “I’m convinced that you answered my questions and I’m ready to give my life to Christ!” Once again Bob found himself on the side of the road leading someone into the kingdom! The man was so happy that he was beaming! All of his searching was over. Bob noticed that his entire appearance changed and was amazed what a difference God had made in his life already! They were still about thirty miles from Champaign which meant another two hours to Chicago but Bob’s new found friend insisted on driving him the distance. “It is the least I can do for all that you did for me!” Bob felt a peace about the situation so he graciously accepted the gift of driving his new friend offered! (isn’t it ironic that God would let Bob ride most of the trip in style?) The rest of the traveling was a joyous celebration as Bob told the professor of the people he had met and the lives that were changed!
Hitchhiker

My mom and dad had a situation with a hitchhiker that was completely different. My dad must have had a heart for hitchhikers because I can remember times he picked them up on our trips to and from Alabama. I believe that this particular episode happened before I arrived. My sister was just a toddler. Anyway dad saw a hitchhiker on the side of the road and informed mom that he was going to pick him up. The hitchhiker along with his belongings entered the back door and they were off again. It wasn’t long after picking up the hitchhiker that dad discovered to his alarm that their lives were in immediate danger. As he was motoring along on the highway the gas pedal got stuck and the cars speed hit one hundred miles an hour! The hitchhiker instantly dove to the front of the car and pried the gas pedal off of the floor. Without him they surely would have had a horrible fatal crash.

Jesus is a lot like that hitchhiker my parents picked up years ago. The difference being that our lives are already out of control when Jesus comes in and saves us! Without Jesus we are headed for a fatal crash. With him in our lives instead of an eminent crash, our lives can have meaning! There is hope in the journey and after the journey!

Look closely at the clouds

Showing them the way to heaven!

By trusting in his faith Bob acted as a representative of Jesus. He was willing to walk in faith and be used for God’s glory. Bob’s meetings with all of those people was the will of God for him that day. By Bob’s willingness to obey that small voice that he heard he was able to introduce people that God put in his path to Jesus who changed their lives. As I travel around these days I don’t see many hitchhikers. It definitely isn’t as common as it used to be. We don’t have to hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers to be in God’s will. The key to Bob’s success was listening and obeying the Lords voice. By doing so he put himself on the Godly road that led him to lost souls. When we are willing to listen to God like Bob did, he will put the people in our lives that we can lead to Jesus! Just as Bob did as a hitchhiker, we too can enter peoples lives as the spirit leads and introduce them to the one who can give them peace and joy!

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