Thursday, June 28, 2012


"or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you towards repentence?" (Romans 2:4)

Judgement. Pretty tough to try and cover because of all the emotions that it evokes in so many people. Everyone of us has been on both sides of judgement. Reading through this chapter it became more and more clear what righteous judgment looks like (done by God). Righteous judgement leads to repentence just like it says at the end of the verse. Righteous judgement doesn't make people want to give up but it spurs them on. Righteous judgement has a pure end goal in mind. I realize that this chapter is referring to people who were judging according to the Law of Moses and Old Testament teachings, but the same type of judgements still happen. So let's be about spurring one another on, let's not shy away from challenging believers on with a pure goal in mind, and let's allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in those actions. Thoughts.? I realize I just touched the surface of a big topic but just wanted to get some convo going.

- Andrew Kown

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Curse of Motivational Speaking

I think this blog post from Conrad Mbewe, a pastor in Africa, needs to be heard by many Christians in the sports world.  Far too often we fall into the trap of God becoming a means to the end, which is our personal success. Pastor Mbewe says:

My chief quarrel with motivational speaking is that it reduces God to a means rather than an end. Men and women are not made to see that the nature of SIN lies in the letter “I” in the middle of the word. Instead, motivational speaking feeds that same ego and points to God as the one who can spoil it to the point of intoxication. That is a lie! It is God alone who must be at the centre of our lives. Christianity demands a dying to self, a taking up of one’s cross, and a following after a suffering Saviour.
Read the whole blog here.

- Tyler Durham


Dawn and Knox and I had the opportunity during the off-day to drive up and spend the day at Yosemite. Some of you know I love outdoors. While I was there, I wanted to take a picture of everything I saw. I literally felt like a kid again. This was one of the best days of my life. I got to experience Yosemite with my 4 week old son and celebrate 7 years of being with Dawn. As soon as we drove into the gates of Yosemite, I felt myself beginning to "get deep". Everything I saw I felt like I could tell a whole story about how God and this random thing on the ground relate back to me, haha. Anyways the thing I noticed as I went on is that it seemed pretty easy to be able to tell the people who had been there a few days and the people who had just showed up. I couldn't take two steps without wanting to take a picture or just stare at the marvelous sites. The people who had been there a few days were just going about their business (not that there is anything wrong with this) and moving right along. I wanted to stop some of them and say "wait did you see this amazing view right here", and I'm sure they would have said yes. My realization only came to me later as we were driving home. God deserves to be marveled at in the same way I stopped and stared at the beauty of Yosemite. I never want to get to a place where I stop being amazed by God! He wants to wow us, he wants to knock our socks off. I feel like these last couple of weeks I have been just going about my business with my head down while the beauty of life is unfolding all around. I have been so caught up in trying to get back on the field that I haven't been open to growing in any way. This verse spoke to me in a different way today.

"Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness." (Psalm 29:2 NIV)


- Andrew Kown

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Don't Waste Your Sports - Part 3

In chapter 4 of  Don't Waste Your Sports Mahaney says
To bring glory to God as athletes, we play sports in a way that draws attention to God's greatness instead of our own (25).
He rightly acknowledges that this involves much more than "Tebowing" in the endzone.  For Mahaney, playing sports to the glory of God means playing sports with "humility, perseverance, self-control, diligence, and other qualities appropriate to a follower of Christ" (26).  The Christian athlete must see the glory of God as the primary goal of sports, not personal or team accomplishments; not wins or losses. 

So how does a Christian athlete do this? In the last section of this chapter Mahaney gives three ways: 1) playing sports with an attitude of gratitude, 2) playing sports with humility, and 3) playing sports in service to your teammates and coaches. 

Playing Sports with an Attitude of Gratitude

Mahaney says that we should be thankful for several things that God provides his children through sports.  Sports provides rest and refreshment, physical and mental benefits, and the joy that one finds in playing sports.  For those who are fortunate enough to play professional sports there are a host of other reasons to be thankful to God. 

In my two years playing minor league baseball I ran into dozens of players who became cynical and negative about their situation. Instead of focusing on the things that they should be thankful for, they wasted time and energy complaining about how unfair things were; how they were being overlooked and mistreated.  While those things may be true in certain situations, the player that focuses on them has lost sight of all of the things that they should be thankful for.

Playing Sports with Humility and a Servants Heart

In the Mark 10:35-45 Jesus teaches his disciples what true greatness is in the Kingdom of God.  Jesus and his disciples were headed to Jerusalem because Jesus was going to suffer and die on the cross. He explained this to the disciples on three different (8:31; 9:31; 10:32) but they still didn't get it.  In this passage James and John go up to Jesus and ask if they can sit on His right and left when He sets up His kingdom in Jerusalem.   When the other disciples hear this they get ticked off!  Why? Because they want to sit on His right and left too!

The disciples didn't get it.  They didn't realize that Jesus had to suffer and die as a ransom for our sins (10:45) before he returned in glory.  The disciples were filled with selfish ambition.  Sadly, so are a large majority of athletes.  Their only concern is self-promotion, personal glory, money, and fame.  Jesus tells the disciples that this is not how it will be in His kingdom.  In His kingdom, if you want to be great then you must become a servant (10:42-43). 

Greatness in the eyes of God is a life of humility and service. Serving your teammates, serving your coaches, serving your fans, serving your wife, serving your kids, serving your neighbor, serving your church.  This is greatness! 

Jesus is the ultimate example of greatness, and it is only through His power that we can truly humble ourselves and serve. As Mahaney says in another book of his on humility, "in true humility, our own service is always both an effect of His unique sacrifice and the evidence of it."

- Tyler Durham

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sparrows Don't Stress

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29-31)

I'm finishing up my third week on the DL here in Omaha and have been wrestling pretty hard lately with this anxious heart. I'm not sure exactly how I hurt my back, I don't know exactly what's wrong with it, I don't know how to make it better and I'm not sure when it will be better. One thing I've learned about myself during this time is that uncertainty leads to fear when I begin to lose perspective on how much God loves and cares for me.

"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matthew 6:26)

Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, has a blog that I read daily. She has quickly become one of my favorite authors and a recent post of hers on Friday really encouraged me. I wanted to share a piece of it with you. The post was titled "when you are feeling overwhelmed...." She writes:

So sparrows don't stress. Because they trust. Your Will is better than our ways.

So sparrows don't hurry. Because they don't fear. Your altar is better than our agendas.

So sparrows don't worry - Because they are Yours.

Your sovereignty is better than the skies.

Simplicity doesn't mean we will live uncomplicated lives. Simplicity is a matter of Focus - the grace to focus our lives simply on Christ.

Be our sole Focus, our only Hope, our deepest Joy -

That we may abandon all worries... and abide in all Your Word.

Adjusting these lenses,

- Terry

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Old Testament Prophecy Fulfilled

In the Old Testament there are many prophecy's that are fulfilled and proven in the scriptures and this morning I wanted toss one out that blew my mind that Friday at my Men's Bible Study. We've been going through 2Kings and just finished the last chapter which is 25. Here is the background on 2 Kings 25, Zedekiah had run from Jerusalem and was captured and brought before the king of Babylon in Judah. There his eyes were poked out and he was carried captive to Babylon. We find a verse in there that solves a prophetic mystery as two other prophets were on the scene and spoke two different stories here is what they said in their books.
Jeremiah 34:3 "And you shall not escape from his hand, but shall certainly be taken and delivered into his; your eyes shall see the eyes of the king of Babylon, he shall speak with you face to face and you shall go to Babylon'"'. Ok, so Jeremiah is saying that his eyes shall see the king. But look at Ezekiel...
Ezekiel 12:13 "... I will bring him to Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans; yet he shall not see it..." Obviously this can come across as a contradiction but it's not.
In verse 7 of 2Kings 25 we read this "Then they killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, put out the eyes of Zedekiah, bound him with bronze fetters, and took him to Babylon." So which of these prophets were right are they really contradicting themselves. The answer is they are both right and in God's perfect Word he lays out something improbable that proves two opposite points and makes them coordinate. I found this awesome and I hope you all do too. God bless.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Old Testament Law and The Charge of Inconsistency By Tim Keller

I find it frustrating when I read or hear columnists, pundits, or journalists dismiss Christians as inconsistent because “they pick and choose which of the rules in the Bible to obey.” What I hear most often is “Christians ignore lots of Old Testament texts—about not eating raw meat or pork or shellfish, not executing people for breaking the Sabbath, not wearing garments woven with two kinds of material and so on. Then they condemn homosexuality. Aren’t you just picking and choosing what they want to believe from the Bible?”
It is not that I expect everyone to have the capability of understanding that the whole Bible is about Jesus and God’s plan to redeem his people, but I vainly hope that one day someone will access their common sense (or at least talk to an informed theological advisor) before leveling the charge of inconsistency.
First of all, let’s be clear that it’s not only the Old Testament that has proscriptions about homosexuality. The New Testament has plenty to say about it, as well. Even Jesus says, in his discussion of divorce in Matthew 19:3-12 that the original design of God was for one man and one woman to be united as one flesh, and failing that, (v. 12) persons should abstain from marriage and from sex. 
However, let’s get back to considering the larger issue of inconsistency regarding things mentioned in the OT that are no longer practiced by the New Testament people of God. Most Christians don’t know what to say when confronted about this. Here’s a short course on the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament:
The Old Testament devotes a good amount of space to describing the various sacrifices that were to be offered in the tabernacle (and later temple) to atone for sin so that worshippers could approach a holy God. As part of that sacrificial system there was also a complex set of rules for ceremonial purity and cleanness. You could only approach God in worship if you ate certain foods and not others, wore certain forms of dress, refrained from touching a variety of objects, and so on. This vividly conveyed, over and over, that human beings are spiritually unclean and can’t go into God’s presence without purification. 
But even in the Old Testament, many writers hinted that the sacrifices and the temple worship regulations pointed forward to something beyond them. (cf. 1 Samuel 15:21-22; Psalm 50:12-15; 51:17; Hosea 6:6). When Christ appeared he declared all foods ‘clean’ (Mark 7:19) and he ignored the Old Testament clean laws in other ways, touching lepers and dead bodies. 
But the reason is made clear. When he died on the cross the veil in the temple was ripped through, showing that the need for the entire sacrificial system with all its clean laws had been done away with. Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice for sin, and now Jesus makes us “clean.” 
The entire book of Hebrews explains that the Old Testament ceremonial laws were not so much abolished as fulfilled by Christ. Whenever we pray ‘in Jesus name’, we ‘have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus’ (Hebrews 10:19). It would, therefore, be deeply inconsistent with the teaching of the Bible as a whole if we were to continue to follow the ceremonial laws. 
The New Testament gives us further guidance about how to read the Old Testament. Paul makes it clear in places like Romans 13:8ff that the apostles understood the Old Testament moral law to still be binding on us. In short, the coming of Christ changed how we worship but not how we live. The moral law is an outline of God’s own character—his integrity, love, and faithfulness. And so all the Old Testament says about loving our neighbor, caring for the poor, generosity with our possessions, social relationships, and commitment to our family is still in force. The New Testament continues to forbid killing or committing adultery, and all the sex ethic of the Old Testament is re-stated throughout the New Testament (Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; 1 Timothy 1:8-11.) If the New Testament has reaffirmed a commandment, then it is still in force for us today.
Further, the New Testament explains another change between the Testaments. Sins continue to be sins—but the penalties change. In the Old Testament things like adultery or incest were punishable with civil sanctions like execution. This is because at that time God’s people existed in the form of a nation-state and so all sins had civil penalties
But in the New Testament the people of God are an assembly of churches all over the world, living under many different governments. The church is not a civil government, and so sins are dealt with by exhortation and, at worst, exclusion from membership. This is how a case of incest in the Corinthian church is dealt with by Paul (1 Corinthians 5:1ff. and 2 Corinthians 2:7-11.) Why this change? Under Christ, the gospel is not confined to a single nation—it has been released to go into all cultures and peoples. 
Once you grant the main premise of the Bible—about the surpassing significance of Christ and his salvation—then all the various parts of the Bible make sense. Because of Christ, the ceremonial law is repealed. Because of Christ the church is no longer a nation-state imposing civil penalties. It all falls into place. However, if you reject the idea of Christ as Son of God and Savior, then, of course, the Bible is at best a mish-mash containing some inspiration and wisdom, but most of it would have to be rejected as foolish or erroneous.
So where does this leave us? There are only two possibilities. If Christ is God, then this way of reading the Bible makes sense and is perfectly consistent with its premise. The other possibility is that you reject Christianity’s basic thesis—you don’t believe Jesus was the resurrected Son of God—and then the Bible is no sure guide for you about much of anything. But the one thing you can’t really say in fairness is that Christians are being inconsistent with their beliefs to accept the moral statements in the Old Testament while not practicing other ones.
One way to respond to the charge of inconsistency may be to ask a counter-question—“Are you asking me to deny the very heart of my Christian beliefs?” If you are asked, “Why do you say that?” you could respond, “If I believe Jesus is the the resurrected Son of God, I can’t follow all the ‘clean laws’ of diet and practice, and I can’t offer animal sacrifices. All that would be to deny the power of Christ’s death on the cross. And so those who really believe in Christ must follow some Old Testament texts and not others.”

Friday, June 8, 2012

Daily Bread

"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

I love this verse for so many reasons. I know for myself I tend to look down the road and try to imagine myself in life. Family, occupation, growing old, etc. Where will it all take place? What will it all look like? Speaking from an athletes perspective I think some of that can be a little scary because it's so unknown. All I know is baseball, I love it! It's blessed me beyond measure. But it will end, and my life, Lord willing, will be remembered by greater achievements than scratching some service time in Major League Baseball. This post might come off as a little gloomy but please don't read into it like that. I think as followers of Christ we all need a little sense of urgency in our journey at times. "Teach us to number our days" to me is like stoking into the fire a little bit. Give more for the moment! Tomorrow, next week, 10 years, whatever. None of it is promised! God has you where he wants you, and this scripture moves me in a way that I feel like I can do more for Him with what I have been given today. Heart full of wisdom is a beautiful thing, I know because I can read about it in this thing called a Bible. I see what it looks like and I want it... I hope to have one some day.

In Christ,


Thursday, June 7, 2012


"But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith." (Philippians 3:7-9 NIV)

The part of the passage that really stuck out to me was the "not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law." I understand that this is referring to the Old Testament law and all the rules that were to be followed. I think that we do that same thing even currently. We make our own little laws that are to be followed - must attend church every Sunday, must pray for at least 10 minutes must "get deep" with at least one person today, etc. I understand that we need to make certain priorities and set goals in order to stay in line, but as soon as we take the relational aspect out of our walk we begin to miss the whole purpose and intent. We serve a relational God not a legalistic God. He wants devoted hearts not a completed checklist. Thoughts?

- Andrew

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Missional Living

If God called you right now to go... would you go? What do I mean by go? I mean: quit your job, sell your house, move your family,... I mean go. Like, not stay. To not live a comfortable suburban lifestyle. Not some short two day trip or even two week trip. I mean for the remainder. I was talking about this with a few teammates a few days ago. Here's my thoughts. If God called you... you'd go. You'd probably argue at first. You'd find every reason to not go, but eventually, you'd go. The question is, when people say "God told me to do ____," was it really God or did they just want to do whatever it was they did? It's really a deep question. Unless God physically appears to someone how could they know right? But wait. We live by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit. The spirit absolutely communicates through us wouldn't you say? So, how do we know what to do? There is a man named Francis Chan who told me to find out for sure you have to test the Spirit inside you. Here is the example Francis has set. Francis was a pastor of a large church in California. Probably one of the fastest growing churches in America. Francis had written a book called Crazy Love that had gone viral and people were flocking to see him preach on weekends at his church. His selfless way of preaching the gospel had made a huge impact on his church and millions of people across the nation and world for that matter. He had obtained everything a pastor leaving seminary could ever dream of. His own pastorate, and a large crowd every sunday that was growing rapidly. A book deal that was bringing in some serious coin should not be forgotten here either. Francis was becoming a rock star among pastors. So what did he do with it? He gave it all up. Yep, he left. Francis started to feel a voice inside him telling him he was missing it. The pull got so great that he and his wife and five kids sold their house, quit their jobs, and moved. Moved across the lake. The big lake! They left and went to Asia. They went to China and India and a few others all the while asking God "Is this where you want me God? Cuz I'll stay. If this is where you want me I've got nowhere else better to be." After staying over in Asia for quite some time Francis has returned to the states with many amazing stories. He returned I think because he realized that we Americans are the ones who don't get it. I was talking to a man the other day about Haiti, and naively I said "man, how come these third world countries don't follow our lead." The man said that he had a friend from Haiti that visited him. One day they went to the grocery store and the man from Haiti said "wow, I feel sorry for you people"! What he meant was that we seemingly have no reason to rely on God. If we need something we just go to the store and get it. Where he lives they have to rely on God to provide everything. So what is Francis doing now? He picked one of the most dangerous un-evangelized areas in San Fransisco to base his ministry. He isn't preaching to people in a church right now. He's hitting the streets. He and a few team members are walking around evangelizing to the beautiful people of the Tenderloin in San Fransisco. The tenderloin is where most of us would never go. It's where you drive through and purposely don't look at the people you see. Myself and several teammates got to wander those streets when we visited San Fran this year and I came away very affected. Imagine walking into a building and knocking on doors, and building relationships with complete strangers in the worst part of town, and praying for those people, sharing your heart and then telling them the reason you're there, and loving people...really loving them... that's what they're doing. Francis and his team live every day with one purpose... to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with anyone who would listen. Amazing. What was clear to me was that God thinks those people of the tenderloin are pretty special too. God's Son Jesus died for those people too. God's Holy spirit is doing battle in those streets and apartment buildings everyday. The devil is using his tricks of drugs, and alcohol, and lust abundantly. But Jesus' name is beating back the darkness. It's a great thing they have going there. Did Francis really give it all up? Or did he get so much more by giving? You'll have to ask him yourself. Here is my question to you.... where is your mission field? To go might not mean to Asia for you. Maybe it means to go to the cubicle next to you. Maybe it means to go home and share with your family under your own roof. Maybe it means to hit the streets. Ask God to reveal that to you. But one thing is for certain... ALL OF US HAVE A PLATFORM. Find it, use it......