Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Leader of the Free World

I've seen many posts this morning that talk about the struggle we all feel as Christians when considering our momentous day yesterday. But this one by Thabiti Anyabwile helps me to see it in a wonderful way. If you don't know him, you need to. Click his name to get to his blog.

I am rejoicing this morning more than I was for my friends who like him woke to a day that others said may come, woke to a day where the promise of America is as true for them as for my girls...and woke to a day where the one who stepped into that role is one who is opposed to so much that they live for in Christ. "God help us, please help us."

Leader of the Free World

Woke up this morning
and the leader of the free world
was a black man.

Woke up this morning,
got myself dressed,
and marveled at what's happened in this land.

Brushed my teeth in the mirror,
smiled at a face made silly with tooth paste.

No more black face comedy,
there's a black man in the White House,
and so much of the world is subject to his tastes.

What will it mean,
to now be a black man in the free world?

Will anything change,
will everything change,
a million ideas in my mind all in a swirl.

I don't even write poetry.
But I woke up this morning
and a black man was the leader of the free world.

Prose won't do it for me,
describe this ended longing.
Can you believe an African-American leads the free world,
with a beautiful brown wife and two little girls?

My country tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty,
land where my fathers died,
land where black mothers cried,
land where we were so long denied,
on every mountainside,
freedom rings.

Barack Hussein Obama,
son of a black man and a white mama,
now leads the free world.

Heaven knows the plot twists of this drama.
God help us, please help us.
Protect every unborn boy and girl.

Can't wink at some things,
even as the joy is irrepressible.
The confluence of emotions are inexpressible.

Gil Scott Heron had it wrong:
The revolution has been televised, has been televised, has been televised.
And a black man is the leader of the free world!

I never believed my mama,
when she said I could be anything, even president.
But now the White House has a new resident,
Barack Hussein Obama.

Goes to show what I know.
On a cold January day, my mama was proved a prophet.
In God's economy, nothing could stop it.
And this morning, a black man is the leader of the free world.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Through me

We know Jesus has remembered us through you.

The words were spoken by a pastor in Uganda in response to a team from Covenant Life Church who went to spend a couple of weeks preaching and serving the people near a church they support.

I can picture the scene. Uganda differs some from Nigeria in topography, but not much in hope, so I can see the dirt and brush surrounding this small group of people who have been waiting on Jesus. I can see their eyes shining as they pray in Jesus Name. I can feel their hands that clasp so hard to show their gratitude. I can hear the sounds of hope that sprang up throughout the villages that the building where they would be taught about Jesus would finally be built. And I can see through it all their countenances changed because Jesus had remembered them.

Those words penetrated my heart today as I think of all those around us who are longing in their hearts to really know...that Jesus remembers them in their poverty, pain and suffering... in their tiredness, discouragement and grief... in their loss, disease and brokenness.

We all have those moments when the promises of God are true...but far off, it seems. We believe in His love, provision and care...but how different to really know. It changes everything, doesn't it? So, how is it that we know?

Sometimes, He's so gracious just to touch out hearts...that quiet moment when our hearts settle, our minds clear and all seems steady for a moment.

Sometimes, His Word opens before us and we see...truly see...this Word that is for us, that calls to us to remember who He is, what He has done and what He has committed to do because of His Son, Jesus Christ...and our eyes clear and we see Him and so are changed one degree.

But sometimes...sometimes...seeing, we do not see...hearing, we do not hear...and in those moments all seems dark. Who has heard us? Who will help? Does Jesus remember me?

Those words are our sounding call...our trumpet blast...our call to arms...our signal to go, go, go.
In those words are the starter's gunshot to have beautiful feet. Feet which go, support, preach, teach and tell. Feet which love, heal, help and bind up. Feet which hold, hug, feed and provide.

Feet that bring the message...The Lord has heard your cry and remembered you. I come in Jesus Name. I come because He came. He remembers and He cares and He has provided for you. Remember Him. Praise Him. Hold on to Him. His mercies are new. His promises are sure. Remember Him for He has remembered you.

Do you hear it? Isn't there one near you? One who's lost someone. One who's suffering. One who's sinking under despair. One who's gasping for a moment of peace. Isn't there one?

Isn't there one far from you but whose heart you can hear beating from here? One who stands on foreign soil, but whose pain is close to you. One who is surrounded by land you've never seen, but whose troubles have pierced your life as well. One who lives as you live, loves as you love, fears as you fear, longs as you long. Isn't there one?

Make my feet beautiful, Lord. Open my ears to hear the cry, the call to go, go, go. Give me eyes to see and the confidence to believe, to expect that I will be met with what I need to meet what I find. Make me over, Lord, into the likeness of Your Son whom You sent to gather those who would go. Remember me that I might remember you so that others might know that you remember them through me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


You got any tissues at hand? Get 'em.
Yeah. I know there are a couple of guys that read this that have already moved on without a though. Tears? Whatever.
Don't say you weren't warned.

There are some games in which cheering for the other side feels better than winning.

by Rick Reilly

They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.

It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.

Did you hear that? The other team's fans?

They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, "Go Tornadoes!" Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.

It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on—by name.

"I never in my life thought I'd hear people cheering for us to hit their kids," recalls Gainesville's QB and middle linebacker, Isaiah. "I wouldn't expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!"

And even though Faith walloped them 33-14, the Gainesville kids were so happy that after the game they gave head coach Mark Williams a sideline squirt-bottle shower like he'd just won state.

Gotta be the first Gatorade bath in history for an 0-9 coach.

But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That's because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.

This all started when Faith's head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team. Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.

So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. "Here's the message I want you to send:" Hogan wrote. "You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth."

Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan's office and asked, "Coach, why are we doing this?"

And Hogan said, "Imagine if you didn't have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you."

Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!

"I thought maybe they were confused," said Alex, a Gainesville lineman (only first names are released by the prison). "They started yelling 'DEE-fense!' when their team had the ball. I said, 'What? Why they cheerin' for us?'"

It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. "We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games," says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. "You can see it in their eyes. They're lookin' at us like we're criminals. But these people, they were yellin' for us! By our names!"

Maybe it figures that Gainesville played better than it had all season, scoring the game's last two touchdowns. Of course, this might be because Hogan put his third-string nose guard at safety and his third-string cornerback at defensive end. Still.

After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that's when Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. "We had no idea what the kid was going to say," remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: "Lord, I don't know how this happened, so I don't know how to say thank You, but I never would've known there was so many people in the world that cared about us."

And it was a good thing everybody's heads were bowed because they might've seen Hogan wiping away tears.

As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.

The Gainesville coach saw Hogan, grabbed him hard by the shoulders and said, "You'll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You'll never, ever know."

And as the bus pulled away, all the Gainesville players crammed to one side and pressed their hands to the window, staring at these people they'd never met before, watching their waves and smiles disappearing into the night.

Anyway, with the economy six feet under and Christmas running on about three and a half reindeer, it's nice to know that one of the best presents you can give is still absolutely free.


HT: My big brother!