About the Chief Outkicker

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Dayton, Ohio, United States
I've accused my friends, Jeff and Jonathan, of reaping more out of life's harvest than they deserve. I joke about this with them, but in reality, I am actually the one who has been blessed way beyond what I deserve. I have a wonderful wife who loves the Lord and who loves me. I have three great kids. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is my great provider. I have done nothing to deserve the good and wonderful gifts I have been given in this life. I am the one who is "outkicking my coverage" daily. Life is good. I am a teacher (18 years and counting), a husband, and a proud father. Most of all, I am a Christ follower. My desire is to follow Him so closely I am covered in the dirt of his sandals. Follow along as I work on allowing the Spirit of God to help me navigate this blessed life He has given to me.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What will HE say???

It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Ecclesiastes 7:2
Stories about people who died after living Godly lives are stories with happy endings. I think about a funeral I attended within the past year. It was the funeral of Dr. Dan Grabill, a former pastor, teacher, high school principal, mission trip leader, and counselor to myself and scores of others over the years. At that funeral, a packed house of well over 1,000 people, individual after individual spoke of how Mr. Grabill allowed himself to be positioned and used of his Beloved, the God of the Universe, throughout his life. It was inspirational to see the ripple effects of a life lived-out with one overreaching goal -- to know God and to make Him known. It was clear to everyone in the room that the words these people were saying were not hollow words. They had seen Christ through him. Mr. Grabill's character mirrored the man that the Apostle Paul had become at the end of his life.

...I am about to die, my life an offering on God's altar. This is the only race worth running. I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that's left now is the shouting --God's applause! Depend on it, He's an honest judge. He'll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for His coming. --2 Timothy 2:6-8

Wow! What a legacy! To say that one is confident that God will give him a standing ovation for his priorities, intentions, and actions for Him is an awesome thing to express. Without a doubt, I know that Mr. Grabill stood before the Lord with the same confidence as Paul.

Funerals and scriptures, such as the one from 2 Timothy above, inevitably lead me to start thinking about what my funeral will be like one day (hopefully not any day soon). What will people say of me? No one ever makes negative comments about the recently departed at at funeral. In fact, the reality is that the truth is often stretched during eulogies, creating a semblance of a meaningful life. Have you ever been at a funeral where you had to take a second look at the shell in the casket to make sure the speakers were talking about the person you had actually known? Did you say secretly in your mind, "He really wasn't that great of a person"?

Will the speakers at my funeral be able to speak honestly about me when I die? My prayer is that my life will have significant ripple effects for the cause of Christ, much like the ones created by Mr. Grabill. Man, I don't want to waste my life so that people have to strain themselves to find kind things to say about me as an obligation of kindness to my family.

In his book, Crazy Love, Francis Chan makes the statement, "The truth is, some people waste their lives. This (statement) isn't meant to bash those who are gone, but rather to warn those who are alive." This statement refers to believers who have not lived-out their destiny of being and preaching the gospel. A.W. Tozer once was quoted as saying, "A man by his sin may waste himself, which is to waste that which on earth is most like God. This is man's greatest tragedy and God's heaviest grief." A Christian, one who has been saved by grace, can actually live a wasted life -one that doesn't center on anyone but himself.

God is teaching me that my greatest concern should not be for others to say glowing things about me after my demise. My primary concern should center around what God says about the condition of my heart and the works I did for Him while I was alive on earth. When I die and stand before God one day, the hollow compliments of those left on earth won't matter at all. What will matter most is the TRUTH. Before God, my worldly reputation won't matter at all. All that will matter at that point is the reality of who I am and what I did before the God of the Universe.

Paul speaks of the day we all will experience; the day of our earthly death, and our judgement before All-Knowing, and completely Righteous God:

"His work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." --I Corinthians 3:13-15

I don't want to squeak by and get into heaven by virtue of the "fire insurance" that I attained at the day of my salvation. That would indicate that the efforts of my life and the time that I spent on earth was largely wasted. I, too, want to be "poured-out" like Mr. Grabill and the Apostle Paul. I want to live an unselfish life that serves others and leads them to a relationship with the all-knowing, all-powerful, omniscient God of the universe. My natural tendency is to do the opposite, but I know this: With prayer and constant reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit to make me something that I am naturally not, I can live a life that wasn't wasted. All that matters is knowing and letting others know our King and God. I am most concerned with what He will say to me on that day.

Friday, August 14, 2009


This summer, after many years of dragging my feet- refusing to use my time wisely, I finally relented and started studying God's Word. Over the years, I have studied many books, but have, in a large part, neglected THE BOOK that should be the primary source for wisdom, strength, and life decisions. I finally acted in obedience and started to do as Paul instructed the Ephesians to do in Ephesians 5:15-16:

15Be careful, then, how you live— not as unwise but as wise,
16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

I asked God to help me find the desire, time, and opportunity to study His Word, the Bible, the way it should be studied. God is good. He always is. He gave me all of the above this summer. It was in studying His Word that He showed me some lessons that have completely changed my perspective. These principles can be applied to any career or sphere of influence in which you find yourself.

Daily study in the Word took me to the Book of Acts. This is a New Testament book, which was written by the apostle Luke around A.D. 63. This book was written before the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Luke's primary purpose in this book is to show how God used the apostles and new Christians to rapidly spread the Gospel of Jesus to all people from Jerusalem to the entire Roman Empire. The actual original title of the book is "The Acts of the Apostles." Acts chapter 4 tells the true, historically accurate story of Peter and John healing a lame man, and then preaching in the temple about the One who gave them the power to do this miracle. They are called before the religious leaders in Jerusalem (the same ones who executed Jesus) to account for themselves. At this point, Peter and John said something to these important religious men that caught my attention.

19 But Peter and John replied, Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God.
20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.

What had they seen and heard that spurred them to be so bold? I mean, come on, they were talking to men who had already exercised the power to kill God's own Son. Do you think they realized that they could be killed for what they were saying here? What had they seen and heard? They had seen the reality of Christ as firsthand witnesses. They had His power can transform a lives...many lives. They had seen that God incarnate wasn't just a fairy tale story. He was historically real. He lived. He died. He rose again. After his resurrection, he was seen by no less than 500 witnesses. He promised to prepare a place for those who accepted His free gift of eternal life. He ascended into Heaven. He was at work in their lives through the Holy Spirit. The apostles had seen and heard all of this, and they couldn't be shut up. They didn't want to shut up. They had a boldness that can only come from one place... from God.

The religious leaders were amazed at the authority and knowledge from which Peter and John spoke. They let them go with a warning, not knowing how to punish them. Immediately following this exchange with the Sanhedrin, they went back to their group of believers -probably the equivalent of our modern-day church body. After telling the church about what had happened, the church members pray this amazing prayer:

24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. Sovereign Lord, they said, you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.
25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.'

27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.
28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

In essence, they began to grasp the true concept that God was sovereign. He was in charge. He had allowed Pilate and Herod to put Jesus to death. It wasn't an accident or mistake God made. They had an "AHA! moment". He was sovereign. He was and is in control of everything that had and would take place on this earth. I love verse 29. In his video series, Pastor Andy Stanley says that in this verse these early church believers were not asking God to protect them, or bless them, or comfort them in light of the threats of their religious and political leaders. They are asking him to USE THEM. They realized that they had been invited to participate in this awesome sovereign plan of God's and it energized them. They asked for the boldness to do it. This is the kind of boldness that can only come from the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the one who Christ promised to send to give them to power to participate in His plan. In verse 31, God honored their prayer and gave them the power and boldness to share the Gospel.

What God has taught me from this study is that He is in control. I am fully aware that my life will most likely not be in jeopardy for sharing the gospel. Being killed for my faith and witness for Christ most likely won't happen to me, But I realize that I have often acted (or more correctly -not acted) out of fear when it comes to influencing my immediate world with the truth of the Gospel. In full knowledge of God's sovereignty, I have begun praying a prayer that goes something like this:

Sovereign God who is active in this world,

Enable me to speak your story with boldness.

Give me courage, opportunity, and sensitivity to share it with the ones you have placed around me.

Thank you that I am not responsible for outcomes, but that I can trust in your sovereignty to bring about the results.

Make me bold.


My hope and prayer is that you and I will grab on to the security of the truth that God is in charge. To truly believe this, and to rely on His power to participate in His plan...that's what brings hope and puts our anxiety to rest. GOD IS SOVEREIGN!!!!

2 Timothy 1:7-8 (NIV)
7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.