Tag: faith

June 7, 2012 / / Uncategorized

His name is simply “The Coyote.”  He is the official mascot of the San Antonio Spurs.

Have sympathy, though. As of yesterday, he is a lot less busy.

I’ve never thought much of mascots. The costumes often fit poorly, are unrealistically proportioned, and who wants to be that hot?  The characters are often poorly chosen or fail to reflect the team name at all.  Yes, there are coyotes near San Antonio, but shouldn’t he at least wear spurs?  But there is always worse.  Take the Tampa Bay Rays with this creature, or Xavier University with their blue blob, the Phillies and their Phinatic, or the fact that the Tennessee Volunteer’s picked a dog.  Then again, one could always skip the giant suit and just use an entire Schooner as your mascot (yes, and boomer).

This to say, they seem a bit useless, yes?  Well,  most are.  But in the middle of Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, I gained a new respect for this Coyote fellow.  He spent no time with the dancers or mingling the crowd.  With a primetime television game, the TV time outs were incessant.  The Coyote’s role was clear.  How do you keep a stadium full of fans excited with 2 minute break that often?  How can you counteract the time out’s taken by the OKC Thunder to quiet the crowd, and maintain the advantage of being on your home court?

This Coyote had a plethora of options.  He jumped, motioned, and ran. He pumped, waved, and bounced.  He used signs, stilts, unicycles, motorcycles, t-shirt canons, and games to name a few.  Not for entertainment sake – but because the energy of the crowd is a crucial phenomenon in sports.  Home court advantage is real, IF the fans make it so.  He was tasked with maintaining the passion of the crowd in the least passionate moments.  He was there to keep people on their feet and cheering when there was nothing to cheer for, no excitement, no action.  And when the chances of winning seem bleak, his job grows increasingly difficult.  And this was all amidst a decisive Game 5 of the Conference Finals! What greater motivation did these people need? It’s the playoffs, after all.


My experience has been that many people in the church can become frustrated with the stagnant or wavering nature of their own spiritual lives.  At times, faith can be difficult to find.  Sometimes it is easy to thank God for all that He has provided.  At other times, we find ourselves barren and tired and left wondering how we got to this point.  Sometimes the action is right in front of us, and things our going our way, and God’s presence is clear and evident in what is happening around us. But as quickly as we experience mountain tops, we find ourselves in valleys.

We all need someone to keep us on our feet – to instill faith in us, faith that not only believes that our God can fulfill his promises but believes he will have the ultimate victory.  In the least passionate moments we need someone to remind us of our passion and the importance of maintaining it.  When there seems nothing to cheer for, no excitement, no action, we need others who will point us to the reality that our God is risen and reigning.  And when the circumstances of life seem bleak, we need someone to remind us that God is good and His loves endures forever. 

Worship of God is not merely for the moments when we can see things happening, but for every moment in between as well.  Certainly, He is worthy of our constant adoration and praise, regardless of the circumstances, outcome, or time.   No need for furry, unfitting suits or large, cheering blobs, but may the mascot remind us of our own tendency to sit down, lose interest, or give up hope.  “In Him all things were created…  All things were created by Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:16-17).  What greater motivation do we need than the reality of who God is? May we be ever aware of our need to worship, our need to proclaim again and again and in every circumstance, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory.”

November 3, 2010 / / Uncategorized
Fair Weather Fans...

In recent weeks, I have noticed a recurring theme among people and organizations around me, one which rings true throughout history.  When things are going poorly, or perhaps simply less than expected, people are quite inclined toward change.  In fact, in situations such as this people are very likely to assume that change automatically means improvement.

From sports culture to politics, this theme is evident even in the last few weeks.  When America’s favorite football team produces a season far short of capabilities and expectations, cries for the firing of the head coach begin.  As the season worsens, the murmurings grow into rampant Facebook statuses calling for some sort of drastic change.  One can’t help but think that if things had been going better no one would question a thing.

If your favorite college football team’s quarterback is playing poorly, put in the back up! We love him! Or worse, when an unknown team suddenly emerges, everyone joins the band wagon.  When things go south, the t-shirt fans are much less likely to put on the team colors.  This reality is appears in Scripture, and sadly within the church today as well.

September 22, 2010 / / Uncategorized

The fascinating and well known events surrounding the crossing of the Red Sea, found in Ex. 13 and 14 provide for us a fascinating account of the LORD’s provision and the protection of His people.  Interestingly enough, the story begins by immediately acknowledging the weakness of the men and women whom God is delivering. Indeed, these people are being led by Moses by the hand of the Lord out of captivity! Yet, we read that God has not led them down the road through the Philistine country, even though it was shorter.

“For God said, ‘If they face war they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’” (13:17b)

God is already preparing the Israelites for battle, setting in motion events that will help them to not turn back.  This is but a mere foreshadow of the grumblings and murmurings and outright complaints that would be forged against both God and Moses a few verses later and for chapters to come. However, amidst this often told story of God’s miraculous provision for his people (who again find themselves traversing between a promise and its fulfillment), we encounter a Moses who boldly and wisely proclaims the power of God before an immediately retreating Israelite people.

The questions and complaints begin pouring out in Ch. 14 as the Egyptians approach , “marching after them.”  The people begin to question the journey, the reasons, the difficulties, and even whether or not their original plight was all that bad to begin with.

And Moses replies to his people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” (14:14)

September 15, 2010 / / Uncategorized

The book of Genesis presents its readers with characters who are easily criticized, men and women whose actions are far from irreproachable.  To look back at the events which took place, the decisions people made, and the results which came from them, the skeptic can easily critique the lives of these biblical characters.  In simply looking at Abraham, the dichotomy of faithfulness and faithlessness is evident.

After all, this is the man who answers to resounding “go forth” and leave your home with little hesitation (Gen. 12) and whose providential  journey reaches its high point on a mountain with his son in one of the purest expressions of faith we can find (Gen. 22).  Yet, it takes no scholar to realize that this is the same man who is introducing his wife as his sister and the man who utilizes the surrogate Hagar, when his patience runs thin. (16)

So what do we have in all these characters?

For Abraham, and those through whom his covenant goes forth, great things surely await.  Abraham, after all, has been promised to become “a great nation”.  He has been shown the stars and told, “So shall your descendants be,” by God himself.  The man was guaranteed “one who will come forth from your own body” as an heir.

Amidst all of this, the blessings, the promises, the voice of God, the families of Genesis continue to struggle with faith in God.  It is as if no promise can assure them.  No guarantee is quite enough. Note here that the divine will of God prevails regardless.  Yet any critic, to be fair, must now be self-reflective.

In these men and women, we find narratives of lives lived out in the most difficult arena of life: the time between promise and fulfillment.