Sometimes apologizing is not enough

“My sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3).

Bill Glass played a full career with the Cleveland Browns as an All-Pro defensive end before retiring for another career spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In his book Get in the Game, Bill Glass tells of the time his team was battling the St. Louis Cardinals (back when they were still in that city).

That day, Cleveland had St. Louis backed up to their own 5 yard line. Cardinal quarterback Charlie Johnson took the ball and was running around in the end zone looking for someone to throw it to. Meanwhile Bill Glass, right defensive end for Cleveland, was bearing down on him from his blind side, while Paul Wiggin, left end, was barreling toward Johnson from the other side.

It was a defensive end’s dream. They are about to sack the quarterback in his own end zone. This can be a game-changer. Bill could just hear the crowd cheering.  This was going to be great.

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Do people tell you not to read those books?

“Take up and read; take up and read.”  (from Confessions of Saint Augustine, chapter XII)

Read widely, pastor.

Read novels, how-to books, histories, biographies, and theological commentaries.

You don’t necessarily have to read the entire book to benefit.  You have only so much time and energy, and you want to put the emphasis on the more important readings.

What are the teens in your church reading?  Ask around, then give it a try.

By all means, read the Word of God.  Read some every day, and have a plan for your reading.  If you’ve never read through the Bible in a year, do it.  Do it several times in a row.  Thereafter, choose books of the Bible you’re unfamiliar with and fill in that gap of your education.

It used to bother me that my oldest son and my wife loved to read Stephen King novels.  Since King loves to get bizarre and even scary–think “Christine” and “Carrie”–in his plots, I felt that this was unhealthy reading for my wife and son.

I still think that.  Mostly.

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The truth about our heroes

No man is a hero to his valet.”  –attributed to Madame Cornuel in the 17th century, but probably an old French or English proverb.  But true nonetheless.

I’ve been reading Winston Groom’s “The Aviators.” Subtitle: “Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight.”  It’s an epic read itself, not one you can whiz through.  I’ve probably read a dozen other books while occasionally picking this one up and reading more. I finally finished it. The ending was noteworthy.

Winston Groom, you will recall, is the author of the Forrest Gump tale, a work of fiction.  However, he has done a fair number of histories, very readable accounts of the battle of New Orleans, the year 1942, the Civil War battle of Shiloh, the siege of Vicksburg in the same war, and so forth.  I’ve read most of them, and met him at a book signing in New Orleans maybe three years ago.  I suppose he was tired, because I was expecting a little more from him in the way of an engaging personality, great stories, and witticisms.  Anyway….

Here’s an interesting note from Charles Lindbergh.  On March 30, 1944–in the middle of the Second World War–he was preparing for a trip to the South Pacific for the Army to check on a number of aspects on the conduct of the fighting war.  So, before leaving, he bought some supplies: “At Abercrombie and Fitch he purchased a waterproof flashlight, and from Brentano’s he acquired a small copy of the New Testament, remarking in his journal that, ‘Since I can carry only one book, it is my choice.  It would not have been a decade ago, but the more I learn and the more I read, the less competition it has.'”

Personally, while I appreciate Lindbergh’s words, I will not be attaching too much weight to them for the simple reason that in his last decades he kept moving farther and farther toward the bizarre.  I will not belabor that point since readers may research his final years themselves if they are so inclined.

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Book Review: “Evidence That Demands a Verdict,” 2017 edition

“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense (apologia) to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (I Peter 3:15). 

Apologetics has nothing to do with apologizing.  The Greek word apologia in the New Testament means to reply or make a defense as to why we believe such a thing as the gospel of Jesus Christ, the integrity of Scriptures, or the existence of God. 

In the early 1970s, the publication of Josh McDowell’s “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” caused a sensation.  The thick book was eagerly devoured by pastors and laity, college students and campus ministers, housewives and college professors, seekers and skeptics, all searching to know more about the logical and historical basis of the Christian faith.

In 1972, I was 32 years old when that book appeared on the scene, and was ministering to college students by the hundreds.  The book was a Godsend. Heaven alone knows its full impact.

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