Hero or Zero–Superman

Superman is a very interesting character. All superheroes wear a disguise so that nobody will know who the person is behind the mask. Superman’s disguise is a little different. He is disguised as a human. His real state is an alien from Krypton. Clark Kent is what Superman thinks about humanity–weak, bumbling, incapable.

None of us are superheroes, but I would venture to guess that ALL of us wear masks. Masks serve a powerful purpose. They hide our true identity, or at least we hope they do. Kirk and I came up with a beautiful scheme one Halloween to score more candy. We went trick or treating through our neighborhood, then we switched costumes and went again. Brilliant! It worked, so shut up.

I agree that it was a pretty ridiculous idea, but then masks in general give us a false sense of security. It doesn't take long to see through the disguise, and yet we insist on trying to keep our true identity secret. Unlike Superman, we are usually trying to cover up insecurities and weakness, or perhaps pain and regret. Sometimes it takes a traumatic event or just a big argument with your wife to rip off the mask. We are suddenly faced with the ugliness underneath.

I just watched "Return of the Jedi" the other night, and I relived the scene where Luke Skywalker takes off Darth Vader's mask. To be sure he was ugly underneath, but for the first time, he got to see his son with his own eyes, the eyes of a father, instead of through the lens of hatred and evil. Taking off the mask symbolized Anakin's redemption and return to the good side. His hatred and anger kept him alive physically, but it killed him spiritually. Ripping off the mask killed him physically but saved him spiritually.

Our masks hide our true identity, but the good news is that our identity can change. Jesus took a look at us and said, "I love you." One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 5:8.

"While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

He didn't wait for us to clean up our acts. He didn't ask us to be beautiful or sinless. He just walked up and loved us, de-masked and exposed for who we really were.

We have seen that masks serve a multitude of purposes, but it all boils down to the fact that we are trying to hide what is underneath. What about you? What are you trying to hide? What ugliness are you afraid will surface and ruin you? I would invite you to give God an opportunity to take off that mask, redeem your life and bring forth the beauty that comes from being in a right relationship with him.

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Accept One Another

Susan and I were new parents. Our first daughter was only a few months old. We decided to go out for dinner to a great little local spot, called Vito’s, a small Italian restaurant off the beaten track in Southern Pines. The owner would come to every table and make you feel like royalty, and he only took cash.

We had a delightful dinner. Elizabeth was a sweet little angel. I ate the chicken marsala, which had this incredible brown sauce. I just couldn’t get enough of it. Susan went to the bathroom, and while I held Elizabeth, I spied a little more of the brown sauce on Elizabeth’s leg. Not sure how it got there, but you can’t let that stuff go to waste, right?

As it turned out, there was a very good explanation for the brown sauce on Elizabeth’s leg. It definitely was not from the chicken marsala. My guess is it was from peas and carrots. Elizabeth had a diaper explosion and subsequent leak. At this point, I panicked. What are the consequences for eating poo? It can’t be anything good. I rushed to the bar and ordered a stiff drink, hoping to sanitize my mouth. Then I went to the bathroom and washed out the grit between my teeth. To this day, I avoid the marsala at Italian restaurants, and I don’t eat any gravy off of people’s legs either. Lesson learned.

You have to be a special kind of person to be a dad. For those of you with little kids, I can honestly say you have it easy. Just wait til they’re teenagers. Changing diapers is a piece of cake compared to hormones, boyfriends and falling GPA’s. One thing I never minded doing was changing diapers, probably because I like to have a sense of accomplishment. You can see the progress. I never got mad at my kids for laying a bomb in their diaper. In fact, I cooed and laughed and played with their feet while I wiped away the poo. The crap does not change our love for the child. At the same time, we would not be very loving, if we refused to clean the baby up.

Paul talks about this concept in Romans 15:

Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)

The word, “Accept” has taken on a different meaning these days. Now what we mean by “Accept” is more like “Endorse”. It is not OK to tell somebody they’re wearing a dirty diaper. We have to praise them for making such a wonderful terd in their pants. We tell them they are brave for standing against the power brokers and rule makers who tell us to only poo in a toilet. I am pretty sure if Paul was walking around today, he would be telling people their butts stank.

So what does “Accept” mean in this context? I think it’s helpful at this point to look back on what we have already learned so far:

  1. Bear one another’s burdens

a. Take the load off your buddy’s shoulders

b.  Serve your fellow man

2. Encourage one another

a. Paraclete-somebody that comes alongside, an advocate

    1. Be a paraclete
    2. Look for a paraclete in your own life

So the first thing to understand is the importance of building a relationship with somebody. Develop the bond to the point that you can have honest and frank discussions. Something more than what we did last week at the F3 workout and who is better, Clemson or Carolina. (Not much to talk about there)

As we get to know one another better, we will begin to see people as they really are--the good, the bad and the ugly. We learn to “Accept one another.” We don’t condone bad behavior. We don’t endorse it. We do, however, accept the person as a friend, a brother, a fellow journeyman on the path of life.

In that way, I can’t get upset at my friend when he screws up any more than I can when my daughter crapped her britches. We just come up and start cleaning the mess, loving on them. At some point, the time will come when you can have a real discussion about what happened. Before anybody will listen to you, they first need to know you care.

I like the motto of YoungLife, a ministry to high school kids. They say you have to earn the right to be heard. Accept one another. You don’t have to like what they’re doing. Just learn to hold your nose while you change the diaper.

So what kind of “dad” are you?

Do you hand off the kid when he makes a nice smelly one, or do you get in there and do something about it?

Can you buddy rely on you to stick by even when he screws up, or do you cut and run?

Who’s my dude?

When I blow out my diaper, who is there to help clean up the mess?

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Hero or Zero–James & John

Jesus started the whole F3 thing. He rounded up a bunch of dudes, and they walked around all day doing hard stuff. They even had nicknames:

Simon-Peter, which means Little Rock

Thomas-Didymus, which means Twin. He later got a name change to Doubting Thomas.

Simon-Zealot. He was a Jewish terrorist/freedom fighter against the Romans.

James & John-Sons of Thunder

Jesus and his pax were walking around one day, when James and John came along and made a simple request of Jesus:

“Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

What could be wrong with that, right? I mean these are good upstanding men.

Jesus, the coolest dude on the planet, answered with the perfect parent, noncommittal reply:

 “What do you want me to do for you?”

There's the wind-up. Now the pitch:

“Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

In other words:

"Look Jesus, we know you're #1. No question. But #2? Now that slot is wide open, and we are here to help you fill it. Since we're brothers and all, we'll settle for a tie. Coin flip for right side vs. left side. Whaddaya say?"

The reaction by the other ten is fairly predictable, but it sounds so benign in Scripture:

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.

Whatever. They were freaking pissed!

Wall-E's translation: What makes them think they deserve something like that? Just because they were on the mountaintop with Jesus to witness his Transfiguration one chapter ago, they think they're all holier than thou. I got your holy James! Come get some John! I'm about to get all medieval on their ass! (anachronistic Pulp Fiction reference seemed appropriate here)

The bottom line is this tight little group was beginning to fracture. Only a few months later, Jesus would be carried off for a mock trial, beaten and crucified. Where were his pax? They scattered. This was the inevitable end, because the seeds of separation and division were sown in this little power struggle episode. ME got bigger than WE.

James and John have a lot to teach us as F3 pax, especially the GoRuck pax. We are about to be put into a situation that will push us beyond our limits. We are going to be faced with failure, exhaustion, pain and struggle. The cadre is going to keep applying pressure until we learn the way to achieve goals is through unity and teamwork. On a larger scale, F3Hartsville can be pretty fractured as well. It is easy to fall into a rut and forget there are other pax out there who need us (like GoRuck vs. nonGoRuck). We withhold fellowship, we choose to leave others behind, we think about ourselves to the exclusion of the rest of the pax. When the struggle comes, and it will, what is going to happen? Based on the disciples' example, it won't be pretty.

What about you?

Are you building walls or bridges?

When your brother is down, are you picking him up or just leaving him there? Maybe even kicking him a little while he's down there.

The season of struggle is upon us. The moment draws nigh when we will face the enemy and it will be ourselves. What are we going to do about it?



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Hero or Zero-Doubting Thomas

I am a man divided. Half of me is incredibly gullible. That’s what makes me such a great salesman. I truly believe everybody I talk to is going to buy what I have to sell. The other half of me is equally skeptical. If you can’t tell me why something is true, and I mean really prove it, my position will be absolutely rock solid. Both extremes are pretty dangerous. You can believe that you are safe in the middle of a mine field, but it would not be a good idea to start doing burpees.

Like so many things in life, it's all about balance. Thomas was a little out of balance. He is the guy better known as Doubting Thomas. That's a little unfair, as he got labelled for one little event in his life. Kind of like the way my wife calls me Speedy, but that's a different story.

Thomas is only referenced speaking a few times in Scripture. The first time is when Jesus is headed to Jerusalem for the last time. Everybody knew if he stepped foot in Jerusalem, his enemies would kill him. Thomas replied, "Let's go, too--and die with Jesus." (John 11:16) That's not what I would call a coward.

The second time is after Jesus had died and risen from the dead. Jesus appeared to the disciples, but Thomas was at the store, buying beer and cigarettes (or hummus and lentils). Everybody told him what happened, and Thomas replied, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24) That's a pretty strong statement. Thomas was having a moment. It's hard to blame him, in my opinion. I mean, how many times have you seen a guy that was dead but that is all of a sudden alive? It would take a lot of convincing for me too.

Evidently Jesus agreed, because he came back a second time, making sure Thomas was around to see him. Jesus called out to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:26) "Hey Thomas! You want some proof? I got your proof! Insert doubt here." Maybe your Jesus is nice all the time, but mine has some attitude.

Thomas got it wrong. Way wrong. Jesus did die. Jesus did rise from the dead in power over sin and death. Jesus did enter the room, through a locked door, in physical form. Thomas was face to face with God Almighty. Thomas' response is pretty cool, "My Lord and my God!”

This is only my opinion, but I don't think Thomas actually touched Jesus' hands or side. I think his mind was made up at that moment. He acknowledged Jesus as Lord and God. Period. End of sentence. I'm a believer. I've counted to three. I've made up my mind. Jesus wasn't done with him or us, though. This was a teaching moment for the rest of time. "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

You and I will not have the opportunity to see Jesus like the disciples did. The good news is that we don't need to. We actually have something much better. We have Jesus living INSIDE us, through his Holy Spirit. If you don't believe me, check out these verses:

1 Corinthians 3:16

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 6:19

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE." (all caps came from the fact that it's a direct quote from the Old Testament, not that God is shouting.)
The cool thing about Thomas is that after this little doubting moment, he went on to be a Christian rock star. There is very good historical evidence to support Thomas preaching and dying for as a martyr in India. That's about 3,000 miles on foot. Thomas got after it in a big way. He invented GoRuck.
Somebody once told me it's okay to be skeptical, but not to be cynical. The difference is in attitude. Thomas had a hard time believing a hard-to-believe thing. Once he was convinced, however, you couldn't shake that dog off his bone. It was a done deal.
So what about you? Are you having a hard time reconciling Jesus as God in the midst of a really hard to understand world? You're not alone. My advice to you is to look at Jesus. Focus on him, and the rest of the world makes more sense, or at least it diminishes in importance. I promise you that if you focus on him, Jesus will come into view.
Keep moving forward. AYE! (that's me shouting)
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Hero or Zero-Peter

The word, “meek”, has mostly negative connotations in our modern vocabulary. If somebody called you meek, you would probably knock the crap out of him and tell him to "Meek that, sucker!" We associate meekness with a milquetoast sniveling weakling. That's why I never liked the verse in the Bible that says, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth." (Matthew 5:5) Why should somebody like that inherit the Earth? It just doesn't seem right.

The Greek word that is translated meek is a pretty cool word, however. It means harnessed power, or power under control, which changes everything. Think about a horse with a bridle in its mouth. Or nuclear energy. When under control, it provides enough power to light a city. Out of control, it is incredibly destructive.

Peter was a follower of Jesus. He was not one of the candidates for "Meekest of the Year" award. Peter was the guy who opened his mouth just to switch feet. Toward the end of Jesus' life, Peter promised to die alongside Jesus. Jesus told him that Peter would deny him twice before the rooster crowed the next morning, which of course Peter did. Peter was unharnessed.

After his huge public failure, Peter slinked away in shame and returned to what he knew. Fishing. Peter quit, knowing he wasn't worthy to be called a Christ-follower or even to associate with others. Then Jesus did a really cool thing. Jesus walked out to the beach near where Peter was fishing. He built a fire and started cooking some fish. Peter saw him on the beach, got out of his boat and sat down. I imagine there was an awkward silence as Jesus quietly flipped the fish in the frying pan.

Finally Jesus broke the silence. He asked Peter a question. It's the same question, almost, 3 times. This is where it helps to know a little Greek.

There are four Greek words for love:

  1. Storge-the kind of love you have for your kids
  2. Eros-the kind of love you have for your woman (think erotic)
  3. Philia-the kind of love you have for your F3 brothers (think Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love)
  4. Agape-the kind of love you have for your God

The conversation picks up in John 21. I have replaced the English word, "love", with the word that was used in the original Greek.

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you AGAPE Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I PHILIA You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you AGAPE Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I PHILIA You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you PHILIA Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you PHILIA Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I PHILIA You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep. (John 21:15-17)

Jesus got right to the heart of the matter. His first question was pretty penetrating. "Come on Peter! Don't I rate more than a bunch of fish? Don't you AGAPE me?" Peter had nothing. He had failed. He had quit. He was at rock bottom. All he could say was, "You know I'm your bro (PHILIA)." That's not what Jesus was looking for and Peter knew it, but that's all he had. Jesus asked him again and got the same response. The third time, however, is the one that licked the red off of Peter's candy cane. Jesus came back with, "Do you love me like a brother (PHILIA)?" In other words, Jesus acknowledged Peter's total failure, accepted it and offered him forgiveness. That was more than Peter could handle. He was expecting rebuke, shame, punishment. He received acceptance, forgiveness, love. Jesus even gave him a management position, restoring him to leadership. That's the "Feed my sheep" part.

Peter accepted the forgiveness that Jesus freely offered. He finally got harnessed. Peter became meek and was used by God to shake up the world.

What about you? Are you out fishing, or are you ready to be harnessed? Where is that part of your life that is filled with shame and guilt? Jesus is sitting on the beach, ready to restore you to fellowship with him. All you have to do is stick out your plate and have some fish.


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Hero or Zero–The Nation of Israel

If you accept the premise that the God of the Bible is real, then you must also accept that He does nothing by accident or without purpose. So why did he bother to create the nation of Israel? It is an interesting question, at least to me.

There are several answers, all of which are probably correct. I believe the most important reason Israel was created was to be an influence in its world. What does that mean?

At its most basic level, God chose to reveal Himself to the world through Israel. They were supposed to be messengers for him. They allowed themselves to be influenced by the world, however, instead of the other way around. They failed in their mission.

So what? What does that have to do with me? If you are a Christ-follower, then you are a part of a different nation:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:20)

So that means we are the new nation of Israel. The one with the blue and white flag and funny looking star is a political nation, but the we are part of the spiritual nation. God's mandate for His spiritual nation has not changed, however. He still wants to reveal Himself through his citizens. That's you and me, if you have the proper birth certificate. (We can talk about that later.)

So how do we show Jesus to other people? Luckily, Jesus answered that one for us:

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:14-16)

The idea is for us to be like the moon, reflecting the light of the sun. We don't generate the light; we just pass it on. Let's go out and be good citizens.

Am I leading others to him?
Am I depending on him?
Am I forgiving others?

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Gideon: Hero or Zero?

Have you ever been scared to do something? I mean really scared. Phobia. I’m gonna die. That kind of scared. Some people get that way about speaking in public. For others it’s crowds. For me, it’s swimming. I know right? How dumb is that? The crazy part is that I have competed in several triathlons where the swim distances were anywhere from .5 to 1.2 miles. Every time I would get about 100 yds into the swim, I would start to run out of breath, and then I would think about drowning. It was totally irrational. Every triathlon has dozens of boats circling about to pluck you out of the water. That didn’t matter. I was doing water circles and the back stroke. To make matters worse, I can’t swim in a straight line. I tack like a sail boat. My last triathlon, I had a canoe and a kayak on either side of me. Seven or eight waves of swimmers passed me, kicking me in the face. When I finally got out of the water, after 1 hour, the whole crowd cheered for me. Let’s just say that if you were drowning, and I was the only one that could save you, you might as well make peace with your Maker. You are toast. The biggest irony is that I was a certified lifeguard in high school.

Gideon was the ultimate sissy pants. He was scared of his own shadow. In his defense the Midianites had been attacking every year around harvest time and doing a pretty good job of it. They would swoop in every harvest, steal all the food and kill anybody who got in the way. Gideon would thresh wheat in the winepress, hiding out in his daddy’s house. One day God came along to pay Gideon a visit. His first words to Gideon are pretty interesting:

The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.”

Gideon knew this was a joke:

O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.”

Gideon was a nobody from nowhere with nothing to offer, but God saw something different in him. Where Gideon, and everybody else, saw a milquetoast weakling, God saw a mighty warrior. In reality, both parties were correct. Gideon was living down to a reality he created. God was creating a new reality for Gideon to live up to. God plus anything is a majority. 

Gideon went on to lead a very small army in routing a huge Midianite force, overcoming incredible odds.

What about you? What reality are you living in? One of your own making or one that God has created for you?

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Moses–Hero or Zero?

Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive.” (Exodus 1:22)

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him. (Exodus 2:1-4)

Moses’ life started out pretty special. He was a Hebrew boy, born in Egypt at a very bad time to be a Hebrew boy born in Egypt. He was marked for death, but his mama couldn’t bear to see that happen, so she put him in a wicker basket and sent him down the river. That makes perfect sense, right?

It’s just my theory, but I think she was smarter than a fox. It couldn’t have been much of a secret where Pharaoh’s daughter was taking a bath. Moses’ mama made darn sure that her precious little boy at least had a chance. It worked.

Moses, the boy marked for a horrible death, grew up marked for a fantastic life. He spent the next 40 years living in the most incredible luxury imaginable, but he was living a lie. His people were slaves, building the empire he enjoyed. After a while it got to him. He saw an Egyptian overseer beating a Hebrew slave, and Moses took matters into his own hands. Moses killed him and buried the evidence. In the blink of an eye, he went from being the Prince to the Pariah. Moses took off for the Badlands. He lived in exile as a shepherd for the next 40 years. Shepherds have to bite off sheep balls. That’s true. Think about it. 40 years of sheep balls.

When have you made a rash decision? Did you end up in the desert sitting at the Testicle Buffet?

You’re not alone. Moses had every right to feel rage at the way his people were being treated. He had every right to want to do something about it. So where did it all go wrong?

Moses acted under impulse and emotion. Obviously God had plans for both the Hebrew people in general and for Moses in specific. Not that way. Not that time. It took God another 40 years of preparing Moses for the work that lie ahead of him, but when that time came, Moses was ready. Even if he didn’t think so at the time.

Our actions have consequences, for ourselves and others. Look at the consequences of Moses’ rash decision:

  1. One Egyptian was murdered.
  2. Two generations of Hebrews died in slavery.
  3. Moses lived in exile as a shepherd for 40 years. Eating balls.

Tough Questions

  1. What has God called you to do?
  2. When?
  3. Are you working within his time frame and plans, or are you going rogue and risking your life and the lives of others?
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Adam-Hero or Zero?

When is that time that you had one job? One thing to do. And you failed? The worst part was that other people had to pay the price. You had one job.

Adam invented the word “fail”.

Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.  The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;  but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die. Gen 2:15-17

All Adam had to do was avoid one stinking tree. How hard can that be? He was in paradise. Every need, every desire was fulfilled. He had a smoking hot wife, naming rights for every plant and animal. No kids to worry about.

One job.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;  but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!  For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  When the woman saw that the tree was:

  1. good for food, and
  2. that it was a delight to the eyes, and
  3. that the tree was desirable to make one wise,
  4. she took from its fruit and ate; and
  5. she gave also to her husband with her, and
  6. he ate.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

Eve gets the bad rap, but Adam is the real failure. He knew right and wrong. Scripture makes it pretty clear that Eve was deceived. (1 Timothy 2:14) Adam basically sat and watched her eat the forbidden fruit, waiting to see what happened. He knew the penalty for eating it was death. He used Eve as a lab rat.

What were the consequences?

  1. Cursed is the ground (Genesis 3:16-19)
  2. In toil you will eat of it; All the days of your life. (Genesis 3:16-19)
  3. I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, (Genesis 3:16-19)
  4. he (your husband) will rule over you (Genesis 3:16-19)
  5. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and
  6. death through sin, and
  7. so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12)

Adam really screwed up, but God didn’t leave him there.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)

Beyond the obvious need for threads, God sent a message that would extend throughout the rest of history. He shed blood. The blood of an innocent animal to cover Man. This was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ death on the cross. His innocent blood paid the penalty for Adam’s and my and your sins.

No matter how bad we screw it up, God is always there to help us clean it up. It’s better to not fail in the first place, but it’s also nice to know there’s a way out of trouble and back into relationship with God.

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The Way

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).


Rotary Club is about the most exclusive group I have ever joined. That’s not saying much. Basically you just had to be willing to show up to meetings and pay your dues. Still it felt special to be invited. There were four Rotary Clubs in Moore County, NC, where I lived. The first one I tried to join ignored me, and I never got invited in. I was a little upset and my pride was hurt. I mean what do you have to do to get blacklisted from Rotary? It was probably because I was young and trying to join as an Amway Independent Business Owner. Why wouldn’t everybody want an Amway salesman in their club? The second time I tried to join a breakfast club. They had a better atmosphere, and I was joining as a Realtor, which is WAY better than an Amway salesman. Everybody knows that, right?


I finally got in. What a relief. Over the course of my Rotary career, I was Rotarian of the Year twice and served in several offices every year I was a member, including President of the club. All I needed was a chance.


Rotary is somewhat exclusive, but Jesus made a claim that was even more exclusive than Skull and Bones at Yale. Jesus closed the door on every other route to heaven. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes the father except through me.” (John 14:6)


A lot of people don’t like that. I don’t like it, but there it is. All roads do not lead to heaven. The good news is that Jesus made it real easy to get there. He paid the way. He gave us the truth. He gave us life. So we don’t really have an excuse for not joining.


  1. On what road am I traveling?
  2. Who am I taking with me?
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