Our Children’s Minister at Legacy, Kipi Ward, is the one who mischievously taped the Jerry Wayne Papa John’s pizza ad to my office door. It didn’t take me long to figure it out. She and I share a common disgust for the way he acts in public. Look at the expression on his face. Click on the closeup shot on the right and look at how his leg is hiked up in the Heisman pose. Are you kidding me? The owner of the Dallas Cowboys is in his suit and tie, in all seriousness, striking the Heisman pose, to sell pizza.
Forget the pizza. Deliver me!
I just returned to the office from speaking at chapel at Fort Worth Christian High School. A very pleasant fellow, Mark Weathers, invited me a few weeks ago. And I didn’t realize until just a few days ago that I was scheduled to speak the very morning of the Fort Worth Christian – Dallas Christian football game.
As we were chit-chatting in the foyer the bell rang and here they all came, a couple of hundred high school students in an overwhelming sea of Cardinal Red. All the football players wearing their jerseys, all the cheerleaders in their uniforms, all the pep squad in thier red shirts, and everybody else with some kind of red shirt proclaiming their spirit and allegiance to FWC. I turned to Mark and I said, “There’s no way they can know I graduated from DC.”
I captured their attention, I’m fairly sure, with a little joke about the football coach and lots of sports analogies during a brief message on commitment taken from King Asa’s life in 1 Kings 15. And it’s not like I was wearing my letter jacket or my high school ring. But it was very surreal. I felt like they all knew I was not one of them.
For most of my 40 years on this earth, Fort Worth Christian has been the enemy. Now, I find myself in a church family that meets less than two miles from the campus. Some of my best friends now, I’m finding out, were playing football and basketball at FWC the same time I was at DC. And now their kids are Cardinals. I’m playing hoops at the Cardinal gym once a week. I’m so disoriented. Paradigm shift. Worlds are colliding!
We’re having dinner tonight with Andrew and Stephanie Brownlow and their two wonderful little boys who spent most of Wednesday night trying to put a FWC ballcap on my head. And then we’re going to the ballgame together. At Fort Worth Christian. The last DC football game I attended, I was suited up. That was well over 20 years ago. But I’m starting to get butterflies again.
My junior year we snapped a four game losing streak to Fort Worth Christian 14-7 at our place. We commemorated that victory with a special patch on our jackets. My senior year we beat the Cards on their field 63-14. The first team only played the first series of the third quarter and then we had the rest of the night off. I predict a similar outcome tonight. In fact, I predict the same score: DC 63-14.
I further predict that I will not be sporting any body paint tonight.
For those of you who care (mom and the other two), the swelling has gone down a little but my nose is still very sore and very crooked. And I’m a little worried about the discrepancy in nostril size. Suddenly, I’m not concerned about popcorn lung anymore.
“You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.” ~Leviticus 20:26
The greek word Paul uses in 1 Thessalonians 4:4 and 4:7 is “hagiosmos.” It means a process leading to a state of holiness or holiness as the end result of a process. Either way, Paul is communicating a process. Continual conformity to God’s character. Becoming exactly like God.
And sometimes we distort this a little bit. We think of holiness strictly as separation from the world or separation from our culture. Paul’s idea of holiness is fundamentally a different concept. His is all positive. Holiness is a process of becoming more and more like our God who’s chosen us and who saves us.
Now, modeling ourselves after God does require some separation from things that don’t please him or things that conflict with his holy character. But to overemphasize or only emphasize the idea of separation hides or ignores the primary aspect of sanctification.
It is multi-faceted. You can view holiness as the gift God gives us at baptism. You can see it as a future goal to be realized on that last day when Jesus comes back to take us to Heaven. You can view it as an on-going journey. It’s past, present, and future. It’s all of that. It’s a one word summary of God’s will for his children.
And as God’s children, it’s our calling.
“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” ~1 Thessalonians 4:7