“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3
There are certain passages of Scripture that I think should be read regularly in our public Christian assemblies because of the forming effect they have on us. Passages that speak to the loving and gracious nature of our God, his will for his people, and our mission as disciples of Christ serve to shape our mindset and our way of living with each other and in our world. The Word of God should mold us into the image of Jesus. And reading it together, especially passages that speak to these specific things, would go a long way in redirecting our focus from the little matters to the more important aspects of our lives of faith.
One such passage is the very familiar “living sacrifice” section of Romans 12. I’ve read Romans 12 out loud six times already today, once at our regular Monday morning staff meeting. It’s always had tremendous power to properly shape my perspective. In times of discouragment, or in times when I’m thinking too highly of myself, Romans 12 has always spoken to me, turning me towards the big-picture view of life in Christ and my place in it.
Let me share with you Eugene Peterson’s translation of Romans 12:4-21 from The Message:
“We are like the various parts of the human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
If you preach, just preach God’s message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. ‘I’ll do the judging,’ says God. ‘I’ll take care of it.’
Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, give him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.”
Legacy Worship Center Construction Update:
Dirt is moving!
We had a fantastic time on our mini-family-vacation to Marble Falls. It was so great to worship with our dear friends at the Marble Falls Church Wednesday evening and to share, in some small insignificant way, the heartache of dealing with the flood of late June. We heard so many stories and saw so many amazing pictures. And the evidence of those horrible days is still all around: flood debris still clinging to power lines some 20-feet above the roads, washed out roads and bridges, creek beds that are permanantly now four times wider and deeper than they were before the rains. We wish nothing but all of God’s richest blessings for the good people of that great town, especially the Jamars as they rebuild their house, the Youngs and the Montgomerys as they continue to clean up, the Burdetts and the Longs as they recover from huge business losses, and the other dozen or so families of Christians down there.
On the way to Marble Falls on Wednesday we made our bi-annual trip to the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco.
We did a little antique shopping in Salado
We stayed with our great friends Mike & Lee Ann Clark and saw nothing of Jennifer or Ashley, not enough of Logan, and too much of the cats!
We spent all day Thursday at Schlitterbahn and nearly froze our Schlitterbuns!
Friday we took in the Texas History Museum in Austin.
And then Saturday it was movie audition day for Valerie. We waited for almost two hours before they finally called her in. And she was only in there for about 60-seconds! All they did was take a couple of pictures and ask her one or two very general questions about her family and her summer on camera. There were at least 20-25 boys being auditioned from school districts all over central Texas. But Valerie was the only girl in the building. We were told later that they were looking at 300 or so boys, but only four girls. We have no idea what kind of movie this is, what the parts or the roles are, or what they have in mind for Valerie. They only told us it would be six months to a year before we’d be contacted. It’s not quite “don’t call us, we’ll call you,” but almost.
There are only 24 days left until the REAL football season begins—none of this preseason mess. And today’s number 24 is Johnny “Lam” Jones from Lampasas High School. Johnny Lam wore #26 at the University of Texas where, as a Longhorn, he was a two-time All-America running back and flanker who scored eight touchdowns of 45 yards or longer. He wore #80 as the very first ever professional football player to sign a million dollar contract when the Jets traded two number one picks to the 49ers in order to select him second overall in 1980. But he wore #24 as a Lampasas Badger—the “Lam” stands for his hometown of Lampasas—where he wowed all of Central Texas on the football field and on the track. He won state championships, Southwest Conference championships, national championships, and an Olympic gold medal. And when he played for the Jets, from 1980-86, he was the fastest player in the NFL. I don’t have a picture of Lam Jones in his #24 Lampasas jersey. If you can find one, please pass it along.
#25 is Raiders great Fred Biletnikoff. He was an All-America reciever at Florida State before being taken second overall by Oakland in 1965. He was durable and tough. He had deceptive speed and amazing hands. He was the NFL receptions leader in 1971, made all conference four times, and went to four Pro Bowls. While he was a Raider, Oakland played in nine conference title games and two Super Bowls. He was the MVP of Super Bowl XI. And the Fred Biletnikoff Award goes to the best receiver in college football every year.
Herb Adderley is my all-time greatest #26. Drafted as a running back by Vince Lombardi and the Packers out of Michigan State, Adderley made the switch to cornerback late in his rookie season and had a Hall of Fame career with Green Bay and the Cowboys: 48 picks, 1,046 return yards, five NFL championships, four Super Bowls, and five Pro Bowls.
The greatest to ever wear #27 is Oilers and Redskins safety Ken Houston. Out of Prarie View A&M, Houston was a ninth-round pick of the Oilers in 1967 and then traded to Washington six years later for five players. He had speed, quickness, and size, punishing runners and receivers with huge blows on every tackle. He finished his career with 49 interceptions and nine TDs, made ten Pro Bowls, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.
Finally, the greatest football player to ever wear #28 is Abilene Christian and Philadelphia Eagle star Wilbert Montgomery. He didn’t want to go to Jackson State where he’d have to play behind his cousin, Walter Payton. So he wound up in Abilene where he scored a 56 yard touchdown on his first ever carry and a 39 yard touchdown on his first ever catch. He took the ACU Wildcats to the NAIA National Championship in 1973, scoring 37 touchdowns that freshman year, and finished his college career with a national record 70 TDs.
As #31 with the Philadelphia Eagles he ran over the Cowboys in the 1980 NFC Championship Game for 194 yards. Montgomery went 42 yards for a score on the second play of that game, setting the tone for what was a long, frigid afternoon in Philly for the Danny-White led Cowboys. Following his eight years with the Eagles, he finished up with two seasons in Detroit. Montgomery’s in the College Football Hall of Fame (check out his ‘do!) and the forty-second leading rusher in NFL history. The great Darryl Green deserves honorable mention, but Wilbert Montgomery’s the best football player to ever wear #28. Thanks to Kipi and Paul and Gary for helping me hunt down the pictures.
I’ll close today with the words of a dear friend of mine, Charlie Johansson:
“Never doubt yourself because you are called and gifted by God. He will use the good times to encourage you and the bad times to humble you. Both are needed.”