Happy April 15th. I’m reminded today that taxation with representation ain’t so great either.
I need to apologize to Richard and Joanna and their two young boys, Nathan and Daniel, for my language at Saturday’s Rangers game. I’m sorry. In my defense, though, I’m not sure how anyone pays attention to a Rangers game and doesn’t occasionally use the word “stupid.”
“But the Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.” ~Habakkuk 2:20
This is not just the song we sing very quietly before the prayer. No. If this verse is ever sung by God’s people, it ought to be shouted. This is the most powerful verse in Habakkuk. It sums up and concludes God’s great revelation to the prophet. It Habakkuk the bottom line. This verse is packed with power and victory and life.
God draws this rich contrast between the idols of the nations and himself. He points out very clearly that an idol has no value because it’s been carved by a human. It can’t speak. It can’t come to life. It can’t wake up. It can’t give guidance. It has no breath. The idol is dead. Worshiping idols isn’t just disobedience. It’s foolish and useless. (3:18-19)
The idol is dead.
But the Lord—see, here’s the contrast—however the Lord is in his holy temple. Our God is alive and powerful and he reigns supreme forever and ever in the eternal temple of the heavens. Our God is speaking. He is awake. He gives guidance. And he is the One who gives the breath of life. No one has to call to wake him up. No one has to arouse him to teach.
God is already speaking.
And this silence before this God is not just the silence of reverence. And it’s not just observed by God’s chosen people. The demand—or the prophesy, however you read it—is that all the people, all the nations, all of creation, all the earth participate in this silence before the Creator. The silence is an act of submission. It’s an act of faith that’s reflected in the way we live our lives. It’s a humbling realization that God is sovereign over all. Instead of trusting in our own power and strength, it’s allowing him to teach us and guide us and shape us and our futures. It’s accepting his time frame for delivering his people and judging the wicked. And it’s living day-to-day by faith in his power and his promises.
Empires will rise and fall. The Babylonian Empire. The Roman Empire. The American Empire. But the Lord is in his holy temple. God remains on his eternal throne as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
All this stuff going on around you? Everything you see in the world that has you so upset? God says, “I got it. I’m in charge of all of it. I’m in control. And everything’s going pretty much exactly the way I have it planned.”
We can put our faith in that. And we can live by that faith.
“Strong” is the title of my favorite Audio Adrenaline song. It’s on the Worldwide album. I listen to this song in my truck at 7:30 every Sunday morning on my way here to the building to pray with Mike and Paul. It inspires me. It reminds me of who I am and to whom I belong. It pushes me to remember who’s pushing me and why. My God has called me to preach his Word. And he’s called me to minister to him and his people here in North Richland Hills and Tarrant County. He’s given me his promises that he will be with me every step of the way. Wherever he leads me. Wherever he sets me. And I’ll be strong.
I will follow wherever you lead me;
Wherever you are underneath the stars is where I long to be.
And I will lay down this ol’ life of mine;
I’ll leave behind all the things of the world to follow you.
And I’ll be strong and courageous.
I’ll live my life for you, my only King.
‘Cause you’re my God through all the ages;
Here am I, I am yours, send me!
When I fall down, and I’m broken,
When I stumble on the rocks and lose my way;
I will cling to your eternal love,
When I’m weak, you come to me, you give me strength.
The first ever NHL hockey game I ever attended was the first round playoff opener for the Stars at Reunion Arena in 1999. I was working at AM-990 in Wichita Falls and covering the Stars for my station and stringing reports for the One-on-One Sports Radio Network out of Chicago. Going in, I didn’t know a whole lot about it. I had watched several games on TV. I had been covering the team on a limited regional basis, only reporting the big stuff and rarely talking about it on my show.
But it only took that one game to fall completely in love with all of it. I covered every home playoff game during that Stanley Cup Championship season. The overflow pressbox at Reunion was actually the top four rows in the arena. And if you remember Reunion, there’s not a bad seat in the house. It was incredible. The energy. The noise. The intensity. The sheer absurdity of our seven year old team in Texas winning the most hallowed and most impossible trophy in all of sports. I fell in love with the speed and the beauty of the game. I was enthralled by the at-once poetry and brutality of the game, the skill and the strength, the dance and the brawl. I couldn’t get over how quickly momentum shifts, how fast the puck changes hands, how dramatically fortunes are changed with one turnover or penalty.
I want to say this very carefully. I want to be very specific about this next statement. I don’t want there to be any misunderstanding. Football is king, yes. But a live NHL playoff game in person—not a playoff game on TV, not a regular season game in person, but an NHL playoff game in person in the arena—is better than football.
More speed. Bigger hits. More action. More tension. More excitement. Much more drama. Louder. It’s the only sport with a true sudden death.
If you’ve been, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, don’t judge me or my statement until you have.
I’m shocked that the Stars are up 2-0 against the impossibly-loaded, defending Stanley Cup Champion Ducks. I can’t believe both of those wins came in California. It’s beyond me how they’re in a position now to close out the team to beat in the Western Conference at AAC. And I can’t wait for tonight’s puck to drop on, as my good friend Ted Sorrells says, the big ice in Big D. It’s not even close to being there in person. But I can’t wait.