Go away from me, Lord. I am a sinful man!Peter looks at the miraculous catch of fish and falls down at Jesus’ feet and says, “Go away from me, Lord. I am a sinful man!”

Peter finds himself in the presence of the holy Almighty God and he’s astonished. He and his companions are seized with amazement as they recognize clearly their place next to the Creator of the universe. Because of his sin, Peter doesn’t deserve the blessings of Christ. Because of his unworthiness, Peter doesn’t belong in the same boat with Jesus.

You see, the closer you get to God the more clear your own sinfulness becomes. Your own unworthiness before the Lord comes into sharp focus.

The same light that knocks the apostle Paul down the ground on the way to Damascus. The same Lord who caused Job to say, “I despise myself.” The same God who caused Isaiah to exclaim, “Woe to me, I am ruined!” The same Almighty who prompted Abraham to declare, “I am nothing but dust and ashes!” The same Son of Man who caused John to fall at his feet as though he were dead. Jesus Christ, the Holy One of Israel, calls us to acknowledge our own sinfulness and our own unworthiness.

And until we do, I don’t think we get it.

Until we see ourselves as sinners in the presence of a holy and righteous God, I think we probably cheapen or devalue his amazing grace. Our tendency is to think, “Yes, of course God loves me; that’s his job!”

No, ma’am, that’s not his job. It is an unimaginable, unexpected, unfathomable, unnecessary wonder of the universe! It’s mind-blowing and earth-altering and history-changing. And, to the eternal praise of God, it’s not impossible! God has found a way — amazing as it is — to satisfy both his holiness and his love.

My Father reminds me all the time that he is God and I most certainly am not. And that continually fills me with a deep sense of gratitude. And awe.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are!”


Red Ribbon ReviewThere are 67 days left until the Dallas Cowboys open up their 50th football season. And the Red Ribbon Review is counting down the days with a look at the second-best players in Cowboys history according to jersey number. #67 turns up some very interesting characters and stories.

Pat Toomay wore the number 67 in Dallas. A backup defensive end from Vandy, Toomay barely tolerated Tom Landry and the Flex Defense for five seasons before bouncing from Tampa Bay to Oakland then to retirement as an acclaimed author. Toomay has written two novels about football classified as non-fiction. The Crunch got him in trouble with the Cowboys. On Any Given Sunday got him a movie deal.

Irvin & McIverEverett McIver was also a #67. He’s the guy who was unfortunate enough to be in the chair and in the middle of a haircut at Cowboys training camp in Wichita Falls when Michael Irvin decided it was his turn. During the ensuing argument, Irvin stabbed McIver in the neck with a pair of scissors, coming within an inch or so of killing him. There were reports in the Dallas Morning News later that summer that Jerry Wayne had brokered a deal for Irvin to pay McIver a six-figure sum to keep quiet. All parties denied it. Charges were never filed.

PatDonovanAs for on the field football stuff, though, the second-best Dallas Cowboy to ever wear #67 is offensive lineman Pat Donovan. Donovan was part of that Dirty Dozen draft class of 1975 that helped lead the Cowboys to Super Bowl X. He took over for the retiring Ralph Neely at left tackle and played nine years in Dallas, never missing a game. Donovan played in 20 playoff games for the Cowboys, including six NFC Pat Donovan CardChampionship Games and three Super Bowls, earning a title ring in Super Bowl XII against Denver. He made the Pro Bowl in four straight seasons from ’79-’82, one of only four tackles in team history to make at least that many trips to Hawaii. Following the ’83 season, Donovan required surgery on both shoulders and decided to retire. Donovan was certainly not as colorful as Toomay or John Gesek, another Cowboys #67, but he is clearly the second-best #67 in team history.