Confession: I watched less NFL football this season than any other in the past three decades. Due to a variety of circumstances and stances, I spent most of my free Sunday afternoons hiking and enjoying the beauty of God's creation. Or sometimes I just took a nap. And to be totally honest, I didn't really miss it. Let me be clear - this was not a boycott. But it was one of the best "time" decisions I have made in my adult life. So why am I sharing this?
Last evening's Super Bowl was the first NFL game I have really looked forward to in 2017-2018 and yet I really wasn't engaged on a typical "Greg Taylor" level. I wasn't really up to speed on the season that led to the big game or the story lines that were unfolding. And what a game it turned out to be! Maybe the best Super Bowl of all time? Here are 5 quick thoughts:
** It was really neat to see the powerful faith on display of several Philadelphia Eagles, including head coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Nick Foles. The line of the night? The Eagles head coach, with millions of people watching, shared the following during his live interview: "I can only give the praise to my lord and savior Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity." Amen!
** I can proudly say I have zero Justin Timberlake songs on my iPhone, but I actually somewhat enjoyed the halftime show (somewhat) and was actually moved to tears (this seems to be a thing with me lately) at the tribute JT paid to the late Prince, a twin-city native who died of an opioid overdose in 2016. Very classy and moving.
** Several of the commercials were pretty good, but my favorite was the Eli Manning-Odell Beckham spoof on the song/movie "Dirty Dancing" - I loved it! Believe it or not, my first "date" with Marla was watching the movie Dirty Dancing at her house in Latham back in May of 1988!
** The game itself was super entertaining and once again this whole "what is a catch and what is not" thing reared its ugly head at the most crucial point of the game. The NFL MUST get this fixed.
** Sadly, what should be a night and even week of celebrations and parties turned violent and destructive in the city of Philadelphia following their first Super Bowl title. This makes me sick and is something I've never figured out - why are you rioting after your team WON? #headscratcher
Well, you probably didn't plan to get Super Bowl stuff this morning, so let's get down to business - keep the following in mind:
#1 - WILD GAME Feed - next Monday night February 12 at 6pm in the Family Life Center. All are welcome - bring a dish to pass.
#2 - RELOAD for Men - we gather next on TUESDAY FEBRUARY 13 - not tomorrow - at 6am in the Family Life Center Alcove.
#3 - Ministry Ordination of Allison Hitchings - 9:30am on Sunday February 18 - Allison has done a great job serving as our Children's Minister since June of 2015 - don't miss this special service where she will be "set apart" in vocational ministry to children!
#4 - IF Gathering - Saturday March 10 in the Family Life Center - ALL women are welcome!
#5- Men's Mission Trip to Mexico - this August - our third straight year working w/ Casas por Cristo - info meeting for men interested THIS Wednesday evening February 7 at 7:30pm.
#6 - Adam Brucker returns! We welcome back Adam on Sunday morning February 18 - he will be preaching during both morning services, and also preaching the sermon during Allison's ordination.
#7 - Nehemiah elective class is off and running - join Cody Monkman and Tori Moore in the Family Life Center on Sunday mornings at 9:30am to learn about this great O.T. book.
#8 - Proposed By-Laws changes - get your copy of the proposed by-laws at the welcome center or in the office. Information meeting - Thursday March 1 at 6:30pm. Congregational vote will take place on Sunday March 11.
One point of clarification: I mentioned during church on January 28 that we had consulted with Rick Hobler, a Christian lawyer in Logan County who also works for Lincoln Christian University. Clinton FCC has used Rick multiple times in the past three years for a variety of purposes. When we use Rick, we are hiring him NOT as an employee of LCU, but as a private attorney who specializes in the area of churches and non-profits. LCU is in no way endorsing or promoting this proposed set of by-laws or any other legal issue involving our church.
#9 - "Change for Life" baby bottle campaign - it's not too late to participate - we are wanting to bless New Life Pregnancy Center with at least $5,000.00 as a church! Let's make it happen!
#10 - Fan the Flame will be returning to FCC! Save the date: Sunday evening April 22 - Jason Gray and Chris August are coming back - you won't want to miss it!
Finally this week, I share during our sermon on 1 Corinthians 13 about the Greek word AGAPE, and how it came into existence - here is verbatim what The Message of 1 Corinthians teaches about this Greek word (pages 226-227):
It is well known that the Greek word for love in the New Testament, agape`, was not previously in common use. It was taken into the Greek of the New Testament specifically because the love of God, seen in Jesus of Nazareth, required a new word.
God’s love completely transcends all human ideas or expression of love. ‘It is a love for the utterly unworthy, a love which proceeds from a God who is love. It is a love lavished on others without a thought of whether they are worthy to receive it or not. It proceeds rather from the nature of the lover, than from any merit in the beloved’.
This is the love which, according to Jesus, has to characterize and control the Christian community, if it is in any sense to be recognized as Christian and if he is to be recognized as God’s Son and the world’s Saviour.
May this be the kind of LOVE we are known by! May they know we are Christians by our LOVE! I cannot wait for this Sunday's sermon - "Love is like that" - a message inspired by the late Dr. Enos Dowling from Lincoln Bible Institute/Lincoln Christian College and Seminary.
Blessings to each of you!