What about the Olympics is so Different…

What about the Olympics is so Different…

Have you considered the raging contagion sweeping the globe and particularly in the Western world? Business men, bag boys, hairdressers, and haberdashers all equally afflicted and enjoined. TV networks are putting up half-hearted programming as they realize the juggernaut just cannot be stopped.

Of course, we are talking about the 2016 Olympics held in mosquito free Rio! Between internet updates, late night replays, made for television moments, and the Twitterverse/Facebook reaction, we are experiencing an increasingly rare shared event.

Growing up in the 70’s, our television was occupied by the major 3 networks and the occasional PBS (when we could pick it up.) Everyone saw the same things, experienced much of the same information — nationally and regionally. The advent of cable television followed by the individualizing factor of the Internet has almost ensured that majorities of peoples will have demonstrably few of those shared experiences and emotions so common 40+ years ago.

These facts have been illustrated and debated at length by others and I do not wish to further add to that analysis. If possible, could we learn something vital as we have this wonderfully rare moment of shared experience?

What is it about the Olympics that brings so many together with so much passion?

Nationalistic fervor? Sure. Sports fans? Of course. Non-sports fans? Yes. To be honest, for each noun or adjective one could list, an antonym would fit just as easily. So, the Olympics are not just a unique shared event, they are an anomaly in that those who follow the triumphs and tragedies do not neatly fit any of the typical demographic boxes.

My explanation and the teachable moment for those of us called to leadership roles — one-word “marriage.”

The Olympics is the perfect marriage of head and heart.

It is the back story of overcoming incredible hardships, the abundant statistics for the number lover, the drama of last-second or split second finishes, the what and the why! It is not just an event or a sport, it is the perfect marriage of all that coupled with intense emotion. We feel it. We want it to happen… We are upset to the point of tears for those who lose and jumping around in our pajamas for winners who names we cannot pronounce! We know the schedules, how many medals, who is the underdog, favored, long shot, last time competing — we are overwhelmed with data but the data only furthers our fervor.

Simply put, we must always understand that we are communicating words and data constantly. To be sure, our presentations need polish and our graphics can always be sharper. We may need to take a page from the Olympics and go for the gold in communication by aiming for the head and the heart. Let’s help our volunteers and congregations feel the importance of what they are doing and be motivated by the passion that they belong to something bigger than themselves.


Reading for the Head and Heart

This is a list from RZIM ministries. What a way to spend the Summer!

Recommended Reading

Introductory Recommended Reading

John Bunyan, Pilgrims Progress
Daily Light on the Daily Path (collection of Bible readings)
Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth
Os Guinness, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters
J.I. Packer, Knowing God
Roger Steer, George Muller: Delighted in God
John Stott, The Cross of Christ
John White, The Fight
Brother Yun, Heavenly Man
Ravi Zacharias, The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us through the Events of Our Lives

Further Reading in Apologetics

Norman Geisler, Christian Apologetics
Alister McGrath, The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World
Esther Lightcap Meek, Longing to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People
Amy Orr-Ewing, Is the Bible Intolerant?
Francis Schaeffer, A Francis Schaeffer Trilogy: The God Who Is There, Escape from Reason, He Is There and He Is Not Silent
James W. Sire, Naming the Elephant: Worldview As a Concept
N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God?
Ravi Zacharias, ed., Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend

A blast from the past to those about to graduate…

I came across this while cleaning out some folders. Trying to practice what ProfHacker preaches when I stumbled into this letter aimed at 2007 graduates.

Kindergarten Graduation
Kindergarten Graduation

…This letter comes on the heels of the tragedy on the Virginia Tech campus. One young man, disturbed and motivated by evil, leveled incredible destruction and loss of life upon unsuspecting others. With Columbine,Pearl, and others similar incidents in our shared past, we sometimes struggle with the questions events like these bring to mind. “Could God have stopped this from happening?” “How can someone be so mean?” “Where is the goodness of God in this?” are all questions people, saved and lost, are asking and will continue to ask. Part of the opportunity of attending Southeastern FWB College is to dive deeply into the Scriptures. All the necessary wisdom of Solomon in the Proverbs, the practical worldview of Ecclesiastes, and the heartbreak of the Psalms is there for the eager student.



There certainly is and always has been a world with questions – hard questions. As you follow God’s will, make sure your training includes a Christian worldview that is dominated by the answers of the Holy Bible. As we acknowledge the hard questions that arise from these events, let us also remember another lesson these tragedies teach us. That lesson is about the power of the individual who is sold out to an objective. In the Virginia Tech horror, the objectives were evil and blatant hatred. However, there is a parallel truth for the child of God. D.L. Moody often recounted the challenge issued to him early in his life. “‘The world has yet to see what God can do with a man who is wholly dedicated and consecrated to him,’ and I would like to be that man.” So Moody set out to shake two continents for Christ.


Never underestimate what God can do through your life as you wholly give it to him…

That call is still going out today to the young and old, to the recently graduated and to those with no formal education – be “that” person for Christ.

God Sized Tasks

Taking over the mountainOver these past few weeks, I have tried to read all of the Christmas Scriptures along with any corresponding Old Testament references or prophecies. It has been exhilarating to say the least.

One particular person who I love to study and pore over is the person of John the Baptizer. Read me with this verse told his father Zechariah in Luke 1:17.

17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

What an amazing assortment of tasks, trials, and territory for the yet unborn child. Talk about pressure! Talk about great expectations! What a list! What a burden! To think that saddled from infancy, John was to accomplish these monumental tasks in preparation for the Messiah.

Simply put, these are all God-sized tasks or to state it differently; John will require supernatural help to accomplish them.

As many of us do our year end evaluations and set out for 2012 with new goals, perhaps we need a fresh challenge. Maybe we need a monumental undertaking!

Why don’t we rewrite our small, mediocre goals and replace them with some God-sized goals that will require supernatural help to accomplish? Goals that when completed will echo the refrain of John the Baptizer in John 3:30 that “Christ must increase!”

How big are your goals this year? Who will get the credit if they are realized? Are they in line with God’s plans for you this year?

Real Devotion

Girl Volunteering

Church won’t start for hours. Almost 2 to be precise. Yet, the church house is buzzing with laymen.

The special musicians are here an hour before the other choir members, making sure they have time to practice and prepare for the extra they they bring to the services.

About 45 minutes later, the youth leaders are here to prepare and pray, and people are leaving to pick up teens for the evening service. The Patch the Pirate people are here, sailors hats in hand. Faithful this morning, faithful tonight, faithful period.

Real devotion to God and true faithfulness is often unseen by others. While others napped, these serve. May God give us an army of people given to real devotion out of the spotlight.