Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stevie Johnson: A man just like you and me

Recently, NFL wide-receiver Stevie Johnson ran a deep post corner route and dropped what would have been a game-winning touchdown pass thrown by his quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. It was the kind of catch that Johnson could make in his sleep, but this time around he didn't make the catch despite the fact that he was wide awake, not to mention wide open. The nearest defender was five feet away (and in the NFL if a defender is five feet away on a deep ball, he might as well be a mile away). He caught the ball for a brief second and then all of a sudden the ball seemed to just squirt away from him.

Johnson sat dejected in the end-zone. I can't imagine what was going on in his head as he sat there thinking whatever he was thinking. Actually, that's a lie, I know exactly what he was thinking. Johnson let the whole world (or at least those of us on Twitter) know exactly what he was thinking while he sat there. After the game, Johnson "tweeted" this: "I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO..."

As you can imagine, and as you've probably already heard, many Christians and non-Christians alike are all over this guy for his Twitter to God. Now, some people see a huge problem with his tweet and I'm sure somebody out there has even said something like, "He's an idiot, You can think that kind of thing but you should never say it, let alone put it on Twitter, Facebook or MySpace (does anyone still use MySpace?). But I would like to put some things into perspective for you...

First of all, this guy is just being honest and transparent with God (to a fault). This is something more Christians should do. Most of us just stuff these things deep or drop the Christian F-Word and act like everything is okay. The Christian F-Word, by the way, is: Fine.

"I'm fine. How are you?"
"That's good. I fine."

No you're not! Come on! How many times have you said "I'm fine" when you weren't "fine" by any stretch of the imagination. Life sucks sometimes...why can't we be honest and say, "Hey, things are awful right now and I'm doing...well, I suck too"?

Johnson did something that would be healthy for all of us to do. Yeah sure, his heart was postured poorly toward God, but so is yours every once is a while...but are you ever honest about it? Johnson had a very bad moment and he had a very open conversation with God about it. Was it wise to have that via Twitter? No. Because now his thoughts will be out there for all to see until the internet is no more. But it could be worse...

Think about it for a second. Eventually, all the Tweets and Facebook Status Updates will be forgotten and they will end up as dust or ash in eternity. But the Word of the Lord is forever (1 Peter 1:25). I have no doubt that His written Word (the Bible) is apart of that package deal. So this could mean, that while Stevie Johnson's Tweet of Anger will last a long time, the questions and statements of other men (who have their moments of frustration with God quoted in the Bible) will be around long after Johnson's disappear along with Twitter and Facebook.

Jeremiah, for example, is quoted for all of eternity as he tells God that God has seduced him into serving God. Jeremiah would do exactly what God told him to do and almost always catch a beat down for it from the audience. That's way worse than dropping at catch when you play for the Buffalo Bills but his words will be immortalized!

Think about Job and the things that he said! Think about all of his idiot friends that "advised" him during is suffering. Their words live on thousands of years later for all of us to see how ridiculous they were! God even showed up in the middle of their conversation to clarify how dumb their words were.

David, the schizophrenic shepherd-warrior-king-poet can't seem to make up his mind! One minute he's talking to God as if they were sharing a gourmet parfait in the botanical gardens and the next he's crying out, "Where are you? God you've abandoned me! Whyyyyyyyy?!"

And in the New Testament we see that even the disciples, the guys who walked with Jesus Christ (i.e. God in the Flesh), are also pretty lame at times. James and John had their mom asked Jesus embarrassing questions, Peter constantly sticks his foot in his mouth, and three clowns are "The Inner Three" for goodness sake!

The point is, we've all blamed God for things or been wrongfully angry toward Him. We've all blasphemed and said stupid things to God or about God. Stevie Johnson just happened to do it on Twitter and get all over the media air waves for it too. When all is said and done, it could be worse. The bright side is that Johnson's outburst could have been captured in the Word rather than in the media and on the internet. Get off of the man's're just like him, and if you're honest, you'll admit it.

Book Review: "The Gospel & Personal Evangelism"

Title: The Gospel & Personal Evangelism
Sub-title: (not applicable)
Author: Mark Dever
Publisher: Crossway
Book Type: Evangelism (Christian Living)
Page Length: 124
Chapters: Foreword (by CJ Mahaney), Introduction, 7 Chapters, Conclusion
SRP: $9.99
Suggested Audience: All Christians, all ages.

Strengths: This book is short, so those of you that feel like you have the attention span of Dory from Finding Nemo, you have no excuses to not finish this book if you dare to pick it up. This book is organized well and it is by no means boring. If you have any desire to learn about evangelism or live out a life of evangelism, you will like this book.

Weaknesses: I feel like every time I write a book review I end up writing this, “I don’t think this book has any weaknesses.” And, honestly, I don’t feel badly about that fact because most books that I read are really good. I don’t usually pick up a book if I have a feeling that a book is going to be a bad read. With that said, this book hits the target that Dever was aiming for when he wrote it.

My thoughts: I love this book. I feel like it’s the unofficial sequel to Greg Gilbert’s “What is the Gospel?” and that is not too much of stretch considering that Greg Gilbert is a pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church just like Mark Dever. So my theory is that Gilbert wrote his book to establish what the gospel is and to clear up what the gospel is not. Then, Dever came along behind him and wrote “The Gospel & Personal Evangelism” to show us how to respond to the gospel of Jesus in light of what the Bible shows it (the gospel) to be. The problem with that theory is that Dever published his book first, so maybe Gilbert wanted to clarify the gospel for readers so they could better understand the gospel before moving on to Dever’s book about how the gospel demands that we live out personal evangelism. But I digress…

Dever’s book boldly declares what a Christian’s biblical response to the power of the gospel should be. Chapter by chapter he answers the various Who, How, What and Why questions of the gospel and personal evangelism. His methodical, systematic, and academic approach is make so personal by his writing that you don’t feel like a professor is teaching you from a chalk board, you feel like you’re being discipled in personal evangelism by a guy who loves Jesus and cares about you the reader.

Notable quotes: “My blindness to God’s provision is voluntary. I don’t consider the reality and finality of death, judgment, and hell.”

“In biblical evangelism, we don’t impose anything. In fact, we really can’t. According to the Bible, evangelism is simply telling the good news. It’s not making sure that the other person responds correctly. I wish we could, but according to the Bible, this is not something we can do.”

“Interrupting someone in the process of deciding to follow Christ can actually help him.”

“You may not remember a time when you didn’t follow Christ. But the Bible tells us that we are all by nature at enmity with God. And at some point, our hearts came alive to God and our wills bent to his. We were converted. That’s what we want to see as a result of our evangelism.”

“God is glorified in being known.”

“If you think that the gospel is all about what we can do, that the practice of it is optional, and that conversion is simply something that anyone can choose at any time, then I’m concerned that you’ll think of evangelism as nothing more than a sales job where the prospect is to be won over to sign on the dotted line by praying a prayer, followed by an assurance that he is the proud owner of salvation.”

“The Christian call to evangelism is not simply a call to persuade people to make decisions, but rather to proclaim to them the good news of salvation in Christ, to call them to repentance, and to give God the glory for regeneration and conversion.”