What should I do with this space?
Today I would like to introduce a new feature on my blog. I call it the “Post Sunday Quarterback.” I have ripped the idea from Peter King of Sports Illustrated. He writes a weekly article (almost the length of a short novel) entitled The Monday Morning Quarterback expressing his views and opinions of what took place the the previous Sunday on the ol’ gridiron.
This article (called PSQB for short) will not really include my opinions of how my pastor did on Sunday, but more so it will contain some different insights into the world surrounding the texts preached. These articles are not be about diving deeper into the issues presented on Sunday, as our church does that in the form of community groups during the week. This is more so an exercise in Bible study for my personal growth and development.
If you stumbled across this blog you might be wondering, “how does this pertain to me?” Well, it probably does not. However, I will be posting a link to the sermon I am discussing for you to download and listen too. I will also be writing in a manner in which I believe anybody could come across this webspace and jump right in and understand.
So, without further adieu, the first addition of PSQB:
Mandatory disclaimer: I am writing this from my own perspective. While I hope to be true to the scriptures, the views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of The Oaks Community Church or the pastors or staff of the Oaks.
Text being discussed: Job 1:1-22
Brief synopsis of the text: In this section of scripture, we are first introduced to Job and we learn about his blessings. We also are given a peak into heaven where a conversation between Satan and God is going on about Job and his blamelessness before God. Finally, we learn that God has allowed Satan to take a swing at Job’s blessings in an attempt to get him to curse God “to his face.” At the end of this section, we learn of the start of the trials and disasters coming Job’s way.
Interesting points in the text:
- Job’s children seem to be having little parties without inviting their father along. In verse four, we learn that Job’s sons are inviting their sisters to have long feasts with them, but we do not see an invite being extended to Job himself. Some scholars believe this could be due to one of two reasons; a) the kids were holding feasts as part of pagan rituals where they worshiped themselves as gods, or b) the feasts were so full of debauchery, they knew it would be offensive to dear-old-dad. Nevertheless, Job had an idea of what was going on, and made sacrifices on behalf of his children in case they “have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.”
- The fact that Job offered sacrifices on behalf of his children, despite their apparent wickedness, further lends to the fact that Job was blameless before God.
- Verses 9-12 may seem like there is a limit to God’s knowledge. He asks Satan where he has been and whether or not he notices Job, his blessed servant. If one did not understand the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, I could see the case for confusion. We should approach this text as God trying to “draw out” Satan by making sure he took notice of the one God had chosen to bless. God is not in any way ignorant of what Satan was up to or whether or not he knew who Job was.
- The final section of this passage shows Job losing his family, servants, and belongings by natural (a strong wind blew the house down), supernatural (fire falling from heaven), and Human (tribes coming in and killing his servants and animals) elements. All of these things are ultimately under the control of God and Job gives him credit for the events. In no way does he lean into his own pious or sinful nature to record blame. He recognizes God’s control over all events, regardless of their sources.
Final conclusion: As pastor Bryan stated in his sermon, Job is a type. A type, in reference to Scripture, is someone who represents an incomplete view of Christ. Job is the blameless sufferer, as Christ was. While Job suffered, he was human and did sin, but Christ never does. As we will see later, Job finally has had enough and questions God as to what is Going on, while Christ knows the plan of His father the entire time. While we, as Christians, should look up to Job to some extent, we should ultimately look to Christ as our hero and example.
Sorry for all the dust and, well, cobwebs. I am in the process of getting a new writing schedule underway. As a matter of fact, if you come back tomorrow morning, you will see a new post “feature” I hope to do weekly. In the meantime, please understand, I am still getting used to life with four kids, two jobs, and a partridge in a pear tree…
So, thanks for all those (you know, both of you) who hounded me to get back to writing. I hope to get all this stuff moving forward very soon.
Sola De Gloria.
My dad is a big man. He is 6’6″ (yes, he is the same height as Michael Jordan). He is also 250 pounds. If you know me, you know that I am only 5’8″ and about 160 pounds. I am almost a foot shorter and almost a hundred pounds lighter. My dad was like many fathers of his generation, he was not always home, he yelled instead of talked, and many times, he failed. He failed as a man, a husband, and a father. There are many thing he could have done better.
This is the point where many writers, pastors, authors, etc. would come to tell you about how God is a perfect father who can succeed where many of our earthly fathers have failed. This is true. He is a perfect Father and many of our earthly fathers have failed. We should look to God to fulfill the failures of our dads in our childhood. I have heard many of these sermons in my life. Most times they cause an outbreak of tears among young men who have realized they were giving dear ol’ dad way too much credit, or that they have been looking up to a sub-par role model their entire lives.
Often, these sermons or books end with a young man shaking his fist at the heavens while boldly promising they will NEVER be like their old man. They will not be absentee, they will spend time with their kids, they will be gentle, loving, and caring, unlike their fathers before them. They promise to do what has never been done before; they will be the perfect dad. I have heard these promises time and time again in prayer and bible studies. I have read them in books and on blogs. But herein lies the problem: these are prideful statements said out of a broken heart and a wounded spirit. They are lofty promises driven by pride and pain which cannot be obtained.
Let me share with you the truth(s) that I have learned since being a dad; I am just as much of a failure as my dad. No matter how hard I have tried, or how much I have learned, or how much I have promised I would never do, I still fail. I have snapped at my kids, I have treated them unfairly. I get upset when they do not do the things I want them too, or when they do the things they should not do. I do not spend nearly as much time with them as I should. Many times I do not teach them when they have done something wrong. Instead I move quickly to discipline or punishment. I am not always like God as a Father. I am a sinner who still cannot measure up to the idealism of what a father should be. I do not look anything like the picture of a father I painted in my head.
One thing I have seen in myself is I don’t try to be more like my heavenly Father. I am simply trying to be better than my earthly father. Instead of trying to be more like my creator, I am trying to simply prove that I have obtained some sort of level or degree my dad never reached, one he never even knew about. I am trying to prove to myself that I can be a better dad because at some points in my life my dad did not do as I wanted; I was unable to become his god. I did not always get my way and I was pissed about it. I think if we are honest, men, many of us are like this. It is not that our fathers were so awful, it is that they did not bow to our beck and call. They did not do all the things we wanted them to do. Our pride was exponentially wounded. While our dads were not perfect, we sons were not perfect either. We failed to heed their advice or to honor them because their wills and ideals did not agree with our own.
Instead of trying to measure up to our dads, as fathers, we should be seeking to honor God. This means we should understand our propensity to fail and be forgiven, just as our kids will fail, and should be forgiven. It’s time to stop trying to be the perfect dad, or the dad we never had, but instead strive to be fathers like our Father, and live in His grace, mercy, understanding, and wisdom.
Every man wants to be something. Most times, we do not know what. Many of us switch goals and dreams more often than the seasons. In most cases, we do not become what or who we want to be. If this were the case, the world would be over-loaded with firemen, policemen, superheros and astronauts, as every little boy holds these dreams at one moment of time or another.
The hard truth is, our goals and dreams are often morphed by whatever is happening in our lives at that moment. For example, in my life, I used to have a dream of being a cop with a K-9 partner. That dream ended in Middle School when I was told by a teacher how difficult it was to be a cop, much less one who got a dog. At that moment, I elected to play professional baseball. Well, that dream died on a Christmas Eve while having a conversation with a relative who, I am pretty sure, took great pride in bringing me back down to earth. Further more, during High School I really had no concrete dreams. I went from wanting to be a musician, to a photographer, to a teacher, to an actor, to a sound engineer. When college rolled around, I wasted my first few years (and consequently, lots of money) switching majors a half-dozen times. I started in teaching, went to business, then to music and sound engineering, then to dropping out. Even as an adult I have waxed and waned on what I want to do with my life, or, with who I want to be.
I believe the dreams for the common man die because of four things. One, they die because they are crushed by outside influences. These influences are often like my aforementioned relative who explain why most dreams are not possible. people feel it is their duty to make sure we pick goals that best fit the worlds status quo. Others feel it is their god-given duty to explain why one cannot do whatever it is you feel called to or that desire to do.
The second reason dreams die is the most common, a failure to confront our fears or adversities. Many of us have never learned the proper ways to deal with failure. Instead of seeking the opportunity to learn from or draw upon our failures to better our race and commitment to our goal, we use it as our excuse to stop trying hard, or at all. It becomes our way to tuck our tails between our legs and to flee for the hills.
The third reason is because “real life” hits us. We realize we are getting older and adding more responsibility. The likely-hood and even the ability to take risks becomes less and less as we age, get a decent job, and start supporting our spouse and kids. It’s hard to risk our income and careers when there are others to care for besides ourselves. All risks become ever-so-calculated in order to make sure there is almost no risk at all.
The fourth reason comes down to the sovereignty of God. Our wills tend go against the plan God has set for us. We may think our chief end to this life comes through the measure of our financial success, or the amount of power we wield. In reality the chief end comes through glorifying our God. We are to glorify the same God who made us in His image so that others might know Him because of our light.
I believe the first two reasons are false and tend to hinder us, while the second two reasons are legit and need to be prayed through and well thought out. What a man needs to do when it comes to his dreams and goals for life is to surrender them to God’s will and be ready to give up those that do not mesh with the plan God has laid out for him. He must also be ready to take the well calculated risks in faith when the time is right. Of course, this risk, like all moves we make in our lives, should be covered in prayer and discussed with those most important to us.
When looking at the goals and dreams in my life, I see most of my failures come through fear and adversity (see reason two). Many times I let my fear win and that is when I give up my dreams. Sometimes it is not that adversity came upon me quickly, but it slowly wore me down. Most things have not so-much-as blown up in my face, but rather slowly crumbled and decayed.
There are many nights when I think about all of the dreams I have had, and wonder what was to become of them. When do the dreams stop trying to come forth in my mind and manifest themselves into my everyday life? When does the pain of failed dreams finally leave my heart? When does the feelings of failure finally depart? On the other hand, when do the god-given dreams take hold and thrust me into the thick of His plan? When is the right time to start planning and dreaming boldly? When do I start acting on the dreams I believe come from beyond myself?
To be honest, this manifesto may sound like “love lost” or “dreams broken” when in reality it is the words of a man who has had many of his dreams come true and his life blessed beyond belief. These are the written words of a man who has been given to a wonderful, beautiful, godly woman. A man who is now a father of four wonderful kids. A man who has a house, a car, and lots of “stuff” that he does not really need. These words come from a man who finds he cannot simply stop dreaming. There are some dreams which will not die, no matter how many times he has given them over to God and asked for them to be put to death if they are not supposed to be in his head. These are the words of a man who is a visionary and cannot live a day without having a grand idea on how to change the world. A man who still wants to write, play music, and preach the Gospel. A man who wants to be the best husband and daddy he can be (with TONS of divine help and intervention).
These dreams will probably never go away.