Good Intervention

We typically resist people who want to “get into our business”, don’t we? And yet, I want to suggest to you that there are occasions when interference by others can actually be a good thing.

I vividly recall being challenged to engage in an after-school fight when I was ten years-old. Foolishly, I agreed.

When the final bell rang I proceeded reluctantly to the designated spot where my opponent and his motley crew were waiting for me. As I approached, my opponent scoffed at me, taunting me to make the first move . . . until we were interrupted by the sound of a man’s voice.

The crowd which had assembled quickly scattered as the man approached. He summoned me forward and ordered the rest of the children to go home.

It was my father.

So you see, interference can be a good thing; especially if the one who is interfering knows better than we do. Interference can be a good thing if the one interfering has abilities that we lack to remedy a problem.

We are reminded at Christmas that this is the story of God’s intervention in human history. Conceivably, God could have left us to our own devices, but He knew that the problem was beyond our ability to remedy.

The core problem, as is identified throughout Scripture, is the problem of sin. Sure, there were, and are, other problems—problems of war, problems of injustice, and problems of poverty—but, clearly, these are the symptoms of the core problem.

What we soon learn is that Jesus did not come to this earth to give us a band-aid solution to our problems. This is not heaven’s version of a public relations visit. Jesus did not come merely to provide humanity with a helpful body of teachings, as if sufficient education could fix our problems. This was a rescue mission. Jesus came to overcome for us the fundamental barrier between God and humanity.

I appreciate the specific details provided by the angel in Matthew’s narrative. Otherwise, we might have missed the primary purpose of Jesus’ birth. Without the angel’s words we might have imagined that our sin was not that big of a problem. Without the angel’s words we might have imagined, as many did, that the role of the Messiah was to be a national liberator. Thankfully, the angel leaves no doubt about what we need saving from: “give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21).

In the person of Jesus, born two thousand years ago, God powerfully entered into the affairs of humanity. It was a profound interruption in human history; it was interference of the best kind.

While we recognize and celebrate the intervention of God in human history at Christmas, I also want to invite you to think about the intervention of God in your personal history. Has there been a point in your life where you discerned that God was breaking in? Perhaps, even now, you sense His presence. Perhaps, even now, you detect God wanting to intervene—wanting to change the trajectory of your life and to shower you with His grace.

My plea is for you to allow God to “get into your business”. Interference can be a good thing. Interference from God will always be a good thing. This Christmas, and beyond, my encouragement is for you to let God in.

5 Reasons I Cheer For Tim Tebow

Tim TebowTim Tebow has been referred to as the most polarizing individual in the NFL. Fans seem to either adore him or loathe him.

On the field, Tebow is a proven winner. In 2007, he won the Heisman Trophy as a sophmore. In 2008, Tebow led the Florida Gators to their 2nd National Championship in 3 years. As I write this, Tebow is 7-1 as a starter for the Denver Broncos (who began the season 1-4). Of those 7 wins, 6 were 4th quarter comebacks (unprecedented). Not surprising that “Tebow-mania” is running wild.

When he’s not eluding tacklers or throwing to receivers, Tebow is promoting his faith in Jesus Christ. For some people, this is a turn-off. Critics ask rhetorically whether God actually cares who wins a football game. Others chirp, suggesting that if God was with Tebow, “He would throw a tighter spiral”. Some television analysts (former NFL QBs) have implored Tebow to “tone it down”. Even Kurt Warner (fellow Christian, and former NFL QB) has suggested that Tebow do less talking, with regard to his relationship with Christ.

I happen to be among those who hugely respect Tim Tebow and the way he carries himself on, and off, the field. It’s not just because he’s a Christian (and a pastor’s son)–there are Christians on every NFL team. Tebow is different. He’s special. And here are the 5 main reasons I love to cheer for Tim Tebow:

5) His Toughness

You could argue that toughness comes easily when you are 6’3 and 250 lbs. Tebow is no Doug Flutie. And yet, in a league filled with QBs of similar physical proportions, none take on tacklers the way Tebow does. In his junior year of high school football, Tebow suffered an injury to his right leg late in the first half of a game. Originally thought by the coaching staff to be a bad cramp, Tebow played the entire second half with a broken fibula, at one point rushing for a 29-yard touchdown.

4) His Sticktoitiveness

Tebow has this attribute on and off the field. On the field, the clearest demonstration of Tebow’s sticktoitiveness are his six 4th quarter comebacks. Sure, there were some long field goals and big defensive stands, but Tebow was the engineer of those comebacks and is undisputed leader of his team. Off the field, Tebow has been equally passionate and persistent in his promotion of Jesus Christ. Critics plead for his silence. Reporters attempt to draw him away from talking about God. Peers exhort him to “just play football”. But Tebow is undeterred. By every appearance, talking about Jesus Christ is the natural overflow of Tebow’s love for Christ. In the face of great pressure to stop talking about Jesus, Tim Tebow keeps talking about Jesus.

3) His Boldness

Tim Tebow eye paintTebow rarely misses an opportunity to promote Jesus Christ. In his college playing days, Tebow even wore Bible verses on his eye paint. In 2010, a new rule for the next NCAA football season, dubbed “The Tebow Rule” by media, banned messages on eye paint. In the 2009 BCS Championship Game, Tebow wore John 3:16 on his eye paint, and as a result, 92 million people searched “John 3:16″ on Google during or shortly after the game. When Tebow switched to another verse, there were 3.43 million searches of “Tim Tebow” and “Proverbs 3:5-6″ together. On the sidelines, Tebow is so often seen praying that the action is now widely known as ‘Tebowing’. The technical definition for Tebowing is “to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.”

2) His Generosity

Not too many 24 year-old athletes have set up foundations designed to help impoverished people. The Tim Tebow Foundation is the outgrowth of an initiative from his college days, “First and 15″. Tebow’s foundation has raised funds for Uncle Dick’s Orphanage in the Phillipines, Shands Hospital (Pediatric Cancer Center) in Gainesville, FL, and the foundation is currently raising funds to build a children’s hospital in the Philippines. Tim Tebow is serious about helping others.

1) His Christian Integrity

We’re familiar with the saying, “If you’re going to talk the talk, you had better be prepared to walk the walk.” Tim Tebow talks about Christ, but more importantly, Tim Tebow lives in a manner consistent with the ways of Christ. While critics continue to dissect the technical aspects of Tebow’s passing game, none have been able to find fault or failure with Tebow’s lifestyle choices. No, Tim Tebow, is not perfect—we all get that. But there is a consistency to his message and manner which I find winsome and inspiring.

I’ve never been a Broncos fan (I’m a Niagara Falls born boy who grew up cheering for the Bills), but Tebow has changed that. I’m now cheering for the Broncos. And I’m cheering for Tim Tebow—on and off the field.

GB2

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Tim Tebow touchdown passAfter writing this post on Dec. 15, the Broncos lost 3 in a row and backed into the playoffs at 8-8. Tebow struggled massively in those three games. Today, Tebow and the Broncos shocked the football world and the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 29-23 win in OT. It was Tebow’s best ever professional game.

When asked for his immediate reaction to the game winning touchdown, Tebow responded, ”When I saw him scoring, first of all, I just thought, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ Then, I was running pretty fast, chasing him — Like I can catch up to D.T! Then I just jumped into the stands, first time I’ve done that. That was fun. Then, got on a knee and thanked the Lord again and tried to celebrate with my teammates and the fans.”

My copy of Tebow’s book, “Through My Eyes”, arrived in Nassau on Friday. I look forward to that read and posting a review in the coming weeks.

GB2