Peyton Manning and the Man Upstairs

Written By: John - Feb• 08•16

OK, I’ll admit what you may already know…I’m not a Peyton Manning fan. I love his family, I love his commercials, and I recognize the fact that he is one of the best quarterbacks to have ever played the game, but I just don’t like to watch him play. It’s personal preference, it is totally subjective, and it is purely my opinion.

I do appreciate the class with which he has always carried himself, and I appreciate the absolute dedication to the game, and there is something sentimental in me that is glad he can walk away a champion. (I’ll have to admit that sentimental part is really small and it pained me to even write it and I’m not sure it will make it to the final draft!)

I’m a defensive guy—not just a defensive guy—I’m an old Raider’s defensive guy. I like nasty football…the kind that hits hard, the kind that plays to the echo of the whistle, and I have never really liked any quarterback! They play with a sense of entitlement…they play like everyone else should get tackled and that they should be treated as if they were playing flag football. It grinds at me, but I’m digressing.

Here is why I’m writing this blog today. Peyton Manning has every right to be overjoyed, but did you notice one of his comments last night. He said it twice—he talked about saying a prayer and thanking the Man upstairs. I know he is a quarterback, I know he was overjoyed, and I know that I should give him some slack, but God isn’t Man upstairs—He is God. Let me close with a quote from Tozer because he said it better than I ever could,

“Worship… rises or falls with our concept of God; that is why I do not believe in these half-converted cowboys who call God the Man Upstairs. I do not think they worship at all because their concept of God is unworthy of God and unworthy of them. And if there is one terrible disease in the Church of Christ, it is that we do not see God as great as He is. We’re too familiar with God.”

Got Four Kids?!

Written By: John - Feb• 06•16

The Island of Nihilism–the Ultimate Paradise of the Fool!

Written By: John - Feb• 02•16

On Tuesday mornings I’ve been reading RC Sproul’s book The Consequences of Ideas with a group of men.  Today we read a chapter on the philosophical views of Friedrich Nietzsche.  At the end of the chapter Sproul wrapped Nietzsche’s views with these profound words,

Perhaps the answer lies in this: If at the earliest states of intellectual reflection a person denies the existence of God, then the more brilliant he is, the farther his though will move away from God.  Most secular philosophers end up somewhere between the two poles, living on borrowed capital from either theism or nihilism.  Without God, nihilism, and nonsensical as it is, makes more sense than a hybrid humanism or any other immediate position.

Although I do not embrace presuppositional apologetics, I do recognize that the existence of God is the supreme proto-supposition for all theoretical thought.  God’s existence is the chief element in constructing any worldview.  To deny this chief premise is to set one’s sails for the island of nihilism.  this is the darkest continent of the darkened mind–the ultimate paradise of the fool.”

Great Christmas Faith!

Written By: John - Dec• 14•15

JC Ryle spoke of the great faith of the Magi in Matthew’s Gospel.  He said,

“We read of no greater faith than this in the whole volume of the Bible.  It is a faith that deserves to be placed side by side with that of the penitent thief.  The thief saw one dying the death of a malefactor, and yet prayed to Him, and ‘called Him Lord.’  The wise men saw a new-born babe on the lap of a poor woman, and yet worshipped Him and confessed that He was Christ.  Blessed indeed are they that can believe in this fashion!” (Expository Thoughts on Matthew, page 10)

I’ve never placed the two acts of faith together–one after Jesus was born in Bethlehem and the other at the end on the cross, but it is fitting.  The question for us is what kind of faith do we display on this side of the Incarnation, Cross, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ?  If they worshiped with great faith what they did not know–how much more should we worship on this side of God’s revelation?!

The Hurricane has become Human!

Written By: John - Dec• 02•15

“How can we live with the terrifying thought that the Hurricane has become human, the Fire has become flesh, that the Life itself has walked into our midst? Christianity either means that or it is nothing. It is the most devastating disclosure of the deepest reality in the world or it is a sham and nonsense. Most people unable to cope with saying either of these things are condemned to live in the shallow world in between.”

NT Wright

The Battle for Simplicity!

Written By: John - Nov• 09•15

From time to time I go back and read some of my old sermons. I was doing that today in preparation for another sermon and I found an old Indian parable. I didn’t write down the source, but I loved the parable.

A guru had a disciple and was so pleased with the man’s spiritual progress that he left him on his own. The man lived in a little mud hut. He lived simply, begging for his food. Each morning, after his devotions, the disciple washed his loincloth and hung it out to dry. One day, he came back to discover the loincloth torn and eaten by rats. He begged the villagers for another, and they gave it to him. But the rats ate that one, too. So he got himself a cat. That took care of the rats, but now when he begged for his food he had to beg for milk for his cat as well. “This won’t do,” he thought. “I’ll get a cow.” So he got a cow and found he had to beg now for fodder. So he decided to till and plant the ground around his hut. But soon he found no time for contemplation, so he hired servants to tend his farm. But overseeing the labors became a chore, so he married to have a wife to help him. After time, the disciple became the wealthiest man in the village.

The guru was traveling by there and stopped in. He was shocked to see that where once stood a simple mud hut there now loomed a palace surrounded by a vast estate, worked by many servants. “What is the meaning of this?” he asked his disciple.

“You won’t believe this, sir,” the man replied. “But there was no other way I could keep my loincloth.”

Happy Anniversary Kim Thweatt!

Written By: John - Nov• 06•15

20121105120008_001Today Kim and I celebrate 22 years of marriage! I can say that if you were to take all of the gifts God has given to me, she is second only to my salvation. I understand why the writer of Proverbs said of a woman who fears the Lord, “Her children rise up and caller her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”

I remember the first time I saw her at Lake Forest Ranch.  I remember the times I got to drive from Texas and meet her at my grandparents.  Her smile was worth the hours of driving.  I remember the beauty radiating from her as she walked the aisle.  I remember the joy when she told me we were going to have Hannah and Hope and Hollie and Kimberly Joy!  I remember the beauty…the breathtaking beauty…of Kim taking her firstborn daughter into her arms and softly singing over her.  I’ll never forget that!

Kim once asked me, as only a wife can ask her husband, “If I die what would you miss the most?”  I gave a smart aleck answer, as only I can, but I thought about it.  There are the obvious things that I would miss, but one day it dawned on me…the thing I would miss the most is hearing her sitting at the piano in our home singing, just singing, to Jesus.  I get to watch her lead worship every Sunday and when she does I see the beauty of my beautiful bride helping the Bride worship our Savior.

God has indeed blessed me beyond all measure and I am thankful for you Mrs. Kim Thweatt. Happy Anniversary!

The Beauty of Jesus!

Written By: John - Nov• 02•15

I have quoted this before, but I read these words this morning and was once again reminded of the beauty of Christ. It is no wonder Thomas Manton said, “Jesus Christ is the cabinet in which God’s jewels are kept…”

“Put the beauty of ten thousand worlds of paradises, like the Garden of Eden in one; put all trees, all flowers, all smells, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all loveliness, all sweetness in one.  Oh what a fair and excellent thing would that be!  And yet it would be less to that fairest and dearest well-beloved Christ than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and foundations of ten thousand earths.”

 Samuel Rutherford

The Impact of Jesus

Written By: John - Oct• 29•15

James Allen Francis said in a sermon,

“He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never owned a house. He never went to college. He never travelled more than two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrow grave through the pity of a friend. Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today He stands as the central figure of the human race. I am far within my mark when I say that all the armies that every marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on earth as this one solitary life.”


(Mark Jones, Knowing Christ, page xv.)

“Submit, Resist, and Draw Near”

Written By: John - Oct• 19•15

We’ve been walking through the Lord’s Model Prayer in Matthew 6 on Sunday mornings. Yesterday centered in Jesus’ instruction to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” As we studied the passage we went to James to get a better understanding of what temptation means. James 4:7-8 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will drawn near to you…” James tells us that we deal with temptation by submitting to God, by resisting Satan, and by drawing near to God.

As I came to the end of my sermon the Holy Spirit brought an illustration to my mind that I had not thought of before. The reason Satan flees from us when we resist is because we are drawing near to God and He is drawing near to us. The following video pictures what I tried to describe.

Picture the mountain lion as Satan, the bear cub as us, and the final bear as God and I think you’ll get the picture!