Pennington finds Spirituality in ’08

In 2008, Chad Pennington revived his NFL career and was rewarded with his second comeback player of the year award.  After 8 up and down seasons with the New York Jets, Pennington was cut prior to the ’08 season and was signed by the 1-15 Miami Dolphins.  Pennington displayed his strong leadership skills by orchestrating an 11-5 record and a trip to the playoffs.  But it wasn’t this change of scenery that led to the resurgence of him and his team.  It was his total submission to God.  A local newspaper Daily Mail near Chad’s alma mater, Marshall University, details a radio interview from Sports Spectrum last week where Pennington shared the following, “I have been playing football a long time and I have considered myself a Christian for a long time,” said Pennington.  “But this season is the first season that I felt like I totally let go of my career and let the Lord have control of it. It was the most rewarding year I have had in the NFL because I felt I grew closer to the Lord.”  Chad realized it’s not enough to just be a Christian without fully trusting in the Lord.  In our lives it’s often easy to say, “I am a Christian”, while still selfishly having our own agenda.  It’s only when we submit to the will of God that we are truly able to move forward and grow spiritually.  What are you holding on to?  Wouldn’t it just be easier to let go and turn everything over to God? Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

Christian Music gets Counselor suspended

For a few weeks now, I’ve been reading stories about a Christian persecution taking place overseas.  I’m not talking about remote countries where tribes are fighting daily, or a radical Muslim group, this persecution has been taking place in Great Britain.  Let me just provide you with a brief overview of the latest two:

February 12, 2009 – U.K. A school secretary’s 5 year old daughter who mentioned the name of Jesus was scolded by her teacher for doing so.  Because her daughter became so upset over the matter, the mother emailed a prayer request about the situation to some of her friends at church.  The school found out about the “prayer email” and now the secretary faces disciplinary action for professional misconduct because of both her and her daughter’s profession of faith. WND

February 2, 2009 – U.K. A Christian nurse was suspended for failing to display “personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity.”  Her crime?  The community nurse visited an elderly woman and asked the patient if she could pray for her, to which the patient said no.  When she returned home that day, she found a message on her answering machine stating that she had been suspended without pay and would be forced to attend a disciplinary meeting.  She has since been reinstated. WND

I don’t recall hearing either of these in the mainstream media, as they were likely dismissed as trivial, but there are patterns of this behavior that are beginning to take shape.  Which is why I wasn’t surprised when I heard the latest story of Christian persecution.  Except this time it happened in the United States, specifically in California.  The story broke in 2006, also not covered in the mainstream media, but a lawsuit was filed just last week on behalf of a veteran youth counselor, for abused/abandoned children, who was suspended 6 weeks without pay.  Her crime, “exposing children to unapproved religious activities.”  You might be thinking, “Who is she to be preaching to kids about her faith?  Those children could have different beliefs and she shouldn’t try to influence them.”  Maybe, only she wasn’t preaching or sharing her own faith.  The counselor had taken four teenage girls on an approved field trip to the Anaheim 5k run and then to the beach.  While there, the group watched a surfing contest from the pier and overheard a few minutes of Christian music.  Let me repeat that, the group overheard a few minutes of Christian music.  This resulted in the suspension of the youth counselor. The counselor has since filed suit on February 13, 2009, for religious discrimination. ChristianPost

I know these are just three incidents and there are a lot more, many of which are happening in countries of our closest allies, but many also are happening here in the U.S.  This isn’t a pattern that is short-lived or isolated.  I believe this is what is coming.  I don’t say that to strike fear in the heart of anyone, but for it to serve as a wake-up call to Christians everywhere.  Now is the time to strengthen your faith, return to church, begin reading your Bible and praying. 

Matthew 5:10-12 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

New Poll shows shift in Worldviews

There was a new poll out yesterday asking American’s who they admire most.  The 2,634 respondents were not given a list of names, but instead offered names spontaneously.  The majority of those polled responded with “President Obama” as their #1 choice, followed by Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King #3.  When asked to explain their choices the top responses were:

Doing what’s right regardless of personal consequences: 89%

Not giving up until the goal is accomplished: 83%

Doing more than what other people expect of them: 82%

Overcoming adversity: 81%

Staying level-headed in crisis: 81%

What does this say about our society and the direction it’s heading?  Mr. Obama has barely been on the job a month and has made some less than popular decisions already.  Even the most successful presidents have failed policies.  Jesus has been on the job for over 2000 years and His policies in the Bible have never failed.  Let’s make some things very clear: only Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  These were the sins of those that crucified him, those that mocked and ridiculed him, and those of us who weren’t even born yet.  His personal consequence was death, yet he did not give up.  No one on earth expected Him to die on the cross, yet He did because that was the only way.  Only Jesus rose again on the 3rd day.   How could there ever be more adversity than that to overcome?  Only Jesus is the King of Kings. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

This same poll was conducted in 2001 and the #1 answer was Jesus Christ.    I talked about this shift of worldview from the cross to man in the Are we living in the time of Samuel post and I think this poll is yet another indicator that a shift is definitely underway.  I want to reiterate the quote I used in that post, “Unless the people can return to their roots and mission, they will crumble from within.”

Isaiah 40:28-31 “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Ephesians 4:15 "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ"