Is it wrong to be contemporary? I don’t think so. Being in touch with people and in touch with your times is a good thing—Jesus was. Paul was. For some, being contemporary in our service for Christ means being contaminated—or “worldly.” I think Charles Spurgeon was another good example of a man who was current with his times but not contaminated by them.

“When 19-year-old Charles Spurgeon was called to the New Park Street Pulpit in 1854, London newspapers derided him as a brash upstart. Critics complained that his plainspoken, direct speaking style was too edgy—and dangerously innovative. A secular magazine referred to his colloquial speech as “slang.” A newspaper editorial categorized his preaching as “ginger-pop sermonizing.” One particularly harsh critic wrote:

‘He is nothing unless he is an actor—unless exhibiting that matchless impudence which is his great characteristic, indulging in coarse familiarity with holy things, declaiming in a ranting and colloquial style, strutting up and down the platform as though he were at the Surrey Theatre, and boasting of his own intimacy with Heaven with nauseating frequency. His fluency, self-possession, oratorical tricks, and daring utterances, seem to fascinate his less-thoughtful hearers, who love excitement more than devotion.’

During that first year, pundits regularly predicted an early end to Spurgeon’s ministry in London: “He is a nine days’ wonder—a comet that has suddenly shot across the religious atmosphere. He has gone up like a rocket, and ere long will come down like a stick.

Spurgeon’s critics were wrong, but they weren’t silent. They attacked him, slandered him, and fiercely opposed his ministry. They called his successes flukes and his failures proof of his character. What did Spurgeon do? He just kept preaching. He kept writing. He kept sharing the truth of Scripture as plainly and directly as he could for 40 years of faithful ministry.”    -Faithlife


“Winning takes care of everything”. Nike’s new Tiger Woods add.

A lot of us have been watching Tiger Wood’s gradual return to the number one golf ranking in the world. Time has gone on and it appears that Tiger has his “A game” back. This seems good for golf, good for TV, and of course good for Nike. Just the other day I was thinking—as he once again gains his international platform, he could have the opportunity to say some very helpful things to a watching world.

It would be hard to imagine anything worse than Tiger’s fall in 2009. As a result of choices he made and his inability to control the consequences of those choices, his whole life seemed to come crashing down. He lost his wife, his family, his world golf ranking, much of his wealth, and to a great degree his popularity among the masses. While these things didn’t just happen overnight, those of us looking from the outside marveled at how quickly a man could go from the top of the world to the bottom of the pit. Surveys among fans put his respect level on par with Mike Tyson’s. Personally, I felt a great deal of sadness for Tiger Woods and his family.

Nike has recently marketed a rendition of Tiger’s past responses to the media, “Winning takes care of everything.” To a degree that is true. To a much larger degree it is not. If we create a small enough world, we can be at the top of it. We can be successful. Because we draw our box and create our rules and define our success, we can be winners. But we are only deceiving ourselves. Life is not a small box, and we do not define it, nor will we ultimately assess it. Even we as Christians can live like this.

God is creator, sustainer, and ultimate judge of all the earth. There is no success apart from what He declares success to be. “For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36.

Winning may take care of a few things, but it does not take care of everything. Really, it does not take care of the most important and eternal things. “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36.

Thank God for the grace He has showered upon us in the person and work of His dear Son. Thank God for the offer of eternal life and for the opportunity that we all have to receive it. I like to play golf. I like to watch Tiger Woods compete. But I also pray that God helps me keep what really matters in perspective.

Winning is not everything. Jesus Christ is everything. And that will always prove to be true.

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