I was recently moved by a story I saw on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” about the Summerville, South Carolina, High School basketball team.  Louis Mulkey was an assistant coach, and the Captain of Engine 15 for the Charleston Fire Department.  He had coached the 8th grade team with the goal that his 8th graders would win the state championship five years later.  Before that 5th year began, tragedy struck.  Louis Mulkey and eight other fire fighters lost their lives on a June 18, 2007.  

The team honored their mentor and friend by placing a fireman’s hat in the school colors on the 4th seat on the bench.  The fireman’s hat was put there for every game.  The team played exceptionally well during the regular season and went into the playoffs.  In the semi-final game they were losing with only a few minutes to play, and they were tired.  Their fans began chanting, “Louis Mulkey, Louis Mulkey, Louis Mulkey”.  The players were inspired and pulled out the win.  In the championship game they won a tightly contested contest by only 1 point.  

On the way home, about 1 AM, the team stopped by the grave of Louis Mulkey.  They placed the championship trophy by his tombstone, and some of the players left their championship medals there as a way to say thank you for the difference this man had made in their lives.

The scene reminded me of what we find in the book of Revelation chapter 4 verses 9-11, “Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 

You are worthy, our Lord and God, 
to receive glory and honor and power, 
for you created all things, 
and by your will they were created 
and have their being.'”

In the Scriptures we are also told that the followers of Jesus will received crowns and jewels based on faithfulness and stewardship of what we have been entrusted with.  I don’t think we will be wearing those around, but instead will have the opportunity to follow the example we are given.  We will have opportunity to bow at the feet of Jesus and say thank you.  Until that time, how we live our short days on this earth can be a thank you to Jesus.  May those of us who believe in Him be encouraged to live a life filled with love and grace in response to what our Savior has done for us. Please remember that we can only lived this sort of life by being filled with love and grace by God Himself to overflowing.  II Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
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If you click the Outside the Lines link in the post you will see the ESPN video.  It has a couple of neat parts of the story that I didn’t mention. 

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It has been a good and busy time since returning Tuesday night.  It is hard to believe it is already Friday afternoon.  House Fellowship on Wednesday night, dinner with my family on Thursday evening, and a leaders’ meeting early this morning were the highlights of the week.  I’ve also managed to get back on the basketball court twice. Wednesday hoops felt rough, but today I felt much more energetic.  The ball was generally at a high level of quality too.  Unfortunately, it ended with one of the guys spraining his ankle.  I hope for his sake it isn’t too bad.  Basketball at Ramsey has been a great opportunity for me to get some exercise and also get to know some people that I otherwise would have no contact with.

In the very near future the other elders in our church and I will begin a study through Alexander Strauch’s book, Biblical Eldership.  I am looking forward to our collective growth through that investment of time, prayer, thought, and practice.  If you are in leadership in a church and have read this, how about dropping me a note with your opinion.  Or if you are interested in the Biblical perspective of church government – both how it should be organized and applied, then I recommend it.  It makes sense to believe that God cares about how His church is should be organized.  Traditionally the church has ignored most of God’s instruction on this subject to its own detriment.

Don’t forget to pray for rain – boy do we need it!

I remember back to junior high when our basketball team had the old hand me downs from many years prior. It was always a battle for the two pair of larger shorts because most of us would be stuck wearing shorts that were way too short and way too tight.  Well on Monday I took a trip back in time because I failed to take any shorts to Mexico.  In order to fellowship with my Mexican brothers on the basketball court, I had to borrow a pair from one of them.  My translator Christian (who grew up in California) laughed and laughed.  He also had possession of my camera and took about 50 pictures of permanent proof of my humiliation.  I also didn’t realize that we had to walk several blocks down the main street of the city to be able to play.  Yes, people noticed and made sure that I knew that they noticed.  Being one of the very few white people in the area and being 6’4″ or 193 cm for those on the metric system, I already stand out.  Bring on the attack of the man thigh, and I am a one man circus!

I can’t believe that I putting pictures of this on net.  But if my humiliation can bring a little laughter to your day, then I guess it is a price worth paying.  Yes I am having to work hard to convince myself of that!