ESPN 30 for 30: BROKE and the Human Heart

Last night I watched ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 installment called BROKE.  I really enjoyed it.  It was a fascinating look into sports culture and the devastating effects of instant wealth for professional athletes who come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

I really enjoyed Broke for several reasons:

  1. I’m glad I’m not rich.  Seriously!  I thought these former wealthy athletes who once had it all and now have nothing said it best, “Mo money, mo problems.”  They all seem to indicate that they wish they had come into all that money later in life.  They all bemoaned the fact that all their wealth and fame brought about more problems and pain than they could ever imagine.
  2. It made me thankful.  I’m thankful to hear about their problems that they had in their 20s and 30s, and to now hear the wisdom that they have gained from their mistakes now that they are in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.  You can tell these men has “grown up” and seen the foolishness of their youth.  I try to listen and glean wisdom from anyone who cries out in the same tone and tenor as King Solomon, “It’s meaningless.  It does not satisfy.  I’ve tried it all and had it all and it can not and will not bring you happiness.”
  3. It made me mad.  I hate sin…I really do.  I most especially hate my own sin.  But I hated to see how sin ruined the lives of many of these professional athletes who had so much going for them (at least from a worldly perspective).  There is one area that most of these men missed the reason for all their problems….and it wasn’t money, nor was it that they are now all broke (financially).

What these men did not report was that there was something far more “broke” with them than they realized, their hearts.  They were spiritually bankrupt.  Jeremiah 17:9 lays it out for us,

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

We could substitute the word broke for sick.  The Bible makes it clear that our hearts are broken (Romans 3:23) and that we desperately need a Savior to repair them (Romans 3:24).

Another theme that was continually repeated throughout the film Broke was one of the most mis-quoted Scriptures in all of the Bible.  You’ve heard it before, “Money is the root of all evil.”  It sounds good, doesn’t it?  It sounds true! Therefore we just go along with it and agree, “Yes! That’s the problem. We should get rid of all money because it’s evil!”  But as we have clearly stated before, the problem is not money, it is the heart.  

This often misquoted verse comes from 1 Timothy:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
(1 Timothy 6:10 ESV)

The Apostle Paul never said “money is the root of all evil.”  The Bible states implicitly and explicitly that the “love of money” births “all kinds of evils.”  Money is not the root of evil.  Our sinful, broken hearts are the root of evil.  Our sinful hearts take things like money and make them into an idol (to put money in the place of God). Money does not cause “many pangs,” it simply exposes what’s already in the heart.

When we give ourselves over to this form of idolatry and make money our object of worship we get what these men in Broke self-describe as brokenness, pangs (I love this word – sharp, instant emotional pain), diaster, “mo problems”, and in many cases utter ruin.

I’m glad these men went on camera to tell their story.  It is a story we all can relate to.  We’ve all given our lives over to something that we though could satisfy but it simply left us broken.  This is not a bad thing because God uses brokenness to bring us back to Him and to show us that only Jesus can satisfy.

I love this song…it’s called Satisfied, and I think it tells the story of how Jesus is our “untold wealth” that never fails us and never fails to satisfy.  

All my life long – I had panted – for a drink from some cool spring…That I hoped would – quench the burning – of thirst I felt within.

 

Chorus: Hallelujah!  He has found me, the One my soul so long has craved! Jesus satisfies – all my longings – through his blood I now am saved.

 

Feeding on the – filth around me – ‘till my strength was almost gone. Longed my soul for – something better – only still to hunger on.

 

Poor I was and – sought for riches – something that would satisfy. But the dust I – gathered ‘round me – only mocked my soul’s sad cry.

 

Well of water – ever springing – Bread of Life so rich and free. Untold wealth that – never faileth – my Redeemer is to me.

Thoughts on Family Worship

I am convinced that fellowship around the Word of God is absolutely necessary for the survival of today’s family.  The souls of our children are at stake in today’s world and parents must be at the front-lines of the battlefield.  The only way I know to fight this war and win is with the Sword of the Spirit (Hebrews 4:12), the Word of God.

In many Christian homes the Word of God is taught, learned, and celebrated through an ancient tradition called family worship.  Family worship is not a church service in your home every night but it is a reverent, important, set-apart time to fellowship around the Word and to teach children about worshiping the Triune God of the Bible.  Other important elements of this time are prayer, singing, and thanksgiving.

Rob Reinow has an important word for us on the importance of family worship and teaching our children about corporate worship.

Family Worship is a foundation for corporate worship on Sunday.  If children do not regularly experience worship in their homes, how can we expect them to feel comfortable in church on Sunday morning? Without family worship as a catalyst, worship in church on Sunday can be a rather bizarre hour of their week.  All of a sudden they are expected to sit, listen, sing, follow along in their Bibles, and turn their hearts to spiritual things. The reason many children cannot sit still in church services has nothing to do with a so-called short attention span. It is most often a lack of training.

This thought was another great reminder this week to my wife and I.  It reminded us to pray about and work on our family devotion times.  We were both convinced that this is the time to talk to our young children about corporate worship and how to worship.  It is an important time for us to disciple our children (Deut. 6:4-9).

No Condemnation – Romans 8:1

This semester I have the privilege of teaching through the entire chapter, verse by verse, of Romans chapter 8 to the Highlands Presbyterian Church College class on Sunday mornings.  One of the commentaries that I am gleaning much insight and wisdom from is D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones exposition of Romans. It is quite a work – in fact it is 14 volumes on the book of Romans that he preached for many years.

Below is a wonderful quote from Lloyd-Jones on Romans 8:1.

‘No condemnation’. ‘There is therefore now no’. ‘Therefore’, ‘now’, ‘no’ – what important words they are! The words remind us of our position now as Christians. Look at that word ‘no’ – ‘No condemnation’! What a statement! ‘No’ is a little word of two letters; but are we aware of its full meaning? It is entire, it is complete, it is absolute. In other words, Paul is saying that a Christian is a person who has been taken entirely outside the realm of any possible or conceivable condemnation.  The Christian has finished with the realm of condemnation; he has been taken right out of it; he has nothing more to do with it. There is no condemnation to the Christian ‘now’ and never can be! Have you realized that? Not only is the Christian not in a state of condemnation now, he never can be; it is impossible.

This news is simply GLORIOUS!

Wilson’s Weekly – Issue 9

Why Read the Bible?  This is a very helpful, short video where D.A. Carson helps us understand why reading our Bible is important and how Scripture transforms us daily.  Watch it here!

Because today is national support Chick-fil-a day I think it is fitting to remember what Christian comedian Tim Hawkins has to say on the matter.  Watch it here!  Here is another one I like – click here!

Keeping Children Safe in Your Ministry and at Home

These past few weeks I have been burdened to review and bring more quality and control to the child protection policies at our church.  In light of all the recent news about the goings-on at Penn State it should serve as a stern warning to all institutions that child safety must be a top priority.

It is easy to get discouraged about a lot of things going on in society with regards to:

  • Chick-fil-a haters (who knew?)
  • homosexual marriage
  • abortion
  • and on and on

BUT the thing that I am thankful for, right now in our great country, is the hard-line stance it has taken when it comes to protecting our children.  I’m thankful that we live in a society that protects our children and takes every measure to prosecute those who seek to harm our children.

With that said, let me encourage PARENTS to talk to their children about evil and the fac that there are adults out there who are dangerous and want to harm them.  Don’t scare your children but warn them and encourage them to tell you when an adult asks them to do something strange or if they witness something unusual.  Also, check your state’s sex offender registry and know who is living around you!

For CHURCHES, make sure your church has a comprehensive child protection policy that includes screening and training volunteers and staff.  I highly recommend MinistrySafe as resource to help you and your ministry.  You might also want to check with you insurance carrier for resources.

Let me know if I can help.

Wilson’s Weekly – Issue 8

It’s been a while … forgive me.  Here are some things that I have found good lately….

Read, Read, Read, to Your Children – I appreciate this article by Marty Machowski author of The Gospel Story Bible.  I’m so thankful for my wife, the mother of our children, because God convicted her before we had children to cultivate this habit in our home. Our children would rather have their parents read to them on most days rather than watch a TV show.  I highly recommend the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.

Recently I had the privilege to preach on the 5th commandment.  I believe this commandment has an important word for parents, not just children.  I invite you to listen here.

 

Wilson’s Weekly – Issue 7

Forgive me for not posting in a while.  Things have gotten pretty busy with having a 4th child, selling a home, and now trying to buy a home.  Here are a few interesting things to look at….

How to Miss a Childhood.  Thanks to my friends the Jones’ for pointing this out to me.  Great reminder of how we need to keep careful watch over our time with out spouses and children.

The Gospel Coalition. If you are not familiar with the Gospel Coalition, let me introduce you.  The Gospel Coalition is a fellowship of evangelical and reformed churches.  Their website: thegospelcoalition.org is worth checking almost daily.  You will find articles and blogs from some of the leading Christian thinkers and pastors that will encourage you daily in your walk with Jesus.

Speaking of The Gospel Coalition, here is a good article that reflects upon President Obama’s recent support for same-sex marriages: How to Win the Public on Homosexuality 

Wilson’s Weekly – Issue 6

We just had our 4th child – a little girl – so I’m a little behind on some posts but here are a few things of note….

The Donkey Who Carried a King is a great new children’s book by R.C. Sproul.  I’m impressed that this renown theologian can write a work this good for kids.  I recommend this for ages 4 and up.  It is pretty fascinating to see how prominent a donkey is in the Bible and to look at how God used them.  It is also very much about the Easter story.

 

One of the great benefits I have had in my walk with Christ over the years is the blessing of opening up the Word of God and studying it with a group.  Here is a great tool that I recommend using when studying a book of the Bible with a small group.  Click here.

Wilson’s Weekly – Issue 5

I love children’s books that teach a solid, biblical lesson – there aren’t many out there.  There are plenty of books that teach “moral” lessons but not many that teach biblical lessons.  Halfway Herbert is one of those children’s books that teaches a solid biblical lesson to children.  Francis Chan has done an excellent job of communicating solid, biblical truth in a way that children can relate.  My wife and I have enjoyed this book and have referred to it often when trying to teach our children the biblical principle of loving God with your whole heart.  At $0.99 for the Kindle edition this is a steel!  You might want to also checkout The Big Red Tractor.

How to Read the Bible Book by Book is an excellent resource that I have used through the years to help me navigate through the 66 different books of the Bible.  For only $3.99 this is a great deal for this Kindle book!