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O Say, Can You Stand?  

Lit A Fire!

When NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to sit during the National Anthem, he lit the fire of a roaring national debate.  In a journalism culture that overdoses on a news story and then gets quickly bored with it, I'm intrigued the flames seem only to have intensified.  One commentator I read suggested Kaepernick's career is finished. An ESPN poll shows him as the NFL’s most disliked player.  Others are standing with (or is that sitting beside) Kaepernick. 

 

Nothing Illegal, But...

What should a Christian think?  May I share with you my own thoughts? 

There seems to be nothing illegal about Kaepernick's decision.  Nothing forbidden by the NFL.  Indeed, the 49ers management has repeatedly expressed their support for the quarterback's decision.  Yet I disagree.

Mr. Kaepernick—along with every American—surely has the right to voice his opinion.  But I believe his anthem stance (or lack thereof) is inappropriate.  Here's why.

 

What If We All Sat?!

This nation has never been perfect.  We have always had problems...issues...ugly wounds.    But if all of us decided we'd “had enough” with regard to whatever our particular issue is (abortion, immigration, excessive taxes, loss of religious freedom, etc.) and sat down during the national anthem, than almost no one would stand. 

We do not stand up for the National Anthem because America is perfect or without serious flaws.  We stand up because we have a country where these issues can actually be freely debated and—when in need—corrected through discussion and legislation. We stand up because doing so shows respect, just as not standing shows disrespect

 

Render Unto Caesar

To sit down during the national anthem is perceived as a slap in the face to everyone who has ever put on a uniform to defend our flag. 

It seems to me Christ's words, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” might well include the respect associated with standing for our national anthem.  Even if our nation is less than perfect.  

 
Looking Forward to Heaven  

What’s the number one thing you’re looking forward to doing or seeing in heaven?  Here’s what a few Christian leaders told me…

Anne Graham Lotz said…

I would love to be taught the Scriptures by the Lord Jesus Himself with the kind of understanding He would give. I’m hoping we will have that opportunity.

Tony Evans told me…

I want to see a replay—a video replay—of some of the great events of the Bible, like the opening of the Red Sea or the Jordan River.

Michael W. Smith smiled and shared…

I want to make some music! Join in with the angels! I wonder what that’s going to be like!  I have a feeling it’s going to happen!

Bob Moeller stated…

One thing I can’t wait to do in heaven is thank people. There are so many people I am so grateful for that God put in my life as a youngster, as a high school student, as a college student, seminarian, young pastor. I’m grateful that even though in this life we are separated, there will be a chance to do that in heaven.

Joni Tada shared with me…

Most people assume I will jump up and dance and kick and do aerobics and be so excited about my new glorified body. My goodness, how wonderful it will be to have a body with hands that work and feet that walk and knees that bend, and a back that arches and hands that can be lifted high. But I think what I am most looking forward to in heaven is having a new heart. I cannot wait to feel—I mean, really feel—what it’s like not to have a sinful thought, a rebellious inclination, a tendency to

pity myself, or growl or grumble or complain. I can’t wait to see what it feels like to have a heart free of sin. That will be heaven for me.

You can read many more insights like these in the book, If I Could Do It All Over Again.  But frankly, I’d like to know what you are looking forward to doing in heaven. Email me at jon.gauger@moody.edu.  Maybe we’ll share your thoughts next week!

 

Read more thoughts about heaven in Jon's new book, If I Could Do It All Over Again

https://www.amazon.com/Could-All-Over-Again-Christian/dp/0736967966/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472481625&sr=8-1&keywords=Jon+Gauger

Facebook.com/authorjongauger 

 
What you did was wrong...  

If someone were to ask you, “What’s a life lesson you will remember to the day you die?” what would that be for you?

I asked that question of singer and songwriter Michael Card.  His response is a story you need to hear.  Allow me to quote him from the book, If I Could Do It All Over Again.

When I was a kid, I often sat in church next to an old man named Basil Edwards. I remember that when I was seven years old, I got into trouble and was crying. Basil got on his knees, face-to-face with me. He said, “Mike, I want you to know you’re wrong. What you did was wrong. But I want you to know I’m on your side, right or wrong. In fact, especially when you’re wrong, I want to be on your side.”

I think what I will take to my grave is that was the first time I ever really understood the gospel. Because while we were sinners, Jesus said, “I’m going be on your side.” Before there is any hope or indication we will repent and come to Him, Jesus still stoops and, essentially, gets face-to-face with us and says, “You’re wrong, but I’m going be on your side.”

Many years later I had a son who had been arrested a couple of times for smoking pot. Every time I’d go to court with him, I would say, “What you did was wrong, but I want you to know I’m here because I’m on your side. Right or wrong, I choose to be on your side. You need to know that.”

Later, after he turned his life around, my son called me and said, “That was the gospel, Dad, wasn’t it?” I said, “Yep. Absolutely.”

I’d love to know what your biggest life lesson is.  Why not share it when you email me at jon@jongauger.com. Maybe we'll share your story—and the stories of other blog readers—in a future Thursday Thought. Thanks!

 
What I Would Do More Of  

If you could do it all over again, how would you live your life differently?  I sat down with 28 Christian leaders and asked them.  One of my specific questions was what would you do more of, if you do it all over again.

Michael Card told me...

Clearly I would have put more time in with my family.  I think I was on the road doing 150 concerts a year for more than 30 years.  My wife homeschooled and our kids got plenty of attention.  I would be home for two or three weeks at a time. Yet later, my oldest son, Will, took me aside in a very non-condemning, very sweet way and said, “I just need to tell you this.  It was hard for you to be gone so much.”

Josh McDowell shared...

I’ve got four children who would die for me—an incredibly loving intimate close family.  We’re together all the time. But I have made over 19,000 airplane flights and stayed in 2,300 hotel rooms.  Now I just wish I could have been with my family more. 

Erwin Lutzer took me into his office and said...

If I could do it all over again, I would spend an awful lot more time investing in the lives of my children. Of course we prayed with them and we taught them and so forth.  But you know, in retrospect, I really didn’t enter into their world as I could have.  One day my second daughter, Lynn, wrote me a letter when she was about to go off to college.  She said, “Dad, I cannot compete with your studies of Martin Luther and theology.”  Talk about an ice bucket experience!  Sure I was studying Martin Luther and I was studying theology.  But for my child to think that she couldn’t compete with that?  That so set me back!  I realized that I was on the wrong track. I began to change my priorities.  But if I could do it over again: more investment in the lives of my children.

Ephesians 5:15: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

 

You can discover for yourself what Christian leaders regret—and find freedom from your own regrets—in Jon's new book, If I Could Do It All Over Again

https://www.amazon.com/Could-All-Over-Again-Christian/dp/0736967966/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472481625&sr=8-1&keywords=Jon+Gauger

Facebook.com/authorjongauger 

 
If I Could Do It All Over Again  

He was half a second away from being pounded into the grass. In desperation, our Junior High quarterback flung the ball to the only open receiver on the field—me.  Clutching the laced leather, I raced toward the end zone, virtually unopposed. It was only as I crashed across the goal line that I finally understood all the yelling. I had run into the wrong end zone—ours!  To this day, I wish I could do that over.

Here's another do-over.   It was half time at our high school football game.  I was in the marching band.  All 96 of us were high stepping toward the end zone when at a musical cue, we were supposed to flip around crisply and march the other direction.  92 of us did.  But me—and three others—continued ignorantly toward the wrong end zone (all of this captured on film). 

How I cringed later to see myself and my group on the big screen.  We looked like ants, skittering toward the wrong end zone!  (Do you see a pattern here?). 

Trust me. I have plenty of do-overs I’d love to completely erase.  I’m guessing you do, too. For some of us, the do-overs are “big ticket” items: a divorce, a fit of violence, a drunken spree, flunking out of college, serving time in jail or at detox.   Maybe your list is darker yet.  We’ve all got our issues.

But what about the Christian leaders whose sermons we hear, whose books we read and whose music we sing?   Do they have regrets?  I was curious.  So I sat down with 28 well known evangelical leaders.  People like Joni Tada, Tim Keller, Michael W. Smith, Anne Graham Lotz.  I asked them straight out about their regrets, about how they would live life differently if they could do it all over again. Know what I discovered?  They're just like you and me.

There are so many great stories these leaders shared, I compiled them in a book.  But the one truth you need more than any other comes from the ultimate Book, were we are reminded in Romans 3:10, “There is no one righteous, not one.”

 

NOTEYou can discover for yourself what Christian leaders regret—and find freedom from your own regrets—in Jon's new book, If I Could Do It All Over Again

https://www.amazon.com/Could-All-Over-Again-Christian/dp/0736967966/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472481625&sr=8-1&keywords=Jon+Gauger

Facebook.com/authorjongauger 

 
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