Tag: stand up

Contender or Pretender

Sunday sermon 6.26.21

I remember times in my life when I decidedly committed myself to being a true contender. Bear with me as I list some:

  • Young softball pitcher
  • 16 year old female table tennis champion
  • Award winning French Horn student
  • Champion drum major
  • Honors college student
  • Ace volleyball server
  • SUP 10Ker

In each of these stages, my focus, energy, effort, thoughts and time was (mostly) willingly given to improving, becoming stronger, better, more accurate and fluid in what I was contending for.

Training, discipline, and a long term goal, pushed aside laziness, discouragement and cheap talk. I was purposed to contend and be the best I could in an effort to win the prize.

If you’re looking to be a contender, your daily decisions are what put you on the road to that prize, not your words.

Contenders and pretenders look alike on the surface, but it is their actions that set them apart.

Pretenders take the path of least resistance, while contenders take disciplined training and overcome. There’s no achieving that championship belt by sitting quietly and watching others in the ring.

Pretenders allow laziness to take over and then the comfort zone anchors them in.

Here’s why it matters, whether you are a contender or pretender…

“… I felt the need to challenge you to vigorously defend and contend for the beliefs that we cherish.”

Jude 3

Judah, was Jesus’ half brother and it is he that is speaking here. He was writing to the early believers because he wanted to challenge them to contend for the things that Jesus had taught them. Fight for them, for their truth, for their preeminence, for their validity. He was calling them to be contenders for the faith not pretenders.

No words of the Bible could be any truer today. Judah is calling to us, to remind us to contend for the beliefs we cherish, not become lazy and allow them to slip from our minds, lives, and national awareness.

Contend, with the same discipline as an athlete for Christian beliefs that are under attack. Focus on them, exercise with them, spur with others- as an athlete and true contender for the faith, not just some lazy “Christian”.

Here is a quick list I made of Christian messages that are under attack:

  • God as creator
  • All are created equal and in God’s image
  • God loves all mankind
  • The Bible is his word and divinely inspired
  • The inerrancy of the bible
  • There is truth and there is absolute truth
  • There is life after death lived in heaven or hell for everyone
  • Right and wrong
  • Power and freedom come from God not government
  • Marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman
  • The church is God’s institution designed to execute God’s will on earth
  • Life begins at conception

We are told to contend for these beliefs! Judah tells us to vigorously defend these!

What are we doing Christians?

We cannot allow the influences of this society to sweep away these beliefs that we cherish!

Who’s winning? Are you contending for the faith?

Think too about the values and beliefs brought to this nation by our founding fathers. We must not let them slip or be retaught guised in lies. This is serious.

I can’t help it, what are we doing?

Are you a contender or a pretender?

Go with God,

Debbie

The power of convictions

What drives the son of a sharecropper, 7th child of 12, and 5th grade drop out to become the 19 year old, most decorated WW2 combat soldier, having earned every military combat award in his 3 years in the Army?

What empowers a black woman in the segregated South of 1955 to refuse to follow the bus drivers instructions, telling her to stand up and change her seat for that white man to sit? (When she was already sitting in her “prescribed area of the bus”)

What sustains a man for 27 years in prison because of his anti-apartheid protests but then thrusts him to become the President of that very nation?

What motivates a Chinese writer and literary critic to speak out against China’s single-party Communist rule?

How does a simple woman of 1860’s speak up and protest for the right of women to vote – thus making way for the 19th Amendment?

How does a President, in the deepest racial divide in American history, proclaim that “all persons held as slaves, are, and henceforward shall be free.”?

Time does not permit, but I would love to tell you of others, who in the face of the currents against them, stood out, spoke up, and took a stand. Gandhi, Dr. M.L.King, Mother Teresa, Hudson Taylor, Corrie ten Boom, L.L.Legters, Valentinia Tereshkova, Eleanor, Queen of France, and Martin Luther to name a few.

The answer to how. They all had CONVICTION!

Convictions that were driving them. Convictions that they would not compromise. Convictions that were bigger than their feelings, circumstances and maybe even courage. Their personal convictions guided their lives, choices, decisions, behaviors and determined their response to others actions.

They were convictions driven. Not feelings or emotions driven.

Convictions are drivers. Convictions not acted upon and practiced are merely beliefs.

Convictions are an unstoppable force. Convictions hold our vision in place even without evidence. When convictions are preeminent, people’s opinions don’t matter.

Convictions = 1. “a formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense.” 2. “firmly held belief or opinion”

Personal convictions = ” set of beliefs that determine what you believe is right and wrong.”

Convictions have no “maybe” or grey area.

In the book, “God is Not Nice”, he states, “the difference between belief and conviction is degree.” Again he says, “Only people with convictions resist.

I believe we are living in days of living out our convictions. It is time to stand up, speak out and not compromise our convictions. No longer sitting idly back in the “silence of dead convictions.” (God is not Nice)

I remember days when my convictions drove me to deliberate and drove me to public action. I marched in protest, carried signs, gathered with thousands in the nation’s mall, made phone calls, wrote letters, participated in marches, parades and conferences. Rallied to the standard, lifted my voice, stood my ground, and did not back down.

It takes conviction to:

  • don a mask and scrubs day after day to fight sickness
  • sacrifice family time to serve the communities needs
  • stand in front of teenagers 5 days a week and try to teach them
  • submit to grueling Special Ops training
  • enlist in the military and stand for freedom
  • plan a 211 mile hike
  • start a business
  • loose weight
  • not quit
  • enlist others in a cause
  • share your opinion when you’ve been quiet for so long
  • give in a way you haven’t done so before
  • rally for a cause
  • take action because you can’t stay quiet any longer
  • learn a skill because it is needed
  • take a stand, even if you’re standing alone
  • say yes, when everyone else is saying no
  • say no, when everyone else is saying yes

Where are your convictions? Now is the time to let them carry you and me to a new place of action. I want to be found guilty of having and exercising my convictions.

We can’t point any fingers at the younger generations if we are not standing up for our convictions, can we?

I believe the tide is changing, and those with convictions, are rising up and speaking out. Who knows what change can be brought to our broken world when this occurs?

May the Lord help us all to live by the power of our convictions.

Cheers to you.