Friday, January 20, 2012

All You Need Is Faith In God!

Years ago when I was growing up I remember this yelling preacher on the radio. Each morning as my mom would drive us to school she would have the radio tuned into to a local christian station. This was a station that had more preaching on it than music. Since that trip to school was typically the same 10-15 minute window every morning, I got real familiar with this one preacher. There was never a day when he didn't get cranked up. At some point during those 10 to 15 minutes he would let loose. To this day I still remember how he ended every program. "You don't have any trouble, all you need is faith in God!"

This screaming preacher was R.W. Schambach. Its really interesting that years later I would find myself working at that very radio station that I once listened to when I was a child. One of the programs that I often played during my shift was "The Voice of Power," with R.W. Schambach. He never changed his style of delivery. He seemed to embody the idea that it was like fire shut-up in his bones.

I learned this week that heaven welcomed him home. My first thought was one of great sorrow. Not for him, but for us. As for him, I can picture him today shouting, dancing, singing, and having a blast. But, for us, we just lost a powerful man of God. I met a lot of ministers while working at that radio station, but unfortunately I never had the opportunity to meet R.W. Schambach face to face. I heard stories though of those who had met him. All of the stories were consistent. He was an intimidating figure. Not in a bad way, but in the sense that he carried with him an anointing that often made you feel as Isaiah did when he was in the presence of the Lord and fell face down on the floor. I heard it said of his eyes that they seemed to pierce right through you. I heard from men who knew him that what you saw on the platform wasn't simply a charismatic preacher but was the result of a man who had been with Jesus and was consistently found in prayer.

While I'm sure there are those who couldn't handle the preaching style of Rev. Schambach, its hard to ignore the fact that because of his faithfulness to God's call on his life that millions of lives were affected. Heaven is and will continue to be populated by those who were touched by this man's ministry. There are those who are saved, healed, and delivered today because this preacher shouted the life changing message of Jesus wherever he went. I heard him say once that "it seems like God has sent me to the poor, the hurting, and the outcast." It was a calling he seemed to truly embrace. He didn't set up camp and go after the rich in order to fill his pocketbook and to provide him with a lavish lifestyle. He went after those to whom he was called in order to set the captives free and fill up heaven. While some would call him "old-school," I think ministers today could learn a great deal from this man.

As time ticks away, our generation is quickly losing great men of God like R.W. Schambach. What's sad is many young men and women today fail to see the value in men like him. Ministers go to school, learn preaching techniques, how to read Greek and Hebrew, and how to gather a crowd. They think they've arrived when they have a group of people who will sit and listen to them as they show off all their knowledge of Scripture with a polished delivery style. And they are extremely successful if they can gather more than the guy down the street. Somehow, I think R.W. Schambach wasn't near as focused on the number that showed up as he was in the number of people whose lives were transformed by the power of God. Schambach was a pillar in the body of Christ. I'm just wondering who in our generation picks up his mantle?

Schambach is one of those men who left this earth better off than it was when he got here. He impacted the world by simply allowing God to work through him. I was one of those impacted by his ministry and I will be forever grateful for his faithfulness to the call of God. I will never forget and we all would do good to never forget that "we don't have any trouble, all we need is faith in God!"

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tebow Madness

Everywhere you turn there's talk about Tim Tebow. Even those who don't particularly like football are joining in on the conversation. There are those who love him and there are those who despise him. There are those who love all the attention he's getting and there are those who wish everyone would just stop with all the chatter.

I must admit, the Tebow madness is a bit peculiar. Afterall, there have always been those players who take a knee after scoring a touchdown, or point to the heavens. There have always been those who thank God for their success, but for some reason there's much more hoopla about this kid. For some reason there is a spotlight on him that is unlike anything I've ever seen.

Perhaps its his story. Afterall, had his mom taken the advice of her doctors she would have aborted him after experiencing complications during her pregnancy. So, from the beginning he seems to be one who beats the odds. Throughout his life he's been told by "experts" he doesn't have to tools to play quarterback, yet he just steps on the field and plays quarterback. Not only does he play quarterback, but somehow and someway more times than not, he seems to find a way to win. To make the story more interesting he does so without fitting into some pre-established quarterback mold and leaves all the experts scratching their heads. Perhaps the fascination with Tebow is just the fact that he stands toe to toe with all the naysayers and proves them wrong. Maybe the fascination with this kid is just the way he seems to be so secure in who he is that "proving" those opposing voices wrong is really more a result of just being who he is and less about proving anything to anyone.

There are those that would love for him to tone down the Jesus rhetoric. Afterall, does God really help him throw touchdown passes and win football games? Well, if we buy into what the "experts" say, there's no way he could do it with his skill set. Some say he's just got a lot of heart and never gives up. Yet, I've seen a lot of athletes with a lot of heart and who never give up that don't have the kind of success that Tebow has. So, how do you explain this phenomenon? Does God really empower this young man while he's on the football field?

I'm not sure how important football is to God, but I do know that God can breath on human flesh and it make it perform beyond it's own ability. Take David in the Bible for instance. Was he really such a sharp shooter with his little sling that he managed on one shot to nail the giant in one of the only exposed places on his body that would bring him tumbling to the ground? I have to believe this unproven warrior brought down the giant with a little help from above. Gideon, Moses, Sarah, Abraham, Mary, Peter, Paul, and on and on the list goes of men and women whose flesh needed the blessing of God to do some of the things they did. Those who don't believe those stories could never fathom Tebow experiencing God's favor in his life. On the other hand those who do believe those stories should not struggle with the possibility that God's favor is all over this young man.

As I've watched all of this play out over the last several months, one thing that really stands out to me is that its not really about football. Sure, he plays football, but the sport doesn't define him. Whether he wins or loses he just never seems to get too up or down. When he's praised he is quick to divert it and when he's criticized he doesn't let it rattle him. At the end of the day, he understands that succeeding at football pales in comparison to a cross and an empty tomb.

I like Tim Tebow. Not because he plays football, but because I see in him something I wish I would have had at his age. What am I saying? I see something in him I wish I had at my age today. He's a man of conviction and carries a strength that very few have. When I look at him I just see a person who serves as a model of how a believer should approach life. No, he's not perfect and he's not superman. He's a man on a journey just like the rest of us that Scripture calls "living epistles read of all men." He seems to live his life with the Scripture constantly in mind.

While I would love to see him continue on and win the Super Bowl, only God knows how the script will play out. If he loses the experts will be quick to say "I told you so." If he wins Hollywood will be lining up to make make the movie. Regardless of what happens on the football field somehow I believe it will do little to change this young quarterback. Afterall, he understands that his position on a football field is secondary to his position as a child of God.