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  • ivanildotrindade 12:53 am on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Baltimore Ravens, CBS, evangelicals, , humility, Lewis, NBC, Person of the Year, Rahab, Ravens, Ray Lewis, speaking for evangelicals, speaking for God, Super Bowl   

    Ray Lewis Doesn’t Speak for God 

    Ray Lewis will probably have a statue of him erected at the Ravens stadium commemorating his storied career. But no amount of rings or statues will ever erase the cloud of suspicions which still hover over the murders of two men, after Super Bowl XXXIV, as a result of which Ray Lewis was convicted of obstruction of justice, after striking a deal with the prosecutor. He also allegedly settled for an undisclosed amount with the family of the murdered men later on before the matter went to trial on a civil court.

    Ray Lewis is undoubtedly a gifted athlete. He also seems to be a sincere man. He claims to be an evangelical Christian, even a preacher. So that means that by virtue of his celebrity status he will at times speak for all evangelicals.

    And that is the matter with Ray Lewis. As far as I know, He is not theologically trained and has no authority to speak on biblical matters as if he were some kind of an expert. And I deplore his attempts to appeal to God in explaining away the questions surrounding the issues of the murders of two innocent men. And that is exactly what Ray did on the eve of the most recent Super Bowl. If you didn’t see the interview, here is the critical moment of it. I reproduce the question the CBS reporter asked him and the unmistakably bizarre answer by Ray Lewis:

    CBS: “What would you like to say to the family?”

    LEWIS: “It’s simple: God has never made a mistake. That’s just who he is, you see. If our system — and this is the sad thing about our system — if our system took the time to really investigate what happened 13 years ago, maybe they would have gotten to the bottom line. But the saddest thing ever is a man looked me in my face and told me, ‘We know you didn’t do this, but you’re going down for it anyway.’ To the family: If you knew, if you really knew the way God works, he don’t use people who commits anything like that for his glory. No way. It’s the total opposite.”

    If you want to read the full report, go here, but in essence Ray is saying that his innocence is proven by the will of God. I say: nonsense.  (For a more incisive analysis of Lewis’ interview, read this story by NBC). The thought that God does not use someone who is decidedly “bad” for His glory is preposterous.

    First, you have to establish whether God is really bringing glory to His name through the individual in question (in this case, Ray Lewis). In the absence of unbiased evidence, are we expected to take Lewis’ own words that God is indeed using him for His glory? How many people have been so successful and done so much good and yet have been so far away from God and don’t care to state that publicly? Goodness is not a propriety of the religiously initiated. Ignorance of God does not make one automatically evil.

    Secondly, all you have to do is take a cursory look at some of the Bible stories. David was a murderer, he was an adulterer, and a thief. Saul was a murderer before he became Paul. Rahab was a prostitute before she became an ancestor of the Messiah. The list goes on and on. And may I tell you about me?

    Look, I am not calling any of these people “bad.” I am just saying they weren’t exactly walking on the straight and narrow. At a certain point in their lives they were not candidates for the “Person of the Year” award. They were not your hometown heroes, they were not someone you would ask to babysit your children. But fast forward a little and each of those folks ended up being used by God to do some significant things.

    Ray Lewis has missed the opportunity to show a little humility. He doesn’t have to admit guilt or confess to something he didn’t do. But I would appreciate if He would just leave God out of his lame explanation. Don’t taint God’s honor with man’s foibles. Don’t think you can fool us by just saying that you and the Almighty have a special deal where He has given you one of a kind killer insight. I cannot bear the thought of hearing that type of nonsense anymore.

    And if Ray Lewis really wants to speak for God, I recommend that he should at least start doing some serious reading and systematic studying of God’s Word, now that He will have plenty of time since he is retiring from professional football. And by all means, express some sorrow to the families for the pain you have, intentionally or unintentionally, caused them.

    And if you change your mind and decide to accept a coaching position with the Ravens, please don’t hire God as your assistant. You may end up embarrassing Him… again!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    • Ted Beaver 9:26 am on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Ray has some interesting theology, for sure. I’ll be paying attention to how he lives his life now that he isnt playing, and doesn’t have the world telling him how great he is on an hourly basis.

    • Derek Johnson 7:13 pm on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      The vague reporting in the Lewis story is the result of the media lumping all Christians into the same category, without bothering to learn the specifics of what they believe. Ray, if you want credibility, say what church you belong to. With the public reporting, it’s possible that he’s religious but doesn’t go to church.

      • ivanildotrindade 11:38 am on February 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        not sure revealing which church he goes to will give him credibility, but I understand that u r making a larger point: show me your confession with your deeds. thanks for posting!

    • lionjudah 1:08 am on February 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      God’s name gets used, blamed and brought into the courtroom of daily living for lots and lots of things that goes against his righteous attributes. Unfortunately, good folk like us justify our selfish and unholy living by involking his holy name. When instead, God should be simply obeyed, revered, feared, and understood as someone to whom we will ultimately stand in judgement.

      The beautiful thing about all of this is that God will be the final judge and we will all–each one of us–answer for the unrighteous deeds we have done. The “lake of fire” is waiting for us unless we confess and own our sins before we make that final “touch down.”

      Knowing this, each of us should come to the foot of the cross of his son, Jesus, to find refuge and forgiveness–that includes me, you, rulers, the high and the low, the rich and the poor and SPORTS HEROS, too.

      Here is a simple story that I used to tell to children. The officials of a local town offered a beautiful bicyle as a prize to any child catching the largest fish in a contest on a given Saturday. So a young lad decided to spend a couple days fishing, then select his largest catch and freeze it until the day of the contest. Sure enough, he was being celebrated for catching the largest fish until the judges weighed his prize fish. But the judges had to disqualify the lad’s fish when they discovered his fish was FROZEN!

      • ivanildotrindade 11:34 am on February 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        thanks, Harold. appreciate your taking the time to comment. not sure how the story relates to ray lewis but i loved it.

  • ivanildotrindade 11:40 pm on June 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cheap salvation, , feeling better than others, free salvation, friend of the poor, how to treat others, humility, low position, putting others first, salvation   

    Learning from Children — Part 2 

    This is the second post of a three-part series of a message I preached last Sunday. Hope you enjoy it. 

    There is a second lesson Jesus wants us to learn through His precious children and that is…

    B. The Lesson of Humility

    To understand this lesson, we turn to Matthew 18:1-6:

    “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’” (Matthew 18:1-6).

    You have to love the way Jesus used children as visual aids for His lessons. These were the days before Power Point or multi-media presentations. They didn’t even have overhead projectors! So Jesus did the next to the best thing: He motioned to a little kid playing nearby and made him stand right in the middle of the disciples to teach them a lesson about humility.

    But I am getting ahead of myself here. I don’t know what to say about the disciples. They were running around with the greatest servant leader of all times and they were constantly bickering about who was the greatest among them. At one point, James and John even enlisted the services of their Mom to ask Jesus if He could position her two sons on either side of Him when they got to the Kingdom. Jesus, of course, told her that she had no idea of what she was asking.

    Unlike the time when the disciples tried to stop children from seeing Jesus, this time Jesus didn’t get indignant, He simply showed his favorite “Power Point” – a small child with no power, no pretention to greatness and no claim to favored status in the world. The text says the child was of “low position.” Jesus took that child, and said, “Look at how this child is – not worried about being important or better than everybody else. Become like this child and you will be the greatest.”

    We all know that when children are small they care little about power and position. It’s only later, as they learn from adults, that they start noticing whether their parents drive a Cadillac Escalade or a Dodge Neon or whether they live in the north or south end of town. Small children are the original egalitarians and they don’t go around pulling ranks.

    I once heard Chuck Swindoll, the famous Christian author, tell the story of a five year old girl who was tired of older kids picking on kids like her so she decided to start her own club. And the motto of her club was “Nobody big, nobody small; everybody medium.”

    And that’s the lesson Jesus wants us to learn from God’s little children here: In spite of what you may consider to be evidence to the contrary you are made of clay and you are returning to clay. You have no reason to feel superior to anybody else on the planet.

    Moses put it this way in his song in Psalm 90:

    “You turn men back to dust, saying, ‘Return to dust, O sons of men.’” (Psalm 90:3)

    Do you pick up some irony here? Here is Moses, the most important prophet in the nation of Israel, getting old and thinking of his imminent death. Moses knew that no matter how important or beloved he was, when it came time for him to go, there would be no arguing with God. God would say “return to dust” and before the dust settled, he would be a goner, so what is the point of feeling superior or treating anyone as inferior to ourselves?

    This is a sober realization, my friends. The truth of the matter, whether you like it or not, is that when it’s all said and done, our names, our achievements, even our religious zeal, do not give us any advantages in this world. We are what we are because of Jesus so all glory goes to Him.

    Now, there is nothing wrong, of course, with aspiring to be something great as long as we don’t allow this aspiration to replace God in our lives. And we should never do it at the expense of other people. Remember: Nobody big, nobody small; everybody medium.

    Paul said it this way in Romans 12:16:

    Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.” (Romans 12:16).

    I am familiar with a church that has an outreach to needy people in their community. On particular weekend people go into the homes of approximately hundreds of families, bring a box full of goods and share the story of the resurrection with people. Just about every year one of the pastors gets a phone call from someone wanting hi8m to sort of handpick a house just for them. Usually the conversation starts like this, “You know I have always wanted to do get involved with this ministry to the needed, but I have a problem with…” And the list can include anything from house with cats to allergic reactions to cigarettes, to “dirty” houses… you name it. The pastor always has to politely encourage people to look for another ministry because they are obviously not ready for this one.

    Imagine if our Lord thought that way when His heavenly Father informed Him that He was going to come to this place called earth and be born a baby with all the traits of earthiness and mortality associated with it. “I will go… if the people receive me as the King that I am.” Or “I will go… if I can live in a palace, surrounded by servants who will tend to my every need.” Or “I will go… if they will accept my message.” Instead, the Word of God says that the eternal Son of God temporarily gave up His claims of divinity to become one of us. He pitched His tent among us, deeply flawed human beings and, in the process, He became a servant, willing to go the distance, even the distance of spilling His own blood so we could have hope of forgiveness and reconciliation with the God who made the universe.

    We read about this in an old Christian song, which Paul quoted in his letter to the Philippians (Chapter 2:5-8):

    “… have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

    Who, being in very natureGod, 
        did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing 
        by taking the very nature of a servant, 
        being made in human likeness. 
    And being found in appearance as a man,
        he humbled himself
        by becoming obedient to death 
    even death on a cross!
    (Philippians 2:5-8).

    I am so glad that Jesus, who was God Himself, didn’t put any conditions. He was willing to humble Himself — He came, he suffered; he died and lived again, just so we could experience forgiveness and achieve reconciliation with the God who made us. Salvation is free but it was not cheap — it cost the life of the Son of God Himself. What does that mean to you?

    I remember one time I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, attending a huge conference, where both Billy Graham and Luis Palau spoke. I will never forget Palau’s remark, after the MC introduced him with a detailed, flowery introduction that ended with, “So it is my honor to give to you this great servant of God, Luis Palau.” Palau stepped up to the podium and, almost sheepishly, whispered into the mic, as if speaking to himself, “If he is a servant, he is not great; if he is great, he is not a servant.” And that is the part of his sermon I remember the most – and it has stayed with me for the rest of my life.

    The second lesson, then, God wants to us to learn through His precious children is this…

    Don’t feel better than anybody else. And don’t be proud. The Bible says that the one who mistreats the poor offends the God who made them. A friend of the poor is a friend of God. 

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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