A Hero’s Welcome

Jesus was given a hero’s welcome when He entered Jerusalem however, days later the same people who cheered, were calling for His death.

My sisters and brothers:

When the Cleveland Cavaliers came back from a three-games to one hole, to win the NBA Championship over the Golden State Warriors, the city of Cleveland erupted in joy. In defeating the defending champion Warriors, LeBron James and his Cavalier teammates brought the first championship to Cleveland in over fifty years. When the team arrived from the championship game in California, the Cleveland Fans gave them a hero’s welcome, including a parade attended by an estimated1.5 million people.

Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Potter – an orthopedic surgeon, who spent the last four months caring for injured service members and Afghan Allies – returned home to a very enthusiastic hero’s welcome. His entire neighborhood in suburban Bethesda, Maryland, threw a block party in his honor.

Collins English Dictionary defines a hero’s welcome as a very enthusiastic reception from a group of people who show their admiration for something exceptional, that a person or group of people have done.

Jesus was given a hero’s welcome as He entered Jerusalem. The Gospel account in Luke 19:36-38 tells us that as Jesus rode along, people in a sign of respect and love, spread their cloaks on the road.

As Jesus started to go “down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’”

The Cleveland Cavaliers Lieutenant Colonel Potter, and Jesus Christ all richly deserved their heroes’ welcome. However, most of the people who welcomed Jesus that day in Jerusalem, soon turned into a bitter mob, demanding His crucifixion.
What happened to Jesus in Jerusalem – going from hero to the crucified one within the space of a few days – started me to think.

How many times have we given Jesus a hero’s welcome during worship on Sunday morning, and then reject our Lord and Savior on Monday?

How many times have we embraced Jesus when giving godly advice to others, but forget that same advice when it comes to situations in our own lives?

How many times have we given Jesus a hero’s welcome to get us through times of trouble, then all but neglect Him when things are going well?

On this Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week, we commemorate Jesus’ passion, love and resurrection. Let us resolve to always give Jesus the hero’s welcome that He so richly deserves.

When we put Jesus first in our lives, we will receive the hero’s welcome of grace, love, power, and the opportunity to obtain the ultimate hero’s welcome of all – everlasting life with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

Have a blessed Holy Week.

The Gospel According To James – Lebron James

Now that that he has won his second NBA Championship Lebron James is without question the greatest basketball player currently playing in the world. We don’t have be rich and famous like Lebron James to be great. In fact true greatness is shown in the everyday acts of ordinary people using their God-given talents working hard in service to others. The gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that God will provide the way but we must follow His teachings – which are not the teachings of the world – to reveal the greatness that is in all of us.

LBJ on The MoveNow that that he has won his second NBA Championship Lebron James is without question the greatest basketball player currently playing in the world.

Four Pillars of Greatness

Studying Lebron James reveals a path to greatness consistent with what I call the four pillars of greatness. These pillars are not confined to superstars of the NBA; I believe that all of us have greatness within us. The real question is how we harvest them to make ourselves truly great in God’s eyes. So the purpose of this post is to examine the pillars that makes Lebron James great and to challenge us to cultivate the greatness that lies within.

1. God-Given Ability

LBJ Fist PumpAt 6’8”, 250-lb. Lebron James is an impressive physical specimen and a gifted athlete. He is one of the few players in the world that can play all five positions efficiently. Plus, he usually draws the assignment of guarding the opposing team’s best player.

God has also given us an impressive set of skills and abilities. Galatians 5:22-23 outlines the God-given ability that each of us receives in gifts known as “The Fruits of The Spirit” …the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Key Point: Greatness in our lives is realized when we are using our God given abilities to His glory.

2. Hard Work

LBJ Head BandLebron James has the reputation of not only being the best player in the world, but the hardest worker in basketball. James full commitment coupled with preparation and focus has enabled him to lead his teams to victory.

Jesus has the reputation of working hard for us; as the son of God, He could take it easy on His royal throne but as He told the disciples during the Last Supper, He is our servant these are His words: “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27 Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.” Luke 22:25-27

Key Point:  Jesus wants our reputation to be one of service, placing the needs of others before our own.

3. A Plan

Lebron James’ plan is to remain in control of his emotions.  Think about it. Lebron James is emotionally impacted from every source imaginable — the press, teammates, coaches, family and friends — and undoubtedly has thoughts and feelings which are not always positive. However, he knows he is more than what he thinks or feels and is able to stick to his plan to control his emotions, staying focused on providing his best performance for the team.

Emotional control is a game plan that God wants for our lives.  Another James, the brother of Jesus provides us with the emotional control playbook when he says: Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human
anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. – James 1: 19-20

Key Point: God can give us the strength and wisdom to think and listen before we speak and act.

4. You will be great – no matter what

Fear of failure can keep us from achieving greatness. Lebron James knows he must free himself from the fear of failure in order to perform at a high level. Although it is easier said than done, great athletes learn how to overcome fear – so they can attempt the game-winning shot, or hit the home run when the game is on the line.

God gives us the confidence to overcome the failures we all experience on our path to greatness. God sees the greatness in all of us and encourages us to be great through His word.  God saw greatness in the people of Israel when they could not see it themselves. Through the prophet Isaiah, God renewed the strength and the hope of greatness of a captured people.  “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint.”

Key Point: God see greatness in us even when we can’t see it in ourselves.

The Bottom Line: Greatness is at hand.

LBJ & HardwareWe don’t have be rich and famous like Lebron James to be great. In fact true greatness is shown in the everyday acts of ordinary people using their God-given talents working hard in service to others. The gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that God will provide the way but we must follow His teachings – which are not the teachings of the world – to reveal the greatness that is in all of us.