Dec 20, 2019
20-Year-Olds, Time Travel, and 20/20 Hindsight
I wish I could have a conversation with my twenty-year-old self. I have a few things I’d like to say to that guy: “Football is just a game and not worth your worship(ouch). Go ALL IN when the dotcoms hit and pull your money early. Buy your grandma’s house on Pecho Street in Morro Bay. Surrender your life to Jesus now. Save your heart for Shanna. The one you are with is about to break it. The sins you celebrate now will be the ones you battle as an adult.”
It’s true that “Hindsight is 20/20”. The idiom is used to explain that now obvious things were not obvious from the outset and that one can evaluate past choices more clearly than at the time of the choice.
One of my favorite questions on the Men in the Arena Podcast is, “If you could travel back in time, what would you say to your twenty-year-old self?”
How many of you would pay good money for ten minutes of time travel?
Jesus and Talladega Nights
I confess that one of my favorite comedies is Talladega Nights, about NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby, played by actor Will Ferrell. I’m ashamed (not really) to say that my favorite scene is the “prayer scene,” where Ricky Bobby leads his family in a prayer before dinner.Here is a clip excerpt of that scene:
Ricky Bobby: “Dear Lord Baby Jesus, or as our brothers to the south call you, Jesús, we thank you so much for this bountiful harvest of Domino’s, KFC, and the always delicious Taco Bell. I just want to take time to say thank you for my family, my two beautiful, beautiful, handsome, striking sons, Walker and Texas Ranger, or T.R. as we call him, and of course, my red-hot smoking wife, Carley who is a stone-cold fox. I also want to thank you for my best friend and teammate, Cal Naughton Jr., who’s got my back no matter what.”
Cal: “Shake and Bake.”
Ricky Bobby: “Dear Lord Baby Jesus, we also thank you for my wife’s father, Chip. We hope that you can use your Baby Jesus powers to heal him and his horrible leg. And it smells terrible, and the dogs are always bothering with it. Dear tiny, infant Jesus, we…”
Carley: “Hey, you know, sweetie, Jesus did grow up. You don’t always have to call him ‘baby’. It’s a bit odd and off-putting to pray to a baby.”
Ricky Bobby: “Well, I like the Christmas Jesus best, and I’m saying grace. When you say grace, you can say it to grownup Jesus, or teenage Jesus, or bearded Jesus or whoever you want.”
Carley: “You know what I want? I want you to do this grace good so that God will let us win tomorrow.”
Ricky Bobby: “Dear tiny Jesus, in your golden-fleece diapers, with your tiny, little, fat, balled-up fists…”
Chip: “He was a man! He had a beard!”
Ricky: “Look, I like the baby version the best, do you hear me? I win the races and I get the money.”
Carley: “Ricky, finish the (darn) grace.”
Cal: “I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-shirt, cause it says, like, ‘I wanna be formal, but I’m here to party, too.’ Cause I like to party, so I like my Jesus to party.”
Walker: “I like to picture Jesus as a ninja fighting off evil samurai.”
Cal: “I like to think of Jesus, like, with giant eagle’s wings. And singing lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd, with, like, an angel band. And I’m in the front row.”
Carley: “Hey Cal, why don’t you just shut up?”
Cal: “Yes, ma’am.”
Ricky: “Okay. Dear 8-pound, 6-ounce newborn infant Jesus, don’t even know a word yet, just a little infant and so cuddly, but still omnipotent, we just thank you for all the races I’ve won and the 21.2 million dollars – woo! (the rest of the family says “woo” too) – love that money, that I have accrued over this past season. Also, due to a binding endorsement contract that stipulates I mention Powerade at each grace, I just want to say that Powerade is delicious, and it cools you off on a hot summer day. And we look forward to Powerade’s release of Mystic Mountain Blueberry. Thank you for all your power and your grace, dear baby God. Amen.”
As hilarious as that scene is, we must answer the obvious question, Which Jesus are you leading your family to this Christmas? Is it Christmas Jesus who looks like an overweight man in a red suit with reindeer? Or, is it American Capitalist Jesus with his credit card and fancy gift wrapping? Or, is it truly that baby in a manger who has come to save humanity from its sin (Luke 2:8-14)?
Christmas 20/20 Vision
20/20 vision is a term used to express normal vision from a distance of twenty feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what is normally seen at that distance. But, if you have 20/100 vision, you must be twenty feet away to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet. For years I boasted 20/10 vision, which meant I could see things clearly at twenty feet what others saw clearly at ten.
There’s only one way to have 20/20 vision at Christmas—keep your eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-2a admonishes, “Since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.”
In the midst of the Jesus confusion surrounding the Christmas season, we—men—have the awesome responsibility of leading our families to a clear picture of who Jesus really is.
Frame that picture accurately, men.
Colossians 3:1-2 tells us to,“Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
Please join with men in the arena from around the world in having 20/20 as 2020 approaches.
Where Is King James when You Need Him?
I don’t read the King James Version of the Bible but have a few verses memorized in KJV. One of them is Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”
Not only should we have a clear vision of Jesus this Christmas, but during the weeks leading into the New Year—2020. How can you lead your family to Jesus if you can’t lead yourself? What theme do you have for 2020? If you could choose one word to describe your 2020 vision, what would it be? What handful of goals will you pursue in a SMART manner (Specific, Measurable, Attainable,Realistic, and Time-sensitive)?