Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Paradox of Coach Jim Lofton By Fletcher Law, assistant coach 1991-1993, North Hall


                                  The Paradox of Coach Jim Lofton
                                       By Fletcher Law, assistant coach 1991-1993, North Hall

Coach Jim Lofton has built a well-known reputation for his football coaching and Christian character.
What is less known about him by those who did not know him in his coaching career is perhaps his equal devotion to teaching.  This was never in doubt working for him.  This is another lesson young coaches can learn from him.  As a young assistant he made a lasting impression on how a coach has a calling to teach your academic area, your sport and character by example.

A vivid memory of mine was once walking out of the North Hall field house through the washroom.
Future Clemson Tiger and NFL lineman Corey Hulsey, all 6’4 and 330 plus pounds of him and fully dressed out in pads, was sitting on the washer with his helmet by his side.  Coach Lofton was standing by him with an open book.  It was not a playbook on how to block 14 Blast.  Coach had in his hand an English Literature book helping Corey with Shakespeare.  Many people would not know that Coach had a master’s degree in English from Emory University.  I was surprised to learn that Corey was not even in Coach Lofton’s class.  Coach was delaying getting on the field for Lit for a student who also was a football player.  

As a new coach I was warned by defensive coordinator David Stephens about Coach Lofton’s intensity on the sideline on a Friday night.  Another paradox about Coach Lofton was our practices were teaching sessions.  Game days were different.  The coin had been flipped and the kick-off team I headed up was huddling up ready to start the game.  Coach Lofton grabbed my shoulder and hollered “I can’t believe that!”  “What?” was my shocked and puzzled response.  Coach said “There’s (name deleted to protect the guilty) in the stands.  I taught him freshman Health and he played here four years.  And now he is up there smoking a cigarette.”  In shock and disappointment he added “After all I taught him.”  Teaching freshman Health class was as important as Literature or running the 14 Blast or 20 trap properly.

One practice I was concerned about telling Coach that I had to leave early on the next day’s practice because the school I taught at was having a PTA meeting.  He told me sternly that it concerned him  greatly to see coaches not take teaching seriously.  He told me once at practice he was concerned about having a soft drink add on the scoreboard.  Coach was concerned about what even his students drank and ate for snacks.  He believed in his system he had formulated by being a student.  He was always improving himself and refining his system to see why he included certain stretches and exercises and play calls.  He had a system and he was always refining it. He taught his assistant coaches his system.  We all knew what all eleven were to do on every play.  He and we knew what all eleven were to do on defense.

One of his assistants told me a clinic story.  Coach Lofton was listening to Bill Yeoman the inventor of the Houston veer offense speak.  Coach asked the big time college coach what the backside tackle was to do on the outside veer.  The “expert” coach told Coach Lofton he did not know.  This was astounding for Coach.  This is perhaps why were to be taught the idea of the “big picture”.

Coach Lofton taught and led his assistant coaches in a clear direction.  We followed him. The players were to follow us.  There was no paradox in this.  Where could he have learned how to lead, coach and teach by character in all things?  The Apostle Paul wrote- 

1 Corinthians 11:1  (NIV) “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fathers Day - Celebrate Champion Fathers

G.H. "Dick" Law, George Law, J.B. Johnson -Champions provide for their families

Father Fletcher Law, son Graham Law, Grandfather George Law got to celebrate a state championship together

We are approaching Father’s Day.
Mother’s Day is almost a sacred day in the church calendar.  People wax poetic for Mother’s Day.
People are quick to point out the sorry Fathers on Father’s Day.

This blog is about GOOD FATHERS.
George Law my champion
Other blogs will talk about the dreadful state of father’s.  I am sympathetic to that.  Today only about 30% of school kid’s live with both parents.  Many we find are by necessity raised by grandparents and great-grandparents.  These kids might not have the best best family but they many times do not even have a good model family with a father in the neighborhood.

Once at a conference with a friend the speaker said “There is no such thing as a ‘Leave It To Beaver’ family-never was.”
My friend from childhood, church, school and high school football team said “We did”.  And my friend was right.

We had great families and it was not by accident, luck, societal standing or ethnic group.
We had “Champions”.
What is a champion is this a sports metaphor? No it’s biblical.
champions have a heart to compete
And as I said when I preached my Father’s funeral my family had one.
What is a champion in biblical talk?
A champion represents, protects, provides and leads a people and a way they should go.  Yes there are good and bad champions.  
My son’s favorite bed-time story was David and Goliath.
Goliath the giant Philistine was the champion for evil.
David the very young man (probably in his early teens)
was the champion for God’s people of Israel.
Worlds collided.  You know the story.
The giant Goliath was slain by a slingshot and beheaded by the small youth who had no chance.
No, the youth David was not helped by The Almighty because of the misguided notion that “God helps those who help themselves”.
The greater champion was David’s champion.
The champion David was a man “a man after the Lord’s own heart.”
This boy man David was a champion because of he knew to serve the God of Israel.  Was David flawed? Sure he was.  But as the old Methodist evangelist Sam P. Jones said “David was a great sinner, but he was a first-class repenter.”
David knew there there was a God in Israel and trusted and followed Him.
If you will read Psalm 51 David knew he had a Redeemer-Savior.
David’s champion was the Lord and a trust in a coming Messiah.

At a Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s meeting I once heard Dave Van Halanger talk about his young son’s anxiety in hearing follow Jesus.  The boy asked his father with worried face and tears how could he follow a Jesus he could not see as he was taught in Sunday School.  Dave told him citing a verse from the New Testament “Son, you follow me, I’ll follow Jesus.”
You have a champion no matter your gender, race, income or status.
We all have a champion who defeated death, hell and the grave.
His Name is Jesus Christ.
Lord send a revival now we plead.

Lift Jesus Up!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gainesville Times Article On The Good News at Noon Revival and Facility Expansion

Here is an article from The Times about our ministry expansion and our revival that was held in June.

Gainesville Times article on Good News at Noon 

Revival and Facility Expansion 

 Good News Pastor Fletcher Law and Shelter Director Thomas Ramirez
Add Here is our dining room that would be converted to a worship area.caption
 Local shelter kicks off revival with plans for expansion

Carly Sharec
June 9, 2014

The land beyond the Good News at Noon shelter is overgrown with rundown buildings, but Pastor Fletcher Law sees great potential.
“Hopefully, we’re going to get ... pretty much this whole block,” Law said, standing in a giant warehouse. He didn’t know the square footage, but it rests on 2.58 acres that now belong to the nonprofit.
“We’re hoping this will be a children’s ministry, a children’s gym,” he said about the building, located just down the road from Melrose Community apartments. “The children, they’re over here all the time. They’re over here late at night.”

This picture tells us why  and wherewe are in ministry

Good News at Noon spent around $250,000 to purchase the land and the building; they need to raise around $100,000 to settle that debt, and then just as much to complete the renovations, Law said.
Along with a children’s gym for the youth ministry, plans include a community garden and a fitness trail.
“We need everything, I think,” Law said. “We need to rebuild what we’ve got, too. It’s ancient. I bet that building might be 80 years old.”
Expansion plans have been in the works for some time, but Law hopes the shelter’s first-ever revival, taking place this week through Wednesday, will encourage community members to learn more about the shelter’s mission and the plans for the future.
“Obviously, it’s going to give us more space to work with our children,” said On-Site Director Thomas Ramirez. “(And) to work with our homeless in order to educate them so they can get a better quality of life.”
He’s watched some of the children grow up, and now sees them working in various jobs in the community.
“It makes me feel good,” he said. “This is fruit from Good News at Noon. The longer God allows me to live, I’m going to keep on doing the same thing.”
They don’t have specific fundraising efforts in place, but leaders are getting the word out through social media and other public avenues, including this week’s revival, which will feature “old-fashioned evangelist” Ray Lowe from Thomaston.
Meals will be served at 7 p.m. nightly, with music beginning at 7:30 and the service beginning around 8 p.m.
“It’s very exciting,” Lowe said. “We’re going to deal just with salvation. Of course, for a lot of people here, they’re not saved.”
Good News founder Gene Beckstein began feeding hungry people in 1987. The nonprofit has grown to provide free meals at lunch and dinner every day, as well as a men’s shelter and the youth ministry.
“We try to lift Jesus up in both word and deed,” Law said. “We share Jesus.”
Shelter Director Thomas Ramirez shows shelter plans.

Good News at Noon, 979 Davis Street, Gainesville,GA 30503
Mail to PO Box 1577

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Beware the "Super Christian" With No Home Church

How do you justify denominations and a "home church"?
There is so much apostasy, and cultural paganism in the church?
Denominations are craziness!
Your response.

As a Christian, pastor,  Bible teacher and student I will answer this broad accusing statement. ( I narrowed down the rambling bitter question for some clarity)
Before reading my response please ask yourself  if you really want the answer or are you just spouting a unformed opinion?

First of all know Jesus Christ who was fully God and fully man died on the cross to pay for the sins of all who would turn (repent) of their sins and confess Him as Lord.  This gives all who believe pardon for sins, peace with God and eternal life with the Father in Heaven.

Ephesians 2:8-9
New International Version (NIV)
“8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”

The world and times are diverse.  Form, culture and sociological customs vary from country to country and have changed over centuries.

What does matter is that in worship the Bible is preached, the Bible is prayed and  sung,  heard and seen in communion and baptism .

The purpose of the church is to worship, make disciples though missions and ministries, and evangelize the lost.

The church is and worship are of major importance  just as it was for Jesus and the Apostles.

Luke 4:16 New International Version (NIV)
“16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,”

Hebrews 10:25
New International Version (NIV)
“25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

You must ask yourself and the Lord “Am I saved?” 
If so, serve your King and Heavenly Father with you brother and sisters.  If you are a child of God you are not an orphan.
Griping never helped the cause of Christ to my knowledge.
Though many keep griping and frustrate and discourage themselves and others.

Know you are saved and serve.

Have liberty in who and how you serve

2 Corinthians 3:17  New International Version (NIV)
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Do not curse yourself and be more religious than Jesus.

Christians are the family of God and not orphans.

Do not be the obnoxious "Lone Ranger" thinking you are the only one that has it right.

Craziness would be to not serve your Savior and King with the spirit of thankfulness. 

Find a church - get to work.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Easter Pep Talk For Gospel PreachersThis Easter

The pulpit at Hodges Chapel of Beeson Divinity and the world's best D.Min program.  I am a grateful alumni.  

Preacher you have a mission to complete this Sunday.

This is Easter week.
This is what I as a preacher, and also a member of a congregation, suggest to help preachers to think about to get it going.

1.) Preachers Do Not Be Smirky Or Rude To People Who Need The Gospel.
You know the C&E people( Chrismas and Easter only)
Preacher do not say Merry Christmas and Happy Easter or refer in a snarky way to people who need to hear the gospel.
Many mothers, fathers and friends have prayed fervently that
they could get who they can in the family and in their friendships to hear the gospel.
Jesus told Peter to "feed my sheep."
If you feed the sheep they will return.
Peopel need the spiritual Word to eat.
Preach the gospel!

2.) Do Not Abandon Your Pulpit For Any Reason - PREACH THE GOSPEL!
Once on Easter I was not preaching or had a ministry position.
While  on the road I attended six church services including a main Easter morning service.
No Word or gospel message.
Music dominated.
I was driving from church to church that Holy Week and it was like the day of young Samuel.
1 Samuel 3:1 (NASB) "... And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent."
When I go to recitals, schools, businesses or art performances I have never had the event stopped and someone say "And now the gospel will be preached and the mystery of the atoning salvation of Jesus Christ will be delivered to convert your soul and change your eternal destiny."
This is our time and our mission.
This Sunday preach the gospel.

3.) God Had One Son And He Made Him A Preacher.
I heard R.C. Sproul say that once.
God places high value on the preached Word.
You should too.
In the gospels carpenter tools were long ago put away.
Jesus had a three year itinerant preaching ministry that changed the world.
I once started a lively discussion in seminary pointing out that Jesus was a preacher.
Gasps and disproving responses followed this perceived slight of our Lord by who? Prospective ministers.
This shows you what my seminary really thought of gospel preaching.
As a matter of fact Jesus was not only a gospel preacher He was a expository (basing the gospel message on the Scripture read) preacher.

Matthew 4:14-17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
"14 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

4.) Remember God Ordained And Established Preaching To Share The Gospel To Save This Lost World.

The LORD believes in the power of preaching - you do it.

1 Corinthians 1:21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
"21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe."

5.) Remember Saint Francis Was A Fireball Gospel Preacher.
Saint Francis never said the silly statement attributed to him.
"Preach the gospel always, when necessary use words."
People who say that hate or do not understand gospel preaching.
Lives depend on the preached Word.
Why would he not say such a stupid statement?
Francis believed Holy Scripture and PREACHED THE GOSPEL!
Check this link to Christianity Today's Mark Galli's article putting that lie to rest.
"Speak the Gospel, Use deeds when necessary."
Mark Galli | posted 5/21/2009

Preacher, yes you can sing songs on Easter, art work can be displayed by the kiddies, and yes you can do a lot of special things this Sunday.
Do not forget to make the main thing the main thing.

6)Make the Gospel clear
Jesus through His perfect life, death, burial and resurrection will pardon sins, make peace with God and all who repent and confess Him as Lord will be saved and be welcomed into the kingdom.

Preacher, you cannot forget and not verbally explain humanity's sin, the need for a Savior, Jesus Christ and His perfect life lived, His sacrificial death as He took the wrath of God on the cross intended for sinners, He was the perfect sinless Lamb of God sacrificed for sinners like me, that we are commanded to repent and turn from our sins and to Christ for forgiveness of sins, peace with God, salvation for the unworthy like us, and eternal life and citizenship in Heaven for those who believe.

Preacher you can do it.
This Sunday smile, say hello to all, walk to the pulpit, turn your back on the fluff and many non-essentials and as Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said take your Biblical text and "make a beeline to the cross."

1 Corinthians 1:17 (NASB)
"17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why I Am a Christian and Not A Christ Follower

Why I Am a Christian and Not A Christ Follower

One of the zingers frequently said is
something like “I am down with Jesus and not with his friends.”
And there is the undocumented Gandhi quote about how he “almost”
became a Christian except he blames Christians. (a probable made up quote 
since Gandhi was a Hindu he could have added Jesus on to their pile of gods.)

Robert Schuller was big on dropping “Christian” from his vocabulary over a decade ago.
“Christ follower” was his new handle.
Religion does like fads.
Christ follower is what can also describe Mormons, Jehovah Witness,
New-agers and plenty of folks.
This does not sound like the redeemed church that the divine Jesus Christ
 said He would die for in Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

The word tradition is often lessened by fads like a tradition of wearing
Your lucky T-shirt to a football game with out washing it.
Tradition is a pretty good reason for those “Born again” to call themselves Christians.
Try 2,000 years worth of tradition.

Paul and Barnabas liked the title.

Acts 11:26 New International Version (NIV)
26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

Peter viewed the title Christian as a badge of honor.

1 Peter 4:15-16  (NIV)
15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

 What did Jesus think about His friends those put down Christians?

Acts 20:28
28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

10 Problems "Progressive Christians" (and Liberal Atheists) Have With Noah

10 Problems “Progressive” Christians (and liberal atheists) have with Noah

1.  It is in the Christian Bible (yes it is our Bible).  Says who?  Jesus.
     Matthew 24:37-38 New International Version (NIV)
37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;  - Jesus

2.  Noah was an intense man of faith credited by The Lord.
       Hebrews 11:7 (NIV)
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

3. Noah is all about righteousness and judgment.
     2 Peter 2:4-6  (NIV)
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;

4. Why yes the story of Noah is about salvation.  Physically and by foreshadowing it tells the story of the world’s only Savior.
    1 Peter 3:19-21 (NIV)
19 After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

5. Noah was “ Preacher of righteousness.
   2 Peter 2:5 (NIV)
5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;

6.  Noah is about God’s patience and grace.  Yet one day it will end.
    1 Peter 3:20 (NIV)
to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,

7. Noah was ignored with his prophetic Word.  Jesus said to pay attention now.
     Luke 17:26-27 (NIV)
26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.” –Jesus

8. Noah like Jesus was ignored by critics.  It cost the critics everything.
       Luke 17:26 (NIV)
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.

9.  Noah like Jesus preached of a coming judgment but also a singular gracious salvation.
Matthew 24:36-38 (NIV)
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of
Man. – Jesus

10.  Noah believed in a Savior.
       Jesus believed in Noah and the Noah true event was a story about His coming salvation and then judgment.