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By Pastor Calvary Callender

I heard the story about a high school football player who was the second string linebacker and hardly every played. He only played on the kick-off team and then he would play when his team got way ahead, they would send him in with the scrubs. But it was the last game of his senior year and he stormed into the coaches' office and he had this sense of urgency about him. He said, "Coach, you've got to let me start. You've just got to let me start. You've got to let me start tonight." The coach said, "I can't make any promises." You see this boy didn't play a whole lot, but his dad was like most other dads, he came to every game. He was there no matter what even if his son played little or none he was always there rooting and cheering his son on. He was like most dads in that way, but he was unlike most dads in that he was blind. Even though his son didn't play a lot, he never saw him play, but he was always there to cheer for him. He was always there and his presence was always felt even though he was blind. But this young man begged and begged and begged the coach until finally right before the game the coach said, "Okay, I'll let you play the first series." Well, that young man went in and he was fired up to play. They handed it off to the fullback and bam, he just slammed that fullback behind the line of scrimmage and stopped the play. The very next play the quarterback went back to pass and this young linebacker blitzed and sacked the quarterback. He played the rest of the game. He ended up with over 20 tackles and at the end of the game as he came running off the field the coach grabbed him by the helmet and he said, "Son, what got into you? He said that's one of the greatest games I've ever seen a high school linebacker play. I don't get it. What happened?" He said, "Well, coach, you know my dad who comes to every game and he's blind?" The coach said, "Yeah, I know who your dad is. I know all about that." He said, "Well, my dad died last night and this is the first game he's ever seen me play. That's why I had to play." He said, "I was playing for him. I was playing for him and it made all the difference."

So the question is, who or what are you playing for? Are you playing for toys, for possessions? Are you playing for pleasure? Are you playing for pats on the back? Are you playing so that people can say you're a good guy or girl? Who are you playing for? The only one that really matters is the One who made you, the coach who made you and who put you in the game. Your Heavenly Father. He's the only One that really matters and Him saying well done.

News Features - Mentor's Corner


By Pastor Calvary Callender

I can still remember the smell of the freshly cut grass on the mornings of two-a-day football practice. We always started early, just as the August sun was coming up, and the morning dew would still be on the ground. I can remember the nervous excitement we all had, not only for the upcoming football season, but also because we knew the first day of school was only a few days away. What would be new this year? Would we make new friends? What would our classes be like? Each year was a chance to reinvent ourselves and shrug off mistakes we might have made the year before.

The new school year is upon us and the same nervous excitement is evident on all of the students' faces. One thing I will never forget is the teacher's that impacted my life. The anticipation of a new school year is not unique to students, but teachers as well. I have always held teachers in the highest regard because they are giving their lives to teaching our young people. They are responsible for molding many lives and they feel that burden.

In the Bible is a book called Titus that says, "Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us" (Titus 2.7-8). The burden that a teacher bears is great. As we begin another school year, let's remember to support our teachers. They have one of the most important jobs imaginable!

News Features - Mentor's Corner


By Pastor Calvary Callender

The notion that there are many truths might seem well suited to a diverse society, but when everyone is free to define truth as he or she prefers we are left without a moral compass and no truth.

This past week, I read a true story about a pastor who was conducting a series of meetings on the East coast. And while he was there, he stayed with some friends and traveled from their home to wherever he was speaking that particular evening. And on that night, he was scheduled to speak at a church in Greenville, South Carolina. A member of the church in Greenville came to pick him up and the pastor told his hosts that he would be back no later than midnight. And after teaching at the Greenville church, he stayed for a while to enjoy some fellowship and then rode back to where he was staying, which was in a neighboring town. As he and his ride approached the house where he was staying, he saw the porch light on and assumed that his hosts would be prepared for his arrival. And he told the member from the Greenville church who was taking him there to "go ahead, hurry back, you've got a long drive, and my hosts expect me to be late, so go on". It was in the middle of winter and the pastor made the long walk to the house, which was set a ways off the road. He was already quite cold by the time he reached the front door. And he tried the door and it was locked. So he gently knocked. And there was no answer. He knocked a little harder. There was no answer. He knocked even harder still. No answer. He went around to the kitchen door. Tried that. It was locked. He knocked there. Checked the kitchen window. No success there. So he ended up walking several miles to find a telephone where he could call his friends, whom he figured were sound asleep. And during his walk, he slipped on a wet spot on the grass and fell down an embankment into two feet of water. Freezing wet, he finally came to a motel, where he found a telephone and he finally reached his sleepy hosts. And he told them, "I hate to wake you, but I couldn't get anyone in the house to wake up and let me in. I'm several miles down the road at the motel. Could you come and get me?", to which his friend replied, "Don't you remember, you have a key in your coat pocket. I gave it to you before you left this evening." Well, embarrassed, the pastor reached into his coat and pulled out a key to the front door.

Isn't it interesting that many of us have the key, or know where the key is, but fail to use it. Jesus himself said he is the way, the truth, and the life. We must believe this truth. My hope is that we will all realize that the only way we will open the door is with the key.

News Features - Mentor's Corner


By Pastor Calvary Callender

Have you ever been held captive by someone?  Have you ever been in a situation so hopeless you knew there was no way you could win?  I know I have shared with some of you about my uncle Artie.  He and I have always been pretty close. My whole life, sales every time I saw Artie, treat I would wrestle with him.  Sometimes we played mercy (where he would crush my fingers), diagnosis sometimes I would sneak up on him and jump on his back (where he would throw me down), and sometimes, when I was brave enough, I would try to take him on mano y mano.  The reason I always thought I could take him was because I played lots of sports and was always lifting weights and getting stronger.  When I got to college, me and some buddies started seriously lifting weights.  Then I joined my college track team and threw shot-put, where I had to work out even more.  On one trip home, I brought a friend with me and we went to visit my Uncle Artie.  I figured we were young, he wasn’t, and we had been lifting weights.  I was lifting well over 300 pounds by now.  To make a long story short, we both jumped Artie and the ensuing battle took all of about 15 seconds.  He tossed my friend to the ground about 10 feet away and quickly grabbed one of my wrists.  When I reached to pry my hand loose he grabbed my other wrist, with the same hand, and I felt like they were in a vice grip.  He pushed them against my chest and me onto the couch and there was no hope.  I couldn’t get away, I was stuck.  When my friend got back over there and jumped in, Artie did the same to him and had us both pinned there helplessly.  That was the last time I ever tried to take my uncle Artie on.
Sometimes life is like this. Things creep up in our life, one at a time, and eventually we become trapped by the weight of it all. This month we will celebrate Independence day. In 1776, some brave men and women became tired of the weight of a tyrannical government and declared their independence. On the Fourth of July, we will celebrate our nations declaration of independence.  
In the book of Romans in the Bible, Paul tells us that we don’t have to be trapped by this sin, these things in our lives, anymore. He says that God’s grace can set us free. All we have to do is declare independence from these things and proclaim a dependency on God. What better time could there be than this to declare our own independence of the things that weight us down? I hope you will join me in doing exactly this as we celebrate Independence Day this year.

News Features - Mentor's Corner


By Pastor Calvary Callender

When I was in high school playing football, I can remember when I hurt my back. It only hurt a little at first, but eventually grew to be pretty bad. I would come home from practice and go lay down in bed because my back hurt. I tried to tell my dad that over time my back was hurting pretty bad, but he just gave me the standard "dad" talk and told me it was growing pains. Other dad sayings were to "rub dirt on it" and "shake it off." Mom, on the other hand, was a gentle voice. She would baby me a little, bring me something to drink, a snack, and a kind word. She always tried to nurse me back to health. If she had ever asked, "Do you want to be better?" I would have said, "Yes" without question. I have to admit, though, that there was something I liked about the pampering that came with being sick.

There's a story in the book of John in the Bible. It's about a paralyzed man who lay by a pool called Bethesda. He laid by this pool because legend had it that the water would be stirred by an angel from time to time, and the first person to jump in when it was stirred would be healed. One day, Jesus came upon the man and asked this man if he wanted to be healed.

It sounds like a trick question, right? Like the answer would be rather obvious. In fact, it probably ranks with, "Do you want a spankin'?" I don't ever remember saying, "Yes, that would be nice." While at first glance this seems like a trick question, if we dig further however, it seems like it might be a legitimate question. See, this guy had been sick for 38 years and all that time he relied upon the kindness of others to make his way in life. If he were to "get well" he would have to earn his way for the first time in 38 years. He would no longer have an excuse for what his life was. The responsibility would be his.

What about us? Maybe our lives are crippled by problems, crippled by circumstance, or crippled by sin. Could it be that we could ask ourselves the same question, "Do we want to be well?" Personal responsibility is something that seems to escape many of us. When problems come our way, it is easy to place blame on others. In fact, we often deal with our problems by saying, "It isn't my fault!"

So the question Jesus asked the paralytic isn't crazy at all and it echoes down the ages to each of us today, "Do you want to get well?" If so, we must assume responsibility. When problems arise in our lives, solve them. If we can help someone else solve a problem, we should. If we want to "get well," we first have to be willing. This is a question we all must ask ourselves, "Do we want to be well?"

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