When Jesus Taught His Disciples to Pray, Did He Teach Them to Tebow?

My own New England Patriots travel to sunny Denver this weekend to tackle (literally!) the Broncos.  I’m excited about this game for two reasons: (1) it’s football involving my favorite team and (2) I get to watch Tim Tebow.

Tim Tebow scorching the Jets (via NYT)

For those who don’t know, Tebow is the epicenter of one of the strangest sports phenomena of my lifetime.  Tim Tebow was one of the greatest college football players of all time as quarterback of the Florida Gators from 2006-09.  Coming out of college, however, pro scouts weren’t sure how well he would do in the NFL given his unorthodox throwing style.  Basically, Tebow doesn’t play like a normal quarterback.  Sports commentators have spent the last two years debating whether he can actually do it.  Nevertheless, all Tebow seems to do is win.  (He’s 7-1 as a starter for the Broncos.)  So there’s that.

Factor into this that Tebow is unabashedly a devout Christian.  He was born in the Philippines to Baptist missionaries and seems to have grown to take his faith seriously as his own.  When he’s not winning football games, he can be seeing praying (or “Tebowing“) or mentioning his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in an interview.

The end result (so far) is that the entire nation — not limited to sports fans — is talking about Tebow.  People either love him or hate him.  Regardless of which side of the fence you camp, your eyes are fixed on Tebow.

My two cents on why Tim Tebow is so compelling?  He’s living a public life (and a good one, at that) with complete conviction.  Tebow makes no apologies for praying publicly (and doesn’t require anyone else do so; and doesn’t look down his nose at others when they don’t).  He doesn’t believe he should get a pass because he’s a decent person.  He understands that he’s easy to make fun of.  He’s working hard, just like, well, not everyone else.

As far as Tebow’s concerned, if he’s going to be a Christian, he’s going to be thoroughly Christian.  Whatever your own stated beliefs, or whatever your vocation, or however else you choose to identify yourself, you probably dream, like me, about diving into that with both feet.  At least, that’s what I’m tebowing for the grace to do.

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Heaven Has Come to Earth

Here we are in the Advent season and I’ve been thinking mostly about the resurrection.  Nevertheless, spending my mental time there has brought me back around to the Christmas story.

Among Western Christians, there’s a common misunderstanding of the relationship between heaven and earth.  Typically, we set heaven in a far place, rather distant from the earth, literally and spatially.  Wherever heaven might be, we imagine, it must be way up there, beyond the clouds and beyond the moon, we’d have to say because we’ve sent people there.  And of course it must now be quite farther away than we originally thought because the Hubble has taken pictures of things pretty far away in space and none of those places seem to be heaven.

According to the biblical witness, however, heaven is not spatially distant, though it may be figuratively so.  It’s an invisible realm, certainly, but it may best be thought as occupying the same space as the physical realm, like a transparency overlay, invisible to most.

But this isn’t what I want to talk about.  I want to talk about the Advent, the incarnation of the Christ, and the implications of the resurrection.  In another 200 words.

Among the miracles of the Christmas story is the very fact of the incarnation.  There, in this child Jesus, heaven and earth were joined, and the fortunate ones of Galilee and Jerusalem in the first century were able to witness the intersection first hand.  It had the appearance of hope, of health, of joy, of compassion.  Those who saw Jesus observed heaven come to earth.

This is what it means to believe in Jesus.  It means to live as he lived, to live after his manner.  Of course, included in this is the individual reception of his Spirit, which now, on the other side of the resurrection, allows every Christian to live simultaneously in both heaven and earth, to walk in both layers of reality.  Jesus had famously taught his disciples to pray after him, that the Father’s kingdom might come to earth, that God’s governance of heaven might be likewise effective on earth.  This is the hope of all the world, that heaven will one day come to earth.

The foretaste broke into the world through a small Palestinian child in a backwoods town in the midst of sheep and goats.  The fullness will be realized when that child, now glorified and seated in heaven, returns.  In the meantime, however, heaven continues to break into the earth through every last believer.  Indeed, it comes through you.

Jesus Culture: Awakening

Last week, Jesus Culture put out its new double album Awakening: Live from Chicago.  Currently, the record sits at #35 on iTunes, surrounded by Daughtry and Now That’s What I Call Christmas!  Killer.

Anyway, the lead song on the album is Awaken Me, which, like most of Jesus Culture’s stuff, is pretty amazing.  I expect many worship leaders around the country are already trying to learn the song so they can introduce it to their churches.  My own colleague, James Allen — worship leader at Wellspring Church and member of Life in Your Way — was doing the same.  Below is his chord chart.  For the lead lines, go to the source.

Awaken Me (capo 3, chords below are relative)

Intro: G/B | G/A

Instrumental: C | Am | Em | G

V1

C

Let our praise be

Em                 D

A highway, fill this place

C

O King of Glory

Em                            D

Touch our cities, fill Your people

C

A new day dawning

Em                         D

Your are shining like the

C

Sun arising

Em                              D

You awake in me, You awake in me

Pre-Chorus

C                             Am                           Em          G

Eyes to see and ears to hear You calling

C                            Am                                Em        G

Our hearts respond to Your Spirit falling

Chorus

G                      D                                                  C                 D

You’re awakening our hearts for Your kingdom

Em                                       D                                      C          D

Heaven is falling as we are declaring Your name

G                   D                                                  C               D

We’ll sing aloud with all of our passion

Em                                           D                          C                  D

King of Glory come and fill this place

V2

Let our lives be a pure reflection of You

King of Glory, shine Your light on us, Your people

A new song rising joined by the sound of heaven’s praise

You’re awakening, You awake in me

C                             Am             Em                            G

Come like You promised, Come fall upon us