When the chance came for Hamlet to (rightly) avenge his father, he held back with a ridiculous worry. The perfect opportunity slipped through his grasp.
It’s good to not be rash, to pray for the right direction in life. But we can excuse our inactivity too much at times. There needs to be an urgency to act as well as a wisdom to wait on God. Strike the balance.
Because Hamlet failed to carry out the necessary revenge, ultimately he died. Because Christians fail to carry out God’s mission, the Spirit passes over them on to another. Or worse, what God wants to do in the Earth gets stymied.
When my father-in-law was coming to after a 10-hour surgery, he heard words that transformed his life. He had always been a community servant, a fighter for the community. He was a good man. But these words re-directed his goodness.
“Only eternity matters.”
God spoke to Stan, and from then on, all of his efforts to help Chinatown of Los Angeles were undergirded by Christianity. When his lifelong dream became a reality of opening a police substation to fight the worrisome neighborhood crime, Stan helped church members to work there so they could give the gospel.
In August, a hollow shell of the former Chinatown big shot breathed his last and stepped into Eternity. The last decades of his life had focused on the fact that we are NOT going to be on this blue globe forever.
I can’t wait to see him again.
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, Lori Ayala was first horrified.
Then she gathered her courage and faced it with faith. She did surgery and treatments — and she prayed and strengthened herself in her faith in the church. She didn’t waver, even when it recurred a year later.
“I wasn’t afraid because I knew God had healed me,” said the 51-year-old director of the Lighthouse Christian Preschool in Santa Monica. “I don’t know why God wanted me to go through this. It wasn’t an immediate victory.”
I remember coming back from Guatemala for a break from missionary work one year and talking with Lori. She was laughing about how wonderful it was to have cancer because everybody in the church cooked meals for her. Her attitude made a profound impression on me.
Today, Lori is a source of joy at the Lighthouse Christian Preschool. And she is a great testimony of how to not cow in fear before the C-word.
For the hundreds of people like her facing daunting disease and pain, the Lighthouse Church is staging a healing crusade at the John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica at 7:00 p.m. this Saturday. It’s free. In past healing crusades, notable miracles have been performed. Why not give it a try?
Move over, Tim Tebow. There’s a sophomore with sticky fingers and fancy footwork who’s also publicly acknowledging something greater than thousands of raucous fans.
Payton – known as “JP” by his Bruin teammates but as “Big Joe” when he was a student at Lighthouse K-8th grade – credits Christ as the big motivation of his life – even bigger than one day winning a Super Bowl.
“Lighthouse prepared me in every aspect – spiritually and physically,” Payton told LCA News last year. “Spiritually, they’ve given me the best path to stay on. I understand the world’s a crazy place, and I need God in my life.”
Payton’s mom, Kathy, who teaches at Lighthouse Christian Academy in the Independent Study Program, is not surprised her son has gone so far in football.
It was Kathy who scolded his Pop Warner coach at half time for not playing him in a Las Vegas tournament – Jordan was only eight playing with 10- to 12-year-olds. “You need to play Jordan,” she told the Pacific Palisades team coach. “He can catch the ball.”
Wisely, that coach heeded Kathy, and Jordan went in to catch a long bomb pass that ultimately led the Bruins (was the name prophetic?) to overturning the halftime losing scoreline.
Payton has always been big and strong – so big that he was out of his weight class in seventh grade and couldn’t play Pop Warner. Now 6’2” and 212 pounds, he’s fast and fierce on the field. On the Oct. 5 game against the University of Utah, the wide-receiver caught a pass and strong-armed his coverage to score a touchdown, his first this season. See touchdown here.
While he’s fearsome to foes, he’s humble and gentle to everyone else. Christianity marks his life more than the pigskin. In the pre-season, Payton wisely avoided an antagonistic war of words with another UCLA player competing for Jordan’s first string spot.
“God is #1 in his life,” said Kathy. “He knows that God has given him a gift. He really believes he’s going to go to the NFL. From that point, how ever God uses him to help others – physically, spiritually or financially – that’s just how Jordan is.”
Payton didn’t feature in Lighthouse football because he wanted to play 11-man, so he opted for Westlake Village-based Oaks Christian High. LCA only has 8-man football.
The biggest influence in his life was his older brother, Michael Payton, who played for Santa Monica College, then for Oregon State University and finally for West Virginia Tech – all after wreaking havoc on opponents as an LCA player, Kathy said.
LCA’s football program launched with Pastor Rob Scribner, an LA Rams player 1973-74, as coach. Later it flourished under the direction of former Principal George Neos, a three time Ivy League champion at Dartmouth University.
The Saints’ football program is experiencing an unexpected revival this year under coach Justin Kayne. They are currently 5-1 in CIF southern section.
While at Oaks, Jordan Payton went on mission trips to China and Haiti. In that Caribbean island, he and fellow students built a house after an earthquake decimated the island. “It was hard for him to see,” Kathy said.
There’s a compassionate side to Jordan side that opponents don’t see.
Since he “pulled a Tim Tebow,” does Payton admire that NFL quarterback who sparked controversy a few years ago by openly honoring God?
“He doesn’t watch Tim Tebow,” Kathy said. “He took a knee just because he was so thankful he got a touchdown after all the rigmarole he has had to go through fighting for a position. He has to work extra hard every single practice to show the coaches that he’s the one to play.”
To date, Payton has made 9 receptions and rushed 163 yards this season.
This article originally ran at http://www.thelighthousechristianacademy.com/jordan-payton-offers-power-as-wide-receiver-at-ucla/
Ha! The last three years have been the humility lab class for me. I went from being general pastor of four churches and principal and founder of a school to… nothing. Criminals forced us to flee the mission field and return to the home church.
At the home church, I longed to serve and I yearned to make a difference, to help stoke the fires of revival. But so many missteps of mine only stoked the fires of resentment. I was asked to give up ministry and look for a secular job. Ouch!
It seemed like every ministry position was already filled by someone who was more qualified than myself. I tried Sunday school. I tried teaching in the regular school. I tried publicity. I thought my experience could be a boon for the church.
After floundering for a couple years, I finally found a ministry where I was heartily welcomed, where I didn’t step on any toes, where I could satisfy my hearts longing to simply be useful. I don’t want to be important but to do important work.
It was not my first choice of ministry. It was cleaning.
I kept secretly admiring the main cleaning guy, who unpaid got up early and stayed up late assuring that schoolkids and church members alike could enjoy spotless environs. Zach Scribner had a vision for cleaning and saving the church money. I had zero vision for cleaning.
But I wanted to help where I could make an impact. Zach never got a day to rest in — until now. He is overjoyed to finally get a day off. And that makes me happy.
Chatting, a brother said, “Working your way up in an organization always works.” And that’s when it hit me: I haven’t worked my way up, I’ve worked my way down. Serendipitously, I fell into Mark 10:44: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. Aim not to be chief but to serve.
Kneeling before a toilet bowl, I reflected that I was doing it for my God. I thought of many who would despise such labor, some of whom also kneel before a toilet bowl, not to clean, but to throw up… for their god, alcohol.
In any other organization, expect to work your way up. In the church, look to work your way down.