Posts Tagged ‘Mark Richt’

Sermon 12-06-15: “Reel Christmas Classics, Part 2: A Christmas Story

December 7, 2015


This sermon, illustrated using clips from the 1983 film “A Christmas Story,” is mostly about greed: our sinful tendency to desire far less than what God wants to give us. But it’s also about the gospel of Jesus Christ, which, in a way, also comes through in this movie. 

Scripture: Luke 15:11-24

[To listen on the go, right-click here to download an MP3.]

The following is my original sermon manuscript. The video clips from A Christmas Story that were shown in the service are included. Please note: The first two minutes of my sermon video are missing, due to operator error. 🙄 For the missing part, refer to the manuscript.

How many of us grown-ups don’t feel a pang of nostalgia when we see that? I do! We remember what it’s like to desire one great toy for Christmas… If only Santa or our parents could give us one great toy for Christmas. It’s a wonderful feeling—desiring something. It’s an emotion, of course, that marketers and advertisers exploit very well. Just a year ago, comedian Jerry Seinfeld received an honorary Clio Award. A “Clio” is the equivalent of the Academy Awards for the advertising industry. And the words of his acceptance speech were brutally honest and deeply cynical, in a way that surely made advertising industry executives in his audience squirm in their seats. He said:

I love advertising because I love lying. In advertising, everything is the way you wish it was. I don’t care that it won’t be like that when I actually get the product being advertised because in between seeing the commercial and owning the thing, I’m happy, and that’s all I want… We know the product is going to stink. We know that. Because we live in the world and we know that everything stinks. We all believe, ‘Hey, maybe this one won’t stink.’ We are a hopeful species. Stupid but hopeful.

I’m sure Seinfeld is exaggerating here. I doubt he believes that “everything stinks” in the world; I certainly don’t. I don’t even believe that the Christmas gifts we desire will inevitably let us down. But I do agree with Seinfeld to this extent: Everything in the world has the potential of stinking. Why? Because of sin. It infects everything, and it’s everywhere. And it certainly has the ability to corrupt our desires, to confuse us about what we really need to be happy, to be satisfied. There’s nothing at all wrong with Ralphie desiring this Red Ryder BB gun, just as there’s nothing wrong with our wanting things. But the question is, why do we think we need them? What do we think possessing them is going to do for us? Read the rest of this entry »

Mark Richt: living for more than college football glory

December 1, 2015

richtAs a proud two-time graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology (BSEE ’00, BS MGT ’93), and football season ticket holder, this will likely be the last (or only) positive thing I’ll say about someone or something associated with the University of Georgia, whom I hate with perfect hatred. Nevertheless, their recently fired head coach Mark Richt couldn’t have departed his place of employment over the past 15 years (during which he’s accumulated a phenomenal 145-51 record) with more grace. (He will stay on to coach Georgia’s upcoming bowl game.)

Richt, an evangelical Christian, said the following at his press conference yesterday:

The other thing is, as I’ve said before, I really want God’s will for me. I’m really at peace that it was part of his plan. I’m really just excited about what’s coming down the road, and I want to continue to try to be as obedient as I can be to the Lord, and I’ll see what he has in mind for Katharyn and I.  We’re both at peace. We’ve know we’ve both been blessed abundantly to be at the University of Georgia. Let’s face it. Fifteen years at a major institution, an SEC school, just to get the job to begin with is kind of a miracle. We’re thankful. We’re blessed.

This is exactly the right attitude. Even though it’s deeply disappointing, even heartbreaking, Richt doesn’t doubt for a moment that this new chapter in his life is also a part of God’s plan. Therefore, even for this setback he can be grateful.

Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can endure almost any how.” Given that he coaches in the upper echelon of a famously cutthroat profession, it may surprise many people that Richt’s why isn’t college football glory but God’s glory. Even as a pastor, how often do I lose sight of this? When even one thing goes wrong with my job, I’m liable to fall apart! As if it were about me!

Regardless, Richt has a why that’s infinitely bigger than his career, and his life bears witness to this fact.

May we all learn from his example.

(Also, may Richt now be hired by the University of South Carolina and beat his former employer’s team every year! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. 😉)