The Red Jersey Team

I like a good pickup game. Basketball, soccer, football… doesn’t matter. It’s just fun to compete. It gets the heart rate going, the blood flowing, the body sore. All that good stuff. The problem with a pickup game is trying to remember who is on your team. It’s fairly simple if there’s only a few players, but it takes me a while to get the hang of it if there’s several people. That’s why when I’m coaching youth soccer, I have the kids wear practice jerseys when we scrimmage. Otherwise, they start passing the ball to a kid on the other team. Well that do that regardless, but you get the point.

red-practice-jerseySo on go the practice jerseys. This side gets to wear the red ones. That way you will know who is on each team. If you came to practice in a red shirt, then you are on the red team. That’s just how it works. You’ve now been marked. You are a red. Ready, set, play!

In the Bible, Aaron was marked, too. In fact, he even wore the red jersey. Sort of. He was actually marked with blood. Check it out.

Exodus 29:19-21 19 “Take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head. 20 Slaughter it, take some of its blood and put it on the lobes of the right ears of Aaron and his sons, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. Then splash blood against the sides of the altar. 21 And take some blood from the altar and some of the anointing oil and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. Then he and his sons and their garments will be consecrated.

They were marked for a team – God’s team. They were consecrated because of the red jersey blood. To consecrate means: to make or declare sacred, to set apart or dedicate. This is what they were. They were marked, dedicated, declared sacred. This moment in their lives was the moment that defined their service to God. They had been chosen, they had been set apart, and they had been declared sacred by the blood.

You have, too. Jesus Christ died on the cross for you. For every single magnificent part of you… also for the not so magnificent parts of you. You are covered, in a figurative sense, by the blood of Jesus. You have been marked as holy by His sacrifice! You too have been chosen. You have been set apart. And you have been declared sacred. Receive that today. Embrace it. Let it determine your worth and your thoughts and your steps.

You are wearing the red jersey. You are on His team. Now go get in the game!

Heart Over Head

I’m a dad of 4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls. I’ve made some great parenting decisions over the last 14 years. I’ve also made some less than stellar ones. It seems what gets me in trouble is when I make head decisions in circumstances where heart decisions are required. The truth is, I’m all about the facts man! If this, then that. The problem is, sometimes it isn’t that simple. The facts may be the facts on the outside, but there might be much more happening on the inside. While I tend to think in terms of head, sometimes it’s a matter of heart.

Exodus 28:2heart-over-head9-30 29 “Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord. 30 Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.

Here in Exodus 28, God gives specific instructions about garments the priests were going to be wearing. One of those garments was a breastplate. God called it the breastplate of decision. And God wanted that decision to be over Aaron’s heart. It seems as though He wanted decisions to be made not just with head, but with heart. He wanted Aaron to remember the sons of Israel. To remember that heritage, legacy, and relationship matters.

What a sweet reminder to me today. Heart over head. Relationship over being right. Love over selfishness. 

Now before we all get carried away with this heart stuff, let’s be clear. Heart over head doesn’t mean emotionalism over facts. It simply means to put relationship first. It means we consider that the decisions we are making involve people and hearts. Let us consider the heart before we go rushing in. Let us hold our tongues until we consider the impact of those words on hearts. And let us hold our decisions over our hearts so that we may examine our motives. If we do that, we may find that our decisions lead to healing and resolution and hope.

Gas for the generator

Exodus 27:20-21  20 “Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. 21 In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the LORD from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come.

Let’s just be real here. Neither one of us have ever pressed clear oil out of olives so that we could keep our lamps burning. Generally, if I want light, I just make sure to have a good light bulb and to always pay the power bill. That usually does the trick. Probably the closest I’ve come to this whole “oil for the lamp” thing is changing the butane can on my camping lantern. Either that or filling up my generator with gas during a power outage. Now THAT’S important. I wouldn’t want the generator to run out of fuel. I mean, shoot, all the stuff in my freezer would go bad. Not only that, but the 3 lamps I have on in the house would turn off and it would be dark. So ya, I guess I can relate to the Israelites and the oil filling. Sort of.


But wait. What if this whole oil for the lamp commandment was more than just actual oil for an actual lamp? What if there was a greater purpose than bringing light to the temple? After all, God did say that this would be a lasting ordinance for generations to come. Is it possible that we are still supposed to be filling lamps with oil? Absolutely!

Here’s the picture: The temple isn’t a building – it’s you. The lamp is the light of Christ. The oil is the power of the Holy Spirit. 

The command is still the same. As God’s people, we are to be a temple of the living God. And with our lives, we are to shine the light of Christ. We are to be a lighthouse, a light on a hill, a beacon of light for the world to find life. Yet, the light in our lives fades unless we give it attention. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to fuel us to be that light!

Now some of you might say, “I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to come and empower my life.” Awesome! I mean that. That’s really awesome! But here’s the thing: you don’t just fill the generator with gas one time. You have to check the fuel level and fill up when it is running empty. You might be running empty, too. You might feel burned out, used up, worn, tired, and without oil.

Now what? Well, you simply ask. Ask the Holy Spirit to come and fill you today. Ask again tomorrow. And then ask again the next day. The oil of the Holy Spirit keeps our lamps burning. Don’t walk through life as an unlit lamp. Be filled today!

Memory Lapse

Confession: sometimes I go to do something and then forget what I was going to do. I walk out to the garage to grab something and then just stand there because I have no idea what I went out there to grab. Please tell me this happens to you, too. I think we all have these memory lapses at one point or another. We forget things, even things we were told to do. It was probably an honest mistake; we just need to be reminded.


Other times, however, the problem isn’t memory. The problem could be that we just don’t care. Or maybe we weren’t paying full attention. It’s possible that we weren’t listening. And while we don’t like to have to give instructions more than once, sometimes others have to do that for us. God did it for Moses in Exodus 26.

Exodus 26:30 Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain.

In this chapter, God is giving VERY SPECIFIC instructions regarding the building of the tabernacle. Every detail is mentioned. It’s not like those directions that you get when trying to assemble a piece of furniture. No, these directions were very clear. And then there is this little verse right in the middle of the setup manual… “follow the plan I already gave you on the mountain.” Hmmmmm. God has already given Moses the plan; then here we see Him giving it to him again. God had to give him the instructions twice? That’s weird. He’s never had to do that with me. Oh wait…

Okay, I admit it. God has had to “remind” me of some things. You too? At least I’m in good company.

You see, God gave Moses some plans up on the mountaintop. In the same way, God has spoken to me on the mountaintop. In those times in His presence, He calls out to me and calls me action. In those places, He gets to my heart. In those times, He hands me my marching orders. But when I come down from the mountain, I sometimes have a memory lapse. I end up standing in the garage of life going, “what did I come out here for?” But God in His faithfulness reminds me of my calling. He shows me the steps to take. “Follow the plan I gave you on the mountain, Brad.” Oh, yes, the plan.

He doesn’t shame me, condemn me, or abandon me. He simply lays it out again, lovingly reminding me. So if you’ve had a memory lapse today, return to the Lord and ask Him for a reminder. Ask Him for the blueprints of your life. And when He gives them, don’t hesitate. Start building!