Thursday, September 17, 2009

No Substitute for Guts

John McIntosh was one of the upperclass offensive linemen when I went to play football at The University of Alabama. He was one of the older guys I looked up to because he seemed so invinceable. He worked out hard, practiced hard and hated losing. I ran into some of his recent work on Facebook and found out that he had started a ministry. Guys, this is a guy thats tough as they come. He is not only a Brother of mine in the A-Club, But in God's club as well. Heres what God has put on Johns heart for us.

Blogging is relatively new to me, as I have only been blogging a few months. I follow a few blogs, but to be honest, wonder how many really read my ramblings, and are they even making a difference. If you have gotten this far, could I ask you that this time, you read this one through to the end. These next few paragraphs are a divine appointment for all of us (including me).

Mike and I played football together at The University of Alabama, way back in the 1980's. I haven't seen or talked to Mike since leaving the capstone some 25 years ago. You can imagine my surprise when I opened my email to find that he had found me via facebook and asked to share with you via his blog. I am flattered and honored that he would even ask me to write a guest blog on his site.

I too have a blog site: "NO SUBSTITUTE FOR GUTS.BLOGSPOT.COM. I learned that quote from the legendary Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, and have had a lot of fun throwing it around. It's kinda catchy and people seem to respond to it. After reading Mike's story about his daughter Katie being killed in a car accident while following her Father, "NO SUBSTITUTE FOR GUTS" has taken on a whole new meaning. You see the thing about courage, "guts" if you will, is that it is hard to define, but when you see it, it becomes unmistakeable. To see how Mike has handled this tragedy ladies and gentlemen is "guts" in action! That's what I want to spend just a couple more minutes talking about.

Mike shares something very intimate with God that very few of us ever will. Experiencing the lose of a child. I often tell teenagers that the greatest single act of courage in all of humanity, was not the physical part of the Cross, but what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus is talking to His Father about what is about to happen to him. Jesus told His friends: "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death." Matthew 26:38. This decision of obedience was literally killing Him, even before He was arrested. Jesus then went off to ask His Father not once, not twice, but three times, if it were possible, to let this cup of suffering pass by Him. We clearly see the anguish that Jesus (The Son) was going through, but have we ever stopped to imagine the absolute anguish and horror that His Dad/Father/God was going through? After all, this was His plan to reconcile you and I back to Him, and the reality of the moment was upon both of them. Then comes the moment of courage, "guts": "Yet I want your will to be done, not mine" Matthew 26:39. That moment was the greatest act of "courage" in all humanity. I love how that scene is depicted in the movie "The Passion of The Christ". The serpent slithers out as to come for Jesus and He stomps his head, burying him forever!!! "he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." Genesis 3:15. I marvel as such "courage" and have gained a whole new respect for those who display it. Mike understands that kind of courage! The question is, do you and I?

Where does such courage come from? It comes from God! Jesus had to go to His Father to summon that kind of courage, and so did Mike. Mike continues to show that courage everyday in his life. The same courage that Paul had: "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. Philippians 1:20. Here is the really cool thing about this type of courage. God is no respecter of person! Meaning, this type of courage is not just for Jesus, Paul and now Mike. It is available to all of us, but to claim it takes "guts"! I'm talking about a 24/7/365 kind of "guts". Here's the thing about "guts", you can't fake it! Yeah, you might be able to fool a few people for a while, but sooner or later your true character will be revealed.

There are so many lessons to be learned through Katie's life that we can apply to our own. While I never met Katie, I am told that she has an incredible love for Jesus and that love is being passed on to literally thousands of people that now includes me, and I am blessed by it!
I'm not sure what you may have learned from reading this blog. I can tell you what I have learned in writing it! Mike Burkett understands what "NO SUBSTITUTE FOR GUTS" really means and it's time that I try to fully comprehend it as well. I can't for a moment even begin to imagine all the emotions that Mike and his family have gone through. What I can do is pay attention when God is speaking to me through Mike, and simply obey what He is telling me. That is we are in the very serious business of sharing the most incredible "truth" in the entire world with as many people as we can, and to do it effectively takes "guts". Jesus made it very clear that the world would hate us because of what He has asked us to do. "I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world anymore than I am of the world." John 17:14 The only way we are going to stand a chance to face that kind of persecution is through the "courage" of the Cross. So next time you see the Cross, don't forget the lesson we can all learn in The Garden of Gethsemane and through Mike Burkett and his family.

I would like to thank Mike for inviting me to post on his blog. Mike's courage is an inspiration and has helped me to understand what it truly takes to make a difference in this world. It takes "guts"! Mike, because of your example, I now have a whole new appreciation for the phrase: "NO SUBSTITUTE FOR GUTS"

Love ya, mean it! Mike
John McIntosh

PS: Here is a link that brings to life the type of "courage" that is available to us all!

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