Matthew 10:7-8

"And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."

Monday, November 28, 2011


Like him or not Al Davis was a man who greatly shaped the face of football. The longtime owner of the Oakland Raiders will always be known for the phrase, "Just win, Baby" and for the better part of 4 decades the Raiders usually did just that. It's only been over the last several years that this proud franchise has fallen on harder times. Recently though and since the death of Mr. Davis, it's been one of his other quotes that has captivated me and grabbed my attention. Almost everyday I have thought about it and Saturday morning a week ago as I woke up it came immediately to my mind. Usually it's a praise or worship song that goes first through my mind in the mornings, but this time it was Al Davis and his quote. I was also somehow strangely aware that God had something to do with this, plus there was a feeling of encouragement and inspiration. God, Al Davis and inspiration. Now there's a combination that probably has never been written or even thought! I know this all sounds very strange considering the reputation of the Oakland Raiders. Maybe I better get to the point of all this.

Davis always wanted his team to be the aggressor. While a lot of football coaches have preached that when you have the ball, you take what the defense will give you; Al Davis would have nothing to do with that. His philosophy was much different. His approach was, "We don't take whatever the defense will give us, we'll take whatever we want." (I'm giving you the mild version of the quote.)

That quote passionately connects with me. Strangely, it takes me to something that Jesus said. Could it be that there is a time to be forceful and "take whatever we want?"

"AND FROM THE DAYS OF JOHN THE BAPTIST UNTIL NOW, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN SUFFERS VIOLENCE AND THE VIOLENT TAKE IT BY FORCE." (Matthew 11:12) That's from the New King James version, which is my favorite, but this is one of those instances where I believe the NIV says it best. "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it."

If Al Davis would have been a pastor he would have been preaching from that verse continually.

Here's the thing. When you acknowledged Christ as your Savior you were given certain rights, especially the right to be known as a child of God. Along with that comes a certain authority from the throne of God. For too long however, this seems to have been forgotten. Too many Christians have settled for what this world will give us; so to speak. When I was born in the United States of America I became a citizen of this country. Because of that I automatically obtained the same rights that every other U.S. citizen has. As a follower of Jesus, I have also obtained citizenship in heaven which trumps everything in this world. The great Apostle Paul speaks of this in his book to the Philippians. Paul doesn't say that we will ONE DAY become citizens of heaven. No, Paul said our citizenship "is in heaven." When I became a child of God, my citizenship in heaven was instantly validated, so therefore I am a representative of it today.

I represent heaven NOW, while I am living on earth. I also then have been given access to the things that heaven stands for. I am determined that I will bring as much of that to earth as I am capable of. In a unique way, Al Davis has reminded me not to sit back and take what this world will give me. Pastor Al, (just humor me, ok?) would not have been pleased with the church as a whole, either. It sat back way too long watching the world go by hypnotized into a deep sleep. Look around and you see the results of that.

For those that I know who have reversed this trend, I see them taking heaven into places like the grocery stores, malls and ballparks. Not in a belligerent, offensive way, but in a Jesus like way. Looking for ways to touch, encourage and share the love of Christ. They look for ways to pray for the sick and oppressed and to help the poor. In doing this they are activating faith to a whole different level and in doing so the dominion of darkness and devils shrinks back. Faith is a very violent force in the spiritual realm and it brings the realization that prayers are touching the heart of God in such a way that lives are often instantly changed.

The shifting that has begun. Heaven is once again advancing forcefully and "forceful men (and women) lay hold of it." The dominion of darkness has stolen much. We are now taking those things back.

I really hope that Al Davis was at peace with the Lord when he passed from this life. I'd like to one day tell him what a good job he did at teaching a kingdom principle!

Bringing it for God,
Mark S.

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