Brigham Young University (BYU) made national headlines recently with the announcement that one of their players, Brandon Davies, was dismissed from the basketball team for having premarital sex with his girlfriend. For most colleges and universities this is ordinary, everyday stuff. It’s no secret that the moral climate on most of our college and university campuses is pitifully deteriorating. However, with BYU being a mormon school of higher education, they have a different standard by which they expect their students to abide by. Let me be absolutely clear: This is not a dialogue regarding the theology of BYU and/or Mormonism. Rather, this is an issue dealing more with their moral stance.

So, what this whole case involving their decision to reprimand and discipline Davies really amounts to is an issue of integrity on the part of the school… and a lack of integrity on the part of Brandon Davies. Keep in mind that he had grown up in the Mormon culture and before being accepted to BYU had to go through two extensive interviews and sign a contract saying that he would live up to the honor-code and standard of morality.

And yet the news media has had a field-day with this announcement, with some even criticizing BYU for their staunch position, claiming that they are being too hard on the young athlete, etc. I, for one, say, “Way to go BYU!” They made a very unpopular decision to discipline one of their own players because he had broken his oath, or his word. Only if all Christian organizations had this same standard of integrity that they adhered to!

Jesus said, “‘You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’ 34 But I say, do not make any vows! 37 Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:33-34, 37 (NLT).

What Jesus is calling us to is such a radical life of integrity that we never even have to make any promises, for our word should always be our bond. If we say we’re going to do something, we should be people of integrity and just do it… without having to make any promises! Think about it, if we have to promise someone that we will follow through with something, what does that say about the strength and reliability of our original words? What it means is that we may or may not really follow through with our word, thus we feel like we have to make a promise to ensure delivery.

Proverbs 20:7 says, The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children after them” (NIV).

Is it time to patch up the cracks in your character? Is it time to re-commit to becoming a man or woman of your word? Have you noticed a trend in your own life of failing to live up to your promises? Why not settle it today? You and your household will be better off for it!

Eternity is Forever

Like so many others, I watched the horrific events unfold in Japan this past week, with an utter sense of helplessness, as the 20+ foot waves of the Tsunami crashed onto mainland, literally sweeping away everything in its path. The latest reports are suggesting more than 10,000 deaths as a result of this massive earthquake. It goes without saying, many of our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Japan.

I understand that the financial consequences of this catastrophic event are going to be devastating, totalling in the millions in losses. In fact, the stock market in Japan has already dropped over 600 points today. However, as I was watching the news coverage my thoughts were immediately drawn to the eternal consequences of this tragedy. According to Mission Network News, less than 1% of the population of Japan is Christian. If you do the math, that would mean that out of 10,000 people who perished, only 100 of them were prepared to enter eternity… and 9,900 are lost forever, eternally separated from the loving presence of God! Please re-read that last figure and allow it to sink in for a moment. Simply mind-boggling, isn’t it!

Now, take note of what the Scriptures say…

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans 6:23 (NLT)

“And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire” – Revelation 20:15 (NLT)

I would say this is serious business! The problem is that all too often we can get sidetracked with the temporal issues of life and lose focus on eternity! John Bevere, in his book Driven by Eternity, writes, “Many today are not building their lives on the eternal–God’s Word–but rather cultural thinking, tradition, assumptions, and emotional feelings about who God is” (p. 8).

May I challenge you, if you find yourself living more for the temporal things of life, things that will not last, and not really stopping to consider the eternal consequences of how you live, stop everything that you are doing right now and ask God to give you a greater revelation of eternity… and then act on that revelation! Why? simply because “Eternity is Forever” and it’s the only thing that really matters in the long run.