Discipleship Thought began as a weekly email from First Baptist Church at the Mall's Discipleship Pastor, Mark Bedwell, to his Sunday Morning Connect Group Leadership Team. These Thoughts were meant as a weekly encouragement, point to ponder, break from the day and sometimes even meant to make you stop and say "hmmm?"

We hope you find encouragement. Feel free to pass this along to someone who might need a little encouragement today!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Dear Pastor Mark,

Thank you for your support of our Saints, and for the kind words regarding my “wide left” kick last week against the Falcons.  While it was a difficult loss for the team to deal with, we also realize that we are one field goal away from a perfect season so far.  There is no need to panic.  I wanted to thank you for your insight on how our iniquities (our mistakes, failures, wrong doings) exposed actually force us to deal with them, learn from them, and hopefully grow through them.  While I am writing to thank you for your kind words, I am also writing to let you know that...
sometimes exposing our iniquities comes with a great cost. 

While it would be an amazing story for me to come out and kick a winning field goal this week against the Carolina Panthers to “prove to the world” that “wide left” was just a fluke mistake, the reality is that I will not have that opportunity.  The coach has decided instead to bring back veteran kicker John Carney.  I wanted to write and remind you that while often we get second chances to make right of our wrongs, sometimes we don’t.  I remember hearing in church that all sin leads to death.  I always thought that statement was a little drastic, but now I understand a little clearer that sometimes our mistakes, failures, wrong doings cost us things that we simply cannot get back.  That can be frustrating.  I admit that it makes me feel mad, sad, frustrated, empty, and even a little doubtful of whether or not God even cares about what I am going through. 

However, in the midst of this, I had a team mate and a good friend of mine remind me that God’s ultimate goal in my life isn’t whether or not I make field goals, it is whether or not I am the man that He wants me to be.  He told me that God’s desire is for me to count it pure joy when I go through rough times because God is making me a better man.  Boy, that is a difficult pill to swallow….the fact that “a better man” will be standing on the sidelines rooting on the Saints…..that a “better man” has to explain to his son why he wasn’t on television this Sunday.

My friend also told me that he too has had trouble “living out this truth” in his life and that if I needed wisdom to get through this that I should simply ask God to help me.  Funny thing is that I kind of feel like this is all God’s fault for taking this away and I am being encouraged to have joy in Him because He is making me a better man and is going to give me the wisdom I need to get through it.  It’s a tough place to be in.  But I have learned a valuable lesson…..while we can choose our actions….we cannot choose our consequences.  I think you were right when you said that “wide left” will be a big part of my life this year.  I wanted to encourage you to keep speaking the truth and helping people to understand that uncovered “wide lefts” don’t ever heal, but that exposing them to light….while bringing hope, healing, and possible growth….will also bring consequences as well.  They just need to be ready to deal with it.  I wasn’t…but I am getting there. 

Keep rooting for the Saints and maybe soon I will be back out there kicking field goals…but even if I am not I promise to be working on becoming the man God wants me to be.  God bless and Geux Saints.  P.S.  My friend told me to read James 1.  It really helped me get through this week.  I would encourage others to read it as well.

Garrett  #5.

*Note….this is not a “real” letter from Garrett Hartley, but the circumstances of him being replaced this week by John Carney are true.  I just wanted to take some creative liberties to help us understand what living the Christian life looks like, could look like, or does look like for us.  By the way, I often intentionally reference football or other things that I think might interest “men” due to the fact that it might encourage you to forward it to a “guy” who wouldn’t normally read a discipleship thought.  Have a great day. 

Original Discipleship Thought created 10/1/10

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