Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Decade of Decisions

The first decision came ten years ago today. We took a short walk from our home to a corner bar, and joined in a free Thursday night poker tournament.

Ten years later, we're still playing poker - but like many who took up the game in the last decade, the "fad" has faded for us. Our schedule doesn't allow us to enter many live tournaments right now. And even our online play is way down, because other Internet games seem more interesting. (Anyone for Scrabble?)

We could compare our rise and fall to a comment made to an ancient church...

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance.... Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. - Revelation 2:2, 4

If you have a "red-letter Bible," this comment probably is in red ink. These are words of a resurrected Jesus Christ. He gave praise to the "church in Ephesus" (verse 1) for several accomplishments and traits. Yet He indicated that interest had faded. In this case, we think the "first love" was for God.

Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things your did at first. - Revelation 2:5

If your first love was poker, this is relatively easy to do. You head back online or into a poker room and get reacquainted with the cards. But if your real first love is for God - and we think it should be - it may be time to repent of letting distractions get in the way.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. - I John 2:15

OK, we'll admit it - poker is definitely a game "in the world." Some church-going people actually might commend us for losing some passion for it. But if you've used poker to be a light for Jesus Christ, those "deeds" and "hard work" can fade by becoming more introverted and secluded.

When we started playing live poker in 2007, we didn't think much about doing it for ministry. It was a test of game-playing skills we developed online. But as time went on, we saw the opportunity to do more than that. Now we can go home from short tournaments feeling better than a final-table bubble player, because we accomplished a higher purpose:

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." - Mark 16:15

That's what we try to do at the table, and on this blog as well.

We were writing a different blog when we sat down for our first poker night ten years ago. It was a locally-centered humor blog - so here's how we reported on what happened 15 Jun 07.

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