One of my all-time favorite people is the late, great baseball Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean. Diz was a piece of work in the best sense of the phrase.

He loved to talk. Especially about himself and his brother Paul. Many a Dizzy sentence began with the words, “Me and Paul.” I know, I know. His grammar’s going to make the blood pressure of any English teacher reading this skyrocket. Sorry.

Me and Paul

Sorry, too, for saying that this is a “Me and Paul” post. Like Dizzy, it’s about me and my brother Paul. My spiritual brother…Paul the Apostle.

We don’t look much alike. We don’t think much alike. We don’t act much alike. But he’s my hero. Everything I want to be when I grow up. Everything I’m trying to be every day, all day long. Paul’s a spiritual giant.

But saying that’s not nearly enough. It’s like saying the Mona Lisa is a good picture or Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is a good song or Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is a good novel or Elvis Presley is a good singer.

Each of these is a masterpiece. So is my brother Paul.

He’s not spiritual giant. He’s THE spiritual giant. The guy’s the Mount Everest of godliness.

I once read a book in which the author claimed that the world has yet to see what God could do with a man fully committed to him. I wondered if that writer ever read the New Testament. If you can’t see in Paul what God can do with a fully committed person then you can’t see the glory of a setting sun, the beauty of a well-struck drive, and the wonder of a professional ballet performance of the Nutcracker. And if this is you, I offer you my condolences.

On the other hand, the “Me” in “Me and Paul” is I. (Thought I’d give some grammatical high blood pressure medicine to English teachers!) And I am in my best moments a spiritual pygmy.

Except in one place where I’m the spitting image of my big brother.

Praying for the Ministry

Like Paul, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my teaching of God’s word will accomplish nothing unless God sees fit to bless it. So I say “Amen!” when I read, “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it to grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7).

And, like Paul, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God’s help comes through the Holy Spirit. The fruit of profiting from truth in such a way as to produce the spiritual fruit of growing more like Jesus is called “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23).

And, like Paul, I know the Holy Spirit is given in answer to the prayers of God’s people. Jesus says, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13).

This is why Paul asks God’s people to pray for him and his ministry. “Pray also for me, that wherever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of his gospel . . . Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:19-20).

Like Paul, I ask you to pray for me this weekend as I go to Dalton, Georgia for a Grace Focused Optimism Conference. Pray that God will use the conference to help his people live with The Christian Attitude toward life. That’s the attitude of optimism that through Jesus my life is a grace G.O.O.D.—a God orchestrated opportunity for development (into Christlikeness); disposition (optimism that God is always working to help us become like his Son); and doxology (leading us to praise God for his grace).

Like Paul, I know that preachers can’t live without the prayers of God’s people.

So, Me and Paul thank you for your prayers!

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