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Newt Gingrich and the Super Bowl

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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A button supporting Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is pictured on a voter's shirt at his South Carolina primary election night rally in Columbia, South Carolina, January 21, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/Mary Ann Chastain)

Yesterday I saw this sign posted outside a church building: “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”  Consider the relevance of that statement to today’s news.

Many were calling for Newt Gingrich to leave the Republican presidential race after he finished fourth in Iowa and New Hampshire.  A week ago, Mitt Romney looked to be the party’s presumptive nominee.  After Saturday night’s shocking win in South Carolina, Gingrich is now considered by some to be the front-runner for the nomination.

New England is returning to the Super Bowl for the seventh time, the fifth under Coach Bill Belichick.  They wouldn’t have defeated the Baltimore Ravens yesterday without Tom Brady, their former sixth-round draft pick.  Brady got his chance back in 2001 only because the team’s starting quarterback was injured.  He led the Patriots to victory in that year’s Super Bowl and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.  He’s widely considered the best quarterback in the NFL today and is a certain Hall of Fame inductee when he retires one day.  He won his 16th playoff game yesterday, tying Joe Montana for the most in NFL history.

And they wouldn’t have won the game without Sterling Moore, an unheralded defensive back from SMU.  Moore was not drafted by anyone in the NFL.  He ended up on the practice squad at Oakland before New England, desperate for defensive help after several of their players went down with injuries, picked him up.  At the end of the game, he knocked the ball out of a Baltimore receiver’s hands in the end zone before he could score the winning touchdown.

The New York Giants are the other team in this year’s Super Bowl.  Left for dead by most experts after they lost four games in a row, they have now won five in a row, defeating the favored San Francisco 49ers on their home field.

What in your past makes success in the future unlikely?  Should you try to ignore it?  Should you let it determine your destiny?  Or is there a third option?

Paul prayed three times for God to remove his “thorn in the flesh.”  Then “he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

What is your “thorn in the flesh”?  What will you do with it this morning?