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Shark Week and swimming with a ton of bricks

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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Jim Dreyer holding GPS and beacon for his 22 mile swim, hauling 1 tone of bricks (Credit: Jim Dreyer's Facebook page)

“Shark Week” has been called “the most compelling TV you’ll see all year.”  For 26 years, the Discovery Channel has run a week of programs on sharks.  This year’s edition began with “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives” on Sunday night.  It was watched by 4.8 million people.  The channel also premiered “Shark After Dark,” a shark-related talk show that was watched by 2.1 million viewers.  Sunday’s programs generated more than a million tweets.  The channel will debut 11 new shark specials during the week.

“Shark Week” is not just a television phenomenon.  Cold Stone Creamery has teamed with Discovery Channel to create “This Cake Bites,” a devil’s food cake with blue ice cream decorated with gummy sharks.  And you can buy shark-themed socks and ice cubes on Amazon.

A more productive option: TOMS has developed a limited edition, “The Shark Shoe,” to celebrate the TV event.  Five dollars from each pair sold will support Oceana’s shark conservation efforts.

Here’s an even more constructive response.  Jim Dreyer calls himself “The Shark,” and for good reason.  He is a long-distance swimmer, having swum across all five Great Lakes.  Yesterday he completed his most amazing trek yet—swimming 22 miles across Lake St. Clair in Michigan while towing a ton of bricks.  Two dinghies were filled with 334 bricks and attached to his ankles.

Habitat for Humanity of Michigan is the beneficiary of his amazing feat.  Engraved commemorative bricks, including the bricks towed by Dreyer, are being sold to support the building project of the purchaser’s choice.

You may already know all you care to know about sharks.  And swimming across a lake while towing a ton of bricks may not be in your summer plans.  But there’s something you can do to impact your culture that no one else can do.  If you have made Jesus your Lord, in the moment of your salvation you received spiritual “gifts” which God intends to use for his glory and our good.  I encourage you to read more about spiritual gifts and take a “spiritual gifts assessment” to identify yours.

The Lord intends all Christians to know and use their spiritual gifts.  He has a Kingdom assignment for each of us.  How would you complete the sentence, “My ministry is ____________________”?  Share your response to encourage others in finding their calling.

I will forever be grateful for two men who knocked on our apartment door 40 years ago and invited me to their church.  Who will be grateful in eternity for you?