As for Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord

Zack Knotts, General Manager

I remember seeing that nameplate outside my office like it was yesterday. No office in the building came close to mine. Not only was it the biggest office, but there was a huge window that went from the top of the ceiling to the carpet. From there, I could look out to the practice field and see the team that I was the mastermind in assembling from top to bottom. Our All-Pro quarterback that I was responsible for drafting was taking the snaps, leading the offense through the final practice of the week on his way to another MVP season. This was the ultimate satisfaction. As I sat down at my desk, I looked down and on my right hand was one of the Super Bowl rings that cost more than the truck I drove to the facility. If only you could have felt the pride in the room beaming off my face. I took a glance at my left hand and I saw my wedding ring. This is when I paused. This is when I woke up from the dream.

I would often fantasize about things like this. For the longest time, my dream was to be a General Manager in the National Football League. My undergraduate degree is in Sports Administration, for crying out loud. All throughout college, I chased this dream and did whatever I could to attain it. Before my computer crashed, I had my own mock drafts and rankings dating back to high school. Nothing was going to stop me from being a General Manager. That is, until I saw that wedding ring on my left hand.

Even though I was a Christian at the time, I could not help but wonder how in the world would I be able to lead my family as Christ expects if I am spending 60-65 hours a week away from home in film studies on weeknights and luxury suites on Sundays? I would not be able to spend much time with my children in the Word or leading my family in worship. I would not spend nearly enough time with my precious wife as I desire to. How could I stand before the Lord knowing my children spent more time in NFL stadiums on Sunday than His house? Many men have somehow found a work/life balance that is sufficient for them, but the more I thought about how much I would be away from my family, the less I wanted to reach the NFL. That dream began to lose appeal quickly and eventually it was just gone. While I had always wanted to be a husband and a daddy, I no longer wanted or needed any other dream. Truthfully, this is all I wanted. I just want to be a husband and a daddy. That is my dream.

Two months from today, the Lord is going to bring to fulfillment that dream. My fiancée, Lindsay, is the epitome of the faithfulness of God in my life. She is truly the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, aside from Christ’s saving grace.

I love her deeply.

God knows I am ready to be her husband.

Right now, I am looking at the first picture of Lindsay and I that rests in a frame that says, “home is wherever I’m with you.” That is the truth! Home is wherever I am with her. One day, we will have our own home, our own children. They will all look up to me to lead them. They will forever be my most important ministry. No ministry outside of my home will ever come before them. Ever.

Instead of looking forward to building an NFL team, I am now looking forward to faithfully loving my wife as she deserves to be loved. I am looking forward to loving her in ways that I never knew I could love her. I am looking forward to having many children with her. I am looking forward to showing my sons what it looks like to love a woman and to be a husband. I am looking forward to showing my daughters how a man should treat his woman. I am looking forward to leading our family to Christ, in Christ, and for Christ.

“Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” -Joshua 24:14-15

For years this has been the verse I have kept in my heart. I understand what God expects of me in leading His daughter. I also understand I will not be perfect in that leadership. There will be many times when I fall short. That I am well aware of. I do know that being a husband and a father will have tremendous difficulties at times. But no matter what trials or persecutions come our way, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. My family will be led to Christ. I will work every day to provide for them their every need. I will do whatever is necessary of me. Being a husband and a father will be more sanctifying for me than anything else on this earth. I am looking forward to that immensely. God knows I need it. I know this will require much dying to self in ways I cannot fathom, but I am already equipped to do this because of He who dwells within me. I pray His grace will enable me when I am called to do so.

People have asked me if I am ready to be Lindsay’s husband, to which I always answer in a firm yes. I am so ready. This goes beyond sex or intimacy. While that is a big aspect of it, I want to love Lindsay like she has never been loved before. I want to spend every day with her. I want to be with my best friend and wake up beside her every day. I want to grow in Christ with her by my side. I want her to grow in Christ with me by her side. I want our children to see me love her every single day of their lives. Above all, I want Christ exalted through our marriage and family. This is for His glory. I do not want any praise, fame, or fortune. I do not need it. I have everything I need. I have Christ. And because He loves me, He brought to pass the dreams I had in my heart. The first dream comes true February 22, 2020, and that dream is you, Lindsay. The second will come to pass whenever the Lord so pleases.

This is my ministry. God has given me my heart’s desires. He exceeded anything I could have possibly imagined with Lindsay. I can only imagine what my love will be like for her in 5 years, 10 years, 25 years. I cannot wait to love her faithfully every day for the rest of our lives. I cannot wait to see her as a mother, and I tell her that all the time. She will be the best mother any child could ask for. I cannot wait to see our children running around our home in diapers and growing up in the fear of the Lord. Truly, I could not be happier. I have my God, my best friend and soon to be wife, and Lord willing, many children to come.

This has brought more fulfillment into my life than anything else this world could offer. The Lord has entrusted to me the most precious woman in the world. I will lead His daughter and our children faithfully, with lots of love, and I will point them to Jesus. “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

 

P.S. Lindsay and I will have our first Christmas together this week, and I absolutely cannot wait to show her the gift I have for her. Hint: it fits entirely in an envelope. 🙂

When the Broken Become Whole

When the Broken Become Whole

Long distance relationships are difficult. Anyone who has been in a relationship that was separated by hundreds of miles knows this. Over the course of several months, perhaps even years, you really do not have the luxury of seeing each other all that often. Nowadays, we can have dates on FaceTime and exchange hundreds of text messages a day, but that does not compare to actually being with that person you love so much. I have been extremely blessed to see Lindsay as often as I have. She booked a trip in June to come down here in August and we had only been talking for about two weeks when she did that. Shortly after she booked her trip, I booked a trip to see her. I had the time off work already, and I thought there was no better place to spend it than with her. We were a few weeks into getting to know each other when I knew I had fallen in love with her. I had not seen her in person yet, but I knew then I could not spend another day of my life without her.

“How can you know something like this without having met her?” “How could you possibly love her already?” “Why are you getting married so quickly?” “You two are only getting married so you can have sex.” These are just some of the comments and questions I have seen directed at Lindsay and I over the last few months. Thankfully, I learned a long time ago not to care what other people think, so those questions and comments never bothered me. Quite frankly, I found some of them amusing.

Allow me to paint a picture of this for all of you from my perspective. In less than three months, I am going to marry the most incredible woman I have ever known. I do not even have the words to describe how wonderful she is. She is everything I could have possible dreamt of and then so much more. I can say with utmost confidence that Lindsay is the greatest gift aside from the cross the Lord has ever given me. For as long as I can remember, the Lord has put a dream and desire in my heart to be a husband and a father. On February 22, 2020, that dream is coming true. That dream is Lindsay.

The last 6 months of my life have been the greatest 6 months of my life. Even just writing about this now makes me quite emotional thinking about all the wonderful memories she and I have. We have had so many vulnerable moments, where all the barriers that we have put up just come tumbling down. She knows everything about me, and I know everything about her. Being vulnerable early in our relationship was not even that much of a challenge because there was a supernatural bond between us that is still hard to fathom. It is a bond that the distance has only strengthened. Over the last six months, we discovered that we both have pasts with a lot of pain. There was a lot of brokenness that the Lord began to heal in both of us when He brought us together. It is amazing how the Lord can bring two broken people together and make them whole by making them one.

I cannot wait to marry Lindsay. I am looking forward to showing her what true love looks like. I am looking forward to loving her through the difficult times that will come. I am looking forward to waking up every morning with her right next to me. I am looking forward to coming home and seeing her face. I am looking forward to devotions and worship together I am looking forward to having a family with her. I am looking forward to seeing her as a mother. I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life with her. I cannot take one more day without her, but by God’s grace, I will endure for six more.

I have been waiting for this for 26 years. It’s been six months since Lindsay and I began talking. In six days, I get to fly up to Cleveland and bring her home. I love her with all of my heart and soul. I will treasure her everyday for the rest of my life. I am not a perfect man. I know I will not be the perfect husband or father, but I am led by a God who is perfect, and I will lead our family to Him every single day. He gave me the most precious woman in the whole wide world, and in just a few short months, I will be able to call her my wife. The Lord has given me one of His daughters and I will treat her as such, as a daughter of the King. I know I will answer for how I led her, how I treated her, and how I loved her. When I stand before the Lord, I will be able to look Him in the eye and tell Him thank you for her, for our family, and for the many years we had together. He knows that is all I have ever wanted.

Lindsay and I will see the Lord work in mighty ways in this world together and we will see this world rebel even more so than it already has. We will stand together in Christ for as long as He gives us breath. This is my promise to her, our families and our friends. The earth can shake, and the mountains can move, the other nations will sacrifice to their gods and serve their idols, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

When Kanye West Proclaimed Jesus is King

“Everything that I felt, praise the Lord. Worship Christ with the best of your portions.”

This was the first lyric I heard off of Kanye West’s new album, “Jesus is King.” Six months ago, if you would have told me I would be listening to a Kanye West hip hop/gospel album, I would have thought you were insane. But that is exactly what I was doing with my beautiful fiancée, Lindsay, last Sunday afternoon on our way to church. A few minutes prior to our arrival, Lindsay turned to me and said, “Do you want to hear Kanye West’s new album?” I hadn’t gotten the chance to listen to it yet, so I definitely wanted to check it out. With only a few minutes left before we arrived at church, Lindsay quickly picked up her phone and turned on the track: “God Is”. Upon hearing the verse, every hair on the back of my neck stood up. A soft and soulish voice flooded our car, singing: “Everything that I felt, praise the Lord. Worship Christ with the best of your portions.” We were listening to a man who in times past professed to be a god, now profess the one True and Living God. I couldn’t believe my ears. Lindsay and I turned to each other, tears streaming down our faces, with hearts of skepticism washed away and with hearts renewed with hope. There was no overarching emotionalism from the song itself. While the beat of the song was beautiful, and his voice powerful, that was not what caused our emotions. Had this been another gospel artist, I doubt there would have been any tears because we would have expected what we were hearing from a seasoned worship artist. Our tears of joy were brought forth from hearing the genuine brokenness for Christ in this man’s voice and song. We were hearing a man who used to rap about himself being a god, now singing about Jesus Christ and pointing his listeners to worship Him. As we continued to listen to the song, we continued to weep. We wept because Kanye West was worshipping Christ in his music. This was beautiful, and it melted any form of pride we once held onto in our hearts. We wept rejoicing over the one that was lost, that God had left the 99 to find— (and no, that is not a Reckless Love reference.) We pulled up to the church and restarted the song and cried even more. We were both in absolute shock and awe, listening to Kanye West lift up genuine, heartfelt praise and adoration to the Lord Jesus Christ.

After listening to the rest of the album, we shared it on social media, joining many brothers and sisters who were doing so, encouraging other believers to support Kanye, not as a teacher or leader in the faith, but as a brother in Christ and a new convert. I had been following Kanye’s journey for the last few months, but I chose not to comment on it until recently. Once I learned of Kanye’s mentor and that Kanye was in good hands, I really began to take this more seriously. I am not exactly sure when Kanye began experiencing conviction of his sins, but his mentor and pastor Adam Tyson, a graduate of John MacArthur’s Masters Seminary, gave insightful details to a conversation he had with Kanye on Apologia Studios interview with him. Tyson said, “Kanye, what happened five weeks ago?’ He’s [Kanye] like, ‘I was just under the weight of my sin. And I was being convicted that I was running from God. And I knew I needed to make things right. So, I came to Christ. I came out of darkness into the light.’” Kanye West, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, confessed with his own tongue that he was under the weight of his sin. And what did he do in response to this conviction? He threw himself at the foot of the cross.

Upon sharing our endorsement of the album and Kanye’s new profession of faith, we were met with vitriol and a rather aggressive backlash. (For the sake of civility, I will not be sharing screenshots or names.) Professing believers came out in droves to tear Kanye West down and to destroy the validity of his profession of faith. We saw many comments from professed believers attempting to connect his profession of faith to an illuminati conspiracy, freemasonry, deception, and even blasphemy. Professing believers came to point out every sin Kanye has ever committed, every blasphemy he has ever uttered, and how this was all just a big publicity stunt. Professing believers (do you see what I am getting at here?) suggested my fiancée and I and everyone who were rejoicing in Kanye’s conversion were deceived.

My intent is not to be divisive, but I want to be as straightforward as possible. I really do not have it in me to unleash a scathing rebuke of everyone who vehemently rejects Kanye’s recent confession of faith in Christ. Honestly, it is not even worth it to me at this point. I am no longer going to go back and forth or continue to read numerous conspiracy theories rooted in unfounded speculations and hearsays. My reasoning for this approach stems from my interaction with those who held to the conspiracies. These individuals absolutely refused to consider any opposing viewpoint. I am not saying they had to believe what I was saying— but they did not even give it a moment of consideration before the accusations against Kanye continued.

What do the Scriptures say about laying accusations against each other?

“This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” -2 Corinthians 13:1.

Paul is deriving this from Deuteronomy 19. This is our standard of witness. If you want to level an allegation of sin against a brother or sister, there is to be two to three lines of independent witness. Sharing abstract theories and spewing unfounded accusations is not using discernment, nor is it even remotely biblical. This is not independent witness. At best, conspiracy theories specifically about Kanye West’s conversion are a form of worldly eisegesis, reading and imputing something into a situation that simply is not there. Jesus is King was trending worldwide and was displayed in Times Square for millions to see and yet this was a part of some big conspiracy orchestrated by Satan to get people to proclaim Jesus is King? Come on. Use some logical thinking, brothers and sisters.

I believe we are honestly seeing the heart condition of many professing Christians amongst us. I believe what we are seeing on social media is revealing what was already there: a cold heart that has forgotten what Christ saved them from. I do not have an issue with people wanting to test all things, but I do have an issue with prideful hearts suggesting Kanye’s profession of faith is fake or a publicity stunt. I have a problem with people tearing Kanye down and bringing up the sins of his past. Can you imagine what would have happened to you if a Christian did that to you when you were first saved? How broken would you have felt? Alone? Devastated?

Anyone reading this knows that you are the worst sinner you know. I will testify to that before Christ myself. I am the worst sinner that I know, (the chief of sinners, as Paul stated.) And He still saved me. If God can save me, then He can save anyone He so chooses to save. For that, I am grateful. I am grateful that there is nothing in me that can save me. This is why I have assurance in my salvation. It’s not because I saved myself, it’s because God saved me. And I know that nothing can snatch me from His hand (John 10:29).

Kanye is a new believer and I do not expect Kanye to have everything correct right now and neither should you. Growing in knowledge, wisdom, and sanctification is a lifelong process. I am not going to nitpick Kanye’s sanctification. Now is not the time for that. How many of you embraced heresy or deception upon your conversation? I know I did. How many of you held to doctrines in the past that you no longer embrace? I can name you many doctrines that I used to hold to that I now categorically reject.

Brothers and sisters, give Kanye some grace. Let him grow. Fruit does not grow on a tree the same day the seeds are planted. If you want to see a new plant grow, you give it water and sunshine. You do not trample on it and call it a fake when it does not look like what you expect. You did not plant the seeds in Kanye. You were not a part of the watering or nurturing of Kanye. But you could be. Stop trying to uproot him. Stop rambling about conspiracy theories. Stop holding him to a standard that no Christian held you to upon your conversion. I am okay with you remaining skeptical, or wanting to wait a little longer, but please stop tearing him down. Pray for him. Do you act this way when someone you know comes to faith in Christ? I would certainly hope not. If you do not have anything good to say, pray for him instead of tearing him down. Kanye may not see it, but others will.

We need to remember where we came from. We need to remember we were once dead in our trespasses and sins, and Christ made us alive! I believe a lot of us have forgotten that. Pride is a destructive sin that puffs up our ego and tramples anyone that gets in our way. The attitude I am seeing reminds me of the pharisee in Luke 18: 10-14.

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

I will end with this from Kanye’s song:  “Hands On.”

“Told God last time on life

Told the devil that I’m going on a strike

Told the devil when I see him, on sight

I’ve been working for you my whole life

Told the devil that I’m going on a strike

I’ve been working for you my whole life

Nothing worse than a hypocrite

Change, he ain’t really different

He ain’t even try to get permission

Ask for advice and they dissed him

Said I’m finna do a gospel album

What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?

They’ll be the first one to judge me

Make it feel like nobody love me

They’ll be the first one to judge me

Feelin’ like nobody love me

Told people God was my mission

What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?

They’ll be the first one to judge me

Make it feel like nobody love me

Make you feel alone in the dark and you’ll never see the light

Man, you’re never seein’ home and you never see the domes

I can feel it when I write, point of livin’ in the right

If they only see the wrongs, never listen to the songs

Just to listen is a fight, but you booked me for the fight

It’s so hard to get along if they only see the slight

From the love of religion

What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?

They’ll be the first one to judge me

Make it seem like nobody love me

I’m not tryna lead you to Visas

But if I try to lead you to Jesus

We get called halfway believers

Only halfway read Ephesians

Only if they knew what I knew, uh

I was never new ’til I knew of

True and living God, Yeshua

The true and living God

(Somebody pray for me)”

Pray for Kanye West.

Pray for his family. He has admitted that he has a burden for them.

Pray that millions hear the gospel through him.

Please do not be the “Christian” to fulfill the fear of Kanye’s heart: to be unloved, not believed and not embraced. Do not make him “walk this walk alone,” as he feared in “Closed on Sunday.”

I pray we see him in heaven one day. I hope you pray the same too.

If you do not, that reveals the depraved condition of your own heart— and in that case, you should pray for yourself.