Monday, March 19, 2018

March 19, 2018 - All In To The End!

I love watching March Madness and seeing the passion that goes into the games… I cant help but think of the old Wide World of Sports… “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” It is truly a magical time where “miracles” happen…

I know I am not discussing miracles of Biblical proportions, but I am using the word loosely… “miracles” such as a number 16 seed beating a number 1 for the first time in 136 tries… (which completely busted my bracket, as I had Virginia going all the way.)

Yep, I admit I haven’t done a good job in predicting this year’s tourney; yet most haven’t as it has had many of the upsets… But the Virginia loss was especially difficult to see because I respect so much how hard they play and how well they are coached. This is a team that only lost twice all year going into the tourney, while playing in one of the toughest conferences in the nation. It is a team that was fully committed to defense… holding all of the opponents to under 70 points on the year… that is until the University of Maryland Baltimore County stepped on the floor with them.. and proceeded to do something that Duke or UNC or anyone in the ACC could not do… dropping 74 points and holding VA to 54… not just winning the game, but winning it going away…

I bring this game up because it continued to make love VA basketball. Sure, they lost a game, but they didn’t lose who they are. They played the game out to the buzzer… their coach didn’t give up on them but instead stuck with them through the end, using it as a learning tool for life.

Check out what Coach Bennett had to say following the shocking defeat: “You’ll remember this. It will sting. Maybe a 1 seed will get beat again, maybe not. Maybe we’ll be the only No. 1 seed to ever lose. It’s life. It goes on. We’ll have to get past that. For some reason this is what we’ve got to deal with, and my job now will be to say hey, how do we bounce back, our players and all that. But a life lesson is sitting there about defining yourself by maybe not what the world says, but there’s other things that matter and then you get back to it.

If you have not ever paid attention to Coach Bennett and his interviews, I encourage you to do so. He is a Christ-centered man that understands the big picture. He understands what matters in the long run…

All of that to say that it reminded me of another that stuck it out to the end…

John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

I love this passage in John… and as we approach Easter I want to make sure we are reflecting on a Savior that loves us to the end. This wasn’t just a promise to the disciples but also to us… reminding us that He is fully devoted to us! He loves us to the end! Make sure you spend time this season reflecting on His goodness… reflecting on the true Gospel message that centers on His commitment to us! He is all in to the end!

Monday, March 12, 2018

March 12, 2018 - STRIKE or BE STRUCK!

Last week I shared about the need to “play with a clear head.” I stated that “a player that is ‘hurried’ will make bad passes, take bad shots, and commit silly fouls…” In the practical portion of the devotion I shared some things that Louie Giglio shared about facing worry and fear… that we should replace them with worship and faith…

This week I want to share a very simple challenge with you… one that encourages you to focus in on worship!

In my sharing at the school I have recently written about some days on the soccer field in high school. We had a couple goalies that could really boot the ball. As a freshman I remember going out for practice and deciding to try to head the punts… and our keeper (Jeff Darnell) would kick it really high and really long; meaning the ball would come in with a lot of velocity… and could tend to hurt really bad! (Wondering how many times I should have gone into concussion protocol?)

Seriously, what I had to learn to do (and learn quickly) was to attack the ball; in other words, I had to generate some velocity on my end to impact the ball… not be impacted by the ball! I loved the feeling of striking the ball and sending it back to Jeff with force!

Life will come at us with a lot of velocity… you have to determine if you will be impacted by it or if you will create the impact… the impact of intentional worship or praise! STRIKE or BE STRUCK!

Set yourself up this week for listening to more praise music… sharing more praises… focusing on the goodness of God throughout your days… reading more Psalms… etc. In just a couple of weeks at the school I will be hosting a “worship week” at the school… let it start with us here… (READ PSALM 150)

…it can be our very own form of March MADness!

Side note: periodically I would misjudge my headers… taking my eye off the ball… on those punts that Jeff sent downfield… resulting in mishitting the ball… which could result in some pain when heading off the bridge of the nose. To remedy that I would put my hands up in the air to guide the ball in. Not sure if you are a “hand-raiser” in worship but there is some value in pointing your focus upward! Here’s a fun link for you to take a look at: