Monday, November 20, 2017

November 20, 2017 - I Was A Scorer That Passed... Not A Playmaker!

When I was a younger player (teen years) I was definitely more of a scorer than a passer… (old friends are screaming, “Amen!”, right now.) I’ll be honest, I prided myself on being able to get the ball in the hole; yet I also knew the game well enough to know that I was the size of a point guard…

…and a point guard is normally known for his passing abilities, not his scoring. That takes me to a tryout I had at a college in FL. During the scrimmage I made it a point to distribute the ball and show I could play the point; following the scrimmage the coach explained that he thought I was a good player but that he was looking for more of a scorer than a playmaker. My heart was crushed… I wanted to have him call my friends, so they could explain that I normally was not that generous with the ball.

That brings me to this week’s point… yesterday our pastor was preaching about how to “be rich”; note: not how to get rich but instead how to be rich. In comparison to most of the world, we each have an abundance of riches and the Scripture gives instruction and warning to those that are “rich.”

1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty,… 18 Let them do good works, ready to give, willing to share,

The reason I shared the story of my tryout is this; just because I spent one scrimmage trying to be a passing playmaker, it didn’t mean that is what I was… I was simply a scorer that passed. Pastor Matt brought the point out yesterday that if your answer to if you are generous is, “Yeah, one time I…”, then you are not a generous person, you are simply a normally selfish person that gave. (Italics are my words, Matt was more tactful than that.)

We are called to not just give, but to be generous!

Here is an excerpt from one of the daily student devotions I write for our school:

2 Corinthians 9: 11 …while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

God has given liberally to us! We are blessed to have food, shelter, clothing, heat/air, clean water, transportation, etc. I know that even here at the school we are very diverse economically; (I don’t have a big house and a boat… but I am super thankful I have friends that do.) But in the global scheme of things, we are all filthy rich and not quite so diverse…

Notice that the verse in 2 Corinthians says we are “enriched… for all liberality.

Now hear it from The Message paraphrase: He gives you something you can then give away,

Application: What does a thankful man look like? He looks like a generous man!

Check out how Psalm 112:9a describes a good man (which is quoted in 2 Corinthians 9):

He has dispersed abroad, he has given to the poor…

Here is that thought in The Message:

He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon.

The last part of 2 Corinthians 9:11 states that when we are liberal in giving it “causes thanksgiving in us to God.” To me that means we actually experience thanksgiving, not just celebrate it!

Happy Thanksgiving stems from Happy Giving!

Monday, November 13, 2017

November 13, 2017 - Use It or Lose It!

Have you ever felt like quitting? When the game is not going right, our default mode is to take your ball and go home…

Life tends to bring us to points of decision… where we must determine if we are going to stay the course or if we are going to pack it in… if we are going to stick with the game plan or give up.

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. (Proverbs 24:10)

The past couple of weeks I have been reminding students at our school that we are called to rejoice and be thankful in all things. In fact, today I showed them in 1 Thessalonians 5 where it is the will of God that we do that… (it is great to show seniors in high school that they can know God’s will clearly!)

I came across an incredible passage today… it is Psalm 137. The Psalmist is writing from captivity in Babylon. The writer admits that their joy had left them… admits that they no longer had a “song.” (Check out verse 2 where he states, “We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it.” They stopped playing their music.)

In verse 4 the question becomes, “How?” He asks, “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?”

How do we rejoice? How do we show thanksgiving if the world seems to be falling apart around us?

Verses 5 and 6 give a warning and an answer… if “we forget… Jerusalem (the good) we could lose our skill and our ability to praise. (A use it or lose it scenario.)

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth – if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy. (Proverbs 137:5-6)

So the positive answer is to remember the good… or in the words of the great old hymn… to “count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done..”

Don’t quit… don’t take your ball and go home… persevere by remembering the good!