Monday, September 17, 2018

September 17, 2018 - Do you know "Who's Got Next?"

Yesterday’s NFL action saw a crazy situation where a veteran player retired…That in and of itself is not a big deal, other than it took place at halftime without his teammates or coaches having a clue it was going to happen; in fact, the guy had even started the game… So obviously folks are calling him a quitter and slamming him pretty good.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not condoning how he went about retiring but I do understand his explanation…  “It’s more important for me and my family to walk away healthy than to willfully embrace the warrior mentality and limp away too late.” (Vontae Davis)

Again, I am not saying it was right to surprise his team the way he did in the middle of the game, but one has to wonder what happened on the filed in the first half… did he get hurt? Did he simply realize he could no longer keep up --- could no longer help his team?

I know there is always the debate on aging athletes on when they should hang it up… and often the stories of the guys that simply could not call it quits and went out the hard way. Seldom do you hear that athletes leave the game on their own terms…

When it comes to this thing called life, we all must realize that our “season” will come to an end… and there will a time during that “season” where we realize we have to “play the game” a little bit differently. I am convinced that one of the most important things we are supposed to be doing is discipling/mentoring those that will come behind us…

It is amazing how many times this thought has come up just today… I am preparing for an intern that is moving here tomorrow to serve with InBounds for a year, so I am preparing things to start training him; our MAD Hoops director and I were discussing tonight the need to mentor new leaders in that outreach; I was giving advice to a young basketball player and her parents and talked about the importance of getting under the wing of an upperclassmen; and then in reading the article about the retired player, kept seeing the theme of who is in line to fill the spot…

So this week I am simply challenging you to make sure you are not only sitting under good teaching/training, but also that you are actively looking for ways to be an example/mentor to others.

2 Thessalonians 3:9 …but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.

Here the Apostle Paul is taking an intentional mentoring approach. I love how The Message reads on that phrase: We simply wanted to provide an example of diligence, hoping it would prove contagious.

I recently read it this way: Be a Barnabas (an encourager)! Pursue a Paul (someone with the ability to train you)! Train a Timothy (a willing follower)!

Make sure that when it is time to “hang up the sneakers” there is someone to take your spot “on the court”! Make sure you are aware of “who’s got next”!

Monday, September 10, 2018

September 10, 2018 - The Required Elements of a Tumbling Run

I’m going to revisit a theme I wrote about a few years ago, as it came up again in a message I preached this weekend; yet, as often happens, with some new insight and thoughts for our lives. I wrote and shared, (and preached about), Lessons from the Balance Beam…

In the message I made the following points about the beam…

1.) You must stay looking forward

2.) You must stay absolutely centered

3.) You must focus on where you want to land

4.) You must trust… even when you can’t see the landing

All these lessons have great implications for our spiritual lives; yet as I was studying again this weekend my mind zeroed in on the actual routine… the “tumbling run.” The mere name of it sounds risky. The truth is that a gymnast that climbed onto the beam and just stood there would not be very impressive… one wouldn’t call her a good gymnast. Nor, would we say that about a young lady just because she could walk a straight line down the beam. But we are amazed when a young lady mounts a 4-foot-high, 16-foot-long, 4-inch-wide piece of would and begins to tumble… In fact, in order to get scored for the beam event there are required elements of a gymnast… i.e. leaps, jumps, acrobatic maneuvers, dance, etc.

Why is it that when thinking about what makes someone a “good” Christian boy or girl we tend to just focus on what they don’t do… granted it is impressive to not “fall off the beam” but not if someone is just standing still… we must be moving forward; not if someone is never getting out of her comfort zone… we must be making a difference in others lives (especially in the “least of these” lives)!

When we engage in culture… in people’s lives… there are risks… we are on a “tumbling run.” Yes, we need to strive to stay centered in that run, but even if we “fall off the beam” we can get back on!

We can find many examples in Scripture of those that took risks, fell, got back up, and finished their “routine”, their “tumbling run.” One shining example of this is David…

Think about the boy David, and the risky “tumbling run” he was on… we know the story as he was getting ready to face Goliath and was being warned to not take the risk… in 1 Samuel 17:37b David says of God, “He will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.” He was willing to go forward… because God had shown him before the He (God) could be trusted. Right before this confident statement about the battle he proclaimed (17:37a) “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear…”

My point is that David was willing to live a life of risks in order to serve the Lord. (And yes, we know of his conquests and his failures as King… yet even when he failed (“fell off the beam”) he came back strong…

I simply want to remind us that being “good” at something requires more than just not messing up. We need to in the risky, messy business of life and love… serving the Lord by reaching our culture!

Going MAD (Making A Difference) demands that we perform the "required elements" of the Great Commission (evangelism and discipleship) and the Great Commandment (loving God and loving others)!