Monday, February 25, 2008

February 25, 2008 - Road Work

How’s your daily routine? Do you workout?

If you were preparing for a 12-round fight would you just show up and see how long you last? Of course not! You would prepare for the task.

Life is like a fight at times. We must be ready, prepared to step into the ring at any given time. We must be prepared for things physically, mentally, and spiritually.

As I was reading a John Maxwell leadership book it reminded me of an old saying: Champions don’t become champions in the ring - they are merely recognized there.

Maxwell went on to quote former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier: “You can map out a fight plan or a life plan. But when the action starts, you’re down to your reflexes. That’s where the road work shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, you’re getting found out now under the bright lights.”

I long for the day where my “road work” results in my natural reflex or response to life’s fight being one that glorifies and honors my Lord. That takes discipline - effort - training!

26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9)

Monday, February 18, 2008

February 18, 2008 - A Really Good Year?

Well another high school season has drawn to a close for me and as usual I stop to take a look at if it was successful or not. Our record was respectable as we finished the regular season 11-11. We then lost our lone tournament game to a team that we had beaten twice during the season.

As I evaluate based upon wins and losses I come to the conclusion that we did have a good year. There was not much expected of us due to our lack of size and experience but we played very hard and truly didn’t lose many games that we should have won. Likewise we won a few that people didn’t expect.

Yet I feel that just judging success based upon that can be very misleading. From a basketball standpoint I think we improved greatly throughout the year. I was very proud of my guys. I can’t say we reached our maximum potential but we worked hard. I can look at things I could have done better as a coach and I am sure each player could find areas he could have worked on more.

But again this falls short on determining the true success of this campaign. I was most proud of our guys’ attitudes during games. I often heard other coaches and fans acknowledge this. I heard testimony of referees that enjoy calling games in our house. I feel we were very successful in honoring the Lord with our play.

That is what I most look for in the season. It is what I look for in my own kids.

Proverbs 23 says it very clearly:
15 My son, if your heart is wise,
My heart will rejoice—indeed, I myself;

16 Yes, my inmost being will rejoice
When your lips speak right things.

All in all it was a good year, but I’ll quote another coach on when the final grades will be in.

After a tremendous season a reporter made this remark: “Coach Stagg, it was a great year, a really great year!”

The coach replied: “I won’t know for another twenty years or so whether you’re correct.” …Coach Alonzo Stagg – former football coach at the University of Chicago

Monday, February 11, 2008

February 11, 08 - Butt Whoopin'

This past week my team played against a team that simply is too good for us.I know that doesn't mesh with the typical "coach-speak" and bravado that accompanies sports. Yet there was absolutely no position in which we were not in a huge mismatch. They were bigger, stronger, faster, more skilled, and more experienced to the man!

I was talking with a young man from another team about that situation and he asked what I say to my guys in such a situation. It was a good question because we at times know we are headed for a good ole' fashion butt-whoopin'. Yet there still should be expectations of how we play.

First of all I tell my guys the fundamental basketball things they need to know and do that will help them compete - (even though the other team made that next to impossible to do.) But I also spend a lot of time talking about what success is. In a situation like the recent game I remind them they are going to play a basketball game - not going into a knife fight - fear is not needed! Setting the proper understanding of the situation is important.

Isn't life a lot like this? We look at so many situations as though they are the end of the world - no hope - the sky is falling. Yet for the believer all of these situations are temporal! What si the worst that could happen? We have security in Christ. We have a God that is on our side. We have a hope that is sure.

The Scriptures ask death where its sting is. I think the same question can be asked of life itself. Life holds no permanents for us. It is temporal. And God is eternal. Life in Christ is eternal. No matter how bad things may seem - they will pass. No matter how bad things seem - we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

In the game I started out talking about, we got our tails kicked in a major way. The fact is that life sometimes does that to us. Yet we can only play the "game" to God's glory - at the end of the day look in the mirror and know we "played" well and that joy comes in the morning!

5 For His anger is but for a moment,His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30)

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. (Psalm 42)

Monday, February 4, 2008

February 4, 2008 - Super Church

As I watched the end of the Super Bowl last night I couldn’t help but be thrilled as I saw Peyton Manning cheering on his little brother Eli. Here stands Peyton, who obviously would have loved to have been in that game, with his loyalty to his family showing!

I saw Giants fans in their jerseys and cheering on their team as though they were all home grown in New York. (And the same is true for the Patriots fans cheering as though all their boys are New Englanders.)

Sports give a picture of what it means to be a part of something bigger than the individual – a team! And even those that are not in the immediate action are linked to it through their allegiances.

Can you imagine a Super Church where we realized that those born again through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ are on the same team! We should be cheering one another on; encouraging one another; exhorting one another; caring for one another!

Unfortunately our ideas of Super Church involve who has the best music program or flashiest lights – or who runs the best youth program – or the list could go on and on. Yet God has called us to be a community – a family – a team!

Encourage someone today! Cheer for your teammates to help them through the “game.” Run along beside them if you have to.

Galatians 6

1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load.
6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.