Monday, March 31, 2008

March 31, 2008 - Busting Our Butts!

It is almost here! The Final Four is upon us with all four number 1 seeds filling the brackets. (This is the first time in history that all number 1 seeds have advanced.) The exciting thing for me is knowing that one of my former players is on the Memphis squad that is headed for the San Antonio. Therefore I regularly read the Memphis newspaper online to catch the latest info.

This morning a couple of quotes stood out to me - one by Memphis coach John Calipari: “…it's hard for them to accept that good things are supposed to happen for you. Expect good things to happen. It's hard for them to see that sometimes."

The other quote is from former Memphis and NBA player Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway. I think it helps explains why Coach Cal made his statement.

"It means a lot because I see behind closed doors what they do; they work so hard starting in the offseason and leading into the regular season, and Cal has done a great job and the players have done a great job," Hardaway said. "It's huge because it puts you on a bigger level. You get more respect when you get to the Final Four and have a chance to win it all."

This is a basic principle in life. You may have heard it worded “what goes around comes around.” Or maybe you have heard the phrase “you reap what you sow.”

Yes this is a Biblical principle. Hard work – good work – produces good things. As believers in Christ we are called serve God. We are called to honor God in all we do. We are called to do good!

This is not a call to earn our salvation. That is a free gift based upon our faith in Christ’s finished work. Yet once we are on God’s team (based upon our faith) we should not sit back and just enjoy the “scholarship,” we should be busting our butts to serve Him!

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. (Galatians 6)

Monday, March 24, 2008

March 24, 2008 - Messiah Madness

March Madness is in full swing. As I was on a road trip yesterday I found myself making phone calls regularly to check scores. I even had my brother pulling up box scores for me. It truly can become an obsession. I have jokingly called it the “most wonderful time of the year.” Maybe the word “madness” is more accurate than we realize.

As for this year that is actually true. This past weekend was not just the first week of the tourney; it was also our weekend to celebrate the death and resurrection of the Savior! Truly the greatest weekend celebration on our calendar!

Yet to the unsaved, our holiday weekend should involve the term “madness.” We are celebrating the death of Jesus and then His resurrection from the dead. That doesn’t necessarily fit the normal, every day occurrences of life. In fact Scripture even tells us that if the resurrection is not true then we are to be pitied above all men. Our faith is in vain without it.

Check out these verses from 1 Corinthians 15:

3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures

14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

55 “ O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(If you happen to be reading this and doubt the resurrection of Christ I encourage you to go to )

Since most that read this devotion do claim to believe that Christ is risen, I want to point something out to you. Many skeptics would be more inclined to look at the evidence of Christ’s resurrection if we were even half as excited about Him as we are the basketball tournament.

I fully understand the “March Madness” moniker. I fit the bill for why it is called that. Yet I hope I fit the bill also as someone that could be classified by “Messiah Madness.”

My challenge to us is to try to talk as much about Christ over the next few weeks as we do the basketball tournament! Let’s make Him our point of “madness.”

Monday, March 17, 2008

March 17, 2008 - Everyone gets a Trophy - YUCK!

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. (1 Corinthians 9)

Did you notice that this verse is not “politically correct”? Yeah, it states that only one “receives the prize.” It was understood in athletics of that day that not everyone was a winner. In athletics everyone shouldn’t get a trophy! (Just like in life not everyone comes out on top - whether it be in job hunts or running for student council office.)

This past weekend my 10 yr. old son Caleb had a team party following the basketball season. His team won the tournament championship. They were having games, food, and trophies. The problem is that my son had not played the majority of the season due to his lack of effort in the classroom. I suspended him from hoops!

The coach contacted us saying they still wanted my Caleb to come to the party. Caleb was going to receive one trophy because we had paid for it. (It was built into the league fee so every kid gets a trophy – YUCK!) But then the coach was giving a trophy beyond that for the championship. I told the coach I did not feel comfortable having Caleb get the trophy – he didn’t earn it! (I remember when it was really something to get a trophy.)

My wife took Caleb to the party and to my surprise - and also my delight – Caleb told her he didn’t want to get the championship trophy because he knew he didn’t earn it.

Salvation is a free gift to anyone who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ – apart from works. But once we are on Christ’s team please understand that rewards are not gifts. They are based upon works! There is an economy to the reward system of Heaven. Not all believers will be rewarded the same.

How hard are you working for the Lord? Are you striving to win the prize? (Not the prize of salvation – but the prize of rewards for faithfulness.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

March 11, 2008 - Spring Newsletter

Greetings fans of InBounds Ministries

This newsletter will be packed with an incredible display of God’s provision and also the need to follow His plan. It will hopefully encourage you as well as challenge you. It will call on you to praise Him as well as to sacrifice for Him.

Let’s start with the “praise” portion. God has been busy opening doors for us that are obviously from Him. I have just booked numerous Spring and Summer outreaches for our ministry. Over the next few months I will speak at camps, conduct basketball clinics in Costa Rica, conduct basketball clinics and run a 3on3 tourney at Cornerstone Festival, conduct our Blacktop Bible Clubs in Chicago, and the list goes on and on.

On top of the very exciting “away” schedule we have, the Lord has blessed us with an unbelievable opportunity for our “home” outreach. A church in Lincolnton, NC has agreed to lease their gymnasium to InBounds for $1 per year. The church has not been in a position to use the facility and therefore agreed it shouldn’t sit dormant. We made the offer to go in and conduct our ministry from this site. The gym includes a wood floor with 6 goals, showers/locker rooms, concession area, meeting area, a stage, and a large storage area. There is even the equipment to run some volleyball outreach. Our plans include running our hoops training and camps here. We will also add more men’s outreach, parent-child hoops clinics, parents-night-out, leagues, tourneys, etc. We will also use the facility to reach out to local club teams in need of practice space.

As I looked back through some our ministry planning materials I found a 5-yr plan that was developed a couple of years ago. It stated that we prayed and planned to move into a “home” facility in 2008. God comes through again!!!!!!!

There are many standing invitations for our ministry. I have been asked to consider returning to the Czech Republic and to even oversee the outreach in the community there; I have been asked to bring a team to Malaysia; I am excited about some regular plans we have in the works for Costa Rica; there are numerous opportunities to conduct our Blacktop Bible Clubs in communities. And through all of this our web outreach through sports devotions is now into its 7th year (over 320 devotions.)

As we pray and plan we seek wisdom to go through the right doors. Obviously all of this requires the resources to pull it off. God has those resources deposited into accounts all over the world – YOUR ACCOUNTS! I know times are difficult for most these days. Yet we are talking about outreach that matters for eternity. (I am reminded of a teen at the Czech camps looking at me after the presentation of the Gospel and uttering these words: “Coach, I believe.”)

This is where the “sacrifice” comes in. Will you pray about giving of yourselves to help us? It may be through joining us on a trip or at a camp. It may be through booking us for an event in your area. It may be through your sacrificial giving of finances. It may be all of the above.

Just to get a new facility rolling will require advertising and purchases of needed equipment, concessions, cleaning supplies, new found utility bills, etc. Then add in the rising costs for transportation, insurance needs, and my family eating and we see that there are major needs.

I at least ask of you to pray for us as we move forward in this “fast break” ministry God has given us!

You can see more pictures of our outreach and of the new facility at

Monday, March 10, 2008

March 10, 2008 - Posers

I love the sports arena. Competition is a thrill. It is the closest thing to the battlefield that most of us guys get to. Yet it is also humorous at times when the testosterone starts flying and the talk begins. Guys puff out their chests and try to intimidate others or just build up their own reps. It is the most hilarious when a guy can’t back it up and gets it put back in his face. (I am mentioning the fellas on this one because we are definitely worse than the ladies on this one.)

I was reading a section from the book Wild At Heart where the author was reminiscing about a bunch of guys behavior when a professional athlete was in their midst. He talked of the bragging and spitting (literally) that were taking place. It was a bunch of overweight, washed-up middle-aged guys – that the author accurately described as “posers.”

He actually said it was the biggest group of posers he had ever seen…outside of church.

This devo is probably should be more accurately called a rebuke. Yet coaches need to do that some times. Therefore I’m not apologizing about it.

I believe many reading this devo are “posers.” We talk a good church game – but do we walk the talk? Remember the old phrase that “talk is cheap”?

Are you actually “in the game” for the Lord or are you standing on the sidelines talking about your “game”? You should be busy about the Lord’s business! I saw it written this way on a sign last night: “Pray with your shoes on.” In other words ther should be some work put to the task.

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.
(Galatians 6)

Don’t be a POSER!

Monday, March 3, 2008

March 3, 2008 - Less Than Best

Sometimes we are far too willing to accept less than the best in our lives. State Farm Insurance has been running commercials that point that out. The jest of the commercials is asking why we would pay the same for something that is less quality.

One of my favorites is the “Coach K or Coach J” commercial. It compares basketball camps. I’m not personally a huge Coach K fan but I admit that he would provide a better camp than Coach J.

( Check it out at )

In our lives this is evident every time we allow something to distract or take us away from God’s plan. God always has the very best answers for life. His ways are always right! His ways are always for our good.

Yet we can allow so many things to take priority over God – or become gods to us. This can be a boyfriend or girlfriend, a job, or even sports.

Let’s not settle for less! God is the best!

25 “ To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. (Isaiah 40)