Monday, December 29, 2008

December 29, 2008 - Clock Management

Here we are at the dawn of a new year. Time just keeps on ticking away. The question is “What are you gonna do with that time?” In sports we call it clock management.

As we approach the New Year I would like to encourage and remind you of a few things:

We don’t have a big clock in the sky to tell us how much time is left in our “game.” Yet we do see things lining up Scripturally that Christ’s return appears very near. And we obviously don’t know our own individual timelines.

1 Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.
(Proverbs 27)

Does that mean we don’t make plans (or resolutions)? Absolutely not! It means we don’t put things off until “tomorrow” instead of taking care of business today. It means we are disciplined in carrying out our plans – realizing the uncertainty of time. John Wooden said it this way: “Discipline yourself so others won’t have to.”

16 redeeming the time… (Ephesians 5a)

I do think we should make some resolutions for this year. They should be prioritized based upon the uncertainty of time. What things are important in light of eternity? How are you going to manage your daily clock?

Coach Wooden said you should “make each day your masterpiece.” Tim McGraw sang that he wished you could “live like you were dying.”

To me as a coach it comes down to the very basics. What choices are you going to make? Resolutions are simply a “game plan.” Are you going to follow that plan?

(For other reading look at Proverbs 24:3-34. This will remind you of the alternative of being a “sluggard.”)

Monday, December 22, 2008

December 22, 2008 - Merry CHRISTmas!

Last week we talked of becoming “public address announcers” to proclaim the entrance of the “Substitute” into the “game of life.” Have you been doing that? Who should you announce it to?

I think that Luke 2 gives us a great picture throughout. In this chapter of Scripture we see the Christ-child being introduced to shepherds, a priest (Simeon), and a widow (Anna) that had served in the temple for 84 years.

What a mix of “players” in the game of life. It goes from the low end of the social scale with the shepherds, to the religious heights of a priest, to the humility and faithfulness of a widow that devoted 84 years to service. This is a picture from “bench-warmers to star player, to a great team-player.”

Basically the simple message to be found there is that no matter how “good” of a “player” someone appears to be, we all have the same need: to accept the Substitute.

Simeon said it best:
29 “ Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
(Luke 2)

Anna realized this truth. Her faithfulness was not what brought her “peace” or “redemption.” The Christ-child was the fulfillment of that for her and all people. Therefore she, like the angels and the shepherds, began to tell people of this wonderful news!

38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. (Luke 2)

Merry CHRISTmas everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

News/Blog - Over 150,000 People Will Die Today

Merry CHRISTmas! What a great time of year as we remember the awesome gift that God gave us in the form of His son; and when we in turn get the joy of giving to others.

With that said I hear that giving will be down this year because of the economy. Maybe that is true but I find stores and parking lots to still be quite the challenge. I still see all kinds of kids with cell phones, game systems, mP3’s, etc. For being in a recession we are still living pretty large!

I then hear that ministry/charitable giving is way down. Whether it is pastors I talk to or fellow-missionaries I get the same story, finances are low to non-existent. That concerns me on where our priorities are.

Last week was a good hoops week for ESPN. It was Jimmy V week, in honor of the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research. Most remember Jimmy as the coach of the NC State Wolfpack that had the miracle NCAA championship in 1983. Others know Jimmy based on his fight with cancer in the early 90’s that culminated with his famous speech on the ESPY Awards around a month before his death.

To date the Jimmy V foundation has raised over $80 million. And I love the fact that it all goes to research to help find a cure. It is a great cause and one that probably affects everyone reading this. Whether it be cancer, AIDS, or other diseases I think it is imperative to work toward cures.

Yet as a missionary I have some concerns for the body of Christ and our priorities. We claim to believe that the Gospel is the cure for an eternal malady of separation from God for eternity in Hell; yet we don’t consistently share the “cure’ or financially support it.

Some might argue that over the same time period of the Jimmy V Foundation’s fundraising the church and ministries have received over $80 million. True but how much has gone specifically to sharing the “cure”? We are much more concerned with bigger buildings, better sound systems, stained glass windows, etc. than we are the proclamation of the Gospel.

Why I love the Jimmy V Foundation is because the monies that come in go straight to the cause! As the church I’m not so thrilled. In general we lack a missionary focus (both home and abroad) that truly acts as though we have the “cure.” In general we spend way more on making ourselves comfortable than we do on sharing the “cure.”

Jim Valvano said these things in his 1993 ESPY speech:

“Time is very precious to me. I don’t know how much I have left and I have some things I would like to say.”

“…500,000 people will die this year of cancer. I also tell you that one in every four will be afflicted with this disease, and yet somehow we seem to have put it in a little bit of the background. I want to bring it back to the front table. We need your help. I need your help. We need money for research…It may save someone you love.”

I echo these sentiments from Jim:

Time is very precious to me. I don’t know how much I/we have left and I have some things I’d like to say.

Over 56 million people will die this year. That's over 150,000 a day. I would guess that a large majority of these do not know Christ. We need your help. I need your help. It may even save someone you love.

This newsletter/blog is a challenge to you and to me to wake up and prioritize our giving and our service. As individuals and churches we need to make the main thing the main thing! Christ left us marching orders to proclaim the Gospel not just to eat doughnuts in the foyer.

I’ll end this with a great story of a “giving” heart. My 7 yr old daughter recently went before our church to raise money to buy a goat and two chickens through World Vision. As she was on the way to church she looked at my wife and said, “Momma, if I don’t get enough today at church do you think I could leave my bucket out and Santa would give the rest instead of giving me toys?” (Side note: she raised enough for 2 goats and 4 chickens!)

Where are your priorities?

To give to the outreach of InBounds Ministries go to the following link:

Monday, December 15, 2008

December 15, 2008 - Public Address Announcers

This past week I was able to share the Gospel with around 200 students at a school in Indiana. What an awesome privilege to be God’s spokesman for the “good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” How awesome to tell them that in spite of the fact that we are on a losing team, God loves us so much that He sent a Substitute – a Savior – so we could be on the winning team.

Basically this week I want to remind you that you have a calling just like the shepherds; to tell what you have seen and heard concerning this Savior! We are the public address announcers that are to proclaim that Christ entered the game of life, wearing a team human uniform. And we have a benefit beyond the shepherds; we know how Christ’s game of life played out. He played a perfect game and then provided the perfect sacrifice on the cross of calvary; thus being our "Savior who is Christ the Lord." He was Immanuel – God with us!

He is Immanuel – God with us! Because He didn’t just pay the sacrifice, he rose again to give us new life on a new team!

Listen, I know you all know this. Yet are you “announcing” it? Study Luke 2 this week and make it a point to tell someone about it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

December 8, 2008 - A Whole New Ballgame

As I read an article yesterday I was reminded of how intense the college basketball scene can be. The player was talking about how the coach was so nice during the recruiting process but when it came time to lace them up the coach became an entirely different person. Basically the player said that the coach is riding them all the time to get better and to give maximum effort. The player talked of how much harder it had become at the major college level, even in practices. He stated that you can never take a play off. Basically he realized it is a whole new ballgame.

I thought about my time coaching the sidelines and how vocal I was. I constantly felt the need to be encouraging, directing, correcting, or whatever was needed for my players. I seldom sat down and just shut up. I guess I was somewhat the opposite of the great coach John Wooden who said that he did his coaching in practices and then somewhat sat back in games. I guess I didn’t trust my ability to get it all across in practices.

The thing that came to my mind is how “wisdom” is personified in the Proverbs. “She” is regularly “calling out” for us to listen to what God has to say. (See Proverbs 8 and 9) I Guess I picture her running up and down life’s sidelines, coaching us along.

I think of the work of the Holy Spirit leading and guiding us, convicting us, etc. (John 16:13)

And I am reminded that we cannot afford to “take a play off” in this world we live in. We have an enemy that is always after us. (See 1 Peter 5:8-9) The intensity of the “game” of life is ever increasing.

Make sure you are listening to “wisdom” from God’s Playbook! “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5 15)

Friday, December 5, 2008

InBounds Illustrated December 2008

Hello Sports Fans and Merry CHRISTmas!

Remember we are celebrating the fact that God put on a human uniform and entered the game of life as our Substitute. It is time to cheer about the fact that He has entered in to save the “game”! I am so thankful I have the opportunity to be a “commentator” and share this great news.

With that said I want to fill you all in on how the year has gone and also how excited we are for 2009.

On the home front our kids are growing rapidly and for the most part healthy, (aside from the occasional stitches and broken bones.) Clay is now a teenager and the others all think they are. Lisa and I are doing well and celebrated 15 yrs of marriage this past October. Time flies when you’re having fun!

This past year I was able to visit Costa Rica on a trip with seniors from Statesville Christian School, take a ROCK’em Road Trip through the Midwest with high school basketball players, and conduct numerous clinics. There have also been the speaking engagements, singing engagements, etc. (In the month of October alone I had over 15 speaking gigs.) Along with this I was able to continue with our weekly internet devotions. (The end of 2008 will mark 7 years of weekly devotions going out!) Plus we were able to give out hundreds of our devotional booklet “Fundamentals of the Game: Biblical Truths for Rookie and Veteran Believers.”

It has been a very solid year for ministry and we are looking at an even busier 2009. Already on the slate are trips to Alaska, the Dominican Republic, and the Czech Republic. We also are scheduled for 4 ROCK’em Road Trips, multiple Blacktop Bible Clubs, clinics, camps, etc. What a great opportunity we have to fulfill our mission of proclaiming the Gospel to the lost and equipping the found! Praise the Lord!

In 2008 we were able to fully cover the budget. For 2009 the needs have risen some, at the same time that giving on the whole has taken a downturn with the economy. I do not want to focus on that in this newsletter but, as a coach, do ask you to pray about helping in any way you can. When times are tough it is even more imperative that we prioritize our giving.

Please join with us in celebrating the birth of our Savior, our Substitute, this CHRISTmas season! And please pray about how you can help us proclaim this message throughout 2009.

Give ‘em the ROCK!
Team Burden

Monday, December 1, 2008

December 1, 2008 - You Don't Look Like A Player

Have you ever walked into a gym and had to choose up sides? Everyone wanted the players that looked the part – athletic, big, etc. Yet there always seems to be that guy that doesn’t look like a player but once the ball goes up starts lighting everybody up. Maybe he didn’t look the part due to size or age or simply the way he carried himself.

I love seeing those types of surprises. It even happens on the high levels. I wonder how many guys have taken a look at Stephen Curry of Davidson and thought, “he’s a skinny, weak guy – nothing to worry about there.” I think quite a few teams probably thought they could stop him last year. (Of course he has lost that “element of surprise.”)

On a smaller scale is a guy that was my assistant coach last year. He is a small guy with a deep southern accent. He doesn’t look like a basketball guy. Yet he regularly surprises the young studs at the Y or the players at the high school that don’t realize he played for Wake years ago.

These are stories that remind us it is dangerous ground to pre-qualify someone. Yet as believers we do that all the time. We tend to approach, invite, witness to those that we think fit the part. We tend to avoid those that don’t. But the Scriptures are clear in that the message of the Gospel – the Good News – shall be to all men. In fact our Savior went so far as to come as one of those “misfits” as a babe born in a manger.

And don’t forget the first ones to receive the message were the shepherds – not exactly guys way up the social scale definite social “misfits.”

I think we should make it a point this CHRISTmas season to “bring … good tidings of great joy … to all people.” (Luke 2:10)

You know the story – it goes on to say that a Savior was born for us all. We have the completed story. A Savior was born and died for us all!!!!!!

Therefore this CHRISTmas let’s resolve that “… from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 5:16) And let’s be “ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: [and let’s]… implore … [others] on Christ’s behalf, [to] be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)

The CHRISTmas story is the Gospel story that is to be shared with everyone – even those that don’t look the part.