Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 29, 2009 - Global Expansion

As the NBA draft unfolded Thursday night there was a continuance of the trend to select foreign players. As basketball caught on throughout the world young players began working to improve their games and now around 16% of the NBA consists of foreign-born players. (Yet not only has the NBA reached beyond its borders, the college game and even the high school game is full of exchange students. It is very exciting to see the “spread” of basketball in the world market.)

It makes me think of my friend Roy Mason. He was traveling a path through a jungle in Africa to share the Gospel with a tribe that had never heard the Good News. The African pastor he was traveling with asked him if he wanted a cold Coca-Cola. Roy asked where that would come from and the pastor pointed at a small hut on the side of the path. To Roy’s astonishment he realized that Coke and Pepsi have gone beyond the Gospel in their endeavors.

I see the NBA with its global expansion programs. I saw the Dream Team turn the world upside down in the 1992 Olympics concerning love of basketball. Those 12 men went onto the world stage and shared their love. (Sound like any other small group of 12 men in history?)

Acts 17: 6 …“These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.”

It is time for us to have more of a focus on “global expansion.” As I prepare to leave on my next mission trip I pray that I will be one that helps turn the world upside down. I pray that others will see something in me and desire to have it. I pray that you will have a heart to turn the world upside down – beginning right there in your Jerusalem and spreading to the ends of the earth.

Mark 16: 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Acts 1: 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer '09 Newsletter

Hello Team,

It is great to get to fill you in on all the Lord is doing through InBounds Ministries. We are now fully engrossed in our summer schedule and have much to do. Please read through the synopsis of the amazing journey we are on…

As the school year ended I had just returned from a wonderful trip to the Dominican Republic. While there we ministered in some of the poorest areas I have ever seen. Yet the joy of the Dominican believers simply blows me away. They are proof that the joy of the Lord is not based upon circumstances. I am so grateful that they ministered to me. On the trip our team provided medical care, games for kids, hugs and kisses, and of course proclamations of the glorious Gospel.

To begin the summer I headed down to Florida with the family. Lisa’s parents live there so it is a great place to visit with many opportunities for ministry. While there - I was able to preach a couple times and also able to make many fantastic contacts for future outreach. One of the speaking engagements was at Palm Beach Atlantic University for the boys’ basketball camp. We saw many teen-aged boys lift their fists to the sky signaling to God that they were accepting Christ as their Substitute! I also met with a GM of a Christian television station concerning an outreach called Men of Honor Men of Steel. It is geared toward 11-15 yr old boys – praying for them and working toward a national rally to be held the summer of 2010. The GM also asked me to prepare 60-second television spots to film geared toward these boys. They will air them across the Christian Television Network. (Please check out for more information about the specific outreach.)

Now I am home for a couple days and will share the Gospel twice today at events. Then on Saturday I am off to London for outreach in the Arab community. Please pray as we share New Testaments with these folks.

While I am there, Clay (my oldest son), will fly to Indianapolis to meet up with Coach Torzewski for the outreach at Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell. IL. They will be conducting clinics, running 3v3 tourneys, and running a product table with some great new InBounds Ministries products (i.e. shirts, wristbands, backpacks, etc.) Coach T will also be conducting Bible study with the team he has assembled for this trip. (Also this is Clay's first flight!)

Upon my return from London I will hold a week of clinics in NC and then off to the Midwest for 2 weeks of multiple clinics and speaking engagements. We will be in Evansville, IN and then in St Louis, MO.

Following that we have 2 short ROCK’em Road Trips on the schedule and then back to the school year with a busy fall on the agenda. Pray as we look at a return trip to the Czech Republic in November and also clinic opportunities in China in January of 2010.

We are excited about the many opportunities we have this summer to proclaim God’s grace! We are thankful God has called us to the sports mission field. We covet your prayers throughout these endeavors and also ask you to consider helping us financially. Summer is typically a difficult time for ministries on the financial side of things. And to be very straightforward we are nowhere near full monthly support. (Presently at around 50% of salary needs on monthly support – not to mention the overall operating budget needed for travel, etc.) Yet the Lord has continued to surprise us with blessings. We simply trust the Lord to provide through His people as we follow His lead.

One major blessing we recently received was an offer for me to teach part-time at Statesville Christian School. This will help out a bit on the financial side and also allow for us to send 2 of our boys back to school there. I will teach on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week – which will allow for long weekends for the travel portion of our ministry. And for blessing on top of blessing I will get to teach the Word to middle schoolers!

Thanks so much for being a part of our team! And please stay in touch throughout the summer with us.

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 22, 2009 - High Expectations

Many times as a coach one is faced with trying to figure out what line-up is going to work. The coach is simply trying to find who is ready to step up – and it is great when that comes from an unexpected source. I love seeing when a benchwarmer turns hero. But I also have some players that I simply expect to produce!

Yesterday (Father’s Day) I was honored to share the morning message at a church in Florida. As I prepared for the message throughout the week, I continued to feel the need to exhort fathers to “step up.”

Our society does not have great expectations of dads. Television typically portrays dads as beer guzzling, incompetent buffoons. (And Christian dads are usually looked at as weak weenies.) Even in the church I think we have lowered expectations. All we/society seem to care about is if the dads protect and provide – and those are marks of good fathering. Yet…

I think there is so much more Biblically that needs to be expected: things like praying for our kids; preparing our kids through teaching them the Word and disciplining them; praising them; prodding them to serve the Lord; etc. Dads, the Scriptures call us to be primary trainers of our kids!

Deuteronomy 6: 4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Note that the job is not for the government, the schools, or even the church. It is parental! It is great when those places are in harmony with the teachings but they are not the primary means to teaching our children.

I came across a few great quotes about fathers.

The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them. - Confucius

If a son is uneducated, his dad is to blame. - Chinese Proverb

"One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters." - English Proverb - George Herbert

OK Dads, step up! The expectations for you are high according to God. He wants you to be a starter in your child’s life – not sitting the bench expecting others do the job!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

June 15, 2009 - Shooting At The Wrong Goal

I am often troubled by how confused people are. I think back to a game in middle school where a player went in for the other team and shot at our goal. He sincerely thought he was doing the right thing and made a nice shot. Yet the score was not credited to him in the box score – it would have been credited to the closest player on our team to the play. The issue is not how good of a shot one takes. It is not how sincere the thought was. The issue is what team a person is on that determines where and how one can score.

As my missionary travels lead me to people all over the world I see the same problems. People are sincerely trying to “score enough points” to please God – it is called religion. Yet it doesn’t matter how good their shots are if they are on the wrong team. In fact the “scoring” of good works is not the issue at all – it is all in what jersey one is wearing. Don’t get me wrong, I love “scoring” and believe it brings rewards – yet only for those already on the winning team of Christ.

I am prepping for a trip to London to share this Christ with Muslims. These are people that have some similarities with us. They believe in one God. They believe that all man is sinful. They believe that Jesus is the eternal prophet. Yet they also believe they have to earn their way onto the team according to the teachings of Mohammed. They are devoutly religious – yet greatly deceived.

I love to share the story of our wonderful Substitute – the Savior Jesus Christ. In reality He is not just a Substitute but was traded for us so we could change teams.

2 Corinthians 5: 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Monday, June 8, 2009

10% Inspiration 90% Perspiration

Practices tell a lot about players. It shows who is ready and willing to give it their all. It shows who is committed to getting better. It shows who is committed to the team’s goals. John Wooden talked of what he did when guys were slacking off in practice; he simply cut practice short. He said that practice was a privilege at UCLA. He then simply cut playing time for the guys that wanted to slack – stating that the bench is a great motivating factor.

I am constantly talking to my players and my own kids about work ethic and discipline. I talk about setting their minds to a task and accomplishing it. I talk of the pride and joy of accomplishment from a job well done. Yet the sad fact is that most players would rather talk than work. Thomas Edison said it this way, “Genius (success) is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.”

It is great to dream and plan but at some point the hard work has to begin.

In the church we spend a lot of time planning and dreaming. Yet not a lot of time is spent doing! We may give money for someone else to do the work but few actually put their hands to a task. There is a generally accepted belief about the church called the 80/20 rule. It states that 80% of the work will be done by 20% of the people. At some point we all have to get busy!

I love the story in Nehemiah of the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem. It was a grand task – one that outsiders mocked at because it seemed too difficult. Yet God gave a vision to Nehemiah that led to Nehemiah casting a vision to the people. At this point it was a great “dream” they planned to accomplish. Yet just having a dream wasn’t enough. I love the following verses from Nehemiah chapter 2:

17 Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” 18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work.

Notice it went beyond a dram to them actually setting their hands to the work. It is a particular mindset that will not be shaken. Chapter 4 shares the ongoing commitment and excitement as the task was being completed. Here is a great verse in that chapter:

6 So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.

What mindset do you have? Are you about the Father’s business?

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15)

58With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. (The Message)

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1, 2009 - Eat Right!

As I spend time in ministry to others and also in looking at my own life, I am convinced that we are not “eating right” and not staying properly “hydrated.” In the game of life we are “malnourished.”

As players prep for games I encourage them to eat properly in order to have the energy they need. I also encourage them throughout the game to keep drinking fluids to stay hydrated. (I never tell them before the start of the game to drink all they think they will need for the game. That is why there is a water cooler at the end of the bench.)

In day-to-day living we see many diets that encourage good eating habits. One theory is that we do better on multiple small meals than on three big meals – ala Adam and Eve eating freely in the garden as they needed. Whatever the dietary philosophy, I never see them encouraging just one meal a day. Our bodies need to stay “fueled.”

Yet in our Christian lives we often fall victim to the legalistic diet of quiet times. Maybe we devote a certain amount of time each morning for Bible and prayer. (Or maybe we just “eat” once a week on Sundays – and then we are spoon-fed by the pastor.)

Don’t get me wrong. I think the discipline of a quiet time is a great thing; yet not in and of itself is it all we need. Throughout the day we need to be partaking of God’s Word. Throughout the day we need to be in an attitude of prayer where we have regular dialogue with God.

In Psalm 119 King David talks of “hiding God’s Word” in our hearts so we can meditate on it throughout the day; so it will be a light unto our paths; etc. We tend to read it and then spend the rest of the day ignoring it. It is like we shine the light onto the path and then turn it off and try to walk on our own. We have a time of prayer, only to ignore talking with or acknowledging God’s presence the rest of the day. What if we only allowed for a few minutes each day with our spouses or friends? Relationship is a daily, ongoing thing.

Psalm 119

32 I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart.

97 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.

103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

133 Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.

We need to allow God’s Word to have more impact in our lives. It is not just history and trivia. It is what we need in order to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. (See Romans 12:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:16-17) We need to “Eat Right!”