Monday, October 26, 2009

October 26, 2009 - Teammates

When you think of a good teammate what comes to mind? If you were choosing a workout partner what type of person would you look for? In both cases I would think you want a person that is committed to the same goals as you. I would think you would want a person that encourages you as an athlete.

If you were starting a workout regiment and you chose a lazy partner I would have to assume you were not very serious about your plans. If you chose teammates that just want to mess around on the court I would assume you are not serious about your game.

It is true that a person is known by the company he keeps.

What type of people do you have around you in your Christian walk? Have you surrounded yourself with encouragers? Have you surrounded yourself with those that are committed to God’s game plan?

If you are surrounded by friends that are not serious about the Lord then I would have to assume that you are not serious. You may be thinking “Wait a minute there Coach, you don’t know me.” Or maybe you are thinking, “But I want to make a difference in their lives.” Are you making a difference?

The Scriptures make it very clear:

Proverbs 12:26 says, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

Obviously we should try to reach out to people. Yet the Scriptures are clear that we should choose those we are going to call teammates or partners very wisely.

Monday, October 19, 2009

October 19, 2009 - Choose Right

As a coach one of the main things you try to teach players is to make good choices on the floor. In fact there are many talented/skilled players that never amount to great players simply due to lack of decision making ability.

There are a couple of things that lead to good decision making ability. The first is simply getting a lot of playing time. A player can never get a feel for the game if he isn’t in games.

The second thing is coaching that doesn’t just talk about the positives but also points out and corrects the negatives. Yes I said there has to be some negative. I know that is not popular in today’s “lets not even keep score” culture. Yet correction is needed for growth.

That leads us to the lack of maturity in the church. We live in a “don’t judge me” and “I have liberty” culture. Yet the Scriptures over and over warn about this.

Much of our problem lies in the fact that we are not actively involved in “the game.” Too many Christians are not serving God in their daily lives. And by serving Him I mean more than just trying to live clean. I mean actually striving to make a difference through evangelism and service. There is simply not enough “playing time” to develop maturity.

There is also a big absence of correction from both our pulpits and also in our personal relationships within the church. In 2 Timothy we are warned of a time when the church will “turn away” from truth. Throughout that letter we see the commands to “correct” those in opposition. It goes as far as to tell us to “turn away” from some people. (I think that shows an element of judging lifestyles.)

I know this is will not be a popular devotion. Yet we are told this in Proverbs 27:6

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Proverbs 20 says the following in verse 11:

“Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right.”

Verse 12 goes on to say:

“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The LORD has made them both.”

The Lord has given us eyes and ears to learn for our own lives; and to help “coach” our brothers and sisters. The goal is to be mature – making good choices.

Choose Right!

Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12, 2009 - Mascots

Because I direct a sports ministry I have often thought about what our mascot would be if we had a traveling team. When we are on the road for mission trips I simply call the participants “Ambassadors”, taken from 2 Corinthians 5:20. That term is one I can use to teach each player about his role in the body of Christ. It means something. It is a term with some power.

That got me thinking about some of the lame mascots that are out there in the sporting world. Just looking at the college ranks we see teams called:

Gophers – harmless little animals

Buckeyes – nuts from a tree

Orange – a fruit

Sooners – a wagon

And even Banana Slugs (See University of California Santa Cruz)

There is simply no power in and of those names (even though 4 of the 5 schools represented have strong athletics.)

Other names I thought of for an InBounds Ministries team:

Iguanas – reptiles never stop growing

Lions or Eagles – obviously some Biblical references that can be found

Yet one that probably would not stand well on its own is the Lambs. That just doesn’t sound very strong does it? Yet the Scriptures tell us to be gentle and kind. They tell us to be meek and even harmless. But these things should be balanced with strength. In fact the word meek literally means “strength under control.”

One of the great titles I have ever heard for the Christian team: Roaring Lambs.

The late Bob Briner wrote about the idea that we should be infiltrating our culture in a gentle, yet loud fashion. We should be humble while still bold. We should be difference makers. We should be culture changers.

I often tell youth that I want them to learn to be thermostats, not thermometers!

How about you? Are you a good ambassador? Are you an iguana that is continually growing? Are you a roaring lamb that is shaping the culture around you?

2 Corinthians 10: 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

Monday, October 5, 2009

October 5, 2009 - Fullbacks

I was watching a football game last night and the commentators were discussing what a good job the running back was doing. The back had been benched the week before and had obviously got the message. He truly was having (and had) a great game.

The funny thing was that on one of his touchdowns we got to see it in slow motion from the perspective of being in the backfield. This is not to take anything away from the young man that scored, but the fact is the front line and the fullback created a hole for him that you could have driven a Mack truck through. They prepared the way for the running back. And even though the announcers mentioned the blocking, those guys that did the blocking remained faceless and nameless for the most part. They simply did their jobs without an issue of “ego.”

Biblically I think that John the Baptist was a great “fullback or lineman.” His job was very basic: prepare a “hole” for the Savior to “run” through.

John 1: 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

John understood it was not about him. Even when those around wanted to shine light on John he quickly reflected it to Christ.

John 1: 26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”

This past weekend I was privileged to share messages at a retreat about “The Character of a Christ-centered Man.” It was a great time at we looked in the Scriptures for qualities that should be true of us. One of the things we discussed is the fact that “character’ (unlike reputation) is something that is true of you even when no one is looking.

Therefore in my mind (and teaching) I went a bit farther to this idea of “reputation.” So I asked the question “What does a Christ-centered man look like?” This is a “reputation” question – what do other see?

My conclusion: The Christ-centered man is invisible. Guys like John the Baptist made it a point for people to see Jesus.

John 1: 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

And later John said this: John 3: 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

In your life – who is the center of attention? You or Jesus?

Be a great “fullback” and prepare the way for the Lord in people’s lives.