Monday, April 26, 2010

April 26, 2010 - Assistant Coaches

Have you ever noticed in basketball games that when a timeout is called you often see the head coach first meeting with his assistants? Coaches have learned that it is good to get different perspectives. Obviously the final decisions still lie with the head coach, but he is wise if he surrounds himself with good eyes and ears.

I think about my first years coaching in North Carolina. I was fortunate to have assistant coaches that knew more about the game than I do. What a great benefit to be able to get sound advice (or even just turn a huddle over to them.) [Thanks Rick and Mark!]

I would not have been very wise to ignore them every time they had a different opinion than I do. Still there were times I made decisions that were not what they would have done. The great thing was that we understood our roles, did not feel threatened, and were able to work together for the good of the team.

I am regularly faced with questions / situations where these principles come into play. I see leaders that only want “yes-men” around them. I see leaders that are unwilling to make firm decisions. I see leaders that are threatened by any negative response. I see dictators. I see lame ducks. I see leaders in Christian circles that are unbiblical in their leadership.

There is safety / accountability in numbers. Yet these numbers can not be just figure-heads but must truly be sharpening tools. (This is true for any of us, whether in leadership roles or not. See Proverbs 27:17)

Here is a great verse for the Biblical leadership model:

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel, plans go awry,
But in the multitude of counselors they are established.

We all need solid “assistant coaches” in our lives!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring 2010 Newsletter

Hello Sports Fans

This newsletter finds us trying to rest up a bit from our spring break ROCK’em Road Trip and planning for another very busy summer. The Lord has given us the great privilege of being able to minister in many venues as of late and we have been able to see His Gospel message going forth in all its power and glory!

We just returned from 9 days in Florida. “We” refers to me, Coach Hank Dahl, and 15 boys ages 12-18. We had a very full schedule that included: painting a house; working on the rock garden landscaping at a home; leading an Easter morning service; leading 2 youth rallies; leading a Christian school chapel; sharing testimonies at a youth detention center; playing/training in hoops; and even taking in an Orlando Magic / New York Knicks game. The kids were challenged throughout the trip with thoughts from Tony Dungy’s book Uncommon and the theme of our trip: It’s Time To Man Up!

We were able to see over 20 people make professions of faith during the trip (including 9 from a public high school team we scrimmaged.) I also had the thrill of my oldest son, Clay, sharing his testimony at the detention center! It was a great trip for ministry.

I have also had many opportunities as of late to fill pulpits and share God’s Word. I love getting to share His truths and challenge the church to step our game!

As the summer approaches I am finalizing my schedule for camps, mission trips, etc. There are already many weeks of camps planned both in our local area and also in other states. (These will be posted this week.)

Plus: Coach Torzewski has a full slate of Midwest events scheduled (including clinics in Indianapolis and a return to Cornerstone Festival.)

I also will be joining a dear friend from Bible college in the West Indies to survey the area for church plants. (This trip will include Lisa, Lord willing. She has been asked to be a part of the vision team as well. Therefore pray as we seek to raise the support needed for her travel. And selfishly I am pretty pumped about the idea of spending a week in the Caribbean with my wife!)

My son Clay is also getting an incredible opportunity to take a journey I took last summer to London. He will be serving with a group called London Bridges in an outreach to Arabic speaking Muslims on the streets of London. Please pray for him as he prepares for this challenge.

All of this planning is taking place as I finish out my year back in the classroom teaching Bible to middle school students. I have spent 3 days a week in this position and in spite of fatigue I have enjoyed trying to help these kids increase in their knowledge of God’s Word and His love for them. (I have also utilized this time at the school to have “open gyms” in the mornings before school for the ball players.)

This update could carry a lot more details of the amazing things God is doing in our ministry. I am hoping you see from this brief description that we are still moving forward on this “spiritual fast break.”

I do ask that you pray for the following things:

1. Finances to continue to come in for the cost of running the ministry (including my salary.) The Lord has blessed greatly in that we have been able to cover the bills but the reality is that our regular monthly giving is probably only at 40% of my salary – let alone the overall operating budget of InBounds Ministries. Yet somehow God has continued to do His thing!

2. Coach Torzewski and his wife Rebekah: they have a lot of things to juggle with jobs, kids, and InBounds events.

3. Jordan Myers: he is a college student/athlete at Southern Illinois University. He is getting ready to go to China on a basketball mission outreach. We have seeded a bit of money from the ministry into his trip and consider it a part of our overall outreach. Jordan is a quality young man; a good basketball player; and loves the Lord Jesus Christ!

4. Clay Burden: for his trip with London Bridges this summer

5. Lisa Burden: for the extra dollars to come in to sponsor her trip with me this summer. This will be the first time she has been able to go to the foreign field with me.

6. A new computer for the office: with our youngest kiddo heading to kindergarten this year, Lisa is going to be freed up to help me in the InBounds office as well as the classroom at the school. In essence we will be sharing 2 jobs. As of June we will be transferring all of the bookkeeping responsibilities for InBounds Ministries here to our North Carolina office. Therefore we need something other than my little netbook to use.
[This request is coupled with a huge thank you to Jeff Johnson. Jeff is one of our board members and has handled all of the financial area for us since we went full time with InBounds. Yet the job is now getting to be a lot more demanding and pulls into time at Jeff’s actual job. He has done a tremendous job for very little pay ($0) and very little recognition.]

7. Wisdom: opportunities continue to abound for us. My prayer is for clear guidance from the Holy Spirit on when to say “yes” and when to say “no.”

8. Rest: I need it!

April 19, 2010 - Honor

When you play pick-up basketball who calls the fouls – offense or defense? In most cases the offense calls and it often leads to arguing (because many players think it must be a foul if they missed the shot. There are way more bad calls in a pick-up game than an officiated one. Many are looking for an excuse for why they messed up.) I have always been one to play “defense calls fouls.” I simply think it is the honorable thing to do to say “I fouled you. Take the ball out.” I even think it is honorable to say “Hey, I was the last one to touch the ball; it was out off me.”

This was on my mind this morning after reading the sports news and seeing where a PGA golfer called a penalty on himself during a playoff that cost him his first tournament championship. His infraction was so minute it took slowed down video to confirm it; yet this guy turned himself in. obviously golf is a sport built upon honor. What stood out to me is a particular line from the writer: “Moments later, the playoff was done with Davis' self-imposed violation, something inconceivable in most other sports, where competitors take pride in getting every edge they can.” (CBS Wire reports)

In basketball I thought of guys that will fake getting fouled to draw a call (flop); or guys that will tap a shooter’s elbow to throw off his shot; with the mentality that it is not their fault if the ref doesn’t see it. And I know that some reading this will be thinking, “Come on Burden, it is all part of the game.” My answer is this: I know it is part of the game but I don’t think it should be for the believer. We should do all we do to honor the Lord. Even in an officiated game I want my players to speak up and say, “Hey, it was off me.”
I want them to be a bit old fashioned and raise their hand when a foul is called on them to admit their fault.

I understand all too well that this same mentality carries over to everyday life where many believe something is wrong only if they get caught. I know my kids do that; I know I have done it; I would bet that even some reading this blog had some issues with this prior to tax day. Our lives are built around looking for excuses and loopholes. Yet God calls us to simply be honorable.

1 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD,
But a just weight is His delight.
(Proverbs 11)

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12, 2010 - Trust

“Just trust me. Try to do it this way and you will see results.” These are words I often say as I am instructing players (or my own kids.) I want them to know not only that I am on their side but also that I know a little bit about what I am talking about.

Yet the truth of the matter is that sometimes what I say may not seem right to them; It may not feel right; It may seem too hard for them; etc. Yet I expect them still to listen and try to execute. (And the truth of the matter is that I may be wrong.)

Our lives as believers need to be along the same lines. We need to hear what God has to say and execute it, in spite of how we feel. The simple fact is that God (unlike me or you) is never wrong in His instruction; the Bible can always be trusted as our guide.

I love Psalm 37:3-6.

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. 6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday.

What is the Lord leading you to do today? You can trust Him!

Monday, April 5, 2010

April 5, 2010 - Devotion

This week’s devotion finds me on the road again with a group of teenagers. As my mind wanders to the thoughts of what devotion God wants me to share, I see it right in front of me…a physical picture of devotion, commitment, etc.

There are 15 boys on this trip along with myself and Coach Hank Dahl of Reign Ministries. Hank and I just gave the morning wake-up call at 6:52AM (each day is 15-minutes before sunrise.) That may not seem like it was very early to some of you morning folks, but to a group of boys on their spring break it is incredibly early.

As I sit at my computer it is 7:56AM and the boys have already run 2 miles, had time in God’s Word, and now are prepping for breakfast. I doubt there are many teens their age that have already accomplished that much this morning – (most won’t accomplish that much all day!) The boys are simply a picture of devotion.

What/Who are you devoted to? These guys are being reminded on this trip that as Christian our lives in total should be devoted to God!

We see the admonitions to work unto God and not just unto men; that all we do in “word or deed” should be “as to the Lord.” (See Colossians 3)

We were reminded yesterday of our ultimate victory found in Christ’s resurrection and that that should lead us to be busy about God’s work…

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)