Sunday, October 31, 2010

November 1, 2010 - Get Bored or Get Better!

I am preparing to leave with my 2nd oldest son for his “man-trip.” On the trip he will be required to handle the budget, map the routes, etc. he is also the one that gets to choose the activities, where we eat, times we leave, etc. I am responsible for the Biblical life lessons that pertain to becoming a man of God! It is time for him to step up to the big leagues!

His choice of activity is to go to the Hiddenite Gems Emerald Hollow Mine and to try to strike the mother-load! As he looked at costs he had to allow for the rental fee for some digging tools. It would make no sense to go in the mine and just use our hands to scratch the surface. In order to find the good stuff we need to dig!

The same principle holds true when I am running clinics or practices. We go through multiple drills that are very repetitive and I always have some that are just going through the motions – just scratching the surface. I urge them to dig deep – to push themselves. I tell them it is their choices on whether they will “get bored or get better!” Things do get boring when we are just scratching the surface!

How about your personal Bible study and your prayer life? Most people I know struggle with these areas. I think it is because we tend to just go through the motions and scratch the surface. We don’t allow for the time or energy it takes to get to know God more. We need to remember that the Scripture calls itself a treasure, therefore we need to dig!

Proverbs 2:1-5 Good friend, take to heart what I'm telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life. Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding. That's right—if you make Insight your priority, and won't take no for an answer, Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt, Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours; you'll have come upon the Knowledge of God.(The Message)

When it comes to your spiritual life it is your choice: Get bored or get better!

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25, 2010 - Practice Makes Permanent

Vince Lombardi said, “Leaders aren't born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”

Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Bobby Knight said, “Everyone has the will to win but few have the will to prepare to win.”

There is an old phrase that says, “Life is what you make it.”

So what are your goals? Your dreams? Your desires?

What are you doing about it?

The athletes I deal with often talk of dreams of playing in college or maybe even the pros. I ask them the same question, “What are you doing about it?” I have them evaluate their days and determine what their priorities truly are. In the grand scheme of things they have very few hours to work with. They have to sleep, go to school, eat, etc. Then they are left with choosing what to do during those few hours. I remind them that video games, Facebook, and television do not help them achieve their goals. I remind them that practice is what is needed!

Do your goals include the pursuit of holiness? Is godliness something you long for? Do you want to honor the Lord in your life? If so, then what are you “practicing”?

Matthew 7: 24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (NIV)

Notice that a wise mans puts Christ’s Words into “practice.” This is an intentional desire to look for and live out the Word. It is a daily commitment to practicing doing right things.

Philippians 4:9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. (NIV)

I tell players that practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent! Therefore you have to practice correctly. Godliness doesn’t just happen. It is a result of putting the Word into action in your life. How can you intentionally practice or do good today? How about serving someone in the name of Christ!

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010 - Cowboys Beat The Cowboys!

Yesterday as I lay on my couch watching some football the commentators began discussing the game that had just finished. They made the following remark, “The Cowboys beat the Cowboys.” My wife was walking through the room and was puzzled by the remark. When I put the remark in context it made complete sense; they beat themselves through bad choices and penalties. The Cowboys were very sloppy and loose with the game and it cost them! (In basketball when I am coaching I teach about this by reminding the players to “value every possession.”)

In football penalties are a killer. When on offense they stall your forward progress. On defense they allow the other team to advance. Penalties lead to the old phrase of “1 step forward and 2 steps back.” They are the result of a lack of mental and physical discipline.

When a player gets tired, the first thing to go is his mind; that is why so many dumb things happen in the 4th quarter of any sport. Sometimes players come into games unprepared mentally. Sometimes players simply do not care. All these things lead to bad choices that hurt the team.

I believe most of our shortcomings as believers result from being undisciplined. We are not completely focused on God’s game plan. We have not allowed the Scriptures to transform our minds. We have ignored the warnings in the book of Colossians that tell us to guard our minds and avoid the world’s philosophies.

Our lives really do break down to good and bad choices; ones that keep us moving forward or ones that set us back.

Proverbs 1

1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for attaining wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young-
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance-
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Don’t beat yourself in the game of life; make right, disciplined choices.

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010 - Philly Phanatic

Well we are almost through the first round of the Major League Baseball playoffs and there has been some amazing pitching going on by the Philadelphia Phillies. Their hurlers are in an amazing zone – a fanatical focus! And whenever I think of the Phillies I always think of the Phillie Phanatic! He is one of the most recognizable mascots in all of sports.

Obviously I am emphasizing the word fanatic. I think of the fans that are so sold out to their teams, even if their teams are in a losing season. Sometimes they are so devoted that they can’t even objectively watch the games. They are the fans with painted faces and team gear. They have team bumper stickers on their cars and flags flying from their car windows. They are the fans that leave no doubt where their allegiances lie.

The definition of fanatic includes the idea of extreme enthusiasm or belief.

Are you a fanatic? I am not asking about a sports team right now. I am asking if you are fanatical about Jesus?

Yesterday I heard a great message about the fanatical Apostle Paul. This guy was singularly focused on Christ. He talked about Him all the time – including when he was in prison. He left no doubt about his allegiance to Christ.

Philippians 3:12-14 says: Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The pastor pointed out yesterday the following words: “but one thing I do.” Do you see the singular focus there?

Our allegiances are too spread out. We live in a society with not much time for Jesus. Oh we may show up for scheduled church services but does your devotion to Him lead you to talking about him throughout your days? Is it evident to others whose team you are on?

Years ago the group DC Talk used the following terms to describe a Jesus fanatic: Jesus Freak! They made the following statement in the song: “I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus Freak, there ain’t no denying the truth!”

Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4, 2010 - SQUARE UP!

As I conducted a clinic yesterday afternoon I kept being reminded of a constant theme: staying on course! I told the kids that I wanted them to listen with both their eyes and ears because that would help them concentrate. (I had also given an invitation as I was preaching yesterday morning that asked people to bow heads and close eyes; all for the same purpose of avoiding distractions.) I regularly remind players to find playing partners that have their same goals; that are headed in the same direction. As I taught a short session on shooting I told them how they needed to lock in on their target and keep their feet, hips, and shoulders square to the target. I told them how to train their eyes to stay focused on the rim (the target.)

Isn’t all of life about staying the course? We need to remember the simple truths of the Proverbs that encourage us to be singularly focused and stay the course. (And the parts that warn us of the alternative choices that lead to destruction.)

Our lives need to be characterized by us “squaring up” to our target of righteousness. From our eyes to our feet we need to stay on course. Here is the admonition found in Proverbs 4 (The Message):

20-22 Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice.
Keep my message in plain view at all times. Concentrate! Learn it by heart! Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they're bursting with health.

23-27 Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts. Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.