Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010 - What are you hungry for?

What are you hungry for?

This past week we had Thanksgiving dinner. That morning I found myself craving certain foods that I knew were headed my way. When it came time to eat I didn’t have to be told twice to get to the dinner table! When it came time to eat, I ate and then ate some more. I think it could be called “feasting.”

Hunger is a tremendous motivator. It is a driving force in life. Yet hunger and craving are two different things. The simple fact is that I could have stepped away from the dinner table very easily on Thanksgiving Day. The truth is that I avoided some of my cravings. Cravings are nice when they are fulfilled but not a big deal when they are not.

So why am I drawing this comparison? What does it have to do with athletics? What does it have to do with our Christian walks?

There is a great quote from Bobby Knight that states: “Everyone has the will to win, but few have the will to prepare to win.” Using the terms we are discussing: Everyone craves winning, but not everyone is driven to win.

Hunger creates a discomfort that results in a willingness to work hard. A hungry person will eat just about anything. A hungry person is driven to get food! A hungry person is desperate to eat.

I believe the thing that sets apart great players is not athletic ability or skill set, but instead it is hunger. When you hear the greats discussed, (MJ, Magic, Bird, Kobe, etc.), you here people talk about their insatiable hunger to win. Often you hear people question a guy like LeBron because they wonder if he is truly “hungry” or is he just incredibly gifted – yet satisfied? The greats are desperate to win.

So again I ask, “What are you hungry for?” If you crave being a college athlete, that is great. But are you hungry to be a college athlete? It will be evidenced in your work ethic. And the same principle will hold true for anything you desire to accomplish in life.

What about your spiritual life? I think most of us as Christians crave knowing Christ in a deeper way. We all want to be closer to the Lord. Yet I don’t know that we all have a passionate hunger to know Him. The Apostle Paul is the shining example of what it means to hunger for Christ.

In Philippians he goes as far as saying that even his “chains” are “in Christ.” Everything he faces in life he views as an opportunity to magnify and know Christ more. Read Philippians 3. Paul tells us that the religious life he lived did not satisfy him. He counts all things as loss for the excellence of knowing Christ. He “presses on” in this quest. He “feasts” on God’s truth. He is desperate to know Him more.

Are you desperate to know God in a deeper way? Are you hungry for Him?

Proverbs 16: 26 The person who labors, labors for himself, For his hungry mouth drives him on. (NKJV)

Proverbs 16: 26 Appetite is an incentive to work; hunger makes you work all the harder. (The Message)

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010 - Thankful (Even When Losing)

In this week leading into Thanksgiving I have to ask you, is your life is characterized by thankfulness? By joy? By rejoicing? By that I am not asking you to sit back and think about all the great things you have in life, I am asking you are you simply thankful for the life and opportunities God has given you to glorify and serve Him?

I have been preaching a series the last couple of weeks centered on the Apostle Paul’s secrets to success. This guy had an incredibly difficult life after becoming a Christian. (See 2 Corinthians 11:24ff) Yet from a prison cell he penned a letter about what our focus should be in life. Basically he boiled it down to a couple simple goals: 1. Magnify Christ. 2. Serve others. He went as far as looking at his physical circumstances and bragging about how they were creating opportunities to further the Gospel.

Philippians 1:12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ;

Maybe you have some problems as you are reading today; are your “chains in Christ”? Are you looking for ways to further the Gospel through them? Are you excited about the character that God wants to build in you by allowing these problems?

I know that we have heard these things before; yet what a great time of year to be reminded about being thankful! What a great time of year to be reminded to stop complaining and grumbling! (See Philippians 2:14)

But wait a minute; I haven’t brought the sports part of this into play yet. Well it is definitely on my mind. I spent the weekend at a basketball tournament that involved Christian schools. I again listened to the crowd around me and had much concern. Many fans and coaches behaved like the rest of the world does – complaining and grumbling, sometimes screaming and whining, when things don’t go the way they think they should have. (Not to mention that even that is usually through very biased eyes that are not near as impartial as the refs.) I kept going back to the philosophy I developed as a coach and athletic director: “at the end of the game would you feel comfortable witnessing to the referee if given a chance?”

Maybe you think I am going too far with this. One leader in a ministry told me I am na├»ve to be in my 40’s and not expect people to voice their opinions at games. My question is what makes games different than real life. Would you approve of an employee going into work and screaming at the janitor, “Can’t you see? You missed a spot over there? We need a real janitor?” Would you feel comfortable if you walked into a fast food joint and heard someone screaming at the girl at the register, “You idiot can’t you count?”

You see we wouldn’t ever openly admit that it is ok to belittle and berate people in everyday life. (Although I think if some are honest we would have to admit we are better at the American / Burger King mantra of “have it your way” than we are of the Biblical mantra of considering others as more important than self!)

If you are a Christian reading this would you agree that we are called to be different in our approach to life?

I read an article today about a college football coach. It was a story on one of the major news wires that called out this coach for his whining and screaming and blaming officials, etc. Basically the article came down to saying the coach did not understand proper decorum.

Most of us would be offended by the apparent actions and attitudes of this coach. Yet have you ever sat in the stands of a game at a church league or Christian school event. It doesn’t sound any different. There is nothing peculiar about it.

When life hits us with a crisis is there something peculiar about us? Or is the following quote about the college coach more descriptive: “…coach raged. He yelled at officials. He yelled at his own players. He gritted his teeth while…”

It is easy to be thankful during the good times. It is easy to seem joyful when things are going our way. It is easy to seem at peace when we are “ahead on life’s scoreboard.” But what about in those times like Paul was enduring…….?

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010 - Slow Down

I was recently talking with Jason Otter. Jason is a well respected basketball clinician, especially with his work in his Point Guard Elite Camps. He told me that one of the key things he works on in these camps is teaching the guards to slow down!

I know that sounds strange I the world of athletics where speed is so highly touted. Yet a great player is one that sees the floor, reads the defense, and makes the game as easy as possible.

Just this past week I spoke with the assistant coach on my son’s team and he said the same thing. He talked about trying to get our guards to slow down and play under control. Again, this is a call to see the floor, read the defense, and make the game as easy as possible.

In our everyday lives I fear we run into the same problems. With our hectic daily schedules and often an honest desire to do great things for the Lord, we tend to commit way to many “turnovers.” God has called us to see the floor, read the defense, and make the game of life as easy as possible…

Ephesians 5: 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Psalm 27 puts it this way:

14 Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

A great player has clear direction. John Wooden would say, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” Another way I have heard this truth: “So hurry up and wait upon the Lord!” (Old Petra song called “More Power To Ya”)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

SPECIAL POST (Upcoming ROCK'em Road Trip)

Statesville Christian School Lions
Winterim ROCK’em Road Trip

Dear Friend in Christ,

I am writing to let you know about a great opportunity our school’s basketball program has this winter to give out the Gospel, serve the community, and train (both in basketball and the Word.) The Statesville Christian School varsity basketball teams are taking a 2-week trip to southern Florida in conjunction with the outreach of InBounds Ministries.

InBounds Ministries regularly takes players on ROCK’em Road Trips to various places in the country. These trips are designed with evangelism, discipleship, service, and training in mind. In essence these trips are short-term missions combined with a travelling basketball camp. This particular trip (December 27, 2010 – January 7, 2011) will also include varsity competition against schools in Florida. (Girls’ team is travelling January 1-8, 2011.)

Scheduled for this trip will be: the boys team playing in the Jupiter Christian Holiday Tourney and against Summit Christian (at Palm Beach Atlantic University before a men’s game); the girls playing against Coral Springs Christian Academy; multiple teaching workshops; practices; service projects; tract distribution; and of course some fun at the beach and at Lion Country Safari. The theme for this trip is: LIONS’ PRIDE!

First we need your prayers. This trip will definitely take players out of their comfort zones. We are hoping to get many prayer-partners and are asking you to be one!

Secondly we need financial support. The basic budget for this trip will be $500 per participant. As a program we are trying to cover these costs via donations. If you feel the Lord’s call to be a part of this project in this way it would be much appreciated.

To give financially to this project, make a check out to InBounds Ministries. On the memo line simply put “SCS Road Trip.” Thank you for your prayers and your consideration of financial partnership.

Give ‘em the ROCK!
The Coaches and Players of Statesville Christian School
The Coaches of InBounds Ministries

You can find out more about InBounds Ministries at
• You can find out more about Statesville Christian School at

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8, 2010 - Commit, De-commit, Re-commit

This time of year involves many high school players making commitments to colleges. Recently one of my favorite players of all time, Tyler Lewis, committed to North Carolina State. (Way to go Lil’ T!) I loved talking with T as he was in the process of making this choice. Although he had met many coaches and heard many offers, he finally decided he wanted to stay fairly close to home and that he trusts Coach Lowe and Coach Towe at NC State.

Also in last week’s news was a talented point guard named Myck Kabongo. Myck had verbally committed to the University of Texas, then de-committed, and then re-committed shortly there after. Many in the media and on the message boards have jumped on this kid, yet what a hard decision when you have so many things being said to you. Who do you trust? Who is worthy of your commitment? Is the commitment what is truly best for you in the long run?

I just know from dealing with these highly recruited kids, the decision is very difficult and at times very confusing. Yet isn’t that true in all of life? A college choice is a big decision for any kid going to school. Picking a major can be a difficult choice that sometimes involves a “de-commitment.” What about when as an adult a job offer comes along? Is the one you are dating the one you want to spend your life committed to? Etc. Etc.

When it all boils down to it choices are difficult and usually uncertainties. Yet there is area of commitment where you will never go wrong. Once you have trusted in Christ as Savior (accepted God’s commitment to you), it is only reasonable that you would commit your ways to Him. After all you can always trust God!

So first let me remind you that the Scriptures are full of promises and commitments to us from a never-failing God. Because of that…

Commit your ways to God! Live your life according to His Word!

Proverbs 16: 2 All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD. 3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Psalm 37: 4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

So it is really very basic – when making decisions in your life, make sure you are delighting in the Lord, and then you can trust the desires in your heart. If He is your primary focus, He will direct you!

(By the way: Go Wolfpack!)