Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 28, 2011 - Diagramming Plays (For CHRISTmas)

The X’s and O’s of coaching: simply put, as a coach one is assigned the job of figuring out plays that will work against the opposition. He has to look at the obstacles the opponent puts in front of the team and the strengths of his players.

Once that game plan is determined, the coach will make sure he has the right player filling the right role. If X is supposed to bomb a three, you can bet the coach is looking for a great shooter to assign to that role. If X is supposed to pound the ball inside, you can bet he isn’t looking for the 5’9” guy on his squad. I think you get the picture.

In the grand scheme of life, God looked at the opponent and “diagrammed a play”. He had to find a “player” with the abilities to overcome the obstacles. He had to find a “player” that wouldn’t “turn the ball over.”

The obstacles the opponent raised involved the separation sin brought between man and God. The opponent’s desire: to keep man from God. Therefore God’s game plan was to bring peace and good will to men. God’s game plan was to insert a “Substitute”, a Savior into the “game.” (Read Luke 2:10-14)

The X in God’s game plan then has to be able to not turn the ball over and ultimately to save the game. Simply put that X is Jesus!

Merry X-mas! Now you can explain to the world what X equals - solve for X!

Side note: for over 1,000 years it has been common for Christograms to be used. These are abbreviations common in literature. X is very common as an abbreviation for Christ as the X is the first letter of His name. (X = Chi)

Side note #2: -mas in Latin literally means “Go, it is dismissal.” It is a charge to the church to go and tell God’s game plan to others. One author wrote, “These few words succinctly express the missionary nature of the church.”

Therefore team, it is time to break from the huddle; go onto the court of life; and execute the game plan of telling the world what X stands for!

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011 - Code Of Conduct

This past week as I sat in a gym awaiting a high school basketball game, I had a great reminder from the announcer. The game was held at a Christian school in Winston-Salem, NC and before opening in prayer he reminded the crowd of something that has been a common cry of our ministry. He reminded them of the need as fans to honor the Lord!

Think about the hypocritical culture we are in as sports fans. If we see a player get upset and scream at an official, a coach, or another player we immediately brand that player as out of control. We will quickly call him a “poor sport.” We may even call him a “thug.” We will be thrilled when the ref blows the whistle and gives him a technical!

What if the refs were to blow whistles and give technicals when the fans were out of line? What if we viewed fans by the same standards of which we give players?

Way back in 2002 when I started doing these weekly devotions on the internet, I wrote about the fact that God doesn’t give a 40-minute reprieve from holiness to play a game. Since a new hoops season is upon us may I remind you that this is also true of watching a game?

Psalm 19: 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

With this week of Thanksgiving, I remind you that we are to be a people of praise and thanksgiving, not of complaining and griping. (See Philippians 4:8 and 2:14)

A gentle reminder of the InBounds Code of Conduct:
Players play; Coaches coach; Refs ref; Fans cheer!

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011 - Bench Players Commit Zero Turnovers

What is your excuse? Why aren’t you tearing up the “court”? Why aren’t you making a difference in the “game”?

Far too many Christians are content going through the motions of the “game” and focusing on the idea that what makes us good “players” is not committing “turnovers” (making mistakes / sin.) Although that is a wonderful accomplishment, by itself it doesn’t make you an effective player.

In basketball a player that has been entrusted with the ball is gauged by a simple formula of assist-to-turnover ratio. How many assists is he dishing out compared to when he is messing up? (And as a coach you are also looking at variables such as how much pressure is the player under.)

One of my former players is now the point guard at Oak Hill Academy. Through their first 7 games his assist-to-turnover ratio is 10.3 to 1.5 - That is an amazing number!   What is even more amazing is that the night I went to watch a game the opposing team played very physical and pressured him the whole game, most of it picking him up with full-court pressure. The result was amazing. He played the entire game and had zero turnovers. (Way to go Tyler; and congratulations NC State – you are getting an amazing and effective point guard next year!)

There are many that question Tyler’s game. They say he is too small; too slow; too weak; etc. It would be very easy for Tyler to just buy into the questions and be content to just try to stay away from trouble. When facing pressure from the other team he could choose to try to stay away from the pressure by playing “east-to-west” (sideline to sideline) instead “north-to-south” (goal to goal - attacking the pressure.) I believe Tyler could still maintain good low turnover numbers in games that way but he would not be an effective guard doing that. (Heck, some players just simply do so little that they get to stay on the bench. Do you realize that a bench player doesn’t commit turnovers; but does that make him an effective player?)

So back to our original questions: What is your excuse? Why aren’t you tearing up the “court”? Why aren’t you making a difference in the “game”?

Obviously we are not talking about the game of basketball. We are discussing serving the Lord in our Christian lives.

Maybe your excuse is that you are not “talented” enough to make a difference. You are right; but Christ in you is! Colossians 2: 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

It is time to get busy and make a difference. Christ in you gives you the potential to be an all-star player for God. Yet I will end this week with a quote off of Tyler’s dad’s Facebook page. Coach Lewis is a scout for high school players and he said this:

“Too often potential never matches performance and production. Potential may be the single most overused word to describe players today.”

Church we have the potential; let’s perform and produce!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7, 2011 - The Discipleship Relay

1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
These words were penned by the Apostle Paul (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to the Corinthian church (and thus all believers.) The context of the letter has been Paul explaining the mandate to be servants and stewards of the Gospel of Christ. He has just shared the selfless attitude required to reach out to people – “that they may be saved.” (10:33)
The thing I love is the beauty of the discipleship message found in this verse. I have been asked in the past about the best model of discipleship and I have answered very simply: “Jesus did it by saying follow me, and when I am gone do what I did.”
Paul here has said keep an eye on me; imitate me; now run the same course. It is the discipleship relay!
Think about a relay team: a race between teams of competitors in which each member of a team runs... only part of the total distance to be covered… the current runner must pass a baton to the person running the next section. (Bing Dictionary)
Picture the guy waiting to run the next leg. He is intently watching the first runner’s course and as the first runner approaches him their races will briefly intersect and then the baton will be handed off for the second runner to run the same course…
Are your eyes on a runner that is showing you the course? Are you running with the intent of handing off the baton to a next generation runner? The church is supposed to be a discipleship relay team!
Jesus very clearly taught this idea with simple commands like “the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21)
In other words the relay goes like this: Jesus ran His leg of the race; Paul imitates Jesus and runs his leg; and now we are to imitate Paul running our part of the course! (Obviously there have been many legs of the relay run in between…)