Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012 - Quick- Hitter

This week I am going for a “quick hitter.” Those are plays where you try to score very quickly. These plays are set for situations when the clock is going to expire and the team needs a basket.

Have you ever noticed the urgency in players during these situations? It makes one wonder why the players don’t give the same effort and intensity every play of the game????

The reason I am going for the quick-hitter is two-fold. For one I am exhausted from having to all-nighter drives in the last three nights. Secondly I truly believe that time is of the essence in what we are called to do – the Great Commission.

On a day where we honor those that have sacrificed for our freedom; On a day where most of us reading this devotion are in a country where we are afforded the freedom to share our beliefs.; can I urge you to make some scarifices in your lives? Will you sacrifice your time? Will you sacrifice your reputation and be willing to be looked at like a Jesus freak? Will you make the sharing of the Gospel a priority while there is still time on the clock? You have the freedom to do that!

Saw the following great quote this past week that will serve as our quick-hitter:

"The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" – Carl F. H. Henry

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012 - Bad Coach or Bad Players?

I have had multiple conversations and read many things the past few days that have led to my thoughts this morning…

From the sports world it has generated from the constant talk about what coaches are on the “chopping block”; what ones are good coaches; etc. I love how often fans assume that the players on the court/field are doing what the coach told them… (from experience I can tell you they often do not.) Or better yet when a team is struggling to score how it is the coach’s fault. Although that may be true at times, most often remember that a coach cannot go out onto the court and take the shots for the players; he cannot go up to bat and take the swings for the players; he cannot catch the football… I think you get my point. I have seen a basketball game where the team shot 1 for 16 from the field and fans said they had a bad coach – no, the players simply stunk it up that day!

In other areas I continually hear people questioning the goodness or the existence of God based upon what they see in people. The typical questions like how a good God could allow pain and suffering. The typical responses that sense things are not like we want them, there must not be a God.

This is just a short blog so I will not go into a full discourse here but I do want to take a moment to defend not only my God’s existence but also His goodness.

[Romans 1:20] tells us that nature itself is a witness to God’s existence. The complexities of the universe, of man, etc. scream of design not chance. The realities of things like communication and personality cannot be explained by the physical. The simple fact that people question “goodness” is an indicator of something beyond the mere physical world.

As for God’s goodness… Yes I agree we live in a painful, screwed up world. Yet I do not blame the “Coach” for that. The players are the ones that have stunk it up. The question of God’s goodness cannot be answered via religion, as that simply makes Him out to be the bad guy that we are trying to appease. True Christianity gives the only true loving response to this problem. A God that loves us so much that He intervened in the mess we made to provide us an eternal way out of it.

God demonstrates His love toward us in that (in spite of how horribly we have played the game) while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (entered the game as a Substitute.) [Romans 5:8]

You still may say that it would be more loving for Him to simply change the game; yet I happen to be thankful that He has given me choices and allowed me to live, not just be His machine. I love getting the opportunity now as His child (His player) to try to do what He says out on the court… so yes I will use His Playbook as my guide.

Remember a simple truth: Life and God are not synonyms! I agree that life is not always “good” but I am thankful for a God that is good and there for me in spite of life!

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012 - Practice Being A Good Teammate

The last two days have brought me great reminders of a Biblical mandate: “in honor giving preference to one another.” (Romans 12:10)

One of the reminders came as I was watching a commentator discussing the political arena. The discussion involved who should get the credit in some different areas of national decision making. The commentator wisely stated that “failure has no father but success has many.” In other words no one wants to take credit for the bad but everyone wants credit for the good. Obviously in an election year we will hear a lot of this…

The other place I was reminded of this idea was while watching the Miami Heat / Indiana Pacers game. The commentators there were discussing the fact that all-star Dwayne Wade had recently stated that LeBron James is now the “leader” of the Heat. It was interesting because Dwayne is known as a star and has for many years been considered the Heat’s “leader.” Yet here is a star stating that he is willing to take a secondary role for the good of the team.

Here is his exact quote from an Associated Press article: “Obviously, last year we kind of got cheated a little bit out of the greatness of LeBron as a vocal leader,” Wade said. “He had so much going on, so much in his mind that he was just trying to show everybody with his play and his toughness. But this year, especially of late, we’ve all been getting the vocal player, the intelligent player that LeBron is. His IQ of the game is second to none. So you listen. Especially me.” 

That brings us back to Romans 12. That happens to be where the our family is at this weekend in our before school devotions. As I read Romans 12:10 this morning it jumped off the page as I thought of the other things I had been hearing this weekend.

The picture given from the Dwayne/LeBron discussion gives us a clear description. The question is not who is the most gifted, especially since we all have different gifts. The question is whether or not we are willing to defer and give preference to another? (I also thought of the command in Philippians 2:3 to consider others as more important than ourselves.)

I often read the passages in the morning from The Message Bible also just to give a different flavor to things… The quote from Romans 12:10 reads this way: practice playing second fiddle.

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012 - A Great Rebounder

What makes someone a great rebounder? Is it size? Is it leaping ability? Is it faithfulness to blocking out? There could be many answers to the question; and great rebounding is a key ingredient in winning games…

When I think about great rebounders I can’t help but think about “The Worm” Dennis Rodman. This guy is only around 6’6” and holds the highest career rebounding average since 1973. He is listed on as "arguably the best rebounding forward in NBA history".  So how did he do it? He is not truly a “big” guy when it comes to NBA standards. He was not known as a great leaper….

The thing that made him great involved “desire.” He simply wanted the ball more than everyone else. puts it this way (In article: Common Traits of Great Basketball Rebounders):
·         “This is something that is difficult to teach. Every good rebounder has a strong desire to get to the ball. Every good rebounder understands the importance of possessing the ball and makes it an absolute priority.”
·         “I have spent time watching several interviews with Ben Wallace and Dennis Rodman over the years. I was very interested to see how they became good at rebounding. What I was most amazed at is the amount of study and understanding they had for where the ball was going to be.
·         The greatest rebounder of all time was a man named Bill Russell and he has constantly said that the key to being the best rebounder is wanting that ball more than anyone else.

Do you see the desire these men possessed? They made getting the ball a priority in their lives!

As I was reading in Proverbs 7 today I was again hit with this reality in our Christian lives. We need to determine what things are “priorities” to us.

And let’s be honest about it when we take inventory of our lives. I often find myself crawling out of bed and being drawn to my smart phone to check scores, check emails, see if anyone commented on a Facebook posting, etc. I crawl out of bed and crave my cup of coffee. I find myself through the day longing to see if certain basketball recruits have decided on where they are going to college. I catch myself anxiously looking to see if anyone has viewed my son’s recruiting video.

Maybe you find yourself engrossed in the politics of the day. Maybe you find yourself longing to hear from a loved one. Etc….

Yet, and again let’s be honest with ourselves, do we find ourselves with the following attitudes about God and His Word: (Questions found in the beginning of Proverbs 7)
·         Do we “treasure His commands”?
·         Do we “protect His teachings””
·         Do we “write His teachings on the tablets of our hearts”?

I want the priority of my life to be to know God more! I want to think like the Psalmist in Psalm 119:24 that states that God’s word is his “delight.” I want to crave Him! I want to pursue Him! Will you join me?