Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012 - Lessons from LeBron

While I was in Honduras this past week I tried to make sure I was keeping up with the NBA Finals. I was able to watch a little bit of one of the games but due to power outages was unable to see any of the final game (although the generator still had WiFi going at the hotel for me to see updates on my phone.) My fun since then has been to return and read some of the comments from the LeBron-lovers and the LeBron-haters. He has definitely seemed to become the most polarizing figure in sports.

Yet in spite of some bad “decisions” I still think any true fan of the game would have to acknowledge his incredible talent and athleticism…

I watched an interview with him on ESPN and he really had some great things to share.  He talked of how failing in the past helped him be better prepared for this series. He mentioned that at the end of the day one has to look in the mirror and ask “what are you gonna do about it?”

Sounds like a good lesson for us in our spiritual walks… At the end of the day are you taking inventory? Are you allowing God’s Word to direct and guide your paths? Are you honest about your failures?

James 1: 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Then the interview turned heavily toward last year’s finals and all the jokes about LeBron’s inability to finish out games. The interviewer even pointed out the joke that said: if you give LeBron a dollar he’ll only give you back 3 quarters…” And that joke was followed up by asking LeBron if last year’s finals loss was the worst time of his life?

Great reply from LeBron: “…was the worst at the time…but turned out to be the best…”

…another physical picture in sports of a spiritual truth/promise:

James 1: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Romans 5: And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Hope you will take heart in knowing that whatever you may be going through today, God is at work in your life and these things, although painful or uncomfortable, will produce a great result in you.

Friday, June 15, 2012

June 18, 2012 - No excuses! Let’s just get the job done!

OK I admit it – I am a LeBron James fan. I happen to think he is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. I don’t want to get into the argument of who is the greatest closer – I agree there are some guys that seem to like that moment more than LeBron. Yet no one has his team in position to win more than LJ does.

But I will say that from what I have seen I probably want Kevin Durant taking shots at the end of the game. That young man is phenomenal! He has a quiet confidence that simply loves to be in that moment. He is an incredible talent and I believe it comes from having an incredible attitude. He simply goes about his business…

(One interesting fact is that last year LJ and KD worked out together following their series losses to the Mavericks. They are both incredibly hard working individuals.)

Durant had one of my favorite quotes of all times following the Thunder’s game 2 loss to the Heat last night. On his final shot there was quite a bit of contact from LeBron. It was a pivotal moment in the attempted comeback by the Thunder – and according to who you are a fan of it was a horrible missed call or a good no-call…

Yet what it did was give Durant an available excuse for missing the shot. Now understand he had already scored 16 points in the quarter (showing why I would like having him at the end of games) and if I remember correctly had hit 7 straight shots. Yet when questioned about the contact he said this: "I missed the shot, I think I shot a good shot. That's a shot I shoot all the time. I just missed."

In a world where the norm is to blame the referees for every blown play; in a world where it is common place to scream that it was “unfair”; in a world of very few athletes that simply stand up and take responsibility for themselves; we see this young superstar showing incredible wisdom and restraint.

Yes I am a LeBron fan; but I am also a big Kevin Durant fan!

Now how does that relate to us? The excuse-making world is not confined to athletics. Our entire society seems to be looking for someone to blame about our shortcomings. The church in general is better at complaining about what everyone else is doing wrong to mess up society than we are at being light in the society. When are we going to step up and simply do our job without pointing and complaining about others?

Here are some great quotes I found on a site about the differences between successful and unsuccessful people (

·         Successful people make plans. . .unsuccessful people make excuses.
·         If you spend your life looking for an excuse. . .you’ll never find the time to find the answer to your problem.
·         If you’re good at making excuses. . .you’ll never be good at anything else.
·         Successful people are never thrown by obstacles to their success. . . unsuccessful people whine about how unfair things are.
·         People with excuses will never be remembered for what they did . . . or even what they could have done.

Great verses the site uses:

·         2 Thessalonians 3:10 in the Message Bible says: “Don't you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? "If you don't work, you don't eat." And now we're getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don't slack off in doing your duty.”
·         Numbers 11:10 in the Message Bible says: “Moses heard the whining, all those families whining in front of their tents. God's anger blazed up. Moses saw that things were in a bad way.”

This week: No excuses! Let’s just get the job done!

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012 - Game Changers

I remember sitting on the sidelines before a game and “scouting” the opposing teams as they warmed up and seeing guys that could really shoot – only to find out that they were not nearly as talented with defenders on the floor. As I sat at lunch this past week with one of our ministry coaches he talked of arriving early at a collegiate game and seeing the opposing team putting on an aerial dunk display that was quite impressive – only to have his team blow them out of the gym. I see players all the time that are great in clinic settings but not good in game settings. I’ve seen many teams walk in with a swagger and walk out with their tails between their legs… A simple truth is that game play requires much more than just having good skills.

Adversely I have seen some players that do not appear great in a controlled warm-up or clinic setting, yet thrived when the ball went up.

All of this to point out an unfortunate truth I see often in the church. We typically look pretty good on Sundays in the controlled environments – but do not have the same results in “game play.”

Again this past Sunday I found myself discussing this issue from the pulpit as I urged the body of Christ that our lives should show worth to Christ in all we do – lives of worship. I was reminded of Gandhi stating that he likes our Christ but dislike our Christians. I was reminded of the many, many, many youth that I have worked with in the past that admitted a huge disconnect in their view of their families at church versus their families at home.

God has commissioned us to be “game changers”; yet He has also empowered us to be “game changers”! How does your Monday stack up against your Sunday? Are you a Game Changer or a practice player?

Acts 1:But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

This week I pray for you (and me) to be just that – Game Changers!

Acts 4:29 Now, Lord, …grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word…

Friday, June 8, 2012

InBounds Illustrated (Summer 2012 Newsletter)

Hello Team,                                                                                                                      (Summer 2012 InBounds Illustrated)

The upcoming summer months are the equivalent of a “full-court press” for our ministry. The travel schedule will be brutal; the costs will be substantial; fatigue will be prevalent; BUT the opportunity to share the glorious message of our Substitute Jesus Christ will be AWESOME!

I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Michigan (that began the brutal travel – of the 3 nights I was gone, 2 were all-night drives.) Clay accompanied me and we shared at a 3v3 basketball family day, preached in a Sunday morning service, attended a surprise birthday party for Jason Otter, and the topping on the cake for me was lunch with my favorite coach I have played for – Lanny DeWitt. (I had not seen Lanny and his wife Carol since 1983)

Now we are gearing up for the summer phase:
·         On Sunday June 10 I will preach at Blaise Baptist Church in Mocksville, NC, and then immediately hit the road for Florida
·         Will work from Florida June 11-15
·         Fly from Miami to Honduras June 16-23
·         After the return to Florida will drive to Dewy Rose, GA for Camp Grace @ Grace Farm with Freddie Coile (see from June 25-29
·         Return to NC late night the 29th of June just in time for the Troutman NC Independence Parade – we will be setting up goals for hoops outreach at the fairgrounds…
·         Will hit the road again on July 13 for our next scheduled ROCK’em Road Trip to St Louis MO – this trip will be very intense as we have our yearly clinics at South County Baptisty but are including preaching and clinics at Zion City Church in the heart of St Louis… We will return to NC on July 22
·         Preaching at Watermark Church in Troutman NC July 29
·         Blacktop Club at a community center in Mooresville NC August 7
·         Total Player Academy FUNdaMENTALs Basketball Camp – August 13-17
·         Our second ROCK’em Road Trip of the summer – a retreat @ Grace Farm – August 24-26
·         All of this is along with our regular local outreach that takes place here at home: Thursday nights at the recreation center in Mooresville; a Monday outreach we have begun at Bethel Baptist in Troutman/Statesville; and of course our weekly internet devotion outreach (every Monday for last 10.5 years)
·         This is just what is already scheduled. I am also talking with a local church about some pulpit supply for the Sundays I am home while they search for a pastor

The family is doing well as we finish up the school year. There are a few changes on the horizon for schooling, etc. The kids are excited for summer (being in our pool when home; being at the beach for the couple weeks they get to spend at grandparents in Florida; Caleb and Elisha getting to join me at Camp Grace for a week; all the boys travelling to St Louis with me…) Clay is growing up way too fast. He is staying home during this first 3-week swing as he has started a new job. He is still working at the local YMCA and for our Total Player Academy offering individual basketball training, but now also is working as a cart-boy at Trump National Golf Club (hoping not to hear the words “you’re fired!”)

Obviously we could use your prayers! The Lord has opened many incredible doors for us and we simply want to be faithful to His call. We ask you during those prayers to be sensitive to His leading if He is calling you to partner with us by helping meet the financial needs of this outreach.

This is my full-time job. (Obviously with that schedule I could not hold another job…) I am finding that it is often difficult to express the idea that we are full-time missionaries; we just happen to live stateside instead of abroad. Therefore there are salary needs for the ministry; travel costs; maintenance of van; equipment needs; etc. There are also players/coaches that agree to go on trips with us that are in great need of support. We take great care to be very frugal with the ministry funds!

Specific Immediate Needs:
·         We need to raise more monthly support that helps insure our salary
·         The upcoming ROCK’em Road Trip will cost around $300 per player/coach – the majority that will go on the trip will struggle with that… Yet we have to cover gas, food, etc. (This price includes everything on the trip including a fun day at Six Flags and a Mercy Me concert) – plus we have a second trip that will be a retreat in GA that will run around $50 per… - maybe the Lord is leading you to sponsor a player/coach??? – need to raise around $4000
·         Our ministry van needs a trailer hitch – around $400
·         We have numerous printing needs and equipment needs that are pressing – need to raise around $1000
·         We need a new storage building for equipment – need to raise $2000-$5000

The Lord has blessed our ministry to be able to continue on over the past 5 years of being “full-time.” He has done that through people like you! We are very thankful! We are not done! There are more ministry opportunities He has for us… Please pray about how you can help.

Specific Prayer Needs:
·         Travel mercies
·         The hearts of those we will be sharing with
·         The hearts of those that will travel/train with us
·         Obviously the finances
·         For Clay as he is home without us for 3 weeks (and for those that will be helping supervise him)
·         For Jonathan Morrow – one of our main teammates that has the Lord working on his heart for direction in ministry – this brother is faithful to sharing and being a part of InBounds
·         For Josh Ortiz and Daniel DeGraff as they travel to Honduras with me (we had the costs of Josh’s trip covered by a donor, but Daniel is now trying to raise his finances)
·         Family decisions that are looming….

   Give ‘em the ROCK! Coach B