Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012 - Handling Adversity

Are you going through a rough time right now? Are you facing some trials?

If so, please know that God has got your back so you can trust Him! Know that God is not taken by surprise and will work things for your good – it is a promise He made in Romans 8:28!

Yet if you are struggling to accept that promise, the problem is not God – it is you. You see faith is something that has to have an object; and if you have not spent time in the Word during the calm times, you can’t expect to be “game-ready” during the stormy times. Without a solid knowledge of God’s Word, you will not know what promises to claim or what attributes of God to trust in…

It is just like in sports; games are not won on game day, they are won in the preparation. A coach’s job is to have his players ready to face the opposition – this requires time together.

I remember reading a quote from a championship boxer that said he didn’t win the belt in the ring but on the roads during training…

My challenge to you this week is to make sure you are daily in preparation to face the trials of life; it is more difficult to find answers in the midst of adversity than in the quiet times (practice.)

(From The Message)

Psalm 119: 57-64 Because you have satisfied me, God, I promise
    to do everything you say.
I beg you from the bottom of my heart: smile,
    be gracious to me just as you promised.
When I took a long, careful look at your ways,
    I got my feet back on the trail you blazed.
I was up at once, didn’t drag my feet,
    was quick to follow your orders.
The wicked hemmed me in—there was no way out—
    but not for a minute did I forget your plan for me.
I get up in the middle of the night to thank you;
    your decisions are so right, so true—I can’t wait till morning!
I’m a friend and companion of all who fear you,
    of those committed to living by your rules.
Your love, God, fills the earth!
    Train me to live by your counsel.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012 - Old School

As I start out writing this week my intent is to be short and to the point; we’ll see how that unfolds as I write…

I often refer to the things as being “Old School.” When I coaches I had my “Old School Rules” for offense and defense. Basically I believe at the end of the day a winning team has to be solid on good old fashion fundamentals…

So this week I want to go back to the most basic fundamental there is: Jesus Saves!  Yes I believe God is still in the saving business! Yes I believe there is power in the proclamation of the Gospel!

The past couple nights we have hosted basketball outreach have resulted in many professions of faith in the finished work of Christ! Tonight was so good that a player asked me point blank what I thought about Christianity and religion. (Nothing like having an opportunity laid in your lap.)

How about going “old school” this week and sharing the message that Jesus saves? He is the Savior! He is the Substitute that God sent into the game of life…

If nothing else be encouraged that God is still at work…

2 Corinthians 5:21!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012 - Wide Receivers

I often hear coaches being asked about their strategies or particular plays they called; inevitably they respond by talking about what coach taught it to them… I know while I was still on the sidelines much of what I did was a result of my childhood coaches.

That doesn’t have a whole lot to do with this week’s devotion; it is more of a reason for a confession I will make. Often as I sit in church services I hear a point or a verse that triggers ideas for the weekly writing… this past Sunday was no different, so in fairness and full disclosure I must give props to Pastor Joel at our home church (Watermark.)

Joel is presently in a series called “Game Time.” (Keeps a sports missionary’s attention…) He was speaking concerning the old cliché that there is “no I in TEAM.” As he shared examples I was reminded of recently sharing with a high school football team about how much I love the unselfish picture of a football team.  All players know their positions. Linemen don’t complain about not getting a pass thrown to them; defensive players don’t complain about not getting to carry the ball or make the pass; etc.

Yet the selfishness of sports is all over basketball when a scorer is called a “ball hog”, in spite of the fact that he may be the best and most qualified shooter… I loved something Joel pointed out. In football the guys that are most often “selfish” and despised are wide receivers. He was right in stating that they are often the troublemakers of the team.

But I jotted down a note to self: “a wide receiver’s job is to receive; to them it is not better to give than receive; to them they are entitled to get the ball.” (Please note that I am not condoning them being jerks but the bottom line is that they are paid to want the ball.)

I have often mentioned it over the years of these devotions and in my teaching/preaching ministry that we are often more like the wide receivers as American Christians; or to be really blunt I have stated we are better at being American than Christian. I have attributed our demise to places like Burger King that tell us to have it our way. Let’s face it we are in a very selfish culture.

We feel entitled in our relationships; we feel entitled in our jobs; we feel entitled in our churches to always have it our way. Apart from me going into a long sermon let’s simply get straight to the Scriptures… As we go there this only matters if you are willing to look into the mirror and be honest about yourself…

James 3:16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.

Saw this quote on Facebook last week: "Motivational question: Am I approaching today's interactions as a producer? Or a consumer?" - Steven Furtick

Basically are you a giver or a taker? You have a choice today to serve others or expect to be served… will you honor God today?

Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3, 2012 - Work Hard! Work Smart! Work Right!

In all labor there is profit… (Proverbs 14:23)

I often use this verse and thought it appropriate again on this Labor Day…

We all know the message and have heard something similar all of our lives; but today I want to add to it with another phrase: Work Smart, Work Right!

The old idea that practice makes perfect is not a complete truth… practice makes permanent… perfect practice makes perfect. In other words labor is only profitable if it is done the right way!

So when it comes to life we need to make sure that everything we do lines up with God’s way of doing things. Often times things may feel or seem right but if they are contrary to the way God said to do things then they are wrong.

God’s Word is relevant for all of life. God’s Word gives all the direction we need for life. God’s Word allows us to live as wise and not as fools.

Just felt the need this week to go back to my old faithful Proverbs 14 passage… But not to stop at the hard work message but to go on to verse 24 which draws a sharp contrast and reminder between wisdom and foolishness.

I love the way it is worded in The Message:

Proverbs 14:24 The wise accumulate wisdom; fools get stupider by the day.

This week work hard, work smart, work right… Make God’s Word a priority!