Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012 - Tis the Season

Here we are facing another high school basketball season. For years I eagerly anticipated games where I would get to pace up and down the sidelines and see if my boys had learned anything from me… Now that I am no longer pacing the sidelines as a coach, my anticipation is transferred to the beginning of my son Clay’s season (and wondering if he learned anything from me…) Wednesday night will be his first game of the year, after only having a few minutes of action last year due to the knee surgeries. I know he is anxiously awaiting the game/season also.  

As I type this I have a schedule in front of me that tells me the dates and locations of his games. I know when he is facing highly rated opponents (even facing one kid named Clay Byrd) … when he is facing small teams… when he is facing big teams… and will even find out at times when scouts may be there.

Anticipation is a great thing when it comes to fruition. I remember last year as I awaited getting to see Clay play again following his first surgery. It was great to see the joy on his face as he laced up the shoes and went “into battle.” Yet I also clearly remember the hurt as the surgery failed and he (and I) realized that the anticipated games were not going to happen.

A couple thousand years ago the world was in chaos (much like today) but the Jewish people had a hope… they had over 300 very direct prophecies about a coming Messiah. These prophecies pointed to the place, the time, the family line, etc. of this Deliverer.  (Yet unfortunately many didn’t pay attention to the plan for how He would deliver them.)

Those that ended up missing the hope of the Messiah were those that had expectations of a political deliverer instead of a spiritual deliverer. Jesus did not come to overthrow Rome; He came to overthrow Satan and provide a way for us to be back in relationship with God.

Today many are still missing the hope that is found in this Deliverer. They are people that want a physical deliverer that will stop all the bad in the world and give them good things… They want a “Santa Claus” deliverer; not understanding they need a spiritual deliverer.  (The stopping of the bad will take place eventually – another thing to anticipate…)

As we approach CHRISTmas this year can I remind you of the hope/anticipation we have in Jesus? When He fulfilled those prophecies He was doing it for all of us – offering an opportunity for reconciliation to God; offering eternal life full of joy and peace.

As we go through the next few weeks I encourage you to tell the true message of CHRISTmas very chance you get. Make sure that people know there is “good tidings of great joy…to all people.” Make it a point to announce that born that day “in the city of David” was “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Announce to them that there is a hope “on earth” of “peace, goodwill toward men.” Like the shepherds, let’s make “widely known” this hope-message. People will be amazed by it! (Read Luke 2:8-14)

Simply put, Christ fulfilled all the prophecies about the coming Messiah. He fully delivers on the promises!!!!!

Tis the season…

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 19, 2012 - Acknowledge Your Teammates

Last week I tried to encourage each of us to choose our “teammates” wisely.  This week with Thanksgiving just a few days away I want to ask if you are thankful for your teammates. If so do you show it?

The Scriptures are clear about the benefits of the “teammate” being there to help you when you fall. They are clear about the benefits and strength of having multiple guys that have the same goals and encourage you.  Just check out Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Maybe this week you need to send some “thank you’s” to those that have your back.

John Wooden used to remind his players to point at, wink at, something to acknowledge a teammate that had made a good pass to them… He said he would inevitably be asked, “But Coach, what if he’s not looking?” To which Wooden would simply reply, “He will be.”

People need to know they are appreciated. Don’t miss a chance this week to do so…

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012 - Choosing Teammates

Every week we run open gym outreaches here in our local area. It involves players coming in to play hoops and also to hear a devotion from God’s Playbook. As players filter in it is already obvious that they are sizing up who they are going to get to run with (especially since the winning team owns the court…) Basically it is very simple, you need a strong team so you get more time on the court.

So what type of teammates should one look for at the open gyms? The typical thought is to put together a team of the best athletes, best shooters, etc. Yet there is another thing to think about.  If you get on a team of ball hogs, your night is not going to be very much fun.

Life is the same way. It will be full of you having to choose teammates (i.e. friends, a spouse, business partners, etc.) And the Bible is clear that you need to choose wisely. You need to choose those that are going the same direction as you in striving to honor the Lord. You need to choose those that want to “share the ball” not just be “ball hogs.”

Simply put this week: “The righteous should choose his friends carefully. For the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26

This week think about your teammates. Make sure you have people around you that are building you up, not tearing you down.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012 - In The Right Place At The Right Time

Recently I received an email from Jim Crews (Hoops Coach at St Louis University); he was sending some encouragement and some wisdom for my son Clay to be patient in the recruiting process. There was some great advice imparted in that email but I am going to key on one line:

Opportunities come when one is doing the right thing-not always the opportunities we desire, but good opportunities.” (Jim Crews)

I have often taught “to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do!” Yet the motivation to follow this advice comes from the results – “good opportunities.” Simply put – doing the right thing puts you in the right place!

(It is kind of like the old adage that “winners create their own luck.” In other words winners find themselves in the right place on the court or field for good things to happen.)

Sounds a bit like Bible teaching doesn’t it? - Romans 8:28 ensuring that “things will work together for good for those that love the Lord.” That is a promise from God that if we love Him good will happen.

So how do we “love Him”? The Bible also answers that question: John 15 tells us clearly that our “love” is directly linked to our obedience to God; and then to our love for others…

My thoughts come down to this: when we are told to “walk by faith” it is a simple picture of walking in trust that if we do what the Scriptures lead and teach, we will have good results. They may not happen as quickly as we want or exactly how we envisioned, yet that is the essence of faith – trusting God knows best.

Simply put, this week make it a point to be at the right places, doing the right things, trusting God!

(Just a thought: you can’t trust God if you don’t read His Word and learn what it is you are to trust in…)