Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 24, 2013 - Big Talkers, Small Walkers

Let’s face it… Sports/Life is full of big talkers! When I was still coaching, I regularly found myself telling players, “don’t tell me… show me!” Players are quick to tell you how great they are; yet the reality is that very few show it! Very few have the inner strength/character to do what it takes to get where they claimed they were going. I have often used the quote from Coach Bobby Knight in these weekly devotions: “Everyone has the will to win, but few have the will to prepare to win.”

Big talkers… small walkers! Most are content to try to full people by talking big. Most will spend their lives as spectators, only wishing they had the “stuff” of champions!

Coach Morrow and I spent the week at Camp Grace in Georgia. Throughout the week we heard the plea for people to “move, act, do!” We challenged youth to get off their tails and risk failure so they could find success. And yes it involved some push in the competitions of the camp…

But more so in the living of life! Camp director Freddie Coile challenged the youth to make a difference for God. He challenged them to not be silent with their faith but instead to fulfill the call on every Christian’s life to be a “fisher of men.” He reminded them that each believer has purpose in life now that he or she is a “King’s Kid.”

Tonight Coach Morrow and Coach Stewart will encourage young men on a basketball court in Huntersville to Go MAD (Make A Difference) for God. Tomorrow morning I will fly to the Dominican Republic in order to Go MAD with the message of Christ!

All of this because we are so thankful for God’s grace; His free gift of salvation through Jesus to those that put their faith in Him! We simply want to tell others and fulfill our purpose. We simply want to walk the walk, not just talk the talk! No fear! We want to “move, act, do!”

Yet again let’s be realistic… Even within the body of Christ we have many big talkers and small walkers. Maybe it is fear? Maybe it is feeling unworthy? Be encouraged God wants you to get off your tail and He wants to use you!

Freddie shared an awesome lesson about a couple of young men that were willing to “move, act, and do” for the Lord. They put their full trust in Him and faced incredible obstacles, knowing that God was on their side!

Read the account of Jonathan and his armorbearer in 1 Samuel 14. We find two young men that were so willing to “move, act, do” that we are still talking about them today… We also find older ones, including Jonathan’s dad (King Saul), that are bystanders hanging out in the shade (probably big talkers but definitely small walkers.) And the cool thing in the story is seeing that the young men willing to Go MAD for God influence the older shade tree dwellers to move, act, and do also…

How about you? Are you ready and willing to Go MAD for God? Is He worth it to you? Does His grace motivate you to want to honor/serve Him? Do you truly trust that He is on your side? Are you willing to influence others to move, act, do?

It’s time to get off your tail and move, act, do! I’m even willing to be your “armorbearer”!

If God is for us, who can be against us? Also read Romans 8:31-39 – let’s do some conquering!!!!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 17, 2013 - Desperation results in Determination!

The NBA Finals have been crazy this year; it has been back and forth blowouts with neither team taking control of the series. What has been a huge part of the discussion is the Miami Heat’s inability to win back-to-back games. After posting a 27-game win streak during the season, they appeared to be in full stride for the playoffs. Yet they have not won consecutive games in the past month and now find themselves down 3-2 and in jeopardy of a very disappointing end to the season…

Many analysts have tried to figure it out by stating that the Heat simply do not play with urgency until their backs are to the wall. (Although there very well may be some truth to that, I also think it has to do with the fact that they are playing a great team in the Spurs! Coach Popovich has a great game plan and makes great adjustments after each of the Spurs losses. And for those that want to totally slam LeBron for not taking over, remember that he plays in a modern NBA that allows for teams to play zones and shut down driving lanes; “Pop” has devised a great defensive scheme for the Heat!)

But I digress into basketball analyst instead of devotion-writer… back to the idea of playing with a sense of urgency…

I do agree that any athlete tends to find a new gear when faced with elimination. This is true in any sport. When the clock is running out you see intensified defense; you see players rushing to score; you see more timeouts called to try to re-focus on the plan. In short – Desperation results in Determination!

I am leaving in just a few minutes to work a camp in Georgia (and then on to the Dominican republic… and then Tennessee… and Indiana… and Missouri… and you get the picture.) The camp is geared toward the clarity of the Gospel and the call to share this incredible message!

This week I give you a very simple reminder that we are called to be “ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5) and to the great comMISSION of evangelism and discipleship (Matthew 28.)

Yet I also remind you of the urgency of this calling. John 4 records a discussion between Jesus and His disciples. The disciples were worried about daily provisions (specifically what food they would eat) and Jesus redirects their attention. Jesus responds that He is more concerned with doing “the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (vs 34)

We would all agree it is important to do the Father’s will and work… yet as humans we tend to put things off. So Christ gives a very clear picture stating that the “fields” (those needing to be reached / “harvested”) are “already white for harvest.” (vs 35)

In other words, there is no time to waste! It is a picture of urgency!  The “harvest time” is now!!!!!!!

People of a lost and dying world have their backs to the wall in real jeopardy of losing for eternity! Our job/calling is to hear their desperate cries and share the truth with them!

Desperation should lead us to Determination to share the Gospel!

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10, 2013 - He's in my head during the game...

This past Saturday I heard a great story about Steph Curry… It took place at the end of the Davidson/Gonzaga game in 2008. The story was shared during a graduation address that was encouraging the kids to give credit and thanks to those that got them there…

In the game that was being discussed Steph scored 40 points, and Davidson upset the highly ranked Gonzaga squad. Reporters jumped on the fact that Steph pointed at his dad (former NBA player Dell Curry) in the stands. When asked why he did it Steph responded, “He's been there for me my whole life, I think the things I do on the court kind of come from him, so he's in my head during the game and I like to keep him involved." (Some reporters even talked about the fact that Steph also points to the sky to thank God.)

I love this picture of gratitude and thanks; but I also love the picture of influence that will help in the midst of the game… Steph said his dad is in his head; in other words when the game was on the line his dad’s training and influence carried him through.

Steph’s play on the court and his outward show of thanks by pointing at his dad gave worth to Dell Curry (and the role of fathers.)

Steph’s play and his outward show of thanks by pointing at the sky gave worth to God!

Another word for ascribing worth to something is “worship” – or the old English form “worthship.”

I was preaching yesterday morning in Alabama and started at Ephesians 4:1 ----
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.

The word “therefore” tells us we have to know what came before this verse. Basically the first half of Ephesians reminds believers of the incredible magnitude of God’s love and all that He has done for us. Just like Steph talked about his dad being there his “whole life”, Paul reminds us that God has been intimately involved in our lives since before the beginning of time… Paul reminds us of the incredible gift of GRACE (God’s unmerited favor)!!!!!

The Apostle Paul then makes a strong plea; he begs (beseeches) us to have a “worship walk” – one that ascribes worth to God… because God deserves it! He is worthy of our thanks! He is worthy of the credit for our successes!

It only makes sense to want to honor God with our lives in gratitude for His gift!

Side note: if you will make it a point to spend quality time with God (like Steph did with his dad), you will find that in the chaos and pressure of life you will catch yourself saying, “He’s in my head during the game” and you will find victory!

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 3, 2013 - Individual vs Team Goals

When I was still a HS coach I had a few times where I was faced with a difficult decision concerning how to utilize players. By this I mean it was hard philosophically… you see one goal of coaching a team is obviously to win games; therefore the obvious choice of how to utilize a player is determining how he will most help the team to achieve this goal. The problem is that at the high school level a young man that is 6’4” or 6’5” tall will most of the time be needed as a front court player. At the high school level this young man will most often be used as a “big.” Seems like a simple choice for a coach… But what if this young man has dreams of college ball? At that height he is nowhere near being a “big” and will most certainly only have a shot as a wing player (a guard.)

This is where my dilemma would come in. Was my goal going to be just the team winning games or was it going to be to consider the individual player’s best interest? I will confess that I am a “player’s coach.” I was always concerned with trying to help individuals achieve goals. I remember telling kids that if they would work hard at the skill sets they needed to play at the next level, I would play them at the position they would play at the next level. But in the deal I would also tell them if they didn’t work hard at that I would put them at whatever position I felt most helped the high school team. (I know some may want to argue my philosophy… yet the reality is that my players still tend to have great relationships with me and seem to be “winning” in life – which to me is more important than just winning games…)

As I sat in church yesterday Pastor Joel was sharing more in our “Parental Guidance” series. He was encouraging parents to truly find out the individuality of their kids that is “knit” in them by God and to nourish that instead of forcing them into a mold the parents create…

I love the fact that God sees and loves us as individuals. I love the fact that we are all unique. I love the admonition to parents to view their kids in the same way. I have 5 kids and can tell you that they are all different; different interests, different personalities, different gifts and talents…

Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “train up a child in the way he should go…”

Joel gave a twist to this verse I had never considered. We obviously see the need to train in the Word (God’s ways) as is stated throughout Scripture. (See Deuteronomy 6:4-9) But there is also more to this verse… it is not a blanket one size fits all statement.

Apologetics Press words it this way: “Children, even in the same family unit, have differing personalities and abilities, and do not respond uniformly to instruction. The phrase ‘in the way he should go’ actually verifies this fact…the ‘way’… (in Hebrew refers) to the singular characteristics of each child. Parents (are to train) their children in the way paved by their unique dispositions…”

Do you see this duel truth in Proverbs? Our training is to center on teaching God’s ways (the overall team game plan) in light of the unique creation of each child (each player’s unique path.)

I highly endorse groups like Uniquely You that provide personality testing to help us understand ourselves, others, and how we relate to one another. In fact I am working on providing InBounds Ministries’ Total Player Academy Personality Profiles that have been created by Uniquely You to help coach and player relationships (parent/child, teacher/student, etc.)