Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013 - Down But Not Out!

Yesterday my brother and I got into his car to run to the store. He set his radio on the Denver/Washington football game and Denver was surprisingly behind. While on our drive to the store Denver tied the game at 21; when we came back out to the car they were ahead 38-21 and then scored again before we left the parking lot.


Denver was down in that game 21-7 and then ran off 38 consecutive points in the second half to win in a blowout. I’m sure many Denver fans were frustrated early in the second half; but true fans know that Payton Manning should not be underestimated; as long as he is on your side and there is time on the clock he is a threat!


I write about this as I think about how bleak life can look at times. Whether it is illness, finances, relationships, school, or whatever… things get difficult. And then to hear conversations daily about the condition of the world, politics, etc. could make one feel as though there is no hope…


On a personal level I just want to encourage you (and me) that God is on our side and there is time on the clock… He will use the things you (and I) are going through and work them for our good – we have His promise! (Romans 8:28)


On a national or even global level I also know something… God wins! I’ve read the book and know the ending… I choose not to spend all of my time moaning and groaning about things and instead looking for a way to make a difference. The fact is that the Scriptures tell us life gets more difficult and gives us an answer… to “redeem the time because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16) Are you a complainer or a changer?


We may be down but we’re not out!

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013 - Fully Vested Contract

I just read an article on about Don Mattingly. I will state up front that I am a Mattingly fan (not a Dodger fan) because Donnie Baseball is from my hometown; but also because the guy is the epitome of a hard working athlete that overcame all the odds and succeeded in spite of his perceived shortcomings. I also think he proved this year that he does a pretty good job with the skipper’s hat on; the Dodgers won their division by 11 games and had the best 50-game swing in club history (going 42-8.)

Yet early in the year when they weren’t playing so great there was much speculation of him being fired; and even after the incredible run that carried them into the playoffs there still is not a long-term contract on the table. Basically Mattingly admitted that it was difficult to daily feel as though he were still trying out for the position. In spite of the fact that his contracted is vested for one more year due to their first round playoff victory he feels as though management does not have faith in him as a manager.

One reporter believes Mattingly was simply putting everything out front and telling them to either give him a multi-year extension or let him go…

What a tough situation to be in… yet many live in this type of atmosphere based upon how they view God. Of course those that still believe “good boys go to heaven and bad boys go to hell” are all living life having to always wonder: “Am I good enough?” “Does my good outweigh my bad?” (Don’t want to be rude but let me answer those, No! “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 2:23)

Yet isn’t that true also of those who treat Christ’s sacrifice as though it were just a chance to start over and they still have to earn something? Those that spend their lives serving out of law…

Instead of going into a long doctrinal treatise of soteriology (study of salvation), let me make a very simple point:

I am not trying to earn or maintain my salvation! I have a fully vested contract for eternity based upon the righteousness of Christ; or as I often teach it: “I will enter the pearly gates wearing a jersey that says “Jesus” on the back!” (2 Corinthians 5:21 tells me Christ took my sin and I received His righteousness!) I am vested in Christ!

What motivates me to serve the Lord is His amazing grace! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013 - Relentless Full Court Pressure

Lately I have been reminded of watching my players’ faces when we faced those teams that swarm you with relentless full court pressure from the opening tip to the final buzzer. (Some of my old players will remember teams like the Patterson School that did that; old hoops fans will remember teams like the Arkansas Razorbacks and their famous “40 Minutes of Hell” defense.) So as a coach my job was to get my players to not focus on the opponent’s pressure but instead on the things we had learned to combat that pressure (i.e. press break offenses that let you trust where your teammate will be, how to protect the ball, staying under control and making solid passes, and my favorite as a coach/player was to attack the pressure!)

I have recently confessed how overwhelmed I have been with our move… Simply put, life has been moving at warp speed and I have simply been trying to hang on for the ride. Therefore I have resorted to focusing on what I have learned and taught for years:

·         We do have a God that is our refuge! (Ps 46:1)
·         We do have a sovereign God that has promised to work things for good! (Rom 8:28)
·         We can trust that pain brings gain! (Jam 1:2-3)
·         We know this too shall pass… (2 Cor 4:17-18)

So this week I’ll share with you the lyrics of a song I recently wrote. I shared it for the first time publicly this past Saturday at the One Heart Music Festival in NC; I simply wanted folks to know we can choose to focus on something other than the pressure!

I’m overwhelmed…
With what your hands have made
I’m overwhelmed…
I see your power displayed
I hear rolling thunder; I see the stars
Then sings my soul How Great Thou Art
I’m overwhelmed…

I’m overwhelmed…
Every time I seek your face
I’m overwhelmed…
By your Amazing Grace
I once was lost but now I’m found
Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
I’m overwhelmed…

Jesus, worthy is your name
Jesus, greatly to be praised
And all that I can say
I’m overwhelmed

I’m overwhelmed…
I praise your holy name
I’m overwhelmed
Let heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms pass away
There’s just something about your name
I’m overwhelmed…

Jesus, worthy is your name
Jesus, greatly to be praised
And all that I can say
I’m overwhelmed

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 2013 - Only One Way To Score

There are many different philosophies when it comes to basketball; yet in the end there is always only 1 way to score… the ball must go through your basket! That is simply the object of the game…

In all of my years of playing and coaching, no one has ever argued that point. No one has ever tried to convince me that there is another way to score points. Why? Because Dr. Naismith, the creator of the game of basketball, designed the game that way.

This simple little truth was on my mind as I strolled down a gravel/dirt road in La Vega Dominican republic this past Saturday and looked up at a basketball goal in front of a little church. Painted on the backboard it read: Solo en Cristo hay salvacion (only in Christ is there salvation.)
We live in a world of many philosophies and religious thoughts…

We live in a world where it is said that we are intolerant for preaching/teaching salvation in Christ alone; but the creator of “the game” said that is the only way to “score”!

The reality is that the most loving and caring thing we can do is tell someone the truth of what God Himself says about the situation…

The reality is that the most tolerant message there is, is that of salvation in Christ alone to all who will believe… (Do you get that? It is a universal appeal to all… one’s past, one’s nationality, one’s race, one’s gender, etc – none of these things exclude one from believing on Christ to be saved!)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

We need to be busy about sharing the most loving message known to man…

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ dies for us. (Romans 5:8)