Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25, 2013 - "Gettin Buckets!"

One of our new outreach plans for our MAD (Making A Difference) Hoops ministry is called “Getting’ Buckets!” That is phrase that simply refers to a guy or gal that is scoring a lot in hoops… For us we are hoping it translates to those that are “scoring” a lot in making a difference in other people’s lives!

We are going to ask each of our MAD Hoops locations to designate an outreach to the needy and to “drop a dime (assist)” to help support that outreach financially. This idea was birthed as I toured an area in Haiti and witnessed the extreme poverty; then I met a missionary that has been there for 30 years and found out about his love and heart for the people around him. There are numerous “beggars” that wait outside his house daily just hoping to get some help. Many families know they can seek help by going to him. And this guy does it mostly through his limited support that is supposed to be for he and his wife. He puts together buckets of food that will last families a week or two and distributes them on a regular basis. He truly knows what it means to serve Christ… since Christ said we serving Him by serving the “least of these.” I simply got to thinking that we could help “get buckets” for him…

That immediately made me think about the outreach of our MAD Hoops guys in NC that regularly help in handing out supplies to the homeless in Charlotte… they are making a difference! And all of the players that get the benefit of running the courts during our outreaches should be encouraged to help meet needs…

Read the Scriptures! We are commanded over and over to consider the poor and needy! We are commanded to make a difference!

Psalm 41:1 says that the one that considers the poor is “blessed.”

Psalm 82:3 tells us to “defend the poor and fatherless…”

Proverbs 14:31 He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.

Check out some of these verses in the Proverbs: 19:17; 21:13; 22:9; 28:27

InBounds (MAD Hoops) is planning on “Getting’ Buckets!” How about you? Are you ready to make a difference? Last week I encouraged you to let eh Word of God transform your mind… These verses should bring us a whole new way of looking at life!

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013 - Buying Into The Coach's Plan

As a coach there have been times that players filled the position I told them to fill, performed the action I instructed them to perform, and ran through skills or conditioning drills I gave them; yet things just weren’t as productive in the games as I had envisioned and those same players didn’t necessarily show any joy in playing the game… some through the years even quit… Sometimes whole teams underachieved…

So what was the problem? (To be honest it could have been at times simply poor planning on my part and therefore poor results.) More often than that, it stemmed from certain players not “buying into” the overall plan. Oh, they knew they needed to do what coach said, (some even loved me as a friend/teacher), but they simply didn’t inwardly agree with my plan/vision for them as individuals.

“Buying in” means you come into agreement…

This is where I feel many problems stem from in the Christian’s walk. We often realize we have gone against God’s plan and truly feel sorry for it and plan to stop… only to repeat it again. Or maybe we serve in positions with no joy but realize we need to be faithful and just keep plugging along – while not experiencing the results envisioned and possibly even stepping away (nice way of saying “quitting.”)

I believe the problem is in the wrong definition of “repentance.” We have listened over and over to definitions that basically state that repentance and obedience are synonyms. Well I am here to tell you that you can be obedient and not be repentant! (How many players have run laps for a coach – obeying and receiving discipline – but while running thinking the whole time that the coach is the one wrong?)

Repentance is the word “Metanoia” which literally means an after-thought… or in other words a change of mind from one way of thinking to another. Simply put, true repentance is not obedience but instead a whole new way of thinking (which in turn leads to joyful/fruitful obedience.)

My goal as a coach was to try to get the guys to trust me and believe I had their best at heart. The goal in the Christian life is similar: Each believer learning more and more how much God loves us by being in His transforming Word and in turn trusting him more and more as the Word changes our way of thinking which in turns changes our way of living and serving…

I challenge you today to get to know God in a deeper way! I challenge you to get into His Word, not as just a spiritual discipline, but as a way to get to know Him better! I challenge you to let the Word of God transform your mind (which is true repentance)! I challenge you to “buy into” God’s plan…

See Romans 12:2; Psalm 119:9, 11

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013 - We Are Not Very Good Yet, But Wait Until You See Us In March!

As a coach/parent we are always longing to see our players/kids growing and maturing. I love reading the early season college basketball reports from coaches that often admit about their teams that they are not very good yet; but wait until you see them in March…

Part of how we are dealing with this in our ministry is through our Ambassador Scholarship program that is designed to help equip Christian athletes to use their skills on the mission field (be it the foreign field or the campus.) And it just so happens that the first recipient of some of this funding was not only a player but also my son… Since many of you have helped fund this program I thought you would like to read the following paper that Clay wrote for a Bible class he is in where he is presently serving in the Dominican Republic… (I think you will see some growth in this player…)

The Glory of God
By: Clay Burden

What is the specific Glory of God reflected in me? What does that look like in a world that is so far from God and so set on falling further away from Him? What does that look like in my life on a day to day basis dealing with friends who may laugh at me or ridicule me for my faith? Let’s take it a step further by saying, how am I supposed reflect a perfect, powerful all-knowing and unconditionally loving God when I battle with temptations to lie  about how tall I am or steal a bar of candy, I can’t even remember my homework from  last night or where I was going with this sentence… How? God seems like someone I Simply can’t reflect. In order to know how I’m supposed to reflect God I should Probable start by asking. Who is God?
Who is God? God is the creator of the universe; He always has been and always will be, He is omnipresent. Genesis 1 says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”  God the creator . Let’s start by thinking of a few attributes of God, God is Holy He is without sin and perfectly blameless, God is Sovereign the ruler of all creation, God is Love a Unconditional merciful Love  and God  is   Omniscient knowing everything and having a perfect never growing or fading knowledge.  So Once again How do I reflect these things, I’m a sinful person, I was separated from God  not caring who He was or how I could reflect  Him or in other words, be more like Him. So now that I Know some words to describe God , I want to figure out what they really mean and how God shows them So I  can try and find out how I’m supposed to do this reflecting Gods Glory thing.
God is Holy; this seems to be a pretty important attribute of Him. Isaiah calls God the “holy one” more than 30 times in scripture.  If God repeats something 3 times its considered important and Isaiah repeats it 30 times! Psalm 99:9 says “Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy”. 1 Samuel 2:2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” My favorite verse on the Holiness of God, Exodus 3:5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” The GROUND God was at became Holy just because of His presence there. The word Holy according to Merriam’s dictionary is: “exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness”  

 God is sovereign; Gods in complete control. Everything I can see is His creation. This website I’m looking at explains it perfectly “The first verse of the Bible says that God does what He chooses to do.” God created the known universe, why? Because He is God and he can!

1.       Gen. 18:14, "Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son."
2.       Psalm 115:3, "But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases."
3.       Psalm 135:6, "Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps."

This is my favorite one Jer. 32:27, "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” God seems like the ultimate point guard in this passage. Complete confidence in Himself!

·         Lam. 3:37-38, "Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?

These verses so perfectly display the sovereignty of God. His will, will come through and He can control anything. One thing that stood out to me is, God is so sovereign He also has the power to give me a choice to accept Him. That’s such a beautiful display of leadership!

God is Love; an unconditional passionate love! A love so strong He sent His Son to die for me so I could be with Him. For me Gods love is the most important quality of Him. The bible often talks about Gods attributes but it seems to put an emphasis on love by saying “God is Love”.

1.       John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
2.       Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God is Omniscient, Knowing everything. He doesn’t learn more as time goes on or forget things, He simply just knows He has a infinite knowledge on what is, what has been and what will be.
Job 37:16 “Do you know the balancing of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge.”
2.       Psalm 147:5 “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”  

So as a sinful, fallen man, how am I supposed to reflect the Glory of God? It’s very simple; I strive to be more like Him in everything I do. These qualities of God I’ve been studying are a part of His glory. They show me who God is. That way I know how I can reflect Him.

What does this look like in my everyday life, let me start with God is Holy, I need to strive to be holy as well. When God made Adam and eve they were blameless in His sight, perfect without sin. They had that personal relationship with Christ, but when sin entered the world it separated them (me) from God and we no longer could have that relationship. So God sent His son to die for me So that i could willingly choose to restore that relationship. With this new relationship The Bible says I am  a new creation in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 ESV  ”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. I  now have the ability to strive to be holy. WE now have the mindset of Christ to know not to do wrong and to always honor God with our choices. I will make mistakes because sin is always around us but that is part of the building process.

God is sovereign, this one is tough. As a sinful man I really don’t have absolute control over anything so how am I supposed to reflect God in this way? I do this by submitting to His Sovereign will. Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths”. By living my life making choices with prayer asking to seek Gods direction and asking Him where He wants me to be.  This reflects Him because I am showing others and myself my trust in His sovereignty and my obedience to it. In the same way Jesus trusted Gods plan and was obedient to the cross I must be obedient in wherever God takes me. Ephesians 6:5-8 ESV  “ Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.”

God is Love, wow doesn’t the world need love! Reflecting Gods love in my day to day life can take place in so many different situations, my relationships with family, girlfriend, friends and even my teachers. No I’m not going to die for my teachers or my friends but I will care about them and forgive them when they wrong me. I  can be there for them and be a listening ear. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” In order to reflect Gods love this must be true of my life in all relationships and situations, no matter what the circumstances. God’s love is never ending and unconditional so I must strive for that to reflect Him.

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013 - Passion Birthed In Battle

Years ago when coaching I was very organized in my practices; I had the drills and teaching time planned out to the minute. When it came to the plays and plans I wanted to make sure that each player knew exactly where he should be and when he needed to be there. As the years progressed I found more and more players coming to me that had been in camps and clinics throughout their lives and had decent motor skills and a could follow where to be in plays… and as a coach I felt confident that players were prepared.

Yet in the latter years of my coaching I was noticing that these seasoned practice players simply did not have a natural feel for the timing of the game; I found players that were equipped but had no passion…

I really believe that the passion for the game comes more from time in the school yard or in the driveway than in the clinics; and I found this to be true of players in every sport. I believe preparation is very important but I believe passion is birthed in the battle.

This came to my mind this past week while in a meeting with a mission team. We were discussing ideas for some outreach in a community and the possibility of hosting an event there. I proceeded to explain that the events are fine and I love planning and doing them, and can even equip people to play their roles at them… but ultimately for long-term effectiveness there must be long term commitment that is steeped in actual “game play” that produces passion. Again this is not to discount preparation; but if too much time is spent just preparing then passion is non-existent. (That is why coaches hear players begging to scrimmage – they want to be in the battle; they want to compete!) I find many folks in the church that have spent a lot of time in preparation yet lacking in passion.

One of the members of the mission team looked at me and said that it seemed that for everyone to seek what he or she is passionate about sounds unorganized but effective… to which I replied “exactly!” Ministry is not always about organization; it is about getting passionate about where God is leading you and getting in the game!

Some of my fondest memories of basketball are from my back yard on the broken concrete… it wasn’t ideal but I was in the game… in the battle! Don’t get me wrong… I loved the “events” of the organized games from running out for pregame, to the announcing of the starting lineups, to the opening tip! But that is not where my passion was birthed!

All of that to simply ask, “Are you in the game?” Get busy about ministering to people. It doesn’t have to be an organized event; it might even be in your own back yard!

1 Corinthians 15:58 – Always abound in the work!!!!!!