Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014 - The Journeyman

I spent this afternoon in familiar territory, but it is a place I don’t enjoy being… In the midst of the crazy ministry schedule (Just returned from a trip and hit the road again next weekend for the entire month of June), I am reminded that me (and my family) are simply nomads…

The place I found myself in today was another moving trailer… It is hard to believe we have been in Alabama for an entire school year but we find ourselves on the doorstep of another crazy summer and needing to get our stuff moved out of the “loner” apartments we have been staying in. For now the junk will mostly stay on the trailer just 35 minutes down the road and we will do our typical nomadic summer swing… starting in NC for a week; then Jr. Camp Grace in Georgia; Lisa and I in the Dominican Republic again for missions outreach; back to Sr. Camp Grace in Georgia and that will get us through June.

We would appreciate your prayers for: travel safety; finances for the travel and need supplies/equipment; our kids’ sanity; and most importantly for the thousands we will be entrusted to share the Gospel with… (This Spring we saw many make professions of faith in the finished work of the Substitute!)

And here I find myself writing another weekly devotion (as has happened now for 698 straight weeks) and I realize I am simply a “journeyman.”

“According to the Oxford Dictionaries, a ‘journeyman’ is known as ‘a worker or sports player who is reliable but not outstanding.’ In the NBA, this title is used frequently to describe a player that has bounced around the league and struggled to find long-term real estate. While some of the NBA’s elite journeymen have put up All-Star numbers, they often have not received All-Star recognition.” []

I love those players that simply get the job done. They don’t need the fanfare and the hoopla… they just “do work!” There are guys right now in the NBA playoffs that are not famous and won’t get much press… yet they are needed to complete these teams and help them function properly. Many of them, in spite of being in “The League” are “nobodies” when it comes to fame.

I am not a star preacher or teacher; I am not a famous author; I don’t even really have a home (as stated we are truly nomads.)

Yet what I hope is true of me (and of you) is that we are found faithful… “steadfast, immovable (in spite of constantly moving), and always abounding in the work of the Lord.” (1 Cor 15:58) I want to simply “do work” for the Lord!

After all isn’t that what matters? Live in light of eternity! Let’s be like John the Baptist who stated:

He must increase and I must decrease! (John 3:30)

I am a “journeyman” and I am ok with that! I just want to “Do Work!”

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014 - Sticking to the Game Plan

Have you been in the Word today? Have you sought out what “game plan” God has for you? Do you trust Him with your life? Are you coachable? Do you follow directions? I sometimes find myself slacking on time in the Word and then I realize that those are times I am trying to take the coach’s role in my life…

As a coach I loved those players that simply believed in me as a coach. (Not that I am infallible like God is); but simply that the guys trusted me. I loved it when they tried to do things the way I laid out for them; went to wherever I placed them on the floor…

A simple reminder this week of the importance of sticking to the game plan:

Psalm 119:31-32
I cling to Your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame! I will run the course of Your commandments, for you shall enlarge my heart.

I love the way Pastor Peterson words it in The Message:
I grasp and cling to whatever You tell me; God, don’t let me down! I’ll run the course you lay out for me if you’ll just show me how.

Yesterday I heard a great challenge from a young man that has spent 9 months digging into the Word during a missions GAP program in Costa Rica. He talked of how the Lord gripped his heart and showed him so many things about himself and about life. It was challenging to hear from him about the power of the transforming Word of God! Good word yesterday, Jordan Nelson!

Be coachable today!

Search out the “game plan’ for your life!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

May 12, 2014 - Training Camp Rules

I find myself often going back to common themes during these weekly devotions. (I guess that happens after you have done 600 or 700 hundred of them…) Sometimes it is probably because I’m not smart enough to think of anything new; yet I hope more often it is because the Spirit is using me to repeat things that need repeating…

This week I find myself thinking about my time coaching and how there is so much more involved in game strategy than just makes and misses. Therefore the goal in coaching always centered more on getting my guys to play their roles within the game plan. And when they veered from that plan I needed to correct them (even if when they veered there seemed to be success…)

It may sound strange to talk correction and success in the same sentence but it is a very real part of the game (and of life.)

I remember benching a kid after a made three simply because he directly went against the plan laid out in the huddle before the play… that was a matter of discipline and respect for the coach.

I think of times where we made 2 or 3 fast break buckets in a row… but against teams we needed to slow down against. And even though 6 quick points sounds good, getting the game into a tempo that favors the opponent is not a good idea – especially if you don’t have the players that can change it back!

Simply put a general set of rules for the players was this: Be where you are supposed to be; when you are supposed to be there; doing what you are supposed to be doing!

Isn’t that a great motto for life? We use it a camps we runs; on our ROCK’em Road Trips; on our Ambassadors International mission trips; etc.

As I sit typing this week’s devotion I am in an apartment in the Tireo Valley in the Dominican Republic. I am here working on our InBounds Training Camp for foreign missions. I am planning dates for training camps here and back at home. I am excited about what I feel the Lord is leading me to… You see, I want to be doing what I am supposed to be doing! And I believe the time is now and the place is here and at home…

So what is the Lord calling you to do? I can’t give you specifics but you know my thoughts on this one… The “what” includes sharing the Gospel! (Along with many other clear directives of Scripture…)

Love God… love others… and as you are going preach the Gospel…

I can’t tell you the geographical location where you are supposed to be (Side note: where you are is a great place to start)… but I can tell you the time is now to be doing what you are supposed to be doing!

It is time to GO MAD!
Global Outreach
Make A Difference

Be where you are supposed to be; when you are supposed to be there; doing what you are supposed to be doing!

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014 - Playing For The Coach!

As the NBA season winds down we are at the typical point of the turning of the coaching carousel… Even winning teams are considering firing coaches with the thought that it will get them to the next round next year… It is truly funny to me as a former coach because it really places way too much credit/blame on the coach.

Simply put it is a giant leap / assumption that players are actually doing on the court what their coach designed in the huddle or prepared them for in practice. I realize some will argue that the coach’s responsibility is to get the players to do that; yet there is a reason that even coaches stand on sidelines scratching their heads and asking what players were thinking…

At any given time things can be going great and a player goes brain-dead and messes it all up; then when one stupid mistake takes place it seems to snowball with multiple players… and the blame then shifts to the coach.

I remember years ago in a game where our team was beating a much more talented and higher ranked team. They were also a much more athletic and much bigger team. There was no reason that we should be winning apart from a great game plan (that was mostly orchestrated by my assistant coach Rick Lewis.) Well into the 3rd quarter we carried a lead and then it happened; one kid decided to go solo on his plan instead of sticking to the game plan. In a few minutes time we fell behind and ended up losing the game by the same deficit we ended that 3rd quarter in…

All of this reminiscing to simply state: you can’t always judge a coach by what you see taking place on the floor. And the same is true in life… we cannot always judge God by what His players are doing “on the court.”

Over all of my years of ministry I have not met people that were anti-God or anti-Jesus; they may have discounted His existence, but had not rejected the true character of God. They have been more anti-Christian than anti-Jesus. What had happened is people had looked at “the game” and “the players” and drew conclusions about “the Coach.”

But the reality is that, even though unfair, a coach is judged by his players. There are questions swirling about the coach of the Golden State Warriors (Mark Jackson) and his job security. It is believed that team leaders are considering firing him in spite of continued improvement each year under his watch. Their star player (Steph Curry) said this: "I love Coach more than anybody. For him to be in a position where his job is under scrutiny and under questions is totally unfair."

We need to understand as believers that we represent Christ in all we do… we affect His reputation… we have a responsibility as His ambassadors! (2 Cor 5:20) Years ago the group NewSong had a song that stated “We Wear His Name”: do you get that? The name on the front of our jersey is Jesus. We represent Him!

Matthew 5: 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

I’ll adapt Seth Curry’s quote for the Christian’s responsibility before God: "I love Coach more than anybody. For him to be in a position where his name is under scrutiny and under questions is totally unfair."