Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014 - Are You All In?

The last month has been incredibly hectic (in fact I’ve been on the road today for 15 hours…) June included trips to NC, GA (twice), the Dominican Republic, and now I am sitting in southern Florida. To put it simply, I am “all in” in this ministry; I am “all in” for God!


As I was sharing last week in a dedication message at a camp I encouraged them to give their all for the Lord; not in order to gain His favor but because as believers we have received His favor. In salvation we see that God made a full commitment to us and asks us to simply believe in His finished work. (He was “all in”, even to the point of death on the cross (See Hebrews 12:2.) So Romans 12:1 tells us that is only “reasonable” that we respond in kind… freely forgiven, forever grateful!


Yet let’s be honest… we live in a world that seldom understands commitment. In the words of Mr. Incredible, “…They keep inventing new ways to celebrate mediocrity…” What has happened to the pursuit of excellence? Why are people not driven to excel? About the only place where that seems acceptable any more is in athletics (and even there they want everyone to get a trophy – in other words rewarding those that didn’t work as hard just like those that did.)


In the church we have lost the battle cry of “onward Christian soldier” and replaced it with blending in. I believe we should be pursuing excellence in everything we do (as unto the Lord – Colossians 3:17, 23.) No one on the planet should be pursuing excellence more than believers. We have a never ending ceiling of motivation: honoring the One that was “all in” for us!


We are admonished in the Scriptures to run like we are striving to win… to press on toward the goal… to walk worthy… etc.


Are you “all in” for Jesus in all you do? It is time for a call to commitment and excellence!

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014 - GOD IS STILL GREAT!!!

Gotta go fast this week… the shot clock is running out. Literally I am due on the road in just a few minutes to head to our next engagement (one in which I won’t have good internet access.) Had a great trip this past week in the Dominican Republic and now it is camp week at Grace Farm!

In spite of having a great week I was also reminded of the difficulties of life; things simply don’t always go as planned. At times, life is hard and painful; at times it seems downright unfair! Yet we have incredible promises from God about how to view difficulties…

Romans 8:28 should give us incredible hope in the midst of this thing we call life. It does not promise we will be trouble free; to the contrary it seems to indicate we will most assuredly have trials and tribulations – yet they will not take God by surprise!

He has promised to “work all things for good” in our lives. In other words, no matter what we are facing we can still rely on His promises.

Just read an incredible story/testimony about Isaiah Austin. This young man played college hoops at Baylor for the last couple years and was set to hear his name announced at Thursday’s NBA draft. He has overcome many obstacles to get to that point and was just recently told he has a heart condition and must quit basketball… a devastating piece of news for someone that has worked so hard.

His response is amazing (Taken from his Twitter posts):
“Words can't explain how thankful I am for the time I had to play this wonderful sport. It changed my life forever. #NewBeginnings
“I would love to thank EVERYONE who has reached out to me. Toughest days of my life. But not the last! Life goes on. GOD IS STILL GREAT!

Amazing testimony! Recently read that your “test will become your test-imony and your mess will become your mess-age!”

Today trust God more than you trust what you see in the moment/circumstances!

I encourage you to read the following article about Isaiah:

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014 - GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL Coach Bishop!!!!!!


As I write this I am sitting in the Dominican Republic with a heavy heart. There are certain people we meet in life that simply are kindred spirits; that think and live li


31 seconds is all it took for the US to score their first goal today in World Cup soccer action; there was an opening and they struck! They didn’t sit around and wait for all their plans and plays to come together – they knew the objective was get to the goal!


What is our goal? As believers we were left with a very specific mission to share the Gospel and then make teach the Word to the converts… I know, I know, I know… “Here Coach B goes again harping on us to be witnesses…”


Yes, I am and will continue to do so. It is why we are left here on the planet. It is the only thing we are called to do as believers that we can’t do in heaven.
ke we do. One such man for me just went on home to be with the Lord.


Ron Bishop was a former college coach that I originally met in the early 1980’s. He went on to begin a sports-based missionary outreach called SCORE International that is dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel to the world (and they now include many facets beyond sports.) The old coach logged literally millions of miles in order to share the Gospel!


I want to honor the coach this week by echoing his call for us to be soul winners – fishers of men – witnesses… to be in the game and looking for every opportunity to share the glorious message that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures! (See 1 Corinthians 15:3-4) Ron did not always sit back and wait for plans to unfold… when an opportunity for ministry arose he simply said “why not” and he went for it! The Gospel was his goal and his priority!


Thanks Coach Bishop for the encouragement you gave me often! Thank you for loving me and my family! Thank you for your example of “getting to the goal!”


I am proud to be sitting in the Dominican Republic writing about you! I am in our Global Impact Center that we toured as it was being built; preparing to proclaim that Christ is the Substitute God sent into the game of life for us! I know your heart for this region and I assure the message is going forth!

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014 - Inside the Lines

Last week we discussed the enemies distractions from “outside the lines” in the game of life - things that keep us from being actively engaged in God’s “game plan.” This week I’m reminded that sometimes we can be “inside the lines” playing hard but still getting nowhere…

In basketball it is very common for me to talk to players about keeping things simple and not making the game harder than it has to be. Players run the risk of over-dribbling or over-passing; players fail to take the shortest path to get to the basket; players fail to get to their spots on defense and instead tend to chase the opponent; players try to get fancy with scoop shots or add in unnecessary pumps when they should have simply gone straight to the rim… again often making the game harder than it needs to be!

In the church today I fear that we are so intent on what we can do to make things more attractive, that we end up “over-dribbling” and not “getting to the goal.” We can put a lot of effort and planning into all we do while sometimes forgetting that the Word is living and powerful and able to transform lives! We need to be careful to not let style trump substance… We need to be careful not to let busywork trump what we have been commissioned to do!

But my biggest concern is with the Gospel itself! There are so many philosophies on how to effectively share and we forget that the Gospel message itself packs the “power of God” (Romans 1:16)! The proclamation of the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross and His resurrection is first priority in our message and plan! (See 1 Corinthians 15:3 for what Paul delivered as of first importance.)

We need to get to the “goal” of being “witnesses” (Acts 1:8) to our world. We need to avoid a couple serious issues:

1.       Avoid allowing our philosophies to be “noise” that interferes with a straightforward proclamation of truth.
-          1 Corinthians 2 1-2 You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified. (The Message)
2.       Avoid adding to the simple truth of what Christ has done for us by making it seem like we have to do something for Him to earn it….
-          Acts 15 (the Apostles have been dealing with the issue of messages adding to the grace of God and determine the following) 19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God,

“Inside the lines” we need to be careful to stay focused on the “game plan”…

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014 - You Gonna Play or Forfeit?

As I sit at my desk I find myself a bit overwhelmed at all that has to be done today… I have just spent the week moving all of our belongings into storage and we are living out of a few boxes and bags for at least the next month. Today I found myself at the mechanic with the ministry van that had broken down; this a day before we leave for NC then GA then the Dominican Republic then back to GA… you get the picture. And the list could go on of all the other stuff that goes with it…

And then I realize that I need to write this week’s devotion and the weight of all the other stuff makes it very difficult. Basically I have to come to a point where writing (or even my personal quiet time) is like lacing up the kicks for a game… once the ball goes up in the air, the cares of the world disappear and for the time it takes to play that game I realize I can’t deal with all that other stuff, nor do I even want to…

It is easy to let so many things distract us… sidetrack us… get us out of our game. And the enemy will often use circumstances (stuff) to mess with our focus. In fact I just received a nice compliment from one of my friends and board members; he had served with me overseas and witnessed a time where I was preaching while a basketball game was going on behind me. He told me he “commended me” for keeping my “concentration” through it all… I responded that it was like being at the foul line with the opposing fans waving and screaming to break my concentration… it was just the enemy trying to get me off focus from sharing the Gospel...

The enemy is a master of distraction! His goal is to sidetrack us from “focus in the game”!

I often hear people say they will get busy with the Lord’s work and call on their lives once they get other things straight… That is simply “Bull!” When it is “game time” it is “game time” and if you are not ready you will “forfeit” the opportunity to do what the Lord “diagrammed” for you to do! (See Ephesians 2:10)

You will have opportunities this week to Go MAD (Make A Difference)!
It is game time!
You gonna play or forfeit?

Colossians 31-2 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. (The Message)

This week was about distractions from “Outside the Lines” – the plan next week is to discuss the distractions from “Inside the Lines”