Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014 - Win Each Day!

Last week I wrote with a very simple question, “What is important to you?” The reality is that everyone will state that winning is important to them… (I know, I know, I know... winning isn’t everything… what matters is how you play the game… yadda, yadda, yadda… the truth is we want to be successful!)

Yet I have often used a quote over the years of doing these devotions: “Everyone has the will to win, but few have the will to prepare to win.” (Bob Knight)

So this week let’s go beyond the question of “what is important to you” to “what are you gonna do about it?” I grow very weary of hearing the word tomorrow! There is no such day! You only have today!

 I ask athletes that train with us what their goals are. They always talk of championships, scholarships, pro ball, etc. I try to make it clear to them that the athletes that I have dealt with that arrived at those levels all have something in common: They took care of today!

They all have stories of commitment to their workouts and an unwavering drive “win each day.” This includes making every day in the weight room productive. It includes making each practice productive. It includes making victory the goal of every play in every scrimmage. It is truly picture of one’s dreams driving one’s day!

Spiritually speaking, I know that every believer that reads these devotions will probably state that honoring/serving God is important to them. Each will probably say that he/she has great expectations of doing great things for God. The young ones will talk of when they are adults. The adults will talk of when they are more financially secure or when they retire. All seem to have great plans for tomorrow… but the reality is most don’t have a life driven to “win each day!”

James is very clear in chapter 4 that “life is a vapor” and that we need to take care of the here and now. It doesn’t say it is wrong to have plans for the future but that we should keep them in perspective and focus on the present tense commands for today. He goes as far as stating that when we know the right thing to do it and don’t do it (present tense action required) that it is sin.

In Peter’s first epistle in chapter 5 he warns us to be “sober and vigilant”; these are terms that carry the idea of dealing with the here and now… “win each day (moment)”!

My question of “what are you gonna do about it?” is really focused on you (and me) taking a good look at ourselves in the mirror each day and asking ourselves if our dreams/desires of serving the Lord are driving our day?” I think this is what Paul was talking about when he stated that our daily “walk should be worthy.”

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014 - What is important to you?

I often come across athletes that simply don’t have any work ethic or drive. As young players they often get by on just natural abilities and athleticism. As a coach/trainer I try to motivate them; reminding them that there are players working hard to be better than them. I pull out the motivational quotes:

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work!”

                “Your toughest competition is anyone willing to work harder than you!”

I pull out the philosophy reminding them that true success is not measured in being better than someone else but in being the best they can be each day.

Bottom line though is the individual must determine what is important to him/her!

I’m writing this week’s devo 35,000 feet up in the air; returning from a visit to Navajo Nation in New Mexico and Arizona. I had a great time, made some new friends, got to preach the Word, and even got to throw in some advice/challenges to local pastors (hoping they received it well with my “in your face” coaching personality… especially since my personal devotion time reminded me that gentleness should be evident!)

What I saw and heard while interviewing pastors and touring the area was indicative of what I tend to see each place I go… the church corporately and as individuals not being all they can be for Christ.

The church corporately is lagging in missions work! It seems that cults and false religions are much more interested in reaching people than we are. That needs to change…

The church as individuals is full of laziness and apathy. It is amazing that the pastors I meet with have the same frustrations of trying to motivate the flock to get off their bottoms…

I’m trying to type in “gentleness” with the goal of encouraging us to get busy about the Lord’s work! It’s time to be the best we can be for Him.

 2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

You need to determine what is important to you…

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014 - Streetball

Lately I have been reminded a lot of my younger years; man did I love to play hoops! I know I sound like the old man here but… I remember as a 4-yr-old heaving the ball up to the goal on the drive at our house on Boeke Rd.  I remember back yard games on Rotherwood where we had to avoid the cracks in the raised concrete. I even remember games of HORSE, Line-21, and Around-the-World against my mom. I remember shoveling snow off the court by Chris’s house on Blackford so we could play. I remember showing up at Iglehart Park to play and having to wait our turn on the court and then trying to keep winning so we could stay on the court. I remember late night trips up to the Washington School lot to shoot baskets at the one goal illuminated by the light on the corner of the cafeteria. I even remember venturing into the inner city where most white boys didn’t go just to get in some good games. (Maybe that explains the missionary spirit that loves to go into different cultures…)

The point is that much of who I was as a ball player was developed on the streets, not in the gym. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the excitement of the organized games in the gyms but the playground is more of where I got a feel and love for the game.

As I was watching through some more of the ESPN stories on streetball dying out, I listened as old timers (like me) talked about the streets giving them a “hunger” for the game; about playing in the park giving them confidence; the playground was a “different atmosphere” being in the gym verses being outside; and one statement that really stood out to me made the observation that “we give them (kids) more today and they don’t take advantage of it.”

I understand the need for the organized stuff; I even host and conduct clinics and camps… I spent years as a coach… I do personal training for players. Yet being around those circles just solidifies my thoughts that kids need to be out on the streets/playgrounds/driveways more! This is where players are developed!

Now on to my adult soapbox as a believer that is commissioned by Christ to make a difference in the game of life! (And by the way you are commissioned as well if you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved!)

The church is great at planning for “organized games inside the gym”; and I am not opposed to that. But the reality is that most believers do not have a “feel for the game” because they are just going through the motions that have been choreographed for them. I talk often with pastors that express the desire for their churches to be active in ministry only to follow up by asking how we can help draw people to their facilities.

As stated before I still host/conduct events to do just that… so what is my point this week? Those things are fine and dandy but what about you as an individual reader of this blog? Are you taking time to be out on the “playground”, in the “streets”, or maybe even on the “driveway” in your own neighborhood getting the job done? Are you “playing the game” in the non-choreographed places? This is where you will be developed!

Scriptural Picture: Acts 3 – Peter and John are on the way to the temple. It is a god thing to be “in the gym.” Yet an opportunity presents itself on the street to minister to a man. They ministered to him where he was; and the cool thing is that as a result the number in the temple grew since the man chose to go in with them after they took the time to “play the game in the streets.”

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014 - Peak Performance

I am excited as tomorrow I will begin some of our Total Player Academy individual training in our new area where we are living. We have also had new training equipment donated to increase that outreach…

On top of this I have also booked my dear friend Jason Otter to conduct his basketball clinics in a neighboring town. Jason is the best basketball trainer I have ever seen in action… truly helping players reach “Peak Performance”! (

I have also made friends with a strength and conditioning coach (Brian Creel) that is truly world class here in our hometown… He is not only strong as a bull (competes in strong man competitions); he is educated to the nth degree in strength and conditioning…. … truly helping players reach “Peak Performance”! (

When it comes to training athletes it is important to get quality instruction. In fact the two guys I mentioned are so good that I would direct any serious athletes to them way before I would even direct them to me. I view some of our personal training outreach as an avenue to try to filter these players to Jason and Brian… I know that any athlete that trains with these guys will get the very best of instruction!

Our motto for the Total Player Academy is: “Get schooled now… so you won’t be schooled later!” The idea is preparing for the future by getting a solid “education” now. From the spiritual perspective, we call this discipleship; or as me and Coach Morrow say it’ “Just living life together.”

I think it is imperative that we sit under solid Biblical teaching. Your local church should be Bible-believing and Bible-teaching; and you should (in the words of friend George Dooms) “not just sit there but get involved!” Yet I also think it is impotant that you have a “personal trainer” to mentor you and live life alongside you… to be the “iron” that “sharpens iron” in your life. (Make sure it is someone that knows what he is talking about…)

But ultimately I think where we fall short most often is in the imperative need to be in the Word on a daily basis seeking wisdom! The Word proclaims itself to be living and to be for the purpose of instructing and correcting us. It is the key to truly helping “players” reach “Peak Performance”!

Proverbs 8: 34 Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014 - Pick Me Up!

I’m an old man… and simply put cannot do all the things I used to do. I love playing hoops yet, even though the rim still looks to be attainable, getting there is a different story. If I play games now I am a defensive liability; and offensively I am only a help when I can get back down the floor…


I remember back in the day when I was a young man and still in good shape; and there were still times I couldn’t get back on “D” in time. I would yell to a teammate, “Pick me up”, and then I would have to recover to help my team. (I watched yesterday as the USA national team allowed an inferior team to stay close for 3 quarters of a game; this was largely due to the fact that the other team was setting picks to get defenders behind their men and unfortunately the help side defenders were late in “picking up” their teammates.)


The reality is that no matter where we are in the “game of life” we all need help at times; we need to have someone “pick us ups”! This is true as individuals and as the church.


The last couple of weeks our pastor has been encouraging the church to “engage.” He has been reminding us of the necessity to all play our part on the “team.” He referred yesterday to a great picture in Scripture of a “pick me up” moment.


In Exodus 17:8-13 Moses and the Israelites are in a battle with the Amalekites. Moses is the leader and is relying on strength and direction from God to carry them through. As the battle plays out it is very interesting. As long as Moses holds his hands and the “rod of God” up in the air the Israelites were winning; when he lowered his arms they started losing. Seems important for Moses, the leader, to keep focused on what God has told him to do; yet you try holding your arms up in the air for hours on end. The Scripture records that his “hands became heavy” (vs 12.) So those around him (Aaron and Hur) got him a rock to sit on and stood beside him supporting his arms until the battle was won.


The application for you? Your church needs you! Your church leaders need warriors and those to support them as they hold up their hands and the “rod of God.” We need to be making a difference in our local bodies!


Another application is that I need you! (As do many other missionaries and ministry directors.) It is hard and tiring to stay the course. For 7 years I have been “holding up my hands and the rod of God” and trying stay engaged in the battle and follow His calling in my life. Yet I am old and need someone to “pick me up.” We have some “engaged” in the battle for InBounds Ministries! (Keep fighting MAD Hoops warriors!)


I will be totally transparent in this week’s devotion. My “hands are heavy!” I recently posted a newsletter/update on our ministry. It shares the amazing “victories” we have been witnessing. It gives plans for the direction God is leading us. It also tells of our needs to stay engaged in the battle.


The part that is difficult is that I have had little response to that newsletter. A couple of people “liked” it and “shared” it on Facebook but that is it. I haven’t heard responses of those willing to “support my hands” by at least committing to praying for us; yet we also need financial “support.” We have pressing needs in our ministry! I would much rather be focused on the people God has called us to reach than on the bank balance! (And I know that is true of most missionaries and ministry directors.)


This week is a challenge to be engaged! It is a challenge to hear your teammates (in your church and in missions) yelling, “Pick me up!” (And maybe for some of you it is me / InBounds you hear yelling…)