Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014 - STRAIN

Every time a game ends the big “win” question is not truly about the scoreboard. The scoreboard will be turned off and then reset to zeros for the next game. The real “win” question is whether or not you gave your all? Were you the best you could be in effort? Were you the best teammate you could be? If you didn’t give your best it was not a “win.” (Note: I said “give your best” not “were your best”; some days the shots just aren’t falling; some days you physically just aren’t quite there; yet those things are not excuses for lack of effort!)

I often quote John Wooden’s ideas of success. This week is a reminder of that: “Success is peace of mind, which is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the EFFORT to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

I talk often to players about not just “winning the day” but also “winning the play”; reminding them that every rep counts… maximum effort!

The reality is that being a true winner is hard work because the competition is truly oneself and maximizing potential. It involves being the best (as Wooden said) for one’s own peace and self-satisfaction. It also involves being one’s best for the bigger picture of the team.

Yesterday I had a couple great reminders about that via church and a devotion I read on the internet.

In church the pastor is in a series dealing with unfulfilled expectations. Yesterday he talked about when we don’t fulfill God’s expectations of us. He did a great job of reminding that Jesus and the cross are what paid for our “approval” from God. But “intimacy” with God requires confession (1 Jn 1:9) and striving to honor God with our lives. It is a daily… no hourly… no moment-by-moment battle to face our failures and overcome.

On the internet I was reading a weekly devotion I receive from a sports chaplain named Roger Lipe. He was talked of “straining” our muscles, our minds, and our emotions in competition. He talked of the value of that “strain” in becoming a champion. The cool thing to me was the verse he used to pull out that truth. It is a verse I have used and taught on many times. But he used it from a different version than I typically use and the concept jumped out even greater…

Philippians 3:13 "But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and STRAINING toward what is ahead, I press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

I looked up the word in Greek (Epekteinomai) and it actually means to "stretch out to or towards" or "to stretch (one's self) forward to." The idea of STRETCH absolutely gives a picture of STRAINING toward something.

I loved the tag that Roger added at the end of his devotion: "STRAIN like a champion today."

When the day is done... when life is done... (like the Apostle Paul) I want to say that I have "fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)

This week's devotion is in honor of Clennon Lewis who passed away this past week. I have written often about his son and his grandsons. He "fought the good fight" in service to his country, his family, and our Lord!

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014 - Be Worried When The Coach Is Silent...

I often quote and praise the words/philosophies of Coach John Wooden; yet today I will respectfully disagree with him… He was very laid back during games, believing that most of his job was to be done in practices and then let it play out… (Obviously it worked for him.)

While I was on the sidelines I spent a lot of time during games teaching. I was constantly calling out reminders and corrections. I wanted to be a voice to my players not only in the practices but also in the heat of battle; I was “in the game” with them! (And here I will confess I didn’t have anywhere near the winning percentage that Coach Wooden had…)

Yet the obvious difference here is the ability of the players one is coaching to comprehend and carryout the coaching instructions. The more advanced the player, the less the coach should have to remind and correct… (So in my defense, the players Wooden had were a bit more advanced than what I had.)

I have been reminded recently of a truth I used to hear as a player and then reiterated as a coach… be worried when the coach isn’t getting on you! The reality is that a coach that cares is going to make some noise to remind and correct. A minister that cares is going to make some noise to remind and correct. A parent that cares is going to make some noise to remind and correct.

I remember growing up hearing the phrase “get off my back!” This cry to be independent of instruction and accountability is a fool’s cry. We all should long for someone in our lives that cares enough to tell us the truth and give us instruction. We should be accountable and submissive. We should realize the leader cares when we hear him “barking.”

Proverbs 17:10 Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool.
Proverbs 18:2 A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.
Proverbs 19:18 Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.

Are you open to instruction? Chastening?
As a coach, teacher, minister, parent are you making some noise?

I want to Make A Difference in this life!

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014 - Faithfulness and Dependability

I often write about (remind us) that we have God on our side… He is for us not against us… He has made promises to us to work things for good… we can trust Him!

Ezra 7:28 … So I was encouraged, as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me;…
Or from The Message: …My God was on my side and I was ready to go…

Simply put, that truth alone should motivate us to charge the gates of Hell!

Yet if you read the story of Ezra there in chapter 7 you find out something important. He knew God was on his side because even the king (Artaxerxes) and his counselors were on Ezra’s side. When reading we find that the king recognized wisdom in Ezra. We see that the king entrusted Ezra with leadership and with the finances. The king had no doubt that he could depend on Ezra.

When I was coaching I loved having those players that I could trust to do what was asked, when they were asked, how they were asked – without hesitation. These were guys that I could count on even if I had turned my back or stepped out of the gym.

It would be easy to look at the story of Ezra and say, “of course he did well, God’s hand was upon him…”

But let me remind you that what was required of Ezra was faithfulness and dependability to do what was asked, when it was asked, how it was asked… without hesitation! Ezra trusted God so much that even when he faced potential danger he turned his trust to God. (See 8:21-23)

God is on your side! What is He asking of you in task? What is God asking you in the handling of the finances? Do those around you in leadership see faithfulness and dependability in you?

Get busy!

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014 - Avoiding Tomorrow-itis!

The last couple of weeks I have stayed with the same theme; I have asked you (and me) what is really important… I've asked what we are gonna do about it? This is a common theme questions in the world of sports and in our daily walk. Since I am repeating myself a little bit I will remind you that we all desire to be successful; we all desire to win; we all want to do well and do right… yet most tend to struggle.

So with the realization that I am beating the same drum this week, I again warn you (and me) of “Tomorrow-itis”! We simply do not take enough advantage of today…

The reason this is fresh on my mind still is due to a verse I came across in my quiet time last week. It is a verse that I have read many, many times (as I try to read a chapter in Proverbs every day.) It is a verse dealing with giving what you can… and doing it while you have the ability to do so!

Proverbs 3: 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
When it is in the power of your hand to do so.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
“Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,
When you have it with you. (NKJV)

Proverbs 3: 27-28 Never walk away from someone who deserves help;
your hand is God’s hand for that person.
Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time”
or “Try me tomorrow” when the money’s right there in your pocket. (The Message)

Did you catch it? Take care of what you can today!

If you are reading this and you are an athlete with dreams… get to work today!
If you are a believer with a desire to serve Christ… get to work today!

Give what you have while you have it!