Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015 - Rest to Get Stronger

One of the key things in getting stronger is rest and recovery… After hard workouts it is required to let our muscles rebuild. It is imperative to recover after hard games. Often after a hard week’s practice a coach will even give a break and just have a walk-through before a game. The point is that we need rest in order to function at our best.

I am writing this following a trip our west that included over 4000 miles of driving. This followed a couple weeks of moving from AL to NC and now we are back to our house with a ton of work to do… all before leaving out on the next journey…

The topic is very real to me today as I am physically and mentally wiped out. During times like this it is easy to get overwhelmed thinking about all that still needs to be done. As a result I find myself struggling to write (or even think for that matter.) Yet during the week out west I even reminded the youth I was working with that rest is needed to be at our best. Therefore I am going to rest tonight (and maybe even tomorrow.)

Are you making rest a priority in your life? God called it “Sabbath” and commanded it. Jesus practiced it and had His disciples do the same… in their busy lives of ministry He stated in Mark 6:31:

“…Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”

Get stronger… rest a little bit!

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015 - In The Game

What a crazy time for Team Burden… we are moving back to NC from AL (with ministry still going in AL) to continue our outreach with InBounds and also serve again with Statesville Christian School. We are excited but also tired; as this is all taking place with a full ministry slate.

On Friday we drove to Chicago to drop off our son Caleb with Reign Ministries; he is going to Ireland for the summer to do mission work. We continued then on to Colorado (where I am currently typing from) to serve in a VBS and Basketball clinic with our partners from South County Baptist Church in St Louis. (We love traveling to do outreach with them… they are a second family to us.)

But with all the running, this old man gets asked at times why we stay so busy. The simple answer is that it is my job… even from an earthly perspective I get paid via support that comes to our ministry to be in the game not on the sidelines. (And I do at times say “no” to requests… or allow for a sub in my place.)

But the more detailed answer is the Biblical answer…

First: I am told in Scripture to be “always abounding in the work of the Lord.” (1 Cor 15:58) [And yes I understand that has to be coupled with commands to take Sabbath rest….] Simply put, “Players Play!” And players should remember the wise words of Coach Wooden, “move, move, move!”

Second: when I pray about the opportunities presented to our ministry I truly seek if I feel God is leading/directing. I want to follow the plays that my Coach has diagramed for me; I want to be on the floor where He designed; I want to cut through the lanes He designed; etc. I thought about this as I thanked my dear friend Hank Dahl for being faithful to serve and be in the position God designed for Him to mentor my son Caleb. Hank is the leader of the Ireland team that Caleb is part of. And I believe with all of my heart that God has directed Hank’s life to be in that position; and that Hank is exercising faithfulness to follow that direction.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Do you see the beautiful picture there… God, in His omniscience (foreknowledge), saw that Hank Dahl would be one that responded to the Gospel by faith (see Eph 2:8-9) and in His sovereignty (being in control) He started diagraming plays for Hank… and Hank’s responsibility is to be on the floor doing what God has designed. Therefore I thanked Hank Friday night for that faithfulness…

Why am I running all over the country? In order to be on the floor doing what God has designed. So this afternoon I will meet a new group of kids on a basketball court in Gunnison, CO and have the privilege of sharing that Christ is the Substitute sent into the game of life for us!

How about you? If you are a believer in the finished work of Christ for your salvation then you are also a part of God’s team and thus have plays diagrammed for you… are you walking in them? Are you abounding in the work of the Lord? Move, move, move…

Monday, June 15, 2015

June 15, 2015 - Court (Life) Awareness

One of the key elements I try to stress as a coach is balancing the floor. I want players to be aware of where the defense is… as well as aware of where their teammates are. Spacing is the key… I don’t want 2 players occupying the same spot; I want players filling open spots or setting screens to free up teammates to fill open lanes; I want players that see when a teammate gets beat on “D” and steps up to help; etc. Simply put: Balance is a result of court awareness (seeing the need, filling the spot immediately, and doing the job.)

What about lie awareness? The Scriptures continually challenge us to live balanced lives that love God and love others. In order to do that we have to be aware… see needs, fill the spots, and do the job!

Ephesians 5 tells us in verse 8 to “… Walk as children of light.” Those that are in the light are able to see… be aware of surroundings; therefore Paul goes on to say in verses 15 and 16, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Do you see the “court awareness” being taught? He warns / commands us to be aware of what is going on around us; but he doesn’t stop there… he then tells us to do something about it (“redeeming the time” or as The Message puts it, “Make the most of every chance you get.”)

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

The Message: “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.”

I think the Message version is pretty spot on… see the need… fill the spot now… do the job! I truly hope and pray we each get better “court awareness” in this “game of life” and look to Make A Difference in the lives of those we come in contact with. Go MAD!

Monday, June 8, 2015

June 8, 2015 - Are You An Impact Player?

As I was watching the women’s World Cup earlier tonight one of the commentators mentioned players that are “impact players.” In the sports world those terms are used often and definitely what every athlete would want said of him/her…

What about those that are believers in Christ… and under the Great Commission and the Great Commandment? Weekly I try to encourage us to Go MAD (Make A Difference) in our world. I want us to Go MAD because of our gratitude toward Christ… I want us to Go MAD in order to make Christ more known… not with the goal of making ourselves more known…

Yet nevertheless the reality is that if we are Making A Difference we will start to be known as “impact players” in our communities. I wonder what those in your town, in your church, at your job, at your school think of you? What would the leaders in your church say about you? Would you be known? Would they consider you an ‘impact player” for the Kingdom? What would those around you say about God based upon what they see in you?

The Apostle Paul made it a point to regularly commend those around him that were Going MAD! He bragged on the “laborers.” He thanked the “faithful.” He talked about “hearing” of the impact believers were making. I love what he said about Philemon in verse 7 of that letter: “…because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.” Philemon was an “impact player”!