Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015 - Know Your Opponent / Opportunity

When scouting an opponent it is important to learn his tendencies. Figure out is he right handed or left handed (and can he even use his weak hand.) Figure out if he likes to drive the lane or pull up for the jump shot (and if that varies if he starts left vs starting right.) Figure out if he likes to run off screens and is a catch-and-shoot player or if he needs to put the ball on the floor. Figure out if he is strong in the post. Figure out if he strong with the ball from floor to chin or does he need to get the ball up high to be effective. IN OTHER WORDS YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR OPPONENT.

Let me first state that our spiritual opponent is “not flesh and blood but… spiritual…” (Ephesians 6:12) And it is true that it is important to know the enemy and recognize his work in our lives.

But this week’s devotion is more centered on the principle of knowing not who we are trying to beat but instead who we are trying to reach! NOTE THAT THE UNSAVED MAN IS NOT OUR ENEMY/OPPONENT BUT INSTEAD OUR OPPORTUNITY.

Knowing who we are trying to reach means that we take the time to know people’s stories. It means we take time to see them as valued human beings that Christ died for. It means we take interest in them and learn why they live and think the way they do. It means we are intentional in figuring out how we are going to love/reach them…

In John 2:25 it states that Jesus “knew what was in man.” In other words Jesus reached out based upon where the individual was at. And although I do believe that some people have a gift of discernment and can somewhat see what is in a man, we all need to learn to take the time to know the individuals we are trying to reach.

Here is a prelude to something you will be hearing often from our MAD (Make A Difference) men and women. In a new launch within our ministry (that is coming very soon) we will use this motto:

Today we LIVE! (Love Intentionally Value Everyone!) That means we are vowing to get to know where people are coming from in order to reach them effectively! We will value every opportunity!

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015 - Confidence and Control

Recently I laced up the shoes in a game in the Dominican Republic. I only played in one 5-minute stretch of one of the games… therefore not much of a body of work. In those few minutes I took a grand total of zero shots and never even made a hard cut to the basket…

Yet after returning to the States I was told that one of our players was doing an impression of me… and commenting on the confidence and control I had on the floor. Now there was a day that I would have hoped a player noticed my athleticism or my skill set; but those days are long gone. But it was pretty cool to hear that he noticed my demeanor / control on the court. It was pretty cool to know that because I had (“been there and done that”) that I could then show other players how to be aware of their surroundings and in control… (The spiritual lesson is found in Ephesians 5 when we are told to “walk circumspectly.”)

I was reminded of this yesterday when the pastor brought up the challenge to think soberly… (which is a challenge mentioned many times in Scripture.) This is accomplished via “game time” where we are actually learning how to be calm in the midst of chaos. It happens by learning “the Playbook” well enough that it dictates how we are thinking in the midst of the chaos. It happens by intentionally going into the “game of life” with more experienced “players” that can mentor us…  

Are you stepping out of your comfort zone and into the “game” so you can gain confidence?
Are you making “the Playbook” a priority in your life?
Do you have “experienced players” around you that you are learning from? (I was reminded of this truth yesterday as I drove down an interstate that kept showing this message on digital displays: Designate a Sober Driver! Do you see it that truth spiritually? Spiritual sobriety comes from experience and maturity… therefore it is imperative that we seek out those that are more mature than us to help “drive.”)

Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17, 2015 - Individual and Team Responsibility

Often times I hear Christians claim that they are not prepared to Go MAD (Make A Difference) in life. They feel they lack in Bible knowledge/understanding. They feel unworthy due to previous mistakes. They feel inadequate, as if they don’t have as much to offer as others…

My daughter had her first soccer scrimmage today. She is in 5th grade and is playing for the first time; and due to us being at a K-12 school the athletics allow a 5th grader to play on the middle school team. This particular team not only has kids that are older than my daughter but I was also told that 7 of them play club soccer…

My daughter started feeling quite overwhelmed and nervous about the scrimmage. She recognized her lack of understanding of the game. (What in the world is “off-side”? Where does the “forward” play”? Etc.) She was thinking about the mistakes she had been making in the practices. She recognized that she was inadequate to provide the same thing the older and more experienced players provide… So we had to remind her that now she is part of the team and the expectation is that she get on the field when the coach calls her number; to compete hard and give what she’s got; to trust that her teammates are there for her.

During the scrimmage I loved watching my daughter compete for the ball! It thrilled me when I saw her teammates helping to direct where she went to teach her! (There was even one older boy on the opposing team that new she was learning and he told her when she was off-side.) It was a great picture of both individual responsibility and team responsibility. (Galatians 6:10 tells individuals to bear their own load; yet verse 2 had already told the team to bear one another’s burdens… the things the individual is unable to carry on his own.)

So what about you? Are you in the game? Are you doing your part? Maybe you aren’t the most gifted or experienced speaker… can you help hand out supplies/food/water to those in need? (I guarantee you that some of our MAD Squad can plug you in to some real game time of service!) Maybe you have read some of our posts for the financial needs for needs (i.e. Carolina’s medical needs) and chose not to give because you don’t have as much money as others do… well I can tell you that a $10 from a poor man is just as important as  $1000 from a rich man!

The Coach has called our number! Our performance in the game is not about how we measure up to others but instead are we going hard and giving what we can? And then are we picking up each other as teammates and helping learn the game better?

I’m here for you! You here for me? (What about for folks like Carolina? Over a week ago I posted of a great need in that 14 yr old girls life. We have had a handful donations and covered just over 20% of the need. Yet we have had a very small percentage of those that have seen the need respond… Get in the game folks! I love you enough to tell you as a teammate “where you need to be on the field”…)

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10, 2015 - Implement the Plan

I am back in my NC office and trying to settle in… it has been a long hard summer of travel (only one more trip on the schedule) and now is time to focus on our local outreach. In spite of the fact that the summer has been tiring, it has also been incredibly fulfilling. It is great when a “game plan” is prepared and then you get to see it unfold! (That is even true in the camps we run when I see kids implementing what we taught in drills.) I truly believe we have “gone MAD” this summer… we have Made Difference!


The Bible is clear that we are to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only…” (James 1:22) It is clear that talk is cheap… Proverbs 14:23 tells us that “In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty.” Do you see the emphasis on IMPLEMENTING THE PLAN?

I say this as a coach, a parent, a minister, etc. We live in a world that seems content to have good intentions… where the typical response is “Yes, when I get a chance to get around to it.” Can I go into parent-mode for a moment? Well, I’m gonna… Delayed obedience is disobedience!

MAD Men and Women see a need and then immediately try to do something about it!
MAD Men and Women don’t just say “Amen”, they live it!
MAD Men and Women don’t just click the “Like” button, they act on it!

Does that mean you have to respond to every request made of you? No, we are not always in a position to personally Make A Difference, but when we can we should!

I recently posted a great need for a young girl in the Dominican that could walk again with our help. Many people have “liked” or even “shared” the status on the internet but only 3 have “acted” on the status… Can we add an “ACT” or a “Do something about it” button to Facebook? In our churches can we move beyond “AMEN” (which means “so be it”) to answering “I’ll do it!”

Let’s Go MAD!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August 3, 2015 - How Do You Handle Game Truth?

I have written in past devotions about how much I disliked watching game film when I was a player; and if I am being honest with myself I'm sure I didn't like it very much when the coach was pointing out what I had done wrong...

The reality is that a coach (who is on your side) is giving a player "game truth"; and the old adage is true that the "film don't lie!" It gives "game truth." And "game truth" leaves a player with the options of: 

1. Rest - Ignore it and be content with where one is as a player
- or -

2 Wrestle - allow truth to do its work - observe the truth and allow it to correct even when "the truth hurts" - realize truth is not the enemy!

The Scriptures are "game truth" for life... Allow the Word to do its work in your life. 

Read 2 Timothy the 3:16-17
Read  James 1:23-25

If God is on your side then His Word is always for your good! 

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬