Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28, 2016 - The Method to Our MADness!

Every once in a while I pull the weekly devotion from things I had already written for other venues; as a coach you sometimes pull from the old playbook... This is one of those weeks; as I am thinking about time tonight in the gymnasium with a new group of our MAD Hoops outreach. You see even for them I plan a weekly devotion and with this being a new venue for our outreach I thought I would explain to them our rules... doesn't sound very devotional does it? But the reality is that we have set up this outreach to teach life skills via a basketball setting;and not just any old skills but ones that truly help us honor the Lord! So here is "The Method of Our MADness!"

Welcome to MAD Hoops! We are so glad you are here! We have some rules of play that help us keep things flowing smoothly... designed to help Make A Difference on the court and are good life lessons off the court… The method to our MADness!

·        Player that commits the foul calls the foul… players are encouraged to own up to the things they have done wrong! Defense call it if you hack someone! Offense call it if you charge or clear out illegally!
-           James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another…

·        Player that has been fouled should play through the contact… do your job without expecting to be bailed out by a call!
-          Philippians 2:14 Do all things without complaining and disputing

·        Player is not a coach… there is no need to point out when someone else makes a dumb play (that player already realizes it)… but it goes a long way to admit when you make a bad pass or dumb play!

-          Matthew 7:3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

·        Player is not a referee… there is no need for you to point out someone else’s travel, double dribble, etc… but own up to your mistakes…

-          Proverbs 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

·        Player is expected to play under control… not just physically but also emotionally; it is expected that players try to control their tongues by avoiding the use of profane language… There is a zero-tolerance policy for the use of God’s name is vain!

-          Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

·        Player that commits an intentional foul (physically or verbally) will be asked to leave the gym… staff will determine this and then escort the player out, pray with player, and invite the player to return to the next MAD Hoops session.

-          Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Player’s Prayer: Lord, as I lace them up today I pray that you will be honored through my attitude and actions. I pray that others will see a difference in me. I commit that no one will work harder than I do, because you deserve my best in all I do. I commit that I will respect others – teammates, coaches, opponents. Lord, help me Go MAD (Make A Difference) on and off the court! In Jesus’ name I play and pray, Amen!

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 21, 2015 - Daily effort adds up to great achievement!

I have written in the past about my friend Brian Creel. He is one of the world’s strongest men (proven by his results in the World’s Strongest Man competitions.) He is truly a massive dude that at one point was even named the country’s strongest collegiate football player. He shared that he has never cut out a workout… He is an impressive dude!
I have also written in the past about my spiritual hero, Dr Mark Cambron. Just walking in a room with that guy made one aware of closely this man walked with God. He once answered a college student that he had read through the Scriptures 400-500 times… He was an impressive dude!
Both of these guys had supreme work ethics. They didn’t allow circumstances to keep them from doing what they had committed to do. Both obviously turned bad days into productive days. Neither one seemed to be guys that were seeking glory or fame, they just stayed the course…  
That is what great athletes do… that is what those that walk close with the Lord do… they take care of their part and trust the results will follow.
Proverbs 21:31 tells us to “prepare the horse for battle.” In other words we have a responsibility to put in some work. But then it tells us to trust that the “victory belongs to the Lord.”
I’ll be honest; this topic is on my mind again because I simply want to hit the bed… I have already worked for 13 hours today and on top of that I am sick (and the Dayquil is wearing off. Thank God it is almost time for the NyQuil!) Yet I have responsibilities that need to be taken care of in spite of the circumstances. And then, yes, I will get some rest…
Greatness is attained through a daily commitment to be the best one can be that day…
Daily effort adds up to great achievement!

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 14, 2015 - Great Players Think Moves Ahead

A great player has awareness of where he is at and also awareness of where he is going! I have witnessed many very good players that have great moves but don’t necessarily read the game a few moves down the court… (like great billiards players that set up for future shots.)

I have often written about my favorite point guard (Tyler Lewis of the Butler Bulldogs.) I’ve seen other players with equal or sometimes better skill sets in the moment, but never seen anyone better at seeing the “future” of the game…  not only where he is planning to go but also where his teammates are going… and even more impressively he sees where the defense is planning to go.

In our Christian lives I believe we are told to not only make right decisions in the moment, but also to look at how they affect the future.

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us: “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.”

So how do we do that?

Psalm 119:105 “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

Do you see it? A lamp is used to illuminate the situation you are currently in and a light for a path indicates seeing the future of where you will be walking. We are to not only make decisions that are for the moment but also consider how they affect the future. (Thinking of Ephesians 5:15 that tells us to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but wise.”)

Allow God’s Word to be your rudder… let It direct you!

Monday, September 7, 2015

September 7, 2015 - When You See An Opening... Hit It!

Happy Labor Day… I love celebrating those that have shown the work ethic to get the job done!

One of my biggest pet peeves as a coach (or fan or teammate…) is to watch a player that is more concerned with showing off than he is in simply getting the job done.  When a team has put forth time and effort to prepare for a game the singular focus of the players should be accomplishing the objective.

I’m picturing the basketball player that dances around on the wing showing his ball handling skills and misses the open lane to the basket… when the bottom line is that a player should use the fewest dribbles needed to get to the basket… anything more is wasted time. It is great to have skills to use when they are needed to create an opening, but when there is an opening hit it!

Simply put I love players that keep their heads in the game and do work!

As a member of God’s team I hate thinking about all the opportunities we waste to share the Gospel or meet the needs of others. We are way too lax in our approach to “the game.” I think a few things contribute to this:

1.       I think we often think that our Christian duty is more centered on what we avoid (what we don’t do) more than focusing on what we should be doing… it is like players focusing on not losing more than on aggressively trying to win… (See 1 Corinthians 15:58… we should be “always abounding in the work…”)

2.       I think we often get caught up trying to show off how much we know and forget to show that we care… Many believers are more than willing to debate politics, theological stances, ethics, etc., but ignore the opportunities to show love or even simply share the Gospel message… (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 says that to Paul the delivery of the Gospel was of “first importance”…)

3.       I think we often try to fool others and even fool ourselves by using our “spirituality” as an excuse… we see a need or an opportunity and hide behind the need to go pray about it instead of simply meeting it. It is like the basketball player that sees an opening and instead of getting to the basket looks over to ask his coach if he wants him to score… Bottom line here is that we need to start doing what we were trained to do: love (serve) people and look to share the Gospel! (See James 4:17)

It is time for us to start “playing to win!” We need to stop wasting time and start actively doing what God has called us to do! I love the way this idea is worded in the Message…

Ephesians 5:11 “Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork…” Then later in verse 17 it reminds us to “make sure you understand what the Master wants.” It is implied that we need to know so we will be ready to go into action when an opening arises.