Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25, 2016 - Concerned with the State of the Game

This weekend we had a significant snowfall which allowed for us to hunker down at the house and relax a little bit… one thing that Faith (my 10 yr old) and I did was make it a point to watch The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend. It is a movie about Pete Maravich in his 8th grade year, and in spite of their admission to taking a lot of creative license in the content, is a great motivational tool… at least for me. (I am not sure it increased Faith’s desire to be working out but I was ready to shovel the drive and get to work.)
One of the highlights of the movie to me is when Pete’s dad is talking about the future of basketball and discussing the beauty of merging the styles of the then all-white programs with the styles of the all-black programs. (And I am old enough to remember the debates over said styles.) Yet a careful observance of what was stated in the movie will give a key to what makes great basketball…
While talking about the strengths of Cleveland High (the all-black school) Pete’s dad didn’t just talk about their athleticism and energy, he mentioned that they had great fundamentals! When all the stuff gets boiled down, great players and great teams have great fundamentals!
That in my opinion is what made MJ so great… what made Larry Bird so great… it is what made the UCLA players that had Coach Wooden as a teacher so successful as they entered the pros… it is what makes teams like the San Antonio Spurs so fun to watch. Greatness is directly correlated with a solid fundamental foundation!
I write about this for the devotion not to just highlight great players, but because I am concerned with the current state of the game… and I don’t mean the game of basketball (even though I do think that AAU ball tends to mess that up as well.) Christians all around me are being lured to lifestyles that are geared toward the pursuit of happiness and temporal satisfaction. I even hear leaders encouraging the pursuit of happiness…
Don’t get me wrong, I like being happy; yet I realize that is a state of mind that is based upon circumstances and is at best fleeting… ignoring the reality that life has other plans. Happiness is much like the weather in southern Indiana… if you don’t like it wait 5 minutes; if you do like it… wait 5 minutes!
I am constantly counseling and praying for folks that are making life-changing decisions based upon “5 minutes” of unhappiness… forgetting that God has called us to contentment and the pursuit of purpose in Christ. It seems that I deal daily with folks that are seeking purpose in their mate instead of Christ… seeking purpose/happiness in their mate instead of giving purpose to their mate by pointing him or her to Christ. (And being back working with high schoolers I find the same issues in dating relationships.) I see people depressed over jobs instead of seeing their jobs as opportunities to live out their purpose in Christ.
I could go and on about these things but I need to bring it to a bottom line. The Apostle Paul is the prime example of turning circumstances into opportunities for purpose… He is the guy that when chained to a prison guard didn’t complain about his confinement but instead rejoiced in his opportunity (“this is another guy I can point toward Christ!”) This is a guy that didn’t consider himself a captive when in prison but continued to consider himself as a child of purpose and viewed his fellow-prisoners as the captive audience! This is a guy that told us to “rejoice… pray with thanksgiving… to think on things that are true…” This is the guy that said we can face anything that life deals us “through Christ!” (READ PHILIPPIANS 4:4-13)
Bottom line takeaway: If your decision to pursue happiness or “greener pastures” is in direct opposition to God’s fundamental truths in Scripture you are making the wrong decision! God is more concerned with you being right than happy; because He knows that leads to long-term contentment and purpose, not short-term pleasure. The “game” is meant to be played with solid fundamentals! I am tired of the enemy deceiving God’s people; especially when I consistently hear him doing it through supposed teachers/ministers that are neglecting the fundamentals!!!
My hope and trust will be directed to the fundamentals! Like King David in Psalm 71:5: “For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth.”
Pursue Truth!
Pursue Purpose!

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