Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016 - Lessons from the Spurs

Sitting in Indiana this weekend and getting to watch a lot of NBA hoops; dad and I watched 4 games today… and I must say the San Antonio Spurs did not disappoint! They are always such a great team and have obviously experienced long-term success that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. There are a few things that were glaring again today that point toward why they are so successful…

Frist is great coaching! I have seen many, many, many clips shown on what takes place in the NBA huddles during timeouts; and honestly most of the coaches spend a lot of time trying to be motivators and cheerleaders, while “Pop” (the Spurs coach) always seems to giving clear basketball direction to his team. He is actually coaching and equipping his team for success on the floor.

Second is the beauty of seeing a culture that is built on older guys mentoring and training the younger guys in how to play the game as a team and how to play with pace… and then allowing the young guys to take their place and shine. I absolutely loved multiple sets where one of the old guys, Boris Diaw, had the ball in the low post and he very calmly allowed the plays to develop and picked the opponent apart with either a well-timed move to the hole or a pinpoint pass to the open shooter. And man am I loving getting to see this kid Kawhi Leonard mature into a great, great player!

What we need to learn from this is that these are truths for us as the body of Christ!

If you want to be in a successful “program” then make sure you sit under a “coach”/pastor that is not just a motivator or cheerleader but is instead giving clear direction from God’s “Playbook” to help in life!

If you want to be in a successful “program” then make sure it is a body (team) that emphasizes older mentoring younger, and then handing over the reins to the younger…. I believe the modern church is too peer-based and not enough mentor-based. And I believe we see way too little emphasis on raising up future leaders within our churches (we would rather put out a job search and hire pros based on resumes.)

2 Timothy 2:1-2 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Make sure you are sitting under solid clear teaching!
Make sure you are then passing on what you have learned by investing in others!
Let’s build a successful church culture…

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18, 2016 - Slow Down

I find it almost humorous to watch talented, athletic young players as they go against seasoned veterans… It almost always ends with some humbling of the young bucks; and they don’t understand what happened to them…
One great place to see this is at a local YMCA when some 18 year old studs are busy throwing down dunks, showing their mad handles, hooting and hollering about how they are going to dominate… and meanwhile some 35 or 40 year old guy waits quietly to get a game rolling and proceeds to methodically dismantle them. The “old” guy doesn’t waste moves and energy, doesn’t feel the need to tell everyone what he is going to do, and simply goes to the right places, doing the right things. (I still find as I approach 50 that I can for a short time control and even dominate the court against the young bucks… but I emphasize “for a short time” – I give new meaning to “one and done!”)
This is true even at the professional level as we see seasoned veterans being patient with the ball and letting plays develop… They wait for the double team to come in order to kick the pass to the open man… They save the great cross-over or behind-the-back or between the legs moves for when it actually creates space… They avoid playing chase on defense and instead simply get where they know the opponent wants to go… They “play slow” in wait for the lane of opportunity to “go fast”… They play smart! They play according to Coach Wooden’s creed to “play quick but not hurry!”
The same holds true in life! We need to slow down and let things develop… We need to get a good read on what is going on around us… We need to allow time for the Lord to give direction…. (Line from an old Petra song: “so hurry up and wait upon the Lord!”)
Today take a breath… slow down… see what the Lord has for you…
Proverbs 18:13 He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.
Proverbs 19:2 Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge, and he sins who hastens with his feet.

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016 - Don't Waste Your Talent

If there is one thing as a coach/trainer I hate to see it is wasted talent – athletes that don’t train hard or take care of their bodies! (Yet I must admit that it is worse because I feel as though I was one of those players that relied too much on natural ability and didn’t put forth the work that I should have…) The phrase I was reminded of today when talking to the parent of an athlete is: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard!

This is not just true in athletics but also in academics, in our jobs, in our relationships, etc. The amount of one’s long term success is in direct correlation to one’s long term work ethic! You get out of it what you put into it…

(Please do not mistake the spiritual application here… I am going to draw reference now to rewards for believers’ works… but remember that salvation is not a reward but is instead a gift “by grace through faith.” [Ephesians 2:8-9] Our destination is not earned but there is reward [or lack thereof] once we arrive…)

As believers we are equipped and commanded to live in a way that Makes A Difference. (Colossians 2:6- 10) We are exhorted to make the most of our time and not to waste it! (Ephesians 5:15-21) We are told to study and prepare… etc. (2 Timothy 2:15) Yet many believers seem content to just go through the motions… maybe going to “practice” once a week but never really wanting to get engaged in “the game.” Or as my pastor recently pointed out… being more concerned with “building our castles than building God’s kingdom.”

I fear that many will stand before the “bema” (judgment seat) and not get to climb the podium for the medals… Oh they will be there because they were “in the game” based upon what Jesus did; but wasted the opportunity to be a difference maker!

“Players” that fail to put forth the effort remind me of a verse in Proverbs 11… Verse 22 says,
“As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is lovely woman that lacks discretion.” A wasted life!

Believer, Go MAD! (Make A Difference)

Monday, April 4, 2016

April 4, 2016 - Balance: The E3 Plan

Years ago I had a player come to the bench explain to me that the other team knew what we were going to do each time down the floor. I agreed and asked him if was possible that they figured out since he had called the same play and run it to the same side each time down the floor?

The reality is that in sports and in life there has to be balance in order to be effective. Yet we live in a world of indulgence. We live in a world that glamorizes success at any cost…

·         The student that spends extra hours to get the grades while ignoring family relationships…
·         The athlete that spends extra hours on the court or field but ignores the books…
·         The dad that spends extra hours at the job to get more money while ignoring his wife and kids…
·         And the list could go on and on…

All are trying to obtain a noble goal, but at what expense? All mean well but are out of balance…

Today I was looking at Scriptures that remind us of the importance of hard work and diligence; no one wants to be thought of as lazy. (Even lazy people are offended when they are called lazy.) And I applaud the effort to pursue excellence, but…

The Scriptures also continually tell us to be wise and remind us to stay in balance… as we are told to take care of our work, to take care of our families, to honor days of rest, etc. My encouragement this week is for you to take a look at the balance of your personal life… and I have the Scripture to support that encouragement.


Proverbs 4:25-27     Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. (EXAMINE YOUR LIFE) Ponder the path of your feet, and let all of your ways be established. (ESTABLISH A PLAN) Do not turn to the right of the left; remove your foot from evil. (EXECUTE THE PLAN)

But remember that the plan needs to be balanced! In fact the word “ponder” at the beginning of verse 26 literally means to “make level, weigh it out, balance” your path (plan.) Give yourself a predetermined amount of time for the things you are doing, and during that time pursue excellence (as working unto the Lord - Colossians 2:23)!
"Plan your work... then work your plan!" Coach John Wooden