Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016 - Don't Let Up, Step Up!

One thing that is great about the NBA playoffs is watching teams ride the tide of success. Yet often you see teams get complacent in the midst of one of these runs. What I mean by that is in a series a team may play a couple great games only to come out flat or complacent the next game… Or maybe it happens as quickly as during one game where the 1st half a team looks great and then come out of the locker room for the 3rd quarter stagnant. Yet the reality is that this usually doesn’t happen in a close-out game or even in the 4th quarter of a game… but in an earlier game in the series or an earlier quarter; I believe because the team is not really focused on the end…

Last night as I was teaching at our missional group (The Arena) I was complimentary and also cautious… thrilled at how incredible our group is at following our motto: [Today We LIVE! (Love Intentionally Value Everyone)] Our group is the most real, loving, caring family I have ever witnessed! We celebrate together and cry together… We are better together and broken together… It is an incredible picture of what the church is supposed to be!

So why the caution? The simple answer is because the caution is Biblical! (And my job is to teach and equip through the Bible.)
The Thessalonians were a faithful and productive church body; Paul commended them greatly in his letters to them. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 Paul tells them he is “remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father.” In verse 8 he goes on to say, “For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.”
Do you see it? They are riding the tide of success and doing great. Paul says, “For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God.” Yet he knows, and I can prove it by the text, that they are in danger of getting complacent or stagnant. He realizes that they could easily lose sight of the end of the game… and he uses that realization to encourage them to stay focused.

3:10 “night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith.”

4:1 “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God.”


5:2 “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night.”


Most that read this blog each week are probably doing a pretty good job things… but as a coach I urge you to, in the words of Coach John Wooden, “Move, move, move!” Let’s not let up but instead step up!

(Your humorous side note this week: One of my bloopers and blunders happened last night as I was teaching on this subject and folks asked what version I was reading from… they said it was way different than theirs; I barreled on through it as the verses I read still fit the idea I was trying to convey. Then as I started looking through the text again and prepping for the devo I realized I had read from 2 Thessalonians by mistake… so if you are from The Arena I am sorry for the confusion…)