Monday, April 24, 2017

April 24, 2017 - Stupid

A key ingredient to winning is the ability to “play smart.” When it is game time it is important to make the right decisions on both the offensive and the defensive end of the court…


Yesterday as I watched an NBA playoff game I was reminded of this truth. Houston was playing Oklahoma City, and even though Houston ended up winning, they did give OKC some chances to steal the game due to poor clock management and ill-advised shots. In fact at one point I saw James Harden smack himself upside the head and mutter the word “stupid.”


The point is that we need to make right choices. I saw a sign the other day with a quote attributed to John Wayne. (I later would see at that there is no record of him saying the quote; which is a bummer because I love picturing him saying it…) But it went like this:


“Life is tough. Life is tougher if you’re stupid!”


As a believer I want to make God-honoring choices in my life. As a believer I hope to be like King David in Psalm 26. He stated to God in verse 2: “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart.”


Are you comfortable with God taking a close look at your heart? Can you state before God, as David did in 3, that “I have walked in Your truth.” Or can you proclaim, as David did in 11, “But as for me, I will walk in my integrity…”


We need to pursue excellence in life by “playing smart” and following God’s game plan!

Monday, April 17, 2017

April 17, 2017 - Dependability

Lately when counseling I am seeing a trend… a problem that is epidemic. It seems that “anxiety” has gripped our culture and unfortunately it is gripping even our youth. Over and over I hear stories of fear and uneasiness over uncertain outcomes; (and even deal with anxiety disorders where it can crop up for no logical reasons.)
This week I want to give some encouragement to those that are struggling; yet for some I fully understand that you wish it were as simple as hearing truth… but I do think the starting point for all is found in establishing truth!

If I were a player on the Cleveland Cavaliers right now I would be feeling really good about getting out of the first round of the NBA playoffs, and not just because they went up 2-0 in the series tonight. I would have been confident before the series began because of the “dependability” of LeBron James. I realize not everyone reading this is a LeBron fan, but the truth is that he has never lost a first round series, even in his early years when he didn’t have a strong supporting cast. He has proven himself! He makes the “uncertain outcome” seem a bit more certain.

What does this have to do with anxiety in our lives? Simply put, I want to establish truth in this devotion that with God on our side we do not have to fear! Throughout the Scriptures we see promises of His dependability…

One of my favorite ways we are reminded of this is found in Psalm 124…

Verse 1 is classic:
“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,” let Israel now say----

The chapter goes on to remind Israel that, if not for the Lord, they would have fallen! Israel had seen God rescue and protect them over and over and over again…

Christian, remember that the Lord is on your side! Even when things seem uncertain He is dependable!

This is a short devotion this week where I want the Scriptures to counsel us all…

Verse 8:
Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made Heaven and earth.

Monday, April 10, 2017

April 10, 2017 - The Franchise Player

This is the time of year that a lot of talk centers around both the upcoming NFL and NBA drafts. Teams are hoping to land the immediate impact players; and for those picking players early, they are hoping for that player that will carry their team… be the “franchise player.”

“In professional sports, a franchise player is an athlete who is not simply the best player on their team, but a player that the team can build their "franchise" (team) around for the foreseeable future.” (Wikipedia)

As we have entered into “passion week” to celebrate what Christ did for us, I want to direct our attention to when Christ entered into Jerusalem. John 12 records the entrance and how the crowd responded to the news that their “franchise player” was on His way… Yes, that is how they initially viewed Him, as the one that would fix their problems!

Verse 13 tells us that they cried out the word “Hosanna” which means “to save or bring victory now.” These folks were cheering and quite taken back when Christ appeared on a “young donkey” (vs 14) signifying that He was riding into Jerusalem in peace… not to immediately take the earthly throne. (I think this explains why they could turn so quickly to cry out “crucify Him!”)

Yet Christ was here to fulfill the promise that was made at His birth as the angels proclaimed there would be “peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14)

This week focus on who Christ is; He is truly our “franchise player” in that He is the only One that was capable of saving Team Humanity! Let’s be more passionate (during Passion Week) about Him than we will be about who our favorite sports team will draft… and how about doing something really crazy and talking about Him to people?

Monday, April 3, 2017

April 3, 2017 - Team Identity

I love to see teams that have an identity! In other words, teams that when you hear their name you can immediately picture how they play. I think back a few decades to the Nolan Richardson coached Arkansas Razorbacks; they were known for the frenetic defensive full court pressing they did… for the whole game! In fact, it was nicknamed “40 minutes of Hell.” Or last year when I coached a group of 5th and 6th grade girls and labeled them the “Greedy Girls” because of the intensity that they went after the ball; they wanted the basketball! Bottom line is these are examples of cultures that are built in teams…

One of the things we do in our outreaches is emphasize the plan to “Go MAD!” (to Go Make A Difference!) In fact one of our coaches (David Wilson) has taken to the level of teaching that we need to create “MAD Culture!” Coach David is right on with this plan!

I was preparing a devotion this morning for our students and used the following verses:

·         1 Peter 2:12 “Having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak evil against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
·         Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Do you see the theme here? Our lives should glorify God and cause others to do the same… Examine your life and ask the following:

·         What do others see when they look at my life?
·         Is my life characterized by putting the spotlight on myself or putting it on God?

Would your culture be characterized as being MAD? Let’s make sure our “team” has an identity!