Monday, August 28, 2017
Doing a short devo this week as I have been as busy as I've ever been in my life... And as tired; and aa a result didn't even bring my computer home from my office... Forgetting it's Monday. (And thus typing on my phone.)
So simply, do you want to be great at what you do? At anything you do? I have the formula...
Obviously I spend much time in the athletic world and it is common to find athletes that claim they want to be great. I also deal with the academic world... The work world... The social world... Etc.
Everything literally comes down to the same question... Why do you pursue excellence? What is your motivation? If it is motivated by a comparison to others then once you find you are better than those around you, you will let up; or once you discover those around you are better you will give up.
I submit that the proper way for us to "train" is with our eye on pursuing excellence, which is about me being my best, not centered on being the best. It is not about comparing to others but instead a daily motivation of my betterment...
Why? Because as a believer our whole lives, word and deed, are supposed to be directed at Excellence. Notice I capitalized Excellence that time around... Because I'm talking about being directed toward God deserving our best!
I don't want a good spiritual life and a good athletic life; instead a good spiritual life demands that if I pursue athletics as an act of worship unto God... Pursue academics or work or my social life or... I think you get the picture... Everything word or deed unto God! (Read Colossians 2:17, 23)
The motivation to honor God... to give Him my best... to pursue Him, the Excellent one, is a motivation that never runs out.
How much different would our lives be if everything ran through the filter of honoring God in how we do it.. In working as unto Him? It would drastically change the way we "train."
Today's Training Tip: Pursue Excellence in order to obtain excellence!
Monday, August 21, 2017
Last week I mentioned people with “alligator mouths”; this week the news will be full of stories about two guys with two of the biggest mouths around… They both are so loud and brash that the fight they are scheduled to have is more villain vs. villain than good vs. bad.
If you pay attention to the sports world at all you know I am talking about the upcoming fight between Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. and Conor “The Notorious” McGregor. McGregor, the brash Irishman, is fighting in his first professional boxing match (although he has fought professionally in MMA very successfully. Mayweather is 49-0-0 in his illustrious boxing career but does have some age on him… but this guy hasn’t even had many close fights because he is so good. Most boxing experts give McGregor almost zero chance of winning; I even heard one state that he didn’t think he would land one clean shot on Mayweather. The thinking is that McGregor’s only shot is that his power and awkward style may allow him to land that one lucky shot that will bring “Money” down…
So what about Mayweather, why do people want to see him go down so badly that they will pay ridiculous prices for what appears will be a very lopsided boxing contest? The reason is that in spite of how brash McGregor is, Mayweather’s career has been built on being the villain. This guy wasn’t even a main draw for much of his career; nut until he fought a “good guy” in Oscar De La Hoya back in 2007. Since then it has been about money and fame. In fact, in one fight he knocked a guy out when the guy was apologizing to him with his hands down… it was truly a despicable display of sportsmanship, but within the rules since the round was live. (But when talking ethically it was cheating!) Mayweather has truly built his fortune on having a bad name…
Proverbs 22:1 has something to say about names: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.”
Proverbs 21:6 states: “Getting treasures by a lying tongue (unethically) is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.” Or check out the way that The Message states it: “Make it to the top by lying and cheating; get paid with smoke and promotion----to death!”
Bottom line is that Mayweather has made, and continues to make, an enormous amount of money in the boxing/entertainment world; yet what will all of that mean when he can no longer go in the ring and is seeking peace and contentment?
What about you? When people hear your name, is it a “good” one? What would your nickname be? Is your life characterized by selfishness or by integrity? (The prioritizing or pursuit of riches in one’s life is a sure sign of selfishness.)
Make a good name your priority! Maybe a nickname like “The Giver” or “The Servant” would be a good one…
Monday, August 14, 2017
Tonight, I was at a rehearsal for a new worship team we have called ROAR (Rely On And Rejoice.) As I shared a devotion with them we discussed the idea of being heard… (our school mascot is the Lions and a lion’s roar can be heard up to 5 miles away.) And I got to sharing about the idea of what bragging should sound like as a believer…
In the sports world I spend so much time in, it is common to hear players roar about themselves; and to be honest I probably did my share when I thought I was good… And I am not offended by someone that is proud of the work he has put in; I just want the guy talking to be able to back it up. (In reality, often the talkers have alligator mouths but mosquito butts… they can’t back up the bragging.)
Anyway, back to what I shared tonight with ROAR: It is not wrong for a believer to be a bit braggadocios. Some of you may be already checking out on me, saying that is pride. Yes, it is pride and not all pride is wrong. What matters is what you are proud of, or more importantly who you are bragging about.
Our lives should be characterized by praising our great God! He is worthy of our praise! He is worth bragging about! My victories are a result of His goodness working in and through me!
To quote the philosopher Katy Perry, “You’re gonna hear me roar!”
And God always lives up to the hype!
I love reading the Psalms as God gets bragged about!
I love reading Paul’s words to the Galatians: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (6:14)
What if we bragged as much (or more) about God as we do ourselves? Or our favorite players? Or our favorite musicians? Actors? Etc…
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:3)
“Men shall speak of the might of your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness.” (Psalm 145:6)
Monday, August 7, 2017
Saturday my daughter Faith was playing in an AAU basketball tourney and their team was on a fast break… she looked ahead and made a pass to her teammate running the lane. The pass made it through and it looked great; it was a high risk play that brought a lot of cheers. Right after that they found themselves in a very similar situation and this time Faith went for the same exact pass; yet this time the defense was ready and stole it. This was a case where the old phrase (“went to the well once too often”) comes into play… it is a situation where the passer got greedy for more.
I’m sure in Faith’s mind she thought it went well the first time, so why not try again. I’m sure she enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment, so why not try again. And to be honest, my view when I was coaching was to encourage “going for it until they stop it.” Sounds a lot like Nike saying, “Just do it!”
In life we tend to get “greedy” as well. Obviously we have greed when it comes to material things; my pastor refers to things where one should be enough and we say we just want “one… more.” Yet this spirit of greed is also a problem in leading us down paths of sin…
Think about how sin takes control. We make a decision to just give something a try, even though we know it is wrong. Then if we don’t see the immediate negative consequence we “go to the well again.” And eventually, we find we went to the well once too often as sin wreaks its havoc in our lives. I love the old phrase “sin will take you farther than you planned go, keep you longer than you planned to stay, and cost you more than you planned to spend.”
“Just once” quickly turns to “just one more time” when we allow sin to have a foot in the door of our lives. Sin makes us greedy for more. Early on the enemy whispers, “Just do it!” in our ears and we are lured in…
This week’s devo is a long way around to encouraging, or better yet, pleading that you “do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on… Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.” (Provers 4:14-15, 26-27)