Encouragement in Athletics
A few days ago, I left my office and walked toward the JWAC (old gym). My path joined with a middle school girl with whom I spoke.
I asked her what she was doing during the upcoming spring season. She responded, “I might play soccer for my church league…uh…I’m not sure.” That comment prompted me to say, “Why don’t you play this spring for our middle school soccer team?” She’s a tall, athletic girl, always shares a smile and is easy to talk to…a positive leader…someone you would want on your team.
“Don’t you have to try-out?” she said. “Yes,” I replied.
“I don’t know…” she said.
“So, you don’t want to try-out because you might get cut?” I asked.
Sheepishly, she responded, “Well… no one wants to get cut.”
I was fuming inside. I wanted to shake her, thump her, fuss at her…however the Lord gave me these words because I wasn’t prepared to respond like this. “So…you’re afraid, you’ll get cut? I’m not the coach, but I think you’ll make the team. Don’t let the fear of getting cut keep you from receiving a blessing. You might miss out on something God has for you, but if your failure wins, you lose”.
The next day, I stopped by the lunchroom and asked her, “Do you remember what I told you yesterday?” She smiled and said, “Don’t let your fear rob you of a blessing”. Surprisingly she remembered!!! I happily responded, “That’s right.”
Maybe that conversation was meant for she and I…or maybe that conversation was so that I would write about this to YOU! Do you have a fear keeping you from a blessing? Are you holding back from a commitment, a new challenge? Fear cripples, causing us to move tentatively in a land where God’s promises are ever present.
Isaiah 43:1- “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are mine” says the Lord.
I’ll let you know next week if she tries out.
I believe everyone’s a leader.
I took liberties with Michael Hyatt’s secular article titled, 12 Ways to Know You’re a Leader to intentionally provide a biblical look at leadership.
Ask yourself…” Do most of these apply to me?”
Last week we shared the first six…here’s the last six. Do you remember which one stood out to you the most? Which one below is your greatest asset? Which is your most challenging? Are you going to prayerfully pursue God’s call to lead?
- You refuse to blame others for your circumstances and take responsibility for finding solutions. Joseph lived a life of horrible circumstances but always sought to be obedient and made the most of his work in Potiphar’s house as well as Pharaoh’s house. He told his brothers that sold him into slavery, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good,” (Gen. 50:20).
- You foster unity by bringing people together and encouraging dialogue. Joash brought the chief priests, the Levites and the workers all together to repair and rebuild the temple (2nd Chronicles 24).
- You’re quick to say, “I messed up. Here’s what I’m doing to fix the problem I created.” After David’s affair with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah, David said, “…I have sinned against the Lord…”(2nd Samuel 12:13). He went on to be the greatest king of Israel and was noted as a man after God’s own heart.
- You value relationships more than tasks. Martha was cleaning and preparing as it appeared there was so much work to be done, however Mary was not concerned at that time with the tasks. Jesus told Martha, “…Mary has chosen the good portion and it shall not be taken from her” (Luke 10:42).
- You walk your walk…not perfectly but consistently and intentionally. Paul initially persecuted Christians but emerged as the great church planter writing “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (1st Tim. 1:15).
- You’re a learner. You read, listen to podcasts, attend conferences and ask questions. Your hunger to learn will indicate your future. Feed the hunger. “The disciples came to Him and asked…” many times (Matt. 13:10, 17:10, Luke 8:9, Mark 9:11…).
You have the opportunity to influence in a positive and powerful way!
Building a community of leaders together!!
I believe everyone’s a leader. The direction you lead depends on you. Are you leading with energy and enthusiasm or apathy and disinterest? Are you leading to make the future better for others or better for you? Does the Holy Spirt direct you, or do you seek the Holy Spirit after you decide?
I recently read an article written by Michael Hyatt titled, 12 Ways to Know You’re a Leader. Although the article was NOT a biblical look at leadership, I took some liberties thinking of who and how these might apply to the history of God’s Word. A look at these will be like a look in the mirror as you evaluate yourself.
Upon reading these 6 (I’ll give you 6 this week and 6 next week, as trying to reflect and digest on 12 effectively would not be as productive), ask yourself…” Do most of these apply to me?”
- You long to make a difference. – Isaiah desperately desired to be used by God saying…“Here I am Lord…send me,” (Is. 6:8).
- You’re discontent and dissatisfied with the status quo. – Although everyone ate of the king’s meal, “Daniel made up his mind, he would not defile himself by eating the king’s food,” (Daniel 1:8).
- You’re not waiting on a bigger staff or more resources to accomplish your goal. Nehemiah did not dwell on what he didn’t have but sought to move forward with what little he did have. “You see the bad situation we are in…Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem,” (Neh. 2:17).
- Your dreams are so big they seem impossible. Even though Esther thought it was impossible for her to be used to save the Jews, her uncle Mordecai reminded her that she was chosen, “for such a time as this,” (Esther 4:14). With man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible (Matt. 18:26).
- You acknowledge what is, but inevitably ask, “What could be?” - As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand,” (Judges 7:15).
- You realize that you don’t have to be in charge to have significant influence. David was simply taking food to his brothers when the challenge emerged in front of him. He then accepted the challenge to fight Goliath and ultimately defeat him (1st Samuel 17).
When my kids were younger and began driving, they were always given a time to be home. The time to be home, “curfew”, depended on the activity and/or night of the week. My kids probably thought it depended on the mood I was in, however I simply wanted to ensure they were home at a reasonable hour (10pm-11pm) as later hours bring about more trouble…and I wasn’t going to stay up too late myself.
I didn’t give a curfew, my children would’ve probably been a bit careless. They probably would have made some choices that were unfavorable due to selfish desires or excessive bad judgements that normally plague late hours. However, they knew, …” don’t be late”. They knew, “don’t call me to tell me you’re going to be late”. Leave early, be early.
If you’re a Christian, you’re almost home. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, we don’t know the time, therefore there is no time for carelessness. As coaches, we get to lead His children, created in His image. God’s Word proclaims…Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s word will never pass away. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man (Matt. 24: 34-37).
I liked it when they called and said, “I’m on my way home.” Those words simply let me know their visits were wrapped up and the next destination was home. Tell your Heavenly Father tonight…give Him a call in prayer… “Hey Dad, I’m almost home…Until you give the curfew, I’ll keep praising Your name and sharing your love with others.”
Keep your hopes on going home where the Lord will greet us.
Together as one, United in Christ.
How many of you wrestle with past sins? I do…the “match” doesn’t’ seem to last long, but it rears its head more often than I’d like. The enemy brings up things of the past and I feel dirty. If I think too long, I find myself knee-deep in a quicksand of shame, regret, and thoughts that I have difficulty escaping.
In Leviticus, once the offering for sin was given to the priest and dealt with on the altar, the offender was forgiven. That was the end of it! Period! Go read it for yourself. In Leviticus chapters 4,5, and 6, the Bible says, “the priest will make atonement for them and they will be forgiven.” In the New Testament, we’re told, “If I confess my sins, He is faithful to forgive my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). That’s it!
I'm so glad we don’t have slay an ox, bull, lamb, etc. Our High Priest, Jesus Christ, went to the altar/cross and dealt with my sin. I’m forgiven. Now I walk not as one who does not have sight…I am forgiven.
One more thing…Did you know that many of the offerings in the Old Testament could be eaten by the people, but NOT the sin offering? I think that’s interesting because what we eat effects our bodies. What we eat has a taste, leaves an impression and plays a significant role on our health. In other words…it stays with us. Praise the Lord for when our sins are forgiven, they’re gone.
Confessing is freeing. The quicksand of shame has no grip. Don’t choose to go back.
Fighting together…united with Christ!