Tag Archives: Basketball

Draymond Was Right

Draymond was Right

Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.  Ephesians 3:7

After Golden State basketball superstar Kevin Durant was injured in the NBA Finals, fans in Toronto were cheering.  Actually cheering.  Their team had a better chance to win now that Kevin was out.  I hope his injury is recoverable.

Speaking about the sensitivity of fans, Draymond Green, a Durant teammate and fellow NBA All-Star said some truthful statements about the perception he feels fans place on him and others in pro sports.

In effect he said: “Fans expect their pro players to never fail or get injured or sick, but they are people too. They don’t care what happens outside the lines. They expect us to be unreal.”

His words are accurate.  Fans do tend to think of their stars as “more than regular people.”  The expectations and assumptions placed on starts by fans are not healthy.   Not healthy for the stars – or the fans.  Like a referee, his call of “Foul!” is warranted.

In the spiritual realm in which we live, how many people perceive and project expectations and assumptions onto people in ministry? How about what we perceive and project onto other church members?

What Draymond said was right, and his insights also apply to how many people see their pastor in their church.

Here are 3 areas to avoid getting a “Foul” called against you.

  • Unrealistic expectations. Projecting impossibilities is a foul against the pastor and against the one with the impossible expectations.  The pastor cannot be everywhere at the same time.  He is unable to visit everyone who misses a service.  It is difficult for him to preach and take attendance at the same time.  Toss into the basket the fact that some parishioners are only in attendance in one service a week, the pastor is less likely to notice they are missing.  For example, if someone that normally attends Sunday morning, Sunday Evening and the Midweek service is missing – the pastor is more likely to see they are not there – because of the frequency of their attendance.  Sometimes the pastor wants to- but can’t.  There are times when I am too sick to make a hospital visit.  We want others to go when that happens, but to have one man visit every person of 200, 100, or 50 people is not very realistic.   Expecting something that is not possible hurts the person doing the “expecting!”  The pastor has a life, family, health needs, and emotional encouragement needs too.
  • Unreasonable assumptions. This is when we assume the worst about people or situations.  Human nature is to assume things are worse off than they really are.  This is the “making a mountain out of a mole-hill syndrome.”  Many good people get caught up in false assumptions.  “He does not like me.”  “She does not care.”  “They like them better than us.”  These are dangerous thought patterns rooted in pride and ego.   This type of thinking is what Paul is warning Titus about in Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.  Choose to have healthy and hopeful thoughts about others.  Avoid assuming the worst.  It hurts your impression of others when you project unreasonable assumptions on others. Not everything will go the way you hope it will but compounding every relationship struggle is -assumption.
  • Unhealthy attitudes. The attitude truly determines your altitude.  If you have a healthy, winning attitude, you are more likely to succeed in whatever you are striving for.  In relationships, if you have a healthy attitude toward your pastor, it will help you be an encouragement.  It will cause you to be less critical.  It will create in you’re a desire to help and to serve.  When people serve with their pastor, they are helping advance the Gospel and the kingdom of God through the local church.

Basketball fans, and church members – don’t get a “Foul!” called on you.  Choose to have realistic thoughts about other church members and about your pastor.

He is a real person who cares much, feels deeply, and hopes unceasingly.

Yes, Draymond was right.  Stars are just people too.  Remember this truth the next time you watch a game.

 

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An Artificial Earthquake

An Artificial Earthquake

Recently during soccer’s World Cup, Mexico scored a goal against the reigning champion, Germany.  The citizens of Mexico City were celebrating so much that they actually triggered a measurable reaction on the earthquake scale.  The seismic monitoring officials said the celebrants created and “artificial earthquake!” What excitement?!  What earth shaking zeal?!

What if Christians were more excited about being more like Jesus than they were excited about being like the world?  That is what the Apostle Paul is addressing in Galatians 4:18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

I enjoy sports; soccer, baseball, basketball, etc.  But as fun as these sports can be – they are just games.  Just temporary.  Just leather-bound balls of cork or air being chased around a field or court.  That is it. Would God help each of us be more excited about the things of God!  Paul went on to say what this zealously affect would have in verse 19, My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.

Paul wanted to see the Christians be more like Jesus.  That was his goal.  He was not in Galatia when he wrote this letter.  He wanted to be with them at church.  He wanted to preach to them personally, but he was not able to do so for the moment. His goal in his relationship with them was that they would become more like Jesus.

We should not try to cause an artificial earthquake at Bible study or in our church services; but we should be excited about being more like Jesus.  Ask the Lord to give you “zeal according to knowledge!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

All In

All In

“And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”   Acts 20:20-21

I enjoyed watching the National Basketball Association games this year, in particular the drive of the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. As the season came to a close and the postseason began, The Cavs adopted a slogan “All In.” It was printed on banners and t-shirts. The idea was that this struggling team, with the return of Lebron James for a new season, would buy into the coaches leadership and the team would fully commit to working together to achieve the status of “world champions.” They sure did come close. Congratulations to Golden State for the win. MVP Andre Iguodala and Coach Steve Kerr performed with excellence. The Warriors played with greater teamwork. Andre had even given up his career “starter” position to come off the bench for the entire regular season. Many players on both teams made personal sacrifices for their teams to arrive at the final game.

As Paul is traveling to go to Jerusalem. While stopping for a while in Miletus, he asks for the leaders of the church at Ephesus to come and visit with him. These leaders travel south almost 50 miles and meet with Paul. Then he gives them the message of Acts 20. He says things like: “I kept back nothing. I testified that anyone can be saved by Jesus. I want to finish my course with joy. You will never see me again. Feed the flock of God. Watch out for false teachers.”

Paul had lived in Ephesus for 3 years. He gave them the best teaching, preaching, and ministry that he could give. The church had witnessed real sacrifice and dedication in the life of Paul. He was “All In” the ministry at Ephesus. Pastors, church leaders, and church members should have the same commitment. Even the departing speech he gave is like what a father would give his son; final words of advice, words of wisdom, and words to live by. Paul was totally committed to the success of the church at Ephesus.  Are you as committed to the success of your local church?  Are you “All In” as a team player?

Fresh Starts

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Fresh Starts

Recently, I was playing basketball in a community men’s league.  These men get together for about 2 hours each Monday during the winter months to play on the hardwood.  The games lasted 8 minutes each.  At the end of each game the scoreboard was cleared of the points and another game started with 8 minutes on the clock.  It was a fresh start.  That was good for some of the teams playing to have a chance of winning!  It also gave some of us time to catch our breath.  New games are good.

Something new is not always good.  For example in Exodus 1:8 the Bible says: “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.”  This was not good for Joseph’s family.  Joseph had already passed away leaving his people, by that time a nation, within a nation in the land of Goshen.  This new Pharaoh did not know the history about Joseph and how he was such a help to the Egyptian people during his lifetime.  The new king then put the Israelites into slavery.  Something or someone new is not always good.

The Bible uses the term “new” in 138 verses.  The Lord has much to say about this subject.  Perhaps there is something new that He would like in your life in this coming New Year.  Here are few good examples of “new.”

New songs are good.  Psalm 33:3 encourages: “Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.” And again in Psalm 40:3, “And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”  Fresh, encouraging music should fill our homes and minds with reminders of God’s love, grace and mercy.  The songs, hymns, and spiritual songs that you listen or sing should remind you of the new creature and the fresh work of Christ in your life.

Something that is new to you may have been around a while.  Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 observes: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.  Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time, which was before us.”  On this point, it is good to note that we should not pour water on the fire of enthusiasm of a young person leaning something that is new to them.  If it is old to you, avoid discouraging the excitement in another.   We took our entire family to a basketball game for the first time.  It was a new experience for each of our young children.  They loved it!  Basketball has been around for a while – but this college game setting was new to them. There is always a good time and place for edifying others.

A new you is here.  In the most personal letter to the Corinthian church, Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” These believers had some trouble in their church of which Paul addressed in the Book of 1 Corinthians.  By the time the second letter is sent, he is very encouraging and gives them, and us, this insightful verse.  We are new creatures in Christ!  They were sinning in the past in the church, in their families, and in their thinking, but they changed.  This is one of the greatest truths Christianity offers – Christ can change our lives, from lives of sin to lives of sanctification and service to the Lord.  You can be a “New You!”  Many believers simply do not live in the Spirit and effectively do not live a new life.  The Lord identifies them as “carnal” or worldly” Christians.”  Instead of loving Jesus like they should, they are still in love with the world.

Salvation is more than “tuning over a new leaf.”  Being saved is more than a fresh start.  However, a believer who has backslidden or lived in sin for a while needs to embrace the new life that God makes available to him.  This truth is for a Christian today – don’t live like the old you (lost in sin) live like the new you, a new creature in Jesus!  Romans 8:2 describes this in saying: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  You have a new life “in” Jesus.

Perhaps a sin, addiction, or evil way of thinking dominated your life last year – it does not need to dominate your life in the New Year.  If you are a Christian – old things are passed away.  You are a new person.  Don’t let a past defeat define you today.  Ask forgiveness, repent of the sin, and by Gods’ grace – be the new you in the new year!

Decide today:  Listen to good music.  Encourage others.  Be the new you in Jesus.  Reset the game clock.  Get a fresh start from God for daily living.

Going, Going, Going…

Going, Going, Going…

“He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die,    and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord’s house.”  Isaiah 22:18

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The quarterback spins around a tackle.  The opposition is closing in fast.  He turns to his left, steps back and with great strength, throws the leather football sailing through the air.  The commentators are talking quickly as the ball takes flight.  The ball is going, going, going… into the next county? How about the next country?  Of course for a man to throw the length of a football field would be incredible, but God tells us of something amazing in this passage in Isaiah.

Football, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer; Which sport do you really like?  Is there a ball being thrown or tossed in the sport that you enjoy most?  Hitting, kicking, or catching a ball can be terrific fun.  Competition can bring out the best, or the worst in a person!  How far can you throw a ball?  Can you toss a ball all the way into another country?  That would be quite a throw!

In Isaiah 22, we find the only verse in all of the Bible with the word “ball.”  In this passage the Lord described how He will judge Jerusalem for their rebellion against Him.  The Lord fulfilled this promise in 701 BC when Jerusalem was overthrown by Sennacharib, King of the ancient superpower, Assyria.

There was a government leader in Jerusalem named Shebna who the Lord promises He will toss into another country like a ball is tossed or thrown through the air.  Shebna was a man who was friends with the Egyptian monarchy.  He was looking to Pharaoh to help Judah escape the controlling power of foreign empires.  Shebna was in charge of King Hezekiah’s Palace in Jerusalem.  He helped oversee some of the large fortification projects Hezekiah was involved in.  He was a man who even had a tomb built for himself in a similar way Kings and Pharaohs had fancy tombs built.

Shebna was one of the people God was also going to judge.  Pride, rebellion to the Lord, and lust for power are all sins.  This is how Shebna lived.  Instead of trusting the Lord, Shebna trusted in man, personal intellect, top of the line chariots, and government treaties.  May the Lord help us trust Him for every issue in our lives.  Not long after this pronouncement, from Isaiah, Shebna was carried away by the Assyrian army.  He died a captive in a foreign land.  The Lord tosses Shebna into a whole other country because of his sin.

Are there areas in your life in which you are rebelling against the Lord?  Have you identified sin that you need to get right with God?  God does judge our sin.  We find examples of this in the Bible time and time again.  Because of His love He will do what it takes to get our attention.  Because of His holiness, He wants us to live holy too.  Don’t be like Shebna.  Seek forgiveness and ask God to help you to live in a way that honors Him each day.  We can “win” in the game of life over wrong and do right each day.

Going to a ball game this season?  Every time you see a ball thrown, be reminded of Shebna and how the Lord fulfilled His promise of judgment.  We can always take God at His Word.