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Old 12-05-2014, 02:25 PM   #2131
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Default 12.05.14

Stand
Chris Mills

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"This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand."
–Ephesians 6:13

Set
You may be familiar with the story of James J. Braddock, which was told in the film Cinderella Man. Braddock was a former successful boxer who lost everything he had in the Great Depression. He couldn’t get work (much less a fight), couldn’t pay his bills, and was running the risk of losing his children.

In 1934, Braddock got a chance to fight against the number-two contender. He accepted the challenge even though he hadn’t trained or eaten a decent meal in a few years. He stepped into the ring for the money, but while in there, something clicked. At one point, his opponent hit him with a powerful clean shot across the mouth. The only thing on Braddock’s mind was his freezing children. Amazingly, he stayed on his feet, walked across the ring to pick up his mouthpiece, and asked for more. Braddock won the fight outright.

The Greek word for “stand” in Ephesians 6:13 is histemi, which also means to appoint or establish. When we stand firm after life delivers what seems like a shot to the head, we send a strong message to both those who meant harm and those watching. More people are watching than we know.

Go
1. What tough hits have you taken recently?
2. Are you trying to stand on your own strength or Christ’s?
3. What motivates you to stand during the tough times?

Workout
2 Corinthians 2:14-15
Ephesians 6:10-12
Philippians 4:13

Overtime
Jesus, there are many times I feel like I’m losing the fight. Please help me when I feel worn out. Teach me to use the full armor of God—from the helmet of salvation to the feet prepped with the peace of the gospel. Help me serve You wholeheartedly when things get tough. Thank You, Lord. Amen.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:19 AM   #2132
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Default 12.08.14

Patiently Meeting Others’ Needs
Al Schierbaum

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But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!
— Romans 5:8

Set
We coach human beings, not robots. Each player has needs and hurts that must be met and healed. When players know we care about them as people rather than simply players who perform for us, they will respond positively.

Head coaches, though, sometimes find it difficult to get close to players. We must be “the heavy” in many situations, and not every player will like our decisions, even when we are confident our choice is the best thing. One way to smooth over this type of pressure is to encourage assistants to be involved as well; athletes need to know there is someone they can go to when the head coach is not their first choice. It’s our job as coaches to care for our players, regardless of how they’ve performed.

God demonstrated this approach in our relationship with Him. God’s grace covers our sinfulness, and He has given this grace to us in the person and work of His Son, even though we don’t deserve it. I am who I am by the grace of God, not by anything I do apart from Him. When we consider God’s goodness in the face of our own sinfulness, it leaves us in a state of wonder. Why is God so good to us? He is good to us because He is a God of love; it’s not because we are inherently loveable. We can be confident, therefore, that He will never leave us through all our sin and failure.

Consequently, God desires that we demonstrate love to those who don’t live up to our standards. When players fail on the field, we have an opportunity to show them love. Hearing praise when we’ve failed is a great blessing, and love will find encouraging words even while correcting a wrong. We reflect Christ’s love when we affirm our players as people.

Go
1. Reflect on some of your past blunders, and thank God for His forgiveness and patience.
2. Do you exhibit patience to your teammates players and/or fellow coaches?
3. In what practical ways do you extend grace to those you compete with or those who compete on the team you coach?

Workout
Extra Reading: Psalm 84:11; Daniel 9:9–10; John 21:15–19; 1 Peter 2:9–10

Overtime
Lord, I pray that Your unconditional love would shine through me today as I serve my players and colleagues, for Your sake. Amen.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:06 AM   #2133
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Default 12.09.14

Waiting
FCA Resources

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"But those who trust in the Lord
will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary;
they will walk and not faint."
-Isaiah 40:31


Set
Waiting is one tough job! In sports, players and teams are waiting . . . waiting patiently for their time to shine. In God’s Word, Isaiah wrote in chapter 40 that waiting is a good thing. The word “wait” does not measure time spent, but is rather a process of strengthening until fulfillment. Let me suggest three reasons why we must wait on the Lord: (1) waiting creates time during which we can trust God more (Psalm 27); (2) waiting prepares us to have our real needs met (Psalm 40); and (3) waiting encourages us to always be prepared for Christ’s return (Matthew 24).

What are we waiting for—an answer to our prayers, a loved one to come to Christ, or an opportunity to play for our team? Regardless of the reason, we know through God’s Word that waiting will be worth it in the end.

Do we trust God during our season of wait? Do we lean on Him or blame Him for the things we are waiting upon? We must let Him give us strength during our wait to allow us to soar, walk, and run in Him when His time of fulfillment in and through us comes.

Go
1. For what don’t you like to wait?
2. Are you growing weary of waiting on God to act in your life?
3. Today, how can you find strength, patience, and rest in waiting upon the Lord?

Workout
Proverbs 20:22
Philippians 1:6
Hebrews 12:1-2

Overtime
Heavenly Father, forgive me for being impatient at times when I am not getting what I want. Help me to see waiting not as a measurement of time, but rather the process of training and strengthening until fulfillment. Today I choose to trust Your perfect, sovereign timing. Amen.
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:17 AM   #2134
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Default 12.10.14

Life Is A Gift
Dan Britton

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“How can I repay the Lord for His goodness to me?”
-Psalm 116:12 (NIV)

Set
My father, Edward T. Britton, who was also my best friend, passed away at 7:52 a.m. on May 2, 2008. Eight days later, on May 10, more than 1,100 people attended his Celebration Service to honor a life well lived. It was an incredible evening of laughing and crying as we not only lifted up a man who impacted thousands during his lifetime, but also celebrated the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout his journey with leukemia, he always talked about God’s goodness, God’s greatness and God’s graciousness. One of my dad’s favorite verses he quoted often was Psalm 116:12: “How can I repay the Lord for His goodness to me?” He was so thankful for his life and God’s rich blessings.

My dad, who was just inducted into FCA’s Hall of Champions as a result of the impact he made through FCA, had a solid faith that did not allow his circumstances to define him. His faith never wavered through the entire sickness, which lasted almost two years! He never asked why God let this happen to him. Not once. He said that he did not have the right to ask. Instead he asked, “What?” He asked what the Lord wanted him to learn through this trial. He stayed the course. He maintained the mission!

Dad was totally focused on finishing well. Every time I called him during the last two months of life to ask how he was doing he would say, “Contending.” It was his way to say that he was fighting the good fight; running the right race. His focus can be best described by a journal entry he wrote on his CaringBridge site on January 25, 2008: “I continue serving and marching with the King daily. I’m absolutely convinced that I’m able to convey this positive update due to the serious and ongoing prayers of all of you! I am enjoying daily the final laps of my ‘retirement.’ May HE be ever present in your daily lives, starting with a serious quiet time in the mornings.”

My dad lived every second of the day as if it was his last. Not just when he became sick, but throughout his entire life. His favorite quote was, “Life is God’s gift to us. What we do with it is our gift back to Him.” He desired to repay the Lord with the way he lived his life. That became his life ambition!

What a great challenge for us who still have life. We take life for granted and do not realize how special it is until one of our loved ones passes away. However, the key is not only to understand that God has given us a gift called life, but also to understand that how we live it is our gift back to Him. If you are like me, then you are way too consumed with wanting God to bless you and not with how you can bless Him. What are you doing with your life? Is it a blessing to God? Are you investing your life in things that please God? As athletes and coaches, what does it mean for us to lay our lives at the feet of Jesus? The life He gives us because He loves us should be returned back to Him. Not just, “Lord, here is my life, and You can have it back,” but, “Lord, I give to You my entire being – every action and decision, all my hopes and dreams, my thoughts and talk. I surrender it all back to You. May my life be a gift that brings You pleasure.”

Life is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to Him!

Go
1.If you could somehow package your life up as a gift and give it to God, what kind of gift would it be?
2.Do you see life as a gift from God? Why is it so hard to understand that life is a gift? What gets in the way of our thinking that way?
3.God is God. He does not need anything, so why does He need us to give Him our lives?
4.How can Psalm 116:12 impact your life on a daily basis? Be specific.
5.As athletes and coaches, how can the way we compete be a gift to God?

Workout
2 Peter 1:3-11

Overtime
"Jesus, I want my life to bring You pleasure. You know the deep yearnings in my heart to please You. So often my sin prevents me from loving You and others the way I should. At times I feel like my life is not a good gift for You. Please forgive me for the times that my life does not bring You honor and glory. I give You my life, as a gift, as is. Help me Lord to live for You. I ask for the strength to be the child of God You created me to be. You have blessed me so much. Thank You, Lord. I love You. Amen."
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Old 12-12-2014, 01:04 PM   #2135
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God's Game Plan
FCA Resources

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"After Moses came back, He summoned the elders of the people, and put before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him. Then all the people responded together, 'We will do all that the LORD has spoken.' So Moses brought the people's words back to the LORD."
-Exodus 19:7-8

Set
Coaches work hard to get the job done for their programs, but the head coach spends even more time in preparation for his or her meetings with staff in order to plan for the year ahead. And it's not just the season preparations that need to be done, but also pre-season, post-season and summer workouts to consider. The head coach must think of everyone in the program and blend every person together for the success of the next year.

Moses had quite a team. After patiently dealing with Pharaoh, the Israelites finally were given the freedom to go with their head coach and leader, Moses. Now, Moses took his job very seriously. He listened to and followed God in order to lead his team through their journey. Though his team grumbled many times, Moses convinced them to stick with the plan. Moses would go and speak with God and then come back and meet with his "assistant coaches" (elders or tribal leaders) and present to them God's game plan for the day or week. The Israelites responded to God's plan through Moses that they would do all the Lord had spoken. However, even though the Ten Commandments (and more) were given, Moses' team did not always follow the plan. They relied on their own selfish desires and disobeyed. Yes, Moses had quite a team.

Moses did the right thing. He received God's "game plan," presented it to his assistants, and then set the plan in motion with his team. However, there were defeats, disappointments and the destruction of many team members along the way. But Moses and his staff stayed with the plan and eventually made it to the Promised Land. As coaches, we need to stick with the plan even in tough times. If we endure, we may reach our ultimate goal one day. As believers, it is important that we follow God's game plan for our lives. Just because our Coach, Jesus Christ, is not among us in person today, His Spirit can lead and guide us, helping us to stick with the plan. He also equips us to assist Him in carrying out His game plan for others. This is the only flawless game plan you will ever need.

Go
1. Is your "game plan" prepared, planned and presented to your staff before your team?
2. Do you know God's game plan for your life?
3. Today, how can you start to implement God's plan for your life?

Workout
Exodus 21
Proverbs 3:5-6

Overtime
Lord, please show me where I need to adjust my game plan to fit Yours. I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.
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Old 12-15-2014, 10:42 AM   #2136
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Default 12.15.14

The Workout I will Always Remember
Danny Burns

Ready
“For His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”
2 Peter 1:3


Set
“Are you kidding me, Coach?” That was the thought running through my mind when my coach asked us to do some things I thought I’d never be able to do physically. Making the transition from a high school cross country runner to a NCAA Division II distance runner had been a challenge. There were more miles, more workouts and greater intensity mixed in with all the stresses of college life.

This particular workout remains one of the most vivid memories of my college career. As my teammates and I stretched for our afternoon practice, our coach laid the plan out. We were to run the “Market Street” route, which led us through five miles of residential, city, campus and rural roads. Each mile had to be run in five minutes, thirty seconds—no slower. Directly following that run, we would meet at the track and run 20, 400m laps at 72 seconds each. “Are you kidding me, Coach?” Five miles at a 5:30 pace was hard enough by itself!

But our coach knew what I would eventually discover. We had trained all summer and were in the middle of our collegiate cross country season. I had already put hundreds of miles in, lifted weight and had increased my physical capacity to run further beyond what I had thought. I had faithfully done the work, and it paid off.

I completed the Market Street Five at a sub 5:30 pace. As we tried to catch our breath, we heard the infamous words, “On the line!” The 20 400m laps were about to begin. We ran 17 at sub 72 seconds and then ran the 18th lap in 69 seconds to avoid the last two.

What started out as a mentally impossible proposition was possible, because I had the physical capacity to do it. When I doubted, the challenge of my teammates and coaches revealed my true capacity. I could run farther, faster and longer than I ever imagined.

As Christians, I believe we often underestimate the potential of our spiritual capacity. We incorrectly believe that we’ll never be good enough to do what God desires. We’ll never find consistent spiritual disciplines in prayer and reading God’s Word. We’ll never be able to control our tongue, stop lusting, beat addictions, drop the worldly attitudes or ever become Christ-like.

The truth is, without Christ we can’t. But once we come to an authentic faith in Jesus Christ, we become children of God with unbelievable spiritual capacity. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we have “His divine power” which has given us “everything required for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3-4). Jesus did the work on the cross, and through his life, death and resurrection, we have Christ-like potential.

When God calls you to radical change, He knows the power of the Holy Spirit has given you everything you need to change. When you think you can’t give anything more, God will continue to equip you. When there doesn’t seem to be a way out, He will provide a way.

You have more spiritual capacity than you know. Will you partner with your Savior to go discover it?

Go
1. What areas of your life do you underestimate your spiritual capacity?
2. Use the verses below to find out what God’s Word says about you.

Workout
1 Cor. 10:13
2 Cor. 5:17-21
John 14:26
John 15:15
1 Cor. 12:27
Col. 3:12
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Old 12-16-2014, 09:58 AM   #2137
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Bagless
FCA Resources

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“For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
–Mark 8:38

Set
You don’t see it much anymore, but when sports teams used to be really bad, fans would wear paper bags over their heads during games. They were at the game, but ashamed of their team and didn’t want anyone to know who they were.

Jesus did many miracles and amazed people daily. No one saw this more than His disciples. They were front-row fans, so to speak. One day, Jesus told them that if they truly believed who He was, they would not be ashamed of Him and His message. Like the fans of old, one of His disciples, Peter, became ashamed of Jesus to the point of publicly denying Him—not once, but three times!

Are we ever ashamed to be known as Christians? Do we hide our faith by putting an invisible bag of shame on our heads? Is it OK to sit in church or a huddle with godly friends, then put the bag on when we leave? I say it’s time to take the bag off for good. We’re either fans, or we’re not. We either follow Christ, or we don’t. It’s simple. We are the ones who complicate it, not Christ.

Go
1. Have you ever been so ashamed of a team that you did not want others to know you cheered for them?
2. Are you so ashamed to be a believer that you don’t want your friends to know you live for Christ?
3. What can you do to get rid of the bag of shame and walk, live, and speak out for Christ?

Workout
Psalm 25:20
Romans 1:16
2 Timothy 1:8-12
1 Peter 4:16

Overtime
Lord, I want to follow You and not be ashamed. I want my life to be something You can be proud of. Please give me the courage to share Your love without hesitation. Amen.
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Old 12-18-2014, 02:24 PM   #2138
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The Focus of the Eyes
PJ Meduri

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Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
— Matthew 14:29b–30


Set
So much in sports is related to the eyes. A ball is dropped because a player takes her eyes off the ball at the last minute. A batter misses the pitch because he fails to keep his eye on the ball. As a coach you’ve likely cautioned your players, “Keep your head up,” so that an athlete will look at the right thing in order to avoid injury and be most effective.

Coaches are a lot like the Apostle Peter. We may get the season off to a good start but as the weeks progress, we often find ourselves looking at the winds of difficulty that blow throughout the season. If we look at these winds, we cannot also be looking at Jesus, and if we aren’t looking at Jesus, our walk of faith will seem dry and unfruitful. Scripture warns that one of the causes for spiritual barrenness is “the worries of this age” (Mk 4:19).

Prayerfully focusing on God’s Word is the key for coaches in formulating the best possible game plan, one that involves keeping our eyes on Jesus even during the most intense moments. This was a plan that Jesus modeled. We read, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there” (Mk 1:35). Whatever time we schedule to be apart with God will enable us keep our eyes focused amidst the waves of busy and stressful seasons.

Go
1. When is a good time to meet with Jesus daily?
2. How can this Bible reading fit into a solid spiritual game plan?
3. What will be the waves challenging you to keep this plan?

Workout
Extra Reading:
Psalm 119:105–12
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Old 12-19-2014, 12:29 PM   #2139
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Tell Me What I Need to Hear
FCA Resources

Ready
One who rebukes a person will later find more favor than one who flatters with his tongue.
–Proverbs 28:23

Set
As a young coach I was blessed with good players and quick success. Although people told me what a good coach I was, I considered the really great coach to be in the local junior high. Phil Hodson was the Wilbur Shooterfly (Hoosiers) of my day. He had an incredible knowledge of the game. One day after winning our seventh or eighth game in a row, he pulled me aside. I was expecting him to tell me I did a great job. Instead, he let me have it. He told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear.

Throughout Scripture we read about people who grew in the Lord when someone spoke truth to them. David had great success, but probably wouldn’t have gotten as far if Nathan hadn’t reminded him of what he was called to do. Jesus did this with His disciples. We enjoy hearing how great we are, but the saying, “flattery will get you everywhere” does not always ring true. Like David and Peter, we need to be told what we need to hear no matter how much it hurts.

Being a true friend means speaking the truth in love. Our relationship with Christ is that way. He always speaks the truth in love. It’s how we grow in Him.

Go
1. Do you only listen to what you want to hear?
2. Do you have friends who will speak the truth to you in love?
3. How can you be the kind of friend who tells others what they need to hear?

Workout
Luke 17:3; Ephesians 4:15-16; 2 Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 12:5-6; Revelation 3:19

Overtime
Father, please place friends in my life who will tell me what I need to hear, not just what I want to hear. Help me to trust what they say. Also help me know how to speak the truth in kindness back to them, when needed. I love You and praise You. Amen.
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