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Old 02-03-2015, 09:32 AM   #2161
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Making The Cut
Britton Lynn

Ready
"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;"
-1 Corinthians 1:26-27

Set
Many of us struggle with the constant pressure to be perfect within athletics. We get caught up seeking unreliable affirmation through our performance, so when things don't go our way many times we feel discouraged.

Tryouts are a great example. We work day in and day out to prove we ARE worthy of a spot. Summers we run sprints in the heat, nights we lift in the weight room and it feels like every second is spent honing our skills.

All that work leads to the moment tryouts finish and we run to the gym door to see if our name is one of the few listed on the final roster. Usually making the cut is a long process that requires hard work, focus and countless hours of training. To win a spot on the roster YOU have to earn it.

But, the challenges don't just stop after making the team. That's just the beginning. Next, we must constantly work to improve in order to get a chance at starting. The demands are never ending. If success within athletics was all we had to hope for in life then an injury could be devastating and each day overwhelming.

Fortunately for those of us that are Christ followers, we don't have to constantly worry about being good enough. On God's team the tryout's already been conducted and only one person was worthy of eternal life in Heaven: Jesus Christ. Jesus performed flawlessly with a life of service and love. He then chose to give up HIS roster spot, so that we could be apart of the team too.

So even though the challenges within our sport aren't ending anytime soon, we can be encouraged in the fact that despite our performance God loves us continually--and our spot on His team is secure.

Go
1. How can I make sure I'm not putting too much value in my athletic performance?
2. How can I use my challenges within athletics better serve God?
3. Who on my team needs to be reminded that God's the only one who will satisfy?

Workout
2 Timothy 1:8-9
1 Peter 2:21
Isaiah 43:1
2 Peter 1:3

Overtime
Lord, thank you for the gift of athletics. Thank you that I can worship you through sports. Lord, when I go through challenges within my life and athletics, help remind me that no matter how many times I fail I will always be valuable in your eyes. God help me remember the sacrifice that you paid, so that I don't constantly have to worry about being good enough to be your child. Amen.
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:08 AM   #2162
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I had a procedure done in the hospital. The doctor removed polyps from my colon. They appear to be benign. I will be going back in to the hospital in a few months for them to take a closer look to see if there are any more.

I am supplying at a church near Petersburg, Illinois for awhile. Their Pastor Dr. Delbert Penrod is undergoing treatments for Lymphoma and Prostate Cancer. Please keep the congregation at Sandridge New Hope and Delbert and his wife Barbara in your prayers.

Prayer is powerful... may your day be blessed.


Pain
Mark Powell

Ready
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
-Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Set
I'm sure you can remember some part of your physical training program that you thought was surely designed to kill you. Maybe it was a set of "gassers," or running the lines on the court, or a 10-minute run. These torturous drills were always at the end of a hard practice. My least favorite was a timed quarter-mile run at the end of a season-starting football practice. Coming around the last turn my legs would burn like they were on fire, and it would feel like someone had stabbed me in the side with a knife. I was certain the coach's goal was to kill us. But those coaches weren't overly interested in how much we hurt that day. They were looking ahead to the season and were getting us ready for not just our first game, but our last game, as well. And throughout the season, as our bodies became better conditioned, those quarter-mile runs at the end of practice weren't as painful. They were still difficult, but they weren't as painful. The pain of that day made us better prepared for the season ahead.

Sometimes we mistake God's promise not to harm us as His promise that we will have a pain-free life. In reality, mental and emotional pain is a part our growing process. We watch a parent, grandparent or child die. A relationship comes to an end. We lose our place in the starting lineup. We fail a class. All of these are painful, but God knows, just like our coaches, that pain doesn't necessarily equal harm. It sometimes equals growth and conditioning.

Today's pain may be preparing us for tomorrow. That's where the part about "a hope and a future" comes into play. Although God has put each of us in the place where we are to do His work today, He's looking down the road to where we will be days, weeks and even years from now. He wants us to be ready not just for today or tomorrow, but also for our last day here. We just have to keep in mind that even though conditioning can be painful, it is beneficial.

Go
1. What pain do you have in your life?
2. Can you see how God can use it to make you stronger or better prepared for tomorrow? (It may help you to talk with someone you respect in the Lord.)
3. Do you know someone in pain today whom you could encourage? (Think of it like cheering your teammates on during a hard practice.)

Workout
Romans 8:18
James 1:12
Job (the entire book)
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Old 02-06-2015, 01:48 PM   #2163
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No "I" in Team
Josh Carter

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"So Abram said to Lot, 'Let's not have any quarreling between you and me. . .for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Let's part company. If you go to the left, I'll go to the right; if you go to the right, I'll go to the left.'"
-Genesis 13:8-9

Set
In sixteen years as the coach of the Boston Celtics, Red Auerbach guided his team to nine NBA championships. He retired after the 1966 season as the winningest coach in NBA history with 938 wins. While his teams had some great players, they were characterized more by their team play, which included a new concept of using role players. According to Auerback, a role player is one who “willingly undertakes the thankless job that has to be done in order to make the whole package fly.”

In the same way, Abraham and his nephew Lot were a team. But as they traveled together with their flocks, herds, and households, they realized the land could not support them both without escalating strife among their people. Rather than flaunt his role as leader, Abraham gave Lot his choice of land. Abraham might easily have put himself and his household first; instead, he sacrificed his desires for the good of others and trusted God to provide for him and his household.

Christ gave up his authority by going to the cross, and we can reflect his sacrifice in service to others. It’s not easy to sit on the bench, but like Auerbach recognized, unselfish players on the bench are just as important to the success of a team as starters. Christian competitors have a great opportunity to serve their teams by being willing to give up their place. In fact, those who want to be great on their teams recognize the joy of serving as Christ did.

Go
1. How can you encourage attitudes of service rather than selfishness on your team?
2. How have you seen selfless competitors influence a team?
3. What one thing can you do today to reflect a selfless attitude for your players?

Workout
Matthew 20:25–28
1 Corinthians 10:24
Philippians 2:3–4

Overtime
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your life of sacrifice. I pray that You would increase that I may decrease as I serve others for Your glory! Amen.
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:38 AM   #2164
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Go for the Goal
Taylor Beisler

Ready "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 3:13b-14


Set
What are athletes without goals? Goals are obstacles that help us reach higher levels of ability. In Philippians 3:14, Paul says we should keep running for the goal God has for us. In doing this, we all have to lean on the Lord to know where we are going.

As an athlete, two elements are important when trying to reach our goals: focus and perseverance. Focus is "a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding." Focus has to be steered in the right direction in order for you to reach your goal and, above all, God's will for your life. The second element, perseverance, is what I like to call "the ability to not quit, and to keep on going with a greater drive than you think you have." Perseverance is often a sown seed. As Paul states later, "If you don't give up you will reap a harvest in God's timing." In action, perseverance gives life to character; character to hope and hope in Christ.

In sports, athletes mess up, hit hurdles, miskick the ball, overshoot the goal, fall down, etc. I've seen many athletes get their minds stuck on that one error and not let it go! This drives me crazy. You can't keep dwelling on the bad plays, or they will keep replaying in your mind until all you will see is that bad play.

So, today, when you feel like the devil is getting that foothold and trying to pull you down with your attitude so that you can't glorify Christ, just remember to fix your eyes on Jesus, your audience of One, who doesn't care if you mess up as long as you give your all for Him. Don't forget what God said, that He is doing a new thing, making all things new! Look forward at your goal, forget past mistakes and look for a new opportunity to come to you. When it does, you'll be game ready for Christ's glory.

Go
1. How can you focus on Christ today in your sport and in your training?
2. What will it take for you to forget past mistakes and keep going for a greater goal?
3. How are you going to react next time you mess up, when your attitude gets down?
4. What do you need to do to reach your goal and reap the harvest God has planned for you?


Workout
Matthew 14:22-36
Romans 5:3-5
Philippians 3:10-14
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Old 02-12-2015, 11:16 AM   #2165
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Are You Kidding Me?
Dan Britton

Ready
"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want."
-Galatians 5:16-17 (NIV)

Set
A few years ago, while watching an NFL game, I saw something that made me scream. I hollered a saying that everyone, especially sports commentators, uses when there is an incredible play. "Are you kidding me?" I yelled.

Yes, it was a great play, but it wasn't the great play that actually caused my reaction. Even though it was an extraordinary catch--one in which the receiver had to leap over two defenders for a touchdown--I did not yell because of his incredible display of athletic ability, but because of what he did after the play. With all the attention on this pro football player, he reached above his head and with both hands pointed to his name on the back of the jersey. I forgot his name (even though he tried really hard to make sure I would remember), but I did not forget his gesture!

"Are you kidding me?" I yelled more than once. A team is not about the individual, but the entire team. My response would have been different if he'd pointed to the team name on the front of his jersey. How about pointing to the quarterback who threaded the needle with a perfect pass? What about the six offensive linemen who provided great pass protection to allow the quarterback time to find the open whatshisname receiver. What about pointing to the coaches who called the perfect play? What about pointing toward the team's owner who pays his salary? And last but not least, maybe pointing upward toward his Maker who gave him those talents, gifts and abilities to catch the ball would have been the right thing to do.

I know I'm being hard on the guy whose name I can't remember, but I think this kind of behavior permeates our culture. We have grown numb to self-centered people so much so that we don't even notice their behavior. And unfortunately, this behavior has become part of our lives as Christians. We often lift up gifted individuals for the public value they have for the Kingdom and forego lifting up Jesus Christ as the Source of that talent. When people acknowledge the impact we are making for Christ, we point to our name on the back of the jersey.

Maybe I took special notice because God was speaking to me when the receiver pointed to his name on the back of his jersey. I felt the Lord saying to me, "Dan, you don't outwardly point to your name on your jersey, but you do it inwardly. You want people to notice you. You think you are better than this receiver because you don't point externally to your name, but take a look inside." The Lord convicted me through this athlete's selfish behavior. As I said to this athlete "Are you kidding me?" I heard the Lord say right back to me "Are you kidding Me?"

When I compete, I need to die to myself. I can't point to myself, not even in the hidden areas of my heart. There needs to be a total sacrifice of the flesh, pointing toward God on the outside and on the inside. Our competition should bring attention to the only Famous One: Jesus Christ!

Go
1. How does it make you feel when you see your name either on a jersey or in print? Be honest.
2. Why is our society consumed with the spotlight? Why is selfishness so prevalent in the world of sports?
3. Name someone who is a great example of bringing attention to the Famous One.
4. Ask God to reveal the things in your life that are preventing you from giving Him all the glory.
5. What are some practical ways you can point to God externally and internally?

Workout
Psalm 24:3-6
Galatians 5:16-26

Overtime
"Famous One, Lord Jesus, I want to make You great. I want to give You glory inwardly and outwardly. It is easy to give glory outwardly, but in the depths of my soul, there is a pride and selfishness that rises up and prevents me from laying it all at Your feet. I keep glory for myself. Help me, Lord, to give You all the glory all the time, both on and off the field of competition. Today, I die to myself so that You will live in and through me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:59 AM   #2166
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Are You Kidding Me?
Dan Britton

Ready
"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want."
-Galatians 5:16-17 (NIV)

Set
A few years ago, while watching an NFL game, I saw something that made me scream. I hollered a saying that everyone, especially sports commentators, uses when there is an incredible play. "Are you kidding me?" I yelled.

Yes, it was a great play, but it wasn't the great play that actually caused my reaction. Even though it was an extraordinary catch--one in which the receiver had to leap over two defenders for a touchdown--I did not yell because of his incredible display of athletic ability, but because of what he did after the play. With all the attention on this pro football player, he reached above his head and with both hands pointed to his name on the back of the jersey. I forgot his name (even though he tried really hard to make sure I would remember), but I did not forget his gesture!

"Are you kidding me?" I yelled more than once. A team is not about the individual, but the entire team. My response would have been different if he'd pointed to the team name on the front of his jersey. How about pointing to the quarterback who threaded the needle with a perfect pass? What about the six offensive linemen who provided great pass protection to allow the quarterback time to find the open whatshisname receiver. What about pointing to the coaches who called the perfect play? What about pointing toward the team's owner who pays his salary? And last but not least, maybe pointing upward toward his Maker who gave him those talents, gifts and abilities to catch the ball would have been the right thing to do.

I know I'm being hard on the guy whose name I can't remember, but I think this kind of behavior permeates our culture. We have grown numb to self-centered people so much so that we don't even notice their behavior. And unfortunately, this behavior has become part of our lives as Christians. We often lift up gifted individuals for the public value they have for the Kingdom and forego lifting up Jesus Christ as the Source of that talent. When people acknowledge the impact we are making for Christ, we point to our name on the back of the jersey.

Maybe I took special notice because God was speaking to me when the receiver pointed to his name on the back of his jersey. I felt the Lord saying to me, "Dan, you don't outwardly point to your name on your jersey, but you do it inwardly. You want people to notice you. You think you are better than this receiver because you don't point externally to your name, but take a look inside." The Lord convicted me through this athlete's selfish behavior. As I said to this athlete "Are you kidding me?" I heard the Lord say right back to me "Are you kidding Me?"

When I compete, I need to die to myself. I can't point to myself, not even in the hidden areas of my heart. There needs to be a total sacrifice of the flesh, pointing toward God on the outside and on the inside. Our competition should bring attention to the only Famous One: Jesus Christ!

Go
1. How does it make you feel when you see your name either on a jersey or in print? Be honest.
2. Why is our society consumed with the spotlight? Why is selfishness so prevalent in the world of sports?
3. Name someone who is a great example of bringing attention to the Famous One.
4. Ask God to reveal the things in your life that are preventing you from giving Him all the glory.
5. What are some practical ways you can point to God externally and internally?


Workout
Psalm 24:3-6
Galatians 5:16-26

Overtime
"Famous One, Lord Jesus, I want to make You great. I want to give You glory inwardly and outwardly. It is easy to give glory outwardly, but in the depths of my soul, there is a pride and selfishness that rises up and prevents me from laying it all at Your feet. I keep glory for myself. Help me, Lord, to give You all the glory all the time, both on and off the field of competition. Today, I die to myself so that You will live in and through me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:24 PM   #2167
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Why We Compete
Jill Ewert Lee

Ready
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God's glory.”
-1 Corinthians 10:31

Set
In the 2011 Stanley Cup finals it should have been a night of celebration. It was a great series between two excellent teams: the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks. Instead, the nation woke up the next morning to news about massive violence in Canada as a result of their team’s defeat.

What a great reminder of why we as Christians are called to bring Christ to the world of sports. It’s not called the “universal language” for nothing. Sports are a huge part of our culture, and they impact it in so many ways. Even a single game can impact an entire city like Vancouver and have results that ripple through the lives of both sports fans and bystanders.

That night was just one example. This kind of thing happens on every level from little league to the pros. Our world takes its sports seriously, and that makes it an avenue of high impact. Thank God that He raises up Christian athletes and coaches to bring His truth to the athletic world!

Today, let's remember why we compete. Sports are for His glory, His truth and His love. There is no other reason. Competition is not about personal glorification. It’s not about stats and records. It’s not even about just having fun (though, that is certainly part of it). It’s about Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). While we can and should enjoy the competition, we need to remember that our purpose is to bring Him to the world around us.

Go
1.Why do you compete?
2.In what ways have you seen sports make an impact in your community? How could you could bring Christ into that dynamic?
3.What does it look like to compete for Christ and to bring Him into your sport? Are you reflecting Him in your sport?

Workout
1 Corinthians 2:2
Colossians 3:23-24
1 Peter 4:10-11
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:10 AM   #2168
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Law
Roger Lipe

Ready
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom; his tongue speaks what is just. The instruction of his God is in his heart; his steps do not falter.
— Psalm 37:30–31

Set
It seems the psalmist’s heart, informed by God’s truth, was the source of his wise speech and security in life. Many coaches rest their security in their players’ abilities, which serves them well until injuries occur. Other coaches find security in knowledge of their sport or the experience of their coaching staff. Others appear fully confident, but are then found to be inferior in competition. In each case, their confidence easily turns to anxiety because of the nature of their source.

Our heart can be a limitless source of peace and confidence if we maintain our relationship with Christ through careful study of the Bible. Reading the Scriptures regularly deposits the law of God in our hearts and will keep our steps from slipping.

As we pray in preparation for this day’s coaching & playing, we need to ask God to apply His law to our hearts so we may speak to our teammates with wisdom and justice. We must ask Him to make us confident and secure as competitors.

Go
1. How secure do you feel about your life in sport?
2. When are you most confident?
3. When are you a bit anxious?
4. How could you be more secure and keep anxiety at bay?

Workout
Matthew 7:24–29
1 Peter 5:1–11

Overtime
Father, please fill my heart with Your Word so I may coach and/or play wisely and so my steps may not slip. Help me to lead in a way that honors You. Amen.
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Old 02-18-2015, 08:14 PM   #2169
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Priceless
Dan Britton

Ready
"So if anyone purifies himself from these things, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work."
-2 Timothy 2:21

Set
Since 1997, MasterCard has received hundreds of awards for their catchy ad campaign featuring the slogan “Priceless.” As Christians, I think the slogan for our relationships with Christ should be “Serving Is Priceless.” Most people think that serving is the same thing as service. I disagree. I believe there is a huge difference between the two. Christ did not come to give good service; He came to serve. As an athlete, I am not supposed to give good service to my teammates—I am to serve them. As a coach, I serve my team; I do not provide them a service. Service is something you pay for or something you expect, such as courteous and prompt attention from the employees at a restaurant or gas station. But serving goes deeper. Serving deals with heart issues and involves sacrifice and meeting real needs.

Christ desires that we as athletes and coaches become servants to our teammates, friends, family and communities. He has set us apart for a great work. We are His instruments—His serving instruments! Today, this can be a hard concept to understand. It seems like everyone in the world of sports wants to be a leader, not a servant. Jesus never told us to be leaders, but He did tell us to be servants.

Each summer thousands of athletes attend FCA Leadership Camps. At one of the camps, I shared with the students that they were really at a Servant Camp, not a Leadership Camp. To be a leader you must serve, and this is my challenge to you today. Fulfill Christ’s calling on your life and become a servant!

Go
1. On a scale of 1 to 5, how well are you serving others (teammates, coaches, friends, family)?
2. Do you give service when Christ wants you to engage in serving? If so, when?
3. How has God gifted you to serve? How has He set you apart? Are you using your ability to serve?

Workout
Extra Reading:
Ephesians 2:10
2 Timothy 2:14-21

Overtime
Lord, teach me how to serve. My teammates and friends need to see what Jesus looks like. I pray that when I serve they will be able to see You. Help me to fully understand that You have set me apart for a great work. Amen.
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Old 02-19-2015, 09:39 AM   #2170
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Hope for the Brokenhearted
Matt Brady

Ready
“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
— Luke 4:18–19

Set
As a coach in a low-income school, I see my players go through very difficult times. Many have no father at home, and they endure a mediocre educational system in a drug-infested neighborhood. These kids have to work twice as hard just to break even. It is hard not to internalize the problems of our players. Because the environment in which they live provides little or no hope, we find ourselves wanting to step in to solve their problems. However, we typically find ourselves feeling helpless. From time to time coaches find themselves serving as father, mother, lawyer, mediator, and mentor to their players, surrogate roles that press down with lots of pressure and responsibility.

Christian coaches, however, find comfort and hope in Jesus Christ. Christ crosses all barriers, even socioeconomic ones. I might not fully understand the situation these kids face, but I am convinced that Christ cares for the poor, the fatherless, the widow, and the underprivileged. I am convinced that if my life is hidden in Him, my players will be able to know more of Jesus’ love through me as well as hope and comfort. For that reason, feeling hopeless is not so bad, because it causes us to put our hope in Jesus, who is always there to help.

Go
1. How well do you know your players? Do you know what their home lives are like?
2. What was Jesus’ mission in this passage? In what ways do you care for the poor and brokenhearted players on your team?
3. Are you confident that if your life is hid in Christ, then your players will see an amazing difference in your care and love for them both on and off the field?

Workout
Extra Reading:
Isaiah 9:1–7; 61:1–3

Overtime
Father, help me today to love those players on my team who are poor and brokenhearted. Help my heart to be broken by their situation and to offer them the best I have, and that is Your love. Please, Lord, let them see You in me. Amen.
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Old 02-20-2015, 01:56 PM   #2171
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God’s Game Plan
Lowell Burns

Ready
“For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the LORD’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
— Jeremiah 29:11

Set
All coaches know that to give their athletes or their team the best chance at success or reaching their goals, three things are needed: discipline, training, and a game plan. The game plan simply means to use one’s strengths to exploit the opponent’s weakness. A good game plan is a must. Often, we fail because of the wrong game plan or simply a faulty one.

Life is a competition. We meet challenges every day that present opportunities to help us be successful. We also construct game plans for daily life. We must know our strengths and weaknesses, our opponent (Satan), listen to our coach (Jesus Christ), train hard, and have discipline to reach our goal of knowing Christ.

When I was a teenager, I had a plan to achieve what I thought was important—a college education and a great job earning a big income. My game plan was to achieve it all by age twenty-five. I ended up being a teacher and a coach. After thirty years of teaching and coaching, and twenty-eight years as an FCA Huddle Leader, I retired. As I walked out the door, I asked myself, What have I accomplished? My original game plan seemed to have failed.

Then as clear as it could be, I heard a voice say, FCA. I stopped and noticed that I was by myself. In an instant I realized that this had been God’s game plan for my life. I realized that I had been successful under His plan.

If we love and follow Christ, we can achieve victory! We need to be in tune with God and listen for His “game plan” for our lives.

Go
1. How do you define success?
2. What is your game plan to achieve that success?
3. How do you think you are doing with the plan?

Workout
Extra Reading: Psalm 139:6
1 Corinthians 9:24–27; 5:7–9
Philippians 3:12–14

Overtime
Father, thank You for all the blessings you have bestowed upon us. Give us strength and courage to seek Your plans and to be obedient to Your call. Amen.
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Old 02-21-2015, 04:28 PM   #2172
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Look What Jesus Did
David Lyons

Ready
“For the Lord your God is the One who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”
– Deuteronomy 20:4

Set
In 2009 I stepped on a bodybuilding competition stage as a 50 year-old man with multiple sclerosis (MS), an incurable disease of the nervous system. When I was initially diagnosed in 2006 I was devastated. For years I had been a healthy bodybuilder and gym owner, but I now had an enemy in MS. Thankfully, my faith in Christ enabled me to see past what the doctors were telling me—that I was most likely bound for a wheelchair—and focus on the victory that I held in Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:57). I prayed vigilantly to find the answer on my life’s direction in fighting MS, and God made it clear that it was to go back into the gym.

Following His leading, I forced myself to train like a healthy 20-year-old despite the symptoms of pain, numbness, un-coordination, fatigue and all the other unpleasantness of MS. I pushed beyond my limits—sometimes a bit too far—but I had a goal, and that goal was to show the world that my God was stronger than any disease or limitation this world could put on me. I followed Philippians 3:14 (NIV), which says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

When I did compete in 2009 I was one of more than 150 athletes who stood on the NPC Florida State Bodybuilding Championships stage and the only one with MS. When I was handed my trophy for Most Inspirational Contestant and given a standing ovation I never once looked at myself and what I had accomplished. I had two thoughts in my mind. One was that I was blessed by being married to Kendra, the woman God had chosen for me, who stood by me, cheering me on through all the stress I inflicted on my body. And the second was that what was just accomplished was attained through the strength of my Lord Jesus Christ. There was no pat on my own back, no feeling of pride and nothing that resembled a “look at what I did” attitude. I was humbled, and I recalled James 4:10 (NIV): “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” I was honored to be in the presence of Christ and in His will. My position was, “Look at what Jesus did!”

Since that day I have had a faith-based book, David's Goliath, published with the forward written by FCA’s Jimmy Page. I am the co-founder with my wife of a charity that helps people with MS conquer the disease through fitness and health (The MS Fitness Challenge); I write a column named after my charity for one of the largest online fitness publications (EverydayHealth.com); I’ve been honored by awards and media attention; and in March of this year Arnold Schwarzenegger will be presenting me with an award at his Arnold Classic Fitness Expo. All of these amazing happenings are the miracles that have come from Jesus and His grace on me despite my shortcomings. He is a perfect God in our lives of imperfection.

At the age of 56, I am now training hard for the Arnold Classic and am in my ninth year battling MS, and I plan on at least one more bodybuilding contest before I turn 60. I’m still humbled and honored by the grace, strength and love given to me by Christ in this journey. Whatever our accomplishments in athletic competition or in life, there is only one place to look and give praise, and that is to Jesus.

Go
1. Why is it important to stay humble when you are winning?
2. What are your goals in sports and in life? Are they in line with God’s will? How can you know?
3. Do you focus more on your obstacles or on Jesus? What will be the outcome of doing both?

Workout
• 2 Chronicles 34:27
• Luke 9:62
• 2 Corinthians 5:9
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:58 AM   #2173
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Seeking First Things First
By Jon Groth

Ready
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”
— Matthew 6:33

Set
At some point, we have all lost our keys or our wallet. It can be very frustrating. After a while, we begin to make a strong effort to find what is lost. I have spent hours or days searching for something that was missing. I go into “search and rescue” mode, thinking, Those things are valuable to my life and I’ve got to find them!

This verse in Matthew guides us about what we should seek first in this life. Most of us worry too much about things that don’t impact the kingdom of God—our house, car, things that aren’t what God values first. As coaches we can spend much of our time and energy worrying over recruiting, practice plans, standing in the conference race, won-loss records. Do we need to work hard and be the best coaches that God would have us to be? Yes. But we must ask ourselves as coaches, “Are we really seeking His kingdom first?” We must remember that we coach people, not sports. God’s first priority is the eternal destiny of people. He gave Jesus for us to have a personal relationship with Him (Jn 3:16).

Our response as Christian coaches must be to obey God’s Word and see the kingdom of God in every day we live. Whether it’s organizing practice plans, putting together game plans, working with assistant coaches, or dealing with discipline issues, we must be sensitive to the kingdom issues that arise each day. As we open ourselves to being aware of God’s priorities in our daily routines, He will show us how to be effective and fruitful for His kingdom. In doing so, He will also provide all the “things” we need for this life.

Go
1. Are you guilty of worrying about things that are not kingdom issues in your coaching?
2. Are you seeking God’s kingdom as strongly as worldly things in your life?
3. In what ways can you begin to make seeking Him and His kingdom a priority?
4. Who can help you in this “search and rescue” mission?

Workout
Extra Reading:
Psalms 20:7; 21:7; 40:4

Overtime
Father, help me to make Your kingdom my top priority. Amen
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Old 02-25-2015, 09:02 AM   #2174
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The Team and the Body
Richard Russo

Ready
"For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ."
— 1 Corinthians 12:12

Set
As coaches, we are supposed to teach our players about the game and about life lessons. Sometimes, the reverse happens and our players teach us a valuable lesson. The day before my first home football game of the season, my senior quarterback boldly stood up in front of the entire team and coaches and quoted the above Scripture.

He reinforced a standard that we coaches teach all of the time—how in football the team may be made up of eleven parts, but they must be one unit working toward one goal of either scoring or stopping the other team from scoring. On a sweep to the right, if the left receiver or left tackle does not make a cutoff block, then the chances of the running back scoring greatly diminishes. If the coaching staff decides that a team is not worthy enough to practice with a sense of urgency, then an upset can likely occur.

The same principle is true in the Body of Christ. In the church, from the pastoral leadership down to each volunteer worker, if a job is not done, then the overall goal of reaching the lost is hindered. If the FCA Huddle leadership is not committed to making a difference on their campus, then a difference will not be made.

Go
1. As a coach, are you the “head” that is making your players better mentally, physically, and spiritually?
2. As a member of the Body of Christ, are you a productive part, or is your part entrenched with atrophy?
3. Being a coach is what you have been called to do. Are you glorifying the Lord daily in your calling?

Workout
Extra Reading:
Psalm 133:1
1 Corinthians 12:13–31

Overtime
Lord, I pray that You will use me in my calling as a coach. I pray that You will enable me to be an effective head of the team that I have been blessed with and positively impact the players in a godly manner. I also ask that I will be used to do Your will as a member of the Body of Christ. Amen.
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:22 AM   #2175
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Direction Is Everything
Rex Stump

Ready
“If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you."
–John 15:18-19

Set
On a dark rainy night I was driving in an unfamiliar place. As I made a turn, I was faced with cars driving in my direction. I had turned short of my road and was on the highway exit ramp! Fortunately, no accident took place and I was able to adjust my direction.

When we live for Christ, we move in direct opposition to this world. The adventure of living for Jesus is not easy as we dodge worldviews and anti-God messages. I remember an incredible experience at FCA camp. While young lives were being eternally changed, we were unexpectedly faced with an opponent who didn’t agree with our camp. Suddenly our joy was diminished by the oncoming traffic of discouragement from our spiritual enemy. I realized that when we live for Christ, we will face opposition. As believers, we don’t belong to this world, so we can’t expect others to welcome the direction in which we live.

As we live for Christ, we know this world will hate us. It’s going to feel like driving against traffic. But, the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world. Living for God isn’t easy, but it is right!

Go
1. Have you ever felt like you were running into the world and its opposing views?
2. Are you OK with the fact that the world hates you, because you love Jesus?
3. Who is helping you go against the flow of this world?

Workout
Matthew 5:11-12
Hebrews 12:3
1 John 4:4

Overtime
Father, I want to live for You! I know I will face opposition from this world and understand that even my family, friends, or coworkers may oppose me. Give me courage and strength to obediently move forward. Amen.
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