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Old 01-05-2015, 08:57 AM   #2146
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Default 1.05.15

My Top 10
Dan Britton

Ready
“I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.”
- 1 Corinthians 1:4

Set
I love ESPN’s Top 10 Plays of the Day. There’s something about sports highlights that makes me want to lace up the shoes and put on the jersey again! Even though ESPN’s is my favorite Top 10 list, there are many others out there. Certainly, David Letterman made it famous with his comical late-night list. But did you know that God created the original Top 10 list a long time ago? It’s called the Ten Commandments.

At the end of last year, I was inspired to create my own Top 10 list, but it wasn’t like the others. This list focused on meaningful relationships that had made a significant impact on my life. I’d had exactly 365 days during the year to improve, grow, learn and get stretched, and as I considered what changes had taken place in my life, I realized I hadn’t done it on my own. It had taken a host of other people who had invested in me and influenced me along the way. And after realizing that it was the power of others that had made the most significant difference in my life, I developed my Top 10 list of people who had impacted my life over the past year.

I love the quote, “You can impress people from a distance, but you can only impact them close up.” It’s easy to impress, but hard to impact, isn’t it? That takes time, effort and intentionality. Through the process of creating my list, I actually was also able to evaluate my own life and ask myself if I had lived in such a way as to make the Top 10 list of others. Had I been intentional about investing in others in a significant way? Was I doing everything I could to be a blessing to them?

As athletes and coaches, we understand that each of us has great capacity to impact and influence others. What better day to start doing this than today? It’s time for us to aim to be a Top 10 in someone’s life. God placed us here to make a difference in the lives of others, just as they make a difference for us. And in those relationships is where the true life-change happens, both for us and for them.

So, what are you waiting for? Go and be used by God to be a difference-maker, and thank those who have invested in you!

Go
1. Create Space: Spend some time praying and ask the Lord to bring people to your mind who have impacted you in the past year.
2. Grab a Pen: Write a Top 10 list of your own, but don’t worry about ranking them.
3. Shout Out: Bless the people you listed by calling or emailing them to let them know that they made the list and why they made it!

Workout
Numbers 6:24-26 Romans 1:8 2 Corinthians 9:13-14 2 Timothy 1:3

Overtime “Father, thank You for placing others in my path to bless, encourage and guide me. I pray that You would use me to do the same for others. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:27 AM   #2147
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Toughness
By Clay Elliott
January 8, 2015


Ready
“Now, get ready. Stand up and tell them everything that I command you. Do not be intimidated by them or I will cause you to cower before them. . . . They will fight against you but never prevail over you, since I am with you to rescue you.”
–Jeremiah 1:17,19

Set
When I was eight years old, my older brother, Steve, younger brother, Bill, and I were heading home from playing baseball. Suddenly, some kid attacked Steve from behind. Six-year-old Bill picked up our bat and began to wail on Steve’s attacker. The kid took off, and we sprinted home. Soon, a knock came at our door. Knowing it was the enemy, we sent Mom. Swinging a rolling pin in her hand, she yelled for the kid to go home and never come back. He never came back because he knew the Elliotts were tough!

In the Book of Jeremiah, God told His people, “Get tough team, I am here. Say what I want said and do what I want done.” Then He said, “And when the fighting begins . . .” You mean there is going to be fighting? God, they are bigger, stronger, smarter, and faster than us. Why don’t You just wipe them out?

God tells His people that He won’t leave them hanging—unless they cower. He knows life isn’t easy. Jesus even said that life brings “trouble” (John 16:33). But He will be there to help if we don’t cower! We have to be tough. Our toughness will bring God into the battle. I don’t want to go anywhere if God isn’t going with me!

Toughness is not unchristian, but ordained by God when we follow His lead. How tough are we? Are we ready to stand up for God and not be intimidated?

Go
1. Have you seen a teammate demonstrate godly toughness?
2. Have you seen God demonstrate His toughness?
3. In what ways can you be tough for God in practice and competition?

Workout
Extra Reading:
1 Samuel 17
2 Corinthians 11:16-30
Hebrews 12:1-13

Overtime
Lord, help me to only go where You go. Teach me what it means to have godly toughness. Amen.
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:15 PM   #2148
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Attitude
By Donna Noonan
January 9, 2015


Ready
The king interviewed them, and among all of them, no one was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they began to serve in the king’s court. In every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about, he found them 10 times better than all the diviner-priests and mediums in his entire kingdom.
–Daniel 1:19-20

Set
Daniel is one of my favorite people in the Bible. He kept a great attitude in spite of his circumstances. He was moved to a strange land against his will, kept in captivity for most of his life, and had his life threatened. He was loyal to his boss and worked for some difficult people. If we think our coaches are tough sometimes, look at David’s life. Nebuchadnezzar laid siege on Jerusalem, tried to kill Daniel’s friends, and eventually lost his mind. Belshazzar was a heavy drinker, had several wives, and stole sacred items from the temple. Darius had Daniel thrown into the lion’s den for being obedient to God. Yet, Daniel never complained.

Daniel never forgot where his talent came from or whom he really served. As athletes, there are many things out of our control—who makes the starting line-up, the quality of the officials, and the schedule. The two things we can control are our attitude and effort. Daniel did a great job in both of these areas, making him an outstanding worker, teammate, and leader.

Go
1. How would you evaluate your attitude and effort in school? in your sport?
2. What is your definition of excellence?
3. How do you deal with people who treat you poorly?

Workout
Ephesians 6:7-8
Colossians 3:23-24

Overtime
Father, thank You for never leaving my side. Help me be strong and obedient like Daniel. Give me the courage to live up to Your standards with my eyes focused on You. Amen.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:19 AM   #2149
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Default 1.12.15

Our Highest Goal
Amanda Tewksbury

Ready
“[My goal] is to know Him and the power of His resurrection…”
-Philippians 3:10a

Set
As Christians, I think we sometimes feel like it is our job to make sure all of our friends, family members and teammates come to faith in Christ. We spend our days trying to do all we can to be a perfect example—saying the right things and serving in the best ways in order to make sure we can have the best possible influence. We think that doing things for God is what our complete focus should be.

For the majority of my time in college, I didn’t have any Christian teammates on my basketball team. Because of this, I put pressure on myself to be in the Word, to go to church and to pray enough just so that I could see all of them at least start to pursue more of God in their lives. But I eventually came to realize that wasn’t God’s aim for me. Nor, is it the aim for any of us.

Yes, He desires to use us in this way, but the bigger picture is that He wants us to know Him more. It’s not our job to save others; it’s our job to pursue more of God each day. We should desire such an intimate relationship with Him that our lives can’t help but reveal Him to others. If we only focus on ministering to others, we’ll miss out on getting to know Christ Himself. But if we take the time to develop a relationship with Him, the more we’ll be like Him. Then, out of that relationship, we will naturally become representatives of Jesus to everyone around us.

Now, talk about being an influence for Christ! Truly, getting to know Him for ourselves is the best way to bring Him to others.

Go
1.Do you focus more on doing things for God or getting to know Him?
2.Do you put pressure on yourself to be a perfect example? If so, why?
3.What are some of the best ways to get to know someone? How can you put those into practice in order to get to know God better?

Workout
John 15:1-5
Romans 8:29
Galatians 5:22-25
Ephesians 5:1-2
Philippians 3:7-11
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Old 01-13-2015, 01:21 PM   #2150
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Default 1.13.15

Who Are You?
Amanda Tewksbury

Ready
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”
-2 Corinthians 5:17

Set
As a student-athlete in high school, the only thing that I liked about myself was my basketball ability. My self-worth was based completely on my performance on the court. Although I knew Christ, it took a lot of painful losing and poor performances for me once I got to college to realize that my self-worth was very skewed.

After I began to read the Bible more, I realized that none of the verses showed that God loved me any less based on my performance. I did, however, find many verses based on how God viewed me as His child.

When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we begin to see that we are children of God, and that is enough. Our self-image, bad habits, weaknesses, poor performances, etc., have nothing to do with who we are or how God loves us. On the contrary, when we look down on ourselves, we actually hinder our relationship with Him. As Oswald Chambers says, “The way we continually talk about our own inability is an insult to the Creator.” When we tear ourselves down, we ultimately tell God that He did a pretty bad job of creating us.

We have two options in response to this. We can choose to go to God to show us who we are and reveal our true identity, or we can choose to go to others and the world to tell us who we are. Only one will bring peaceful truth.

Enjoy who God made you to be in Christ!

Go
1. Who are you?
2. What lies about yourself do you need to stop believing? What truths about yourself do you need to start believing?
3. What do you need to do in order to see yourself as a child of God?

Workout
John 1:12
Romans 5:1
Romans 8:37-39
Ephesians 1:5
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Old 01-14-2015, 10:42 AM   #2151
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Default January 14, 2015

An Offering
By Cameron O'Sullivan

Ready
“A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.”
–John 10:10

Set
It was a long day, my schedule was out of whack, and the time I put aside to train was messed up. If that wasn’t enough, the aches and pains from summer workouts were wearing me down. Then the clouds rolled in and rain began to fall. I decided to make up my workout another day.

I sat and read a devotion book. The author told of struggling one day to keep his focus on the task set before him. He tried several things to get his mind on track, but nothing worked. Then he remembered John 10:10: “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy.” Was Satan keeping him from doing what God had planned for him?

I thought about my situation and heard God tell me to get up and do my workout. As coaches and athletes, we are to use our talents as offerings to God and glorify Him. The Devil will try to destroy the purpose God has set in us. Satan knows he can’t beat God, but he has a chance of beating us if we let him.

I was fired up. Playing football is my offering to God. Jesus took my place on the cross; the least I could do is give my all on the field. So I headed for the field in the rain and strong winds. Despite the adversity, it was probably my best running day. The more pain, the better, because I knew God was with me. I wasn’t going to miss my chance to give back to Him who has blessed me so much.

Go
1. What is your first response when facing adversity?
2. Do you have what it takes to give your all on the field every day as an offering to God?

Workout
1 Corinthians 16:13
Philippians 2:17
Colossians 3:23-24

Overtime
Father, thank You for loving me despite my weaknesses. Please help me give my all for You. Amen.
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:43 AM   #2152
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The War That Rages On
FCA Resources

Ready
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."
-1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV)

Set
Watch any of the famous Rocky movies and you’ll find a prime example of someone who never gave up in battle. With every movie, Sylvester Stallone’s character, Rocky Balboa, faced an even bigger challenge. Yet through each 12-round beating, he always managed to get back up on his feet and find victory.

The first line of the FCA Competitor’s Creed states: “I am a Christian first and last.” As Christians we are faced with a battle that rages all around us. Our souls are up for grabs. God has them, but Satan wants them. And if he can’t take us with him, he’ll make our lives here on Earth the toughest war we’ll ever fight. We carry a large target on our backs as believers in Christ. For Satan, there’s a higher price on our lives because we work for the Kingdom. The more we grow in Christ and the more people come to know Christ through us, the more Satan loses.

The Competitor’s Creed states: “I give my all—all of the time. I do not give up. I do not give in. I do not give out. I am the Lord’s warrior—a competitor by conviction and a disciple of determination.” A lifetime of war isn’t going to be easy. But if we draw on God’s grace and God’s power, we too can keep getting up round after round.

Go
1. What are the weak links in your armor where Satan attacks you the most?
2. What can you do to strengthen your weak links?
3. Do you draw on God’s grace and power each day to fight your spiritual battles?

Workout
Extra Reading:
Proverbs 4:14-15
Colossians 3:1-5
James 4:7

Overtime
Lord, I know the battle ahead of me isn’t going to be easy. Help me to rely on You alone for the strength and wisdom I need. Let me never stop praying for mercy and guidance, and help me to resist temptation. And, Father, please bless me with fellow brothers and sisters who can help me along the way. Amen.
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:03 AM   #2153
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Practice for the Prize
Dan Bishop

Ready
Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.
–1 Corinthians 9:25

Set
Practice isn’t always a player’s favorite thing to do. At times there are two-a-day practices or extra-long exercises to get a team organized. In the beginning, practices are hard and exciting, then when the squad is picked, the coaches focus on teaching plays.

We’ve all heard “practice makes perfect.” A better way to say it is, “practice makes permanent.” How a player performs in practice is how he or she will play in a game, thus, the player who gives a half-hearted effort in practice becomes ineffective at game time. That is why setting specific goals for practice is important.

The Apostle Paul said that every athlete should go into strict training to compete for a prize.

He used this analogy to illustrate the spiritual training a Christian needs to participate in the Christian race. We must train our hearts, minds, and bodies to become more like Christ. In our daily lives, we should practice spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, and self-control. Focusing on these areas will prepare us for witnessing, serving, and teaching.

After all this preparation, what do we win in the end? Not only will we become the person God wants us to be, we also have the promise that someday we will be with Him in heaven.

Go
1. What is your attitude toward practices?
2. What is your relationship like with your coaches?
3. Do you view them as guides to help you reach a goal?

Workout
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
2 Timothy 2:5; 4:7-8


Overtime
Heavenly Father, forgive me for being half-hearted in both my physical and spiritual training. Help me be disciplined and focused so that I will be prepared when opportunities to serve and share my faith arise. It’s hard work but I know if I rely on Your strength and not my own, I will be able to practice for the prize. Amen.
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Old 01-20-2015, 11:20 AM   #2154
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Not In My House
By Steve Fitzhugh

Ready
“But if it doesn’t please you to worship the Lord, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship . . . As for me and my family, we will worship the Lord.”
–Joshua 24:15

Set
One of the earliest lessons I learned in competition was that no one came to our home field and defeated our team in front of our family and friends. It was always motivating to deny the visiting team victory on our turf. There’s something special about being the home team. Teams now have slogans like “Not in our house!” and “Not in our backyard!” There is a responsibility to secure and protect home-field advantage.

This is also true in life. God has given each of us special skills to accomplish the extraordinary in life. These gifts vary. Some people are great athletes while others are great speakers. Some are thin and fast while others are big and strong. Some are great planners—others, great performers. Our bodies, or houses, are fearfully and wonderfully made and must be protected. As Joshua said, “Choose whom you will serve . . . As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Who is the enemy and how do we protect our house? John 10:10 is clear that the thief, the Devil, comes to steal, kill, and destroy. When he sends temptations our way, we are to protect our house with character. Character says, “Not in my house! I will be faithful. No matter what the pressure or the influence, this house belongs to the Lord!”

Go
1. What happened the last time you were tempted?
2. What are some slogans you can repeat to yourself as encouragement?
3. What have been the consequences of someone you know who failed to protect their house?

Workout
Psalm 139:13-16
Romans 5:3-5
2 Corinthians 10:3-6

Overtime
Lord, You say that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. You have given me specific abilities and skills because there is a specific purpose for my life. Help me not to compromise this purpose, but to stand firmly and resist anything that does not glorify You. Amen.
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:46 AM   #2155
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Default January 23, 2015

Confident Praying
By P.J. Meduri

Ready
Now this is the confidence we have before Him: whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we asked Him for.
— 1 John 5:14–15

Set
One of the most effective things a coach can do is pray for the players and coaches involved in their program. Typically the sports prayer is for no one to get hurt, and for everyone to do his or her best. Those are good prayers. Today’s verses also give us the confidence to move on to much deeper levels of prayer for those around us—prayers that land in the direct center of God’s will and prayers for the people around us to come into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus.

A Christ-following coach may be the only Christian with which some players and coaches have contact. As a result, a Christ-following coach may be the only person praying for the salvation of these men and women.

Scripture teaches that our prayers please God: “This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tm 2:3–4). Our prayers go up before God as incense (Rv 5:8). Whether our title reads head coach, or assistant, God has placed us strategically in our various schools and programs. One of His purposes is that we identify with the work of Christ and make intercession for those who are unbelievers (Is 53:14).

When you and I pray for the salvation of others, we’re praying according to God’s will (2 Pt 3:9), and Scripture promises that when we pray in this fashion, God hears us. He may not respond in the near future, but He hears. “The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful” (Jms 5:16b).

Therefore, may we all devote ourselves to prayer (Col 4:2), praying, with all kinds of prayers, while remembering to pray as well for the eternal salvation of those around us.

Go
1. Do you have a salvation prayer list?
2. What could potentially hinder our prayer lives?
3. Does John 6:44 give us a model for a salvation-oriented prayer?

Workout Extra Reading:
Luke 18:1–8
John 14:13–14

Overtime
Father, please draw the people around me into a saving eternal relationship with Your Son. Amen.
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