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Old 11-05-2014, 10:43 AM   #2116
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Default 11.05.14

Correct, Don't Criticize
Tony Dungy

Ready
“For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in.”
– Proverbs 3:12

Set
When I first started working towards becoming a head coach, people wondered if I could do it. I wasn’t the type to yell at people. I wasn’t the type to get in people’s faces. They didn’t know if I could control the players. How would they respond to my coaching style? How would I handle being in charge of an entire team?

My style has always been one that relies on motivation, encouragement and teaching. I always want to help people get better. That’s the idea behind correction. It’s not about tearing people down. It’s about helping them improve. You have to let them know when they’ve done something wrong, but the goal is helping them became a better player and a better person.

There are certain things that are going to be done a certain way and they’re not negotiable. The punishment is already set and everyone knows it. But then if a rule is a broken and you have to correct, it’s best to avoid sharp criticisms but instead to discipline with love. That approach gives the person the best opportunity to change their behavior.

Jesus corrected by telling stories. He showed examples. He pointed things out. He didn’t just say, “This is wrong and this is right.” He corrected people by getting them to think. When He corrected His disciples, they walked away understanding that it was for their benefit.

As a society, we desperately need to develop young people that are correctable. The youth generation is sometimes difficult to correct because of the way they’ve gotten correction. They have rebelled against correction because they see it as criticism. When the time for discipline comes, sometimes it’s easier to demonstrate authority. It’s more difficult to build relationships because it takes time and patience.

But when we follow Jesus’ model of correction and avoid the temptation to criticize, we are better able to build long-lasting relationships and we increase our influence over those within our care.

Go
1.How would you describe your style of discipline?
2.In what ways does correction differ from criticism?
3.What are some things that you can do to become less critical and more encouraging as a coach?

Workout
Proverbs 3:11-12; Hebrews 12:11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Overtime
Prayer: Father, thank you for loving me and helping me grow through correction. Help me to model Jesus’ style of correction to those that I teach and influence. Amen.
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:20 AM   #2117
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Default 11.14.14

Heart Check
By Roger Lipe
November 14, 2014

Ready
"Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart."
–Ephesians 6:6

Set
Here’s a heart check—do we do what pleases our coaches all the time or only when they are watching? Do we do the right thing just to win their favor or because it’s right? In Ephesians 6:6, Paul was rather direct with the people of Ephesus about their work ethic.

I often watch teams closely during practice and as they warm up prior to competitions. I see players who give a great effort when the coach is watching, but as soon as the coach’s head is turned, some of those players immediately start cutting corners and cheating on drills. Their hearts are not fully with their coaches or their teammates. They fail the heart check.

Our challenge is to give the same effort when no one is watching as we do when the head coach is right beside us. That is called integrity. A whole heart will lead us to do the right thing whether anyone is watching or not.

As we prepare to compete, let’s give a whole-hearted effort to the pursuit of a great team victory. When we compete with integrity we don’t have to waste time looking over our shoulders.

Go
1. Do you do what pleases your coaches all the time or only when they are watching?
2. Do you do the right thing just to win their favor or because it’s right?
3. How about some of your teammates?
4. How would an attitude of integrity change you?

Workout
Psalms 33:13-15; 143:10; 145:18

Overtime
Father, forgive me for cutting corners when I thought no one was looking. I want to be a person of integrity. Help me be obedient to You and walk above reproach on and off the field. Help me give 100 percent all of the time. Amen.
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Old 11-15-2014, 10:53 AM   #2118
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Default 11.15.14

Heart Check
Roger Lipe

Ready
"Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart."
–Ephesians 6:6


Set
Here’s a heart check—do we do what pleases our coaches all the time or only when they are watching? Do we do the right thing just to win their favor or because it’s right? In Ephesians 6:6, Paul was rather direct with the people of Ephesus about their work ethic.

I often watch teams closely during practice and as they warm up prior to competitions. I see players who give a great effort when the coach is watching, but as soon as the coach’s head is turned, some of those players immediately start cutting corners and cheating on drills. Their hearts are not fully with their coaches or their teammates. They fail the heart check.

Our challenge is to give the same effort when no one is watching as we do when the head coach is right beside us. That is called integrity. A whole heart will lead us to do the right thing whether anyone is watching or not.

As we prepare to compete, let’s give a whole-hearted effort to the pursuit of a great team victory. When we compete with integrity we don’t have to waste time looking over our shoulders.

Go
1. Do you do what pleases your coaches all the time or only when they are watching?
2. Do you do the right thing just to win their favor or because it’s right?
3. How about some of your teammates?
4. How would an attitude of integrity change you?

Workout
Psalms 33:13-15; 143:10; 145:18

Overtime
Father, forgive me for cutting corners when I thought no one was looking. I want to be a person of integrity. Help me be obedient to You and walk above reproach on and off the field. Help me give 100 percent all of the time. Amen.
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Old 11-18-2014, 01:12 PM   #2119
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Who Will Stand?
By David Forester

Ready
“I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land so that I might not destroy it, but I found no one.”
— Ezekiel 22:30

Set
It was August 1984, at Alamo Heights High School. I burst into the middle of the locker room and yelled, “Who are we going to beat this week?” The room erupted and players and coaches celebrated like we had just won the championship, before we had even played a game! During that excitement my life changed direction. Louie Reiniger, one of our players, got in my face and yelled, “Coach, will you come to FCA tonight?”

God had waited 36 years for this moment, using Louie as a gap soldier to help an old, broken, lost coach find his way home. A gap soldier was a well-trained soldier, who, during an attack, would walk through a break in the castle wall and battle the enemy as they tried to rush in. The bad news for the gap soldier was that while he fought the enemy, preventing them from storming the castle, fellow soldiers were sealing the gap while he fought outside. Now that is unconditional commitment—the kind God desires from us.

That night at FCA, twelve athletes showed compassion and courage, talking about their enemies, how they needed to love, forgive, and befriend them. I had huge voids in my life. I went home that night, got on my knees, and asked Christ into my life. Now, each morning I ask God to use me, as He used Louie, in the lives of those with whom I come in contact.

Go
1. Who are the gap soldiers in your life? Will you thank the Lord for them, then call, write, or e-mail them and thank them personally?
2. Will you ask God to give you the will and courage to stand in the gap for your athletes, coaches, family, and friends?
3. Who were gap soldiers in the Bible? David, Daniel, Paul? Yes, but the Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate gap soldier. He put it all on the line for us, and He gave His own life with unconditional commitment and love.

Workout
Extra Reading: Ezekiel 22:23–31

Overtime
Lord, give me Your heart, Your courage, Your will, and Your strength. Make me a coach who will stand before You in the gap. Amen.
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Old 11-19-2014, 09:45 AM   #2120
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Default 11.19.14

Not Too Deaf
By Roger Lipe
November 19, 2014


Ready
Indeed, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear.
–Isaiah 59:1

Set
How do we pray about our sports lives? Do we regularly talk with God about each situation or just when things seem out of control? Which kind of prayer does God hear well? My answer may be surprising. It’s exciting to me that God doesn’t discriminate between my weakest prayers of panic and my most serene prayers of thanksgiving.

He clearly hears both. What’s more, He is responsive to both with His strong arm of protection and deliverance. In today’s competition, we must invite the Lord into each moment of the game. Let’s pray during pre-game and ask for His help and protection; pray as the competition reaches its height, seeking His power and wisdom for excellence; pray after it’s all over, giving thanks for the privilege of competing; and for the win or the loss. God is more than willing to hear about our best day or our worst moment.

Go
1. What do you pray about? Situations? People? Results?
2. Do you regularly talk with God about each situation or just when things seem out of control?
3. Which kind of prayer do you think God hears well?
4. How can we pray on game day? For what and for whom?

Workout
Psalms 10:17-18

Overtime
Lord, I’m so thankful that You hear my voice when I call Your name. Please help me remember to talk to You more, giving thanks when things go well and asking for Your help when things seem overwhelming. Amen.
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Old 11-20-2014, 09:20 AM   #2121
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Default 11.20.14

The Ultimate Pre-Game Meal
Michael Hill

Ready
"'My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,' Jesus told them."
-John 4:34

Set
As athletes what we put into our bodies is very important. The pre-game meal may be the most important meal we eat. We have to make sure we get enough energy to last through the entire competition. This is our last chance to get the fuel we need.

In John, Jesus tells us of work that will actually GIVE us energy instead of using it. Doing God's work will give us the fuel we need to in order to succeed in the game of life. So what is the work that we should be doing? In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus tells us very plainly what our "work" should be. We are to go out among the nations and build His Kingdom.

As part of TeamFCA, I challenge you to devote yourself to this kind of work. The mission of FCA is to "Present to coaches and athletes and all whom they influence the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church." Pay attention to how doing this feeds your soul. Make note of the energy it gives you. You may never look at food the same way again.

Go
1. Are we seeking to do God's work daily?
2. Are we asking God to show us where He wants us to work?
3. Are we studying God's Word daily to become better workers?
4. Today, what can I do to feed my soul?

Workout
Psalm 119:164
Matthew 6:11, 28:18-20
Acts 1:8, 17:11

Overtime
"Lord, show me where You want me to work, and I will serve You. Put the people in front of me who You want me to talk to today. Let Your words be heard with my voice. Take this life and use it to build Your Kingdom. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, amen."
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Old 11-21-2014, 09:52 AM   #2122
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Memorize That Playbook
By Jarret Myers

Ready
Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.
–Psalm 1:2

Set
Football players come to camp and are handed a binder filled with plays, formations, and adjustments built to withstand any opponent during the season. A lot of work, foresight, and detail went into putting together what could be a championship playbook. However great a playbook may be, though, it is useless without memorization and proper execution.

Athletes are expected to memorize most, if not all of the playbook—to understand the concept, intention, and correct application of every play. That is because during the course of a game, things don’t always look like they are drawn, and players may have to make adjustments. To do so requires more than memorizing plays—they practice, study, watch films, and redraw them. A coach doesn’t say to meditate on a play, but that is exactly the intention.

In the desert, Jesus fended off Satan’s temptations with three words, “It is written.” When Jesus quoted Scripture, He didn’t have a Bible handy—just like a player can’t carry the playbook on the field during a game. He had the words hidden in His heart and knew the concept and when to apply it. The Bible is our championship playbook, written to withstand every scenario the enemy or life can throw at us. But, if our noses aren’t in the Book, we won’t find ourselves in the game.

Go
1. Have you ever been in a game and did not know the play? How did that feel?
2. Have you ever been questioned and didn’t know Scripture to back up what you said?
3. What passage of Scripture will you memorize and meditate on this week?

Workout
Psalm 119:11; Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 12:24; 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Overtime

Lord, thank You for providing a playbook for my life. Forgive my disobedience when it comes to memorizing and meditating on Your Word. Please help me be more disciplined and discerning. Lord, I ask that You use me for Your glory. Amen.
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Old 11-24-2014, 10:45 AM   #2123
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Default 11.24.14

God of My Life
By Whitney Bruce

Ready
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust alone in me."
-John 14:1

Set
As Thanksgiving comes around, I am getting so ready to go home and be with family. I am excited for turkey, football, and, of course, sleeping. But with all these activities I tend to rely on them to refuel me over the school break. I find myself thinking that if I can just get through this week then I will have rest and fun with my family.

When I step back, I realize that I have started trusting in my activities to get me through this grueling week rather than relying on the Lord. I am trusting in my family, food, football and fellowship more than I am trusting in God. But God is a jealous God and wants our full attention and for us to completely trust in Him—to understand that He alone can bring meaning to our life.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust alone in me" (John 14:1). God wants our lives to have meaning—to glorify Him alone, not ourselves.

In what aspects of your life are you not trusting God? Your future? Your sport? A job? Your grades? Coaching? Family issues? When we get to the point where we think we can handle these things on our own, we get selfish and inwardly focused, instead of focusing on the cross.

God promises us these things:

1.) GOD IS ALWAYS WITH US:
God promises that he will be with us through all things and has a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11). He says, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you," (Hebrews 13:5). No matter how hard our situations are, God is there guiding us. "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps," (Proverbs 16:9).

Not only is God guiding us, but He is never going to leave us when it gets hard. "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze," (Isaiah 43:2).

God will be there with you while you make decisions, and He has a perfect plan for each one of us. We should not try to plan anything ourselves or let perfectionism come in the way of God's story for our lives.

2.) GOD CAN BE TRUSTED
He is God of the universe. Why, as sinners, do we fail to remember this? I can't imagine how many times I think God can't handle a situation, as well as I can. Whoa! Am I so wrong. Thank goodness God gives us grace.

We can trust God because He never lies. Never. It would counteract everything if He did. "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" (Numbers 23:19).

Since God never lies, we can trust His Word and that He is our shepherd and strength.

Let us pray like David, totally trusting in the Lord alone and what He has planned for us, "By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life," (Psalm 42:8). The end part of that verse is what is so amazing: "…to the God of my life."

Are there days where you make yourself the god of your own life? Really consider that. Do you act as though you are the god of your world? I know being prideful I would say, "No, that's impossible," but deep down I know that it's true. If I humble myself before the Lord I can be honest and say, "Yes there are days where I think I have it all together—that I am perfect and others should be like me..." But what a difference it makes in my life when I let God empty me and fill me with Jesus! The pride is removed, and I can clearly focus on the Lord and trust in Him and remove myself from where God should be in my life.

I hope and pray that the Lord will continue to teach us to trust in Him alone and not ourselves, since, as sinners, we fall. But Christ always reigns and is always perfect.

Go
1. Consider the question asked in the devotion. Do you ever consider yourself the god of your own life? How and why?
2. What outside things do you look to for fulfillment?
3. How much of your heart does God ask you to give to Him? (See Mark 12:30.)

Workout
Genesis 37
Jeremiah 29:11
Acts 16:25
Hebrews 13:5
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Old 11-25-2014, 05:45 PM   #2124
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The Athlete's Secret
Dan Britton

Ready
“When you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
–Matthew 6:6


Set
What’s the secret of an athlete? Speed? Strength? Size? Training? Any of those will provide an edge, but none are the real secret. The most powerful secret of an athlete is actually a spiritual discipline—prayer. When was the last time we really pressed into prayer? Not the prayers that say, “God, help me with the big game today,” or, “Help me to play well.” I’m talking about intense prayer—a time of truly seeking God’s face and asking for His will.

Many athletes may want to pray but simply don’t know how. Here are eight simple tips for praying:

1.Reveal, don’t tell. Don’t report to God what He already knows. Let Him reveal what we don’t know.
2.Shut the door. Find a place of solitude to meet God daily.
3.Open our mouths. Do not think our prayers, but say them out loud. A spoken prayer slows down thoughts.
4.Prepare our hearts. Listen to worship music to prepare for prayer.
5.Pray Scripture. Pick a Psalm and pray it out loud.
6.Petition. Devotion. Intercession. Ask God for our wants. Seek Him. Pray for others’ needs.
7.Journal it. Write our prayers in a journal.
8.Find a prayer partner. Find a partner (maybe a teammate) to pray with each week.

Go
1. Out of the eight tips, what is one that you can start developing?
2. How can authentic prayer be a part of your competition?

Workout
Psalm 66:18; Matthew 18:19-20; Mark 11:24-25; James 5:16

Overtime
Lord, I admit that prayer is often hard for me. My mind wanders, and it is hard to focus. Today, I ask You to develop in me a heart for prayer. Teach me how to pray, Lord. Amen.
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Old 11-26-2014, 02:48 PM   #2125
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Modeling Christ
Tony Dungy

Ready
Be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.
–1 Corinthians 11:1

Set
We, as Christians, need to model Christ and show people what life is all about. Life is not all about taking, getting, receiving, or taking advantage of opportunities that are presented to you, but life is also about helping and serving others. Jesus did some things in the course of His ministry strictly to show the disciples why He was here, what His mission was, and He said, “Let this be an example to you.” He washed their feet so they would understand what He was doing and why and what they were supposed to do as well. I think that role modeling was an important part of His ministry. Our job as Christians is to be that role model for those around us. That’s where you should get all of your satisfaction—from knowing that you have helped someone.

Go
1. Name some athletes after whom you try to model yourself. What characteristics are most appealing to you and why?
2. What are some of the characteristics Jesus displayed while He lived on earth? What are some of the challenges in trying to model your life based on those characteristics?
3. Why do you think Paul challenged the believers to imitate him as he imitated Christ? What might be some of the benefits of modeling Christ for others?

Workout
Extra Reading:
John 13:1-17
1 Peter 2:19-25

Overtime
Lord, help me know the character of Jesus. Let Your Holy Spirit give me strength and understanding so that I might model that character for those around me. Amen.
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Old 11-27-2014, 08:00 AM   #2126
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The Thankful Competitor
Dan Britton

Ready
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
- Colossians 3:17

Set
A Christian competitor is a thankful competitor. Every time you step onto the field of competition, your heart is exploding with thankfulness, because you are abundantly grateful for God’s blessings. You have a deep conviction that your gifts, talents and skills to play and to compete come from Him alone. You never take it for granted. Every stride, swing, shot, pass, goal and point is a response to God’s goodness. The way you compete is marked with, Thank you God, because you count all of God’s blessings in your life. You always show gratitude.

You have been given much by the Lord, and you play with that mindset. You are simply grateful for the opportunity to compete. Your sweat is an offering of thanks to Him. There is no room for pride in a heart full of thankfulness. A thankful competitor is a humble competitor.

You don’t try to impress others when you are thankful that God is making an impact through you. You don’t care if you are starting when you are overwhelmed with gratitude at simply having a spot on the team. You don’t put unrealistic expectations on your teammates’ shoulders when you realize God’s grace on your life. You don’t care about the scoreboard when your definition of winning is becoming more like Jesus every time you compete.

You don’t look at your opponent as your enemy when you are thankful that Jesus loved His enemies. You don’t view competition as crushing your opponent when your view of competition is to play in such a way that you elevate all participants’ involvement to a higher level of competition. You are not consumed with what others think of your play, when you are overcome that God is your Audience of One.

You don’t demand attention when your attention is on others. You don’t hide your weaknesses when you know that when you are weak, God is strong. You don’t criticize teammates when you believe the best about them. You don’t look at teammates as worthless when you are thankful that God has wonderfully made them. You don’t have to be #1 when you are already grateful for whatever place you receive. You don’t have to play for others when you already feel God’s pleasure when you compete.

You don’t seek glory and recognition when your goal is to glorify the One who made you. You don’t have to worry about making the team when you know God has selected you as His first pick. You don’t have to impress your coach when you are competing with all your heart as for the Lord. You don’t have to worry about your uniform when you are already wearing the jersey of Jesus Christ.

This Thanksgiving, be a thankful competitor! With a grateful heart, much can be accomplished. Let the power of thanksgiving change the way you compete. A Christian competitor is a thankful competitor.

Go
1.If you could rate yourself from 1 to 10 (with 10 being best) on how thankful you are, how would you score? If those who love you would rate you, what score would they give you? (Maybe you should ask two or three.)
2.When do you struggle the most to give thanks? When is it easy?
3.As a Christian competitor, what is one thing you can begin to do today to become a thankful competitor? Tell someone and ask him or her to hold you accountable.

Workout
•2 Corinthians 9:10-11
•1 Timothy 1:12
•Colossians 3:15
•1 Corinthians 15:57

Overtime
“Father, I want to be a thankful competitor. Whatever I do or say, I will do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to You, Father. Change me into the athlete or coach you have designed me to be – overflowing with thanksgiving. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
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