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Old 03-27-2014, 08:07 AM   #2026
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Default 3.27.14

Good Team
By Adam Collins
March 26, 2014

Ready:
“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal.”
- Philippians 2:1-2


Set:
A successful partnership is a key in any sport, no matter how many athletes are playing at once. Let's think about basketball specifically. You start with a pick-up game of two-on-two. In that situation, you must work hand-in-hand with your teammate (partner), in order to prevent your two opponents from scoring, and you must find a way to score yourself. Usually, in order to become efficient partners, you have to play a few games together to figure it out. And the more you play together, the better your partnership becomes.

The same would be true if you added more players to the game. However, the more players on your team, the more practice it takes in order to become good. It takes more time to have five players figure out what's required of them than two, because there's a more combined effort to play together as a unit.

Did you know that the same can be said of the Body of Christ, a.k.a. God's team? I don't have to tell you that we're dealing with more than five players on a basketball court. There are millions of followers of Jesus worldwide. The same things that make you a good teammate or partner on a sports team are really the same things that make you a good teammate in God's Kingdom. On a sports team, the goal is to score more than your opponent. God's Kingdom is so much more important than that. The effort to be a good teammate has eternal consequences. It is to represent the God of the universe and His unbelievable plan for redemption, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yes, there are many people in God's Kingdom, which can make it tough at times to be a good teammate. But we’re called to do our part, to think on the things of God in order to encourage unity and strengthen the partnerships on our eternal team!

Go:
1. How can you be a better teammate on your sports team? God's team?
2. How can you encourage unity and strengthen partnerships within the Body of Christ? Consider the eternal consequences of your relationships in the church. You represent the Gospel!

Workout:
1 Corinthians 12
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:10 AM   #2027
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Default 3.28.14

Give Up or Stand Up
By David Lyons
March 27, 2014

Ready:
“Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”
- James 1:2-4

Set:
When I was admitted into the hospital in 2006 and, after five days of testing, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I found myself asking the question, “Why me, God? I have served You all these years, even preached Your Word as a youth pastor. Why would You allow me to get this devastating disease?”

I began to let the adversary work in my mind telling me to give up, that my life was over. I began to think that maybe I wasn’t worthy of God’s protection over my health. This tortured me for a while like a slow drip of water on my forehead. As time went by I realized that I once stood strong and healthy, and now I battle to stand. I asked myself again, “Why?”

It was at that moment that I felt the Holy Spirit tell me I was not thinking clearly. God’s Spirit brought me to His Scriptures to ensure me that God allows us to face trials in our lives. These trials test our faith, mold us into who God wants us to be, and allows Him to work in our lives the way He wants to work. But for God to work we must make sure our spirit is aligned with His and our faith is intact.

Proverbs 18:14 (NIV) says, “The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” God uses the adversities we face for many reasons and one is to be an example to others. Also, 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV) says that we are to “set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

I know now that what I am facing with MS is to be used for His glory. I am no longer asking why nor questioning how God does things. God does not give us more than we can handle, so I realize He knows how strong I am. He knows I will not give up. He knows I will stand strong once again and be a testimony for His great works.


Go:
1. When you face a trial in your sport or life do you give up or stand up in faith?
2. Are you willing to be a godly example to others on your team and school in the midst of adversity? Will you press on?
3. Do you believe God allows you to go through trials and tribulations so you may be used for His purpose? What can you do to discover that purpose?


Workout:
Romans 5:1-5
Philippians 3:12-21
Hebrews 12:1-3

About the Author:
David Lyons, a faith based author of David’s Goliath and former youth pastor, was a healthy bodybuilder and health club owner in his 20’s and 30’s. In 2006, at the age of 47, David was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. He is now a well respected TV producer and a competitive bodybuilder in his fifties. David is defying all odds to beat his disease. If you want to find out more about David and his challenge to battle MS logon to http://www.davidlyonsms.com
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:41 AM   #2028
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Default 3.31.14

Dream Big!
By Leo Sayles
March 28, 2014

Ready:
“Joseph had a dream...but his father kept the matter in mind.”
-Genesis 37:5a, 11b (NIV)


Set:
Have you ever been a part of a team that had a break-through year? In my own experiences as both a player and a coach, I find that those moments happen after a great deal of planning and training. Usually those “miracle” seasons don’t just happen; they are the result of hard work and effort. But one thing they do have in common is a big dream.

Regardless of how hard a coaching staff plans or how much a team trains, if they don’t dream big, they can’t hope to achieve something beyond themselves. In Genesis 37, Scripture tells us about Joseph and his dream. He didn’t just have one, though; he had two. When he shared the dream with his brothers, they completely understood the meaning of the dream: that Joseph would be elevated above them. Verse 11 says that his brothers envied him while his father pondered the meaning of these dreams.

Scripture doesn’t specifically say that Joseph’s dream came from God, but the implication was there. And I would bet that, in the ensuing trials he endured, Joseph probably treasured that dream in his heart. Knowing that he had been promised a great future probably gave him hope when times looked hopeless—strength when he was weak; hope when he was in the depths of despair.

Championship teams have vision. They set goals that others may not believe are possible. Those teams envision the rewards on the other side of their dreams, and they allow that vision to carry them through the trials and tribulations of the season.

When it comes to life, do we do the same thing? Have we ever taken inventory of our gifts, turned them over to God, and said, “Use me to build Your kingdom?” The truth is that we have a Heavenly Father who has hard-wired us with specific gifts, talents and desires that should serve as His instruments. And, when we allow His Spirit to guide our lives, a power is unleashed in us that the gates of Hell cannot prevail against!

We need to start dreaming big! We need to dream like Joseph, and to pray like Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10 (NIV): “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!” William Faulkner once said, “Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do.”

So, what is your dream? If that dream is in keeping with Scripture and within the boundaries of God’s will, then maybe, just maybe, it was sent by God and He is waiting for you to embrace it and live it out! Dream big for Him!


Go:
1. Has your team ever set a goal that everyone thought was impossible?
2. Were you able to attain that dream? Regardless of the answer, what did you learn through pursuing it?
3. What is your personal vision or dream? Is it in keeping with God's will according to Romans 12:1-2
4. What hinders you from pursuing that dream?


Workout:
1 Chronicles 4:9-10
Romans 12: 1-2

Read the full story of Joseph and the power of dreams: Genesis 37-45

About the Author:
Leo Sayles is a long-term FCA volunteer, having served in several capacities over his coaching career. He currently serves as the Head Volleyball Coach at Gardern-Webb University
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Old 04-02-2014, 07:51 AM   #2029
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Default 4.02.14

Pride Bombs
By Dan Britton
March 31, 2014

Ready:
“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.”
– Proverbs 27:2

Set:
I did it again. I can’t believe I haven’t learned yet. I should know better, but it’s so hard not to do it. Everyone does it. I guess it’s considered just part of life, but I refuse to cave in and be like everyone else.

While I was talking on the phone the other day with one of my accountability partners, I got fired up because we were having an awesome conversation. For some strange reason, I felt the need to slip in a quick, small, innocent sentence. Or so I thought. We were discussing the response we received from a fellow FCA staff member, and I quickly inserted, “Yeah, and he is a GOOD friend of mine.” I wanted to make sure my accountability partner knew of my significant relationship with this staff member. I wasn’t letting him know that I was friends with him; I was implying that things worked out because of my tight relationship with him. I was making myself look good, bragging. I had dropped a Pride Bomb!

As soon as I said it, my accountability partner responded, ‘Why did you have to say that?” I didn’t respond. He then said, “Dan, if you need encouragement, just let me know, and I will give it to you.” Ouch. His accountability stung. But he was absolutely right! Not only was I praising myself, I was also fishing for praise. I wanted him to think better of me. My small, “innocent” comment screamed, “Look at me! I’m important! I’m significant!” T.S. Elliot was right when he wrote, “Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.” Not only did my comment turn the spotlight on me, but it also removed God from the situation. I’d blown up a great, God-centered conversation with a Pride Bomb.

Pride Bombs are unnecessary statements we make that puff ourselves up. Others can hear them go off a mile away, and they produce the most awful, selfish odor. They reek of self-glorification. In the world of sports, unfortunately, they have become a natural part of the language. Athletes and coaches often aren’t even aware that they do it, and, even if they are, they brag about it.

Why do we have such a need to brag? Do we really want people to think we have a big head or are on an ego trip? Do we want to be tagged as cocky, full of self and puffed up? Why is it so hard for us to recognize it in ourselves when others can spot it a mile away? Do we feel that we need to prove something to someone? Will others like us more if they know how important we are? Is there something missing in our lives that we desire others to fill? Maybe the reason is answered by the Spanish proverb, “Tell me what you brag about, and I’ll tell you what you lack.” What’s really crazy is that while we do this so that others will like us more, it only makes them want to avoid us. That is messed up.

As Christians, God has called us to a higher standard. He does not want us to go with the flow. He wants us to be humble and to speak with words of grace and thankfulness. Our conversations should puff others up. We should look for opportunities to slip in encouragement. I think it’s safe to say that God wants us to drop Encouragement Bombs instead of Pride Bombs. The two bombs are much alike with the exception of one small distinction: the replacement of the word “I” with the word “you.” Encouragement Bombs say, “You are great.” Pride Bombs say, “I am great.” It’s that simple.

Instead of letting our comments drip with self-exhortation, we should drench them in the edification and blessing of others. I can name several people in my life that I actively seek out because of the encouragement they offer. They are gifted to build others up with authentic, genuine Encouragement Bombs. When they go off, the effect is love, joy, compassion, blessing and motivation.

If we are truly walking in accordance with the will of God, we will drop Encouragement Bombs everywhere we go, and He will use them to bring healing and restoration. May we all be committed to bringing change to our teams, homes, schools or offices through priceless bombs of encouragement. I firmly believe that everyone is under-encouraged, so there is a lot of work to be done. Today, will you blow yourself up with a Pride Bomb or fill another up with an Encouragement Bomb? The choice is yours.

Go:
1. This past week, did you drop more Pride Bombs or Encouragement Bombs?
2. Reflect on these conversations and recount the times you dropped Pride Bombs. Ask the Lord to reveal why you felt the need to do it and ask for His forgiveness.
3. In your own circle, who drops the worst Pride Bombs?
4. On the flipside, who drops the best Encouragement Bombs? What makes this person different?
5. Ask the Lord to help you identify when you drop Pride Bombs, then pray to become the world-record holder of the most Encouragement Bombs dropped in a single day!

Workout:
Proverbs 25:27
2 Corinthians 10:12, 18
2 Corinthians 12:11

Overtime:
“Lord God in Heaven, please forgive me for dropping Pride Bombs. They do not honor You or others. I know You want me to speak blessings, encouragement and love. Today, I have the opportunity to unleash favor upon others. Free up my tongue and unlock my heart, Lord. Let it flow so that others can be touched and impacted. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.”

About the Author:
Dan Britton serves as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes' Executive Vice President of International Ministry and Training at the National Support Center in Kansas City. He has been on FCA staff since 1991, first serving for 13 years in Virginia and most recently as the Executive V.P. of Ministry Programs. In high school and college, Dan was a standout lacrosse player. He continued his lacrosse career by playing professional indoor lacrosse for four years with the Baltimore Thunder. He has coauthored three books, One Word That Will Change Your Life, WisdomWalks and WisdomWalks SPORTS, and he is the author and editor of eleven FCA books. He still plays and coaches lacrosse and enjoys running marathons. He and his wife Dawn reside in Overland Park, Kansas, with their three children: Kallie, Abby and Elijah. You can e-mail Dan at dan@fca.org.
Become a WisdomWalker! WisdomWalks.org
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:17 AM   #2030
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Default 4.04.14

Who is your Saul?
By FCA Resources
April 03, 2014

Ready:
“So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’”
-Acts 9:17

Set:
“No way. Are you kidding me? What??” Those were my responses when someone told me news I never thought I would hear.

It had been right after I’d finished up speaking at a college FCA Huddle several years ago. One athlete, who I thought would never enter an FCA meeting, showed up to the Huddle. This player had been antagonistic to the things of Christ and was as mean-spirited as anyone I’d ever met. If there was a fight in practice, he was in the middle of it. If there was foul language being shouted out on the football field, it usually came from him. In my estimation, this kid was as far from becoming a Christian as LeBron James was from winning Wimbledon. In my mind, it was just not going to happen.

In Scripture we read about a man named Ananias who received a vision from the Lord. His vision was very clear, but Ananias was not fully sure of what God was asking him to do. You see, he had heard stories about Saul the “Christian killer.” Saul was legendary for his persecution of believers, but God sent Ananias to a street called Straight to lay hands on Saul and restore his sight and infuse him with the Holy Spirit.

I wonder if in the back of his mind Ananias was wondering, “Saul—a follower of Jesus Christ now? You’ve got to be kidding! How, when, why did this happen?” Regardless of his questions or opinion, Ananias was faithful to fulfill the Lord’s plan from the vision. And, when he arrived, Ananias’ first statement to Saul spoke volumes. He called him “brother,” which was a term not thrown around lightly in those days. Ananias had to believe in what the Lord had told him or he would not have led with such highly regarded and warm opening words. Ananias may have doubted Saul, but he did not doubt the Lord.

After I finished my message at this Huddle meeting, I asked several other athletes why this athlete was in the room. To my amazement, they shared how he’d come to Christ at a retreat earlier in the spring. I’d had no idea, and I am embarrassed to say that I could hardly believe it.

As the crowd left the room, the athlete approached me and gave me the biggest hug. I told him how happy I was that he’d come to Christ, and he told me the story of how several teammates never wrote him off and continued to share God’s love with him. Eventually, God had spoken to his heart and he’d made the choice to surrender to Him.

After our conversation, I prayed with him and left for my car. Once I was alone in my car, I broke down into tears. I asked the Lord to forgive my unbelief. I had written this kid off in my mind. I’d never turned my back on him, but I’d never really thought he would find the Lord. That night, I learned a valuable lesson: God is always using people to bring the unloving, the unruly, the uncontrollable, and the unbelieving to Christ. In this young man’s case, it had been his teammates.

I think all of us have a Saul-type person who we just don’t think will ever change, let alone come to Christ. Everyone might have written him or her off already, but I want to encourage you today not to throw in the towel. God is working and moving even though you might not see it. Joseph didn’t give up on his brothers. David didn’t give up on King Saul. Hosea didn’t give up on Gomer. And God may be asking you not to give up on your Saul.

Today, whoever your Saul might be, give them a chance. Continue to invite them to church, FCA or Bible study. Maybe even call them a brother or sister. Do what it takes to continue to show the love of Christ and trust that, one day, God will reach their heart.

Go:
1. Have you ever been surprised by someone’s turnaround for the better in sports, life or faith? Why were you surprised?
2. Why was Ananias greeting to Saul so powerful and gracious?
3. Who is your Saul today? How can you encourage him or her and continue to show them the love of Christ?

Workout:
Acts 9
1 Timothy 1:16
1 John 1:9
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:19 PM   #2031
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Default 4.07.14

Who is your Saul?
April 03, 2014

Ready:
“So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’”
-Acts 9:17

Set:
“No way. Are you kidding me? What??” Those were my responses when someone told me news I never thought I would hear.

It had been right after I’d finished up speaking at a college FCA Huddle several years ago. One athlete, who I thought would never enter an FCA meeting, showed up to the Huddle. This player had been antagonistic to the things of Christ and was as mean-spirited as anyone I’d ever met. If there was a fight in practice, he was in the middle of it. If there was foul language being shouted out on the football field, it usually came from him. In my estimation, this kid was as far from becoming a Christian as LeBron James was from winning Wimbledon. In my mind, it was just not going to happen.

In Scripture we read about a man named Ananias who received a vision from the Lord. His vision was very clear, but Ananias was not fully sure of what God was asking him to do. You see, he had heard stories about Saul the “Christian killer.” Saul was legendary for his persecution of believers, but God sent Ananias to a street called Straight to lay hands on Saul and restore his sight and infuse him with the Holy Spirit.

I wonder if in the back of his mind Ananias was wondering, “Saul—a follower of Jesus Christ now? You’ve got to be kidding! How, when, why did this happen?” Regardless of his questions or opinion, Ananias was faithful to fulfill the Lord’s plan from the vision. And, when he arrived, Ananias’ first statement to Saul spoke volumes. He called him “brother,” which was a term not thrown around lightly in those days. Ananias had to believe in what the Lord had told him or he would not have led with such highly regarded and warm opening words. Ananias may have doubted Saul, but he did not doubt the Lord.

After I finished my message at this Huddle meeting, I asked several other athletes why this athlete was in the room. To my amazement, they shared how he’d come to Christ at a retreat earlier in the spring. I’d had no idea, and I am embarrassed to say that I could hardly believe it.

As the crowd left the room, the athlete approached me and gave me the biggest hug. I told him how happy I was that he’d come to Christ, and he told me the story of how several teammates never wrote him off and continued to share God’s love with him. Eventually, God had spoken to his heart and he’d made the choice to surrender to Him.

After our conversation, I prayed with him and left for my car. Once I was alone in my car, I broke down into tears. I asked the Lord to forgive my unbelief. I had written this kid off in my mind. I’d never turned my back on him, but I’d never really thought he would find the Lord. That night, I learned a valuable lesson: God is always using people to bring the unloving, the unruly, the uncontrollable, and the unbelieving to Christ. In this young man’s case, it had been his teammates.

I think all of us have a Saul-type person who we just don’t think will ever change, let alone come to Christ. Everyone might have written him or her off already, but I want to encourage you today not to throw in the towel. God is working and moving even though you might not see it. Joseph didn’t give up on his brothers. David didn’t give up on King Saul. Hosea didn’t give up on Gomer. And God may be asking you not to give up on your Saul.

Today, whoever your Saul might be, give them a chance. Continue to invite them to church, FCA or Bible study. Maybe even call them a brother or sister. Do what it takes to continue to show the love of Christ and trust that, one day, God will reach their heart.

Go:
1. Have you ever been surprised by someone’s turnaround for the better in sports, life or faith? Why were you surprised?
2. Why was Ananias greeting to Saul so powerful and gracious?
3. Who is your Saul today? How can you encourage him or her and continue to show them the love of Christ?

Workout:
Acts 9
1 Timothy 1:16
1 John 1:9
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:31 PM   #2032
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Grande Padre must really like that last one^^^!
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:42 AM   #2033
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olopster View Post
Grande Padre must really like that last one^^^!
LOL!
My memory is as long as my hair... so sorry!
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:52 AM   #2034
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Default 4.08.14

Who Is Your Saul?
By FCA Resources
April 03, 2014

Ready:
“So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’”
-Acts 9:17

Set:
“No way. Are you kidding me? What??” Those were my responses when someone told me news I never thought I would hear.

It had been right after I’d finished up speaking at a college FCA Huddle several years ago. One athlete, who I thought would never enter an FCA meeting, showed up to the Huddle. This player had been antagonistic to the things of Christ and was as mean-spirited as anyone I’d ever met. If there was a fight in practice, he was in the middle of it. If there was foul language being shouted out on the football field, it usually came from him. In my estimation, this kid was as far from becoming a Christian as LeBron James was from winning Wimbledon. In my mind, it was just not going to happen.

In Scripture we read about a man named Ananias who received a vision from the Lord. His vision was very clear, but Ananias was not fully sure of what God was asking him to do. You see, he had heard stories about Saul the “Christian killer.” Saul was legendary for his persecution of believers, but God sent Ananias to a street called Straight to lay hands on Saul and restore his sight and infuse him with the Holy Spirit.

I wonder if in the back of his mind Ananias was wondering, “Saul—a follower of Jesus Christ now? You’ve got to be kidding! How, when, why did this happen?” Regardless of his questions or opinion, Ananias was faithful to fulfill the Lord’s plan from the vision. And, when he arrived, Ananias’ first statement to Saul spoke volumes. He called him “brother,” which was a term not thrown around lightly in those days. Ananias had to believe in what the Lord had told him or he would not have led with such highly regarded and warm opening words. Ananias may have doubted Saul, but he did not doubt the Lord.

After I finished my message at this Huddle meeting, I asked several other athletes why this athlete was in the room. To my amazement, they shared how he’d come to Christ at a retreat earlier in the spring. I’d had no idea, and I am embarrassed to say that I could hardly believe it.

As the crowd left the room, the athlete approached me and gave me the biggest hug. I told him how happy I was that he’d come to Christ, and he told me the story of how several teammates never wrote him off and continued to share God’s love with him. Eventually, God had spoken to his heart and he’d made the choice to surrender to Him.

After our conversation, I prayed with him and left for my car. Once I was alone in my car, I broke down into tears. I asked the Lord to forgive my unbelief. I had written this kid off in my mind. I’d never turned my back on him, but I’d never really thought he would find the Lord. That night, I learned a valuable lesson: God is always using people to bring the unloving, the unruly, the uncontrollable, and the unbelieving to Christ. In this young man’s case, it had been his teammates.

I think all of us have a Saul-type person who we just don’t think will ever change, let alone come to Christ. Everyone might have written him or her off already, but I want to encourage you today not to throw in the towel. God is working and moving even though you might not see it. Joseph didn’t give up on his brothers. David didn’t give up on King Saul. Hosea didn’t give up on Gomer. And God may be asking you not to give up on your Saul.

Today, whoever your Saul might be, give them a chance. Continue to invite them to church, FCA or Bible study. Maybe even call them a brother or sister. Do what it takes to continue to show the love of Christ and trust that, one day, God will reach their heart.

Go:
1. Have you ever been surprised by someone’s turnaround for the better in sports, life or faith? Why were you surprised?
2. Why was Ananias greeting to Saul so powerful and gracious?
3. Who is your Saul today? How can you encourage him or her and continue to show them the love of Christ?

Workout:
Acts 9
1 Timothy 1:16
1 John 1:9
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Old 04-08-2014, 02:10 PM   #2035
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Third time is a charm!
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Old 04-09-2014, 02:55 PM   #2036
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Evidently the link I use is giving me the same devotional each day. I read the one sent to my e-mail...but when I embed the link it is giving me the same devotional... I almost posted "Who Is Your Saul?" a 4th time
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Old 04-09-2014, 02:58 PM   #2037
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Default 4.09.14

Choose Love
By Janet Weber
April 09, 2014

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

Set:
Have you ever disagreed with your coach’s game strategy or played with a teammate with whom you didn’t see eye to eye? Have you ever competed against an opponent who made you really angry? As athletes, we come into contact with a lot of people: coaches, teammates, opponents, referees, and fans; and we’re not always going to agree with them.

Jesus came in contact with a lot of unpleasant people. His teaching was so radical for the time that the high priests and city rulers publicly beat Him and nailed Him to a cross. If that wasn’t enough, they mocked and taunted Him in the process. As He hung on the cross they called, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matthew 27:40). Jesus heard their ridicule and could have called thousands of angels to His aid, but instead willingly chose to die because He loved us.

Because Jesus set the example by choosing to love, He gave us the freedom to love those who treat us poorly. By dying on the cross for our sin, He demonstrated that love is an action, not just an emotion. In John 15:18 Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (NIV). Next time you run into someone you’d rather punch than hug, just remember how Jesus responded. Choose love.

Go:
1. Have you ever encountered a teammate or a coach who has said something that made you angry? How did you respond?
2. Think back to a time when you responded in anger. How could you have chosen to show love instead?

Workout:

Mark 12:33; Luke 6:27-28; 10:27; John 3:16; 13:34; Galatians 5:13

Overtime:
God, forgive me for not loving unconditionally. I realize I won’t always get along with everyone, but I can choose to love them. When things unfold in an unpleasant manner, help my response be Your response. Amen
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Old 04-10-2014, 02:28 PM   #2038
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Athens
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Default 4.10.14

You Get What You Give
by Brooke Adams
April 10, 2014

Ready:
"I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. "
-2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)

Set:
As a cross-country skier, I have to train all year. Since we have not had much snow in the last couple of years, we have had to do dry-land training so that when the snow comes we are ready. Skiing is both a team and an individual sport, and we train for endurance, technique and strength. And although we have a team behind us encouraging us along the way to keep us going and making us want to succeed, it is still up to us as individuals how much we put into the sport.

Our walk with Christ is very similar. We have to "train " ourselves to become closer to God. We have to work at it and want our relationship to grow stronger with Him; and in those times when we need God the most, all of that training will be worth it. And while our relationship with our Heavenly Father is something we have to work with on our own, we shouldn't forget that we do have a "team " with us. The brothers and sisters in Christ that God has placed in our path are there for a reason. They can guide us closer to Him and encourage us to grow.

Like skiing, running, or any sport you do, your walk with Christ is something that you (we all) need to consistently work on. Today, keep in mind that when it comes to your relationship with Christ, you will get how much you put into it.

Go:
What are your methods of spiritual training?
Do you have a team behind you in your walk with Christ?
Who are they?
How can you begin to pursue God even more?

Workout:
Matthew 6:33
1 Timothy 6:11-16
1 Peter 2:2-3
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Old 04-11-2014, 07:40 PM   #2039
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Athens
Posts: 6,314
Default 4.11.14

Playing to Win
By Tyler Ingalls
April 11, 2014

Ready:
“And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.”
- Romans 6:13-14


Set:
In any sport, when a team has the upper hand whether through having better players or a big lead in the score, their coach will often encourage them by saying, “We play to win.” So often, teams that have the upper hand will play down to the level of their competition. Instead of playing to win, they start playing to not lose. In those times, they will often let the competition come back and, many times, beat them.

The same thing happens in our walk with Christ. Every day, we face temptation as Satan tries to find a way to bring us down. He knows that because we have Christ on our side, we have the upper hand. But when we lose sight of that and start playing not to lose, we become very vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. Instead of focusing on Christ, we focus on the temptation itself and try to stay away from it.

It’s not a bad thing to avoid temptation, but we shouldn’t focus on it. We need to remain focused on the Lord and on becoming like Him by maturing in our faith. We have the ultimate upper hand through Jesus Christ who has redeemed us and conquered all sin for us. Through Him we have the victory and can walk in it every moment of every day.

Because we have the upper hand through Christ, we have to start playing like it. Jesus always trumps sin. If we play to win, focusing on becoming more like Christ, we will find victory over temptation and sin every time.

Go:
1. What does “playing to win” look like in your life? How does it compare to playing “not to lose”?
2. What are some temptations you regularly face?
3. How can focusing on Christ help you win the battle over temptation?
4. Think of someone in your life you can talk to about the battle over temptation. How can you enlist their teamwork (e.g., prayer, accountability) to help you stand strong?

Workout:
Ephesians 6:13-18
James 1:12
1 Peter 5:8-9
2 Peter 3:17-18
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:12 PM   #2040
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Default 4.16.14

To Whom be the Glory?
By Addison Howard
April 16, 2014

Ready:
“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”
- Romans 1:25 (NIV)


Set:
Do you remember the first time you scored in sports? Maybe it was a touchdown, a basket, a kill, a home run or a match point. For a lot of us, once it happened, we could hardly resist telling everyone about it.

As we get older, the stakes seem to get higher—the significance greater. Game-winning goals, last-second stops on the goal-line, blocked shots, fourth-quarter buzzer-beaters, walk-off home runs…We’re not playing t-ball anymore. The plays we make as we age can win or lose games and even championships. And if we’re involved in successfully making those plays, it’s often hard to contain our pride. We want to ask people, “Did you hear about what I did?” or, “Did you see my [fill in the blank] play?” It’s so easy to bask in the glory of our own self-righteousness.

It has become far too common for us to “worship and serve created things,” like ourselves, rather than our Creator. But what can we accomplish on our own? What can we do to put ourselves in the spotlight? We are just the created things—not the Creator Himself. Still, we take pride in ourselves for our fitness level or our accomplishments on the field. We want to glorify our own strength and abilities, when, all the while, we should be deflecting the glory and honor to the Lord.

Most of us have heard the story of Moses and how, after he had been away from the Israelites for a while, he came back to find them worshiping a golden calf. He condemned them for doing so because they shouldn’t have been worshiping anything but the Lord.

If you’re like me, when you first read that story, you might have skimmed quickly over it and thought, “I don’t have a problem worshiping shiny objects or cows.” But our actions often state otherwise. If we really examine ourselves, we may see that we worship conference titles and championship trophies. We strive after these shiny things more than we strive after God.

I’m not saying that God is calling us to yield to our opposition or to be weak. God wants us to be excellent in all things, including sports. And it’s okay to get excited when we do well or make a great play, but we need to understand that it isn’t about what WE do or accomplish, but what HE can accomplish in us and through us.

Today, let’s not seek out praise from others for personal fulfillment, but instead, seek out great ways to bring Him glory in all things.

Go:
1. Have you ever made a play that ended up bringing you praise from friends, fans and teammates? How did you respond?
2. How can you use your athletic success to bring Him glory?
3. If you’re not a current athlete, how does this lesson apply to your job, education or life situation?

Workout:
Proverbs 22:29
Romans 1:21-25
Ephesians 3:20-21
Hebrews 6:10
Revelation 4:11
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