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Old 06-19-2015, 11:59 AM   #2221
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The Tour Team
Jimmy Page

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“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body…In fact, God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be?”
-1 Corinthians 12:12, 18-19

Set
As an amateur cyclist (very amateur), I just love the Tour de France. For 21 Stages in just 23 days, 180 of the most highly conditioned athletes ride 2,200 miles through some of the most beautiful countryside and grueling mountains in the world. It’s considered the “Super Bowl” of cycling, and it’s arguably one of the most physically, mentally and spiritually demanding events in all of sports. The riders average over 100 miles each day and burn over 130,000 calories! And while most of us would find it hard to drive a car thru the Alps, just imagine trying to do it on a bike.

What I find most interesting about the Tour de France is that it is impossible to win it without the help of teammates. Each teammate depends on their unique strengths of speed, power, endurance and even climbing at various points of the race in order to propel the other to the front. In fact, when one rider drafts off the wheel of another, he can save up to 30 percent of his energy. And each member of the team takes turns leading the way and blocking the wind.

What a great picture of why, as believers in Christ, we need each other. We’re all part of the same team, yet we have different roles. In 1 Corinthians 12 we’re told that we’re all part of one body, but each one of us brings unique gifts and talents. Sometimes we get jealous when someone else is in the spotlight, especially if we did a lot of the work behind the scenes. But God wants us each to play our specific role—to use our unique gifts today to bless others. Today, embrace your role and understand that God is using you to bless your teammates and provide just what they (and you) need to win!

Go
1. Have you ever had a teammate who was just out for themselves? Did it make your team better or worse?
2. Have you discovered your unique role on your team?
3. Have you discovered your spiritual gifts so that you can be most effective as part of God’s team?

Workout
Romans 12:4-8
1 Corinthians 12:12-30
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Old 06-22-2015, 11:05 AM   #2222
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I'm Done
Jo Bradford

Ready “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
– Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

Set
Knowing when to put your hand up and say, “I’m done,” (or in today’s vernacular, “I’m good”) indicates contentment in your present circumstances—a godly quality, as well as a sportsmanlike trait. Turns out, one of the greatest displays of sportsmanship in the history of athletics was also one of the quietest.

Unbeknownst to many outside of the sport of weightlifting is the story of the Olympic athlete who, when faced earlier with the opportunity to win the World Championship weightlifting competition in 1951, said instead, “I’m done.” Jim Bradford was ready, willing and able to snatch the title away from longtime champ John Davis. Bradford, who had no formal training, worked his way through Junior and Senior Nationals contests to land the spot second to Davis in Milan.

Bradford was at his best in form and fitness, but his opponent was not. Davis had suffered a leg injury earlier that was resurfacing as he pushed through his first clean and jerk lift. Bradford responded with ease. When Davis went back up, he managed to lift just enough to take the lead over Bradford. Davis was in pain, and Bradford knew it. So here was the moment in history when a great athlete made a great choice. Bradford knew that if he made another lift, it would no doubt surpass Davis’ because of Bradford’s present condition. If that happened, the undefeated champ would insist on returning to the stage once more, and Bradford knew that the “once more” could mean the end of Davis’ career and could possibly cause him permanent damage.

Bradford wanted what all athletes want. He dreamed the dreams of most competitors—to be No. 1. But he decided that it wasn’t worth it. He declined his next lift, choosing instead to hold up his hand and say, “I’ll stop here. I’m done.” Bradford put the care and concern of his fellow weightlifter in front of his personal glory.

The Bible says in Galatians 6:9-10: “So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.” Simply put, God commands us to put others—even our competitors—before ourselves, and athletes are no exception. He wants us to be so surrendered to Him that we value others above our personal achievements.

First Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time.” The great thing about God is that He will honor our obedience to Him when we choose to love others above ourselves. If we follow His leading and don’t worry about forcing our way to the top—instead, letting Him fill us and use us—He will recognize our Christ-like behavior and “exalt” us in due time.

The story ends with Jim Bradford having won silver medals in both the 1952 and 1960 Olympic Games and eight consecutive World Championships, which is a record unbroken to this day. His greatest victory, however, was the one that didn’t make the news: His choosing character over credential.


Go
1. Have you ever had to choose between your own success and the well-being of someone else? What did you choose? What was the result?
2. Think of a time when someone demonstrated good sportsmanship or character to you. How did that make you feel?
3. How does putting someone else’s needs above your own bring glory to Christ?
4. What is one way you can prioritize others above yourself in sports?


Workout
• 1 Corinthians 9:25
• 1 Timothy 6:6
• 1 Timothy 6:11-12
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Old 06-23-2015, 10:42 AM   #2223
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Lead by Example
Whitney Bruce

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“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
-1 Corinthians 11:1

Set
At every stage of life, there are different temptations to staying true to the Lord. As a college student, I’ve noticed that temptations have increased drastically compared to high school. There are nightly parties, common alcohol and drugs use, and our faith is constantly challenged in the classroom and in dormitory life. We must constantly put on the armor of God to battle these temptations (Ephesians 6:12).

As Christians, what does this look like? How can we stand out when it seems like everyone else is giving in, whether this is in high school, college or the work place? According to Scripture, we must train ourselves to be godly (1 Timothy 4:7). Christ gave us salvation as a free gift by dying on the cross, but obtaining godliness is different. We must pursue it. The Greek word "to train" is gumnazo, which is where we get our word gymnasium, so we must train ourselves spiritually like we train ourselves physically: every day. We must get into the Word, even if it is a struggle, and God will bless that time.

Also, as Christians, we are called to set an example to others (1 Timothy 4:12). Paul discusses through multiple letters that we as believers should imitate him as he imitated Christ: "Follow my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you," (Philippians 3:17). Think about your own life for a moment. Could you say, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ?" What a bold statement! We must prayerfully consider how the sin in our lives is hindering us from showing Christ to others. For me, I know I would not want the students I mentor to imitate my pride at times. What would you not want others to imitate about your life?

When evaluating ourselves, we must remember that, as members of the body of Christ, we are not only representing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes but, more importantly, the Lord. And in light of this, we must make a stand for Christ. I challenge you to truly evaluate your heart and where you feel like you are right now, then compare that to what Christ calls us to be.

Be excited! You are on the Lord's team, and He wants you to fight to be different and to be examples to others exactly where you are. And no matter what you do need to change in your life, He has the power to make that change a reality. You simply need to seek and obey Him, then let the Holy Spirit do the rest.



1. Who is looking up to you? Would you want them imitating every part of your life?
2. As Christians, what areas of Scripture do we tend to “cut out,” in order to fit in?
3. Do you train more for your sport than you train in the Word of God?


Workout
Psalm 55:22
Galatians 1:10
James 1:14-15
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Old 06-29-2015, 10:11 AM   #2224
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Winning Isn’t the Only Thing
P.J. Meduri

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He chose David His servant and took him from the sheepfolds; He brought him from tending ewes to be shepherd over His people Jacob—over Israel, His inheritance. He shepherded them with a pure heart and guided them with His skillful hands.
— Psalm 78:70–72

Set
There is an article I’ll probably keep my entire life. It’s an article about a coach whose team had made it to the state title game, only to learn they had an ineligible player. The coach had a decision to make—keep the information quiet and prepare for the championship, or contact the state association and have the season end on a forfeit. The coach maintained his integrity and informed the state.

In today’s verses we learn that David led the nation of Israel in two ways. One way was with a pure heart, a heart of honesty and integrity. I’m sure David—but more importantly God—would be greatly pleased with the pure heart exhibited by the coach who was honest about his team. That had to be a tough decision, one that was probably frowned upon by some in the school and community. As the Apostle Paul once wrote, “If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ” (Gl 1:10).

The second way David guided Israel was with skillful hands. God cares that His coaches are good coaches. Not winning ones, but good ones. Coaches who work hard at their job, are other-centered, give all they have according to their ability, and aren’t just padding a teaching salary. Scripture teaches, “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col 3:17).

God is honored when we utilize the gifts He’s given us, unless they become idols in our lives. God is honored when our vocations become acts of worship. God is honored when Christian coaches combine integrity with effort in a positive reflection of Christ.

Go
1. When are coaches most tempted to compromise their faith?
2. Is it difficult to view coaching as worship? Explain.
3. How does Romans 12:1 and 1 Corinthians 10:31 relate to coaching?


Workout
Ephesians 6:5–9; Colossians 3:23–24


Overtime
Father, grant me the grace to coach with a pure heart and skillful hands. Amen.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:16 AM   #2225
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Living Sacrifices
Roger Lipe

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"Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God."
–Romans 12:1-2

Set
Sacrifice is something most people never even consider, let alone complete. Let’s consider what it is to be a living sacrifice.

At the time of this writing by Paul, sacrifices were usually killed and laid upon an altar to be burned. The problem with “living sacrifices” is that they tend to crawl off the altar when it gets a little hot. We start with good intentions of making a sacrifice for our teammates, our family, or career, but when it gets uncomfortable we often snatch the sacrifice from the altar and lose the reward that comes from faithfulness.

The good news is that God’s grace enables us to offer our very bodies in daily service to Him. He calls it holy, pleasing service that is a spiritual act of worship. We must let God’s grace move us to sacrifice whatever it takes to pursue a life “holy and pleasing” to Him.

Go
1. What sort of sacrifices have you made for your athletic career?
2. What have you given up to pursue a life of athletics?
3. Has it been worth it? Why?
4. How is your daily life as a competitor true worship of Christ Jesus?

Workout
1 Peter 1:14-16

Overtime
Heavenly Father, I ask for Your forgiveness for the times I have failed to place myself and remain on the altar. I want a lifestyle that is pleasing to You and brings glory to Your name. Show me how to offer my body as a living sacrifice today—a sacrifice that is “holy and pleasing” to You. Renew my mind today so that I may discern what is good. Amen.
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Old 07-01-2015, 08:37 AM   #2226
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In the Light
Daniel Sepulveda

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God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” and walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
–1 John 1:5b-7

Set
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my life to be a lie. If we claim to be followers of Jesus Christ but live “in darkness,” the Holy Spirit—through the apostle John—tells us we are liars. The other option is to “walk in the light,” as Jesus did when He was on the earth. If we are faithful in doing so, two things are granted to us: fellowship with other believers and continual cleansing from sin.

Sharing life with others who know Jesus is important; God did not create us to be alone! When we “walk in the light,” the dark parts of our lives are revealed, giving us the opportunity to correct them, repent, and move forward, and allowing us to grow closer to our Father along the way.

Let the light of Jesus shine on your life, and encourage fellow believers to do the same. When we do, we can have a dynamic relationship with Jesus and He impacts our lives more as the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God in our lives. Imagine the world we would live in if we would let His light shine.

Go
1. When have you tried to hide a mistake from your coach, parents, or friends? How easy or difficult was it
to “live a lie”?
2. How have you tried to keep secrets about your past? What bad things might happen when you try to hide
bad decisions?
3. How can living a lie bleed into your relationship with Jesus? What are the dangers of falling into that trap?

What can you do to avoid the temptation of “living a lie?”

Workout
Psalm 69:5
Matthew 25:31-45
John 8:1-11

Overtime
Lord, forgive me of living a lie. Uncover and cleanse my sins. Give me strength to move forward and grace to walk in Your light. Amen.
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:37 AM   #2227
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Greatest Coach Ever
Dan Britton

Ready
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
– Proverbs 22:1

Set
In 2010, thousands gathered at a memorial service to honor the life of legendary coach John Wooden. Coach Wooden lived 99 full years. He lived well, died well and understood his eternal fate. He once said, “There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior.”

In 2009, Sporting News Magazine did the unthinkable. They made a list of the 50 greatest coaches of all time. That’s right—of all time! What an incredible challenge to narrow down the list to just 50! I bet the biggest challenge was selecting who received the No. 1 spot. If it had been you, who would you have selected as the greatest coach ever? According to Sporting News Magazine, John Wooden deserved that honor.

Why Coach Wooden? Maybe it was because he’d won 10 NCAA National Championships at UCLA. Maybe it was because he was the coach that all the other coaches looked to as the benchmark of success. Either way, Wooden was officially crowned the ultimate coach—a title that players, friends, fans and other coaches had already given him for many years.

Actually, Coach Wooden never wanted this award. He felt uncomfortable with the title and preferred that someone else be recognized. But his reaction to it may provide some insight as to why he is the greatest. Wooden coached with humility and confidence. He learned the art of mixing these two seemingly opposite traits—a feat that many others have failed to accomplish.

Wooden’s purpose in coaching was to instill greatness in others. He was committed to teaching, inspiring and motivating people, and he empowered his players to do great things. For Coach, greatness had nothing to do with himself. He never looked in the mirror when it came to success or accomplishments. For him, greatness was found in focusing on others. He lived out the principle that the fruit of a leader grows on other people’s trees. He was consumed with the simple principle he called “competitive greatness,” which included “not being the best, but being the best that you can be.” Through that message, Coach Wooden touched thousands of lives in a very profound way.

Coach Wooden’s impact has been felt in every sport in every way possible. Name a topic, and I would bet that Coach has covered it in his teaching. Philosophy of coaching, definition of winning, parenting, persevering through difficult situations, integrity, definition of success, teamwork, reaching noble goals, true friendship, life mission statements…Those are just a few.

On the last night of many FCA summer camps, there is a traditional open mic session in which athletes come forward and share how the camp has impacted their lives. It is always the highlight of the week. When I read that John Wooden had received the title “Greatest Coach Ever,” I pictured what an open mic session for him might be like. I imagined an endless line of players and coaches who had been directly and indirectly influenced by him stepping up to share countless stories of personal impact. What an incredible night of celebration that would have been! I’m sure that Coach would have been surprised and blessed to hear the life-changing difference he’d made throughout the years, and I think we all would have been motivated to leave such a legacy ourselves. We are thankful that Coach Wooden never stopped coaching. Even after he officially retired, he lived out the adage, “once a coach, always a coach.” He blessed us beyond measure because he used the game of basketball to coach people about life.

Just two weeks before he passed away, we were reading Coach Wooden the manuscript of the FCA book on him called Greatest Coach Ever, and Coach said, “I am happy being remembered as a man of integrity. I like that.” Yes, he will definitely be remembered as a man of integrity and much more. Coach realizes that a good name is better than national championships, undefeated seasons, and Hall of Fame honors. To be called a man of integrity is better to Wooden than being the greatest coach ever.

What a gut-check for all of us! I was so convicted by his reaction, and I know I will continue to be challenged by the simplicity and clarity of Coach’s life. He inspires me to be the best I can be, to invest in others, to give my life away.

Coach Wooden was pleased with a legacy of faith and integrity. If it were me, what would I want others to remember me by? Coach’s life forces me to come to grips with that very question. Oh, how I long for people to remember me for my heart and not my accomplishments. What about you? How would you finish the sentence, “I am happy being remembered as a …” May your answer, like Wooden’s, shape your future and your legacy in a way that honors the Lord.

Go
1. How would you respond if you were given the title “Greatest Coach Ever”? Be honest.
2. If you could be the greatest ever at something, what would it be? Why?
3. When you reflect on Coach Wooden’s life, what stands out to you? How do these qualities compare with qualities of most coaches today?
4. Why do you think Wooden was awarded the title of “Greatest Coach Ever”?
5. Complete the sentence: “I am happy being remembered as a …”
6. If you died today, how would people describe your legacy?

Workout
Ecclesiastes 7:1
Proverbs 3:4

Overtime
“Lord God in Heaven, I thank You for the life of Coach Wooden. His life touched so many in so many different ways. I ask that You continue to use his life to impact generations to come. Thank You for using his life to bring clarity to my own. I desire to have a good name more than any titles or accomplishments. I want to be remembered as a man after Your heart, Lord, and to have a heart that burns for You. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.”
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Old 07-07-2015, 08:54 AM   #2228
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Not a Doormat
Steve Conner

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From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.
–Ephesians 4:16

Set
Characteristics of the world’s best athletes are: self-control, discipline, teamwork, an ability to focus and perform under pressure, intensity, teachability, and knowing how to win with grace. So why is it that when someone has a temper tantrum, gives a cheap shot, cheats, disregards a victorious opponent, and screams at a referee—it is rationalized as being competitive?

I recently met a man in his late 30s who was bragging about being kicked off the church sports teams. He assumed we would be impressed at his machismo. He faintly conceded that he was too competitive. I disagreed with him and suggested he was not competitive enough. Rather, he was indulging in selfish ambition, disrespect, envy, and lack of self-control. He needed to grow up.

The Latin word for competition means strive together—to push and test an opponent to make them the best they can be because they are challenged. No one is implying that the stronger we are in our Christian faith, the weaker we are in sports. The idea of “because I am a Christian, I should be a doormat and lose,” generally comes from those who have a poor understanding of competition. Non-athletes often do not understand that the better the opponent, the better the competition. We cannot strive together if we are doormats. We cannot compete well unless we give the best of our talents—a maximum effort. We would ask no less of a Christian surgeon. Let’s be competitive, make the best use of our God-given abilities for His glory.

Go
1. How do you compete?
2. Are you a doormat or do you bring your best every time?

Workout
Extra Reading: Proverbs 27:17; James 1:19-20

Overtime
Lord, in all I do, let it glorify You. Amen.

Devotion from A Sporting Guide to Eternity by Steve Connor. Used by permission.
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:26 AM   #2229
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The Change
FCA Resources

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The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked.
— 1 John 2:6

Set
I once heard of a pitcher who was nervous about starting a play-off game. The position players were steering clear of him, and the pitching coach was at his wits end over the pitcher’s behavior. The head coach finally got wind of what was going on and marched down to the clubhouse to talk to the pitcher. He looked the pitcher in the eye and said, “Son, either change your behavior, or change out of your uniform!”

As coaches, one of our main jobs is to help change the behavior of our players. After all, that is ultimately what teaching is—seeing the knowledge learned on the practice field successfully transferred to the playing field. The best way to do this is by coaches modeling the exact behavior they want their players to practice. The old phrase, “More is caught than taught” rings true. Other ways to change players’ behavior are through drills for their physical needs, mentoring for their mental toughness, and building them up emotionally. Spiritually, they need the guidance and direction of Jesus.

Just as the disciples’ character changed when they walked with Jesus, so should the character of our players under our tutelage. As coaches we should constantly evaluate our players and then shape and mold them to walk as Jesus did. At most, we will have them for only a few seasons, but the world will have them for the remainder of their lives. As coaches for Christ, we need to commit to modeling Christlike behavior for our players to follow.


Go
1. How good of a model are you in the community and on the field?
2. Are your thoughts being transformed by God or by the world?
3. Has the change Christ made in your life influenced athletes toward Him?

Workout
Matthew 25:21
John 13:15
1 Peter 1:16–17

Overtime
Lord, I know I have not always been the best influence for You that I could be. Please forgive my past shortcomings and help me become the coach You want me to be. I want to be a positive influence for You and assist You in spiritually transforming my players. Please fill me with your Spirit. Amen.
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Old 07-15-2015, 10:23 AM   #2230
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The Armor of God
Bandy Grace

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“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
-Ephesians 6:11 (KJV)

Set
In ancient times, a soldier was only as good as the equipment he had. His only source of protection was his armor and his sword. In ancient warfare, there wasn’t the option to carry out attacks from miles away like we can today. It was always up-close, in a large crowd with hand-to-hand combat, and you needed armor that could protect you from every side.

When I read these verses in Ephesians, I immediately thought of two people: football players and baseball catchers. In both sports, helmets protect the athletes from blows to the head and limits the possibility of a concussion. Shoulder pads protect their chest and shoulders—a breastplate, so to speak. Then they have the hip, thigh and knee pads for leg protection, and finally, cleats to get traction and support their feet.

While this equipment provides players with physical protection, we, as Christian “warriors” need other protection as well. Ephesians tells us just as warriors (players) need protection, we Christians need armor to protect us from the outside forces that wish to harm us. During football games, my players get pounded constantly, and without the protective armor, their bodies wouldn’t be able to take the abuse.

The same can be said for our spiritual lives. Satan is constantly pounding us with temptations. Therefore, we need the armor of God to protect us and give us the strength to stand tall when the world around us in falling apart. On a recent Friday night at an important game, a player and I talked just before the third quarter. I told him that, as a senior and a player, he as an individual had to make something happen. And he did. He came up with a couple big stops and one or two sacks that truly made a difference. He stood tall and fought back in a situation where our season was falling apart. And he wasn’t the only one; it was a team effort.

Today, as Christians, let’s put on the armor of God so we can stand up for Him and be that Christ-like example for our teammates, and all the world, to see.

Go
1. Are you covered in the armor of God?
2. Are you utilizing His protective equipment to stand up for Him?

Workout
Ephesians 6:10-19
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Old 07-16-2015, 08:56 AM   #2231
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The Condition of the Heart
Pat Street

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“Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.”
— 1 Samuel 16:7b


Set “Too small…too short…can’t play…can’t survive…can’t make it in the NFL.” Who were the so-called experts talking about? It was Buffalo Bills quarterback, Doug Flute. He was too small in the estimation of many NFL scouts. Yet, in the Canadian Football League, Doug Flute is considered to be the best player in CFL history, winner of six Most Outstanding Player awards in eight years, quarterback of three Gray Cup champions, holder of most of the league’s passing records (41,355 career passing yards and 270 passing touchdowns).

Who would have ever thought that God would choose a shepherd boy to be king of Israel? “He’s too small! He’s too short! Too…too something! Why, he can’t be king!” Yet that is exactly what the Lord did. God chose David, the youngest, the least likely of Jesse’s sons, because, “man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart” (1 Sm 16:7b).

God saw something special in David that others couldn’t see. He saw that David’s heart was a godly heart. And that’s why David was God’s choice for king, because he “ found a man loyal to Him” (1 Sm 13:14). People are often preoccupied with their outward appearance, clothes, or hairstyle. But to God, the condition of the heart is most important. “What about your heart?” He asks. “Is it right with Me?”

Today God is looking for people He can use in His work. He is looking for someone with a godly heart. This is His heart’s desire: “If only they had such a heart to fear Me and keep all My commands, so that they and their children will prosper forever” (Dt 5:29).

Go
1. Why does God put so much stock in your heart condition?
2. What does it mean to be a person after God’s own heart?
3. How is your heart condition?

Workout
Extra Reading:
1 Samuel 16:6–13
Matthew 16:19–24

Overtime
Lord, may my heart be Yours and bring You honor and glory because of my obedience to Your Word. Amen.
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Old 07-22-2015, 08:43 AM   #2232
Big Daddy
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Default 7.22.15

Failure
Clay Elliott


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"Then Jesus said to them, 'All of you will run away.'"
–Mark 14:27a


Set
Jesus chose the disciples as His team—all twelve of them—and all twelve failed! When Jesus was betrayed by Judas and arrested, the disciples ran away into hiding. They started out wanting to defend Jesus, but fear took over. Jesus predicted this would happen, yet still wanted these men on His team.

We all fail. As athletes we will blow an assignment, strike out, or miss a shot. When this happens will the coach still want us on the team? Truthfully, sometimes yes and sometimes no. But if we keep trying and do not give up, we are more likely to keep our spot on the team.

After Jesus’ team failed, they rallied. Jesus appeared to them several times after the Resurrection to rebuke and encourage them. His team was back and ready for action; but no matter how hard they tried, eventually they failed again. Can you relate? Failure is an everyday occurrence for all of us. We might forget to do homework, flunk a test, or tell a lie. We must remember that this does not eliminate us from the team.

To overcome failure we need to get focused and get in the game! Failure only wins when we quit. Be a winner and stay on the team!

Go
1. What other failures did Jesus’ team experience?
2. What is the worst failure you have had in your life?
3. What can you do to overcome your failures?

Workout
Mark 14:27-50

Overtime
Father, thank You for loving me even when I fail. I want to be a person who perseveres. Give me strength to keep going and courage so that I will not deny You. Please teach me in my failures and show me what needs to be adjusted so that I can be victorious in You. Amen.
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Old 07-27-2015, 04:37 PM   #2233
Big Daddy
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Default 7.27.15

Unexpected Results
Donna Noonan

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Saul, however, was ravaging the church, and he would enter house after house, drag off men and women, and put them in prison. So those who were scattered went on their way proclaiming the message of good news
.–Acts 8:3-4


Set
How often have we watched a football game in which one team is leading by six points with a few minutes left, and they decide to go into a “prevent defense”—allowing the other team to march down the field, throw short passes, and score a touchdown in the closing seconds? Or a basketball game in which they double-team the post player who has been scoring all the points, only to have that little point guard who hasn’t made anything all year, hit consecutive three-point shots and win the game? I call those unintended consequences or unexpected results.

In the Bible we often see believers persecuted for doing good. God used those situations to expand His kingdom. Phillip, a good example, was chosen along with Stephen to be one of the disciples’ helpers. After Stephen was killed and Saul’s persecution of the church intensified, Phillip went to Samaria (a place he probably would have not visited on his own) to escape. As a result, the gospel was preached in Samaria. Saul and the religious leaders thought persecution would stop the people from believing in Christ, when in fact the persecution resulted in many more coming to faith. Men can try to stop God’s plans, but it won’t work!

Go
1. What are some examples of your actions resulting in totally unexpected results?
2. How have you seen God take a difficult situation and make something good happen?
3. How does that affect your trust and faith in Christ?


Workout
Extra Reading:
Acts 8:4-13; 9:1-18


Overtime
Lord, renew my heart and help me see what You are doing through my life. Help me be willing to go places I would not consider going—like Phillip in Samaria. Please use me. Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for my sin. May I be bold in sharing Your sacrifice with others. Amen.
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Old 07-29-2015, 03:14 PM   #2234
Big Daddy
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Default 7.29.15

C’mon, Blue
John Ausmus

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The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
— Galatians 5:22–23

Set
I love baseball. This is a sport that relies on a team for a successful outcome. Baseball is also the only American sport where, during a stoppage in play, a manager or coach can approach an umpire to dispute a rule or argue a call. Unfortunately, we’ve all watched a manager throwing a tantrum, kicking dirt on the plate, or verbally abusing an umpire. We’ve also seen the umpire retaliating in anger and sometimes losing control. It’s hard to have someone yell at us or challenge our character in any setting, but especially in front of peers and spectators in a stadium.

The Apostle Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit produces self-control in those he indwells. We can’t obtain this fruit by natural means; it is produced only when we look to Christ’s control of our lives. Granted, our sinful nature wants to yell, get angry, show off, or get the last word. Even though I have been a Christian for twenty-five years, I have often forgotten to give control of my favorite game to the Lord. But when I’ve yielded my life—including baseball—to Him, I’ve been changed and have witnessed the fruit of self-control grow stronger.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we begin the greatest adventure of our lives: becoming like Him. Others will see a picture of Christ by our example, especially when the fruit of the Holy Spirit is formed within us. When He produces self-control in us, we are able to see our situation more clearly, control our emotions and actions, and allow Him to guide us in handling circumstances correctly. Living a Spirit-filled life means living in harmony with the life God intended us to live and bearing fruit that will last.


Go
1. In what areas of your life do you need more self-control?
2. How do you react when confronted?
3. What can you do today to allow the Holy Spirit to make you more like Christ?

Workout
Extra Reading:
1 Corinthians 9:24–27
Galatians 6:1–5
2 Peter 1:3–11

Overtime
Gracious God, thank You for continuing the good work You’ve begun in me and producing fruit in my life that points others to Jesus. In His name. Amen.
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