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Old 06-19-2015, 11:59 AM   #2221
Big Daddy
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Default 6.19.15

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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Default 6.23.15

Lead by Example
Whitney Bruce

Ready
“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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Default 6.30.15

Living Sacrifices
Roger Lipe

Ready
"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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Default 7.01.15

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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