Take a Knee

The comments below are from Tommy Nelson’s notes who preaches at Denton Bible Church.

There are things in our old life that providentially prepared us for the course of our Christian lives.

Do you know what the chief thing was in my life? It was being a football player. Not just an athlete but a football player. Football is not an Olympic sport. Only American’s play it. Olympic football would start wars. It’s just too violent.

But you know what? It gave me an edge in life that a lot of my pals never had. There were things that I was force fed that became second nature. It’s been said that unless you were an athlete, a farmer, or in the military that, with the state of fatherhood today, you probably never learned these things.

For example…

  • I had to discipline my body to do what I did not feel like. Feelings were submitted to vision.
  • I had to co-exist with discomfort and being stretched. Physical and emotional toughness were requirements.
  • I had to submit to authority… that I often didn’t care for.
  • I had to be a team man. I had to bend with others, encourage others, and recognize them.
  • I had to do short term things that had no immediate recompense in order to attain to an ultimate success.
  • I had to master certain skills.
  • I had to maintain poise when hopelessly beaten just to keep a standard.
  • I had to come back after extreme discouragement.
  • I had to finish… the practice, the game, the season, the scholarship. I could not quit.
  • I had to follow rules that other people didn’t because I wanted something beyond me.
  • I had to do something with excellence just because of personal pride in who I was.
  • I had to represent a school and a group of people with distinction.

I didn’t realize the benefit of football growing up because ball players were all I knew. But then I got in the ministry with regular folks. I discovered that many of the things that had become instinctive to me were alien to them. So often they did not dream for something greater than themselves. Often, they had a habit of quitting what they began or often not committing to anything that would curtail their freedoms. Too often when things got tough, they would take off. Many of them could not function on a team or be responsible to duty. Many could not submit to authority.

But I found out that these attributes were not original to sports but to the Bible’s view of successful living.

So…

  • Dream! Have a life that goes beyond you.
  • Do the short term things that will lead to ultimate success.
  • Finish… Finish… Finish. Quitting is a learned art.
  • Be excellent in all you do with a sense of personal pride in who you are.
  • Discipline. Make a habit of quiet times… prayer… giving… church.
  • Live higher than the crowd. Have a moral standard that sets you apart.
  • Achieve. Let each year take you intellectually higher and ministerially higher and farther. Let no year pass without a sense of growth.
  • Be a team man able to work under authority.

Live on purpose. Not just on passions and instincts.

Humbled

My friend Randy was a big guy and had been a star high school football player, All-League, All-Area, All-State. He went to college the fall of his freshman year to get a college degree but he also wanted to continue to play football.

The first scrimmage, that August, he was assigned to play defensive end. On the very first play from scrimmage the offensive guard pulled, came down the line and hit my friend in the chest, then put his hands in the arm pits of my friend, picked him up and tossed him backwards. The offensive guard then said to my friend, “That was your warning. The next time I come down here I am going to kick your ass!” Two plays later the offensive guard did exactly that, pancaking my friend. The rest of the scrimmage, my friend got his butt kicked, play after play after play.

My friend wondered, after that practice, if he had made a good choice to try and play football at the collegiate level.

Early in the evening, on the night Jesus was arrested, Jesus told Peter, that he Peter would deny Jesus three times before the cock crowed that night. Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” Well later on that night, after Jesus was arrested, Peter did deny he even knew Jesus three different times. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And Peter went out and wept bitterly.

In life we can get ourselves in over our heads pretty quickly. Maybe I should not have done this or that or maybe it is to late now. No matter what you have done, God gives us a second chance. Even if you have drifted away for a period of time, God is waiting for your return and He has a job for you.

My friend in college, he ended up playing some pretty good football, after his humbling start.

Jesus ended up building the church upon Peter the rock, but only after Peter was humbled.

God likes to put people to work after they have been humbled.

Matthew 23:12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

 

The First Practice

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My first high school football practice, as a freshman, was to begin at 7:00 a.m. on Monday morning. The head football coach had a meeting with his team the Friday before to give us our football equipment and tell us what to expect. He told us to be there at 6:30 a.m. to get dressed and be ready to run out the door of the field house at 7:00 a.m. sharp. There was no compromise in the coach. We had to do things his way not our way.

I was nervous when I got up Monday morning and did not get much sleep. Since I would be walking to the football field that morning, I would need to leave before the sun was up. Being freshmen, we had heard the coach was a tough taskmaster, he yelled a lot and that he would demand great effort on everything we would be doing at practice and if we didn’t pay attention like he wanted, he would make us do up downs forever.

That nervous feeling I got that first morning of football practice. I have felt that same nervousness numerous times through out my life, like when I left home to go to college. I felt it when I went to my first job after college. I felt it when I called my wife for our first date. I felt it when my wife said it was time to leave for the hospital to have our first child. I bet you have experienced the same thing over and over in your life also.

When is the last time you felt nervous about something? In most situations where I felt nervous, I was not in control of any of them. When you join a team you are no longer in control. How you respond to the situation is under your control.

We love to be in control of our situations. When you joined the football team did you try to change what the coach wanted you to do? (Sure some of the guys tried to get the coach to stop making us do so many up downs, but that didn’t help us any.) You must conform to the football coach’s way of doing things to be transformed from a bunch of individuals into a football team.

When we join God’s team we need to treat it just like joining a team. Yes, you will be nervous the first time you walk in to a church worship service. But we need to accept God for who He is and that we are the ones that will need to adjust our lives accordingly. God does not change and our transformation may at times be painful. (Just like football practice.)

Let me encourage you to rejoin God’s team today. If God knew Jeremiah before he was born, God knew you before you were born also and He has been seeking to find you your whole life.

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.

Do Something New

Could you imagine football today if things had never changed from the early days? We would still have the wedge offense, and some coaches in the early days thought the forward pass should be illegal.

Things continue to evolve in the game of football, as they should. Imagination and creative thinking has brought us new formations, new schemes, new thoughts and ideas.

In Psalms 96:1 it says, “Sing to the Lord a new song.” In football we constantly are thinking of new ways to play the old game. In your spiritual life are you doing anything new and different?

Spiritual growth must have a foundation of routine and discipline. We need to read the Bible and pray daily; just like a football team that needs to lift weights every week of the year. But in that spiritual routine we need to interject new thoughts, ideas, places, books, etc.

Some Christians use the same Bible for years. How about getting a different version of the Scriptures? You might read a very familiar verse, but take away something completely different. Do you always pray in the same place in the same way at the same time? Do something different for a change. Go to the lake, get out in nature and pray. Go to your church sanctuary or visit another church sanctuary by yourself and pray at different hours of the day or evening.

Do you go to the same worship service, at your church, every Sunday? Get out of your comfort zone and go to another one, once in awhile. Maybe you need to go to a different church, just to visit, to get a new perspective. Lots of churches have evening events such as a traveling singing group or revival services with a visiting pastor.

Keep your spiritual foundation intact, but don’t bore yourself or your God with your worship, where you have it all memorized and it is no longer worship, but just another thing to accomplish, on your agenda this week.

 

 

Joseph’s Way-The Call to Fatherly Greatness

For the past several weeks I have been reading the book Joseph’s Way-The Call to Fatherly Greatness ‘Prayer of Faith’ by Devin Schadt  The book is set up to be read in a daily devotional style, just a few pages a day. Let me share a quote from the book today with you:

“Keep in mind that these reflections on humility and fortitude are for the purpose of preparing you to build the domestic church, a home wherein you, as the spiritual leader of your family, will lead your family to union with God. Your family’s holiness should continually be your primary focus and chief proximate end, second only to your own personal holiness and pursuit of God.

Within you also, my dear brother, exists a terrible battle between your fears and the longing for conquest, especially the conquest of your disordered self. If you desire to become a true man, aspire to the challenge of conquering something apparently greater than yourself: your fears, your doubts and your past. Beware, my brother, for fear, if not properly transformed into trust, will become a power greater than yourself, evolving into an alter ego which will subdue your interior being, crushing your desire to become a valiant, holy defender of the domestic church and instead deforming you into a coward who knows not the grace and power of the resurrected Christ.”

10 Reasons to Join the Track Team

Found this great article  10 Reasons to Join the Track Team. Next is a quote from the article:

Every year, I attempt to recruit our best football players to the sport of track & field.  Track does not sell itself.  This article will focus on how I recruit athletes to the Plainfield North track program.  Some of the things we do will not be universal.  Hopefully this article gives track coaches some tools to promote your sport.  Hopefully this article will help athletes and their parents to develop a balanced approach to athletic participation.  The only adults promoting specialization are jackasses who benefit from specialization.  All true educators promote balance.