Last night was the first night of Starting Point groups at Lifepoint and it was cool. Starting Point is a 10 week deal where some pretty foundational things are explored, like how do we know the Bible is reliable, what’s the story all about and where do I fit in. We really feel like this is a missing link in a lot of peoples lives and they wander around for years with their relationship with God because there is no underpinnings to their faith.
This is also a milestone for us because anytime we can do groups, it make our church stronger and our members stronger. A lot of really neat people signed up for Starting Point and I feel like this is the Start of some big things Spiritually. Pray for us as we chase God and grow closer to each other.
As I have stated in previous post, I am coaching at a local middle school and we had our third game yesterday. Our first game was a triple overtime thriller that we lost. Our second was a come from behind victory against a good opponent on their field and then there was yesterdays game. We were playing an opponent that never wins, that had less than twenty players and we were at home.
This was a game that we should breeze through and have the second and third team in by halftime. Not! Lack of planning on our part (coaches) and what I call the big pain little pain syndrome kicked in and the game was very messy. The planning part would have helped us get kids in the game more strategically and would have given them a better chance to succeed (instead of giving up scores in one play). The BIG pain little pain thing comes in where we did not do cuts. It made kids feel good to make the team but it is hard to get non-football players into a football game or kids that are just too small or young (little pain – have cuts, BIG pain – look a kid in the eyes that practices everyday and has not been in the game and you can’t figure out where to put them).
Probably the most disappointing thing to me is that we won but it didn’t look like it, feel like it our sound like it. The kids looked like they lost and the coaches looked like they just lost their dog. I know this sound like a rant with no direction but here is my thought.
We say this all the time at Lifepoint, “Excellence Honors God” and I think this is universal. Biblical principles work for business, for schools, for churches, for athletic teams, for anything because this world was made by God and for God. When we do our jobs we should give it everything we have, when we coach we should coach like it’s a championship game, when we parent we should do it to the best of our ability and then when the dust settles it will always feel good whether the scoreboard is in our favor or not. There is just something about knowing I did my best. Don’t settle for anything less that all you’ve got, because if you do, even a win feels like a loss.
I have not gone SEC on you although I do follow Florida because their QB is from Charlotte (as well as Georgia’s, same school as a matter of fact).
But I am coaching the Myrtle Grove Middle School Gators and we got our first win of the season last week against Leland Middle.
Our kids played well and we had to come from behind to win. Leland recieved the kickoff and on the first play from scrimage, took it to the house. I was thinking of the Southwest airline comericals (cause I was wanting to get away). We made a few adjustmests, got some big turnovers, scored right before the half and were up 8-6.
We held the ball most of the third quarter and scored, making it 14-6. We did the same in the fourth quarter and made it 20-6 (got to work on the extra point thing). They got a cheap one on us late in the fourth that made it 20-14 and they went for the onside kick (I think I heard that Southwest Airline ding again). We recovered and it was great!
We have Virgo at home this week.
Just got back from Raleigh where we carried our kids to see the Lion King on Broadway for their birthdays. It was incredible. I was inspired and entertained for two hours. I have never been to one of these Broadway shows and my expectations were greatly exceeded.
This thing was well put together from the live music that comes from an orchestra that is in a pit in front of the stage, to the animals that are all real people. The set designs, lighting, moving stage pieces and costumes were off the hook as well.
As I sat and watched this all I could think about is how important that it is that we serve God with excellence. These people were good at what they did and it was obvious the amount of preparation that went into this play.
I think that what we (the church) put out on the weekends should rival the preparation and energy that something like this has. As I sat there and watched this play, I was motivated and inspired and this is just a play. But even though it was just a play, I was captivated and caught up in the moment. Can you imagine if you used energy and excellence like this and then the story line was God’s story?
I know that there are those out there that say that entertainment is watering down the Gospel or worldly but I totally disagree. I think we have the best story on the planet, definitely the most important one and we have to engage people. We do that through relevance, excellence, the arts, music, etc.
I encourage all of you out there to go to things like this as well as churches and conferences that think outside the box and be creative in how you live out the Great Commission.
On a side note, I did have a lot of fun and God has blessed me with a great family!
Over the last three years I have asked myself over and over, why would anyone want to go into ministry. I used to be an engineer and I made good money, had great benefits and I was able to leave everything that I was working on at the office each day. I even left work and went to the football field and coached for a few hours and left all of that there as well. When I stepped into ministry the two biggest changes I faced was:
1). The spiritual warfare was jacked up.
2). You can’t turn ministry off as easy (or at all).
Me and my wife would sit and talk about church and peoples lives all night long every night. Most of the time this is positive thing but sometimes you just get wore out when you never shuttr’ down.
Then there is the junk that comes with ministry. The vision vandals, the narrow minded, the mean spirited, the scam artist and the critical people that you have to deal with (Sounds worse than it is, it is always 1 or 2 but they are good).
So, what would fuel someone to say God use me anyway, anywhere you want. Me and my family belong to you and whether we are loved where you put us or we are persecuted, we will serve you faithfully and with joy.
I have to be honest, over the last few years I have had exhilarating moments and moments of complete frustration and discouragement, there have be moments (brief) that I have wanted to quit but it never fails when I ask that question (Why would anyone go into ministry?) I think about the guy who was addicted to crack and had a restraining order on him, who gave up and put Christ in charge and I got to see his marriage restored and I got to see him, his wife and kids come to church every-week and put God first in their lives. I think of the little kid in second grade that told us he loves church because its the only place anyone ever tells him his is loved. I think about the crack baby that some foster parents in our church took in and the doctors said he wouldn’t make it one year, we prayed over this kid and he is five now and is fine. And I am blow away when I think of all the people I have seen over the last four years follow through in their relationship in Christ through believers baptism and to see them tell the world, I am going to live for Christ. I love baptisms. I cry like a baby when I see people go in the water and to me, this is why I do what I do.
Check this video out
Again that’s why I do what I do.
Sticking with the theme I’ve got going, I have been thinking about fans. Not the fans that are mounted in your home or at your office and not even the kind that pay $5 and yell at the head coach on Friday nights. The ones I have been thinking about are called die-hard fans. The ones that sit in the cold or rain. The ones that stay til the end of the game even when there is no chance of victory. The ones that love you even when you stink.
I was talking to one of these guys the other day. He is from Philadelphia and he started telling me how Philadelphia was going to go undefeated this season (even though they are picked to finish last in their division). He told me all of the off-season acquisitions and how key players were healthy, everything was positive.
Isn’t that how true fans are? They look for the best in us even when we are picked to finish last. They find something positive to say even when we stink it up. They really want to see us do well.
It got me thinking back to the first message at Lifepoint. We had our initial service on Super Bowl Sunday and the message was titled Biggest Fan. This is one of my favorite messages and if you haven’t heard it, look up Lifepoint Church on itunes and download it or email me and I will send it to you. But Jeff did a great job letting us know that we have a die-hard fan in our life that is there when it is raining on us, when we are injured and when we stink. He is also there when things are going great and he is cheering the loudest!
There is no Fan like God! There is no one who is cheering louder, there is no one who will stay later, there is no one who wants to see us win like God. Keep that in mind as you have good and bad games in life. Just look up in the stands and I guarantee you He will be there cheering you on.
By the way, the Panthers are going to win the Super Bowl this year and Myrtle Grove Middle is going to go 6-1