“Uniquity”

Trevor Dunaway

Photo Credit: Trevor Dunaway via CC Flickr

“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

 For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.  If they were all one member, where would the body be?  But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations,various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healing, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts.
And I show you a still more excellent way.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27


As the HS chapel leader years ago at Norfolk Christian, I started off
the chapel season one year creating this “sniglet” (a combination of
two words with a meaning utilizing both words) to create the word
“uniquity”. I always liked making up sniglets (and still do) when a
normal word just doesn’t make it like “slibble” – a slip/dribble – the
process of stepping on a soccer ball while dribbling but wiping out
and falling on your back!). As you can guess, uniquity is a combination of being unique and unity. This was my hope for the HSstudent body that year. My desire (as was all the HS teaching staff) was to see each student continue to be the uniquely created individual
that God made them to be; and to see them utilize those gifts and
talents in the HS community to strengthen the body and do their part
to make it stronger, function better AND be, of course, unified as a
child of God AND loving and accepting of each other’s differences.

This word could be used for all Christians whether referring to their relationship with the body of believers, their function in the church or even in their own family. In this chapter,
Paul says that, just like the different parts of the human body,
whether the brain, heart, eye or the seemingly most insignificant
part, ALL the parts are important to the proper function of the body.

This illustration is symbolic of body of Christ. All members are
important, bring a special gift to the group, AND should appreciate,
acknowledge, accept and encourage those gifts, talents, personality
traits  and skills those in the body bring!

These verses were always part of the first devotions I would have
with my soccer teams at our preseason tournaments leading into our
first games: “So that there should be no division in the body, but
that it’s parts should have equal concern for one another. If one part
suffers, every part suffers with it,  if one part is honored, every
part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ and each of you
is a part of it.” I Cor. 12: 25-27.

Know what your “part” is in the body of Christ, do all you can to
utilize it to build up the body, and appreciate and encourage what
each member of the body of Christ contributes!!

Wise in the Eyes

isengardt

Photo Credit: Isangardt via CC Flickr

“Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There’s more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 26:12

Of all the things I’d love to be declared good at, here’s one thing I definitely don’t… being found wise in my own eyes. To be wise in my own eyes means conceit has taken up obvious, real residence in me. Others can see it, feel it, and are left at least silently uncomfortable in my presence. And it will pose a real roadblock to all my future growth, like the most effective stumbling block ever. It will dam up everything good that wants to flow on, offering up more hope for a fool than for me.

If I want more hope for whatever I hope to be or do, I must be careful to avoid conceit…being found wise in my own eyes. I must let God and others tell me what’s good and wise that they see in me and not let myself do all the work here. Only humility and obedience kills conceit and allows us to continue to grow, giving us hope to become all we were meant to be.

You see things the same way? What’s your conceit index reading? Too wise in the eyes?  Kill conceit. Get more hope than a fool.

LORD, fix our eyes. Take away self-conceit and any of the blindness it truly causes. Grant us way more hope than a fool could ever hope for because we’re learning to kill conceit on a daily basis. Help us to wisen our eyes like the Lord Jesus, to see everything like Him, and depend upon Your Holy Spirit to empower us to live conceit-free.

Nothing detrimental.
Bring honor to Christ.
Hoping in Him.
Coach Mo

Campfires

Jonathan Hoeglund

Photo Credit: Jonathan Hoeglund via CC Flickr

Do you love campfires? …and fires in fire bowls, fire pits and fire
places? I think we all do: roasting marshmallows, having “smores”,
hanging out with friends or family and watching the flames provide a
brilliant light in a dark area. But for most of us, it’s the warmth
that the fire gives that we love the most! When you’re close to the
fire, the warmth on a cool evening surrounds you and is a wonderful
feeling. But having the seat two rows back from the campfire or
walking away from the fire and you are back in the coldness. Our walk
with God is similar. HE is like the campfire and when close to him, we
feel that warmth.

However often times we feel extremely cold – away from the fire. We
also know that if we’re too close to the fire, it’s possible We could
catch on fire!! This is not a good thing in reality, but in the
spiritual realm, I would suggest that’s how it should be! We, then
become mini-campfires ourselves. Some of you reading this may have
never experienced what being close to the campfire (God) feels like.
Maybe you don’t know him and have never had that feeling. If not, the
solution is as simple as lighting the wood with a match! First, admit
that there IS a God who created you, secondly understand that their
are no perfect people (Romans 3:10, “There are none righteous, no not
one.”) and that you too are a sinner. Then ask Jesus into and to take
control of your life (Rev 3: 20, Behold I stand at the door and knock,
if any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into
him”…) and then allow Him and trust him to direct your life, have
fellowship with him and start your journey on the path of he intended
for you with your personal campfire now lit. Then feed and stoke that
campfire to grow by: reading the Bible and a good applicable
devotional, hanging out with other believers, praying regularly
(prayer lists or journals are helpful) and serve God and others in
your church and community.

If you have accepted Christ but you feel cold and away from the “fire”
and your personal campfire is barely smoldering, then James 4: 8 has
an answer for you: “Come close to God and he will come close to you.”
Nothing really profound there. God has not moved. He is waiting for
you to reach out to HIM. Take the steps mentioned before on how to
stoke the fire and feel that warmth again in having that CLOSE
relationship to HIM. Like improving in anything in life, it takes
consistent work and practice to become good at it. Don’t let Satan
discourage you if you have failed before. You will fail at times again
but each time you do, pursue Christ with more vigor and your efforts
will make you stronger and closer to Him on a more consistent basis!

Pray each day that you will stay close to God and make that
relationship to Him a priority so that your OWN campfire can grow,
spread and provide a light in this dark world.

The Heart of A Champion

US Department of Agriculture

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture via CC Flickr

In 1990, the Colorado Buffaloes football team was on the road to the national championship. Before half the season was over the Buffaloes had already defeated ranked teams Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, and tied #6 Tennessee. They also faced the toughest schedule in the nation. But even throughout all this success, Colorado coach Bill McCartney still had a huge RED problem. You see, his next game was against the highly ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. To make matters worse, going into the game Colorado had lost 23 straight times to Nebraska when playing at Nebraska’s home field in Lincoln. What could he do to motivate his players?

McCartney knew that teams always play best when they have a sense of team, that selfless attitude that takes his players out of the mind set of playing for themselves and into the mind set of playing for the team. With this attitude, when the team gets glory. the player gets glory. Outstanding individual performance means little if the team does not perform well as a whole. Bill McCartney is also an outspoken Christian and he always sought to demonstrate the principles of Christianity to his team even while motivating them. So with that in mind he came up with a plan to motivate his players. In the last meeting before leaving for Lincoln, he called his players together and said this.

“At the end of the game each one of you is going to receive a $70 game ball with the score printed on the football. Before we leave tomorrow I want you to call up somebody close to you and tell them to watch you play. I want you to play your heart out, and play each and every down for that person. Tell them that you are dedicating your game to THEM.”

Well, the plan worked. On a soggy, cold, rain swept Nebraska field, Colorado overcame a 12 point 4th quarter deficit to defeat the Cornhuskers 28-12. Coach McCartney to this day attributes the win to the selfless play of his team even when they were losing. It allowed them to muster up every bit of strength and courage to come back and win. Their strength came from an attitude of selflessness.

Being a Christian is all about being a team player and submitting to one another out of love. The attitude is, “Give the other person the glory,” and “Let the other person go first.” So today, your game plan is to pick someone else on the field and play each and every down for them. Play selflessly. Play without trash talk. Play with humility. Play with dignity. Play with class.

At the end of the game you’ll want to be able to say, “I played a great game for You today, and I played with the heart of a champion.”

~ Author: Nathan Naversen

A Few Good Men

Kat

Photo Credit: Kat via CC Flickr

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

One man committed to a cause is greater than 10,000 merely interested spectators. A few good men is better. That’s how the greatest armies, greatest teams are built.

God is looking for such men. His missions are crucial. High stakes define them but they grow great through everyday faithfulness. His team is built on abandon, selfless, brave volunteers who say ‘Yes!’ and take on His noble missions with fearless honor.

Pushbacks:
* Heard the Lord talk like this to you? Recognize a true call and holy cause? Need to turn the volume down on other things?
* Feeling yourself moved by high calling? What could this be? Attaching any strings or fully surrendered?
* Willing to step up, step out, and offer full commitment to a cause greater than yourself, the greatest cause ever? Employed by God and engaged in mission?

LORD, let me feel Your heavenly surge and upward, outward cause. Don’t let me contract the disease of me and die in the dumps of disservice. May I take rank with You in holy mission.

Maximum effort.
Heart for others.
Bring honor to Christ.
Coach Mo

‘Paris’ World

Photo Credit: Harish Rao via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Harish Rao via CC Flickr

“Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew 10:17-20

I suppose you’re aware of what happened November 13th in Paris. Tough news. That’s the way it is sometimes. Scripture has a few things to say about a world like this. Let’s take a look…

1. BE ON GUARD. Brace yourself. Let vigilance, awareness, mindfulness mark my life. Evil always lurks and seeks to raise its ugly head. Lay a good defensive foundation. Our ‘Paris’ world always needs protection.

2. ‘ON MY ACCOUNT’. Operate as an uncompromised, unashamed witness. God’s got my back. What happens to me is His business too. I trust Him, come what may. I am not alone.

3. GIVEN WORDS. God supplies clutch play at crucial times. His Spirit gives people perfect thoughts, ideas, words.  That’s because His Name is at stake. So don’t worry. Just live like a mouthpiece.

Pushbacks

* How’s your defensive package? Your alertness and vigilance to evil always powered on? Known for your protection?

* Operating with quiet trust that your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3-4), that you’re on His tab, that your future is secure, that God’s gotcha?

* Experiencing clutch play at crucial times, especially when repping the Lord? Counting on Him to come through and defend His name in a ‘Paris’ world?

LORD, help my vigilance on Your behalf to be strong. The world needs guardians for good. Thrill me again and again with joy and confidence in knowing I operate as Your agent, on Your account. Thank you by faith for the ongoing flow of words I’ll need at crucial times.

Be strong.

Stand for truth.

Live for eternity.

Coach Mo

Feel Like Giving Up?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

“And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.”  2 Thessalonians 3:13

Why do people give up? Here are some of the most common reasons:
• No hope (no perceived chance for victory or real reward) 
• Not enough patience to keep going
• Fading interest (no sense of personal fulfillment)
• Poor fit (not enough talent or skill)
• Poor relationships kill the drive to press on
• Discouragement (criticism or lack of results has gotten to you)
Any of these hit home?

Still, there’s one more reason for giving up that should never make our list: fear of hard work. A great work ethic must mark the life of the believer, a true Christ-follower. That’s what Paul argues throughout 1 & 2 Thessalonians. As he closes his letter here, Paul challenges his ‘team’ once more, calling them to toughness, especially in regard to doing what’s right. In fact, he says that if a Christian is not known for his hard work and doing what’s right, living life of physical laziness and moral sloppiness instead, Paul argues that you should keep your distance from him. You can’t let such a one make your ‘team’ and your Lord look bad. (3:6,14)

So never fear hard work. Instead, embrace it. Let your life be defined by it. Be known for your great work ethic and toughness in doing what’s right no matter what. It supports the Gospel so well and focuses and fulfills you.

LORD, may I never fear hard work but rather be defined by it. May I advance Your Kingdom and enhance the gospel by being tireless in supporting what’s right and inspired by the perseverance of Christ. 

Be tough. 
Nothing detrimental. 
Bring honor to Christ.
Coach Mo

Wisdom

Photo Credit: Al Muya via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Al Muya via CC Flickr

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” – Proverbs 2:6

Who is the greatest source for wisdom in your life?  Maybe you’re thinking of your mom or dad.  Maybe it’s your coach.  The Scripture speaks of someone who is the ultimate source for wisdom and understanding.

In Proverbs chapter 2 and verse 6, Solomon writes, “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

He says that from the Lord’s mouth come knowledge and understanding.  God speaks through His Word daily and gives us knowledge that is pertinent information for daily living.  He also shares his understanding with us, the ability to rightly apply knowledge.

As you prepare for competition today, listen for the Lord’s voice.  He’s always speaking in ways to lead us to knowledge and understanding.  He gives wisdom related to relationships on the team, for excellence in the classroom, and understanding for athletic achievement.

God’s Word, the Bible is always open to us and He speaks loudly each time we’re faithful to open its pages and to read.

Other Bible Passages to Study:

I Thessalonians 4:1-10
Psalms 140
II Chronicles 6-7

——————–

This devotion is excerpted from “Heart of a Champion – Devotions for The People of Sport” by Roger D. Lipe. It is available in print from Cross Training Publishing – http://www.crosstrainingpublishing.com

Source and Shield

Photo Credit: Step via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Step via CC FlickrShield

“Every word of God is flawless. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” Proverbs 30:5

Every man looks for good direction and good defense. We want to know where we’re headed when we jump out of a foxhole and we want to know that our back is covered when we do. We want to map our way to success and significance, and find peace, prosperity and purpose. And we want to be protected from interruptions to this plan and onslaughts against this drive. We need a true source and a tough shield.

The best source of direction by far and life’s superior road map is God’s Word. Study it with devotion and passion. Its every word is flawless. It offers ways out and ways up to everything pure and right. What He says sheds light on every subject. It fuels faith, furnishes hope and generates love to endure anything and crack everything.

The greatest shield of defense is God Himself. Take refuge in who He is. Take refuge in what He says. He delights to defend. He loves to play defense for His team to win. Those who run to Him for refuge always find it.

Getting good direction? Feeling well-defended? Know where to find this pair? Got a good source and shield?

LORD, help me to keep looking to your flawless word as my primary source of daily direction. Make me more sure of my way. Defend me when I make bold moves to live obedient to Your way in this crazy world. Be my daily shield and refuge.

Be strong.

Stand for truth.

Live for eternity.

Coach Mo

Where’s Your Focus?

Photo Credit: Coach Rose in action with one of his teams "TRP!"

Photo Credit: Coach Rose in action with one of his teams “TRP!”

Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Coach Rose is one of the founding members and contributors to this site, “The Team Huddle.”  He was also the opposing coach of the high school that I used to attend and I remember him distinctly as a man and coach who not only enjoyed his craft of coaching but most importantly loved the Lord.

In today’s article, Coach Rose will share some his thoughts about his personal life, coaching career, and what him become the man that he is today. It is our hope and prayer that the following commentary will be a blessing and encouragement to you today!


My coaching career began many, many years ago, in 1976 (Far longer than I would like to admit!) Over my 35 year coaching career, I coached high school boys’ baseball, and basketball, girls’ softball but mostly boys and girls soccer. I started coaching at a small Christian school in Connecticut the same year I graduated from The King’s College (Briarcliff Manor, NY). I remember the nervousness I had as I started with the 18 or so young men. There were many questions I asked myself during those weeks leading up to that soccer season. Would the players respect me? What skills should I work on the most?, etc.. The main one however was, how do I motivate my players and what should our goals be?

I had played many different sports as a youth under many coaches. It wasn’t until college, however, that I was privileged to play under Christian coaches. Hearing the devotions they (and the older players) presented, gave me more wisdom as to player motivation. Also, about that time, a Christian author and coach (Wes Neal) came out with a book called: “Total Release Performance” which basically introduced the concept for athletes of competing in athletic competition with Christ as your focus and giving everything you had (practices, games, etc) for him and NOT worrying about pleasing anyone else but Him with your performance. (Of course this is a very simple breakdown of the content of the book. To get the complete picture and process, I suggest you buy the book -especially if you are a coach!) Though the book was written in the 70’s, the philosophy for athletic competition and participation is of course still the same today. It is based on Col. 3:23 which says, “Do everything heartily as unto The Lord, not as unto men”. I don’t think I would be amiss in saying that “pleasing men” is the focus of most coaches and players when they compete.

My first teams would yell “TRP” (Total Release Performance) as their opening game chant after we prayed in our huddle just before heading onto the field. (One funny story with this: my 3-year daughter at that time asked me one day why we yelled “1,2,3 Champagne” in the huddle!?) apparently what we were yelling was hard for others to understand, so that gave us the opportunity to explain to them what TRP was all about.

I would tell my players in tough games, under tough circumstances, “If Christ could leave heaven and live among us and suffer and die an agonizing death for our sake, the very LEAST we can do is compete wholeheartedly in all we do for Him. Whether playing an away game that your parents can’t attend, or playing during cold or rainy weather, or when your boyfriend (or girlfriend) has  broken up when you’ve or you failed an important test, when you step on the field, your job is to be totally committed to giving your absolute best effort for Him.”

Over the years, this became not only my athletic and coaching philosophy, but my life’s as well. Though totally applicable and perfect for sports, it should be the goal of ALL we do in our Christian walk also. (When my kids were young, we took that chant concept and would yell, “1,2,3 Family!” before we all headed out the door to school and work! My 2nd daughter has kept that tradition with her two and four year old boys, yelling “1,2,3 Family” and then “Go Jesus” before they tuck their boys in at night.  :).

Keeping Christ and HIS ultimate sacrifice for us as the focal point of our life should be our purpose in our daily walk as well and by doing everything, “heartily as unto the Lord”, we can glorify Him and also see and follow His will for our life.

Is this your life’s philosophy? Do the circumstances you have from day to day, affect your service and testimony for Him? My prayer for you today is that you can learn to live and perform in all you do for Christ and not for men!