Pushing Through

Ricardo Camacho

Photo Credit: Ricardo Camacho via CC Flickr

“But I trust in Your unfailing love. My heart rejoices in Your deliverance. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for He has been good to me.” Psalm 13:6

Psalm 13 shows us what to do when we find ourselves asking tough questions like this:

* How long will You forget me? (v1)

* How long will You hide from me? (v1)

* How long must I wrestle with my thoughts? (v2)

* How long must my heart sorrow? (v2)

* How long will my enemies triumph over me? (v2)

All these questions make me think that maybe Psalm 13 was written by an athlete or coach going through a tough season, rough injury, personal performance slump, real loneliness, broken relationship, or a long losing streak. And it’s written to an audience that will likely feel the very same way.

BUT Psalm 13 ends with a great 3-Point Play. Let’s take a look at what’s declared to help us push through:

* LOOK BACK AT WINS. One of the best ways to get through a tough stretch in life is to take a good look back. Note a salvation seen in the past, a deliverance experienced, a victory won. Resurrect the win to trust that it will happen again. He has been good. (v5)

* LOOK UP FOR POWER. Make sure there is a strong, real object to your faith and hope – the LORD. Only empowered ones truly push through. In His unfailing love, God delivers. (v6)

* SING OUT IN PRAISE. A last great way to push through is to find a good praise song and start singing it. Sing out about who’s been good to you. Sing in praise. Let the praise build the expectancy to push through again. (v6)

Pushing through,

Coach Mo

The Way God Wins

Gabriel Rosa

Photo Credit: Gabriel Rosa via CC Flickr

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses…., God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in (Jesus).” Colossians 2:13–15 ESV

When God wins, He wins big time! We’re not talking an overtime, squeak-it-out victory. And we’re not talking about a soccer game where there’s a shootout win because one ball dribbles in, but otherwise it would have been a tie. God doesn’t operate like that. When He wins a battle, His victory is decisive.

As God was pouring out His wrath on His Son, we were there in His mind. From each painful step to Calvary, to His last breath on the cross, Jesus was taking on the ultimate battle—“the rulers and authorities” who were waving “the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.”

Satan had an open-and-shut case against us. Left to ourselves, we were toast. But Colossians 2:15 declares that when Jesus won the victory on the cross, “He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (NKJV). When it came to settling our eternal destiny, God wasn’t offering an obligatory “good game.” He was triumphing over the principalities and powers, including the enemy himself: “You lost! Just like I told you!” That’s the way God wins.

Further, after what looked like a devastating defeat by the enemy, came the ultimate triumph: “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:6). Neither death nor the grave nor Satan’s plans stood a chance against the risen Savior!

Today, Jesus lives to further His victory through the lives of His followers. In fact, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). In Christ, we aren’t just conquerors, we’re super conquerors—because God doesn’t just win, He crushes the enemy (Romans 16:20). That’s why we don’t want to take on this battle ourselves. It is the reason the transaction at the cross was entirely out of our hands.

Jesus took on our debt, our sin, our (broken) condition, and defeated the condemning, eternal hold these things can have on us. Because of His death and resurrection, all who trust in Him for salvation are granted a place in the conquering band that will rejoice in His victory forever!
(All the above from James McDonald)

Pushbacks:
* Consider your personal battles in light of this truth.
* Express your heart to the Lord, pouring out your adoration, for an ultimate reason to celebrate.

LORD, when You win, You win big-time! That’s what makes this Friday so good and me so richly blessed. Thank you for becoming my complete sin-bearer, my only righteousness, my matchless defender, my true victor and coming King. You are the best, worthy of my lifetime devotion.

GOOD Friday to you!!!
Coach Mo

Upon Entering a Locker Room

flattop 341

Photo Credit: Flattop341 via CC Flickr

“I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.” Romans 15:30

Locker rooms are where the interior of a team is built and developed. Locker rooms are where goals are defined and measured, and the struggle comes out.

Yesterday I had the special privilege of entering a legendary locker room immediately after a convincing victory. Some profound, stirring things took place there. Amazing really.

When you enter a locker room, the presence of a group or team, what do you bring? Scripture here points to five wonderful things in this simple verse:

1. URGENCY – Urge other men. Don’t let them drift. Don’t leave them alone…on an inactive roster. Charge and connect. It’s God’s game plan. Have an urgency to include others.

2. MOTIVATION – Jesus drives men to great attitude and action like no other. Let Him drive you. Be confident this will infect others too. Make Him your first motivation, first audience. Let all other motivations flow from there. Audience of One. Point men here.

3. PASSION – Learn to love the Spirit of God. Be passionate for Him. Let His passions become yours. Let His love infuse you. Let Him define and stir up all the proper passions in you. Buddy up with Him through life, for life.

4. GOOD RECRUITING – Invite others into your foxhole, your struggle. And freely join other men’s foxholes too. There’s power for the journey and greater joy in the journey when men are joined in the journey.

5. GODWARD EXPRESSION – Invite another man’s prayers. Pray for him too. Pray together, man on man. Give great expression to all this. Perhaps the greatest way we can join in manly struggle is to take each other to the Throne of God in prayer.

Pushbacks

* Carrying a good sense of urgency about things right now?

* Making Jesus your highest motivation? Audience of One in place in your life?

* Loving the Spirit of God’s role in your life? Buddying up with Him?

* Asking others to join in your struggle? Joining in their’s?

* Taking men freely to the throne of God in prayer? Who? Inviting them to take you?

LORD, may I operate faithfully according to Romans 15:30. Help me bring urgency, motivation, passion, good recruiting, and godly expression to every locker room I’m in…for Your glory and my joy in You. Amen.

Maximum effort.

Heart for others.

Glory to God.

Coach Mo

How Is Your Vision?

National Eye Institue

Photo Credit: National Eye Institute via CC Flickr

We have all gone to the doctor’s office and have had our eye sight tested. We stand back at a certain distance, cover one eye, then report to the physician the letter that they are pointing to. At the end of the test, the doctor can determine how good or bad our vision is.

Well today, I have a “Vision Test” for you.

As we approach the end of the year, it is a good time evaluate how we did as increasingly devoted followers of Christ in 2015. Below is a “Vision Test” to see how you are doing in looking beyond yourself towards others. Take the test by answering yes or no to the questions and then add up your scores at the bottom.

_____ I am involved in serving the Lord in at least one ministry of the church

_____ I have at least three non-Christian friends.

_____ This past year, I invited at least one new person to church.

_____ I prayed for my non-Christian friends this week.

_____ In the past two weeks, I have shown love to someone outside my family.

_____ I regularly correspond with at least one of our missionaries.

_____I introduced myself to one new visitor at church this past month.

_____ In the past three months, I have shared the Gospel with another person.

_____ I am acquainted with at least one local outreach ministry.

_____ I regularly support one of our ministries.

———————

Total Number of yeses: _______________

9-10: Congratulations! You have great outward vision!

7-8: You are doing great!!

4-6: You are making a good effort.

2-3: You need to take it up a notch.

0-1: You have been diagnosed with nearsightedness!

How did you do?

 

 

Pushing Through

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

“But I trust in Your unfailing love. My heart rejoices in Your deliverance. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for He has been good to me.” Psalm 13:6

Psalm 13 shows us what to do when we find ourselves asking tough questions like this:

* How long will You forget me? (v1)

* How long will You hide from me? (v1)

* How long must I wrestle with my thoughts? (v2)

* How long must my heart sorrow? (v2)

* How long will my enemies triumph over me? (v2)

All these questions make me think that maybe Psalm 13 was written by an athlete or coach going through a tough season, rough injury, personal performance slump, real loneliness, broken relationship, or a long losing streak. And it’s written to an audience that will likely feel the very same way.

BUT Psalm 13 ends with a great 3-Point Play. Let’s take a look at what’s declared to help us push through:

* LOOK BACK AT WINS. One of the best ways to get through a tough stretch in life is to take a good look back. Note a salvation seen in the past, a deliverance experienced, a victory won. Resurrect the win to trust that it will happen again. He has been good. (v5)

* LOOK UP FOR POWER. Make sure there is a strong, real object to your faith and hope – the LORD. Only empowered ones truly push through. In His unfailing love, God delivers. (v6)

* SING OUT IN PRAISE. A last great way to push through is to find a good praise song and start singing it. Sing out about who’s been good to you. Sing in praise. Let the praise build the expectancy to push through again. (v6)

Pushing through,

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

A Few Good Men

Photo Credit: The Wandering Angel via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: The Wandering Angel 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

Speak

Photo Credit: Norm4nNorm4

Photo Credit: Norm4nNorm4

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…” Proverbs 31:8

There’s a lot of noise in our world. Televisions run 24/7 and radios pump incessantly. Pandora and Spotify play supporting cast. Earbuds are worn like permanent jewelry and headphones crown our numbed heads. Still, there is too much silence, too many folks living lives of quiet desperation. The cries of the silent are not being heard.

When I was in college, during a big injury low point, a teammate of mine, unbeknownst to me, spoke on my behalf. What he said, I learned later, valued and defended me powerfully to powerful others and ended up making a huge difference in my future. I’m eternally grateful for Tim White.

Today’s Word invites us to speak meaningfully, to add volume to others and let our voices be strategically heard. I’m so glad God champions such dialogue. Following are a few ideas to prime your pump in speaking up today:

1. Defend the defenseless. Find someone who needs defending and stand up for him.
2. Practice justice. Speak up for what’s right and who’s wrong.
3. Help the voices of the abused, the children, the widow, the powerless, the disadvantaged to be heard. Find one paralyzed by fear and become their mouthpiece.
4. Listen so well to the weak that you cannot be silent. Open your ears to open your mouth.
5. Turn a cellphone into a megaphone! Engage in conversations that champion and cheer on others. 😉

LORD, help us to raise the volume on what needs to said and to speak up for others who need support. Don’t let us leave them voiceless. Thank you for Jesus, who ever lives to make intercession for us. (Hebrews 7:25) May we follow His example well and do the same for others.

Maximum effort.
Heart for others.
Glory to God!
Coach Mo

No Foolin’

Photo Credit: David Goehring via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: David Goehring via CC Flickr

“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way…” 2 Thessalonians 2:3

Deception is a key part of sports. Misdirection plays add much to game strategy and play effectiveness. Fooling your opponent creates advantage. Good teams and good players won’t fool easily. They see, recognize, and stay fundamental.

Deception is also foundation to producing counterfeit money. The only way not to get exploited is to know the ‘truth’, the real thing, so well that you cannot be deceived.

Be aware that there are counterfeit gospels as well. They are meant to deceive. Scripture says that there will be many such ‘gospels’ pushed out there. (2 John 1:7) And when they come before us, we simply can’t afford to play that game. The Bible repeatedly warns us to be sincerely vigilant and not to be deceived. (Matthew 24:4–24) We simply can’t let ourselves get taken.

Here’s how we get deceived:
1. THROUGH PRIDE. We allow ourselves to believe that we will not reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7) or are above being ‘taken’ by others (Jeremiah 49:16, Obadiah 1:3). Without humility before God, we go unprotected through life, from without (others) and from within (self).
2. THROUGH IGNORANCE. We do not really know the Word very well. We believe what others, especially very ‘spiritual’ people say, without personally testing their messages against what God’s Word truly says. We do not ‘test the spirits’ like we should. (1 John 4:1)
3. THROUGH CARELESSNESS. We do not read God’s Word carefully enough. (v5,10b) We fail to read scripture in context and make hasty conclusions to fit what we want to see, hear or have. In this way we deceive ourselves. (example: 1 John 1:8) Avoid fast, easy, law-based or lawless answers.
4. THROUGH BLINDNESS. We fail to open our eyes and see the wolves out there. When vigilance is not practiced, the enemies of our souls get in, get to us, corrupt, and leave us spiritually bankrupt of truth. (Matthew 7:15, 21–23)

So watch out. Don’t be deceived. Stay sound and fundamental. Live a life of victory over deception.

Loving you enough to speak the truth… No foolin’!

Be strong.
Stand for truth.
Live for eternity.
Coach Mo

Tough Enough?

Photo Credit: Bycfotografem via Pixabay

Photo Credit: Bycfotografem via Pixabay

“And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell.” Mark 9:47

When it comes to one’s matters of personal conduct, preparation and performance, here’s a plateful of probing, beneficial questions…
• Are you tough enough on yourself?
• Tough enough to say ‘No’ to yourself?
• Tough enough to say to self, “No, not acceptable. Do it again, right, better.”
• Tough enough not to wait for someone else’s discipline and apply it to yourself?
• Finding the right balance in what’s enough and what’s too far?
• Tough enough to call personal sin ‘sin’ and then do something about it?
• As you enter a new day, are you prepared to fight as hard as necessary so that future wins will be guaranteed?
Good discipline produces great freedom. Freedom in the future hinges on discipline now.

In Mark 9:42-48, Jesus challenges us to be tough on ourselves, for our own good. He wants us entering God’s kingdom for sure, but He wants us going in (not down) swinging, striving as victors, fighting like victors, disciplined and tough now, not just established as victors in the end. He wants both. He says it’s better that way. He’d rather we learn to be tough on ourselves than for Him to apply all the toughness. What kind of man would only allow another man to apply the heat? Isn’t toughness also applied by self a better way to live?

That’s why Jesus said it’s better to pluck out your own eye if it’s causing you to sin than leave it unaddressed and let another apply the discipline, doing the removal. So take sin seriously. Apply some heat, some urgency, and get tough. It’s a much better way to live.

For reflection:
• How good are you at saying no to yourself?
• Known enviably well for your personal toughness (or just your toughness on others)?
• Taking all personal sin seriously enough?
• Got some urgency in your toughness?
• Relying on Christ to help you with your toughness? (His example is amazing and His Spirit so powerful.)

O LORD, thank You for showing me what real toughness looks like in Christ. May I, by your Spirit, be the same.  Help me deal tough with matters of personal sin. Fix whatever eyes I have on You and this better way to live!

Be tough. Fight sin.
Press on. Eyes on Him.

Titus 2:11–15
Hebrews 12:1–12