Tag Archives: Game

How to be on Team Jesus’ Field

Nothing gets my dander up like an injustice to God’s people… especially if they’re my people. This is a thought that weighs heavy on my mind for more than a few reasons. You don’t have to look very far to find injustice in the world, and probably one of the craziest (in my opinion) is that of little league sports. It’s what prompted this blog, but this in actuality has very little to do with Little League ball. Mainly because little league ball “seldom” has anything to do with the state of one’s eternal destination. Although it could with the right coach! That being said, the coach that has my knickers in a knot isn’t really concerned with eternity, unless of course he thinks that God has a special place for league winners. Pretty sure He doesn’t, just saying.

But I’ve seen more than my fair share of little league coaches who act like the world is coming to an end because a 4th grade boy, who was afraid of being nailed by the ball of an inexperienced pitcher, wouldn’t “step in and take one for the team.” Or a dozen other scenarios that he was sure ruined his chances as a major league coach. Coaches who don’t understand why a child with ADHD can’t sit still on the bench after his meds have worn off from having to sit still in his classes for 7 hours of the day. Oh… yes… I’m that grandparent, or Noni as the case may be.

But I’m also that Christian. I could just as well liken the little league attitude to that of the church. Where many don’t understand the people any more than a little league, major league wanna-be coach. As I travel I’m afforded the opportunity to meet many wonderful church workers. At almost every location I see heartache and frustration from the top down. I see preachers who want with all their heart to serve God without the encumbrance of church politics but cannot. I see Sunday School teachers who want their students to understand how exciting it is to know God, but are worn out bfrom having to collect and provide their own materials because the church doesn’t see their program as being worthy of a few extra dollars. I see parishioners struggling with broken lives and no one knows. Not because the evidence of these issues weren’t there, but because nobody slowed down long enough to see it or because they were missing two essential characteristics of a successful leader. Spiritual eyes and ears.

Leadership is more than a title. It’s a role. And it’s more than acting. It’s real.

So what will God say to the leaders when we stand before Him? Will He say or ask:

  • Why didn’t you save more money for the church treasury and spend less on your departments? You didn’t know that Jesus wouldn’t wait another 20 years to come back.
  • Why didn’t you tell that Sunday School teacher to suck it up use the same materials as last quarter?
  • Why didn’t you remind that preacher who it is that pays his salary before the topic of your sin came up?
  • Why didn’t you remind that widow about the woman with two mites before she complains that she doesn’t have grocery money for her visiting children?
  • Why didn’t you tell that leader that’s hitting the altar every week to watch the clock a little closer or better still, just don’t go because it makes others feel guilty?
  • Even better, why didn’t you stop having altar calls so everyone can get home in time for lunch?
  • Why didn’t you tell the people in your church to stop stressing you out with their problems?
  • Better yet, why didn’t you insist that everyone wear smiles, and no one can be sad?
  • Why did you get the congregation so excited, someone could have had a heart attack?!

All of those are as ridiculous as expecting little league players to be major league stars.  And yet they’re real life stories.

In the book of Acts, where the acts of the church of that day are written, I see that they didn’t understand Paul either. So I guess the aforementioned attitudes shouldn’t surprise me.

Acts:14:9-11 ~ The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, the gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.

A few things that caught my attention in those few verses:

  • Paul was loud
  • Someone was moved
  • They were giving the credit of the power of God, to the gods that the people worshiped during that day.

So what should have happened? Do you think when Paul made it to Heaven, after having his head cut off for Jesus, that God said to him, “Paul, why were you so loud? You upset people.”

I know… that’s taking it out of context a little. The people weren’t as much upset as they were confused. But I don’t think God is going to call me on the carpet for reminding the church that we need to be careful about making our services about us. Paul was obedient  and observant of the needs of one man, and not long about straightening the people out on who was responsible.

We serve a risen Savior, who died so that we might serve men and show them the love of Christ. Sometimes, we’re not even on the same field when it comes to understanding our teammates.

  • Serve boldly (yet humbly)
  • Show mercy always (look and listen)
  • Send missionaries with money (provide what’s needed for every mission)

If you’d like to support this missionary… please follow the link below!

Little League Christianity

chick league

It’s Little League Baseball Season and my grandsons have our family right in the thick of it. It’s exciting stuff to watch the kids smack the ball and run the bases and it’s heart wrenching when they strike out or don’t play as well as they’d have liked to. Yes, I’m their “Noni” and I don’t view the game in quite the same manner as do the parents and coaches. For me it’s a cuteness factor, for them… it’s serious business.

Last night’s game had me thinking on the purpose of this stage in the game. They’re not pro ball players, although you’d never know it from a few of the parent’s reactions. You’d think there was a major league scout in the stands. If you’re one of them you’ll have to forgive me and this really isn’t about you, it’s about the church and Little League Christianity.

When I was saved in 1996 our church had one thing down to a fine art, and that was how to disciple young converts. We met as a group for breakfast at a local restaurant before I went to work. We met for lunch. It was an active time in the church, in that if we weren’t having a revival we’d find someone else who was and attend theirs. I couldn’t get enough of the word of God. This wasn’t a mandated thing for new Christians, it was our desire because we wanted what the old timers of the church had! Oh the Spirit of God is such an awesome thing when it’s on display in the saints of God. We were the little leaguers of the day. It was a training ground before we hit the big league of soul winning and serving on our own. We were not six and seven year olds, we were grown men and women from twenty to seventy who just happened to be in the growing years of faith. We were shown mercy when we made a mistake, and weren’t cast out of the game because we didn’t perform up to par.

This is where I see so many churches missing the mark for church growth. They leave the coaching to the Pastor who’s trying to keep up with a half dozen teams in the church, all at different stages in the game. If you’ve been a child of God for more than a year or two, and you’ve been serious about it, it’s your turn to step out and find you someone to disciple. It will not only encourage them it will encourage you.

John 10:10 (one of my favorite verses) says  

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Stolen Bases

They don’t steal bases in Little League, but I guess they still do in the older leagues. But the base stealer in the game of Christianity is Satan; he removes the base completely out of the game by getting our eyes off the intended purpose. The purpose of the game is to get home by running all the bases, but we get busy and want to skip a few. So Satan obliges by removing it from our site. If God’s only purpose was to get us home, when we got saved we’d just fall in the floor at the altar and our soul would go on to glory. But that’s not the case, the game is still being played out and God has a purpose for our lives.

First Base

Learning the game. It’s our time to sit under preaching and teaching and learn how to live and share the gospel.

Second Base

Take a new convert under your wing and begin teaching them what you’ve just been taught. It is then that you’ll know it deeper by having to prepare to share it with others.

Third Base

It’s at this stage in your Christian walk that you should be in full blown service for the Lord and reaping the abundant life! You should be helping to disciple new converts, serving in the local ministry and have a testimony in your community as a servant of God.

But what I see out of most people is that they’ve never left little league. If it were a real game we’d have sixty year old players. How ridiculous would that be? Almost as ridiculous as the child of God, who has never left the stands at all, yet expects a trophy at the end of season. There’s going to be some sad Christians at home plate.

It’s Game Day!

Acts 17:26-27 ~ And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

The chatter on Facebook and other social media sites yesterday was abuzz with College Football comments, cheers and pics of fans sporting the colors and logos to the tune of millions of dollars in revenue for the teams. Postgame comments of the losing team fans left one wondering if they actually owned stock in the company. I guess technically they do with all the team merchandise they’ve bought. And then there’s Sunday. This is my game day! I’m every bit as excited about what is going transpire in a few hours on my home court as the fanatical collegiate sports nuts were yesterday. I’ve got my game face on! And my day will be spent without regret, foul language or poor sportsmanship. Go Team Jesus!

While there is but one Church, one body in Christ, there are many members of that body. And although some wear their denomination like a team jersey and feel that they have exclusive rights to the clubhouse God will disprove that theory one day when they’re shocked to discover who their neighbor in Heaven is. But while we live down here on earth we each have our perspective bounds of habitation. Those places of appointment that God has given us to serve in. For me it’s Victory Baptist Church in Grantsville, West Virginia; that’s home field. The place that I feel happy!

Why is it, perhaps you can explain it to me; that the same people who are screaming bloody murder for their home team yesterday can’t give a shout out to the Lord today, or (you’ll have to forgive me) can’t even get out of bed to go to their own home field? Why is it that people will spend hundreds of dollars on home team paraphernalia but feel it’s a burden to contribute to the ministry? I know, I’m likely preaching to the choir if you’re reading this, but I feel we all have something to learn from fanatical living.

If your place of worship does not have you in that happy place this morning you are either in the wrong place or your heart’s not in the game. When the preacher gets up in the pulpit this morning you should be cheering him on, (we should have prayed him in). He’s got the play book! Every word that comes out of his mouth has the potential to win the game for you if you’ll take it and run with it. Our game doesn’t end at noon either, it’s just starting when the church bell rings. It was the preacher’s game from eleven to noon (Or whatever your perspective services run). But now it’s time for you to hit the field. The great thing about Team Jesus is everyone has the opportunity to play, God’s got no favorites! That alone ought to put a shout on you. You don’t need any equipment other than the Word of God, and it’s better than a set of football pads, it’s a shield of armor and two edge sword. Our cheerleaders are a host of angels in Heaven that would likely deafen us if we could hear their shouts of joy! And the trophy you’re after … eternal life for that soul outside the stadium who’s in the game without a coach or protection from the opposing team. They don’t stand a chance if someone doesn’t defend them.

So… it’s game day, are you ready?