Tag Archive: Game

Getting in the Game: Rebounding from a loss

Jim Marshall had a career in football that extended well over two decades. Jim’s career marks are as follows; 409 games (pre-season, season, post season and pro-bowls), *1050 + tackles (league and post season games), *133 + sacks (league and post season games).  Jim was captain of the Vikings for 17 years.  His teams won 11 Divisional Championships, 1 with the Cleveland Browns and 10 with the Minnesota Vikings.  He played in 4 Super Bowls. *No individual stats for the Cleveland Browns

The unfortunate thing is that Jim Marshall is not known for any of those accomplishments. He is best known for his nickname “Wrong Way” Marshall. On October 25, 1964, in a game against the San Francisco 49ers, Marshall recovered a fumble and ran 66 yards with it in the wrong way into his own end zone. In celebration he slammed the ball down, it went out-of-bounds and gave two points to the opposing team.

Why do I mention a player like this? It may be to point out a gaffe by a Vikings player, but more importantly I would like to point out that every player makes mistakes and sometimes it results in points for the other side. How can you recover from something like that?

On this side of heaven we will not lead a perfect life and some of our sins can threaten to interfere with the rest of our life. They haunt us and keep us awake at night as we replay what we did or failed to do. God’s grace says that we start each day fresh. There is no going back and you cannot make up for previous loss, but God says that you can be right back in the game because of the victory of his son.

Have you ever had a major gaffe in life and didn’t know how you would ever recover from it? Did you recover from it? How? Please leave your comments below or on our Facebook page.


Getting in the Game: Overcoming Injuries

In every game there are injuries. We definitely don’t like to see our favorite players go down to injury but we know that is the risk the players take when they play hard and play to win.

There are certain players that have had the same injury over their whole career. Past injuries can threaten any player if they have not taken the time to heal and regain their strength. Often times it means they have to go through physical therapy to slowly regain their strength. No player ever wants to sit out of the game they love to nurse an injury but it is extremely important that they do it or it will get progressively worse.

If we are truthful with ourselves we know that there are many things that can injure us in this life, everything from broken relationships to broken bodies. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” Jesus promised that there would be One who would come as our guide or our trainer to help heal the hurts. The Holy Spirit is called the comforter who is able to heal hearts and give strength to the weak.

What injuries have you suffered in this life, both external and internal? What process did you go through to heal? Do you have injuries in your life that you have chosen to ignore, hoping they would just go away? Have you noticed the pain that continues to hang around?

We will be dealing with the issue of injury and healing in this week’s message. Leave your comments below or on our Facebook page. Thanks!

Strategy for the Game

Everyone needs a strategy. I can remember playing pickup games of football in Jr. High. I was frustrated when I was on the team that had no plan for how we should try to score to win the game. Usually it started with everyone fighting over who was going to be the quarterback, after that was decided the game started. I never liked to hear the quarterback say these words, “Just go long and I’ll get you the ball.”

‘Just go long’ is certainly a strategy but not one that has ever been successful on a consistent basis. The team that I liked to be on was the one that had a plan. The quarterback told the receivers what route to run, told the offense line who to block and you knew the ball would get to you. There was a clear-cut strategy to win and most of the time it was successful.

Can you imagine a college or professional team with the strategy, “Go Long?” As fans we would not tolerate such a strategy from our team. We would call for the heads of the coaches, owners and whoever allowed such foolishness. But when it comes to people around us we see strategy-less lives and never bat an eye.

There are a lot of Christians that live lives without a strategy in mind. We are victors through Christ and yet there are some who act like they have lost. It’s time there was some strategy laid out so that we can start playing like champions.

A proper strategy has a strong offense and a strong defense. The following is a recap of the points from the message.

1.) It is an important strategy to not become over-confident because we have an enemy in the devil that prowls around looking for people to devour. When we become over-confident we open ourselves up to attack. Be alert and guard your hearts!

2.) We have to play as a team. That means we look out and care for other Christians. If someone is straying we speak to them instead of watching them self-destruct. We also encourage one another when life gets to be difficult.

3.) Read the play book. How do we know what God intends for our lives or more about him if we never read his word? It would be difficult. To put it simply find the time to read your Bible. It might be in a small group, large group, online, or private devotions. Whatever it might be read the Bible.

4.) Play with a winning attitude. Play like you know the end of the story, because you do! Jesus’ death and resurrection has given us the victory. Our attitude should be one of thankfulness and joy in all circumstances.

This is a strategy. Let’s start living life in an intentional way and playing as a team.

What is your biggest struggle in this game of life? Leave your comments and questions below or on our Facebook page.

Last week we talked about playing to win and not playing to not lose. Once you have defined a win, a way of life which is pleasing to God and fulfilling for you then you have to defend it. Scripture says that we need to guard our heart. The devil is prowling around like a roaring lion ready to pounce on any opportunity. If we are not on our guard we will fall into old habits and redefine winning in terms of the world.

Defense is only half the game; you also have to play to win. Spiritual disciplines are the offensive line of our faith. If we want to remain strong in our relationship with God then we better be proactive in our reading, prayer, and meditation.

For an example let’s look at Jesus. When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness as he was fasting for 40 days, how did he respond to attacks by the devil?

When the devil said “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” If I haven’t eaten for 40 days and you mention bread, if I have the power to turn the stones into bread you better believe that I would do it. But Jesus responds like this, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” To read the whole story go to Matthew 4:1-11.

When confronted by the devil, Jesus responds with Scripture. He spent time studying the Word so that it would roll off his lips when confronted with a battle. (Not to mention that he is at the center of all the Scriptures)

What rolls off your lips when confronted in battle? When it comes to your faith: What does it mean to be on offense? What does it mean to play defense?

Leave your comments below or on our Facebook page. Thanks!

Are you a winner?

What do you think about when you think about winning. I prefer to think of winning like this:

The Gatorade moment when the team has the victory in hand and they are happy and celebrating. It is easy to identify a win in sports, but not so easy in life. If we allow our culture to define a winning life, chances are it would look different from the standard God has placed in front of us.

On a heavier note; At the saddening news of the loss of Steve Jobs, I can’t help but think of a man who is identified as a winner. Steve Jobs wasn’t just a CEO at a computer company; he was probably the greatest visionary of our times. The effects of his vision will be felt and realized for decades. Personally, I am grateful because my interest in the computer-related world began with my iPod and then grew from there (thus, this blog).

With all that said, can we look at his life and say that he was a winner? It all depends on what scale you use: our culture’s scale or God’s scale.

On the cultural scale there is no doubt about it, he is a winner! He accomplished great things.  At the age of 30, he, along with Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, won the first National Medal of Technology.  Recently, he was named the most admired entrepreneur among teenagers. He is admired by geeks and businessmen alike, and his successes with Apple, NeXT, Pixar, and Apple for a second time fill the pages of numerous books. Apple’s meteoric rise from near-bankruptcy in 1997 to the technology leader that everyone is trying to follow today, Fortune has dubbed Jobs “CEO of the Decade” He had four children and a lovely wife of around twenty years. By looking at his life, would you say that he won? In many ways, I would.    

However, God may look at life differently. God’s scale can be summed up in Matthew 16:25-26. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

What good comes to a man identified as a winner on the cultural scale? It may be a hollow win when you find out that you can’t take the power, prestige, money or possessions with you. The Apostle Paul talks with his young apprentice, Timothy, about the prize in the life of the Christian: “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” For Paul and all believers, the gift of salvation had everything to do with Christ and his sacrifice. The relationship with Jesus Christ is what defines a win in life.

I am not making a judgment call of the life of this famous man. Records show he was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Reports also show he walked away from that faith and explored Buddhism. When it comes down to it, I can’t judge another person’s salvation. Salvation and judgment are in God’s hand, I can only declare what the Scriptures say and take comfort in knowing that God is faithful to his promises.  

As Steve Jobs said at his 2005 Stanford address, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” 

After this speech, I am not sure how Jobs defined what was important; however I do hope Jesus was at least considered. As Paul T. McCain, a Lutheran blogger, said in his blog today, “We hold out hope that, in His (God’s) mercy, He once more reached into Steve Jobs’ heart and mind at the end. And that is the “one more thing” that would be better than anything Steve ever announced and told us about.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to define my life in terms of God’s standard. In fact, when I see Jesus face to face, my heart’s desire is for him to say, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

How do you define winning? Does it change how you live today? Please leave your comments below. Let’s start a dialogue about this.

Get in the Game

This weekend we begin a new sermon series called Getting into the game. We are excited to start this series off with tailgate party in the parking lot at church. People travel hours to go to their favorite sports teams, both college and professional. Those same people spend time talking about it before it starts, they spend time after talking about the glorious victory or the crushing defeat. During football season the world is completely absorbed. People want to see their team win. You automatically know when you have won in football, but not in life.  

How can we define a win in life? The world will define winning much differently than God. The world says to win everything at all cost. But it says in God’s Word, “What good is it if you gain (Win) the whole world, but lose your soul?”

Before we even get in the game we have to define what it means to win in life. When you sit at home alone at night or on the lake during retirement and look back at the day or your career how will you know that you “won”?

How do you define winning in life? What does a successful life look like according to God’s standards?

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