Tag Archive: Winning


Coming Back from Our Mistakes

What do we do when we’ve really messed up—a mistake, or error in our ways, that’s so big, we see no coming back from it?

Jesus’ disciple, Peter, might have wondered the same thing. On the night Jesus was arrested, Peter denied knowing Him, not once, but three times. Peter might have seen no way of coming back from that.

But although Jesus knew Peter would deny Him, He also knew something Peter probably didn’t know about himself. Jesus knew Peter’s potential and who Peter would become. And Jesus knows the same about us.

Jesus doesn’t just know who we are now, but who we can become through Him. Jesus knows we’re going to fail and make major mistakes, but He also knows these are opportunities for growth in our faith, and in who we are becoming. Jesus knows our potential.

Jesus knew Peter would mess up by denying Him, and yet, he told Peter, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19 NIV)

Wow. Jesus knew Peter would be the foundation of His church, even though he knew the mistakes Peter would make.

So, how do we come back from our mistakes? We confess them and ask His forgiveness.
God knows our heart, and when He forgives, He chooses to remember our sins no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)

God forgives us, and we need to forgive ourselves. Forgetting our mistakes is often difficult—there may be consequences to face and lessons to be learned. But when God forgives us, we don’t need to carry the guilt and shame around like baggage. We need to forgive ourselves. If that’s something we struggle with, we can ask Him for help. Forgiveness draws us closer to God, and allows us to move forward in becoming the person He knows we can be.

What can we do to start discovering our potential? Is there any way to do it without going through mistakes?

Leave your comments and questions below or on our Facebook page.

Article written by Laura Rath
You can catch up with her on her blog at http://www.laurarath.blogspot.com/
Or you can follow her on twitter @LauraJRath

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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.

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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