Friday, June 02, 2006

Devotion for My Team

1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.

You know from freshman Bible that we live “in the last days” and Christ is preparing His return. It may be today or 100 years from now or longer, no one knows. But we need to prepare and live lives of expectancy.
Everything you do should be devoted to Him in light of this, including your football and future.

Also know that there will be difficult times in this life. It’s not that everyday is a disaster; we have many good days. We live in a blessed time, but the days are evil and the Prince of the world has put in place a pattern of living that we are commanded to “not conform to”.

Sin impacts all that we do and are involved in. It is all tainted. As much as I want football to be a glorious time for you and you have all relationships pure, and all memories great, I know that it just won’t happen. I hope your football experience is awesome, but I know that it will never be perfect.

I also want you to know that I find it to be harder and harder to coach in these times. When I say that, I’m not mad at you and I’m not trying a psychological technique on you. I am just being honest from my gut.

The list that follows is primarily why it is hard.

I have some good friends who are leaving coaching. They are worn out because of difficult parents and tough situations. As our culture erodes values, it gets more difficult for a football team to succeed.

At the core of all great football teams is character. Unselfishness, team goals, unity, trust, perseverance, courage, toughness, a never say die spirit – all of these things must be in place. And they are found less and less among young people.

2 For people will be lovers of self,

Selfishness kills a football team. Conversely, every great team I have ever coached was unselfish. The best offense I ever coached was in 1999. We rushed for 2600 yds and passed for 2750 and averaged 48 points a game. We won the state championship 56-14. I never had a player that year ask for me to call their number. No one really cared about their stats or whether they were going to college. It was have fun, glorify God, and win.
We live in selfish times. It is a me first society. I worry that all your role models point to themselves after plays – “look what I did”- I worry that AAU and travel sports is a showcase for individual skills and talent- I worry that you measure success on whether or not you get to play in college- I worry that you only participate in sports where you will get most of the playing time- I worry that you are happy when you do well regardless of the team and sad when you do poorly, even if we win. I worry that you only try when you feel like it- and I worry that you will follow my leadership only when you agree with it. Everything is placed under the idol of self.
I challenge you to try and die daily to yourself. Abide in Christ, submit to God ordained authority, and give yourself away to something bigger.

lovers of money,

Consumerism is dominating our times. We begin to identify ourselves with what we own or buy rather that who we are. Instead of “he’s a good guy”, we say “he drives a Lexus”. I challenge you to not give preference to anyone in our school just because they have material wealth. Never look down on anyone that you perceive has less than you.

proud, arrogant, abusive,

We all hate pride. We point it out so easily in others. I want our team to be dominated by genuine humility. What is that? Does it mean that we don’t have a “swagger” or confidence? NO. I want us to be fiery and confident when we play. But I want us to treat others with great respect. We do not look down on others, even our opponents. We never make fun of their facilities or snub our nose at them. We never haze at any time our younger players. We never say, “you’re just a scrub player” or you’re just a manager”- we honor all the roles that make for a championship team. We watch our words and speak positively and encourage.

disobedient to their parents,

You get tired of this one. But this relates to the 5th commandment and includes your coaches. You are to subject yourself to all of the God-ordained authority in your life. It is good to learn to live there. What good is it if you only obey when you want to? Prove yourself to be counter cultural and obey when you don’t feel like it. Your parents and coaches are not dumb. Treat authority figures with respect and be ruled by them.


Oh Lord, give us “attitudes of gratitude”. Do not feel guilty that you live in this country and have all that you have, but be grateful. Thank all the people who serve you. ‘Thanks mom for driving me today”- ‘Thanks dad for helping me”- say thank you to janitors, lunch room ladies, teachers, youth workers. If you lose that spirit of thankfulness, you have lost a lot. There are millions who would trade places with you- they would take your health, your family, your financial stability, your school… in a heartbeat.

unholy, 3 heartless,

Holiness is “set apart by God”. Be humble (vs 2) and Be holy. Allow yourself to be counted on God’s side. Identify yourself with Him. Be bold enough to say, “I play for God’s glory and pleasure.” And have a heart…CARE. Be excited. Don’t be too cool to care. Let it matter. Live with passion. Reject this “age of casualness”. It is Ok to cry and laugh and cheer.


Some people can not be pleased. Don’t be that way. Look for the good and be less critical. Be thankful and content.


Have you spoken against someone? Have you spread a story that you did not know to be true? Did you make fun of someone behind their back? In this world accusation often means conviction. Please don’t fall into that trap of sitting with the mockers and spreading lies of slander.

without self-control,

This one is huge! Discipline. Learning to control your body and appetites. Teach yourself to say NO. Tell yourself when to sleep, eat, study, and play. Do not be an undisciplined person.

brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous,

No one likes these kinds of people. If we have someone like this, I need to know. I need to have the courage to remove them from our midst. They make everyone unhappy.


I think about your driving. What makes you a good athlete is that you are a risk taker. But do your risk taking in sports, not on the road. Actions do have consequences, connect the dots.

swollen with conceit,

Think of your Savior. He “emptied Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”. The smallest package in the world is a man all wrapped up in himself.

lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

We live in luxurious times with a ton of leisure. It is great to enjoy pleasure, but it always has a price. Learn to earn your pleasure. Work first and then enjoy. Do not get addicted to sensuality, instead , be disciplined. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.

This is a scary verse. Are we worried only at how we appear?

Avoid such people.

Paul tells Timothy to avoid having influence from these types of people. Which list characterizes your friends?

6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,

How are you treating the females in our culture? Are they objects for you to conquer and use? We cannot depend on them to lead us to holiness, we have to stand up and be real men. How are you treating someone’s sister or MY daughter?

7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

Scary verse 2- We are dependent on the Sprit to teach us.

8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

Jannes and Jambres are not specifically mentioned in the OT. It is believed that they were sorcerers in Pharoah’s court who used signs and wonders to discredit Moses. If you always “bow up” to authority and oppose, it will eventually discredit you.

10 You, however,
Now the good stuff – Please consider your coaches, your parents, teachers, and me as your Paul.

have followed my teaching,- we try to point to Jesus and the Bible

my conduct, - we try to live what we preach and teach

my aim in life,- we have a direction and it is true North- SOLI DEO GLORIA

my faith, - given to us by God’s grace in Christ

my patience,- I hope you see it

my love, - I hope you see this even more

my steadfastness, - We will stay to the end and fight to the last whistle

11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra--which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.

Paul was made fun of and complained about in Antioch
He drew bitterness in Iconium
Was stoned and left for dead at Lystra
God took care of Him- He will lead us in the tough times.

12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

The Bible is no “pie in the sky fairy tale”- Faith in Christ is for champions.

13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

If you are reading this feel critical or resentment- WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO WAKE UP? You need to stop fighting the Lord. He died for you, is living for Him too much to ask? Please lay down your weapons, bitterness, and pride.

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed,

Run the race with courage, Read the Bible. Pray with and for your brothers.

knowing from whom you learned it

Jesus, Paul, heroes of the Bible, parents, grandparents, Sunday School teachers,
teachers, coaches, administrators, youth workers

15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings,

All the learning in the Scriptures is of great value

which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Scripture bears witness of Christ and teaches about the Gospel- Good News for Bad People- Jesus died for our sins and arose from the grave- Salvation is by trusting in Him!

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Do not neglect your Bible study. It is not a textbook for class. THESE ARE WORDS OF LIFE!


I confess that I am not talented enough to lead these young men as they need. I pray for them right now. Fill up my deficiencies with Your grace and lead us to a championship season for Your glory! Make us tough and unified and keep us healthy.

I pray for a fiery competitiveness that is not seen much today. I pray we feel free enough to shout and celebrate with our brothers. I pray that when we sweat and bleed and cheer and cry that we feel Your presence. I pray that it matters to us.

I pray for a love and trust that is beyond our flesh. I pray that we would criticize less and encourage more. I pray that we treat all members of this team with respect and honor. All roles are valuable in Your sight!

I pray Your blessing on each player. Bless their families and protect them. Please. Oh God, deliver us from evil. May You raise up warriors for Your kingdom and train them well.

May they leave our fields of battle with honor and special memories. Shoot them as flaming arrows into a dark and dying world- may they spread compassion and service to whatever field You choose for them.

May CPA football produce missionaries, doctors, accountants, engineers, pastors, and all other professions for Your kingdom. May they be men of integrity and lead their homes and communities without fear. May they love their wives and children with Your love.

And finally, bless my coaches! They are truly wonderful! Give them the fruit of their labor and their heart desires. Protect their families while we are away in long hours and redeem the time for You!

Father, I have never needed You more than this season. Let this be a breakthrough and break out year. SOLI DEO GLORIA.

In Jesus- may it be so!

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