Friday, May 16, 2014

A1V Devotional: Listen to The Coach

One of my boys' Mother's Day presents to my wife was a new movie, Mercy Rule.

You may or may not have heard of it.  Kirk and Chelsea Cameron are both in it, along with Christian comedian Tim Hawkins.  Kirk and Tim play John and Ben Miller, brothers overseeing their father's scrapping business who are about to have a load of trouble to deal with.  The other storyline running throughout is John's son, Cody, in his little league baseball struggles.  Of all the characters in it, my favorite has to be the boy's baseball coach.  Played by Bas Rutten (the MMA fighter), he teaches Cody how to be truly valuable to the team. 

During one game, he makes a long throw from right field to home plate, trying to stop a run from getting in.  The catcher is out of position, and completely misses the ball, allowing the run.  In his frustration, Cody throws his mitt to the ground, pitching a fit in right field.  He then finds himself benched.  That night, he hops on his bike and visits his coach at home, hoping to find out why he won't let him pitch.

He finds his Coach having a bad night, as he has just burned dinner, and already received 3 calls from other players' parents wanting him to treat their kids differently.  But, Coach respects Cody for coming in person, and agrees to hear him out.  Cody is surprised to learn that the reason he is warming the bench isn't because he pitched a fit on the field, but because he threw the ball in the first place.

"I shouldn't have thrown my glove in the outfield when Stevie didn't cover home."

"No.  You shouldn't have thrown the ball."

"What?  Why not?  The runner was rounding third.  I knew I could get it there."

"Yeah, you knew you could get it there, but you also knew Stevie wasn't there."

"Yeah, but..."

"A good player is like a good brother.  He gets your back when you screw up.  He's out there, making everyone around him better: saving butts, covering for mistakes, coming through when every other kid in a matching lid is depending on him.  You saw Stevie was out of position and you still threw that ball.  you made everyone in that park notice that Stevie was being an idiot.  You drew attention to it.  You made things worse, just to make your point.  Think about it.  A runner advanced off that throw.  You put your team and your pitcher in a bigger hole, and you made your catcher look like a moron.  So, no, you're right.  You shouldn't have thrown your glove, but first, you shouldn't have thrown the ball."

"I wasn't trying to make Stevie look stupid."

"In baseball, we back each other up on the field.  Always.  Every boy will fail or succeed all by himself; but, with everyone watching, the fear of striking out, of leaving runners on base, of being the weak link in the lineup, it even beats the big-leaguers.  Now, teammates work against that.  They pick each other up...Why are you here, Cody Miller?  What was it you wanted to say to me?"

"I just wanted to find out why you weren't letting me play.  I just wanted to find out why you weren't letting me pitch."

"I'll put you back on the field when I think the whole team will be better for it; when boneheads like Stevie will feel safer with you out there.  As for pitching, you're strong, but you don't have great control.  If there are better guys I can put on that mound, I will.  And, you should always want the best guy out there, even if it isn't you."

"So, if I'm the best, you'll play me?"

"No.  If you're the best for the team I'll play you.  Got it?"

How many aspects of our lives can we apply this to?  Family?  Work?  Church?  Am I being what's best for the team?  Can my family, coworkers, employers, church family, and friends count on me?  Can Christ?  Am I being that player who can be counted on?  When given an unexpected and unwanted position to play, do I stick to it and do my best, or just long for something else?

"Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass." - Psalm 37:3-5

Cody eventually turns his attitude around, and becomes the encouraging, optimistic, dependable teammate his Coach knew he could be.  Would our "Coach" have us strive for any less?

Will we spend our time distracted by the Stevie's in our lives, or move on and be the player our Coach wants us to be?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Great Saunders Health Quest - Week 10

That's right, I'm finally below 200.  I really can't remember how long ago I broke into the 200 pound range, but it has been several years.  (And I better say it now, since cheat night for this week is tonight...)

I've lost just over 30 pounds, now.  I feel great.
What have I noticed?
- Other than some mild allergy issues lately, I'm rarely tired until the end of the day.
- I'd almost forgotten I had an adam's apple.  It's been peeking out occasionally, now.
- I no longer feel the need to just sit when I get home.  I've actually got the energy necessary for playing with the kids...which seems to result in wrestling more than anything.
- A three-year-old jumping onto your back can be quite painful.
- His one-year-old brother learns by example...

The past week hasn't been an easy one.  For some reason, the desire to sneak bites of things was very persuasive.  But, this is the half-way mark for my initial goal of losing 60 pounds, so I couldn't be happier!

Start Date: 3/2/14
Days in: 72
Current weight:  198
Pounds lost: 32
Waist: 36
Attitude: Thrilled
Activity level: low-moderate

Friday, May 2, 2014

A1V: Revived!

I know!  It's been a while, right?

Let me tell you a little story.  It's a story about a boy.  You see, this boy was constantly wondering what God had in store for him.  He had dreams.  Oh, did he dream.  He believed there was something more waiting for him, and so, he walked several paths, often believing he was on the one intended for him, only to have them fall apart in one way or another.  He spent years wondering at what point he stepped off of the path he was really meant to take by the One directing his steps.

Eventually, amid heartache and frustration, he was granted wisdom regarding his plight, and realized that all those paths were the right paths for him.  He realized that, without these paths he believed to be mistakes, he would never become the man he was being shaped into.  After all, the smoothest stone would be nothing without the waves that shaped it.

He prayed, hoping some grand scheme would be revealed, and he would have a destination in mind for his steps to walk toward without distraction.  And so, the Lord gave him one.  He gave him a vision of an amazing event that would help to unite His people in worship, an event that would remind His people that they are not alone in their small congregation of believers, but are a tiny fraction of an impossibly large group who are on the same path.  Far more than a small group of friends gathered in the same room: a family. A family of millions.  A family spanning the globe.  A family desperate for a reunion.  A family that, despite differing views on trivial matters, needed to be reminded of what they agree wholeheartedly on: their faith in His Son who gave His life that they might know Him.  Thus, the boy began the work needed to arrange such an event.

Calls were made.  Discussions held.  Websites created.  Devotionals written.  Then, the unthinkable happened: it fell apart.  The boy was astounded.  How could such an amazing opportunity, an opportunity given by God, designed to unite His people, be of such little interest? 

After many months of confusion and frustration, he was granted further wisdom.  He had always known that God's plan would be complicated, that it would involve thousands of tiny events that all contributed to it, yet he failed to remember that.  So, the Lord educated him.  He gave the boy the goal, gave him the reigns, and allowed the boy to strive toward it.  And, after a time, the boy again understood.  When given the destination, he tried to skip the journey.

Thus, here we are.  It's been about a year since I touched As One Voice, and that's okay.  It wasn't time.  I didn't have it right.  I made it way to complicated for people to be interested.

Here's the new plan:  Instead of trying to begin at the end, we'll start at a beginning.  I know, it's surprisingly simple, isn't it?  We're dropping the plans for radio, for internet, for all the things that may come with time, and starting someplace easy.  All we're going to do is ask every church that is willing to sing the same set of songs on a Sunday morning.  That's it.  We're just going to see how many people we can get to sing together, as one voice, despite how far apart they may be.  One message, one body, one voice.  Hey, that sounds like it might be a slogan.

Look for a website redesign in the future, updating the plans and song list.  And, please, be in prayer.  We need this.  God's people need to remember we aren't alone.  We stand as the largest group of believers world-wide, and it's time we were reminded of that.

In Christ,