Becoming more than a Fan!

It’s not whether you win or lose its how you played that game that matters.
I wonder does that even still apply in our culture of winning at all costs?  Steroids, PEDS, payments from Shoe Companies are in the headlines as top athletes and teams are seeking ways to win at whatever cost.
Is it any wonder that this mentality has overtaken youth sports as well.
Does anyone else remember playing “championship” games of baseball in the neighborhood with tennis balls and frisbees for bases?  Or how about winning world championships in a driveway game of 2on2 basketball?

When did winning become everything?

Now let me move off the court of sport and into the stands …

When did having ‘your’ team win or lose become ‘your’ victory?

College teams win and students rush the floor in celebration.

Pro Sports teams win and fans riot in the streets.
Wear the wrong color and get beat up or verbally abused.

I am all for rooting for a team, but let’s draw a line — You didn’t win.

You didn’t play.

Simply put you were simply a witness to someone else’s victory.

That became ever more clear on Sunday evening as Purdue Fans paid tribute to a class of 4 graduating Seniors – PJ Thompson, Dakota Mathias, Isaac Hass, and Vince Edwards.  They have won a lot of games (100) – the most in Mackey Arena (62) for a group of Seniors.  I have loved watching them play and grow as players and young men.  I have enjoyed their victories and wallowed in their defeats, but I was a fan.  They did the work – they won the battles.  And I have loved every moment – still hoping there are more!
So, here’s my point:

Being a follower of Christ is not a spectator sport.  You can’t sit on the sideline and cheer for Jesus.  You can’t just go to church on Sunday morning, sit in your favorite seat, wear your “I love Jesus” t-shirt, and celebrate victory as if you are part of team without BEING on the TEAM.

Jesus has invited us to be a part of his victory, but the invitation is conditional:

This is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. So whoever had God’s Son has life; whoever does not have His Son does not have life.
I John 5:11-12 NLT
Christianity is not a spectator sport.
Get in the game.
Live out your faith on the playing field of life.

I can promise you this – the victory is much sweeter when you participate in the game.

See you on the field … I’ll be cheering for you!


On the way to Sunday … table manners

Where did you learn your table manners?

Most of us learned them growing up at the dinner table with family.  I blame my habit of eating fast on my mother who taught me I could not be excused from the table until my plate was empty.  Therefore … gobble gobble … “I’m done. May I be excused to go out and play?” became the norm.

But I also learned a lot of other good things:

Elbows off the table.

Take your hat off.

Chew with your mouth closed.

Don’t reach – Ask.

You know the routine.

In the realm of learning manners, I was fascinated to discover a little book penned by George Washington (yes that George Washington – first president and all) when he was a young boy.  The book was Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation.  Washington wrote down 110 rules that were drawn from an English translation of a French book on maxims intended to polish one’s manners.  The rules provide practical advice in any century like:

Rule 51 Do not be hasty to believe flying reports to the disparagement of any

You can read more excerpts from the book here.

Jesus had some ideas about what table manners should like.  He actually encountered a group of men at a banquet that had written a rule book for manners (including many new rules), but they also tried to force the rules on others.

What if all that you had learned about proper social behavior was wrong?

What if there was a different way of behaving in public?

Would you be willing to adopt the new rules as your own?

See you Sunday @ the table …

Does Size really Matter?

Even pastors fall prey to this age old lie. I recently read an article by Dave Ferguson entitled ‘Winning at any size’ in Outreach Magazine.  I have to be honest I would have blown right past the article except the the opening line of the article was:

 “being a baseball fan all my life”

Well right there he had me hooked so I had to read the article.  Ferguson went on to discuss a study by Economics professor Michael C. Davis regarding the correlation between winning baseball teams and attendance.  I know, exciting stuff – right?!.

Davis’ study concluded that high attendance will not produce a winning ball team, but rather a winning team will produce high attendance.  WOW! I hope we didn’t use a lot of Government funding to discover that little gem!

But to the point was Ferguson’s idea that we (as churches) have to stop trying to grow our attendance – see where this going . . .

We need to focus on changing lives – Methodists use the phrase ‘creating disciples to transform the world.’  This thought has come home to me the past few weeks, as I have gathered stories of transformed lives from churches I have served as pastor.

It seems for all that was done to attempt to attract people and draw them into the church – the one thing that was never accounted for was all the transformed lives within the congregation.  It was (in the final analysis) these changed lives that drew others in.

Lesson: If you want to grow a church, focus on people. Changing lives one at a time will do more to grow your church than any effort to market or advertise. In other words, build a winning team and the fans will follow.

Been helping to transform anyone lately?