Sunday, September 7, 2014

Game Day

A beautiful morning in Twig, Minnesota. Blue skies, bright autumn sun, and a “tailgate-style” picnic planned for after the service. Since it’s NFL Sunday Opening Weekend, the congregation was invited to wear the colors of their favoriTe teams, and we see jerseys galore here, with a preponderance of Vikings and Packers colors.

Pastor Brad, football in hand, called us to assemble with high volume enthusiasm, opening with a Vince Lombardi anecdote about focus.

In the early days of the church the faithful met regularly and their focus was the resurrection of Jesus Christ . Today, after the service we’ll begin with a “holy huddle” then break for the tailgates.

~ Our new steeple will be arriving tomorrow at the new church building and we need four or five volunteers to help this afternoon between 2 and 3 o’clock to help get equipment ready.
~ Walt shared that in about 3 weeks we’ll begin needing help with caulking and painting. The cost of the new building was reduced by $200,000 by investing our own sweat equity, so there will be work to do soon.

Darlene, who played a Korg electric keyboard this morning, shared that the Edgewood service we do the 2nd Tuesday each month will be at 3:30.

A time of worship, a time of giving and a time of prayer flowed into our message.

Four Things We Can Learn from Pro Football

Brad began by asking, "How many of you love football?" and "Why do you love football?"

Answers varied. I like their professionalism. I like their athleticism. It’s entertaining.

All this was designed to lay a foundation for Brad to share four character qualities necessary for achievement in football... and in life. Here are the qualities he highlighted.

1) Courage
Receivers who know when their going to get hit yet remain focused on catching the ball, or quarterbacks who are undistracted from their aim of reaching a receiver rather than play it safe to avoid being hit... It takes courage to be a pro football player.

In our day-to-day living we also have situations where we have to have courage to face challenges and not run from them, or to speak up when it is easier to keep quiet.

For this reason Paul wrote in II Timothy 1:7 "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." It takes courage to choose selflessness over greed. It takes courage to actually follow Christ, and to trust Him.

2) Discipline
The discipline it takes to be a professional athlete is remarkable. These men take hours and hours and hours to develop the strength and quickness they have cultivated.

Following Christ is also a discipline. Hebrews 12:11 states, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time but is painful… but later it yields rewards."

Discipline can be summed up in two words: Delayed Gratification. We choose pain in the now for the benefits (pleasure) later. Most people want discipline but don’t want to do what it takes.

Three words how to implement discipline: Advanced Decision Making

We choose in advance to commit to a plan, to wake up fifteen minutes earlier to read our Bibles, or schedule a date night with our spouse, to choose dealing with responsibilities instead of avoiding them.

3) Vision
Proverbs 29:18 says “Where there is no vision the people perish.”

Life is a continual series of struggles, pain and problems. A visionary is someone who can think of solutions to everyday problems that occur.

Vision is not just for great leaders or for artists, but is for everyday folks like you and me. All too often we have a major problem but instead of asking God for wisdom, or for intervention, we call several people to join our pity party.

James wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, ask God... and He will give it to you.” (James 1:5)

With humans this is impossible but with God all things are possible.

4) Endurance
Finally, there is endurance. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. The great football players -- players like Walter Payton and Adrian Peterson -- made personal sacrifices and are remembered for their discipline, courage and endurance.

"Sometimes I’m pushed to the wall," Brad confessed, but God is faithful and he knows he must endure.

This is a world with Instant Gratification as its message. People quit jobs, or TV sitcoms get resolution in thirty minutes… but life is more complicated and God’s way is not our way. Runners have to push through the wall of pain to achieve the gold. Athletes reach their last ounce strength and feel like they can’t go on, yet they push through.

Whether it is relationships, finances, or whatever your battle, God is calling you to courage, discipline, vision and endurance.

* * * *
After the message were began clearing the chairs for a time of communion. Unfortunately, Pearl fell and we had a delay. I mention this so that we would pray for her as she needed to be "carted off the field" and evaluated by medical professionals. If anyone hears how she is doing you may contact Ed so it gets posted here.

* * * *

The tailgate party / picnic potluck after the service was warm and very special. As you can see here...

And for the Vikings fans, today's victory on the road was a tasty dessert.

Pearl has no broken bones and is O.K.... just shaken.
Thank you for your prayers.

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