The headline is more selacious that the story
Last night was the semifinals for our 8-11 year old flag football team, the Raiders. I don’t know why, but I got really nervous yesterday, couldn’t even eat dinner. I was so excited for the kids! When it came game time my stomach was in knots; I’ve never been that nervous for my own sports. I just didn’t want to make dumb play calls and ruin it for the kids.
So, we started the game with the ball. The first play I called was a fake reverse with a short pass. Our players ran it perfectly, but the defense was prepared and intercepted the ball and ran it back for a touchdown. Down 6-0 right at the start. Our defense stopped the extra point try, and it was our ball again…
I decided to run the reverse this time, thinking we had set it up with the first play. They read it perfectly and sacked us at our own 1 yard line. My stomach was really turning. The next play I called play action with a swing pass to the receiver running a slant out. The guys ran it, but again the defense was sitting on the play, intercepted it and ran it back for a touchdown. 13-0 and we’re only 3 minutes into the game. I thought I’d ruined it for the kids and I felt horrible!
I went to the sideline and encouraged the kids, even told them it was my fault and they would be fine. Inside I felt like throwing up. However, we went back out and I told the kids we would be fine, just have fun and give it their best. I swallowed and called the next play. We actually gained positive yards and we all breathed deep. From there on we caught fire, winning the game 47-19! I was so proud of our kids for hanging in there!
As I thought about it, our game is alot like leading a church. I get nervous every week, wanting to make sure that I give God my best. However, sometimes we make calls that end up looking disastrous. However, it’s at these times we have a choice. Shrink back in fear, or take a deep breath, trust God and go for it!
At Palm Valley we’ve made some dumb calls. However, we always learn from them and come back stronger! I’m determined to learn from every mistake, and not to repeat them, but make new mistakes Leaders, don’t ever get discouraged by the scoreboard, or the critics, and keep going for the touchdown, giving God your best!!!
BTW, the Raiders go for the championship at 6:00 Wednesday, and I won’t start the game with the fake reverse pass I’ve got a new trick up my sleeve should be fun
One of the things I love to do is coaching my kids sports teams. Over the season (basketball, football, baseball, basketball, football) I’ve gotten to see a ton of growth in the kids. Our basketball team from last season was a blast. My only regret is that I get more requests for kids to be on my team than we have roster spots. We haven’t won a championship in since our first season, but it doesn’t matter. My current team, the Raiders has 9 players returning from our past teams. Today I realized how much these kids have grown.
You see, last year I was asked to coach a bunch of players I’d never met before our first game. We showed up, met each other, and went out and lost something like 50-0. It was so bad they called the game early. I rallied the kids, told them to keep their heads up, and promised them we’d get better. We went on to lose our first 4 games, but I noticed we were losing by less each week (take what you can get ). By the end of the season we actually won a few games and ended up in the championship game! But that team was dependant on a few players making all the plays.
What I noticed today is that all 11 players have grown, and everybody’s playing together as a team. I was so proud to see how much our players, and team, have grown since I started with them last year. I laughed that some other parents and coaches were saying I “hand-picked” my team. They have no clue how this team came together, what they’ve been through, and how much it means to our kids to play well. It’s not about wins & losses. We’ve lost already this season, and we’ll probably lose again. We don’t sweat it. What makes me smile is seeing kids who are growing, getting better, and playing together. After our second game today I gathered the kids and told them how proud I was of them. I wanted them to know I see it. I noticed they stood taller after that.
God reminded me of something today. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but I believe He loves watching His children grow. He knows we won’t be perfect, yet He love us. Sometimes I’m hard on myself. Today He reminded me that He cheers my growth.
I love that Palm Valley is a church where people far from God can come and find life through Christ. I love that we’re a church where “perfect people aren’t allowed”. I love that everybody is welcome. I love watching the growth in people’s lives. We’re a community of believers trying to be more like Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Tonight I watched a lot of people take a huge step in receiving forgiveness and then choosing to forgive others. I saw a lot of grwoth, and tonight I’m celebrating it!
If you see this and you’re so inclined I’d really appreciate your prayers for me this week. Specifically in 3 areas…
1) I’ve got a HUGE meeting at 7:00 am this morning that could have HUGE ramifications for where Palm Valley meets for the next few years! If God opens the door, this would be a HUGE step forward for us. Did I mention this is HUGE Pray for wisdom for me and God’s favor for those we need to help us in this process.
2) Lori and I, and some of the staff, are heading to the C3 conference in Dallas. We’ll fly out Tuesday and come back Friday. Ed Young and his wife Lisa have been great friends to Lori and I, and have had a big impact on Palm Valley Church. Each year at this conference I find that God really refuels me and He’s always used this conference to speak to me about next steps for Palm Valley. Pray that I’m refreshed spiritually and challenged in my leadership; both prayers I’m praying! Thanks. On a personal note, I love this conference because it’s like a reunion with ministry friends from all over the country. Us pastors are a weird bunch, but we get each other and it’s fun to hang with my tribe for a few days
3) Pray for my message preparation this weekend. I’m stoked to be teaching on the temptation of Jesus, His holiness, and what it means to our relationship with Him. I’m fired up for this weekend at PVC. BTW, bring people who don’t know Jesus: they’ll thank you!!
Crazy week, awesome weekend…
- My 7-9 year old basketball team lost a nail biter, 8-5. The boys put in a great effort.
- I didn’t know what to do with myself Saturday afternoon since I wasn’t teaching.
- I had a blast just walking around church all weekend.
- Our nursery, pre-school and grade school areas are knockin’ it out of the park. Forget portable, there’s just not many kids ministries operating at this level!
- Ditto for students, the energy in that area is “off the chain”
- Darius brought it this weekend! God’s hand is all over this guy.
- From Darius: bring hope to others by 1) going to them, 2) listening to them, 3) praying with and for them, and 4) following up with them.Â
- Those are great parenting tips also
- It was very moving to pray over people at the end of each service, but more moving to see everyone praying for each other!
- The staging is ridiculous for this series; blows me away each time I look at it!
- Had a veggie pita for lunch, get serious.Â I need a steakÂ :)
- Helped a friend move Sunday afternoon, cool to see some guys from our Home Team show up.
- GREAT home team meeting Sunday night. You know it’s the real deal when everyone in the room is crying together.
- PVC’ers, don’t forgot your memory verse for the week: Psalm 94:19.
- Heading to C3 in Dallas this week. Looking forward to hanging out with ministry friends and recharging my batteries!
Yesterday I wrote that we completed the Route66 journey, reading through the Bible in 2008. The cool part is that God’s Word is living and inexhaustable, so January 1st marks the begining of another journey. Today we begin reading through the Bible again in 2009. We will also be emphasizing journaling, using the S.O.A.P. method. This will help us record our journey, and grow closer to Jesus this year.
This is a great tool, because it doesn’t matter what your knowledge/experience is with the Bible, you simply record your thoughts each day. You can learn more about the S.O.A.P. method by watching this video: http://media.palmvalley.org/video/121308.html or reading here: http://www.pvcroute66.com/studytools.htm . I highly encourage everyone to watch the video by Wayne Cordiero, it will really help you.
My hope is that our conversations as a church will center around our reading of God’s Word, and what He’s teaching us. Tonight I had great joy as I looked around the room as all my family was reading the Bible, and then gathered to share our S.O.A.P.’s for the day. What a unifying factor in our family to read and share God’s Word together. Parents and grandparents, I pray you’ll take time each day to do this with your kids/grandkids. What a great way to invest in the young people in our lives.
I encourage you to find others to share this year’s journey with. Our Home Team is reading and S.O.A.P.’ing together, sharing our growth together. If you don’t have a group, I’d encourage you to find one or even start one. Contact Dennis Johnston, our Home Teams Pastor at firstname.lastname@example.org for help with this.
I believe journeying through the Bible together will make 2009 the best year ever, join us on the journey!
Today Lori and I are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe how quickly time has flown, it seems like just yesterday we were walking down the aisle with great expectations. We’ve experienced a great deal in 15 years…
- A wonderful youth ministry that still produces fruit today.
- 3 years of marriage w/o kids where we built a deep and abiding friendship.
- The birth of 4 children, truly God’s greatest blessing is our family. Watching our children grow physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually brings us great joy.
- Starting Palm Valley Church together in our home. This was easily the biggest step of faith, yet our greatest faith-growing experience.
- Developed great friendships, many which have remained a huge blessing to us today.
- Experienced great sadness at close friends who have chosen to walk in sin and wrecked their lives, leaving us feeling hurt and helpless in the wake of damage.
- Learned great lessons in how to communicate love to each other and avoid the pitfalls of marriage.
- Learned huge financial lessons, the hard way, that have drawn us closer to each other and to our Lord.
- Realized how blessed we are that God brought us together, and have fallen more in love with each other every day.
To my bride, Lori…
- You are my beloved wife.
- You are my best friend.
- I love when you laugh, even when you’re laughing at me
- I love your passion for Jesus, and that you’ve always walked with Him.
- I’m grateful you saved yourself for me, it makes me feel special.
- You’re the most incredible mother ever; our children are blessed by you.
- Your faith encouraged me to pursue my dreams. Without that, Palm Valley Church wouldn’t exist. Every changed life at PVC can be traced back to you!
- Thanks for believing in me when everybody told you to run.
- You’re more beautiful today than the day I married you. You defy logic.
- I want to grow old with you
- You’re the best little help-mate ever
- I thank God every day that He brought you into my life!
- The first 15 years have been amazing, I believe the next 15 will be even better.
Through 15 years, with ups and downs, nobody will ever know how hard we’ve worked at our marriage, but Lori and I do, and that’s what matters. I love you honey!