Thursday, February 13, 2014

It Looks Like Rain - a Football Update

I suppose that if you are here reading my blog that you probably already know that I am taking football players and coaches with me to Portugal next month. (If you haven't read how I ended up with my own football team you really should read this post How I ended up with my own football team! We'll be working with the Lumberjacks football team.

Plans are coming along great. My team has worked on football things and we have talked about how there are some great parallels between football and living life as a follower of Jesus Christ. And I've already become "friends" on Facebook with one of the Lumberjack's players.

I am learning - well, no, let's just say I'm reading - a new foreign language. No. Not Portuguese. Eu falo bastante Português para minha viagem para Porto. Na verdade, eu diria que o Português é mais fácil de aprender do que jargão do futebol americano.

For example - here are the titles of some of the videos I could watch as I prepare to go to Portugal.

"Defending the Wing-T out of the 3-4"

"GJHS No huddle power pistol"

"Transitioning From Under Center to the Gun in the Wing-T Buck Sweep Package"

Sério? Português é muito mais fácil de entender.

Now all I need to finish getting ready for my trip is to find some good rainwear. This is the rainy season in Portugal! Oh my!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Preparing to Go on Mission

Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was. Looking at His answer is a good way to prepare yourself to go on mission.

You probably are familiar with what He said.

Mark 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

Here's how you can use these verses as a guide to prepare yourself for missions.

Preparing to go on mission 

 Love the Lord your God with all your heart.   

This is the best motivation for going on mission. Where are your passions? Before you go, examine your heart. Have you taken back parts of your heart?

 Spend time in the Word every day so your heart is in tune with His heart. 

 Love the Lord your God with all your soul

 If you’ll think of your soul as your spirit then you’ll find many verses that tell how to live out your life. Practice – work at – living a life led by the Spirit as you prepare to go in the Spirit on mission. 

 Let God’s Holy Spirit bear fruit in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,self-control. 

Love the Lord your God with all your mind. 

 Know how to share your faith – the basic Gospel message. 

Know why you are there. Are you doing a sports camp? A backyard Bible club? Prayer walking? Different mission projects require you to know different things. Are you ready? 

Learn some basic phrases in the heart language of the people you will be working with. Eu estudo Português! 

Love the Lord your God with all your strength

Get in shape physically. Many mission areas require a lot of walking. Will you be able to keep up? Begin adding more walking time to your days a few months before you go. 

How is your overall health? Do you have medications that you need to refill so you don’t run out while away from home? Some mission opportunities will require vaccinations. Ask your doctor if there are things you need to do before you go. Now that we’re on the subject, you probably need to be eating better all of the time. J

Love your neighbor as yourself
How can you love anyone more than by introducing them to Jesus?

Here's the surprise ending!

Being on mission isn't a place where you go. It is a lifestyle. Your mission field is anywhere you are! You don't have to wait until your church's next trip to _________. You are on mission today! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Advice for Worship Ministry

Advice for Worship Ministry (probably applicable to other areas of ministry)

I guess now that I'm an old guy I've hit that age where the younger guys look at me like the old bearded guy on the top of the mountain handing out advice. I'm having lunch with one such younger guy right after the New Year. He's just starting out and wants some advice. He did NOT call me an old guy. I just figured that part out myself.

In the spirit of the great list maker (it is Christmas after all)

here's a quick barely-edited list that I came up with in just a short amount of time of contemplating about the advice I would give someone just entering the music/worship ministry. Sorry.... that was way too long and complicated of a sentence. But it's Christmas and I don't feel like editing. Which will be obvious when you see how my list got longer and longer as I wrote.

I'd love to hear what you would add to this list - or delete from this list.

I'm not giving the reasons behind this list as that would make this post even longer and would require more thinking than I'm willing to put in at the moment.

And I should mention that prayer and Bible study are a given in this and any other list of how to do your best work for the Kingdom.

Without further ado, here's my quick list.

      1.      Remember it’s God’s work, not yours
2.      Love people more than you love music
3.      Don’t throw out the old as you add in the new
4.      Be willing to learn from your critics as well as your friends
5.      Dream big
6.      Plan smart
7.      Work hard
8.      Change is difficult. Let people know the how, when, why, etc. give advance notice and keep walking them through it
9.      Don’t sacrifice your family for the church. Ministry opportunities never end. One of your best testimonies is your family life.
10.  Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s good (or bad)
11.  Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s good (or bad)
12.  Just because they do it at ______ church doesn’t mean it will work at your church or that it’s good (or bad)
13.  Text is as important as melody. Worship music has to have good theology.
14.  Your volunteers could be doing a lot of other things. Treat them with kindness, love and respect.
15.  Work toward excellence, not perfection (there is  a difference)
16.  Don’t wish you were at _______ church, make the one you’re at the one someone else wishes they were at
17.  Don’t compare yourself to _______ or your church to ________, compare yourself and your church to what God wants you and your church to be
18.  It’s OK to borrow ideas from others but adapt them to your church and your people
Well, obviously I got on a rolllllllll. What do you think? What did I miss? If you could only give one word of advice, what would it be?


Friday, November 22, 2013

Rehearsals for Sunday, November 24

It's here! The final countdown before our non-tree Christmas. (If you don't know that "the Tree" got a case of Dutch Elm disease and had to be retired then you haven't been paying attention.)

Here is THIS Sunday's rehearsal schedule.

Here it is in an easier format. :-)

2:00 – wisemen and shepherds and attendants

2:30 – Middle and High School youth for “Jingle All the Way”

3:00 – children (grades 1-5)  join youth for angel song and then for the car song

3:30 – adult choir in sanctuary to practice with words

4:30 – drama actors in the choir room to go through all lines. Should be very close to memory

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm a Rich Man

I’m a rich man.

I’m rich because I know how to invest.

You not as young folks will remember Richie Rich

I’m an investor, an optimist, a dreamer… I have hope for the future. I plan for the future. I work for the future.

In the Fall I plant bulbs knowing in the Spring I’ll have daffodils and tulips for everyone driving by to enjoy.

Instead of spending $50 for a dozen red roses from the florist I buy bare-root rose bushes and plant them in February knowing I’ll have vases full of roses from May until November.

I teach violin lessons to develop current church musicians and with the dream of future players for the Nashville symphony.

The biggest investment I am making right now is between today and March. I’m taking young men on mission to Portugal. I’m taking football players and coaches my football team to work alongside of our IMB partners to reach out to Portuguese men who play American football in a country-wide community league.  As we go on mission there are immediate short-term results that have long-term benefits.

1.      The Kingdom will be advanced in Portugal.

2.      Our IMB personnel will be encouraged in their work.

3.      Local churches in Portugal will be inspired and encouraged as they try to reach their communities for Christ.

4.      As we prepare for and then go on mission my “football team” – players and coaches –will spend time praying, planning and working together and will get first-hand experience in sharing their faith.


Our mission trip to Portugal, however, is much more than just a one week trip. Not only are there some immediate benefits, but there are some important long-term benefits from a mission trip like this. I am (we are) investing in the lives of men: Men who will become deacons and pastors and LIFE Groups leaders and better fathers and faithful church members who tithe and give and serve and witness.

What? You get all of that from going on a mission trip?



Because men need other men to care about them and model for them and teach them to be godly men of faith and action. As we plan and pray together, as we prepare to go on mission and then as we work side by side, share our faith together, pray together and all of the other things that happen while on mission, God uses these experiences to shape and build men into faithful followers of Christ. We become invested in each other’s lives. We are iron sharpening iron.

You can be rich too!!

You may not be able to go with us on this mission trip but you can invest in it. You can pray for us – not only that we prepare well, but that we become the men we need to be to be effective witnesses. You can invest financially. Some of the guys going are young men with young families working in their first jobs or even looking for their first job after graduating from college. Some have young families and students loans. They are willing to pay their own way, but your investment will ease their minds as they learn to trust God for provision. (and for that matter, God may have YOU in mind as part of that provision)

When the children of Israel went into battle some of the men had to stay behind to protect and care for the women and children. Even though they couldn’t go into battle, they shared equally in the spoils.  You can "share" in the "spoils" of our mission trip as you invest in these men.

My prayer is that you will choose to invest in Kingdom work and in the lives of young men. Contact me or call the church office and talk to Donna if you want to invest financially. At the next Man Church I’ll have the names of men going with me so you can join together in praying for us.
Invest! Become rich in God's work!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In Good Company

I'm so excited! I've been struggling a little bit with this whole football thing. my football calling
However, last night I was talking to some guys at "Man Church" - which is where my football journey began - and one of them gave me an awesome idea about my football costume - or rather, uniform. They reminded me of Tom Landry.

Now THAT is a classy look. I can totally go with that. (I actually had a fedora when I lived in Denver. I didn't want to wear a knit toboggan when it was snowing, so a fedora was the perfect answer as far as I was concerned.)

This morning the guys here in the office told me Bear Bryant wore a fedora too.
Not sure hound's-tooth is the way I want to go, but I'm totally going for the classy coach look. My guess is that if I show up at the airport in a classy hat surrounded by football players everyone will assume I'm some really good, really famous football coach or maybe even the team owner.

Of course it wasn't the hats that made these men famous. They were great at coaching. Their teams won lots of games and probably Super Bowls and Orange Bowls and other assorted bowls.

Wikipedia says this about Tom Landry.

"Thomas Wade "Tom" Landry was an American football player and coach. He is ranked as one of the greatest and most innovative coaches in National Football League history, creating many new formations and methods."

More than that - more importantly than that - Tom Landry was a Christian man who was vocal about his faith. Tom-Landry-Under-The-Fedora-A-Committed-Christian

I don't mind modeling my football "look" after these football legends (Landry and Bryant). When people see me in a fedora surrounded by football players I won't mind if they think that I'm in the same league as these two. But more importantly I want people to know - after spending time with me - that I am a follower of Jesus Christ. People knew that about Tom Landry because he wasn't afraid to speak up and say so. Whether I'm in Portugal on football mission or at Wal-Mart in Clarksville I want to take advantage of the opportunities - the divine encounters - that God sends my way.

What about you? You may not be a fedora kind of guy, but are you ready to share your faith when given a chance? Do you have an answer for the hope that is in you? Are you willing to begin conversations about faith - to be the one that initiates such conversations?

I remember a guy once who said "I just witness by being nice and smiling at people." Hmmm. Well, they might just think you're a stalker or a pervert. A smile is interpreted in as many ways as those who see it. Add words! Speak up! Maybe wear a fedora - and when someone says, "Why are you wearing that hat?" You can say, well, I knew about a man once who was a great coach and a great man of faith and he wore one. I'm just trying to be like him. And there you go..... you've begun a conversation about faith and you didn't even have to work hard to do it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Keeping in Shape

A short devotion given from my non-sports guy view of football – therefore, before taking any of the actual football advice it would be wise to check with a real football-type person. The spiritual advice can and should be applied frequently.

From what I understand about football and being able to play football, you really need to be in good shape. If you’re going to let people knock you on the ground and pile on top of you just because you’ve got a ball in your hand you probably should be a tough guy. I never totally understood why you would put yourself in that position – to get smacked so hard you end up on the ground with a 300 pound guy (or more than one) sitting on your back.

I guess that’s why they spend a lot of time lifting weights and drinking protein shakes. If you’re going head to head with someone you want to be the bigger guy. You also want to be faster and have cooler looking moves so they can’t keep up with you or catch you (which leads to getting crushed under a bunch of 300 pound guys.)

I’ve heard of football players who take ballet. It’s either to learn the fancy footwork or perhaps having your friends make fun of you gets you all riled up where YOU are the one who crushes the other guy and sits on his back.

Jesus didn’t play football - at least not our current American football. But He took care of Himself – even as a child growing up.

Luke 2:52 NAS
And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Just as a football player has to work every day to have his body in the best shape possible for the game, a person has to work every day to increase in wisdom and in favor with God and man. Those who take ballet or do other extra things find that they are better because they’ve done things to further their abilities or sharpen their skills. It doesn’t just happen. They work hard.

Proverbs 9:10 NAS
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

If you’re going to be any good at something – football, playing the violin, responding to life with wisdom, finding favor with God, finding favor with others – you have to work at it. You have to practice. If you never practice throwing a pass you can’t expect to win Friday night’s game with a 35 yard pass to the open receiver on the 5 yard line (WOW! That sounded so much like I know what all of that is.)

2 Timothy 2:15 NAS
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

If you never read God’s word you can’t expect to stand against temptation. Fight the easy temptations so you can win against the bigger ones. Work hard! You want to be the bigger guy. Practice.

If you aren’t kind to people when it would be easy to do so, how can you expect yourself to treat them with love when they treat you badly? Work hard! Practice!

How will you give an answer for the hope that is in you? Study. Work hard! Practice.

1 Peter 3:15 NAS
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

If you only show up on a football field on a Sunday you aren’t going to be very good at football. If you only worship God on a Sunday you aren't going to be very good at worship. Practice! (worship during the week) That means spend time in prayer, Bible reading and singing praise and worshipping on your own during the week.

Bottom line: To be in shape physically, mentally and spiritually

Work hard!



Read your Bible.

Share your faith.


Work hard!