Monday, March 05, 2012

Good Day / Bad Day Performance

Athletes are often judged by their performances. In fact, in many professional contracts, players have incentives or bonus options based on their performances. Think back over the years of all the great players in a variety of sports who have been to the top and fell due to injury or lack of focus. Think of the others who have played well for years, but simply hung on to long. In either scenario, praise and criticism have wrapped themselves around their lives.

I have been reading and thinking through a study of grace. And in that study, I have to admit that I (we), Christians, wrap ourselves with a performance based contract as well. We live in a good day / bad day mentality. If we do all the right things (rise early for study and prayer, give to the needy, etc) then God will bless our day and our lives as a result. But, if we don't do all the right things (sleep in, have frustrations, speak poorly of others, etc) then we believe God will not bless us. What a trap and contradiction of the scripture. Yes the scripture speaks of our fruits and calls us to become disciples, but it all begins with excepting God's grace. Therefore, the two - grace and performance - go together. The problem is, we separate the two and then confuse the results of what God is really doing.

In order for us to live without the good day / bad day performance, we have to remind ourselves of the scripture. First, we must preach the gospel to ourselves daily. For the person who thinks that the bad day has ruined their blessings, reflect on Romans 8:1, "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." And for the one who thinks the day has been good with bountiful blessings as a result, reflect on Matthew 5:48, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." There is never a day we can stand on our own performances and be worthy of His blessings in our lives. Author Jerry Bridges says it this way, " Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace.

The answer to performance based lifestyles is the gospel. Daily reflecting on the gospel message of God's love for you and I in such a way that we are drawn to obedience as a result of that love, rather than our performances. God does not examine our performances to see how or if we are worthy. He looks to see if we are trusting in His Son as our hope for securing His blessing.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Staying the Course

Recently I had the opportunity to work with a volunteer through the details of facility management during an Upward basketball event. The day is typically a nine hour day that involves lots of people, coaches, ref’s, concession workers, scoreboards, sound, and videos. All of which are happening at the same time.

As the day began, we prompted a certain video to work during the halftime presentation of the scripture message. While it worked previously, it decided not to work during the trial run. As someone who desires good first impressions, I asked the volunteer (who is more comfortable with technology than I am) to come back to my office. It was there I gave him a five minute tutorial on verbally sharing a devotion “in case” the video fails again. While I could sense the “fret” inside of him of what I was asking him to do, he never said “I can’t” or “I won’t.” He simply listened and rehearsed the written devotion. His last words before the games began were, “I can do this.” We prayed and the day moved forward.

Nine hours later, I (the one who put new actions in motion to ensure first impressions as a result of my lack of technological faith) found myself rejoicing in the game room with a loud applause to God for seeing to it that the video series worked ALL six games! Two lessons I pondered after this day: 1.) Why am I always creating second plans in the midst of my unknowns or worries and 2.) This volunteer expressed a servant’s heart that didn’t want to let down a leader despite internal fears of having to verbally speak before the crowd.

God is always at work in our lives. For me, God was demonstrating the need to trust Him and the course for day. For the volunteer, he was willing to do what was asked of him and as a result, God provided in a way that he didn’t have to live up to what would be an unplanned challenge for him. Here’s the take away of this Upward basketball day - God always calls us to trust him and when we respond to what He calls / ask us to do, He will provide in such ways that glorify Him (as well as ease our internal tensions ).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Murals Speak

Over the last two months, local artist Becky Ward-Morgan has been painting a mural for the Rec Center that will be on display in the game room area. What's great about this mural is that it reflects and tells the story of Cool Spring Recreation. From children's sports leagues, track, outdoors, special needs, and game room activities; the mural is designed to allow your eyes to flow in a circular motion as you observe the obvious to the less obvious.

As the mural was being designed and use of the circular motion concept was introduced, it reminded me of the circular motion involved in using sports and rec as a means to connect with people and people to Christ. The bigger picture of what we do involves people entering sports / rec opportunities (leagues, crafts, outdoors, exercise classes, etc) for a specific purpose and the need to belong to a group. People will then flow in a circular motion (like a pinwheel) and experience various groups and leagues while encountering relationships with others who genuinely invest in them over a period of time. As they do, the movement allows them to discover faith stories of others and even discover for themselves real faith. It's then they link to a worship experience or a bible study for further growth.

As you come by and view the mural (we have a few adjustments left in the process) take your time to follow the motion and discover all the artistic elements involved. And as you do, be reminded of the process and time investment involved when relating with people in the recreation ministry. It's a process that begins with experiencing others within a movement and walking alongside of them by the means of leisure and faith.

Thanks to Becky, and her assistant Caroline Egan (one of our students at CS) for their artistic gifts and work on the mural. It's all about sharing a story. Feel free to drop by and view the mural located in the Rec Center game room.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Round Table Thoughts

This past weekend we had the opportunity to discuss Faith, Sports, and Real Life as part of the pre- superbowl experience with Cool Spring Church. While we a have a variety of ministries through Cool Spring, recreation is one of them in which the community connects with. And through that connection (leagues, fitness, facilities) it is our desire that people experience worship through their recreational activities.

Frank Rocco, head coach at Liberty Christian Academy (86-6 record) and his son, Michael Rocco, quarterback for UVA, were part of our discussions. Hosting a round table discussion with Michael was a great way to present a relaxed environment and dialogue about some details of life that each of us face. As I asked questions regarding faith, sports, and real life and listened to Michael's responses, I came away with several thoughts:
  • Influencing others is impacting - Parents play a key role in establishing foundations for children while friends can challenge and encourage us to become the person God has created us to be
  • Competition is good - God has created us to work with excellence - 1 Cor 10:31
  • Success is measured in improvements - moving from one point to the next
  • Self Identity has to be established from God's perspective - people will praise you and criticize you, choosing to put both aside and focusing on God's view of you creates a healthy self identity

Following the discussion, Frank shared about living in the passion of who God created us to be. We have been given talents - those gifts to us from God that in turn we use to bless others for His purpose - and when we live on those we can become contagious for greater purposes than ourselves.

What an impact weekend of worship and recreation. We have many opportunities to share faith, sports, and real life with those around us!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Local Artwork

Periodically I will arrive to my office to find local artwork from kids who have been using the Rec Center. Normally it's a nice stack of cards made out of construction paper with a variety of hand drawn work and phrases to match. From smiley faces to stick figures and sports themes, these cards are really an expression of their appreciation for the time they are provided to play in the gym area. While most children don't realize that securing them a time slot is a simple process, it's a good feeling to be appreciated none the less. So enjoy one of the many pieces of artwork I received this past week.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Faith, Sports, and Real Life

The teams are set and the commercials await! It's time for the Super Bowl! Over the next two weeks there will be media frenzy and special stories spotlighting athletes, teams, and coaches. Fans will be overloaded with sports talk shows breaking down the science of the game and match ups to be assumed. Each person will have their opinion as if they were coaching either the Giants or the Patriots. And some will even be walking around with Brady or Manning jerseys as if they were actually them hoping someone would call out their name or ask for an autograph. It's kind of crazy how our culture embraces the passion of a football game and the hours we spend analyzing both the game and the people involved.

On February 5th, Cool Spring will kick its Super Bowl Frenzy off with special guests Michael Rocco, quarterback of The University of Virginia, and his dad Frank Rocco, head football coach of Liberty Christian Academy. Together, both will be sharing in the discussion of how faith, sports, and real life intersect. With all the hype athletes get and the demands placed on them, from elementary school expectations to the professional level, athletes and their families are faced with daily decisions. And how they respond amongst the expectations is often how they are defined or judged. So, how do we live our faith in the passions of a sports culture and real life.

Join us Sunday, February 5th at 8:30, 10, or 11:15 as we kick off the Super Bowl and move to a better understanding of intersecting faith, sports, and real life.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year Outlook

Following a Recreation Conference last year, I have been receiving some weekly emails from Don Nova. Don is fitness instructor in LA who has done some work with a friend of mine at his church in Indianapolis. While I am not a big fan of receiving a bunch of email plans, etc. I have enjoyed the simplicity of Don's weekly encouragement from a fitness and spiritual view. So, as you start the 2012, here's his thought starting email for the week.

2012 Goal and Task Sheet

* What two goals in each of the following areas do you want to accomplish in 2012?
* Identify what tasks you need to do to achieve these goals.
* Write these tasks into your weekly calendar and then just follow the calendar.
* Formula for accomplishing goals: Goal > Task > Calendar = VICTORY

Spiritual Goals: example: develop intimacy with Jesus.
1) ________________
2) ________________
Spiritual Task: example: daily devotions at 6:00am for 45 minutes.

Marriage Goals: example: improve relationship with spouse.
1) ________________
2) ________________
Marriage Task: example: weekly date night.

Family Goals: example: better communication with children.
1) ________________
2) ________________
Family Task: example: set a bi-monthly date with each child, to do what they want to do.

Physical Goals: example: lose 2 pant/dress sizes.
1) ________________
2) ________________
Physical Task: example: power for 40 minutes everyday at 7:00am.

Ministry Goals: example: volunteer to help at church.
1) ________________
2) ________________
Ministry Task example: work as an usher twice a month.

Professional Goals: example: build a stronger relationship with co-workers.
1) ________________
2) ________________
Professional Task: example: take a co-worker to lunch once a week.

Nutritional Goals: example: drink only water.
1) ________________
2) ________________
Nutritional Task: Example: drink 2 liters of water a day.

Emotional Goals: example: eliminate past hurts.
1) ________________
2) ________________
Emotional Task: example: forgive someone that has wounded you in the past.

Financial Goals: example: get out of debt.
1) ________________
2) ________________
Financial Task: example: create a budget and stick to it.

Mental Goals: example: think healthy thoughts.
1) ________________
2) ________________
Mental Task: example: replace every negative thought with a bible verse.

Habakkuk 2:2
Write the vision and make it plain on tablets.

You Are A Champion
Coach Don Nava

You can follow me on Twitter: @CoachNava

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