Posts Tagged "coach"

A Long Season – Pastor Mark

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

A Long Season – Pastor Mark

Being the long-time Twins fan that I am, I have been excited about their surprising showing.  “Go Twins!”  But when they go into a slump, which they did the first part of June, I found myself thinking, “OK, here they go…back to reality.”  So I was interested when one of the veteran players was asked, “How does this team handle losses?”  His response wasn’t what I expected, but it was good.  He said, “Baseball is a game where you can lose 62 games in the season and still make the playoffs.  It’s a 162 game season.  Losing 62 games means you won 100!  So we don’t let it get us down and we’ll go out there tomorrow and play our best and have fun.”

That attitude is a good one to take into your life as a Christian.  You are going to lose some “games” – a lot of them, in fact.  But if you let your losses take away your joy, if you take every defeat personally, you won’t be able to go out “the next day” and live for Christ.  For example, there’s a challenge in 1 Peter 3:15 that says, “Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

There are days when I walk away from a conversation and think to myself, “I could have said it so much better.”  It can really feel like I struck out.  But I can’t quit.  I replay the conversation in my mind.  I think about what I could have done differently.  I try to listen to my “Coach” and determine to do better the next time.

So as we live this life as Christ-followers let’s remember that it’s a long season.  God isn’t expecting perfection.  He’s looking for a teachable heart and a willingness to keep “swinging the bat.”

Read More

Any Given Sermon – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Nov 4, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Any Given Sermon – Pastor Matt

This past Sunday, Pastor Mark gave a great illustration of Immanuel Church.  He said, “It’s the exact opposite of the NFL.”  Mark’s reasoning is simple: the NFL is mostly preparation.  Teams and coaches spend the majority of their time and energy training for a game that only takes place in a period of hours every week.  Immanuel Church, on the other hand, takes a few hours to prepare for the entire week.

Granted, Sunday church isn’t the only way we prepare ourselves for ministry outside our church walls.  I can’t help think that we have much less preparation time than we actually need.  This is especially true when we think of how important our various ministries and responsibilities are outside the church walls.

What I find to be incredible is how Jesus prepared his disciples.  In Mark 3, Jesus appoints his disciples to be with him so “that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.”  Notice that this is the beginning of Mark and not the end.  So Jesus has his disciples doing active ministry before they had extensive and comprehensive training.  Had I been Jesus, I would have given the disciples authority when I knew they could handle the authority and not mess things up.   But one thing I’m absolutely sure of is that I’m not Jesus, and his ways are infinitely better than mine.  He gives his disciples authority not because they were ready but because that’s how they grow.

I believe that God does the same for us.  There is not a graduation day were we get our official Christian diploma.  We are already Christians who do work.  We still have a long way to go, but we are doing his work all-along-the-way.  Doing ministry is preparing, and preparing is doing ministry.

What has God put on your heart for ministry?

Read More

Unearned Love – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Unearned Love – Pastor Matt

Whenever you watch an interview of a football coach who just lost a game, what does he always say?  He says they didn’t do enough, try enough and sacrifice enough.  Even if the other team was simply better, he still blames himself and his team.  For some reason, that makes fans feel better.

There is a great big ugly problem with this mentality.  The problem is, no matter the outcome, there always could be improvement.  No matter how good a team does, there will always be mistakes and there will always be a need for improvement.

The sad reality is, most of us approach out spiritual lives in the same mentality.  We know we need improvement, we feel we need to be better and even if we are successful in certain things we still beat our breast and say, “I’ll try harder next time.”  Here’s the problem: we want God’s love to be directly correlated to how good we are.  The reality is, we are never good enough, that’s why we try harder and harder.  We approach our relationship with God like a losing football coach.  We constantly admit we didn’t do enough, try enough and sacrifice enough.  We blame ourselves.  For some reason, that makes us feel better.

Here’s what we need to know.  God’s love is not related to what we do.  God’s love does not rise and fall with our successes and failures.  God’s love is steadfast and complete.  God does not love us anymore than he did 20 years ago.  Why do we want him too?  Do we think he is holding back some of his love until we are good enough to receive it?

This truth is most evident in John 3:16, For God so loved the world that he gave his only son. 

That means the highest expression of God’s love was given at the point where we deserved it the least.  God most showed us his love, when we most showed him our hate.

So rather than living as though we need to earn God’s love, we live knowing that God’s love is complete and we are sons and daughters of the living God.  Our Father’s love is not something to be earned, but something to place our lives.

Read More

Braveheart – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Braveheart – Pastor Matt

To be a good leader means that you have a certain amount of steadfastness and resolution.  You wouldn’t want to follow a general who never made a decision on his own.  You wouldn’t want to follow a coach who asked everyone’s opinions before making a game plan.  A leader needs to be resolute, clear and always conscience of the goal.

I personally look up to those leaders in history who had an unwavering knowledge of what needed to be done: Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Braveheart, etc…   In all honesty, I really want to be just like them.  I am, however, content to not have to go to war; yet, I still want to be so resolute in my faith that I inspire everyone around me.

One of my all time favorite passages in the Bible comes from Daniel 3.  This is where Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are on trial for not bowing down to the golden statue of King Nebuchadnezzar.  Facing a most horrible death they defy the king with these words, “If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us.  But if not, be it know to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.”

The best word to describe these men is cojones.   They are facing death and they know that God can save them.  But what is even more impressive is that their obedience to God is not contingent upon God saving their mortal lives.  They are willing to trust God to the extent of execution.  In other words, death or no death, they will trust God.

I want to be like these men.  And by God’s grace he has put me in a position to be resolute.  I have children who benefit from my resolution.  I have friends in the church that benefit from my steadfastness.  I have students who benefit from my tenacity.

Who encourages you with their resolute faith?  Where is God putting you to show others your resolute faith?

God is calling us to be Braveheart.


Read More