Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to Win By Losing

Philippians 2:3-4
New International Version (NIV)
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Coach Phil Jackson, one of the successful coaches of all times, details in his book “Eleven Rings", how he was able to take two different teams of ego driven young men and turn them into back to back champions. It was all about the triangle system offense that required everyone to work together and specifically challenge the superstars to take on a diminished role to empower the other players.

Kobe Bryant battled with this more than Michael Jordan because in Kobe’s younger days he was a lot more selfish. He was more concerned about being the greatest player than he was being a part of the greatest team. Fortunately, Kobe grew as a leader by decreasing his ambition to be the greatest player ever and helped to increase the value of his other teammates involvement through the triangle.

After a humiliating loss with the Lakers, Rick Fox once said, “A team always beats a group of individuals.”

It’s only when we lose our selfish ambition that we can win. We must:

1. Check our motives. Do nothing out of selfish motives or vain conceit. All the players on Phil’s Championship teams had to learn how to think about team over their selfish pursuits of Vain Glory.

2. Humble yourselves—in order to win championships these players had to get up under the tutelage of Phil Jackson. If they were not coachable there was nothing Phil could teach them. At one point Kobe was instrumental in getting Phil Jackson fired only to have to humble himself when they asked him to come back.

3. Look out for others. Phil Jackson told Michael Jordan that he would not be able to win another scoring title if he wanted to win the championship. MJ who was averaging 38 points a game told Phil, “I guess I could score 32 a game.”

Dear God,

Help me to make other people better.  Teach me how to serve others so I can be great like Jesus who humbled himself as a servant even to the point of dying on the cross. Help me to win like Jesus won…by serving others.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Just Enough

Proverbs 30:8-9
New International Version (NIV)
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

In his book Future cast, what today’s trends mean for tomorrow's world, George Barna has noticed a trend in how people deal with their money. People tend to save more money after they come out of a recession vs. saving less when the economy is strong. Based on an analysis of surveys among 450,000 adults, Angus Deaton and Daniel Kalmon concluded that the more money people earn the more contentment they experience in the moment—until income reaches $75,000. After that point the additional toys and comforts afforded by increased income add nothing to improve their current mood.

Many of us are thinking if I had $75,000 I’d be straight! Whether the magic number is $75,000 or not the point is there is a point where we should have enough. What is your enough?

The writer of Proverbs prayed an awesome prayer that is a good formula for a balanced life:
  1. Don’t give me too much lest I forget you God. When God gives us more than enough, we have to remember who it was that blessed us. We can’t worship our provision and ignore our provider.
  2. Don’t give me too little, lest I have to resort to illegal activity. When we come up short we have to trust God to make up the difference.
  3. Give us this day our daily bread. God’s obligation to his children is to give us daily bread, anything beyond that is prosperity. When we pray for daily bread it is not just for us but that God would supply all with daily bread. It is our Christian responsibility to make sure that those around us have daily bread. When we have more than enough God expects us to share.
Dear God,

Help me to appreciate all you’ve given me and to bless others with my extra. Help me to be a good steward and be content with just enough.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, June 3, 2013

Don't Be A Copy Cat

Romans 15:20
New International Version (NIV)
20 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.
Every successful brand stands for something fundamental—an underlying bedrock idea or principle that at every turn supports a company or product. This foundational platform is called positioning, and without it a brand can have no traction.

Successful positioning rejects conformity. At its best, positioning elevates a brand above the fray so that people can't help but take notice. The human brain instinctively looks for things that are different and unexpected. So a brand that stands in stark contrast to its competition will attract people's attention and have a distinct advantage in the marketplace. ---Marty Neumeier
In his book Zag, Marty Neumeier says that in order to set yourself apart from everybody else in a cluttered Marketplace, you must run to where there is white noise. In other words go to where nobody else is. In a world of conformity, it’s easy to do what everybody else is doing but it takes radical differentiation to be what nobody else is.
The Apostle Paul said that it was always his ambition to preach Jesus where he was not known. The New Living Translation said, “I’ve always wanted to start a church where nobody else had.”Living in the south it’s almost impossible to start a church where there already isn’t one but it is possible to start a New Direction.
There is something different about you that God intended for the world to see. You have to go out into the world and be who God called you to be instead of getting lost in the noise of conformity.

1. Embrace your differentness. Nobody can beat you being you. There is something distinctive that God has created you for. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

2. Give people something that they need but haven’t seen before. 20 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known. There are so many people who are not in anybody’s church and they need to hear the good news in the way only you can present it. Can’t nobody tell your story the way you can.
3. Don’t build on somebody else’s foundation. Every Tub has to sit on its own bottom. Don’t be afraid to do the work of laying a foundation by going where nobody has gone before.
Dear God,

Give me the courage to go out today and find a place where nobody has thought of going. Help me to preach Jesus through my own unique way to reach people who have not been reached. Today, I’m going to set a foundation where no one has dared to go before.

In Jesus Name,