Symphony or One-Man Band?

oscar-mayer-weinermobile-04After watching all of the hot-dogging during professional football this past weekend, I’ve come to the conclusion that the NFL needs to sign a licensing agreement with Oscar Mayer.  These ego-stroking narcissistic acts and taunting tantrums are ridiculous displays of self-aggrandizement.

Like the mythological Narcissus, some people are so in love with themselves and their self-reflection, they miss the beauty that surrounds them. Narcissus had placed himself at the center of the universe; his prideful attitude marred the true image of love, and his saccharin sentimentalism had the appeal of a rancorous brass bell and clanging cymbal.

Even if he were the most talented player alive, Narcissus would see very little playing time if he was on a team coached by Kansas State’s Bill Snyder.  While Coach Snyder is well-known for his winning record on the field, it’s what he does off the field that is even most important; he mentors young people and helps them build lives of character.

Over his years of coaching, Snyder has developed his 16 Goals for Success, and I find the first three on this list absent from much of our egocentric society:16g

  1. Commitment: To common goals and to being successful.
  2. Unselfishness: There is no “I” in TEAM.
  3. Unity: Come together as never before.

After Kansas State defeated Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl, Snyder commented: Good things happen when we play as a family.  This is more than a sound bite, it’s a theme that’s at the core of Snyder’s legacy.

When the University and Alumni wanted to name the Stadium in the coach’s honor, Snyder agreed, but with one stipulation; it had to include the word family, so it was christened, Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium.

As a Coach, Snyder strives for the harmonious sound of the symphony, and he has little room for the narcissist’s one-man band. Snyder’s philosophy is a practical application of a New Testament principle that I encourage you to embrace: Each of you as a good manager must use the gift that God has given you to serve others. ~I Peter 4:10

The Ups and Downs of Life

rcWhen I was a freshman in college, one instructor required his students to memorize a motto of his.  I did, and I have never forgotten it:  It’s not what I can remember, but what I can never forget that constitutes knowledge; therefore, drill, drill, drill, and review, review, review.

Over the years I have been able to memorize many Bible verses, because I drilled and reviewed them until they were tucked away in my mind.  One of these is Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

When I meditate on a particular verse of Scripture, I focus on the individual words within the verse so I can understand the specific meaning of each one of them.  The word “through” caught my attention this morning, so I reflected on some verses that use this word:

  • God led Moses and the Israelites through the Red Sea on dry ground (Exodus 14:22).
  • The Israelites were led through the wilderness (Deuteronomy 29:5).
  • In Psalm 23, the Good Shepherd leads His flock through the valley of the shadow of death.

There are times when life seems like a roller coaster and you are tormented by a series of bone rattling, and hope shaking ups and downs.  These are the times that you need to kick the “I can’t” thoughts in the seat of the pants, and focus on the “I can” of Philippians 4:13.

 

The you should review its truth and drill its meaning:

  • Through Christ, I find the strength to face the obstacles of life.
  • Through Christ, God lavishes me with his strength to overcome (Ephesians 1:7-8).
  • Through Christ, you are blessed with God’s unwavering love and mercy (Psalm 103).

When you live your life through the strength of Christ, you will be thoroughly blessed:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

    and the flame shall not consume you.  ~Isaiah 43:2

The Whistle of God

whistling-clipart-mickwhistle1When the high school wrestling coach lives next door to you, there’s a good chance you are going to learn to like the sport.  When he moves out of town, and his house is purchased by the new coach, there’s an even better chance that you’re going to learn a little something about wrestling.

On Friday evening and Saturday night of last week the undivided attention of most sports fans was focused on basketball—not me. I was splitting time between basketball and the NCAA finals in wrestling.

Like many of those muscle-ripped young men with chiseled bodies that reflected hours in the weight room and years  contending on the mats, my son started wrestling when he was 6 years old.  Those kid’s tournaments were loud and noisy with all of the young wrestlers, the screaming parents, and multiple matches running at the same time.

To make sure Wade wasn’t distracted by a false whistle, I gave him some advice:  “Son, You wrestle until you either clearly hear the ref’s whistle or you feel the touch of his hands.”

Wade scored points in some matches because he continued to wrestle when his opponent stopped.   The other boy had heard a false whistle from an adjoining mat, and he quit before the ref halted the match.

When I heard the ref’s whistle on Saturday night, I thought of the message it signaled.  The ears of the wrestlers were tuned to its sound, and they responded in a split second.  Their muscular bodies were like a tensely coiled spring that sprang into action, or they would immediately relax and stop wrestling—all in response to the whistle.

It may surprise you to learn that God also whistles:

“I will whistle for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them, and they shall be as many as they were before. Though I scattered them among the nations, yet in far countries they shall remember me, and with their children they shall live and return (Zechariah 10:8-10).”

Some people believe this whistle is a sound that is only  heard and recognized by God’s children.  I equate it with the words of John 10:27-30:

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and My Father are one.”

During my Summer breaks from school, I spent very little time inside the house.  I was either playing a game of baseball, wading the creek, or following a trail through a field.  When my stomach told me it was getting close to suppertime, I would begin to listen for Dad’s whistle–it was the signal that said:  “It’s time to come home.”

Some day God will do the same.  He will whistle and call His children home to heaven.