Cinderella’s 44 Seconds of Eternity

 

BBCindThe craziness of March Madness was on full display this past week.  Several upset-minded teams played the role of Cinderella as they danced their way to victory.

On Friday, the Panthers of Northern Iowa wore the silver sneakers and defeated the University of Texas with a dramatic half-court buzzer beater. On Sunday, however, the magic was gone and UNI lost to Texas A&M.

I’m not sure how many bible scholars play for UNI, but I do know they learned something about eternity—it never ends. With a 12-point lead and just 44 seconds left to play, UNI was already tasting victory.

Those final 44 seconds turned into an eternity of mishaps.  With Matt Bohannon on the bench with a knee injury, UNI discovered the weak link in their lineup—no other player could fill his shoes.

The Panthers agonized for 44 seconds as Texas A&M intercepted one inbound pass after another, and their 12-point lead vanished.  Evidently the Panthers Fairy God Mother had left the stadium 45 seconds earlier, and she wasn’t present when this Cinderella took a nasty fall.

The Panthers loss reminds us that a team is only as strong as its weakest link—the same is true for churches.   This is why Paul encouraged Christians to help bear the burdens of fellow believer; to lift each other up in prayer; and to live a harmonious life in a coordinated effort to grow one another:

We are not meant to remain as children at the mercy of every chance wind of teaching and the jockeying of men who are expert in the craft presentation of lies. But we are meant to hold firmly to the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into Christ, the head. For it is from the head that the whole body, as a harmonious structure knit together by the joints with which it is provided, grows by the proper functioning of individual parts to its full maturity in love (Ephesians 4:14-16 ~The Message).

As an individual part of the chain, are you properly functioning?  If not, you just might be the weak link.

March Madness

Stanford v TexasMarch Madness is an annual event that sports fans look forward to each year.  I would imagine that more TV sets are flashing images of slam dunks than they are of Duck Dynasty.

The Big 12 entered the tournament with high expectations and much optimism; however, by the end of the first round reality had struck.  The University of Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State University had suffered defeat and have been sidelined for the rest of the tournament.  The youthful enthusiasm and hard work of their players was outmatched by the effort of their opponents.

Three teams from the Big 12 live to fight another day.  Kansas University, Oklahoma University, and feisty West Virginia move forward into round two.

Of these three, the Rock-Chalk-Jayhawks of KU have one of the more interesting matchups.  The regular season Big 12 champs will face the Wichita State University from the Missouri Valley.  This is a game that many from the state of Kansas have been asking for since Greg Marshall placed his winning brand on the WSU program.

Basketball, like other sports, can have a long-lasting impact on the lives of those who have played the game.  Players benefit from both the positive influence of coaches and teammates, and the discipline they have learned.

There is another benefit to sports, and it’s seen in the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  This group uses sports as an arena to teach their four core values:

  • Integrity: A Christ-like wholeness that is to be demonstrated privately, and publicly. (Proverbs 11:3).
  • Serving: A life that reflects the servant’s heart of Jesus (John 13:1-7).
  • Teamwork: A unity in all of our relationships that is possible through Christ (Philippians 2:1-54).
  • Excellence: A life that honors and glorifies God in all we do (Colossians 3:23-24)

When you set down in front of your TV to watch your favorite team, give some thought to these four core values.  During the timeouts or commercials, examine your life to see if these values are at the core of your life.

Blueless Bonnets

bluebonnets1The Alcade (The Offical Publication of the Texas Exes) has reported an issue of major concern. Evidently Markus Houge, Program Coordinator for Irrigation and Water Conservation at the University of Texas, nearly fainted when he discovered a tainted patch of beloved bluebonnets. The flowers in questions have all the characteristics of a typical bluebonnet, except the hue isn’t blue.

The clue to the origin of the not so blue bluebonnet may lie in the unwelcome maroon color of the freshly blossomed flowers. UT believes this dastardly deed is the work of pranksters from Texas A&M who have sown their seed in the flower bed of the Texas faithful.

This is strikingly similar to one of Jesus’ parables: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. The landowner’s slaves came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?” The landowner replied: “An enemy did this,’ and he told his servants: “When you gather up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them, so let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but store the wheat in my barn.”

The logical application is that good seed will yield a good harvest; however, evil seed will produce a crop of a different nature. Peter warned of this, when he said: “False prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

The principle of sowing and reaping is taught in the Bible. The principle is that you reap what you sow; later than you sow; and, more than you sow.

Hosea was applying this principle, when he said: Plow your fields, scatter seeds of justice, and harvest faithfulness. Worship me, the Lord, and I will send my saving power down like rain (10:12).

What seeds are you sowing?