The right kind of dissatisfied.

Though the American football, you might think there is only one kind of football and that is not so, season is over it is still fresh in my mind.  There are so many great lessons to be drawn from the Super Bowl 48 (SB48) champion team.  Yea, you know the ones.

I think the next lesson has been reenforced this week in various ways.  I noticed that “champions” are never satisfied.  This first hit be as I was considering the losers of SB48.  Looking at them after the game you would have thought they never made it to the playoffs instead of a multi-record breaking year.

Last year when the Seahawks lost to Atlanta one of the first reported comments was from Russell Wilson, the quarterback.  He didn’t even make it off the field before he was looking  forward to the coming season.  This was one of the greatest almost-comebacks in the history of the NFL.  The team was devastated, but Russell was merely disappointed.  He didn’t dwell on the past, but sought to live in the moment with a healthy view toward the future.  He was not satisfied with the ending of the season, but instead of letting it consume him, he chose to move forward with anticipation toward unfinished goals fueled a little bit more by the disappointment.

Jesus told us in Matthew 6:34 to “not worry about tomorrow”.  I believe Jesus was teaching to be present now, and not future or past.  But maybe the most important lesson Jesus was teaching is to not worry.  I am driving at the point that we are to focus on the present with a healthy view of the future.  God has the future and we can trust Him to manage it since we can’t anyway.  But I don’t believe we are not to anticipate the future with healthy expectation.

James 4:13-17 has such great insight into proper perspective of time.  We don’t know what will happen tomorrow and for sure next year, so we should never say we do.  But this passage does not even imply, I don’t believe, not to have a future goal and that maybe even of being a “champion”.

The Broncos have every reason to be proud of their season and achievements, but loosing is not an acceptable option.  I wrote never at first, but I do believer there are times to choose to loose.  For example, when legal, to encourage the other player or team.  We do this with our children and others when appropriate for a greater purpose.  I read about the Biathlon Olympic hopeful Tracy Barnes who gave her spot on the team to her twin sister this year.  There are times when we are to give our very lives for another – maybe the greatest form of choosing the other person’s victory.

Ok, I will try to focus.  My ultimate conviction is that as a Christian I am to aim for a “championship faith”.  1 Corinthians 9:24 teaches that we are to aim to win.  Jesus told us in Matthew 5:48 to “be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect”.  James 1:2-4 teaches us the right perspective on “trials of many kinds” because the end result when we leave God in control is “lacking nothing”.  We will not be perfect until we die physically and go to heaven.  But it sure seems like Jesus taught we are never to be “satisfied”.

The Broncos were right in not being satisfied with the loss in the Super Bowl.  To draw a non-perfect parallel, no Christian should be satisfied in their journey of faith.  I believe I have noticed that actually the opposite is true.  The more I grow in faith, the more I pursue obedience to God, the more I want to grow and be obedient.  I get more and more “hungry” for God’s work in my life and through my life.  I want more and more to please and love Him through obedience to His perfect will.

Ok, I will cut to the chase.  I believe Jesus told us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6) because it is God’s will.  It breaks my heart that for many years, as I served as a pastor, I really didn’t live this truth.  I mostly went though the motions.  In many ways I went with the flow of modern Christianity.  There is a general problem, I believe, that saying I have become a Christian is the main goal.  I don’t believe this is true.  I believe salvation is the absolutely essential beginning point of becoming Jesus disciple maker (Matthew 28:18-20) = “spiritual champion”.

It seems crazy to stop here, but I must and unless the Lord comes back in the next few weeks I can continue.  I look forward with anticipation (aka not satisfied) to sharing more while desiring that what I have written is God’s truth and not my own (aka not worrying).

Please add your convictions in a comment below.

Lessons from watching football.

How about those Seahawks!!!  I must admit that over the years I have too often been a “fair weather fan”.  I would start the season excited, but if they showed they were not going to be very successful I tapered off quickly.  Last year started off well and as you know stayed strong.  This year was such a joy each week.

A challenge to watch the games for me is that they start either in the evening, at best, or late at night and sometimes very early morning.  But I have a device at our son’s house that does make watching possible.  The resolution is not so great, but I am not complaining.  The worst part of having the games at this time is it is not easy to share the experience with others.  Denise enjoys watching, but not a lot and she has more important things to do.

A blessing this year is having two other American guys that want to watch the games.  One is a Bears fan and the other mostly likes hanging out.  The last two Seahawk games I watch with them and just stayed out the Bears’ friend’s house.  The Super Bowl started at 12:30am here.  I went to bed at about 4:30am and there was no after-game party involved.  We have fun and it is amazing how much energy I have a that time when the Seahawks are winning.

The best blessing is spiritual lessons I am learning through the Seahawks.  Really, I am not just trying to make a point.  I truly believe God is teaching me in small ways through being a 12th man.  There are too many lessons to share in one blog, but I hope to spend more time documenting and processing my thoughts from the Lord in months to come.

I think God first got my attention last year as I was watching an interview with the quarterback, Russell Wilson.  I had no idea this would hit me so hard and clearly.  Oh, if you don’t know, he is a committed and growing Christian and now 25 years old in his second year in the NFL.  Russell was talking about how he approaches every day and every element of every day.  It went something like the following.  “Every day and every part of every day is a championship opportunity.”

What I heard in my heart as Russell spoke was that God wants me to approach every day as a championship opportunity.  “Whatever your task is, put your whole heart and soul into it, as into work done for the Lord and not merely for men” Colossians 3:23 (J.B. Phillips paraphrase).  The bottom line is that every person who says they are a Christians is to be a “champion” Believer.  I was immediately convicted that this was not true of my life.  God was and is very important to me, but He was and still is not always #1 in my life.

(I can see this is going to be a long process of exploring what I believe God is doing in me.  It looks like one concept every once and a while is going to have to do.)

Another reference that supports the same idea of aiming for the best is 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 (HCSB) “Run in such a way to win the prize.”   God also led Paul to write Galatians 2:20 (HCSB) “and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

There is no maybe for me – God created each of us with a desire to “be great”.  I believe this is true because He desires each of us to die to ourselves to become alive spiritually (John 3:1-20).  And when we become spiritually alive we become co-heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:17) in God’s kingdom.  This sounds like we become a version of princes and princesses in God’s kingdom to me.  How do you become more “great” spiritually than co-heir with Jesus.

Now this opens a huge “can-of-worms”.  My simple point is that I believe God has called me and you to be “champions” in His kingdom.  So what are we waiting for?  The “can-of-worms” includes how this works every moment of every day.  I am convicted the simple answer is to wake early every morning and my first choice be to seek God’s perfect will.  I believe this includes prayer, Bible study, and lots of time listening to the Father.

By the way, the coach of the Seahawks often says that Russell Wilson is the first person at  “the office”, before him and any of the rest of the coaches.  Do I love sleep more than our Heavenly Father?  Tough question among many more like it.  One more thought.  Does the world, including my neighbors and family and…, see a spiritual champion when they observe my life?

Time to get on my knees again!