Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spiritual Football- The Wide Receiver

On offense there are two ways to move the ball up and down the field, running the ball with the tailback or throwing the ball to either the Tight End, Tailback or the one who catches most of the passes, the Wide receiver.  The Wide Receiver lines up on the outside ends of the offensive line and runs different patterns down the field based on the play that was called. Sometimes the Wide Receiver even has to block instead of trying to catch a pass.  The most important thing to a Wide Receiver is his hands.  A Wide Receiver catches short passes as well as long passes. The biggest stat that tells how good a Wide Receiver is outside of how many touchdowns they have is their YAC.  YAC stands for yards after catch meaning the yards that a Wide Receiver gains after he catches the ball.  The better a Wide Receiver's YAC the more valuable he is.

Are you a Wide Receiver when it comes to your Spiritual Journey?

What is your YAC?

The spiritual Wide Receiver  is a person that is open to new experiences and different ways of worship and study.  He is willing to go the distance and try everyway possible to increase his faith.  Often the Wide Receiver will take information that is given to them through bible study or the sermon during worship and go deeper.  They will study it and learn as much as they can.  They will work on their YAC as they continue to gain yards of spiritual growth by putting in extra time and energy after the initial play.  The spiritual Wide Receiver uses their hands all the time.  Whether that is in prayer or packing food for a mission, the spiritual Wide Receiver is always looking for a way to be the hands of God.

The spiritual Wide Receiver listens to the play and goes out onto the field of life and plays the role he needs to play based on that play.  If God expects him to block so that other team members can find their way he will do it.  If God expects him to go deeper he will do it because he wants to always be looking for ways to increase his faith. 

When we accept the role of Wide Receiver on our faith journey we are accepting a role of constant spiritual growth.  When in this role we want to learn as much as we can and share it with the world. Our faith because a valuable asset and we use it to go out and teach others.  When you study the bible or listen to sermon as a Wide Receiver it is not enough to just catch the message right then and there.  To a Wide Receiver our YAC is so valuable.  It means that we are going deeper and are willing to push and fight for spiritual knowledge.  We have to be willing to catch that short pass but try with everything we have to take it all the way to the End Zone.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Spiritual Football- The Quarterback

What if our faith was a football team? 

What position on a football team would your faith be most like? 

Do you feel like you are in control of your faith and spiritual growth? 

Do you feel like you are a starter when it comes to your spiritual growth or do you feel like you are a second string player still working hard to make it to the starting lineup? 

You might even feel like you are still on the practice squad because you haven't suited up on a Sunday yet or accepted the fact that you need to work on your spiritual growth.  I think that each of us has a spiritual football team and we each play a wide array of the positions on that team.  Some of the positions are hard to play while others are easier.  Some of them require different skill sets and stronger faith than others.  There is one commonality no matter what position you currently are playing on your spiritual football team, and that is that we all read from the same play book.

When it comes to a football team by far the most important player is the quarterback. Whether he is throwing a pass or handing the ball to the tailback, it must touch his hands.  He is the key to making sure that the offense works like a well oiled machine.  His confidence level and abilities can make or break a football game.  He leads the team, runs the plays, and makes sure that everyone else on the offense knows what to do. 

On the spiritual football team the quarterback role is strong in their faith.  The quarterback has read the playbook over and over again.  The quarterback is a leader in faith and does so by leading bible studies, preaching, teaching, and serving.  He takes the field on Sundays just like the rest of the positions on the Spiritual football team.  He is willing to share and does not shy away from talking about his faith.  He understands that he can't grow in his faith just by himself and he needs the other members of his team to make that happen. The spiritual quarterback watches over the other players and prays for them.  He is always willing to help a fellow teammate.  He is always willing to pass his knowledge on to other players or hand off to someone that has a better understanding of the playbook.  He is always looking for opportunities to learn and grow so that he can go out onto the field of life and share what he has learned.

The spiritual quarterback is best when he is not pushy or boastful.  He is best when he leads by example and shows the other players that it is okay to live into their faith. When times are hard or the quarterback is unsure of a situation or an answer, he will bench himself and allow God to be the quarterback and help lead.  A good quarterback knows when it is time to lean on God and allow him to show even the quarterback how to play the spiritual game of football.

I believe at some point in all of our spiritual journeys we play the spiritual quarterback.  We might not always feel comfortable in that position but we are all capable of playing it when we put our mind to it and our willing to listen, learn, and read the playbook!  Unlike a real football team on a spiritual football team anyone can play any of the positions!  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I Phony

Social media is one of the best inventions of all times outside of course of electricity and the light bulb.  You can talk to anyone at anytime and you don't even have to dial a number on a phone.  With my I phone I can text you, facebook you, tweet you, facetime you, heck I can actually write a blog post on my phone.  It is amazing how quickly we can find information like a recipe or directions on the internet through our I phones.  We can take pictures of anywhere we are and in real time we can upload them for people to see.  It is amazing what can be done with a computer and a cell phone.

Here's the thing though.  Why can't people represent themselves through these social media outlets the way they portray themselves in real life?  It is so interesting how many youth and adults I know that tell me one thing but then show me another through their social media.  Maybe it's because I work for a church and people are always on their best behavior when they are at church.  Maybe it's  because people know that I have certain expectations of them so they act one way in front of me but another when I am not around.

Don't get me wrong, peer pressure is something that causes some of the posts and pictures that I see.  I understand that.  What I don't understand is why when someone posts something vulgar or inappropriate on their page they don't erase it.  They leave it most of time and when I confront them about it they say that it wasn't them that posted it.

Ok I'm not perfect.  I make mistakes and I am sure that I do things that people wouldn't always approve of but I don't plaster that on facebook, twitter, or anywhere else for that matter.  I wish that people would think before they post something, write something, or take a picture.  Maybe what we all should do is say to ourselves, What would my mom say if she saw this?  Or better yet, what would Jesus say if he saw what we were posting?  Oh that's even harder than what would mom say.

Either way it is important to portray who we truly are and not try to bow down to the norms of social media.  If we can't truly represent who we are in all forms of communication than we have some true self image issues. 

The other side of the coin is that if the real you is the person that is portrayed by the inappropriate stuff that you put online instead of the person that shows up to church on Sunday morning,  we need to talk.  My door is open and am ready to listen.  You can text me!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Escalator

The other day I went to North Hills to visit someone and get something to eat.  As I was coming up out of the parking deck I noticed that the down escalator wasn't working.  I stared at it as I rode the up escalator.  I went to Chick fil A where I was greeted and served by the most beautiful, kind, and considerate Chick Fil A worker I have every seen.  I mean she deserves a raise for as good as she was.  I'm just sayin.  Oh yeah Josh was there too! 

Anyway while I was waiting on my food I told them something which I thought was very profound.  I said, "did you know that an escalator never breaks, it just becomes stairs?"  They looked at me funny and laughed.  I think they thought it was joke, in fact that really pretty chicken order taker asked me if I was going to blog about it.  Of course I said yes. 

Here's the thing, it wasn't a joke.  I think that an escalator is the epitome of a positive way of thinking.  We have all heard the saying, " do you view the glass as half full or half empty?"  We have to choose which way we are going to look at life.  Yes we all get down about things and we sometimes are in a place where nothing goes right and everything goes wrong.  I understand that, but why can't we be positive?  Why can't we be like the escalator?  Obviously something is wrong when it is broken and not moving on it's own but even though it is broken, the main purpose behind the escalator is still there.  We use the escalator to get from one place to another.  When it breaks down, that opportunity is still there and the world doesn't end.  People still walk up or down in even through it isn't moving.

Why does our life seem to stop when bad things happen?  Why can't we continue to move on?  Yes there are repairs that need to be made to get us back to 100% but that doesn't mean that we have to stop everything and think that our life is over.  We can continue on just like those stairs / escalator.  We can push forward and not allow ourselves to be shut down.

So the next time you come to a "broken" escalator and you start to walk up those stairs, remember that we too can keep climbing when we are broken.  We don't have to stop.  We can be stairs for other broken people who need a way to get past the hurt and the pain they are feeling.  Be the stairs of life when the escalator of the world is broken. 

Road Dawg

When I worked for the YMCA I was involved with a program called Leaders Club.  This club was built upon youth not only being leaders in the way they act and the things they do but also in physical fitness.  Each year the club does things for the YMCA with the ultimate goal of  attending Leader's School during the summer.  The first year I went to Leader's School I had one leader's club member who went with me.  I didn't know much about the program so this was an opportunity for me to get better acquainted with the program.

While at that Leader's School I was introduced to Crystal Dunn who was the Teen Director for the Central YMCA in Winston Salem which was in the same association as mine.  Immediately we hit it off and became thick as thieves.  We had the same interests and tastes and most of all the same passion, our kids.  We spent that week getting to know each other and chilling on the front porch in two green rocking chairs.  It was an amazing week and the first time that I had personally connected to someone who had the same job and passion as me.  It was very exciting.

Upon returning back home we kept in constant contact and attended a lot of the same meetings together.  We helped each other's programs and made time for ourselves to get together and enjoy each other's company.  We went on lots of trips together and became road dawgs.  It was so much fun to have another adult on those trips that was my friend. We even had a meeting at a library where we talked about starting our own business together.  Every summer we would return to our rocking chairs on the porch even though both our groups had grown so much that we were now bringing lots of teens to Leader's school and needed to attend to them, we still found time for our rocking chairs.

Outside of my kids in my program telling Crystal that I was leaving the YMCA was the hardest part of leaving.  I knew that we would grow apart because we were headed in separate directions.  I miss my road dawg.  I miss her beautiful smiling face and laugh.  I miss our endless conversations about the Y and our kids.  I miss the green rocking chairs on the porch.  I miss my Crystal and I am so thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to get to know her and have her be there with me through the thick and thin of working at the YMCA. 

Thank you Crystal for everything!  I love you!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Say what you mean to say...

Why is it that I keep seeming to get dragged into conversations with people where they say one thing and do another?  I know that all of us do that at some point in time in our lives but this seems to be constant for a couple of people I know including a couple of youth.  Now I expect it a little more from the youth but at the same time I don't think that I did it that much when I was 15 or 16.  It become annoying especially after you spend hours talking about something only to watch over the course of the next week that person do the exact opposite of what they say.

For example I have a youth that has a friend visiting from out of town.  That friend is a known drug user and the youth that I know keeps telling me how they don't want to hang out or be around that.  They don't want to have to deal with the drama that this visiting friend creates.  I spent quite a bit of time talking about it just the other day.  Literally the next day I see tweets, vines (short videos if you don't know what those are) and pictures of these youth hanging out together. 

I work really hard to be there for every youth or person that wants to speak with me about stuff.  I listen intently and give sound advise based on experiences and things that I have learned over the years.  It is so frustrating to spend so much time in conversation and being in the moment with people that don't listen to a word I say or take any of the advice I give them. 

I know that I don't have all the answers and that I am not always right but I a lot of the time I know what I am talking about and honestly I am an excellent judge of character.  It makes me what to prioritize my time and maybe pull back from people that monopolize my time but don't listen to what I say.  I will have to reevaluate that!

Anyway, thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent!  Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I'll Be

I'll be there with you when you feel alone.

I'll be with you when you feel like your world is caving in.

I'll be the one holding you when life gives you something you think you can't handle.

I'll be standing next to you whenever you have to deal with a scary situation.

I'll be on the other side when you call to me and want to talk about anything and everything.

I'll be at every dance recital, soccer game, band concert, and play.

I'll be holding you up when someone or something knocks you down.

I'll be singing you a lullaby as you drift off to sleep.

I'll be wiping the tears from your eyes when someone breaks your heart.

I'll be giving you the things you need, maybe not the things you want.

I'll be wherever you need me whenever you need me.

I'll be anything you need me to be.

I'll be watching you and making sure that you are on the right path.

I'll be waiting with open arms when you come to me and need me to hold you.

I'll be whispering in your ear when you need an encouraging word.

I'll be standing right next to you when you find the love of your life and get married.

I'll be sitting across the table from you as you work into the night on a big work project.

I'll be holding you when you have your first child.

I'll be there for you to lean on when your children go off to college.

I'll be there when the years of life catch up with you.

I'll be sitting on your bedside as you say goodbye to this earthly life.

I'll be the one that carries you home.

I'll be the one that loves you forever no matter what.

I'll be.

                                                     - God