Strength and Unity, Faith and Victory...
For the last two weeks, I've been coaching at Fort Osage Boys Soccer Camp. I've loved soccer since I was a little boy, and now get to pass that love on to others. It's been great fun, but has also gotten me thinking.
Very soon, we will be making cuts. Cut day is one of the worst days of the entire school year, and it actually happens before school starts! I remember growing up and going through try outs for different teams. I know the feelings involved with being told "Sorry, you're just not what we're looking for." It can be a very tough time in a kid's life.
Wouldn't it be great if we could all "make the team?" Well, we can...
You did not choose ME, but I chose you.
In my life, the tryout is over... JESUS chose me to be on his team! What a great honor. No more worrying about being good enough to make it. No more sleepless nights waiting for approval. I made HIS team.
Now, his team comes with some conditions, and I need to realize what they are.
1. JESUS wants a commitment from me. I have free will, I can play on HIS team or go and play elsewhere. However, I have to realize that HE won't chase after me if I choose to leave. Nearly two thousand years ago HE just let HIS disciples leave, because they wanted to.
From that moment, many of HIS disciples turned back and no longer accompanied HIM. Therefore JESUS said to the twelve, "You don't want to go away too, do you?"
2. There will be consequences for choosing to play on HIS team. The practices and games won't be easy. The world will hate me for choosing to play on HIS team. It sort of reminds me of the Chiefs/Raiders rivalry in the NFL.
If the world hates you, understand that it hated ME before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you.
3. There is one difference though. In most instances, the hate goes both ways, like in the Chiefs/Raiders rivalry. JESUS, however, has higher expectations for the players on HIS team.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
4. Finally, I have a game plan that I need to execute. JESUS has tasked me with testifying about HIM, sharing HIS message of redemption. I need to focus on the game plan and not let the hate stop me from doing my job.
But I count my life as no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the LORD JESUS, to testify to the gospel of GOD's grace.
Sadly, all the players that go through tryouts this upcoming school year won't make the cut. Hopefully I can use my influence to let them know that they are wanted regardless. Everyone can play on HIS team. If you do choose to play on his team, you will win the best "championship" that ever existed.
Here are some image from the last few years of soccer at Fort Osage. I love these kids and hope that when tryouts are over this fall, I will be able to keep influencing them. In soccer, and in life.
Song: 20:17 (Raise the Banner) by Audio Adrenaline