Devotional of the Week

Devotional of the Week

"For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree." 1 John 5:7-8 The official slogan of the 2014 FIFA World Cup is "All in One Rhythm," or, in Portuguese, "Juntos num so ritmo." I love these four words. Not only is it a perfect description of the World Cup—how teams from around the world come together to participate in the sport of soccer, all in one rhythm— but it also makes me want to apply it to my own spirituality...

I’ve dislocated my knee twice while playing basketball. What’s just as frustrating as the dislocation itself, however, is what happens to the quad muscle after the injury. It shuts down. In order to get back out on the basketball court, even after two surgeries fixed my knee cap, I had to hook an electric stimulator up to my quad multiple times a day, for several weeks straight, just to fire up the muscle again. It was as if my quad completely forgot how to function, even after the surgery...

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 When everything is on the line, when everyone is watching, when you or your team are counting on you for the next shot or the next play—this is the situation that true competitors always dream of and want to participate in. As a golfer, I dream of sinking a slick, downhill, 20-foot putt on the 18th hole at Augusta National to win the Masters Tournament by a shot. No matter the sport, we all want to finish strong. We want to always be able to look back in time and say that we did our best and put it all on the line in certain situations.

Many of us struggle with the constant pressure to be perfect within athletics. We get caught up seeking unreliable affirmation through our performance, so when things don’t go our way we feel discouraged. Tryouts are a great example. We work day in and day out to prove we are worthy of a spot. Summers, we run sprints in the heat. Nights, we lift in the weight room. It feels like every second is spent honing our skills. But, the challenges don’t just stop after making the team. That’s just the beginning...

"Then he said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'" Luke 9:23 In the above passage, we see that Jesus tells us what's needed to be His disciple. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross each day and then follow Him. What does all of that mean, though? Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who led the majors in home runs (53) and RBIs (138) last season, delves into that: "...As I got older, I realized it wasn't about going to church or managing your sin, but about daily dying to myself and surrendering my life to Christ..."

What does it mean to be rich? When Stan Musial signed his 17th contract in 1958, he became the first National Leaguer to make $100,000. He was rich. In 1975, Catfish Hunter signed as a free agent for five years with the Yankees, making more than $3 million. He was richer. In 2012, Albert Pujols signed a 10-year deal with the L.A. Angels for more than $250 million. He is very rich. There is a permanent way to become “rich.” When a person acknowledges he is a sinner and trusts in Jesus as his Sin-Bearer, he becomes rich in at least three ways. He becomes rich in grace...

Game 2 of the 2013 National League Championship Series was a classic for baseball purists. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the L.A. Dodgers 1-0 behind 22-year-old rookie pitcher Michael Wacha. Each batter Wacha faced represented the tying or go ahead run. The tension was thick in every inning...

I had the privilege of going to last year’s national championship game between Louisville and Michigan. I confess I knew nothing about either team, but as the game progressed, I was quickly captivated by a little, freshman guard on Michigan named Spike Albrecht. Albrecht, who was only averaging 1.6 points per game, caught fire from the 3-point line and single-handedly kept the Wolverines in the game. In 18 Big Ten games, he had 22 points total. In the national title game, he had 17 points in the first 11 minutes...

In 2004 Bill Self left Illinois as head basketball coach and went to Kansas. He later won a national title in 2008. Illinois then hired Bruce Weber, former coach at Southern Illinois University, to replace Self. Since Self stressed offense and Weber stressed defense, the first year was difficult for the returning players, adjusting to a new coach and new coaching style…

At DistinXion camps, we start our first character lesson by telling a story of a contractor that builds a house that will eventually become his retirement gift. Any contractor will tell you that in order to have the best-built house, only the best materials should be used. Similarly in sports, most coaches will advise that if you want the best team, you should recruit the best players. However, in Psalm 118, we are told that a rejected stone is turned into the capstone...

Different isn’t always easy. Remember the Jamaican bobsled team in the 1988 Calgary Olympics? Seems like an oxymoron, right? Jamaican bobsled? To cement their involvement in the Olympics, a movie, Cool Runnings, was made about their exploits. The foursome of Devon Harris, Dudley Stokes, Michael White and Nelson Stokes...

PGA golfer Tiger Woods once said, "Everyone knows what the Masters is, even if you're a non-golfer. People know what Wimbledon is. They know what the Super Bowl is. There are certain events that people just know about." That's true. Some events are just known, especially the Super Bowl. As Christians we know about certain events that have taken or will be taking place, with one of them being the rapture of believers. However, I think we take it for granted that everyone knows...

Tony Dungy, in The Jersey Effect, talks about the struggle for athletes once they finish their career. It’s a struggle because, once sports are taken away, they wonder what their purpose in life is. When sports are taken away, they lose meaning in life. If you’re an athlete, is this true for you? If you’re not an athlete, what is the one thing in this world that you feel gives you meaning and purpose? How would you feel if it was taken away?

Winter Olympics great Eric Heiden was very practical in his view of gold medals. In essence, they’re nice to look at, but not very useful. “I’d rather get a nice warmup suit. That’s something I can use. Gold medals just sit there. When I get old, maybe I could sell them if I need the money,” said Heiden, winner of five gold medals at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. He understood the triviality of the medals, which are much like the trivial nature of wealth or stockpiling things because we just have to have them. When it came down to it, Heiden needed equipment to train more than he needed the medals. And when it comes down to worldly things compared to spiritual things, we should see the disparity between the two and store up treasures in heaven. As Matthew 6 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also...”

Baseball is a simple game. Throw strikes. See the ball and hit it. There are three outs, per team, per inning and nine innings in a game. Teams that play well together are usually successful. Team unity is enhanced in the clubhouse by energetic leaders like Orlando “Cha-Cha” Cepeda, who led the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series in 1967 and 1968. It can also be augmented by quiet leaders like Carlos Beltran, who leads by consistent performance and is there to be an example and mentor to younger players...

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