Move The Ball

As a high school athlete I was told by coaches that I had promise. However, an unfortunate incident with a terrible coach disillusioned me. I walked out of the locker room and into the library saying: "You can take my ball, but you cannot take my brain." It took time for me to heal from the bruises. I married a young woman, still the Love of My Life, who played softball, hockey and basketball (Captain). Plus she was President of the Monogram Club for female athletes. She has not lost her love for sports.

Paul the Apostle referenced Olympic training techniques: "...casting aside every weight...running to win...crown of victory, etc., (Hebrews 12:1).

I too find competitive sports offering great metaphors for our spiritual journey.

Often I think about a football field with stands packed with sports enthusiasts. Teams come out unto the field. Referees are in their uniforms. Bands are playing alma mater songs. Throw in the hot dogs, popcorn, chips and bottles of water or soda. The weather is perfect. The two teams meet in the middle of the field. The football lies on the 50-yard line.

The national anthem is played with people holding a hand over their heart in respect. The refs give instructions. The teams kneel ready for play. A team calls for time. The teams stand. There is talk. And the scenario is repeated time after time.

The ball still lies in the middle the field. It has not moved. No one has touched it. It looks like a football field. The music is exciting. The teams have rehearsed their drills. But the ball does not move.

After a while folks complain. Sports fans yell out to get the game started. The ball does not move. Eventually the stands are empty. *********************************** If there is anything that I have learned as a pastor it is that the ball must move down the field or there will never be a score. There is no game if the ball is not moving.

Often I have said to the pastoral team: "Move the ball down the field!" Translated: "Do something." *********************************** A few days ago the Minnesota Vikings football team threw a "miracle" pass for a touchdown in the last second of the game.

It has been said that the pass and touchdown is one of the most remarkable moments in NFL history.

However, the coach observed that it was not a miracle. He said the team had been practicing the play that won the game. *********************************** It is certain I will never play NFL or NBA or any of the other "N's" of sports. But as definite as that is it just as certain that being part of the Kingdom of Jesus my heart's desire is to get the ball down the field for Jesus. Practice the play. Shake up the game. Engage every participant. Make it happen.

Not a day to be lost. Not a dollar to be wasted. No opportunity to be squandered. Press the advantage as if this is our last day and our last play. Press the advantage as if our Coach Jesus is on sidelines calling the plays with assurance that we cannot lose.

Ours is not a game. It is heaven or hell. Eternal gain or eternal loss. There is a devil that wants us to lose. Our Coach Jesus gives assurance of victory! *********************************** Covenant Church is in a community that has been publicized internationally. Our community has been referenced by national news media as being indicative of division.

We, the pastoral staff, elders and leaders of Covenant, are determined to "move the ball" down the field toward unity by acting out what Christ would do. We are determined to do more than talk and dialogue.

We are determined that our doors will be open to people without regard to economic class, color, country or culture. We are determined to demonstrate that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the hope of every heart, every home and every community. *********************************** Our building program is not the reason for our existence. We build believing in bringing people to Jesus, building homes, building lives, building community and sending and supporting missionaries.

We pray for laborers for the harvest. We pray for wisdom to walk in paths of righteousness and to be circumspect in the community.

We are confident in victory that will honor Jesus. May all the applause be to him!

Let us work together to move the ball down the field! Keep in mind: IN KINGDOM WORK EVERY PERSON IS ON THE FIELD OF ACTION. There are no idle fans in the stands. There are no galleries for non-participants.

Much love Pastor Bare

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart," Hebrews 12:1-3.

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven," Matthew 5:16.