Posted tagged ‘Lebron James’

The Church’s Go To

March 8, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                         March 8, 2017

                                     

In sports there is a saying that rings true. If a team needs a basket, a first down, or a final out they have a “go to” player or play that they are confident will give them the needed result. It is not a coincidence that the Cavaliers get the ball to LeBron James in crunch time, and that the Golden State Warriors get the ball to Kevin Durant…er, Steph Curry…er, Klay Thompson. Okay, okay! The Warriors are not a good example for me to use!

Back to the point I was trying to make!

Churches have a “go to” also. Once in a while it’s a person, but usually it’s the bottom line of their congregational culture. Whereas with professional sports teams the “go to player” is a positive most of the time, in churches the “go to” is more often than not a negative.

Churches, in general, resist change. At best change is tolerated as long as it doesn’t threaten what people are comfortable with. When changes threaten the congregational culture there is almost certainly going to be a shaking that happens. Picture a tree in autumn. If a strong wind happens most of the leaves on the tree get blown or shaken off. What remains, however, is the tree trunk and branches. A church’s “go to” is the tree trunk. New ideas and thoughts might be present, but a wind of unrest will scatter them, leaving the church’s trunk in place.

Spiritually sounding churches will say that their “trunk” is Jesus, but reality says something else. Sometimes the “go to” is whatever the power family in the church says is going to happen. Pastors may come and go, but the power family dictates what will be and what will not be.

Sometimes the “go to” is more aligned with Old Testament judgment rather than New Testament grace. Church discipline becomes punitive and harsh rather than restorative and healing.

Church budgets are often indicators of what a congregation’s “go to” is. For instance, how much of the budget is focused on building maintenance and property compared to missions and community outreach? Going back to the power family, what do they support? Is their influence apparent in the breakdown of the budget?

The Cavaliers go to LeBron because they want to win. Churches yield to their “to go” because they fear losing. Losing, however, is defined as a family getting upset and leaving over a change they don’t care for; or it is defined as the loss of the church’s comfort zone; or “too many new leaves on an old tree!”

What is your church’s “go to?” How does it tend to react to problems and/or changes? More often than not, going to LeBron produces a victory. For churches, the tendency is to yield to the “go to” because they can’t afford to lose!

What Is Meaningless and Meaningful?

June 12, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                     June 12, 2013

About twenty-four hours ago a fire started in the area northeast of our city called Black Forest. My wife Carol took pictures from our neighborhood as the afternoon progressed. We can see from the photos how the blaze rapidly spread. Black Forest is heavily wooded, but most of the problem has resulted from dry, hot and windy conditions. Shifting winds has caused concern about where the fire might head next.

If there is one thing our local firefighting units learned what Waldo Canyon it’s the ability to know what needs to be done, and also, what is out of our control.

I was amazed last night as the tension increased in direct correlation to the increasing mushroom cloud of smoke in the air by the fact that the local ABC TV station was getting a number of phone calls from people who were concerned about whether the Miami Heat-San Antonio Spurs NBA game was going to be shown. One minute there was the image on the TV screen of a home with a fire consuming it, and the next minute the screen shifted to LeBron James shooting a jump shot.

Meaningful and a life-changing event to…forgive me for saying it…a meaningless event whose greatest impact is putting more money into the pockets of a few people who already have too much money.

Our lives are a constant sifting of clutter and vital, superficial and sacred. Not that I’m advocating a life that is always focused on the essential, because we need times of laughter, even meaningless laughter.

We just need better balance, a improved ability to keep things in perspective. LeBron’s stats pale in comparison to a hundred homes burning to the ground. Fires, such as our area has experienced, has a way of burning away the things that don’t really have lasting value, and firming up within our hearts what we can’t place a value on.

The thought is now within my mind: what might we take with us if we get evacuated?     Lawnmower? No!

Big screen television? No.

Twenty year old coffee mug that I got at the Promise Keepers Conference at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan? That’s hard…but no!

Pictures of the kids? Yes! Folders of things the kids brought home from school or made in church when they were growing up? Yes.

Suits? No. It would give me another excuse for not having to wear one.

Wedding album?

Yes. Awesome looking tux and beautiful bride!

In other words I’d be carrying a lot of pictures and memories, but even if I didn’t have those I’d be content just knowing that my wife was safe.

Some may blame my perspective on my age, but one scene from yesterday’s fire rings true with me. It was a group of young teens faced with the very real possibility that their homes were gone, but their emotional turmoil was focused on the franticness of trying to find their parents.

X Boxes are nice. Dad’s are irreplaceable.

Mountain bikes are cool! Moms are beyond cool.

Perfection In An Imperfect World

June 21, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                      June 21, 2012

 

 

Sports analysts are amusing. They break down situations, and assess blame as quickly as it takes to order and receive a Beach Club sandwich at Jimmy John’s. If Lebron makes an incredible shot it gets lost in the occurrence of a missed free throw thirty seconds later. If Russell Westbrook scores 45 points, it gets forgotten in the scrutiny of an ill-advised foul with thirteen seconds left in the game. If an official misses a foul call, there is a rush to make instant replay a part of every moment and every movement of the game.

There is a thirst for perfection in a game that is determined by bad decisions. But more than that, there is a sense of being insulted by the allowance of faults.

TV sports analysis shows are created out of this sense of being offended. Listen to what the guys in suits say. If Jesus had played basketball they would have even been upset at his perfect shooting form and never missing a foul shot. I’m sure the conversation would drift to something like “His team needs him to step up in more ways than just never missing a shot.”

Perfection means coming to a point of satisfaction, and sports analysts are never satisfied. They are like a food critic in a restaurant. Perfect food can never happen, because there was a water spot on my fork!

We desire to live lives that are error-free, but there always seems to be a sense that we’re falling short of that…because we are! There is also that sense of seeing the faults in the beauty. Most of us are critical people who see a tear in one of the petals of a flower instead of the flower itself.

Churches that pursue perfect worship services may miss the presence of the One they are worshipping. The perfect sermon may be sanitized of any whisperings of the Lord. The perfect VBS might miss the fact that one little boy is struggling with a stuttering problem that has started as a result of other crises in his life.

The imperfections of our lives need love and grace, and often simply a listening ear.

In the mean time we will continue to hear hyper-critical commentators and fans gone ballistic because someone missed a running left-hand hook shot. It will be made to sound like the world has been thrown off of its axis, and the end is near.

When you hear that “blast” just take a deep breath…hold it…and think of the perfection that is a part of the next exhale.