Sunday, May 01, 2005

Can you measure spirituality?

I have been supporting and attending our church for over 30 years. I love the fellowship and support I have received. There have been dificult times, it is to be expected, and good times. I believe one must be commited and engaged in a community of believers if they are to grow in their faith and mature in their mandate to love God and love one another. I pray I have been able to give back to others as much as I have received.

The tension I have wrestled with, as a coach the past 13 years, is the decreased time I have to spend with the body of believers I am committed to nurture and the time I am out in the community coaching high school basketball.

Can this it a sign of spiritual maturity or backsliding?

Obviously one cannot determine growth or atrophy by one aspect of a person's life. So what are the other indicators that can shed light on the subject of spiritual maturity?

George Gallup speaks of four markers from his experience polling churches through the years: "beliefs, practices, attitudes, and lifestyle. Those indicators tell you whether a person has a transforming, integrated faith or just a statement of faith. The test is in the action. The deeper one goes - from belief to lifestyle - the more obvious are the markers."

Spirituality is not a checklist you check off and say you have it or you do not. If you can quantify it then you probably process less of it than you should. You can not capture the wholeness of spirituality with a checklist. It is a matter of the heart. There may be indicators, but the reall issue is with the heart.

Spiritual maturity is an ongoing process; a journey we are on in this life which flows into the life after death. It is the matter of the heart. Has my beliefs affected my practices and attitudes in this journey? It will show or be lacking in my lifestyle. If my belief is that God has gifted me in areas that further his kingdom through coaching, then it needs to be seen in my lifestyle.

Am I becoming more like Jesus? Am I challenging or inspiring those who I coach to consider following Christ? Am I encouraging those who are believers to continue in the race? Am I doing what Jesus would do to make His Father known in my words and deeds? If I am, I am maturing in the faith. I am doing His will on earth as it is in heaven.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Lessons on the way to state tournament

On the ride over Al Valencia’s mother passed away. We knew she could die before he left for the tournament. He and his family discussed what to do if this happened. We were in Ritzville. We stopped at Zips to stretch our legs and get shakes. Al did not come in with the rest of us. He was driving a vehicle with our bags. Bev came up to me and said that Al received a call about 30 minutes before telling him of his mother’s death. She asked if it was alright to tell me, he said it would be fine.
When she informed me, we called the team together and went to Al to offer our condolences. We prayed as a group together. We grieved and mourned with Al for a period of time. We learned of our mortality and frailty.

A busy day was ahead of us. We visited the Discovery School in Spokane on behalf of the WIAA’s TEAM UP program to address the kids in the areas of sportsmanship, academic excellence and character. We put on a mini-basketball clinic. Some of the kids learned the drills and asked questions about being a student-athlete. Adam spoke on AE, Erk on C, and Jesse on sportsmanship – they all did a great job.When we were done the 3rd and 4th grade challenged the team to a game of bump. The guys couldn’t say no. Jesse was the first one out there. There was a big line and it took some time to get through them all. Jesse, David and one student were left. Jesse was going up for a shot and was undercut by the student and landed on his back. He got up shaking and massaging his wrist. I thought – oh no headline read, “ JR breaks wrist at state tournament playing bump with school children.” He ended up being fine. We learned about the gift of sharing our life; our light with others.

Today I thought what lesson God would teach us today. Just before leaving our room for the arena it hit me. The boys were going to see the fruit of their labor – a victory to insure them of a trophy!

Friday, February 04, 2005

Press on Toword the Goal

Everyone is guided by something. We either know who or what guides us or we run blindly through life thinking we are a free spirit and free from any sort of influence. Look at the style clothes you wear, the toothpaste your use, the kind of food you eat, your hair style, what music you listen to and the movies you watch. You have been influenced to choose those things. The question to ask is, "Where is it taking you?"

Paul, a follower of Jesus said, "..I count all things loss for Christ." He goes on to reject fame and fortune as a way to define meaning and purpose in life. "I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me." Philippians 3:12.

God calls individuals to himself for a purpose. I found early on in life, trusting Christ provides guidance in this journey of life; this race. It will take a lifetime to discover all its riches and an eternity to fully understand its depth.

Read the letter to the Philippians to see Paul's passion for life in Christ.

The Race

The Race is about my journey through life. We all are in a race, but do we know where we are going and how to get there. These are my thoughts and experiences in life. I hope it can be helpful for those who are running the race and for those watching from the sidelines.