Take your shot!

May 3, 2017

I pastor a great church and I've learned that a great church is always busy applying what they sing about, read about in the Bible, pray about and preach about.   Unapplied faith is a dead faith.   First Methodist Church of Waco applies their faith.  This weekend is confirmation weekend and we will see the results of applied faith in the lives of many, many young people.   It's always a weekend that is the highlight of the church year when we see so many young people baptized and professing faith in Christ.   I'm reminnded of Numbers 13:27-28 when I talk about applied faith.

"They gave Moses this account:  'We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey!  Here is its fruit.  But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.'"  - (Numbers 13:27-28)

Wayne Gretzky said...  "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."     I love it when God and sports intersect so perfectly.

I remember when my son Matthew played basketball on the b-team in Killeen, Texas at Nolan Middle School.    He loved playing basketball and he and I had practiced many hours getting him ready to play on a real team.  When he began "real basketball" He would suit up, practice and get ready to play a real game.  I had played enough with Matthew to know he had a great shot but a weak dribble.   But I was excited about his first game.   However.  This is a big however....   Whenever he got on the court and began to dribble, someone would take the ball away from him and the other team would score.  Each time, and in each game, when he began to dribble, the coach would yank him out of the game and he would spend the rest  of the game on the bench.   That happened every single game of the season, until the last game.  Before Matthew got on the court for the last game, I told Matthew to forget the dribble and take a shot.    He said, "The coach will yell at me."  I said:  "I'm your dad, I know your gifts, you're going home with me not the coach and you can't dribble.  But you can shoot!"   I said:  "Take your shot!"  "Ok Dad."

I remember that game like it happened yesterday and not 24 years ago.  Matthew got the Ball and took a shot.  No Dribble! It went in and he scored two points and old dad was screaming from the bleachers.  Matthew scored 21 points in that game.  He broke the scoring record for B Team basketball for Nolan Middle School because he took his shots.  I lost my voice but how we celebrated.

The Israelites had forgotten that God had promised them that land - if they were willing to take their shot.  But the Israelites got it wrong.  They saw the roadblocks in their way and decided to play it safe.  They saw only their weaknesses and not their strengths.  They confused ease of difficulty with likelihood for success.  God didn't say it would be easy, he just said;  "Take your shot."

When I look at living faithfully today, I feel like we have the same problems the Israelites did.  It is clear God is doing something amazing in our church, and we are primed for an incredible future.  But we have to take the shot.  Take heart that God is working through us and we will continue to have an amazing impact on the world.

Pray this prayer with me:   "Steadfast God, be with me and with this church.  Remind us that you are moving in this world, and you are utilizing each of us and this congregation.  As we look upon our future, let us not be deterred by the barriers standing in our way.  But instead, let us realize that you are working in us to overcome those barriers for something incredible.  Give us the faith to move forward, knowing that you are with us and becasue you are with us, we can take our shot.  Amen