The Tip of Your Tongue

Football fans can be fanatics.  The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl on a last minute interception.  Tom Brady won his third Most Valuable Player award in Super Bowls.

Johnny Nichols is a 21-year-old fanatic fan of New England and Tom Brady.  Following the Super Bowl victory he had Tom Brady’s name tattooed on his bottom lip so that the first thing you see is the name Tom Brady.  When he was asked why he did that he said, “I always want Tom Brady to be on the tip of my tongue.”

That’s strange.  That takes football fanatics to a different level.  But it made me start to think.  What do we have on the tip of our tongues?  What is the first thing people notice about us?  It doesn’t have to be a tattoo – but what is there.  Here are some questions:

1. Do we have fear or faith on the tip of our tongues?  This day and age it is so easy to be fearful.  Each day’s headlines produce more global concerns that can create fear.

Someone has suggested that an acronym for F E A R could be Forget Everything And Run.  That is really succumbing to fear.  Let me suggest that a better acronym of F E A R would be Face Everything And Respond!

The Bible is clear that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.  God sent his Son into the world that we might have faith and not fear.  Fear paralyzes – faith liberates.

2. Do we have God or gold on the tip of our tongues?  Each of our coins has the inscription “In God We Trust.”  Is that really true of us as individuals?  I remember speaking to a large patriotic group on the weekend of the Fourth of July and the program was misprinted with the phrase “In gold we trust.”  Was that a truthful misprint?

Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of God, and then other necessary things will be given to us.  The priority is seeking God.  Anything else becomes a distraction.

3. Do we have giving or getting on the tip or our tongues?  Life is a choice as we live each day.  We are created with a sinful nature of being selfish and a desire to look out for ourselves.  The joys in life come when God’s grace through Jesus Christ transforms us from being getters to givers.

Jesus made it clear that He did not come into the world to be served but to serve.  He made it clear that it is much more blessed to give than to receive.  A life of getting becomes shallow and mundane.  A life of giving produces riches and joys that cannot be bought.

4. Do we have problems or possibilities on the tip of our tongues?  Anything we face in life can be observed as a problem or a possibility.  It depends on how we look at it.

One day the disciples came to Jesus because there were 5,000 people who were hungry.  They saw a problem because there was no food.  Jesus didn’t see a problem – He saw a possibility.  He took 5 loaves and 2 fish and fed the whole crowd.

In life it is easy to see things as problems.  It is far more productive to see them as possibilities.

What is on the tip of your tongue?

The Coaching Continues

I was preaching 10 days ago in the Raleigh/Durham area at Cary, North Carolina.  The first news that greeted me upon my arrival was the death of Coach Dean Smith, legendary coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels.

A coach can die – but his coaching lessons can continue through the people he influenced.  You know all about Coach Smith’s National Championship teams, his award from the President, his Hall of Fame induction, his number of wins, the number of famous players he coached – but here are a few things that you might not know that are good lessons to learn:

1.  As a coach he did not use profanity and had a no tolerance policy for profanity in his program.  Wow!  How many coaches and business leaders could learn a real lesson here?

2. He focused on teamwork instead of individual statistics.  Whenever a player made a shot, he always had that player point to the player who passed him the ball.  Getting the ball to him was as important as his scoring.  Anything we accomplish is the result of somebody else’s help.  If you see a turtle sitting on a stump, you know he didn’t get there by himself!

3. 96% of his players graduated.  He didn’t look at basketball as just an athletic game, but as a way to educate young men.  Part of that process was going to class and getting a degree.  And he did a lot of educating himself.

4. He valued his players as people.  He loved them and cared for them.  I heard that on one occasion the University President was in his office talking with him and there was a knock on the door and it was one of his basketball players.  He asked the University President to step outside while he talked with his player.  His players took precedent over even the President!  What if every boss had that emphasis?

5. He was not prejudiced.  He believed that every person was a child of God and should have an equal opportunity.  He recruited the first African-American basketball player to receive a North Carolina athletic scholarship.  It was not a popular thing to do, but he said it was the right thing to do!  When you read the comments of some of his great players like Michael Jordan and James Worthy, you get the sense that there was not an ounce of prejudice in him.

6. He spoke up for issues of justice.  As a basketball coach he could have just been quiet on a lot of social issues.  He elected to speak out.  His pastor, Rev. Robert Seymour, said that he was always willing to take controversial stands on a number of things as a member of his church.

7. He lived his philosophy of life.  The winningest college basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski, said, “His greatest gift was his ability to teach what it takes to become a good man.  That was easy for him to do because he was a great man himself.”

8. He supported great causes.  I have two buddies who have been a part of the Tar Heel basketball program.  Both have spoken at Frazer.   Albert Long is the only player in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference to letter in four sports in one year.  He lettered in basketball, baseball, football, and track.  The other is Dr. Danny Lotz.  He was a preacher’s son from New York who came to North Carolina and played on the undefeated National title team.  Danny and Albert wanted to start a Fellowship of Christian Athletes group at UNC.  Dean Smith volunteered to serve as the faculty advisor.

Here are 8 coaching lessons that will be true tomorrow and help anybody win in the game of life!  The coaching continues.  Are you coachable?

Heir or Spare

The announcement shocked me.  It said that Kate Middleton and her husband, Prince William are expected to give birth to their second child “the spare” in April.  The article went on to say that Kate had to curtail most of her official duties because of another bout of acute morning sickness, a condition that hospitalized her when she was pregnant with her first child, Prince George.

The term “the spare” really bothered me.  I understand that throughout royal history women have been expected to have at least two children – “an heir and a spare” – just in case the first child didn’t survive long enough to take the throne.  Regardless of gender this baby expected to arrive in April will be fourth in line to the throne – after its grandfather, Prince Charles; its father, Prince William; and its 15-month-old brother, George.  The new baby will be in line ahead of its uncle, Prince Harry.

Those two children of Prince William and Kate have no choice in whether they are designated as heir or spare.  Every person makes a choice as to whether he/she will be an heir or a spare.  Too many people adopt an attitude about themselves that they are nothing but a spare. God sent His Son in order that every person might be an heir, and never a spare!

Paul wrote, “Since we are His children, we are His heirs.  In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.” (Romans 8:17) He also wrote, “You are no longer a slave but God’s own child.” (Galatians 4:7)  God sees you as His child.  You are His heir.  God so loved the world so that nobody should ever see themselves as a spare – but as a possibility of being an heir to all that God has to give.

Too many people settle for much less.  Many people are content to be a spare.  Sometimes we try to blame it on other people.  Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Sometimes we want to become an heir by taking the wrong course.  We think if we accomplish enough things we can become an heir to God’s abundant living.  Accumulation of things and good works never do that.  If you need an expensive car, or fancy clothes, or a big bank account to make a statement about yourself – you don’t have much to say!

In writing about self-worth R. Schuller cites the Greek legend of Helen of Troy.  Helen was kidnapped.  She suffered from amnesia and became a prostitute in the streets.  She didn’t know her name or that she was of royal blood.

She had a friend who believed in her and wanted to find her.  One day he was wandering through the streets of a strange city and saw a wretched woman with deep lines across her face.  There was something about her that seemed familiar.  When he inquired about her name, she didn’t even know her name.

The man asked to see her hands.  He knew the lines in Helen’s hands.  He looked at them and declared that she was Helen of Troy.  She was of royal blood.  All of a sudden the fog began to clear in Helen’s mind and she realized who she really was.  She hugged her old friend and began to cry.  She discarded her tattered clothes and degrading lifestyle, and once more became the Queen she was born to be.

Because of Christ we are born to be an heir to Him and all He has.  We are not even fourth in line as this new baby will be.  Heirs of Christ are first in line!

Heir or spare – it’s your choice.

What Is Your Name?

What is your name?  Names are interesting and important.

Many people like to name their children after some famous athlete.   Because of the immense rise in popularity of soccer and the success of an Argentina soccer star Messi, his hometown of Rosario has now banned anyone from naming their children Messi because it was happening too often.

An Icelandic 15-year-old girl, for all official purposes, has been called “Girl” all her life.  The reason is that Iceland’s government has refused to recognize the name Blaer, because it wasn’t on the country’s list of 1,853 approved girls’ names.  She did recently win a court battle to get her name.

A British man just changed his name to Tim Pppppppppprice.  He did this to get away from telemarketers.  He said, “When these salesmen see my name on their list of names to call, they’ll think, ‘skip that – I can’t even pronounce his name.’”  Pppppppppprice might be onto a creative way of dealing with telemarketers!

Names carry a lot of meaning.  Recently the American League of Lobbyists wanted to rebrand what they were doing and changed their name to the Association of Government Relations Professionals.  The reasoning was that “Everybody has that misconception that lobbyists are walking around with a pocketful of cash.”  A new name would give a new perception.

Names can also be very tricky.  I heard about an Army recruit who arrived for basic training.  The drill sergeant immediately intimidated everyone by saying “My name is Stone and I’m harder than my name.  If anybody has any other ideas, he’d better get rid of them right now or he’ll regret every minute of the three months he’ll spend here.”

As the drill sergeant walked along the line of men standing at attention he asked each one his name.  When he came to the smallest recruit, there was no answer.  The drill sergeant became infuriated and roared, “Are you ignoring me?  What is your name?”  In a tearful whisper the young man replied, “Stonebreaker, sir.”

Our names are so important.  The famous short story writer O. Henry’s real name was Sydney Porter.  As a young man he was imprisoned for embezzlement and while in prison he met a guard named Oren Henry.

When time came for him to leave prison, he told the guard that his old name was so tarnished, could he take the name of the guard and refer to himself as O. Henry.  All of his marvelous literary work was written under that name.  As he left prison the guard shook his hand and said, “Take good care of our name.”

One of the most precious possessions we have is our name.  Keep it untarnished, respected and appreciated.  Proverbs 22:1 says “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.”  Ultimately you and I have the responsibility of one of our precious jewels – a good name.

What is your name?

Running Scared or Walking Confidently

“Running scared” might be the best description of how many people are living today.  Fear is rapidly becoming one of the most dominant emotions that we have.  Present day circumstances really heighten the emotion of fear.

Various pollsters listed some of the things of which American people are afraid.  71% suspect that there will soon be major terrorist attacks in the U.S.  43% fear that they or someone in their family will contract Ebola.  57% worry about being killed in a mass shooting.  69% fear cyber criminals will steal their credit card information.  62% fear that hackers will break into their phone or computer and steal sensitive and private information.   A huge majority of older citizens fear that they won’t have enough money for retirement years.

Andrew Parker, the Britain Security Chief has recently warned that Al Qaeda is planning “mass casualty attacks against the West.”  He goes on to say, “My sharpest concern as Director General of M15 is the growing gap between the increasingly challenging threat and the decreasing availability of capacities to address it.”  Newspapers, television, social media – every day is filled with new threats that would heighten our fear.

Kenneth Benedict, executive director and publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, meeting in Washington D.C. Thursday, January 24, 2015, reported that they are moving the Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight.  Benedict said, “It is now three minutes to midnight.  The probability of global catastrophe is very high.  This is about the end of civilization as we know it.”

Do we have more to fear today than in the past?  I don’t know the answer to that.  One person stated recently that we have so much to fear today that back in the Roosevelt days we didn’t realize how lucky we were – having nothing to fear but fear itself!

The subtle danger of fear is that it appears to be something that it is not.  It is deceptive.  It is false.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous quote that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” was followed by a description of fear as “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

One acronym for FEAR is False Evidence Against Reality.  Fear is not always real, it can be exaggerated.  It doesn’t always fit with reality.  A Russian proverb says, “Fear has big eyes.”  Fear will magnify what it sees – and sometimes will see what is not even there.  Mark Twain said, “I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’m scared of them.”

The answer to fear is faith.  There are 365 references in the Bible to fear.  I am not real good at math but that is about one for every day of the year.  Each of those references assures us of God’s love and care for us and the importance of placing our faith in Him.  As my friend Jim Sanders signs his letters: Inhale Faith – Exhale Fear.

Psalm 34:4 – “I prayed to the Lord and He answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.” I John 4:4 – “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”  Isaiah 41:10 – “Don’t be afraid for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you and hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Life is a choice – fear or faith – running scared or walking confidently.

Extinguished or Distinguished

The 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard had a change of command January 10, 2015.  Colonel Samuel W. Black turned over the command to Colonel Randal K. Efferson.

The opening sentence of the Montgomery Advertiser’s article announcing this said, “Families, extinguished guests and citizen airmen from across the state…”  I am sure the article meant to say “distinguished” guests and citizen airmen, but the word used was “extinguished.”

The article went on to say how many state and high ranking military leaders would be present.  I assume they are the extinguished who should have been designated the distinguished.  I don’t think I want to be an extinguished guest.

The 187th Fighter Wing is distinguished!  Gen. Steven Berryhill said that there was discussion as to whether a Guard Wing could rotate into Afghanistan as the lead wing.  Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke III and four-star Gen. Gilmary Hostage III pushed for the 187th to be the lead unit with no rotations.  With only 6 months to prepare (instead of the normal 12) the 187th Fighter Wing exceeded expectations!

What is the line between extinguished and distinguished?  It is only a heartbeat.  Some day all of the distinguished people will become extinguished people.  That is just the nature of life – and death.

I checked with the Bureau of Statistics in Alabama and the rate of death is still one-to-one.  Nobody avoids death.  The Bible says it is appointed for every man to die once. (Hebrews 9:27) The Book of James also refers to life as being like a vapor on a glass.  The vapor is there and you can see it, but soon it will be gone. (James 4:14)

The real question is – what can we do that would distinguish us before we are extinguished?  If you look on tombstones you always see the birth date and the death date.  The numbers might be 1935-2015.  That tells us a lot about when a person is born and when the person died.  But all of that person’s life is wrapped up in that one small dash.

What do we remember about distinguished people?  Some folks leave a legacy of accomplishments, wealth, accolades, trophies, and honors.  A few years from now, who is going to remember those?

The things that people remember are the investments that people make in the lives of other people.  Distinguished people are people who make a difference.

I know it was a typographical error – extinguished instead of distinguished. All publications like Preachers make errors. Montgomery is proud to be the home of the 187th Fighter Wing.  Their fighter planes proudly display the “Red Tails” because the 187th is home to the historic 100th Fighter Squadron of the Tuskegee Airmen.  Thanks to all of our military who provide opportunities for us to become distinguished and not extinguished.

You can quickly go from being distinguished to extinguished.  The Good News is you can also go from extinguished to distinguished because Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he, who believes in me, shall live, even when he dies.”  (John 11:25)  I’m blessed to be on God’s eternal distinguished list. Everyone has that possibility!

The Selective Deafness Team

Russell Wilson is the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks.  Like his teammate Derrick Coleman, about whom I wrote last week, he practices Selective Deafness.  He is only 5 feet 11 inches tall and a 3rd round draft choice.  Everybody told him that he couldn’t play in the NFL.  He didn’t listen to the people who told him he couldn’t do it. He has a Super Bowl ring to show how “selectively deaf” he is.

His team is now in the playoffs pursuing another Super Bowl ring.  One of his greatest challenges has come this year.  Wilson became the target of criticism from anonymous insinuations that he wasn’t “black enough” when the Seahawks traded wide receiver Percy Harvin in October.  Wilson was anonymously blamed for the turmoil that followed that trade, and the teams’ 6-4 start this year.

Selective Deafness –Wilson didn’t listen to all of those insinuations.  He shrugged off the comments and said, “It didn’t bother me.  I don’t give nonsense any time.  I love my teammates, love this organization.  I’m blessed to be a Seattle Seahawk.”

Wilson has become good friends with Derek Jeter, the legendary New York shortstop.  He gives Jeter credit for helping him to “block out negative noise” that would deter him from reaching his goals.  Jeter has even invited Wilson to be a contributor on his website.

Selective Deafness – even a reigning Super Bowl winner is going to receive a lot of naysayer comments.  Practice Selective Deafness.   Like Russell – “Don’t give nonsense any time.”

Montgomery has a great historical addition.  A replica of the Wright brothers’ first airplane now sits in full view as people come into the Montgomery area on Interstate 65.

The Wright brothers had a dream to fly.  Everybody told them they were crazy.  They told them that it was impossible.  The Wright brothers, whose father was a minister, knew how to practice Selective Deafness.  They constructed the first “airplane” at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

I was speaking in that area recently and visited the Methodist Church at Kitty Hawk.  They told me that some of the women of the church sewed the cloth on the wings that the Wright brothers used on that first flight.  They had enough cloth left over that they were able to make dresses for some little girls to wear to Sunday school at the Methodist Church.

What folks said couldn’t be done was done by Orville and Wilbur Wright.  After that initial success in Kitty Hawk, the Wright brothers were very smart and moved to Montgomery to continue their pursuits at what we know today as Maxwell Field.  Every time you are on I-65 and see that Wright brothers’ replica airplane, just think how important it is to practice Selective Deafness.

I will be going to India twice this year to train pastors in the God-sized vision to start 5 million churches and win 1 billion people to Christ by 2020.  I am glad the Wright brothers practiced Selective Deafness because I plan to go on an airplane to India.  It would be a long way by boat!

I am glad Gideon didn’t listen when he went to battle and people told him he had no chance.  He practiced selective deafness to their comments.  He was grossly outnumbered by the enemy, except he was following God’s plan.  Guess who won! (Joshua 7)

Russell, Derrick, Derek, Wilbur, Orville, Gideon – Join their Selective Deafness Team!!!

Seeing and Hearing

People of vision are people who accomplish extraordinary things.  The Bible says, “Without a vision the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)  If our vision for 2015 is not so big that only God could help us accomplish it, it is not worth the effort if we can do it alone.  A God-sized vision gives a new dimension to living!

But let me warn you.  When you have a big vision people will start telling you why you can’t accomplish it.  If you set a goal that is beyond the normal, the naysayers will begin to pull you down.  I’m told that if you catch a bucket of crabs, and one crab tries to climb out, the other crabs will pull him back down.  That exercise is not limited to crabs.

I have become a fan of the Seattle Seahawks because the backup quarterback is Tarvaris Jackson from Montgomery.  He has an incredible teammate named Derrick Coleman.  He is the first legally deaf offensive player in the National Football League.

Derrick has known that he was deaf since he was about three-years-old.  He wore hearing aids and would read lips.  Children would kid him because of the hearing aids.  He said, “For people that wore glasses, they would call them four eyes – they called me four ears.”

People told him he couldn’t be a football player.  He did well in junior high school and high school, then UCLA, then went to the Seattle Seahawks.  Everybody kept telling him he would never make it.  He had a big vision, but naysayers told him it was impossible.

How did Derrick respond – he said, “I have been deaf since I was three, so I didn’t listen to them.”

Let me give you a term for 2015 – Selective Deafness.  When people tell you you can’t do something, just practice Selective Deafness – don’t listen to them.  Whenever you share a great dream or goal or vision, there will be a lot of folks who will begin to tell you the reasons why you can’t accomplish it.  Practice Selective Deafness!

When Moses was leading two million Israelites towards the Promised Land, he encountered the Red Sea.  There was no bridge and no way around it.  It was an impossible situation.  The Israelites knew that the Egyptians were right behind them and would kill them.

The naysayers talked about how much better off they were as slaves in Egypt, and they started forming the “back to Egypt committee.”  But Moses didn’t listen to them.  He had Selective Deafness to their voices and perfect hearing for the voice of God.  God had planned a miracle for them.  He opened the waters and they kept going forward!

The opportunities for 2015 are huge.  Practice Selective Deafness when people start the negative comments.  Derrick Coleman has an advantage – he is legally deaf.  My prayer for 2015 is that God will help make us deaf to the things we don’t need to hear, which will help us listen better to His words for us.

Practice Selective Deafness!

Memorials and Honorariums

In 2014 the following memoriam and honorarium gifts were given to John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries.

In memory of:

Wylie Poundstone                                                                                                         By Mike & Jenny Lynn Henig

Father of Dr. Glen Yates                                                                                                    By John Ed & Lynn Mathison                                                                                       Ronnie & Linda Poole

Steve Fox                                                                                                                       By Mike & Jenny Lynn Henig                                                                                       John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Helen Carothers                                                                                                             By Mike & Jenny Lynn Henig

Wray Tomlin                                                                                                                    By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Randy Fulmer                                                                                                                By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Troy Mozingo                                                                                                                 By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Bill Tarrants                                                                                                                   By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Lamar Rawlinson                                                                                                           By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Ansley Garrard                                                                                                              By Mike & Jenny Lynn Henig

Bea Boyett                                                                                                                      By Walker & Angie Grant                                                                                               John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Josie Terry                                                                                                                     By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

John Alley                                                                                                                      By John Ed & Lynn Mathison                                                                                        Mike & Jenny Lynn Henig

Evelyn Poulos                                                                                                                    By Ken & Fay Love                                                                                                      Mike & Jenny Lynn Henig                                                                                            John Ed & Lynn Mathison                                                                                           Keith & Peggy Lowery                                                                                                     Ed Hunneyman                                                                                                        Lucinda Cannon                                                                                                          Dave & Linda Precht                                                                                                   Chris & Tracey Reed

Berry Grant                                                                                                                    By Mike & Jenny Lynn Henig

James Hill                                                                                                                       By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Helen Williams                                                                                                               By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Anita Folmar                                                                                                                  By Mike & Jenny Lynn Henig                                                                                       John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Sarah Grace Tellifero                                                                                                     By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Billy Crews                                                                                                                     By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Randal Craft                                                                                                                   By Mike & Jenny Lynn Henig

Frank Rountree                                                                                                              By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Charles McInnis                                                                                                             By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Gene Green                                                                                                                    By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Janice Stough                                                                                                                By John Ed & Lynn Mathison                                                                                  Michael & Pamela Strickland                                                                                         Jim & Carol Walker                                                                                                       Bob & Genie Kline                                                                                                       Jerry & Linda Bassett                                                                                                 David & Dorothy Hodges                                                                                         Richard & Jacquelyn Crum                                                                                         Steve & Kathy Beck

Mildred Benton Channell                                                                                               By Jules & Jane Davis

Dorothy Eckermann                                                                                                      By Mike & Jenny Lynn Henig

Jane Reinhardt                                                                                                              By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Mike Morgan                                                                                                                  By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Ann Lyerly                                                                                                                      By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

James Hall                                                                                                                      By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

Ernestine Taylor                                                                                                            By John Ed & Lynn Mathison

In Honor of:

Wedding of Hunter Smith & Ballard Lander                                                               By Darrell & Pennie Smith                                                                                              Steve & Terri Lander

Phil & Marilee Tankersley                                                                                             By Mike & Jenny Lynn Henig

 

 

Shooting At the Wrong Goal!

The Philadelphia 76ers had a difficult time determining at which goal to shoot.  On December 3, 2014, they had to replay the first 16 seconds because the 76ers were shooting at the wrong goal!  Can you imagine that – a professional basketball team shooting for 16 seconds at the wrong goal?

One thing that might explain just a little bit is that their record for the year was 0-17.  They hadn’t won a game all year.  I can understand this record if they don’t know at which goal they needed to be shooting!  Interestingly enough, they came back in that very game and beat the Timberwolves 85-77 to break that 0-17 start!

The only time I’ve see teams shoot at the wrong goal has been in Upward Basketball with elementary school teams.  I think I did witness a Junior High game where it happened once.

Before we are too hard on the Philadelphia 76ers, it is good to stop and ask how much time, effort and energy are we using at shooting at the wrong goals.  What is really important in life?  What do we want to accomplish in 2015?  Is it really a worthy goal?

Athletic teams have different goals for a season.  Some teams just want to win more then they lose.  The big goal for some football programs is to win six games and qualify for a Bowl.  Some programs set a goal of winning eight games in a season.  Could you imagine Auburn or Alabama having a goal of winning only eight games?  The last two years are indicative that both of them set a goal of winning the National Championship.  They weren’t going to shoot at any other goal.

How big are the goals you set for 2015?  Do you settle for mediocrity?  Do you allow your business to just set a goal to “stay in business?”  The most successful businesses are those who are willing to take the risk of setting a huge goal, then committing the resources to go for that goal.

Oftentimes we might set a goal just to be a little bit better than somebody in our peer group.  I remember how one time I brought a report card home, and it wasn’t the very best.  When my dad confronted me about that report card, my first response was, “well my report card was better than Jimmy Allen in my class.”  My Dad taught me a great lesson – “don’t ever set your goals compared to what somebody else is doing.  What does God want you to accomplish?”

At which basket are you shooting?  Even the professional team was shooting at the wrong basket.  You might have to replay a few days, but when you get the right basket you can be a winner – as the 76ers discovered.

The Apostle Paul summed up his life by stating his goal of, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  His life would shoot at the right goal by focusing on “this one thing, forgetting the past, reaching forward to what lies ahead, and pressing on toward the goal.” (Philippians 3:13, 14)

Remember – both goals look the same, but produce vastly different results.  Don’t get confused or fooled.  Shooting at the right goal can end a losing streak!

Correct goal?