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Leader's Insight: Get Back in the Game!
A halftime speech to a tired teammate.
To my fellow teammate in the great contest:
Encouragement is my thing. Admonishment isn't. I'd rather be with the team, bolstering confidence and rooting them to victory, than in the locker room at halftime, screaming at them to get their act together, pointing out what I'm quite sure they already know that they're doing wrong.
That's why I usually go in for practical pats on the back, and why I shy away from spiritual coaching that turns out sounding like a rebuke or a reprimand. I try to imitate one of my favorite coaches of all time, Paul.
Paul followed pretty much in the coaching footsteps of Jesus. Paul told stories about his amazing recruitment: how he went from being a scout for the wrong team to becoming first-string quarterback for Team Jesus. But occasionally, when some of his fellow teammates started running toward the wrong goalposts, even Paul had to haul out some halftime speeches that singed the old ear hairs.
But you know what? Teams that win have coaches that aren't afraid to coach. And from what I understood, Paul wanted to win—not just the Homecoming game, but the whole championship. That's why he said, "Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win" (1 Corinthians 9:24, MSG).
I'm not completely sure, but it's a fair guess that the same Paul who wrote "Run to win!" also wrote, "God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised" (Hebrews 6:10-12, NIV).
Now here's the deal. Listen up. I know you're sucking air, but take a few deep breaths and focus. From watching the first half, it's pretty obvious that you have been up against it. You're up against it emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Join the club, because all of us are a wadded up conglomeration of emotion, intellect and spirit.
That's why I'm passing along to you, my weary teammate, some of the same halftime admonishments passed along to me by Coach Paul, because his coaching has been responsible for many battles won, including a few of my own. And I know you want to win battles … don't you? Don't you?!!
Need I remind you what stakes we are playing for? Need I remind you that over that goal line of faith lies victory—forever—to those who cross it? Need I remind you that we carry the gospel and we hand it off to others, and we block for them and we bust a gut for them so that they too can cross the line, and so that they too can know Jesus? Need I remind you that part of our game plan includes "admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ" (Colossians 1:28, NASB)?
How are we supposed to present every man? (I can't hear you.)
How are we supposed to present every man? (I still can't hear you!)
HOW are ...