The team motto – “use me” …. But are you sidelined?
We are all made to glorify God, but some of us are currently benched.
We are all commanded to share the Good News, but some of us our sidelined.
Missed Practice – not prepared / not dressed in uniform
[2 Kings 2:11-14] – Elisha
Sunday only Christian – not prepared to share your hope, to share Jesus
[1 Peter 3:15] But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hopethat you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
[Romans 12:11] Never be lazy, but work hardand serve the Lord enthusiastically.
[1 Timothy 4:7] Train yourself to be godly
[1 Corinthians 9:25] All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
[Ephesians 6] Put on the FULL Armor of God
- Helmet of Salvation – SALVATION through Christ
- Breastplate of Righteousness – RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ
- Shield of Faith – FAITH
- Belt of Truth – TRUTH of God
- Sword of the Spirit – WORD of God
- Feet Prepared with the Gospel of Peace – GOSPEL
Performing poorly / Playing bad / Head not in the game
[1 Kings 11] – Solomon
[Hebrews 12:1-2] Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
[2 Timothy 2:4] No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. – YOU NEED AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE
Not following game plan / Disobeying coach
[Numbers 20] – Moses
Not humbling yourself, not following God’s will – you think you know better, not seeking God
[Psalm 105:4] Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! – He is our Creator, He has the beautifully orchestrated plan, not my will by His will be done
[2 Timothy 2:20-22] In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
[2 Corinthians 12:7b-10] – Paul
Suffering, broken – struggling physically, mentally, financially
Financial struggles, health issues, pain, surgery, anxiety, depression
Maybe you think you are too broken, too sick, too depressed…
Maybe you think you are not a position to share the Good News
[2 Corinthians 3:5] It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.
[1 Peter 4:11] If anyone speaks, they should do so as one whospeaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Ejected – attitude/behavior problem – “unsportsmanlike conduct”
[1 Samuel 2:22-25] – Eli’s sons
Heart problem – angry, jealous, bitter, unforgiving…
[Job 11:13-16] Still, if you set your heart on God and reach out to him, If you scrub your hands of sin and refuse to entertain evil in your home, You’ll be able to face the world unashamed and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless. You’ll forget your troubles; they’ll be like old, faded photographs.
[Psalm 51:10] Create in me a pure heart, a clean heart
[Acts 20:18-21] When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike–the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.
Never shrink back
Share one message – JESUS
May He use you!!
[Psalm 100:2] Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
To Him alone …. All honor, glory, and praise! Forever and ever!
When my daughter first began running Cross Country a few years back, she noted the importance of running within the flags. There’s a course set up and you have to go around the flags in such a way. If you go off of the course, you are in trouble. Something that I see as a big problem is the spectators. You have your eager parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc., chasing alongside the course cheering and screaming encouragement. Sometimes they get onto the course. Then you have those people who have no clue how Cross Country courses are laid out, and they walk onto the course. Many times, you will hear a parent yell for people to “get off the track” or “get off the field.” I have been that yelling parent many times. This weekend, I was that parent on three occasions. Guilty! I don’t usually yell, but when I do, you know it was me.
Thankfully none of the uninformed onlookers caused any real problems. They move quite quickly when you yell at them. However, there have been instances when runners have been slowed down because of some disruption on the course. Despite the yelling of the referees, coaches, and parents, it happens. Can you imagine running miles, training for weeks, trying to beat a record—only to have someone stroll onto the course and cause you to lose all that effort in a blink of an eye?!? Sometimes it’s a few tenths of a second. Boom.
Paul talks about us running a race. Each of us, whether we admit it or not, are running a race. It’s our Christian walk, our walk with Jesus Christ. Sometimes there will be someone who will come along as we are running our race, and he or she will cause us to stumble, to slow down, to get off course. Sometimes there will be that one person who will keep you from being where God wants you to be at and you might not even see it coming. Today, look at the track of your life. Do you have a group of encouragers, chasing along, trying to help you get to where God wants you to be? Do you have people in your life who look out for your best interests and try to equip and empower you? Or do you have someone on the field, walking along, getting you to stumble and slow down? Do you have someone who is trying to enable you to stay where you are at, when God is trying to take you somewhere new? Keep running the race. As Paul, may you finish the race.
“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 [NLT]