Summary: No matter how well we begin our journey, we need to ensure we are finishing well.

Losing it in the End Game

Judges 1:1-2:5



I confess I’d rather watch good basketball game than a football game any day. But this last year I remember one football game in particular. It was a Thursday Night game that became water cooler discussion material the next day.

WEEK 10 - Nov. 6, 2008

Denver Broncos

Cleveland Browns

Scoring Summary


TD 07:03 Ryan Torain 1 Yd Run 7 0

TD 03:38 Kellen Winslow 5 Yd Pass From Brady Quinn 7 7


FG 12:45 Phil Dawson 24 Yd Field Goal 7 10

TD 10:29 Kellen Winslow 16 Yd Pass From Brady Quinn 7 17

FG 05:48 Matt Prater 35 Yd Field Goal 10 17

FG 01:09 Phil Dawson 52 Yd Field Goal 10 20


FG 10:21 Phil Dawson 33 Yd Field Goal 10 23

FG 05:37 Matt Prater 30 Yd Field Goal 13 23


TD 13:30 Eddie Royal 93 Yd Pass From Jay Cutler (Matt Prater Kick) 20 23

TD 09:50 Daniel Graham 28 Yd Pass From Jay Cutler (Matt Prater Kick) 27 23

TD 04:57 Jamal Lewis 1 Yd Run 27 30

TD 01:14 Brandon Marshall 11 Yd Pass From Jay Cutler (Matt Prater Kick) 34 30

1 2 3 4 OT T

7 3 3 21 34

7 13 3 7 30

The Cleveland Browns had blown a 13 point lead and gave up 21pts in the end game. They had lost it all in the end game. Losing it in the end game is a nightmare situation for anyone who has ever coached. Finishing strong is often the difference between champions and losers.



1. Signs you are Starting Well 1-18

Since Judges are stores of deliverance I think we will discover things about our role in God’s story of deliverance that he is writing across history.

A. Embrace a clear vision.

The Top four reasons drivers get lost.

* Bad directions: 47 percent

* Unclear, missing highway signs: 45 percent

* Detours: 38 percent

* Confusing maps: 21 percent

The people of Israel start very well in the book of Judges. They have a very clear picture of what they are to do.

1:1 After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the LORD, "Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?"

2 The LORD answered, "Judah is to go; I have given the land into their hands."

Why do we exist?

Matt 28:19-20

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

We exist to lead people to a transforming, consuming life with Jesus that compels them to live in such a way that others discover that same transforming, consuming and compelling life with Jesus.

B. Commit to the challenge.

3 Then the men of Judah said to the Simeonites their brothers, "Come up with us into the territory allotted to us, to fight against the Canaanites. We in turn will go with you into yours." So the Simeonites went with them.

Appl: Starting well is more than being a member or adherent. It is taking responsibility the challenge is your purpose your calling your destiny.

C. Pursue it with passion.

Coca-cola ’s vision is to offer the world a variety of beverages and they pursue it with passion.

The people of Israel start very well, under Judah they pursue their calling with passion.

4 When Judah attacked, the LORD gave the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands and they struck down ten thousand men at Bezek . . .

8 The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem also and took it. . . .

9 After that, the men of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country, the Negev and the western foothills. . . .

11 From there they advanced against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher). . . .

17 Then the men of Judah went with the Simeonites their brothers and attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed the city. Therefore it was called Hormah.

18 The men of Judah also took Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron-each city with its territory.

D. Follow Raised up Leaders

12 And Caleb said, "I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher." 13 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him in marriage.

14 One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, "What can I do for you?"

15 She replied, "Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water." Then Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

* God’s deliverance story is always being fleshed out through leaders that he raises up. Prophets.

E. Work Together with Others

3 . . . So the Simeonites went with them.

2. Signs you are not Finishing 19ff

A. Begin to make excuses.

19 The LORD was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had iron chariots.

Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure. -- Don Wilder

The patience of Alexander Kuzmin, mayor of Megion in western Russia, has worn thin. In September 2007, Kuzmin published a list of 27 excuses he will no longer tolerate. Civil servants who use such excuses as "I don’t know," "It’s lunchtime," or "I was on sick leave at the time," will lose their jobs. Other banned excuses include "I can’t," "It’s impossible," or "It’s not my job."

The reason for Kuzmin’s decision is simple. City officials, the mayor says, should solve problems, not make excuses.

Ted DeHass, Bedford, Iowa; source: "Russian mayor bans excuse making," BBC News (09-01-07)

Appl: We could come up with all sorts of excuses on why we are not doing better. People are busy. People are closed minded.

B. Begin to believe doubt what God has said.

Josh 1:1-6

1:1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates-all the Hittite country-to the Great Sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. NIV

"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today."

Franklin D. Roosevelt

21 The Benjamites, however, failed to dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites.

27 But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land. 28 When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely.

Acts 1:8

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

C. Begin to compromise the mission.

If any athlete was known for focus, it was Michael Jordan. In Jordan’s book, Driven from Within, Fred Whitfield, president and chief operating officer of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats basketball team, tells a fascinating story about something Jordan did while getting ready to go out one evening. When Jordan asked if he could borrow a jacket from Whitfield, he found that Whitfield’s closet was filled with both Nike and Puma products. The Nike outfits had been given to Whitfield because of his relationship with Jordan, who had a lucrative contract with the company. The Puma outfits had been given to Whitfield because of his relationship with ex-basketball player and Puma representative Ralph Sampson. Whitfield recalls that Jordan walked into the living room, laid all the Puma gear on the floor, and went into the kitchen to grab a butcher knife. When Jordan returned to the living room, he proceeded to cut all of the Puma clothes to shreds. He then picked up the scraps and carried everything to the dumpster. Once Jordan came back inside, he turned to Fred and said, "Don’t ever let me see you in anything other than Nike. You can’t ride the fence!"

Bill White, Paramount, California; source: Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger, Simple Church (B&H Publishing Group, 2006)

29 Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them. 30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, who remained among them; but they did subject them to forced labor. 31 Nor did Asher drive out those living in Acco or Sidon or Ahlab or Aczib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob, 32 and because of this the people of Asher lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land. 33 Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them. 34 The Amorites confined the Danites to the hill country, not allowing them to come down into the plain. 35 And the Amorites were determined also to hold out in Mount Heres, Aijalon and Shaalbim, but when the power of the house of Joseph increased, they too were pressed into forced labor. 36 The boundary of the Amorites was from Scorpion Pass to Sela and beyond.

Appl: We could settle for less. We could be happy making it just about us. Just about here and out gatherings.

3. Live with the results

2:1 The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, "I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, ’I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? 3 Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be [thorns] in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you."

4 When the angel of the LORD had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, 5 and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the LORD. NIV

Ill: Ralph Trainer shared an interesting insight at District Conference last week.

In the modern country of Turkey where we find the cities of Ephesus, Colossae, the region of Galatia, and the revelation city churches there are no existing churches today.