Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: In order to become the person Christ calls us to be, we must discipline ourselves.

1 Corinthians 9:25-27

November 8, 2008


For the past 6 Saturdays, we had a lot of fun in the NETS volleyball program. We learned what Jesus meant when He said to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and body; and to love your neighbor as yourself.

We also played lots of volleyball, as the children learned more about serving, setting, bumping, and even spiking the ball. I could tell when the girls volleyball team was here, coach Ashley not only was helping teach, but she was looking for future volleyball stars. I heard some of the children comment that their arms hurt from the volleyballs hitting them; and some even had a volleyball bump their heads.

I had the opportunity to work out with the girls volleyball team as they were preparing for sectionals, and I have to admit, I’m getting old, not to mention being out of volleyball shape. My arms were beat red, my knees hurt from diving on the floor, my thighs were burning and I caught a couple of spikes in my belly. Otherwise, I felt pretty good.

The high school team practiced about 2 ½ hours every night. You could tell they had fun, yet, they dove for balls, and listened to their coaches words of encouragement and wisdom. At one time, our volleyball team was ranked 7th in the state, but they lost in the sectionals in a grueling 5 set match to the number 3 team in the state.

So, where am I going with all of this? In order to get where you want to be in life, it takes hard work. It takes lots and lots of practice. It means you practice when you don’t want to, it means you always give it your best, because how you practice is directly related to how you play.

And it’s true in life, isn’t it? When we work hard at something, when we try hard, we find ourselves succeeding more, we find a greater willingness to listen and learn so we can continue to get better. One of the things we realize, and the underlying factor in everything is the fact that we must work hard, and it is hard work.

If you’re in school, and you want to learn, you must study, spend time in the books, take notes, ask questions and be prepared. If you’re in sales, you learn more about your product, more about the competitors products, and you learn new sales techniques. If you’re looking for a job you keep pouring over the ads in newspapers, look at different sites on the Internet, you always have a resume’ or business card ready to hand out. You keep searching, yearning, you persevere.

We can do this in all phases of life . . . yet one of the more difficult areas to move forward in . . . is in our spiritual life. If life is moving pretty smoothly, we tend to not worry too much about anything. After all, life is smooth, let’s not ruffle anyone’s feathers, especially God’s. So, if we can lay low, maybe we can fly under God’s radar and not be noticed, or asked to do something or to make any drastic changes. Yet, change is part of who we are. We live in a world which is always changing.

In the past few years the economy has suffered, and led to a great number of job losses. We’ve all suffered in various and differing ways. But what is the end result? Is it to sit and wallow in our own self pity? Or do we make something out of the hand we’ve been dealt.

You see, how does a volleyball wanna-be become a really good volleyball player? You must practice, practice, practice, and in order to practice it takes discipline. You must make the time, you must work with others who are better than you are, you must be willing to ask questions, and listen and learn. Once we discipline ourselves, we have a much better chance to succeed, to reach the goal we want to attain.

If you enjoy watching the Colts play football, how many times do you think Peyton Manning practices his passes?

I read an article in which Manning’s former NFL coach, Jim Mora said this,

Manning and the receivers practice so much that it becomes almost automatic when he throws them a pass. All off-season he’s throwing to them in Indianapolis. During the season, he'll take them to another field and he'll throw routes to these guys. It's the repetition that takes place with Peyton and his receivers that makes him so effective on game day. It's route after route after route -- more than any quarterback-receiver combination I've ever been involved with. I'd bet you could actually blindfold Peyton and he'd be able to make those throws. That's how well he knows where those guys are going to be. Source: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jan/02/sports/sp-nfl2

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