Summary: The game is decided by those who get in the game, not by those who sit in the stands! It is Game Day. Are you on the field?
Everyone who has practiced and prepared is in the game. The draft secured the needed components so perceived weaknesses have been eliminated. The crowd rises in anticipation. The whistle blows and the clock starts to tick. It is game day. The game has started.
You can spend hours in preparation. You can have the very best athletes in the whole world on the same team. However, unless they have all studied and mastered the playbook you are operating at a decided disadvantage. Unless everyone knows the playbook you can’t call the one play that would take advantage of the hole in the defense. Unless everyone knows the playbook you can’t exploit the other team’s weaknesses. Unless everyone knows, commits to, and execute the play that is called you end up with players doing their own thing, out of place, out of sync, actually getting in each other’s way and the advantage swings to the opponent. The playbook is essential for victory. The playbook is essential for unity. The playbook is even key for evaluation because you can compare the play called to the play that has been run and see whether everyone was on task and in place.
I believe we have the right players in the game. Now it is time to make sure we all know the plays. So let’s look at our playbook and see if we are on task and on target. Join me in
Luke 9:1-5; 10:1 (NIV)
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
He said, “Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment.
This is our play. The same exact instructions are recorded in Matthew 10 and Mark 6. In fact, even as the team grows the playbook stays the same. If you continue to read in Luke 10 Jesus now sends 72 out and He again repeats the instructions.
10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.
I won’t take time to reread the same exact play but I do want you to notice the opening statement.
There it is in red. Jesus makes it very clear what our play should be. Go everywhere preaching the good news, cast out demons, cure diseases, heal the sick, stay focused, refuse distraction, don’t get weighed down with materialism, and bring peace into every place you go.
This very clear and concise playbook forces us to ask some questions . . . are we running the play? Are doing what we were instructed to do? Are we running the enemy off of territory? Are we bringing healing? Are we staying focused? Are we distracted?
I have some things I want to teach us out of this account but until we ask ourselves those questions the rest doesn’t matter. The logical conclusion is if we aren’t running the play called by the coach it means ...
A. We are trying to run something. So, if we are not running the play called by the coach, then we must be running our own play.
B. We won’t win. We won’t take territory. The coach won’t be pleased. We won’t be blessed because The Coach won’t bless rebellion!
I submit to you this morning that we will never really be effective as a team until we run the play the coach has called!
So, let’s stop here for a moment and repent and ask the Coach to help us run the play.
The coach calls the same play over and over again. Too many of us are trying to call an audible. Jesus steps back into the huddle calls He play ... 2 by 2, power right, provision left, peace 2 them, and persistence. Ready break. Now run the play. But we don’t. Why?
Honestly, I think this playbook makes us nervous. We feel inadequate to run the called play. So, our fear cause us to substitute or set out. I am going to teach you a couple of things that I think will help.
1. We aren’t supposed to run the play alone.
Although not mentioned in Luke 9 the other accounts specifically state (as does Luke 10) that Jesus demands that the play be run in pairs. I watch as so many of us continue to try to run the play by ourselves. Jesus was adamant that we need a running mate, someone to block, someone to encourage, someone to defend, someone to lean on. Someone to watch back. A wingman. You were never supposed to run this play by yourself. I think one of the main reasons we fail to run this play is because we are alone! It as I team up with a partner that the deficiencies I have are covered. When I lack faith my parter has faith. I think the truth revealed here is I am not complete in myself. It is the giftings that you bring to the table that make our play effective. You can tackle things I can’t tackle on my own. I am much more brave because of you.