Summary: When time is running out and the game is on the line there is often a new intensity that should have been there the whole game.

July 2, 2006

Summer Series

Third and Goal

My American friends may want to call this one “Fourth and Goal”.

Two of my three sons played football while they were growing up and over the years I learned to appreciate the many strategies and the hard work that goes into winning games.

I still enjoy going to watch our local pro team – The Winnipeg Blue Bombers - in action.

One of the most exciting moments in sport has got to be when the home team needs a touchdown to win and in the dying seconds of the game they advance the ball to within inches of the goal line. It’s third (down) and goal and the game is on the line.

This is not the time for fooling around, nothing fancy, no tricks; just grab the ball and drive the whole line into the end zone if necessary.

I have watched the Bombers win many games in that final “no nonsense” drive down the field and on the ride home after the game someone will often remark, “Why don’t they play the whole game the way they played that last minute?”

It makes me think of Parkinson’s Law: - “Activity expands to fill the allotted time.”

Funny isn’t it, when you consider that time is the only truly nonrenewable resource on the planet.

Now fast forward to the return of Jesus or to the end of your life.

Now you are third and goal and the game hangs in the balance.

Are you able to look back satisfied that you played as hard as you could? Are you pleased with your intensity at this point in your life? Here in the second quarter?


At that moment (third and goal) what do you think you will wish you had spent more time doing?

1. Really seeking the Kingdom first.

Matthew 6:31-33

So do not worry, saying, ’What shall we eat?’ or ’What shall we drink?’ or ’What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We all know these verses and that this is how the faith is supposed to work; but, according to a recent Barna report:

- 81% of those surveyed claimed to be evangelical Christians

- Only 42% knew who delivered the Sermon on the Mount.

- Only 48% could name the first 4 books of the New Testament.

- Of the more than 1300 surveyed, less than 1% said that their lives were truly and directly changed by what the Bible said.

In other words lots of people are reading it, but very few are allowing it to create change.


Are you seeking first the Kingdom of God to the point of real change?

How do you know when your mind is renewed on a subject?

When you no longer question the truth of God’s word, then your mind is renewed, for example on the topic of salvation if someone said to you, “Hey I saw you blow your stack in traffic, you must not really be saved.”

Your response would automatically be; “I am saved by grace through faith, not by some correct code of conduct.”

Where salvation is concerned, your mind is renewed. `

What are you thinking right now?

- He is right; I am going to get serious so I have no regrets at the end.

- Just another twenty minutes and my spiritual duty for the week is done.


At that moment (third and goal) what do you think you will wish you had spent more time doing?

2. Getting the family matters in order.

Now hold on, I am not talking about trying to reconcile abusive relationships for some twisted view of what God requires of spouses.

I am talking about fixing the problems and the rifts that can and should be healed.

1Timothy 5:8

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1Timothy 3:5

If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?

1Corinthians 7:29-35

What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

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