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PRESEASON by Jimbo Shinn
When some men hear the word “preseason” they begin to dance, salivate, their ears perk up or they start planning their fantasy football team. I love football but I don’t have a fantasy team. Chargers have been my fantasy team. I always have fantasies about them being better than they turn out to be!! Preseason means many things: The end of summer; kids back in school; vacation is almost over; but most importantly for most me, football has returned. Hallelujah!!
Preseason is about what happens before the season. Ecclesiastes (3:1) talks about “a season for every activity under heaven.” So what about preseason? In football, it is an opportunity to look at your team, the new talent, the old dogs, what happened last season, and an effort to make things better. In a man’s life, we should do the same. Actually, any given time, is the preseason for what’s to come. I am in the post season of my work life since I retired, but it is preseason to the decades of geriatrics to follow. You are in a different place, but it is still preseason to something. This preseason I am planning to be a CASA volunteer. How about you?
If a team won the Super bowl last year, the main thing is to hold on to as many of your players and coaches and do again what you just accomplished. How was your last year as a father, employee, boss or Christian? Did you have more wins than losses? Was your season like the Chargers or the Broncos? I am not a Bronco fan, but two things they did last year that lead them to success. They had veteran leadership and a great defense.
Men need veteran leadership. If you are a Timothy then you need a Paul. Men need to seek wisdom at all ages, lest we become prideful and we know that pride precedes destruction. For the church, men need to hang with their pastor, organize or join a men’s Bible study, attend conferences, read Christian literature written by veterans and spend time in the Word. When was the last time you read a book by a wise Christian leader? Tony Dungy, an outstanding Christian African American coach and football player, was inducted into the Pro Football’s Hall of Fame. If you are a football fan and a Christian, have you read any of his books? Just a few of his titles are Uncommon, The Mentor Leader, and Quiet Strength. I haven’t read them all, but I have read one of his, but I have read books by John Wooden, Reggie White and Pat Riley. These are all wise, successful men of sports.
If you are a man, surrounded by other men who don’t help you in your Christian walk, then you may want to trade some of the players in your life. Last year I led Bible studies at my church for men in Brawley. This year, I want to be in a men’s Bible study in El Centro. I live in El Centro and I want to be fed rather than lead. If you have never led a Bible study, there are many good ones out there. Your pastor’s library is full of them and if you are literate and love God, it will be OK and appreciated by the brethren. Remember, did you do any leadership for God last year? Maybe this is the year you get off the bench and into the game.
If you have issues with your pastor, I don’t encourage you to change churches, but have a conversation with the coach, both God and your pastor. Pastors are not perfect. If you get upset, don’t ask for a trade, but work through the problem. Actually, if you don’t get upset with your pastor every once in a while, chances are you are not paying attention. Good Bible teaching or Godly leadership will often bother us. We have our sin and our pride, and we don’t like it when anyone, even one of God’s assistant coaches, messes with either of them. I say suck it up, talk to him about it according to Matthew, and toughen up a bit. Now if there is a problem, in season and out, well you are a free agent, but just remember, you take your sin nature with you, and if the same problem occurs elsewhere, it may be the player, not the coach.
Have a great year! If you haven’t lead anyone to the Lord during the past year, well according to His Word, it was a losing season. OK, you have been coached up, but like in sports, it is what you do with the coaching that counts. So remember the other Coach James (1:23,24) “Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he look like.” That my friend is called a rookie mistake! Remember the coach is watching!!