Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Urban Meyer: a lesson in prioritization

The sports world has been abuzz in recent days over the announcement by Florida Gator coach Urban Meyer that he would be resigning from leading one of the most successful college football programs in America. After the SEC championship game against Alabama Meyer had chest pains, lost consciousness and ended up in the hospital. Now Meyer, age 45, has decided that he is going to step down from the high profile program where he won two national championships.

Almost all of the media coverage reported Meyer’s comments about his heart and his decision to step down for medical reasons. Pete Thamel of the New York Times also pointed out that Meyer’s decision may have been based upon his “spiritual heart” condition as much as his physical heart.

Meyer commented that the hospital trip prompted days of soul searching that ended on Christmas night. When he told his family that he was going to step down from coaching Florida, Meyer’s 18 year old daughter, Nicki, hugged him and said, “I get my daddy back.”

Meyer said of his daughter’s reaction, “I saw it as a sign from God that this was the right thing to do.”

Meyer was known for being relentless in his work, both on and off the field. He said he found himself emailing recruits during church and that his 16 year old daughter told him that she had not felt as if she had talked to him in the past 2 years. In the 10-day period around the game with Alabama Meyer revealed that he lost 20 pounds.

Meyer said, “I have a strong faith that there is a reason for everything, and God has a plan for us. I just don’t know what it is.” Meyer continued, “I felt like God was telling me that I have to slow down and stop it.”

I agree that there is a reason for everything and that God has a plan for Meyer. I believe that to be true for you and me.

God used chest pains to get Meyer’s attention about the true “heart” of life. Does God have your attention? Meyer is making radical changes and prioritizing life as he senses that God is directing. Are you making changes and prioritizing as God directs?

Meyer’s story being so public has served all of us to remind us of the need for prioritization of the one and only life God has given us. I’m personally reflecting on what God is stirring in me that needs change.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Checklist for the New Year

Donald Whitney has posted a helpful checklist for the New Year. May I suggest that you copy and paste this list, print on a page and devotionally and prayerfully make your way through the questions and ask God to speak into your heart about the matter. Take a moment to write down your impressions.

Make commitments to God (not resolutions) regarding your written items. Place the list in your Bible or prayer journal and regularly pull it out and pray. Ask God for power and grace to fulfil the commitments.

1. What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?

2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?

3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?

4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year and what will you do about?

5. What is the single-biggest time waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?

6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

8. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?

9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

I pray God's blessings upon you as you work through this list with God.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Tiger Woods: A lesson on the 10 Commandments

Perhaps you’ve heard more about Tiger Woods’ recent “transgressions” (Tiger’s word) than you care to know. The way the media is pursuing the story the assumption seems to be that the world wants to know more.

A strange car accident in his own driveway at a ridiculous hour (2:30 a.m.) in which Tiger drops in and out of consciousness so that he is transported to the hospital. Add to that the sudden revelations of multiple adulterous experiences with multiple women and thus commentary, opinion and poor humor about marriage, infidelity and reputation have exploded upon the American conversation.

Transgression is an accurate word for Tiger. To transgress is to step over a boundary. Tiger commented that he stepped over the boundary of his personal and family commitments and values. Did his boundary come from his private assessment of right and wrong in life? Did his boundary come from the teachings of his parents? Was the boundary established by Elin his wife?

As a follower of Christ my life boundaries are established by God and articulated in His writings in the Bible. Those familiar with the 10 Commandments would identify #7 as the boundary that Tiger transgressed, “You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)

True, but also incomplete. When one reflects on all of the commandments you see that every commandment actually flows out of the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

Every time we transgress we not only step over a boundary that God has established but we have also placed another “god” before the Lord God, namely ourselves. We’ve chosen what we want rather than what God commands and have thereby placed ourselves above God.

It remains to be seen how or if Tiger will be able to clear up his transgressions with Elin. I wonder if it is on Tiger’s radar that transgressions have also been committed against God and repairing (or establishing) that relationship is of supreme importance.

I have no condemnation for Tiger. I’m a sinner also. I am reflecting on Tiger’s transgressions as a means to guard my own heart and to maintain my relationship with the Lord.