Archives For Vision

dunking a basketball

Anyone who has ever played basketball has dreamed of dunking the ball.

But for people like me, who tend to suffer from height challenges along with reduced jumping abilities, it’s out of reach. The basket, that is. But I can jump high enough to touch the bottom of the net. Granted, that’s over a foot away from the rim. And you can’t just touch the rim, you must be able to elevate above the rim.  That’s beyond me.

So I was pretty impressed when I ran across a video of a guy who is only 5’2” dunking the basketball. That is unheard of. It’s rather incredible, really. Most people at that height would assume it was impossible.  Maybe not even try.  Obviously this guy went above and beyond expectations.  It would be so easy to be like everyone else.  To assume it couldn’t be done.  But he didn’t sell himself short, and now he amazes everyone who sees him at his game.

Let’s move outside the arena of basketball. In fact, let’s go back to a guy named Moses.

I bet you have heard of him. Did you know that he almost sold himself short? Thankfully God stepped in and made him go for it.

It all started when God showed up one day and asked Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt. Most would have jumped at the opportunity. Not Moses.

He balked. Big time!

Moses’ first response was to fall back on what others thought about him.  At least his perception of it.

First, he was a “nobody.” Because of that he didn’t think anyone would listen to him or follow his leadership. He had no credentials.

Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” Exodus 4:1 (ESV)

And there was more to his insecurity issues.  Apparently he didn’t have the gift of public speaking. And since leaders have to speak on occasion, he was convinced he was the wrong guy. So he “said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Exodus 4:10 (ESV) 

And then he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” Exodus 4:13 (ESV)

Now stop and think about it for a moment. You have heard of Moses because he eventually relented and did what he thought he could not do.

He did what he was not qualified to do.

He did what he thought someone else could have done better.

Thankfully Moses trusted God to use him. But what if God had allowed Moses to sell himself short? Many today consider Moses to be the greatest leader in the Old Testament.

I often wonder what Moses thought about when he went to bed at night.

Did he ever think, “I almost sold myself short.”

Perhaps a good question to ask is “Where am I selling myself short.” Maybe it’s time to go out and try to dunk that basketball.

Photo By Erik Drost [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By Erik Drost [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As a guy I typically don’t like to read instructions. Which means I sometimes get it wrong and sometimes it takes longer to accomplish the project.

Bottom line: I needed the help the instructions provided.

But the greatest help we need comes from people. (Yes, I do believe our greatest help comes from God, but God Himself often provides help in the form of people).

The city of Cleveland just won their first championship in 52 years because Lebron James had help.

Let’s back up. Lebron had earlier played for Cleveland seven years with no help and no title.

So Lebron left and headed for Miami. Why? He was chasing a ring. A championship ring, and it was obvious that no help was coming to Cleveland. Miami already had a star player and Lebron invited another friend to join with him in Miami. Now there are three superstars in Miami, just the kind of help Lebron needed. Two championship titles soon followed.

But Lebron’s heart was always in Cleveland — he grew up in nearby Akron. However, when he left earlier there were a lot of hard feelings. People even burnt his jersey. When Lebron was gone, Cleveland was terrible. So terrible they were awarded high draft picks. And they used a number one pick in the draft to draft a star player, Kyrie Irving. (Note: When Lebron was at Cleveland, they were a decent team, which meant they never were awarded high draft picks, which mean Lebron never got the help he needed).

After two championships in Miami, Lebron headed back to Cleveland with one goal: bring the city a championship. He knew Kyrie Irving was already there.  And he invited a couple more players to come with him. Why? He knew he needed help.

And let’s not forget that Lebron James is considered to be the best basketball player in the NBA….for the last ten years.

Even the best need help.

As a result, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Championship, and Lebron James was voted the Most Valuable Player of the series.

The best of the best needed help.

So where does that leave us?

In need of help.

In need of others.

In the Bible Moses had Aaron, David had his mighty men, and Jesus had his twelve disciples.

The best and the brightest realize their dreams need help.

Perhaps today the only thing standing between you and your dreams is help.

Daisies on green nature background, stages of growthOne of life’s recurring questions is “What should I be doing with my life?”. Perhaps a better question is “How has God designed me?”.

What if we looked at our makeup from six vantage points? That is, what if we could discern in a practical way how God made us?

Let’s take a closer look at David and see how this plays out from a practical viewpoint.

Desire. All of us have desires or passions. When David met Goliath, David had a passion for the glory of God. He simply could not tolerate anyone disparaging the name of God.

1 Samuel 17:45-47 (NLT)

45 David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47 And everyone assembled here will know that theLord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is theLord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”

David was frustrated that someone would speak about God the way Goliath did.

Experience. David spent many lonely nights out in the field leading and protecting the sheep. We find out later that he had actually killed both a lion and a bear barehanded. Those experiences would soon prove valuable. He had no experience wearing the attire of a soldier, so he resorted to his experience with the sling.

1 Samuel 17:38-39 (NLT)

38 Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. 39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before.

“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again.

However, David had a lot of experience with a sling. David was able to use that experience to kill the giant.

Spiritual Gifts. Rather than paint David into a corner, it becomes obvious that he has the gift of leadership. He does things leaders do. He takes the initiative. He takes responsibility. He casts a daunting vision.

Romans 12:6-8 (NLT) lists several spiritual gifts. The list is not exhaustive, but it does give you an idea. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

I will only comment on the gift of leadership since space here is limited. As a leader David took his responsibility seriously.

In my next post we’ll look at the remaining components of your profile.

GUEST POST

This is a guest post by my 17-year-old son, Gabe Henderson. 
He's in 11th grade and wrote this article for a school assignment.  
His interests include skiing and golf, and he runs a Minecraft server in his spare time.

David defeats GoliathHave you ever wanted to do something big, but all you get are little jobs?  Frustration is understandable.  We love doing the big things because we get more recognition that way.  And of course, we love recognition, so the big, important things are typically what we strive to do.

If you find yourself suffering from a lack of recognition, then you should meet David.
The Israelites had a major problem:  a group called the Philistines who lived nearby.  They were a cruel, barbaric faction that seemed to enjoy attacking them. Eventually, King Saul of Israel took his army out to fight the Philistines, but the Philistines had a secret weapon —  a giant man named Goliath.  Goliath fought the terrified Israelites single-handedly.

King Saul himself was scared, but who wouldn’t be?  Goliath was so terrifying that he could only be described as monstrous.  The reward for killing the giant was great.  So great in fact, that anyone would be after it, right?  Wrong.  Everyone in Saul’s army was afraid after watching many others be defeated by the giant.  It wasn’t just Goliath’s monstrous strength, but his stature.  Goliath stood over nine feet tall, and he wore the best armor that the Philistines could offer.  No Israelite had enough confidence to volunteer…until David came along.

David was not a soldier.  He just took care sheep, all day, every day.  As a shepherd, he spent his days out in fields protecting his sheep from harm and from wild animals.  While that may sound exciting, it wasn’t an everyday thing for sheep to be attacked.  It was more likely that they would wander off, and he would have to retrieve them.

David’s brothers, however, were on the battlefront, where David thought they were fighting for the good of Israel.  Unfortunately, the giant Goliath stopped all progress in that area.  This was unknown to David’s father, who instructed him to take some food rations out to his brothers.  Upon arrival, David heard the shouts of Goliath.  Of course, the shouts were not very friendly.  They were mostly taunts toward Israel, mocking everything from their manhood to God himself.

David was outraged.  It was because of his lowly job of shepherding that David had the confidence to say, “I will stop this giant.  My God and I will do it!”  After all, several times in his career as a shepherd, David was protected by God from animals like lions or bears.  This gave David  the confidence that God would protect him.

That’s exactly what happened.  David went to a stream, and found five, perfect stones.  He took one of the stones, put it into his slingshot, and met Goliath on the battlefield.  Goliath roared with scorn when he saw the puny David approaching.  David took no notice of the taunts, and simply hurled his stone at the giant.  A soft “plunk” was heard, and then Goliath was no longer boasting, but falling.  Falling face forward into the dirt and showing no signs of getting back up.  David had won.

What about you?  Do you feel like God only wants you to do small things that nobody notices?  It just may be that God is using these small jobs to prepare you for something great.  1 Corinthians 10 says “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  It worked for David, and it’s the best way for you to live your life, too.

IMG_1727The NBA Finals has been everything a fan could ask for. We are now getting set for Game 7.

However, what intrigued me is how many fans left Game 6 early. Thousands left early and the end was one for the ages. Some said it ranks in the top two of all NBA playoff games.

The game was played in Miami although the San Antonio Spurs had a 3-2 lead in the series. That made the game a must win for Miami.

Late in the fourth quarter Miami was down and the trophy was being wheeled into position for the supposed Spurs victory.

But I must say that while I was sitting at home watching the game I never came close to turning the TV off. These type of games are just too exciting.

Now all of this made me think.  As a fan you live for these games. So why did people bail on their vision on seeing a great game, which you had to see the end to experience the ultimate thrill?

Here are my quick takes.  And by the way this applies to marriage, careers, and dreams in general.

Stress – The fans simply could not handle the stress. No vision will be realized without tons of stress.

Shallow – Shallow fans followed weak people out the door. Happens all the time. I have watched workers leave and go to another company only to want to come back weeks later. Things did not work out. It rarely does for weak people.

Soft – They wanted it to be easier. They would have preferred a blowout. I’m sure they blamed the refs for bad calls. It is always someone else’s fault.

Show – They came for the show. Actually the show came at the very end, but by that time they were outside the arena. (In Miami fans typically show up late for games which led Lebron James to do some pre-game dunk maneuvers to entice people to come early. Give them a show. No show, the fans don’t come or stay). The truth is life is often fairly mundane. But you have to stay in the game to have the chance to experience the show.

Scent – It did not smell like a win with two minutes to go. People buy Gain detergent simply because their clothes smell cleaner. They may not actually be cleaner, but they smell cleaner.

Selfishness – The focus was on themselves. At least the fans could get a jump on the traffic. But why not stay until the end? Because it was all about them.

Of course the fans could not get back in the game, but it was not their fault. It never is. They are the ones who bailed. Now that the show had finally arrived they pounded on the glass doors to get back inside. It was too late. They bailed on the vision for no good reason, and as a result they missed the very thing they came looking for in Game 6.

You may be on the verge of bailing on a dream, a marriage, a career, or a life long vision. Are you expecting it to come quick and easy?

Are you hanging around the right people?

Are you being realistic?

Remember, few look in the mirror and admit that they are the ones who bailed on the vision.

IMG_1341Growing up my dad was a strong proponent of hard work. Physical labor was always admired and held in high esteem in our house.
Now while I was more than ready to work, I also had a fondness for reading. Even as a kid I would sometimes sit and read in an encyclopedia. In fact, back then our family would purchase the yearly update to the World Book Encyclopedia. I would always find time to read part of that yearly volume.
Now that I am in the ministry I continue to read, about 500 pages per week. I am always reading, researching, and writing.
One of the hardest mental concepts I have had to overcome is that I am really working even when physical labor is not involved. Ministry includes things like reading, writing messages, meeting with people, and praying. And while the apostle Paul said that he labored in praying, most people cannot identify prayer alongside hard labor.
Abraham Lincoln grew up in an agrarian society in which physical labor was highly valued. Yet Lincoln found himself reading.
Of course, in his day, reading was somewhat frowned upon. His own cousin considered him lazy, actually very lazy. To the cousin all Lincoln wanted to do was read and write poetry.
However, it was his reading that eventually paved the way for him to seek the presidency of the United States. Somewhere along the way he became comfortable challenging the old concept that placed a high value on physical labor and a low value on reading and writing.
Somewhere in the recesses of your mind you are holding on to a concept that may be holding you back from being who you were meant to be. Whatever your vision, it may not be encouraged by your peers.