Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Running the Wrong Way

Since football season is almost here, I want to tell you about one of the strangest plays in the history of college football. In the 1929 Rose Bowl, Roy Riegels, a University of California football player, picked up a fumble by Georgia Tech and started running toward the end zone. He raced 65 yards down the field until he was finally tackled on the 1-yard line. What’s strange is that he was being chased by his own teammate who tackled him so he wouldn't cross the goal line!

Why would a player on his own team tackle him? The reason was because Riegels got spun around after picking up the fumble, which sent him in the opposite direction. He was the only one in the entire stadium who didn’t know he was running toward the wrong goal line. He could hear the cheers of the crowd, but didn’t realize they were coming from the other team. A few plays later, Georgia Tech scored a safety and went on to win the game 8-7. Riegels has gone down in history as "Wrong Way Riegels."

Many people today are running toward the wrong goals in life. Some people are running after pleasure. Others are running after money or fame. They never realize that they've spent their entire life running in the wrong direction. Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."

The right goal in life is to love God will all our hearts and seek to please Him in all we do. "We have as our ambition ... to be pleasing to Him" (2 Cor. 5:9). So if you've been running in the wrong direction, don't get upset if someone on your own team tackles you. They're just trying to keep you from making a big mistake.

Follow me on Twitter  @KentCrockett

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Will You Win a Gold Medal in Heaven?

I loved watching the Olympic events in London. Imagine how thrilling it would be to win a gold medal and be called the greatest athlete in the world. As they were being awarded the medals, I actually pictured myself wearing one of the gold medals and showing it off to everyone. It was great! (although it was only in my mind)

But to win that medal, they had to go through rigorous training. Some of those athletes trained for four years to run a 10-second race! What motivates them to train so hard for something that will be over so quickly? They are all trying to win a gold medal. Michael Phelps said the reason he didn’t win a medal in his first event was because he only trained hard for two years instead of four.

In Paul’s day, the Isthmian games in Corinth were like the Olympics today. Paul refers to these games when he says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Cor. 9:24-25 NIV)

Paul uses an earthly event to demonstrate a truth about heaven. When this life is over, God will award His “gold medals” to His followers who have faithfully lived for Him. Judgment Day for the believer is a day of rewards, where He will repay us for all the offerings we gave during our lifetime and our sacrificial service to further His kingdom. These rewards will be far better than any Olympic gold medal and will last forever. Unfortunately, some people will make it into heaven but will have no rewards because they never did anything for the Lord (see 1 Cor. 3:12-15).

We need to be as determined to win these eternal rewards as an athlete is to win a gold medal. Jesus said to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:20). To read more about how your life on earth will determine what you are doing in heaven, read my book Making Today Count for Eternity. (You can order a used copy for one cent plus shipping)

Follow me on Twitter @KentCrockett   

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Have You Lost Your Fire?

When you cook outside on a grill, you’ll pile all the charcoals together to set them on fire. You do that because it’s easier for the fire to spread when all the charcoals are connected together. The fire flames up when all the coals are burning as one.  

But if you take one charcoal from the pile and set it off by itself, the coal will cool off. It’s the same charcoal. It’s the same fire. But it dies out because it is no longer connected to the other burning coals. 

That pile of charcoals is a picture of being in fellowship with other believers. When you gather together in small groups for Bible Study, prayer, and fellowship, everyone gets spiritually encouraged. You catch the fire and excitement of others. But when you withdraw from fellowship, it is like pulling that charcoal off the fire and setting it off by itself. You lose your fire and cool off. You get discouraged, which often leads to depression.

However, if you will take that the charcoal that has cooled off and put it back with the other hot coals, it will catch back on fire again.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.” If you have pulled yourself away from Christian fellowship, put yourself back in the pile of burning coals. You will be surprised how quickly you’ll catch on fire again.

Follow me on Twitter @KentCrockett    

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Keep Being Persistent

Persistence means refusing to quit. It is your determination to overcome the obstacles in your path. You’re going to run into barriers that will try to keep you from reaching your goal.  Persistence is what you will need to overcome those obstacles. Here are four things you must keep doing.

1.Keep going when everyone else has quit. Gal. 6:9 says, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Once you quit in your heart, you will then quit in your actions. The National Sales Executives Association states that 80% of all new sales are made after the fifth call to the same prospect.

2. Keep being faithful even when it seems you aren’t making progress.  Psalm 37:3 says, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” I read about a woman who planted over 50,000 daffodil bulbs in her backyard—one at a time—for over 50 years! If you will keep doing a little bit over a long time, you will accomplish a lot. 

3. Keep getting up after you get knocked down.  Prov. 24:16 “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.” Andy Andrews wrote the The Traveler’s Gift, which was rejected by 53 publishers. The 54th publisher accepted it. The book made The New York Times bestseller list!  What if Andy had quit after the 53rd rejection?

4.Keep praying until the answer comes.  "Jesus was telling them . . . at all times they should pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Jesus knows what it takes to get a prayer answered, and he specifically told us to not quit praying—even when the answer seems impossible. Sometimes it takes a long time to get our prayers answered, so don’t give up.

Do you get the message? Don't give up!

Follow me on Twitter  @KentCrockett

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Breaking Habits

The picture on your left show ruts formed by wagons in the 1800s on the Oregon Trail. When the rut first started, it was shallow. But the more it was traveled on, the deeper the ruts became—and the harder it was to get out of it. It is said that years ago someone posted a sign that read, “Avoid this rut or you will be in it for the next 25 miles!” Even so, it was possible to get out of the rut if they were determined to do it.

Maybe you are in a rut that’s taking you down the wrong road. The “rut” has been caused by your bad habits. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as is the habit of some.” Christians who isolate themselves from fellowship tend to become cynical and critical of churches. To get back into fellowship, you must get out of your chair and discipline yourself to do it. If you don't live near a good church, then start a Bible study group. Do something to interact with other believers.

A Princeton University study found that if you do the same thing every day for 28 consecutive days it will become a habit. A habit is simply reinforced behavior. Perhaps you don’t like where you’re going or what’s happening to you as a result, but you don’t know how to get out of it. How do you break free from your rut? Several things are necessary.

Getting Out of Your Rut
1.Envision yourself out of the rut. The first step is to see in your mind your goal or end result that you want to happen. If you need to lose weight, envision yourself as skinnier. This vision in your mind must become greater than your desire to eat the wrong things. You must see yourself out of debt before you will ever get out of debt.

2. Make a decision to get out of your rut. You must decide to change in your heart, not your head. Your head will say, “I need to change” but your heart is what motivates you to do it. Your heart must turn before your habits turn. If you aren’t determined to get out of your rut, you will never get out of it. You will make a few attempts, but then go back to it.

3. Change your behavior. Now comes the hard part. You can’t keep doing what got you in the rut. If you are in heavy debt, you must stop spending and start paying it off. I usually have cookies in my house that I snack on every day. They are so good! But I’ve noticed that I’ve been slowly putting on weight, and I think I have figured out that those cookies have something to do with it. I’m trying to lose a few pounds, so I have removed the cookies from my house. If they are in the cupboard, I will eat them! It is much easier to not have them so easy to get to.

4. Monitor your progress. I step on the scale every morning so I can monitor my progress. It’s amazing how effortlessly I can put on weight, but how slowly it comes off! Nevertheless, I know if I will stay the course, the goal will be reached.

You can’t do it in your own power, but you can get out of any rut through the power of the Holy Spirit. Follow me on Twitter @KentCrockett