Friday, July 30, 2010

Your Three Point Stance

Some of you might know I love football. I played football for the Chargers in El Barrio throughout my high school years (my school didn’t have a team). Being short and chubby, my opportunities were somewhat limited. I played offensive tackle, defensive tackle and center regularly. I played linebacker once or twice and even spent one game playing tight end…where I actually caught a ball and ran what seemed like 90 yards for a touchdown. It was actually about 40 yards but you know, linemen shouldn’t be running like that. LOL

Anyway, I was thinking about some of the very, let’s call it, heavy-handed football training I got from Chuck and the coaching staff. From full gear suicide drills to head cracking on the subway while riding to a game, our instruction was tough. One of the things I remember well was learning about my center of gravity.

First time I heard that term, center of gravity, I was watching the Dallas Cowboys play. They had a fullback, #44, Robert Newhouse who had 44” thighs, he wasn’t that tall and every time he ran or blocked for Hall of Famer, Tony Dorsett, the announcers would mention his “low center of gravity.” Later I totally understood it when announcers used the same term to describe how the 5’7” running back of the New York Giants, Joe Morris, could bounce of would-be tacklers. Yes, you guessed it, his low center of gravity.

So back to my illustrious football career…the coaches would line up all the linemen in a row and we’d drill on taking and holding our three point stance. Ready, set and the coaches (grown men and some ex-football players) would run through our line, trying to push or pull off us off our stance…off balance. Sometimes pushing, sometimes pulling and even sometimes kicking us, but the object was for us, as the linemen in our set positions, to never lose our balance, never fall or never move from our set positions. We had to evenly distribute our weight on all three points in the stance. Not an easy task for a chubby kid. Eventually I learned, like everyone else, how hard it was to take me off of my three point stance because??? Yep, my low center of gravity. We had an Italian kid named James Guidicci who played center and nose-tackle regularly and he was shorter than me. Shortest guy on the team actually. And NO ONE could knock James down.

So I was thinking the other night about what derails us, what takes us off of the straight and narrow path in God…what takes us off of our three point stance in Christ? Obviously while we share many things in common, there are an infinite number of things that can get us off balance. So I’m not going to try to identify those types of specifics. However, I thought that the three point stance and the low center of gravity in football were a great metaphor for holding on to our beliefs, for not compromising our faith and staying on the path God has planned for us.

Three point stance…it can be any three things that keep you rooted and grounded! For me can be prayer, reading Scripture and reading books. Or reading Scripture, talking to my wife about God and Bible study. Or prayer, talking with my mentors and fellowship with the Body. I have quite a few things I can throw into my three point stance. Can you identify at least three things that have in the past kept you balanced? What’s your three point stance look like?

Low center of gravity…this one’s tricky. I remember Newhouse and Morris running almost parallel to the ground at times. Youtube them, you’ll see. It was amazing to watch these little dudes do what they did on the football field. They’d get hit and either bounce off defenders or, especially in Newhouse’s case, run right through them. But they were always on the move and kept low to the ground.

So, using those thoughts, I’d say that for me I have to keep busy…always moving. For me, being idle has always been a tool of the enemy. Don’t get me wrong, I love rest and alone time and family time…but that’s different from being idle. Word search that bad boy in Scripture. You’ll see.

And keeping low…for me that has to mean keeping my head, my thoughts, my emotions, my desires…keeping them all “in Christ.” Whenever I “pick my head up” from that, I lose my way, I get off track…I lose my balance.

So, keep your balance, stay low, distribute your weight in a 3 point stance and stay on that path God has set before you. I’m a lineman at heart…we do all the dirty work in football. I think God is looking for some linemen (or linewomen) to do the work that needs to be done.

Ready, set….!!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Real Church

I wish we could remember that real church happens when we get together. Not just AT church.

Wherever 2 or more gather in His name. That verse says "wherever" not when they "gather at church." Have church whenever you gather! must gather. Don't waste opportunities to gather. When things r good, when things r bad, gather.

I've found that when I'm jacked up, when I am lost, when I mess up or when circumstances around me seem out of my control, spending time with the church is the very best remedy.

We receive so much when we live in service to others. We receive more as the "givers" than as the "receivers." Even when you're a mess. Don't run FROM the church, run TO the church...gather!