A Very Different Sports/Church Parallel…

Devotional Thought of a long weekOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

4  God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. 5  God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. 6  God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. 7  Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (MSG)

There is a saying coined by Pat Riley (and brought to my attention by ESPN’s Louis Riddick) that is called “the innocent climb.” Riley described it this way in his book The Winner Within: The innocent climb is the surge that occurs within a team as they are accomplishing more because of the synergy that occurs within a team. Innocence means understanding that the team comes first and being carried along by that; being naive means being ignorant. Innocence doesn’t mean being naive. Teamwork and all of its benefits happen when everyone puts the team first. Innocence comes when the leader believes in something and puts him or herself out to accomplish that.  (1)

First off, I can’t believe I am quoting Riles, even more that I borrowed the quote out of a article about the SeaHawks.  (It followed an article about Tom Brady…:-)

But the author nails something about the church, and how it should function in Christ, that is well described.

Our “Leader” believed in something, and put Himself out there to accomplish what He believed in, He put himself out there literally to the point of death.   We have lots of church words for it, Salvation, Deliverance, Redemption (which includes justification and sanctification) Reconciliation,.  It is why Jesus was born of Mary, why he lived, suffered, died, rose and ascended to Heaven and it is why He will return.  This “something” is why the Father in Heaven sent Jesus, it is why Jesus asked, and the Father sent us the Holy Spirit, and why we trust in that promise enough to know those who trust in Him live in His presence now, and will eternally.

It is that accomplishment, the very relationship that God establishes with us, with you and I and all the saints today, those before us, those after us, that creates the synergy that we call the church.  It is an innocent climb, innocent and yet not naive or ignorant.  We know it is His presence that does it, in a very real way, it has nothing to do with us, and yet everything to do with us in Christ, united in His death and resurrection, united by the Spirit.

This can’t be programmed, it can’t be manipulated.  It can’t be forced or manipulated, though some may try, and some may seem to succeed.

It just is who we is.   That’s the “synergy” as the article puts it.

It’s why I contend (as others have) that sermons need to lead people not to the foot of the cross – but through His death, into the resurrection, into His glory, into the point we know He is present in our lives.   Where we serve together, each different, but the difference not mattering, as Paul tells the Corinthians,   Where our gifts flow, out, even those in others we aren’t always sure of, that we aren’t always comfortable with, even though we know they are in scripture.

It is why we gather to worship, to receive His blessing, to celebrate them together, for that is the nature of His accomplishment, His goal.

When a Bible Study, a youth group, a church, a group of churches or even a denomination are focused on Christ, in Christ…. the synergy is incredible.  The focus of God results in praises – no matter the style of worship, no matter the era of the music, things happen without thought,   Walls come down, barriers are cross, people are loved, and more are saved…

Not because we force it, just because it is natural…. in Christ, led by the Spirit.  What most consider supernatural, it just is.

Because He has had mercy…. and that creates synergy in ways that even pro sports teams cannot imagine….

It’s all about Jesus – and our innocent journey with Him…

(1) http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2083325-mike-freemans-10-point-stance-give-tom-brady-his-due

Posted on June 5, 2014, in Devotions, Poiema, The Furrow, Theology in Practice and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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