Tag Archives: winning

Getting to winning

Autobahn BU14

Fueling between games at the OC Kickoff Classic tournamente in Orange County.

Hosea’s club team has lost some games pretty badly. As a matter of fact, they hadn’t even scored since Hosea joined.

That all changed Sunday. The 13-year-olds from Autobahn Soccer Club in Santa Monica came from behind to win 2-1. It was a thrill and a confidence booster for the kids.

But how did they get from losing to winning? Competent coaching plays a large role. Winning soccer games consists of fitness, technical and tactical knowledge, pure talent and the right attitude. The coaches, Herve Roussel and Pierce Maher, have been patient teachers. They don’t yell at the kids and apparently don’t get frustrated.

Coaches aren’t everything. Parents play a role. They encourage the kids to believe in themselves. I’ve seen discouraged kids slog out onto the field. Before the game starts, they believe they’re going to lose. And they do.

soccer club in Santa Monica

Coach Pierce goes over some of the positives of a loss the day before their Sunday victory.

Kids play a role. They are improving practice after practice. They need to believe in themselves. They will perform at a higher level if they play with confidence and passion.

The funny thing is that this team’s “best players” left the team looking for a winning team. A hemorrhage of talent can discourage anyone, and yet the coaches, parents and kids have remained encouraged.  I guess the “stars” didn’t believe in the newcomers, among which was my son Hosea, who hasn’t been playing with confidence previously. As the older stars leave, the new stars have to rise up.

This has everything to do with your and my life. We have to get to winning. We can be on a long losing streak. But if daily, we work to improve one of these areas:

  • fitness (think emotionally or spiritually)
  • technical and tactical ability (grow intellectually daily)
  • pure talent (there isn’t a person on the planet that God hasn’t given some special gifting)
  • believe in yourself (the psychological battle is perhaps the toughest).

Keep believing in your dreams — and get to winning!

Being on Jesus’ Team

Guatemala missionary soccer

There’s me going for the ball on a corner kick.

We were losing miserably, but I wasn’t miserable. We were down 4-1 in the first half, which is the kind of score in soccer that usually makes you pray for the end of the match to hurry forward. It’s a humiliation, and I wasn’t humiliated.

In fact, I was downright buoyant! I knew we were going to come back and win. Why? Because I was on Mario’s team.

Iglesia cristiana La Puerta GuatemalaI learned soccer as a missionary at 35 years of age. Mario was a master. He plays dominant soccer. He never gives up. He fixes the problems by scolding the kids (or me). He always comes from behind. I can’t remember the time he lost.

Blogging more than jogging

In the second half, the other team wore out. We started clicking. At the end of the day, we won 8-5. I played horribly, as was to be expected from a guy who’s been blogging more than jogging. But who cares? My team won! Ha!

street preaching

After service, we went out on the streets to preach.

So too, when you’re on Jesus’ team, no matter what the score, you don’t worry. You don’t pray for the end of the match to come. You don’t panic. You don’t entertain the stupidity of changing sides. He’ll effect the come-back. He’ll make the adjustments to make the church work. Ha!

And if you play poorly, who cares? You win. Because you belong to the winning team.

Get into the habit of faith

To form a new habit, willpower is more important than self-esteem. In his book Willpower, Roy Baumeister demonstrates that willpower is key to success in college, success in life, longevity and health. The possessor adheres to an unshakeable determination to achieve his goals.

If you’re accustomed to a dreary day of negativity, make some practical changes: Introduce or lengthen prayer time. Sprinkle your day with the Word of God. Arrest negative thoughts and force yourself to assume the best. Audibly confess the opposite of what gets you down. Continually go up to sit on God’s lap and tell your loving Father your struggles.

It’s amazing that willpower is akin to faith. They’re overlapping circle graphs with a significant shared region. This is the overcoming spirit of which the Bible speaks.

Is it possible to go from pessimism to belief? I am one who emigrated from the country of unbelief and unhealthy depression. I journeyed to the land of faith. Transforming my outlook has transformed my life. So I encourage you to get off your “but” and become a person of faith.

Don’t miss the miracle

Literally tens of thousands of Israelite soldiers missed this. Saul and his 600 men rushed out to the battle and found the Philistines killing each other — 1 Sam. 14:20 (Living Bible). Jonathan had sparked panic and confusion on the enemy with only his armor bearer.

And the rest of the 300,000 soldiers (see 1 Sam. 11:8-9)? They were hiding in caves, wells, bushes and even running across borders into foreign countries. They missed witnessing God’s sovereign and wondrous move!

In ministry, there’s definitely a need to hang in there. When war clangor strikes fear in a normal man’s heart, you must remain stout, unmoved, waiting patiently on God. The guys who run, miss out. Pray and remain. In fact, the key to winning is just staying when God is involved. The only ones who lose are those who quit.