Friday Focus: Pre-season matters. 

I enjoy football. I enjoyed the teams I played with and the schools I represented.  I was not a College or professional player.  I only played seriously  from Fourth grade through my high school years but, it was enough to grow in love with the game.

I used football as an outlet to keep my mind off things at home.  My home situation was not great growing up, so many of my frustrations were released on the field. Playing as an offensive and defensive lineman and ultimately linebacker I gave my best in each of those positions.  I Did what the coaches told me, even as a second string player I gave it my best,  every down during practice.  Instead of accepting that I was not going to start, I changed my mindset and accepted that I “get” to start every day, in practice. and used that mindset to push our players to the limit. they knew if they were not playing the best I was right there to challenge them for their spot. I was hungry and never let up. I made sure the starting team was ready for our next team.   I wrote this to share with you my affinity of the sport.

I look to the 2018 football season with wonder.  I am sure that many of the new prospects that were drafted  want to win a super-bowl.  All 32 teams hoping to get the very best of their investment in each player. Sadly, only one Team will win the championship.while many reflect on the season and make changes.  however, it is the preseason that I want to focus on for this Friday Focus.

The regular games are intense, but in my opinion, the preseason seems to be more intense. the new players  are demonstrating why they should remain on  the team or, removed from the platform only to settle for lesser viewed leagues or clubs or a normal 9-5 job.

The preseason is the period between last season and the new season where each team must cut down their roster and choose the best player for their club. it’s these new recruits that work harder, hit stronger and give all their effort because for the players that are on a temporary contract, its only preseason. but to the rookie? THIS IS THE GAME!!!!!

They work hard, hustle at practice and leave their best effort on the field; knowing that at the end of the preseason they may face being cut from the team yet, they still play with the same intensity.  As the legendary motivator Les Brown once said, “you’ve got to be hungry!” the young men on the field play “hungry”. they know that this moment while they are at the professional level  this could also mean their only shot staying on the team being part of a group of men others dream about since infancy. well, not infancy but pretty young in age.   Its what many dream about.  the team cannot keep all of the players though,  they must reduce the team to 53.  Even at this level there is still an elimination.  its like winning a race only to find there is another round to qualify for. This is all or nothing for many of these rookies. and they  like many of us play “hungry” we don’t want to get cut. We as men have dreams and goals and visions for our lives and families.

What about us as leaders? are we as men “playing hungry”?   Playing with the intensity of a rookie ball player, working hard to stay on the team?  or as ministers serving the Lord Jesus doing whatever it takes to bring the Gospel to the lost?  Do we sit back as those veteran ball players who have fat-contacts and don’t really have to perform as hard (no shade)?

If we can look at every Church service as an opportunity for a soul to come home, then it will be easy to say that church services are the REAL game days in which WE ALL, from the Pastor to the pew work together to help people connect with the Savior of the world.  you see, each day is a Superbowl when it comes to reaching the disconnected for the glory of Jesus. the stakes of this game however, are life and death..

I my opinion, I feel the closing of each day is likened to a down played, like the fourth down and punting the ball is not an option!  When it comes to souls? WE are going for it….  Praying for you this weekend as we do our best where we serve..

Leading-D.M.Escalante

Leadership is not always pretty. I watched how the movies serve up the hero; smooth, calm and, collective. Calling the shots like a boss.
It makes me want to be like that leader or that coach we see in the movies. I watched the movie Remember the Titans. Do you remember the scene during one part of the movie the football coach was breaking the players individuality down to reveal the need for them to rise as a team. The Coach’s way of discipline may seem brutish however, it was very effective. I later had found out that this movie was based on actual events.

While watching, My friend says “man, I could totally do that!!” I simply chuckled, as I thought to myself. not because of my friends comment. I chuckled because of what I have experienced in my leadership and what I know what it takes to be that inspiring leader.

Because leaders make leadership look easy. We look to them and believe they are larger than life. We may meet them as a character in a movie, we have known them all, but five or ten minutes of the movie and when the movie gets to the climax we are rooting when the leader is victorious. We see leaders rise in emergency situations. We assume no evil befalls them.. They don’t have “craziness” going on in their life.

In reality, it is totally different. Leaders are actively working when others are just getting to work. Leaders are those who bring a solution to the complaint or question they may have.

Leaders are human. They endure family issues they carry struggles with the metaphorical “thorn in the flesh” like the apostle Paul did. They have short comings. they fight with one hand on the battle ahead and yet another building their home. True leaders will admit they are not perfect. True leaders understand that ultimately love patches the wounds in their leadership. But leaders are tough. They push when others quit. They are the ones who thrive when others die-off because they have “grit” and sheer will. Leaders continue to lead while building up their weaknesses.
Leaders purpose their days, and not allow their days to rule them. They fight to complete priorities because LEADERS ARE ones who finish.
If you want to lead, i have given you some good guidance to start.

Here is the secret: You can already do this stuff!!! You might have to square up with the reflection you see in the mirror every morning and choose to be the leader you desire to be.
I bet you have some questions-good leaders always do. I want you to have the courage to ask questions.

How do you lead where you are?

What if no one is following you?
What would Jesus do? ha ha.
what does leadership look like to you?

I hope we can discover together what it takes to lead from a biblical perspective. share you questions.
So let’s pack our bags and go on this trip together. i can assure you we both can use this..

..Thank you for reading my post I hope we can connect in the future. If you have any prayer requests, let’s connect and join in prayer together. God bless you.
-Michael

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