Half Time Adjustments

Mark 8:31-38

How many of you are football fans? 

 

Have you ever wondered why some teams play a better in the second half while others tend to fall apart in the second half?  One of the reasons is due to good coaching.  Most football teams script their first twenty plays in order to see how the other team will do.  The coach looks at the first half and makes necessary adjustments to the second half.

 

A well-coached life makes half time adjustments.  We need to stop and reconsider our direction, commitments, priorities, and expenditures.  Some people call this “mid-life crisis.”  I see it as half-time adjustments.

 

p. 21 buford

 

If your life was a game and you were at half time, what adjustments would you make to the game plan?  Some of you are asking that question right now as you sit in your seat during the worship service. I don’t pretend to have the specific answers for you, but I can offer some biblical perspective.

 

A.      We need to reconsider our priorities.

 

Mark 8:31-33  (edited)  Jesus talked plainly to the disciples when he spoke of his suffering and death on the cross.  At first, Peter took him aside and began to rebuke Jesus, but when Jesus looked at Peter he said, “You do not have in mind the things of God but the things of men.”

 

All you need to see is the latest copy of the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition, and you will see “the things of men!”   Generally speaking, the things of men are the things that feed their self-centered enjoyment.  Men are taught to be self-centered and greedy in life, while women are taught to be giving and submissive to the needs of men.  This sad enculturation of male needs is built upon and unjust view of women and their subservient roles.  But it goes beyond the way men treat women. Tom Eiseman in his book, The Temptations Men Face, included five pitfalls of men:  power, money, affairs, perfectionism, and insensitivity.  These pitfalls don’t lead to lasting success.

 

But women don’t get off the hook that easily!  Women have a tendency to be self-centered too.  This is a human condition not limited to the sexes that began at the Fall of Adam and Eve.  In her book, Temptations Women Face, Mary Ellen Ashcroft describes six common pitfalls for women:  jealousy, anger, sex, money, food, and pride.  Ashcroft says that we should look honestly at our temptations and ask what they tell us about ourselves.  She believes that God’s intention is not simply that we flee temptation, but that we be fully redeemed.  It is tough to resist temptation unless you have a higher good, which leads me back to the main point – that we need to commit ourselves to a cause greater than ourselves.

 

Jeff Elzinga and Kerry Weavers saw Mel Gibson a few weeks ago at Willow Creek in Chicago.  Wheew, whooo!  They heard him talk about the release of his new movie about the last twelve hours of Jesus life called, The Passion.  Bill Hybels asked why he made this film.  Mel Gibson responded that he had been searching for the last twelve years for answers and a way to make this film about Jesus.  He said that he wanted to be a part of something greater than himself.  He said that he was grateful for his money and fame in the movie industry, but he said that Hollywood results non-gratifying “self-worship.” 

 

B.   We need to commit ourselves to a greater good.

 

Mark 8:36   “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul?” 

 

We don’t envision the future very well.  We live in the past, so we don’t enjoy the present.  Or we live in the present, so we don’t plan the future.  We don’t see the big picture until someone explains it to us.

 

Jesus told a parable of a man who stored up for himself treasures in a barn.  The harvest was so great that he had to build bigger barns.  But then death came knocking, and the man lost it all.  The question Jesus left with us was this:  Now who will take care of all his grain?

 

I am going to get a little philosophical with you here, so hang with me.               You see, life is not what we have today only, but it is what we take with us tomorrow.  I believe that our “soul” contains the lasting vestige of the space-time continuum.  What we do in the current space-time continuum somehow travels with us into the next life.  Therefore, everything we do today has eternal ramifications outside of this space-time matrix.  

 

Jesus agrees with this view.  We could profit everything but lose our soul.  Or we could lose everything and gain our soul. 

 

C.       The gospel is worthy of our sacrifice and love.

 

Mark 9:35  Whoever wants to save his life will lose it.  And whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will save it.” 

 

Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

 

Closing:

Vaclav Havel once said, “The real test of a man is not when he plays the role that he wants for himself, but when he plays the role destiny has for him.”

 

Destiny has a role for all of us.  What is your destiny?

 

AMEN.