Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Devotion 1.31.19

Super Bowl LIII (53) is just around the corner.  New England looks well on its way to being ranked as one of the best, if not THE best, football team in the history of the game.  That's with or without a victory this Sunday.  You can say what you want about your team, if your team won more than two Super Bowls, but the crowning achievement that gets you into "best team in history" isn't just the rings.

Interestingly enough, local sports talk radio host Ryan Hyatt interviewed Michael Lombardi, a football analyst who worked for three coaches over his NFL lifetime:  Bill Walsh, Bill Belichick, and Al Davis.  Lombardi has recently written a book about the experience called Gridiron Genius: A Master Class in Winning Championships and  Building Dynasties in the NFL (2019).  He puts forth the argument that all three may be the best coaches of all time, but he certainly studied at the feet of Walsh and Belichick.

He speaks initially in the book about culture.  "Champions behave like champions before they are champions."  This quote came from Bill Walsh, who built a renaissance team in San Francisco that took football to a new level.  Lombardi notes that he was hired from college scouting ranks to be a scout for San Francisco, which meant he was Walsh's driver.  The beauty of that gig was that Walsh taught as he drove:  philosophically about building a champion, books on leadership, and sketching out his notes and talking to Lombardi as he drove him here and there.

Walsh developed a "Standard of Performance" which had 17 principles.  The first one:  "Exhibit a ferocious and intelligently applied work ethic directed at continual improvement."  Ferocious and intelligently applied....  He clearly parted ways with John Wooden who felt emotion was not the best way to build a champion, but how else can you tap into the passion of a human without finding the right emotion.  In Walsh's case, ferocity.  Attack with a purpose and do so "intelligently." Next: "Demonstrate respect for each person in the organization."

The list goes on and builds on each principal, but each also stands alone like the first two. 

In Philippians 4, the apostle Paul instructs us in a similar fashion:  "Finally brothers, whatever is honorable.., just.., pure.., lovely.., commendable.., if there is any excellence... worthy of praise, thing about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."

Do we dwell on the past? No, not in the instructions Paul gives us.  Do we stew on something?  No.  Do we fret about the here and now?  No.  What do we do?  We focus on and act on whatever his honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, or anything that is excellent.  In other words, we follow Christ and work in humility to imitate Him in our daily lives.

Our prayer is that we are followers of Christ and act in humility with one another, practicing all He has taught us.

Hope Men's Ministry

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