From Sold Out, by Bill McCartney
Former Head Coach of the University of Colorado Football team
National Championship coach 1990
AP coach of the year 1989
Let me tell you about an uncommon team I joined in 1974. Though it's never won a national championship, it's the most successful team of all time. Its consistency and longevity are unmatched - two thousand years and counting. This team's overall wealth and memberships are beyond calculation. Every player is a stockholder, and the team never changes management. Though it has suffered setbacks and occasionally stumbles, the team never has been, and never will be, beaten.
It is not like any other team you've ever known. The power and authority at its disposal can shake the nations, yet it never intimidates or overpowers its foes. Rather, its strength in its meekness, its brilliance in its humility. Players are required to be totally committed to a rigorous policy of moral purity, obedience, loyalty, and sacrificial love.
Let me tell you about Coach. He's a proven leader. In His playing days, He was the all-time champ. He know what it takes to win. He's a brilliant, patient teacher. He's never in a hurry but is always on time. He makes sure His players know their individual roles and takes great pains to see that they all have opportunities to meet their potential. The team delights in Coach's presence, and it is inspired by His unselfish nature and spotless character. Many players on the team are so devoted to Coach that they give their lives defending his honor.
Our Coach handcrafted the team with single-minded vision, handpicking each player, expending every resource, and sparing no expense in the recruiting process. He's intimately aware of each player's strengths, weaknesses and flaws. He wrote their names on His roster and assigned each a spot on the squad before there was even a team.
Coach is both our guiding mentor and loving dad. Think of the finest father figure you've ever known or imagined, magnify his qualities as far as your mind allows, gift him with supernatural power and willingness to satisfy your deepest needs and longings, and he would still fall embarrassingly short of Coach. Intimately aware of our greatest failures and grandest dreams, Coach works tirelessly to train, cheer, and whip us into shape so we can serve the team effectively.
Like no other team I know, my spot on the roster doesn't depend on my performance. Because he loves me for who I am, Coach wants to keep working with me until I get it right. He bought my rights for the highest price - much more than I was worth - then signed me to the richest contract in history. The duration of my contract goes way beyond "lifetime". It keeps earning interest into eternity. No matter how badly I blow it, no matter how undeserving I am, He never shops me around, discards or trades me for a higher draft pick. Why? Because He drafted me not just to support the team but to become part of his extended family. One day He will invite me to come live in His mansion.
Our Play Book
Let me tell you about our Play Book. It's unlike any other play book. It's flawless, it holds the keys to wisdom and illustrates the perfect play for any situation. More than that, it's a personal strategy for a life of significance, which Coach knows is every player's dream. Coach penned each word as a blueprint for what He calls "abundant life": what it means to be a real player, how to treat the other team members, the importance of trusting in the wisdom and playcalling of our Coach, and, most importantly, how to be in a tight, healthy relationship with Him. Our Play Book lays out the plan for the game of life, not just for easy victories. When the game's on the line, the team trusts in the Play Book. Each player is taught that if they execute its game plan, victory is guaranteed.
The Game Plan
Coach doesn't give us His game plan, then turn us loose. He doesn't just bark orders from the sideline. He leads us on to the field, helps us call the play, and throws the first block. He knows what to do in every situation. His game plan is simple - it never deviates from the Play Book. No one rides the bench in His game plan; every player is an active participant. We all get to carry the ball. We're always excited, on the alert, knowing at any moment he might call our number. By simply playing the game, all players discover gifts and talents they've never known.
The opposing team has a fast offense. It's free spirited, reckless, over-confident. Its style of play forces each player to compete feverishly for a spot on the line-up. Performance is everything; built in incentives force each player to vie for individual glory rather than for the team's success. There was a time when we all played on this team.
The opposing coach is clever, ingenious, deceptive. He, too is a skilled motivator. He has coaxed some of our best friends and loved ones into lifetime contracts. They can't see that he's not committed to their well-being, but is secretly motivated by deep hatred. He doesn't love his players, could care less about their dreams, and, most of all, doesn't want them to even hear about the love of our Coach. A pathological liar, he twists the trust, pointing his team down a dead-end path of pleasure seeking and self-gratification, knowing they will ultimately lose the game. In the end, players for the opposing team will know they poured out their peak performances on a counterfeit promise. The worst part is they will realize that they have forfeited the staggering job and privilege of playing for our Coach.
Rules and Tools of the Game
Coach demands obedience to a fair set of rules and, as such, invests heavily in our education. Faith, repentance, confession, and obedience are our disciplines; they are the mighty engine behind our Coach's powerful offense. Our uniform is truth, righteousness, peace, joy and purity. When worn properly, and when exercised with radical faith according to our Coach's matchless counsel, our tools and uniform serve as impenetrable armor on the battlefield.
Coach firmly advises us to communicate with Him every hour of every day. For this He has installed an audible system called "prayer" that permits us to call the right play every time. When we use this audible system properly - fixing our eyes on Him, focusing on His voice alone, trusting in His perfect plan - our precision is exact, our execution flawless.
It's no surprise that our best players are the ones who spend the most time with our Coach and who play the game completely sold out to Him. They love the sound of his voice; they delight in asking Him questions; they find strength in his example. When the game is on the line, those who trust Him most strike fear in the hearts of the opposition.
His Love for Me
The most incredible thing about our Coach is that He loved each of us before we loved Him. He proved His love by paying history's highest price to include each of us on his team. Knowing we could never understand or earn His gift on our own - and even while we were still fiercely loyal to the opposition - He removed his coaches hat and took the field on our behalf, as a player. He knew that by offering Himself as our substitute at a key point in the game, He would gain the victory, win back our rights, and release us from our one-sided contracts. In return, Coach asks for nothing but our total love and trust in His hard-won stewardship over our lives.
I love my Coach. He keeps encouraging me. He expects perfection but is easy to please. I've dropped the ball, thrown interceptions, been offsides, committed personal fouls, and even helped the other team score, but He never changes. He keeps sending me back in the game and enlisting me to do my best. He keeps telling me that no matter what, He still loves me. I believe him. He is my best Friend.
Victory is Assured
We have only one team but many squads competing around the globe. Our sole mission is to share the good news about playing for our Coach. We taste our sweetest victories when members of the other team rip up their contracts and join us. One day we'll all be on the same field, celebrating a triumphant reunion with our conquering Coach. It excites me to think of carrying Him off the field after all the years he has carried us.