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«UNITED METHODIST CHURCH Youth Basketball League 2015-2016 
 PURSUINGGODLINESS COACHES DEVOTIONAL HANDBOOK Putting God first is the most important ...»

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Lesson 5: Jan 17 – Jan 23 Game Plan - Players will understand the benefits of teamwork and commitment.

Warm-Up - What makes someone stick with something or someone, even when they disagree?

Tip-Off We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we respect each other and care for each other.

Time Out Ask your players what the above saying means.

Slam Dunk The 2007 Boston Marathon was run under adverse weather conditions. The temperature was in the low 40's, and the wind blew at 30 miles per hour blowing gusts that reached up to 50. To run in those conditions takes more than training, more than carbo-loading, more than simply desiring to finish the race. That day, it took a will to persist in spite of opposition and extreme discouragement. It helped being surrounded by others who were committed to reaching the same goal.

Hebrews 12:1 tells us to develop perseverance. Overcoming the enemy takes more than training, more than doing the right thing, more than wanting to be good. To defeat our spiritual enemy takes perseverance and community.

Sometimes our perseverance lags. That’s why friendships are so important. Teams can do way more just by working together. What makes this team work?

Pass or Shoot

1. Are you growing spiritually and adding to your faith the qualities that will help you run the race?

2. Are you willing to be the Christian God wants you to be in spite of overwhelming odds and spiritual oppostion?

3. Establish a spiritual training plan that will help you add to your faith goodness, knowledge, selfcontrol, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.

Substitution Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked

out for us. - Hebrews 12:1

The Final Whistle Ask for any prayer needs and during prayer ask the Lord to help your players to practice teamwork. Ask that they would understand that even as God made body parts that have a different job, He has also made each of them different and special as a part of the team.


Lesson 6: Jan 24 – Jan 30 Game Plan - Players will understand the benefits of self-control and controlling their tempers.

Warm-Up - What does it mean to play with heart?

Tip-Off Your worst battle is between what you know and what you feel.

Time Out Ask your players what the above quote means.

Slam Dunk It takes heart to play sports. Coaches fire up their teams by saying, “Go out there and play with all your heart!” While skills and talent are important, playing with heart separates the good from the great. Playing with heart is about drive, passion, and desire.

The Lord told Samuel he looks at the heart, not the external stuff. As athletes, not only do we play with our hearts, but we should also have hearts for others. We may know what it means to give our all on the field, but do we know what it means to give our all to God?

This easy acronym reminds us how to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength:

Hungry Heart: Do you have a hungry heart that devours the Word of God and prays continually?

Expecting Heart: Do you expect great and mighty things from a great and mighty God?

Abundant Heart: Is your heart full of God’s love?

Real Heart: Are you the real deal?

Teachable Heart. Are you a know-it-all athlete or a teach-it-to-me athlete?

Pass or Shoot

1. Are you an athlete who plays with heart?

2. Why is the heart so important when playing sports?

3. Looking at the heart acronym, which do you do the best? Which needs the most work?

Substitution But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord

sees the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7

The Final Whistle Pray for your team that they would know the privilege of playing to gather as a team - on the court and off. Ask that they would be humble when winning, encouraged when losing, and would be a team that earns the respect of other teams because of the example they set in this area.


Lesson 7: Jan 31 – Feb 6 Game Plan - Players will how to use criticism for the benefit.

Warm-Up - How do you feel when you are criticized?

Tip-Off Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.

Time Out Ask your players what the above saying means.

Slam Dunk Nobody likes to be criticized, and athletics is full of criticism. Whether it’s from players, coaches, parents, or fans, any coach on any level has had to deal with the “critic.” Unfortunately, not all criticism is constructive. Not all comments, phone calls, or conferences seek to gracefully instruct us. Some are hurtful. Our verses today state that a wise man loves those who rebuke or correct him. He’s open to learning. That can even come from a critic who’s not out to teach, but to hurt. Sometimes these critics become our best helpers. Although their intentions most likely border on “taking a shot” or two, in the process we can receive some valuable insights we might not have gotten otherwise. Proverbs says, “Lashes and wounds purge away evil, and beatings cleanse the innermost parts” (Pr 20:30).

A great Christian leader once said to look for the seeds of truth in every criticism. That’s good advice. Evaluate criticism for seeds of truth, then grow in the grace God provides. If, after reflection and prayer, you realize they’re missing seeds of truth, move on. Leave things in God’s hands. Even Jesus was criticized and He was never wrong.

Pass or Shoot

1. As a player, what causes you to be critical?

2. Why does criticism hurt and make us angry?

Substitution Don’t rebuke a mocker, or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man, and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man, and he will learn more. - Proverbs 9:8–9 The Final Whistle Father, help us look for truth, even when criticism might hurt. Amen.


Lesson 8: Feb 7 – Feb 13 Game Plan - Players will see how attitude can make all the difference in the world.

Warm-Up - What is the difference between a good attitude and a bad attitude?

Tip-Off The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem.

Time Out Ask your players what the above saying means.

Slam Dunk Daniel is one of my favorite people in the Bible. He kept a great attitude in spite of his circumstances. He was moved to a strange land against his will, kept in captivity for most of his life, and had his life threatened. He was loyal to his boss and worked for some difficult people. If we think our coaches are tough sometimes, look at Daniel’s life. Nebuchadnezzar laid siege on Jerusalem, tried to kill Daniel’s friends, and eventually lost his mind. Belshazzar was a heavy drinker, had several wives, and stole sacred items from the temple. Darius had Daniel thrown into the lion’s den for being obedient to God. Yet, Daniel never complained.

Daniel never forgot where his talent came from or whom he really served. As athletes, there are many things out of our control - who makes the starting line-up, the quality of the officials, and the schedule. The two things we can control are our attitude and effort. Daniel did a great job in both of these areas, making him an outstanding worker, teammate, and leader.

Pass or Shoot

1. How would you evaluate your attitude and effort in school? in your sport?

2. What is your definition of excellence?

3. How do you deal with people who treat you poorly?

Substitution The king interviewed them, and among all of them, no one was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they began to serve in the king’s court. In every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about, he found them 10 times better than all the diviner-priests and mediums in his entire kingdom.–Daniel 1:19-20 The Final Whistle Father, thank You for never leaving my side. Help me be strong and obedient like Daniel. Give me the courage to live up to Your standards with my eyes focused on You. Amen.

TRUEGLORY Lesson 9: Feb 14 – Feb 20 Game Plan - Players will understand the difference between personal glory and real glory.

Warm-Up - What is the most awesome thing you could imagine doing?

Tip-Off In my deepest wounds I saw your glory and it astounded me.

Time Out Why are wounds so often associated with glory?

Slam Dunk Have you ever been on a team that has won it all? Winning a championship title is truly a position of glory. Really it is the only position of true glory in sports because you received the highest honor possible! No other team could make that claim.

While we are on the earth, we a guaranteed a position of glory if we live our lives to Jesus Christ.

God restores us when we give ourselves to Him. He establishes us when we willingly say, “Here I am Lord...use me.” God strengthens us when we come to Him and ask Him for His care. God supports us when we face our enemies or problems.

Peter tells us here that we will suffer a little, which is a drag...but that’s what is cool about God; He never lies or tells us that life will be smooth sailing. You may suffer through physical problems or mental issues or emotional dark times, but stand firm because true glory is still coming. But when?

True glory comes when we live by faith. Don’t bail out on God when the tough times come. Live by faith. Don’t stop walking with God because you can’t feel Him with you. Live by faith. Don’t stop praying because it doesn’t seem like He’s hearing you. Live by faith. Living by faith will bring true glory...now...and later!

Pass or Shoot

1. In the space below, list a few tough things you are currently dealing with.

2. Take some time and pray for restoration, establishment, strength, and support during these tough times.

3. How does your distance from God feel now? Keep on praying in faith.

Substitution "Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little." -1 Peter 5:10 The Final Whistle Lord, I want to be a person who lives by faith. Thank You for restoring, establishing, strengthening,

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