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Trail Notes

The Difference Between Playing and Watching

by Paul Basden

I’m a big sports fan. Every morning I read the daily sports trivia provided by my 2005 Sports Illustrated 365-day calendar.

And most every morning I read ALL of the Sports section of the Dallas Morning News.For sports lovers, springtime is dreamtime. There’s major league baseball spring training, the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournament, the Master’s golf tournament, the Boston Marathon, the NFL draft, the Kentucky Derby, the Indy 500 … just to name a few.One thing I notice every spring is that all of the athletes in these events want to play. Not one baseball player wants to sit in the dugout and watch; no college hoops player wants to ride the bench; every golfer wants to make the cut at Augusta; and on and on. Playing – not watching – is what these athletes signed up to do.There’s a lot of difference between playing and watching.

If you watch:

You don’t work very hard or sweat.

There is little risk of injury. (Unless you count repetitive thumb syndrome, caused by over-using a TV remote, a true sports injury. I know I do.)

You do receive some vicarious happiness from watching others play the game, but it’s all secondhand.

If you play…

You work hard and sweat a lot.

You may well get injured in the game.

The joy you receive from participating at a high level is beyond description. That’s why many call it “the thrill of victory.”

This reminds me a lot of following Jesus Christ. You can watch or you can actually play. You can be a spectator and see others experience the life-changing grace of God, or you can get in the game and experience it for yourself.I want to challenge you to become a player at PRESTON TRAIL. Here are five ways that you can leave the crowd of spectators and get involved firsthand.

If you attend worship occasionally, decide to make it a regular pattern of your life. Place such a high priority on attending Sunday services that almost nothing keeps you away. A man who was just baptized last May recently told me that he has organized his Spring Break travel plans so he is back for Easter worship on March 27. He receives so much on Sundays that he curtailed his coveted vacation to get back in time for worship.

If you seldom take time to talk to God, decide to set aside 5 minutes every morning to share your heart with your Maker. That’s a small investment of time, but the dividends are big.

If you watch others serve you but don’t have the joy of serving others, decide that you are going to volunteer regularly from now on. When you see a note in Sunday’s program about “Opportunities for Involvement” call the phone number listed. Or go to the Information Table in the lobby this Sunday and ask where you can volunteer.

If you find yourself wanting to get connected with others but don’t know how, decide to try out a Life Group. In the last three weeks one Life Group has welcomed and is folding in five people. Those people are going to find the friendships and support they have been looking for.

If you make financial contributions sporadically and only when you can afford it, decide that you will be a regular giver to support what God is doing through PRESTON TRAIL. Jesus said, “It is better to give than to receive.” Everyone who chooses to give regularly and generously discovers that, as usual, Jesus is 100% on-target.

These are five ways you can get personally involved with other Christ-followers at PRESTON TRAIL. This is how you get in the game. This is what it means to be a player.If you want to learn more about how to do this, join Jim and me this Sunday March 6th from 5 to 7 PM in Theatre 2 at Stonebriar AMC. We will be explaining what it means to be a “partner” (our word for “church member”) at PRESTON TRAIL. And we will show you how the partnership process will help you move from watching to playing. Get in the game. It’s where the action is.

Paul Basden,

Senior Pastor