What Am I Really MIssing?

Most of you know that I love sports. My three favorite events are

  1. any game my son or daughter is playing in
  2. March Madness college basketball
  3. The Masters golf tournament.

Since Emily's high school and college softball career ended a few years ago and Philip only has 19 more college games before he hangs up his baseball cleats, March Madness and The Masters are about to slide into the top spots.

On Saturday I was thinking about how cool it is that Atlanta is hosting the Final Four this weekend and then next week the world's greatest golf tournament is a couple hours to the east at Augusta National. Add to that some perfect 70 degree temperatures and a few thousand azaleas in full bloom, and it's easy to love life in Atlanta.

But this year, my only experience with the Final Four was hoping to avoid the massive traffic jam it created on the Downtown Connector. And when I got to the exit for Interstate 20 East I opted to stay on 85 South instead.

You see, I was headed to the airport to fly to Amsterdam and then Kiev. What terrible calendar management to be leaving the country when two of my three favorite sporting events are going on down the road from my house!

To make matters worse, I won't even have access to ESPN where I'm going. No live broadcasts. No highlight packages of Louisville slam dunks or Michigan three pointers in the championship game. No eagle putts by Tiger and no miraculous recoveries out of the rough by Phil. I am, of all men, most to be pitied.

Yuri-and-FamilyAnd that's when it hit me. It doesn't matter. At all. I'm feeling zero sense of deprivation. I'm so excited about my seventh visit to Ukraine that I'm not even feeling sorry for myself.

Before you mistakenly conclude that my sports addiction is finally under control, I better come clean and explain. I'm cruising at 39,000 feet somewhere over the Atlantic right now, Yuri-and-Familyso I don't want God to think I'm deceiving you about some new level of spiritual maturity in my life.

Under the leadership of our Walk Thru the Bible regional director, Yuri Shelestun, and his team, I get to launch our new Crucible materials on the life of David in another strategic part of the world. The workbook, DVD series, and trade book have all been translated into Russian and are ready to serve people and churches of all denominations throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Crucible-Ukraine SmAnd this week I have the awesome privilege of teaching Crucible twice. First at a pastors conference in Belaja Tserkov where nearly 300 pastors have already registered. Then in Kiev at a public event in a large church. Can you imagine the ripple effect as Crucible-Ukrainethese innovative tools are placed in the hands of committed leaders from throughout this part of the world? The impact is immeasurable.

And that's why you don't need to feel sorry or even admire me for nobly flying away from the Final Four and The Masters. I'm not feeling the least bit sorry for myself because I made a great trade.

I'm playing in the only game that really matters. I get to equip faithful men and women who will equip other faithful men and women to impact their worlds for Christ.

And that's better than a half-court buzzer beater or a birdie chip-in from a sand trap to win a sudden-death playoff any day!

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