The Gospel According To The San Antonio Spurs- “Leadership Lessons” PT-1

If you are a sports fan like I am, it would be fair to say that the 2013 NBA Championship between the Spurs and the Heat will be a series that will go down as one of the best! Granted I am a Spurs fan, and yes it took me a couple of weeks or so to finally come to grips with this disappointing loss! I must admit I am not completely over it, but I did learn several “key” lessons by watching this series.

Therefore instead of being somber over the Spurs loss, I thought I’d share a few valuable leadership nuggets from what I saw from watching the Spurs. As a pastor and an athlete myself (football that is), I cannot help but to watch as coming from a “coaches eyeview “.  Hence, allow me to share some basic leadership lessons that you too can apply to your congregation, ministry, business, etc.

The FIRST LESSON we can learn after watching the San Antonio Spurs is: Finish What You Start! 

After the third quarter the Spurs lead the Heat 75-65. This allowed the Spurs to capitalize on their momentum in the fourth to conclude with a victory and a 5th championship. However with 6:02 left in the game, the Heat found their way back in the lead with the score 84-82. With 58 seconds left, tied 89-89, Tony Parker scores and Spurs take the lead 91-89. Then with 31 seconds left on the clock, Manu Ginobli was fouled and went to the free throw line. Now the score is 93-89. Spurs were on their way to taking it all. With only 6 seconds left, Ray Allen makes a 3 point basket that would be the shot that will forever be played in “slow motion” to all Spurs fans. Long story short, the Heat were able to tie the Spurs, go into overtime and win. Game 7 was all she wrote for the Spurs!

When it comes to sports or even church ministry, we must teach our leaders and/or members to finish what they start. Too often we can create big projects with cool ideas, get church members involved, get the congregation excited, however still finding a way to leave the “Ark” unfinished and lying there.  Creating new ideas and church projects are exciting when first put on paper. But we must remember that a good idea means nothing if its simply going to be an idea and never followed through. I have recently learned that if I was to come up with a project for my church, and I’m excited about it, and I shared it with my leaders and congregation, and got them motivated, and later realized it was a bad idea altogether, I must finish what I started! The sign of an incompetent leader is when he/she has no follow through (you hear that Ginobli)! In other words, if you start off strong, finish strong.

People would respect us greater if we completed our project(s) even when we knew later on it was going to flop. Just don’t stop in the middle of it and say, “Nah, it’s not going to work”; complete it! The flip side of the this lesson is, what if it was a great idea that needed to be done? What if this project that was placed in your heart by the Lord was a goal that needed to be met? The danger is being content with the notion of having a great idea and yet never following through. It’s kind of like joining a gym and being more excited with the fact that you have a membership card in your wallet and yet never hit the weights. We must remember that we don’t start losing weight simply because we have a gym membership, we must follow through.

Therefore, how can we finish what we start? 1) Focus: Don’t let your mind wander to another project, or get involved with another project. Focus on what you have in front of you. Like the Spurs, they may have seen number 5 championship in front of them, but they still had 6 seconds left. Focus!  2) Picture The Finished Project: You must be able to see what the Lord has given you to do come to fruition. Keep mental notes on making sure you can see the end. Seeing championship number 5 is important but you must complete those “free-throws”. Finish it!  3) Don’t Multitask: Although many of us have a gift of being a multi-tasker, if not careful we will use that gift too much and miss out on creating quality! Therefore if Danny Green is a more powerful three-point shooter, make sure to keep him open and not solely on making a strong defensive plays. Get it? D) Keep Away From Distractions: There are always needs in the church. However, let’s not become distracted by other “needs” when your “needing to finish what you started” is at hand. In other words, let’s not start thinking about the party and the honking of the horns on Military Drive in San Antonio quite yet. The game is still on. Don’t be distracted.

Stay tuned for part 2- Pastor Sammy

Heart of Worship

I have not written or blogged on my post for quite some time. Due to a hectic and busy schedule it has prohibited me from taking the time I need to stay consistent. It is good however to get back on again and write out some of my thoughts.

Due to an overwhelming response from a “Tweet” I sent out last Saturday, I thought it would be good to answer that question on my website. For some of you that may have not read my tweet, I stated the following: “Have not had a ‘youth’ praise band ever lead me to worship quite like this one is tonight”. (Then I added a picture of the group that was singing)

The response both on Twitter and Facebook was huge. The question people kept asking was, “Pastor, what did you mean by what you posted?” Allow me to share my thoughts and heart with you by clarifying what I meant concerning this group, as well as praise and worship groups altogether.

As I have traveled nationally for the past several years, I have had the privilege of ministering with some Godly individuals, praise groups, bands and Christian hip-hop artists. At the same time, I have also ministered with individuals, praise groups, bands and Christian hip-hop artists that were not a blessing or a privilege to minister with at all. Unfortunately there are some who have this idea that the Christian “ministry” (i.e; industry, entertainment business), is all prestige. There are some who have a greater desire to make a “name” for themselves as opposed to making the name of Jesus famous!

I have been with the best and with the worst. The Godly and the ungodly. The real and the really fake. Please understand, this is by no means a judgement call by me, but the reality that these attitudes and characters unfortunately can come with Christian ministry. One of the greatest challenges is that of, what I will call, the “youth praise band”.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some youth praise bands out there that are truly blessed and anointed by God- Skinny jeans, messed up hair, sunglasses and all! Then there are some who have this idea that they are God’s gift to the stage and have no anointing upon them whatsoever. Pre-madonna’s with their sweat towels over their shoulders, water bottles in their hands, while they wait at their merch table to sign autographs, take pictures and go to the next venue.

Please understand, I get it. I’m in the middle of all this. But in the midst of it all there must be godliness. To get to the point, last week I met a group that truly lived up to the definition of praise band. Not because they sang great, or had a great sound. It’s because their attitudes and characters matched their singing when they were off the stage. Before the event I saw them shaking hands with others, making people feel welcomed. Their smiles and faces showing the love of Christ was completely in them. When they were on stage, there hearts of worship and a “non-showmanship” approach left the audience refreshed and humbled before the Lord. No show, all worship. No pre-madonna’s, all worship. No attitude, all worship.

They were discerning for the crowd they were leading. They didn’t go overboard. It felt like a time of worship and not necessarily a concert. Though they had a 45 minute set, it did not seem like 45 minutes. I have been with groups that had only 30 minute sets and it felt and sounded like eternity! But here’s where they cut the cake; after they were finished, they all sat down and pulled out their Bibles. WOW! Most groups that I have been with will immediately go to their merch table, won’t stay inside for the preaching of God’s Word, or much less have their Bibles with them, and wait until the service is done or until they are called up again to close us out.

This group were truly worshipers from start to finish. So to answer your question, this is what I meant by what I Tweeted. Please understand, this does not by all means mean that this is the best group ever. Or that this group is more Godly than all other groups. It only means that this group is being discipled well and are being taught as to what it means to be worship leaders and not a side show.

We must recognize that it is an absolute honor and privilege to preach, sing and/or rap for the Lord. The Lord does not need need us. He can use whomever He wills. However, if He chooses to use us, let us recognize that we are nothing without Him and that we are not as “BIG” as He is.

Learning Easy- Pastor Sammyworshipper - beach

Just A Thought…

Contrary to what some might believe, there is a big difference between a mere church goer and a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Anyone can be a church goer.  It’s easy to go to church on Sunday (especially if we did something “bad” the night before) to ease our conscience and to tell ourselves, “See I went to church. I respect God”.  Unfortunately there seems to be more church goers than there are disciples.

However it is also usually the church goer that folds under the pressure of life’s challenges.  Again anyone can be a church goer, but not everyone is a disciple. A church goer can be one that attends church when times get rough, or when its a holiday, or when there is a special service that has been promoted, or when there is something to ask of God. Yet to put their lives in the hands of God and truly live a life completely committed to Him is not in the conversation or current plans.

Being a disciple of truth is a lifestyle that is completely committed to the person of Christ and the precepts written in the Word.  Being a disciple of truth is a consistent lifestyle in Christ alone and it rejects anything opposite of that.  Jesus calls men to follow Him not as a teacher or as a pattern of a “good life”, but to follow Him as the Christ, the Son of the Living God!

Due to the fact that we live in a society and culture that bares not distinction between a disciple and a church goer, we must make a call to be “separated” from a worldly mentality and be connected to that which is holy, righteous and true! You nor I can afford to live a “double life”.  After a while it will catch up. The Bible tells us that sin is only “fun for a season”.  Truth will always destroy the lie!

With this in mind, I pray that you and I will choose being a disciple over mere church membership and attendance. Choose holiness above club scene. Choose righteousness above the lie. Choose Jesus over you!

Until Next Time- Pastor Sammy

Mi Familia Loca! (My Crazy Family)

I absolutely love the Christmas holiday! Especially when the Christmas music starts being played on the radio the day after Thanksgiving. Though it’s not cold yet (in Texas), there is still the excitement and smell of the holiday season.

To some however, the holidays are not necessarily all “sugar canes and gumdrops”. To some, the holidays are the times when the “family get’s together” (spoken with a big *sigh*). Unfortunately, there may be some reading this that knows all too well what I’m talking about. It’s usually during this time and season when you get to see that relative you haven’t seen all year long and come to realize as to why you haven’t desired to see them all year long. It’s that cousin that gets on your last nerve, or that aunt that is loud and obnoxious, or that uncle that shows up a little “tipsy”, or all the kids running around the house while you’re trying to have some holiday peace and cheer!

Thus all the while you are talking to yourself asking, “Why was I born into this family!” Well my friend we must come to grips and recognize that there absolutely is NO such thing as a perfect family. Especially our family! But would you feel better if I would even go as far as to say that even Jesus didn’t have the “perfect” family? Let’s check out the genealogy of Jesus and see why (Read Matthew 1:1-17)

Here is the interesting thing about the family tree of Jesus. According to Jewish tradition, when speaking of ancestry, women were not named among the genealogy. However if you noticed, 5 women were named in Jesus’ family tree, which were Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary. Why is that so important you might ask? Because these women had an interesting past!

Tamar was the incestuous daughter- in- law of Judah. She was a Canaanite, hence a gentile. Rahab was a gentile, prostitute and a member of a doomed race. Ruth was a Moabite, gentile and was in a mixed marriage. Bathsheba was the mother of Uriah due to an adulterous affair with king David. Finally, Mary was a young Isrealite girl who became pregnant and was not married (Jesus’ mother).

In this list of 5 women mentioned, 4 were gentiles, 1 a Jew. 3 of these women were openly sinful while 2 had questionable reputations. All in the family tree of Jesus! Therefore, as long as we are living on this earth amongst sin, the family unit will have its share of issues. With this in mind, let me give you 3 things to consider this holiday season concerning your family tree.

First, remember that there is no such thing as the “perfect family”. We all have our personal hang-ups. Yet as Christians, this is where we must learn to be patient and attentive. Remember, in the midst of all that seems chaotic, God is at work. He desires to make imperfect families into amazing masterpieces! It is during these moments when we must ask the Lord what He is “up to” concerning our family and walk beside Him in the process. Learn to be a blessing to your family and not part of the chaos.

Second, remember that every family member deserves an opportunity. If it were not for the grace at Calvary’s cross, we would still be lost! Yet God in His grace and mercy gave you and I an opportunity to be changed. We all have a family member that is considered the “black sheep” or the family “moocher”, but the goal this year is to show them the love of Christ by loving them despite their hang-ups. You might have some family members that you are hurt with, let’s make this the year that forgiveness flows and second chances begin. If the Lord gave you an opportunity to make things right with Him, in turn, give them the same gift this Christmas.

Finally, let your witness always point to the Father. Whether you like it or not, if you have proclaimed being a follower of Jesus in front of your family, they are watching you! Not only are they watching, they are searching. They want to see if this “Jesus” thing is for real or just a fad you’re going through (Like the time you wore parachute pants). Let your light shine bright this season so that the family member you would have never of thought would give their life to Christ, will have the opportunity to do so.

Do we have a perfect family? No. But we have a perfect God who desires to perfect great things in us this season. Be blessed and make sure to thank God for the family He gave you!      – Pastor Sammy

family dinner

Here We Go Again…

I know, I know, you’re probably wondering where I’ve been and why I have not posted any new blogs or new devotionals. Believe it or not I do have an explanation. Though technology is a wonderful thing, it also has a “mind” of its own. Therefore if something goes down, it all goes down.

I’ve been having some site issues and have finally been able to figure out a few things to correct them. Now I am back on and up to speed! This means that devotionals and other new “specs” will be coming up after the Thanksgiving Holiday. I do appreciate your patience as well as your emails asking me when I was coming back to earth! Well I’m back and look forward to making this site more user friendly as well as having  better interaction with you all.

I do pray you all have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday and make sure you have a slice of pumpkin pie for me! Be blessed and see you soon- Pastor Sammy

Technical Difficulties

Hello everyone!

Due to travel and website technical difficulties, I have not been able to post new blogs as well as new devotionals. Well it’s all fixed now! I should be posting new devotionals and blogs by this evening. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Pastor Sammy

Devotional(s) Update

I wanted to give you all a quick update concerning my devotionals page. Thank you all for inquiring and asking me when the page and new devotionals will be posted. Monday September 24th will be the launch date for new devotionals! Which means that everyday before you go to school, work or whatever else you do, you can start your day off by having a personal time with God through these devotionals.

My daughter Alivia and I will be posting them up and our prayer is that you would be blessed, inspired, encouraged as well at times convicted when it comes to our lives and the things of God. Again, Monday September 24th, it’s on! Be blessed!

Hasten The Day- Pastor Sammy