The 11 Quarterback Commandments

September 10, 2009 at 9:39 am | Posted in Quarterback Commandments | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Just a few short days until the real beginning of football season! Bill Parcells is long gone, but his influence on star quarterback Tony Romo lingers. Below is a recap of Parcells’s 11 Quarterback Commandments, and the spiritual applications that go with them.

Commandment No. 1: Ignore other opinions – press or TV, agents or advisors, family or wives, friends or relatives, fans or hangers-on – on matters related to football. They don’t know what’s happening here.

Spiritual Application: The time to disregard the advice and influence of those who mean well is the second that they deviate from the Word of God as revealed in Scripture. The Word of God is not only where you should go FIRST to determine if what you are doing is right. It is also where you should go LAST. Wait upon the Lord to show you what to do, and then let Him be the one to give the final evaluation on whether you are doing it His way. (Isaiah 2:22; II Corinthians 10:5)

Quarterback Commandment No. 2: Clowns can’t run a huddle. Don’t forget to have fun, but don’t be the class clown. Clowns and leaders don’t mix. Clowns can’t run a huddle.

Spiritual Application: Christians are supposed to be Christ-like. We are supposed to act the way Jesus acted. There is no evidence in Scripture to indicate that Jesus was generally morose, pedantic, boring, overly austere, or just plain old “no fun to be around.” However, the instances of Jesus joking around are extremely rare in the Gospel record. We see Him angry (Matthew 21:12). We see Him grieved (Luke 13:34). We see Him challenging the status quo (Matthew 23:33). We see Him teaching the greatest and most valuable truths ever taught. We even see Him crying (John 11:35). Whether we are running a prayer huddle, a Sunday School class huddle, a family worship huddle, or a Biblical counseling huddle, let us remember that “Clowns for Christ” is an oxymoronic idea.

Quarterback Commandment No. 3: Fat Quarterbacks can’t avoid the rush. A quarterback throws with his legs more than his arm. Squat and run.

Spiritual Application: Just as a quarterback must stay in shape physically in order to perform well, Christian ministers must always be striving to condition ourselves spiritually. (II Timothy 4:2; I Peter 3:15; Proverbs 10:26; Hebrews 12:1; Philippians 3:19)

Quarterback Commandment No. 4: Know your job cold. This is not a game without errors: Keep yours to a minimum. Study.

Spiritual Application: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Thessalonians 2:15) Just as mistakes will inevitably occur during the heat of battle on the gridiron, so a Christian will, more often than he likes, fall into sin. (I John 1:10) Realizing this fact should not make a Christian complacent about the inevitability of sin. It should make him more determined than ever to know his job cold – to know where temptation lies, and to know the escape routes that God has made to avoid it. (I Corinthians 10:11-13)

Quarterback Commandment No. 5: Know your own players: Who’s fast? Who can catch? Who needs encouragement? Be precise. Know your opponent.

Spiritual Application: “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.” (I Thessalonians 5:12-13) Christian ministers are exhorted to be familiar with their brothers and sisters in Christ – especially the ones they minister together with on a regular basis. The Bible says that fellow-Christian laborers are to know each other, to esteem each other (which means to treat each other as very valuable), and to be at peace with each other.

Quarterback Commandment No. 6: Be the same guy every day – in condition, preparing to lead, studying your plan. A coach can’t prepare you for every eventuality. Prepare yourself and remember, impulse decisions usually equal mistakes.

Spiritual Application: Christian ministers, like good quarterbacks, need to be consistent, insistent, persistent, and resistant. (I Thessalonians 2:9-12) Christian quarterbacks must lead. Leading involves both training and trusting.

Quarterback Commandment No. 7: Throwing the ball away is a good play. Sacks, interceptions, and fumbles are bad plays. Protect against those.

Spiritual application: Christian ministers must learn to avoid strife over non-essential issues which will ultimately hurt the cause of Christ. (II Timothy 2:1; II Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:8-9; Matthew 12:19; Matthew 11:29; Matthew 10:14)

Quarterback Commandment No. 8: Learn to manage the game – personnel, play call, motions, ball handling, proper reads, accurate throws, play fakes. Clock. Clock. Clock. Don’t you ever lose track of the clock.

Spiritual Application: The life of a Christian quarterback involves much hectic multitasking, but we must not forget that we do not have a limitless amount of time to do the work of the Lord. (Ephesians 5:15-16; I Thessalonians 4:16-17; I Corinthians 15:52,58; I Thessalonians 5:2-4)

Quarterback Commandment No. 9: Get your team in the end zone. Passing stats and TD passes are not how you’re going to be judged. Your job is to get your team in the end zone and that is how you will be judged.

Spiritual Application: A Christian minister will be judged, not for how popular he is, and not for the number of followers, converts, or students he claims, but for his obedience to the Lord, and for how well he managed the resources God gave him. (Romans 14:10; II Corinthians 5:10; I Corinthians 3:13-15; Philippians 3:4-8)

Quarterback Commandment No. 10: Don’t panic. When all around you is in chaos, you must be the hand that steers the ship. If you have a panic button, so will everyone else. Our ship can’t have a panic button.

Spiritual Application: In the heat of spiritual battle, when things seem as though they are getting out of control, God’s leaders must be thermostats, not thermometers. A thermometer just reflects the temperature of a room. When things get hot, the mercury goes up. When things are cold and dead, the mercury dies down, too. I must instead ask God to make me a thermostat. A thermostat is not controlled by the temperature; it does the controlling. When I walk into a room of spiritually cold people, I need to warm things up in the Spirit of God. And when I walk into a room of hot-headed chaos or knee-knocking panic, I need be calm, and help to cool things down. (Deuteronomy 20:3; John 18:10-11; Acts 27:41-44)

Quarterback Commandment No. 11: Don’t be a celebrity quarterback. We don’t need any of those. We need battlefield commanders that are willing to fight it out, every day, every week, and every season, and lead their team to win after win after win.

Spiritual Application: Christian ministers are not to seek glory for themselves. The Christian life is a race and a battle and a pilgrimage, not a parade or an awards banquet. A Christian minister may be a leading soldier in the battle of the Christian life, but He still serves a Commander Who is over him. This Commander reminds us not to get ourselves enmeshed in this world’s false ideas of leadership, to the point where we forget to serve, and expect to be served. (I Thessalonians 2:2, 6; II Timothy 2:3-4)

Quarterback Commandment No. 11

July 29, 2009 at 10:04 am | Posted in Quarterback Commandments | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The year following Bill Parcells’s departure as Head Coach for the Cowboys, Dallas defeated Buffalo in a Monday night game. During the broadcast, Parcells appeared on camera and read the list of “Eleven Quarterback Commandments” he had given to Tony Romo to help him understand his job, and to further his development. I have been posting the 11 Quarterback Commandments, one at a time, and have tried to draw a spiritual, Biblical application for each one. Today, I have reached No. 11.

Quarterback Commandment No. 11: Don’t be a celebrity quarterback. We don’t need any of those. We need battlefield commanders that are willing to fight it out, every day, every week, and every season, and lead their team to win after win after win.

Spiritual Application: Christian ministers are not to seek glory for themselves. The Christian life is a race and a battle and a pilgrimage, not a parade or an awards banquet.

When the Dallas Cowboys win a game, I like to watch the post-game festivities. One feature I try to catch is the press conference. The head coach and different players will often take the podium, and answer questions, and bask in the spotlight. The main attraction of the post-game press conference, however, is usually the winning team’s quarterback. A team’s quarterback, especially if he is considered a “franchise quarterback” (one around which the rest of the team is built, and on whom the future success of the team is largely staked), is said to be “the face of the team.”

Parcells is rightfully wary of this. Celebrities tend to be famous for how they look. Heroes are famous for what they have done.

King David was a hero. His son, Absalom, was a celebrity. Christian ministers would do well to model their lives and ministries on Biblical heroes such as David, Stephen, and Paul.

Take the Apostle Paul. He was a “battlefield commander” who was willing to “fight it out” every day.

But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.

I Thessalonians 2:2

However, he did not do this to gain a celebrity status, nor to make himself recognizable or famous among men.

Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.

I Thessalonians 2:6

An NFL quarterback should know the responsibility that comes with being recognizable. However, he must beware of having a “prima donna” attitude that would take his focus off his job, or engender jealousy in his teammates.

A Christian minister must be mindful that, while he leads, he will receive honor according to the victories the Lord uses him to win. However, this honor must not be allowed to stray into the area of celebrity. A Christian minister may be a leading soldier in the battle of the Christian life, but He still serves a Commander Who is over him. This Commander reminds us not to get ourselves enmeshed in this world’s false ideas of leadership, to the point where we forget to serve, and expect to be served.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:3-4

Quarterback Commandment No. 10

July 13, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Quarterback Commandments | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Only two more to go… We are nearing the end of the list of 11 Quarterback Commandments which Bill Parcells gave to Tony Romo during their time together with the Dallas Cowboys.

Quarterback Commandment No. 10: Don’t panic. When all around you is in chaos, you must be the hand that steers the ship. If you have a panic button, so will everyone else. Our ship can’t have a panic button.

Spiritual Application: In the heat of spiritual battle, when things seem as though they are getting out of control, God’s leaders must be thermostats, not thermometers.

We’ve all been there. You have been planning some event or occasion in detail. Maybe for hours, maybe for days, or even weeks, you have pictured in your mind just how it will go. You finally arrive and nothing is the way you expected it. Things are in disarray and people are panicking. What will you do?

A good quarterback knows that even the best gameplan does not contain a solution to every possible predicament. Sometimes your star receiver is injured in pre-game warmups. Sometimes the opposing defense has concocted a blitz package you’ve never seen in your life. Once in a while you find yourself trailing by three touchdowns halfway through the fourth quarter, and there is no play in the playbook for making a first down when it’s third and 29 to go.

When ten anxious faces gathered around a huddle stare pensively at their leader, there’s only one right response: calm collected confidence tempered with firm determination. If the quarterback loses control, everyone else is going to lose control.

On the football field, leaders need a steady hand and a positive demeanor. Christian quarterbacks need the same attitude and posture during regular counseling sessions, church services, hospital visits, and in all types of spiritual calamities and unforeseen chaos.

When God prepared his people for battles in the land of Canaan, He told His priestly quarterback to tell the troops to:

…approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;

Deuteronomy 20:3

Peter hit the panic button when Jesus was arrested, and almost interfered with the plan of redemption:

Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.

John 18:10

But Jesus, the greatest Spiritual Quarterback of all time, stayed cool:

Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

John 18:11

Read Acts 27:41-44 for the account of a shipwreck, and the Apostle Paul’s great response, and you will almost be tempted to think Parcells was reading his Bible when he said, “Don’t panic. When all around you is in chaos, you must be the hand that steers the ship. If you have a panic button, so will everyone else. Our ship can’t have a panic button.”

As a Christian quarterback, when I walk into a chaotic situation, I must ask God to help me not to be a thermometer. A thermometer just reflects the temperature of a room. When things get hot, the mercury goes up. When things are cold and dead, the mercury dies down, too. I must instead ask God to make me a thermostat. A thermostat is not controlled by the temperature; it does the controlling. When I walk into a room of spiritually cold people, I need to warm things up in the Spirit of God. And when I walk into a room of hot-headed chaos or knee-knocking panic, I need to be calm, and help to cool things down.

Quarterback Commandment No. 9

June 11, 2009 at 11:30 am | Posted in I Corinthians, Quarterback Commandments | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Bill Parcells, like him or not, has a passion for one thing above all else: Winning. Ultimately, in terms of their career, that is how football coaches are judged. In our ongoing series of Quarterback Commandments, which Parcells (then Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys) gave to Tony Romo, the same criteria applies to quarterbacks.

Quarterback Commandment No. 9: Get your team in the end zone. Passing stats and TD passes are not how you’re going to be judged. Your job is to get your team in the end zone and that is how you will be judged.

Spiritual Application: A Christian minister will be judged, not for how popular he is, and not for the number of followers, converts, or students he claims, but for his obedience to the Lord, and for how well he managed the resources God gave him.

Since the Super Bowl era began in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys have had many quarterbacks, but only four really elite ones: Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Danny White, and Tony Romo. All four can boast impressive statistics: quarterback rating; completion percentage, yards passing, touchdown passes, etc. However, to date, only two of those four are considered to be truly “great:” Staubach and Aikman. And that is not because they had the most impressive statistics. It is because they consistently got their team in the end zone, and won games. They are the only two on the list with Super Bowl victories – 2 for Staubach and 3 for Aikman.

Bottom line: Quarterback is a glamorous position. Quarterbacks are lauded for performing well. But statistics don’t mean much if your team doesn’t win the game.

Christian ministers are not playing a game. We will ultimately be “winners,” but even that victory will not be credited to us – it will be because of, and redound to the glory of, our great Lord.

However, Christian ministers, like NFL quarterbacks, will be judged. Romans 14:10 tells us that “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Unbelievers will stand before God’s Great White Throne in judgment, and then be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). Believers will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

II Corinthians 5:10

I don’t understand everything there is to know about the judgment seat of Christ, but it does seem to me that we who are counted righteous, and whose sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus, will be judged based on our works. After this judgment, which is for true Christians only, we will go into the presence of the Lord with fullness of joy, and live with Him forevermore.

As Christian quarterbacks, I am afraid that, on that day, some of our passing statistics will be burned and counted as loss.

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

I Corinthians 3:13-15

Here are examples of some Biblical “quarterbacks” who would have never been in the top echelon of “success” by worldly standards, but who definitely knew how to find the “end zone” of obedience:

Noah – the Old Testament preacher of righteousness, preached, and built the ark, for 120 years while the fools around him scoffed, laughed, enjoyed their lives, and ignored his call for repentance. When God poured water from the sky, and brought it forth from beneath the earth, the “crazy man” who was building a boat in the desert suddenly didn’t seem so crazy after all. Noah’s stats were awful: 120 years of preaching, with no converts except his own family – yet judged by God as a smashing success!

Jeremiah – the “weeping prophet,” despised and rejected throughout his ministry. He was beaten, imprisoned, put into stocks, and reviled. It appears that, during his ministry, no one was converted through his prophecies or preaching. However, he was vindicated by God, who fulfilled each and every one of Jeremiah’s prophecies to the letter. Jeremiah reached the end zone of obedience and faithfulness when everyone around him threw in the towel, phoned it in, or pandered to the crowd.

Paul the Apostle – Here’s what Paul thought of his “statistics:”

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Philippians 3:4-8

It was as if Paul told the Judaizers, “If you want to talk stats, I have thrown more completions, had fewer interceptions, had a higher passer rating, and more yards per attempt than all of you! And I consider all that to be excrement, compared to being called a ‘winner’ by Jesus!”

How will you be judged at the end of your life on earth? Were you popular? Wealthy? Influential? Attractive? God will not be impressed. Or will you be able to say that you obeyed the Lord with all your heart, working hard to score touchdowns for His team – and His team only – with every ounce of energy and every material resource He graciously entrusted to you?

Quarterback Commandment No. 8

June 1, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Quarterback Commandments | 17 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When Bill Parcells included Commandment No. 8 in his list of Quarterback Commandments, he wanted Tony Romo, quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, to be very conscious of time.

Quarterback Commandment No. 8: Learn to manage the game – personnel, play call, motions, ball handling, proper reads, accurate throws, play fakes. Clock. Clock. Clock. Don’t you ever lose track of the clock.

Spiritual Application: The life of a Christian quarterback involves much hectic multitasking, but we must not forget that we do not have a limitless amount of time to do the work of the Lord.

Let’s start with a strong dose of reality. NFL quarterbacks are not beleaguered martyrs. They are pampered multimillionaire superstars. Their wristwatches cost more than my house. They drive expensive cars, they live in mansions, and unless they get addicted to drugs, gambling, fast women, dogfighting, or bad investments, neither they nor their grandchildren, nor their grandchildren’s grandchildren, should ever need to lift a finger to do any real work a day in their lives. Do they receive some harsh criticism in the media? You bet. But, the bottom line is, they are worshiped, adored, and feted for playing a game. Do they deserve it? No, they don’t! Except for Romo – he deserves every penny, perk, and privilege. (Hey, leave me alone – I’m a Cowboys fan!)

Now, having taken that strong dose of reality, and having chased it down with a shot of levity, I hope you will, for spiritual illustration purposes, note that there are an impressive and daunting number of things that Parcells understands an NFL quarterback must tend to during each and every play:

Personnel: Which of my teammates are actually on the field for this particular play, and what particular skills and reactions are they capable of utilizing given the ever-changing situation?

Play call: Which of the 88 plays printed in microscopic code on my wristband, or being barked at me over my helmet phone, are we going to run next?

Motions: Which players are going to be moving around after we line up but before the ball is snapped, and which ones must remain completely motionless?

Play fakes: Will I make sure not to allow the ball to bump into my own player or a marauding defender in my own backfield, as I fake handoffs and passes in an attempt to misdirect the other team?

Proper reads: Which defenders are lined up where, and what does that mean about where I look first, and throw next?

Accurate throws: Will I need to loft a high floating pass beyond a linebacker’s outstretched fingers, or plant my feet and rifle a crisp bullet pass between a blanketing cornerback and a rapidly closing safety?

Ball handling: Oh yeah, I’ve got to remember to get a good firm grip on the ball before I snatch my hands from under the center’s rear-end, or none of this matters anyway!

And all this must be computed in about 25 seconds max (!), through a brain that wouldn’t have passed “hotel management” at Midwestern U without the help of “special tutoring.” As Parcells says, “Clock. Clock. Clock. Don’t you ever lose track of the clock.” I was pretty hard on the quarterbacks, as far as having things easy, but that is a lot to think about.

Now, Christian ministers, the quarterbacks of, not just a game, but the work of God’s Kingdom, must also be very conscious of time.

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16

We live in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation. All the signs that we can discern from the Bible for Christ’s imminent return seem to be readily apparent. No man knoweth the exact hour or day. But Scripture is clear. We are to love, live, and lead as though the trumpet could sound at any moment.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

I Thessalonians 4:16-17

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed… Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:52,58

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

I Thessalonians 5:2-4

I think one of the main reasons that Jesus taught the parable that begins in Luke 19:11 – the so-called “Parable of the Pounds” – was to remind His disciples, and all His “Christian quarterbacks” today, to not forget that the game clock is running down, and that our time must be managed effectively. We must act with a sense of “cool” when things get hectic, but always have a sense of “urgency,” knowing what’s at stake. Now is the time for Christian quarterbacks to break the huddle, remember all our assignments, call for the ball, and use every tick of the clock to reach the goal line, anticipating the final whistle, which will signal the return of our King!

One of my favorite hymns says, “When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more…” One day, those who have been given eternal life by Christ Jesus will live outside of time. Until then, however, Christian ministers must remember: Clock, clock, clock… Don’t you ever lose track of the clock.

Quarterback Commandment No. 7

May 19, 2009 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Quarterback Commandments | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

This is a continuation of the series of Quarterback Commandments given by Bill Parcells to Tony Romo, quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.

Quarterback Commandment No. 7: Throwing the ball away is a good play. Sacks, interceptions, and fumbles are bad plays. Protect against those.

For those whose football parlance is somewhat lacking:

“Throwing the ball away” is when the quarterback intentionally throws a pass that no one can catch. This ends the play, and the next play starts where the previous one started, without any loss of yardage. The reason for doing this is that, among the possible outcomes of a pass play – sack (the quarterback is tackled before throwing the ball); interception (the pass is caught by someone on the other team); and incomplete pass (described above) – the incomplete pass is the least harmful.

A “fumble” is when someone carrying the football during a play drops the ball. Fumbles often occur during sacks, and often result in the other team grabbing the loose ball, which is disastrous.

The gist of Parcells’s commandment is: Rather than trying to force the best result out of every play, quarterbacks, when faced with a possible disaster, have to learn when to settle for a less-than-stellar result, so their team can have another chance on the next play.

Spiritual application: Christian ministers must learn to avoid strife over non-essential issues which will ultimately hurt the cause of Christ.

As you minister for Christ Jesus you will find yourself opposed. You will also find yourself having to decide where to draw the line as far as with whom you will minister and fellowship. A Christian minister often finds himself in the position of encountering opposition, much the same way a quarterback faces defenders who want to keep him from moving the ball downfield.

Thus, like a quarterback, a Christian minister must learn that there are times when it is better to salvage what he can from a bad situation, than to try and make a bad situation into a good one. “Live to fight another day” is the military slogan.

The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, instructed Timothy to be a very aggressive Christian quarterback:

Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

II Timothy 2:1

But He also let him know that it’s good, once in a while, to throw the ball into the first row of spectators:

But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

II Timothy 2:23

Titus got similar instructions: Play hard, and keep trying to win the game until the final whistle blows:

This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Titus 3:8

But do not get bogged down by forcing the issue when the game is not on the line:

But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

Titus 3:9

So, as a Christian quarterback, I would like for everyone to use the King James Version of the Bible, but if you want me to go with you to visit your lost cousin in the hospital, and you insist on taking along your New King James, or even your NIV, I’m not going to refuse to go.

I believe that Jesus Christ is going to rapture His Church out of this world before the Tribulation starts, but if you don’t believe that’s precisely the order of the end-times events, I still want you to faithfully attend my Sunday School class.

When R.G. Lee, one of the best preachers of all time, pastored the First Baptist Church of New Orleans, he was allowed to go, once a week, and speak on the campus of Tulane University. He would answer questions from students, many of whom were skeptical about the truth of the Bible. On a particular occasion, a young lady raised her hand and asked, “Well, if what it says in Genesis is the literal truth, would you mind telling me just where Cain got his wife?”

Dr. Lee, not taken aback at all, responded, “Ma’am, I don’t know and I don’t care. If she was good enough for Cain, she’s good enough for me.”

Clearly, this was a good example of avoiding foolish contention, strife, and unlearned questions.

If I’m playing quarterback, and it’s fourth and long with no time left on the clock, with my team trailing by six points, I’m going to stand in the pocket, ignore the rushing linemen, and do my best to throw the ball to my receiver in the end zone even if he’s surrounded by defenders, because giving up on that play is not an option. In the same way, you and I are not going to be able to minister together if you do not believe that men are saved by grace through faith, and not of works, or if you believe that the Bible is errant and fallible, or if you believe that Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t really the Son of God. Again, in military language, although it is good to live to fight again another day, the slogan, “there are some hills worth dying on,” is also true.

It is against a good quarterback’s nature to slack up, to give up on a play, or to admit that he can not improvise his way out of a bad situation. In other words, quarterbacks are not, by nature, meek. However, Parcells must believe that, to be successful, a quarterback’s natural boldness must be tempered by meekness in some situations, as part of the overall effort to win a game.

Did not Jesus Himself give us a similar example for the Christian life? Never giving up in accomplishing His ultimate objective, He nevertheless knew when to walk away from strife and contention:

He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.

Matthew 12:19

During His boldest pronouncements, He sometimes invited peaceful submission rather than forcing His will upon His enemies:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 11:29

He even taught His disciples that sometimes it was better to throw an incompletion than to take a sack, give up an interception, or fumble the ball:

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Matthew 10:14

Quarterback Commandment No. 6

May 6, 2009 at 1:41 pm | Posted in Quarterback Commandments | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

We are at the halfway point in our list of Bill Parcells’s 11 Quarterback Commandments to Tony Romo, and their spiritual applications.

Quarterback Commandment No. 6: Be the same guy every day – in condition, preparing to lead, studying your plan. A coach can’t prepare you for every eventuality. Prepare yourself and remember, impulse decisions usually equal mistakes.

Spiritual Application: Christian ministers, like good quarterbacks, need to be consistent, insistent, persistent, and resistant.

“Be the same guy everyday,” says Coach Parcells. We have discussed this principle before, from a Biblical perspective. Daniel, God’s faithful servant in Babylon, made it his habitual practice to pray three times every day. He had a consistency that kept him even-keeled and focused on God even when adversity hit like a ton of bricks.

Quarterbacks are team leaders. They are being watched all the time – by their own teammates, as well as their opponents. They are not allowed to “take a day off,” and just be “one of the guys.” The Apostle Paul and his ministry team were aware of this same scrutiny being applied to Christian ministers.

Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:

I Thessalonians 2:10

Be the same guy every day = Be consistent.

Of all the things a quarterback must be prepared for, he must place an emphasis on leadership. There’s no real delicate way to say it: Quarterbacks, as leaders, tell other people what to do, and how to do it.

The same goes for Christian ministers.

As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,

I Thessalonians 2:11

Paul followed Jesus Christ. But he was not shy about insisting that the other Christians follow him as he followed Jesus.

Be prepared to lead = Be insistent.

A quarterback is often in the limelight, but as we’ve noted before, he has work to do even when no one else is watching.

Quarterbacks and Christian ministers both have “plans” to study. One studies his playbook. The other studies God’s Holy Book. Paul was keenly aware of his obligation not to deviate from the revealed Gospel, whether he was preaching in the daytime (in public) or at nighttime (in private). He was nothing if not persistent.

For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.

I Thessalonians 2:9

Studying your plan = Be persistent.

Studying before a game or a battle is all well and good, but there will always be temptations in the heat of battle to act instinctively – to forget about the gameplan, hit the panic button, and improvise. Both quarterbacks and Christian ministers must beware of this impulse.

Paul expected the Christians at Thessalonica to do what they had been called to do (to walk worthy), even when persecution came.

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

I Thessalonians 2:12

Quarterbacks must show trust in their teammates, and not try to carry the success of every play on their own shoulders alone. Christian ministers must resist the temptation to try to do God’s job for Him. We plan, we prepare, we study, we train, we exhort, admonish, and encourage. But, when the battle rages, we must trust God to enable His people to do what He has called them to do.

Impulse decisions usually equal mistakes = Be resistant.

Be consistent. Be insistent. Be persistent. Be resistant.

Christian quarterbacks must lead. Leading involves both training and trusting.

Quarterback Commandment No. 5

April 27, 2009 at 10:58 am | Posted in Quarterback Commandments | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

When the Dallas Cowboys selected Texas A and M quarterback, Stephen McGee, in the 4th round of the NFL draft there was speculation that he would be groomed as a potential long-term backup for star quarterback, Tony Romo. If this is correct, it would be interesting to know if Romo has shared with McGee his insights concerning the “Quarterback Commandments” given to him by Bill Parcells.

We are going through a series of brief comparisons between these Quarterback Commandments and certain spiritual applications. Today, we will look at the quarterback’s/Christian minister’s responsibility in being familiar with his teammates.

Quarterback Commandment No. 5: Know your own players: Who’s fast? Who can catch? Who needs encouragement? Be precise. Know your opponent.

Spiritual Application: “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.” (I Thessalonians 5:12-13)

A good quarterback is not going to take the snap from center and immediately heave the ball 60 yards downfield, if the play calls for the fullback to be the primary receiver, and said fullback runs slower than molasses in wintertime. A good quarterback is not going to try to rifle a crisp pass into triple coverage to a receiver who has earned the nickname “Dow Jones” because of the number of “drops” he had last season.

Quarterbacks need to know the different skills and personalities of their teammates. They need to know that some of their teammates will be motivated by a taunting challenge, some by a kick in the pants, and some by a quiet chat on the sidelines.

If a quarterback has to study what his team’s opponents will do during the game, it stands to reason that he should be even more familiar with what his own players are likely to do.

Similarly, Christian ministers are exhorted to be familiar with their brothers and sisters in Christ – especially the ones they minister together with on a regular basis. The Bible says that fellow-Christian laborers are to know each other, to esteem each other (which means to treat each other as very valuable), and to be at peace with each other.

If I am going to be an effective Christian quarterback, I need to know which of my fellow church members or ministry partners work quickly, and which ones need more time. I need to know which ones need kind words of encouragement, and which ones need to be held accountable with “tough love.” I need to know which spiritual gifts have been given to each one. I need to know if some are struggling with particular besetting sins. I need to be doing my part to make sure that we are unified, and all following our Great Leader, Jesus Christ.

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

I Thessalonians 5:14

Quarterbacks are to “be precise,” and Christian ministers must be guided in precision by God’s Spirit, knowing what to say, and when to say nothing.

He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

Proverbs 17:27

We have studied the quarterback’s knowledge of his opponent before, but it bears repeating: Christian ministers must know their fellow-laborers, and must know the strategies of our enemy.

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

II Corinthians 2:11

Quarterback Commandment No. 4

April 15, 2009 at 11:43 am | Posted in I Corinthians, Quarterback Commandments | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Quarterback Commandments given by Bill Parcells to Tony Romo have Biblical corollaries.

Commandment No. 1 had to do with ignoring worthless opinions.

Commandment No. 2 addressed being serious.

Commandment No. 3 was about conditioning.

Today, we look at preparation.

Quarterback Commandment No. 4: Know your job cold. This is not a game without errors: Keep yours to a minimum. Study.

Spiritual Application: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Thessalonians 2:15

A quarterback studies his gameplan. He studies his opponents. He studies his own past tendencies. He studies the field conditions, and the game clock. A successful quarterback knows that mistakes will inevitably happen. They can not be completely avoided – but they can be minimized.

A Christian studies his Bible (what my wife likes to call “your copy of God’s Word”). He does not study for the purpose of idle amusement, nor for the purpose of showing off intellectual knowledge.

Just as a quarterback studies to win games, the Christian studies to win the approval of his Lord. He studies so that he won’t bring shame to the name of God. He studies because the Bible is both understandable and complex, and it must be “rightly divided.”

Just as mistakes will inevitably occur during the heat of battle on the gridiron, so a Christian will, more often than he likes, fall into sin. (I John 1:10) Realizing this fact should not make a Christian complacent about the inevitability of sin. It should make him more determined than ever to know his job cold – to know where temptation lies, and to know the escape routes that God has made to avoid it.

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

I Corinthians 10:11-13

Let us who aspire to be successful Christian “quarterbacks” study our gameplan, study our opponent, study the playing field, study our own tendencies and weaknesses, and remember that the game clock is ever running. Let us also remember that our victory is already promised.

Quarterback Commandment No. 3

April 1, 2009 at 8:53 am | Posted in Quarterback Commandments | 10 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today, we see Commandment No. 3 in the list of Bill Parcells’s “Quarterback Commandments” given to Tony Romo.

Quarterback Commandment No. 3: Fat Quarterbacks can’t avoid the rush. A quarterback throws with his legs more than his arm. Squat and run.

Okay, I am aware that not everyone who reads this is going to understand even basic football lingo. So let me help you out a little with some definitions. “The rush” refers to the defensive players who try to tackle the quarterback while he is trying to find time to throw the ball. And “squat and run” is not the punchline to a bad joke about the restrooms in Tijuana. “Squats” are exercises used to strengthen the legs. “Run” refers to the way athletes run as part of their training to build up stamina, so they don’t tire out during the games.

So, what Parcells is saying, in effect, is that, to be a good quarterback you have to strive to be in top physical condition. You have to train hard in the offseason.

The obvious spiritual application to this one would have to do with avoiding the sin of gluttony. (Proverbs 23:21) Christians are stewards of the temples of their bodies, and “fat” Christian ministers, like “fat” quarterbacks are going to have trouble with the “rush” of all the daily problems we face (unless it’s the “rush” to be first in the buffet line) if we are hospitalized for some type of obesity-related illness.

Having said that, however, I must admit that I myself could use a gentle reminder once in a while to push away from the table after my fourth or fifth helping. (If you are saying “Amen!” to that, though, it’s only because you have never tasted my wife’s fried chicken or homemade pizza.)

No, the real Spiritual Application I want to draw from QB Commandment No. 3 is this: Just as a quarterback must stay in shape physically in order to perform well, Christian ministers must always be striving to condition ourselves spiritually.

I am reminded of II Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” Christian ministers must constantly be prepared, through much hard work in studying the Word of God, to proclaim Biblical truth.

Whether it’s “game time” or the “offseason,” we must be ready always to give an answer for the hope that is within us. (I Peter 3:15)

There is no room for laziness in the life of a Christian minister.

As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.

Proverbs 10:26

Remember Daniel. When he was taken captive to Babylon, he began to rise to a position of prominence. He was in the good graces of the Babylonian leaders. (Daniel 2:48) How easy it would have been to consider this his “offseason,” and to lazily forget His spiritual responsibilities toward God. But Daniel was a good Christian quarterback. He consistently prayed to the One True God three times everyday. (Daniel 6:10) Regardless of whether you think Daniel was charismatic, you have to admit he was automatic! And we should be the same way.

Christian quarterbacks can not afford to be too slow to escape Satan’s “rush.” We may not be commanded to “squat and run,” but we are required and expected to kneel (pray) and run (Hebrews 12:1).

Christian quarterbacks who get “fat” are not only hindering the game plan of the Lord, they are potentially waiting to get “sacked,” and knocked out of the game completely.

Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

Philippians 3:19

Next Page »


Entries and comments feeds.