Friday, January 3, 2014

One Word: Comeback

Many of you know by now that my theme for 2014 here on this blog is #DangerDays - exploring new ways to step out in faith and live on the edge for Jesus. In addition to that theme to keep me focused, several of my friends have challenged me to participate in the One Word 365 program, in which you choose one word that you will focus on for an entire year. After giving it much thought and prayer, I have chosen my word. And that word is COMEBACK

As I thought about what it means to make a COMEBACK, to bounce back from what seem like insurmountable odds and come out a winner, I was reminded of some of the great comebacks in sports history. The Buffalo Bills coming from 32 points behind to beat the Houston Oilers in a 1993 playoff game. The Tampa Rays coming from a 7 run deficit in the 9th inning to beat the Yankees, make the playoffs and eliminate the Boston Red Sox in 2011. Those same Red Sox rallying from a 3 game hole to beat the Yankees 4 straight times and go to the World Series in 2004. But the most memorable of all comebacks (for me) took place on March 2, 1974. I grew up a huge ACC basketball fan, and more importantly a devout supporter of University of North Carolina Tar Heels. On this particular date they were playing arch rival Duke. This being way before ESPN, I was listening to the game on the Carolina Basketball Radio Network, with the incomparable Woody Durham doing the play-by-play. With some helpful reminders via Wikipedia, this is what I heard that Saturday afternoon.

Duke led 4th ranked Carolina 86–78 with 17 seconds left. Despite the deficit and despite the fact that the game took place prior to the three-point shot being introduced, UNC rallied with a pair of free throws by Bobby Jones (no relation..dang it!), then baskets by John Kuester and Jones after a steal by Walter Davis and a turnover on an in-bounds attempt. After Duke's Pete Kramer missed the front end of a one-and-one, Carolina tied the score on Davis' 30-foot bank shot as time expired. Woody Durham was so excited I couldn't even understand the call as Davis' shot tied the game. The Heels had made up eight points in seventeen seconds. It was surreal. The game went into overtime, where Carolina prevailed 96–92. Many regard this comeback as the greatest in college basketball history. In fact, to this day you can hear announcers who know their history remind you to never change the channel until the final horn blows, because "UNC once made up 8 points in 17 seconds against Duke." It is a reminder to never, ever give up. A COMEBACK is always possible...

If you know my history at all, then you know that nearly 7 years ago I was counted out by myself and by others. My personal failures put me in a deep hole out of which I could not climb. Since then I have repented, grown, learned, explored and sought to get myself back in the game. I have come to understand that I was NEVER counted out by God. And the deficit has been narrowed. Through the love and grace of God and so many friends I feel like I have made great progress, but in order to come all the way back I need a Walter Davis moment. To complete my COMEBACK, I need to hit the big shot. And that is what 2014 is about for me. Stepping out, trusting Jesus, risking new things and hitting the shot that will complete my COMEBACK. As Michael Jordan once famously said, "You miss all the shots you don't take." If I am to complete my COMEBACK, then there are going to be #DANGERDAYS. I am going to have to trust my life, all of the failures as well as the successes, to Jesus. It's time to be bold. I have no idea exactly what all this means to my life. It might be resolution of legal issues, a new ministry, new relationships or just a fresh start. I am not sure where I am going...but I know it's where Jesus is leading me.

And by the way...I am not willing to settle for a tie. Overtime is not an option. Walter's shot would now be a 3 pointer. I'm going for the win. :)

Because of Jesus,

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