Crunch Time

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at the 6th annual Mockingbird Conference in NYC. As I’ve said before, in my opinion the work of David Zahl (Founder and Director of Mockingbird) and his team is the best in the business.

In a few days I’ll post my opening talk on the subject of our exhaustion and how God’s inexhaustible grace is the only hope for our inescapable weariness. But before I do that, I really need to post what was, in my opinion, the best talk of the conference.

My good friend (and soon-to-be Editor-in-Chief of Liberate), Nick Lannon, gave an amazing 25 minute talk entitled “Crunch Time: What We Can Learn From Athletes About Dealing With Stress.” Relevant to every human being who has ever lived (athlete or not), I strongly recommend that you take time out of your day to watch this.


  • Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    I can confirm the truth of what has been said by Nick Lannon.

    Every time in my life when I tried to succeed at any price – also in sport activities though not dunking 😉 – I displayed a kind of overstress both of body and mind, that is, I worked and the like until I broke down sooner or later.
    What did I learn from that?
    Honestly, in the first instance nothing because I always thought that I were the one to blame. I hated myself as though I were a miserable failure at all levels. Then, after a short time of recovery, I usually chose another similar field of activity where I could be more successful.

    To put it briefly, it never worked – until life was good to me…because Jesus Christ saved me. :)
    That means that He really saved me from myself, or rather from my self. The knowledge of Jesus, His loving spiritual presence 24/7, more and more frees me to forget what I wanted before. There were so many things, hobbies and interests (different sports and dancing, books, holiday trips, fast cars, gardening, pets, films, movies, music, cooking etc.), even family (Mt 10:37; Lk 14:26; 1 Cor 7:29) and close friendships (Jas 4:4), which I truly almost forgot. Oops, I also forgot to mention religion and church (Col 2:16-23) which were my favorite pastimes for years. All those things – without exception – have become uninteresting and boring to me.

    I want to refer to the Scriptures Nick quoted:

    “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith — that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil 3:7-11)

    Admittedly, living in a world to which one has already died (Col 2:20; 1 Jn 2:15-16) was a formerly unknown experience to me. The following verse perfectly expresses how it really feels:

    “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (Jn 12:25)

    Will this repulsive feeling ever change as long as I live on earth? I am afraid it won’t

    “[…] for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Rev 12:11)

    If hating the world had been the whole experience, nobody would have ever been able to persevere. It is solely God’s Holy Spirit who connects us through Christ with eternal life by spiritually granting access to the kingdom of God (Mt 3:11; Jn 3:3-8; Jn 4:10-14, 23-24). There in Christ’s Spirit (Rom 8:9) – or “in Christ” as it is often said – only there is the real life He gives to us…life that never perishes (Jn 10:28) since

    “[…] the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 Jn 2:17)

    The will of God doesn’t consist of all commandments we can find in the Bible but of what Jesus said here,

    “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn 13:34-35)

    Strange, isn’t it?
    Nobody must go zigzag or do anything stress provoking in order to draw somebody’s attention to Christ by calling out, “I am a disciple of Jesus.”
    All people will see, feel, and thus know it. Because of His Love that is magnetic for all…

  • Paula says:

    I don’t know, it just seems to trivialize the gravity of sin by making it about success in sports, career, or anything else. It is so hard for me to make that analogy. I’ve had the drive to succeed in several hobbies and failed a lot too. I’m a tomboy and I guess I just have a hard time identifying with this kind of approach to seeking fulfillment. Yeah, failure is frustrating, but is it really equal to “sin”? Something short circuits in my brain when you speakers and pastors beat the sports analogies into the ground.

  • mbb says:

    I think about Jesus using parables about lost coins and sheep to see the power of illustrating deep, very serious matters with our everyday, mundane activities. In fact, this relating spiritual realities with our everyday felt experiences, to me, is another evidence of God’s mercy and kindness to come to us where we are and actually write in the dirt for us to see. A great talk, I thought! :)

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