Getting the Signals Right

    Communication is so important. In 1978, Coach John McKay hired Joe Gibbs to be Offensive Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; however, McKay had always called his own plays. Joe describes the confusion that ensued. They did not have electronic communication in those days between the sidelines and the quarterback. Joe described it: “So we developed a system of hand signals from the sidelines to tell our quarterback out on the field which play to call. He would then tell the team in the huddle.” Unfortunately, they lost the first two games of the season. McKay felt that the plan was solid, but he told Joe that he was “not comfortable with the hand signals.” He said, “Tell a player on the sideline, who will go in and tell the quarterback, who will tell the team.” Two more games were lost.

    Coach McKay gave fresh instructions: “I want you to go upstairs to the press box and call the play down to an assistant coach on the sideline, who will tell a player, who will go and tell the quarterback, who will tell the team.” Joe recounts how difficult it is to send in a play like “trips-right-zoom-liz-585-F-cross-sneak” to a player who had already been popped several times in his head or slammed to the turf. To quote the famous line of the prison warden in the film, “Cool Hand Luke,” “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

    I’m grateful that God speaks to us through His Word and through His Spirit. As a church, we are called to a Season of Seeking the Lord, utilizing the new Devotional Guide. I trust that all of us will begin this week and “be on the same page” in getting God’s signals. The Bible passages are brief, with insights to help you to meditate and pray.

    It is also difficult to get the signals right during this strategic time of selecting the Senior Pastor Search Team. Our Personnel Committee and lay Transition Team are seeking the Lord. On March 30 & 31, we will vote for members of the Search Team based on the discernment and screening of the Personnel Committee. With so many different individuals involved in a seemingly intricate process, let’s make sure that we hear from God. It’s the only way to win.

    We dare not fumble the ball and allow Satan to create a turnover. God has blessed us every step of the way over these years, in what Eugene Peterson called, “A long obedience in the same direction.” I agree with Paul: “I thank God constantly for this, that when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the Word of God, which is at work in you believers” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).


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