“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,” – Phil 3:8-10
We love to highlight success and give glory to God for the ways He is working through our students, staff, coaches, and programs. Yet, we don’t base success solely on the final scores or the season records. Just a little over a month ago, our boys basketball season came to a startling halt in the sub-district tournament against Ashland-Greenwood. It was a disappointing loss for a group of young men who envisioned the opportunity to participate again in the state tournament. Yet we never take for granted that God can accomplish just as much – if not more – in the losses than in the victories. When we’re on the outside, we don’t always get to see the ways God is working through the losses. We asked Coach Gary Nunnally to share a little in reflection on the season.
“This group of guys accomplished a lot, including making it to the finals in our conference tournament, going 17-9, and beating multiple ranked teams in the second half of the season – including Boys Town twice, GICC, and Kearney Catholic. But, no doubt we were extremely disappointed with how the season ended, knowing we didn’t perform at our highest level in our last game. That is also what makes sports so valuable – we don’t get “do-overs.” So thankful for the spiritual growth experienced by all of us and the leadership given by our seniors. What an incredible group of young men.
Here is what I sent in my end of season e-mail to our parents:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” –1 Corinthians 9:24-25
Parents – It is always hard when the season comes to an end. I admit, I struggle with the same things our kids do and perhaps you as well. In moments of frustration and discouragement, do I really believe God’s truths? Do I truly believe that God celebrates me in my worst moments and best moments? Is Jesus enough. Or, is it Jesus plus? Jesus plus a certain number of wins? Jesus plus my performance? Jesus plus a championship, etc.? As I have personally struggled with these questions the last few days I am gently reminded by our heavenly father that he cares deeply about our hearts, he cares deeply about how we approach sports and he cares deeply about your sons and our coaches and our families. Thank you for all your support and for sharing your sons with us this season. Thank you for helping us to “run the race in such a way as to win the prize.” I am incredibly proud of our young men, their growth, and all that we accomplished together.”
One of the things that makes Lincoln Christian so special is that while we strive for excellence in everything we do, we take full advantage of every opportunity – win or lose – to point student’s hearts to the Truth. We saw this emulated in the way the girls team celebrated as state runner-up. A team that truly outperformed expectations used their state runner-up reception to humbly worship together and give the praise back to the One who is worthy. Coach Orduna shared at the reception, “I told the girls this morning that no matter what happens I was going to choose to be thankful. My identity is not in championships and banners, it’s in Christ. Sure it stings when you are that close, but ultimately we have had a great season that has exceeded expectations with so many things to be thankful for.” Assistant Coach Joelle Andersen, played “Build my Life” on her guitar as she tenderly sang the lyrics that pointed hearts to magnify Jesus as the only One who is worthy.
As a school, we continue to push students to maximize their God-given abilities – all the while reminding them that their identity, their hope, and their life is in Christ alone. Praise God for the ways He is at work in the “wins” and the “losses!”