1) On Sunday, February 1, 2015, the New England Patriots won the 2014 NFL Season Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona by a score of 28 to 24. For those who may not be familiar with the New England Patriots, they are a professional American football team based in the Greater Boston area which plays its home games at Gillette Stadium in the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts, a few miles from Pastor-Teacher James H. Rickard’s Grace Fellowship Church in Plainville, MA. The “Pats,” as they’re affectionately called by loyal fans, have won this major National Football League event four times within the past ten years (2014, 2004, 2003 and 2001). There are no less than a total of thirty two franchise teams competing each season for the coveted honor of being presented the Lombardi Trophy at the conclusion of the season by NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell (2006 to present).
2) According to sports media pundits, “Saying Head Coach, Bill Belichick, is the best in the business is stating the obvious.” Belichick’s team motto has always been: “Do Your Job”. In preparation for the Super Bowl, it simply became: “Finish Your Job”. His leadership methods and philosophy of executing on game day what the team practiced during the week, have built an empire. He has consistently kept this team in a position to win championships. The words of Vince Lombardi  come to mind: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” As well as “If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”
3) Sovereign God’s Coordinated Game Plan from eternity past for believers in Christ provides the standards of unified team performance for His Royal Family. It requires acceptance of authority, (the systematic exposure to the accurate teaching of the absolute truths revealed in God’s Word), and with disciplined concentration, all believers may seize the opportunity to become spiritually mature. Our sole purpose is to glorify Jesus Christ under the grace policy and authority of the Sovereignty of God. He planned the strategy in eternity past. As believers in Christ, our job is to hear the plays He calls and to execute His plan and purpose for our lives.
4) Daily Routines: On a daily basis we are instructed to,
a) Be filled with the Holy Spirit; this is accomplished by confessing [naming] our known sins of omission and commission. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
b) Faith-Rest in Him: 1 Peter 5:6-8, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 8Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
c) Love our fellow mankind: 1 Corinthians 13:13, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
We are able to fulfill God’s plan for our lives by the following.
5) Recognizing Our Enemy Within: “Walt Kelly’s phrase, ‘We have met the enemy and he is us’ derives from braggadocio during the War of 1812 in which commodore Oliver Hazard Perry reported, “We have met the enemy and they are ours” to William Henry Harrison after the Battle of Lake Erie. That phrase stands with John Paul Jones’s “I have not yet begun to fight,” and Julius Caesar’s “Veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) as one of the most famous battle reports in history. Our own enemy within is the mental attitude of arrogance! Any believer in Christ, who has ever presumed to take personal credit privately and/or publically for the productivity of their witnessing for Christ or the exercise of their spiritual gifts, have committed this destructive sin. The filling of the Holy Spirit is the empowerment which enables all of us to grow in grace and lead productive lives. Arrogance was the root cause of the prehistoric angelic creation’s loss of its first estate in eternity past. Humility should always characterize our thought process and decisions, our words and deeds. Humility is simply seeing ourselves for who and what we are in the sight of God; accepting our Pastor-Teacher’s authority; and remaining teachable no matter what Bible doctrine or application is being taught. There’s a joy in learning in any realm; however, learning often involves the challenge of unlearning half-truths mixed with error and outright falsehoods which have resided in our frontal lobes for many years or decades. It requires an objective focus and humility to meet the unlearning necessity of letting go and is the only way to grow to maturity and in doing so acquiring the Mind of Christ.
6) Putting on Our Uniform: In Ephesians 6:10-17 the Apostle Paul provides us with military equipment defense metaphors for our permanent protection against false doctrine, temptations from our sin natures and other miscellaneous daily distractions from executing God’s Plan and Purpose for our lives. Without His protection we become susceptible to the subtleties of satanic attack which seeks to render us incapable of taking and holding the doctrinal high ground. Certainly it took training and time for the ancient Roman soldiers to acclimate to their considerable armor. We also must advance daily in our spiritual growth to become effective grace oriented Christian warriors with the integrity attained through “the renewing [renovation] of your mind” referenced in Romans 12:2. The alternative is to be ineffective soldiers or casualties by reason of our own wrong priorities and decisions from negative volition. Eph 6:10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14. Stand firm therefore, Having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the Breastplate of Righteousness and, 15. and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace; 16. in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17. And take the Helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
7) Applying the Word of God and being occupied with the Person of Jesus Christ; and to remain humble in the process: Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” And to be comforted in knowing that: “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love,” John 15:9.
8) Witnessing as Ambassadors of Christ: Here’s one applicable passage of scripture I’m encouraged by in social media and online spirituality forums [which are populated by agnostics and atheists who are without Christ and without hope and without eternal life, with a date certain to appear before the Great White Throne Judgment Seat as a consequence of choosing against rather than for the Risen Christ with unthinkable destinies of eternal separation from God] and which has become my motivation in seizing conversational opportunities for the purpose of presenting accurate salvation information and relevant passages from the Word of God: Romans 12:2-11, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5. so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6. And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7. if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8. or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11. not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12. rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13. contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”
9) “Finish Your Job” By knowing Him and being faithful in making Him known by example, word and deed. There are no other viable options for gaining God’s Approval. 2 Timothy 4:7-8,”I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8. in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved [looked forward to] His appearing.”
10) Keeping Score: Inequalities among Christ’s Royal Family, which will become His Bride following the Rapture of the Church, will become abundantly evident during our individual evaluations at The Judgment Seat of Christ: 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, “Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
The fact is that some men and women, who have believed in Christ, will be in heaven forever without having received any rewards at all as a result of their failure to recognize correct priorities in redeeming the time. James 4:14, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor [trail] that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” And the unit of measure of human life on planet earth is not a few months or a year, but rather one day at a time. Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Notes:  Scripture References are from the New American Standard Bible.  “Vincent Thomas Lombardi (June 11, 1913– September 3, 1970), was an American football player, coach, and executive. He is best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s, where he led the team to three straight and five total National Football League championships in seven years, including winning the first two Super Bowls following the 1966 and 1967 NFL seasons. Lombardi is considered by many to be one of the best and most successful coaches in NFL history. The National Football League’s Super Bowl trophy is named in his honor. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.” (Wikipedia/Vince Lombardi)
Kind regards to my Brothers and Sisters in Christ who have also benefited from Pastor Rickard’s worldwide teaching ministry; and with gratitude to Jim for his encouragement and loyal friendship over the years.
In and Because of Christ, Bob Anderson