Nelson Cook, the founder of Coaches of Influence (COIN) in Los Angeles, has been ministering to athletes and coaches for forty years and has hosted me on many occasions and invited me to address athlete and coaches' meetings and various men's functions.
Initiating his athlete ministry with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Dallas Texas, where I first was introduced to Nelson Cook on one of my first US Study Tours on Sports Mission, he relocated to Los Angeles twenty years ago to establish a highly specialist ministry to Christian coaches – professional, college and high schools.
Nelson Cook sends a regular devotional letter to his coaches and I have regularly reprinted these in this daily Christian Today column.
But ye are a 'chosen' race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession; so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light. 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 9
It has been proven that even identical twins have different DNAs. If that is the case, what is God telling us about our uniqueness? I believe He is telling us to be different, not to conform to the world’s standards.
To be in the world, but not of the world. I know this is hard and seems to be a paradox, especially in a world where we are told to be a team player, not an individual. Or to play, coach, or live for our own agendas.
God does expect us to be a team player, yet He calls us to be different at the same time. In football, everyone wears the same uniform, yet has different responsibilities. We are the Body of Christ, one team, united under the blood-stained banner, yet all with diverse responsibilities and gifts.
Our verse gives us guidance on daring to be different. As we read the passage, we see that we are all on one team; in the world but not of the world. We are called to be different. God’s guidance on being different includes:
Selected. God chose you to be different from everyone else.
Servant. God called you to service.
Sanctified. God set you apart for an eternal purpose.
Zealous. We should be excited to be on His team, the winning team!
Issues for discussion
How are you different from your peers?
Are you living Christ’s way no matter what?
Are you spending time with God daily to hear His instructions?
Prayer: Father, thank You for making me unique. Please help me live in this world while making a difference for Your kingdom. Amen.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html
Photo - Nelson Cook