Training Band.

Posted: January 10, 2018 in Uncategorized

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It was August 1975. I was a classic underachiever entering the fifth grade. I was determined this would be the year I finally found my place in the middle school social jungle. I desperately wanted to fit in somewhere.

I had the opportunity to try out for the school band. I was so excited. I just knew music was going to be my thing. Band was an extremely big deal in my hometown, so I figured it would be my ticket to acceptance, approval, and fame.
And besides, it’s a universal truth that chicks dig musicians. So I joined the band.

The first thing we had to do was get our parents to buy us an instrument. Most people went down to the really impressive-looking music store and bought beautiful, shiny new instruments. We went to a garage sale and found a 32-year-old trumpet. We paid seven bucks for it. It wasn’t beautiful, shiny, or new.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the beat-up case was the musty smell. It smelled like a combination of nasty feet, corn chips, and a nursing home. I tried to play it the first time, and foul grayish-green goop seeped out of all the valves. It was 32 years worth of other people’s spit. It wasn’t a super-pleasant experience.

Needless to say, I didn’t feel good about my instrument. Also, I got to confess, I never actually practiced, which I guess is pretty important, and I really didn’t have any musical ability in the first place. So all of these factors combined made me quite possibly the worst student musician in the history of student musicians.

I was so completely mediocre that I ended up in “the training band”. This was the second string band. It was the “developmental” band. We were supposed to practice all week, which again, I actually rarely did; then on Friday afternoon, we went into a small, stuffy closet office with the assistant band director and tried out for the real band. It was like a twisted version of American Idol. We would play a simple musical score, and he would tell us if we were good enough for the big leagues. You were only SUPPOSED to be in training band for a month or two. Most people moved through pretty fast.
Not me…
I was in training band for two long years.
Finally, in the eighth grade, the band teacher kicked me out of the training band.
Yes friends, I am a training band reject.
pretty sad, huh?

Maybe you can relate?

Some of you might feel as if your life has been one long training band. You just never seemto quite measure up. You are an outsider, an underachiever, You’re always just one step behind. Your life is like a candy bar, and on the wrapper it says, “You might already be a winner.” Suddenly, you get a little excited because after all, you might already be a winner. So you carefully tear open the wrapper only to read the words, “Sorry, you are not a winner.”

You feel like your entire life is like that candy bar wrapper. You were optimistic at first. You had hope, you had potential. But as your life has unwrapped, nothing has worked out, and you’re left with the message, “Sorry, you are not a winner.” So you feel like a perpetual loser. Maybe you’ve suffered through a lifetime of losing. If that’s the case, I plead with you: Don’t give up and don’t give in.

If you’re reading this, it isn’t too late for you. The game isn’t over. No matter how old you are and how many times you’ve failed, no matter what your family situation is, there’s still hope for you. The Bible is full of late bloomers. Abraham didn’t realize God designed his destiny of being a daddy until he was 100 years old. Moses was 80 when he ran into a burning bush and found out what he was supposed to do with his life. Even Jesus lived at home until he was 30. So regardless of your past, it’s never too late for a comeback.

If you feel like your life is a series of losses, MAYBE it’s time to redefine the concept of winning. We can have such a distorted view of winning. We think for someone to win, someone else must lose.

But the Bible makes it clear that true winning isn’t about measuring up or beating someone else.
The truth is, winning is all about losing (#irony). Jesus gives us a game plan totally contrary to every self-help book on the shelf. In Luke 17:33, he says, “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” So if you want to win, lose. Go ahead—be a loser.

Lose your—

Fears

Shame

Ambitions

Plans

Pride

Prejudice

Failures

Successes

Strengths

Weaknesses

Lose yourself!

We lose ourselves by giving our lives, ambitions, goals, strengths, and weaknesses to God. We decide we aren’t going to live for ourselves any longer. We lose ourselves in the pursuit of knowing and living for something bigger than us. When we do that, something truly awesome happens: God takes our lives and dreams, does an extreme makeover, and gives us bigger, even wilder dreams.

Lose your life in the pursuit of what really matters—the kingdom of God. That’s the only real way to win. That’s really good news to those of us who have spent time in training band or on the bench or staring at losing candy bar wrappers.
Jesus is for losers.

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