Victory! Isn't it sweet? I can't imagine a sweeter victory than many of us just witnessed as college football fans, when the Buckeyes dominated the new playoff tournament system and were crowned as college football’s National Champions. Clearly the underdogs in the new playoff system, many questioned whether or not the Buckeyes were even legitimate contenders. Led by a relatively unknown third-string quarterback, those critics were proven wrong, making the victory even sweeter. Count me as impressed!     Winning the admiration of many who are not fans of Buckeye football, Cardale Jones did not immediately run off to join the NFL draft. Perhaps Cardale was advised that his stock will rise if he remains a college quarterback, and he further develops his skills at the collegiate level before entering the pros. Perhaps it is also important to him to earn his college degree and mature as a young man. Whatever his reason, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with his decision to postpone the prospects of an enormous salary, at least for another season.

    Cardale may have followed the advice of a trusted mentor, or perhaps he is wise beyond his years. Regardless, his choice reveals that he is aware that his success is not solely on his own account. The Buckeye’s final three victories were not strictly due to his personal skills, his ability to listen to coach Meyer or even luck. He may realize that it was likely due to combination of some of those things, but mostly it was due to a well-coached and focused football team playing together, unselfishly, toward a common goal. After Braxton Miller's season ending injury and the team's only loss early in the season to Virginia Tech, I had written the Buckeyes off. Thankfully, I was proven wrong! The team pulled together, and became stronger as a result. J.T. Barrett was outstanding as a backup quarterback until he broke his leg. The result of more adversity made the team even stronger before Cardale stepped in the role. What a special group of guys who made up this historic team! Next season should be just as exciting!

    Imagine what we could do as a church if we worked together that well. Think of our church family as a team with a single focus and a common goal. We are all in this together, after all! How exciting to think about what we could do in our communities if we were purpose driven to make disciples of all persons! What would it be like to be part of such a team? What is required of us as cooperating team members? What does it mean to be a church member? Do you want to improve your game? I urge you to join the discussion Sunday evenings at 6:00 p.m. Doug Owens will facilitate the book study, "I Am a Church Member." This six week study is for all church members who want to make a greater impact in the body. New members and prospects are invited too. Hardcover books are available at the information desk in the lobby. A $5 contribution will be appreciated. Please pick up your copy today and join the team Sunday evenings.

Blessings and peace!