Perfect Ref/Perfect Sub/Perfect Win

Daveynin

Photo Credit: Daveynin via CC Flickr

“All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.” 2 Thessalonians 1:5

Referees are paid to call only what they see and to call it right. They can’t guess. They can’t assume. And they can’t be mistaken or fooled. They must cover ground faithfully to take in all that’s there. They must take great pride in seeing the game properly, getting the most accurate feel for the game and it’s people. Finally, they must know the rule book well and apply it fairly, judiciously, uncompromisingly. The best referees do all this at breakneck speed.

Players must honor and adjust their play or get in foul trouble. Playing the game of life too often means inevitable foul trouble and need of a substitute. In order to guarantee victory a change has to be made.

God is Ultimate Referee, Remarkable Substitute, Eternal Reward. He loves the game and it’s people. He sees all, knows all. Nothing escapes His attention. He knows the rule book perfectly and applies it with both unflinching truth and prodigal (extravagant) grace. His play on our behalf insures our triumph and His glory.

Let’s see all this play out in 2 Thessalonians 1:5. Here’s what God wants us to clear about:

  1. God’s judgment is right. Deal with it. He doesn’t miss a call. He examines both our blamelessness (righteousness) and our blame (sin). He wants to see righteousness win and grieves when it doesn’t.
  2. God offers hope that we can stay out of foul trouble, that we can be ‘counted worthy of the Kingdom of God’. This hope is found through His Son. The Son becomes blame-bearer and sin-substitute. Our sins (serious foul trouble) get pinned to Him.
  3. For those counted worthy, suffering is temporary but triumph inevitable. The most perfect wins often push through the greatest pain. Hang in there!

The bottom line of the Gospel simply becomes this:

Holy God in love became

Perfect Man to bear my blame.

On the cross He took my sin.

By His death I live again.

May you live loving the game, the ref, the substitute, the journey…and live again!

Love you, too!

Coach Mo

‘Paris’ World

Photo Credit: Harish Rao via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Harish Rao via CC Flickr

“Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew 10:17-20

I suppose you’re aware of what happened November 13th in Paris. Tough news. That’s the way it is sometimes. Scripture has a few things to say about a world like this. Let’s take a look…

1. BE ON GUARD. Brace yourself. Let vigilance, awareness, mindfulness mark my life. Evil always lurks and seeks to raise its ugly head. Lay a good defensive foundation. Our ‘Paris’ world always needs protection.

2. ‘ON MY ACCOUNT’. Operate as an uncompromised, unashamed witness. God’s got my back. What happens to me is His business too. I trust Him, come what may. I am not alone.

3. GIVEN WORDS. God supplies clutch play at crucial times. His Spirit gives people perfect thoughts, ideas, words.  That’s because His Name is at stake. So don’t worry. Just live like a mouthpiece.

Pushbacks

* How’s your defensive package? Your alertness and vigilance to evil always powered on? Known for your protection?

* Operating with quiet trust that your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3-4), that you’re on His tab, that your future is secure, that God’s gotcha?

* Experiencing clutch play at crucial times, especially when repping the Lord? Counting on Him to come through and defend His name in a ‘Paris’ world?

LORD, help my vigilance on Your behalf to be strong. The world needs guardians for good. Thrill me again and again with joy and confidence in knowing I operate as Your agent, on Your account. Thank you by faith for the ongoing flow of words I’ll need at crucial times.

Be strong.

Stand for truth.

Live for eternity.

Coach Mo

Taming the Foolish Child

Photo Credit: Tim Oiler via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Tim Oiler via CC Flickr

A little while ago, I came across a great story told by Rudy Ruettiger, a renowned player for the Notre Dame football that inspired his squad for years with his determination and work ethic. Hollywood eventually made a motion picture about his exploits and help to inspire thousands of people around the world.

In the following story, Rudy tells a touching story of him and his father and how a certain situation turned his life around…forever.

Coach Muller

———

Notre Dame is a legendary place. A spot on the team means a chance at great fame. Rudy Ruettiger is a legend himself. He made the Notre Dame class. He then went on to become the heart of the Fighting Irish. His dad, Daniel Ruettiger, was a war hero and legendary dad. 14 kids. Married a world-class mom. Worked three jobs. Yet he always found time to attend his kids’ games.

“Bullied, badgered and mad, I became a rebel in school. Sophomore year it came to ahead. I befriended a rough kid who well could have spelled my end. A big fight was planned for that Friday night. My friend said, ‘Rudy, we’re tough. Let’s go.’

I foolishly agreed. I had a big head. It was a chance to show off. I’d smear those kids who had made me so mad.

I waited until the family was fast asleep. Quietly, I slid out of bed, pulled on my clothes, and tiptoed to the back door. I was careful not to make a sound.

Dad knew something was up. He cut me off at the door. With his hand on my shoulder, he insisted we talk.

I admitted where I was headed. The kids we would fight had belittled us. It was our turn to teach em’ some stuff.

That’s when Dad rescued my future, and maybe my life. He replied, ‘You are no man when a meaningless fight is your way. You become a man by knowing when to walk away. Learn it now and remember.’

I’m blessed that Dad stayed up to catch me that night. Bad news came the next day. Several were badly hurt in the fray. With a blow to the head, my friend was now dead.

It could have been me, or I might have been cuffed and taken away. Either way, that would have spelled the end of my dream – no Notre Dame.

Dad, you were the best: You taught me to stop the big talk; to get in life’s game, then go out and fight to make the big plays. You taught me to know when to walk away.”

By: Rudy Ruettiger

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” ~  Proverbs 1:8

What Do Coaches Make?

Photo Credit: Woodleywonderworks via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Woodleywonderworks via CC Flickr

I came across this great story a while ago which perfectly illustrates the life and mindset of a coach. I have been a coach for 30 years and I think this tale hits the subject right on the head. I hope that it inspires you as much as it did for me. 

———————-

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, tried to explain the problem with college athletics. He argued, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to be a coach?”

He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about coaches: “Those who can’t play, are those who coach.” To stress his point he said to another guest, “You’re a coach, be honest. What do you make?”

Having a reputation for honesty and frankness, the guest replied, (At this moment Coach Ridder was FIRED up and getting after it!) “You want to know what I make? I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like a winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. I make kids run through 90 minutes of practice and sweat. I make kids turn dreams into reality.”

“You want to know what I make?”

I make kids wonder.

I make them question.

I make them criticize.

I make them apologize and mean it.

I make them cooperate.

I make them competitive and respectful.

I make them show all their work in front of hostile crowds and perfect their acts of sportsmanship.

I make them understand that if you have the will to follow your dreams, should anybody try to judge you by a mistake you made you must pay no attention because you tried and gave it your all.”

“I make teams from individuals who work together to build success.”

He paused and continued. “You want to know what I make?” I MAKE A DIFFERENCE, I MAKE LEADERS, I MAKE OTHER PROFESSIONS POSSIBLE.”

Then he asked the CEO, “What do you make?”

—————————

It makes you think doesn’t it?

No Foolin’

Photo Credit: David Goehring via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: David Goehring via CC Flickr

“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way…” 2 Thessalonians 2:3

Deception is a key part of sports. Misdirection plays add much to game strategy and play effectiveness. Fooling your opponent creates advantage. Good teams and good players won’t fool easily. They see, recognize, and stay fundamental.

Deception is also foundation to producing counterfeit money. The only way not to get exploited is to know the ‘truth’, the real thing, so well that you cannot be deceived.

Be aware that there are counterfeit gospels as well. They are meant to deceive. Scripture says that there will be many such ‘gospels’ pushed out there. (2 John 1:7) And when they come before us, we simply can’t afford to play that game. The Bible repeatedly warns us to be sincerely vigilant and not to be deceived. (Matthew 24:4–24) We simply can’t let ourselves get taken.

Here’s how we get deceived:
1. THROUGH PRIDE. We allow ourselves to believe that we will not reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7) or are above being ‘taken’ by others (Jeremiah 49:16, Obadiah 1:3). Without humility before God, we go unprotected through life, from without (others) and from within (self).
2. THROUGH IGNORANCE. We do not really know the Word very well. We believe what others, especially very ‘spiritual’ people say, without personally testing their messages against what God’s Word truly says. We do not ‘test the spirits’ like we should. (1 John 4:1)
3. THROUGH CARELESSNESS. We do not read God’s Word carefully enough. (v5,10b) We fail to read scripture in context and make hasty conclusions to fit what we want to see, hear or have. In this way we deceive ourselves. (example: 1 John 1:8) Avoid fast, easy, law-based or lawless answers.
4. THROUGH BLINDNESS. We fail to open our eyes and see the wolves out there. When vigilance is not practiced, the enemies of our souls get in, get to us, corrupt, and leave us spiritually bankrupt of truth. (Matthew 7:15, 21–23)

So watch out. Don’t be deceived. Stay sound and fundamental. Live a life of victory over deception.

Loving you enough to speak the truth… No foolin’!

Be strong.
Stand for truth.
Live for eternity.
Coach Mo

Signs of Great Leadership

Photo Credit: Pete Linforth via Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pete Linforth via Pixabay

This article was posted by Quinn McDowell, founder of Arete Hoops. Quinn played basketball at Archbishop Moeller High School (Cincinnati, OH), 4 years at the College of William and Mary, 1 season in the NBA D-League, and 2 years as a professional in Australia. Arete Hoops is dedicated to helping people of various ages, backgrounds, skill levels, and athletic goals pursue excellence in and through the game of Basketball


Great Leaders…

Make a Difference

Take Tim Duncan for example. He is a dynamic package of killer efficiency that has adapted his game to his teammates instead of forcing his teammates to adapt to his style. Duncan’s value never resided in gaudy stats or eye-popping numbers; rather his greatness was always about something bigger than himself. The real value of his game always resided in his mind numbing consistency and determination to raise the level of his team in whatever capacity he could. In this refusal to elevate his personal desires above the mission of the team he has elevated himself to one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen. Tim Duncan never set out to be the greatest player of his generation, all he wanted to do was just “make a difference”, and that is the true value of greatness.

Embrace Servant Leadership

Does your leader make a difference by serving others? Do they chose to use their abilities to illuminate the talents of those around them? Have they adopted a flexible leadership style that allows them to adapt to changing circumstances and the needs of their team. The bedrock of this leadership style has always been founded on a simple question: what can I do to make those around me better? One of the great marks of a servant leader is that they are remembered as great because of their leadership, commitment to excellence, and care for others.

Draw Teammates to Themselves

By definition, a leader is someone whom other people are willing to follow. Great leadership at its most foundational level has the ability to attract a group of talented individuals to accomplish a shared goal. A leader has an attraction about them that players are drawn to. They entice other talented players to join them in working towards a common goal. They have an inviting personality and team-first attitude that encourages everyone to work for the good of the team.

Accentuate the Talents of Others

Leaders accentuate the talents of their teammates by helping them come closer to reaching the limits of their abilities. One of the most telling signs of effective leadership is always measured by the growth of people around them. Great leaders help turn average players into good players, good players into great players, and great players into game-changing players. One of the primary goals of great leaders is to invest in the people around them and help raise their level of performance.

Create a Community of Trust

Great leaders earn the respect and trust of their followers by submitting themselves to the same standards they enforce on others. Double standards, favoritism, and hypocrisy cripple healthy team dynamics and glorify the individual instead of the group. Great leaders foster an environment of where people are free to speak their minds in a spirit of collaboration and teamwork. They create a safe place for their teammates that is marked by the characteristics of trust, mutual accountability, and honesty.

How To Improve Our Self Talk

Photo Credit: Ahmed Sinan via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Ahmed Sinan via CC Flickr

“Pay attention to My wisdom. Apply your heart to what I teach you. Treasure its sweetness deep within and have all of this ready on your lips. Believe me—these are truths that work.” Proverbs 22:17-18, 21

Many of us struggle with our self talk. We either don’t know what to say or say  way too much that’s negative. Either way, it ends up detrimental.

God wants us to have good things to say…life-giving things to utter to self and others too. He says so here in Proverbs 22. The key to having good things to say boils down to this:
1. BE ON THE ALERT FOR WISDOM. Since God has much to say all the time, give ear. Be on the lookout. Passionately pay attention to wisdom. As good outflow starts with good inflow, good self talk starts with good God talk. We can’t repeat what we haven’t heard.
2. MAKE WISDOM PERSONAL. Tuck wisdom deep within. Allow God’s wise words about who we are and how to live life get to the heart of who we are. Make space. Make time. Self talk always overflows from the bottom of our hearts.
3. MEMORIZE WISDOM WORDS. Have wise words ready to be spoken. We can’t speak wisdom (grace and truth) to ourselves without having made this a part of us first. Our self talk really improves when we memorize God’s Word and speak it back to ourselves.

On the lookout for wisdom? Applying it to self deep within? Memorizing God’s wisdom, grace and truth so well that it automatically translates into great self talk?

LORD, help us to speak the truth in love to ourselves faithfully well. Don’t let us settle for scummy self talk, devoid of Your wisdom. Help us to hide Your Word in our hearts and speak Your Word to ourselves in transformationally great ways. Amen.

Nothing detrimental.
Bring honor to Christ.
Coach Mo

Cream Rises

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee via CC FLickr

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee via CC FLickr

“Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.” Proverbs 22:29

This is the way it really works… Trust God. Work hard. Become more skillful. Repeat.

Read on…and may your cream rise.

When it comes to work and getting jobs, don’t place too much weight on who you know or even what you know. That’s a shallow, shortcutted way of going about things. Really! Keep putting your head down and become as skillful as you can. That’s God’s recipe for promotion. Can’t say when or how…but it’s inevitable. The cream always rises to the top.

LORD, keep teaching us to live a life of faithfulness and gratefulness, commitment and patience, making each day a masterpiece. Help us find joy and peace in the skill-building journey. And help us reject other ways of climbing to the top. We trust You with outcomes. May Kings taste our rising cream and want more for Your glory.

Maximum effort.
Heart for others.
Glory to God!
Coach Mo

Don’t Get Trapped!

Photo Credit: Stefano Mortellara via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Stefano Mortellara via CC Flickr

“The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.” Proverbs 16:17

Good basketball players avoid being trapped. They back-dribble away from an advancing trap to create space. They pivot out of pressure. They make two passes beyond the trap to break the pressure it causes. They never pick up their dribble early. They never turn their back to the defense. They answer aggressiveness with aggressiveness.

What route do you take to avoid evil? What’s your plan? What’s your means of attack? Evil will eat you up if you don’t have proven ways to beat its choking, deadly pressure. It always seems to trap its opponents, albeit hard or soft pressure, if its opponent is not prepared and committed to break the press.

Today’s scripture offers great clues about how to break Evil’s pressure. Here’s some keys to breaking the press:
• STAY ON COURSE. Cruising on Upright Highway keeps one off Dark Alley. There’s never an exit for evil off that interstate. Stick to the high road.
• MAKE SPACE. Keep your distance from Evil. Evil works best when the gap closes and then draws you in.
• KEEP YOUR HEAD UP. Be on guard. Then a trap coming will never surprise you. Face up to evil. See the pressure coming before it sees you to the bench.
• GUARD YOUR WAY. Guarding your way guards your life. Being vigilant on a daily basis pays off over a lifetime. Never take a vacation from this. It could be disastrous.

LORD, let me see trouble coming before it gets upon me. Don’t let me get trapped and ensnared. Keep coaching me to guard my way so I can make plenty of space for You and avoid evil. Help my vigilance to be strong. I don’t wanna turn the ball over to the Enemy of my soul.

Remember how to break pressure. It will do you good for a lifetime!

Be strong.
Stand for truth.
Live for eternity.
Coach Mo

Breaking Bones

Photo Credit: ozz13x via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: ozz13x via CC Flickr

“Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.” Proverbs 25:15

I’m a bit concerned…

How come we think it takes:
• bribes to recruit people to our teams?
• sweet talk to sway a leader?
• shortcuts to get ahead?
• style, not substance, to turn a head?

Why do we think it takes:
• strength to overcome strength?
• power to impose our will on others?
• riots to get results?
• shouting to be heard?

Maybe the answer to all these questions   boils down to this: We don’t believe God at His Word nor put our weight in precepts like Proverbs 25:15, not fully trusting Him here.

Let’s accent patience and gentleness a little more in our lives and see what happens. Let’s see if God doesn’t meet us there. When we trust God by demonstrating uncommon doses of patience and soft speech, maybe we will see more of the bone-breaking power these two practices actually produce. Maybe we will see God more at work in our lives and Him getting the glory He longs for and truly deserves.

LORD, when the pressure rises, help us to say things with greater gentleness and to exercise a little more patience. May all this reflect our trust in You more than our fear of circumstance or our need for more power or control. Help us to believe that to have You is to have enough. Teach us to break bones through patience and gentleness.

Boning up on trusting God,
Coach Mo