Big Difference

Photo Credit: Dean Hochman via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Dean Hochman via CC Flickr

“Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.” Genesis 3:23

There’s a big difference between ‘going’ and ‘being sent’.

* Going suggests movement. Sent suggests an authority is launching that movement.

* Going is optional, involving choice. Sent means compelled, leaving no choice.

* Going means directed travel. Sent means mission, a deeper direction.

That’s why it feels so much better to be sent into battle instead of going into battle.

God sends. It’s His way. He launches men on missions. He compels our hearts and moves us deeply to move with Him, move for Him, move for others. Maybe that’s why the word ‘sent’ is mentioned 700 or so times in scripture. He wants us on mission with Him. Today’s verse is just the first recorded mention of the word.

Pushbacks

1. What do your movements look like? Do you just go, whether calculated or carefree,…or are you sent, driven by God to do or say something?

2. Do you ask God to come along and help you…or do you ask God if you can go with Him, for Him?

3. To be ‘on a mission’ means more than just going somewhere or doing a specific something. It means something else beyond yourself is driving you. How missional is your living? In what area(s) of your life do you feel called, sent?

LORD, send me. Don’t let me go anywhere, do anything without a sense of being sent.* The difference this makes is too big to do otherwise.

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

Praying the Alphabet

Photo Credit: Plaisanter via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Plaisanter via CC Flickr

I recently came across the following little article, written by Rick Hamilton from Guideposts publications, which I thought would be an interesting and helpful thing to share with you. I have actually done this quite often in the past, often with great success, especially if I was fighting with anxiety or couldn’t sleep.

Ever have one of those nights where you can’t sleep? You toss and turn, pull up the covers, push them down, fluff up your pillow, pound it, turn the light on, turn the light off, open the window, close it, and you’re still staring at the ceiling, avoiding the clock on your bedside table for fear of its shaming glow that says, “You’re not asleep yet? You headed for bed HOURS ago.”

Sometimes it’ll be a passel of worries that keep me up, and I attempt to do what my wife does at Lent when she gives up worry. “I turn the worries into prayer,” she says. A worthy strategy.

But oftentimes there seems no rhyme or reason for it. I’m just awake and the rest of the world seems to be sleeping. Peacefully, quietly. Restorative sleep.

Paul lists “sleepless nights” as one of the trials he undergoes and maybe by that he meant watchfulness or insomnia, but Jesus was so relaxed that when the disciples were fishing on storm-tossed waters, he slept through the whole turmoil and seems irritated to be wakened. Why didn’t they trust that he would look out for them, even asleep? Why indeed?

Instead of tossing and turning, I’ve found the best use of time during a sleepless passage is something I remember learning from Norman Vincent Peale from an article he wrote back in the early 80s. The message: Pray for others.

I go through the alphabet, starting with A, taking my time. After all, I’ve got all night. “Addie, Allen, Abigail, Barry, Bruce, Beverly, Becca, Catherine, Cordelia…”

Then I’ll find my mind swerving to concerns or diseases that fit those same letters: “Addiction, alcoholism, breast cancer, cervical cancer, cancer period…” which leads me to another roster of people.

I start picturing them whole, untroubled, safe, prospering, cared for, loved. And I’m always amazed how many people come to mind, people I haven’t thought of in years, people I’ve never known personally.

I like to think my prayers are making a difference in their lives, however far they are from me, even if I’ll never know what caused me to think of them. There’s a calming of the agitated wavelength and a community gathering in the nighttime.

“Maybe this is what I’m supposed to be doing,” I think. It’s better than lying there aimlessly. It gives me a sense of purpose and some measure of peace.

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep,” the Psalmist said, “for thou alone, O Lord, makest me dwell in safety” (4:8).

The truth of the matter is, there’s usually a big chunk of the alphabet I don’t get to, anything that begins with U, V, W, X, Y, Z. They might have made an appearance earlier in the meanderings of my brain, but by the time I get that deep into the alphabet, I am headed to sleep.

Of course, you can count sheep if you wish. But if you’re up–and I too might be up with you–let’s pray.

MANUP!

Coach AllenMOTIVATION (Part 1 of a 5 part series) – Coach Allen in Action

“To go from where you are to where you want to be; you have to have a dream, a goal, and you have to be willing to work for it.” – Jim Valvano

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways wise! It has no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” – Proverbs 6:6-11

As a former high school basketball coach with 20 years experience, one of the most important jobs I had was to motivate my players. When it came to building a competitive program at Norfolk Christian, it all started with the foundation of developing buy in, responsibility, teamwork and accountability among our players. As most coaches will attest, the “off-season” is one of the most important times to develop as a player. Therefore, it was my job to find ways to get my players motivated to get in the gym to develop their skills.

During the basketball off-season, which is considered the summer months, the work and development done during this time would play a major part in our success during the actual season, which is during the winter. If our guys were to turn the corner and become competitive within our local conference and then ultimately across the state, our off-season expectations and standards would need to be raised; and that’s exactly what we did.

“The key (of success) is not the ‘will to win’…everybody has that. It is the ‘will to prepare to win’ that is important.” – Bob Knight

We took a three step approach. First, we provided summer skills open gym workouts twice a week. They were given a minimal amount that they were required to attend (say 10 out of 15 days). Secondly, they were required to attend Team Camp together – no questions asked as they had to attend. This was important to getting away as a team and bonding as a family. Lastly, we also gave minimal requirements or milestones to achieve during our open gyms. (ie: Shoot a certain amount of shots, perform specific ball handling drills, footwork drills, etc.) Through the years of building our program into one that was respected not only across Virginia but across the country, there is no question the majority of our success was attributed to this off-season program and raising the bar on our standards. For our commitment, we were blessed to win back-to-back state championships and four consecutive conference titles. This was not by luck or talent alone – we prepared during the off-season when many people were not watching.

However, inevitably, every year we would have at least one or two guys who stated they wanted to be a part of our program, but would not meet our expectations and would end up either being cut or being dropped to our JV program for further development. This was mainly because of their laziness or lack of commitment in the off-season. They would seldom attend our workouts or if they did decide to attend, they would go half speed in our fundamental work and rarely made progress in developing their skills. This was all due to their lack of motivation. They wanted to shine before many during the season and have the glitz and notoriety that went along with that however they were unwilling to put in the required work when no one else was looking.

“Everyone wants to do what the great ones do: but very few are willing to do what they did to become great.” – Jon Gordon

As stated in our scripture above from Proverbs, “we should look at the ant and consider its ways wise!” The ant does not have someone lording over it making it go out and look for food to bring back to store for the winter months. It just falls in line with the others and does what is required. They know if they do not prepare ahead of time, they will not eat. Well as I related this to our players, if they are not “storing up” on their skill work in the off-season (summer) to where things will become natural and second nature to revert back to during the season (harvest time), they will not eat. And by eating I meant make the team, play as much as they would like to or win as much as they would like to. It all went back to “what you reap is what you sow.”

So in conclusion, whether in your athletic endeavors, your academics, your marriage or your vocation, you must be motivated to work for everything that you desire as nothing is going to handed to you. Thankfully we have a savior who does not give up on us and guides us in the way we need to go. Just like a coach would guide his players and give them a plan on how to improve, God gave us a plan through Jesus Christ on how we should be living and it is therefore up to us to be motivated to follow that plan – His plan.

MANUP!

Coach Allen

Sunrises

Photo Credit: Coach Rose

Photo Credit: Coach Rose

Photo Credit: Coach Rose

Photo Credit: Coach Rose

Photo Credit: Coach Rose

Photo Credit: Coach Rose

Photo Credit: Coach Rose

Photo Credit: Coach Rose

Photo Credit: Coach Rose

Photo Credit: Coach Rose

“Their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.” – Psalm 19: 4b-6

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5: 14-16

“Do everything heartily as unto The Lord, not as unto men.” – Colossians 3:23

—————————-

About 7 years ago, I had a desire to lose weight (the “pot belly” having been a constant battle and source of frustration for many years). I had a fantastic year! I started walking, then walk/running and eventually just running. I would reward myself by running on the boardwalk in Va. Beach on Sunday mornings early enough to catch the sunrise. Though we live only 20 minutes from the Va. Beach boardwalk and 10 minutes from the bay, my busy summer schedule had allowed me very little time to enjoy the beach.
I would arrive 10 minutes before the sunrise, do my run, finish with more stretching, crunches and push-ups and then have devotions on a bench on the boardwalk. Those sessions became very special and important to me. I was combining 3 things I loved: exercise, time with God and one of the most awesome sights in all of nature – the sunrise.

I since have had knee and hip joint issues and can no longer run or walk distances. However, last year I decided the solitude and beauty of watching the sunrise was still needed in my life. Three or four times a week I would drive up to the bay, set up my beach chair, enjoy each unique sunrise and take pictures of them. I would have my devotions from my Bible app prior to it, then watch and photograph the sunrise, and have my prayer time immediately after. (Let me suggest finding a spot occasionally (or regularly) outside where you can behold the beauty of God’s creation to have your quiet time.) I was so into this routine that one of my daughters started to call me “Zen dad”! :).
Think of the sunrise… There is SO MUCH spiritual significance to them. As is Christ the son, nature’s sun is ALWAYS THERE. It NEVER takes a day off. It shines above us day after day after day and lights our way. And though sometimes clouds cover it, (similar to our lives falling away from God or having troubles where we lose sight of Him),  He is still there behind those clouds waiting for us to seek Him again. In John 8: 12 Christ refers to himself as the “Light of the world”. And says for us to “let our light so shine before men” (Matthew 5:16) and that we are to be “the light on a hill” to others. Just as the sun shines its brilliance over our entire world, so does Christ have that power to be that light for you AND you are to be that light for others!
Have you received “the light of the world” in your life? And if yes, are you a beacon of light reflecting that light of Christ inside you to others?? My prayer for you is that if not, you will reach up through the clouds blocking that light and grab the “Light of the world” and let him into your life!  (Rev. 3:20 – “Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man opens the door and hear my voice, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me”.)
Coach Rose

Make That Run!

Photo Credit: Raul Gonzalez via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Raul Gonzalez via CC Flickr

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10

Here’s a simple exercise… Thumb through your list of contacts. A flood of memories will likely pop out as you scroll. Some you will pass by quickly because they carry either little weight or much pain. With others, you will give pause, savoring a good memory or great story, wondering of their welfare and wanting to reconnect. Then there’s that special category of names that come to mind when real wisdom is needed, refuge is sought, urgency is felt.

Does the name of the LORD fall into those last categories for you? To what tower do you run? Do you voice dial the LORD and speak His name? Do you ‘call audibles’ that include His name at your line of scrimmage, your critical daily moments? Do you speak His name, make that run?

Those that call on the name of the LORD are safe, saved, strengthened. The Bible gives evidence to this over and over again. He is a strong tower, worth the run. Speak His name. Call on Him. Hide in Him. Make that run.

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