‘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

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

Getting In and Out of Trouble

Photo Credit: Erik Drost via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Erik Drost via CC Flickr

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25

The 2015 NBA Finals are playing out dramatically. The Golden State Warriors got themselves into trouble early in the series…and now it looks like they’re getting themselves out too. A few key adjustments were made. We’ll see how the last games play out.

Adjustments are crucial indeed. Being careful to not step on anyone else’s toes is one of them…but it can get us into trouble more than we think. Whenever we allow ourselves to become too self-conscious, snares are bound to follow. Concern for what others think of us is not nearly as important as what God thinks. That’s what today’s scripture is all about.

We get out of trouble and are kept safe when we drop a fear of man and add trust in the LORD. When we become more completely careless of our standing before men, we avoid coming snares. And when ‘trusting the LORD’ gets put into our starting lineup, it’s safe to say we’re headed for a life-win. (Thanks, Andre Iguodola, for showing us a fresh, rich illustration!)

How much does ‘fear of man’ factor into your lineup decisions and daily interactions? Is Self-Consciousness getting too much playing time in your life? Is Trust-in-the-LORD getting enough? Those who trust in Him are kept safe, from without and from within.

LORD, free us from fear of man and the burden of self-consciousness and hesitation it produces. Let us find safety and victory through trusting You. Transform and renew our minds (Romans 12:2). We know how to get into trouble. Thank You for showing us how to get out. For our joy and Your great glory. Amen.

Trust God. Period.
Coach Mo

A Few Good Men

Photo Credit: The Wandering Angel via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: The Wandering Angel via CC Flickr

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

One man committed to a cause is greater than 10,000 merely interested spectators. A few good men is better. That’s how the greatest armies, greatest teams are built.

God is looking for such men. His missions are crucial. High stakes define them but they grow great through everyday faithfulness. His team is built on abandon, selfless, brave volunteers who say ‘Yes!’ and take on His noble missions with fearless honor.

Pushbacks:
* Heard the Lord talk like this to you? Recognize a true call and holy cause? Need to turn the volume down on other things?
* Feeling yourself moved by high calling? What could this be? Attaching any strings or fully surrendered?
* Willing to step up, step out, and offer full commitment to a cause greater than yourself, the greatest cause ever? Employed by God and engaged in mission?

LORD, let me feel Your heavenly surge and upward, outward cause. Don’t let me contract the disease of me and die in the dumps of disservice. May I take rank with You in holy mission.

Maximum effort.
Heart for others.
Bring honor to Christ.
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

Speak

Photo Credit: Norm4nNorm4

Photo Credit: Norm4nNorm4

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…” Proverbs 31:8

There’s a lot of noise in our world. Televisions run 24/7 and radios pump incessantly. Pandora and Spotify play supporting cast. Earbuds are worn like permanent jewelry and headphones crown our numbed heads. Still, there is too much silence, too many folks living lives of quiet desperation. The cries of the silent are not being heard.

When I was in college, during a big injury low point, a teammate of mine, unbeknownst to me, spoke on my behalf. What he said, I learned later, valued and defended me powerfully to powerful others and ended up making a huge difference in my future. I’m eternally grateful for Tim White.

Today’s Word invites us to speak meaningfully, to add volume to others and let our voices be strategically heard. I’m so glad God champions such dialogue. Following are a few ideas to prime your pump in speaking up today:

1. Defend the defenseless. Find someone who needs defending and stand up for him.
2. Practice justice. Speak up for what’s right and who’s wrong.
3. Help the voices of the abused, the children, the widow, the powerless, the disadvantaged to be heard. Find one paralyzed by fear and become their mouthpiece.
4. Listen so well to the weak that you cannot be silent. Open your ears to open your mouth.
5. Turn a cellphone into a megaphone! Engage in conversations that champion and cheer on others. 😉

LORD, help us to raise the volume on what needs to said and to speak up for others who need support. Don’t let us leave them voiceless. Thank you for Jesus, who ever lives to make intercession for us. (Hebrews 7:25) May we follow His example well and do the same for others.

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

Approach is Everything!

Photo Credit: Mohammed Shamma via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Mohammed Shamma via CC Flickr

“Let the children come. Don’t stop them. The kingdom of God belongs to people who come like this.” Matthew 19:14

The approach we take as we start a shot, a swing, a game, a contest, a meeting, an assignment, an interview, a season, even each new day, is important. Approach really affects outcome. Approach is perhaps everything.

Let’s not forget this when it comes to God and matters of His Kingdom. Here’s what I mean:
• The best way to come to God is as a child would, bringing perpetual wonder, abiding trust, and pure faith. Any other approach diminishes the outcome.
• The older one gets the more one must be intentionally youthful, working to keep their childlikeness before God. Keep the child in the relationship.
• Ultimate reality shines clearest and best to those who behold it like children, looking for a King and his Kingdom and a storyline that offers real hope to ‘live happily ever after’.
• Like developing athletic movements, don’t overcomplicate the Gospel and the Kingdom. It’s message is profound because of its simplicity, not its complexity.
• Don’t stop the flow. Encourage the flow of kids to God. Encourage the kid in you to come too.

How’s your approach? How well are you looking at life, at God? Like a child? Filled with wonder? Coming in good faith, filled with pure intentions and simple trust? No better approach than this!

LORD, don’t let us overcomplicate You, Your Kingdom, the gospel, life. Let us see You, come to You, experience You, delight in you as children do their Daddy. And help us bring other kids to You as well.

Approach is everything.

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

Things That Make Great Leaders….

Photo Credit: Tumisu via Pixabay

Photo Credit: Tumisu 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…

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.


  1. 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.

The Destructive Effects of Unforgiveness

Photo Credit: Cliff via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Cliff via CC Flickr

On July 2, 1881, the 20th president of the United States, President James Garfield, was in a railroad station getting ready to board a train for the New Jersey shore, when he was suddenly shot twice by a madman, Charles Guiteau.

President Garfield was shot twice at close range…one shot glanced off of his arm while the second bullet found its way into his abdomen. He was taken immediately to Washington DC to be cared for and treated.

Over the course of the next 80 days, sixteen doctors tried their skill and techniques to try to save the life of the president. The stuck a metal probe into him to search for the bullet as well as their dirty fingers and filthy instruments.

Because of the heat and humidity it was decided that he would be moved to a cottage at the Jersey shore. Shortly thereafter, President Garfield’s temperature began to rise, so the decision was made to reopen him up and try to dislodge the bullet and again, they failed. What started out as a shallow, 3 inch wound became a huge 20 inch long, pus infected wound that leaked infection and fluids…from his ribs to his groin.

His robust weight of 210 pounds dropped to an anemic 130 pounds. Then, on September 19, 1881, President Garfield yelled out, “This pain, this pain!” He was suffering from a massive heart attack and died a little while later.

———————-

You may be asking yourself what this story has to do with forgiveness and unforgiveness. Well, this story illustrates the harmful power unforgiveness. Sometimes when a person is wronged, whether it be verbal, physical, or mentally, it can be a very difficult thing to forgive the transgressor.

In a group setting, the effects of unforgiveness can have an even greater effect on a person…and here is why. When a person (or a group of people) cannot forgive an individual…what sometimes happens is that the wronged person might begin to get teased, ridiculed, laughed at, or sometimes, sadly, even harmed by the stubborn person (or people) or cannot forgive.

The result? What could have ended a problem, a situation, or a wrong-doing in a quick, simple fashion, festered into something ugly and sometimes, repulsive. Just like the doctors who “treated” President Garfield with dirty hands and implements….harmful words and actions y others can “infect” and “contaminate” a person’s soul, which can destroy an individual’s life.

It is important to remember this…it wasn’t the bullet that lead to President Garfield’s death…it was the constant prodding, poking, and bad practices that caused him to die. Such it is when people cannot forgive..it can lead to the destruction of others.

So, remember, the next time you have the ability and opportunity to forgive someone who has confessed to you a wrong, even though it might be a hard thing to do, have the courage and conviction to do what is right…and help heal a wounded soul today!

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” _ Matthew 6: 14-15

GOD STILL HEALS AND RESTORES!!

Coach Muller

Some very interesting additional information about this story from a reader of this blog: You really struck on an important point in the history of our country for your good illustration! With very great interest, I read “Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President,” by the very talented author, Candice Millard. You are quite correct that Garfield’s physicians killed him via unsanitary treatment ~ completely unacceptable because Dr. Lister in France had already discovered the necessity in providing medical care in a completely sanitized environment; however, did you know that Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, sent his own father’s physician, Dr. Willard Bliss, to Washington to help in the treatment of Garfield? And also that one Dr. Susan Edson, one of the first female doctors in the country, was also present? Also, very interesting, a young Alexander Graham Bell attempted inventing an instrument capable of precisely locating the bullet w/o invasive procedure? (The fully successful completion of this would, unfortunately, come later but still…)  “noblethemes”

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