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.

Feel Like Giving Up?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

“And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.”  2 Thessalonians 3:13

Why do people give up? Here are some of the most common reasons:
• No hope (no perceived chance for victory or real reward) 
• Not enough patience to keep going
• Fading interest (no sense of personal fulfillment)
• Poor fit (not enough talent or skill)
• Poor relationships kill the drive to press on
• Discouragement (criticism or lack of results has gotten to you)
Any of these hit home?

Still, there’s one more reason for giving up that should never make our list: fear of hard work. A great work ethic must mark the life of the believer, a true Christ-follower. That’s what Paul argues throughout 1 & 2 Thessalonians. As he closes his letter here, Paul challenges his ‘team’ once more, calling them to toughness, especially in regard to doing what’s right. In fact, he says that if a Christian is not known for his hard work and doing what’s right, living life of physical laziness and moral sloppiness instead, Paul argues that you should keep your distance from him. You can’t let such a one make your ‘team’ and your Lord look bad. (3:6,14)

So never fear hard work. Instead, embrace it. Let your life be defined by it. Be known for your great work ethic and toughness in doing what’s right no matter what. It supports the Gospel so well and focuses and fulfills you.

LORD, may I never fear hard work but rather be defined by it. May I advance Your Kingdom and enhance the gospel by being tireless in supporting what’s right and inspired by the perseverance of Christ. 

Be tough. 
Nothing detrimental. 
Bring honor to Christ.
Coach Mo

Standing in the End

Photo Credit: Kalyan Chakravarthy via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Kalyan Chakravarthy via CC Flickr

“A faithful man will be richly blessed…” Proverbs 28:20

In a world where things seem to be moving faster and faster, there’s one other move we must make: slowing down and dropping anchor around faithfulness. Faithfulness holds relationships together and allows teams to really mesh and products to perfect. Faithfulness keeps so much together when Circumstances try to pull everything apart. Faithfulness demands devotion. Faithfulness lifts, holds, endures. Coupled with love, it forms an unbeatable duo. It’s what leaves a man standing in the end.

Faithfulness has its reward too. While promotion often seems to run faster in other directions, faithfulness wins far more in the end. God says so. Longevity and fidelity to both cause and people is the hidden, high virtue. Rich blessings follow the faithful man. He’s the one left standing in the end.

Faithful men:
• play out every possession, on both sides of the ball.
• hang in there.
• love unconditionally and forgive well.
• live by commitment, never feelings or circumstance.
• never run from responsibility or duck duty.
• sacrifice much and don’t cash in early.
• expect the greater reward, God’s reward.

How are you sizing up to this faithfulness profile? Running short or richly blessed? Left standing or left behind.

LORD, help us to place high premium on faithfulness and hang in there. We know the Marines do; help us to place more. Let us be known for our faithfulness to You, to others, to our mission and purpose. Don’t let us run from commitment. Like your Son, let us be found faithful, standing with Him in the end. Richly bless our faithfulness journey, just as You promise. Through Christ the Faithful One. Amen.

Semper Fidelis (‘always faithful’),
Coach Mo

Let’s Talk Amazing…

Photo Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Photo Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden.” Proverbs 30:18-19

Some things in life are just amazing… The Golden State Warriors and their fans today have one idea on what that might be. Today’s Scripture offers four more that King Solomon classifies as ‘more than amazing’. I think he really wanted to land on the last one especially. 😉 You tell me.
1. The sight of an eagle in flight. There is  such dignity and grace, power and purpose that a soaring eagle brings. It inspires like no other winged flight does.
2. How a snake moves so deftly. With no legs it moves so well and is so agile. It is a hit-and-run artist at its best.
3. How a boat stays high on the seas. Nothing seems to stop a boat’s buoyancy other than a leak. Nothing from the outside seems to bring it down.
4. The way of a man with a woman. A woman’s influence on a man is profoundly mysterious and simply amazing. There’s a way about a woman that really moves a man. She is amazingly powerful. A good one, the right one, can launch a thousand ships. 😉

Let’s pause on the last point for a moment… Since this is amazingly true, let’s be careful about who and what we get ourselves into. Knowing that we can get beautifully ‘smitten’ by a woman also means that we can get powerfully ‘bitten’ too.  That’s why Billy Joel and countless others have written the contrasting love songs they have.

LORD, help us as men to get our women-wisdom right. Lead us to safe harbor and real reward. We want to experience amazing victory on this important front. May we soar above, move deftly, keep our head above water, and find our way. We want to win the war here. Thank you by faith for Your strong hand to guide us to a good ‘promised land’.

Simply Amazed,
Coach Mo

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.

Belonging

Photo Credit: Gregg Knapp via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Gregg Knapp via CC Flickr

“…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:12–14

I was thinking about the careers of Derek Jeter (NY Yankees), Kevin Durant (OKC Thunder), Tim Duncan and David Robinson (SA Spurs), Bill Russell (Boston Celtics), Stephen Curry (GS Warriors) today. All men found a home away from home, dove in, fit in, settled in. They joined a great ‘kingdom’. And a great kingdom settled into them too. All prospered. I’m sure you can think of some great belonging examples too.

One of the best things about being a member of a good team is the sense of belonging, not just the sense of accomplishment. His people find fit. Being connected to something special, bigger than yourself, a place where you truly have rights and privileges, where strong acceptance vibes flow, among those who really care…All this means the world. And that’s what God brings to people who join His Kingdom.

Did you note God’s commitment to building a sense of belonging that’s expressed in today’s passage?
• HE QUALIFIES – God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called. He drafts us and then makes us legit. What a commitment!
• HE SHARES – God shares His glorious inheritance with us. “Mi casa, su casa” was His line first. What an owner and GM to play for!
• HE ‘SAINTS’ US – God re-titles us, dubbing us more special than we see ourselves. We get renamed, re-branded.
• HE RESCUES – God fights for us! He risks. He marches into hell for a heavenly cause.
• HE BRINGS – God doesn’t leave us on our own to figure things out and find our way. He ushers us. He prompts. He welcomes.
• HE LOVES – His whole Kingdom is defined by and filled with love. What a way to live!
• HE REDEEMS – God marches into enemy territory and reclaims His own. His Kingdom is proactive. He buys back.  He frees prisoners. He goes after big ‘road wins’ and gets them.
• HE FORGIVES – God practices and perfects the one thing that keeps all of us moving forward, together with Him. Our teams and our lives do well when we practice like this too.

What a great culture God creates! What a boss! What a King! What a Kingdom to belong to! In Him we find the best fit!

How’s your sense of belonging going? In it for the long haul with Him, building something special?

LORD, thank you for qualifying, sharing, sainting, rescuing, bringing, loving, rescuing, forgiving us. You really want us in Your Kingdom. You want us to belong. What an eternal contract offer! You are the Best!

Who you belong to makes all the difference in the world…

Thanking God for a great family fit with you,
Coach Mo