Author Archives: bradyhammond

About bradyhammond

I'm a basketball coach and author in the Kansas City area. I'm passionate about Jesus, my family, friends, and of course....basketball!

A Prayer Lord, for my Daughter

Dear Lord,

As I sit here gazing at this newest and most special blessing You’ve bestowed upon me, my heart is overwhelmed with joy.

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Thank You for blessing us with Emery.  For allowing her to be healthy and strong.  For giving my wife the strength to carry and birth her, for empowering the medical staff to deliver her, for granting us the ability to provide for her, and for blessing our family with the utmost support in every way imaginable.  You Lord have blessed us far more than we could ever deserve.

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With all You’ve given us God, it seems selfish–if not outright greedy–to ask for more.  But You Lord tell us to continually ask as long as we do so in Your Name.

Therefore God, I ask…

I ask that You give her mother and me the wisdom, strength, patience, and fortitude to raise Emery how You would have us raise her.  For her to be a woman of God who loves You and follows You no matter how challenging and difficult it may seem.  May she put her trust in You God.

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I ask that You give her strength God.  Strength to overcome life’s challenges that’ll be sure to come.  Strength to put others before herself in a society that increasingly puts the self above all else.  Strength to stand up when she needs to stand up and to sit down when she is called to sit down.  And strength to overcome any sufferings she endures as she recognizes that You Lord experienced great suffering and overcame.

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I ask that You bless others who come to know her God.  May You surround her with strong, godly friends who will support her and help her be her best.  May you allow her to be a blessing to those she comes in contact with–both the friendly and the unfriendly.  May you allow her to be a great light that brings many to know You in an ever-growing dark world.

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I ask that you give her a fulfilling and rich life.  May she experience great joy, deep love, and powerful relationships.  May she be allowed to explore creation and experience life’s beauty to the maximum degree.  Most importantly, may she come to fulfill Your will for her Lord using the gifts and passions You’ve bestowed upon her to live to her fullest.

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I ask that you allow Alyssa and I to do right by her God.  To support and advocate for her in every way.  To provide her the space and freedom she needs to pursue her dreams as well as the boundaries and discipline required for her to be successful.  To smother her with hugs and kisses unconditionally while at the same time teaching her to be accountable for her actions and never be too good to say “I’m sorry.”

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Selfishly God, I ask that I have the opportunity to be with her–to hold her hand, play with her, dance with her, wipe her tears when she cries, embrace her when she rejoices, and always be her #1 fan.  To watch her learn and grow into a great young woman who loves life and is a blessing to others.  To be there on her wedding day giving her away to a God-fearing man worthy of her love.  To someday hold her own children in my arms as she prays a similar prayer on their behalf to You O God.

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And please Lord, when she comes to learn the truth about me–that Daddy is in fact not Superman but a broken sinner who left to his own abilities will inevitably let her down–empower in her the assurance that her Heavenly Father always comes through as You are far greater than Superman–You’re her perfect Savior who will NEVER let her down.

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Once again Lord, I thank you for our Emery.  I promise as her father to always treasure her for the special gift that she is and do my best to protect her, support her, and build her up to the highest of my abilities.

What a blessing she is O God.  May her story make Your Name Great.

Amen

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What’s in a Name?

As many of you know, my wife and I are having our first child coming up here in a few weeks (due date is May 26th!).  With this major life change comes many important decisions we’ll have to make–one of the first of those being her name.

A name is a huge part of a person’s life.  It truly is our identity in that when our name is spoken, we will respond to it for all of our lives.  A name also becomes the verbal symbol of who we are in that when people hear it, they’ll think of us.  A name can also provide meaning (our baby’s name–Emery–means brave, powerful, and industrial).

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In Matthew 1: 23, we find the meaning of the most important person’s name whoever lived–Jesus.  His name means “God with us.”  This meaning provides so much insight into who Jesus is that I could write for pages upon pages about it. However, today  I want to focus on two points:

  1. What His name means for salvation
  2. What His name means for leadership

First of all, the most beautiful part of “God with us” is what it means for our salvation.  In all other religions, the idea is for people to try to work towards achieving salvation by pleasing a deity or achieving “nirvana” through rightful works or being “good enough.”  That is to say that if God were atop a mountain and we were at the bottom, we would have to successfully climb our way up it through our own efforts to achieve our salvation.

In Christianity, God tells us that we will never be “good enough” based on our own efforts yet He loves us so much that He came down to earth, humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross, and earned salvation for us on our behalf.  That is to say that if God were atop a mountain and we were at the bottom, He freely decided to descend said mountain, offer us a free ride up the mountain, and do all the work for us by taking us up Himself so that we may receive the salvation at the top.  All we must do is accept the free ride.

This has numerous ramifications for us but here are three simple ones:

  1.  It simplifies our salvation.  No longer do we have to work towards some sort of arbitrary goal of being “good” or achieving some sort of perfect state of being.  All we have to do is accept God’s gift that He freely offers us and then trust and follow Him to the best of our abilities.
  2.  It liberates us from wondering if our actions are good enough to make us right by God.  Through His work on the cross, we can do good works not because it selfishly earns us points towards our salvation, but we do so cheerfully to obey God, serve others, and follow His will without having to compare ourselves to those around us or balancing our good deeds against our bad.
  3.  It allows for forgiveness of sins since being perfect or even “good” is acknowledged as being an impossible feat for humans to achieve.  As long as we’re sincerely following Christ, we can have the confidence in knowing when we do mess up, God will forgive us if we ask with a repentant heart and humble spirit.

Personally, these truths have made my life so much simpler.  When I look at my past, I know God has forgiven me for my mess ups.  When I look at my present, I know God is in control and the only thing I need to worry about is following Him to the best of my ability.  When I look to my future, I know my salvation is already paid for and I can live confidently knowing I find my identity in Christ and nothing else.  There is no need to compare myself to others’ achievements or even to my own expectations of “success.”  As long as I follow God’s will, I will be a “success” in the only way that truly matters–through His eyes.

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The second point I want to touch on is much more secondary and doesn’t quite have the eternal implications of the previous.  However, I do feel like God coming down to earth didn’t only show us how to receive salvation but also gave us a glimpse into how can go about living our lives–including how we should look at leadership.

All of us at some point will be required to lead in some capacity.  Whether it’s leading others through our roles in our jobs, becoming a parent and leading our children, teaching or being a role model for someone else, or simply organizing any sort of event or activity whatsoever, we will all at some point in our lives be called a leader.

There’s lots of great ideas and philosophies out there on how to be a quality leader and I’m sure they’ve all got great ideas and aspects involved with them.  However, God (being the ultimate leader) humbling Himself, coming down to earth, living amongst those “beneath Him,” and leading them not through His position of authority but through serving amongst us, I think shows us the ultimate lesson in leadership.

Matthew 20: 25-28 sums it up best:

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave–just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

What does this tell us in regards to leadership?

In our role as a leader, do we sit atop our leadership “mountain” demanding those beneath us rise up to our will?  Or do we, like Christ, descend from our “leadership throne” to be amongst those we’re leading and not only work alongside them but actually serve them as Christ served us?

I think the below illustration gives a great representation on the different views of leadership.  The leader on the left represents how many in our society view leadership as it being an opportunity to be on top and “rule over” those beneath us whereas the leader on the right is the type of leader Christ modeled for us and calls us to be as this leader works alongside those he leads in a humble and loving way.

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The biggest takeaway here is when God does bless you with an opportunity to lead, rather it’s in your job, at home, or simply for a brief moment in time, do so with a humble attitude and loving heart.  If the God of the universe–who is in fact perfect and better than all of us–could humble Himself and do so than it should not be asking too much of us–who in no way can call ourselves perfect or even “better” than those we lead–to do so in kind.

There are lots of powerful insights we can gather when reflecting upon God’s wonderful name.  How truly blessed we are that God chose to live among us both in flesh through His Son Jesus 2000 years ago and now amongst us through His Holy Spirit.

Praise His Holy Name!

-BH

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An Emotional Reminder

The first verse I’m going to discuss in my return to writing actually brought tears to my eyes upon reading it.  The verse was so real, so convicting, and so comforting that I had to go back and reread multiple times to let it properly sink in.  The emotion struck me hard.

As referenced in my previous piece, it had been a very long time since I had actually read the Bible and felt any sort of connection or closeness to God while doing so.  Why was this the case?  Why didn’t every time I open the Bible I feel the power of Jesus?  Why hadn’t I longed to connect with the Creator of the Universe on a more regular basis?

This verse addressed those questions and even a much larger, overarching one:  Why did Jesus even come to Earth in the first place?

Matthew 1: 21 gives us the answers when the angel of the Lord addresses Joseph as he considers how to respond to his fiance Mary’s unexpected pregnancy:

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

It’s so easy to look around and see that people clearly need saving.  From when we turn on the news and hear of the atrocities going on across the globe to when we go about our everyday lives and see the imperfections in others, it’s obvious that this world and the people who inhabit it are not as they should be.

Why did I have such a rush of emotion upon reading this verse however?

I knew this world was broken and full of sin and knew the only way people could be saved from their sins was through Jesus.

I shed tears this morning because it reminded me that I too needed saving.

How could a man who professes to have a relationship with the Almighty Creator spend so little time getting to know Him in His Word and in prayer?  How could someone be so preoccupied with himself that he ignores the One who brings any sort of relevance and meaning to what he does?  How could a man be so full of sin yet be more attentive to others’ shortcomings in lieu of his own?  How could such a man call himself a Christian?

God used this verse to strike me with the answer:

Brady, you too have fallen short; you too are in need of rescue; you too are why I had to die on the cross… you too need Jesus.

All of us (Christian or not) can see this world does not measure up.  People are evil and can’t be trusted.  Our systems are broken and don’t work as they should.  Suffering is rampant and sorrow reigns.  These things are no secret whether you believe in God or not.

It is much harder, however, to come to grips with the fact that we are also apart of the problem.

We too do not measure up to the standard God has set for us.  We are evil and can’t fully be trusted.  We are selfish and do not live as we should.  Suffering is rampant and sorrow reigns because we refuse to live as Christ call us to live.  These are truths much harder to deal with when we force ourselves to look inward rather than just outward.

Thankfully, God knows we can’t obtain the perfection He requires on our own; that it’s impossible for us to climb the mountain of righteousness to be in His presence; that we need someone to save us.

That’s why Jesus came.  That’s why He died on the cross.  That’s why I shed tears of joy on this day…

Because Jesus came and He saved me from my sins.

Thank you, O Lord.

-BH

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I’m Back…

Well folks, a lot has happened since I last ventured onto this website to write.  The Lord has blessed me with another new job (as an administrator and basketball coach at Belton High School), new home, and a new baby girl on the way!  With all these new changes and activities, it goes without saying my return to writing has nothing to do with boredom or having “too much time on my hands.”

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So why now?  Well, like a lot of Christians out there, I recently came to the realization that I’ve allowed the world to get in the way of my spiritual growth.  I’ve allowed my “busyness” to be an excuse to not prioritize my faith and have let the other things become more of a priority in my life than what should be the most important–my walk with the Lord.

I owe some of my revelation to an outstanding writer that I’ve been following for the past couple of years–Matt Walsh.  Matt is without doubt a controversial figure who many people have differing opinions about.  He’s certainly not perfect (like all of us) but what I do appreciate about Matt is his willingness to search for and speak truth (no matter how unpopular) in a society that seems to be getting further and further away from it.

Matt’s recent article about lukewarm Christianity really struck a nerve with me.  It was through this piece I came to the realization that I’ve become more and more of an indifferent Christian in an indifferent world than someone who is actively living out his faith and trying to make a difference within it.  This revelation led me to the one logical place where I could address the issue…God’s Word.

I’ve read the Bible a lot throughout my life.  I’ve done quiet times, Bible studies, and even read the Bible chronologically in a year as part of a small group assignment.  This time, however, I went to my Bible with a different mindset.  I wasn’t going to complete a small group study or to fulfill some personal obligation to be able to tell God that I “completed my Bible time” this morning.  This time when I went to God’s word, I went for one reason:  to learn and grow closer to Jesus.

Reading the Bible as a “spiritual homework assignment” has always been a struggle for me…

Okay God, I’m going to do my best to drag myself out of bed a 6 am to read an obligatory chapter or two of scripture then rush into my closet, get dressed, brush my teeth, grab a Granola bar for the road, and then jet out to work like the McCallisters jetting out to an airport…

Doing this for a week or two and then inevitably burning out without remembering hardly anything that I read or thought during these speed reading sessions has not been a recipe for success for me.

This past Wednesday, however, instead of opening my Bible with a preconceived number of chapters or amount of time I insisted on reading, I simply came wanting to read about the most fascinating, powerful, and controversial figure in the history of the world–Jesus Christ.

I didn’t have any outside motivations, no intent on reporting to God that I completed my Bible time, no obligatory feelings of “I must do this once a day to be a good Christian.”  I did this simply to grow closer to Jesus.

As a result?  For the first time in a long time I actually enjoyed reading the Bible.  I was fascinated to open up to the Gospels and begin reading the most amazing story in the history of mankind.  It was liberating to find that once I came to a passage that really stood out to me, I could go back and reread without having to look at the clock or look at how many more pages I had to read before I could deem myself finished.  This time, I found myself actually being able to hear God, learn from his Word, and get something out of my so-called “quiet time.”  It was amazing!

After reading in this new way, ample thoughts, ideas, and reflections came into my head that I wanted to grapple with more and more.  Then it occurred to me:  what better way to apply and share my reflections than to return to writing?

Thus, I’m back…

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It’s not my intention to promise you I’ll write every week, just like I’m not going to tell God that I’m going to set my quiet time for a certain time or day of the week.  This plan may work for some people but it simply doesn’t work for me.

I intend on reading God’s word only when God calls me to it, which certainly will be on a regular basis but not on a predetermined day, hour, or time period.

Similarly, I intend on sharing with you what I’ve learned also on a regular basis but there will no promises of it being “every Saturday” or “at least twice a month.”

I don’t want my time with God or my writing to become some sort of homework assignment.  I want it to be what it’s meant to be:  a time to spend learning and growing closer to Jesus.

I’m excited to be back and can’t wait to share with you what I learn and hope all of us–especially myself–are able to grow closer to God through the process.  Thanks for supporting me on this ongoing journey!

-BH

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A New Adventure

These past two weeks have been two of the most grueling of my life.  Not because they have been bad or negative, but because I have had to make one of the toughest decisions (possibly THE toughest) I have ever had to make.

I remember back when I was a student at Liberty High School thinking about how amazing it would be to teach and coach in the distinguished Liberty School District.  One of my favorite teachers was Coach Simpson.  Anyone could tell that Coach Simpson loved his job.  He got to work with students during the day teaching physical education, and by night he got to live out his passion as a basketball coach.  Inside, I was secretly jealous of what he had.  He got to coach under one my role models–head coach Roger Stirtz–and got to live out his dream working with students through the game he loved.

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I vividly recall thinking about how great a gig Coach Simpson had and realized I would probably never be able to obtain such a job–simply because I didn’t have the talent.  Coach Simpson was a great basketball player in his playing days and had the opportunity to play for Northwest Missouri State in college.  Furthermore, it was well-known among us high school players that Coach Simpson had tried out for the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA before becoming a coach.  If that wasn’t enough, Coach Simpson proved himself as an elite player in practices and open gyms as his shooting and overall basketball skills made it undeniable that he was a superb talent.

It was with this knowledge I came to think you had to be an elite basketball player to be a coach, and I knew I would never quite be on that level.  Consequently, jealousy ensued as I literally thought I could only dream of such an opportunity to coach with Coach Stirtz, teach PE, and be a part of the well-regarded Liberty School District.

Thanks to some amazing administrators and trusted colleagues, my dream somehow became a reality over these past four years–and it was just as amazing as I thought it would be.  Teaching and coaching for the Blue Jays has been one of the great joys of my life.  Coach Stirtz is a great role model and mentor who creates a fun, collaborative atmosphere that is conducive to success on and off the basketball court.  I knew this as a player when I played for him and I now know this as a coach who has now coached for him as well.  The administration at Liberty has also been top-notch.  From the top-down, the administrators in the Liberty School District have been nothing but supportive, encouraging, and a pleasure to work for.  And lastly, all the amazing colleagues and students I have had the pleasure to work with have made this journey all the more fulfilling and enjoyable.  I am humbled by how blessed I have been.

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It is with this background in mind that my tough decision came about.  I knew I loved my job at Liberty, so I made it clear to others when they inevitably asked, “So when are you going to start looking to be a head coach again?” that the only way I would leave would be for the perfect opportunity.

As many of you now know, that opportunity has come as I have now officially accepted the job as the head basketball coach at Smithville High School.

Smithville has everything I am looking for.  Quality administrators, a positive school climate, and a supportive community who are passionate about their kids.  It also helps that it’s only a short 25 minute commute from our house and is located near a pretty awesome lake!

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After doing some more research and having the opportunity to visit with a few of the educators of Smithville, my “perfect opportunity” has clearly come.  Through lots of prayer and reflection, my wife and I both decided it was time for a new adventure and we are extremely excited to get started!

I want to thank all the great educators, colleagues, students, and friends who I have had the privilege of working with these past four years in Liberty.  I will always cherish our time together and hope we can stay in touch.

I also want to thank the community of Smithville for providing this new opportunity and being so supportive of me during this process.  I am very excited and optimistic about the things to come.

And lastly, though jobs, places, and people change in our lives, I am comforted knowing that one thing never does:  my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I am so thankful for my relationship I have with Him and know as long as I follow His direction, my future and my family’s future are taken care of.

Thanks again for everybody’s support in this process.  I have truly been blessed.

-BH

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A Year Ago Today

Exactly one year ago today (October 25) was a life-changing day for me…

I have met and dated plenty of great girls in my life but never found the one I thought God wanted me to marry.  I eventually decided to swallow my pride and succumb to my dad’s suggestion that I try out the dating website Christian Mingle.  I was surprised to find that the website actually produced more dates than I expected it would (I definitely recommend it for any single Christians out there who are looking to date).

Though I got to meet and even “date” a few great girls, the first few relationships didn’t work out for one reason or another.  Until finally, I was able to schedule a date with this pretty girl named Alyssa who I felt had the potential to be someone special.  She had a great sense of humor and had a passion for kids (she was a teacher like me).  She also had a strong spiritual background and our personalities seemed to mesh very well (the fact she was beautiful didn’t hurt either)!

It goes without saying that I was nervous before I met her at the popular Japanese restaurant Siki for our first date, and as soon as she walked in, I knew I had to do everything I could not to mess it up!  Thankfully, Alyssa had a great smile and an outgoing personality that helped put my nervous jitters at ease.

I don’t remember much as far as what we talked about specifically, but I remember afterwards I called my mom and confidently told her, “Mom, I found the one.”

One year later, I am less than two months away from marrying Alyssa and am so thankful I waited for God to deliver her to me.  I remember beginning to think that maybe there was no “dream girl” for me out there.  That maybe I’d have to settle for someone I wasn’t crazy about (which would have been wrong of me) or stay single my whole life (which I didn’t feel was my calling).  Thankfully, I was wrong, and I knew I was wrong as soon as I met her.

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Now the purpose of this post is not for me to go on and on about how lucky I am or how much I love Alyssa (which is a lot).  The purpose of this post is to encourage all of you that were like me a year ago–frustratingly dating to no avail and unsure if God would be faithful to my heart’s desire.  Now, I’m not about to sit here and tell you that if you pray for a spouse, God’s going to give her (or him) to you.  God is not some genie in a bottle who always gives us the things we want–even if they are wholesome and good.  I will say, however, that if you have a longing in your heart for a spouse then it likely is in God’s will, and I would echo the words so many said to me over the years:  be patient!

Being patient is much easier said than done, and I in no way was a master of it!  I would often get frustrated at God and try “my own way” of finding my future spouse.  It got so bad that it eventually became like an idol to me, as I found myself spending my spare time dwelling about my lack of a spouse instead of focusing God and the blessings He HAD given me.

The truth is that I didn’t find Alyssa until I finally humbled myself.  I decided that being single wasn’t such a bad thing (which it isn’t!) and had to accept the fact that God wanted me to be single at that time and I had to be okay with it.  Besides, the greatest person to ever live (Jesus Christ himself) and the greatest missionary to ever live (Paul) both lived their whole lives single.  So who was I to say that being single wasn’t an “acceptable” path for me?

Thankfully, God brought Alyssa to me, but again, it wasn’t until I became “okay” with being single and content with having no intimate relationship with anyone outside of God (which always was and is more than enough!).  Now, obviously I didn’t just throw up the white flag and totally give up on my great desire for a wife as I eventually signed up for Christian Mingle , but I stopped making my dating life an idol and began focusing on God and all the blessings He had given me.

God knows your heart, your circumstances, and your needs far more than even you can fully understand, and if a spouse is something you need and you are following God’s will, then it will be sure to happen for you.  It may not be in your timing or how you expect it to be (like for Alyssa and I, meeting online wasn’t what we expected), but I promise you that if you stay faithful to God, He will stay faithful to you–whether it’s bringing you the “girl of your dreams” or it’s leading you down another path that allows you to maximize your impact and closeness to Him–God is faithful.

Searching for Alyssa was an emotional time in my life–full of ups, downs, and many disappointments.  I wish I had taken everyone’s advice much earlier than I did in regards to being patient and faithful to God.  If you’re like I was–doubting God and making your lack of a significant other an idol–then I’d encourage you to pray for God to give you patience as well as  reassurance that He loves you and is faithful to bring about everything you need.

Also, try out Christian Mingle if you feel so inclined.  It certainly worked out for me!

-Brady

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