Shout Out to a Legend

This past week marked the beginning of one of my favorite times of the year:  basketball season.  It’s always exciting to see all the players come into the gym to embark on another memorable journey together, and every year it reminds me of why I love coaching so much.

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I think legendary football coach Steve Spurrier said it best when he stated, “I coach because it beats workin’ for a livin’.”

Now it would be naive to think that there’s no work involved with coaching, but I must say that the work we coaches have the privilege of undertaking is extremely fulfilling and rewarding, and I’m thankful everyday that I get to be apart of it.

As a way to kickoff the season, I wanted to recognize one of the greatest coaches of all-time and someone who has definitely had an impact on me:  Coach John Wooden.

Wooden

Coach Wooden’s resume is second to none.  He won a remarkable ten NCAA championships in a span of twelve years–an unprecedented feat to say the least.  Within that time period, his team won 88 consecutive games and he himself was named national coach of the year six times.  To say Coach Wooden was a great coach would be a severe understatement!

Surprisingly enough, it isn’t Coach Wooden’s amazing on-court accomplishments that have inspired people the most, but his commitment to faith, priorities, and a life beyond the game that has made the biggest impact.

Coach Wooden is well-known for his many books he has written as well as his “Pyramid of Success” (shown below) that he created to direct people on how to be successful at life as well as basketball.

Pyramid of Success

He is also well-known for his many inspirational messages on how to be the best you can be.  Some of my favorites include the following:

“Make each day your Masterpiece.”

“Be uncomfortable being comfortable.”

“Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.”

“Don’t worry about being better than somebody else but never cease trying to be the best you can be.  You have control over that–not the other.”

Wooden

Obviously Coach Wooden knew a lot about how to achieve great things in this life, but what was most important to him was his devout relationship with the Jesus Christ.  And he wasn’t afraid to show it…

“Who you are as a person is far more important than who you are as a basketball player.”

“Consider the rights of others before your feelings and consider the feelings of others before your rights.”

“If I’m ever accused of being a Christian, I hope I’m tried and convicted.”

“I always tried to make clear that basketball is not the ultimate.  It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live.  There is only one kind of life that truly wins and that is one that places faith in Jesus Christ.  Until then, we are all on an aimless course that runs in circles and goes nowhere.”

Wooden

Coach John Wooden was a great coach, but more importantly, he was a great man who was an outstanding role model for all on how to live life passionately and with the right perspective.

Thanks go out to Coach Wooden for making such a huge impact on so many people–including myself.

-BH

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A Disillusioned Sports Fan

My favorite team, the Kansas City Chiefs, was playing great!  We were driving down the field like an unstoppable force and the other team was struggling to figure out how to contain our effective running game, which featured All-Pro running back Priest Holmes and our stout offensive line that included All-Pros Willie Roaf and Will Shields.  I thought for sure we were going to punch the ball into the end zone for a touchdown when the unexpected occurred…

Chiefs

Our quarterback, Trent Green, took the snap, faked the handoff to Priest, and proceeded to throw the ball into the end zone only for it to be… intercepted!

I was outraged!

“WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?” I yelled.  I then threw the football I was holding against the wall, and then, just for good measure, I threw both of my shoes at the door.  I then began screaming out profanities about what a dumb play that was (just in case anyone in my dorm hall had any doubt about how I felt about the situation).

People be like…

It wasn’t until a couple of years later during my time in college that I came to a humbling realization:  I was a “disillusioned” sports fan.

I had a severe perspective problem when it came to sports and an over-the-top interest in my team to the point where I’d spend excessive amounts of time following and cheering for them, and had an unhealthy connection to them that resulted in me getting overly invested in something that in the grand scheme of things mattered very little.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is certainly nothing wrong with being a fan and caring about a team–I still love watching my Chiefs (9-0 baby!) as well as several other sports teams.  The problem occurs when we become so invested in the team that we start to take their performance personally.

For example, I used to get in verbal arguments with people about how much better my Missouri Tigers were compared to our bitter rival:  the Kansas Jayhawks.  In fact, I would put Jayhawk fans down and even would get a bad impression of them as people if they cheered for Kansas (especially if they were from Missouri).

angered

Another example is when I’d scream, yell, and curse at the television when things didn’t go my team’s way.  I acted like a big baby and I’m sure I made a bad impression on pretty much any person that saw me behave in such an immature way.

The reality of the situation was that I didn’t have sports in its proper perspective…

Being a sports fan is meant to be a fun, nonthreatening way to enjoy the athletic achievements of others to whom we have a connection with.

It’s not meant to be a way we find our own personal identity, find identity in others, or treat like an all-important event that we take personal.

Unfortunately, I feel like as a country we are filled with “disillusioned” sports fans just like I used to be.  It becomes evident when we cheer when players we don’t like get hurt (like this), when we personally attack players who don’t perform up to “our” expectations (like this), and when we can’t get along with other fans (like this).

Sometimes I wonder why we care so much about things that don’t really matter–myself included!

What if we cared as much about loving others?  About helping those in need?  About getting out and building positive relationships with people?

What if we became more of a fanatic about the things Christ cares about and less of a fanatic about things that pale in comparison?

Let’s be fanatical about what really matters:  the Good News of Jesus Christ.

-BH

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Overcoming “I Can’t”

I’m sure many of you have heard the story.  The story of a son (Rick Hoyt) who wouldn’t give in to defeat after being diagnosed with celebral palsy as a child.  A father (Dick Hoyt) who refused to accept anything but the best for his son despite the doctors telling him he should institutionalize his child because he would amount to nothing more than a “vegetable.”  A story that goes against conventional wisdom, that brings hope to those who are hopeless, that brings light to those who are in the dark, that shows that anything is possible despite what the world might tell you.

This is the story of the Hoyt family, and to say that it’s inspiring would be an understatement…

The world told the Hoyts to give up.  To surrender to their condition.  To accept the idea that because of Rick’s limitations, they couldn’t make an impact on this world through a full and productive life.

The Hoyts responded by inspiring millions…

They have competed in over a thousand long distance running events–including multiple Boston Marathons, six Ironman triathlons, and even a running/biking trip across the United States.  In addition, they have been honored by having a bronze statue of them created at the start of the Boston Marathon, an induction into the Ironman Hall of Fame, as well as winning the aforementioned Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2013 ESPY’s.

More impressive to me, however, is their commitment to using their story to inspire others.  To stand up for those who believe they’re too weak, too incapable, or too “disabled” to make a difference with their lives.  Or as Rick puts it, “We run for those who think they can’t.”

The world saw Rick as an incapable “vegetable.”  Thankfully, his father Dick saw more and thanks to his vision and willingness to act, Rick has achieved more than anyone could have ever imagined.

Team Hoyt

Not surprisingly, the world often sends us a similar message.  It tells us that we’re not good enough, not skilled enough, and not special enough to make an impact on the world.

Thankfully for us, we also have a Father who has a vision for our lives that is more meaningful and significant than we can even imagine.  And just like Dick acted on behalf of his son, our Father also acts on our behalf.  For He saw that we could not complete the race without His help, without His willingness to act, without His decision to come down to earth and lift us up to the finish line.

Rick knew that he could not compete in all these races without the help of his father.  And just like Rick, we need to recognize that we can’t adequately run our race without accepting the free offer God has given us to carry us to where we’re meant to be.  All we have to do is accept that we can’t do it alone and reach out to His merciful hand for guidance.

The Hoyts’ story is an inspirational one on a multitude of levels, but perhaps the most inspiring is the picture of Christ they represent–a father who refuses to let his son succumb to his deficiencies and carries him to victory.  A father who is too in love with his son to accept anything less than the best.  A father who looks beyond the “impossible” and directly into the miraculous.  A father who cares…

“But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'”–Matthew 19: 26

-BH

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Don’t Buy the Lie

Don’t buy the lie that you’re meant to be mediocre.  That your talents and abilities don’t measure up, and that greatness is just not for you.

Don’t buy the lie that you’re not good enough.  That others are more capable and are destined for a life that is more significant than yours.

Don’t buy the lie that God doesn’t care about you.  That He’s uninterested in you and cares more about other’s affairs than He cares about yours.

Don’t buy the lie that your life doesn’t matter and that you can’t make a positive influence on others.

Don’t buy the lie…

beauty

BELIEVE the truth…

BELIEVE that God created you with greatness in mind.  That your talents and abilities are powerfully unique, and that mediocrity is just not for you.

BELIEVE that God accepts you the way you are and created you with significance in mind.  That others are certainly capable of doing great things, but that you are just as capable with His power on your side.

BELIEVE that God cares greatly about you.  That He’s more interested in you than you could possibly imagine and desires to be a part of your life in the most intimate of ways.

BELIEVE that your life matters and that there’s people in your life that God has placed there for a reason—and that’s for you to use YOUR talents, YOUR abilities, and YOUR unique personality to make a difference on them for the better!

BELIEVE the truth…

 

Lou

“I can’t believe that God put us on earth just to be ordinary.”—Lou Holtz

Be what God made you to be…

Be extraordinary.

-BH

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A Teacher’s Dilemma

One of the biggest responsibilities I have as a teacher is teaching young people how to behave in a morally acceptable way.  Most of us would agree that kids need to learn how to treat others with respect, to be fair at all times, and to be kind to others.  It’s been interesting, however, to see how kids respond when you try to teach them these values.  They often come up with some very valid questions…

-Why should I treat others with respect?
-Why does it matter that I treat others fairly?
-Why is it so important to be kind to others?

These are questions I get from students, and I must admit, it’s very hard to give them a satisfactory answer without mentioning the name of Jesus.

Question mark

Telling a student they shouldn’t do something because “it’s not nice,” or that they should do something because “it’s the right thing to do” is just not a good enough answer for lots of kids.

Some kids don’t care if they’re “nice” and some kids don’t care if they do what’s “right” all the time.  Besides, who’s to say their version of what’s “right” isn’t “right” after all?

The truth is that students should treat others with respect, with fairness, and with kindness because that’s what God (the One who has determined what IS right) tells us to do.

Below are a couple of examples of this dilemma I’ve been faced with while trying to teach kids moral values without being able to share with them the truth about Jesus….

Scenario One

The other day I noticed one of my students cheating during one of my PE games, so I called him over to have a conversation with him about it.  After talking with him about the importance of playing fairly and the reasons we shouldn’t cheat, this kid gave me a very candid statement…

“I don’t care if I cheat or not, I just want to win…”

I didn’t know how to respond!  What could I say?  This kid clearly didn’t care if he played fairly or not–he just wanted the “glory” that came with saying he won!  And without acknowledging God, who’s to say his line of thinking was “wrong” compared to mine?  For who am I to tell him what IS and ISN’T right or wrong?  I am not worthy to make such a declaration!  The only thing I could think to do was to tell him about the One who is worthy…

I wanted to tell him how much God (the One who has declared what is right and wrong) detests lying and deceiving others for one’s own gain.  I wanted to tell him that we don’t cheat because God (the One who knows what’s best for everyone) tells us that it’s wrong and that we harm ourselves and others when we do so.  I wanted to tell him that we don’t cheat because God (the One who created and loves us all) tells us that it’s in our best interests not to.

That is why we don’t cheat–not because I say it’s wrong, or your parents say it’s wrong, or even your friends.  We don’t cheat because God–who has all authority and power–says it’s wrong, and therefore, it’s in our best interests not to do it.

I wanted to tell him the real reason to why we don’t cheat, but I couldn’t…

Scenario Two

One day while I was supervising recess, I had a somewhat unpopular and socially awkward student come up to me crying about two kids who wouldn’t include her in a game.  After talking with the two kids in question about including others and treating everyone with respect, they responded by saying:

“But coach, we don’t like her!  She’s kind of annoying and we’d rather she just leave us alone!”

Once again, I didn’t know what to say!  Without being able to talk about God, they were completely in the right to just ignore the kid and tell her to go away!  Who cared about how the kid felt?  It wasn’t their responsibility to help the girl feel included, appreciated, and liked.  As far as the world’s standard was concerned, these girls were completely in the right to rudely ignore the kid and tell her to buzz off.

God’s standard, however, is wholly different, and I wanted to tell them about it.  I wanted to tell them we include others because God loves us all and wants everyone to feel loved and appreciated.  I wanted to tell them we include others–even when they don’t deserve it, because God first included us–even though we don’t deserve it.  I wanted to tell them we include others because God wants us to treat others the way we would want to be treated.

That is why we include others–not because I say it’s right, or your parents say it’s right, or even your friends.  We include others because God–who has all authority and power–says it’s right, and therefore, it’s in our best interests to do so.

I wanted to tell them the real reason to why we include others, but I couldn’t…

These are just a couple of instances of times I couldn’t educate my students to the full extent they deserve.  For how can I fully teach them morals and values when we as a nation have stripped them of the foundation that our morals and values come from?

I recognize that in a public school we’re supposed to avoid talking about such things, and I’ve been faithful to that which has been ordered of me from higher up in the political ranks.

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It’s just so frustrating to see so many kids lacking such crucial knowledge that would effect their lives so much.

Pray that our kids would discover said knowledge despite the world’s best efforts to hide it from them!

-BH

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The Greatest Lie Ever Told?

Once upon a time (about 2000 years ago), there was a child who was born in a town called Bethlehem.  His mother, Mary, knew of the prophecies that were predicted hundreds of years before (as recorded in the Old Testament) and figured she’d try to convince the entire population that her son was the “Messiah” and named Him Jesus, which means “the Lord saves” (virtually all scholars of antiquity agree that the person of Jesus existed).

nativity_scene

Why did Mary decide to try to pull off such an improbable hoax?  She knew the hostility the Jewish people would have against her (not to mention the ire of the Romans who would undoubtedly look to kill her son and the rest of her family upon learning of their claims).  She also knew the impossible burden she’d be putting on her son by proclaiming Him as the “Son of God,” but she went for it anyway against all conceivable notions of sanity.

Mary knew she (as well as her fiance Joseph) was of the line of David, so she knew she could try to pull of the hoax since the Messiah was supposed to be in David’s lineage.  Furthermore, Mary decided she’d give birth to Jesus in Bethlehem so she could also fulfill the prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

Mary also did some work to fulfill multiple other prophecies so there’d be no doubt her son was the Messiah.  In fact, she somehow fulfilled each one (including His ancestry, place of birth, time of birth, born of a virgin, His name, a child massacre occurring at His birthplace, spending a season in Egypt, etc.).  Some of these she obviously had no control over, but somehow, she was able to set Jesus up perfectly to be “the Son of God.”

After a few years of growing and maturing, Mary and Joseph had Jesus totally convinced that He was the Son of God!  I mean, I know parents can have some overly high and unrealistic expectations of their children, but Jesus believed His parents, and deep down inside, He had no doubt He was who they said He was! (see Luke 2)

JesusGod

After being wholly convinced with every fiber of His being that He was God, He began devising ways to try to convince everyone around Him of that lie.  He knew it wouldn’t be easy and knew His life would be marred by poverty, persecution, and eventually a horrible death, but He decided to go through with it anyway.

Somehow, Jesus was able to perform amazing miracles (apparently He was the Houdini of His day) and inexplicably convinced people to give up everything they had to follow Him.  He cured, taught, and brought hope to thousands (and eventually many billions)–all under this ginormous hoax He and His uneducated family devised before He was born.

Eventually (in order to fulfill all the prophecies), Jesus had to find a way to be betrayed, falsely accused, spat on and beaten, mocked and ridiculed, have soldiers gamble for His clothing, have His hands and feet pierced, be forsaken by God, be buried with the rich without any of His bones broken, resurrect from the dead, and ascend into Heaven!

Furthermore, in order for the hoax to be a success, Jesus had to trust that His followers would spread His lie to the rest of the world against the most intense and violent persecution imaginable!  Sure, the entire Jewish community, the powerful Roman empire, and the rest of humanity would have no reason to believe such a lie.  In fact, they wouldn’t want to just not believe it, but would do everything in their power to squash the movement before it even got started!  It wouldn’t be hard, for how could such a movement occur when the person behind it had been brutally tortured to death the way the worst of criminals would have been in the day?

cross

Against all odds, Jesus’ followers decided to spread the lie anyway.  I don’t know why, for surely they knew it was a lie at this point, but hundreds of people now claimed to have seen the risen Jesus (including Saul–one of the most intense persecutors of Christians of all time).  Apparently all these people got together at a Hoax Convention and decided to spread this lie despite the knowledge they’d be hunted down, captured, and brutally killed for doing so.

2000 years later, the hoax is somehow still going strong!  In fact, the story of the hoax–the Bible (written by multiple eye-witnesses of the events in question)–is the most read, purchased, and talked about book in all of history, and the hoax’s message of love, hope, and sacrificial grace continues to change lives throughout the world!

This is what some consider to be the story of Jesus–He and His many accomplices have somehow pulled off the greatest lie mankind has ever seen!

How did He do it?  How could one man make so many people believe this most epic of lies?

Confused

It’s like He was the Son of God or something…

-BH

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