Category Archives: Around the Web

Does God Care if We Win & How We Win?

On Nov.2, 2014 there was a brawl at Texas Motor Speedway involving NASCAR crews, Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon. Much can and has been said about this but Denny Hamlin, who has had his struggles with Keselowski said this in an interview:
Does God Care if We Win & How We Win“If you ask me do you want a championship trophy or do you want the respect of your peers, I will take the respect from my peers because that trophy, they can’t put in my casket,” Hamlin said. “What’s the fun of a NASCAR [championship] party that nobody shows up to?”
As a Sports Chaplain, I do not hear Denny’s perspective very often in this “win at all cost” society. I think that Brad probably has garnered more fans as a result of his attitude and driving because this perspective of competition has been ingrained in so many. Last week I prayed with a team before a basketball game that “the competition would play their best and we would play our best” – there were not a lot of coaches or players saying amen at that point. One great reason Sports Chaplains are in the locker room – to give another perspective, hopefully one from above.
I love winning – love to compete. Winning is so much more fun that losing. But God teaches us when both happens. I do believe that God cares who wins and who loses. If he doesn’t care – tell me what else God doesn’t care about. Winning and losing affects lives in drastic ways – just ask any coach that could lose his job if he does not win this season. Does God care about his job and family? You betcha!
God is there when we win and when we lose – and that is not just a comment about sports.

Submitted by Ken Cross

Partners in Ministry

520c165d58ed1_preview-620Here in the USA schools are starting after the summer vacation and fall sports are gearing up as well. Soccer (football), American football, volleyball, golf, tennis, and even some baseball is played in the months of August through November. This time of year is always exciting because it’s full of anticipation and hope for success.

For sports chaplains and character coaches, this season of the year also presents some unique opportunities for effective ministry. Below is a brief, certainly not exhaustive, list of opportunities and ideas for your ministry with teams or individuals in this new season.

Prior to the season’s beginning, visit practices. Obtain a roster and memorize names, uniform numbers, and other details that seem helpful.

At preseason practices, speak with the coaching staff, support staff, and players as you can. Build relationships, they are central to everything we do.

Look for opportunities to assist the coaching staff in any way possible. Serve, serve, serve, and serve some more.

If you are able, attend team meetings and observe the team’s culture, their interaction, the tone of the coaching staff, their expectations, their goals, etc…

Look ahead at the schedule to see where ministry opportunities may be for yourself and for others.

Speak with the head coach about the possibilities of team chapels, Bible studies, team dinners, a study for the coaches, or other opportunities for ministry. Plan and execute them well.

Be sure, if you are serving in a university, to meet with the NCAA compliance officer and make him/her your friend. This person makes a better ally than an enemy. Build a relationship of trust with him or her and it will make your service easier and you won’t have to look over your shoulder constantly worrying about violating a rule.

Consider writing a journal of all your interactions with the team. It will sometimes feel rather mundane, but when a whole season’s story is told, it can be quite insightful for yourself and whoever else you allow to read it. I often do this and give it to the head coach after the season so he can see the season from my perspective.

Pray, seek favor, pray, build relationships, pray, memorize names, pray, watch your attitude, pray, serve selflessly, pray, and love extravagantly.

Have a wonderful season. God bless, Psalm 90:12-17

Submitted By Roger Lipe, Sport Chaplain / Character Coach / Sport Mentor

Southern Illinois FCA

 

Redeemed Sports – PGA Golfer Disqualifies Himself

Golf ClubsWhat makes this story especially interesting is that Cameron Tringale asked to be DQ’d 6 days after the PGA, and, the move cost him $53,000!

Put yourself in his shoes.  It is the final round of the year’s final major – the PGA Championship.  You are not in contention to win but you want to finish well.  You are on the 11th hole and a little frustrated at not making par.  You go to tap in your bogey putt.  It is only 3 inches.  As you move toward the ball, your not thinking.  You just move to tap it and go right over the top of the ball.  You move again, reflexively, and tap it in.  On to the 12th hole, where you grind out the first of five pars before birding the 18th for a final round 69.  You tie for 33rd and earn $53,000. Not bad but you had hoped for more.  You were hitting the ball so well all week.  The thought even came to your mind that maybe this was your week to win.  Just couldn’t get the putts to fall.

Later that day, as you reflect on the round, something starts gnawing at you.  Did you actually make a stroke and whiff that putt on 11?  You try to remember but it happened so fast.  Because you were acting on reflex, you can’t really remember.  You dismiss it, “No, if I would have whiffed it outright I would remember that.

Redeemed Sports – Honesty Moves Coach To Return State Trophy

RunningImagine this scenario.  Your team wins a state title, something you have been striving for all year.  With the victory comes great celebration, joy, satisfaction, honor.  However, something is wrong.  Later, in reviewing the results, you realize there was a error in the calculations.  It wasn’t your error but the error of those responsible to tally the results.  Yet, the mistake means you actually finished third not first.

What would you do?

This is not so fictional fantasy but an actually event for North Attleboro High School and their track coach, Derek Herber.  To see how the coach responded and why, take a minute and watch the following video.

To find out more of the story, go here

The line that stood out to me from the video – “Ultimately, we need to make sure we maintain the integrity of the sport and North Attleton Athletics.

God at Work at Joe Gibbs Racing

SOGWe like to say at The Sports Outreach Group that we are one ministry with two passions.  Our passion at CSO is to work with local churches to help them utilize the tool of sports to reach and redeem people and sports.  Churches that do this have what we call Gospel-centered Sports Ministries.

At The Sports Outreach Group, our other passion is sports chaplaincy.  The piece of the Sports Outreach Group that leads us in that passion is the Sports Chaplain Network (SCN), headed by Ken Cross.

In the following video, Bob Dyar, President of The Sports Outreach Group and Lead Chaplain at Joe Gibbs Racing, outlines the  chaplain ministry at Joe Gibbs Racing.  In addition, several of the employees of Joe Gibbs Racing talk about the impact of this ministry in their lives.

This story is another example of the incredible tool of sports – when they are placed in the hand of God.  He is using the sport of racing to connect with men and women at Joe Gibbs Racing in a moving way.  To read more about this movement, click here.

Let me ask you – What might it look like for you to place your sports into God’s hands?  How might he use your in and through those sports to reach and redeem people?  How might he use those sports to reveal your own heart and deepen your walk with him?

John Piper Gets a Yellow Card!

John Piper“Sports don’t build character. They reveal it.” Coach John Wooden

We all need this revelation. We have blind spots. We deny who we really are. Even the likes of great men like John Piper need this revelation.

Don’t get me wrong. John Piper is one of my heroes. I cannot understate the impact of his book,
Desiring God
, on my life. There, I found the passions of my heart affirmed and directed toward their ultimate satisfaction – God. God used this affirmation and direction to help shape much of who I am today. Time and time again I go back to the premise of the book – God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. In addition to Desiring God, I have thoroughly enjoyed other books of his, including Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, Don’t Waste Your Life, The Pleasures of God, and The Pleasures of God.

Yet, as I said, even the likes of great men like John Piper need this revelation of our hearts. Sports provide such a The Pleasures of God to bring forth that revelation. I read recently about this process as Piper’s son, Barnabas Piper, describes it in this The Pleasures of Godby Jonathan Merritt:

RNS: What is one thing people would be shocked to learn about the Piper household?

BP: Depends on who you ask. Those who are huge fans might be surprised to know that our family has a lot of tensions and quirks. We have dysfunction and conflict. We don’t always get along very well. It’s not the idyllic repository of peace and knowledge they might have painted a picture of in their heads.

Those who see him as a heavy-handed fire breather would be surprised to know that he loves movies like “The Pleasures of God” and is fiercely competitive. He even got a yellow card for berating referee at one of my brothers’ soccer games one time.

(See more at: http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2014/07/01/john-pipers-son-discusses-dysfunction-conflict-upbringing/#sthash.Hlfiuvnm.dpuf)

In bringing this up, I am not putting John down or am I surprised by this revelation. We are all broken in our approach to sports. All I have to do to be reminded of the brokenness is to look in the mirror of my own sports experiences. Our sports are broken because we, as broken people, are involved in them. Even people like John Piper.

I bring this up in order to provoke all of us to go further with the revelation of this brokenness that sports provide. If I had the opportunity, hopefully I would ask John Piper some questions to further dig into the receipt of that yellow card like the following (that is if I repented of my own worship of John and pursuit of his approval so I could move in love for him and desire to glorify God!!!!!) :

1) Why were you The Pleasures of God?

2) What goal of yours was the referee blocking by his behavior that stirred your anger? (Anger is usually provoked by a blocked goal, according to psychologist Larry Crabb.)

3) What emotions might you be feeling that lie underneath the anger? (Anger is always a secondary emotion. I know. The Pleasures of God.)

4) How does your berating the referee bring glory to God?

5) If not about glorifying God, whose glory was your interaction with the ref about?

6) What might this interaction reveal about your heart that needs repentance?

These are the kinds of questions I ask myself when I get angry in my sports – whether participating, coaching or watching. They usually lead me to the place that I see how self-centered my sports were at that moment. They were about me – my glory, my way of satisfying my desires – rather than about God – his glory and his ways of satisfying my desires. This revelation from such a laboratory enables me to repent of that pursuit and move toward God and his glory, which energizes my pursuit of sports and allows me to glorify God as I am satisfied in him. This beautiful gospel centered process is found in the silliness of our sports when we use it as such a laboratory.

So the next time you find yourself wrenched up – both good and bad – in the midst of an athletic endeavor, look deeper. After all, sports don’t build character. They reveal it.

Submitted by Ken Cross

A Few Thoughts About The Gospel

gospel
Here are a couple of thoughts about the Gospel that I have found very helpful:
“The gospel is not a set of instructions.  It is an announcement.” Tim Keller?

“The gospel is not just a set of propositional truths. It is first and foremost a story, THE STORY.”

“The overall drama of Scripture forms a single plot whose main twists and turns nonetheless converge remarkably on a main theme.” N.T. Wright

“We usually read the Bible as a series of disconnected stories each with a moral for how we should live our lives. It is not. Rather, it comprises a single story…” Tim Keller

“We will never begin to understand our lives and ministries or what this so-called gospel is that Christianity speaks of until we understand the story in which we have found ourselves.” John Eldredge

“[The Gospel] is a world of magic and mystery, of deep darkness and flickering starlight…This is the fairy tale of the Gospel with of course one crucial different from all other fairy tales, which is that the claim made for it is that is it true, that it not only happened once upon a time but has kept happening ever since and is happening still.” Frederick Buechner

How about you? What have been some good thoughts you have for the Gospel

Submitted By Ken Cross, Executive Director, Sports Chaplains Network

Contentment

whouwith_logo_topleft“Contentment is not getting what you want, it is wanting what you’ve got.” -David Ring

Why do we struggle so much with thinking the grass is greener on the other side? The funny thing is, someone on the other side is looking at us and thinks our lawn is pretty green. Why not just be content with where you are and with where God has placed you?

The world has a strange way of measuring our value. But to those who have sought after Christ, and found Him, they are richer than greenest yard in the world!

What does God’s Word say?:

“I know how to live when I am poor, and I know how to live when I have plenty. I have learned the secret of being happy at any time in everything that happens, when I have enough to eat and when I go hungry, when I have more than I need and when I do not have enough. I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 12-13

We are like children on Christmas who open present after present until there are none left and then say, “I want to open more presents”, “I didn’t get what he got” or “Is this it?”

God has given us more than we realize. Unfortunately, we compare ourselves to the world around us and there is always someone with more than we have or some new “toy” we think we got to have.

Instead of looking for greener grass, why not go to the One who made the grass green. And besides, no matter which side you are on, the grass still has to be mowed! Just a thought!

We are excited to announce our new blog site Shaping Claypots:shapingclaypots.com You will find some of our previous and current weekly devotionals and we will also have thoughts for coaches, athletes and men. Check this site out and click on the links at top of page to: “Like” us on Facebook, “Follow” us on Twitter and Subscribe to this new blog!

WhoUWith? Ministries

For more about WhoUWith? check out our website.

Website: http://www.whouwith.com/

Submitted By Ken Cross Executive Director, Sports Chaplains Network

 

Questions That Move Us

questionsTo Partners in Ministry, From Roger Lipe Sport Chaplain/Character Coach/ Sport Mentor

What moves your soul? What touches you deeply enough to make an impact that lasts for a while? What are the situations, stimuli, environments, people, and activities that restore your heart’s passion? Let’s consider a list of items that move people, some may be on your list. We’ll then consider what to do with your list.

  • Music (What genre of music moves your heart?)
  • Sports camps (I’ll be leading the fifth FCA camp of June this next week.)
  • The outdoors (Hiking, camping, fishing, boating, etc…)
  • Participating in sport (Football, rugby, golf, tennis, running, swimming, etc…)
  • Being in sports environments (A ballpark, a stadium, a practice facility, a gym, a pool, a rugby pitch, a cricket ground…)
  • Literature (Books, periodicals, blogs, etc…)
  • Sleep (Afternoon naps, long nights of deep sleep, power naps in the office…)
  • Conversation with friends, colleagues, or mentors.
  • Groups of people (church groups, teams, youth groups, etc…)
  • Solitude (Your favorite place for time alone.)
  • Travel (To places that restore your soul.)
  • Crowds (The energy from big crowds excite some people.)
  • Something else…

What is on your list? Look it over closely and then make it a priority to invest time in the items on your list. Our work of serving people in sport is often stressful and overly busy. We often find our schedules squeezed tightly by many important and urgent activities. We super-committed servants are occasionally on the edge of burnout and frustration leaving our spouses and children with the leftovers of our energy and emotional investments. We must do the things that restore our souls and help us to be at our best, for everyone we love and serve. Set aside the time, engage in this soul restoring stuff, and lean into it wholeheartedly.

One whose soul is restored will find greater energy, more creativity, more empathy for others, and a more relaxed attitude toward everything he encounters. Please feel free to share the items on your list with me. I’d love to hear about all those things and people that restore your soul to its most transformational state. Thanks.
God bless,
www.sifca.org
http://sportchaplainsportmentor.blogspot.com/
I lead, encourage, and inspire sportspeople as they pursue the fulfillment of God’s purposes for their lives. I believe lives are transformed as people experience the Lord Jesus’ presence and pleasure in Sport.

Submitted By Ken Cross Executive Director, Sports Chaplains Network

 

 

 

Too Busy

Tops 2“If Satan can’t get you to sin he will get you busy”-Billy Sunday

How are you and God doing? Let me ask it this way, are you giving God your best each day, or your leftovers? There are two things that expose our priorities. One is our checkbook, but don’t panic I am not going to talk about money today. The second thing that exposes our priorities is our calendar. How we plan our day says a lot about who we see as a priority.

Why do we work so hard to plan out our work schedule, kid’s schedule and even church schedule, but we are only casual in our efforts to plan time with Christ? The greatest thing the enemy can do is get us busy with “good” things and keep us away from the “great” things that God intended for our lives!!

What does God’s Word say?:

“a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:39-42

Martha was doing good things for the Lord and things that sometimes need to be done, but the greater thing is to be still and listen to the Lord of this universe and more importantly the Lord of YOU and me!

The truth is, if you are too busy to read this you may be too busy for God?!? Slow down, begin to give Christ a priority place in your daily calendar. Just a thought!

Submitted By Lance Brown WhoUWith? Ministries