Category Archives: Relational Outreach

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

 

 

 

Mike Matheny’s Letter to Parents

Matt MathenyMike Matheny is the current manager of the St. Louis Cardinals.  Like most managers, he is a former player.  In between his playing days and his coaching career though he coached Little League.  Yes, you read that right.  He was a bit overqualified but he had a son that played.  He was reluctant to coach the team but eventually relented.  Once he became the coach, he wrote this letter to parents.  As you can see, it’s very serious but he addresses what the role of a parent should be during games.  Below are some excerpts (the words in bold are my emphasis):

I always said that the only team that I would coach would be a team of orphans, and now here we are. The reason for me saying this is that I have found the biggest problem with youth sports has been the parents. I think that it is best to nip this in the bud right off the bat. I think the concept that I am asking all of you to grab is that this experience is ALL about the boys. If there is anything about it that includes you, we need to make a change of plans. My main goals are as follows:

(1) to teach these young men how to play the game of baseball the right way,

(2) to be a positive impact on them as young men, and

(3) do all of this with class.

We may not win every game, but we will be the classiest coaches, players, and parents in every game we play. The boys are going to play with a respect for their teammates, opposition, and the umpires no matter what.

With that being said, I need to let you know where I stand. I have no hidden agenda. I have no ulterior motive other than what I said about my goals. I also need all of you to know that my priorities in life will most likely be a part of how I coach, and the expectations I have for the boys. My Christian faith is the guide for my life and I have never been one for forcing my faith down someone’s throat, but I also believe it to be cowardly, and hypocritical to shy away from what I believe. You as parents need to know for yourselves and for your boys, that when the opportunity presents itself, I will be honest with what I believe. That may make some people uncomfortable, but I did that as a player, and I hope to continue it in any endeavor that I get into. I am just trying to get as many potential issues out in the open from the beginning. I believe that the biggest role of the parent is to be a silent source of encouragement. I think if you ask most boys what they would want their parents to do during the game; they would say “NOTHING”. Once again, this is ALL about the boys. I believe that a little league parent feels that they must participate with loud cheering and “Come on, let’s go, you can do it”, which just adds more pressure to the kids. I will be putting plenty of pressure on these boys to play the game the right way with class, and respect, and they will put too much pressure on themselves and each other already. You as parents need to be the silent, constant, source of support.

Let the record stand right now that we will not have good umpiring. This is a fact, and the sooner we all understand that, the better off we will be. We will have balls that bounce in the dirt that will be called strikes, and we will have balls over our heads that will be called strikes. Likewise, the opposite will happen with the strike zone while we are pitching. The boys will not be allowed at any time to show any emotion against the umpire. They will not shake their head, or pout, or say anything to the umpire. This is my job, and I will do it well.

I think this is just a great letter. Honest. Forthright. A compelling vision and a call to participate.

Mike’s efforts are a great example of a Christian who is not content to leave the brokenness he sees in sports alone. He wants to do something about it. He wants to redeem that sport. I applaud his vision and courage. May his tribe increase.

Submitted By Ken Cross Executive Director, Sports Chaplains Network

Invitation to Super Bowl Breakfast

By George McGovern, Chaplain, NY Giants & NY Yankees

With the Super Bowl coming to NYC, I’m involved with the planning of the AIA Super Bowl Breakfast. This is an NFL-sanctioned event scheduled for Friday, January 31 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.

This outreach, in its 27th year, features the presentation of the Bart Starr Award to a current NFL player, voted on by his peers, for outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. Bart Starr, who hasn’t missed a SB Breakfast in 27 years, will again be at the event to personally present the award. Past winners include Jason Witten, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Curtis Martin, LaDainian Tomlinson and Mike Singletary.

Please join me along with Bart Starr, Justin Tuck, Brent Jones and other NFL greats for an inspiring morning. Eric Metaxas, NY Times Best Selling Author of Bonhoeffer and George Martin, NY Giants 1975-1988 and member of Giants Ring of Honor, will co-emcee.

The program will highlight the character and faith that exist among many of the NFL coaches and players. It is not designed to be a “prayer breakfast”. Rather, it’s designed for those who are intrigued by the idea of a faith component to life. The various elements of the outreach will help attendees to process that idea for themselves. If you have a friend or relative at this place in his life, the Super Bowl Breakfast would be a superb event to assist in the journey.

Tables are assigned on a first come, first serve basis!
Follow this link to view your invitation as well as program details. I hope to see you there!

http://www.superbowlbreakfast.com/invite

 

Invitation to Super Bowl Breakfast

SB Breakfast Invite PhotoBy George McGovern, Chaplain, NY Giants & NY Yankees

With the Super Bowl coming to NYC, I’m involved with the planning of the AIA Super Bowl Breakfast. This is an NFL-sanctioned event scheduled for Friday, January 31 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.

This outreach, in its 27th year, features the presentation of the Bart Starr Award to a current NFL player, voted on by his peers, for outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. Bart Starr, who hasn’t missed a SB Breakfast in 27 years, will again be at the event to personally present the award. Past winners include Jason Witten, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Curtis Martin, LaDainian Tomlinson and Mike Singletary.

Please join me along with Bart Starr, Justin Tuck, Brent Jones and other NFL greats for an inspiring morning. Eric Metaxas, NY Times Best Selling Author of Bonhoeffer and George Martin, NY Giants 1975-1988 and member of Giants Ring of Honor, will co-emcee.

The program will highlight the character and faith that exist among many of the NFL coaches and players. It is not designed to be a “prayer breakfast

Christianity: Before, During or After the Game

100 Division III athletes, all who identified themselves as Christians, were asked a series of questions that probed into the impact of their Christianity on their sports involvement.  While the questions weren’t asked in exactly these three categories – BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER the Game – the answers broke down into these three.

The good news – 100 of these athletes said their Christianity affected them BEFORE and AFTER the game.  They prayed, they read something, they talked to someone specifically.

The bad news is how many of them said their Christianity affected them DURING the Game.  How many do you think?

By the fact that I call it bad news, the number is low.  Just how low is it?     Zero.

That’s right.  None of the players saw their Christianity as affecting them during their time on the court, in the field. This seems rather depressing and almost too difficult to believe. Here are two supporting stories for you skeptics:

1)  I shared this research recently at a Coaches Training.  Afterwards, a young, tall woman approached me.  Here is what she said:

I played D2 Volleyball at a “Methodist” school.  We would ALWAYS say the Lord’s Prayer before the game as a team, I personally would pray for strength and safety as well before the game. If we won we would thank the Lord for the win—— But never once did we pray DURING the game. I found that every interesting and actually had never realized it until Bob made me think about it! There is no reason why we shouldn’t ask God for strength and endurance DURING a game! We should also give him thanks after a game (even if we lost) for him giving us the strength to do our best! Glory should be given to God before, during, and after all games win or lose!

2)  In a Sports Illustrated article in February 2013, one collegiate athlete identified as being involved in a Christian Sports Ministry Group said in response to the researcher, Sharon Stoll of the University of Idaho, when she asked about the role of intimidation in sports:

“Ma’am, my job is to kick them in the head, knee them in the groin, stand over them and tell them never to get up.”  Stoll then asked how the linebacker would play against Jesus. “And the guy looked at me and said, ‘Ma’am, I’m as Christian as the next guy, but if I’m playing Jesus the Christ, I play the same way. I leave God on the bench.”

“I leave God on the bench.”

What we are saying in all this is that God belongs outside the lines of the fields or courts, not inside.  Once a player steps across that line and onto the field or court, we leave our Christianity behind.

However, that perspective is not the way God sees it!

“Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink (or play football or volleyball) do it all for the glory of God.”  1Corinthians 10:31 (with the parenthetical comments added)

God sees the largest to the smallest aspect of everything we do, including our sports, as connected with his glory. This is the way he designed all of life.  This is why Paul calls us to this connection, in recognition of the difference between God’s and our perspective. Yet, we shouldn’t point only to athletes in discussing this problem.  The compartmentalized view of life with its secular/sacred dichotomy is alive and well all around today’s Christianity. If you don’t believe me, look at the stats on how we treat money and what we give or how we treat marriage, or how we conduct business.  God is often left out in these arenas and considered irrelevant just as he is on the athletic fields and courts.  George Barna has done a great job of providing the stats to fully back up this assertion.

If you are troubled by all this, great.  Honestly, I share it with you for that very purpose.

We need a cry for a different reality.  We need a cry for a different paradigm – one where Christianity and the gospel aren’t segregated from or injected into sports but rather integrated with sports.

Change begins when we are troubled, burdened by reality.

This burden, this longing for change is something at the heart of CSO.  We are committed to providing this new paradigm while developing tools to build it.  Besides the subjects of this blog, here are a couple of others:

- The Ultimate Question video that provides the compelling concept that unifies all our sports activities

- 3D Devotionals that teach athletes and coaches how to integrate sports, life, and biblical truth

For the Love of the Game video that is coming soon and teaches how the gospel and sports integrate together in order to redeem sports. These are just a few God has led us to develop out of our cry.

There is a need for many others.  Will you pray with us about their development and even join in the efforts to provide them?

The Sport Chaplains’ Dirty Little Secret

By Roger Life, Sports Chaplain at Southern Illinois

After many years of serving coaches and competitors in various sports and almost as many years of networking with sports chaplains and sport mentors around the USA and the world, I’ve become convinced that our dirty little secret is that many, if not most, of us are just as performance based in our sense of personal worth as those whom we serve in the world of sport.

We can all see how driven by their last performance our charges are in how they perceive their personal identity, even those who claim a relationship with Christ Jesus.  We all hear players say things like, “I’m 7 and 5.”  That is a direct statement of worth based on wins and losses.  They might protest when asked about that, but it’s still an indicator of what’s really important to them.  If we ask, “How are you doing?” many will reply by stating their team’s record or their personal statistics rather than anything deeper than their most recent results.  I usually get the same sorts of replies from coaches, administrators, fans and even sports chaplains.

For sports chaplains, we usually point to more “spiritual” results.  “85 players came to chapel today.”  “15 players committed their lives to Christ last week.”  “Our team has 80% of the players attending Bible study each week.”  “10 of the 12 coaches are in our weekly Coaches Bible studies.”  Honorable results all, but they must not become the basis for our identity or the defining marks of the validity of our ministries.  Would I be less valuable to God if 5 players attended chapel instead of 50?  Would Christ be less pleased with me if this year no one committed his life to Christ through my ministry?  Am I a failure if no one wants to start a Coaches Bible Study?  Is my identity tied directly to my performance of “spiritual tasks?”

Why is this important?  If I find my worth and identity in my performance, I will do whatever it takes to get to the desired results.  I’ll manipulate people to acquire the decisions which validate my ministry.  I’ll be sure to report the numbers which satisfy those who finance my ministry, even if they’re a little exaggerated.  I’ll choose programs over people, methods over relationships and masses over individuals because they provide the results which define my success and my worth.

If we are to have any hope of being agents of Christ’s transforming power in the lives of the people of sport, we must find our worth in our relationship with Him.  At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, as He is being baptized by John in the Jordan River, He comes up from the water and hears a voice saying, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)  To this point, Jesus had zero followers.  He had performed zero miracles.  He had healed zero people.  He had raised zero people from the dead.  He had accomplished nothing to earn His Father’s love and approval.  He is pleasing to God the Father because Jesus is His Son.  That’s all.  The relationship was the basis for God’s pleasure and approval.  Jesus was identified by His relationship with His Father, period.  That continued throughout His life on the earth and beyond.

This is pretty easy for me to see because it’s very easy for me to fall prey to such a performance based mentality.  It is a constant battle to check my attitudes, my values, my priorities, my methods and my relationships to see if they are reflective of a heart which finds its worth in relationship with Christ or if it seems driven by performance and easily defined results.  It’s very easy to find my emotions and perspective directly reflective of the most recent results of the teams I serve.  It is also very easy to find my sense of identity being tied directly to the success or failure of our ministry’s most recent events.  If you were honest, you’d probably confess the same.

So what shall we do?  Let’s regularly evaluate our ministries to see how clearly we communicate each one’s intrinsic worth to our loving Father.  Let’s be sure to lead others in ways which value relationships over results.  Let’s honor faithfulness over success.  Let’s guard our hearts from the insidious cancer of performance based worth and prefer to live in the freedom and security of knowing we’re well pleasing to God through our relationship with Christ Jesus.  Having such a secure basis for our own worth will leave us free to serve selflessly and to help others find their own freedom from the burdensome yoke of slavery to performance.

Submitted by Ken Cross

When Finishing Last Is Winning

Here is a story that reveals a real sportsman, a young man who immediately understood what was more important, a fellow competitor or a good time in a cross-country event.

Seth Goldstein ran a race in which he will never forget! Here is a bit of the article written by Geoff Calkins:

“A group of kids ran just in front of him. Many more had fallen behind.

“I was feeling good,” said Goldstein, 17. “That’s when everything happened in front of me.”

One of the kids in the pack dropped to the ground. The others raced onward toward the finish line. Goldstein did something altogether different.

He stopped.

He stopped racing. He went to the kid who had fallen, who by this time was in severe distress.

“His lips were turning blue and his eyes were rolled back in his head,” said Goldstein. “I was terrified. But then I thought to myself, freaking out isn’t going to help any here. … He stopped. That was the first thing.

“I’m a lifeguard,” he said, as if that explains it all. “It was obvious he needed help.”

Goldstein called for a parent to phone 911. Then he turned back to the kid — a student from Germantown — who had blood bubbling out of his mouth.

“He had bitten his tongue and was bleeding pretty bad,” said Goldstein. “I feared he was going to choke on his blood. I rolled him on his side so he wouldn’t asphyxiate.

It ended well!

“Before long, an ambulance arrived. The real EMTs took over. Whereupon, Goldstein posed a question to the group.

“Can I finish the race?” he said.

Only then did Chandler realize that Goldstein was another competitor.

“The EMTs looked at me kind of funny,” Goldstein said. “They’re like, ‘You’re racing? Well, sure, go ahead. I guess you can finish the race.’ ”

So that’s what Goldstein did. All the other runners were long since done.”

As a Sports Chaplain, you want your athletes to perform well in the sport, but more importantly to be men and women that live their faith at all times. The young man did that. If I was his Dad I would buy him a trophy of some kind to help him remember the best race he ever had!

Written by Ken Cross, Vice President of the Sports Chaplains Network.

Click here to read the original full article.

Going Under

As you know every driver must retake the dunk test every two years.  We found it interesting that the driver waiting to take the test while Lauris and I  were doing it said that the dunk test makes him nervous! I mean this man has raced for years; he’s been through many crashes and he’s nervous!
 
Going over and over in one’s mind what to do step by step if one finds himself upside down in his boat is the key.  Having a plan with steps to do, gives a sense of control in the midst of testing and accidents.  Equilibrium is restored when we remember the plan to escape the situation.
 
I found it very comforting that two Black Diamond rescue men were right there next to me, watching my every move, ready to take over if I failed to do the steps I was taught to free myself.  I feel the same assurance during a race that the rescue crews are on the water all the time we have boats on the water.
 
The Bible gives us clear steps on what to do when we find ourselves upside down.  So much of the Bible tells us how to live in this world, how to avoid pitfalls and even how to get through the difficulties we fall into. And then there is the awesome part: God sticks with us, by our sides to help us, to rescue us and to comfort us all the time.
 
“When you are tested, God will provide a way of escape that you may be able to endure it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13Father, I want to know you and know your plan for living life well everyday. Thank you that you even provide steps for me and a way of escape when I am upside down. I find it so comforting to know I am not alone even in my most bewildering situations, YOU are always with me.  Amen
 

About the author – Laurie Vidal is a Sports Chaplain for Powerboat Racing. He writes an occasional devotion called the “One Minute Gun”. In powerboat racing there is a “one minute gun” to warn the boaters that they have to be in position and ready to go.

43 Revealing Questions to Ask Athletes

What was one of your “worst” games as a _________________?

What was one of your “best” games as a ___________________?

What has been one of your biggest disappointments as an athlete?

What has been one of your greatest accomplishment as an athlete?

What has been one of the best teams you have been on and why?

What has been one of the worst teams you have been on and why?

Name your girlfriend(s) in the order your dated them. How did it end? Are you dating someone now?

Do you wish you had a girlfriend now?

What has been a hardship in your life?

Who is a “hero” in your life and why?

What has been one of your greatest disappointments? What was the best team you have been on?

What was the most lopsided loss?

What was the most lopsided win?

If you didn’t come to ___________, where would you be?

When are you the most nervous while you are competing?

Describe an embarrassing athletic moment.

How do you tend to workout/train when by yourself?

In your family, who “likes” your sport the most? Why?

What other sport would you like to compete in if you were not playing yours?

If you could let another person take your place as an athlete, who would it be? Why?

Who would you say is your “biggest fan?” Why?

How would you give away $50,000?

If you could ask God one question, what would it be?

What do you feel like before you give a speech?

If you could be the head coach of a team for a year, what team would you choose?

What is something that is unique about your sport?

What is difficult about your sport?

What is satisfying about your sport?

What is the most challenging thing for you to do in your sport?

If you could change one rule about your sport, what would it be?

Describe a temper tantrum you have witnessed? (it can be about you also)

What is your favorite Disney movie?

What is your favorite food?

What is your favorite candy?

What is your favorite room in your house? What is your greatest fear?

How are you most like your mom?

How are you most like your dad?

What is the best compliment you have ever received?

What was the scariest thing you have had to do? Are you glad you did it?

What was the last thing you saw someone do that really impressed you?

What is your favorite hobby? Why?

What is something only God can do?

If you could know (now) who you will marry, would you want to?