Monday, January 26, 2009

January 26, 2009 - Way To Go Coach T!

Recently I was told by Coach Torzewski (InBounds coach in Indianapolis) about an exchange he had with a referee at a game he was coaching. Prior to sharing this testimony let me give a bit of background.

Many years ago I stepped away from basketball for a while, in spite of how much I love it. Basically I just felt that I was not mature enough for my testimony to honor God while playing. (Unfortunately we live in a culture that for some reason separates sports from the commands of Scripture for believers to be holy, to not complain and grumble, to be self-controlled, etc. I wrote about these problems early on during the InBounds devotion outreach as I reminded us that God doesn’t give a reprieve from holiness in order to play a game.)

Over the years I have tried to simply refine my philosophies for Christians in sport. It boils down to this simple God-honoring formula: Players play; Coaches coach; Fans cheer; Refs ref!
As Coach T took a position this year as a middle school boys coach I reminded him of these truths/goals. Coach T went into this with a desire to reach the young men who play for him and their families. By following this principle he also found he is being a witness to the referees.

This past weekend a ref told Coach that he had called his first game of the year and has been requesting to get Coach T’s games since. He shared that it was because Coach T doesn’t give the refs grief and focuses on coaching his boys. WAY TO GO COACH T!
5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Colossians 4)

It goes with another philosophy I gave coaches in my programs: Make sure you would feel comfortable witnessing to the refs after the game!
How about you? Would you feel comfy witnessing to your co-workers? Boss? Waitress? The fan in the stands next to you? I think you get the picture.

The gospel is a very distinct powerful message of the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. Yet our attitudes/lifestyles/etc do play a part in qualifying us to be listened to (or disqualifying us from being listened to).

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 19, 2009 - Goodbye To A Great Coach

When I say the word “coach” what comes to your mind? Maybe you picture a Bobby Knight type of persona that has a strong demanding approach to the game. Maybe you have a favorite coach from the past that comes to mind because of the way he or she taught you.

This past week saw the retiring of who I believe to be one of the greatest coaches of all time – Tony Dungy. The reason I say “one of the greatest” is because he was able to not only see incredible success on the field, but also have incredible success off the field. Tony Dungy was not just a teacher of football; he also was and is a teacher of life principles.

I loved reading and hearing the quotes of other coaches and players concerning this great man of God. Check out this quote from Tampa Bay running back Warrick Dunn:

"The good news is that Coach Dungy may leave football, but what he's really doing is moving his extraordinary influence to other places. Just like he did for me and for countless other players, he will always be able to help teach young men how to be grown and able men. And we need this, not just in football, but in the bigger game of life."

Not to long ago I read Coach Dungy’s book entitled “Quiet Strength.” It is an incredible account of his life and influence (and the influence of his parents.) I would highly recommend this book to each of you.

Basically Coach Dungy has rewritten the book on being a football coach. Most would consider that position to require a hard-nosed, in-your-face personality. Yet here is a champion coach that did it while exhibiting the fruit of the Spirtit.

"I think his impact on the league has been somewhat transforming. He's changed the way coaches view the position and how they relate to the players and the types of values they put in place for the football team. I think he's changed the face of the league in some ways, and it's ever-changing that way right now for the good because of Tony Dungy." -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

I would love to mature in my walk with the Lord to the point that I had this kind of testimony as a coach, a father, a husband, etc. - to be a man that is approachable, encouraging, and yet still strong.

Coach Dungy is a man that fits the following description found in Colossians 3:
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

“Meekness” is the key word there in my mind. Its literal definition is “strength under control.”

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January Newsletter

This month's newsletter was sent out via email in order to easily add some attachments - if you did not receive a copy, and would like to, simply email me at and request it - thanks!

Monday, January 12, 2009

January 12, 2009 - What Do You Dream About?

Do you want to reach people for Christ? Do you want to be used by God? Are these things truly a passion or just good thoughts?

"For me, winning isn’t something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowds roar. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream."
Winners and Winning
Smith, Emmitt
American Football Player

Do you daily “train” in the Word? What do you dream about?

Proverbs 11: 30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who wins souls is wise.

Monday, January 5, 2009

January 5, 2009 - Play Smart

As a coach I am not overly concerned with mistakes in a game. What I am concerned with are choices in a game. Let me explain.

Recently I was looking at a news blog and it was talking about a player that is in a shooting slump. The same player was being talked about in other media outlets as well. Basically his entire significance was based upon hitting shots. The funny thing was that these reporters did not mention the great defense the player was playing; or his lack of turnovers; or any other part of his game.

What I look at is very basic. Is the player making good choices? Are his shots good shots that just aren’t falling or bad shots? Every shooter goes through little slumps. There are a lot of intricate little mechanics that have to be adjusted. Yet the best way to get out of a slump is to keep shooting! Basically my philosophy is “shooters shoot”! He should not let mistakes stop him from doing his job. In this particular case the young man is taking open looks; not forcing the shots. He is making good decisions. Therefore I think he is playing great.

It really boils down to as a coach you can not go out and shoot the ball for the players. Your job is to teach them to do the right things and expect that from them. There is always tweaking that needs done on mechanics, but the mental part (good choices) is something that should always be improving.

As a dad or as a minister I am in the same boat. My job is to impart wisdom to my kids or those I teach/disciple with the hope that they will make good choices in life. Note this is not to necessarily make life easier. There will be mistakes and obstacles yet there should be a solid grasp of wisdom to handle those situations. I want them to live life to the fullest. I want them to take their “open shots.” Yet I want them to “play smart.”

Proverbs 4 puts it this way:
7 Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.

Are you seeking wisdom and understanding? Are you taking in God’s instruction on a consistent basis? Maybe your New Year’s resolution should be to gain more wisdom from God to eliminate dumb choices – to play smart!

Read all of Proverbs 4 today. Maybe resolve to read a chapter of Proverbs each day to increase your wisdom.