2014 FCA Leadership Camp – Day 2 Update

All_In_BlackDay 2 of FCA Leadership Camp has came to a close.  While I am completely exhausted as I write this post before heading to bed, I am so very excited about all that God is doing here!

This morning our students were up bright and early for devotional time and calisthenics and a brisk morning run before breakfast.  While most probably cringed at the thought of the run, we loved that they were up and ready to go with diving into God’s Word as the first priority of the day!

During the morning our students had a morning chapel session where they were challenged to seek out the voice of God in their lives to see how he is calling them to serve.  The speaker did an excellent job of challenging the students to get serious about their time in the Word and prayer so that they will be able to discern the will of God clearly.

Following morning chapel the students had a couple of hours where they were either meeting with their huddle groups discussing the Word or involved in various competition games around the Campbellsville University campus.  It was during this time, that myself and the other huddle coaches, sponsors, and leaders gathered for a time of fellowship.  We introduced ourselves to one an another and shared about the various FCA things we are doing and how God is working in our schools.  It was a huge encouragement to me personally to see how God is moving through FCA and changing the lives of students around the country!

Right before lunch the students gathered back in the chapel for a time of Campus Ministry training.  This is where they are trained on how to do our weekly huddles in the school and impact their schools for Christ.  As always our goal is to get our huddles more student led and so this is a great time of encouraging and training our Lee County students to do just that.

In the afternoon our students were able to enjoy some free time.  Many took naps or showers, but some played basketball and various other activities.  Myself and Maeven went to the pool for a swim.  She was however very excited to find a couple of our students were going swimming and that the teenagers were going to play with her.  So getting pulled around and thrown in the water was a blast for my giggling little 3 year old!

This evening the students were treated to testimonies from two different college basketball players about how God has worked in their lives.  Our girls were especially excited to hear from Sarah Hammond who plays basketball for the University of Louisville.

The evening service was once again kicked off with a great time of worship as we sang praises to the Father.  Our speaker used the first nine verses of the book of  Joshua tonight to challenged our students on three truths about an all in leader.  He told them that an All In Leader trusts the promises of God, trusts the presence of God, and is committed to the Word of God.  He also encouraged the students that God does not call them because of what they can do, but because of what God can do through them.  I have been very encouraged this week at how clear our speaker has been in speaking truth to our students.  God promises that the truth of His word will not return void, and I can not wait to see how God is going to use this week’s messages of truth in the lives of our students.

It’s time I head to bed now though, but as we head into day 3 be praying for our students.  They will be heading out Saturday afternoon to share their faith with complete strangers.  Pray that just like Joshua they will be bold and courageous for Christ!

bad coaching…

coach clipartaYesterday afternoon ESPN played video footage of the head men’s basketball coach at Rutgers University demonstrating quite the lack of integrity.  Coach Rice yelled obscenities at his players, homophobic slurs, through basketballs full speed at point blank range at his players, and much more.  As the minutes quickly following the report grew so did the outrage of people around our nation.  Sports reporters, other coaches, and everyday citizens began calling for the Rutgers coach to lose his job.  Even more enraging was the fact that we found out that the Rutgers University officials had known about this for months and had responded with a mere slap on the wrist of a three gams suspension and some counseling classes.   Finally after much public pressure the University fired Coach Rice this morning ending a shameful era of coaching at their college.

What makes me sad as I read and watched about all that was going on at Rutgers is that once again here is a situation where a coach was in one of the greatest positions that one could ever find themselves in, the opportunity to use sports as a way to mold and change lives.  Many studies have been done on our teens and college showing that within sports, the coach may be the most influential role model a student-athlete will ever have – more than parents, family, friends, or clergy.  And a coach is in the position to influence thousands of lives over the course of a career.  Coach Rice lost sight of this.  He put himself, his ego, and quite frankly his sinfulness above being an example of an honorable man to his players.  I am not saying players never do anything wrong and don’t need to be corrected or shown tough love, but their is a proper way for a coach to conduct themselves.  Coach Rice blew this opportunity and rather than being known as an honorable coach who shaped the lives of young men, he will be known as a total jerk.

Another thing that disappoints me about this story is the staff of Rutgers University, specifically the athletic director and school president, turning a blind eye to this situation.  In their roles as leaders they should have dealt with the situation swiftly and immediately and took the role of honorable leadership on themselves.  Instead their hesitancy to do the right thing led to Coach Rice being able to continue his abusive ways for months.  Unfortunatley this is all too common in sports.  Parents and staff put up with verbal abuse, poor leadership, lack of morals, lack of ethics, and all around terrible examples given by coaches all too often.  The chance of furthering little Joey or Susie’s athletic career all to often outweighs making sure they have quality coaches in their lives.  Sports related skills take precedent over quality human being skills.  Even sadder to me is the fact that Christian parents allow these poor examples to have leadership roles in the lives of their children.  As Christians we have an even higher calling to represent Christ to our students and make sure they are in situations where their relationship with Christ can grow and thrive.  Yet, the love of sport conquers this call to frequently.

Finally Rutgers gave in and did the right thing and removed a morally bankrupt person from their coaching position.  But they only did this after much public pressure and fall out.  What’s it going to take for you to make sure that your child doesn’t have poor coaching?  Hopefully, you will stand up and make sure this never happens.  And if you are a coach, please, please, please, realize the awesome place that Christ has put you in and take your job as a molder and shaper of youth to heart and be the example they need!  The challenge is great and one coaches must not fail!

feeling old and decrepit…

dodgeball-a-true-underdog-storyLast night my wife and I hosted a party for our FCA students in the gymnasium at Youth Haven Bible Camp.  Our party was just a bunch of food and games, but no longer the board games my body has become accustom to.  Instead there was lots of basketball variations, dodgeball variations and wiffleball variation.  I actually had a blast playing with the kids and even got a little competitive as the night went along.  Unfortunately as the night came to an end I realized a hard reality….I’m getting to old for what I had put my body through.  My legs ached, my ankles and arms ached.   I could even feel my back tensing up.  Erin and both went home and laid on our living room furniture wondering if we would have the ability to get up and head to bed.

In the wee hours of the morning, I heard my daughter Maeven begin to cry and call for us.  So, I quite literally pulled myself out of bed and up the stairs to where our kids bedrooms are.  There Maeven was sitting up arms outstretched towards me crying from a bad dream.  I picked her up and rocked and her back to a calmer state.   I knew as soon as I left the room the crying and screaming would start up again and I didn’t want mamma or baby brother to wake up.  So I leaned over and laid on the edge of Maeven’s daybed so that she would go to sleep.  The good news is that she went back to sleep for the rest of the night.  The bad news is that while great for a kid the daybed is awful for an adult.  Between the terrible mattress and 15 stuffed animals underneath me I woke up even more sore and with a painfully sore throbbing back!  As I got off the day bed Maeven was already up playing in the floor with her Cinderella toys and laughing at the funny faces Daddy was making as I moved out of the bed.

So, here I am now back at the Rec Center working in our fitness center this afternoon.  I say working, and by that I mean supervising the folks that are working out.  When I look at the various pieces of fitness equipment, I hurt even more.  Yep, I’m an old fart….and now I have got to find some way to find that fountain of youth before my kids get old enough to play sports!

last day of coaching…

basketball1Tonight we have our final middle school basketball games of the season.  It’s definitely been interesting and rewarding/tiring at the same time.  Last night we played our last home games and while we didn’t walk away with any victories, the guys who have stayed with us this season played hard and played as a team.  I have no complaints about their efforts at all.   The biggest thing with coaching has been getting the opportunity to know these students and hopefully show them that we care for them more as a person than as a basketball player.  Yes there have been times of getting loud to motivate, but winning and losing have not been the main factors for anything we have done.  Hopefully we have helped put these boys on the path to becoming quality young men.  Please continue to pray for our students that the seeds Scott and I have planted will see some and hopefully all of them come to know Christ!

this week’s basketball update…

basketball11This week has been another interesting and exciting week of coaching middle school basketball.  Our 7th grade team is on a roll winning 3 straight games!  The boys have really came together and are playing hard.   Our last three games have not only been wins but have also been blow out wins.  Last night we had one of the most exciting games of the season for our 8th grade team.  This game was a loss, but when you think of what happened it was truly an exciting game.  Our team got off to a slow start with only three points in the first half and none of those coming in the 2nd quarter.  At the end of the 3rd quarter we were down almost 30 points.  In the 4th quarter  the guys turned on their energy and came all the way back to tie the game.  SMS scored with only 8 seconds left and we got off a good shot to try and tie or win the game, but it just didn’t fall.  Even though it was a loss we were so very proud of the effort the boys finally put forth!

We have one home game and one away game left on our schedule this Monday and Tuesday night.  Please pray for safety as we travel, but also for Scott and I as we have just a few more opportunities to share the love of Christ with our students this season.  We want to be good stewards of the time God has given to us to reach our team.  So please pray hard as many of the students need Christ!

basketball coaching update…

basketball1Last night we began the 1st of 4 home games that will help draw our middle school basketball season to a close with only 1 road game remaining after them.  This season has definitely been a learning experience on everything from working as a coach to learning how to work with the many emotional and maturity states that you can find a middle schooler in.  God has definitely been good to us and helped watch over Scott and I as we work with the students.  This week we had one of our students collapse after a game and need to be taken to the hospital for some treatment.  Thankfully the students was just dehydrated and needed to work on eating better foods and more of them.  We are also thankful for the safety God gave Scott and our student as they went to the hospital and back and for safety as I helped get the other teammates home.

Our team has shrunk over the season for a variety of reasons, but last night as we coached them it was exciting to see the guys who have stuck it out and how most of them are really starting to gel as a team.  We don’t have as many players as most of our competition but for the most parts our guys are  playing their hearts out and starting to really play good basketball.  Last night our 7th grade team won their second 7th grade game in a row, which is huge for us.

As our season come to a close over the next week and a half, please pray for Scott and I as we seek to leave a lasting impression on these boys that will hopefully lead them to Christ.  Pray that opportunities to share Christ verbally will occur and that in every situation our lives will reflect the love of Christ to our boys.  And lastly, thank you so much for all your prayers over the course of this season!

festivals and coaching…

The past few days have been a whirlwind of multiple things going on.  As I wrote last week, we just had our annual Woolly Worm Festival  here in Beattyville.  The Rec Center sold over 200 pizzas this weekend at the Festival and the center.  With things being financially tight for us right now this was a huge blessing.  In other news we were all blessed to survive the fried foods that we ate during the course of the festival as well!

The beginning of this week was also busy with middle school basketball games.  Our team was not able to pull out a victory on Monday or Tuesday night, but there were many positives to take away.   Keep praying for myself and Scott Brandenburg as we try to teach the boys to be more aggressive for the basketball and to pay attention to every aspect of the game, while at the same time trying to infuse a love of the game.  Sometimes in coaching it’s a fine line between bringing out intensity and killing fun.  Our guys need to have both and we

Maeven playing in the leaves at Meme and Pop’s

want to get them to that place.  Also pray for us as we try to just be Godly examples as well and that we will have opportunities to share Christ!

Our family is doing well.  Maeven is loving having her Meme and Pop living nearby in Winchester and enjoyed Sunday at their house playing in the leaves.  Judah is teething and drooling like crazy, and on top of that he has learned to crawl and is always on the go.  God has truly given us two great kids!

This weekend is going to be really busy with our annual Halloween lock-in at the Rec Center.  Please pray for us to be able to have the chaperone’s needed and also that God will begin to work in the hearts of our students before they even arrive.

Things are busy, but it’s easy to see God working right now.  Please just keep praying!