Encouragement in Athletics
Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Maybe it was on your own, OR maybe something happened in your life that caused you to make a change. That’s exactly what happened to Josiah.
Josiah was 8 when he began to reign and did right in the sight of the Lord (2nd Kings 22:1-2). However, something significant happened in his life 18 years later, that marked much of his leadership.
By the time he was 26, the priest, Hilkiah, went to get money to pay the workers in the temple, and he found “the book of the Law” …the books given by Moses (2nd Kings 22:8). When one of the scribes began reading the book to Josiah, he tore his own clothes in disgust, in repentance, in angst because he saw himself just like the rebellious children of Israel in the wilderness (2nd Kings 22:13). He realized that the people he was “King” over, were like the old children of Israel in the wilderness as well. His leadership was with the “status-quo” and this grieved him.
The wrath of God was coming down on the people and Josiah knew it. I’m thankful the Law convicts us of sin (Psalm 19:7). Thank you Lord for the law! Because of Josiah’s repentance, God allowed him to be spared in seeing the judgement on Judah to come (2nd Kings 22:20). Josiah’s resolution was to be a new leader.
- Josiah immediately took the book and read it aloud to the leaders of Judah (2nd Kings 23:2). Leaders bless others with “hearing” the Word as “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
- Because of Josiah’s leadership to recommit his life to godliness, the people recommitted their lives to godliness as well life (2nd Kings 23:2,3).
- Because of Josiah’s leadership, false gods were purged from society… priests who had allowed false worship to prosper were fired (2nd Kings 22:5).
- He ridded himself of valuables that were distractions (2nd Kings 22:11).
- This new leadership model destroyed items and idols that the people worshiped by smashing them and pouring the dust into the brook Kidron (2nd Kings 23:12).
- His actions followed his new heart! God had given Josiah a repentant heart.
- He even destroyed the altar that Jereboam created (2nd Kings 23:15). This altar caused the people to sin greatly.
- He implemented a “marker” in the life of the people by reinstating the Passover (2nd Kings 23:21-23).
“Before him (Josiah), there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him” (2nd Kings 23:25).
Let’s lead as Josiah, daily resolving in our commitment to Christ.
As all of us anticipate the upcoming Christmas season, I wanted to share a thought before we get in the middle of the celebration.
Many of you wake up on Christmas morning and think about, or even read the Christmas story in Luke chapter two. It’s a precious story of the most wonderful gift to mankind. When our kids were young, we read that as a family, made a birthday cake for Jesus, and sang Happy Birthday. We’ve continued that tradition for years.
One year when my kids hit their early teens, I flipped it. That year, I read of the crucifixion, the suffering and the betrayal.
Imagine that you gave a loved one an expensive gift that took precious time to either make or purchase. You thought “so much” of the person that you would make the sacrifice to give the gift. It was a gift you treasured; therefore, you knew this gift would be memorable to the receiver and highly valued. How do you think the person receiving the gift would treat it?---I bet with great care and love.
Now, imagine a gift that you gave and the person treated it with great distaste. Imagine they did not respect, value or even desire the gift. Have you ever treated a gift you received at Christmas with such ruthless and reckless treatment? I bet the answer is “no”.
God’s gift of Christ, He was to live and die a death of beatings, scourging, and then hang on a cross to shame the gift. Thankfully, God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). This Christmas. Remind your athletes, your kids, yourself… about the horrible death Christ experienced as he served as the Christmas “gift” to the world. It will open a new perspective on the greatest gift ever given.
A few weeks ago, I attended the NCISAA (North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association) Athletic Director’s State meeting. I’m thankful I get to participate in these meetings as they provide time for collaboration but also reflective thinking. Upon writing the “notes” below, I thought about how thankful I am to be a part of this great community at Metrolina Christian Academy. I’m thankful for the people God brings to lead our student athletes. I’m thankful for the families that trust us. I’m thankful for thoughts that challenge us to “get better”!
- “Make the big-time where you are.” Your program is waiting on you to make it “big-time”. What will it take for you to make it “big time”?
- Coaches should be “mission-minded”. Have you considered writing a mission statement for coaching?
- Coaches should value the partnership with parents…they are our customers. - Without parents, we don’t have students.
- Great coaches are always growing, reading, learning. What are you reading? Have you taken a course lately or attended a workshop that focuses on improving you as a coach?
- “You can learn and lead or stay and be stupid.” Are you stuck in what you’ve done or are you looking to move to in another direction to make improvements?
- Are you waiting for others or are you making it happen?
- There are numerous ways to utilize technology as a coach…. use them. Is there an “app” or some other technological device that you could use to improve you or your student athletes?
1st Thessalonians 5:18-in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Continue to intentionally be thankful as we build unity in athletics.
I’m thankful for the upcoming week…IT IS Thanksgiving!
As children or adults, we’re not very warm to being told… “You’re responsible”. However, at any age, I’m responsible to do what I’m told. I’m responsible to listen when I’m instructed or being spoken to. I’m responsible to try and understand when someone is communicating with me. I do have an obligation to make the effort necessary for all of the above. I can’t escape responsibility. When playing catch…I’m responsible to catch the ball when it’s thrown to me.
When I was a child, we gathered at my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving Day lunch. We grew to more than 10 families in one tiny home, however that stopped after Maw-Maw Kindley passed away a few years ago. Although I miss that tradition, it’s up to me to be thankful for times past and thankful for what’s to come…I’m responsible.
As a leader, you’re responsible to “be thankful” …it’s a choice. The Bible states, “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus (1st Thessalonians 5:18). It is HIS will that you be thankful.
If your calendar is full…be thankful. You have a lot of impacting opportunities ahead of you. ------ If your calendar is lacking …be thankful. You have some time to delve into God’s Word where He reveals knowledge and quietens our soul.
Be thankful, it’s our responsibility!
“So the sun stood still…and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day” which allowed Israel to defeat the Amorites (Joshua 10:13).
On Sundays, I often go to First Baptist of Indian Trail at 8am and Lee Park at 9:30…I do obey the speed limit, so let me worry about that. Michele will occasionally go with me to both churches, and if not, I’ll meet her at L.P. Today, I got up quietly as Michele was asleep, and I prepared quickly for church. Upon arriving at FBCIT, I noticed few cars thinking maybe they adjusted the service time as LP had done OR people were going to a later service. I walked in as the choir was doing dress rehearsal, looked at my iPhone for the first time and “yes, I did”.
I was an hour early. Even though knew the night before to turn my clock back…even though I knew it, I was still on the wrong time. If I had an “Amazon-Alexa” or “Google Assistant”, I may have asked the time. If Michele would have been awake, she would have kept me straight.
In the book of Joshua, the sun stopped for nearly a day. In that time, Israel won a battle. So, I’m sitting writing this as I sit in church…yes, I’m writing this at 7:30am (correct time now) as there’s about 30 more minutes before the service starts. I’m making the most of my time.
What will you do with your hour? Mark Schulz sang a song several years ago titled, “Time That’s Left”. The lyrics go like this…
What will do with the time that’s left?
Will you live it all with no regrets?
Will they say that you loved till your final breath?
What will you do with the time that’s left?
We don’t know how much time is left, however all of us were given an hour today…GIVEN an hour. Israel won a battle against a nation with about 10 more hours. You don’t have 10 hours but you’re not fighting a nation either. However, there may be a kind note of encouragement you need to send, a phone call you need to make, a prayer battle you need to spend time in…whatever it might be, what will you do with the hour?
A gentleman stopped by my seat about 7:45am and spoke with me. He and I prayed together a couple of years ago regarding his diagnosis of cancer. His cancer has returned. I asked if I could pray for him and we had a sweet time of prayer together as I encouraged him in the Lord. (Read Ps. 94:19…I shared this with him. If you want a scripture to memorize, you need this one!) He was grateful…it took 5 minutes. I still have more time left!!! So do you.