30 years coaching experience/Worked Camps/Clinics on 5 Continents

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day 39: It's Never Too Late to Start Over

Day 39

I remember when I was in high school and there was a girl who had a...ummm...history who talked to me and wanted to change. I can remember telling my dad and he made a comment that has stuck with me since. You cannot change your past, but you can change your future starting right now.

It is never too late to start over. It is never too late to start anew. It is never too late to begin again or to try something new. When you feel that you have put in too much time or that it would be a waste of time, remember this; the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next best time? Today.

Challenge: If there is something you have been putting off, do it. Start today. If you start today, it will be finished sooner than if you start tomorrow or a year from now.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Day 38: Who Do You Think You Are?

Day 38:

We are human beings, it is natural to sometimes believe we are bigger than ourselves. We will believe that we are bigger than our family, our team, our employer, other people, etc, but really, who do we think we are? I don't mean that in a "you need to find yourself" way, but in a "get over yourself" way. Most things, if not everything is larger than you.

To understand this you must humble yourself and sometimes that means putting up with something that you do not see as fair. Unless it is illegal, or immoral, get over it and move on. Eventually, if you don't like the situation you can move on, but to try and make the situation worse because of your selfishness is, well, wrong.

Let it go. This is great advice and usually something we believe while there is no stress or no conflict, but harder to do in the middle of a conflict. But remember, breathe, let it go, and find someone you can air it out with. Make it someone you can trust and will not spread what you say because sometimes we just want to be heard by a third party which will make you feel better when dealing with the second party.

Challenge: Let it go, if not, move on.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Day 37: Success Can be Toxic

(Can you smile with a knot like that on your head..?)

Day 37:

In life you will experience many different feelings and experiences. Most days, without proper perspective, are good, but nothing remarkable will happen (look for the remarkable in the mundane). However, you will experience huge successes and huge failures in your life. Failure is a good thing, it will help you learn so much about yourself and those around you, but it will be hard.

I have found that when life isn't going well, it isn't being fair, it can be hard, but I want to get up and get going to make things better. To keep plugging away is a noble endeavor that you will attempt until you have dug yourself out of your present hole. It can be hard, but you will have people that are willing to help.

What you will be amazed by is that success can be more toxic, more poisonous. First, it is easy to forget what got you to that successful position. The hard work, the focus, and the time spent working towards that success will be forgotten the longer you are successful. You will begin to think that success is easy and that it is a natural action that you can accomplish anytime you want. Those thoughts will allow you to remain successful for a short time, but eventually the short cuts and the lack of work ethic will rear its ugly head bringing you back to everyone else. 

Second, you will find that as you succeed, there will be fewer people there to "help". In fact, jealousy will occur on a wide scale by many people who you believed were on your side. I read a quote once that said that "anytime you raise your head above mediocrity, expect the masses to try and pull you back down with them". It's true.

What is important is that you understand that life is a wonderful thing. Even in the bad times there are lessons to be learned, and even in the good times there will be bad times. Stay focused, stay alert, continue to work as if every day depends on how you will be judged at your job, with your family, or with God. If you stay on that path, you will find that you have a fulfilled life, one that will be worth living.

Challenge: Take stock of your current situation. Are you in a down time? Reach out. Are you in an up time? Don't forget what got you there. But enjoy the time, this time today for it is all you are guaranteed.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Day 36: Expect to be Strangers in a Foreign Land

Day 36:

"Do not pole vault the Bible to acquiesce to the culture." Tony Evans

This quote motivated me to look up some information on what it is like to be a stranger in a foreign land and came across this sermon by Matt Slick. Could not have written anything better than this.

I found this to say exactly what I wanted to say. It is important to remember in glorifying God isn't about a selfish God what wants attention, but glorifying God is a way to show that there is a shining light for those who are lost, wandering, hurting or depressed that there is a better way. Turn to Jesus Christ for he will help.

1 Pet. 2:11-12, Strangers in a strange land
"Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."
  1. You are strangers in this world, verse 11, "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul."
    1. The Bible talks about the Christian as having a dwelling place in heaven
      1. John 14:1-3 Jesus said, "Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
      2. The Bible talks about our Lord Jesus, our King who rules from heaven.
      3. We are citizens of heaven
      4. And we will join Him there when He returns or when we die which ever comes first.
    2. Some of you might be able to relate to being a stranger
      1. Perhaps some of you, because you are of a different ancestry, feel like strangers here in this country.
      2. Maybe you have a language barrier and your English isn't as good as you'd like it to be.
      3. Or maybe sometimes, you just don't feel like you fit in.
    3. I remember when I went to France a few years ago.
      1. Everybody looked like I did but they didn't speak like me.
      2. I couldn't understand anything they were saying.
      3. The customs were different.
        1. Most people smoked heavily
        2. And the food, it was mostly good, but some of it wasn't.
        3. Their way of doing things was different also.
      4. I remember how I didn't feel like I belonged there. Though people were polite, I knew I was different. I felt like a stranger, a foreigner in a strange land. I wanted to come home where things were familiar and comfortable.
    4. As a Christian, you are a stranger in this world of unbelievers. You may be the same on the outside as everyone else, but on the inside you are different.
      1. You don't think like them.
      2. You don't act like them.
      3. You don't have the same customs as they do.
      4. You don't have the same goals and desires.
      5. When they want to go partying and getting drunk and go carousing, because you are a Christian, you don't want to join them... 
      6. They use the Lord's name in vain, participate in the deeds of darkness and are, essentially, the walking dead.  You are not like them.
      7. They glorify themselves.  You glorify God.
      8. Some glorify false gods.  You glorify the true God.
      9. You are different inside. And it shows.
    5. The world rejects God and His ways and seeks its own pleasures
      1. On television we can see the commonality adultery and casual sexual intercourse between people who aren't married.
      2. Sitcoms are full of coarse jesting and put downs, insults to masculinity, promotion of homosexuality, and moral relativism.
      3. The News tells us about the murders in our streets and the rising crime.
        1. We hear about abortions numbering in the millions.
        2. We hear about wars and rumors of wars.
  2. But, you are called to separate yourselves from this strange land - You are called "to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul."
    1. When Adam fell in the garden, we fell with him. His fall brought to all of humanity, a sinful nature. We are all born with the desire to please ourselves and not God. We want to fulfill the desires of our flesh.
    2. We are sinful by nature.
    3. However, when you are a Christian, you have the Lord living in you.
      1. He has given you a new heart and new mind. You have the mind of Christ.
      2. You are no longer dead in your sins and no longer a slave to sin.
    4. Therefore, you wage war against the sinful desires of your flesh. You are called to abstain from those sinful desires
      1. Before I was a Christian, I sought the gratification of my flesh. I did what I wanted and did it when I wanted.
      2. But now, my desire is to do the will of God and to abstain from sinful desires.
    5. God says that we are called out of the world to be sanctified, to be holy.
    6. However, it isn't easy to abstain from sinful desires.
      1. Though the Lord is dwelling in you and though you now have the mind of Christ, you still have the sinful nature.
        1. Therefore you are at war with yourself.
      2. Paul said in Romans 7:15, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." And also, in Rom. 7:21-25, "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God -- through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
    7. In war there is death.
    8. In war there are usually two sides fighting against each other. Each one wants to kill the other side, to destroy it and conquer it.
    9. The war is over only when one side gives up or is defeated.
    10. Your sinful nature is at war with your regenerated soul.
    11. Your sinful nature wants to destroy you and kill you.
    12. It resists what is holy.
    13. But you can conquer our sinful flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Yet, you live in this world.
    1. And so, while you are here in this strange land, God wants you to live such good lives among the unbelievers that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
    2. God wants you to live good and holy lives.
    3. This is for your own benefit - Unholy living can bring such pain.
      1. Living a sexually promiscuous life can lead to diseases and even AIDS.
      2. Doing drugs can land you in jail, or broke, or a slave to your addiction.
      3. Being a drunk can ruin your life and cause you to lose everything.
      4. Lying to your family, friends, or coworkers can only get you into trouble.
    4. So, if you are living good lives you will be safe from sexually transmitted diseases, drug addictions, drunkenness, and lying.
  4. But perhaps the most important reason for living a good and godly life is that it brings Glory to God.
    1. The reason you are to live godly lives is that it glorifies God.
    2. The Lord died on the cross to buy your redemption, not so that you could serve yourselves and not so you could be prosperous.
    3. Rather, He bought you to be a Holy people for Himself. You are His people and you are saved out of this world because of the cross.
      1. He wants to love you and have fellowship with you.
      2. He can't do that if you are full of sin.
    4. One day, Jesus will return. He will come in the clouds and every eye will see Him.
    5. That is the day when all things will be laid out in the open, all your deeds, your thoughts, your desires, your motives.....
    6. How will you do on that day?
      1. Will your deeds glorify God?
      2. Will your lives reflect the holiness that you are supposed to represent?
Be patient and loving in this world to the unbelievers. Let them see your good deeds so that you may glorify God on the day that He returns. Let that be your goal.

About The AuthorMatt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Day 35: Relax

Day 35:

Stay busy, make sure you are doing something and not becoming someone who slacks off of someone else's actions or money. Find something you like and/or believe in and dig in, but...

Take some time to relax. Not the "take a bunch of effort and stressful type vacation", but the kind where you do nothing, by yourself preferably. There is nothing wrong with taking a full day or two or more relaxing. To forget about the world and it's daily problems and grind. To forget about what is going on or what has been done. To close out the world, get caught up on some errands, or play video games or watch t.v.

If you are busy enough, to take some time every once in awhile to cleanse the body and mind is a good thing. Just don't make a habit of it or you can become a lazy slacker.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Day 34: Be Part of a Team

Day 34:

This life cannot be done alone. Be part of a team, be part of many teams. Your family is a team, your work place is a team and there may be other options, but do not try to do life alone. There will be many times in this life that you will want to crawl into a hole and not connect, but you cannot do that. For your sake and for the sake of the others on your specific team.

Realize, too, that as part of a team so many things can tear it apart or affect it. Your family team can be done in by cheating, by being disconnected, and by just not being around at all. Your work team can be destroyed by your lack of effort, your lack of spreading the work around, the amount of gossip that can spread either by you or by others on the team, and so many other things that make being part of a successful team a challenge.

I've said before, don't say it unless you want to be faced with it, but also you do not have to talk about everything single issue you perceive. Sometimes you can take up that issue with the person you have a problem with and not let anyone else know. Sometimes you can take up that issue and let your feelings be known and if nothing changes, you have the right to take that issue to a higher power. But if that team has a time line, the continual complaining publicly will do nothing to help the team, wait until the end of that timeline or season and then put the full court press on.

Be a part of a team, but understand that when you do because you are dealing with people, it will be messy. That's what makes success so enjoyable when you can overcome all of those outside and inside influences within a team. It's also how you learn to deal with negative issues in life when disappointed.

Challenge: Embrace your team(s) today, the good or the bad. You will learn from both experiences if you are smart.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Day 33: I Love You

Day 33:

This is to my kids and to my wife. I love you. Sure, everyone else reading this can take it directed to you because I try to love you, too...but sometimes you make it so hard. But even my children, not my wife, she's easy to love every day, I am the one who makes it harder on her, but my children; what can I say.

I have different things I say about my kids that usually draws laughs and one of them is "kids, you gotta love ', you really do, it's the law or something", and though I say it as a joke, I feel it inside. Sometimes you really do have to force yourself to "love" your children. I always love them, but sometimes I really do not like some of the things they do and I have to force myself to be kind in the middle of my anger.

Yes, sometimes love has to be tough. Hugging and kissing and giving them everything they want is probably just as abusive as a stern word or a spank on the behind, but man I want to most of the time. I love them so much. I tell my students that I love them too, but not the same as my kids. For my students if I saw a car coming and they were in the road, I would yell "hey, there's a car coming, get out of the way!", but with my kiddos, I would run and push them out of the way taking the risk of a full on hit.

I love them so much that I get depressed when I think of them growing up and leaving, and I get depressed when I think back when they were babies and needed me more. Because as they grow, they need me less, at least in their eyes, but I will always be here for them (for you Maddie and Brandon). Yes, Maddie, someday when I have been around your house bugging you because you are married and moved on and have your own family, you will utter those words you did when you were 5 years old when I told you that I would never abandon you; "Dad, enough, time for you to go home". Because you and your brother are my greatest accomplishment, my greatest joy and my greatest loves.

By the way, my wife is awesome. No, when I say awesome, I mean better than your wife. If you do not believe me, ask any of my coaching buddies who know her. I mean, she's let me go to Europe (twice) and Asia to work basketball camps by myself staying home with the kids. Yea, I win.

Challenge: Tell your significant other, especially your children that you love them. And do it every single day even when you don't feel like it. You just never know when it might be the last time you see them.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Day 32: Take it to the "Man"

Day 32:

We are all going to have issues with co-workers, bosses, and family members. The worst possible thing you can do is discuss your issues behind their backs. I do it sometimes and it's not something I am always proud of, but try to say only things that if it got back to that person, you would be willing to stand by those words.

Complaining or discussing issues about those around us can help alleviate the issue for you. Sometimes just venting is all we need and I think it can be a good thing, but to continually do it and never address the issue is not a healthy thing. You may feel better, but the person you are speaking with may be getting the wrong idea. If all I did was complain to my co-workers about the things I don't like about my wife (there is nothing I don't like about my wife, by the way), but never share all of the good things, they could get the wrong idea about her.

Be careful. My advice would be to do this as little as possible, be prepared to answer for those words if you do it, but the best piece of advice is go to that person and discuss your issues. If you do that consistently, you might not always like the answer and it may even guide you to something/somewhere different, but at least you would know and there is minimal confusion.

Challenge: Take your issues to the heart of the matter, but do so in a respectful way. Best way to see if you are being disrespectful is have someone else say the same things to you. How did that make you feel?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Day 31: If You Put Yourself Out There

Day 31:

I can tell you from writing this blog, to writing for the local paper (I had a column for one year following the tornado), to being a teacher, to being a coach, if you put yourself out there, you can expect push back from somewhere or someone. There will be personality issues, no matter what I say or write, somebody will not like it. There will be sincere disagreements from people who always disagree just to get discussion going. Finally, there will just be unhappy people that are resentful that you feel you can share your opinion or feel you can lead.

All of these disagreements from putting yourself out there can hurt. Dependent on your personality, it may hurt more than you would think, but be ready for it. I read one time once that every time you put your head up above mediocrity, there will be many people who will be willing to slam your head back down. What will amaze you the most is that those closest to you will be the ones most willing to slam you down. The reason? There are many but mostly because they know you. They know your past and your blemishes and sometimes have a hard time getting past those parts of your past.

Never forget that Jesus said in Mark 6:4 "A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in in his own home." People from Nazareth were ready to throw Him off a cliff once he claimed  that the scripture of The Messiah was being fulfilled in Him. That is something to consider, that Jesus's own people who knew him from his birth and his childhood were ready to kill him simply because of words he spoke.

Challenge: When you put yourself out there for criticism, I promise you it will come, do it any way.