Coach Mac: “As for Me…”

Image

I still remember one of my first interactions with the man known as “Coach Mac.”  I was in eighth grade and on the football team.  Us eighth graders had decided that since we were older and it would be funny, we would haze the seventh graders.  One of the most common forms of that hazing was the classic “Purple Nurple.”  Coach Mac got wind of what was going on, so he came and payed the middle school locker room a visit.  In a way that only Coach Mac could, he gave us a speech about being men, and then called us all “Queer Nipple Twisters,” which became a term the team used jokingly the rest of the time we were in school.  

Another one of my first experiences with Coach Mac came during my first Mustang Test after Christmas break my Freshman year.  Coach Mac had walked out to the track to see how the 40-yard dashes were coming.  He saw me running and said to Coach Taylor, “That looked pretty good! How fast was that?” Coach Taylor responded, “6.4.” “Oh, well at least it looked good!”  I was certainly not much of an athlete, but I always admired how Coach Mac told me that I could contribute and invested as much time in me as everyone else.

In both my Sophomore and Junior years, I had season ending shoulder injuries.  Since I couldn’t practice, Coach Mac would always send me on these errands.  Whether it was driving up to school to get something from his office or going and getting his whistle because he had forgotten it in the coaches’ office, Coach Mac gave me responsibilities and trusted me to get the job done.  It took me a while before I had much of an understanding of “Mac speak,” so often it would take him telling me two, three, even four times before I understood what he was asking.  There was a reason behind everything he told me to do even though it didn’t always feel like it.

After my Junior football season, I thought I had a decision to make.  I could have undergone surgery on my right shoulder for a second time and been cleared by some doctors for my Senior season.  Coach Mac told me that he wouldn’t play me my Senior year even if I did get a surgery done.  I was a little hacked off because I thought that it was my choice and not his, but looking back, I now understand that he was just doing the right thing for my health, and I am so thankful that I got to play for a coach who really did care about my well-being.  Even though Coach Mac wouldn’t play me, he really insisted that I stay on the team as a manager.  I considered walking away from football, but Coach Mac played a big role in my decision to stick around for my Senior season.

My Senior football season was one of the most challenging and difficult times in my life, and I am sure that many of my teammates would agree with that statement.  We weren’t very good, and that was something Lipscomb was not used to.  Even though Coach Mac hates losing more than just about anything, he never gave up on us and reminded us regularly how proud of us he was.  We missed the playoffs, but Coach Mac didn’t view us as failures by any means.  That year really proved to me and many others that Coach Mac would rather lose with class and glorify God than win a State Championship going about it the wrong way.

Football was a huge part of Coach Mac’s life, but the way that he carried himself away from football is what set him apart.  Coach Mac genuinely cared about everyone that he came into contact with.  He led by example, and followed Christ’s example in every aspect of his life.  He was Christlike in his attitude towards his wife, his children, his grandchildren, his co-workers, his students, his players, and even the officials.  Coach Mac was in the business of fishing for men, and once he caught them, he was in the business of helping them grow into the man that God was calling them to be.  I am the man that I am today because of Coach Mac’s incredible example.

Coach Mac was a man of incredible wisdom.  He had a lot of sayings regarding just about every aspect of life.  One of my favorites is “Girls are like Mountains.”  I am not going to go into detail on that comparison, but you can use your imagination.  Another saying that he used quite often was, “We put some more hay in the barn today.”  Today I can honestly say that Coach Mac’s hay is in the barn, and someday I hope to get my barn just half as full as his.

Coach Mac was a man who not only had incredible knowledge of Scripture, but he put it into practice.  My Senior season, he constantly reminded us of the last sentence of Psalm 55.  He always made us put both of our hands in the air to remind us where the verse was found, and we would recite it together over and over.  The sentence is, “As for me, I trust in You.”  Coach Mac leaves quite a void in many of our lives and in our hearts, but he left us so much.  Even though we are grieving the loss of an incredible man, I think its obvious what Coach Mac would have us do, and that is put our trust in God.  So when we have lost an great husband, father, grandfather, educator, and coach we have one thing to do.

“As for me, I trust in You.”

Advertisements

Going Somewhere

Image

I struggle with being stagnant in my faith.

I am and have always been an idealist.  This is great when I am hanging out with my friends and I can say things like “What if we…” and “Wouldn’t it be awesome if….”  Although I come up with all of these great thoughts, I so often struggle going through with my ideas.  Maybe I just don’t care enough, maybe I am scared of failure, and maybe I feel like there are better things that I can be doing, but I tend to give up on projects easily.  I don’t follow through in my spiritual life like I should most of the time, and that bugs me.  For the longest time I have wondered what to do to avoid these stagnant periods in my faith that follow periods of incredible growth.

I have been reading Donald Miller’s book, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” and in the book, Miller constantly refers to living a better story in his life.  I really connect with what he is saying.  I consider myself a “big picture” guy, and with me not knowing what God’s “big picture” for my life is, I really have trouble going anywhere and doing anything in life.  Miller suggests giving our lives direction by setting goals or having something to strive for.  Having goals forces us to go out and actually DO things.  So what I am going to try and do is set some goals that will force me to get out and LIVE.  I will get back to you on how that goes.

Blessings!

P.S.: If you are into the whole reading thing and haven’t read any of Donald Miller’s books, I would  highly recommend giving him a shot. I would start with “Blue Like Jazz,” it’s fantastic!

Faithfulness

rainbow double

Yesterday I was sitting across a table and over a cup of coffee from a friend of mine named Joseph.  I do not really know him very well yet, but we were talking and he asked me, “If someone who had never heard about God asked you to describe God, what would you say?”  I was thrown for a loop by the question because I had honestly never really thought about being asked that.  I thought about it for a moment, and tried to talk through it a little.  The word that ended up being my response was “faithfulness.” I am so lucky to worship a God who never leaves and always comes through.  Even when I have really screwed the pooch, God is still seeking me and wanting me to turn to Him.  I can’t say that thought has always been an easy one for me.  In the past and still often, I have really struggled with praying at times.  Honestly, most of the time I know what I am doing is wrong and feel terrible during and afterwards.  At these times I feel like I should come back to God for forgiveness, but I just can’t bring myself to even ask for more grace.  After I fall into sin, I just feel like I would be cheapening God’s grace if I were to ask for forgiveness immediately. I struggle with thinking that God has given up on me.  How could the creator of the entire universe love me enough to put up with all of my baggage and all of my crap?  The answer to that is amazing.  God sent His son to be treated like the worst of criminals so that I wouldn’t have to be punished for my sin.  One of my favorite stories in all of scripture is found in chapter 3 of Genesis.  It is after Adam and Eve have sinned and are guilt-ridden.  They are hiding in the Garden covered in fig leaves.  Surely they are thinking to themselves, “God must not want to be with me anymore, I am such a screw-up,” but right in the moment when they are scared, ashamed, and confused, the Lord God calls out to them, “Where are you?”  This is such a beautiful story!  The creator of the heavens and the most powerful being that has ever existed and ever will exist is walking around LOOKING FOR THEM!!!  So often I forget how I am constantly being called to live a better story than the story that I live in.  Freedom in Christ can be such a hard concept to understand, but there is one thing that I know, and that is God sent his son for us, that we might not only live, but LIVE WELL!  God is faithful and promises that He will not leave us when we are caught in sin, and God also promises incredible rewards for people who live for Him.

Blessings!

In the Meantime…

Well it has been a couple weeks since my last post, so I just thought a little update wouldn’t hurt.  I have been busy.  “Doing What???”  I have been busy doing a whole lot of mundane, non-exciting schoolwork and all that comes with that.  My brother drove in from Houston on Saturday, so I guess that is interesting.  I have got an interview to be an RA (Resident Assistant) in the dorm coming up next Wednesday.  My Spring Break trip to Dallas is in three weeks so I’m starting to get really excited about that.  The team had a meeting tonight, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us there.  Fundraising for my summer mission trip to Ukraine has really been at the front of my mind.  I am supposed to have $1675 in by March 1st and currently I am at $375, so you can probably understand my concern.  I am trying not to worry about it because I know that God is in control.  Knowing that is helping me not to get overwhelmed and is keeping me out of “freak out mode.”  With so many things going on, it is amazing when I just sit back and realize how richly God has blessed me.  I have got great friends, family, and a wonderful church.  I can’t wait to see what is in store for me in the very near future!

Blessings!

Philippians 4:13 Reflection

Image

      Today has been an incredible day.  Some different things happened, but overall I just felt the inescapable glory of God today in so many ways.  I was reading through Philippians 4 today when I came across the often quoted verse, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (4:13 NIV).  I had heard this verse so many times before, but I had never read it in the same way that I have today.  For once I actually read what was said before that statement.  Reading it in context put it in a completely different light.  Verse 12-13: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  So often verse 13 is used when all hope is lost or when we have some huge dream that we are trying to accomplish, but I have never heard it used in a sermon about being content.  Tim Tebow used to wear that verse on his eye black, and it is read by Christian high school sports teams before games, but have we missed what Paul was saying?  Is it possible that the “secret of being content in any and every situation” is knowing that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us?  I may be completely off, but it seems to me that Philippians 4:13, the verse about doing incredible things, is about being ok with what we have in every situation.  That’s just some food for thought and an example of the advantages of reading scripture in context instead of just pulling verses out one by one.  Blessings.

A Different Kind of Prayer

Image

 

In my Intro to Ministry class yesterday one of my professors, Dean, taught about something that I had never realized existed.  He taught about prayers of lament.  It is the most common genre of the psalms and I can’t remember ever praying a prayer of lament.  Basically this type of prayer is just telling God how you’re not happy with the situation you’re in.  I always thought that we weren’t supposed to complain to God, but it turns out that it’s ok.  The psalms are filled with these prayers of frustration and sadness.  Psalm 13 is the main example Dean used in class.  Basically David is asking God how much longer he’s going to have to deal with all of this crap in his life.  At the end of the psalm he does say that he still puts his trust in God, but he complains to God quite a bit.  I had read this psalm before, but had never thought about praying a prayer like that to God.  I’ll be honest, I’ve been pretty hacked off at God before asking why this happened or why that happened, but I’ve never thought about praying to God like that.  I’m going to give it a whirl because now I’m pretty sure that it’s ok to talk to God about the crap that is happening and how you don’t like it.  I wouldn’t say that cursing God is ok, but definitely admitting that you don’t understand what’s going on is healthy.  As long as your hope, trust, and joy are in Him, it’s all good.  So I’ll give it a shot.  Just trying to keep living and learning.

Not Perfect and that’s OK

I’ve known for a while now that I’m not perfect.  It took some time to realize it, and a little longer to come to grips with it.  I was bound to admit it sometime because there was just to much overwhelming evidence of that fact to ignore it.  A lot of people for my entire life have told me, “God’s got an incredible plan for you,” and, “I can’t wait to see what God does in your life.”  I took this the wrong way.  Though I never would have admitted it, I felt that I had more potential than everybody else.  This was such a flawed view.  Yes, God does have a plan for me, and I can’t wait to see what God does in my life either, but I’m a major screw-up.  For instance, just an hour ago I was bringing in one of those 24 packs of bottled water to the dorm, and I dropped the whole package from above my head.  Two girls driving by saw the debacle and were literally pointing and laughing at me.  In fact, pretty much any situation involving one or more attractive girls leads to complete, utter awkwardness and embarrassment.  And I mess up in my spiritual life pretty frequently as well.  It is not something that I am incredibly proud of, but my point is that God can use me to help others even with all of my problems.  That is the beauty of the community known as the church.  I’ll be honest, there are a lot of things that I don’t like about church.  It tends to be hypocritical and self-serving at times, and then there are my little reasons like having to get up on Sunday morning.  I don’t go to church for the preacher, I don’t go to church for the worship time, and I don’t go to church for the free coffee; I go to church for the people.  Everyone there has crap in their lives, and that’s ok.  What amazes me is the great things that happen when the church really makes itself open to God.  Donald Miller had a great post on his blog (www.storylineblog.com) this past week about the church entitled, “How and Why I Stay in the Dysfunctional Family of God.”  Go check it out if you’ve got some time on your hands.  Basically Miller lays out his reasoning for still being a part of the church.  He has got some really good points, and I would highly recommend reading his blog regularly.  The church is not only an instrument that God can do incredible things through, too often we forget that we are Christ’s bride.  No relationship is perfect, and our relationship with Him certainly isn’t, but that doesn’t mean it can’t improve.  God is working and will do great things if we’re open to Him.  In the Bible God used a st-st-stutterer, an adulterer, a murderer, a terrorist, and even a prostitute to do His will.  Shoot, God even spoke through Balaam’s…um…donkey.  So, in conclusion, let’s keep our eyes open to what God has to do in the world around us.