Sunday, December 11, 2016

An Athlete's Truth - Collier Winters (Part 2- Being Coached)

Part 2: Being Coached

If you are an athlete in high school or college (or professionally) and you are trying to live as a disciple of Jesus, then you know there are some challenges that come our way that many other people don’t have to face; like, figuring out how to be committed to the church and the meetings of the body during season, or how to resist the peer pressure to party with the team, or how to stand up for righteousness amongst teammates and friends whose lack of righteousness often seems to be a matter of pride.  There can also be the challenge of feeling like to you don’t fit in - either on the team or at church.  Can you relate to any of these?  These were all things that I felt at different times.  And the list could go on.
To be honest, my first couple of years as a Christian were not so hot.  My faith was pretty weak and the new life that I was being called to live was really challenging.  Adjusting to this new life and new schedule was hard.  The temptations didn’t die down, and my lack of godliness and righteousness in comparison to Jesus only became more evident.  There were so many things I needed to grow in - selflessness, humility, purity and generosity, just to name a few.  I am overwhelmingly thankful to God for his mercy and for his patience with me, and I am eternally grateful for all of the people around me who continued to show me love and encouragement and who believed in me and helped to spur me on.  I want to share with you guys three things that God taught me over those first couple years as a young Christian.  I believe that if you are able to make these your convictions, they will help you to stay close to God and to continue to grow as a man or woman of God!

1) Daily devotion to God is crucial

Matthew 4:4Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

When I became a Christian, I was taught that in order to grow in my faith it was important for me to spend time in prayer and in God’s word every single day.  Jesus himself makes this very clear in Matthew 4 when he compares the words of God to bread.  Just as we need bread (food) to grow and to be healthy physically, we need God’s Word to grow and to be healthy spiritually.  If we starve ourselves of God’s word, we have no chance of growing in our faith.  We need to be in God’s word daily.  This idea seems simple (and it is), but it can be hard to put into practice if you are not disciplined or if you do not see your need for it.
I became a Christian in the off-season, and during that time we had workouts almost every morning at 6:00am.  I lived about 15 minutes from the locker room; so, my routine before I became a disciple was to wake up at 5:30am, put on my headphones (Lil' Wayne or some R&B depending on my mood), walk down to the locker room, get changed and get ready for the workout.  After I became a disciple, I realized that spending time with God needed to be my first priority.  So, I would wake up an extra 15-20 minutes early in order to read one chapter of the Bible (I read one chapter of the Bible every morning and took notes in the margins until I finished reading the entire New Testament), and then I would spend my 15 minute walk to the locker room praying to God.  That 30 minutes with God every morning was, by far, the thing that most helped me to grow as a young Christian.
God’s word is powerful and we are in need of it on a daily basis.  There is nothing more important than our daily devotion to God.  Gotta eat!

2) Be a giver, not a taker

Acts 20:35 “... remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

There were MANY verses I could have chosen for this point, but Jesus’s words here make things simple - it is better to give than to receive.  What do I mean and why is this so important?  When I was a new Christian (and for a little while after that), I was only concerned with myself.  What do I want to do… who do I want to talk to (or not talk to)… how do I feel… what works with my schedule?  Many times, I would show up a little late to devotional or midweek and sit in the back; then I would leave right after it was done so that I wouldn’t have to talk to anybody and so that I could be “efficient” with my time - aka do what I wanted to do.  I was selfish.  I was a taker and not a giver; and because of that, not only was I not acting like Jesus, but I was also missing out on the joy and blessings of giving to others.  When I finally repented, I really began to realize just how important and how awesome it is to have close, spiritual relationships.  Many of the guys who I grew close to, as a result, became life-long friends and even groomsmen in my wedding.  Not to mention, the girl I married was also one of those relationships I invested in!  
Most likely, you have lots of friends on your team.  That is a great thing.  But, God taught me that if you want to do well spiritually, you need to invest in relationships with your brothers and sisters even more so.  Without these relationships it is nearly impossible to stay faithful for long.  God gives us the church for a reason.  Be a giver, not a taker.

3) You can’t ever prioritize God TOO much

Matthew 6:33, Matthew 10:37, Luke 10:27, Mark 10:29-30, Hebrews 11:6 (you will have to look these up!)

The last thing that God coached me in during my first couple years as a Christian was how to, practically, make him my priority.  When I was baptized, I declared that Jesus was the lord of my life and that I loved Him more than anything else in my life.  This was as true then as it is now; however, in my daily decisions, I had to learn what it meant to always put God first.  For my first two years as the starting quarterback at Harvard (also my first two years as a disciple), the decisions I made about how to spend my time did not always reflect God as the first priority in my life.  At times, I was more devoted to football (and sometimes, but rarely, school) than I was to God and the things of His kingdom.  I wasn’t very active in sharing my faith.  I would sometimes miss meetings of the body if I thought I had other more urgent or more important things to do.  Most weeks, I would spend WAY more time watching film and preparing for the game than I would spend trying to build God’s kingdom.  Although I reasoned that I was trying to bring God glory through football, I was not prioritizing Him in my life the way that he calls us to.
Once again, when I realized this was happening, I had to make a decision to repent (change).  So, my senior year, I decided that my time was first going to be devoted to God and His kingdom, then to working hard to excel in school and football.  I was at almost all of the meetings of the body during the season (even when I had a lot of school work), I reached out to all of my teammates and studied the Bible with many of them (sacrificing sleep much needed sleep on many nights), and I made sure to spend time building my relationships with the brothers and sisters in my ministry.  
Because of all the time I invested in these things, I had less time for school and for football (although I was still very committed to working hard and using the talents and opportunities that God gave me).  As it turns out, I had the best football season of my career and I ended up with a 3.8 GPA that semester.  I was an All-Ivy League Quarterback, All-American mention, Ivy League champion, and I broke the record for highest completion percentage in a single season at Harvard.  I don't believe that was a coincidence. I am not trying to tell you that if you become a disciple or if you devote more time to God then you will do better in school or you will become a better athlete - that is simply not true.  It might work out that way; but, it also might not.  What I am saying is that it is possible to be completely devoted to God and to also excel in school and succeed at your sport; but, God is most important.
People often ask me, “So, how did you balance school, sports, and church at Harvard?”  What God taught me was that there is no balance.  If you are a disciple, God comes before everything and he also the foundation of everything that you do.  They aren’t separate pieces to your puzzle.  God becomes the entire puzzle.  There is no such thing as prioritizing God TOO much.  In the end, it is your relationship with God that matters, not how many points you scored or how far you made it in your sport.

I hope these things have been helpful.  Stay tuned for part 3!  I will be talking, more specifically, about bringing glory to God through our sports!

Monday, November 14, 2016

An Athlete's Truth - Collier Winters (Part 1)

To all who will read this,

     My name is Collier Winters.  First, I want to first say thank you to Justin Drabot who has taken on this vision to inspire and encourage athletes who are trying to be disciples of Jesus and bring glory to God.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to share my story here - the different ways that God has worked in my life and a few of the things that God has “coached” me in as a Christian over the past 7+ years (four of them as a serious athlete).  I will be writing a three-part series for the blog and I am praying that my words will be used to inspire, convict, challenge, encourage and coach other fellow athletes in the truth of God and his word.  I hope that, at points, what I share will challenge your thinking and, in the end, I hope that it will help you to bring more glory to God in whatever you do.

Part 1: My Journey to God

     I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Ever since I was old enough to have dreams, my dream was to play in the NFL.  My sports idols were people like Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, Brett Favre.  I wanted to be just like them!  I played many other sports growing up, but football was always my biggest passion.  By the time I got to high school, it was also very clear that football was my best sport.  I continued to play basketball and run track in the off-season, but football was my focus and I wanted to become the absolute best quarterback (my position) possible.
     Throughout these years growing up, church and God were part of my life.  I grew up going to church with my family (as did almost every other kid in Oklahoma!) and I believed in God as far back as I can remember.  However, God was only PART of my life.  I never really read my Bible, and even though I usually tried to do the “right” thing, I never had any clue what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. So, God was around… but, I never really knew him (and I certainly wasn’t living my life to bring glory to HIM).
     When I graduated high school, I had accomplished one of my major goals - I received a scholarship to play Division 1 football!  In fact, I had received several D-1 scholarship offers.  I ended up choosing Harvard University over other schools like Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio, and Colorado State.  My first year at Harvard I was able to get a little playing time (I came in every now and then as the “wildcat” quarterback), and I had a great year!  Being a college quarterback had a lot of perks…  and with it, a lot of temptations.  I tried to go to church during my freshman year, but quickly found out that the only people who go to church in Cambridge, MA are people over the age of 60 - at least that’s what it seemed like.  Hardly any of my teammates or classmates when to church on Sunday morning, so I quickly found myself deciding to sleep in instead of dragging myself to a boring church service.  For about a year and a half I hardly went to church and was barely doing anything with my faith at all.  I was living a pretty typical college lifestyle - I went to parties, had a girlfriend, and was pretty much just living for myself.
     When sophomore year came around, I got hurt right at the beginning of football season.  I tore my labrum in my hip and had to have surgery.  I took a medical redshirt year that year and watched the whole season from the sidelines (that was certainly tough to do).  The spring of my sophomore year is when things began to change for me.  We were in spring practice and I was in line to be the starting quarterback the next year as a redshirt sophomore.  My teammate Josue Ortiz, who had been studying the Bible over the past few months, invited me out to church.  He actually got baptized at this service!      After the service ended, the campus minister, Glenn Petruzzi, asked me if I wanted to study the Bible.  Knowing that I probably should do this and not wanting to say no… I said sure.  Over the next 4-5 weeks of studying the Bible with Glenn, I came to learn what it meant to seek after God, to repent of my sins, to be committed to his body, to deny myself, and to truly follow Jesus.  Some of these things I knew (but wasn’t following), but other things I had never read or been taught before!  I realized that my mindset and my entire lifestyle had to change if I was going to become a disciple.
In no way was this easy for me… but, two things helped me to make the decision to be baptized and become a disciple: 1) I firmly believed that the Bible was THE word of God (therefore, I had only two options - follow it or not) and 2) I came to deeply know and understand how much God loves me (as shown by him sending his son to die for me), and this loved demanded a response from me. These two things made the decision very easy… but, the actual changing of my mind and my lifestyle was still hard.
This is what I hope talk about in Part 2...

Stay tuned for Part 2 in the upcoming weeks!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

An Athlete's Truth - Ronneil Herron

        We have a very special treat to hear from a very good friend of mine named Ronneil Herron. Ronneil has been a friend of mine for many years and has been an incredible example of what it means to be Coached in Truth. He has an incredible story to share and I know everyone who takes the time to read it will be inspired by his character and his relentless pursuit to love God. Here is a quick bio on Ronneil, followed by his story and his definition of what it means to be Coached in Truth.

Ronneil Herron’s Bio

        In high school I played basketball, baseball and football up until my sophomore year.  During my junior and senior year, I focused on basketball and baseball.  I earned a few individual accolades in basketball my junior and senior year, but as a team we weren’t that good.  I had the privilege of being the starting 2nd basemen my sophomore, junior and senior year on the varsity baseball team.  Our teams won back to back state championships my junior and sophomore year.  As a student I maintained a 4.17 GPA.  At Syracuse University, I had the privilege of playing collegiate ball between 2000 and 2004.  And in 2003, I was fortunate enough to be on the team that won a national championship.  As a student, I majored in Electrical Engineering and earned a B.S. degree in 2003.  After graduating I attempted to play ball overseas but after weighing my options, I chose to pursue a career in electrical engineering and I’m currently working for an electrical utility as a system planner.

Like my father was, and how my son is now, I’ve always been drawn to sports.  As far back as I can remember, I had some kind of ball in my possession or I was outside playing some kind of sport in the neighborhood.  At a young age, I was fascinated by the competition associated playing a sport and the idea that there’s always room for improvement, which has been a concept that has tremendously helped me outside of sports.  
I say this with great humility, but growing up, I was that kid that naturally played sports well and excelled above my peers.  By nature, I’m a pretty even keeled individual who isn’t easily excited.  However, whenever I participate in anything involving athletics, there is focus and peace that overtakes me and I know I’m in my element.  There’s an aggression in how I play that displays itself.  There’s a level of confidence knowing that I’ve been entrusted with certain talents.  There’s a push to healthily be better than whoever I’m competing against.  There’s a focus that wants to triumph beyond circumstances and be victorious.  There’s a peaceful joy being able to express myself through the athleticism loaned to me.  
Growing up, I knew that I was good at sports, and folks would often vocalize it, but thankfully it never filled my head.  I attribute that to my parents keeping me grounded and helping me to keep a healthy perspective that just because your good at something, it doesn’t equate to you being better than anyone.  My parents never directly shared Biblical scriptures with me, but they would share Biblical principles.  And one of them was to in humility, consider others better than myself (Philippians 2: 3).  Another concept that kept me humble growing up was the fact that at any point, I could face someone who was better than or just as good as me.  I don’t know exactly how I gained this perspective at an early age, but I do know that this is something God wove into my heart.  So as a result, I enjoyed practicing and taking time by myself to improve my skill sets.  Now, I can’t say that I’ve always had a good work ethic.  In the later parts of middle school and early on in high school, I began to not train as much because I could rely on my athletic ability.  However, as those I played against began to get stronger and more explosive as result of maturing and training, I couldn’t just be more athletic than my competition.  I had to start consistently training my body in order to compete.
I’m grateful that I was surrounded by coaches and mentors,who helped me to mature physically and in the process, helped me to mature in my character.  When I had to start lifting weights consistently and doing drills to help improve my quickness and explosiveness, I was not a big fan.  I enjoyed training, but as we all know, it’s not always pleasant pushing our bodies to new limits.  But in learning to do so, I learned the importance of denying myself (not giving up) so that fruit could be born (maturing physically and mentally).  And those who trained me always told me the truth, but it was done out of carefor my well-being.  I think being constructively criticized at an early age definitely helped me to embrace input given by others as I got older and to not take it personal so I could digest what was being presented to me and grow from it accordingly (Proverbs 19: 20-21…….Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails).
Coming out of high school, I had a few offers to play collegiate basketball at smaller programs in California (UC Davis and Sacramento State).  I was also offered an opportunity to play minor league baseball with the Milwaukee Brewers.  But in my pride, I didn’t want to play at a smaller program and the big name schools weren’t checking for a 5’11’ guard who only weighed 143 lbs.  And I never knew about the opportunity to play minor league baseball until weeks after my high school graduation.  The scouts were communicating with my parents who told them that I was going to college and if they were interested in signing me, that’d have to wait until after I completed a degree in college.  This was a decision my parents and I made when I was in the 8th grade and started to get noticed by scouts.  But as a 18 year old kid, I was blown when my mom finally told me about the offer because I felt like I had missed out on a golden opportunity.
Since I wasn’t getting recruited in basketball by any big names schools, and I couldn’t play baseball professionally, I decided to go to Georgia Tech to major in electrical engineering.  Well, my financial aid paper work ended up falling through and so I was left with studying electrical engineering at my second choice of school’s……Syracuse University.  While at SU, I had no plans of trying to play basketball but the more I went to the gym to hoop for fun my freshman year, the more I heard folks telling me that I should try and walk on to the team.  After one of my floor mates told me that he was going to try out for the team and needed a workout partner, I figured I might as well try out.  After all, what did I have to lose?  Long story short, I ended up not making the team.  After the tryout was over, I was pulled aside by one of the assistant coaches and told that if they were to keep any one as a walk-on, it would have been me.  But I needed to get in better shape and put on some weight.  So with that motivation and a lot of help from a good friend, I trained the rest of my freshman year and the beginning of my sophomore year so that I could be ready for the tryouts again in October.  And thankfully the work that was put in paid off as I was offered a spot as a walk-on.
Being a walk-on was rewarding but yet humbling at the same time.  I was grateful to be able to play a sport I loved at the collegiate level, but I also had to work just as hard as a scholarship player knowing that I probably wouldn’t play all that much.  And so there was a constant battle within me.  I knew that as long as I was on the team, I needed to be improving as a basketball player.  And I wanted the opportunity to play in games.  But I also knew that my role was to push the scholarship players and get them game ready.  So there were times that I would question whether or not it was beneficial to be on the team knowing that I was less likely to play significant minutes in games.  But thankfully I didn’t allow my pride to get the best of me and I had folks around me to remind me just how special of an opportunity I had.  As luck would have it, the work I was putting in was being noticed and during my junior year, I, along with another walk-on, was going to be offered scholarships.  We were both starting to get more reps with the 1st team during the pre-season.  However, before the season began, one of our teammates was dismissed from the team and another one transferred.  As a result, our program was penalized by putting a hold on scholarship offers.  So the scholarship I thought I was going to receive was no longer an option.   Naturally, I was blown away when the coaches broke the news to us.  But it didn’t deter me from maximizing the opportunity I had been given. Being a walk-on taught me many things.  Pushing past my desires and wants and doing what’s best for the betterment of others was one of them.  That same principle is something I go back to as I attempt to lead my family.
I am eternally grateful for the men and women God has put in my life to help keep me grounded and view myself through sober lenses.  Unfortunately, not everyone has a support system where the development of your character outweighs the development of your physical abilities.  When you’re good at anything, there’s always a temptation to start feelin’ yourself and believe that you deserve the praises of others.  I know I did and still can.  And we all know, sports are no different.  But just like in life, tough or difficult times don’t necessarily built character, they more expose the inner fiber of our beings. Thankfully God has used sports to help expose, shape, mold, and refine my character to help equip me for this thing called life and live it truthfully!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

An Athlete's Truth - Travis Hawkins

I am so incredibly blessed to have the friends that I have. I know people from all over the place who are doing incredible things to glorify God. With that being said, it is my honor to introduce to you our guest writer for this weeks segment of "An Athlete's Truth", Travis Hawkins. There is a short bio about Travis at the bottom of this post if you would like to know a few more details about him but I can tell you that Travis is an amazing man of God and a fantastic athlete. He has been seen as a spiritual leader for his team on and off the field. He has an incredible story to share! I am so grateful he has taken the time to write for us so that he can share about some of his experiences as an athlete who is trying to glorify God. He is great example of what it looks like to be Coached in Truth! Thank you Travis for all that you do to glorify God with your abilities and thank you for taking the time to share with us how you have done that.

An Athlete's Truth by Travis Hawkins

Every morning when I wake up, I think back to my time as a student athlete. Having the opportunity to play football and run track in college is something that I will never forget. From the 5 am practices, sleepless nights, to the smell of the freshly cut grass, and all the way to the thousands of roaring fans cheering me on. These are the memories and moments that I will never forget.

Every fan sees an athlete perform on that particular day — but they see is just the tip of the iceberg. They can’t fathom the sacrifices the athlete has made to get to that point. It starts with the moments of deep discouragement and failing in practice. It continues with the mental perseverance to overcome a tired body that is being pushed by a tireless coach. Then you lose track of the hours of studying plays. It all goes on with trying to out best your closest teammate for a final roster spot. All of these moments have created the athlete that you see standing anxiously waiting to compete against another opponent who has endured the same hardships — and the only difference is the color of his uniform. As these two athletes collide and compete one will stand victorious at the end, while the other will hang their head in defeat knowing that their effort wasn't good enough.

As I recall my time as a collegiate athlete I can't help but remember all of those feelings and hardships I faced. But I haven’t even mentioned the single biggest challenge I faced — namely, the spiritual battle I woke up to day after day. From the second I opened my eyes, Satan prowled around like a roaring lion looking to devour me as I tried to compete athletically and keep progressing spiritually. Though I only had 4 years to compete at the collegiate level, Satan knew his time was shorter. Within those 4 years Satan’s assignment was to turn my face from the living God and make me see the desires of the flesh in the most appealing way possible.

As I walked around the university going from class to class with the name "athlete" across my forehead, I was not just an ordinary student. Somehow I had been given a pedestal without even asking for it. I was expected to be the center of attention, consume the desires of impurity, taste the feelings of my sinful nature, and eat up Satan's lies. I was expected to have the "baddest" girlfriend, be the best at every drinking game, and get high on every occasion. I would be a weirdo if I turned down sex, and a "square" if I didn't attend parties. With a world waiting in expectation and a devil thirsting for my every mistake, there was still a God waiting in confidence that I would embrace his throne of Grace.

Without a doubt trying to live for God in college was the hardest thing I've ever had to do! Every day it was a battle to live righteously. I learned that society only saw my worth because I was an athlete. Spirituality was not something that was recognized on the basis of a day-to-day living. A relationship with God was just something you did on Sundays, before you ate, and before you played a game. It was not self denial, taking up the cross, or even talking about your faith. If you did that, then that meant you took "the whole religion thing too serious."

As a freshman those thoughts of being a weirdo, and being too serious about my faith started to make sense to me. I questioned myself and even thought that maybe I just need to "live life a little" and just relax. Until I got introduced to my new roommate, who happened to be a transfer football player. We started to look at the scriptures together and as I looked at the bible in hopes of trying to teach him, I realized I was teaching myself. I saw why I needed to be an athlete in college and why I need to be an athlete in college who lived for God! So many college athletes are hurting and they have no one to talk to because they are suppose to be "tough."

Throughout everything that I have faced, one thing I've learned is that living for God is better! It's better than being cool, it's better than having the most attractive girlfriend, it's better than having a lot of money, it's better than being the life of the party, and it's better than anything Satan can entice me with. Being able to share with people the hope that I have is priceless. I've found purpose in life through Christ! My biggest desire is to play in the NFL and I want it more than anything, but just like Paul said, "I count everything as rubbish for the sake of knowing Christ." This has been my first year not competing at the collegiate leve colle and there is nothing I miss more! Every day I wish I could go back and strap on my pads, but one thing I've learned is that there is a time for everything!

I've fallen thousands of times and I mess up everyday but God's grace is enough to cover my shortcomings. To whomever reads this, my encouragement and hope is that you can see the benefit in living for Christ. No matter how many touchdowns you score, races You win, shots you make, home runs you hit, or matches you win, nothing will ever compare to the victory you find in knowing Christ and sharing it with those closest to you — your teammates. Get to know Christ, and once you are equipped, reach outward and share it with the same people who are waking up at 5 am to practice with you. Share it with the person who is your backup. Share it with your coach who teaches you how to be your best. Share it with every person you come in contact, and I guarantee you, you will have a heavenly reward.

Travis Hawkins Bio

I played quarterback in High School and then transitioned to play college ball at Tuskegee University. Had some opportunities to play at some smaller schools, but there was an opportunity to help out the church, so I decided to go to Tuskegee. I walked on my first year at tuskegee, and was last on the depth chart, but at the end of the year i received a scholarship as a wide receiver. I played almost every special team, as well as the starting slot-receiver. I was fortunate enough to receive two conference championship rings as well. Now I am a student-coach at Tuskegee University, while I finish up my final classes. Went through the 2016 draft and did not get picked up. Only had offers to play overseas. I will continue to try to make it to the NFL for another year. 

Extra articles on Travis Hawkins

To all my Coached in Truth fans! If you know anyone who may be a good candidate with a background in athletics to write for "An Athlete's Truth", please allow them to see this and let them know that Coached in Truth would love to have them write for this purpose. Just have them email me at for more info!


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Where Do You Find Comfort?

   We all seek comfort in one way or the other. We all desire comfort. Why is that? Are we suppose to hopelessly wander this world until we find something that makes us feel comfortable and as soon as it doesn't, we should go and find something else? Are we created to be this way? Should comfort be such a high priority to us? We rely so heavily on different things in our lives to bring us comfort. But where does it end? Lots of money, lots of stuff, lots of relationships, or even lots of accomplishments. None of that ever seems to bring complete and total comfort. The problem of this way of thinking is that it relies so heavily on how things make us "feel". Feelings change every day, therefore, the things that comfort us today may not comfort us tomorrow. Even as an athlete we are taught to never be satisfied, to always push for the next accomplishment or the next championship. While these are all good things, someday what we go after or what we pursue will have to change because our bodies won't allow us to perform at the same level as they did before. Again, we are put in a position where we must find something else that brings us comfort and makes us "feel" good.
   I guess what I'm getting at is, when does this cycle end? I would never tell someone not to be the best they can be. I would never tell someone not to pursue their dreams, but are those the things that are supposed to comfort us? Are we supposed to ride a roller coaster of emotion until the day we die or is there something else that can fill that void. If we take a look at the life of Jesus, we do not see a life of comfort. We see a life of suffering, ridicule, persecution and difficulty. Yet at the same time we see a life of contentment, joy, peace, and trust. Check out all of these scriptures that illustrate those things!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭14:33‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:7-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:35-39‬ NIV

"“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭26:36-46‬ NIV

Of all those scriptures, Matthew 26:36-46 truly shows how Jesus got himself to being content and at peace in God's plan. Here is Jesus getting ready to endure the most difficult thing he has ever had to go through. Physical, emotional and even spiritual pain that none of us could ever imagine and yet through all of it he continues to say "Yet not as I will, but as you will." He was completely surrendered to Gods will and that was his comfort. His comfort didn't come from the situation he was in, his comfort came from his reliance and trust in God. “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Is that your attitude when faced with truth? Are you more concerned with your comfort or with doing the will of God.Boy oh boy, that is a tough question!

What things do you try and use to bring you comfort rather than being content in the Truth?

Coached in Truth

Sunday, September 18, 2016

An Athlete's Truth - Courtney Dailey

     I am so excited to share today's post with everyone! We have a very special treat to hear from a good friend of mine. He is an incredible athlete who has played football for many years and on many different levels (See bio at the end of the post). He is an inspiring man of God with incredible character. I am incredibly grateful for his friendship and for him taking the time to write about his truth for Without further ado, I would like to invite you to read what my good friend, Courtney Dailey, has written about being Coached in Truth.

An Athlete's Truth by Courtney Dailey

     "One of the things that I have always loved about high level competitive athletics is that it makes a lot of concepts simple. Concepts that in other situations or settings might not be so clear cut. Concepts like "earning it" or "sacrifice". You know, those nice catch phrases that higher ups often love to use in corporate environments  yet never quite seem to emulate themselves. You see, when you are in the office or the boardroom for example it's not always quite clear to tell who is truly earning it or who is really sacrificing. That awesome presentation you sat through could be the result of countless days spent working well into the night or simply something well presented that was thrown together by some virtuoso at the last minute. But for the most part the proof is generally in the pudding as far as athletics is concerned. You want to know who's not putting in the time in the weight room..... just look for the guy getting pushed around come opening day. You want to know who didn't bother to run during summer break.....easy, he'll be the one huffing and puffing on lap number two of the six lap conditioning test. You can't simply hide behind your God-given talent or natural ability at that level. You do the work and you just might reach your goals, or you take shortcuts and undoubtedly fail. Not that doing the work affords you even the slightest guarantee of success. There are absolutely no assurances that you will be victorious and no promises that your blood, sweat and tears will pay off in the way that you hope. The only thing you get is the benefit of knowing that your hard work puts you in a better position to succeed than you would have been otherwise. That is honesty at its best and that's what I love about sports. Sports have taught me that In life, other than GOD, there are no guarantees or assurances. All that I can do is put my best foot forward and make use of the resources that I have within my control to help me get what I want out of any situation.
     2 Peter 1:10 reads
"10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble".
This verse in my opinion very much conveys this idea. Peter urges the Christians to give it their all. He does not know what the future holds for them, however he is certain that anything less will ensure imminent and absolute failure. This for me sums up my outlook in athletics, life as well as my Christian walk. It is a very simple yet effective and honest way for me to approach life in the wake of whatever may come. This is my truth."

Courtney Dailey's Bio
College Career :
Marshall University 1999-2001              
Norfolk State University: 2002-2005                  

Semi-Pro Career (US):
Central Virginia Storm  2006
Carolina Bulldogs: 2009-2011

Overseas Career:
Aix En Provence Argonautes (France) 2007
Zurich Renegades (Switzerland) 2010,2015
Ravensburg Razorbacks (2011-2013)

"Currently I'm not playing. Decided to take a break from ball. Not formally retired though 😉  but focusing on the future after ball. Currently building my travel consulting business and getting my masters from the University of Maryland in Technology Entrepreneurship."

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Setting Up Small Wins that Lead to a Big Win

    I read an article recently that talk about all of the habits Jesus developed across his lifetime. It really got me thinking about the types of habits I have developed over the course of my life. Great athletes and successful people would all agree that establishing good and effective habits its critical to any person's success in life. People who follow routines and form habits that they stick to are often the people that end up be successful in what they do. I have really come to believe that we as people are creatures of habit. We become the things that we do frequently and we think the way that we make ourselves think.
  You can read all about the different habits Jesus had in the article I posted recently (I'll post the link at the bottom of this post). Becoming Coached In Truth is a process, it doesn't just happen overnight. It's a commitment to forming habits that Jesus had so that we can transform the way we think on a consistent basis. (Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
    One habit that I do my very best to stick to is to make sure that I spend quality time with God every single day. This is really difficult sometimes because my schedule can get very busy with everything I am responsible for and everything else I enjoy doing. At the same time, also understand that I have made a commitment to make God my first priority in all that I do so reading my bible, praying, and connecting with God is essential everyday. I have committed to my relationship with my wife, and if I decided not to talk to her for a while that may not end up to well on my part hahaha.
  Another habit that is difficult for me to stick to I making sure I am staying physically active and exercising frequently. It's so different from when I was actively involved in playing a sport and I was consistently training for the purpose of performing well in that sport. Well now I just want that habit of being physically active because of the health and wellness benefits. Either way, it is a habit that I strive to abide by because I KNOW the benefits it holds and I KNOW it is something that will contribute to my future success. I also know that a healthier me is going to enable to give to others and serve others in an effective way which is something I hope to do for many years.
Now there are a few habits that I need to get rid of. One being that I love sleeping in a few extra hours. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it's necessary for the body to get some extra rest but that's exactly's necessary, not consistently necessary. When I choose to sleep in even a half hour more, I already am making it difficult for me to stick the the habits and routines I have decided are good for me like reading my bible and praying everyday before I get my day going. This is a habit that prevents me from sticking to another habit that I have decided would lead to a better future for me.
    If Jesus had habits that he formed, then in everything I do I want to strive to have the same habits. You see, in all that we do, we are a result of the habits we form. Think about what habits you have formed over the years. Are they habits that are helping you reach your goals or are they preventing you from reaching them? How are the habits you formed contributing to the way you think and the way you approach everyday life? If you want to get better at something, what routine have you committed to in order to actually improve? Maybe there are habits that you have formed that you need to break or get rid of? I encourage you to think critically about what you do everyday and how you choose to spend your time. I'm not talking about micromanaging your day, I just want you to think about what habits you may have formed that may not be conducive to your success.

Please comment below your thoughts! Are there habits you are striving to create?

Coached In Truth

Sunday, August 21, 2016

People Really Don't Care What You Know Until They Know That You Care

First I want to take the time to say thank you again to those of you who are subscribed to my blog! If you aren't subscribed yet please do so by entering your email address in the "Follow by Email" box to the side of this blog! Now for this week's thoughts!

"People really don't care what you know until they know that you care." We have heard this over and over again but how much do we really believe it. I believe life can be narrowed down to one simple overarching concept: Relationships. Life is all about relationships, there is really no way around it. I think we were built to function that way. It's especially true in the teaching and coaching world. Athletes/Students want to feel believed in, they want to feel like someone truly believes in what they are capable of accomplishing. You could have all the top knowledge, all the "right" answers, the best resources and much much more but without a genuine relationship between the coach and the player (or a teacher and the student) then I believe you have missed out on the greatest blessing in life. You have probably missed out on some quality growth as well because the foundation of the relationship was never solid and genuine.

You see, I think God is way more concerned with out relationships than he was with what we felt like we were accomplishing in life. I mean whether we play a sport for a living or we run a business, I think God is more concerned with how we conduct our relationships within the things we do. Jesus spent his whole life here on this Earth teaching us how to have a relationship with God and how to have relationships with others. That's all the bible's a book about relationships! So if Jesus's focus was on relationships then I want my focus to be on relationships as well! 

How can I show love to others? How can I put others needs before my own? How can I illustrate that my relationship with God is the most important relationship in my life and that my relationships with others is my next priority.

It is so easy to get caught up in how the world wants us to view relationships. The World tells us that in order to be better we have to put ourselves above others in whatever way possible. It's all about self advancement, putting yourself first and others second. Jesus never did that in his own life, he always did the opposite.

So as I begin this school year. As I begin to prepare myself to teach and to coach, I want those around me to see that I care about people first and everything else second. I'm no where near perfect in doing this consistently but I do believe that lives are changed when I stop worrying so much about myself and focus more on how I can serve other people.

Coached In Truth

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Truth is Truth, Whether You Like It or Not - Guest Blog Post

Thank you so much Shawn Lesile for taking the time write for Coached In Truth. Take some time and dive into this thought provoking perspective of truth!

Truth is Truth, Whether You Like It Or Not

The world around us is rapidly changing, almost faster than we can compute the changes, let alone process them and figure out if they’re changes for the better, or if everything has begun spinning inexorably toward the abyss. Our top political candidates for the presidency are the biggest wild cards our nation has seen so far in history; terrorism is on the rise, becoming more of a household topic than a black dot on the news once or twice a month; human rights advocacy has gone from race, to gender, back to race, back to gender, creating walls, destroying walls, creating equality, destroying equality, inventing new angles to defend, new issues to address; technology is becoming more innovative, creating new advances in the automotive industry, not only giving drivers the chance to experience a car driving itself, but also giving drivers a scare with the ability for computer hackers to literally commandeer the vehicle and control it.

So what do we do? Where do we turn? How do we handle all of this?

I believe it all has to start with the truth. The definition of the word truth is, “the actual state of a matter; in conformity with reality.” So we need to look at the actual state of the matter at hand, at the actual reality of what’s going on, and make a decision from there.

An interesting note about this definition: notice it doesn’t mention anyone’s perception or feelings about a matter. Part of the many changes we are experiencing these days is a progressive emphasis on feelings and perception. A lot of what people hear about different situations is, “well, that may be true for you, but it’s not true for me,” or “oh, well my reality looks different than yours.” But to look at a situation from the angle of THE truth -  the actual state of the matter, the reality of the situation - your truth and my truth don’t matter. My reality and your reality are irrelevant. The only way to accurately approach a situation and hope to gain any bit of insight into what’s actually SUPPOSED to be going on is to look at the truth. What is true?

From a biblical perspective, it’s set up pretty cleverly. “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” Jesus said, in John 14:6. Jesus very clearly said that he was the truth.
I heard it said in a sermon once that everything was perfection when the world was first created, when Adam and Eve existed in the garden of Eden, communing with God as he walked among them. True paradise. But when they ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree, they fell. Perfection became imperfect. When the Law was set forth, in all the dry, tedious glory of Deuteronomy, God wasn’t trying to punish the Israelites or make their lives difficult while they were on earth because God was such a prude and the people couldn’t do anything remotely unclean. No, he was giving them directions on how to be closer to him. On how to get as close to that perfection as possible under the impossible umbrella of imperfection.
And then when Jesus came and fulfilled the Law, our Sinless Savior became perfection. So the actual state of the matter is that Jesus is perfection. And in that perfection, we have a conduit by which we can commune with God, the Creator of the Universe, the fullness of Love itself.

It’s always interesting to me that people get upset and bitter when their life doesn’t work out the way they want it to, even though they have prayed every single day for years for the same thing, and still nothing changes. Though when God says, “my thoughts are higher than your thoughts, my ways are higher than your ways,” and “everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial,” and “be holy, as I am holy,” he isn’t concerned about people’s lives working out the way they want them to work out.
The actual state of the matter is that when we read the bible, we see the heart of God, that he works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:11) and that he does everything for his name’s sake (Psalm 106:8). At the same time, he doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10) and he wants everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). He sent Jesus to this world to save it (John 3:17), but called those who wanted to follow him to a high standard (John 8:31, Luke 9:23-26, Luke 14:25-33).

Isn’t it fascinating how there are two things at work at the same time? God is for us (Romans 8:31), and is for himself (Ephesians 1:3-14). But the reality that these situations conform to is that one doesn’t happen without the other. Now, our perception or our feeling on the matter might reflect a different picture, but given what we’ve talked about so far, it’s not true. Yes, life may sometimes suck - sickness and disease abound, hate and anger thrive in this world, deception and lack of integrity have become the new norm - but that doesn’t make those core statements any less true. The fall of man happened, and Satan is the ruler of the earth (2 Corinthians 4:4), so no matter what we do, how much we obey God, pray to God, give to God…it’s not going to exempt us from living on this fallen world, subject to the ails of the age, until it is time to go Home.

However, we do have “his very great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4a) that we can lean on, feed on, rely on, and cling to in the meantime. “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:4), “My soul finds rest in God alone” (Psalm 62:1), “God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8), “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14). There are thousands upon thousands of promises that God has given us, “so that through them [we] may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption of the world caused by evil desires (2 Peter 1:4b).

Seek the truth, and don’t be swayed by perceptions or feelings. Let the truth be your guide.