Home

The Day I Lost My Vision

Leave a comment

Confession time. I lost it…I mean totally and unequivocally, lost it. Picture a 6’5″ grown man crying and sobbing like a five year child who just had his Christmas presents stolen on Christmas morning. Yes. That bad. L.O.S.T. Lost. It.

Another confession…it’s never been my vision. It’s God’s vision. I’m just the one who was allowed to see it.

Tonight, I’m relaxing and recovering after a STRONG push this past month in getting our Upward Basketball & Cheerleading season started. We’ve been busy drafting 612 (and growing) players to teams, screening and vetting 130 volunteers, training Cheer Coaches, planning for and conducting the annual Prayer Breakfast, managing team equipment for 72 teams, and ordering equipment for the season…all culminating this past week in a final push to prepare for, setup and conduct two training sessions for 100 basketball coaches and a cheerleading clinic, both held this weekend. This morning saw two of those events at the same time, both worthy of being called a major event on its own, a basketball coach training session in one half of the building and the Cheerleading Clinic in the other half. As this morning’s cheer clinic came to an end, I confess that’s when I lost it.

Flash back to last night. After a 14-hour day ended with the first of two 4-hour Coach Training Sessions, I was praying on my drive home. I told God that I felt like something wasn’t right. Something’s missing, but I don’t know what it is. It feels like I’ve been distracted and scatter-brained…more so than usual anyway. And as I stopped talking to Him long enough to actually listen, God revealed to me that I’d lost the vision. What?! I know the vision. I just shared it with 50 coaches hours earlier as I cast the vision for our season! I’m the leader of the ministry…knowing (and sharing) the vision is my job. How could that be? And then He reminded me that I was so wrapped up in preparing for what I was going to say after the video message from Caz ended that I didn’t hear Caz say it. “Loving people trumps everything.” If we’re so wrapped up in what we’re busy doing that we don’t take time for people when they need to engage us, then we’ve lost the vision. Because “loving people trumps everything.”

Unable to see the vision for the various tasks before me this past month, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I’ve become so engrossed in the task over the last month that tunnel vision has been keeping me from seeing the vision that started me on this journey in the first place. That’s really, really hard to admit…that as the person who’s ultimately responsible for casting the vision for the team, I got caught up in the to-do list and lost focus. But it’s the cold hard truth. I lost the vision.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the to-do list, isn’t it. So easy to fall into the trap of being busy doing the *work* of God that we miss the *face* of God. Convicted of that, and then waking up this morning, still exhausted, to get back to the task of another Coach Training Session, I needed something to help me see the vision clearly again. As the coach training session ended, I was able to steal away for a few minutes to walk in for the closing moments of the Cheer Clinic on the other side of the building. I spent three minutes watching as dozens of young cheerleaders were reunited with their parents after having spent two fun-filled hours of exciting, energetic, high impact time with their new teammates and coaches.

Three minutes. That’s all it took to have me crying like a baby as God illuminated the vision for me again. For three minutes, the work was gone. The to-do list was gone. The details were gone. And the reason we’ve invested hundreds of hours already was right in front of me. For three minutes, I simply sat back and enjoyed watching the vision unfold before my eyes. I went from seeing the things right before me to seeing the bigger picture. And I lost it. Yep, cried like a baby.

I’ve got the vision back. And I’m ready to get back to work with a renewed passion. I walked away from that three minutes inspired…excited and on fire once again with the passion to continue in the work of seeing the vision fulfilled through accomplishing the mission of “Promoting the Discovery of Jesus Through Sports.” I’ve got the vision…and I’m ready to share it! Let’s do this.

Love,

Dad

Advertisements

God…Knocking Your Socks Off. With Socks!

Leave a comment

It was Crazy Sock Day at our Upward game today. My week leading up to today was CrAy. Zee. To say the least. So I woke up this morning unprepared, having forgotten about Crazy Sock Day, until now.

After twenty minutes searching the house, the only thing I could find was my 4year old’s mismatched soccer socks. Thinking to myself, “there’s no way I can show up without some kinda crazy sock”, I throw them on and head out the door.

Let me just say…socks designed for a 4-year old’s foot do NOT bode well with this 40 year old large man’s body. 🙂 Twenty minutes in, I can’t feel my toes. No, literally! I can’t feel my toes! I’m driving down the interstate, and my toes are completely numb. Obviously, I’m not going to make it ten hours in these, so I’m praying…asking God for an answer. I stop by the church office on my way to the gym to pick up some supplies. Now twenty minutes late for having spent my morning looking for socks that are soon going to amputate my toes, I’m hurriedly walking down the hall past the office when God says something to me…and when I say He said it, I mean He actually grabbed my ear and whispered directly at me. “Slow down. Just. Slow. Down.”

So I stop, dead in my tracks, at the office door. Standing in the hall now, I remember the secretary emailing me earlier in the week to tell me I had a package delivered. Not expecting anything, I pushed it aside thinking I’ll get to it next week. So now, I walk in and open the package. To find this pair of socks from South Carolina! Meant as a marketing technique from Upward Sports with the intent to “knock my socks off” at this summer’s leadership training, I’m literally standing in the office laughing at how funny and amazing God really is. God reached into the life of someone thousands of miles away this week and said, “send that man some socks.” Amazing doesn’t begin to cover it.

Not the craziest pair of socks I’ve worn to Crazy Sock Day, but by far the craziest story I’ve shared about how God answers prayer in the smallest, yet biggest, ways. Can I just say? My God is an awesome God! Always there to meet my need, no matter how big or small. He’s there for you to. If you’ll trust Him.

God…sending socks in the mail so my toes wouldn’t fall off after ten hours in my 4-year old SI’s socks. God is funny! Keep your eyes open for those God Moments. They’re all around us. Keep your sense of awe and wonder and be ready! He may just knock your socks off. With socks!

Love,

Dad!

110 Cars of Faith

Leave a comment

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

“Dad, there are a lot of cars driving today.  I bet every car in the whole world is driving right here now.”

“Yeah, son there are a lot of cars this morning, but I don’t think every car in the world is right here…that would be a whole lot more cars.”

“Yeah, cuz there are 110 cars in the whole world, and that would be a lot!” (Imagine that said with the awe and wonder at how a 5 year old sees the number 110 as infinity.)

This morning, I was driving NE to school following an early morning doctor appointment when he said that, and it made me smile…and got me thinking about how much of a child I really am in my faith.  Have you ever found yourself putting limits on what God can do?  Silently thought to yourself, “this situation is hopeless.  I don’t see how this is going to work.  This is not possible.  There’s nothing we can do.  It’s just too much…too big for me.”

I remember the first Upward Sports season for us at FBCW.  When God laid it on my heart to bring this ministry to our church, I never envisioned starting the first season with 241 kids.  After all, there was a league being played at the same time right across the street with 250 kids already.  I planned for 100 that first season…and thought that would be a lot…I set my limits on what God had planned.  In season two, I planned for 300…and the league across from us disbanded, and we had 458 register.  By season three, I started dreaming big…and planned for 500.  God again demonstrated He’s bigger than we are, and brought us 518.  So in season four, I thought…I’ll show Him…and I planned for 600.  He brought us 621.  As we planned for the men’s Bible study we recently started, we ordered materials for 30 men, thinking that was more than enough…believing we’d never get 30 guys to attend this study…and 45 committed to the 8-week study!

These are just the most recent instances I can look back on in my life and see that I have a habit of limiting what I believe God will do.  Maybe it’s that my faith isn’t that strong or deep, but I think it’s also that in my humanness I can never really know how great our God truly is.  After all, our limited perspective feels like on most days this is all there is.  When we walk around this world we see things from a human’s eye…because that’s who we are…how He made us.  We can’t truly grasp what infinity is because we’re a visual people.  Even the universe we live in is defined by a boundary, so infinity seems an impossible concept to grasp.

Like 110 is the highest number known to a 5 year old, so it is with us.  We think that our vision limits God’s visions.  When what we need is to reverse that and realize that it’s God’s vision that sets the limits of our own understanding.  He placed in us a desire to know and follow Him, and limited our vision to what is seen for a reason.  The vision we have in us to see the unseen is only a small portion of what He placed within us.  I choose to believe He did so because if He had completely revealed to us the fullness of His vision, then of what purpose would faith be to us?  Anyone can believe what is seen…it’s the unseen that takes faith.  On this side of eternity, we’ll never fully comprehend the fullness of His vision and the limitlessness of His power and love.

When NE was first learning to count, ten was it.  That’s all the fingers we have, so that must be as high as we can count, right?  I remember the amazement at learning there’s an eleven…a twelve…and even more…but not seeing it made it hard to believe.  So to help him understand and believe, we hung a number chart on the dining room wall.  Numbers all the way to 100!  Wow!  As he mastered that which he could see, we again rocked his world when we revealed to him that it doesn’t end at 100.  Next is 101…102…103, and that you can keep counting numbers forever.  He had to learn (by faith) that it doesn’t stop at 100…to imagine a world where you can keep counting forever and ever.  Like his understanding of numbers grows over time, so does our faith.  Let your faith grow beyond what you can see…beyond what you feel…beyond that which you can understand and comprehend…beyond what you can grasp.  Because faith in what you can see and grasp is not really faith at all.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11-13

Love,

Dad

Gracious Father, I’m thankful that you’re not limited by my vision.  Forgive me for placing limits on what is possible through You.  May you continue to grow my faith through whatever means you find necessary to do so.  Please enlighten the vision within me to better see all that You would have me to see.  Ignite a passion within me to daily follow after you with all I am and all I have.

Amen

He Shoots! He Scores!

Leave a comment

I’ve been the League Director of our Upward basketball league for 4 seasons now, and by far this last season was my favorite! It’s not often I get the opportunity to see our league from a perspective other than as the director, and this season came at just the right time in my life. NE, it’s your first time playing on an organized sport’s team, and I was blessed to coach your team.

I remember at the start of the season, I was worried that your anxiety would get the better of you, and you’d lose interest in playing pretty quickly. That first practice, you clung to my leg pretty much the entire night. You seemed frustrated at me and the process…quite honestly, it was pretty frustrating for me too. It definitely didn’t seem like you were having much fun at all. That night…as I tucked you in to bed, you looked up at me with those big eyes and said, “Dad, I love you be my basketball coach.” Daddy proud moment right there buddy.

As the season went on, you warmed up to the practices. Then came the first game. Anyone who’s ever been to one of our Upward games, knows it’s not quiet. For a four year old, it can be an overwhelming experience the first time. Again, you clung to my leg pretty much the whole time you were out on the court. There was even one period where you didn’t want to finish playing and sat down on the bench. Looking back over your season, I think there were a lot of those moments for you. Games where I could tell it just wasn’t fun for you. There were parts of the game day experience that you really enjoyed. Running through the tunnel for player introductions. Dancing to Cotton Eye Joe. Playing with tour friends. Helping me at the score table for other games. Counting down on the sound system with 10 seconds remaining. Actually playing the game, though, it seemed like you were getting frustrated. You just couldn’t quite make a basket. Each time you dribbled down the court, you would circle around, never quite getting through the crowd to get close enough to the basket.

Here it was, the last game of the season, and we had not yet seen you (or Bryce and Josiah)make a basket all season. We made it a priority to get you three the ball every time until you each scored. Watching Josiah and Bryce each make their first basket was awesome in itself. Pretty cool stuff. But as a daddy, you still want it to be your son. Several times, you dribbled down the court and broke through the crowd to get in position…and missed. Then…you overshot it by inches, and the other coach assisted with the rebound and knocked it in. Your eyes lit up as we congratulated you, and I think that’s when it finally started sinking in for you. The next time down the court you overshot again, and the period ended shortly afterward. You were back on the bench for another 6 minutes.

When you came back out on the court, I was praying, “Lord please let him make a basket on his own”. After several failed attempts, you dribbled down the court one more time with Coach Mary leading the way and opening up a hole for you. Buddy, you threw that ball up and it “swooshed” like it never had before. I can’t remember ever seeing a bigger smile on your face, and as I picked you up and hugged on you all the way down the court, I’m sure the smile on my face was bigger than it had been in a long time. That was a daddy proud moment, son.

I’m not proud of you for what you do or how you act. I’m not proud of you for what you say or what you believe. Son, I’m proud of you for who you are. For the unique creation God designed you to be. For doing your best and never giving up. For struggling through your discouragement to keep trying. For not quitting. For rising above your frustration to accomplish what you wanted to do. For just being you son. You make me proud because you’re my son. And you always will.

Love,

Dad