The Wise Receiver

Spider Cam View - Credits to oregon.247sports.com 

Spider Cam View - Credits to oregon.247sports.com 

By Theron Glenny

The spider cams they use during football games are really amazing.  They give us fans a perspective of the game we didn't have before, namely, what it looks like on the field from a player's perspective.  You get to see the field the way the quarterback sees it.

The next time you watch a game, keep an eye on the wide receivers.  Many times, the quarterback throws the ball before the wide receiver has turned to catch it.  You will notice great wide-receivers (like Antonio Brown pictured below) make their turn with their hands up ready to receive the pass.  They know the ball could be on the way so they prepare to receive it by getting their hands ready.  All of us in our living rooms say "Wow, did you see how perfect the timing was on that play?  It was perfectly executed." Here's the thing, the timing was perfect primarily because the receiver was ready. He has his hands up because he is expecting to catch the ball.  He can't make a difference on the field and help his team score if he's not ready.  

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I think this lesson applies to life - God is ready to throw wisdom our way, but we must turn towards him with our heart open to receive it.  The question is, are we ready to receive it?  Just like a great wide receiver whose hands are ready to catch the ball, a 'wise' receiver prepares their heart to catch the Wisdom that is thrown their way.

1.  Kick apathy to the curb and care about what God thinks.  

What sets a good wide receiver a part from others?  He really wants the ball and will do whatever he can to get it…cross the middle of the field in traffic and risk getting lit up, dive, fight for the ball, run routes hard, etc …but he wants to score.  He can’t score unless he receives the ball first.  He wants it. He cares.

Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction."  Fools don't care.  Fools aren't searching for Wisdom.  Fools aren't seeking God to hear what He thinks about their situation.  

I've watched and played along side football players that don't care.  Do you think they run out for a pass with some gusto?  Do you think they really want the ball?  Heck no.  They could care less.  Do you think they have their hands up to catch the ball?  Maybe, but their hands are probably limp.  

Unfortunately, if you don't care, then you won't be aggressive in pursing God.  You'll give up.   I don't think that is the case though if you are reading this article.  

Be one that cares what God thinks.  Your family and friends need you to care.  They need your leadership.  Listen, you may feel alone in this.  When I rededicated my life to Jesus after high school, none of my family was going to church regularly.  I started going to church and seeking God again and guess what? My parents and brothers started to come.  And now, my entire family is thriving in their walk with God and are positively impacting many lives.  Take the lead.   

2. Getting Wisdom takes action on our part.  

Consider this passage from King Solomon - Proverbs 2:1-6

1 My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;

Receive, treasure, incline, apply, cry, lift, seek and search are action words.  

Wisdom is given to those who seek it.  Picture a quarterback throwing the long ball.  Let's name the ball 'wisdom'.  The quarterback drops back in the pocket and launches a long pass towards his streaking receiver who is kicking it into high gear to haul it in.  That receiver isn't jogging down the field.  He isn't 'hoping' to catch the pass.  He's putting the effort in. He is acting.  He's all in folks. He's doing his part to make the play.  Likewise, there is some doing on our part to receive wisdom. 

It is God’s nature to hide things.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 25:2 that says, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter."  

This verse may be shocking to you.  It was to me when I first read it a few years back.  But, it was extremely liberating to me because then I realized why I didn't understand a lot of stuff.  

I want you to really catch this one.  This could change your life.  Grab this... it is God's nature to hide things.  He loves it.  It's His glory.  It's what He does.  

We have to embrace our role in this relationship - "to search out a matter." 

Let's be honest, life can be frustrating at times.  There can be many things in our lives that we don't understand.  However, if you understand your role in this relationship (the seeker - the 'wise' receiver), you will love your part.  

God is luring you in.  Run towards Him.  Open your heart to Him.  Receive Him and what's He's wanting to toss your way.  Be wise, receiver.  

 

The Story of St. Patrick

By Jim Kilmartin

As we celebrate St Patrick’s Day in the US, there is much more to this man than four leaf clovers, parades and leprechauns.  Patrick’s story is a fascinating one that includes being kidnapped at an early age, hearing the voice of the Lord to escape and eventually returning to his captor to lead him to follow Jesus.

At the age of 16 years old, Patrick who lived in northern Britain was captured by Irish raiders who took slaves “to the ends of the world.”  He was sold to a cruel warrior chief, whose opponents’ heads sat atop sharp poles around his palisade in Northern Ireland.  Ireland was a pagan nation with ruthless kings and chiefs that relied on druids and their magic.

Among this, Patrick was responsible for his master’s pigs in the nearby hills, where he lived like an animal himself, enduring long bouts of hunger and thirst and being isolated from other people for months at a time.  This was a critical time for Patrick, as he turned to Jesus Christ in prayer.  As a youth while in Britain, he did not follow the Christian ways of his parents but through this isolation and captivity, he turned to the Lord for comfort.

Patrick explained, “I would pray constantly during the daylight hours.  The love of God and the fear of Him surrounded me more and more.  And faith grew.  And the Spirit roused so that in one day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and at night only slightly less."

After six years of slavery, Patrick heard the Lord speak to him saying, “You do well to fast.  Soon you will return to your homeland.”  Heeding the word, Patrick fasted and continued to pray.  Before long, the voice of God spoke again: “Come and see, your ship is waiting for you."  So Patrick fled and ran 200 miles to a southeastern harbor.  There he boarded a ship of traders heading to Europe.  

After a three day journey, the ship landed in Gaul (modern France), that was once fertile but now was decimated by Goths or Vandals.  With no food to be found, the ship’s captain mocked Patrick, “What have you to say for yourself, Christian?  You boast that your God is all powerful.  We’re starving to death, and we may not survive to see another soul.”  Patrick responded, “Nothing is impossible to God.  Turn to him and he will send us food for our journey.”  Almost immediately, a herd of pigs appeared, “seemingly to block our path.”  Although these men regarded Patrick highly, they offered their new found food in sacrifice to their pagan gods.

There is a gap in his autobiography, Confession, between his time in Gaul and his return to Britain.  Some believe he spent a period of time studying and training for ministry.  Nearly twenty years after his flight from Ireland, Patrick received his call back to Ireland.  

Patrick wrote, “I had a vision in my dreams of a man who seemed to come from Ireland.  His name was Victoricius, and he carried countless letters, one of which he handed over to me.  I read aloud where it began: ‘The Voice of the Irish.’  And as I began to read these words, I seemed to hear the voice of the same men who lived beside the forest of Foclut…and they cried out as with one voice, ‘We appeal to you, holy servant boy, come and walk among us.’  I was deeply moved in heart and I could read not further, so I awoke."

At his return to Ireland, he saw that paganism was still dominant as he wrote, “I dwell among gentiles in the midst of pagan barbarians, worshipers of idols, and of unclean things.”  Patrick did not require the natives to surrender their belief in supernatural beings but to see them in a new lights, as demons.

In Mary Cagney’s article in Christianity Today on Patrick, she states “If Christianity had come come to Ireland with only theological doctrines, the hope of immortal life, and ethical ideas—without miracles, mysteries, and rites— it could have never wooed the Celtic heart.  Patrick faced his most opposition from the druids, who practiced magic, were skilled in secular learning, and advised the Irish kings.  Cagney continues saying, “Biographies of the saint are replete with stories of druid who ‘wished to kill holy Patrick.’"

“Daily I expect murder, fraud or captivity but I fear none of these things because of the promises of heaven.  I have cast myself into the hands of God almighty who rules everywhere.” Patrick wrote, “I must take this decision disregarding risks involved and make known the gifts of God and His everlasting consolation.  Neither must we fear any such risk in faithfully preaching God’s name boldly in every place, so that even after my death, a spiritual legacy may be left for my brethren and my children."

From this the famous Lorica or Patrick’s Breastplate prayer was written expressing his confidence in God’s protection from every evil thing to come his way.  I have included his prayer at the bottom of this article.

More from Mary Cagney’s article as I find it absolutely fascinating:

--

There was probably a confrontation between Patrick and the druids, but scholars wonder if it was as dramatic and magical as later stories recounted. One biographer from the late 600s, Muirchœ, described Patrick challenging druids to contests at Tara, in which each party tried to outdo the other in working wonders before the audience:

"The custom was that whoever lit a fire before the king on that night of the year [Easter vigil] would be put to death. Patrick lit the paschal fire before the king on the hill of Slane. The people saw Patrick's fire throughout the plain, and the king ordered 27 chariots to go and seize Patrick .

…"Seeing that the impious heathen were about to attack him, Patrick rose and said clearly and loudly, 'May God come up to scatter his enemies, and may those who hate him flee from his face.' By this disaster, caused by Patrick's curse in the king's presence because of the king's order, seven times seven men fell. …  And the king, driven by fear, came and bent his knees before the holy man . …

"[The next day], in a display of magic, a druid invoked demons and brought about a dark fog over the land. Patrick said to the druid, 'Cause the fog to disperse.' But he was unable to do it. Patrick prayed and gave his blessing, and suddenly the fog cleared and the sun shone. … And through the prayers of Patrick the flames of fire consumed the druid.

"And the king was greatly enraged at Patrick because of the death of his druid. Patrick said to the king, 'If you do not believe now, you will die on the spot for the wrath of God descends on your head.'

"The king summoned his council and said, 'It is better for me to believe than to die.' And he believed as did many others that day."

Yet to Patrick, the greatest enemy was one he had been intimately familiar with—slavery. He was, in fact, the first Christian to speak out strongly against the practice. Scholars agree he is the genuine author of a letter excommunicating a British tyrant, Coroticus, who had carried --off some of Patrick's converts into slavery.

Patrick concentrated the bulk of his missionary efforts on the country's one hundred or so tribal kings. If the king became a Christian, he reasoned, the people would too. This strategy was a success.

As kings converted, they gave their sons to Patrick in an old Irish custom for educating and "fostering" (Patrick, for his part, held up his end by distributing gifts to these kings). Eventually, the sons and daughters of the Irish were persuaded to become monks and nuns.

From kingdom to kingdom (Ireland did not yet have towns), Patrick worked much the same way. Once he converted a number of pagans, he built a church. One of his new disciples would be ordained as a deacon, priest, or bishop, and left in charge. If the chieftain had been gracious enough to grant a site for a monastery as well as a church, it was built too and functioned as a missionary station.

Before departing, Patrick gave the new converts (or their pastors) a compendium of Christian doctrine and the canons (rules).

According to the Irish annals, Patrick died in 493, when he would have been in his seventies. But we do not know for sure when, where, or how he died. Monasteries at Armagh, Downpatrick, and Saul have all claimed his remains. His feast day is recorded as early as March 17, 797, with the annotation; "The flame of a splendid sun, the apostle of virginal Erin [Ireland], may Patrick with many thousands be the shelter of our wickedness."

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Patrick was an amazing man and worthy of honor.  He led the way to transform the nation of Ireland, in return began to send missionaries throughout Europe and to the ends of the earth. In Genesis, Joseph said to his brothers, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Gen 50:20).  The Irish raiders and slave traders brought about decimation  and heart ache but God had a greater plan, He had a deliverer in place.  Patrick was just a common person but when the Lord called to him, he responded.  Through his obedience and willingness, God anointed and empowered him appropriately to see a nation transformed.

Will you respond today or tomorrow when the Spirit of God speaks to you?  Jesus said, “The harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Mark 9:37).   We need more who are willing to lay down their lives and live for the Lord Jesus.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

References

The Confession of St. Patrick and see how the God he loved changed the world through him in How the Irish Saved Civilization.

To tell your children about the real St. Patrick, I recommend The Story of St. Patrick.

Mary Cagney, former editorial resident for the news department of Christianity Today.

 

St Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through the belief in the threeness,

Through confession of the oneness

Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today

Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,

Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,

Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,

Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today

Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,

In obedience of angels,

In the service of archangels,

In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,

In prayers of patriarchs,

In predictions of prophets,

In preaching of apostles,

In faith of confessors,

In innocence of holy virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendor of fire,

Speed of lightning,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea,

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

I arise today

Through God's strength to pilot me:

God's might to uphold me,

God's wisdom to guide me,

God's eye to look before me,

God's ear to hear me,

God's word to speak for me,

God's hand to guard me,

God's way to lie before me,

God's shield to protect me,

God's host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptations of vices,

From everyone who shall wish me ill,

Afar and anear,

Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,

Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,

Against incantations of false prophets,

Against black laws of pagandom

Against false laws of heretics,

Against craft of idolatry,

Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,

Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.

Christ to shield me today

Against poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding,

So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the threeness,

Through confession of the oneness,

Of the Creator of Creation.

3 Lessons I've Learned From My Backyard Ice Rink

IMG_4892.JPG

By Theron Glenny

As most people are looking for the first signs of spring with eager anticipation, I am not.  I may be the only one, but the thought of my back yard ice rink melting saddens me as it has been a treasure to us here in the Glenny house this winter.  Here are three lessons I’ve learned this winter from having my backyard ice rink.  

The Importance of a Gathering Place 

In his book Becoming a Person of Influence, leadership guru John Maxwell said that when he and his wife were raising their kids, they wanted their house to be the place where their kid’s friends wanted to be.  They wanted their home to be a gathering place to build relationships.  So, they equipped their house with ping pong tables and other fun stuff for kids.  It gave them the opportunity to be involved in the lives and friendships of their kids.

A few of my jr. high hockey players getting ready to play out back. 

A few of my jr. high hockey players getting ready to play out back. 

My ice rink, or the back pond as I affectionately refer to it, has been a gathering place for friends, my kid’s friends, my kids friends parents, the hockey players I coach, and of course my own family.  I remember one night my wife Mizpah and I were getting ready for bed and when my head hit the pillow, I heard the distinct sound of a puck ding of one of the posts out back.  I smiled. I knew who was out there…two of my junior high hockey players, getting in a late evening skate.  Like a five-year old on Christmas morning, I jumped out of bed, put my gear on and out I went.  We wore out the ice that night.  While we worked on shooting and the fundamentals, what I most remember was our conversation.  My simple ‘pond’ served as a gathering place for two teens to talk with their coach about the deeper things in life.  As a coach, these experiences matter more than wins and losses.  They shape the lives and destinies of the next generation.  

What We Should Have When We Play Sports - Childlike Joy

I recently read a book titled Home Ice by the late Jack Falla, a fellow backyard ice rink maker.  Falla, a Sports Illustrated writer, shared about when he was sent to Edmonton, Alberta during Wayne Gretsky’s famous point streak in 1984.  He had heard stories about the great Gretsky when Wayne was only 11 years old.  He also learned about Wayne’s father, Walter Gretzky’s, who when Wayne was young, constructed a backyard ice rink.  Walter Gretsky affectionately referred to his rink as Wally Arena.  

It was there on that sheet of ice where Wayne's love of hockey was embedded into his heart. Wayne would skate in the mornings before school and was quick to hop in his hockey gear after school to get back out there. Wayne would sometimes eat dinner in his skates so he could quickly hit the ice before bedtime.  Walter didn’t push Wayne like so many parents do in youth sports today.  Wayne wasn’t pushed to love hockey, it just happened…mainly because his Dad provided the space for that love to be cultivated.  It was that childlike joy that Wayne had for hockey that Falla observed years later in him at Edmonton when Wayne was tearing up the NHL. 

A beautiful day on the ice with the kids and another one of my jr. high players.  

A beautiful day on the ice with the kids and another one of my jr. high players.  

I can’t help but see that same childlike joy in my kids.  In the sub-freezing mornings, my kids rush downstairs eager for me to skate with them.  I gladly would grab my gear and get them bundled up as we headed out into the cold morning air.  The cold was not an obstacle to our time together.  There is warmth that we share in this gathering spot, on this frozen ‘pond’…my backyard ice rink. The warmth is in our hearts and not contained by the ice or the cold air.  Our time is unstructured and simply fun.

What I want to point out to you is that there is something very significant about unstructured play that produces a childlike joy and love for a sport.  For me, it was spending hours on my parent’s basketball court alone shooting, dribbling, and reenacting being down by one with ten seconds on the clock.  It was during those hours, not structured practices, where my hands became one with the leather ball, where I first dared to shoot a jump shot, and where good habits bloomed.  No coaching was needed on that slab of concrete. Just me and a ball.  

A Platform to Connect with My Kids

Some parents say they have trouble connecting with their kids.  For me, I’ve found that connecting to your kids has to be intentional.  It starts with blocking off time…clearing your schedule and turning your phone off so that you can be focused on them.  

As a young father I have really appreciated the new experiences to bond with my kids on this backyard ice rink.  My son likes to play 1-on-1 and when he scores, he likes to drop the gloves and pretends to scrap with me.  We end up on the ice wrestling around and laughing. For my daughter, she loves to push me around the ice to practice her skating.  When she asks me to daddy-daughter skate, I cannot resist her big brown eyes under that pink hockey helmet.  These times to connect are intentional and have been a blessing to me.

Conclusion

Sports can teach a lot of great life lessons - teamwork, grit, integrity, passion.  For me sports are a platform for impacting the next generation.  Our job as coaches and parents is to raise up the next generation of moms and dads, wives and husbands. That job is more important than learning a game or even excelling at a game.  So, whether you have an ice rink like me, a driveway basketball court, or an open field to play ball, use your space as a gathering place for your family and friends to connect and get back that childlike joy of the game. 

Enjoy the pictures below.  




Another Transformational Coaching Resource

By Theron Glenny

When it comes to coaching X's and O's, there isn't a shortage of instructional materials.  However, it is a little more difficult to find great resources that will help you impact the lives of your players beyond the game.  

One resource that has a plethora of instructional videos coaches can take advantage of is FCA's 3Dimensional Coaching website.  

If you click the link, you will hear Dr. Jeff Duke of the FCA Coaches Ministry share compelling reasons why coaches in the 21st century should be deliberate about coaching the heart of their athletes due to the societal changes that have taken place over the past two generations.

In addition, he covers topics in his free coaching videos such as the role of a coach, coaching character, motivation, confidence, and team cohesion.  

 

 

How To Identify Your Platforms To Live With More Purpose

Theron coaches the Tyrone Jr. High roller hockey team.  

Theron coaches the Tyrone Jr. High roller hockey team.  

by Theron Glenny

Who wouldn’t say yes to living with more purpose?  We all do, right? 

Today, I want to help you live with more purpose by helping you identify your platforms.  You see, to live with more purpose, we have to identify our platforms in life.  

Throughout history platforms were what people stood on to preach a message.  Platforms allowed one to have a voice.  Platforms allowed the preacher to call people to action and change. 

We all have platforms.  One of my platforms is sports. 

Sports are a big part of our culture.  So much so many of us parents shove a ball into our kids hands as soon as we can.  Our sons wear their first football uniform on the way home from the hospital, right? 

As a kid I constantly had a ball in my hands.  The size of the ball varied depending of the season. 

Growing up, football, basketball and baseball were my favorites.  Backyard football with my two brothers and cousins usually ended in a brawl.  Basketball wasn’t any different. I recall playing late into the evening under our front porch flood light with my brother Nathan regularly.  Our games were usually heated and sometimes ended with throwing the ball at each other.  Though I was older, I always admired he never backed down from the physicality of our games.  That’s one reason I believe he became a fine basketball player whose high school team ended up breaking the national record for 3-pointers in a single game (34 3’s if your wondering).     

Sports were life at the Glenny home.  My Dad and Mom’s evenings and weekends were filled with practices and games.  I’m still unsure how they managed to make it to them all.  Undoubtedly, their commitment has inspired my brothers and I to show that same support as our kids grow up.  

Now that I’m older, I look back on those fond years with a curiosity as to why God had me so involved in athletics.  Why was I so passionate about sports?  Did God have a greater purpose for that love and passion? 

Many times as parents, we think the sole purpose of youth sports is to prepare them for the college scholarship.  However, what if it’s more than that?  What if sports are simply one of the many platforms for leaders to shape and mold lives? 

I look at my six year old son, who loves hockey and football.  People comment all the time about how good he is…and, he is (proud Dad). But, what if part of his destiny is not becoming the next Sidney Crosby?  Great if he does.  I know God purposefully crafts passions.  He puts things in our hearts that are intended to become a platform to develop the lives of the next generation.  Our job as parents is to help train and develop our children so they can be good stewards of the platforms God gives them.    

As I get older, the more I see how God was crafting my life from the start by building the platforms I have now.  My marriage, being a parent, my business, and coaching sports are all platforms I use to influence lives. 

What is it that God has been crafting in your life from the very start that now is a platform for you?  

Could it be sports?  ...building houses?  …music & entertainment?  ...business?  God’s not limited to only creating one platform for you.  You probably have multiple. 

What are they?  And, more importantly, what are you doing with them?