How To Make Christmas Meaningful For Your Family 

By Theron and Mizpah Glenny

 

Christmas is a magical time of year, but it can also be stressful for parents trying to figure out how to make it meaningful for their family.  Every year heading into Christmas, we find ourselves excited for Christmas, but also asking ourselves some tough questions.  Like you, we want our kids to see Christmas as more than just getting gifts.  We want Christmas to be meaningful to them with memories they will cherish into their adult life.  

In our last article, we talked about how to prepare your kids for the holiday season by establishing traditions that will help your kids gain the proper perspective. In this article, we will walk through some specifics that will help you as parents ensure Christmas is meaningful for your family. 

What experiences do you want your family to have?

This is important to think through.  What do you want Christmas Eve to be like?  What about Christmas Day?  Plans will likely vary from family to family.  For us, we want life to slow down for maximum enjoyment. We want to spend it together cherishing each other. On Christmas Eve, we spend it with close friends and read a special story together when we get home - see our book recommendations at the end of this article. 

For us, we start the day doing something that puts things in perspective. Last year on Christmas day, we made a fire in our fireplace and let the presents just sit under the tree. Miz played the piano, we sipped hot drinks and sang some songs. It was awesome! It is His birthday, so why not start the day celebrating Jesus?  Have fun with this. Make a plan.  Just don’t make it about getting stuff.  

But, what do you buy your kids?

Every parent asks this question.  You want to get your kids some things, but you want the gifts to be meaningful.  There are so many choices that it can be overwhelming!  We got the following list off of Pinterest and thought it was very valuable and wanted to share.  This will help you keep Christmas shopping simple, but meaningful. 

Here’s how to shop for your kids for Christmas:

1.     Something they want - this can be a big ticket item they’ve been asking for…obviously within your financial budget. 

2.     Something they need - sports equipment? Hobby related item? 

3.     Something to wear - Clothing not usually bought…maybe something brand attire or fun accessories.

4.     Something to read - we are huge on this. Is there a book?  Magazine subscription?  We’ve bought books like Tim Tebow’s Through My Eyes for our son that has had a big impact. 

5.     Something to do - Movie ticket? Event or game ticket? 

6.     Something for ‘Me’ - This is a keepsake like an ornament, photo album, framed photo, letter or something you made for them.  Theron loves writing letters. 

7.     Something for family - Board game? Movie? A family outing? 

Note, not all categories need to be bought for, but this list provides you with a solid road map.

How do you teach your kids to be thankful? 

Thankfulness leads to contentment.  It’s painful to watch (and hear) a whiny, selfish and ungrateful kid.  Here’s how you can prevent that this Christmas. 

1. Prep them - walk through what Christmas day will be like.  Tell them they will likely receive some gifts from you and others.  Ask them what they should do when someone gives them a gift.  Don’t expect them to thank people who give them gifts if you didn’t instruct them to.  Prepping them gets them thinking about being thankful no matter the gift.  

We tell our kids they probably won’t get everything they want and there may be gifts they get that they didn't want…but that someone thought enough about them to shop and spend their hard earned money on them…and for that, they need to be thankful.

2. Give them the look! - Yes, you know that look...the look that communicates, ‘What did you forget to do?’ We learn by repetition, so it is totally fine reminding your kids throughout the day to thank each person who gave them a gift.  Make sure they look the person in the eyes, be vocal, and give hugs.  

Lastly, we want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!  May it be filled with love, hope, joy and peace.  Be blessed.  

Recommended Christmas tunes:

•    TobyMac - Light of Christmas

•    Kim Walker Smith - When Christmas Comes

Recommended books to read as a family during the Christmas season:

•    The Best Christmas Ever - Junior Discovers Contentment  by Dave Ramsey

•    Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp 

•    Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco - This is an absolute tear jerker 

This article also appeared in The Daily Herald today. 

How To Prepare Your Kids For The Holidays

By Theron Glenny

If you are like us, you love this time of year.  Your house has a slight aroma of Thanksgiving dinner goodness and you are starting to decorate for Christmas.  It is a very exciting and full season so we wanted to pass along some advice to help you make this holiday season special by helping you prepare your kids.  

We can’t encourage you enough to help your kiddos process through what they are thankful for. Don’t assume they have already processed through things.  Take time to connect on a heart-level with them by asking them what they are thankful for.  

As parents, we consistently put effort into making sure our kids hearts are in the right place.  A heart in the right place to us is ready and willing to be respectful, to love, to honor, to receive instruction and to serve.  A heart gets to that place by first being thankful.  We live in a very 'me-focused' culture.  Being thankful helps take our eyes off ourselves to see the big picture.  It provides the right perspective.  It’s the cure for arrogance, depression and entitlement.  

What traditions do you have or that you can establish this year that can help your kids get the proper perspective?

Thankfulness requires a response.  It requires action.  For us in the Glenny home, we make a Thanksgiving list together. We think back over the current year and remember what God has done for us.  This tradition may sound simple, but it is extremely powerful. It helps both us as parents and our kids see the big picture because we decided to be thankful. …and it’s fun to look back at what our kids wrote on our thanksgiving lists from past years. 

What about you?  What will you do?  Here are some questions to ask yourself…

  • What books will we read together? 
  • What movies will we watch, and why? Remember, think about the message and/or perspective you want your kids to have.  How do you want them to think and feel about Christmas? 
  • Who will we go visit together?
  • Who should our kids buy gifts for? Is it someone in their class? Teacher? Sibling? Grandma? Take time to ask them questions to help them think through what they could give. 
  • When our kid receives a gift, what will we teach them to do? This can be difficult especially for younger kids, but teach your kids to thank the giver right away and to keep eye contact so they are genuine. For younger kids, this takes time to develop. 

Joshua House’s Operation Christmas Blessing

Most parents want their kids to be thankful and generous. Developing generosity in your children does not happen overnight.  It takes time and deliberate effort.  We look for opportunities to develop generosity.  For example, another tradition for us is participating in Joshua House’s Operation Christmas Blessing program.  It’s an amazing program that helps parents in need provide their children a great Christmas.  We set aside money in our Christmas budget so our kids can sponsor other kids (whom our kids do not know as identities are kept confidential).  We usually choose kids who are around the same age as our kids.  When you sponsor a child or teenager, you are told whether they are a Male or Female, what age they are and what they would like for Christmas.  It’s a fabulous way to bless families and help your kids think beyond themselves and develop a generous heart.  

Please note, there are still kids who do not have sponsors yet for this Christmas.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child, please call Joshua House directly at 814-684-2032.

Make a plan to ensure your traditions happen.

Our last piece of advice is the key to making the holiday season special.  We find that if our plans are not on the calendar, they do not happen.  There’s a big difference between us saying we want to do something and actually scheduling it.  Take time to think through the things we listed above and then schedule them.  You’ll be glad you did as your Christmas season will be special for your entire family. 

This article also appeared in The Daily Herald today. 

Announcing Community Thanksgiving Dinner

We are so excited to invite you to our annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner held at the Joshua House Armory (926 Logan Ave. in Tyrone, PA) tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 21st 4:30-6:30 pm!  We want to emphasize that this is a community dinner, not just about feeding people, but an opportunity for the community of Tyrone (and beyond) to come share a meal together at the Armory.  If you need to pick up takeout meals or have them delivered to your home, please call us at (814) 684-2032 to reserve yours. 

As you come, we will be accepting donations of canned goods and non-perishable items that will go into Christmas baskets for families in need in our community.  This is part of our Operation Christmas Blessing program that provides gifts for children and baskets of household items and food for families here in Tyrone during the Christmas season.

Come join us tomorrow evening!  We would love to see you at the Armory for our Community Thanksgiving Dinner!

Purpose Starts At Home - Part 4

By Theron Glenny

Preface: Whether you are a Mom or Dad, Uncle or Aunt, a grandparent, teacher or coach, if you work with youth, this bi-weekly column is designed to encourage you and equip you to impact the next generation.  Here at Joshua House, helping youth find purpose is our mission.  It is our heartbeat.  It is what drives us. We have learned over the years that modeling purpose starts at home.  

The following article is the fourth of a four-part series where we walk through how you as a parent can model at home how to live with purpose so your kids will live with a sense of destiny.  

In our last article, we shared how your mindset in every situation can stir up faith in your family or, make your family miserable.  Our message was you can take the bait by complaining, but you'll remain in your circumstance. The alternative is you can be positive, praise and be thankful and then be raised up.  It’s easy to complain.  It’s hard to praise, but the more you do it the easier it becomes and you will see victory.  The environment in your home, which is your responsibility to create as the parent, will become an environment full of faith and purpose because you chose to be thankful and praise.  

The fourth key is a call to seek the Lord with all your heart.  

Let’s first start with, why?  Why is it important to do this as a parent? Kids naturally imitate their parents.  They watch you like a hawk.  They see your life behind the public curtain.  They know whether you are the real deal or not.  They know if you are just a Sunday church goer or someone that has a real, genuine relationship with God and seeking Him and letting Him lead you.  You do not have to be a know-it-all…but you should know Who to go to that does know-it-all.  Purpose starts at home.  If you are seeking the Lord for direction and purpose in your own life, you are establishing your home on a firm foundation.  Parents, remember that more is ‘caught’ by your kids than ‘taught’. 

Caption: Recent picture of me with my Dad and two brothers on our hunt together this year in Missouri.  Dad (& my Mom) laid a great foundation for us boys by putting God first and seeking the Lord for wisdom for guiding our family. Now, all three of us have kids and can do the same for our own families. #generationalblessing

Caption: Recent picture of me with my Dad and two brothers on our hunt together this year in Missouri.  Dad (& my Mom) laid a great foundation for us boys by putting God first and seeking the Lord for wisdom for guiding our family. Now, all three of us have kids and can do the same for our own families. #generationalblessing

My Dad worked in construction and operated heavy equipment on large road jobs.  He woke up typically around 3:30/4 am each morning.  I have fond memories of coming out to the dining room for breakfast, hours after he left, to see his bible open and his notebook on the table. Then, there was another notebook on the dishwasher with a handwritten note to us.  Each day he would write a note to my Mom and then to me and my two brothers.  It is still astonishing to me he did this daily.  I could always tell that he knew what was going on in our lives by the things he wrote to us.  I’m so appreciative that my Dad put first things first.  He sought God first and the wisdom he received, he passed on to us with great love and care.   

It is a very powerful thing when parents seek the Lord. God has a way of doing amazing things when He’s put in the right place.  Families become close.  They connect. They heal. They live with purpose.  My parents inspired me to put first things first - to put God first and ahead of the other areas of my life.  

If God made us on purpose and for a purpose, shouldn’t we seek Him since He holds the keys to unlocking our purpose? The Bible teaches us to seek, to ask, and to draw near to Jesus.   Here’s a few verses:  

  • Matthew 6:33 says, But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
  • Jeremiah 29:13 says, And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
  • James 4:8 says, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. 

Ask yourself, ‘where am I going to find and hear inspiration, get purpose and fulfillment’? God?

Joshua 24:15 says, And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” 

There are other gods and mediums out there that are not healthy for you nor your family which tap into other spirits.  Here’s our advice… Don’t waste time on that stuff. Seek the real God, Jesus Christ. You’ll find Him when you seek Him with all your heart.  …and your kids will see the fruit in your life and have great respect for you. 

Like Joshua, maybe you need to make a declaration in your house that you will seek and serve the Lord Jesus.  We can’t encourage you enough to take that step and commitment as parents.  You’ll be laying the right foundation.  Commit to serving the Lord and watch God orchestrate something beautiful with your family. 

The above article also appeared in today's Tyrone Daily Herald. 

 

Announcing After-School Hours

Today we are excited to announce we are opening up for After-School Hours starting next Monday, November 6th!  Ever since we purchased the Armory, we wanted to utilize the it in multiple ways to serve the Tyrone community.  Our desire is provide a place for students to come after school to have a safe and healthy environment, opportunities to be physically active with open gym time, and positive adult influence in their lives during those critical after-school hours until parents get home from work.  

This year, we are very thankful for a grant from United Way of Blair County to help staff the program and provide after-school snacks and a weekly meal for these youth.   The grant enables the program to be free and open to any students in 5th-9th grades.  

Joshua House Founder and Director, Jim Kilmartin, states, "Providing an opportunity after school for the youth in our community that is safe, fun, and a place where they can connect is incredibly important.  We want the Armory to be a hub for the community and a safe haven for the kids to become all that God created them to be.  When our youth see themselves as God sees them then they can be empowered to make a the world around them better.”  

Tyrone Area School District Superintendent, Cathy Harlow, expressed her excitement about this program, stating, "This is such a worthy endeavor which will directly benefit our students.”  

Starting next Monday, November 6th, the Joshua House Armory will be open Mondays through Thursdays, after school until 5:30 pm on school days.  Please note that we will follow the Tyrone Area School District calendar.  

All 5th-9th grade students are invited to come down after school for:

  • Daily snacks
  • Meal (Wednesdays only)
  • Get homework done (and receive academic tutoring if needed) 
  • Open gym time

The Armory address is 926 Logan Avenue in Tyrone, PA.  

For more details or to volunteer to help with this program, call us at  814-684-2032 or email our program director, Mizpah Glenny at mizpah@joshuahouse.com.  

Purpose Starts At Home - Part 3

By: Mizpah Glenny

Preface: Whether you are a Mom or Dad, Uncle or Aunt, a grandparent, teacher or coach, if you work with youth, this bi-weekly column is designed to encourage you and equip you to impact the next generation.  Here at Joshua House, helping youth find purpose is our mission.  It is our heart beat.  It is what drives us. We have learned over the years that modeling purpose starts at home.  

The following article is the third of a four-part series where we walk through how you as a parent can model at home how to live with purpose so your kids will live with a sense of destiny.  

In our last article, we gave you a challenge to do things that require faith.  As you walk out your purpose and model it for your kids, you will need to step out in faith and take risks at times. Those moments are critical in building that foundation of courage and purpose in yourself and your kids.  The third key we’d like to give you will help you overcome a potential trap that could hold you and your family back from living fully alive.

Complain and remain, praise and be raised.

We’ve all been around those people.  Ones that cannot say anything positive, no matter what good thing may have just happened to them.  Complainers and whiners.  They are not fun to be around.  You can feel it when they walk in the room.  Holding onto the negative, glass-half-empty, outlook in life.  If you step back and look at their lives, generally, these types of people will stay stagnant in life, not moving forward into new and better things. This is what happened to the Israelites when they were on their way to the Promised Land.

After leaving slavery in Egypt, as they were approaching the land that God had promised them, Moses sent out 12 spies to check out the land.  All but 2 of them came back full of fear, basically proclaiming that there was no possible way to overcome those giants (Numbers 13). Even though they had experienced miracle after miracle of God protecting them and providing for them in the wilderness, they couldn’t see any way that God would continue to do the same for them going into the Promised Land.  They were blinded by fear and they complained.  Their attitude stirred up fear in the rest of the Israelites.  “And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt! …Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?’” (Numbers 14).

Return to Egypt?!?  The land where they were slaves, forced to make bricks all the days of their lives?  They would rather stay in slavery than enter the land of freedom that God had promised them?  When God heard this, he decided that the complainers would not go into that Promised Land.  They were going to remain in that wilderness, wandering and circling, never to find a place to call home.  No purpose, no vision, just wandering.  They complained and they remained.  

Joshua and Caleb came with a 'different spirit';  They had an attitude of faith, a glass-half- full, positive, “we can do this!” attitude!  They believed that God would do what He said He would. Caleb tried to rally the people believing fully that they could overcome it.  Joshua also tried to persuade them know that it was a good land that God said He would give them.  He remembered God’s goodness and believed they could take the land.  He praised God in the midst of the challenge, and he was raised up to lead the people of Israel after Moses died. Just like the Israelites, we have a promised land that God wants us to overtake and inhabit.  

As parents, it is our job to lead our families to that place of purpose.  Like archers aiming their arrows at the targets, we have the privilege of aiming our kids in the direction of their Promised Land(s) and launching them to those targets.  In order to see the next generation get to those places, we have to drop the complaining and take on the perspective of faith.  Like Joshua, we need to remember and proclaim the goodness of God — praise and be raised — so that our kids see the power of praise.  

Ask yourself, what could happen if I really believed His goodness?  In our homes, let's believe in the power, promises and goodness of God.  Let’s quit complaining and walk in that “different spirit” — believing and moving forward into our Promised Land!

The above article was also published today in the Tyrone Daily Herald.

Purpose Starts At Home - Part 2

BY THERON & MIZPAH GLENNY

Preface: The following article is the second of a four-part series where we walk through how you as a parent can model at home how to live with purpose so your kids will live with a sense of destiny.  

In our last article, we shared the importance of remembering God has purpose for your life.  To model purpose to your family, you first have to remember you have it.  When you remember that you matter and have reason for existence on the earth, your sense of destiny will rub off on your family.  The second key to modeling purpose is to do things that require faith.  

I remember it vividly.  We were walking through the city streets of Buffalo and there was a homeless person just ahead.  This wasn’t a time to debate whether I was going to help the guy or not.  My kids were watching. I know they were asking themselves ‘what is Daddy going to do?’   As we approached I engaged the fellow in conversation. As I talked to the man, he sadly shared with us that he had cancer throughout his whole body and was dying.  I think it shocked my kids.  Frankly, it shocked me.  Our hearts immediately went out to him.  We couldn’t have provided enough money to solve his problem.  We did give him some money, but more importantly, we spent some time with him and shared with him how much Jesus loved him and how he had purpose…even now while he was fighting cancer.  We asked him if we could pray that God would heal him and he welcomed us to.  So, we all laid hands on him right there on that crowded street and we asked God to come and heal him.  We prayed he would feel God’s presence wherever he goes and in every situation.  

We don’t know what happened to that man, whether he was healed or not, but what I do know is this, I did what I was supposed to do.  My job was to step out in faith.  Please hear me on this: We don’t get it right all the time folks.  We aren’t superman and wonder-woman.  We’re just like you wanting to impart faith and courage to our kids.  But, what I can tell you is this - the more you step out in faith, the more you will see your kids have the courage to step out. My kids have become accustomed to this now.  Everywhere we go, they know Dad and Mom will step out in faith.   

One day in Altoona, my daughter saw a lady walking down the street with a distinct limp that looked painful.  Worse, she looked sad.  My daughter said 'Daddy, do you see that lady and how she’s walking and she looks sad'.  I said 'yes baby, I do'.  Without having to ask her, she said, 'I want to go talk to her and pray for her'.  So, we did.  My little girl took a step of faith.  When we approached the lady, I told her that my daughter wanted to meet her and felt like God wanted her to pray for her.  My daughter was super courageous then.  She laid her little hands on the older lady and prayed out loud. It was a beautiful prayer.  The lady was shocked.  She was taken back at what just happened - a little girl was led to have a conversation with her and pray for her.  I absolutely love seeing my kids be bold like this.  As parents, we should want it to be normal for our kids to do things that require faith.  But, it starts with us.  We can’t expect our kids to be bold in their faith if we aren’t. 

God said to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua was one of the few leaders of the Israelites that was willing to face giants.  He was an overcomer.  He was one who did things that required faith.  When we get scared, we should ask the Lord for courage and strength because He will give it to us.  The next time you come into a situation where you can do something that requires faith, do it and watch what happens.  May you be known by your kids as one who demonstrated faith and inspired them to be courageous. 

In our next article, we’ll share a potential trap that could hold you and your family back from living fully alive. 

The above article was also published today in the Tyrone Daily Herald.

Photo credit: wisdomtimes.com 

Purpose Starts At Home - Part 1

How to live with purpose so your kids will live with a sense of destiny

BY THERON & MIZPAH GLENNY

The following article is from our column published today in the Tyrone Daily Herald. 

Whether you are a Mom or Dad, Uncle or Aunt, a grandparent, teacher or coach, if you work with youth, this bi-weekly column is designed to encourage you and equip you to impact the next generation.  Here at Joshua House, helping youth find purpose is our mission.  It is our heart beat.  It is what drives us. We have learned over the years that modeling purpose starts at home.  The following article is the first of a four-part series where we walk through how you as a parent can model at home how to live with purpose so your kids will live with a sense of destiny.  

As mentioned earlier, purpose starts at home.  It starts with us as parents.This may sound simple, but the first key to modeling living with purpose is to remember you have it. A definition of purpose is "the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists” (online dictionary).  Remember that God created you on purpose for a purpose.  There are reasons why you are alive and breathing today.  Do we ever doubt this?  Is every day full of happy, smiley-face emoji’s?  No.  There are tough days.  There are days where we might not feel like getting out of bed.  There are days where we wonder if there is any purpose at all. We have all been in a place of wandering in life, not knowing what our purpose is and where we are going.  But, we must remember that even on those tough days, purpose still exists.  Our successes in life are determined by how we handle our problems and struggles.  Our battles can birth our victories, if we position ourselves to win.  

In the Bible, Joshua was one of the leaders that brought the Israelites out of a place of wandering into their Promised Land, the land and purpose God had for them from the beginning.  

Joshua 1:2-3 says, "Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.”  

Joshua did not shy away from the destiny he knew was promised to his people because he remembered what God said.  He remembered his purpose.  His story sets an example for how to live with purpose in order to get to the Promised Land that God has for us. But Joshua’s story didn’t start well.  The Israelite people traveled from Egypt where they were in slavery to their promised land and when they got there, many in the group had a change of heart.  Why? The leaders sent out trusted men to spy out the land to see what was there.  Joshua and his colleague Caleb were two of those spies.  They went into the land and found it was everything God had promised.  It was luscious and full of goodness.  There were giants in the land too, but Joshua and Caleb believed the Israelites could take the land and thus, were full of faith.  The key to positioning yourself to win is to remember your purpose so you can be in a position of faith.  Have faith.  Believe you can overcome with God’s help.   

The other spies that were sent out came back full of fear.  They were not full of faith.  They had forgotten God’s promise.  They forgot God said He'd give them that land.  They forgot they had purpose because they were in a place of fear and not faith.  Therefore, the report they brought back about the land scared all of the people and the Israelites did not go and take the land.  They were so close!  They were at the doorstep!  God did miracle after miracle to get them out of slavery in Egypt.  You would have thought they would have been full of faith when they arrived at their destiny moment.  Sadly, they weren’t.  And because they embraced fear, they ended up wandering in a desert for forty years while that generation died off.  Forty years!  

The good news is, Joshua and Caleb out-lived most of that generation and when they were appointed leaders, they led the people into the promised land.  After all those years, they never lost sight of their purpose.  You don’t want to be a family that embraces fear.  You want to be a family that is full of faith because you know you have a promised land.  You have purpose.  

As parents, we know that most often, more is caught than taught.  Our kids absorb and imitate so much more of what we do than what we say.  Will they catch your position?  Yes, they will!  Your words, actions, attitude and behaviors will communicate to them.  The key to staying in a place of faith is to remember you have purpose.  Remember.  Remind yourself.  Remind your spouse.  Remind your kids.  They will watch the way you position yourself to face your challenges and will imitate what you do throughout their lives. Will you have rough days?  Probably.  But don’t lose faith.  Remember God created you on purpose for a purpose.  Remembering will sustain you on tough days.  It will build your faith up.  You got this!

Practical tip: Write it down.  Somewhere in your house, write down ‘I have purpose’ or ‘We have purpose’.  If you know what your purpose is in this season of life, make sure to be specific.  Put it somewhere where you can see it and where your family can see it.  Let it be a memorial to you to help you remember so on your tough days, you'll position yourself to face your challenges with faith. 

Photo credit to Pinterest.

How we got here and where we’re headed

BY THERON & MIZPAH GLENNY

The following article is from our column published today in the Tyrone Daily Herald. 

We are very excited to start this new column focused on helping our youth find
purpose.  Whether you are a Mom or Dad, Uncle or Aunt, a grandparent, teacher or
coach, if you work with youth, this bi-weekly column is designed to encourage you and
equip you to impact the next generation.  In this first installment, we are going to share
a bit of our story so you can get to know us and identify with who we are, where we
came from and our hearts to help youth find purpose, in Tyrone and beyond.

When we first met and fell in love back in our college days at Messiah College, we
didn’t know how our future would unfold.  Mizpah wanted to be a medical missionary
and live in a hut in Africa serving the world’s poorest of humans.  Mizpah’s Dad is a
surgeon in North Carolina but growing up, she would go with her parents on medical
mission trips all over the world and on those trips, she fell in love with other cultures
and people groups and saw first-hand the desperate needs of people that don’t have the
quality of medical care we have here in the United States.  On the contrary, Theron’s
heart was set on moving back to Central Pennsylvania to either start another Joshua
House in Huntingdon or help Jim Kilmartin with Joshua House in Tyrone. Theron grew
up in Juniata Valley and when he was around 12 years old, he met Jim at a youth group
event when Kilmartin was still in high school.  Jim’s life and testimony had a major
impact on Theron and as Theron puts it, “I wanted to be like him.”  After college, Jim
started Joshua House because he saw so many teenagers who were aimless, wandering
through life and without purpose. Theron knew in his heart that he too wanted to help
youth find purpose and dedicated the rest of his life doing so.  

So, I guess you could say our paths didn’t necessarily line up - a hut in Africa or Central
PA? We both wanted to serve people and help them become all that God created them
to be, but ‘where' was the question.  Most people when deciding where to live decide
based on where they get a job.  Theron was reading a book at the time by Bob Beckett.
 Bob was a pastor out in Hemet, California and God challenged Bob to be committed to
the people of his city in a radical way so that he could see lasting, and generational
impact.  One of the lessons that Theron learned from this book was that making this
important life decision on where to live was less about where he and Mizpah got a job
and more about who they were to be connected to and do life with. He knew in his heart
they were to be connected to Jim and Jessica Kilmartin and come serve the town of
Tyrone and learn from them.  After getting married in 2005, we moved to Tyrone and
have been here ever since.  When we made the decision to come here, all the other stuff
fell into place - job for Theron, physician assistant school for Mizpah, place to live, etc.

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Mizpah is a physician assistant by trade and works part time with UPMC Huntingdon
while also directing the programs at Joshua House on a volunteer basis.  Theron works
in software sales for Outreach Corporation based out of Seattle and works with business
leaders throughout the country helping their sales teams generate more revenue.  He
also serves on the board at Joshua House and alongside Mizpah, lead a team of amazing
volunteer leaders who put so much time and energy into investing into our
community’s youth through the various programs Joshua House does. We’ve got two
sweet kiddos (& one on the way!).  Our son Elah Roar is 9 and our daughter Sarah is 7. 

When we are not hanging out with our family and friends or doing Joshua House stuff,
we do have some hobbies.  We are both outdoorsy.  Mizpah loves to go on hikes and
runs.  She also loves to play volleyball.  Theron loves to play hockey.  So much so that
he does a backyard ice rink each year during winter.  He also enjoys bow hunting and fly
fishing. 

We both have been blessed with amazing parents and great mentors over the years.
 Two of those mentors, who have led Joshua House for the last 19 years, are Jim and
Jessica Kilmartin.  Their hearts to serve our area and see our youth impacted is
contagious.  Their efforts, valiant.  This past April, the Kilmartins started a church in
Altoona called Center City Church which exists to see people awakened to God, revived
in His presence, and empowered to see lives, families and communities
transformed. The church is thriving and has grown quickly in just six short months.
 They have a large vision for the church and for Joshua House.  This vision includes
starting other Joshua Houses in multiple towns and cities.  Jim, Jess and their family are
moving to Altoona this Fall, but will continue to provide oversight for Joshua House for
years to come. The mission to help youth find purpose was birthed in them here in
Tyrone, and what was started here will give life and purpose to youth all over
Pennsylvania, and beyond. 

We will be sharing more with you over the coming months on various topics.  If you are
one who has a heart to see our youth become all that God has created them to be, you
won’t want to miss this column.  Our schools, churches, and other community
organizations can put on amazing programs, but kids still have to go home and it’s in
the home where the most influence happens.  Through this column, we want to
encourage you and equip you to impact the next generation in your homes.  It truly
takes a village to raise a child and help them find their God-given purpose.

If you have an interest in joining our mission to help youth find purpose, we would love
to hear from you!  It truly is a blessing and honor to be able to serve the youth and
families of our community, and we would love to have more people join us.  The armory will be undergoing a few renovations this Fall, but later this Fall (likely November), we
plan to open up After-School hours, which provides homework help for students, open
gym time, and free meals.  Details for this program will be available soon, but if you are
interested in helping out, contact Mizpah at mizpah@joshuahouse.com.  For more
information on other Joshua House programs, check out our website:
www.joshuahouse.com.

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."

--

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

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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.  




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?