Finding Purpose

Values - The Foundational Walls Of Your Family Culture

Creating Your Family Culture - Part 2

 

By Theron Glenny

Inside (& outside) the Tyrone Armory, you truly get the sense the building is immovable.  The castle-like structure was constructed in the early 1900s with large stones that provide a strong foundation to hold large steel beams that you can see visually from the inside.  Every time I give someone a tour of the Armory, they typically make the statement, ‘Wow! They sure don’t make them like this anymore’.  They are referring to the strength and robustness of the steel beams.  They are truly impressive!  And, if you haven’t seen them, you should stop by and take a look. 

Inside of the Armory. Notice the stone walls and steel beams.

Inside of the Armory. Notice the stone walls and steel beams.

The reason why the steel beams can exist is because of the strength of the Armory’s foundation - the stone walls.  The foundation is steady, strong and dependable.  In our last article, I wrote about creating your family culture.   Just like the construction of the Armory’s walls, culture doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes significant time, effort and focus to build something strong enough to hold the weight of your family’s purpose.  Culture is an environment that is formed from the collective actions (& behaviors) of a family over time. 

This article should help you build your family’s culture so your family grows healthy and accomplishes everything God designed it to.  Culture is an environment you create that will build identity and character, but begins with a set of values.  Values are like the stones in the Armory’s walls.  They provide a foundation that shapes your character and reflects your culture.  Values are designed to influence your decisions, behaviors and actions.  Think about it, all great companies and sports teams built a culture that shaped the character of the team because of the values it lived by.  When a team embraces the core values it defines, it begins to build momentum to accomplish its mission.   

Here are some examples of values:

  • Take responsibility for our actions
  • Love each other unconditionally
  • Forgive each other quickly
  • Be un-offendable (one of my favorites!)
  • Be humble and operate with an underdog mentality
  • Be honest with each other even when it’s tough
  • Serve others with joy
  • Work with excellence, for it honors God and inspires people

Do you see how these values can powerfully influence your daily home and work environment?  

They are like the bumper lanes at the bowling alley.  They keep you in the right lane so you accomplish your goal, which is striking the pins.  Without shared values like the ones above, it’s impossible to stay in the lane with others in your family or on your team.  Culture is strongest when shared values are defined, agreed upon and lived out. 

If you haven’t defined your family values, please take time to do so. They’ll unify your family and set you on a course to create a powerful family culture that can last generations.  

Note: I listed a lot of examples above, but you do not have to have a ton of core values.  Actually, the more you have the harder it is to fully embrace them because a larger list of ten or more values prohibits your family members from actually remembering them.  Four to six is a healthy amount of values. 

 

How To Hit Your Targets This Year - Part 4 of 4

BY THERON GLENNY

Over the last four articles, we have been helping you formulate a plan for the new year that includes a set of goals you feel confident and excited about. Here’s a brief recap of each of those articles: 

  • Wrap up the previous year and then capture on paper the dreams you have for the new year.   To wrap up the previous year, look back and write down what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what you’d do differently last year. You’ll learn a ton by doing this.  Then, since the new year is a fresh start where dreams often come alive again, write down a list of things you want to see happen in the new year.  
  • Identify your Areas of Life (AOLs). Segmenting the areas of your life is foundational so it’s easier to know where to put your goals.  That way we are not putting a list of work/career goals on the same list with family goals. Having one comprehensive list of goals is confusing and overwhelming.  Our brains need to be able to segment and place where things fit.  We need swim lanes.  Understanding our swim lanes/AOLs help keep us focused on our goals. 
  • Downsize your list of dreams/goals so they are manageable.  When your goal list is too big, it becomes overwhelming, causing you to lose faith that your goals can be accomplished. When it’s too big, it’s also hard to know what to focus on each day. Just pick one or two goals to put in each AOL.  This may be hard for you to scale down your list, but it is absolutely necessary.  If you don’t, your list will be a junk drawer of cluttered wishes.  
  • Put your list of goals in a place where you see them every day and talk to other regularly about them. As humans, we forget quickly at times.  Putting your goals up in places you frequent will decrease the odds of forgetting about the inspiration you put on paper.  Also, schedule reoccurring times with others to review your goals.  Whether it’s with your spouse, a couple of friends, or mentors, it should be people you trust and that you can receive feedback from without getting offended.  Remember, you have goals you feel passionate about accomplishing.  If you don’t look at them or talk about your progress regularly, then you risk not remembering ‘why’ you set them and you’ll get burnout and frustrated and end up not accomplishing them.

Now that you have your plan for the year on paper, the next step is to understand the reality of what those goals represent in time, effort and resources.  It’s always wise to 'count the cost' by understanding the time, effort and resources you’ll spend on accomplishing what God has put in your heart to do.  

In Luke 14:28, Jesus said "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it.”  Counting the cost is a reality check.  It’s a gut check.  I’m not advocating that you need to do an in-depth analysis on what each goal will require, but rather, having a general idea in mind so you understand what you are committing yourself to.  Without understanding what is required of you to accomplish what’s on your list, you subscribe to naivety unintentionally.  

Once you ‘count the cost’ then it’s time to take the final step before it’s time to take action - commit them to God.  Why should you commit your plans to the Lord?  Because you’ll need His guidance along the way.  

Here are two scripture verses that will serve you well: 

  • Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established. - Proverbs 16:3
  • Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.  - Psalm 37:5

Committing your works/ways to the Lord are committing to accomplish your goals with His help.  Set aside some time to pray.  Get with God alone and be honest with Him.  If you are like me, you know that you need His help.  Personally, there’s no way I can accomplish what’s on my list without His help.  Let’s commit to Him our plans and trust that He will give us what’s needed to bring the plans to pass.  

We hope these articles help make this year the best yet for you.  Please reach out if you have any questions or if we can help in any way.  We are cheering for you!  With God’s help, you can do it!  Philippians 4:13 says “I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives me strength.” 

 

How To Hit Your Targets This Year - Goal Setting Part 3 of 4

Learn From My Failures: How To Hit Your Targets This Year - Goal Setting Part 3 of 4

By Theron Glenny

Here at Joshua House, we are passionate about helping people find purpose and live their purpose out.  Your life is like an arrow.  It’s got a flight and it’s meant to hit targets. In the last two articles, we have helped you take your dreams and goals for the new year and create a manageable list you can realistically pursue and accomplish.  We did this by…

  • helping you identify the areas of your life (AOLs) in the season you are in, and…
  • encouraging you to only choose one or two goals to put under each of your AOLs

Many make the mistake of having too many goals, which can become overwhelming very fast.   Now that you have a solid list of AOLs and goals to target, your focus is pointed.  

This next tip I’m about to give you is crucial.  For me, it was a missing ingredient in helping me accomplish my goals.  For years, I've identified my AOLs and been selective with goals by only choosing one or two goals for each area of my life.  I learned this next tip from my job selling sales engagement software to sales and marketing leaders in mid-market to enterprise level companies.  Every sales person has a quota they are trying to hit.  They have a revenue number they are going after.  It’s their goal.  Their yearly goal is broken down into monthly goals.  Every sales person knows their number very well.  Why?  Because they are responsible to hit it in order for the company to grow and because every week, they meet with their leaders to discuss where they are in relation to their goal.  

My point in telling you this is that a sales person’s goals and where they stand in relation to their goals are viewed by more than just themselves.  Their colleagues, manager and senior leaders know. Everyone has visibility.  Because there is visibility, there is accountability.  Without visibility and accountability, you run the risk of not focusing on goals you spent a ton of time identifying.  

Here’s what works for me, put your list of goals in a place where you see them every day.  For you, maybe it’s on your refrigerator, on your bathroom mirror, or on your desk at work.  If you can, put them in multiple places.  Put them where you have to look at them.  The point is for your goals not to get lost or forgotten causing you not to remember the inspiration you had at the beginning of the year.  

The second recommendation is to schedule re-occuring times with others to review your goals.  Whether it’s with your spouse, a couple of friends, or mentors, it should be people you trust and that you can receive feedback from without getting offended.  Proverbs 15:22 says, "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed."  Remember, you have goals you feel passionate about accomplishing.  If you don’t look at them or talk about your progress regularly, then you risk not remembering ‘why’ you set them and you’ll get burnout and frustrated and end up not accomplishing them.  Author Jon Gordon says, “ people don’t experience burnout because of what they do, but because they forget why they do it.”    

Pro tip: If your goals are important to you and your family, utilize your calendar to block time off to regularly work towards your goals.  My philosophy is, if it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t get done.  Block time off.  Schedule it.  In your brain, blocking time off on your calendar gives you permission to work on your goals.  It will help you prioritize your schedule to work on what matters most to you.

How to hit your targets this year - Goal Setting Part 2 of 4

Learn From My Failures: How To Hit Your Targets This Year - Goal Setting Part 2 of 4

By Theron Glenny

Growing up, when we needed a rubber band, battery, screw or nail, there was one place to look, the junk drawer. Do you have a junk drawer?  Maybe you even have a cabinet where you throw your clutter. It’s likely the place where you stuff items when a visitor comes. We have one too.  Everyone does.  They are very useful at times.  The problem with junk drawers and cabinets is when you really want to find something, good luck!  They’re a mess.  Stuff is everywhere so it’s hard to find what you need when you need it.  

In the last couple articles, we’ve been discussing dreams and goals for the new year.  In our last article, I shared the importance of segmenting the areas of your life so it’s easier to know where to put your goals.  Having one comprehensive list of goals is confusing and overwhelming.  Our brains need to be able to segment and place where things fit.  We need swim lanes.  Understanding our swim lanes help keep us focused on our goals. I call these swim lanes, 'areas of life'.  In every season of life, we have areas of life (AOLs).  Some examples of AOLs could be your family, career, volunteer work, hobby, etc. Failure to identify AOLs will cause confusion about the main focuses you have in the season you are in.  

Now that you have your areas of life defined, take your list of dreams and goals for the new year and put them under the right AOLs.  This helps your brain see where they fit.  Many times, we make a goal list and it’s so big and unorganized that its like a junk drawer.  In the past I’ve made the mistake of having too big of a list.  When your goal list is too big, it becomes overwhelming, causing you to lose faith that your goals can be accomplished. When it’s too big, it’s also hard to know what to focus on each day. 

Don’t go overboard with goals or there will be too many and you will get overwhelmed.  The result will be frustration and dissatisfaction because you didn’t accomplish it. I’ve been there.  I’ve made this mistake way too many times.  

Here’s the secret.  Just pick one or two goals to put in each AOL.  This may be hard for you to scale down your list, but it is absolutely necessary.  If you don’t, your list will be a junk drawer of cluttered wishes.  

Pro tip: If you are unsure of what to focus on for the year and there are multiple projects you desire to go after, consider writing a 1-page business plan on each one defining each project, it’s scope, why you want to do it, what it will accomplish in it’s impact to others, financial commitments, etc…and then present each plan to some close friends/advisors to get their opinion.  I’ve done this and it really helped me clarify what I’m to focus on.  This allowed me to take a list of dozens of possible goals for the year down to 4-5 that I can be laser focused on.

In the next article, I’ll share with you a secret in how to keep momentum to accomplish your goals this year.  Hint:  It’s where you put them and who sees them.

How to hit your targets this year - Goal Setting Part 1 of 4

Learn From My Failures: How To Hit Your Targets This Year - Goal Setting Part 1 of 4

By: Theron Glenny

 

Here at Joshua House, we are passionate about helping people find purpose and live their purpose out.  Your life is like an arrow.  It’s got a flight and it’s meant to hit targets. What targets do you want to hit this year?   In our last article, How to prepare your family for a new year, we left you with a list of questions to ask yourselves to help you think about your new year.  The questions were designed to tap into your heart and get you dreaming and thinking of what could be this year.  

In this article, we focus on how to take those dreams and act on them. Before we get into ‘how', you have to know first, that I have hated goal setting for years.  Hate is a strong word I know, but is very appropriate for how I felt towards goals.  Why is it that people who teach goal setting make it seem so easy?  This drives me nuts.  Why the sour taste?  In the past, I have rarely hit or completed goals I've set.  If you are like me, you also hate the feeling of losing and not being successful.    

This article, the first in a series of four, is a labor of love because I’m sharing with you my failures and how my failures can help you…

  1. Not make the same mistakes I did, causing you not to succeed
  2. Turn the dreams God puts in your heart into goals you can target and ultimately hit. 

I personally love dreaming and getting ideas that God gives me out onto paper.  The challenge that many people never overcome is vetting the ideas, turning them into goals and then executing them.  I’ve struggled with this as well. This is not an easy thing.  But, today, let me give you a starting place.  If you haven’t already go back to our last article and spend some time answering the questions we give.  It will help you tremendously with what I’m about to share. 

Failure #1 - Not identifying your areas of life. 

Having one comprehensive list of goals is confusing and overwhelming.  Our brains need to be able to segment and place where things fit.  We need swim lanes.  Understanding our swim lanes help keep us focused on our goals. I call these swim lanes, 'areas of life'.  In every season of life, we have areas of life (AOLs).  Failure to identify AOLs will cause confusion about the main focuses you have in the season you are in.  

For me, my AOLs right now are: 

  1. Family (includes my marriage, parenting, finances, and personal stuff)
  2. Work (my occupation) - normally with your occupation, you’ll have a set of goals you and your company leadership set together. 
  3. Ministry/Community service - for me, this is my work with Joshua House and our church. 

Everything I do in life falls in one of these three buckets.  Yours may be similar or different.  

For a teenager, it could be: 

  1. Personal
  2. Family
  3. School
  4. Sports

Again, these are just examples.  Now it’s time to identify yours.  What are your areas of life?  Take a few minutes to identify your areas of life and write them down.

Next, take a look at the your answers to the questions we asked in our last article and see if you can put your answers (your dreams/ideas/wishes/goals) into your AOLs.  Where do they fit?  Put them in the correct swim lane. Here’s an example:

1. Family (includes my marriage, parenting, finances, and personal stuff)

  • Go to the gym 3x/week
  • Take family on vacation in July
  • Save $____
  • Read 5 new books

2. Work (your occupation)

  • Generate $_____ revenue for company
  • Develop new product line ______.  

3. Ministry/Community service - for me, this is my work with Joshua House and our church. 

  • Give $_____ to ________.
  • Volunteer 10 hrs/mth every month @ _______. 

In the next three articles in this series, we’ll help you take what you’ve identified and give you specific tips (learned from my failures) to help you accomplish your goals.  

How to Prepare Your Family for a New Year

By Theron and Mizpah Glenny

The beginning of the year is always one of our favorite times.  There’s a newness about it…a fresh start, a new beginning.  Dreams come alive again.  Our wheels start spinning again as the potential of what could be floods into our brains.  We get that sparkle in our eyes and smile on our face.  As we enter into this new year, it’s important to capture these sparks so you can identify which sparks to grind.  

In this article, we want to share the process we use to put a bow on the previous year by wrapping it up properly so we have legs to leap into the next year.  We share the questions we not only ask ourselves, but also our kids.  It allows them to think deeply and journal their answers, which make beautiful memories to remember years from now. 

Please note, we strongly encourage you to set aside 1-2 hours to do this.  We’ve learned that if something is really important to us, we schedule it on the calendar so our brains know the time is set aside.  So, reserve some time for yourself and your family.  The clarity you’ll get doing the exercise will make the pain of blocking the time off well worth it. 

Before you start thinking about the new year, first look back on the previous year and write down what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what you’d do differently.  Here are some questions you and your kids can ask yourselves:

  • What were your favorite moments?
  • What brought you the most satisfaction?
  • What did you learn last year?
  • What new friendship did you start? And why do you enjoy being friends with them? 
  • What was your favorite book you read? 
  • What was something hard you faced? Did you overcome it and if so, how?
  • What scripture or piece of advice really helped you?
  • Would you change anything or do anything different?

Once you answer these questions, you should feel good about moving on to start thinking about this new year, but be sure to take the time as a family to share.  Don’t feel pressure to share everything as there may be things you don’t want to share, but it’s important to share some things in order for you and your kids to connect to the story God wrote in you as a family the previous year. 

Now, time to think about the new year!  Here are some questions to ask yourselves (and be sure to write down your answers):

  • What do you want to accomplish, and why?
  • What are some fun things you want to do? 
  • What person(s) do you want to be closer to?
  • How will you serve others this year?
  • What are some things you’d like to learn this year? Are there areas of your life you want to grow and mature in?
  • What book(s) are you going to read? 
  • What mentors will you seek counsel from? Another way to ask this is, who do you want to learn from this year?
  • What could hold you back from accomplishing what you wrote above? …and, how will you overcome the fear with God’s help?  

As mentioned before, be open to sharing your answers with each other.  Knowing what is in each person's heart to do in the new year provides another connection point and an opportunity to encourage each other.

In the next article, we’ll focus on helping you overcome fears and limitations.  We believe this year is a year of ’no limits’ and want to equip you and your family to be all that God wants you to be this new year.  

Please reach out to us and let us know how the above questions helped you and your kids prepare for an amazing new year.  We want to hear some stories.  

The article above also appeared in the Tyrone Daily Herald. 

End of the Year Message to Dauntless Generation

Here is the prophetic word Mizpah shared in the video for the teenagers of Dauntless Generation...

"Some of you had very significant things happen this year. Some of you were baptized. Some heard God speak to you for the first time. Some of you stepped out to lead or start a group and take a stand for God. Some of you got saved! Some of you were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Some of you received prophetic words that rocked you. Some of you felt God's presence for the first time. Some of you saw people healed. Some of you were healed. Some of you prayed for people and saw God touch them!

In all of these things, God did something new in you and it has shaped you and prepared you for the future...it has pointed you in the direction of your purpose and destiny. We want to challenge you. Do not take this lightly. For Christmas this year, do not let it be the same. Recognize that because Christ came to be with us on this earth, you are forever marked, you can live with purpose, knowing you have a future that He has carved out for you. Celebrate the fact that He came to be with YOU. He came so that He could spend eternity with YOU.  

Then from that foundation, we pray that you are launched into 2018 with newly revived purpose. That you know without a shadow of a doubt that He has called you to to do great things for such a time as this. Do not doubt the call on your life. Let Him pull you back deep into His heart, let Him aim and launch you to your target. During this holiday, take the time to hear Him speak to you about 2018 and be ready to live life to the fullest and give Him everything this year." 

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’. 

   
  
    
  
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    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. 

 

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.

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?