The Summitt

summitt and girls

We lost a great champion this morning.

Pat Summitt died today at the young age of 64.  While she lived a full life- one that included eight NCAA women’s basketball championships, thirty-two combined SEC championships, Olympic excellence and 1,098 victories on the basketball court- Pat Summitt’s life was cut way too short.

Above everything else, Coach Summitt was a teacher.

Several years ago she introduced a list for leaders called the “Pat Summitt Definite Dozen.”  These twelve items were guidelines for leaders…a primer for her players and students…and a blueprint for leadership success for audiences of all ages.

While Coach Summitt’s words weren’t presented in a Biblical context, you can certainly make strong correlations between her thoughts on leadership and what Jesus tells us about working and living with others.

Pat Summitt’s Definite Dozen:

  1.  Respect Yourself and Others
  2. Take Full Responsibility
  3. Develop and Demonstrate Loyalty
  4. Learn to be a Great Communicator
  5. Discipline Yourself so No One Else Has to
  6. Make Hard Work Your Passion
  7. Don’t Just Work Hard, Work Smart
  8. Put the Team Before Yourself
  9. Make Winning an Attitude
  10. Be a Competitor
  11. Change is a Must
  12. Handle Success Like You Handle Failure

Biblical parallels:

  1.  RespectDo nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2: 3-4
  2. Responsibility–  For each will have to bear his own load.  Galatians 6:5
  3. LoyaltyA friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  Proverbs 17:17
  4. CommunicationLet your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.  Colossians 4:6
  5. DisciplineFor the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
  6. Hard WorkWhatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men...  Colossians 3:23
  7. Working SmartFor the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…  Proverbs 2:6
  8. Put the Team before Yourself- Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.  James 4:10
  9. Attitude–  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
  10. Competitor–  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
  11. ChangeHave I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9
  12. Handling success and failureI know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13

Coach Summitt’s Definite Dozen are a template for leadership effectiveness.  These guidelines and lessons were passed down for decades to hundreds of players, coaches and fans of basketball.

These same themes are relevant for those of us trying to become better Christians, too.  All of the principles outlined in the Definite Dozen are present in the teachings of Jesus and the word of God.

Let’s keep the family, former players, coaches and friends of Pat Summitt in prayer this week.  And let’s all reflect on the Definite Dozen in our own lives…and see how we might improve our own effectiveness.

God bless you.  And let me know how I may pray for you this week.

 

 

 

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When you don’t have a prayer

Dad and B Chicago 2016

I’ve been struggling with my prayer life.

I think it’s fatigue.  Maybe it’s my schedule at work.  Perhaps it’s life events surrounding my friends and family that have brought me down.

Regardless, prayer hasn’t come easy lately.

I was reading C.S. Lewis this morning.  There’s a section from Mere Christianity that reads:

“An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers.  He is trying to get into touch with God.  But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God:  God, so to speak, inside him.  But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God- that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him.”

I’ve made prayer too hard.

I’ve been thinking that I have to be perfect in prayer.  I’ve pressed to think that God needs my heart and mind clear.

But the truth is- God already knows what I need.  He already knows my confusion and pain.

Like Lewis writes, it’s God that’s prompting me to hit my knees and pray.  He wants me humble and repentant.  He wants my effort- even if I don’t know exactly what to say.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  Romans 8:26

Let’s don’t wait until we’re “ready.”  God is there to receive our prayers…we just need to engage.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:6

Please pray for my prayer life.  And let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

 

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Homeless outside Starbucks

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I’d seen him eating breakfast at Starbucks several times over the past couple of months.

I stop in for coffee each Saturday morning.  He is always sitting in the same corner nursing a cup of coffee and a muffin.

We spoke last Saturday morning- both acknowledging that we had noticed one another with each visit.

His name is John.

He’s my father’s age.  John has a big smile, a hearty laugh and an engaging disposition.

And he’s homeless.

We talked at length last Saturday.  He confessed that he’s been living in his car since 2011.

A series of life events have led him to this situation.  He makes enough money through his social security checks to pay for a membership to the YMCA (for showering) and to keep a Post Office box for mail.  He budgets the remainder of his income to pay for gas, toiletries, washing clothes and meager meals.

His splurge each week is a hot cup of coffee and breakfast muffin at Starbucks.

John has simply fallen through the cracks.  He’s not completely on the street, but he’s awfully close.  He’d love to have a regular job, but his age and health have made employment difficult to find.

Despite all of this, John has a positive outlook.

And my God will supply every need of your according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

He has a vibrant faith.  He has hope for a home in Heaven.  He is optimistic for his future.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5

Pray for John to stay strong and to be safe.  Pray for those trying to help him get back on his feet.

And let me know how I may pray for you.  God bless.

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Everyday is a birthday

Last week I had the honor of celebrating a special birthday.  A close friend of mine became a “first time” dad…and I had the opportunity to visit his daughter soon after her arrival home.

Hollianne and I offered to deliver dinner.  Selfishly, the offer to provide food was just a means to an end…as we wanted to see their new baby!

She is perfect.  Big, beautiful eyes, smooth skin and delicate features.  Just perfect.

She’s a blessing, but she is blessed too.  She’s got an incredible mother and father that will provide for her physically, emotionally and spiritually.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

We have that same blessing.  We have a Father who designed us, loves us and wants what’s best for us.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I’m officially closer to 50 than I am 40.  And when I look in the mirror, I don’t see smooth skin and any delicate features…but plenty of lines and battle scars.

But I have that same promise of a heavenly Father who cares for me.  And you do too.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

We all have the opportunity for renewal each and every day.  Thank God.

Let me know how I can pray for you this week.

God bless.

 

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When your truck gets towed…

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My truck got towed this week.

I was eating breakfast at my favorite spot downtown- Pete’s Coffee Shop.  I’ve been going to Pete’s for the past twenty years.  If you and I have ever met for breakfast…there’s a good possibility that it’s been at Pete’s.

And for twenty years I’ve been parking in the same place.

But this week I walked outside after breakfast and couldn’t find my truck.

At first I thought it had been stolen, but a few quick calls around the city confirmed that it was safe and sound….in the city’s impound lot.

It’s my own fault.  Just a few yards away from my favorite parking space is a sign warning that cars parked along the street might be towed.  It’s as plain as day.

I had been warned by the signage.  I had seen it for twenty years, so  I knew the consequences.  I had become complacent.  “They’ll never tow me…”

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.  Hebrews 2:1

I tend to get complacent in my spiritual life too.  I get busy at work or at home.  Prayers get rushed and Bible study gets overlooked.  I start thinking less about my loved ones and neighbors and get consumed with self-interest.

And then I get towed.

The unexpected happens.  I am hit with a crisis that’s completely unexpected.  And it brings me to my knees…and back to Jesus.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15

Please pray for me to not get complacent in my walk with Jesus.

And let me know how I may pray for you.  God bless.

 

 

 

 

 

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Celebrate like it’s your birthday

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Everyone in our family knows the importance of July 8- probably because we are reminded of that date at least once a week for the entire year. July 8 is the birthday of our youngest child, Britton…also known as “B.”

B loves his birthday. He talks about it often. Perhaps it comes with being the youngest of three children. July 8 is the single day that all the attention is on him. Nothing else is more important than the events of that day, as B decides where we’ll eat, what we’ll do and who we’ll invite to the festivities. On July 8th it’s all about B.

Or perhaps it’s the gifts. B talks about the objects of his desire all year long- wearing us down with constant reminders.

As Christians, we have the opportunity to celebrate a special series of events- and be thankful for a precious gift that we’ve been offered.

Luke 18: 31-33 Then He took the twelve and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and on the third day He will rise again.”

Jesus Christ sacrificed his body on the cross so that our sins might be washed away. He has established hope for eternal life with Him in heaven. Nothing we can do could ever repay this gift.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.  1 Peter 2:24

And so we should celebrate this moment…this event…this gift.

The birth,
the death,
and the resurrection on that 3rd day.

It’s even better than your birthday.

Let me know how I may pray for you this week.  God bless.

 

Reprinted and edited from July 2014.

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