Friday, December 28, 2012

Year-end Greetings

Here at the end of the year, I’d like to express my thanks for taking time to read the emails which I send to you on Fridays. I also want to communicate the things I hope and pray for you.

As the Apostle Paul was closing his second letter to his friends in Thessalonica, he wrote in chapter 3 and verse 5, “May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” He prays for God’s direction toward two ends:

• He prays that the Lord will direct them toward God’s love, that is daily assurance of His protection, presence and provision.

• He also prays that the Lord will lead them toward Christ’s perseverance, the ability to finish life well.

That would be my prayer for you as well. I pray that you’ll have a day to day sense of the Lord’s presence in your life. That comes through relationship with Christ Jesus. I also pray that you’ll press through the difficult times of your life with the assurance that our Lord will never leave nor forsake you.

Friday, December 21, 2012

"Sportsights" podcast

As I am on vacation this week through the Christmas holiday next week, I am sending along a brief note about a podcast to which I subscribe and would like to recommend to you and those whom you serve. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Neil Urquhart has recorded a number of brief thoughts entitled, “Sportsights.” They are each three minutes in length, are wisely crafted in terms of content and they feature his delightful Scottish accent. I have listened to all 28 episodes that are presently on-line and highly recommend them to you. They are available for free download on itunes at this address -  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Game Day Devotional Letters

One of the tools for ministry which I have used most consistently over my 19 seasons with college and high school football teams, college basketball and volleyball teams is writing devotional thoughts in letter form to either be read aloud to the team or to be copied and distributed to the team on paper, or even both.

There are a few reasons why I persist in this method and why I believe it to be remarkably effective. 1) This information is delivered on game day when the players and coaches are at a heightened state of intensity and focus. 2) Its form, that of a letter, is more personal than a simple devotional photocopied from a book. It is addressed to them and crafted for this day, this game, this opponent and today’s situation. If feels immensely more personal to the reader or hearer. 3) By using it consistently, across the years of a player’s career, it becomes a normal part of game day. 4) It gives the readers something to hold onto, to re-read, to keep in his or her locker and it contains my contact information for later conversations.

I have been stunned at the remarkable way that coaches and players, both male and female, have responded to these letters. One team kept each letter across their 35 game basketball schedule and then copied them and put them in a binder for each player at season’s end. One football player told me that he had kept the game day letters from every game of his four seasons in a binder. The personal nature, the timeliness and consistency of this method seems to connect deeply with competitors’ hearts. Below is a sample of the text which I print onto my letterhead and sign at the bottom, just like a personal letter to a friend. Please consider this method for its strong effect.

Saluki Football – The Team

October 13, 2012


How would you describe the sense of team unity experienced by this team? What are the benefits that accompany a team with great unity versus a team that is full of strife, contention and selfish attitudes?

Today’s scripture describes such unity in Psalm 133 and verse 1. There we read, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” Seems simple, huh? The psalmist says that unity produces an atmosphere that is good and pleasant. It’s simple to describe, but harder to produce.

Team unity is good, leading to the best possible performance from everyone related to the team. Unity brings out the best in each player, coach, trainer, equipment manager, etc…

Team unity is pleasant, smoothing out every potential conflict and contention. Every team is made up of vastly different people. It’s supposed to be that way. Team unity allows us to maintain a focus on our common goals, aspirations and values. That makes the living together pleasant.

In today’s competition, let great team unity produce an atmosphere of goodness and pleasance. Strive together to see each teammate compete to his highest capacity. Keep your focus on unifying words and actions that make the whole process pleasant for everyone concerned. Compete in unified way and you’ll be unstoppable.

God bless,

Roger Lipe
Psalm 90:12-17

Friday, December 7, 2012

Long-term Service Advantages

One of the advantages of being fifty-six years old and having served in one place for almost nineteen years is that I now have a history with a large number of people. Literally hundreds of student-athletes and coaches have come through our university’s athletics program in several different sports from all over the USA and across the world. That history has afforded me the opportunity to have some measure of impact upon the lives of many. Some of the impact is immediately apparent and other times it is five or six years down the line before we hear about how the Word of God, sown into the hearts of young men and women, comes to full fruition.


A couple of days ago I received an SMS text message from one of those people with whom I have a rich history. She was a heptathlete with our Track and Field team from 1993 – 1997. She had grown up on a farm in a small town about 45 miles from the university and arrived on campus with a strong commitment to Christ. She was a dynamic personality and a leader of our Fellowship of Christian Athletes ministry on campus, at camps in the summer and by sharing her faith with others in our community. Later she married an SIU Football player from San Diego, California and they moved there for his career as a police officer. They now have four children and are making an impact upon that community. Though separated by thousands of miles, we still correspond regularly and occasionally get to see each other when they come here to visit family or when I get to travel to the west coast. Messages like this one and transformed lives like those of Ryan and Vena (Clendenin) Hallahan make every day of my life worthwhile and richly rewarding.

“Just had to write and let you know just how thankful I am for all your spiritual guidance over the years. I am currently going through a Beth Moore study and we are reflecting back on those that played a part in our walk with Christ. I just came to the years in college and was writing down all God had done in my life at that time and I have you to thank and I will be eternally grateful for your encouragement and support in my ever growing relationships with Jesus Christ- and also helping me find the love of my life. (We both know Ryan needed some help with that) :) You’re the BEST!!!

Lots of love,


I pray that each of us persist in our roles long enough to receive many such text messages, emails, phone calls, letters or other expressions of thanks and reminders that we are simply carried along by the Lord’s grace and mercy as He shapes the lives of His own. Let’s be his partners in life transformation and thereby have our hearts filled, again and again.