Friday, June 27, 2014

From whom do you best learn?

From whom do you best learn? How do you best develop intellectually? What media best communicate with you? What environments best enhance your personal development? Please consider the list I have compiled below and drop me a note with some thoughts about which of these work best for you. I’ll share the responses I receive in the near future. Thanks.

·        Books
·        Websites
·        Blogs
·        Television
·        Radio
·        Movies (cinema)
·        Podcasts
·        Periodicals (magazines / journals)
·        Church services
·        Small groups
·        Mentors
·        Lectures
·        Seminars
·        Educational institutions
·        Colleagues
·        Conferences
·        Others… (please describe)

Please reply with your thoughts about any or all of these. Please try new methods on occasion. Please lean into the proven methods. Let’s each commit to the continual development of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

What moves your soul?

What moves your soul? What touches you deeply enough to make an impact that lasts for a while? What are the situations, stimuli, environments, people, and activities that restore your heart’s passion? Let’s consider a list of items that move people, some may be on your list. We’ll then consider what to do with your list.

·        Music (What genre of music moves your heart?)
·        Sports camps (I’ll be leading the fifth FCA camp of June this next week.)
·        The outdoors (Hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, boating, etc…)
·        Participating in sport (Football, rugby, golf, tennis, running, swimming, etc…)
·        Being in sports environments (A ballpark, a stadium, a practice facility, a gym, a pool, a rugby pitch, a cricket ground…)
·        Literature (Books, periodicals, blogs, etc…)
·        Sleep (Afternoon naps, long nights of deep sleep, power naps in the office…)
·        Conversation with friends, colleagues, or mentors.
·        Groups of people (church groups, teams, youth groups, etc…)
·        Solitude (Your favorite place for time alone.)
·        Travel (To places that restore your soul.)
·        Crowds (The energy from big crowds excite some people.)
·        Something else…

What is on your list? Look it over closely and then make it a priority to invest time in the items on your list. Our work of serving people in sport is often stressful and overly busy. We often find our schedules squeezed tightly by many important and urgent activities. We super-committed servants are occasionally on the edge of burnout and frustration leaving our spouses and children with the leftovers of our energy and emotional investments. We must do the things that restore our souls and help us to be at our best, for everyone we love and serve. Set aside the time, engage in this soul restoring stuff, and lean into it wholeheartedly.

One whose soul is restored will find greater energy, more creativity, more empathy for others, and a more relaxed attitude toward everything he encounters. Please feel free to share the items on your list with me. I’d love to hear about all those things and people that restore your soul to its most transformational state. Thanks.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, Application

I’d like to, once again, share one of the more valuable lessons I learned from my mentor, Fred Bishop of No Greater Love Ministries ( This one relates to the creative process I use in most every part of my service with the people of sport. Whether writing, creating a ministry event, preparing for a talk, or long range planning, I use this model to shape my thought.

Preparation –
          Most of the time this involves lots of reading, observation, research, and investigation. Prepare by asking questions and learning all you can about a subject. One of the best ways to improve one’s writing is to read good authors. To improve one’s speaking skills, listen to effective communicators. To improve one’s design abilities, observe skillful designers. To improve one’s musicianship, listen to great musicians. You get the idea. Prepare by watching, listening, reading, and observing with all your senses.

          As you prepare and as the process continues, incubation takes place. This is meditation, rumination, contemplation, doodling thoughts, sketching, day dreaming, lying awake at night, and other methods for developing thoughts into actions. One must allow this process to take place. Don’t rush it. To proceed without fully incubating a thought or project usually results in terrible failure. This part of the process may take a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, weeks, or years. It depends upon your project. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago was incubated across the years of his imprisonment, entirely in his head. Most of us can’t do it that way, but we do incubate, stew on, and contemplate thought until it’s ready to pop.

          This is the “Aha!” moment. This is the clicking on of the light bulb above your head. This is the moment that it all becomes clear. Your preparation and incubation of an idea has led to the moment of illumination. You suddenly see the idea clearly and know exactly what to do. One should never proceed to the next step in the process until this occurs. Lots of ideas go out into the world “half baked” simply because the incubation process was abbreviated and illumination never occurred. For us who serve Christ Jesus, the exciting thing is that it’s the Lord’s Spirit who illuminates our minds and reveals wisdom and insight for us to apply.

          Finally, the process of preparation, incubation and illumination is ready to find concrete form by applying the illuminated thought to action. We are now set to turn our ideas into text, into music, into an agenda, into a game plan, into a sculpture, into a plan of action, or any other expression of creativity. This is what others consume, read, hear, observe, or the events in which they participate. It may seem simple to the consumer, but it has been born of a simple but wise creative process.

Please join me, one not naturally creative, irretrievably left brain thinking, but teachable, in working this process to serve the men and women of sport. Let’s take the pains to prepare well. Let’s take the time to incubate thought. Let’s take the risk to patiently await illumination. Let’s make wise application and thereby create the resources, plans, strategies, art, and processes that lead to Christ-honoring ministry.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Relationship Focus

Today I would like to share another of the principles I learned from my mentor, Fred Bishop of No Greater Love Ministries, in the USA.

Relationship focus – The Sport Chaplain or Sport Mentor, like everyone else, has a limited number of hours in which to accomplish his/her tasks.  The Chaplain or Mentor may field any number of calls, emails or text messages, each one seeming as important and as urgent as the next.  How should one sort out which are most important and which deserve to be handled most urgently?  I believe we can learn some wisdom from a model evident in the ministry of the Lord Jesus.  It is diagrammed on the following page in a set of concentric circles with Christ at the center. 
1.   In Mark chapter 6, there were 5,000 men, plus women and children fed by the Lord Jesus one day.  That was their level of commitment, to eat lunch.
2.   There were 3,000 people in Acts chapter 2 who committed their lives to Christ on the day of Pentecost.  A higher commitment level, but still just introductory.
3.   There were 120 people praying in an upper room prior to the events of that same day.  They had a higher commitment level yet.
4.   In Luke chapter 10 Christ sent 70 people out in sets of two to speak about the Kingdom of God.  They took greater risks, indicative of a still higher level of commitment.
5.   The 12 disciples left their family businesses and eventually gave their lives to follow Jesus.  Theirs was a very high commitment level.
6.   Within that group of 12 disciples there were 3 men, Peter, James and John, who were even more closely aligned with the Christ.  They were at the Mount of Transfiguration and followed Him further into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.
7.   In the center of all these relationships was Christ Jesus Himself.


Critical Questions:
Who/where is my group of 5,000?  ___________________________________
Who/where is my group of 3,000?  ___________________________________
Who is in my group of 120?  _________________________________________

Who is in my group of 70?  __________________________________________

What are the names of my 12?  ___________________
Who are my 3? ____________   _____________   _______________

From the diagram and Christ’s model we can see that Jesus spent more of His time with those most highly committed to Him and to His purposes.  He spent proportionately less time with those whose commitment seemed proportionately lesser.

The Sport Chaplain or Sport Mentor certainly has a similar set of relationships which can be seen in concentric circles.  Some of those relationship circles will include coaches, competitors, their families, team support personnel, sport officials, even fans and others outside the arena of sport.  Given the limited time one has, it would be wise to determine who is in which circle and to prioritize one’s time accordingly.  This tool can be most helpful in the process of determining how much time to spend with which set of people.