A Summitt Reached

“Take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

For nearly four decades Coach Pat Summitt climbed the heights of her profession.

On her climb she won eight national titles and 1,098 games — the most by any Division 1 basketball coach, male or female. Her teams made an unprecedented 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Tough and tender Coach Summitt took others with her on her climb. From All-Americans, to players that road the beach. All of the athletes she coached who completed their eligibility went on to graduate from the University of Tennessee.

In 2011 Coach Summitt demonstrated how to keep climbing in the face of adversity when she announced she was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.

She vowed to keep coaching saying “This is not a pity party,” “We’re not going to sit here and feel sorry for Pat Summitt.” And coach she did leading the Lady Vols their 16th SEC Championship in her last year on the bench.

Now Pat Summitt has reached the end of her climb. While the work of that climb, the wins the championships speak for themselves the real impact of her climb has been with the people she touched and the lives that she influenced.

For Pat Summitt was and is more than a basketball coach, she is a leader.

– A leader whose courage was never questioned as she blazed new trails for women not only in sports but in life.
– A leader whose hands never weak as she pushed her players to greatness
– A leader whose work is rewarded each time a woman dives for a loose ball on the court, or makes a confident presentation in the boardroom

“Take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

Thank you Lord for giving us Coach Pat Summitt her life and remarkable climb continues to inspire us all.

Loving Our Neighbor As Ourselves

June 12, 2016: Orlando, Florida – A man armed with an assault-style rifle killed at least 50 people and wounded 53 others in a crowded nightclub.

December 2, 2015: San Bernardino, California – A man and woman armed with assault-style rifles killed 14 people and wounded 20 others at a holiday party.

July 20, 2012: Aurora, Colorado – A man armed with an assault-style rifle killed 12 people and wounded 58 others in a crowded movie theater.

December 14, 2012: Newtown, Connecticut – A man armed with an assault-style rifle killed 28 people and wounded 2 others at an elementary school.

The assault-style rifle is the one common denominator behind these and other high-casualty mass shootings in the United States.

Apparently, the Islamic State has noticed how easy it is to obtain assault-style rifles and now they are encouraging followers to use them as the weapon of choice to inflict maximum damage in US attacks.

In times like these many people may ask the question, why God does allows a person to get a gun and kill a bunch of people.

The answer is simply this: God created mankind in His own image, and that included the ability to choose, to buy an assault-style rifle and kill a bunch of people.

God has given humans the opportunity to make choices that genuinely affect their destiny. In other words God has given us free will. The world’s current sinful state is directly linked to free will choices made by Adam and Eve.

Part of our free will choice is to become a disciple of Christ. And as a disciple of Christ God’s greatest commandment is this: “and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:31

Clearly part of loving our God and loving our neighbor is not buying an assault-style rifle and killing a bunch people in a nightclub, a holiday party, a movie theater or an elementary school.

However, is allowing easy access to purchase an assault-style rifle keeping with God’s commandment to love him and our neighbor?
God has given us the free will to ban such weapons and in this nation’s history we have. They were outlawed in 1994. But that ban expired in 2004 and Congress opted to not renew it.

The Second Amendment right to bear arms is a Constitutional right not a command from God. Our command from God is to love the Lord with all of your heart, mind and strength and to Love our neighbors.

Therefore as Disciples of Christ the question what should we do when the easy obtainability of guns is leading to countless killings of neighbors in random acts of violence on the streets where we live and planed acts of terror in places where we gather?

As for this Disciple of Christ, I see no better way to love our neighbors in Orlando than by:
– Donating blood to assist the survivors
– Praying for peace and healing
– Denouncing all forms of hate especially hate based on religious belief or sexual orientation

And to lend my voice and efforts to reinstate the ban on assault-style rifles. Along with adopting other common sense measures that can help curb gun violence. While protecting the rights of law abiding gun owners.

May God continue to bless the people of Orlando and all of us as we do the difficult work of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

A Funeral For A GOAT

Today in Louisville, Kentucky thousands of people will attend a funeral for a GOAT.

GOAT in an acronym coined by Muhammad Ali to signify his persona in the boxing ring as The Greatest of All Time or as his camp called him “The GOAT”.

While Ali’s self-affirmed GOAT title may seem outrageous and braggadocios it really is an affirmation of the greatness that God has placed in all of us.

First John 4:4 tells us: Because you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

In other words because we were made in the image of a God who is the greatest of all time we are also the greatest of all time.

Therefore, today as the GOAT is laid to rest. Let us proclaim as Ali did the GOAT that God has planted inside of all us.

Because with God we are all the Greatest of All Time.

Rest in Allah great peace GOAT…. Rest in peace

Muhammad Ali – Making Our Minutes Count

Today, world is remembering, the greatest of all time Muhammad Ali.
In the ring Ali made the three minutes of each fight round electric as he became the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion; winning titles in 1964, 1974, and 1978.

However, it was the minutes outside the ring that made Ali iconic.
In 1967, at the peak of his career Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title for his refusal to be conscripted into the U.S. military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War.

Making his minutes count Ali, was victorious in the legal venture when in 1971 the Supreme Court in a landmark decision overturned his conviction.
For his courageous stance Ali, became an icon first for the counterculture generation. Then for all of America as people started to fully understand how this king of violence in the ring, was truly a prince of peace for the word.

In the 74 years that he lived Muhammad Ali spent nearly 38,894,400 minutes on this earth. Wherever those minutes were spent fighting in the ring, or fighting for social justice, or fighting Parkinson’s syndrome to light the Olympic flame at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Muhammad Ali: “The Champ”. The man who “floated like a butterfly but stung like a bee. The “greatest of all time”
Demonstrated to all of us how to make the minutes of our lives count.

Each day God has graced us with 1440 minutes, and in the spirit of Colossians 4:5 those of us who call ourselves Disciples of Jesus Christ should: “Walk in Wisdom…Making the best use of our time.”

An examination of Ali’s life reveals four categories where we can make our minutes count for the glory and honor of God.

1. Purpose

The Bible is very clear as to what our purpose in life should be. The concluding remarks in the book of Ecclesiastes says it all: “Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

Ali also understood his purpose; in a 1977 interview he said: “The best thing I can do is to get ready to meet God.”
Solomon in Ecclesiastes and Ali in his life both know that the purposes of our lives is all about honoring God with our thoughts and keeping His commandments. For one day we will stand before Him in judgment.

2. Prayer

Ali put it best when he said “all I need is prayer” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 put it ever better “Pray without ceasing.

As Disciples of Jesus Christ, we need to uplift each other in prayer, and also pray for all of the other blessings and trials that are in our lives.

Ali was inspired by prayer and we can be inspired because there is always something to pray about, whether it is driving home safely from work, having a romantic evening with your spouse or uplifting our leaders of the government in prayer.

So let us pray without ceasing, for all we need is prayer.

3. Praise

Muhammad Ali was the Louisville Lip, because his verbal jabs were almost as good as his punches in the ring. And he had no problems heaping praise on himself:

I’m not the greatest. I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ‘em out, I pick the round. I’m the boldest, the prettiest, the most superior, most scientific, most skillfullest fighter in the ring today.”

God deserves our highest and deepest praise: David in Psalm 103 (verses 1-5) praises God as the greatest.

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.

4. People

As much as people loved Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Ali loved people more.

He traveled the world to help out those in need. In 1998, he was chosen to be a United Nations Messenger of Peace because of his work in developing nations.

In 2005, Ali received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush.

He also opened the Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, that same year. “I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given,” he said. “Many fans wanted to build a museum to acknowledge my achievements. I wanted more than a building to house my memorabilia. I wanted a place that would inspire people to be the best that they could be at whatever they chose to do, and to encourage them to be respectful of one another.”

God calls us to love people; in fact God’s greatest commandment is this: “and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these (Mark 12:30-31)

God has given us no better way to make our minutes count that to love our neighbor.

Marking Our Minutes Counts

Without question the world is a better place for the minutes that Muhammad Ali lived. While we may never be the heavyweight champion of the world, or light the Olympic flame, we can make the minutes of our lives count.

Ali would love it and God has built us for it.