Thursday, July 22, 2010

Influence: The College Years

I was blessed by several leaders in my college days and they taught me a lot of things that I was able to use in my early career in sports medicine as well as leadership lessons that I still carry with me.

I was able to support myself in college by waiting tables and eventually managing one of the restaurants. My general manager as Rich Katzman. Rich taught me valuable lessons in customer service, dedication to those that you are serving and how to build a team. He was also passionate follower of Christ and showed me how that could exist in the regular world. We shared a mutual respect and I still remember him tearing up when I moved to Florida to begin my teaching career.

There were three gentlemen at Lipscomb University who influenced me more than any other. Lynn Griffith and Kent Johnson were two of my professors in the Exercise Science department and Brent Oliver was the Head Athletic Trainer. All three of them put up with me and my idiosyncrasies and were a vital part of the development of my philosophy of athletic training, my work ethic, and my faith.

More than that all of three of them are good, godly men who showed me that being a Christian was different than I had once thought. I fondly remember hours of conversation with all three of them and I am grateful that they took the time to invest in a young man who was still trying to find his way. The three of them were constantly educating me and most of what I learned had little to do with the subject matter at hand. They are true heroes to follow and I still find myself reflecting on lessons from almost 20 years ago.

They are probably unaware of their impact on me and the countless others that they have cared for over the years, but that does not lessen their influence. Thanks gentlemen, for caring and being willing to be used for more far-reaching purposes than you know.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Influence: Family

I've been pondering a series of blogs focusing on the influence of people in my life and the leadership lessons they have taught me. Last week at CIY Move we studied 1 & 2 Timothy and the time in those books and the study of the Paul and Timothy relationship cemented it in my mind. So without further ado, here is the first.

My mother & father divorced when I was 4 1/2 so I don't know very much about my dad's side of the family. Childhood was not easy in a lot of ways (like a lot of other people), but through it all my mother and my grandfather taught me many invaluable things.

My mom will tell you that there are many decisions that she regrets, but I saw in her an indomitable spirit and the will to do whatever she could for her children. The lessons of unconditional love (which still continue to this day) were not easy to learn, but were very evident. I look back at the hours that she worked in low paying jobs, the many meals that she skipped so that her children could eat, the times she cried and prayed for us, and the love that was there no matter how poorly we treated her in our own immature stupidity. The importance of family never wavered and she had seen that modeled from her own parents.

My grandfather was more of a father to me and I know that he felt the same way. There are so many memories of how he spoiled us as children, laughing and teaching us (one of the smartest men I have ever known), how he took care of my invalid grandmother for 14 years and never complained, and the closeness that he and I developed in the last decade of his life. He was generous to a fault and would do anything for his family. He taught me what it was to be a father and a husband and I miss him very much.

There are many others who had an impact on me (and you dear reader will see who they are), but my mom and grandfather formed the foundation of who I am. I don't (and didn't) thank them enough, but their impact is not lessened.

Thanks Mom-thanks Gramps. You have done more for me and who I am today than you could ever know. I love you both.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

No See-ums

I haven't stumbled upon these in Georgia yet, but in Florida we had these gnat-type bugs called "no see-ums." They were quite annoying as they would flit about your ankles or arms and cause you to swipe at them even though you couldn't see them. My lack of ability to see them had no effect on their actual impact either.

Ministry and spiritual growth can happen in the same fashion (not in the annoying way-at least not in this particular blog post.) So much of the change and spiritual development is happening beneath the surface and it can be difficult to gauge what is actually occurring. That does not take away from the impact of the Holy Spirit however, nor does it decrease the faithfulness of the Kingdom workers that are striving to see that great work move forward. It does take a faithfulness in God's great redemptive plan and that He will see His work brought to completion-and even choose to do it through us if we are obedient to leading others.

Father, continue to bring about change that I can and cannot see. May I have the faith to trust that You are the one that will bring it to completion.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Full Life

One of my favorite verses to quote & preach is John 10:10, "The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it to the full."

It's amazing how I know this verse so well and yet I ignore it when satan attempts to do those same things to me. I have been caught up in the things that he has been doing to distract and hurt me while ignoring the promise of the second part of that verse. The evil one only has as much power in my mind and spirit as I allow him to have and I have been giving him too much of a foothold. It's good to be reminded by a good friend (and great boss) of how much I am loved by God and that there is a full life to be had.

Friday, July 2, 2010


I like to watch the clips of "America's Got Talent" and "Britain's Got Talent" online. Sometimes you stumble on something pretty good as people share their abilities. This particular video brought tears to my eyes for many reasons. I won't even try to describe it-I'll let it speak for itself.