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Tag Archives: coach

With All Your Heart

Within every culture, there are clichés that exist.  As a former high school athlete and coach, playing with all your heart was often stressed.   Perhaps, this saying comes from a fictional character, Rocky Balboa, an overweight, out of shape boxer who is given a once in a life time chance of facing the heavy weight champion on Independence Day.  What Rocky, played by Sylvester Stallone, lacked in raw talent was compensated by a heart that refused to quit.  I guess you can say this is Hollywood’s depiction of with all your heart.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.

I recently watch a documentary on director Stanley Kubrick.  Entitled Filmworker, Leon Vitali spent decades serving as Kubrick’s punching bag, absorbing and learning from the criticism dished out by Stanley.  According to this film, during production Kubrick worked 18-20 hours daily, rarely sleeping.  As a perfectionist, tiny little details that few directors consider kept Kubrick on edge.  The more I watched, I began to understand what it means to do something with all your heart.  While Stanley Kubrick was difficult to work for and with, his request to his production crew and cast remained the same, give everything you have and more.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” Matthew 22:37.

Jesus asked first century followers for the same commitment level.  To meet, reach and surpass this standard takes passion.  When you feel like you have been born to do something, excitement comes naturally.  However, as human nature pulls your attention into other direction, focusing on a task is extremely difficult.  Perhaps, this inspired the apostle Paul to write “I beat my body and make it my slave,” 1 Corinthians 9:26.  When human hearts grow cold, lose interest or become comfortably numb, maintaining spiritual disciplines in your daily is crucial.  For those who are able to weather the storms in life, you may reach a point when you can honestly say, I have given all of my heart.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Making the Call to the Bullpen

After coaching my son’s baseball team the last several seasons, I decided to take this year off due to a busy work schedule.  Thus, when a pitcher starts to struggle, someone else has to make the call to the bullpen.  However, if they are too impatient, the coach might just remove their best player from the game.

For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess, Deuteronomy 30:16.

The game of baseball has several rules that you must know before you begin.  For example, you are only allowed to visit your pitcher once per inning.  If you’re not paying attention, you will be forced to change pitchers upon your second visit in the same inning.  Therefore, any manager must demonstrate prudence or else a quick hook could result in a loss.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God, Ephesians 5:1-2.

For those of you who don’t care about the game of baseball, you still have to make important decisions.  While these choices may not impact a team of kids, your friends, family and co-workers will be influenced by what you say or do.  In view of this, make sure you are slow to speak and think wisely before you make any decision in the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

Human Inspired or from Above?

When an individual wakes up, the day can dictate one’s degree of excitement.  Anticipation for an activity, event or the weekend can produce adrenaline, enthusiasm and vigor for life.  However, sometimes the energy burst you receive may come from above?

“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?” – Mark 11:28

In the days of Jesus, his ministry was always under scrutiny.  Whether he was feeding the masses, performing a miracle or outwitting the Pharisees, religious leaders doubted his authenticity.  It wasn’t until Jesus used John the Baptist as an illustration to prove inspiration can come from above.

.John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”- Mark 11:30

Following a milestone or success story, individuals will give a myriad of responses.  Some will credit their coach, trainer or parents.  Others may reference their discipline, re-dedication  or state of the art training program.  However, a few will profess of a higher power, strength from above which ultimately led to their victory.  Although the media may not show all those who give glory to God, I believe human inspiration only takes you so far.  With this in mind, tap into the Holy Spirit to help reach your full potential.

by Jay Mankus

 

Don’t Waste Your Breath

When cold weather arrives each winter, its not uncommon to see each breath you take.  In the context of a conversation, every now and then you will encounter an individual who is not teachable, disregarding your advice.  Thus, instead of wasting your breath, you have to learn to move on until the timing is right.

Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips. – Proverbs 14:7

Whether you are a coach, parent or teacher, it won’t be long until one of your pupils questions your authority.  Ignorance, pride and self-confidence are the usual suspects, making children think they know it all.  Rather than talking in vain, sometimes you how to wait until humility arrives before your words will be heard.

In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them. – Proverbs 14:3

However, when the fall does come, responding with “I told you so” won’t win you any fans.  As the opportunity arises, make sure your words are full of grace, Colossians 4:5-6, softening harden hearts.  In the meantime, don’t waste your breath until this day arrives, when the prodigal comes to their senses, Luke 15:17.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Use It or Lose It

These are words a coach, parent or teacher may express to someone they care about.  The basis for this expression, “use it or lose it,” serves as a warning to anyone who fails to practice a newly acquired ability.  The longer individuals wait before they apply information, the greater the probability someone will forget this skill.  Fearful leaders encourage their pupils to seize the moment or risk losing their lesson until next week, month or year.

One of the first students, Adam, was given a few simple commands from the Lord in Genesis 2:15-17.  First, Adam was promoted to become the caretaker of Eden’s Garden.  Secondly, Adam was given clear boundaries defined by God, “you can eat from every tree except for one,” this is off limits.  In other words, God told Adam, use it or lose it.  After a long day of work, Adam was tired, not having the strength to contain his wife’s curiosity in Genesis 3:6.  By not using his God given authority, the first family loses it all, kicked out of their home, Genesis 3:23.

Today, father’s are suppose to be the head of their family, 1 Peter 3:1-7.  Unfortunately, children born out of wedlock, divorce and absentee dad’s are signs of wasted authority.  If these trends continue, fathers will suffer the same fate of Adam, a man without a place to call home.  I can hear the following words being shouted from heaven to dad’s on the verge of disaster, “use your God given authority or lose it!”  Like the movie Courageous, may today’s blog inspire parents to leave a legacy of integrity for their children to follow.  Or else you may lose your children to a similar fate.

by Jay Mankus

 

Fan or Follower?

As a person who enjoys watching sports, I’ve met several fare weather fans in life.  When the local team is winning, there isn’t enough room on the bandwagon.  However, as the years pass without a Superbowl win, Stanley Cup, NBA championship or World Series title, a mass exodus occurs.  This trend causes individuals to adopt other teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Heat or New York Yankees to raise their self esteem.  Time will distinguish the casual fan from the avid follower, living and dying with their team despite the anguish or pain.

Jesus used another method to disclose fans from genuine followers.  One day, a first century doctor, watched in awe as Jesus began to ask a few people some questions, Luke 9:57-63.  Like a coach pushing his players to see who will rise to the top or quit, Jesus’ words pierce the hearts of these lukewarm fans.  Despite their good intentions, one by one, each fell by the wayside, unable to meet the conditions Jesus was searching for in a follower.

Whether I’m shaking my head at another Phillies loss, Eagles meltdown, Flyers defensive breakdown or 76er’s losing streak, being a fan in the greater Philadelphia area isn’t easy.  On the other hand, being a followers of Jesus is even harder, Matthew 10:32-39.  Sometimes I find myself in the shoes of the ruler in Matthew 19:16-25, wondering if I have the moxie to endure life’s trials.  Unfortunately, my actions don’t always express what I believe.  In the end, I’m at the mercy of God, relying on Him to make the impossible a possibility, Matthew 19:26.

Where do you find yourself on the spectrum of fan or follower?

by Jay Mankus

         

The Secret Behind Volunteerism

Whether you are involved in a local church, little league or school, most volunteers often get used and abused.  Subsequently, burnout occurs within  the first few weeks, month or year, leaving organizations scrambling to find a reliable helpers every season.  Depending upon what study you quote, on average 10 percent of a groups’ volunteers does 90 percent of the work.  This raises the question, “what’s the secret behind volunteerism?”

As a former coach and teacher, I struggled to find more than three willing families to assist me annually.  If I could spread their commitment and passion to others, I might be a famous motivational speaker by now.  However, recently I have stumbled upon a few crucial ingredients that transformed the nation of Israel from self centered individuals into servants willing to pitch in.

Beginning in Exodus 35:4-19, Moses makes his plea to the people, similar to a PTA meeting as a vision is cast for what needs to be done in the forseeable future.  Once information has been conveyed, its up to the people involved to rise to the occasion.  Although not as sexy as modern speeches, Moses addresses each need one by one, asking for supplies and workers.  After  listening, each family withdrew to contemplate their role in the big picture of God’s plan, unveiling the secret behind volunteerism in Exodus 35:20-29.

1) Consider the cost before you agree to say yes.

2) Commit to only what you can, without feeling guilty or regret.

3) Come with a willingness to complete the role you have signed up for.

4) Only give based upon the moving of your heart since God loves a cheerful giver.

5) Donate anything you don’t need, use or plan on doing anything with in the future.

6) Find the place or role where you can be an asset for your community.

7) Put the needs of others in front of yourself as giving results in priceless moments.

by Jay Mankus

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