Sunday, December 17, 2017

Open Letter to Editor of New York Daily Regarding 'Gutless Saban' Article

Dear Editors,

University of Alabama head football coach, Nick Saban was a subject in the New York Daily News last Thursday morning when Chuck Modiano wrote “Nick Saban is a clueless, gutless, selfish coward for his silence on Roy Moore” .

My guess is the article succeeded in your primary objective to stir the pot and elicit response. The article was posted numerous times under salacious headlines and helped fill time between commercials on talk radio across the nation.

I do not know Mr. Modiano, but the nature of his charges and the assertions he makes illustrates why people refuse to learn the lesson that the State of Alabama taught all of us this past week.

We don't TALK anymore in this country. It is way easier to make bold assertions (some in as few as 280 characters) in short and simple scorched earth diatribes than it is to actually sit down and listen to one another.

You printed/posted an article that made a very serious charge regarding Coach Saban:

My biggest issue with these types of statements is that our culture seizes on these exchanges and often accept conclusions without a full analysis of all the facts.

I am saddened that we have a culture today where a simple label can be fixed to a name without a burden of proof and the consequences of such tags can be life destroying. The bar is too low to suffer the blows that such charged words result in. 

If I am honest, I know that I am without any protection if anyone charges me with any odious 'ism'.

The difficulty is the medium itself. I do not have the space, and most readers do not have the patience to read all that it would take to exonerate a man of your serious allegations.


I had numerous conversations with people who were torn. As millions of dollars poured in on both sides of the situation- we were told over and over that Judge Moore was a child molester and Mr. Jones wanted to kill babies.

It caused great concern, because to a man, most people in Alabama are burdened to vote.

There were questions that in most people minds were never answered. The biggest one was "If all of these allegations against Roy Moore were true, why are we just learning this NOW?"

But if they were true, it would be almost impossible to cast that vote.

 This letter doesn't allow me to adequately articulate all of the different views and how some lean right and some lean left in Alabama BECAUSE of faith...  and after prayer and wrestling with the issues....Alabama chose to vote- we had a large turnout.

There were many examples of how people chose principles over party. That is what every person in the nation needs to embrace as well. Our country wold be better off if we did that. Instead, we choose a side, believe nothing that gives evidence to the contrary, and throw gasoline on the fire of dissension regardless if it means we will all go down in flames.

And the man you called 'clueless' got over 20,000 write in votes. Pretty high for a gutless coward.

Here is what I can say about Nick Saban.... he brings in players from all different backgrounds and builds a great culture of unity and advancement. He gives millions to charity and was wise enough to not insert himself into the race. 

He is preparing his team to play every week and recruiting more players form all over the country... my guess is that he would say he doesn't actually know enough to make a bold proclamation about either candidate in the race- and he know his words do carry weight.

I wish Mr. Modiano used that same discretion.......

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Running on Empty? Turn on Love

There are a number of reasons why we get beaten down and drained. We are busier than ever- mass communication technology has produced a sprinters pace for a marathon life... it causes even young people to hit the wall quite frequently.
But another reason we often overlook is the toll of sin.... our personal sin... but also the weariness of living in a world of sin. People who care only about themselves: they mock, disregard, and mistreat others.
The Book of Revelation gives us a reminder about God's truth and God's heart... I found some encouragement this morning from the letter to the Church in Ephesus:
EPHESUS was the greatest city in Asia minor. It boasted a population over 250,000 people. But it was a deeply pagan city where people worshipped in the world of the occult and witchcraft. The city was famous for the Temple of Diana. It was 100,000 sq. feet, which is twice the size of a football field! The typical pagan practice in those days combined ‘worship’  with immorality! A church in a city like this needs DOCTRINE and DISCERNMENT. If we look at our Bibles, we will find that  Paul, Timothy, Barnabas, and John had all been there.
Let’s look at what Jesus says to the church in Ephesus!
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
I have heard a lot of great talks on ‘finding your first love’… but I think it is easy to miss what Jesus is saying here.
I believe Jesus is exhorting the church to teach the truth in ‘LOVE’.
I had a great friend of mine, a pastor in Nashville who used to say: “There is a difference in being right and DEAD RIGHT. Don’t kill people with the truth.”
I get sad when I see the poisonous rhetoric in our culture today…..
And the key? You show love by deeds.
My prayer is that we will never shrink back from great doctrine…but we never lose our love for people!
Believe me, I know it is easy to get jaded and worn down when you see people who seem to sin with boldness and treat God with contempt.
We must keep our love for Jesus first…but that love should spill over and flow out of us as well to others. Loving them does not mean CONDONING sin…in fact, IF we love them, we will speak gospel truth..which is HARD.
But Jesus led the way in showing that we are to keep loving others, even if they are headed in a contrary way or show a contrary spirit.
Today- I feel weary over sin... my sin and the sin of others. God tells me to keep loving others... even if they do not love me back.
He never stops loving me, even when I ignore Him. Is it too much for me to do the same?

Thursday, November 23, 2017


The Bible has a flavor of thankfulness 

  • Ephesians 1:16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
  • Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
  • Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also you are called in one body; and be thankful.
  • Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
  • Psalms 107:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever.
  • Psalms 118:24 This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
 We do live in a generation of entitlement. We often lament that our young people not only expect everything to be given to them, but they don’t value the things when they are given to them. The most tragic loss in a world where everything is taken for granted, is a loss of a sense of gratitude.
And a world without gratitude is a dark and isolated existence where we soon realize that a man does not have to die to go to hell.
When I realize how I was brought up, I am most grateful that it dug a foundation of appreciation for even ‘small’ things. My dad would take us out to eat every now and then or my grandmother would use Sunday coupons to get an Arby’s sandwich. And in a family where it didn’t happen much, we learned to be thankful for those good blessings.
I went through a very sad time in my first few years in Nashville where I talked to freshman boys who had already seen the world and they were not impressed with anything. And they saw me as someone who did not measure up to their travels and experience… and these guys were 15 years old! How do you break through to a young man who just got back from Rome, unimpressed, and couldn’t care less about an ancient book because he didn’t like to read anyway?
I never stopped teaching the hope of the gospel, the penalty of sin, the inability of the world to satisfy, and a heart yearning for God….. but his mind was on the Christmas  ski trip to Vale and Spring Break in Cabo. You have to believe that these seeds would be there when that fantasy world collapsed because he had no work ethic to barely pass an easy Bible class, but why should he work?… his inheritance was his future bank.
I am more convinced than ever that an attitude of gratitude is the biggest key to walking daily with God. Gratitude comes from a humble heart of good eyes full of light and truth. It is one thing to say ‘thanks’- it is even better to feel it!
Guinness has a chapter in his book,The Call, entitled “Let All of Your Thinks be Thanks”- and he brings in ‘calling’ to this subject.

Calling is a reminder for followers of Christ that nothing in life should be taken for granted; everything in life must be received in gratitude.

He quotes Dostoevsky, “The best definition of man is the ungrateful biped.”

A lack of gratitude can be an acid that eventually erodes all of our dependency on God and  trust in God’s goodness.

“People who start out in wonder at their own calling can slowly, through conceit, slip into speculation about God’s calling them and not calling others, and in the end making calling a thing of horror, and God, a monster.”

A lack of gratitude is the first step into religious oppression, the first step into legalism, the first step into heresy or apostasy, the first step into adultery or theft, the first step into destruction. In fact, read Genesis 3 and you see that a lack of gratitude was the seed of the fall of the whole human race.

Take some time in crafting your mission statement to ‘count your blessings’… your life, health, wife, where you live, clothes, technology, medicine, travel, transportation, humor, a flower, water, a warm embrace, a smiling child, singing…. you could count forever just thinking about what Jesus did.

And let us be like St. Francis who was described by G.K. Chesterton as a man who ‘walked the world like the Pardon of God”.
Let our hearts be stirred every day the praise God for all He has given to us. Gratitude is an attitude!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Yancey Magic, 300 Wins, and What Really Matters

Longtime coach and friend, Shane Harmon, tapped me on the shoulder right before kick-off last night and said, "Did you know tonight could be Fred's 300th?"

And as a guy who takes GREAT PRIDE in knowing things and doing what is right... I felt a huge sense of panic.. NO... I didn't know and NO... I wasn't prepared to honor my friend on such a historic milestone for this guaranteed future Hall of Fame coach.

I do know he got his 250th BCS win last season and was given a nice ceremony and a gold helmet with 250 painted on it.....

So I wandered out to him during the humid pre-game warm-up and asked him if he knew he was at 299...he did.

Then I joked with him... 'Coach, I'm not ready to honor your 300th- I guess I could get a black sharpie, a gold helmet and write 300 on it".... we both laughed and we both knew... Coach really doesn't care, he really doesn't... to him it is a number.

Don't get me wrong, we know it is special, but I have spent too much time with him over the years to know that the accolades don't register for him... but I also know it was pre-game and the fires were burning... he would trade them all to get the NEXT one.. and not for him... not for him... he WILLS the wins for one reason.... he feels like he OWES it to the kids. He wants it so bad for them that he aches... but the reason he aches for them may surprise you.


Those of you who know my story, know that I coached football for 28 glorious years... all but 7 of those with Coach Yancey.

But it was my 7 seasons as a head coach that I really understood Yancey magic... it was why his 2 pt calls worked and mine didn't, why his fake punts scored and mine fell short.

But you want to know why? I know.. while I just wrote the word 'mine' 2 times....he doesn't even think in those terms.....

There is no Yancey magic... He is just a humble servant of God, loving kids, and has a burning fire for winning.. for all the right reasons.

Don't get me wrong.. He is a fantastic coach.. excellent x's and o's... but there is something more and deeper... and it is why his former players and parents LOVE him.

300 WINS

Oh my goodness... does anyone know what an accomplishment this is?

It isn't just perseverance, it is a long time of excellence.


When the game was over.. I hugged his neck and congratulated him... "Congrats coach, 300 is special." He squeezed me extra hard... 'You know you had a big part of this, coach."

And the tears filled my eyes.... he NEVER is selfish... he always deflects to others...

and I'm still crying now.. because I can't stop praising the Lord for allowing His grace to make a man/coach like Fred Yancey.

BCS Coach, Fred Yancey won his 300th game as a head-coach and the 259th at Briarwood – a school and Shelby County coaching record- last Friday night at Fairfield.

Coach Yancey is now 300-111-1 overall in a career that has spanned 34 years. He has compiled a 259-91 record at Briarwood since 1990, and is just the sixth football coach in AHSAA history to record his 300th win in the AHSAA.

Coach Yancey, who ranks third in AHSAA history with most wins at one school, has guided the Lions to 24 straight playoff appearances. He has a 54-22 playoff record and has won 3 state championships.

Throughout his career, Coach Yancey has modeled a consistent Christian testimony and taught countless players and students how to be a winner on the field and in life.

Congratulations, Coach Yancey!

-records source AHSAA

What a man.... what a legacy!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Early Analysis of the Tide

I had an amazing time last weekend in Tuscaloosa. The Alabama game day experience is incredible and any chance we get to do it, we always enjoy it.

Also loved my view- A high endzone seat is great for an old coach like me and I love finally watching formations and safety rotations from both teams. It also helps to get some thought on the chess game of adjustments and personality of the play callers.


It is just too early to accurately get a team report. I'm a guy who likes to see what teams grow during a season and how they handle the grind, injuries, internal chemistry, and outside messaging.

But here are some of my take aways from a beautiful day in Alabama:


As my blog post said a week ago, Hurts is dramatically improved. His poise is his greatest asset, he plays under control and makes good choices which is hard to do in the pace of a game. He seems to have a great time clock on his scrambles and is deadly with his feet.

He threw two bad balls (which is a great game number). Two weeks in a row he has had a vertical throw go out of bounds, which was always a big no/no to me. But his second deep throw to the right was just a bad decision and a bad ball. In cover 1 (man free) the Qb needs to be aware of the FS, and Hurts threw a hang up too far inside and it should have been picked.


As far as 'plays', Alabama has shown nothing new from last year. It is what most teams do these days... a lot of gun, formations, shifts, motions, and personnel packages. Alabama loves to run the power O or Pin and pull off of jet sweep motion. The do some RPO's that are fast screens or runs. They do some zone read, but they also have called QB runs.

My guess is that there are some plays still in the toolbox but yet to be used, which is a beauty of this year's schedule-

Here is how it works....

The game tapes are flooding in... and before long, every team will have an MO and though you try to break tendencies, you still go with what you are good at-

Here is where Daboll will excel- an NFL approach is the be as basic as you need to be to get the job done. The game plan is more clinical than mood of the moment.

I had a lot of chats with Norm Chow when he was coordinating with the Titans... he said he was most surprised with 2nd and short yardage philosophy between the colleges and pros. In college- 2nd and 2 is a 'shot down'- get a big play. In the NFL, it is 'get a 1st down' call- because 3rd and 2 in no gimme in the NFL.

Daboll went power run on most of his 2nd and shorts.

I like what he is doing.... not flashy but efficient- very clinical and sound- and we are snapping the ball in plenty of time- there won't be the 'whistling Kiffin' wanting to check to HR throws - but in the long run, that approach can cost you some opportunities.

I haven't seen that slot- possession receiver yet- the one we will use to play off of Ridley- Who will be our Amendola?


I was impressed with Fresno States offensive gameplan. This was a well schemed offense and had yin plays in for Bama's yang.

I did notice that the 2nd time the play was called- Bama had already adjusted... it was especially cool to see when Fresno called Chip Kelley's rail route flood play- it was a big gainer the 1st time and 2 yds the 2nd time.

I do think Bama's defense wasn't stoked- they played a lot of 'catch the block' instead of 'attack the technique" and it allowed runs to go two more yards or give QB one more count in the timeclock to throw.

The chewing by Pruitt was expected, justified, and predictable - as all DC's are LOL.

FG kicker seems to be settling down- he seemed jittery in game 1.

Our punter is something else- Jk Scott.... fun to watch him- his apex on the punts is just how you want them.


The Fla State win is money in the bank- and despite HUGE losses at the OLB position, a place like Bama has TIME now to build.

And that my friends is what the whole season now depends on... and there are NO GUARANTEES that it will happen. Even though the head coach and the system is as outstanding as it can be, it is now up to the players to lead, work, and compete.

A championship team will block out the outside noise and intensely focus in the film room and meetings, and relentlessly compete in the weight room, on the practice field, and on Saturdays.

There will need to be team leaders who demand it happen.....

Along the way, there will need to be injury luck and a will to win when the momentum shifts due to bad breaks.... etc.


I haven't seen last years D-line push- but rarely does that happen at that level... that is why those guys went so high in the draft.

And (this will sound crazy) but will the Bama Nation allow this team the time it takes to build?

All players are on social twitter and the noise comes in.... are the wins big enough? What player will be labeled as unproductive and get his mind on his performance and not the team? How loud is the doubting or dissension?

What will surprise everyone but me is how competitive CSU, Vandy, And Ole Miss will be.

For fans sleeping and lounging on the butterslide of expectations, it will be opportunities for fret.

But if the team will take these a moments to mend and opportunities to grow...we can continue to enjoy unprecedented achievements.

I do like the culture of my team and the way they play!


Friday, September 08, 2017

Our Prayer Regarding Irma


We come to You with hearts that are yearning and needful. We are truly grateful for the truths in Your Holy Word regarding the love and compassion You lavishly demonstrate in countless ways. You also, Oh Lord, are the powerful creator and sustainer of all things.

Lord, You are never absent in a storm like Irma. Indeed You are ever present in that storm... and though it turns within the properties of nature that You designed, it also swirls in the majestic control of Your mighty hand.

Father, I am like most humans in that I don't understand that... and if I am honest I don't like that. But I am so thankful that You have many promises that we can cling to when life doesn't make sense or when we don't like it.

You are so patient as we cry out in misunderstanding and dissatisfaction.

Lord, if I am honest I will say to You that what Paul says in Romans is true... but frustrating...

"But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me like this?' [21] Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? (Romans 9:20-21 ESV)

So Father, we pray for Your will and Your mercy. We understand that this storm has already struck places and many calamities fall in different ways everyday. Your love stands true in the midst of any human condition. Your gracious offer of  eternal salvation to all who call upon Your name far outweighs even the darkest human story.

But Lord, You also encourage us to pray... to wrestle with You... to knock... to seek... to ask.... You encourage us to pray in faith and You teach us to pray in unity of numbers and perseverance.

And ultimately, we trust Your every answer.... sometimes "Yes", sometimes "No", and sometimes "Not yet". We know that Your ways are not our ways and Your purposes are just and Your acts are good.

We bow before You as sinners. We come before You as a people who often ignore You and cling to idols who offer nothing but lies.

And yet, Your heart is still so full of compassion. You demonstrated Your love in space, time, and history.

[7] For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—[8] but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7-8 ESV)

So Father, we cry out to You- the ONE WHO CAN turn the storm called Irma and we ask that even as Your people pray, the steering winds would pull north and east and steer the mighty creation of Your majesty out to sea.

Father, if it be Your will to not relent in that way- we know that You are gracious and loving. Your children know how to pray as Job prayed, "Though he slay me, I will hope in him" (Job 13:15 ESV)

We also pray Lord that You would move the hearts of Your people to rally to the needs of others. We thank You for 1st Responders and countless thousands of others who give cups of water and words of healing in Your Holy Name right in the darkest places of human suffering.

Lord, when You move the storm... may many people recognize Your mercy and fall their knees in thanks. We know the skeptics will mock and jeer.... they will say that it is only soul-less 'science' and resist You in hardened rebellion.

But Lord, may they even see Your majesty and peace and patience and love while the door of mercy is still open.

So Lord, Your people pray and we wait. We are not helpless or hopeless. May we be found dressed- clothed in the righteousness of Jesus- ready to respond to Your call in the peace that passes all understanding and the power of Your Holy Spirit.

So thank You for even the privilege the pray... to ask that You move the storm so that all the world may see Your ways and be amazed.

In The Name of The King of Kings and Lord of Lords... Jesus Christ.


Update 9/11/17

In some ways I had to chuckle that  my prayer to steer the storm northeast, ended up going northwest with the eye coming right over my city....

But the command to pray, the call to pray, the collective power of prayer has not changed.

God is Lord and I am not- and my trust in Him never wavers.

His plans have very little to do with me and yet, He is ever mindful of my needs moment by moment.

I see the storm so far as very merciful in terms of what could have happened- and God's people are ever present and helping. Thank you to all of those heroes that we never hear about... God sees you!

The Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to All generations!

How does one Biblically respond to a Hurricane?

#1 God is in control- He was not absent from the storm. He was the fury of it. He was the pilot of it. Nothing happens outside of His sovereignty.

#2 The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt 5). Irma represented judgement for some and graduation to heaven for others. See Jesus commentary in Luke 13 on human disaster. The question is always- "Am I ready for my death?"

#3 God is love and compassionate. In the storm, is also God's love. It is the same love shown on the cross. Where was God when Irma struck? He was in the same place as when His Son hung on the cross. He is in control and full of love.

#4 For the believer. tragedy is turned to triumph. Rom, 8:28 promises that all things work for good. How can that be? The reaction to the tragedy shows God's truth. It shows mans depraved nature (Rom 3:23) in the looting and crime. It shows the existence of God in how we value life (we spend money and risk lives to save lives). It gives God's people a chance to show compassion (II Corin 1). It wakes us up from trivial lives of idolatry.

What is more comforting? Irma with no God in control or Irma being used by God to fulfill His purposes?

How you answer that question shows what risk you have taken for eternity.

See Joseph's faith in Genesis 50.

Psalm 74:9 You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. 10 Human opposition only enhances your glory, for you use it as a sword of judgment. 

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

In Defense of Hurts

I debated whether I should write and post this.... just adding to the noise.

But coaching and evaluating Qb's was something I did as a career for over 25 years. It was one of the great honors of my life and I have a special interest and passion for that special position.

My comments AND almost all other opinions expressed about Jalen Hurts are short-sighted... unless we know the calls, the expectations, and the teaching from the coaches- we are (I am) speculating at best.

But a majority of the sports talk I have heard this week from the 'experts' is troubling to say the least and irresponsible to say the worst.

This is typical of most of this week's analysis

However, I was blown away by Hurts progression from last year to this year by the end of the 1st quarter.

Those who know me, know some of the things I didn't like about Hurts last season...even though I loved his performance as a true freshman and came away super impressed with his production last year.

I had concerns about his grip and didn't like his motion last season. The ball tilted down in his hand and he had a 'long stroke'- which means he didn't release the ball as fast as I think a QB should playing at that level of football.

This is Hurts grip in National Championship game- see the downward tilt?

This was last Saturday- much better ball position

By the way, Peyton Manning had the same issues as a true freshman at Tennessee. I was privileged to watch Coach David Cutcliffe and Peyton put in the work to 'shorten his stroke' and 'improve his grip'.

To say it paid off is an understatement.

Saturday night I saw a completely revamped plant and release by Jalen. He was much more balanced and fluid on his throws when he was given protection.

Many of his throws were a balanced, plant and a quicker release than last year.

His worst throw was actually his first down the field throw that sailed out of bounds. His best throw was a back shoulder rocket that carried Ridley just out of bounds.

Without having the benefit of a true game field view (the standard TV view is limited) I saw in many ways a typical first game offensive performance against a really good defense.

The hardest thing for us to understand as fans is that Alabama resembles the style of an NFL team, not a college team. Most NFL games are tight... a 4 yd run is a bonus... and the ultimate wining edge is hidden yardage in special teams and turnovers.

Coach Saban is a defensive minded coach, which means... if his defense is clicking, he wants an offense that will run clock, wear the other team down, get explosive plays when the situation allows them, and not turn the ball over.

The average fan doesn't like that kind of game.... and it isn't as glitzy as the fun and gun style that a lot of teams play.

But I will say this.... that style wins under pressure, when it matters most.

The detractors will say.. "Sure, until you get beat by Clemson."

But go back and watch that game.... it was an amazing football game...a clash of styles... and we watched a special QB put the ball in super small windows and earn the championship. Congrats to them.

You know what else about that game? A true freshman QB in Crimson pulled up in the pocket and scrambled for a TD that could have won the game as well.

We are blessed to have a great kid as the starting Qb and I am also thankful to have a quality back-up as well... my guess is that we will see both develop this year and always excited to cheer on these guys as they go on a long journey full of ups/downs and everyone gunning for them each and every week.


Saturday, September 02, 2017

In Defense of Coaches

Some of you may know by now that I have recently been appointed to be the Athletic Director of our high school. I take on this role with great excitement and a sense of the responsibility that comes with the job.

I have been blessed to have a great team of people to work with and I am under no illusion that I can guide this ship as a solo effort.

From time to time, I want to dedicate blog space to thoughts about my new position and my desire to always encourage and support our coaches.

Coaching is not for the faint of heart. In some ways, it has never been harder. We live in a world of high expectations and free wheeling opinions. Our media has tuned our ears to accept outspoken critique and instant judgement.

Before I am mis-understood.... this doesn't mean that coaches should be defended in all circumstances... coaches are human being who do things at times that are indefensible. Some of these are serious enough to result in very tough consequences. But our so called 'tolerant' society is not quick to forgive and there isn't a lot of 'bearing with' and 'forgiving'.

My biggest concern in this area is when players, fans, or parents get caught up in a vicious cycle of negative talk that builds on itself to the point that a coach is damaged in the process.

How can this happen?

Part of it is the fruit of a culture of endless 'opinionating' and prognosticating. I had a well respected college head coach tell me a decade ago that ESPN was making his job harder. He said, "My players hear week in and week out a powerful message of how good they are, how likely they are to win or lose, how good I am, and whether I am on the hot seat or not. They are swayed by slick music and graphics and it is frustrating that they will take more stock in what a commentator will say more than a coach who is with them and invested in them."

And though it is hard to feel a ton of empathy for those who get millions in buy out clauses, it still hurts .... and when those same free wheeling comments drop to high school and jr high school teams, the results can be devastating.


There are times a coach should be let go.... incompetence and of course unethical or immoral behavior.

But the bar to change coaches has never been lower....

In some cases, it isn't even about the won-loss record... sometimes the call to remove a coach is simply 'my kid isn't happy'.

My philosophy is to be slow to ever replace a coach... I would rather work with a coach than take a chance on an unknown quantity.


I am a parent of athletes... so I see this as a former player, coach, and parent.... we must always be careful about what we say concerning those who have been placed in a position of authority in our children's life.

The ability for a coach or teacher to have the credulity to speak in our children's life is related in degree to whether we have built up that person or torn them down in the eyes of our children.

The power of the parent cannot be underestimated.... that parent can set that coach up for success or failure wth just a few statements in their presence.

But it isn't only a parent or fan problem.....

I have seen examples too many times in my professional life where players began to distrust their coaches and it prevented their ability to ever improve as a team.

But even then, I am still slow to hold that against a coach.... I would rather graduate the negativity than succumb to internal negative spin.


My main commitment and philosophy as an athletic administrator is to provide a support system where they feel free to coach and, at the same time, feel a healthy pressure to improve.

All coaches need to improve.... most I have known in my life WANT to improve.

And a program with stability and encouragement will show a better track record than those who change with every whim.

It is easy to write these things...much harder to stand in them...

But if there is a coach in my program.... he or she won't have to believe my words.... they will only have to watch me work.

My advice to fans, parents, and players.... step in with both feet and support the TEAM and don't worry about the coach.... that part is going to work out just fine.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Fighting the Illogical Mood of the Moment

Recently, I began to recount some of the conversations I have had in my office over the last 5 years with students who are either apathetic or resistant in  their fellowship with God.

To be honest, it is the most important part of my job. Good honest conversations.... building a trust to where a kid feels free to tell me the truth......

I have had to practice the art of asking questions and choosing to 'lecture' in small amounts... at some point the glaze begins to grow... it makes me sad, frustrating, and fills me with urgent prayer. But during these times, I never feel more alive.

I have written on this many times...but even my writing seems to be impacting a smaller and smaller group of readers.... apologetics seems to be on the way out and living life based on a 'mood' is in. Logic is out and blind allegiance to an acceptance by the 'elites' of culture is in. Satan has done a good job of making truth seem old and outdated- there has never been a greater need for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The pomp and pressure of those who present themselves as the cultural elite offer much promise, but in reality, they only produce exclusive caste systems and cynicism. The ultimate fruit of intellectual oppression is a quest for power and the greatest use of that power is cynical, dream killing, skepticism.  Logging in hours and hours of cultural messaging through screen time hasn't helped.

As a parent, I have failed here too many times. How often I have gotten caught up in whether my child is hitting benchmarks of societal success, but spending too little time unraveling the lies of our culture. 

There is nothing sadder to me than a 15 or 16 year old kid who is so wooed by a virtual world that he rejects the real world of people who really matter and who really care. I continue to love them, pray harder than ever, but wonder if God will have to break them to make them.

I recorded an Os Guinness quote in 2010 about this: "Yes, there was brilliance (of the cultural elite), but its darker side was the empty rhetoric, the hypocritical poses, the shabby compromises. the betrayal of friends and causes, with some people fellow-traveling with the communists, and others more or less sleeping with fanaticism...The legacy of this kind of general mood became a more effective inoculation against the faith than any of the skeptics of a former time."

It makes me constantly aware that there is a growing class of students who need a new delivery system of the true message of hope. I mean- I still have a ton of traditionalists, the most common student in a Christian school. Traditionalists have a strong sense of right and wrong- they have a foundation of TRUTH.
But I am also increasingly living among those (especially the young- media savvy- who tend to think by sight and act by impulse) who judge truth not by objectivity, but degrees of plausibility.

Again, Guinness's weighs in on this....- "we have created a climate in which a thing's seeming to be true is often mistaken for its being true." or WORSE, they just accept what twitter and snap chat is telling them without any discernment.

And what is the means of this change? By changing the definition and standards of 'belief'.

We allow and even applaud people who believe or disbelieve on non-rational or psychological grounds. 

Ca you see what is wrong with the following statement?


What has become of logic?
Guinness has an analogy where we accept a person who is an atheist- not because they have weighed truth and fallacy- but simply because their father was a religious hypocrite who alienated the family from God as much as himself.

Unfortunately, we fall into this trap when we begin to elevate psychology over Scripture or only accept interpretation and application of Scripture as it fits the latest psychological models.

See how subtle it is? We agree with truth if the support structure is strong. But if the support structure is weak, it is harder to believe.

In today's world...."Coach your opinions with care and and, soon,  plausibility will upstage credibility"- this is a scary time in history!

The church is struggling with this culture.... she has a heart suffering from fibrillation - the rapid, irregular, and unsynchronized contraction of muscle fibers- 

------one spasmodic side is the Christian philosophers- who expound the theoretical- but seem to be impotent of gospel power....

 -------the other equally meaningless beat is the 'just give me Jesus' anti-intellectual crowd who throw out doctrine.

The Apostle Paul still helps us in this struggle.... He provides a framework for the fight. 

PAUL knows that the church is the pillar and bulwark of truth... not theory. 

Guinness: "Paul would have believed his faith was objectively true if he had been the last one convinced of it."

The truth of Christianity is NOT dependent on a strong church.. but a weak church hides TRUTH as it seems less credible, and a less credible church is a less plausible church. Again, there is a lot of teaching out there, but we have retreated from the fight and hope some smooth talking apologist will win the day.... but that is not how Jesus wants us to evangelize and disciple.

A huge roadblock in this mess is the frenzied pace of communication technology and global mobility. I haven't worn a watch since 2010 because of a Kenyan saying, "All westerners have watches... but Africans have time." Our fast paced, entertain me world has definitely impacted our approach to worship.

A culture of mobility plus convenience leads quite naturally not only to (drive-in food) and banks but also drive-in churches.

As our children see belief as a feeling of plausibility and relevance- as they are spun dizzy by infinite activity- as they are enticed by the promise of convenience- as they are distracted by new cool tools of transport of information tsunamis- they cannot understand that TRUTH is TRUE even if no one ascribes to it. 

'When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth?' He won't, if we have lost what 'faith' means. What will He say when we respond "It just didn't 'seem' right... It didn't feel true"?

So we can clearly see a Satanic tactic: 'Subtle compromise works better than sudden captivity'.

Is there a route out? Is there hope?

I say yes- students are still YEARNING for love, meaning, security... they are becoming EXPERTS at seeing pretense.

Here are some keys:

We need to slow down- we need to read the WORD- chew it- meditate on it and mull it over- we need true WORSHIP to lift us out of the trivial pursuits and insulated hearts.

We need to commit to personal, messy, time consuming, small group, life on life...discipleship.

In short- we have loved things and ideas that have not loved us back. We live for pleasure while the King suffered and died. 

Culture makes godliness seem strange, but without truth... justification of life is meaningless- 

Our children need to see us forsaking our idols- because the idols will soon forsake them.

But we also need to train our children how to ask the right questions- make men justify their beliefs.... make them follow the consequences of their faith.....and we desire to see the Holy Spirit.. illumine the TRUTH.

I am still hopeful, the gospel is that good- but we can't sit back and hope it happens by osmosis.

Free Speech and Morality- Random Thoughts on CDA 230

There is a looming battle (already enjoined but will take center stage soon) which could make William Wilberforce's battle vs slavery for 20 years seem like an innocent game of charades.

Based on the money involved and rhetoric of the players, this will be a battle that will stretch the core of democratic ideals, personal liberty, and the protection of the most vulnerable and most valuable of our citizenry.

It is also a battle that will create strange bedfellows- both liberals and conservatives will split into bi-partisan positions that will be staked out on both sides of the argument.

In short, section 230 of the Communications Decency Act will be held up as a must save provision to protect free speech on the internet by some and many others will ask for a re-vision to restrict what has become a cover for child sex trafficking and other illegal activities. The 'headlines' and hypotheticals of each case will provide a range of emotional responses.....

Just in the current promotional material for both sides you have trigger pushing debates of whether we could lose Twitter or Facebook under the weight of lawsuits because of 3rd party posting along with the heart breaking tales of children who have been sold openly on the internet  without impunity.

I am going to make a statement about this that is true, but offers no resolution and then make a proposal that might be a course of action in tweaking the section to protect the innocent.


The Bill of Rights (1st 10 amendments) in our great Constitution has a a preliminary principle that is crucial in its interpretation and application. Sadly, it is a principal that has been lost in time.

We love and hold to these fundamental rights, that protect us........

Amendment 1 -Freedom of Religion, Speech and the Press.
Amendment 2 -Right to Bear Arms.
Amendment 3 -Housing of Soldiers.
Amendment 4 -Protection from unreasonable Search & Seizures.
Amendment 5 – Protection of rights to Life, Liberty & Property- due process
Amendment 6- Rights of the accused- speedy and public trial
Amendment 7- Right of trial by jury of peers
Amendment 8-  Freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments.
Amendment 9- Other fundamental rights, protected from governmental infringement
Amendment 10- Powers reserved to the states.

But the Constitution and the Bill of Rights should always be understood by the self-evident truths that birthed our quest for freedom in the first place.... expressed in the Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

When we apply the Bill of Rights without an acknowledgement to The Creator (with implied rights as the Supreme Governor) we lose the foundation and perspective of these rights.

A purely secular view of these rights creates unsustainable, philosophical, hypothetical, and ivory tower academic musings which eventually crumble under the weight of human presuppositions.

AND though this statement is true... it doesn't help us find a route out in this on-going debate regarding CDA 230.


The ability to find a compromise of protecting free speech and curtailing criminal activity that hurts people isn't easy. And I am not one to promote the slippery slope of eradicating liberty.

But I want to propose a direction that allows 'free speech' but discriminates between 'free' speech and 'speech for profit'. Is there a way to tweak CDA 230 that guts the money pump that keeps dangerous speech out in the open and always open for business?

The record profits being pulled in by sites like '' is the only reason these practices are being defended in the first place.

There is a right to free speech, but do we have a right to financial gain for such speech?

When it comes to the internet- make sure that the sites are allowed to profit from commercial advertising, but also put measures in place that they cannot collect revenue from the 'forums of free speech'.

If a sex trafficker wants to post a minor for sale, it would have to be a free posting that a site like could not collect a fee for advertising. I express this hideous example just for the sake of argument.

If a merchant wanted to buy advertising on a site, they would have to pay and the commerce could be curtailed by legal standards of trade that all 'merchandise' must meet.... including the protection of children.

I doubt we will ever see sin eradicated from the web because it will always prevail in the human heart. But I also say we never tire of making it hard to grow and we never encourage it.

By taking the profit out of it, we drive it into the dark internet, where bitcoins and other encryption practices will keep it alive.... but it doesn't have to thrive in the open while fat cats take the 5th in court and count their money on a journey to meet the very Creator who holds them accountable.

I know we live in a world of political impotence... but I do ask all congressmen of all parties to consider some action that keeps our nation on a path of righteousness and not greedy gain at the exploitation of others.....

The time to act is NOW.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

The Mystics Approach to Bass Fishing

Forgive the title!

I sometimes think of the pushback that some people must have to all of us loons who post selfies with fish pushed out to the camera to enhance the view. In a world that for generations has called all fisherman 'liars' this may be the last gasp effort to include the genetic need to embellish the story.

But very few, except hunters and anglers themselves, understand what that pose has meant- going all the way back to your grandfather and his black and whites of impossible stringers.


2 Corinthians 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 

Bass fishing is one of the ultimate joys of walking by faith. Even though there are small moments of 'sight fishing' (that has its own exciting reward), there is a pure deep joy of having life bump your lure as it sinks into the unknown abyss.

As you are working the lure, you do receive 'information'- current, a sense of depth, rocks, branches.... but suddenly there is a tap.tap of life. It is exhilarating.

in mere minutes, the angler responds to that sometimes sublte 'hello' with a rather violent and explosive hookset that will result in 'game on' or the agony of defeat.


But that photo represents and even greater message- it is proof of victory. Bass fisherman in particular go through long lulls for sudden and swift battles to land the beast.

Years of experience and the expectations of competition can change the prolonged enjoyment of it all. In the past four or five years I have become better at using the rod and patience to enjoy the fight more than the landing.... but it is a core pleasure of the prize.


Psalm 24
[1] The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
[2] for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.

It would take a poet to truly capture the majesty of fishing. Wind, waves, clouds, birds, sunrise, deer... even the design of the fish and their lateral lines and muscular agility.... how can you capture a beauty that resonates deep in your innermost being?

Emerson came close.... (from Nature)- a few lines have been paraphrased....

To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature....The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. 

Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration.I am glad to the brink of fear. In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods (on the water), is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, -- no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground, -- my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, -- all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Creator circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, -- master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.

The greatest delight which the fields and waters minister, is the suggestion of an hidden relation between man and creation. I am not alone and unacknowledged. The creatures nod to me, and I to them. The waving of the boughs in the storm, is new to me and old. It takes me by surprise, and yet is not unknown. Its effect is like that of a higher thought or a better emotion coming over me, when I deemed I was thinking justly or doing right.

So next time you see me post a picture, smiling, and holding a bass..just know... it isn't narcissistic pride as it well looks like...

It is a poor expression of the worship and beauty of this rich experience that is more than therapy to me.

P.S.- I enjoy seeing your pictures and videos as well LOL

Saturday, August 05, 2017

The Rise of the Elites

Strange and turbulent times indeed.

I recently read a series of replies to an article by a college student who wrote about a living a life of faith and loving others who see the world in differing lights. I was super impressed with his tone and approach.

The comments were not so kind.... the attack of the elites came in a full frontal force of mockery and criticism.

The author of the article was accused of everything.... the general opinion (not all) was that he was racist, homophobic, oppressive, intolerant, uneducated, and hypocritical.

This correlates with a lot of what we are hearing on college campuses nationwide where traditional speech is being blocked, shouted down...even to the point of violence.

I wish I had time to fully explore how Francis Schaeffer accurately predicted this in his writings before his death in the early 80's.

One of his main points included analysis that there will be a rise of elites who fill the vacuum left when a society abandons absolutes. (How Should We Then Live? pg. 224).

There always seems to be a group of individuals who honestly believe that they care more and know more and so should control our lives. They take away our freedom for our own good.

Jesus Himself had to deal with elites .......

MARK 12:18 And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”
24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.

This account in Mark 12 is on Wednesday of the last week of Jesus’ life. The conspiracy that will lead to His arrest and crucifixion is growing. This chapter gives us snapshots of the conspirator’s tactics and attacks.
The Parable of the Tenants (vs. 1-11) provides the backdrop that people attacking God’s servants and killing them is a sad and consistent testimony of man.
He has already avoided the trap of the Pharisees and some of Herod’s representatives who wanted to paint him as a rebel against Rome (‘Render to Caesar’ vs. 13-17) and now he finds Himself confronted by the Sadducees.
 In my personal reading, I think it is easy to mischaracterize these ‘sects’ of Judaism and it is a mistake to lump them all together under one umbrella of faith.

PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES- The Elites of Biblical Times

Pharisees were everywhere. In the 400 year period between the Old Testament and New, the Pharisees grew in prestige and power. They roamed the streets, oppressing the people to follow all the mechanized dictates of their law. They had corrupted the Word of God by adding layer and layer of rules and regulations.
They used their teaching to indoctrinate the masses that God was pleased by their rule keeping. And as all religions of works do- created a spiritual class system of ‘compare and compete’. Pharisees were numerous, influential, and extremely proud and protective of their practices.
 The Sadducees were a minority. They were less visible, confining their sect to the Temple. They were strict constructionists… not accepting any text of authority beyond the five Books of Moses. They were the elites and in their aristocratic circles had found an ally in Rome.
Even though they were a minority, early historians comment that they were the most vile and ruthless in  fear and oppression. Pharisees were pragmatic and needed to get the participation of the people- Sadducees had the corner on the truth and did not care if anyone else followed- they had Roman firepower if they needed it.
Sadducees were most noted for their rejection of a resurrection because they could not find firm evidence for it in the Pentateuch AND they found the Pharisee’s fanciful speculation about it rather ridiculous.
It looks like the Sadducees are trying to kill two birds with one stone- take advantage of the Pharisee’s blunder (vs. 13-17 Questions “Render to Ceasar”) and show both Jesus and the Pharisees as ignorant of the true Word of Moses.
Paul wrote in I Corinthians: “we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.”
Intellectual elites tend to be engulfed in arrogance.
 Jesus’ response to their theoretical situation completely flies in the face of their self supposed superiority.
 “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?” and again at the end of the passage, “You are quite wrong”.
To pile on, Jesus goes to Moses himself, to prove His assertion:
 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?  He is not God of the dead, but of the living.
He uses their own proof text to destroy a hallmark of their twisted theology.
C.S. Lewis has the famous quote in his book, The Great Divorce,: 
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell chose it.”
As I walk the aisles of Barnes and Nobel, I see rows and rows of writers who in arrogance proclaim that either God is not there or He is not needed. They are modern day Sadducees who deny the resurrection and use their proof text of reason.
The antithesis to this is to cry out to God for a heart of humility, a yielded spirit, and a will that is open to His rule.
And I fear those who clinch their fist- bow up and live according to the facts as they see them. Men are not omniscient enough to be that sure. last reality... the adversarial wind of secular critics is not going away anytime soon. And I doubt you will ever WIN any arguments. The key is to follow the Lord's lead, love people, speak truth in love, and hope you win people in time.
  • Continue to challenge yourself to avoid the traps of intellectual elitism. Those who enter the kingdom of God do so in childlike trust and humility.
  • Don’t use your dogma to dominate others. This doesn’t mean you can’t take hard stands, but reason with others, winsomely persuade opposition, and diligently pray for those who resist. Hard to do on the internet.... take time with people.
  • Those who are MOST wrong are those who see no possibility of being wrong.
  • There are absolutes- even Jesus says the words, ‘You are wrong’.
  • That is the beauty of the gospel message- it is not about those who are right,  it takes care of the humble sinners who are wrong.