Bad Lip Reading and Talking Animals…

A little bit of levity. Cause, doggone it, you deserve it.

My wife and I laughed pretty hard. If taken in small doses, there are some redeemable qualities about YouTube. If dubbed over football coaches and players don’t do it for you, maybe talking animals will:

If the animals don’t work then you seriously need a hug.

Immediately.

Walk up to the nearest random person in your purview and latch on. If things get weird tell them I sent you.

Peace and grace,

Bryan Daniels

Taking Flight Friday And Jumps That Last

This vid is for any that were curious as to how my athlete did at the Florida Track and Field state finals last Friday. It was taken with my cellphone-quality bloggie so forgive the graininess. The winds didn’t help my hand steadiness either.

You can also hear my all wise and highly technical coachspeak: “Thattaway!” “Walk it off!”

Nat Dixon jumped 6’4″ and finished third overall in the high jump. He’s just a sophomore and spent very little time practicing jumping form because of his strenuous basketball schedule. The jumpers above him were seniors. He’s going to get 6’6″ next year and after that, the sky is the limit (quite literally).

With the Olympics around the corner, I’m always impressed by the accounts and testimonies of training athletes about what they put their bodies and minds through for the gold. They do it for personal goals, country, world records, and maybe sponsorships. It puts me to shame when comparing the inconsistent discipline of my spiritual walk with their physical training: they do it for temporary praise and reward, I do it for the eternal King and crown (souls) that will never perish.

That is why I am daily thankful for the greater reality of grace through Jesus Christ. Fortunately, His mercies are new every morning because I need them desperately every morning (Lamentations 3:23). All jumping, running and throwing done for Him will resound back to us in eternity. As the poem by CT Studd says:

“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Peace and grace,

Bryan Daniels

Getting Fit Like A Pre-K’er And Paying To Move Rocks

In my past experience the gym has been little more than an embarrassing place to sweat and socialize with fellow self conscious masochists (no offense to my gym member readership). Of course I am probably projecting my own shortcomings onto gym memberships more than I realize.

It just seems to me that gyms generally involve more “pea-cocking” than actual personal fitness.

On a more positive note, I’ve consistently kept an at home workout routine going for the past month. (GO ME!) I don’t want to be one of those coaches (football and track) who demand their athletes to be in tip shape while personally sporting a portly waist and diet that could feed a sizable family of grizzly bears. There have been a few short relapses hither and thither, but overall I’ve cut down on Goliath portions and diabetes inducing drinks.

Josiah, my three year old, likes to join in on the circuit weight training workouts. He can fling around his mom’s 3 pound plastic weights like a champ. His little boy frame will be beach-body ready come summer time. : ) Afterwards, he always asks, “Can I have a smoothie?” He must think I put ice cream in it.

On a work note, I had two athletes earn District Champs last week in track and field in the long jump (22’8″) and high jump (6’4″). Yesterday, I traveled with them to Regionals in Jacksonville and my high jumper qualified for state next week with another jump of 6’4″. So back to Jacksonville I’ll go with him as he competes with the best of the best in the state. The state track meet coincides with the start of spring football practice, so needless to say it will be a busy few days.

In Algebra class we also have Finals, EOCs, FCATs, and many other educational and professional hoops to hurdle before school ends in June. A deadline is also fast approaching for me to finish all my remaining online educator classes and teacher certification tests that will finally earn me a permanent educator certificate.

I say all this to let you know: If you don’t hear from me a consistent basis the next month or so, it’s not because I don’t love you dearly like a German kid loves sauerkraut! It’s not you, it’s me….promise. And in the midst of all the gratuitous sweating and sports I’ll try to remember with you:

Bodily training is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)

Peace and grace,

Bryan Daniels

Run This Gospel Race Like You Stole Something

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24)

I coach the boys track team for the high school I work at (despite being a chubby white dude who only runs to the refrigerator). Other than extremely long meet days, it is a relatively easy sport to coach with short practices and straight forward workouts.

Even at the high school level, students must be self motivated and focused to reap any success in competitions.

I’m always a bit amazed (and perturbed) at the disparity of work ethic in seemingly identical athletes. Sprinters, jumpers or distance runners with the same genetic hand, background, and coaching can yield very different results because of one thing:

Discipline.

Some of my lazier athletes are quite shocked when they go up against another more focused athlete during competition and get flat-out smoked. I wonder:

What did you expect with no effort or discipline during training?!

Some get it now and succeed. Others will get it later in life when circumstances force them to.

But honestly, I have more in common with my lazier athletes than what I would like to admit. Spiritually speaking.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 cuts my non chalant approach to many spiritual matters at the knees.

Paul lived in a day when athletics dominated Greek society. The much-lauded Olympic games were right down the road. Every third year in Corinth, the Corinthians had the Isthmian Games where athletes competed on a more local level. Sometimes the stakes feel even higher when you’re competing in local rivalries. In order to get into the finals at the Isthmian games athletes had to give proof of ten months of training, and the last 30 days before the actual event they all came into the community to partake in intense highly scrutinized daily training.

Only after that preparation were athletes eligible to run. And if they ran and won the victor was awarded a pine wreath crown (along with being immortalized).

These ancient men worked tirelessly for months and years for a crown of weeds that would wither in weeks.

The Prize That Lasts

The context of the verse shows the great prize Paul speaks of is not our own salvation (we could never earn that), rather it is preaching the gospel and seeing men drawn to Christ (9:18, 22). Running is analagous to preaching/sharing the gospel. Paul says in effect: I want to see men won to Christ so I will run (read “preach”) as hard and as diligently as it takes for me to win that prize.

But see the preparation period in this type of preaching. During pre-season, I ran one 100 yard sprint with my team during a workout. I subsequently pulled a hammie in the process. For a couple days, I ended up limping like Jacob did after rasslin’ with God.

Why?

I hadn’t, in the most basic fundamental level, prepared my body for such physical exertion.

There is a crucible every gospel preacher should pass before attempting to set the world on fire. There is no benefit in sprinting ahead of the Holy Spirit when God tells you to sit and be still for a while. Praying, studying and repenting over the God breathed word is not a task taken lightly.

If you do take such weighty preparation lightly, you just may herniate a disc in your spiritual backbone. 

Beating Your Own Body Like A Rented Mule

The language used in this passage is pervasive: The apostle “threw down” in a fisticuff rage with his own sinful flesh on a daily basis (1 Cor 9:27).

By the grace of God, we must first conquer the formidable enemy within, before attempting to conquer the supposed enemy out there.

The weapons of our warfare work on our own flesh too. Intercessory prayer, the testimony of Scriptures, and the blood of the Lamb are too great of foes for any latent sin remaining in us. Paul used these to make his body his own slave instead of being a slave to his fallen fleshly desires (v 27).

We (I) desperately need such spiritual discipline.

The stakes are eternally high.

The prize is eternally worth it.

Bryan Daniels

Tim Tebow and How To Be A Bad Christian Witness

Some thought that may pertain to the recent phenomenon of LinSanity!

Chief of the least

He is the super football hero poster boy for adulating young boys and fawning middle-aged women. He’s a lightning rod of criticism for the skeptical media and scorning masses. He’s a flamboyant winner who wears his faith and emotions on his sleeve.

He’s now 6-1 7-1 as a starting QB and crowned as the comeback King of the NFL.

Tim Tebow is actually not the primary subject of this post (I know the title is a bit subversive.) We are. More specifically, “we” as in: The Christians who may put Tebow-like characters on a lofty pedestal OR on unwarranted blast are the ones who need to heed our “Christian witness”.

You could replace “Tebow” with “Bieber” or “Newton” and it could have the same effect.

The way we could be potentially bad “Christian Witnesses” would be by publicly mishandling very public Christian personas such as Tebow. There are two ditches…

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The Cult of Cam Newton-We Are All Witnesses

We are all witnesses.

At least that is what the Nike marketers for Lebron James want us to believe.  King James has been tailor-made to be the sole heir of the mantle left by Air Jordan and those wishing to be “like Mike.” And with the fervor of a religious crusade, slickly crafted ad campaigns continue to force feed us hero-worship as a viable cure for the longings of our souls.

There is something deep within us, that yearns to admire, anoint, and adulate something or someone. This cult of personality is manifested most in the cases of sports and music.

Look no further than Heisman winner Cam Newton. His astronomical rise to the top of college football folklore is what legends are made of. Here is an amazing observation of this recent heroic cultural icon: The media is already saying Cam Newton is better than Tim Tebow. Would anyone have thought, after the recent media slobberfest over college football’s über darling (Tebow*), that a star would rise so soon that surpasses Tebow’s fame in displays of worship, fanaticism and hyperbole? Nostradamus couldn’t have called that one.

Let’s put it in perspective: These are twenty year old kids who happen to have been dealt a generous genetic hand that includes strength, size, and speed; they haven’t cured cancer, they haven’t solved world hunger, and none have been honored with a Nobel Peace prize (as if that meant anything anymore). They’re kids who play Call of Duty, drink beer (probably) and try to hit on frat girls. Yet the games they play in are a multibillion dollar business that thousands of men with families drink, fight, gamble and cry over.

I happen to be one of those men. And before you ask the answer is Yes, of course I’m jealous of guys like Newton and Tebow.

The cult of celebrity on the music side is even more illogical and silly. Just look at Michael Jackson’s recent funeral spectacle. People wept, worshiped, wailed, and fainted over the King of pop’s passing. After death, his life was so romanticized it had a hint of greek mythological flavor to it; only the denominational adherents of John Lennon and Jim Morrison are so obnoxious in their martyr like verbosity.

Of course, you can witness this at any run of the mill Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber concert. Thousands of young girls and their mom’s are whipped up into a fever pitch frenzy as they idolize and fawn over boys who can’t even serve in the military yet.

Grown men, little girls, it’s all the same. One thing is undeniably crystal clear about these strange displays: We all were made to worship. (Ecc 3:11)

The question isn’t whether we worship anything; the question is what or who are we worshiping right now?

Instead of big sweaty men in tights, or narcissistic little boys in skinny jeans, our worship should be reserved for the only one it is due: Jesus Christ.

If any man possesses any attractive or praise worthy attribute it comes from Christ (Colossians 1:16). If any man can exalt in anything, it must be Christ (Galatians 6:14). All the awards, crowds and media campaigns will mean nothing in 1000 years. Rome, the once crowning achievement of mankind, is a pile of rubble and tourist traps. 

If we were to be awestruck over anything it should be at how much God loves us in spite of our propensity to chase after such idols (Romans 5:8-12)

If we  are to weep, fall and even faint, the foot of the cross would be a perfect place to do so (Revelation 1:17). After all, that will be our posture for an eternity before the majestic throne of God.

Real heroes don’t play fleeting little games or sing silly little pop songs; the real Hero died on the cross for our sins and won an eternal victory for us through his resurrection. If we are to be struck with anything, let’s be awe-struck with a vision of the “glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:4,6). With that shockingly good news let’s say with tearful amazement, “We are all witnesses.” (Acts 1:8)

* I’m not a bitter FSU fan….promise…

Bryan Daniels

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