Nelson Cook who established Coaches of Influence (COIN) 30 years ago in Los Angeles USA writes a monthly letter to the many coaches at professional, college and high school levels and the current correspondence touches the spot.
It has been my privilege since 1984 to have been hosted innumerable times by Nelson Cook in my years in sport ministry, the most recent was in 2009 where I addressed coaches over breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
This is another of those Christian ministry movements where one person has a vision for a ministry area that had been untapped and gathered support to engender the dream and saw how God unleashed his 'touch' upon the evangelism.
There is a growing number of these 'niche' ministries that highly specialise into a people group and coaches are a vital people group in the American culture who both influence the life of high schools, colleges and professional teams, but have a huge input into the lives of their charges.
To this extent Nelson Cook's vision grew its feet and with the Lord's blessing that this ministry is now a light on the landscape and this is Nelson Cook's latest letter to his coaching personnel:
In a recent Nelson Cook newsletter to his coaches he wrote:
Three timeless truths
Some time ago, I read these words of wisdom. No matter what sport you play, these three timeless truths can and will apply (most of all, to the game of life).
FAILURE IS NOT FATAL. Failure should be a teacher to us, not an undertaker. Every kick of failure should kick us forward. If we stumble, we stumble forward. Failure should push us upward to new heights of accomplishment, not pull us down to new depths of despair.
Paul writes to Timothy these words: " I suffer imprisonment, but the word of God is not imprisoned" (2 Timothy chapter 2 verse 9). Note the word "but." That word "but" is an open door to any failure, any circumstance. (See Romans chapter 8 verse 28).
DELAYS ARE NOT DEADLY. Sometimes, when delays occur, we feel that God has neglected or abandoned us. But delays are the Lord's way of teaching us patience. Why? Because the Lord knows that patience is a daily necessity in our lives. It is not an option; it is a required play in the game of life. (See James chapter 1 verses 3-4).
TRIALS ARE ONLY TEMPORARY. Some of the most peace giving words in the Bible are: "And it came to pass." Problems, pressures, trials and tribulations never come to stay they come to pass. They are temporary when we realize that our internal resources are greater and stronger than the external trial. It is a true statement: Greater is the power in you than any power on earth. (See 1 John chapter 4 verse 4).
I thank God upon my every remembrance of you. He has chosen you to be where you are, doing what you're doing. Keep fighting the good fight of faith.
Reaching, encouragement, strengthening
Reaching with the Gospel, encouraging our faith, strengthening our commitment to Christ. Hebrews chapter 11 verses 5b – 6: for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was PLEASING to GOD. And without FAITH it is impossible to PLEASE Him, for he who comes to God must BELIEVE that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
A funny story about a pastor's small son, when told by his mother to wash his hands because there were germs in all the dirt he played in, refused to do it. He complained Germs and Jesus! Germs and Jesus! That's all I ever hear around this house and I've never seen either one.
Yet, another story may answer that first story. A bold unbeliever was lecturing a group on the folly of religious faith in general and the Christian faith in particular. At the close of the presentation the speaker invited people to propound any questions they might have.
In the audience was the town drunkard, who had been converted to Christ. In response to the invitation the converted alcoholic came up front, took out an orange, peeled it, and ate it without comment.
The speaker asked if he had a question for him. After downing the last segment of orange the convert turned to the infidel and asked, Was the orange I just ate sweet or sour? Angrily, the speaker replied, You idiot, how can I know whether it was sweet or sour when I never tasted it?
To this the converted drunkard retorted, And how can you know anything about Christ if you have not tried Him?
Psalms chapter 34 verse 8: O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 7: for we walk by faith, not by sight
So, how goes your faith step out, step up, step into Christ. He will meet you where you are and lift you to where He wants you to be. We are moving Onward and Upward together for His Glory.
Onward and Upward
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html