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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be #11: Teamwork

If I am to become the man God wants me to be, I must develop the attribute of teamwork. Teamwork is “cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause.” (

“It takes a true team effort for any group to be successful in any endeavor – a family, a business, a sports team or a community group. When individuals are truly focused on the good of the group or team, they are willing to place their own individual success second to the success of the team. This is what sets apart the greatest, most successful and most enduring teams or groups of all kinds through history. The greatest champions of sports, business, entertainment, politics, and service have humbled themselves and become ‘team players’, working to make their entire unit great. That is true teamwork.

Today, so much attention is given to individual expression and individual performance. Yet experience tells us that the greatest things have been accomplished by a group of individuals working together for a common cause. Those who have the most profound impact on the world and gain the greatest significance in life are those who know that it takes a team working together to achieve. They also know that sharing the reward is also most rewarding. Team players strive to make their entire group great. No team sport athlete wins a championship on his or her own. No business leader is solely responsible for the company’s success. No individual alone carries a group to victory. Groups and teams cannot function properly and healthily without the participation of every member filling his or her role. You are a part of some type of team – whether in a school group, a band, a sports team, a family, or a group on the job. You may not realize it, but the members of your team are looking to you to fill your role and help them reach something greater. How will you respond?

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Teamwork, Volume 3, p.3).

Teamwork is one of the attributes that the Heart of A Champion Character Development Program ( strives to develop in young people in its outreach program. Their written and video programs approach this under 4 subtopics: Teamwork in a Group Setting, Teamwork in the Family, Teamwork Means Thinking Team 1st, and Teamwork in Trust Relationships. We shall use that same approach in discussing it here. Please consider …

Teamwork in a Group Setting

“We live in a world today that focuses on individual achievement. Yet in reality most great or even good things are accomplished by a group of individuals working together for a common cause. This is true of governments, companies, sports teams, and families. The best of these have learned that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, and that it takes a group effort to achieve the greatest success. The people in groups with this approach have been able to work together to realize greater things as a unit than they could on their own. Real teammates pull for those around them when they are doing well, encourage them when they are struggling, help them when they are hurting, and speak the truth in love when they’ve done wrong. Be a great teammate for someone else, and you will find that others will help you reach your goals and dreams too. REMEMBER, TOGETHER EVERYON ACHIEVES MORE!”

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Teamwork, Volume 3, p.4).

Chris Paul

“In just a few years, Chris Paul has become one of the NBA’s brightest stars. As a point guard, Chris’ job is to be a leader on the court and to make his teammates better. Chris’ teammates agree that he excels at both. Not only is he known for his tremendous ability and creativity on the court, but also for his commitment to helping others in the community.”

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Teamwork, Volume 3, p.4).

Nicknamed “CP3”, he has won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, an NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, two Olympic gold medals, and led the NBA in assists four times and steals a record six times. He has also been selected to eleven NBA All-Star teams, nine All-NBA teams, and nine NBA All-Defensive teams. He currently plays for the Phoenix Suns. Off the court, Paul has served as the National Basketball Players Association president since August 2013.

USA Women’s Softball Team

“The USA Softball team was nothing short of amazing during 2004, as they went 53-0 in a pre-Olympic tour against the best collegiate and amateur softball teams in the nation. Then, in Athens at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, they defended their gold medal in overwhelming fashion, winning all 9 of their games by a combined score of 51-1.

But their story of teamwork goes beyond the scoreboard. The support they gave each other and especially their coach during the most difficult time in in his life may have been the team’s biggest accomplishment of all.  For their dominance on the field, they were called the “Real Dream Team” on the cover of Sports Illustrated during its pre-Olympic coverage. Looking at the stats, it’s not hard to see why.

Once they hit Athens, they broke 17 Olympic records (nine of which they already owned or shared) and tied another on the way to their third straight gold medal. The pitching staff registered microscopic 0.12 ERA and threw 55 2/3 straight scoreless innings. They pitched eight consecutive shutouts with five straight one-hitters. Their nine straight wins (a record in one Olympics) extended their international winning streak to 79 straight, dating back to July 13, 2003.

But if you ask the team’s head coach Mike Candrea, he’ll tell you that their biggest accomplishment in 2004 was carrying him through the biggest struggle of his life. Less than two weeks before the team was scheduled to leave for Athens, they were in an airport in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, waiting to catch a flight to Stratford, Connecticut, for the final stop in their pre-Olympic tour. Candrea’s wife, Sue, suddenly became ill, with what was later determined to a brain aneurysm and was rushed to the hospital. She died two days later. Sue had quit her job as an accountant to travel with the team and had become the ‘team mom.’ Her death was devastating to the entire team.

‘Coach Candrea is a second father to all of us and Sue was like our mom on the road,’ said star pitcher Jennie Pinch. ‘It was incredibly hard for all of us, but we leaned on each other for strength as each of us searched for answers to this unbelievable tragedy. We knew Sue would want us to continue and travel to Athens to take home the gold.’

Ten days after Sue Candrea’s death, the team boarded the plane bound for Athens without their head coach, who arrived a week later, after dealing with his wife’s death and funeral arrangements. While the players mourned the loss of their special friend, rather than just go through the motions during the Olympics, Team USA bonded even closer together through the adversity. They vowed to help fulfill Coach Candrea’s goal for the team. ‘I don’t want to just win (the Olympics),’ he told them on many occasions, ‘I want to dominate.’

Candrea drew strength from his team, and the memory of his wife’s goal for him to coach in the Olympics. He stressed to each of the players to treasure each moment. He also reminded them that his memories of his wife kept him focused in pursuing their shared dream.

His final encouragement to his teas was stirring: ‘I don’t want you to play for me or Sue during these Olympics, because this is about representing your country and playing for the United States of America.’ The team responded. Beginning with a 7-0 victory over Italy, Team USA ripped through the tournament, not allowing a run until the gold medal game against Australia in their 5-1 victory.

‘To me courage doesn’t mean you’re brave,’ Mike Candrea said following the Olympics. ‘Courage is something that allows you to get through tough times. I told this team from day one that they could be special athletes. They proved to me they’re not only special athletes but special people.’”

 (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Teamwork, Volume 3, p.6).

Teamwork in the Family

“Every family is a team, no matter if the family consists of 2 or 20. For the family to succeed, each member must be working for the good of the family. When a family member has a dream, what do you do to help them to see that dream fulfilled? Are you willing to sacrifice some of your individual desires so that your family can reach their goals? Many experts feel the family is the world’s most important team, and that if families break down, then society will as a result be broken down as well. What can you do to see to it that your family doesn’t break down? You are a key member of your family team and have many important roles to play in the success of the team. Look for ways to help your home team win, by helping other teammates in your family reach their goals and dreams. You will realize big time rewards if you do. Remember, Together Everyone Achieves.

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Teamwork, Volume 3, p.7).

Joseph Jones

“Pursuing a career in the arts takes a great deal of time and commitment. As an accomplished actor, dancer, teacher and choreographer at the regional level, Joseph Jones knows just what it takes to be successful. With his own children also pursuing activities in the theatre, managing the needs of everyone in the Jones family requires a great deal of teamwork. This has been most evident during the serious illness of one of his children.”

In 2001, then 3-year old Olivia was diagnosed with Leukemia. As they began treatment for her, family members came together to help. Part of the treatment involved bone marrow transplant and brother Tyler was the donor. Older sister Caitlyn, who had been performing on a Disney cruise ship chipped in to help as well, as she “laid it all down for the sake of the family.” Her father says, ‘No one forced Caitlyn, she saw the need and knew where she needed to be.’ The family pulled together to provide incredible strength. Joseph worked two jobs. Every member pitched in.

 (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Teamwork, Volume 3, p.7).

Dick & Rick Hoyt

“They are the endurance sport family, and they are truly amazing. Dick and Rick Hoyt are a father-and-son team who together compete in just about every marathon race they can find. And if they’re not competing in a marathon, they are likely entered in a triathlon: 26.2 miles of running, 112 miles of bicycling, and 2.4 miles of swimming. Together they have become a model of endurance. But more than their amazing achievements of endurance, they are the epitome of a team.

Rick Hoyt can’t walk or talk and is confined to a wheelchair. For the past twenty plus years, his father Dick has pushed and pulled his son across the country and over hundreds of finish lines. When Dick runs, he pushes Rick in a wheelchair. When Dick cycles, Rick sits in the seat of his wheelchair, attached to the front of the bike. When Dick swims, he pulls Rick in a small, stabilized boat. On land or water, they carry on.

In 1962, Rick was born with the umbilical cord coiled around his neck, which cut off oxygen to his brain. Doctors told Dick and his wife, Judy, that there was no hope for Rick’s development. ‘It’s been a story of exclusion ever since he was born,’ Dick said. ‘When he was eight months old the doctors told us we should just put him away – he’d be a vegetable all his life. Well those doctors are not alive anymore, but I would like them to be able to see Rick now.’

Convinced Rick was every bit as intelligent as his two younger brothers, the Hoyts were determined to raise him as normally as possible. Local school authorities didn’t agree. ‘Because he couldn’t talk they thought he would be able to understand, but that wasn’t true,’ Dick said. So, the parents taught Rick the alphabet, and through the efforts of some Tufts University engineers, equipped Rick with an interactive computer that allowed him to use sight head-movements to highlight letters and spell out words. Within a brief time, Rick was ‘writing’ out his thoughts and communicating clearly.

In 1975, Rick was finally admitted into a public school. Two years later, he told his father he wanted to participate in a five-mile benefit run. Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair. They finished next to last, but felt they had achieved something significant. ‘Rick told us he just didn’t feel handicapped when we were competing,’ Dick remembers of that night. And so, ‘Team Hoyt’ was born. Dick and Rick began to compete in more events. The competitions became the most meaningful experiences in Rick’s life. ‘What I mean when I say I feel like I am not handicapped when competing is that I am just like the other athletes. Now many athletes will come up to me before the race or triathlon to wish me luck.’

Early on, that wasn’t the case. ‘Nobody wanted Rick in a road race,’ recalls Dick. ‘Everybody looked at us, nobody talked to us; nobody wanted to have anything to do with us. As time went on, though, they could see he was a person – he has a great sense of humor, for instance. That made a big difference.’

After 4 years of marathons, Team Hoyt tackled triathlons. For this, Dick had to learn to swim. ‘I sank like a stone at first’ he said. With a newly-built bike adapted to carry Rick in front, and a boat tied to Dick’s waist as he swam, the Hoyts came in second-to-last in a competition held on Father’s Day 1985. They have been competing ever since, and inspiring those around them and themselves.

‘Dad is one of my role models,’ communicates Rick. ‘Once he sets out to do something, Dad sticks to it whatever it is, until it is done. For example once we decided to really get into triathlons, dad worked out, up to five hours a day, five times a week, even when he was working.’

‘Rick is the one who inspires and motivates me,’ Dick said. ‘People just need to be educated. Rick is helping many other families coping with disabilities in their struggle to be included.’

Rick has continued to inspire. He graduated from high school and moved on to Boston University, where he earned his degree in special education in 1993. While continuing to compete with his father in numerous events, including the prestigious Boston Marathon, they have also climbed mountains together and trekked more than 3700 miles across America. Rick also secured a job at the Boston College computer laboratory. There he has worked to help develop a system through which mechanical aids, such as a motorized wheelchair, can be controlled by eye movements when linked to a computer. Team Hoyt’s impact is profound. Together, this father and son have inspired people all across America to see that when people work as one, noting is impossible.”

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Teamwork, Volume 3, p.9).

Editor’s Note: The above article was published in 2009. Dick Hoyt passed away March 17, 2021 and The Boston Athletic Association, which puts on the marathon, released a statement that afternoon mourning Hoyt’s passing, with the organization writing he “personified what it meant to be a Boston Marathoner” during his more than three decades of races:

The B.A.A. is tremendously saddened to learn of the passing of Boston Marathon icon Dick Hoyt. Dick personified what it meant to be a Boston Marathoner, showing determination, passion, and love every Patriots’ Day for more than three decades. He was not only a fan-favorite who inspired thousands, but also a loyal friend and father who took pride in spending quality time with his son Rick while running from Hopkinton to Boston.

As a leader of Team Hoyt, Dick Hoyt and his son Rick quickly became Boston Marathon legends after their first run in 1980. Pushing Rick in a custom racing chair, Dick and Rick completed 32 Boston Marathons together, including a final finish in 2014. The pair’s bond and presence throughout the course became synonymous with the Boston Marathon. Team Hoyt’s 1,000th race together came at the 2009 Boston Marathon, and in 2015 Dick served as Grand Marshal of the race in recognition of his impact on the event and Para Athlete community.

Dick Hoyt was one-of-a-kind. We will sincerely miss Dick, and are keeping his many family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.”


Hoyt was also honored by a tribute written by Dave McGillivray, former Boston Marathon Director that appeared on the website on that same date (

Teamwork Means Thinking Teams 1st

“Teamwork sometimes means letting go of something that will you but will hurt the team. Often times we don’t see how our choices affect others until after the consequences of those decisions play out, and then it’s too late. Often what is good for us individually is not good for the team. Most of the failures you see in teams or groups are a result of not thinking team first. The corporate scandals that have been in the headlines can be traced back to individual selfishness of the part of a few, and the same is true of sports teams, leadership of nations, and even celebrity families. When societies, teams and families operate with ‘me first’ mentality, they nearly always fail and are filled with regret. So always Think Team 1st. The rewards are much greater and much more lasting.”

Connor Cruise

“In 2005, Connor Cruse was just like any other five-year-old boy. He loved sports, pizza and super heroes. But after he complained of a stomachache for two weeks, Connor’s parents took him to the doctor, who informed them that Connor had Stage 4 Neuroblastoma – a devastating form of cancer. From that day on, the Cruse family spent every moment committed to helping Connor get well; which required great sacrifices from each member of the family. In the process, they learned that true teamwork means thinking team first.”

They became very transparent, as they realized it would take a team effort to address Connor’s needs. A friend helped them start a website; where people could keep up with what was going on with Connor They came to realize that the true teamwork of friends and family gave Connor the best chance to win this fight. That fight gave them 4 additional years with Connor that they would not have otherwise had.

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Teamwork, Volume 3, p.10).

Nick Moretta

“Nick Moretta had a choice, but in his mind, there really was only one choice. No other option would work. His wife, Debbi, had slipped into a coma during treatment for leukemia. She was in the hospital, and Nick wanted to be by her side. When she was released from the hospital, Nick knew she would need to be cared for over an extended period of time. He didn’t want to pass that responsibility to anybody else.

So he took a vacation from his job as a lineman – or an apparatus technician – for Southern California Edison, the company that supplies electrical power for the greater Los Angeles area. But the days off quickly turned into weeks off, and soon it became clear that the weeks off would eventually need to turn into months off the job for Moretta.

When Moretta’s vacation time was used up, Debbi still needed around the clock care. So, at the risk of losing his job, Nick decided to stay with her. It was clear if Moretta was going to provide his wife the help she needed, then he would need help. That’s when Nick’s friends from work, and many other co-workers who didn’t even know him, jumped in to help out.

In an amazing display of unselfishness and teamwork, Moretta’s co-workers volunteered to donate their own yet-to-be-used vacation time to Nick Moretta. All together they donated a total of more than one year’s worth of vacation time so Nick could stay at home with his wife.

‘This is valuable time, time they could be spending with their own families,’ Moretta told the Los Angeles Times. ‘A lot of people opened their hearts to us.’ What made the donation from the 300-plus SC Edison workers so amazing to Moretta is that most of the employees had never even met the Morettas. It was just a case of individual workers coming together to help out a co-worker.

An unwritten agreement between Edison and electricians union allows employees to donate up to eight hours of vacation per year. However, Edison employees requested permission to donate additional time. Supervisors approved the move.

‘Guys over the years, don’t mind coming in and working an extra day,’ said David Barstow, the foreman of Nick Moretta’s crew and his crew partner. ‘Sometimes it’s all you can do. Sending flowers is nice, but what they really need is time with their family.’

The idea was suggested by a couple of supervisors, who sent out a department-wide e-mail detailing Moretta’s situation and asking employees if they would consider donating any of their vacation days. The supervisors were overwhelmed with the response. Moretta received more than 2,500 hours of donated vacation time from more than 300 co-workers. Amazingly, even after employees had given the total of 2,532 hours of paid leave time, they told their supervisors they wanted to give more.

Nick Moretta spent the time away from work helping his wife regain her strength after she came out of the coma and returned home. His daily routine included crushing pills and pouring them into water; pouring nutritional shakes into her food bag; bathing her; reading to her; stretching her legs, arms, and hips; and helping her learn how to stand once again.”

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Teamwork, Volume 3, p.12).

Teamwork in Trust Relationships

“Nothing is more important or valuable in our lives than relationships. Money may come and go, jobs may end, material possessions may lose their value, but relationships can last for a lifetime. Our closest and most important relationships require mutual trust. Those relationships should be valued above all our possessions and positions. What people need most is to know that, as the military motto states, that some has their back – meaning someone is looking out for them. What are the most important trust relationships you have? What have you done to keep trust in those relationships? What can you do to deepen the trust between you and that person? Once you give up trustworthiness in a relationship, that relationship will never be the same. Pay special attention to your trust relationships and you will have the opportunity to have the opportunity to have great teammates who will always be there for you. This is a crucial part of Teamwork!

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Teamwork, Volume 3, p.13).

Tommy Sansom

“Tommy Sansom was a teacher and coach in the Waco, Texas school district. One day, Tommy noticed that student Jesse Allsbrooks seemed to be having trouble adjusting to his new school. So Tommy decided to reach out to Jesse. A friendship developed that became valuable to both Tommy and Jesse.”

Tommy noticed that Jesse was hanging around his classroom at lunch time rather than going to the lunch room and eating with the other kids, so he checked with Jesse’s mother to get her permission to take an extra sandwich and eat lunch with him every day. Jesse began to look forward to this time every day. It was an opportunity to share what was going on in his life – both the good things and the bad. Tommy’s wife also started putting notes in the lunch she fixed for Jesse, asking him about his day. Jesse eventually moved to East Texas but on Father’s Day the next year he called Tommy to wish him a happy Father’s Day. Tommy says, “Teachers aren’t lucky enough to see the fruits of their labors. It’s hard to see the harvest. But you know when that student walks out of your class the last day of school if you’ve impacted that student’s life. I want to be remembered as a teacher that the kids look back on and say, ‘Mr. Sansom respected me and loved me, and he loved me to the point that he pushed me to be successful.’”

 (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Teamwork, Volume 3, p.13).

Jessica Lee

“As a high school student, Jessica Lee had a secret. For over two years she endured physical and emotional abuse from her boyfriend. Rather than seek help from those around her, Jessica was afraid to tell even her closest friends and family.

‘I wrestled over telling people what was happening to me because I was ashamed,’ said Jessica.

Jessica felt as though she had nowhere to turn. Only after her boyfriend burned her with cigarettes and broke a bottle over her head did Jessica speak u and bring an end to the violence. Looking back, Jessica wishes she had sought help sooner.

‘I was in denial. I blamed myself,’ she said. ‘I wished there’d been somewhere to turn besides my family or friends – a hotline with someone I didn’t know but who understood.’

After living in an abusive relationship for over two years, Jessica was determined to help other girls suffering in similar situations. So at age 19, Jessica founded the first nationwide hotline specifically designed to combat the widespread problem of teen dating violence.

The new hotline is overseen by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which had previously served primarily adults. Calls to the new hotline are answered by teens and other young adults in the hope that young abuse victims will be more comfortable confiding in someone their own age. So far, it’s working. The hotline receives an estimated 1,000 calls per week.

Research has shown that many victims of abuse – no matter what age – are afraid to speak up because they feel alone and ashamed. According to a recent study, it is now estimated that half of all teenagers in the U.S. have experienced dating violence. Jessica is providing these young people hope by giving them a place to turn, and a way out. Today she has teamed up with thousands of young people from all over the United States to help end the cycle of violence in relationships between teenagers.

If someone you know is involved in an abusive relationship, you have an opportunity to team up with them at a time when they need your help most. Visit for information on how to take a stand for yourself or your friends.

And remember, with a friend at their side, anyone can be helped.

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Teamwork, Volume 3, p.15).


Think about what it takes to demonstrate teamwork in your life: in a group setting, in the family, that it means thinking team 1st, and in trust relationships. I hope that, after reading this month’s articles, you know a little more about teamwork and how you can further develop that attribute to Become The Man God Wants You To Be. Thanks for reading…


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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be #10: Self-Control

If I am to become the man God wants me to be, I must develop the attribute of self-control. Self-control is “control or restraint of oneself or one’s actions, feelings, etc. Synonyms are self-discipline, self-restraint, willpower, levelheadedness.” (

“Being a person who is self-controlled means demonstrating serious strength of character. Throughout history, man has encountered his most significant downfalls and tragedies through his inability to say one very small word – “no.” Our conviction, or lack of it, will greatly determine the outcome of our lives. The choices we make are clear markers of the depth of our self-control. Of all the flourishing cultures that have crumbled over the past thousands of years most have been marked by a general lack of self-control among the people. Having self-control means having an inward strength and restraint. Living a self-controlled life requires far greater strength and courage than living a life of random experimentation. Many things in life seem like they would be fun or interesting to experiment with, yet the result of just one experience can mean total destruction of family, fortune or future. Is anything worth the dramatic changes in your life that will come about as a result of seeking momentary pleasure? Whether it is drugs, alcohol, food, anger, or other physical desires, if you don’t want to become a slave to any of these things like so many others have before you, you must exercise self-control! You don’t have to be controlled by anything in your life, if you can just control yourself. Stay in control!

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Self-Control, Volume 3, p.3).

Self-control is one of the attributes that the Heart of A Champion Character Development Program ( strives to develop in young people in its outreach program. Their written and video programs approach this under 4 subtopics: Self Control with your Body, Self-Control with Emotions, Self-Control with Speech, and Self-Control with Freedom. We shall use that same approach in discussing it here. Please consider …

Self-Control with your Body

“Think about all the ways we face pressure to have our bodies measure up to societal or cultural standards. We measure our bodies in relation to how fat, how strong, how appealing, or how good they feel. We face opportunities to take performance-enhancing drugs, to use drugs or alcohol, or to diet to the point of risking our health. We know what the boundaries ae to help control our choices, but how do we find the strength to function within those boundaries?”

“There is an old truth that says, ‘Where there is no vision, the people cast of restraint.’ What that means is that when people don’t have a vision for their lives, they tend to have a lack of restraint, and that’s when they get into trouble. Self-control is about strength – being strong enough to stand in your convictions, and not be swayed to do otherwise even when nearly everyone else is. It’s also about being strong enough and wise enough to take proactive steps so you will not get yourself into a situation where the temptation can overwhelm you. Make a strategy and Stand Firm!

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Self-Control, Volume 3, p.5).

Kimiko Saldati

“Kimiko is an amazing young woman. She is a champion diver who represented the U.S. in the 2004 Olympics. To do so, Kimiko had to overcome any fears of jumping from a platform 33 feet above the water. But she had to overcome an even greater struggle.”

Her identity and sense of self-worth was totally wrapped up in her diving. So when she sustained a serious injury that sidelined her for 3 years, it almost devastated her. She began to suffer from an eating disorder because she came to believe that in order to perform better, she had to be thinner. It became an obsession with her, worrying about what others were thinking about her body. She finally decided to seek help. Counselors helped her to realize that the underlying cause of her eating disorder had nothing to do with eating; it had nothing to do with food; and it had everything to do with emotions; and it had everything to do with self-worth.

“Typically, disorders such as Kimiko’s are the product of an unhealthy self-image. Most of us either see ourselves as either too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, having too much of this or not enough of that. Yet each one of us is exceptionally and wonderfully made. We can’t judge ourselves by the standard of beauty set by the world around us. What we see in movies, television and advertisements is not reality. It is filtered, airbrushed, and special-effected. As Kimiko learned, true beauty is really reflected by what’s on the inside, and that is where all of us have control. See yourself for how great you truly are and don’t sacrifice your health or your future trying to live up to an altered state of reality. U R special!

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Self-Control, Volume 3, p.4).

Mike Huckabee

“Mike Huckabee feared he was in serious trouble. During 2003, the Arkansas governor had consistently been feeling tired. He also experienced chest pains and shortness of breath, and was on medication for diabetes. All the signs pointed to issues with his heart. As the 48-year-old politician sat in his doctor’s office that spring, preparing for a heart test that would show if there was any blockage, Huckabee wondered if he was about to receive news he dreaded. To his relief, no heart problems were found, but Huckabee still found himself in the midst of a serious wake-up call.

Huckabee had been presiding over a cabinet meeting during that same year, overseeing things from the relative comfort of an antique chair in the newly restored conference room in the state’s capitol building. Under the weight of the governor’s then 280-pound frame, the chair collapsed, sending Huckabee crashing to the floor.

‘It was an awkward moment for all of us,’ Huckabee said. ‘They’re thinking, ‘He’s our boss. Do you laugh?’ I tried to make light of it, but it was humiliating.’

Humbled and concerned for his health, the governor got up off the floor and resolved to radically change his life. Over the next 100 pounds in a successful battle against the bulge the earned him admirers in his own state and across the nation. He has since chronicled his story in a book titled, Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork.

‘I couldn’t go out there and urge our state to live a healthy life if I were a poster child for unhealthy living,’ Huckabee said. ‘A lot of people come up to me and say if I could make this radical change, they can do it too.’

Huckabee developed some mottos during his crusade against his waistline. ‘If it comes through the car window, it isn’t food’ is one. ‘Stop ignoring signals from your body’ is another. All simple truths he had to face if he was going to shape up. ‘I realized that I was headed toward an early death, and I would have no one to blame but me,’ he said.

Huckabee went on a medically supervised diet with dramatic results. For 15 weeks, he didn’t consume any solid food. Instead, he drank five packets of powder each day, which constituted his allowance of 800 calories. ‘From the time I started, I had very little hunger feelings,’ he said. ‘I was very focused to succeed and was surprisingly not tempted to cheat as much as I was determined not to.’

He also underwent counseling on behavior and lifestyle changes and exercise. The key was programming himself into a lifestyle that emphasizes fitness and treats food as fuel, not reward. ‘A lot of addictions are dealt with in a 12-step process,’  he said. ‘I discovered it’s not the steps I need to take, it’s the stops I need to make. The real breakthrough wasn’t what to do, it’s how do I stop doing what I’ve been doing.’

Huckabee’s book details his ’12-stop program,’ including: stop procrastinating, stop making excuses, stop expecting immediate success, stop making exceptions, and stop whining. Huckabee instituted an exercise regimen of at least 30-minutes every day, and completely changed his eating habits – both changes he says are for the long term. ‘I’d dieted before and lost weight before, but I’d never built a healthy life-style,’ he said. ‘There’s got to be a mind change before there can be a life change.’

Huckabee’s transformation was so substantial, he was able to reverse his diabetes and run a marathon. As he told the Associated Press, ‘My body chemistry has completely changed from an unhealthy middle-aged guy headed toward a heart attack to the body chemistry of a healthy person.’”

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Self-Control, Volume 3, p.6).

Self-Control with Emotions

“Strong emotions can cause us to react without thinking through the consequences of our choices or action. When our emotions are the strongest – either high or low – we should not immediately react, but rather carefully and rationally think through the situation and how we should best respond. To be self-controlled emotionally, means we won’t let our emotions overcome our rational thought process. Emotion and passion are good and necessary, but without self-control they can be destructive. Channeled the proper way, emotion can be the instigator of great change. Remember, U need to B wise. (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Self-Control, Volume 3, p.7).

Air Force Colonel David Eberly

“Air Force Colonel David Eberly served in the Gulf War. In 1991, while flying an air strike mission over Iraq, David was shot down and became a prisoner of war. Through days and nights of torture in captivity, David never lost hope. Neither did his wife, who waited for her husband to return.”

After his capture, he spent the next 43 days in 4 types of prison. Food became an issue, as David and other prisoners were slowly being starved to death. Hours of endless interrogation tested David’s sanity. He was sustained through his ordeal by his sense of peace. He retired from the USAF in November, 1997, but continues to work independently for the US government. His book Faith Beyond Belief details his experience as a downed airman and prisoner in Baghdad.

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Self-Control, Volume 3, p.7).

Len Roberts

“In 2005, after nearly 13 years of running the daily operation of Radio Shack as the company’s CEO, Len Roberts made a transition to the role of Executive Chairman, where he is an ambassador for the company. Joining Radio Shack as CEO in 1993, Roberts experienced great success heading one of America’s most well-known companies, yet after spending 20 years leading various companies, he decided it was time to spend more time at home with his family.

The most significant step in that life change was actually set in place some 15 years earlier. It was near midnight one night in 1990 when he received a call at his home informing him that his oldest daughter Dawn, then 20, had been struck by a drunken driver and was hospitalized on life support. Doctors urged Roberts and his wife Laurie to come to the hospital immediately as they were not expecting Dawn to live through the night. The couple jumped in their car and started off on the 90-minute drive from their home in Atlanta to the hospital in Athens, GA. ‘It was the longest drive of our lives,’ Roberts said. ‘We cried all the way.’

Against all odds, Dawn eventually made a full recovery. She endured two emergency brain surgeries and months of rehabilitation. She went on to finish college, get married and start both a career and a family in Chicago. The experience became a defining event in Robert’s life and changed his perspective dramatically. ‘I don’t know of anything else that I think of every day of my life,’ Roberts said. ‘One aspect or another always comes to me. Something will happen that will remind me of some of the pain, or some of the joy, or some of the gratitude we have.’

Dawn was injured while walking through a parking lot at the University of Georgia, when the driver slammed his car into her from behind. The drive, who was later sentenced to 3-and-a-half years in prison, did not stop. He drove off, parked, and ran to hide in his fraternity house. Dawn’s injuries were severe: a serious brain injury, fractured pelvic bone and jaw, a crushed left leg, and facial lacerations. When Roberts and his wife arrived at the hospital, the doctor told them there was nothing more that could be done for Dawn. Her brain was hemorrhaging and no on in the area was qualified to handle that type of injury. A neurosurgeon who was vacationing nearby was located. He operated on Dawn and kept her alive. Many difficult days followed, but the Roberts family continued to see progress they described as miraculous.

While his daughter recovered, Roberts did not. Still hurting emotionally, he developed a steady family routine: Everyone was to stay upbeat while visiting Dawn, and then let loose when they came together afterwards. As Dawn began to improve, Roberts struggled with the fine line between joy and despair. He was feeling intense anger toward the man who had injured his daughter. He dealt with his emotions by writing a long letter to a probation officer, in which he detailed Dawn’s injuries and his fears that she might not be able to have children. He urged he maximum prison sentence for the driver. He also wrote a note to the driver’s parents, in which he condemned the boy for driving while drunk, for not stopping to help, and for not apologizing. He also told them that his family may never forgive their son for the way he injured their daughter. It was harsh, but true to Robert’s feelings at the time.

To help get over the anger Roberts threw himself into Dawn’s rehabilitation. He studied intensely about her injuries, joined support groups, and worked with Dawn throughout. It helped her recover and helped him pull through the emotional roller coaster. In the end, the most important thing he had to do was let go of the anger. When he did, he found emotional freedom. Today, he is surprised by the tone of his letters. ‘I was hurting so bad, I guess I wanted him to hurt too,’ he said.

Now 15 years past the incident, Roberts has healed emotionally and has learned to focus on the positives. ‘This is a story of a close family becoming closer,’ he wrote about the ordeal. ‘Oh how fortunate we are to have and love one another.’”

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Self-Control, Volume 3, p.9).

Self-Control with Speech

“Sometimes we are quick to speak out of frustration or anxiety, but often words said in those times can create bad situations for us and we regret what we have said. People clearly recognize that true moral authority is seen in those who can control their tongue. Those who use words carelessly do not demonstrate power or authority. Rather, it is self-control in speech that demonstrates true authority. An old truth tells us the most difficult thing to tame in our world is not a wild animal, but our own tongue. But you can do it! Remember, to be a person of true authority and impact, U need to tame your tongue!

Tim Howard

“Tim Howard was a goalie for the most popular sports team in the world, Manchester United Football (soccer) Club in England. Tim is also American, which means he’s had to make a transition to a different culture and a different type of fan following. Tim also has Tourette’s Syndrome, which creates other challenges. However he has learned how to manage it all.”

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Self-Control, Volume 3, p.10).

McKay Hatch

“How do you react when you stub your toe? How about when you receive a bad test grade? What words do you use to express anger or frustration? The words we use are one of the most important ways that we represent ourselves to the people around us. However, experts estimate that swearing among young people is at an all-time high. In fact, the average high school student uses about 80-90 swear word each day.

So just what in the &%$#@ can be done about all this vulgar language?

Well, one young man had an idea.

14-year-old high school student, McKay Hatch had had enough of the profusion of profanities that his friends were using “to fit in.” He told his friends that if they wanted to hang out with him they had to stop cussing.

‘Most of my friends were cussing and it really bothered me,’ said Hatch. ‘So I challenged them that, ‘Hey, I don’t like the language you are using,’ and I told them if they wanted to hang with me then I didn’t want hear them cuss.

‘They came back to me in the 8th grade and told me, ‘It’s because of you that we don’t cuss.’ So we started a No Cussing Club.’

Hatch’s stand started something that caught on. Eventually 50 Pasadena High School students stood with him, and last summer held their inaugural No Cussing Club meeting. Nine months later a Web site was launched, which now identifies several chapters and 10,000 members across the U.S. McKay has been featured in countless newspaper and magazine articles, and has even been a guest on the Tonight Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Dr. Phil.

‘This all started with five of my friends,’ McKay said. ‘Now we have about 20,000 members nationwide.’

Hatch’s efforts not only affected his school, but also his community. Hoping to promote civility throughout the city, South Pasadena (CA) Mayor Michael Cacciotti and the city council declared the first week in March as No Cussing Week. ‘It’s part of exercising self-discipline,’ Cacciotti  told the Pasadena Star-News. ‘It’s about treating each other with love and respect.’

‘My mom and dad always taught me good morals, good values, and not cussing was one of them,’ Hatch told the Associated Press when asked about his efforts. His parents are co-authors of the family handbook Raising a G-Rated Family in an X-Rated World.

But not everyone is demonstrating the same love and respect back to McKay. His stand has infuriated the pro-cussing crowd, many of whom have sent false pizza deliveries to his house and profane hate messages and even death threats to both his email inbox and voicemail.

Still, McKay is undeterred.

‘It’s definitely worth it,’ he says. ‘Now we have members in all 50 states and 30 countries. People are signing up with our Web site and they’re taking the pledge to use language to uplift and make people feel good about themselves.

‘That’s what this whole club is. It’s about talking to people with civility and respect, and making people feel good about themselves. That all starts with your words and how you choose to use them.’

No Cussing Clubs can be started at any school in America, or abroad for that matter. If you’re interested in starting a chapter at your school or organization, check out McKay’s website at”

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Self-Control, Volume 3, p.12).

Self-Control with Freedom

“Many throughout the history of our nation have died defending our right to be free. From their sacrifice, you have the right to freely choose how you will live within certain legal guideline. While the price has been steep, those who gave their lives envisioned a people that would rightly govern themselves; a people who would make wise choices and exercise restraint. It is when people cast off restraint, that chaos ensues. Our laws can’t truly provide self-restraint, because restraint comes from within. Only you can restrain yourself from abusing the freedoms you have been given, not just by our country, but also by your family, school, friends and community. Live under self-control and be truly free. Remember, exercising restraint means U R really free!

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Self-Control, Volume 3, p.13).

Courtney Kupets

“Courtney Kupets is a gymnastics champion. She was a member of silver medal winning U.S. women’s Olympic team in 2004. But with traveling the world, competing in front of thousands of spectators, and experiencing great success, Courtney has learned where she needs to draw the line when it comes to her freedoms.”

Her focus was on maintaining a normal childhood while still enjoying the sport of gymnastics. Neither she nor her parents were obsessed with her becoming and Olympic champion. They viewed that as “icing on the cake” if it happened, but it was not “the be all, end all” of her life. She learned that she could balance the rigors of training and a normal lifestyle. She made it to the top because she understood how to not let either world control her. Rather in exercising self-control, she found true freedom to enjoy all of her experiences. Through it all she has learned valuable lessons that will last her a lifetime.

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Self-Control, Volume 3, p.13).

Ashley Smith

“She was the wrong person, in the wrong place at the wrong time, she thought. It turned out she was the right person, in the right place, at the right time. Had it not been for her quick thinking and courageous actions, or her having learned her own lessons in self-control with her freedoms, Ashley Smith may not have been alive to tell her story.

Authorities say the 26-year-old Smith’s calmness and gentleness contributed to Brian Nichols’ peaceful surrender after he held her hostage for more than seven hours in her suburban Atlanta, GA apartment in March of 2005. She believes the alleged murderer was brought to her door so he couldn’t hurt anyone else. ‘I feel like I met him for a reason,’ Smith said of Nichols. ‘If that was for myself not to get killed, or any other police officers not to … (then) my purpose was fulfilled.’

The day prior to the encounter, Nichols, a jailed defendant, escaped with a gun from an Atlanta jail and went on a shooting rampage that left four people dead before taking Smith hostage. He put the gun to her side in the parking lot outside her apartment about 2 am and forced her into her apartment.

‘He said, ‘I’m not going to hurt you if you just do what I say,’’ she said. ‘I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want to hurt anybody else.’’ Nichols then tied Smith up with masking tape, a curtain and extension cord and told her to sit in the bathroom while he took a shower. ‘I thought he was going to strangle me,’ she said. But by 9 a.m. the next morning, Smith had convinced Nichols to let her go and peacefully surrender. ‘I honestly think when I looked at him that he didn’t want to do it anymore,’ Smith said in a televised statement in the aftermath of the incident.

Throughout the night Smith talked to Nichols about her own personal story, read to him from a popular book called The Purpose Driven Life, and told him he could have hope and a future despite his crimes. Smith told Nichols that he must surrender and be held accountable for what he did, but that his life still had a purpose and that he could affect the lives of other inmates in prison. She also told him about her 5-year-old daughter and the death of her husband four years prior. ‘I told him that if he hurt me, my little girl wouldn’t have a mommy or daddy,’ Smith said. She added that Nichols ‘just wanted some normalness in his life…He said he thought I was an angel…and that he was lost,’ said Smith.

It was a feeling Smith was familiar with. Her own life had taken a sharp left turn when she hit adolescence. She began to explore her freedom, partying with wild friends and using drugs and alcohol. Although she was raised in a good home, she couldn’t seem to stay out of trouble. Between 1996 and 2003, Smith had pled guilty to shoplifting, become pregnant, dropped out of high school, was arrested for drunk driving, and watched her husband die in her arms following a brawl. She also voluntarily gave up custody of her daughter because she couldn’t provide a stable home for her.

Just when it seemed Smith couldn’t go any lower, she found hope. She checked in for a six-month stay at a substance rehabilitation center and came out a different person. What was deposited in her during that time changed her life and gave her focus. She moved to Atlanta in 2004, hoping to start over and possibly regain custody of her daughter. With new friends and a new perspective, life was heading in the right direction. Smith understood what it meant to have true freedom – freedom from the things that had once kept her in bondage. It was that freedom she spoke of to Nichols. ‘Most of my time was spent talking about my life and experiences in my life – things that had happened to me,’ she said in a CNN interview. ‘After I started to read to him, he saw – I guess he saw…what I really believed in.’

During the night, Smith gradually earned Nichol’s trust. ‘I told him I was supposed to see my little girl the next morning at 10,’ Smith said. Eventually Nichols untied Smith, and then he opened up. He told her he felt like ‘he was already dead,’ but she encourage him to consider the fact that he was still alive a ‘miracle.’ ‘I said, ‘Do you believe in miracles? Because…you are here for a reason,’’ she said. ‘I said, ‘You know, your miracle could be that you need to – you need to be caught for this.’’

An hour later, Nichols gave smith $40 and let her leave. She got in her car and called 911. Police surrounded her apartment complex. Nichols gave up peacefully, waving a white towel in surrender.

Smith’s actions were a testament to the work that had occurred in her own life. In learning self-control, she gained an understanding of real freedom – a truth she shared with Nichols. Said her former stepfather Larry Croft, ‘This has put an exclamation mark on what her character is all about.’”

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Self-Control, Volume 3, p.15).


John Maxwell says that self-discipline is one of the “indispensable qualities of a leader. He says this about self-discipline: “If you want to become a leader for whom self–discipline is an asset, follow these action points:

1. Develop and Follow Your Priorities

2. Make a Disciplined Lifestyle Your Goal

3. Challenge Your Excuses

4. Remove Rewards Until the Job Is Done

5. Stay Focused on Results”

(The 21 Indispensable Qualities Of A Leader, pp. 128-130)

Brian Biro believes that self-control is one of the 15 key building blocks in the Pyramid of Success that leads to effective leadership and life. His book is based on legendary Coach John Wooden’s structure for personal growth based on real success. Biro says this about self-control: “Self-control is perhaps the single most important ingredient in leading by example. One individual who exemplified remarkable self-control in the face of tremendous pressure was Jackie Robinson. When Robinson broke the color barrier in major-league baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, he was subjected to unbelievably intense abuse from fans, opposing players, and even his own teammates…. Jackie Robinson epitomizes two key facets of self-control. The first is maintaining self-control during the toughest times, even when the most difficult obstacles appear before you…. Jackie Robinson also provided us with a brilliant example of the second key facet of self-control – patiently sticking to your own game.

(Beyond Success, pp. 92-96)

Think about what it takes to demonstrate the proper self-control in your life: with your body, with your emotions, with your speech, and with freedom. I hope that, after reading this month’s article, you know a little more about self-control and how you can further develop that attribute to Become The Man God Wants You To Be. Thanks for reading…


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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be #9: Responsibility

If I am to become the man God wants me to be, I must develop the attribute of responsibility. Responsibility is “the state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management.” (

Responsibility is one of the attributes that the Heart of A Champion Character Development Program ( strives to develop in young people in its outreach program. Their written and video programs approach this under 4 subtopics: Responsibility to Work, Responsibility to Family, Responsibility to Others, and Responsibility to Serve. We shall use that same approach in discussing it here. Please consider …

Responsibility to Work

“Work is seemingly the center of our lives. We work at our jobs, we work at school, we work in our interest, we work at our relationships; everywhere, in everything we seem to be constantly working. Yet success in any of these areas comes down to the amount of responsibility we accept and act upon. An old truth tells us that, ‘whatever we sow (or plant) we will also reap (or harvest).’ The greater the effort we put into a process, the greater the results will be. Jobs, school, relationships, sports, the fine arts – no matter what it is, the results we see are in direct correlation to the effort we put in. Hard work produces results. The responsibility we each have is to use our gifts and talents to the fullest and give every situation our all. When we do that, we will have the opportunity to see amazing results. Be reliable in the work before you, so that you can realize a great harvest of success, be rewarded and be given new and greater opportunities (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.4).

Christina Bernal

“Christina Bernal was like any other student, faced with the difficulties of school and trying to get good grades. But one day, a special teacher began to share with Christina a vision for how she could become successful. Inspired by the challenge to work harder, Christina responded and her hard work produced great results” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.4).

Stephen Shaw, her fourth-grade teacher, introduced her to a program called Odyssey of the Mind. The spark that this program ignited in her, stayed with her throughout high school and she became valedictorian of her graduating class at Lyford High School in Lyford, Texas. Near the end of her high school career, she was also notified that she was receiving a full scholarship to the school of her dreams. Christiana attended Texas State University in San Marcos in 2004 as one of that year’s recipients of The Terry Foundation Scholarships.

Al Hollingsworth

“Al Hollingsworth is a business leader, international speaker, minister, author and founder and CEO of Aldelano Corporation and Aldelano Solar Solutions. A successful entrepreneur of 50 years, Hollingsworth’s heart is to help others succeed in the visions, dreams, and ideas God has given them. Hollingsworth founded Aldelano Corporation in 1968 as a young man living in Los Angeles. Today, Aldelano is a nationwide provider of packaging and staffing services with a client list of Fortune 500 companies.

In 1985, Al and his wife Hattie founded B.O.S.S. the Movement Ministries—a program dedicated to mentoring youth in both business skills and spiritual disciplines. Al and Hattie also started Vertical Leap, an adult training program which allows others to start B.O.S.S. programs in their communities. Today, B.O.S.S. the Movement is a series of training curricula that have been planted in nations throughout the world, producing thousands of successful leaders and entrepreneurs.

As Al and Hattie traveled throughout the world with their ministry they experienced first-hand the struggles stemming from the lack of infrastructure. The lack of power, refrigeration and clean water – particularly in remote areas – was creating a daily living crisis and continuing a cycle of malnutrition and poor health, poor living conditions, educational setbacks, poverty and the inability to expand business and resources. The Hollingsworths saw that the governments were not addressing the issues fast enough and other countries who claimed to invest in the regions were getting rich while the countries themselves remained poor. Al’s heart for ministry combined with his business acumen led to the development of his most recent innovations including the Solar ColdBox – a solar-powered, industrial-sized cold storage unit that offers both refrigeration and freezing temperatures; the Aldelano Solar WaterMaker – which produces drinkable water and ice from the moisture in the air, and the Aldelano Solar PowerPak – a line of industrial-sized solar power generation systems. These products are designed to provide Instant Infrastructure to remote and underdeveloped areas, empowering small farmers and businesses to convert and monetize their own natural resources through the Power of Solar.

Today, Aldelano is a global leader in introducing solar technologies to developing areas around the world and Al and Hattie are committed to aiding developing countries in eliminating waste and creating economic independence and growth for their people and communities.” (

Describing the B.O.S.S. program, Hollingsworth says “The program trains youth ages 7-19 to develop self-esteem, self-confidence, public-speaking ability, and virtuous business skills through 20 weeks of classes in two-hour blocks after school and on weekends. Subjects include poise and leadership, motivation, virtuous principles of business and economics, and entrepreneurship and finances. Young people develop positive thinking habits, create business plans and engage in Internet entrepreneurship, where they are allowed to earn income from products they sell through web-based businesses they set up. Many of those involved in the program are fatherless and poor, the typical targets for urban gangs. These kids – and all other types of people – can be trained to work for success without sacrificing principle. That’s really the heartbeat of where we are vested. If you take a look where the young people are moving and running toward, they’re attracted to economics. In order to stay potent, we’re going to have to be able to address that in the lives of our young people…. Work is not a job, it is a purpose… Working is not something that I do because it is a task. I do it because it is a love. I work hard, and I have great joy – the joy of purpose” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.6).

Responsibility to Family

“In today’s culture there are so many people who have denied their responsibility within their families. Family discord and disunity are more common than ever today. Yet it is not supposed to be that way. Rather than finding fault and being critical, a better way is for family members to join together and each take responsibility to do their part in the family. Responsibility is not just doing what you say you will do, but doing what you know you should do – even when it is difficult. But that is needed in families to keep them functioning as effectively and efficiently as possible. It takes a contribution from every member, including you. How will you respond? (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.7).

Don Hooten

“Don Hooten has experienced great heartache through the death of his teenage son. Don is convinced that steroid use led Taylor Hooten to commit suicide. Taylor’s death inspired Don to reach others kids who are experimenting with performance-enhancing drugs. He feels a sense of responsibility to his son to do everything he can to help save other kids” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.7).

Taylor began using steroids, without his parent’s knowledge, in hopes of making his high school baseball team, the Plano Westside Bombers. Changes in his behavior brought the steroid use to the attention of his parents. When they confronted him about it, he promised to quit. But the prolonged use had taken its toll, and about six weeks after he had told everyone that he had stopped using, he hung himself. Don says, “There are no words that I can use to describe what the impact of losing a child is, let alone losing one to suicide for any cause.”

Don started the Taylor Hooten Foundation ( in hopes of helping other kids. Don has become a national voice to educate about the dangers of steroid use. He has spoken to schools and parent groups across America and testified before congress. He says that users deceive themselves into thinking that they are not “doing drugs.”

Just Think Twice is a United States Government, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website.

It tells Taylor’s story,

“Taylor Hooton was a star pitcher on his high school team, a handsome teenager who had everything going for him. Until steroids caught up with him, and he took his own life.

It took a while for his parents to connect Taylor’s recent weight and muscle increases with his uncharacteristic mood swings and violent, angry behavior. Like most parents, they didn’t know that these and other symptoms, like the acne he had developed on his back, were signs of steroids use. Taylor had always been a good son, a terrific athlete and had his act together. Taylor just wanted to make the varsity baseball team, and steroids had been recommended to him as a way to get bigger faster.

At first, his parents didn’t know what was happening, but they were alarmed. They took Taylor to the family doctor and asked that he be tested for drugs, not knowing that steroids were not part of the screening panel. He got a clean bill of health, but things continued to worsen. Even though he’d been using a cocktail of steroids and other hormones to bulk up, the drugs were wreaking havoc on his body and emotions. In one of his increasingly frequent rages, he told his mother he would take a knife and kill himself. His parents insisted that he see a psychiatrist.

After many sessions with the psychiatrist, Taylor mentioned his steroids use. Part of his treatment was to tell his parents about his problem and he promised to stop using. Later, when Taylor stole a digital camera and a laptop computer, his whole family confronted him about his unacceptable behavior. Taylor was grounded. After tearful apologies, Taylor begged his mother to lift his punishment, but she said no. Taylor went to his room and hanged himself. It was only after his death that the whole picture came into focus for Taylor’s friends and family.

The police and Taylor’s dad found the steroids and syringes in his room, and the medical examiner found them in his body—even though it was long after Taylor had stopped using. What Taylor’s parents and Taylor himself did not fully understand was the deep depression that steroids users experience when they suddenly stop taking the drug. (

Pamela Thomas-Graham

Thomas-Graham began her career at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where she was a summer associate in the investment banking division while she was student at Harvard Business School. In 1995, she was the first African American woman to become partner at the international management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. [9]

In 1999, Thomas-Graham joined NBC as president of and in 2001, she became chief executive of the cable TV network CNBC. Her successful launch of the network’s business website became a Harvard Business School Case study authored by Harvard Business School Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. In September 2005, she left CNBC [10] [11] and was hired as president of Liz Claiborne, Inc. [11]

In January 2010, Thomas-Graham joined the Executive Board of Credit Suisse as Chief Talent, Branding and Communications Officer. [12] In August 2016, she was elected by Clorox to serve as the Lead independent director of its board…

Thomas-Graham serves on the board of the New York Philharmonic and the Parsons School of Design. She is a member of the Economic Club of New York and the Council on Foreign Relations. [13]

Thomas-Graham is the author of a three-title book series, “Ivy League Mysteries”, published by Simon & Schuster: A Darker Shade Of Crimson (1998), Blue Blood (1999),[14] and Orange Crushed (2004).[5]

Thomas-Graham is the creator and owner of Dandelion Chandelier, a blog that explores the intersection of luxury, wellness, marketing, and technology. [15] (

But as the Heart of Champion article says of her, “Among a myriad of accolades, she still considers her most important role to be that of Mom.” At the time that the HOC article was written, these words were used to describe her, “Running a big business and writing mystery novels would seem enough to handle, however Thomas-Graham still sees each of those duties as secondary to raising her three young children. She and Larry have a son and twins (a boy and a girl) who are three years younger. Creating enough quality time to spend with the children is a focus of Thomas-Graham’s life. She wakes up at 4:30 every morning to write, so she can reserve time to spend with her children in the morning before heading off to work. After work, she is home to spend more time with the kids, playing and reading. On the weekends most days are especially centered on fun outings with the kids, taking them to museums and the ballet” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.9).

Responsibility to Others

“Have you ever realized how much other people need you? There are so many people around us who are hurting and in need, with nowhere to go to get help. Yet, you have something to give, something you can do to help meet the needs of others. You may not open a shelter for battered women, but there is no reason why you couldn’t. Whether it is cutting a homebound person’s grass, or conducting a car wash to raise money for the local homeless shelter, you can do something to make a difference. Others need you; they need what you have to give. When we all realize that we each are equally responsible for the community around us, then we can truly make a difference in the world. But all it takes is one person with passion to get it started. Will that person B U?” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.10)

Kris Hogan

“Kris Hogan is the Head Football Coach for Faith Christian School in Grapevine, Texas. During the 2008 football season Faith played a team from Gainesville State School, a maximum security facility for violent juvenile offenders from across Texas. Prior to the game, Coach Hogan and the Lions players recognized a unique opportunity to impact their opponents in a positive way” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.10)

From the perspective of the Gainesville State School Tornados, it had been a discouraging season. After suffering through a 2008 season that saw them lose eight consecutive games, and after scoring just fourteen points all season long while giving up over three hundred, the Tornados traveled to Grapevine to finish their season against private-school powerhouse Faith Christian.

Kris Hogan had developed a game plan for that night that had nothing to do with football. He sent an email to the entire Faith community asking fans, students, and parents to do something out of the ordinary, cheer for Gainesville and make the boys feel like they were their own. They set up a “spirit line” for the Gainesville team to run through and fans sat on their side of the field. It made the Gainesville team feel like they were the home team!  Though Gainesville lost the game by a score of 33-14, they went home winners!

Justin Gregorich

“At just 5 feet 3 and 130 pounds, 14-yearold Justin Gregorich couldn’t lift as much weight as other aspiring football players at Clearwater (FL) Countryside High School. In fact, his perceived lack of strength became a target for some of the other students, who have him a hard time about it.

On the afternoon of January 28, 2005, the teasing made Justin so upset he left practice early and began walking home. He was dejected and worried. As he walked, he thought about calling his mother, who normally gave him a ride home from school. But for some reason, he just kept on walking.

As he walked alongside Florida State Road 580, his mind raced with thoughts. Why did I leave? Will the coach be mad? Should I go back? Suddenly, a gold Lincoln Town Car came around the bend in the road. Justin watched as the driver lost control of the car, which careened off the road right in front of Justin, flattened a chain-link fence and barreled into a retention pond. Justin began running toward the care. ‘It happened so fast. I turned my head and bam! – the car was in the water.’

As he watched the car sink toward the bottom, Justin quickly dropped his backpack and dove into the frigid water. He is, by his own admission, an average swimmer. ‘I knew there were alligators and snakes in the pond,’ Justin said. ‘But right then, I just wanted to get to that car. Nothing went through my head except that I had to save that man, so I took my shoes off so as not to be weighted down, and dove right in. I didn’t even think about what I was doing…I said, ‘Oh, my gosh, I have to save this guy.’

Two other passersby, Michael McBrayer and Shawn Brady, who also saw the incident jumped into the water after Justin. One of them opened the car door. Justin grabbed the driver’s right arm. The other man took the left arm, and together they swam 50 feet to the bank, pulling the driver to safety. The three had saved the life of 82-year-old Raymond Kane, who was taken to a nearby hospital where he made a quick recovery from minor injuries. ‘The weird thing was, I didn’t really want to leave football,’ said Justin. ‘I just left because I got this urge.’

‘It’s amazing – there are snakes and there are alligators and it’s cold, and it’s amazing to see people, with no regard for their own safety, all three of them just jumped in right after that guy, said Mike Eash, a paramedic for Safety Harbor Fire Rescue.

What followed for Justin was a whirlwind of national media attention, pats on the back at school and phone calls from strangers who were touched by his story. What made the story even more poignant was the revelation that Justin has Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder. His story spread from the Tampa Bay area to newspapers across the country, NBC’s Today show, and just about every broadcast and cable news and talk outlet. In a statement read on the Today show, a recovering Kane called Justin’s actions ‘heroic and unselfish.’

But Justin remained unfazed, ‘Everybody’s making a big deal of it,’ Justin told the media at a surprise party in his honor, just days after his heroic feat. ‘I don’t really think it’s a big deal.’ He said he felt Kane’s real saviors were McBrayer and Brady. ‘They’re more heroical than me,’ he said.

Justin’s father Jim Gregorich said the experience has been a boost for his son, who is in a program for learning-disabled students. ‘God made him the way he is … and I think he is realizing that there is a lot of good in that,’ the father said. ‘When you get knocked down a lot, sometimes your self-esteem gets really hammered. He’s realizing that to a lot of other people, he’s special.

Justin’s mother wasn’t at all surprised by the actions of her son, whom she says has a ‘kind soul’ and is a hero not for what he did, but simply because of who he is. ‘He would do this for anybody,’ she said.”

” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.12)

Responsibility to Serve

“Each of us has a responsibility to serve in one form or another, and each of us will be presented with opportunities to do so throughout our lifetime. Like Roger, you have a chance to make a difference – whether in your local community or neighborhood, or around the world – whether with just one person or among many. It all begins with one person with a heart to serve someone else. Follow your heart and find a way to serve someone. Take the responsibility to serve and make a difference. Remember, U R needed!”  (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.13)

Roger Staubach

”In the 1960’s, Roger Staubach was one of the most popular people in America. A star quarterback at the U.S. Naval academy, Roger won the Heisman Trophy and was on his way to a pro football career. But he had made a commitment to serve his country in the armed forces, which is what he did during the conflict in Vietnam. For Roger, he was simply fulfilling his responsibility to serve.”  (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.13)

The responsibility to serve your country is important to many people, even if you’re a star. And that was Roger’s priority, even though he had been drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. After serving his country in Vietnam, he came back to play for the Dallas Cowboys, eventually leading them to a 24-3 win over the Miami Dolphins is Super Bowl VI. That win turned the Cowboys into an NFL dynasty and elevated Staubach to place as one of football’s consummate quarterbacks, a role that Staubach inherited from his own role model Bart Starr.

Clay Walker

“Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has not slowed down country music star Clay Walker. In fact, it’s sped him up a bit. Walker was just 26 when he was diagnosed with MS in 1996. At that point, he had released two albums, which included five No. 1 hits.

He had been an athlete when he was younger, playing high school football, but his music career had taken him away from his physical regimen. The MS diagnosis made him recommit to physical activity. ‘Before, all I did was sing,’ Walker told Parade Magazine. ‘Now, I want to do everything. I’m so much more active. At the same time, I’m more introspective, both as a person and in my music.’

The disease also didn’t slow down Walker’s music career. He now has nine albums, for of them platinum and two of them gold, with more than eight million copies sold from just those six albums. Among Walker’s 11 No. 1 singles are: ‘Live Until I Die,’ ‘If I Could Make A Living,’ ‘This Woman And This Man,’ ‘Then What,’ and ‘Chain Of Love.’ He is one of only a few artists to have one of his songs included five years consecutively in Billboard’s year-end Top 10 country list. He’s also been one of the country’s top 10-grossing touring acts several times.

Walker knows that he has been fortunate among MS patients in the fact that he recovered most of his physical and mental capacities. The disease affects some 2.5 million people worldwide, including 400,000 Americans. It affects the brain and spinal cord resulting in loss of muscle control, vision, balance, sensation or thinking ability. The nerves of the brain and spinal cord are damaged by one’s own immune system. The immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord, the two components of the central nervous system, which decreases the transmission of nerve impulses, or messages, between the brain and other parts of the body, messages that control muscle movements, such as walking and talking.

A recording artist without the transmission of nerve impulses to his extremities seems unrealistic. But Walker has regained 95 percent of the functions he lost when the first symptoms appeared. He now rides horses in competition and lives on a ranch outside Houston. His life is nearly ‘normal.’  If you count making your living performing on stage normal.

‘When you’re young, you feel like you’re going to live forever,’ Walker told Parade Magazine. ‘I don’t know at what age people realize that they aren’t always going to be here, but I’m grateful that the process was sped up for me. It pushed me to enjoy life more fully.’

The oldest of five kids, Walker started performing country music at local clubs at age 16. By the age of 23, he had his first recording contract. Three years later, he was diagnosed with MS. Now, he feels a responsibility to use his experiences to touch the lives of others. He now sees his purpose as connecting with all the people with whom he comes in contact, and encouraging fellow patients. ‘I really want to make connections with everyone, from family and friends, to strangers and fans,’ he said.

As far as fans, he’s most touched when fans with MS want to meet him after a concert. It bothers him when he hears that those patients aren’t doing everything they can to fight the disease. So in February 2003, he started the Band Against MS Foundation. Merchandise sold at his concerts helps fund it, plus Walker is hoping that fellow entertainers will help as well.

He wants people to know that MS doesn’t have to be disabling. ‘Having MS has changed the way I look at every person in the world,’ he told Parade. ‘But I never let MS stop me from performing or recording. I want people to know that you don’t have to give up your dreams with this disease.”

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.15)


Think about what it takes to demonstrate the proper responsibility in your life: to work, to family, to others, and to serve. I hope that, after reading this month’s article, you know a little more about responsibility and how you can further develop that attribute to Become The Man God Wants You To Be. Thanks for reading…


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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be #8, December 2020: Respect

If I am to become the man God wants me to be, I must develop the attribute of respect. Respect is “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability; deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment” ( The word “respect” appears 356 times in Scripture in 13 translations (

Respect is one of the attributes that the Heart of A Champion Character Development Program ( strives to develop in young people in its outreach program. Their written and video programs approach this under 4 subtopics: Respect for Others, Respect for Self, Respect for Those Different From You, and Respect for Authority. We shall use that same approach in discussing it here. Please consider …

Respect for Others

“What does it mean to be a person of respect? To respect someone means you respect who they are and what they stand for, even when you may not agree. Respect their ideas and philosophies, respect their freedoms, respect their standards and convictions, respect their boundaries, respect their possessions and property. Sometimes that even means respecting your opponent, adversary or competitor. That respect must be extended not only to those in authority or those who are not like you, but also to yourself.  At the heart of respect is an understanding of assigning value to everyone. Everyone is worthy of your respect, including yourself. An old saying tells us that we will ‘reap what we have sown’- meaning that we will receive whatever we give to others. Do you give respect? A life without respect given out will be a life without respect received. Respect is one of the most important traits for success in life today. It is also a trait that is missing from many aspects of our culture today. Through respect, we can show other they have value! How will you respond?” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.3)

Woodstone Elementary School

This school in San Antonio, Texas has created a plan to learn respect together. They created Courage Teams to stand up against bullying. Part of the program included a pledge that they created, committed to memory and recite every morning. The result has been A+. Their Pledge says,

“We are not just a class.


We promise to:

STAND UP against bullying and teasing.

STAND TOGETHER for anyone who is getting bullied.

STAND UP AND TELL AN ADULT to make sure the bullying stops.



Dr. Michael Hall

In 2002, Dr. Michael Hall published a book, The American Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Chivalry. C. Everett Koop, MD says of the book, “It has been said that the character of a man is like a tree and his actions, good or bad, determine the fruit. The American Gentleman strives to make life more fulfilling and is written to inspire men to adopt a personal philosophy for growth and maturity. Through observation, integrity, spiritual philanthropy, altruism and knowing reality is perception a state of character can be formed for self-improvement, but more than anything else, we learn how to consciously become more considerate of others. You will not find a thousand-and-one rules of etiquette or a guide to hedonism in this book. Instead, you will find a gentleman’s manifesto based on the life experiences and considerations of a cultured and professional American man seeking social civility and greater personal character.”


Readers’ reviews include words similar to this one, “Refreshing and wonderful guide for all men, young and old. Mothers, this book should be required reading for your boys. They will thank you throughout their lifetime for exposing them to these ideals and so will their future wives. Ladies, this book will help you raise your standards and hold men accountable for their behaviors. The author has smartly balanced themes of history, medical and psychological reference, spirituality, morality, with a twist of eroticism. I have a renewed and uncompromising hope in finding a proper gentleman to share my life with.”

Dr. Hall’s quest was “to write a book that provided answers to his own questions and discover the qualities necessary for developing personal character…. Hall believes that developing sound moral character is a key to social civility. He also says a gentleman must stand up for what he believes is right – at all times. By Hall’s definition , a gentleman walks through life in what he calls a ‘state of character,’ observing the needs and concerns of people around him, giving of himself freely without expecting anything in return and always doing what he believes to be right, recognizing his character is linked to his deeds. ‘Trying to achieve chivalric ideals is something we just don’t talk about,’ says Hall. ‘I think this idea of trying to assign gender-specific behavior is something we’re not comfortable with.’  … Hall’s book looks to past tradition to develop a current guide towards civility and respect. He encourages readers to improve their personal character and promotes this idea by asking the reader to focus on what is truly more important: loved ones, family and community. ‘Many men and women have become preoccupied with their own needs and have forgotten about others,’ he explains. ‘It’s time for men to rethink their priorities and make necessary changes to become an American gentleman.’ … Hall specifically points to the need for men to show respect for women – no matter who they are or what role they have in society – something he says has been largely abandoned in today’s culture. ‘By celebrating womanhood, a man remakes himself.’” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.6)

Respect for Self

“You are special, unique, and one-of-a-kind. There is no one else in the world just like you. Nobody else will ever be able to fill the purpose that you will fulfill. The world needs you and what you have to offer. One of life’s greatest challenges is to see yourself NOT as you perceive people view you. Rather, you need to see yourself for the true gifts and talents you possess, and see what you are on your way to becoming in the future. Each of us is a ‘work in progress’, so be patient with yourself. Don’t give up on yourself, and don’t give in to pressure to become something you’re not. Remind yourself that UR special, unique, and one-of-a-kind! U really R!” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.7)

Cheryl Green

Cheryl was born with a rare birth defect that left her unable to walk. For the first seven years of her life, The Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children became Cheryl’s virtual home. She underwent numerous surgeries that never really corrected her physical disabilities. She also had a childhood filled with abuse at the hands of her parents. In her twenty’s she was diagnosed with major depression. But Cheryl has fought to regain and maintain her self-respect despite these disadvantages. She says, “Through it all nothing ever took away the spirit to persevere.” She wrote a book, Child of Promise, in which she tells her story and of her motivation and dedication to overcome these disadvantages. She is now an advocate for those who are underrepresented. She graduated from Yale University with honors and has gone on to receive an advance degree in Psychology and serves on several boards of several non-profit organizations.

Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch

“She is a woman with a gift to lead and a passion for young people. Retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch rose from very humble beginnings to become a woman of significant influence. However, before she could have an impact on others, she needed to learn respect for herself.

Born and raised in a tiny port barrio in Laredo, Texas, Kickbusch overcame the severe challenges of poverty, discrimination and illiteracy to become a model of success. Breaking barriers and setting new standards in the military, Kickbusch rose to the position of senior officer and became the highest-ranking Hispanic woman in the Combat Support Field of the United States Army. Known as a charismatic, passionate and entertaining speaker, Kickbusch today takes her powerful life message of respect and leadership to colleges, corporations and government institutions in the United States and abroad….

During her distinguished military career, Kickbusch held a variety of demanding and critical leadership positions ranging from Executive Officer for Information Systems Command to Technical Advisor to the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center to Company Commander of an all-male platoon….

In 1996 Kickbusch was selected from 26,000 candidates to assume the post that would put her on track for General Office rank. She declined the honor, retired as a twenty-year veteran and founded Education Achievement Services to realize her personal dream of helping people of all ages succeed….

Such a distinguished career looked unlikely during Kickbusch’s upbringing. One of 10 children growing up in a poor family, she says she learned that self-respect has little to do with wealth or poverty…. ‘I grew up with what I call a set of core values. They were never negotiable.’

Much of Kickbusch’s foundation of values came from her mother who worked as a maid. Her model served to instill in Kickbusch a clear sense of self-respect. She recalls her mother telling her, ‘I don’t expect you to clean toilets. I expect you to, whatever you go after, to do it to the best of your ability.’

Her immigrant father also had a profound impact on her self-esteem and her perspective. ‘He said, ‘This is not my country, but it is yours. If you can give nothing to it, take nothing from it. We don’t come here for handouts. And if you must sacrifice something for it, even your life, then so be it.’

These words of wisdom stuck. From a core of self-respect, Kickbusch has not only realized personal success, she has also passed the lessons on to millions of others. ‘We can all make our dreams come true, to not give up hope, but rather to take charge of your lives,’ she says. ‘Make a real difference in your families and communities and follow a disciplined road map to success.’” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p. 9)

Respect for Those Different From You

“We live in a world of labels. There are designer labels on jeans, and brand labels on all kinds of products. In the world of buying and selling, labels are often how we can tell a good product from a bad product, but we also use labels on people. We label them by color, socio-economic status, and appearance. If we view them to be unlike us, they receive one label. If we see them as like us, they receive another label. Like clothing, one brand is accepted and the other is not. Yet people are not jeans or soft drinks. We talk loud and long about tolerance in our society today. But what does it mean to live a life of tolerance? It means that you accept someone just as they are, even if they look, act, or live in ways that are different from you. This is unconditional acceptance and it is what we all desire. Respect in someone means accepting them unconditionally and even celebrating their differences. Every day you have an opportunity to show respect to someone different than you, and in doing so, attach to that person true value. You can speak life and hope into them and you may be the only one in their life that will do so. How will U respond?” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.10)

Jerry Traylor

Jerry Traylor’s message is, “It’s not bad to be different.” Jerry has climbed mountains, run 35 marathons, and jogged across America from San Francisco to New York, all on crutches! He says, “I am a mirror. I want people to look at me and see their incredible potential!” Jerry is now a motivational speaker, traveling the country telling his life-changing story, to motivate others to believe in themselves and to let them know that a handicap does not need to hold them back from achieving their dreams.

Jerry was born with Cerebral Palsy. He spent more than a decade in the hospital going from one corrective surgery to the next. Even though Jerry was separated from his family, he always felt their love. After fourteen years of surgeries, Jerry went from not being able to walk, to being free to move with crutches. Even though his crutches allowed him to move around, he struggled for years with comparing himself to others.

Though he was different, Jerry soon realized that he too had a gift. Once he had his crutches, he knew his possibilities were endless. He says, “With these crutches, I’ve run a mile in 9 minutes and 29 seconds. With these crutches, I’ve climbed Pike’s Peak to 14,000 feet, I’ve jumped out of airplanes, and I’ve jogged across America. These crutches are a symbol of my ability. So you and I have to look at what we have regardless of what society thinks.”

Jerry says, “The incredible thing is that in our lives you and I tend to look at what we can’t do. We listen to everyone telling us what we can’t do. Why? Live Life, and love life, and learn! I do love exploring my potential and I do love being a role model for someone who says, ‘I don’t think I could do that.’ None of us are handicapped. We just need to remember that and go for it!”

Osama Shofani

“United States Marine Master Sergeant Shofani and his family moved in late 2001 from one community of California to another. MSgt. Shofani went through the usual routine of getting his utilities turned on at his new home. When he told the operator what he wanted to do, she asked him his name. When he responded, there was an extended pause on the other end. MSgt. Shofani knew the reason. His first name is Osama.

Two months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Shofani experienced prejudice for the first time in his life, all because he shared a first name with Osama Bin Laden, leader of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group. ‘Osama is a common first name in the Arab culture,’ MSgt. Shofani said. ‘It means Lion. In the Arab culture, you have the Catholic and Muslim religions.’

That MSgt. Shofani had served for more than 15 years in the Marine Corps at the time and had fought in two foreign conflicts, including the first Gulf War, did not help much. ‘In the beginning I was very frustrated,’ he said. ‘I had never faced prejudice. I had heard that it was out there, but I have never believed that it should stand in the way of achieving any goals you want to achieve. I still don’t. So that hit me hard. A year or two later, I started maturing. I decided that I could only educate, not retaliate. I started to ignore some of the things and educate people on the differences. I tried to take the high road.’

MSgt. Shofani was born in Jordan. His family moved to the United States when he was 10 years old. He says his parents taught him and his brother and sisters that it’s important what’s on a person’s inside, not his or her appearance….. MSgt. travels often for the Marines, and to lecture on Arab culture and language to soldiers…. He feels it’s his responsibility now to teach people about respecting others who may seem different. ‘I feel almost like an ambassador between two cultures. First of all as a Marine, teaching the Marines about the culture and sensitivity of that. Helping them understand what they think and why they do things. It’s a great position I’m in now. It’s taught me a lot.’” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.12)

Respect for Authority

“At times it can be a challenge to respect a person in authority. Often, we see authority figures as not respecting those whom they ae in authority over. We don’t feel they respect us. Still, respect comes under the law of ‘sowing and reaping,’ meaning whatever seed you plant is what you will grow. If you give respect to someone else, particularly one in authority, you will get it back in return. When authority figures are worthy of your respect, show them that respect and they will end up building positives into your life and give your respect back. These authority relationships we can grow from and grasp lessons that will last.”  (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.13)

Torii Hunter

Torii Hunter was one of the most electrifying players in baseball. He played both center field and right field. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Detroit Tigers from 1997 through 2015. Hunter was a five-time All-Star, won nine consecutive Gold Glove Awards as a center fielder, and was a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He was known for his jaw-dropping defensive plays. Many say he was the best defensive outfielder in the game during the years which he played.  

“Teammates, coaches, fans and even members of the media have consistently recognized Torii as one of the ‘good guys’ in sports. Not only did he have the natural ability to excel at baseball, but he is a man of great character. He is recognized as a man who demonstrates tremendous respect, both toward the game and toward people of all kinds….

Growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Torii and his family didn’t have very much money or material possessions. In a difficult situation, Torii’s mother made it a priority to instill respect in her children, believing it would take them far.

‘My mother taught us a lot about respect when I was growing up,’ says Torri. ‘She was determined that no matter what we had or didn’t have materially, one thing we would definitely have is respect.’

Much of Torii’s success in life can be traced back to the lessons he learned as a boy. Those who know him well say it is obvious Torii has not forgotten his humble beginnings. He frequently visits his friends and family in Pine Bluff, and helps out there through the Torii Hunter scholarship program which provides college scholarships to high school graduates from Pine Bluff and other parts of the country. Torri has learned that respecting others is the fastest way to earn their respect.” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.15)


Think about what it takes to demonstrate the proper respect in your life: for others, for yourself, for those different from you and for authority. I hope that, after reading this month’s article, you know a little more about respect and how you can further develop that attribute to Become The Man God Wants You To Be. Thanks for reading…


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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be #7, November 21, 2020: Perseverance


If I am to become the man God wants me to be, I must develop the attribute of perseverance. Perseverance is “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.” ( The word “perseverance” appears 25 times in Scripture in 10 translations ( Other words, similar in meaning, that are used by some translations in these 25 verses include: patience, patient continuance, endurance, longsuffering, steadfastness [your unflinching endurance, and patience]


The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says of the word, “Rare in Hellenistic Greek, prokarteresis occurs in the NT only at Eph. 6:18, where it refers to persistent, persevering prayer as part of the Christian’s spiritual armor. The related verb, proskartereo, underscores the element of steadfastness in the Christian life (cf. “devote oneself,” Acts 2:42; 6:4) and especially in prayer (cf. Acts 1:14; “to be constant,” Rom. 12:12; “continue steadfastly,” Col. 4:2). Throughout the NT Christians are exhorted to persist in prayer (e.g. Lk. 18:1-8; Phil. 4:6; IThess. 5:17” (p.776).


Perseverance is one of the attributes that the Heart of A Champion Character Development Program ( strives to develop in young people in its outreach program. Their written and video programs approach this under 4 subtopics: in adversity, in failure, against the odds, and with emotions. We shall use that same approach in discussing it here. Please consider …


Perseverance in Adversity


“There is no doubt that life is challenging. We will face trials, adversity, tragedy and failure at some point in our lives. Many of us will have bad things said about us that are untrue. Many of us will be hurt at some point, either physically or emotionally. If you have ever been discouraged; if you’ve ever felt like the odds are stacked against your; if you’ve ever wanted to quit, then remember you are not alone. Everyone around you has experienced one of those emotions at least once. Unfortunately some people in these circumstances simply give up. They walk away from their family, quit their job, leave their friends, or check out of life altogether. None of these are productive options. The fact is many people who walk away, quit, or check out have stopped just one step short of reaching their goal. The number one factor to succeeding in anything in life is perseverance. Everyone fails, but how many keep on going? Everyone falls down, but how many get back up? No matter who you are, no matter what you are facing, no matter how big the obstacles seem or how hard life feels, you can reach your goals, if you keep pressing on and don’t quit. Life is not a short sprint to the finish. It is a marathon, and those who endure to the end will receive a champion’s reward. Remember, it doesn’t really matter how or where you start, rather what matters most is that you finish. No matter how big the challenges in your life, you can make it if you NEVER GIVE UP!” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Perseverance, Volume 3, p.3)


Rudy Garcia-Tolson is an example of one who has overcome adversity to achieve his athletic goals. “Rudy was born with popliteal pterygium syndrome, resulting in a club foot, webbed fingers on both hands, a cleft lip and palate and the inability to straighten his legs. As a 5 year old wheelchair user, after 15 operations, he decided he would rather be a double amputee and walk with prosthetics. He had both legs removed above the knee…. In 2003, Garcia-Tolson was named one of Teen People Magazine’s “20 Teens Who Will Change the World”. He was the subject of The Final Sprint’s December 2006 “Success Story”; a monthly column that aims to highlight remarkable and factual accounts of runners who have overcome major obstacles and/or changed their lives via running.[18] He has won several awards, including the Arete Courage in Sports Award and the Casey Martin Award from Nike.[12] Following his success at Ironman Arizona, he was nominated for an ESPY Award in 2010.” (


Olivia Bennet is another example of one who has overcome many obstacles to become a world-renown artist. She also was named by Teen People Magazine as one of the “Twenty Teens who will Change the World when in 2004 when she was 15. Olivia was just 5 years old when doctors gave her parents the news that she had leukemia. Olivia immediately began chemotherapy and to take an experimental medication, Vincristine, which caused her hands to curl up into claws. Painting, though difficult at first, became a form of therapy for her. Eventually, at the age of 7, her hands healed and doctors said she was cancer free. “Olivia’s artistic talent blossomed into a passion and now it is her full-time profession. Olivia’s work received almost immediate critical acclaim. She sold her first painting at age 8 and had her first art show at age 10, where she sold 24 more paintings. Since then, Olivia’s status as an artist has taken on superstar proportions. She and her artwork have been featured in numerous magazines and newspaper articles, as well as appearing on television shows such as Oprah and the Today Show….. Olivia grew up in Southlake, Texas, where she was homeschooled through high school in a K-12 program offered by Texas Tech University….. Olivia’s story and artwork are featured in Mark Victor Hansen’s latest book, The Richest Kids in America….. Visit Olivia’s official website at to view an online gallery of her paintings.” (


Perseverance in Failure


“Everyone deals with failure. The most well-known people in the world have all failed – world leaders, business executives, educators, celebrities, and even parents! But all have gone on to accomplish great things after those failures. That is because they all realized that one thing everyone on the face of the planet has in common is failure. They also understood that failure is the training ground or foundation for real success. If you get knocked down by life, and stay down, you are always looking at things from the perspective of being down. But true champions always get up one more time than they have been knocked down. From that perspective, things always look better and you won’t miss opportunities. It all depends on your perspective. Persevere and let your failures become the foundation for future success. Never Give Up!” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Perseverance, Volume 3, p.7)


Tommy Maddox is an example of one who did not throw in the towel when he experienced failure. He was a #1 draft pick out of college in 1992, and was seemingly headed for stardom but then he failed. “At UCLA, Maddox played collegiately for two seasons and led UCLA to the John Hancock Bowl in 1991. The Denver Broncos drafted Maddox in the first round of the 1992 NFL Draft. Originally thought to be the successor to Broncos star quarterback John Elway, Maddox had an unimpressive record in his rookie year and saw limited playing time in his early NFL career. Before the 1994 season, the Broncos traded Maddox to the Los Angeles Rams, and Maddox would later join the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Atlanta Falcons. Maddox played under Coach Dan Reeves with the Broncos, Giants, and Falcons.


After being released by the Atlanta Falcons in 1997, Maddox became an insurance agent before making a comeback in professional football with the New Jersey Red Dogs of the Arena Football League in 2000. Maddox later became starting quarterback for the Los Angeles Xtreme of the XFL, a league that folded after one season. With the Xtreme, Maddox led the team to the Million Dollar Game championship and became league MVP for the season. Later that year, Maddox signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Originally as backup to Kordell Stewart, Maddox became the Steelers’ starting quarterback in 2002 and led the Steelers to a 10–5–1 record and a postseason run. For his achievements in 2002, the NFL named Maddox Comeback Player of the Year. After a 6–10 season in 2003, and an injury in week 2 against the Ravens in the 2004 season, Maddox again became a backup quarterback to Steelers first-round draft pick Ben Roethlisberger. In this backup role, Maddox earned a Super Bowl ring when Pittsburgh won Super Bowl XL after the 2005 season, beating the Seattle Seahawks. The 2005 season was also his final season as a professional football player. After retiring from football, Maddox became a youth baseball coach in his native Dallas/Fort Worth area” ( Tommy didn’t let failures stop him; instead he kept working and took advantage when other opportunities arose.


Abraham Lincoln is another example of one who continued to try in spite of repeated failures. “Below is one version of the so-called “Lincoln failures” list, shown in bold type. It’s often used to inspire people to overcome life’s difficulties with Lincoln as a model. Then look at the right column with other facts from Lincoln’s pre-presidential life. History professor Lucas Morel compiled this comparison from the Chronology in Selected Speeches and Writings/Lincoln by Don E. Fehrenbacher, ed., 1992.


1832 Lost job
Defeated for state legislature
Elected company captain of Illinois militia in Black Hawk War
1833 Failed in business Appointed postmaster of New Salem, Illinois
Appointed deputy surveyor of Sangamon County
1834   Elected to Illinois state legislature
1835 Sweetheart died  
1836 Had nervous breakdown Re-elected to Illinois state legislature (running first in his district)
Received license to practice law in Illinois state courts
1837   Led Whig delegation in moving Illinois state capital from Vandalia to Springfield
Became law partner of John T. Stuart
1838 Defeated for Speaker Nominated for Illinois House Speaker by Whig caucus
Re-elected to Illinois House (running first in his district)
Served as Whig floor leader
1839   Chosen presidential elector by first Whig convention
Admitted to practice law in U.S. Circuit Court
1840   Argues first case before Illinois Supreme Court
Re-elected to Illinois state legislature
1841   Established new law practice with Stephen T. Logan
1842   Admitted to practice law in U.S. District Court
1843 Defeated for nomination for Congress  
1844   Established own law practice with William H. Herndon as junior partner
1846   Elected to Congress
1848 Lost renomination (Chose not to run for Congress, abiding by rule of rotation among Whigs.)
1849 Rejected for land officer Admitted to practice law in U.S. Supreme Court
Declined appointment as secretary and then as governor of Oregon Territory
1854 Defeated for U.S. Senate Elected to Illinois state legislature (but declined seat to run for U.S. Senate)
1856 Defeated for nomination for Vice President  
1858 Again defeated for U.S. Senate  
1860   Elected President




Perseverance Against the Odds


“At some point we all come up against odds that seem too great to overcome. Many of us have been told we are not big enough, not smart enough, or just don’t have what it takes to achieve what we are after. Remember, anyone can tell you what you’re not. But true friends tell you what you are, and what you can become. A wise king once said, ‘As a person thinks within their heart, so they are’ meaning how we see ourselves is typically what we become. Do you see yourself as an overcomer? The seeds of greatness reside in everyone. Often is the very process of overcoming obstacles that builds us into life’s champions. The journey to get to the goal is always more significant than the result, for in the journey we recognize what we are truly made of, and who we really are. Don’t let obstacles deter you. Great things will come from the process, and even the pain associated with it. Press on and be an overcomer” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Perseverance, Volume 3, p.10).


Dana Bowman is an example of one who persevered against the odds. ”Dana Bowman has astounded the nation and the world with his drive, determination, and will to succeed. He is a retired Sergeant First Class with the U.S. Army where he was a Special Forces Soldier and a member of the U.S. Army’s elite parachute team, the Golden Knights. Dana Bowman is a double amputee. He lost his legs in an accident during the annual Golden Knights training in Yuma, Arizona, in 1994.


On February 6, 1994, Bowman gained worldwide attention when he and his teammate Sgt. Jose Aguillon collided in midair during the team’s annual training. Bowman and Aguillon were practicing a maneuver known as the Diamond Track. The maneuver calls for the jumpers to streak away from each other for about a mile and then turn 180 degrees and fly back toward each other crisscrossing in the sky. Bowman and Aguillon had demonstrated the Diamond Track more than fifty times without a mistake, but this time was different.


Rather than crisscrossing, the two skydivers slammed into each other at a combined speed of 300 miles per hour. Aguillon died instantly. Bowman’s legs were severed from his body, one above the knee and one below the knee. Bowman’s parachute opened on impact. He was taken to a hospital in Phoenix where doctors closed his leg wounds and stopped his internal bleeding.


Nine months later, he turned this tragedy into a triumph when he became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the United States Army. Bowman re-enlisted in the United States Army airborne style, skydiving with his commander into the ceremony, making his dream a reality. This achievement is just one example of Bowman’s many successes under adverse circumstances.


After Dana’s re-enlistment, he became the U.S. Parachute Team’s lead speaker and recruiting commander. Dana has been fortunate to have the opportunity to let his speeches touch so many from the physically challenged to the able-bodied. He strives to show physically challenged people can still work and excel in today’s society and military. Dana emphasizes the words amputee and uselessness are not synonymous.


 Dana has given more than 400 speeches in the last few years and has been featured in magazines such as Sports Illustrated, Reader’s Digest, People and many more. There have also been numerous television programs which focused on Dana and his story. Some of the programs include: Dateline, A Current Affair, Real TV, NBC Person of the Week, Day and Date and Extra.


Dana retired from the United States Army in 1996. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in commercial aviation at the University of North Dakota in May of 2000.


Dana spends a great deal of his personal time working with other amputees and disabled or physically challenged people. Dana inspires other amputees to walk again. His future plans are to continue to speak to the public and fly helicopters” (


Perseverance With Emotions


“When you were faced with your most difficult emotional challenge, what did you do? What thoughts crossed your mind in finding a solution? What did you do? Did you respond or were you emotionally paralyzed? Fear often does paralyze us, and most often the emotional challenges we face are more difficult than the challenges that are physical. However, nothing is ever really too big that you can’t find a solution. In every challenge, there is always a way out without a life being lost. It’s ok to wrestle with your emotions, and it’s ok to talk with someone about your feelings. But even in the most dark of days, things will get better. It’s normal to wrestle with your emotions. If you experience some tough emotional times, you can persevere, and it’s ok to ask for help. So don’t hesitate to talk to someone trustworthy … about what you are dealing with. Remember you are valuable, unique, and one of a kind. This world needs you! So, when things are emotionally difficult, don’t give up!” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Perseverance, Volume 3, p.13)


Laura Hillenbrand is an example of one who persevered with emotions. Hillenbrand is the author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend, which was published in 2001 and then became the basis for the feature film Seabiscuit in 2003. She was able to write despite “suffering through a terrifying 10-year cycle of health problems” that began in 1987.


“She was diagnosed with CFS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Experts describe the illness as a complex disorder characterized by debilitating fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. It affects blood pressure, weakens the immune system and can make mental concentration all but impossible. Victims often feel useless and defeated. Many give up hope of regaining a normal life. Because of her illness, Hillenbrand had to drop out of school and was unable to handle the rigors of full-time work. She was in despair.”


But as she researched the book, she identified with characters she encountered. She already had a love for horses and wrote for equine magazines. “Hillenbrand attacked writing the story with all the passion she could muster. Writing was a way to momentarily escape her circumstances and the pain of her existence. ‘I got very emotionally involved in telling this story,’ she remembers. ‘Living in my own subjects bodies, I forgot about mine. My emotions would mirror whatever part of the story I was researching on a particular day.’ In addition to the numerous honors and critical acclaim that her book gained, she was provided a platform to spread awareness of CFS. It gave her renewed hope and purpose. “She had found a door of opportunity for a new life. ‘When I was writing, I became a storyteller, not an invalid. My entire life wasn’t oriented around my body. My life had a purpose to it … I felt like I was living for the people I was writing about … The whole world is new to me.’” ((Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Perseverance, Volume 3, p.13)


Think about what it takes to persevere in adversity, in failure, against the odds, and with your emotions. I hope that, after reading this month’s article, you know a little more about perseverance and how you can further develop that attribute to Become The Man God Wants You To Be. Thanks for reading…



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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be #6, October 17, 2020: Servanthood

What Does The Bible Say About Servanthood?

The Bible has much to say about having a servant’s heart. One of those “teaching moments” that Jesus had with his apostles was when the mother of James and John came to Jesus to ask a favor. Here is the Scripture account:

20 Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. 21 “What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” 22 But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” 23 Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.” 24 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. 25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:21-28, NLT)

Consider also the following passages:

Luke 22:27 ESV: For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

John 12:26 ESV: If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

Ephesians 5:21 ESV: Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

1 Peter 2:16 ESV: Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

Mark 9:35 ESV: And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Mark 10:42-45 ESV: And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45 ESV: For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV: For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Galatians 5:13 ESV: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

1 Peter 4:10 ESV: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

Philippians 2:5-8 ESV: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Matthew 23:11 ESV: The greatest among you shall be your servant.

How Does This Contrast With What The World Say About Servanthood?

“The world encourages personal ambition and pride. As the saying goes, ‘He who dies with the most toys wins.’ We live to compete and succeed. We want to be first. We want to be the boss. Our bumper stickers boast of our achievements. Our walls are decorated by our diplomas.

Is it possible that God desires something far greater for us than our own personal ambition? Yes it is, and yes He does. This greater thing that God wills is to be found in the most unlikely of places, a place to which most of us would never look at all: servanthood.

The world does not think highly of servants. To be a servant is to be in the lowliest of positions. No one boasts of their job as a servant. In fact, most people would be ashamed to be called servant. However, we do not live for the opinions or applause of man, but of God. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, what does God say on the subject? What does the Bible say about servanthood?” (

Here Are Some Real Actionable Steps We Can Take!

Leadership authority, Dr. John Maxwell, says that “to embody the quality of servanthood, a true leader:

1. “Puts Other’s Ahead of His Own Agenda….

2. “Possesses the Confidence to Serve….

3. “Initiates Service to Others….

4. “Is Not Position-Conscious….

5. “Serves Out of Love….”

He then suggests, “To improve your servanthood do the following:

  • Perform small acts of kindness for others that show you care
  • Learn to walk slowly through the crowd…. Make it your goal to connect with others by circulating among them and talking to people. Focus on each person you meet…..Make your agenda getting to know each person’s needs, wants and desires….
  • Move into action….Begin serving with your body and your heart will eventually catch up….

(The 21 Indispensable Qualities Of A Leader, John C. Maxwell, pp. 136-139)


We can all probably think of people in our lives who have demonstrated the characteristic of servanthood. I always think of my Dad who selflessly served others as he preached the gospel for forty-nine years (1957-2006). He preached in many small, struggling churches and worked as a welder, to support himself as he preached. He was not one to get discouraged easily and was a great role model.

In her book When Character Was King, Peggy Noonan gives many examples in the life of former President Ronald Reagan that demonstrated his servant’s heart. Also, in an article titled, “The Quiet Grace of Ronald Wilson Reagan” by Craig Shirley and Frank Donatelli, that appeared in the October 19, 2016 Wall Street Journal, they give an example of his personal grace, “Over the course of his life, the Gipper sent thousands of letters to fans, friends and even opponents, many of whom remember his personal grace. During his stay in the hospital, recovering from the assassination attempt, nurses were astonished to find Reagan one day on his hands and knees, cleaning up some water he had spilled. The leader of the free world was wiping the floor so no one else would have to do it” (

Serving others is a recognized step in the recovery process. In the Celebrate Recovery Eight  Principles, Principle 8 says, “Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.” Step Twelve of the Twelve Steps of Recovery says, “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” This step is based upon Galatians 6:1, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” This is all about giving back; about servanthood!

I hope these thoughts will help you in becoming the man that God wants you to be. Thanks for reading ….


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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be #5, September 9, 2020: Passion

If I am to become the man God wants me to be, I must face life with passion. Passion is “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate… a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything” (

Leadership guru John Maxwell says, “Experts spend a lot of time trying to figure out what makes people successful. They often look at people’s credentials, intelligence, education, and other factors. But more than anything else, passion makes the difference. David Sarnoff of RCA maintains that ‘nobody can be successful unless he loves his work.’”

He proceeds to list “four truths about passion and what it can do for you as a leader:

1. Passion is the First Step to Achievement. Desire determines your destiny…. Anyone who lives beyond an ordinary life has great desire…..

2. Passion Increases Your Willpower…. Passion “is the fuel for the will. If you want anything badly enough, you can find the willpower to achieve it. The only way to have that kind of desire is to develop passion….

3. Passion Changes You. If you follow your passion – instead of other’s perceptions – you can’t help becoming a more dedicated, productive person. And that increases your ability to impact others….

4. Passion Makes the Impossible Possible…. A leader with great passion and few skills always outperforms a leader with great skills and no passion” (The 21 Indispensable Qualities of A Leader, pp. 83-85).

Brian Biro uses the word “enthusiasm” to describe this attribute which he says was one of the two “foundational cornerstones” of Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. The other was “industriousness.” He says, “To fully achieve the best of which you’re capable, you must love what you do. Industriousness and enthusiasm are inextricably bound together. Hard work without enthusiasm leads to tedium. Enthusiasm without industriousness leads to unrealized potential. When they are present together, they cement a solid foundation leading to success

He says there are three primary targets for your enthusiasm: people, fundamentals, and learning.

(Beyond Success, p. 62-63)

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says this about passion, as it is used in Scripture:

“’Passion’ is derived from Latin passio, which in turn is derived from the verb patior, with the root, pat-. The Latin words are connected with the Greek root, path-, which appears in a large number of derivatives. And in Greek, Latin, and English (with other languages in addition) words connected with this root, pat-, path-, are often susceptible of a great variety of meanings, for which the dictionaries must be consulted. For ‘passion,’ however, as it appears in English Versions of the Bible, only three of these meanings need be considered.

(1) Close to what seems to be the primary force of the root is the meaning ‘suffer,’ and in this sense ‘passion’ is used in Acts 1:3,’ ‘to whom he also showed himself alive after his passion.’  This translation is a paraphrase (Greek: ‘after he had suffered’), due to the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) (post passionem suam), and in English is as old as Wycliff, whom the subsequent English Versions of the Bible has followed. This is the only case in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) where ‘passion’ has this meaning, and it can be so used in modern English only when referring (as here) to the sufferings of Christ (compare ‘Passion play’).

(2) ‘Suffering,’  when applied to the mind, came to denote the state that is controlled by some emotion, and so ‘passion’ was applied to the emotion itself. This is the meaning of the word in Acts 14:15, ‘men of like passions,’ and James 5:17, ‘a man of like passions,’ Greek homoiopathes; the Revised Version margin ‘of like nature’ gives the meaning exactly:

‘men with the same emotions as we.’

(3) From ‘emotion’ a transition took place to ‘strong emotion,’ and this is the normal force of ‘passion’ in modern English the King James Version does not use this meaning, but in the Revised Version (British and American) ‘passion’ in this sense is the translation of pathos, in its three occurrences:

Romans 1:26 (the King James Version ‘affection’); Colossians 3:5 (the King James Version ‘inordinate affection’); 1 Thessalonians 4:5 (the King James Version ‘lust’).

It is used also for two occurrences of pathema (closely allied to pathos) in Romans 7:5(the King James Version ‘motions,’ the King James Version margin ’passions’) and in Galatians 5:24 (the King James Version ‘affection’). The fixing of the exact force in any of these cases is a delicate problem fully discussed in the commentaries. In Colossians 3:5 only does ‘passion’ stand as an isolated term. The context here perhaps gives the word a slight sexual reference, but this must not be overstressed; the warning probably includes any violent over-emotion that robs a man of his self-control.”


Burton Scott Easton

(Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. “Entry for ‘PASSION, PASSIONS'”. “International Standard Bible Encyclopedia”. 1915.) 

Bestselling authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz refer to this quality/attribute as “Spiritual Energy.” They maintain that, “The quantity of energy we have to spend at any given moment is a reflection of our physical capacity. Our motivation to spend what we have is largely a spiritual issue. Fundamentally, spiritual energy is a unique force for action in all dimensions of our lives. It is the most powerful source of our motivation, perseverance and direction. We define ‘spiritual’ not in the religious sense, but rather in more simple and elemental terms: the connection to a deeply held set of values and to a purpose beyond our self-interest. At the practical level, anything that ignites the human spirit serves to drive full engagement and to maximize performance in whatever mission we are on. The key muscle that fuels spiritual energy is character – the courage and conviction to live by our values, even when doing so requires personal sacrifice and hardship. Supportive spiritual muscles include passion, commitment, integrity and honesty” (The Power of Full Engagement, p. 110) (Underlining is mine – RS).

Let’s encourage one another to approach life, and especially our roles as spiritual leaders in our families and in the church, with passion. God expects no less of us!

Thanks for reading.


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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be #4, May 17, 2019: Courage

If I am to become the man God wants me to be, I must evidence courage in the face of challenges. The word courage, courageous, or courageously appears 26 times in the KJV of the Bible. In other translations the word may appear as many as 116 times. There are many ways that we must be strong and courageous, but I would like for you to consider three: courage to confront, courage to change, and courage to say no.

In the King James Version the word “courage” appears in the following (20) passages:

Numbers 13:20 – And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes.

Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Deuteronomy 31:7 – And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.

Deuteronomy 31:23 – And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.

Joshua 1:6 – Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

Joshua1:9 – Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Joshua 1:18 – Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.

Joshua 2:11 – And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

Joshua 10:25 – And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.

2 Samuel10:12 – Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.

1Chronicles 19:13 – Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight.

1Chronicles 22:13 – Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.

1Chronicles 28:20 – And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.

2 Chronicles – 15:8 – And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD.

Ezra 10:4 – Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it.

Psalm 27:14 – Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Psalm 31:24 – Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Isiah 41:6 – hey helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.

Daniel 11:25 – And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him.

Acts 28:15 – And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.

In the King James Version the word “courageous” appears in the following (5) passages:

Joshua 1:7 – Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.

Joshua 23:6 – Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;

2 Samuel 13:28 – Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.

2 Chronicles 32:7 – Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:

Amos 2:16 – And he that is courageous among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, saith the LORD.

In the King James Version the word “courageously” appears in the following (1) passage:

2 Chronicles 19:11 – And, behold, Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the LORD; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king’s matters: also the Levites shall be officers before you. Deal courageously, and the LORD shall be with the good.

The Courage to Confront

Confrontation is hardly ever pleasant, but the Scriptures teach that, if we encounter someone who is in danger, we will warn them of that danger.  We are instructed, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important” (Galatians 6:1-3, NLT). And in another passage, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-21, NKJV).

In the Old Testament the watchman was charged with the responsibility to watch for any approaching enemy. If one was observed he was to sound warning so that precautions could be taken to defend the city. Notice how his responsibility is described in Ezek. 33:1-6, “Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’

Sometimes our attempts, to confront one in love to turn from their sins, are met with resistance or outright hostility. The Scriptures provide the example for further discipline if this occurs (See Matthew 18:15-17). In such situations, truly courage must be manifested in order to do what is right.

The Courage to Change

The humility to change, when sin is evident in our lives, requires courage. The determination to change, when our behavior is harming others, requires courage. The sincerity of heart to change when we are bringing reproach upon our physical and spiritual family requires courage.

The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr captures the essence of this courage to change (emphasis by underlining and highlighting added by me):

Prayer for Serenity

God, grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,

enjoying one moment at a time;

accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;

taking, as Jesus did,

this sinful world as it is,

not as I would have it;

trusting that You will make all things right

if I surrender to Your will;

so that I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely happy with You forever in the next.


The Courage to Say No

It requires courage to say no when you are asked to serve in some way, but you know that “your plate is full” and that you cannot give any additional task the justice it deserves. Saying no in a conflict situation when you are a “conflict avoider” requires courage. And saying no to not enable inappropriate behavior of one you love takes a great deal of courage.

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend have a great deal to say about saying no in their book Boundaries:

“Made in the image of God, we were created to take responsibility for certain tasks. Part of taking responsibility, or ownership, is knowing what our job is and what it isn’t. Any confusion of responsibility and ownership in our lives is a problem of boundaries. Just as  homeowners set physical property lines around their land, we need to set mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual boundaries for our lives to help us distinguish what is our responsibility and what isn’t” (pp.24-25).

“Some people become so accustomed to others rescuing them that they begin to believe that their well-being is someone else’s problem” (119).

“Dysfunctional families are known for a certain type of boundary problem called ‘triangulation.’ Triangulation is the failure to resolve a conflict between two persons and the pulling in of a third to take sides. This is a boundary problem because the third person has no business in the conflict but is used for comfort and validation by the ones who are afraid to confront each other” (p. 129).

“Teens need to be setting their own relational, scheduling, values, and money boundaries as much as possible. And they should suffer real-life consequences when they cross their boundaries. The seventeen-year-old who still needs to be disciplined with social media and phone restrictions may have real problem at college in one year. Professors, deans, and residence hall assistants don’t impose these kinds of restrictions; they resort to tactics such as failing grades, suspension, and expulsion…. When their ability to say and hear no is deficient, clarifying house rules and consequences can often help in the last few years before the youth leave home. Symptoms such as the following, however, may indicate a more serious problem:

  • Isolation of the teen from family members
  • Depressed mood
  • Rebellious behavior
  • Continual conflict in family
  • Wrong type of friends
  • School problems
  • Eating disorders
  • Alcohol use
  • Drug use
  • Suicidal ideas or behavior

Many parents, observing these problems, react with either too many boundaries or too few. The too-strict parent runs the risk of alienating the almost-adult from the home connection. The too-lenient parent wants to be the child’s best friend at a time the teen needs someone to respect. At this point, parents should consider consulting a therapist who understands teen issues. The stakes are simply too high to ignore professional help” (p.192)

Truths About Courage

Leadership guru John Maxwell says, “As you approach the tough decisions that challenge you, recognize these truths about courage:

  1. Courage Begins with an Inward Battle
  2. Courage Is Making Things Right, Not Just Smoothing Them Over
  3. Courage in a Leader Inspires Commitment from Followers
  4. Your Life Expands in Proportion to Your Courage

(The 21 Indispensable Qualities Of A Leader, John C. Maxwell, pp. 40-41)


Much more could be said about the attribute of courage that we need to possess as we seek to become the men that God wants us to be. But I hope these words have been thought-provoking and that, in some small way, they may help you with your Christian walk. For that is the purpose of this website.

Thanks for reading …


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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be: Volume 3, Number 3, January 18, 2019: Commitment

What is Commitment?

Commitment is defined by Merriam Webster as: “1. an agreement or pledge to do something in the future, 2. a commitment to a cause.” ( Cambridge English Dictionary says it is “a promise to give yourself, your money, your time, etc., to support or buy something” ( The Urban Dictionary expands upon these definitions by adding, “Commitment is what transforms the promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions and the actions which speak louder than the words. It is making the time when there is none; coming through time after time after time, year after year after year. Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.” (

Under the word “commit,” the ISBE lists passages that use the Hebrew words galal, paqad, natan, and sim (Job. 5:8; Ps. 10:14; 22:8; Jer. 11:20; 20:12; Ezek. 27:24; Isa. 22:21; and Lev. 6:14). Also there are passages where the Greek words paradidomi, paratithemi, and didomi, are found (Lk. 23:46; Acts 8:3; 14:23; Rom. 6:17; 1Tim. 1:18; 2Pet. 2:4; and Rev. 20:4). Then, by way of explanation, it is stated, “In these references, “commit” is used in the sense ‘entrust.’” (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, G. W. Bromiley, General Editor, Volume One, p. 751).

Though the Bible does not contain the word “commitment,” it certainly does have a great deal to say about the concept of commitment. To convey this idea of “a promise to give yourself to support a cause,” The Bible uses words like “faithful” (Lk. 16:10-13), “doer” (Js. 1:20-25), “works” (Js. 4:14-26), “boldness” (Phil. 1:20; 1Thess. 2:2), etc. If we are to become the men that God wants us to be, we must be men of commitment.

The Heart of A Champion Foundation tells those that are enrolled in its Character Development Program, “It is challenging to be a person of commitment today because we live in a world where commitment seems to have little value. Yet, clearly, those who are committed to relationships, their jobs, and upholding a standard of honesty are those who achieve the greatest and most long-lasting success and personal fulfillment…. Your commitments are tested on a daily basis. You have been given great talents and abilities. But crossing the finish line will depend on your level of commitment. Quitting is always hardest the first time. From then on, it becomes easier and easier. Don’t quit! Be a person of commitment and GO THE DISTANCE!” (Heart Of A Champion Character Development Program, “Commitment,” p. 3)

Consider the following areas where we can demonstrate commitment and some examples Of people who have done just that  …

Commitment to What is Right

The story of Louis Zamperini is pretty unbelievable. He is perhaps most well known for being a Japanese prisoner of war survivor. But prior to his war exploits, Zamperini was known as an athlete who took up running in high school and participated for the US in the 5,000 meter race in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. In 1941, he was commissioned into the United States Army Air Forces as a lieutenant. He served as a bombardier in B-24 Liberators in the Pacific. On a search and rescue mission, mechanical difficulties forced Zamperini’s plane to crash into the ocean. After drifting at sea for 47 days, he landed on the Japanese occupied Marshall Islands and was captured. He was taken to a prison camp in Japan where he was tortured. Following the war he initially struggled to overcome his ordeal. In a televised interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network in 2003, Zamperini related that after the war, he had nightmares about strangling his former captors and began drinking heavily, trying to forget his experiences as a POW. While attending one of the evangelistic crusades led by Billy Graham in Los Angeles, he was reminded of his prayers during his time on the life raft and imprisonment, and Zamperini recommitted his life to Christ. Following this, he forgave his captors, and his nightmares ceased.

Later Graham helped Zamperini launch a new career as an evangelist. One of his recurring themes was forgiveness, and he visited many of the guards from his POW days to let them know that he had forgiven them. This included an October 1950 visit to Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, where many war criminals were imprisoned, and where he expressed forgiveness to them. Zamperini told CBN that some became Christians in response. Zamperini’s life story has been captured in the biography by Laura Hillenbrand Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption and the hit movie Unbroken.

“It is said that when we forgive, it is as if we are releasing someone from a sort of ‘mental prison’ that we create for them. This is true, but it is also true that we release something within ourselves when we forgive. When unforgiveness remains in us, it simmers into bitterness, and bitterness will eat away at your soul. According to medical professionals, bitterness can cause depression and even lead to various physical maladies. But when we forgive, we release that bitterness, and in so doing, release ourselves from our own ‘emotional prison’. A commitment to do what is right means a commitment to forgive others. When you forgive, you are embodying the greatest act of love and power you can ever know. So do the right thing. Go the distance in your relationships by forgiving others.” (Heart Of A Champion Character Development Program, “Commitment,” p. 4)

Joe Ehrmann is another example of one who has a commitment to what is right. Ehrmann has developed a program called Building Men for Others, utilizing his 13-year career as a defensive lineman in the NFL and his 10-years’ experience as a volunteer high school defensive line coach. He works to tear down stereotypes that are common criteria for manhood: athletic ability, sexual conquest, and financial success. He says, “These standard, consistently set young men up for failure. It gives this concept that what we need to do as men is compare what we have and compete with others for what they have. Ultimately, as adults, we compare bank accounts and job titles, houses and cars, and we compete for the amount of security and power that those represent. We compare; we compete. That’s all we ever do. It leaves most men feeling isolated and alone. And it destroys any concept of community.”

Ehrmann offers an alternative, what he calls “strategic masculinity.” In his definition, manhood is based on two keys: relationships and having a cause beyond yourself. He “reinforces these principles through stories and lessons about being a man built for others. Serving others, empathy, inclusion and integrity are preached. A code of conduct is emphasized: accepting responsibility, leading courageously, enacting justice on behalf of others. Team rules are unorthodox: no player should allow another student to sit by himself in the lunchroom; no boy is ever cut from the team; every senior plays; coaches must always teach by building up rather than tearing down.” (Heart Of A Champion Character Development Program, “Commitment,” p. 6)

Commitment to People

Clayton Lillard is an example of one who has a commitment to people. Clayton, while still an elementary school student, had a dream of helping children. Clayton discovered he could salvage old bicycle parts to build refurbished bikes for needy children. Writes Linda Owen, “It all began in 1998 when he found two battered bikes on top of a pile of brush in his San Antonio neighborhood. The thought hit him: It would be really great to fix up those bikes and give them to kids who don’t have one….  Since that first year, “Clayton’s Backyard Crew” has repaired and donated more than 600 bikes through area churches’ Angel Tree ministries, which give Christmas presents to kids who have a parent in jail. ‘The kids think the bikes are from their incarcerated parent,’ says Clayton, now 16. ‘That’s OK with me. Just seeing the excitement on their faces as they realize ‘My Daddy loves me!’ is the best reward.’ Whenever he can, Clayton makes sure they know their Heavenly Father loves them, too; and that’s why Jesus was born. ‘This was God’s idea,’ says Clayton. ‘He just allowed me to be the instrument that he used to bring his love to the children.’” (

Clayton says this on his go fund me page, “In 1999, at the age of 10, and with the essential help of my mother, Vicki Gil, I founded a community project called Clayton’s Backyard Crew (CBC).  Originally, we received bicycle donations from around the city of San Antonio and would restore them to be delivered as Christmas gifts for children of incarcerated parents.   Over the next 14 years we were able to successfully donate over 1,200 bicycles to these at risk youth.  We’ve been on a brief hiatus (I moved out of state for college and have since settled down in Austin, TX) but we are bringing CBC back into operation for 2014!” His current status shows $1,285 raised of $7,500 goal, with no donations made in 50 months. (

“So many people say they want to help those who are needy, but few ever actually do it. All around you there are people with serious needs – physical, emotional, spiritual. But what they most need is to know that someone cares about them. That doesn’t happen because of one phone call, letter visit, or extended hand of assistance. It happens when we turn one call, one visit, one letter, or one extended hand into a series of them reflecting a longer-term commitment. People need to know someone is committed to them. This gives them hope. Spouses, children, friends, the needy – all those in your relationship circle throughout your lifetime need to know you will be there for them. Your commitment shows them that there is at least one person who will be there for them. Nothing provides them greater human comfort. Remember, a champion looks for opportunities to make the lives of those around them better. R U Committed?” (Heart Of A Champion Character Development Program, “Commitment,” p. 7)

Ruth Jones is another example of one who has a commitment to people. Jones’ work with the Henry Paideia Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has earned her numerous honors, awards and accolades, as well as visits from former Michigan Governor John Engler and President George W. Bush. From 1994 to 2004 she was responsible for taking the inner-city school from the brink of closure, because of poor academic performance to a top-performing institution.

“Jones began a multi-faceted approach to change. She began to address the constant sadness and depression she saw in students. She also addressed their practical needs. It was common for many children to come to school dirty, so Jones had four washing machines and dryers installed at school. Children were now able to have clean clothes, which kept them from what Jones saw as unnecessary embarrassment. Eventually Jones instituted school uniforms for all students, which she said made an almost immediate impact. The reduced peer pressure related to clothing translated into reduced conflict.”

“The keys to her success, say her peers, are Jones’ ability to care for each student and her commitment to give her students the same quality of life as children from wealthier neighborhoods. ‘We act like just because a child is poor, they are going to be able to do without all the things our kids have and be the same as our kids and out all right,’ Jones says. ‘We so nothing, we reap nothing.’ (Heart Of A Champion Character Development Program, “Commitment,” p. 9)

Commitment to the Truth

Mack White made some very bad choices that landed him in a juvenile justice facility in Texas for three years. While incarcerated he was forced to confront some difficult truths that led him to change his heart and become a more productive citizen. With the help of Mike and Carmen Studer, who asked Mack to come and live with them, he gained confidence and came to appreciate that nothing is impossible if you are willing to face the most difficult truths about yourself. Mack’s story is woven through the movie entitled One Heart. The website says this about the story that forms the basis of the movie and of Mack White’s story that is part of the movie. “Based on the real-life events surrounding a 2008 high school football game, One Heart is the amazing story of the players and coaches from Gainesville State School and Grapevine Faith – two groups from diverse backgrounds whose paths cross to create life-changing hope and inspiration for both teams. Two Teams. Two Cultures. One Heart.

“Reminiscent of The Blind Side, Remember the Titans, Hoosiers, and Chariots of Fire, One Heart is a moving story that transcends sports, touches the heart and shows how a simple act of compassion creates a powerful and lasting impact. One Heart demonstrates the power of unconditional love to transform lives. The film is targeted to both adult and teen audiences as well as the family film audience.

“At the conclusion of the movie, the audience will have the opportunity to join the One Heart Movement and impact a forgotten population of juvenile offenders. The One Heart Project is a public charity that provides a second chance to incarcerated and at-risk youth, through service partners in communities across America, by connecting those activated by the movie.

“The One Heart movie is being produced by Eterné Films in association with Birchwood Pictures…..”

“Mack White experienced first-hand what it is like to be a part of the “cradle to the cage” pipeline. Mack was born into the circumstances and cruelty of inner city life in Houston’s toughest neighborhood only to end up in prison, a two-time felon, at the age of 16. Mack never denies his part in this tragedy, but is convinced that there are ways to keep others from making the same choices and break the cycle. Kids born into cultural depravity are making adult decisions, life altering decisions, at ages as young as 10. With that in mind, Mack is on a mission to teach every kid in America that when opportunity is rare and life’s not fair, preparation is the only way out of his or her snare. Because of Mack’s leadership for good in prison, he earned a reputation that gave him an opportunity to be mentored by a Faith Christian School family who attended the football game that launched this movie. He now lives with this family in Flower Mound and in seven short months he: has obtained his Driver’s license, has begun working, has bought a truck, is working on his GED, has become the domestic spokesperson for Touch A Life Foundation, which works to saves kids in Africa and around the world from slavery, has become a consultant on the movie One Heart. He has recently signed a contract with Kim Dawson Talent and Modeling Agency in Dallas. Mack’s Character is woven throughout movie.

“Mack is now being mentored as a public speaker by Victor Marx.”


“Truth, no matter how difficult, is worth standing for at great personal cost. But when we are presented with the truth, we must act upon it. Every truth demands our response, our action. It takes great character to uphold the truth, especially when the truth is difficult to face. BUT YOU CAN DO IT!” (Heart Of A Champion Character Development Program, “Commitment,” p. 10)

Carlos Beltran, at the age of 17, was selected in the second round of the June 1995 Free Agent Draft by the Kansas City Royals. He made his major league debut in 1998 and in his first full year in 1999, he won the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Beltran had dreamed of playing in the major leagues from the time he was 5 years old and promised his parents, “When I get to the big leagues, I am going to buy you a new home.” After the end of the 2002 season, Beltran and his wife Jessica, returned to Puerto Rico, and under the guise of buying the house for themselves, sought the parent’s guidance in selecting items for the house. During a family party on Christmas Eve, Carlos and Jessica presented the house to his parents.

Commitment to Doing Your Best

Sheila Burrell had a dream to be an Olympic gold medalist on the track. She had many of the tools that she needed to achieve her dream: athletic ability, the coaching and the desire. The only thing holding her back was a commitment to do her best.

She did make a commitment to do her best. Sheila competed in the heptathlon. The women’s outdoor heptathlon consists of the following events, with the first four contested on the first day, and the remaining three on day two:

100 meters hurdles

High jump

Shot put

200 meters

Long jump

Javelin throw

800 meters

Sheila was a two-time representative of the United States at the Summer Olympics, competing in 2000 and 2004. Her best Olympic finish was fourth place. She also competed twice at the World Championships in Athletics, which included a bronze medal in 2001. She was also a two-time silver medalist at the 1999 Pan American Games. Her personal best for the heptathlon was 6472 points and she was American national champion on four occasions.

Sheila was disappointed at many of her early performances but she was motivated by the knowledge that there were many who had better records that she beat at the Athens games in 2004. She recognizes that her performance does not define her and she still pushes herself to be the best even though she has retired as a heptahalete. She now coaches women’s track at San Diego State

Drake Hills said of her in a recent article,

“Even in moments of adversity, like the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, injury couldn’t stop Burrell from finishing. After hurting her knee and no-heighting on her first attempt in the high jump, Burrell completed each event, finishing 26th while earning the respect of opponents.

Such character and competitiveness have spilled into Burrell’s coaching career, with stops at Cal State Northridge, Kansas State and Georgetown before she arrived at San Diego State.

“In the end,” Burrell said, “the goal is always for us to finish top 25, win conference indoor and outdoor, and qualify as many athletes as possible for the NCAA finals.

“The goals are the same.”

(“Former heptathlete Burrell ‘creating success’ as SDSU track coach,” by Drake Hills, San Diego Union-Tribune, June 4, 2018 )

Fallon Taylor was blessed with both supermodel looks and world-class rodeo riding skills. During her pre-teen and teen years, she set many barrel racing records and earned more than $250,000. When she was 17, she gave up her barrel racing and moved to New York to focus on another career she had fallen in love with, modeling. But after six years of modelling, Fallon decided that she missed her barrel racing so much that she moved back to her parents’ home in Texas in 2004 to concentrate on both interests.

Fallon broke her C-2 vertebrae in her neck in a horse accident in 2009 but after recovering from that went on to other rodeo successes. She won the World Champion Barrel Race at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in 2014. In addition to barrel racing she has also been a New York model and was the Axe body spray girl, made appearances on several TV shows including Two and a Half Men and started her own clothing company – with her two best friends in 2014.


“It is the ultimate dichotomy. Taylor goes from thousands of dollars a day shoots in which she wears elegant outfits and spends hours getting her hair and makeup done, to throw on jeans and cowboy boots and riding horses inside a smelly arena…. Continuing in both professions is grueling, however, Taylor wouldn’t have it any other way. She remains committed to giving her all to make the dual-career work. This once child prodigy is still young a young star on the rise making every day count.” (Heart Of A Champion Character Development Program, “Commitment,” p. 15)


Think about what it takes to demonstrate commitment to what is right, to people, to the truth, and to doing your best. How will you use these examples to motivate your own commitment? John Maxwell tells the story of Michelangelo and the extreme commitment that it took for him to complete the painting of four hundred figures and nine scenes from the book of Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Very likely we will not be asked to make a commitment of that magnitude. Maxwell says Commitment means different things to different people, “To the boxer, it’s getting off the mat one more time than you’ve been knocked down. To the marathoner, it’s running another ten miles when your strength is gone. To the soldier, it’s going over the hill, not knowing what’s waiting on the other side. To the missionary, it’s saying good-bye to your own comfort to make life better for others. To the leader, it’s all that and more because everyone you lead is depending on you.” (The 21 Indispensable Qualities of A Leader, pp. 16-18).   

Won’t you be the man that God wants you to be by showing commitment like Jesus did when He went to the cross for us?

Thanks for reading.


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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be: Volume 3, Number 2, September 22, 2018: Compassion


What is Compassion?

Compassion is “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” ( The etymology of “compassion” is Latin, meaning “co-suffering.” Compassion involves “feeling for another” and is a precursor to empathy, the “feeling as another” capacity for better person centered acts of active compassion; in common parlance active compassion is the desire to alleviate another’s suffering” (Sherlyn Jimenez, see article on Compassion, The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology, Volume I, Editor: Shane Lopez, Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 978-1-4051-6125-1).


“It is a word often misunderstood. Many people think that to be compassionate means to give money to those in need, or to hug someone when they are feeling down. Those are aspects of compassion, but compassion is more than that. It is entering into someone else’s pain, suffering or hardship with them. It is stepping into their circumstances and providing comfort, assistance, or both” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Volume 3: Compassion, p.3).


Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lays down his life for a friend” (Jn. 15:13). If we are to be the men God wants us to be, we must be willing to lay down our own needs and desires to reach out to others who are in need of our compassion? Are you willing to do that? Please consider some areas where we must demonstrate compassion and some outstanding examples in each of these areas.


Compassion for family

Mike Magusiak was an executive at CEC Entertainment, Inc. (Chuck E. Cheese) for nearly 27 years. “When Magusiak initially joined CEC Entertainment in 1987, the Irving-based company was facing a negative cash flow and needed a turnaround. By 1989, with Magusiak as chief financial officer and taking CEC Entertainment public, the company began returning profits once again. In 2008, Magusiak was named CEO of the company and served until 2014 when it was sold to a private equity group. Magusiak also served on the board of directors from 1988 to 2014. The annual compound growth rate of CEC Entertainment, Inc. stock from 1989 to 2014 was 18.6 percent” (


In his leadership position, he had a great deal of responsibility that required job commitment. But Mike determined early in his career that he would not allow his career to stand in the way of spending quality time with his family, making it clear which one he loves more.


In an interview that appeared in the March 2013 issue of D Magazine, Mike described the valuable time he spent with his family.Wendy and I have been married for more than 30 years. We are blessed to have three sons. Jason, 24, is a CPA working for KPMG; Matt, 23, is a senior at Ole Miss who will graduate next semester with a double major in accounting and marketing; and Nick, 17, is a junior in high school. My wife and I spend a lot of time at ice arenas watching two of our boys play hockey. I also enjoy golfing with our middle son, and we enjoy boating as a family. Every Halloween when our boys were young, my wife would take them next door while I changed into a Chuck E. Cheese costume and I’d take them around the neighborhood to trick-or-treat. My boys never knew it was me. In fact, one year they wanted to bring Chuck E. home to meet Daddy.”



Karen Hughes was a trusted top advisor to President George W. Bush. She served as the White House communications director but in 2002 she decided to give up that position in order to spend more time with her husband, Jerry, and son Robert. Upon announcing her resignation, she said, “Throughout my career I have tried to prioritize my family while I have a career…I think this says that I can do what is right for my family, and continue to serve the President in a key way. I’ve always prided myself that this is a family-friendly White House, and I think this is a family-friendly decision.” Many Washington insiders were shocked by her decision. But Karen Hughes redefined what it means to put family first. She remained an advisor to the President, but she put her family first. She still treasures that decision, stating, “Other than marrying my husband, that decision was still the best decision I think I’ve ever made.



Compassion for peers

Krissi Holomon was a bright & beautiful teenager who died at an early age cutting short dreams of college. But she was a person known for her extreme passion. She so touched her classmates that the high school graduation was moved to her home when she was too sick to leave her bed.  The touching story of Krissi Holomon can be viewed in the HOC Foundation video at


Compassion for those in need

Andrea Jaeger was a tennis prodigy who rose to the second-ranked player in the world in 1979 at the age of 14. But in 1985 her career was ended by a shoulder injury. Five years later she founded the Silver Lining Foundation in Aspen, Colorado to help children with cancer. She used her $1.4 million in tennis earning to launch the foundation in 1990.


Young cancer patients are flown by the Foundation to Aspen for a week of support and activities. Because of her experiences in high school she developed a heart of compassion for kids in need. When she was in high school, fellow-students, jealous of the attention she received as the result of her tennis prowess, would throw food at her in the cafeteria and push her into lockers.


“Jaeger’s autobiography, First Service, was published in 2004. In the book she wrote about her teenage years as a tennis player and her later decision to focus on serving God. All proceeds from the book were donated to children’s charities.


Jaeger has since established the “Little Star Foundation”, reaching on average 4,000 kids annually. She has moved from Aspen to a much larger 220-acre (0.89 km2) property in Hesperus, Colorado, where she will be able to expand her programs. [12] (


On September 16, 2006, at the age of 41, Jaeger became Sister Andrea, an Anglican Dominican nun.[15] She reportedly left the order in 2009.[16] (Futterman, Matthew (August 27, 2010). “Where Are They Now?” The Wall Street Journal).


In April 2007, Jaeger and several former athletes, including Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Tony Hawk, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Muhammad Ali, appeared on the American morning television talk show Good Morning America to announce their formation of a new charity entitled “Athletes for Hope” with the goal of encouraging their fellow athletes to think philanthropically. [17][18]


Oprah Winfrey describes Jaeger as a superstar turned superhero. [19]” (



Compassion when it costs you

Todd Wagner is a successful business man with interests in technology and entertainment, but his greatest interest is in kids. He has dedicated many personal resources to make a difference in the lives of others.


Wagner is the co-founder of and founder and CEO of the Charity Network. He also co-owns 2929 Entertainment with Mark Cuban, along with other entertainment companies. Wagner has his own charitable foundation, the Todd Wagner Foundation. After meeting with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wagner in 2001 launched his Foundation’s first children’s program, the Dallas chapter of the After-School All-Stars (then called Inner-City Games), a national program championed by Schwarzenegger that provides year-round technology, academic, sports and cultural programs for children in the nation’s inner cities. The Dallas After-School All-Stars now reaches more than 4,000 children with programs ranging from chess and art classes to golf, running clubs and math competitions.


Wagner also created a Minority Technology Fund that provides funding and resources to minority-owned, technology-focused businesses based in Dallas and has made investments in numerous companies including: Imaginuity Interactive, a Web site development firm; Abstract Concepts, developer of African-American communities and; and rocKnot, a software development firm.


Wagner has also developed the MIRACLES technology, education and life skills program that provides an after-school program for inner-city children. This program is currently in its fifth year and is operating in nine cities in conjunction with the national After-School All-Stars. The multi-year program begins in sixth grade and continues through high-school graduation. The Foundation recently made a grant that unites the MIRACLES curriculum with The Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) technology program “Club Tech”.


The Foundation has also provided funding to bring KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) charter school to Dallas in 2003 and to Wagner’s hometown of Gary, Indiana in 2006. KIPP Truth Academy is a program for students to develop knowledge, skills and character.


“An old parable teaches that it is more compassionate to teach a man to fish rather than to catch a fish for him, because if he is taught how to fish, the man will be able to sustain himself throughout his lifetime. True compassion that enables sustained change requires a personal investment from us. Whether time or money, change comes at a price.  An old saying goes, ‘no pain, no gain.’ True compassion requires us to ‘consider others above ourselves. ’While difficult thing to do, there is no act that is nobler. Others need your compassion, but it may cost you – in time, money, comfort or convenience. However the results will be life changing.” (Heart of a Champion Program, Compassion, p.13).


  1. Truett Cathy was the founder of the fast food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A. He took a tiny Atlanta diner, originally called the Dwarf Grill, and transformed it into Chick-fil-A the nation’s largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain. With $7.885 billion in sales annually (as of 2016) and over 2,200 locations across America, Cathy’s business success allowed him to pursue his true passion – helping young people have a better future. In 1984 he started the WinShape Centre Foundation, named for its mission to shape winners, which provides scholarships to 20 to 30 students to attend Berry College. Also, through its Leadership Scholarship Program, Chick-fil-A has given $1,000 scholarships to restaurant employees. Those awards have totaled over $23 million since 1973.


For Cathy, it was not just about giving, but about giving in a way that enables others to succeed. Cathy believed that requires sacrificial giving – giving to others in a way that means a personal cost to him – a cost that he said is well worth it. “We must motivate ourselves to do our very best and by our example lead others to do their best as well,” Cathy said. Before his death in September 2014, Cathy said, “I’d like to be remembered as one who kept my priorities in the right order. We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed, and the important things will not change if we keep our priorities in proper order.”


For Cathy, leadership was about making a difference and a willingness to use personal resources to better the lives of others. His life philosophy is reflected well in his statement, “If you wish to enrich days, plant flowers; if you wish to enrich years, plant trees; if you wish to enrich Eternity, plant ideals in the lives of others.”


Cathy wrote five books: the autobiography Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People, a motivational book entitled It’s Easier to Succeed Than to Fail, the parenting book It’s Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men, an explanation of his business success in How Did You Do It, Truett?, and a final book on the significance of money in today’s society titled Wealth, Is It Worth It?. He also contributed to the anthologies What My Parents Did Right and Conversations on Success, and co-wrote with Ken Blanchard Generosity Factor: Discover the Joy of Giving Your Time, Talent, and Treasure.


Cathy was a deeply religious man and determined from the beginning of his enterprise that all Chick-Fil-A’s restaurants would be closed on Sunday. It was a decision made out of personal conviction and care for his employees. Realizing full-well that he would be forfeiting an entire day of business, he desired to give his employees a day free for rest, family time and the exercise of their faith. His business has never suffered from that decision and is carried on today by his son Dan, who became CEO of the business in November 2013 when his father retired. S. Truett Cathy died at his home on September 8, 2014 of diabetic complications at the age of 93.



Think about what it takes to demonstrate compassion in your family, for the needy, for your peers and when it costs you. What do you now know about compassion and how can you show others that you care? Now that you know what compassion means, what are you going to do to show what you know? Quite frequently in Scripture it is said that Jesus was moved with compassion by what he saw (Mt. 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; Lk. 7:13; 10:33, etc.). Won’t you be the man that God wants you to be by showing compassion like Jesus did?

Thanks for reading.