Surrender: One Word 2018

My One Word for 2017 was "faith."  God couldn't have put a better word in my heart when I chose that last year.  For 2018, I prayed that God would keep building on my faith and place a focus in my mind again.  For the past couple weeks, no word felt right as I tried to pick one word for this year.  But today, God gave me my word for 2018: Surrender.


As I think of the ways that God tested my faith last year, I'm very aware that he may call me to surrender in uncomfortable ways.  To be honest, it scares me a little bit.  But whatever he has in store for me and my family in 2018, I want to surrender it all to Jesus.  

I felt that "surrender" was the right word tonight while I was listening to the song "Gracefully Broken" by Matt Redman.  You can listen below.

The lyrics say, "Here I am, God, arms wide open! Pouring out my life, gracefully broken...I surrender."  I know there are so many areas in my life that I have not surrendered to God.  I'm excited to see how God changes my heart over the next 365 days and draws me closer to Him!  I ask that you pray for me as I strive to surrender my thoughts, my actions, and my life to Jesus.  Here's to 2018...Happy New Year!


2017 - FAITH (Read More)

2016 - PERSISTENT (Read More)

2015 - SERVE


Why Do You Play?

I was recently eating dinner with one of my teammates when he asked me, “Why do you keep playing?” I smiled and said, “That’s an easy one. Because of you guys.” My teammate looked back at me not knowing how to respond to that. But that got me thinking, and that’s a question I want to ask you—Why do you play?

My name is Robert Horn. I’m a 5’ 10” senior at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. I walked-on my freshman year and have played less than 100 career minutes. I’ve only scored 12 points in my college career. Knowing that, you now see why my teammate asked me that. It was a fair question, and its one that I’ve often asked myself.

Why do I play?

Why do I put myself through the grueling grind of college basketball only to ride the pine?

Because of my teammates and the opportunity I have to build relationships with them and make an impact on their lives. I know a lot of guys say that, especially when they are being recruited, but it’s a whole other thing when you’re forced to live it out. This is something that God’s been teaching me throughout my entire college career. If I was here only to “get mine” or for my own personal success, I would have quit my freshman year to play intramurals—and believe me, I almost did. And again sophomore year. And again junior year. But through this process, God has been showing me that basketball is so much more than scoring 20 points a night or playing 35 minutes per game. Basketball isn’t about me. Basketball is just a tool God’s graciously given me to be able to connect with guys who others can’t and in ways that no one else can. This opportunity didn’t come by me pouting on the bench or slacking in the gym—No, I earned guys respect by working harder then them though I saw less on-court opportunities than them. I earned guys respect by showing them support and excitement at their personal success and the team’s success rather than whining over my lack of PT. It was not easy and I struggled with it at different times. But when took my eyes off myself and aligned my perspective to what God called me, I found myself thankful and satisfied for the opportunity rather than selfish over unfulfilled desires. God has shown me that basketball isn’t about my glory, but about His. It’s a platform to serve Him for where He’s called me.


Four years agoI would have told you that a college career spent on the bench was a waste. But God has used these last four years to radically change me in such incredible ways. He has humbled me, convicting me of prideful desires for my own glory over the success of my teammates and the team.  He has revealed my selfishness in caring about my own athletic success over the welfare of my teammates hearts and souls. He has given me the opportunity to be a leader from the bottom, rather than someone who sticks out as the most skilled player or physically dominate person.


But the best part is that what God has taught me through basketball will carry over to life. Life isn’t about me or my success or my happiness or my glory. It’s about Someone so much greater me—God! I think it is awesome that we refer to our teams as family because our relationship with God is also portrayed as a family. God has given us the opportunity to be on His team, but we have to accept that we are not the superstar—He is! Just like we could spend 4 years chasing after PT and records, we can spend our lives chasing our own glory and satisfaction and end up wasting it on ourselves! Or we can examine our heart’s motives and take our eyes off of ourselves and finally realize why we are alive —to bring God glory. If we are Christians, we are called to follow after Jesus (Luke 9:23). Jesus’s goal was to bring the Father glory (John 17:4). Bringing God glory, not ourselves, is why we were created. So look at the gifts God has given you and ask yourself why you do them. It may be basketball, it may be music, it could be art—whatever it is, do it to the glory of God, not yourself (1 Corinthians 10:31)!


My hope is that my story will cause you to examine your heart, and change your mentality as you head into next season. Ask yourself today, “Why do I play?”

Which Do You Love More?

Lord, don’t let my gifts take me farther than my character can sustain me.
— Mark Batterson


No matter what career you are invested in or what goals you envision yourself accomplishing in the future, you are probably the type of person that is passionate about the process required to realize your dream.  You are a gifted individual with unique talents that separate you from the rest of the pack.  

But if you're anything like me, sometimes the dream God gave you takes precedent over the God who gave you the dream.  You get so wrapped up in the work and excitement of pursuing it you forget to acknowledge the reason you're able to pursue your dream in the first place.  

In his book, All In, Mark Batterson writes a brilliant excerpt about the Gift Giver.  

"If the gift ever becomes more important than the Gift Giver, then the very thing God gave you to serve His purposes is undermining His plan for your life.  God is no longer the End All and Be All.  And when God becomes the means to some other end, it's the beginning of the end spiritually because you have inverted the gospel.

God-given gifts are wonderful things and dangerous things.  One of my recurrent prayers is this: 'Lord, don't let my gifts take me farther than my character can sustain me.'  As we cultivate the gifts God has given us, we can begin to rely on those gifts instead of relying on God.  That's when our greatest strength becomes our greatest weakness."

I know in the game of basketball it can be very easy to rely on our gifts rather than on the One who gave us those gifts.  Sport is one of the easiest places for people to become prideful and believe they are accomplishing their dreams because of their talents.  I want to challenge you to love the God who gave you your dream and know the gifts allowing you to be successful were given to you by Him.  When the tests come into our life we are given the opportunity to rely on God and put an awesome testimony on display.  Keep taking action to acknowledge the Gift Giver and you will be amazed how your dreams will begin to come true as you pursue the process!

The Journey

Just because it didn’t happen the way you wanted doesn’t mean God isn’t working.
— Steven Furtick

I have a dream that burns inside my heart.  It casts a vivid vision in my mind; filled with clarity.  The destination seems certain, but the pathway leading me there isn't as much.  Although each step is unclear, the place I discover most joy is on the journey.


It's a trip where my character is revealed through the way I respond to adversity.

It's a venue where I fail, get back up, and then succeed.

It's an adventure where each step I take leads to growth.

It's progress in learning that sometimes the right decision is the one that hurts the most.

It's when my faith is challenged.

It's progress in realizing the dream that God instilled in my heart.

And most of all, it's path that's only lit when my full trust is in the One who is I AM.


Along the way there are detours, bumps in the road, and wrong turns.  

There are also beautiful views, magnificent sunsets, and worthwhile purpose.

Every day the journey emerges clearer and my scope reveals more of God's plan.  Not because I've found some secret, but because I'm trusting God to direct my steps.  This dream I'm referring to can't be stripped from me.  Despite the world's attempts to divert me, I will continue to hold on to the promises that God has given me.  

Which do you love more? The dream God gave you or the God who gave you the dream?
— Mark Batterson

We are all on a unique journey and we all have a dream burning inside of us.  Regardless of the circumstances trying to bump us off course, stay true to the principles that will keep us running full steam ahead, chasing that dream!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
— Proverbs 3:5-6

3 Keys To Unlocking More Potential

When we hear the term “potential,” we tend to connect it to who we could be and what we could possibly achieve.  As a life-long athlete and former college basketball player, I also used to view potential as something I was supposed to reach on the court or in the classroom.  My whole life, I remember my teachers and coaches telling me certain steps to take in order to reach that ever so high mountain top of potential. A place I could finally look down and exclaim, “I made it! I have reached my potential and there is nowhere else to go from here!”  As I thought about it, though, I began to question the whole methodology of reaching one’s potential and I actually began to disagree with it in a way.  Now, from my experiences I believe that God has more for us to achieve every waking second we’re alive on this earth.  I believe our potential must be grounded in who we serve and how we serve day in and day out.  If we decide to serve ourselves every day then we will see very little progress being made.  If we serve with no genuineness then our lives will have no real value to them.  As a follower of Christ I know where my potential comes from, but I also understand the value that my God can keep adding to my potential due to my faithfulness and obedience.  With all of this said, God has placed three keys on my heart that I believe if truly applied to our lives we can unlock more and more potential every single day.


The first thing people think of when they hear the word “give” or “generous” is money.  It scares people.  Because people want to keep what is theirs and use it for their own livelihood.  The amazing thing about it though is that living generously does not have to be about money at all.  Giving of your time and talents can be used just as much or more by God if our hearts are in the right place.  Living a life of service to others I believe draws us closer to Christ because Jesus was a servant himself here on Earth.  Living generously allows us to put ourselves to the side and serve others.  This obedience gives us the opportunity to be truly used by God which begins to take our potential to another level.

Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
— Matthew 5:42


No matter how old you are or how successful/unsuccessful you may be, God always has more for you in your walk with Him.  We as Christians should never be satisfied and think that we have arrived. There is always more to improve.  Placing a ceiling on your potential portrays the image that God can no longer take your impact on the world to new heights.  We have a duty to never become complacent in our lives especially when there is a great amount to be done every day.  Don’t limit yourself due to what you think you can’t do, but live every day with a passion that shows the limitless power of God.  Not only are we impacted by this, but others around us who need help are affected by this as well.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.
— Ephesians 3:20


When we are consistently honoring the authority God has put in our lives then God is going to bless that behavior.  Honoring the authority that you may not even agree with or get along with still honors God which draws us closer to him.  God has placed the people in authority in your life for a reason and we have an obligation to humble ourselves before them.  Also, one of the key aspects of learning how to be a leader is learning how to follow the correct way.  Showing honor to your parents, teachers, coaches, supervisors, and anyone else for that matter unlocks tons of potential in our lives.  For example, in the Bible we see the story of Daniel and how he is faced with a choice to stop worshipping God and praying to Him.  Something we tend to overlook is that through the whole story Daniel never stops respecting and honoring the king.  Daniel continues to respect the very authority that is telling him to turn away from God because he understood that God had placed that king there for a reason.  Did Daniel listen to the king’s orders? No! But Daniel never disrespected the king all the while standing up for his Lord and Savior.

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.
— 1 Peter 5:5

A Simple, Yet Powerful Story

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.
— Matthew 6:33

Ed Schilling is an assistant coach at UCLA and owns a simple, yet powerful story about his coaching career.  He talks about his experience going from a high school coach at Logansport High School in Indiana, to a D1 assistant at UMass and a Final Four appearance, to the youngest NBA assistant with the New Jersey Nets - in the span of only 310 days!  It seems crazy to think about, but Coach Schilling expressed that his heart change to seek God with his whole life was the foundation of his journey.  

Coach Schilling always speaks with prodigious passion and captures the hearts of those he comes in contact with.  Every time that I hear the story of how Jesus Christ worked in his life, I leave feeling so blessed.  He is a man who committed himself to seeking out the kingdom of God and was given awesome opportunities to glorify his Savior!  Early on in his career he was always chasing something that didn't satisfy, but he finally made a decision to seek Christ and found himself very content coaching high school basketball in Indiana.  Through his pursuit to know God, his life changed.  Not only did his career begin a wild and crazy journey, but he experienced the power of the gospel in his life and the lives of those he was around.  His story is truly remarkable and exemplifies the life we have in Christ!

This year, Coach Schilling was the recipient of the "Barnabas" Award given by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which honors a basketball coach who best exhibits a commitment to Christ, integrity, encouragement to others and lives a balanced life.

A Leader's Example

Leadership is a process.  One of the best examples of this journey is Joseph.  As leaders, we oftentimes feel stuck or get the feeling that we are never going to reach the place that we believe we are called to.  We don't understand why we need to go through some steps of the process.  Joseph's story is one that we can closely relate to because of the experience that God put him through.  While there is much more to add about his story, I just wanted to touch on a few of the main points in regards to leadership (to read the entire story, see Genesis 37:1-50).  


All of us have dreams.  We have a desire placed into our hearts to pursue a vision that we have been called to.  Joseph was no different.  When he was 17 years old, he had two dreams that he shared with his brothers.  His brothers already hated him, but they hated him even more when he shared his dream with them.  His dream was that everyone was going to bow down to him and he was going reach a certain level of greatness.  This dream only sounds good for Joseph and not for anyone else!  Joseph's brothers plot to kill him, but instead decide to sell him into slavery.  


Joseph becomes a slave in the house of Potiphar.  Potiphar was the leader of the Egyptian guard and was one of Pharaoh's important officials.  It's really neat to see the sovereignty of God in this placement of Joseph to prepare him for his dream!  Looking forward we know that God was preparing Joseph to become one of the most powerful leaders in the world and allowed him to learn leadership from Potiphar.  Even though Joseph was a slave, he was learning and preparing through the process.

It wasn't too long before Joseph was also thrown into prison.  But it wasn't just any prison, it was a political prison.  It's no coincidence that Joseph was being prepared to be one of the most powerful political leaders in the world.  Everything he did and heard in political prison was preparing him to step into his leadership role at the age of 30.  

It’s the lessons that you learn in the middle of the process that you will never, ever forget.
— Perry Noble


Joseph has endured 13 years of adversity in this process that God was putting him through and now he's ready to lead.  Eventually, Joseph's brothers do bow down to him just like he had dreamed.  But it took Joseph 13 years to understand what it truly means to lead.  God didn't prepare him so that people would bow down, but to lead the largest nation in the world.  The encouraging aspect to me about Joseph's story is that God is always preparing me for something greater.  The process that I am in right now is giving me the necessary tools that I will need for my leadership roles later on in my life.  I believe that God will call me to do great and mighty things someday, but I also trust that he is preparing my heart right now to impact others for his kingdom!

Leadership’s not about me. It’s about God using me to do something even greater than I could ever imagine.
— Perry Noble

Download this FREE ebook called "Not There Yet" by Perry Noble about the leadership process. 

The Victory is His

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
— 1 Chronicles 29:11-13

Dictionary.com defines "Victory" as, 

vic-to-ry [vik-tuh-ree, vik-tree]

  1. a success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war.
  2. an engagement ending in such triumph.
  3. the ultimate and decisive superiority in any battle or contest.


Although we often associate the term 'victory' with the sports arena, the true victory was won at the cross of Jesus Christ.  I constantly assess myself as a coach and ask the question, "why do you coach?"  Obviously, there is a passion and desire to win championships, develop the skills of my players, and to reach the highest level of success that is possible.  But if the wins, success, and reputation among my peers is the only place I'm finding victory, then I have truly lost.  When I break it down to the fundamentals, there are three reasons I coach and they are the only things that will make an impact for eternity.

1. Discipleship within a basketball program is key.  I want to disciple our players to the best of my ability to ensure that they are growing in their walks with Jesus and that they are winning off the court as well as on the court.  Our players should graduate knowing that I cared about them as more than just a basketball player.  I will only be successful in this if I am being discipled as well.  Finding mentors to help me grow and hold me accountable is a key in achieving success in these areas.  If no one is coaching the coaches, then we are in trouble. (Matthew 28:19)

2. Proclaiming the gospel to the nations is essential.  Throughout the season it is vital to not only be visible in the community, but also to have a presence around the world.  Our team was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico this season and use basketball to glorify God.  Obviously, trips across the ocean may not be a common occurrence, but we still need to make efforts to share the gospel with others.  If we aren't telling non-believers about Jesus, then we are failing in our call as coaches and as human beings. (Matthew 5:16)

3. Glorifying Jesus Christ in all we do is the umbrella over it all.  We were put here on this earth by a marvelous Creator and he deserves all the praise we have to offer.  We can praise him through our preparation, attitude, and actions.  God the Father sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross for our sin, rise up from the grave, and give us victory.  He gave us victory because he won the battle over sin.  He gave us victory because he sits triumphantly at the right hand of God the Father.  (1 Corinthians 10:31)

It was the ultimate sacrifice.  According to the Bible and the definition given to us by Dictionary.com, we really do have victory in Jesus!  We can worship Jesus by the way we coach, the way we live, and by the legacy we leave.  Next time you think about victory and winning a championship, check your heart and make sure that you are doing everything for the glory of God!

Do This Every Day!


That's right.  Die to yourself.  This isn't a phrase that we usually say to someone, but it should be one of the first things to cross our mind each day.  I'm talking about the ability to humble our hearts by intentionally getting rid of the selfish desires we have.  The apostle Paul is a great example of this discipline in humility.  In 1 Corinthians 15:31, Paul makes it known to the church at Corinth that, "I die every day!" 


Dying to yourself may be the most important thing you do each and every day.   As humans, our tendency is to be self-centered and focused on how we can make our own lives better.  In fact, our basketball program has been focused on dying to ourselves and placing others first so that Christ can be glorified.  Serving others and humbling ourselves is what we're talking about!  It's an imperfect process, but one that we are all in together.  We need to die to self so that we can be alive in Jesus.  

“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
— Philippians 1:21

As a basketball coach, it is vital that I wake up every morning and remember to die to myself.  Having a spirit of humility is what will allow me to make the greatest impact on those that I'm surrounded by.  It's not easy, but I'm ready to fight it!  When I sense by heart becoming selfish and arrogant, I need to die to myself and pursue Christ.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may win Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends of faith - and that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
— Philippians 3:8-11