Above are a couple of pictures of one of the t-shirts I designed for Cheer out in LA.
2Timothy1:7 says "God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." That was our squad theme one year. I thought it was cool because cheerleaders are about school spirit and the best way to empower young women has to be with the Holy Spirit.
I guess I've been thinking about that alot lately. One former cheerleader shared with me that they were worried about a friend's faith. One jr hi cheerleader has really opened up to me about her problems lately. And at least a couple of jr hi cheerleaders and a few former jr hi cheerleaders are attending a "Dare 2 Share" event in Lincoln with their church this weekend. Kyle Ahart, who performed as mascot one night this season, he called and asked if I could help chaparone since he knew that I'm the youth counselor at my church.
It's all just reminded me of how important faith is on people's lives and what an important role it can play for coaches and athletes. Coach John Wooden even thinks of it as some of the mortar that holds all the bricks together in his pyramid of success.
I'm a rare Christian, I guess. Politically liberal, I actually believe in and respect the separation of church and state in public school. So I never want to FORCE my beliefs on any of my students or athletes. But there's no law that says that I can't pray for my kids. I guess thinking about these kids going to Dare2Share and thinking about all the crap they go through in their life, I feel like God's challenging me to do a better job of that. I'm going to make it one of my comittments this Lent- to try to pray more regularly for my cheerleaders and former cheerleaders.
Meanwhile, if any of you ever have any prayer requests or want or need to talk about God or your faith- as long as students initiate it, rather than the adult- I would love to be here for you to help disciple you or just to listen and let you ask questions or bounce ideas off of me. Dare 2 Share could be kinda what they call a "mountain-top experience," I'd love it if you kids who go would let me "follow-up" for you, so that what you get from this weekend lasts and makes a difference in your lives. But I can only do that if you want it. Jesus doesn't force Himself on anybody and I'm certainly not going to force Him on you.
I guess my friends Rick and Julie Staley (Alissa's parents) in Charter Oak sponsor a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) huddle at their house. I know there's a really strong FCA program at Denison. It seems like Mary Ann Lapke, our school nurse and her husband tried to get one started a few years ago at BV.
Some of the kids going to Lincoln this weekend are really "unchurched." It's the Methodist church that's sponsoring the trip. Kyle even told me once that he's interested in becoming a pastor. I happen to be Lutheran, the Staleys and Lapkes are Catholic. It doesn't matter what denomination you are, it's about knowing God more personally and learning about the love and sacrifice Jesus made for you. That's what makes you stronger, gives you a spirit of power and love!
Here are some websites if you're interested in any of these things.
http://stjlyf.blogspot.com/ -My youth group's website
http://www.lalhs.org/ -LA Lutheran High