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Chase the Fire

Chase the Fire

'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' — Jeremiah 29:11

I had been head coach at Valparaiso University for one season. And I’d just missed out on a chance to experience March Madness for the first time as a head coach because we lost in the finals of our conference tournament.

In some ways I was very much trying to be like my dad. I wanted to be a good family man; I wanted to be a good leader and godly example for the players and people in my life. But if the opportunity came, I also wanted to be at a place where it would be easier to make the tournament and win a national championship. I told my assistant coach, Matt Driscoll, that I loved Valpo. But my dream was still to win a title and experience that One Shining Moment.

  • If God has put something on your heart, don’t think it’s an accident. God is big enough for our dreams.

In fact, He’s the one who gave them to us in the first place. Since I was a child, I’d always wanted to be a part of March Madness. To have a “One Shining Moment” of my own.

The chance to chase my dream came way sooner than I was expecting.

Just a few weeks later, Coach Driscoll and I were in Los Angeles for a networking retreat. By this point, Baylor had been featured on the news for over a month. We knew that a player had been murdered and that another player had confessed.

The keynote speaker that evening was legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. Coach Driscoll and I sat at a table alongside Tim Floyd, the head coach of the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets. Hours earlier, Dave Bliss had resigned as head coach at Baylor. Given the amount of attention the Baylor scandal had received, his resignation made sense and made headline news. As we sat around the table, the topic of the Baylor opening came up in our conversation. “Actually, you would be really great for that job,” Tim Floyd said. “You’re young; you’re Christian; you’re energetic.”

It was nice to hear, but I was a young guy with one year of head-coaching experience. I wasn’t sure I could even get an interview, let alone the job. But then Coach Floyd said he knew the women’s coach at Baylor. He pulled out his phone, called her, and said, “I need to get the president on the phone.”

I couldn’t believe it.

Coach Floyd was very optimistic I would get an interview. When I was contacted by the headhunter Baylor had hired, I knew I was officially in the running. Suddenly, I had a choice to make. Did I want this job? Baylor had announced that it was self-imposing penalties, including probation, meaning it wouldn’t be eligible for postseason play the next season. My dream of having my “One Shining Moment” would be delayed at the least.

Did I really want to leave Valpo after one year? What did I really even know about what had happened in Waco? I did what I usually did when I had a decision to make. I prayed; talked to my wife, Kelly; and talked to my dad.

The thing my dad kept saying to me was with God, anything can happen. Philippians tells us quite clearly that with Christ, all things are possible. And I had never seen anyone, be it my dad, my brother, or me, go wrong by betting on God. So that part wasn’t really tough at all. And then my dad also reminded me that anything I did there would be an improvement. Baylor could only move upward—there was nowhere to go lower than where they were. So while some people saw it as a job filled with obstacles, some potentially unconquerable, after praying about it, I felt led to go to Baylor.

It was a head coach position in a major conference and a faith-based school. If things worked out, I would be able to live out my faith and have a chance to get to the Final Four. I told the headhunter I would take the interview and he arranged for me to meet the selection committee.

Once I knew I was getting the interview, I was all in. I wanted to make sure they got to know me, my passion for coaching, and my passion for connecting.

I wanted to cast a vision not for what the job was at the moment but what it could be. The people at Baylor needed to see how, in the midst of their brokenness, their redemption could reflect God’s glory.

After a four-hour interview, the Baylor selection team boarded their private jet to travel on to the next candidate’s interview. I got back in the car with my dad and returned to Valparaiso.

I’d like to say that I got the job because of my performance in that interview. I did find out that they admired my energy, my honest discussion about my faith, how comfortable I was working in a Christian environment, and thought my optimism for what God could do at that school was refreshing.

After a few days, Baylor called and offered me the job. I made sure my father was comfortable coming out of retirement and taking over at Valparaiso and that Valparaiso was good too. It is amazing how God works things out, because after sitting out a year, my dad was rejuvenated and had missed coaching. So this turned out to be a blessing for him to coach again at Valpo.

The roots of God’s plan for us are woven throughout the soil of our lives. Think about where God wants you to grow.

I accepted the job. After all, God was the One who was writing the ultimate story.

Lord Jesus, I want to live each and every day according to Your purpose and plan for my life.

Written by Scott Drew, author of The Road to J.O.Y.

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Your Turn

What do you believe is God’s plan and purpose for your life? How did you discover His plan? If you aren’t sure of His plan, list people you can turn to for help. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily