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The release of Tim Hiller’s new book Strive is coming October 1! To get ready for the Strive release, we’re introducing “The Strive Challenge” – 6 weeks with 1 purpose – to help readers pursue what matters most in their lives. Join in at: https://www.
CLICK HERE to download and complete today’s Strive Challenge Tracker!
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
During my second year as a head football coach we began a new practice: we waited to vote for team captains until we had a week of practice under our belts. Why? We wanted to answer a key question:
Who wants to lead the most?
After selecting our captains during that second week of practice, I always held a meeting with our appointed leaders to outline the six pillars of being a captain in our program:
- Compete: Captains must compete to be the best in all areas of their lives.
- Heart: Captains are passionate and excited about what they love.
- Attitude: A captain’s attitude is positive at all times, no matter what. Everyone is watching how you handle yourself.
- Inspire: Captains are not only self-motivated within, but they also inspire those around them to greater heights.
- Perform: Captains can be relied upon to come through when the team needs them to step up the most.
Up until this point in the conversation, the room was always filled with lots of smiles and head nods…until we reviewed the sixth and final pillar. Sacrifice.
Sacrifice: Captains are servant leaders—they serve others around them while they lead, even if it is inconvenient.
As our young men looked up at me with inquisitive looks, I asked them to read aloud the following two bullet points, outlining what sacrifice tangibly looked like in our program on a daily basis:
LOVE is spelled T-I-M-E. Even when it is a hassle, you have to be willing to show your teammates you care and will do whatever it takes for them. The best ability is availability.
Captains in our program serve their teammates. This goes beyond encouraging words….our captains carry the ball bags, equipment, and water each day. Our captains listen to teammates’ problems. Our captains go above and beyond for the brotherhood.
Up until that point in my life, every football program I’d ever been a part of was about seniority, not service. Sophomores carried the water and equipment, seniors ordered them around. A coming of age meant more bossing around and less busy work. Admittedly, I ran my program this way my first season as a coach. It was what I had always been accustomed to. But then it dawned on me during my first off-season—I was training our senior captains to be served, not to serve. The exact opposite of true leadership.
As a coach, the sixth pillar of sacrificial service showed who really wanted to be a captain and who just liked the idea of it. A life of meaning is about sacrificing for the good of others. We all have things we want. Things we are striving for and pursuing. But we find out just how badly we want the object of our pursuit when it comes time to give something up for it.
I believe a relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing we can pursue—in this life and the life to come—but, just like my young captains, it requires “want to.” And then it requires sacrifice. In Luke 9, Jesus walks us through the cost of living sacrificially for him.
- Desire – “Whoever wants to be my disciple…”
Faith in Christ starts with a fixed desire on him. Jesus is addressing “whoever wants to be” one of his disciples. Half-hearted devotion will not last very long in the throes of life’s many challenges. He is the anchor for our hearts and lives.
- Denial – “…must deny themselves…”
When I was a little boy, I used to dream about the day I could sit in the front seat of the car with my mom. But alas, I had to sit in the backseat until I was twelve years old! Denial of self is willingly sitting in the backseat of life while Jesus drives the car. He knows the way, we must trust and obey!
- Discipline – “…take up their cross daily…”
For Jesus, carrying the cross up the Golgotha hill was a step-by-step struggle. So much so that Simon of Cyrene was forced to assist him. (Luke 23:26) What inconvenience, adversity or challenge is God asking you to take on each step of each day to mold and shape you?
- Doing – “…follow me…”
Following is about doing as the leader does. Jesus is calling us toward a life lived in his image—filled with love and selfless sacrifice. Our external actions reveal our internal desires. Are you willing to do his will above your own?
Yes, the price of following Jesus is high, but the price Jesus paid on our behalf is higher. His sacrifice was the ultimate one—losing his life—so that you and I can keep ours eternally in his Heavenly presence. Is he your desire? Are you willing to deny and discipline yourself to do his will? This week let’s work to sacrifice for the good of others and for God’s glory as we pursue a deeper relationship with his son Jesus!
CLICK HERE to download and complete today’s Strive Challenge Tracker!
The Strive Challenge™ by Tim Hiller
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
1 Peter 3:15-16
It’s no secret that I love football. One of my fondest memories growing up was staying up to watch Monday Night Football. Well…the introduction that is. As a child, my parents used to let me stay up just late enough to hear Hank Williams Jr.’s rendition of the Monday Night Football theme song before bedtime. I used to sit on the floor by the speakers of the television with my Playskool brand tape recorder and record the song in its entirety, play it a couple times, and then sleepily head upstairs. (By the way HERE is the tape recorder on eBay if you have no idea what I’m talking about. The item title says “vintage”…boy do I feel old now!)
It was here on the family room floor that I admired the likes of Al Michaels, Dan Dierdorf, and one Frank Gifford. An eight time Pro Bowl player, Gifford was named to the game’s high honor from three different positions: running back, wide receiver, and defensive back, something unheard of in the game today. Despite my admiration from a childhood distance, I knew little about Gifford’s life…until just recently.
Did you have the chance to Kathie Lee Gifford’s tribute to her late husband on the Today show? If not, you need to take the 9 minutes and watch it below:
In a day in age where watching day time television or the news floods our homes with violence, political nonsense, and eroding societal values, Kathie Lee moved me to tears with her faithful witness for her and her husband’s faith in Jesus. On national, live television.
All I could think was: Our God’s Not Dead.
You see, you and I are each given four things. And I believe the measure of our lives before our Heavenly Father one day will be what kind of steward we were with these four things.
In our lives, we each come into contact with certain people that only we can impact. Our paths cross for a divine reason. Only we can say the right word, or smile at the right time, or offer the right consolation.
We each are given things on loan for a period of time. Might be our dwelling, or vehicle, our clothes, or our food. But how we use these things says a great deal about where our faith lies.
We each are put in certain places for certain seasons of life. Where we work, where we live, where we shop, where we work out, where we eat…all of the places our paths take us are opportunities to leave them better than before we arrived.
A platform is simply a position of influence that can be used to make a positive difference. In short, it’s our voice. Our credibility. We each have platforms at work, at school, at home, in our communities, at church, and more. When you have a platform, people are watching and listening. And what we share from that platform of influence matters.
1 Peter 3:15-16 outfits us with a simple directive for how to make best use of the people, possessions, places, and platforms in our lives:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
When people look to you for support, share your hope in Jesus. When faced with a decision about how to use your possessions, consider what your decision says about your faith in Jesus. When you enter a place God has put in your life, do those there know what you believe about Jesus? And when you seek to use your platform, use it to share what Jesus has done in your life.
Thank you Kathie Lee for using your platform to share your faith and for exemplifying how to give the reason for the hope that you have.
Strive: The Book
In Strive, former collegiate and NFL quarterback Tim Hiller leads you on a year-long journey, taking small steps each week on the path to making your life matter, developing into the person God designed you to be.
Our lives are short. Together, let’s pursue what matters.
From his platform as a champion, Tim has a natural gift for connecting with a wide range of audiences—from schools, youth groups, and churches, to student-athletes and business leaders. Submit a speaking request to invite Tim to inspire your group, team, or organization.
Next Level Performance
Co-founded by Tim Hiller, Next Level Performance develops the total athlete through elite sports performance training, club teams, and Beyond The Game™ Conferences. NLP’s proprietary leadership development process helps student-athletes succeed, both now and in the future.