Hamilton Avenue Hoops

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send? 
And who will go for us?”
And I said,
“Here am I. Send me!”
— Isaiah 6:8

Isaiah 6:8 has been our meditation.  One FFF leader Oliver Coats introduced this verse one Sunday.  My friend Chris and I were pushing through the last of sled sprints.  He encouraged us by presenting the QUESTION: "Brendan, Chris, WHOM SHALL THE LORD SEND?"

We both answered with out hesitation nor doubt, SEND ME!!!

This weekend was powerful!  God led and empowered us to do encouraging and meaningful work.  

Faith Focus Finish conducted Sunday Training this week at Hamilton Avenue School.  Oliver and I were able to take a few kids through some basketball drills and help clean up the park as seen below. 

One boy asked me as I was picked up garbage, why??? I said because I  wn't play in a park that is overrun with garbage.  He smiled:)

One boy asked me as I was picked up garbage, why??? I said because I  wn't play in a park that is overrun with garbage.  He smiled:)

On Friday night, I had stopped by the St. Roch feast at Hamilton Avenue School.  Walking by the crowded basketball court filled with kids playing basketball I felt led to stop and watch.  My heart felt for everything I saw, from the discouraging words that were fired at each other to the unwholesome talk being spoken.  I decided to jump in the next game.  I assembled a few bystanders and my squad was ready to take the court.  

I picked one of the smallest and youngest kids there to share the battlefield with.  A young boy named Deion, who was rocking a fresh red polo shirt and freshly pressed khaki shorts.  My man looked like he just came from a Ralph Lauren photo shoot.  One kid said to me "how come you picked Deion to play, he doesn't know how to play basketball" 

I responded, "We are going to teach him!"

Sure enough the first possession I brought the ball down the court and saw Deion inside the paint, wide open.  I drove to the hoop and dished it out to him.  He received the pass and was hesitant at first like a deer in the head lights.  I encouraged him to shoot.....nothing but net! 

After silencing the critics, Deion put us on the board, as we struck first and his smile was ear to ear.


This encounter was powerful for me as much as it was for those kids.  It boosts our confidence.  I believe strongly in model leadership and that if you can show the kids how to walk, talk, lead, they will follow and then model.  Whether it be kids or adults, people follow you because they want to, not because they have to.  I teach kids to be intentional about LIFE.  To not take life lightly, nor the words we speak.  Each day we have the privilege to be intentional about how we engage the world.  I had just showered at the gym before arriving at St. Roch and left sweating.  I didnt come to the feast to play basketball, but that is what God had in mind that night.  Obedience to his call will bear fruit in our lives.  AMEN! 

I felt God calling me to play that night.

My hope is that the kids can see the encounters and learn from them.  That they will turn their doubts into FAITH.  TO encourage one another!  To believe in one another, to Love one another! 

To say Deion take that shot!  

We can't hear a smile....... however it is seen and it is heartfelt......that my brothers and sisters is eternal! 


Remember that the Lord sees the work you are doing.  He knows what is going on in every single persons life.  Bring heaven to earth by believing in the power of God.  You are a Son and Daughter of the Father!

 God Bless You! 
Brendan 

Encourage One Another

As a kid growing up, I could remember the discouragement that I faced, but thanks be to God...the encouraging words always drown out the former.  I recall being put down by peers and even family members about being skinny and weak.  It motivated me to create a plan and make a decision about who I wanted to be.  Not just a stronger version of myself but a man of strength, honor, integrity, and most importantly FAITH.  I made a decision to be the encourager in a world sapped by discouragers.  

The words of encouragement that I received from my father carried so much weight and still do.  Every kid longs for their Father to say, "You can do it, you have what it takes"  

I am thankful that my Dad was present to say those words to me.  I am thankful that they helped form who I am today.  

I believe it is my duty to embody encouragement, so I too can help edify the body, mind and soul~

My challenge to you is to always let your words be an encouragement to those who hear them.  Even the meanest people need your encourgament, if not you then WHO?  Be that person who is a change agent in a life.  God will reward you for the work you are doing.  He sees all!  

And remember that we are all created in the I M A G E of God.  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. James 3:9.  

Let your tamed tougue steer your ship and others to the shores flowing with Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and SELF CONTROL. 

God Bless You,

Brendan

Colossians 3:8
But now you must put aside all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.

Colossians 4:6
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage and build one another up, just as you are already doing.

Treasury of Scripture

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

Ephesians 4:29

Confidence

Tom Glavine, Hall of Fame pitcher for the Atlanta Braves said, "There is no substitute for confidence" 

It is important to have quiet confidence, Tony Dungy calls this quiet strength.  It is the person who believes in their abilities and shows it.  Their mouth is quiet but their actions magnify their strength.  

Be very careful that your confidence does not turn into pride.  Pride is a very dangerous thing...

Danger of Pride: Not Knowing God (Being separated from God)
Pride is extremely dangerous because it separates us from God, since it is the source of sin and conflict. If we want to have a relationship with God, grow in God and be used by God, we absolutely have to be humble – so help us God!
Isaiah 66:2b, ESV …But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

Danger: Disgrace
Proverbs 11:2, NIV When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Danger: Putting our Trust in “Stuff”
Proverbs 11:28, ESV Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.
— 12 Dangers of Pride in the Bible – Christian Quotes on the Dangers of Pride; Bible Verses about the Dangers of Pride

Have pride in nothing, but C O N F I D E N C E in everything.  God wants us to have confidence in His promises which should manifest in our identity and life.  

Confidence on display will help you liberate people from their fears.  They will be attracted to the presence you perceive.  So cultivate confidence by preparing yourself each day.  Prepare by praying for the wisdom and strength to be confidennt in the gifts and abiliteis intrusted to you from God (Father,Son,Holy Spirit)  Know that the one who created all things certainly has a plan for your life! 

God Bless You

Brendan 

Invincible

incapable of being conquered, overcome, or subdued
— Definition of Invincible

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary.  I come up short even when i'm rested and prepared.  Life hits hard , but let us be encouraged!  We serve a God who desires us to be invincible.  Jesus Christ arms us to be invincible because of what He has done and what he graciously gives us, Himself...God in the flesh!

Romans 8:31-39

More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

The Word says that we are more than conquorors.  God wants his sons and daughters to overcome the obscacles of this world.  He wants us to be I N V I N C I B L E 

God bless,

Brendan J. Micik 

 

THE FOOT-PATH TO PEACE

To be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars; to be contented with your possessions, but not satisfied with yourself until you have made the best of them; to despise nothing in the world except falsehood and meanness, and to fear nothing except cowardice; to be governed by your admirations rather than by your disgusts; to covet nothing that is your neighbor's except his kindness of heart and gentleness of manners; to think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends, and everyday of Christ; and yo spend as much time as you can, with body and with spirit, in God's out-of-doors--these are little guide-posts on the foot-path to peace.   


I stop by Goodwill or Salvation Army once in a while to go treasure hunting.  Yesterday I came across a 1905 COPYRIGHT by CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS, The Van Dyke Book: Selected From The Writings Of Henry Van Dyke

This book contains Mr. Van Dyke's signature and a 1918 newspaper clipping with a stanza from his Battle Hymm Republic.  


The Signature reads, "Faithfully yours, Henry Van Dyke" 

The Signature reads, "Faithfully yours, Henry Van Dyke" 

Mr. Van Dyke was clearly in touch with God.  His words in the FOOT-PATH TO PEACE flow like the words from one of David's Psalms or Solomon's Proverbs, feeding the heart and soul.  Wisdom comes from God, and when we spend time with Him daily out-of-doors we too may develop the masterpiece that God has put in our own hearts.  

It is encouraging and refreshing to find a piece of history like this for $2.00.  I encourage you to go out and support your Salvation Army and Goodwill by donating or making a purchase.  You never know what may speak to you as you walk around the shop.  

Go explore! Seek and you shall find! 

Faith Focus Finish,

Brendan J. Micik 

Bear Good Fruit

A 9 Fruit.png
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”

Galatians 5:22-23 reveals the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy spirit is called the counselor and comforter, because He is a person He wants to be in relationship you and encourage you to bear these nine fruits in your life. 

The closer we get in relationship with God the more we will see these fruits appear and ripen in our lives.  The will flow out naturally each and everyday, in our conversations and the work of our hands.  

God wants us to bear good fruit!  Jesus encourages us in John 15 to bear good fruit and fruit that will not perish but be able to nourish others.  When we put on Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control we will be able to witness the power of God in our lives.  

People will be attracted to you and want to know how you do it?

This is our greatest strength to witness and tesitfy that we are followers of Almighty God and it is in His strength that we can do all things!

Faith Focus Finish,

Brendan 

 

Resilience: Like A Spider, Like A Son, Like A Daughter

The ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens
— Merriam-Webster

Face it, bad things happen.  We can't always prevent the unexpected events of distress and hardship but we can always control our response.  

I was in the Twin Cities this past week and one day I walked into a spider web, destroying it by accident.  The web was more that his creation, but a shelter and provider.  In creation, God gave the spider the ability to create just like he did with us.  We all posses gifts or talents, an ability to create something new the will provide and dwell in.  

In a moments notice I tore the spiders house to the ground, catching him from the corner of my eye as he held onto that last thread that would lead him back to his foundation.  I sincerely felt sorry and continued to ponder as I drove to foot locker, thinking about how long it would take him to rebuild.  Driving over to foot locker I did not realize that this recent unfortunate event would lead into a lesson on resilience.  A parallel story, divinely guided to illustrate how resilient creation can be.  

Arriving at foot locker I met a team member named Tyrone, we hit it off immediately small talking about football, the Vikings and Saints.  Carrying on the conversation I learned that Tyrone had moved to Minnesota after Katrina had hit New Orleans.  He and his family had lost their home.  Much like the spider, an unexpected event had just leveled his home.  I was encouraged by Tyrone as he told me his story of rebuilding his life from ground zero and now prevailing and prospering in the land of 10,000 lakes.  

Hearing the amazing story of resilience, I was able to draw the connection and Matthew 10: 29 came to my mind.  

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
— Biblegateway

Yes it is true that God knows everything about us and he knows when hardships come.  He knows when the spider's web is torn and he knows when your house is flooded.  He also knows that we are resilient, sons and daughters of the most high ready to proclaim his majesty with our actions, our responses and our lives.  

I encourage you to be resilient, no matter how many times life knocks you down, I know that you have the strength and power to rise up and make that first step forward stronger than before.

God Bless You,

Brendan 

#FaithFocusFinish 

High School Handbook: For the Student, By the Student (Preface)

A Story For Starters 

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd." I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friend tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. 

As I handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives." He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!" There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. 

I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. 

We talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes. We hung all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him. And my friends thought the same of him. 

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, "Damn boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!" He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the smiles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class. 

I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak. Graduation day, I saw Kyle. 

He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than me and all the girls loved him! Boy, sometimes I was jealous. 

Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!" He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. "Thanks," he said. 

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. "Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach ... but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story." I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. "Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable." I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. 

I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth. Never underestimate the power of your actions. 

With one small gesture you can change a person’s life. For better or for worse. God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.

 

Your actions speak louder than words indeed! Never underestimate the power of your actions, more importantly think about the consequences of your inaction.  Everyday you will come across opportunities where you have to make a decision, being passive has consequences too...in the case of Kyle...his life.  

You are worth more than you can imagine, and you have greatness inside of you.  That greatness is like a city on a hill top...a light house in the distance.  You decide the power of your light.  Will you illuminate your school, your community, the world?  Will those lost ships at sea be able to follow your lighthouse in the distance to the shores of freedom.

Your words, your actions, your deeds will either give life or take it.  When in doubt take action and if wrong apologize and ask for forgiveness.  Helping another student pick up their books is the small act of kindness that moves mountains of fear.  Your small acts will lead to larger ones.  As you grow so will your sphere of influence.  The influence will be exponential because you may never get to see the fruit of your labor, but know that it will be produced, the grain will be harvested.  My goal for this book is to encourage you to change your way of thinking, To live intentionally instead of passively, to love your peers and encourage them that they will make it to shore...they will make it!  

Faith Focus Finish,

Brendan J. Micik 

 

My Cup Runneth Over


"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over
Psalm 23:5 (KJV)

What ever you fill your cup up with will overflow into all ares of your life.  It's hard to segment the overflow and command it to not splash on work but on your social life.  When the cup overflows it saturates everything beneath it.  

What does Psalm 23:5 mean to you? (Comment Below)