Exhortation – The Secret Ingredient to Sports Success


As I watched the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina in their teal uniforms celebrate in victory last night after taking down TCU and advance to the 2016 College World Series, it was evident something deeper was driving the success of this club. A mid major baseball team without access to the traditional sports television and other venues for recruiting the top talent in the country was taking down the favored team in the semifinals to advance into the finals for the first time.   It’s always a quandry when the underdog seems to step on and step up to take the place they deserve, striving just a little harder, digging deeper, and giving more effort to show they deserve to have the spotlight too.  What is that intangible something that brings the best out young athletes and brings their God given talent to the pinnacle?  For the Chanticleer Baseball club of Coastal Carolina, the answer is uncomplicated and resides in the heart of their leader, Coach Gary Gilmore.

His post game interview on ESPN gave the secret success formula to all great sports champions and the thematic example of the greatest coach who ever lived, Jesus Christ.  Newly honored NCBWA (National College Baseball Writers Association) Coach of the Year, Gary Gilmore, said he was happy  for his players but more importantly he praised them and remarked, “ I JUST LOVE THESE KIDS!”  These five words say all you had to know about the players and their coach.  When a coach praises and loves his players, they love him/her in return.  Mutual respect, dignity, honor, and love are the secret to success in any relationship.  Leaders must understand the spiritual gift of EXHORTATION. Exhortation is the act of coming along side someone with words of encouragement to comfort, console, and counsel them to be all God wants them to be.  Though this seems simple, many coaches miss the mark and seem to be unable to console and offer praise.

Sometimes praise is not the required to effort at times and then discipline and firm correction is in order.  But, time and again it has been confirmed a corrective word followed by a word of praise has the potent effect to bring the best out of athletes.  Jesus was a master of praise for his team, the first 12 disciples.  Traveling with this band of newly called leaders, often from humble origins, He taught, He showed, and He encouraged them to be more than they thought might be possible of themselves.  Then He empowered them to carry on the ‘Good News’ after he passed from them.

Great coaches and leaders understand the power of EXHORTATION.  It is the simple and easiest way to help bring the best out of people.  Coach Gary Gilmore is an example of the power of this spiritual gift and best of luck to his Chanticleers as they take on Arizona in the finals of the College World Series in Omaha this week.

Written by Dr. Warren Bruhl, author of Wavers & Beggars (New Insight and Hope to End Poverty and Global Challenges) Publised by Westbow Press.


Waving – Man’s Message to Be Noticed


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Working for the past three years to bring fresh insight and new hope to end poverty and global challenges has been a quest for which I am proud.  Together with my co-author, Todd Love Ball, Jr., we have written a ground breaking book that will ask each of us to take a longer look in the mirror and examine our soul with more questions.  Seeing a social phenomenon occurring in the bush of Kenya in 2013, I first noticed a body language and expression in people we passed on the road.

Some waved at us joyfully while others begged desperately.

While it wasn’t apparent at first, as I began to think about the meaning of these two gestures and the request they implied, I also recognized the response to them was an opportunity for connection.  In both cases, the waver and the beggar were asking for something.  But one had more obvious needs while the other had different ones.  To anyone it seems apparent a beggar holding a cupped hand out with a desperate plea, is asking to receive money, food, or something he needs.  The cup of the hand is a collecting point like a bowl to receive the gift and hold on to it.  While a waver, waves his hands above his head and usually offers a smile and doesn’t usually beg for something in return.

Both men along the side of the road are communicating a message.  One has a need the other has a gift to give.  The beggar has a need and the waver has a gift, his smile and welcome to his community.  However, encapsulated into that simple recognition of need and gift, if we examine humanity, we can recognize these two gestures are telling us something further about what has happened in the lives of these two men.

The man, forced to beg, without options for survival other than to depend on the kindness of a stranger’s handout has tragically fallen into a dark place that it does not seem was ever intended by a God who loves His creation, man.  While the man waving alongside the road does not have to beg; because his value and ability to still thrive are manifesting through his labor and blessing.  The waver desires to be in active exchange with you and I and we wave back at him.  The beggar asks something from us and has little to give back in return.  One has value still!  The other has little or no value!

Now this is not to say that a man who is begging has no value in reality.  Unfortunately, the world doesn’t see his value and he has not been able to express his value, his gifts, and be needed in a meaningful way that was intended for his birth.  You see God doesn’t make anything faulty in His creation.  Still, our world with it’s challenges and broken understanding of what it means to be human and love our neighbors is standing in the way of the perfection.  What we espouse in our book Wavers & Beggars is that every man/woman has a purpose and we are born into this world as waver.  We are born to see the world and be seen.  We are born to wave at others and to have them wave back at us because we feel valued and our basic needs for survival are met.  But the fall to poverty and the desperate circumstances that are often evident in some lives tugs that waving hand like a 1000 lb anchor down 3 feet and then turns it up with a cupped hand.  The 1000 lb weight is the lack of opportunity that exists for far too many around the world.  Couple this lack of opportunity with the greed and misunderstanding about what it all means to be human and love our neighbors as ourselves and we can understand the seeds of poverty.

Wavers & Beggars is a fresh insight and new look at many problems in the world and helps to teach how we are more connected than we realize.



Telemachus-A Monk Who Stood Up and Said, “No More!”


Who was Telemachus and what did he do that changed the course of human history?  

Telemachus was a monk who lived during the 4th century A.D. in the the province of Rome.  As a monk, he was a devout follower of Jesus and provided teaching to followers of the new religion.  As the faith was gaining traction througout Rome, it bothered Telemachus that so many Romans regarded the killing and bludgeoning that occurred at gladiator games as entertainment.

Among this advanced people with so much wealth and opportunity, he wondered how could they declare themselves as civilized.  Certainly, Jesus would have regarded these gladiator spectacles with disdain.

Determined to let his voice be heard and do something about the disgrace of the gladiator games, Telemachus attended one of the matches in AD 391 and during the match arose to his feet and began shouting, “In the name of Jesus, stop this!”  “In the name of Jesus, stop this!”  He went on to ask all the spectators to take a look at themselves and what they had become, allowing blood and killing to distort their views on humanity and caring for their neighbor.  Though he was heard, the crowd did not take kindly to his interruption and probably only allowed it because they thought it was part of the show.  Frequently, there were comedic diversions during gladiator matches and the crowd had originally thought this was probably also one of those side shows.

Once they realized Telemachus was criticing their viewing of the match and wanted to end it, they turned on him and began heaving objects at him and killed him.  After his death, the Emperor Honorius was so taken by his heroism and the crowd’s reaction, he eventually declared an end to all gladiator games.

The last known gladiator game occurred in AD 404.  Telemachus is given credit as providing the impetus to end the gladiator games forever.

I wonder if Telemachus had not had the courage to step into what he believed in how far the gladiator games may have taken man down the path of killing for sport?  Certainly, this turn in history can be creditted as a monumental turn toward compassion and civility.

Telemachus demonstrated the kind of courage it takes to be an Agent of Social Change.  What are you passionate about that you would like to see end or start?  Let Telemachus be an inspiration that one man/woman can change the course of human history.