Dec. 1, 2022

Overcoming Injuries with Mike Buchanan, Author and Athletes in Action Missionary

Overcoming Injuries with Mike Buchanan, Author and Athletes in Action Missionary

In Episode 107, Mike Buchanan, Athletes in Action missionary for over 30 years in various positions, Author of More Than That: Biblical Principles for Dealing With Athletic Injuries, and Husband and Father, talks with Phil and Paul about great life...

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In Episode 107, Mike Buchanan, Athletes in Action missionary for over 30 years in various positions, Author of More Than That: Biblical Principles for Dealing With Athletic Injuries, and Husband and Father, talks with Phil and Paul about great life and leadership lesson he has learned from different aspects of athletics, how he overcame brutal injuries and how we can do the same, and how breaking a kid’s neck impacted his life in a huge way. Specifically, Mike discusses:

  • His personal story, how he developed his passion for sports, leadership, coaching, and ministry, how he almost was a professional athlete, and some of the great soccer players he has worked with through Athletes in Action (4:31)
  • His personal why and how he is living it out in his life (9:19)
  • Some of Mike’s favorite coaches and what he has learned from them about life and leadership (13:57)
  • Life and leadership lessons he has learned from the experiences he has had in his athletic career (20:16)
  • Why it’s important not to idolize celebrities (27:59)
  • Mike’s book, More Than That, and why it is a must read for athletes, coaches, and parents (40:14)
  • The importance of having your identity grounded in the right thing (48:28)
  • The two ways we can respond to injuries in our lives and why only one of them works (53:52)
  • How he is using lessons learned from sports in his marriage and parenting (59:47)
  • His recommendations of books (1:05:42)

Resources and Links from this Episode


Phil: Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. Thanks again for being a part of this conversation that we get to have and now it's every other week, but it, it, the thing that hasn't changed is it's still me. I'm Phil Darke, you're a host and I got Paul Jobson here and we get to have great conversations.

That's what has not changed at all. So, Paul, what's going on man? We're now in, in the midst of the World Cup, even though we're recording this beforehand, it feels kind of weird, but we will be a we a week and a half or so into the World Cup when this airs, maybe a couple weeks in and you know, I would say how are you feel about the World Cup?

But we don't know yet, but we could predict how we're gonna be feeling about the World Cup.

[00:00:38] Paul: I'm just gonna go ahead and say the World Cup has been awesome so far. Yes. It's been so much fun watching games cuz that's no matter what when the World Cup's on. I know. I'm gonna feel that way. Yes. I'm just gonna go ahead and say it now.

It's been awesome. The World Cup is on. The games have been fantastic. There've been some upsets. There've been some amazing plays. There's been some great goals, and I think I'm pretty safe saying that I've really predicted

[00:00:57] Phil: anything crazy. I agree. I totally [00:01:00] agree that it's, that has, it's been pretty amazing the those upsets, man.

They were, they were. They were shockers. They were shockers, absolutely. And the US man, they're. So, you know, they're playing, playing. They're the World Cup. They are still in the World Cup as of this well, I don't know. We'll see. I don't, I don't remember exactly when this is gonna air, so they may or may not still be in.

But folks, that is something that we, we have no doubt will be the case. So, so we are saying that the other thing I know is gonna happen in January is the United Soccer Coaches Convention, it is in 23, January 11th through the 15th in Philadelphia. I strongly encourage you to go, Paul and I went last year in Kansas City, even though it was five degrees and we were freezing our everything off.

It was such a cool time. Such a cool time. But only at the convention can you attend sessions with people from all over the world that are, that are crafted for your coaching level, really any coaching level you are. Desired topics, anything that you really wanna to find out about. I, I'd be shocked if it's not there.

There's, there's sessions that are on the field sessions, sessions that are [00:02:00] lecture sessions, sessions. There's over 200 of those. Really offer every coach something to bring back to their own training sessions. You can learn. Like I said, people from all over Amanda Van Vort. Hopefully we will get her on.

We've talked to her about getting her on this show. President of the USL Super League, Anthony Flores, youth Technical Director of the Philadelphia Union, Becky Burle, BR Ledbetter of what Drives Winning. Again, those are two people I want to get on this show as well. Laura Harvey, head coach of the O l rain fc.

And Dan Abrams, who we know and love on this show world, relo Source, sports psychologist, more presenters are gonna be coming. Check. Keep checking out the, the website, United soccer coaches to register before the price increases, I believe really soon. So do that. Check it out. I strongly you know, I will be there.

Unfortunately, Paul will not be able to be there, but but you know, I'll be there. I'll be on podcast row, definitely come by. Say hi. I would love to meet you. And if you wanna be on the show, maybe we'll we'll just do an interview [00:03:00] right there. Who knows, maybe that will happen. I also have a session.

I'm gonna be doing a breakout session on retaining our players using disc and really helping to connect with our players at every level and help 'em to flourish. That'll be two 30 on Thursday. And so, I encourage you to make that happen if you're at all able to do so. We'll have the link to that in the show notes so you can check that out.

Alright, Paul. Today we have one of my really, really good friends just, just from, you know, and we've known each other over 20 years. He was the director at university of Hawaii in Manoa with when my wife was on staff there, when we got engaged. You know, Mike Buchanan with Athletes in Action, his wife Allie, just such great friends.

I know Paul, you, you've already, before this, before we started recording that whole name game, you guys have some great friends that are there. So, you know, we're just gonna get right to it here. We got, you know, Mike's gonna share his story, so I'm not gonna do the full [00:04:00] bio. It would take me too long.

He does have a great book called More Than That, that we're gonna get into as well, talking about how we can overcome you know, and he had some horrendous sports injuries. But if you're going through sports injuries, this would be great If you know people who are, this would be a great episode for you to to not only listen to, but share with others.

So, Mike, welcome. Yeah. How are you doing?

[00:04:21] Mike: I'm doing really well. Thank you. God is good all the time. And it's not that we're not going through life without having another log put under us to, to make us more like him. And I just had a diagnosis yesterday. I'm not thrilled about. I have mg, but that's not why I'm here to talk about that today.

But the race with the Lord is an endurance and Yeah, so you wanted me to share a little bit how I got involved with sports. I grew up in a church that had a bunch of sports fanatics around them. I saw a lot of identity there. Growing up, if I walked into Birmingham High School, valley College, Westmont College, [00:05:00] there were posters of my father playing basketball.

And so I. Unfortunately got to high school and I was a man and a boys. I was a boy and a man's body and bigger than most people. And got into football, basketball, and baseball. And all of a sudden I became really popular and my identity was completely wrapped up in those things. And it's just stirred a real passion for being an athlete.

I ended up getting recruited to college in four different sports, three D one level basketball at the n a I and division two and three level. And then had a chance to try out with the San Diego Chargers if I wanted to as a punter. And also was given a, a contract by the San Francisco Giants. And yet I never played officially in college.

And I had to deal with a lot of injuries and, and got short circuited, but it was really God guiding my path into ministering to athletes for over 30 years now. And so now I [00:06:00] work on the global events team for athletes in action, setting up global events that have more than a couple continents involved.

So that's what I'm doing now, Phil and Paul, and really excited to be doing that. So for

[00:06:12] Phil: instance, like a global event like that would be like World Cup for instance, which, you know, we've talked about a little bit on this show. Right? So you were just, you were just at the track and field championships right up in Oregon?

[00:06:24] Mike: Yeah, I was up, I was up in Oregon and at the honor of doing two chapels for the USA team. It's totally optional. Like you said, the World Cup, that's one of the biggest things for us going on and very excited about that. And we have a lot of our MLS chaplains involved with that. And and then Olympics, winter Olympics, we've had to go digital through the Covid Air and thankful that we again, get back on the ground.

I work with the SEA Games, the Southeast Asia games and really partnering with our staff in those countries. 11 countries are involved and helping to delegate [00:07:00] to them. So there's a huge leadership point there is when you're a leader, empowering other people to. To really go forward and make their mark on the world is really important to me.

So it's connected with them and helping develop the world. Right now, after serving at the University of Hawaii that you mentioned for 12 and a half years and ucla who we do pretty good at soccer down at ucla. Yeah. So being involved with Ryan Hollingshead was probably one of my best leaders I've ever had in ministry.

I just saw that Abby Dahlkemper was having surgery. She's a pretty good player. In fact taken back to Hawaii. I had a guy named Aaron Labett who runs a club up in Washington and his wife Sam, and he used to bring a guy named Landon Donovan to Bible study when he was like 15 or 16 years old, just getting his start and playing out there in Hawaii.

So, you know, just to connect with soccer There, there's my, my little 2 cents in there. Just having these [00:08:00] great leaders.

[00:08:01] Phil: So you got some street cred from the, from the soccer community, even though you didn't play soccer. All those, you know, different things that we are gonna get into. I mean, you teased so much and we could talk for hours and hours.

Fortunately we have your book that people can read and it is, it is a quick read, folks like, and it, it's a, I read it again last night. I'd read it before, but I read it again just in preparation for this to remind me of some things. There's some really cool things there. We're not gonna be able to get into all those things, but we are gonna, we are gonna touch on some things so you can get an idea.

Of, you know, just really this idea of how we can work through injuries and how we can, you know, what are the things that we can focus on and things that we shouldn't be focusing on as well. We're gonna get into that later. But one of the things I love hearing from you is the more we get to know each other over the years, the more I realize how similar we are and how the things that I think fire you up, fire me up too.

And I just hear, even you talking about things there that I get excited about too. Like, you know, making those different connections and stuff. And I, that's, that's kinda the next thing [00:09:00] I wanna just get into, and this is something we talk about a lot with our different people is, you know, what is your personal why, really your life mission and, and, and how are you living it out?

What does that look like? Well, one

[00:09:09] Mike: of my biggest thrills is connecting people. Like, the recent is me getting you connected with Carl Dambman, who just wrote a book called In His Grip. Ex-Olympic wrestler, Pan Am Games gold medalist, and connecting you. That, that brings me more thrill in ministry.

Then anything is connecting people that I know Chris at who was a decathlete in the seventies for the USA team, I connected with a dear friend of yours and mine, Phil Victor Marx, mm-hmm. . And they show up and start doing work in Iraq and Iran together. Mm. So those, me helping propel other people forward is one of the greatest things in my coaching that I've been able to do with athletes and helping connect people around the world.

And to me, when you study the Torah, if I were to put the Torah into one word, I would call it partnership. [00:10:00] God wants to partner with us and I see my job is helping connect people so they can partner together and move forward the kingdom of God. That's the most important thing to me. And networking, connecting.

And just being openhanded with a lot of stuff and allowing people to connect and grow. And I love seeing it go beyond myself. And really, one of the things on my Pain to Superpower podcast, it just started a couple weeks ago. One of the things I say in there is, if you want to know significance, you need to be linked to something greater than yourself.

And that's a great thing about team sports, right? You have a goal, you're linked to something greater beyond yourself. That's why I always play team sports. Not none of that individual stuff, not that I'm putting that down or anything, but just team sports brings you to that level where you're focused on something greater than yourself, [00:11:00] then you can really feel significant.

And what is there greater than being connected to sharing the gospel around the world And you know, Doing the Lord's work and connecting people that way. And I've been blessed. I just be, I became a Christian just 50 years ago, almost to today after breaking a kid's neck on a football field. I thought, I sinned and I felt horrible as an 11 year old and I just thought, I'm going to hell.

And we had a speaker that weekend at church that spoke heaven in hell, and it literally, pun intended, scared the hell outta me, . And I gave my life to the Lord and knowing it wasn't even a sin, that moment compelled me just to look forward, get connected with the Lord. So this is my year at Jubilee, and I wanna do a lot of celebrating for what God's done in my life over the last 50.

[00:11:57] Phil: Yeah. I love seeing that on your uh, latest [00:12:00] update that you sent out, talking about the year at Jubilee and it, and it just was, it was really cool because, you know, I'm, I'm reaching that year of 50 and I, I know that you're way older than me, Mike and way older. Just like, I'm way older than Paul. I mean, Paul's like super, he's like a little kid, so way older,

So, but I was like, you're a jubilee. What? And then I realized what was going on, which was really cool, like how that is and, and folks, again, another story that's in that book about the break in the neck and thing and all that. Like you guys gotta just check out the book. Definitely get it. You can get it on Amazon More Than That.

And I forgot about the podcast too. I forgot to pump that. Yeah, definitely. Mike just started a podcast. Check that out too, cuz No, no doubt. That's gonna be some great interviews, great conversations to talk about what a lot of the things we're gonna be talking about today too, so, yeah, I, I love hearing that.

Like I said, I mean that's definitely something that, you know, you and I are similar in that as far as connecting, I mean, that's like the one word and helping others flourish, right. And making good things better and, and doing those things. And so love hearing that. We're gonna talk more about how you're doing that, what that [00:13:00] looks like throughout this conversation.


[00:13:03] Paul: loved it. Surrounded by a bunch of connectors, you know, because with, with people like you guys, I feel like I can be connected. You know, I'm not the connector, but I'm the connected. And I think I love what, what you're doing, Mike, and I love your, your ministry and I love how God uses things. Even when you're 11 years old, something you thought was, you know, a sin.

God brings you into this thing to say, Hey, I'm gonna use this even though it's not a sin to, to teach you more about me. And that's one thing I love about coaching too, is I think God uses us as coaches to, to mentor and teach and be there for people during different times of their lives. Who are some, some coaches that you were, you know, full on in sports as a kid?

Who are some, some coaches that you remember that're just like, we're, we're great mentors to you and, and who are some of your, your favorite coaches and,

[00:13:47] Mike: Well, I think of a guy by the name of Ivan Mes that's in heaven now. A guy named Gene Taro who coached baseball at ucla. Later on. He was my junior high coach, along with a guy by the name of [00:14:00] Eric York and he also played pro baseball.

And those guys saw in me something as a adolescent, couldn't even fathom that I had talent for anything. I would not even have played high school sports without those guys’ encouragement. They saw more in me that I could even acknowledge and it really propelled me forward because I thought I was just a dork in some ways.

I had a heavy arm. And people recognized that and they encouraged me, and these coaches were all really tough. Later on at the D one level. I was blessed to coach a high school team. My son was on the year after he graduated. I won the state championship within a three years of starting a program, which was pretty amazing.

But I took things from June Jones. The leadership there is just being unpredictable. Leadership to me is not reacting to things. It's leading forward with the right things you need to do [00:15:00] on the field or on the court. And so I would try to be unpredictable at times. And I think a Jim Mora Jr. Who I served as his chaplain as well, and just the way he delegated responsibilities.

And even with that high school team, I just went out there and I delegated and the coaches, coaches all stepped in at a deeper level when they saw that I was trusting them with things like, especially my defense that only gave up over three years, an average of seven points a game. And I just said, look, If I don't see someone blitzing, I'm taking over.

So every play we had one or two blitzing. I think of re Rick Neuheisel and having fun and just being that joyful person and connecting intimately with his players and making them better. Carl Dorrell, who's the Colorado coach now, but he was at UCLA my first year and just his quiet demeanor. He was a deep [00:16:00] river and he brought the best outta guys and see how good they connected with him.

And then I had a couple other coach, Bob Wagner, uhon Opin in Hawaii. So I learned a lot from watching and then I was able to adapt the things I wanted to adapt to and just put those into my coaching and, and I was blessed to even coach the, the USA men's. Football team, which people I wear my shirts in, like, what's the USA football team?

And I'm like, it's, it's the USA football team, American football. But we would go into countries we're not allowed to go into and train all these kids learning to play the game. And now it's becoming a worldwide phenomenon, especially in the European countries and the Asian countries. And then the, the next year I just went back as a mental coach of the team at the World University games and we won the silver medal.

But you know, we brought in guys that didn't get [00:17:00] drafted before we left the United States. We saw 11 of them get baptized in ice tubs. So we were baptizing them there before we went on the trip. And then we were in a country where you're not allowed to share the gospel. And the guys I worked with two years before, A lot of 'em remembered me and I went out to watch them play and they circled up in the middle of the field and they prayed where they could have been immediately arrested and thrown into jail in that moment.

So that was a beautiful thing, seeing those, those investments being played forward and to see the boldness in these young men in a country where you know you can be arrested if you're, no one is a believer. So obviously I can't mention the country, but just seeing those things and to be a part of [00:18:00] them is just so compelling, you know, and to have many of those friends still on Facebook, checking in with them.

A lot of people, I, I don't know if I wasn't ministry, how involved I would be on social media, but it's my way of connecting with the world. And I've been blessed to do ministry on every continent except for the Antarctica. And that was always one of my chief goals. And my best friend's brother is the head of the science lab on the Antarctica.

So I have an in, but I have no desire because I'm an La, San Diego Honolulu. It's the only place that I lived and I'm not going to anything below 40 degrees and that's far below. So. Well, that sounds in,

[00:18:43] Paul: in my, in my my opinion. I think that sounds, sounds smart. Unless you know God is, is calling you strongly, it sounds like God's calling you more to the warmer temperature, so you're blessed with that.

But, and I would say, I would also say any, I would say those, those men who wanted to be baptized in an ice tub, they really must have really wanted to be baptized. Cuz that is, [00:19:00] that is cold. That is cold, that is cold. But it also led to cold. They're also very bold. So I love that story. And another thing that stands out to me that we just come across, I think, you know, week after week on these interviews is that in all the things you're talking about, these coaches.

That, you know, stood out to you, not once was it, you know, all the championships and all that. It was all the intangible things that they were about that led to, to winning that led to other types of success. Right. I just always wanna point that out to our listeners that, you know, a lot of coaches, a lot of players that, hey, it's about how you treat people and those relationships that, you know, I think personally, you know, helped lead to winning and success on the field.

But it's those things off the field, those relationships and those things that you can build and, and of course being men and people of faith, I think there's an even deeper bond there that you can have. And you talked a little bit about some of it, but what specifically, what are some of the, the life lessons or leadership lessons that you learned from your coaches and through your coaching and through your interactions with, with athletes, what are some of those [00:20:00] life and and leadership lessons that you would specifically pick out that, that you've learned through some of those instances You talked.

[00:20:06] Mike: I think developing community that I thought Jim Mora Jr. Did great. And June Jones did phenomenally after going O 18 and getting us into a bowl game. Was that X factor you just talked about? I, I've seen talented teams, my gosh, incredibly talented teams have no success. Yeah. Because there wasn't that community, that X factor in the locker room.

And, and, and we tell our guys, I was coaching at the Master's University just until my son started playing there, and I didn't want to do the daddy son thing. You know, you don't have to be friends in the locker room, but you need to get along and you need to go. And hopefully it goes far beyond that.

But the life lessons that I've learned from them is, I already mentioned, is like, don't be a responsive, a reactive leader. Just lead in the way you go. And, and I've been involved with four different [00:21:00]martial arts three where I have sort of medium belts. One, I have an advanced belt in and that's called self defense.

So you're reacting. The good martial artists I've witnessed don't do defense, you know what I mean? We gotta be out there putting the best in front of us all the time and moving forward. But some of the big lessons I've taken away is communication is huge. There needs to be a feel of compassion. I think when my wife, Allie, that Phil mentioned earlier, who's just an amazing lady in my life we started out playing beach volleyball and we had to learn to communicate.

We learned how to protect our weaknesses from being exposed and. You know, propel each other on and play within our strengths. And my wife is involved in, in some psychology stuff where psychology, when we are all going up is like, fix [00:22:00] what's wrong with you. So we're sort of flipping the script and saying, let's work in your strengths and let's not always try to fix the athlete's weaknesses where some attention needs to go to.

But I would say 75, 80% of that needs to be focused on what they already do well and really accelerating that forward in their career. And obviously there's a real balance there, depending what their weakness is, if it's a glaring thing or if it's a minor thing. But I, I would say communication lead forward, be attached to something greater than yourself if you want to feel significance.

Another thing, dealing with all the injuries I've had to deal with. . I would say the greatest thing, and I do this with athletes all the time, believers or non-believers, is when they endure an injury, ask them what they can be thankful for. Mm-hmm. . And that may sound so ludicrous to 'em, but when they sit [00:23:00] down and make a list and think about it, they really come away with some things they can be authentically thankful for.

Like one of my big things after you might hear my story or read it is just no one ever had to tell me I wasn't good enough. And I'm so glad because that's what I was told all the time growing up, not my, by my parents, but by peers and teachers and other coaches and so forth. So those words are impactful and you know, in marriage communication is the key.

The Bible calls the wife to respect the man, not to love the man. But the man is called to love the woman and really to love the woman. One of the most sensitive things we can do, and it's not in our dna, is to learn to be a great listener. And most of us men aren't good listeners. In fact, when I was with the USA football team, one of the [00:24:00] businessmen that came in gave a listening test and it was 12 questions and I got three right?

And the guy was basically, if you didn't get any higher than a nine, your listening sucks . So it's really turning ear and listening to your athletes. You know, that quarterback, head coach relationship or offensive coordinators critical. Seen a lot of the great ones work there. I had Norm Chow, ucla, and just the community.

You need to grow there because it's learning how to communicate with each other. We're in guys locker rooms obviously, but to have that fun, to encourage to John Wooden's rule for every you know, three to one ratio of positive and negative comments. And I've been around UCLA for a decade. I met a lot of the great old players and you know, this doesn't get talked that much.

And I love John [00:25:00] and have been blessed for him to jump up out of a wheelchair one day and gimme a hug for what I was doing on campus. And that was precious because my dad was recruited by John Wooden and John Wooden really tore him a hole for not responding because his parents didn't know who John Wooden was when he called and his high school basketball coach didn't like John for whatever reason.

But it's learning to express that love that's so authentic in leadership, and I think that's what allowed me to go forward. In high school football and I've coached D one Baseball in the New York Penn League. I've coached D one athletes in volleyball with athletes in action and obviously the USA team.

A bunch of guys that didn't get drafted that wanted to get drafted and that USA team was actually sanctioned by the NFL and put into athletes in action hands. And so when we played the games, they sent guys out like Ricky Waters, which [00:26:00] was really a treasure to me cuz the first chapel I did for an opponent was Texas and it was Ricky's first chapel ever.

So we got to reconnect on that about 30 years later. But had a lot of fun doing kind of stuff like that.

[00:26:14] Phil: Yeah, there's a lot there. We can, I mean, it's, it's so just so good. That's why I love sitting down with you, Mike, and just talking and having these conversations and you know, there's a lot of names there that if you don't know the name, look 'em up. All those names are like legit, amazing people, coaches who have had tons of success.

And that success is for good reason. It's because of these things you're talking about. Right. And I, I will say you know, you given me the opportunity to do some of the chapels for the UCLA team and the football team and actually one of my, one of our great family friends now, or from one of those chapels the Verners and.

Yeah. And welcome. But I will say, you know, I, I don't know, you know, it may be that I never do a, a chapel after this again, but [00:27:00] I don't think any, as I look back, I think I'm oh and nine or oh and 10 for those chapels that you've allowed me to do with those games. And I, I look at it and I think there's a life lesson in there somewhere.

I think what I was talking about was probably telling them that they needed to, you know, learn from losses as well, and so they thought they needed to go out and lose just to learn the lessons. I don't know, maybe there's, maybe there's something there. They probably learned some amazing lessons after that though.

That's what I'm saying to myself anyway. I

[00:27:27] Paul: would just, I would just say Phil, as a, as a former coach, I think I would, I would start recommending you for my opponents to do their chapters.

[00:27:34] Phil: That's how I

[00:27:34] Mike: would navigate that as a, there you

[00:27:35] Paul: go. Hey, hey, welcome to, welcome to our campus. I've got a great guy to lead your chapel.

His name's Phil Dark, bringing,

[00:27:41] Phil: exactly, exactly. I think it's something along the lines of like, you know, you, you learn, you, you know, you win or you learn, right? So they're like, well, maybe we need to learn. I don't know, maybe

[00:27:49] Mike: Phil. But here's another important point, I think, guys, I was blessed to do 12 Pro Bowl chapels, be a part of the team, never spoke at one, but I gotta hang out [00:28:00] with the guys all week long.

And you just, you learn to treat people not as idols. And when I was walking through the hotel with Barry Sanders one day people coming at him all the time, idols, can we take you out to dinner, out to golf? Those kind of things. And you just treat 'em like people. And I was with Chris Carter and Irving Fryer, and I'm like, I'm just theall by how people bow down to you guys.

You're my friends. And all of a sudden I find myself hitting the wall because Kevin Green walked by and put a forearm shiver into. And he's like, Mike, that's why we love you. You treat us like normal people. Mm-hmm. . And I think that's critical when we're dealing with coaches and you know, I just talking to John SRA the other day, our USA Olympic men's team coach and just had the most pleasant conversation because it wasn't like, oh, the USA [00:29:00] coach is just talking to 'em like you and I talk and Phil when we talk, and that's never shorter than an hour, which is awesome,

But because we're, we're gifted at gab. But treating people like they're normal people is, I think where I've won a ton of respect with the coaches I've worked with, with the players I've worked with that are playing professionally in the NFL or MLB or nba. They know I'm gonna treat them just like a normal dude.

And when they sit down with me, they don't wanna talk sports. Even though I probably have a understanding better than most people about football, basketball, and baseball and volleyball. I don't talk to 'em about that stuff unless they bring it up. I talk to 'em about what they want to talk about and try to discover the felt needs in their life to help them continue to grow, especially with the pro athletes and the marriages.

Because MLB nfl, the last scene I [00:30:00] heard is the divorce rate is over 95%. And that breaks my heart because I really believe that is the enemy's cross hairs is on the families. And you know, just a lot of struggles there. My wife and I have started a ministry called Destination Unbreakable, where we hope to take four to 12 couples away.

They pick the destination, they pray for us to come cover our expenses. We get to do stuff that we learned from family life when I and Allison were trained by them as speakers and we got to speak once in Hong Kong and then they shut the program down cuz they wanted to go through nationals, which made sense.

Plus using her core clarity, understanding the strength finders on how we're all wired and how there's sort of an autopilot within us, how we react to things. Mm-hmm. and, and Phil, you know me well enough to um, Mike's autopilot, [00:31:00] you know, I walk in the room from the disc desk, it's like, what are we gonna get today?

Spirit filled Mike or honoree, let's get after it and beat it down, Mike. You know, those kind of things. So we're all people with flaws, but God's grace is so sufficient and I praise him for that.

[00:31:16] Phil: 100% man. And, and that's what I, I've loved that too, is being able to, It's not only, you know, as you talked about there, it's like they are, you say we treat 'em like they're normal because they are normal people.

Right. And that's what I've loved about my son being able to go to these chapels with me and to be able to do these things is from, from the time he was 7, 6, 7, he saw them. These, these are just people are people, they happened to be able to throw a ball. Well, or they, to be able to, you know, they, they're big and they hit people hard or they can kick a ball well.

Right. They're people. Yeah. Right. And that, and, and not only do they appreciate that, like it's the, they're then you're able to actually help people. Yeah. In, because when they are treated [00:32:00] that way, it actually is harder to be humble. It's harder to be surrendering and it's harder to do the things that we have to do to be able to truly flourish Right.

In life. Not just on a field, not just in whatever. Yeah. You make a lot of money, but that's so empty. Right. I mean, Jim Carey saying, I would not wish fame upon anyone. Right. Wow. Because you don't know why people love you, you or pretend to love you. You don't know why people wanna hang out with you. Like, I remember when I was doing one of those chapels and Jerry Rice Jr.

Was playing for ucla. Mm-hmm. and Jerry Rice was there in the bar and we were, I was waiting to do the chapel and, and you know, and I didn't go over and say anything cause I was like, what, what do I have to say? Like I, Hey, great. Catch that one game. Like, I don't know what to, like, I, I didn't have a thing to say to him at that point, and I didn't wanna bother him by just saying, Hey, I just, so I could say I met Jerry Rice.

But you know, those are the things that people would be like, oh my gosh, it would've been so cool. [00:33:00] And I asked the question, well, why? Why, and you know, yeah, it's, it'd be great if you could sit down and have a conversation, hear about all these different things, but that's not typically what happens.

Usually it's, oh, can I get your autograph? And then we have a piece of paper signed by someone, and then it actually increases the divide between the normalcy. I mean, we never do that with people in business. And so those are some of those things that it's, it's an interesting thing just from a, from a life standpoint, like we idolize people.

We literally make 'em into idols. Right? And the fact is, like I talked to Alterraun, you know, who we mentioned earlier about it, and I said, how many people in the NFL would you want your kids to be mentored by? You know? And, and it's not a high percentage. Nope. And when you look at that, why are we pining over these people to go and say, oh, I gotta hang out with, why are we worried about what they're saying about our culture and this and the other stuff when we wouldn't necessarily do that with others?

So anyway, it was just, I loved how you said that

[00:33:56] Mike: you, thanks Phil. And I loved the Jerry Rice story [00:34:00] because, He was outside the locker room at UCLA when I came out, and I saw him there and I had met him at a couple Pro Bowls so I went over there, but up above on the walkway were like six guys yelling down to him and saying, loved you on Dancing With the Stars.

And they were all into that about him. So I walked over to him, stood next to him, and I said, Hey, I'm Mike. I'm the team chaplain. You have a son on the team? He's like, yeah, Jerry Junior. And then those guys kept on like throwing things down about what a great dancer he was. And then I looked Jerry right and I, and I said, Jerry, I know who you are.

We met a few times at the Pro Bowls in Hawaii when I was ministering out there. And so it was sort of one of those funny moments where he was being idolized for dancing and not for his hall of fame football career. And then I just sort of played over with it and I said, Hey, Jerry, is it Jerry Junior?

I'm like, is this your dad? I'd love to [00:35:00] meet him, you know, to played it off that way. Then he is like, afterwards the light bulb went off. He's like, oh, I remember meeting you out there. But yeah. Yeah. So have a lot of fun with them. And, you know, working with the athletes, I, I adore people in a way, and it doesn't matter who they are.

I think of a guy named Scar I met in prison. Not that I was in prison, actually. I was in the prison doing ministry and just speak. Being able to talk to him like a person and share with him. It's like I said, scar. David murdered. David raped one of our, you know, the, the highest person in the Jewish realm, David.

And that's all I had said to him. And he said, Mike, excuse me. And I'm like, scar, where are you going? And he goes, I'm going into the chapel and giving my life back to God right now. Hmm. So to me, those stories are equal with the stories in [00:36:00] my mind of working with a lot of the pro athletes I've worked with.

[00:36:04] Phil: 100%. I know our mutual friend Victor, in the, in the prison, seeing the different, the different impact that we can have on people. And I think that is it, meeting 'em where they are and meeting 'em as humans, human to human in life. To impact. And that's leadership, right? I mean, that's what we need to do as leaders is understand our people, understand ourself, understand the other understand.

And that's what I tell my kids. If we're going, whether we're going to a chapel for a football game or going over to Ethiopia or going to Honduras or going to some other place, is people are people, they have hope streams, fears, they have strengths, they have weaknesses. They are, they're struggling with things as you are, as I say, even the president of the United States loses the remote on the couch.

Right? Like we're, you know, we, we go to the bathroom the same way we put on our clothes the same way. Like if, if you go into life like that, it actually brings you people to the level where you can actually connect and communicate. Those are, that right there is just some, some [00:37:00] great, great leadership stuff too.

So I do want to get in the book. We got more than that. Okay. We wanted to say something

[00:37:05] Mike: Mike, go. Yeah. I just wanted to say, you know, when you go into countries, like I worked in Zambia for a little bit and it's so true. The people that are in the world's eyes, the poorest, the orphans, the widows the ones that are just pushed aside, have this joy that is just beyond what I've ever seen out of the people in the most horrible circumstances that you can imagine.

The joy is just heightened and it's, it's what the Jewish method of steady and saw. It's something mystical. We can't explain. , but it's just amazing. See, so go ahead. We can turn the page

[00:37:50] Phil: now. 100%. No, I agree. And that's why I say don't, don't say I'm going to serve the less fortunate when you go and you meet these people and they have a joy that you probably will never [00:38:00] have.

Yeah, absolutely. Probably because we have so much stuff, but that's a whole different conversation for another day. More than that, we got, this is one of the cool things about this. I'm putting up the cover. If you're not watching the video, you won't see it. But the cool thing is, is is. Johnny, this is, this is Johnny.

This is your, your son, your boy on here who probably looks something like you did back in the day. So it's probably kind of, kind of cool there too. But he is got the, you know, football, basketball, and the baseball and the cover. But again, it's more than that and it's biblical principles for dealing with athletic injuries.

And these are principles that are so good. And it's not just hypothetical, it's not just theoretical. It is something that is real cuz you've gone through it and these are things that you've used in your life and God has directed you and guided you. And so I, I definitely want to get into this. So what are, you know, you, you write in the book, you've talked about, you've.

Alluded to a couple of things already with the breaking the kids' neck and in, [00:39:00] in the football game. But, but you had three life changing prayers basically in this book. What I want you to just talk about, let's go into, I wanna go into a little bit of detail on the, on the first one, the football story, and then maybe kind of hit the other ones.

Cause we don't have time to go into all of 'em, nor do I wanna do all of it. Cause I want people to buy the book and read it. , thank you. And because it is good and, and to go back and, and check it out is whether you've gone through injuries or you're going through it right now, or you've been, or you're going to, I, you know, I hope you don't, but you know, the reality is if you play high level sports, you're probably gonna have an injury.

I know, I know. Becca, my wife, that was when she really found her. Her faith and found out who she really is. And her identity was crushed when she had, you know, she's had four knee surgeries and she said she spent more time in the training room than anywhere else. But I have no doubt if she didn't go through that, she wouldn't have worked with you at University of Hawaii.

We probably never would've, you know, she probably wouldn't have got on the trip that we met on. Like, these are, these are pretty cool things. It's very important to me. Yeah. This, this stuff too. It obviously had a major impact. So can you just go into that a [00:40:00] little bit? Just say, why'd you write the book first of all, and then go into that, you know, kind of the

[00:40:04] Mike: prayers.

Well, I wanted to share what I learned through dealing with injuries because I definitely dealt with them the wrong way and I dealt with them the correct way after I learned the lessons the hard way. And it's really being forged by fire in the refiners pit. And that's explained in the book too. If not, it's on the podcast and that's on Spotify.

Another little plug. There's morethanthat.Info now where you can get all this information about the podcast, the book, that kind of stuff. And what else my wife and I are doing. But the reason I wrote the book is because I wanted to share the lessons I learned to help people get through the pain quicker than they could normally do it.

So I talk about the football story, for example. And I knew God was involved with this because I'll give you a brief summary of it. And I have three cameos in the book that are all see this, that they're wrapped up in prayer, God leading it, [00:41:00] and then the injury recurring with in a 10th of a second to 12 hours maybe.

And with the football story that you alluded to, I was really getting selfish. I wanted to get outta my small high school. I wanted to go to a big college. I had UCLA scouts coming to the football game in person, Oregon State looking at me for, you know, punting and playing football for them. And all of a sudden I sort of went into a self-centered mode.

Not explicitly, but just I was here tight and I really got a salty, bad mouth. It'd probably make a sailor blush at a Christian high school. And Tuesday of that week, the head cheerleader came up to meet Cathy and said, Mike, your mouth is getting so bad it's wearing me out. I can't hang out with you. So then our star running back came up the same day at lunch and said the exact same thing [00:42:00]verbatim.

And I probably grabbed him and said, did you talk to Cathy? And he said, no, not at all. Why? And I said, she said the exact same thing at our lunch recess earlier in the day. So I went from like six four to about two inches. Thursday I get a counselor call me outta class who I'd never talked to before, but I saw her cuz she was a cute lady on campus.

And she called me into our office and she says, I'm like, why are you calling me outta class? And she said, Mike used to be the spiritual light on this campus. And everyone recognized that one of the spiritual whites and I just don't see it anymore. And in my spirit filled life, I stood up, put my fist into her desk and looked her right in the eye.

And I said, who in the hell are you to tell me that? And bless her heart, all five foot, two of her stood right up to me and said, Mike, someone needed to tell me my senior year two also. [00:43:00] And so Friday night I'm in bed, so excited about ucla, coming to watch Terry Donahue set some of his ex players to watch me and and a few other players on the opponents team and on our team.

And I was so excited about that. But the spiritual leadership being rebuked by that lady, I started just praying. And here's where the Lord led me to pray. And I don't recommend this prayer at all. I said, Lord, I wanna be your spiritual leader. I wanna be your light on campus. I understand how I strayed because he was knocking, knocking louder and louder all the time in my life.

And I said, Lord, take someone's like so-and-so on the team who never plays. If he gets in, break his leg, I'll get the two teams together cuz I know the athletes on the other team. And I'll get us together and we'll pray and I'll be your spiritual light again on campus. Well, about a minute, 20 [00:44:00]before halftime, coach sends that guy in on a kickoff to give him his playing time, his senior year.

Never been on the build the field before. What do I do? Tell him to get the heck off the field. I ain't going anywhere. And coach is like, Hey, you need rest? And I said, in a minute and a half, I got 20 minutes of rest coming. Get off the field. So the kickoff happened, ball took a wicked bounce. I was the only one that saw it.

My friend Mark, who talked to me on Tuesday, or Star running back, grabbed it. So it was just me and him as a lead blocker going up one sideline when all the other nine players on the field were designed to block to the other side of the field. So it was us two against Sarah, 11 basically. And Mark went down, I went down the whistle blew, and a guy about 6 4 280 pounds fell and put his head right through my tibia and fibula.

And I did the Joe Theisman before he ever did it [00:45:00] and people were throwing up looking at my leg. One person, another person I saw turned green. And so my leg, depending how you were looking at it, was in the shape of the you or an end. But I rolled over and I used an explicit to God and I said, I don't know beep why you're doing this, but I know I'm supposed to be thankful.

Hmm. And then then it was funny cuz my dad came running out on the field and said, son, does it hurt? And I'm like, that's a dumbing deepest question you could ever ask. And then the next day he walked in the hospital room, cleared out my friends and said, do you remember what you said to me on the field?

And of course I was gonna lie and say no. And he put his finger in my chest and he said, son, now that you're on your back, you need to start looking up again. So it was one of those profound moments and I got such a thick coconut skull. The Lord had to teach me the same lesson through basketball in college and I [00:46:00] lost basketball and the same thing, baseball in college.

And I lost baseball after that. And so the Lord sort of took me in a wrecking ball, but he blessed me. And I really believe, here's another great leadership principle I can throw out. There is where you've been broken in life. That's where God's gonna use you to minister. So that's why I've been working with athletes and God has given me some incredible opportunities, are far beyond what I deserve to serve.

I've already mentioned the NFL Pro Bowl. I was blessed to coach players that played in the l b the Lakers were training in Hawaii every other year. So I got to talk to Magic and AC and you know, Mike Fox and Mike Penberthy and a lot of these guys quite often. And just have opportunities to. To share with them if they bit it or not, or didn't like me because I was sharing, so be it.

But it allowed me to connect in great ways that way. So that's [00:47:00] one of my cameos. But note it was God's sovereign hand and his discipline of his child that he talks about in Hebrews 12, just to get me in the back and the right spot. And that's where you know, he disciplines his children, who he loves what Father wouldn't.

[00:47:18] Phil: yeah. And I, and I, again, those other two, the basketball, the baseball stories, they're, they're so, I mean, it's, it's so good like seeing the other side of it in the midst of it like, man, it's brutal. And I can't even imagine cuz it's, you read it in a book and it happened in 20 pages, you know? Right. Yeah.

But that was years, you know, a few years of your life that, or you know, several, I guess probably, you know, maybe it was a few that. God's working in there for the next 40 that we now see. Right, right. But we didn't see it then. And you know, and that's where, you know, going through trials, right? I mean, we talked about it on the podcast before reading your book [00:48:00] reminds me of James, you know, where it talks about, consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.

Right? And it's, it's like impossible to do that in the midst of it. If you don't have that eternal perspective, if you don't have that perspective of there's something bigger than me, there's something bigger than this.

[00:48:18] Mike: I had a, I had an ex-pro soccer player ask me, Mike, do you have regrets of anything you went through?

And I said, no. And he's like, that's the answer I wanted to hear. But the h story that you alluded to already, Phil, was, I was probably bitter for a decade, but I would never admit it because honestly, my hopes and dreams were shattered and my identity was completely cast out into space. And I had to discover who I was and what I was created for.

Yeah. Because alls I wanted was the identity of being a, a college or even a professional athlete. And alls I had to do was sign a [00:49:00] paper one day with the Giants, San Francisco Giants, and I would've been a professional athlete and I thought that would gimme clout. But I'm so thankful for what the Lord's done and to even springboard forward.

And Phil, you know, these stories, all three of my kids have medical stuff. The young man on the cover, Johnny, I wanted to honor him because he's a college athlete. He's a stud of an athlete, but he's battled cystic fibrosis his whole life. Yep. And I think the Lord took me through the hard times and the bitterness to prepare me for my kids.

My daughter was born three months early, had her eye lens removed, no depth reception. Doctors are like, she'll never dry drive, she'll never read. She was what second to Val Victorian in high school. Salutorian, yeah. Thank you. And then she was the MVP of her soccer team in high school and made all league and volleyball, basketball, and obviously soccer [00:50:00] too.

But just overcomers. Then our oldest son wasn't, had these things knit into their life from God at birth. But Christopher through high school suffered. And college suffered six to seven concussions where he had brain damage ringing in his head. And he would tell me quite often, I, I'll never be a shadow of the man.

God created me too. And yet he meets with me for Bible study and how many dads get to say that, that are in ministry, your sons involved with you. And I got to take him through David Platt's Bible study on sovereignty and he realized God's hands in this. And he had ringing in his head for a couple years, thank God that's gone now.

Mm-hmm. . And he and I lead a bible study of guys he led to Christ and mentored at Pepperdine as a student life advisor. And they're all over the country. And we do that every Thursday [00:51:00] night. And so God took me through those athletic injuries to prepare me for. The right way of dealing when we're having do Johnny Medevac because of, of a heart thing one night from high school.

[00:51:14] Phil: No. And I, I can tell you, I, I walked through those, not walked with you, but, you know, we were part of that, your life in that, seeing that and remember the diagnosis with, with Johnny and, and being like, oh, and praying hard and seeing how God has worked in his life and through his life and in your life and Ali's life through that as well is, is so, you know, and I don't know that I've already told you, so encouraging to me and Becca to watch you walking through that and to see how God shaped you and as you said, went through that so that you could help your kids through it.

Not just from a theoretical standpoint, but from a Right. You know, this is, I, I get it. I get it. And to, to have that actually means something.

[00:51:59] Mike: [00:52:00] Well these trials, these trials you take through, you have a choice in how you wanna respond. And I would say it's even connected. Allison and I in deeper ways than you could ever imagine.

Mm-hmm. . And yet I walk through the hospital at children's hospitals and I see husbands and wives bickering of one CF case. I saw grandparents, two sets of grandparents arguing intensely about who's who brought this upon the child because it was a genetic thing. And I'm like, we just don't live that we, we trust.

And I would say this to anyone listening, whatever you're going through, just trust God with your story. You know, it, it, it'll impact you. It'll impact others. And I've had people watching me, family members is like, my eyes been on you through all this. And that's the only reason. And they're not Christians yet, but [00:53:00] that's the only reason they have hope in God is in the way I responded.

And that's just so humbled to Eva. Say Yeah. To hear family members say that.

[00:53:09] Phil: Yeah. No. Good. No question. Alright. We don't have a, we don't have, we're kind of, we've gone longer on, it's not surprising, like you said. Yeah. But I do want you to, real quickly, and then we'll go into kind of our, our closing questions.

But you have kind of two choices in your, in your book you talk about this, right? And again, folks, we're just gonna brush over this. I want you to do it really quick. Okay. So that then people can go and again, go grab the book. But, but give them really those two choices in response to trials and injuries that you talk about in the book.

What are, what are those two ways that we can address that will really change the way that you go through 'em? Well, I

[00:53:42] Mike: think, I think the way that we naturally respond Christians and non-Christian is the first thing we do in our flesh is we curse the Lord. I, I've seen it outta non-Christians. I've seen it outta Christians.

So we curse God for what we're going through in [00:54:00] that moment. It's funny to hear non-Christians that don't believe in God blame God when they're going through injuries, and I've heard that a number of times. So I think we go from cursing God and blaming God. Then it hit me one day. It's like, who wants us to curse God more than anybody?

It's an enemy. Then secondly, we go from cursing to nursing. The problem taking that issue and making it the proverbial molehill into a mountain. Then we get so sucked into it where we, we curse it, we nurse it, then we rehearse it so much that it actually dwells within us and it actually becomes a saboteur of our minds and it beats us up our whole lives potentially.

And then it locks us in this self-imposed prison because of our own pain. And I think it was Houdini that offered $20,000 for anyone that could pick this unpickable lock. and a number of people tried to do it [00:55:00] with no success. Then one guy figured it out, he said, Mr. Houdini, the lock was never locked. And I think a lot of people have themself in this self-imposed prison, and the lock isn't locked.

You can step out. So then the other path I walk through, for me it's Philippians 4:4-10. And it's just learning to, and this sounds ludicrous, it's to rejoice in your pain. That's verse four. Paul is going through stuff. He says, rejoice. And I say again, rejoice. Second verse talks about the Lord's hand is near.

And use an illustration about an ex super heavy weight of the world a man of color, African American. And I only share this because it's important to this story. And he was working in the mine fields after his career. And some. White guy with something as service other than coffee. When isn't he as Christian?

And aren't you [00:56:00] supposed to turn the other cheek? So he walked up to this ex super heavyweight champion of the world, struck him in the cheek. How do you expect this ex super heavyweight champion of the world to respond naturally? Right? Not even thinking, throwing a combo. Grab me at night. My kids do not take the remote off my stomach.

This happened about six months ago. Johnny grabbed a remote, he touched me and I literally had him face down in the couch in an arm bar just because it's so natural to react without training. And isn't that what we want, Paul, with our athletes is not thinking, just responding and reacting. Yeah. But this boxer looked this guy in the eye and says, Hey, I forgive you as the father's forgiven me.

Now when we get bumped in life, what bumps out of us, what spills out of the cup? You don't wanna be on the 4 0 5 with me [00:57:00] driving down to ucla Yeah. Mm-hmm. . But when we get bumped that to pour out of him, that man that hit him came back to him three days ago and this boxer shared the gospel with him and led to Christ because the Lord was at hand and he responded properly, properly.

So yeah. That's powerful image there. Yeah. Of just responding properly in the difficulties that we go through is we're being forged. And my phrase lately is trusting God with his story for you. Yeah. And I, I, I hold tight to that. That's good. So the path that's extremely powerful. Yeah. And the path goes on and you get into.

That. Then the next verse, be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and supplication and Thanksgiving, make a request be. And Paul being a great orator, he basically says prayer four different ways. So it's turning your heart back to God in these [00:58:00] situations and trusting him with your story instead of, and we've all dealt with athletes that have those bandaids of alcohol and substance abuses and those kind of things.

They just don't know where to turn. And so the book will explain more of that about that. But then it talks about learning to be content in all those circumstances too. Mm-hmm. . And if people want, they can email me at pain to superpower gmail, and I'll send you an infograph of both of these things that I made infographs about, that we've already talked about, how to endure pain.

And then the other one, the two choices that we respond of. It's our choice. Yeah, we'll have

[00:58:42] Phil: that on the, on the show notes for sure. We'll have all those links.

[00:58:46] Paul: Yeah. That's, that's powerful and I appreciate you sharing that and highly encourage everybody to, to do that and to, and to read the book. And I know all of us that have been athletes or coaches that are working with athletes, you know, one of the hardest things is that, is that injury, you [00:59:00] know, that that change of identity, you know, where do I belong?

And I love that story about, about the heavyweight and just, just thinking more into his mind of like where he actually had to be spiritually to be able to do that, you know, to, to be, to be different. And and to transition a little bit into some of our final questions that we do with all of our, all of our guests.

And you, you spoke about it a little bit, but to go a little bit more in depth in this, you know, when we talk about, you know, what we've learned from coaches, what we've learned from sport, you know, what we've learned from leadership, how, how, what are the things that you've learned from those things that directly from sport that you use in your marriage and in your parenting when you were raising your children?

[00:59:37] Mike: Directly into family. Yeah. Well, I was just thinking too, all three of us have become coaches at all different levels, but why did we become coaches? Because the impact good coaches had on us, and we wanna influence other people around us. The things I think I would go right back to in marriage is communication playing, playing volleyball.

I have a tendency to get loud and [01:00:00] tough, and I learned in my dating relationship with my wife that when my volume goes to here, her ears go off. Mm-hmm. . So if I want to talk to Allison, I know I need to do it calmly and kindly. Instead of being the loudest voice


[01:00:18] Mike: the room and the loudest voice doesn't always win the arguments.

I think another thing is to continue guarding the other P person. I hear about men leading their wives and spiritually leading their wives to me is that's not sitting down with your Bible and telling her what to do and telling and studying together, that can be a part of it. But dealing with all the health issues we had to do.

And one of the things I think I did with Allison really well is when I saw her getting wore out, I created time and space for her to go spend time with the Lord herself because we [01:01:00] both have personal relationships with God and we buoy each other up and down. And when her buoy was sinking, I wanted to create that space where she could go spend time with the Lord or just go out and complain and grumble to the Lord with what's going on.

And when you get that out, I think that's when God comes back into you and meet you right there. Because he is so caring and so full of loving kindness. So to me, being a husband, using that leadership is watching her and making sure she's connected with the Lord. Now, what Allison and I do since we're almost empty nesters, is we read a book together every morning for about the last six years.

So I've read more books in the last six years than I have in the previous 50. The other thing, how does that go to the kids? It's learning that all our kids are different. You know, how [01:02:00] many kids do, each of you have? Five and four, and I've four. I've got four, right? That was, yeah. I, I knew it was four and I didn't know if it was, but how different are all.

You wonder.

[01:02:14] Paul: You wonder sometimes if they come from the same parents.

[01:02:16] Mike: I say that all the time, Paul. It's like

[01:02:19] Phil: fraternity for sure on a couple of them. Like no question. So yeah,

[01:02:23] Mike: well, that's the point. And the Bible instructs us to lead them in the way they should go. But to me, that's not by a strong fist.

That's by coming and learning how they've been created and helping them excel in their spiritual giftedness and the natural talents God has given them. You know, I, I'm football, basketball, baseball, Johnny's volleyball. Chris followed in my steps, but it's allowing them to choose and give the freedom there.

I'll say this too, being around a lot of ministry people, pastors, [01:03:00] parachurch ministers, the people that hold their kids like this are the ones that lose. Yeah, we need to be open handed and trust the Lord with their stories too. Yeah. To the point that Allison and I were in Rome on Christmas three years ago, we told our younger two children, Emily and Johnny, that we're not gonna pressure him with the Bible stuff because we know God wrecked dad's life to get his attention.

We know he, he wrecked Allison's life in high school and the things she was doing ungodly and God will come get you. Now we've seen Johnny already turn a 180 where he is a Bible study major now, and it's such a fun thing. My daughter is still struggling, but she sees the holes in the Christian Church and I'm like, honey, you're right, but what are you gonna do about that?

She cares about people. She loves people. She loves Jesus, but she doesn't like the [01:04:00] things Paul. So she's on her trek and I'm just trying to be openhanded. And since in the last two years, if you're dad struggling with your teenage early 20 year old daughter, be more openhanded and be a good listener to that daughter.

And our relationship between me and Emily have just gone up the last couple years. Yeah. And the problem with, the problem with Emily and I, and I asked this driving home one night with Allison. I said, what is me and Emily mine and Emily's problem? Are we alike anyway? And Allison looked at me and said, only if you knew how much you know.

And I'm like, we both know how to push buttons. Yeah. I was known as an intimidator in high school basketball. And yeah, so we play that game back and forth, but now we both have relinquished that kind of stuff and I just, she comes home a week from today and I just can't wait for her to come home. [01:05:00] Yeah,

[01:05:01] Paul: there's a lot of, a lot of wisdom in all of that, especially the communication piece.

And I love how you, you talk about leading by kinda letting go a little bit. It's kind of what you're saying in different ways, you know, with your wife, with your daughter, lead by, by letting go and letting, letting God. And there's some, just some great wisdom in in that for sure. And the kind transition you mentioned how much you've, you've been, you've been reading and how much you guys are reading together.

Tell us, tell us some things that, you know, maybe that you've read watched or even listened to that have, have informed your thinking on how sports, you know, have explained life and leadership for you.

[01:05:32] Mike: Well, the first book that comes to mind is one by Crawford Loritts. He wrote a book on leadership that's really good.

I think a John MacArthur's book on leadership. As far as leadership, I love reading Bob Goff because he does things by love. You know, Bill Bright got criticized for a lot of stuff and he told me one day he said, what am I supposed to do? Turn around and apologize to God for loving people outside of our circles?[01:06:00]

And I thought that was beautiful. So we're reading his, his most recent book right now. I love Mark Patterson's books. What If When The Day They've been really a blessing lately, a book by called The Blue Parakeet that's just like, get outta your Christian zone. And here's something I personally been learning in Western culture.

We're not allowed to question God. Eastern culture, that's all you do. And they believe when you questions in the things in the Bible you don't understand, there's where you'll find the deepest treasure. And I'm just in awe of God's word, steadying through the Old Testament since co covid started questions I had, what does this mean?

Oh, don't question God. When I've dug it up, I've found great treasures in there, and I'm just more and more in awe of God's script. Now, his text, even seeing how Matthew, I'm studying Matthew now, there's a [01:07:00] Hebrew guy using Hebrew language to communicate things, how he shares his parables. The Sermon on the Mount has gone completely to new depths for me and answering the things in there that I had questions that I'd ne I was always in Bible colleges don't question God.

Well, I I want to tell people to question God and you'll discover depths. And with me, it's only deep in my love for God and the honest of his word, you know? And So I, I hope that helped answer the question. But we've read a ton of books and it's some controversial books and I love that cuz I need to learn to think better.

And this just really fun doing a lot of that. Francis Chan is a dear friend of mine. I knew him when he was struggling, when he talks about his struggling years, love his books. I love his heart because he, he wrestles his issues to the ground. And one of the issues I had a chance to [01:08:00] talk to him about was, do I drink or don't I drink alcohol?

But what Francis does is he takes the issues he sees and he wrestles them to the down, down to the ground and takes them to the Lord until he gets the conviction from the Lord on the right response. And he's been hanging out with people. That I know the school he went to, they're just mocking him for doing that.

But I love him for that heart, you know? Yep, absolutely. Because we've been mistranslating the Bible for 2000 years. They were messing it up in the first century. Now we're 2000 years later, almost what makes us think that we're doing it the right way and we have such a narrow thought passage, you know what I mean?

The path is narrow.


[01:08:49] Mike: But we gotta learn to open up, not to other religion so much, but to ways of studying the Bible and looking at the truths in the Bible, [01:09:00] and it's really just excited me.

[01:09:04] Phil: Yeah. That's cool. There's a lot of, lot of good stuff there. Again, I'd love to love to do a whole nother thing on that, on what we just talked about there, but we do have to wrap it up.

Okay. And thank you so much again Mike, for, for being a part. Thank you. Of your friendship. Thank you for your life. Just so faithful to the call and to stay with it, to impact so many. And I know I'm in that list. And I know Becca is in that list and I appreciate you and Ali and very, very, very much.

And so thank you for sharing some of that wisdom with us today and with our audience today. Appreciate you, man. Yeah.

[01:09:38] Mike: Well, it's reciprocated. Phil. You guys will become iron sharpening iron and I really admire you and look up to you, Paul. Pleasure to meet you buddy. And uh, you as well. Yeah. Wish you the best.

It's been awesome. Thank you, Jenny. The, the head volleyball coach for the women's team there. His wife, my wife discipled at the University of Hawaii, Jenny and [01:10:00] his new, his new assistant coach is a dear brother and the lord too, Joshua, who came from the men's team at Hawaii and is now serving there at Baylor too.

So if you run across those guys, pass Oh, great

[01:10:12] Paul: people. Great people, for sure.

[01:10:13] Mike: Yes. So, and I really appreciate your work and what you're doing through your podcast and


[01:10:19] Mike: probably call you Phil, cuz I don't know how to publicize my podcast yet or get it on anything but Spotify and

[01:10:27] Phil: We'll help with that.

We'll help with that. Appreciate, we'll help with all that. And we're still working on getting it out too, which on that note folks we need your help getting it out too. The, the best way we've always talked about this. The best way to share the podcast is not just posting on social media. It's telling people about it.

It's telling people that you heard something that helped you and you wanted to help them. And I encourage you to do that. I know I've had friends that have done that, and it's been really cool. It's encouraging to me to hear that because I know that this stuff we're talking about is important. The stuff we're talking about will help you.

It will help others. [01:11:00] It will help others in your circles to flourish. It will help your coaches and to hear people that are listening to it because their friend told them about a particular episode, that's what that, that brings joy to my heart. And so I love, love hearing that. I know it's same for Paul.

We don't do this just to talk with each other. Yeah. We have fun doing it. I love learning from these guests. But we do this so we can help you and we can help others, and we can help people out there to flourish. We can, and most importantly, we can. We can hopefully help these kids that these co you, you as coaches, you as people, these parents out there that can help their kids to be able to flourish and to be able to really learn these lessons, these life lessons that we learned through these sports, through soccer, through these other sports that Mike's talking about.

So folks encourage you to do that. Subscribe to the show so you don't miss an episode. Also, we have in all the show notes, we have all the, all the different things, all the different ways you can get involved with Warrior Way, with coaching, the bigger game with the disc, stuff that I'm doing, all these different things.

That'll all be in the show [01:12:00] notes. Check it out. Most importantly, as always, we hope that you're taking all that you're learn from the show and it's helping to you to be a better spouse, a better parent, a better leader, better friend, better in everything you do. And then you continue to remember that soccer and other sports as we talked about today, explain life and leadership.

Thanks a lot. Have a great week.