Coach Peters had an impact on me. Gene Peters. Bow-legged, slow-moving, grinning and grimacing coach. Coach walked like he was in pain with each step but I never heard him complain about pain. In fact, even though he was maybe 50, he came alive when he’d step on a basketball court.
He called us all “turkeys” and gave us coach-isms that I still remember. He laughed and was real and unpolished, not like other pastors I heard speak at youth camps. As I wrote this tonight, 30 years after first meeting Coach Peters, I headed to Google to see if I could find him. Youtube! There’s Coach, still preaching, still laughing, still unpolished and giving out “coach-isms.” I watched an entire sermon with fond memories of this Jesus-loving storyteller as he told his audience, over and over, “Any old bush will do.” (referring to God using a burning bush that he would not allow to burn up when he spoke to Moses)
Coach connects. He just does. Even though I never played on one of his teams and was never close, coach helped shape me. Tonight, I’ve got two “coach-isms” on my mind.
1) “Son, don’t let your studying interfere with your education.”
2) “C’mon now, you know it down deep in your knower.”
My studying tells me that jobs are hard to come by, or even, nearly impossible to come by in this economy. My studying has taught me the amount of the maximum unemployment benefit and how and when to apply. My figuring shows that, with Robin’s job either going, at best, to part-time or, at worst, to nonexistent, we are up the creek without a paddle. We’re between a rock and a hard place. My studying shows me we’re all kinds of overused idioms. But my education?
My education of 49 years goes against my studies. My education tells me we’ll be okay. My education, what I have experienced time-after-time, has taught me that my God likes to step in and provide in ways I can’t hardly explain. He likes to intervene in ways that make it clear that it’s Him. I can try to write off those situations as coincidence but, I know down deep in my knower, that it’s Him. Would you like to read some of my education experiences?
* Our first house. $94,000 in 1988. Owner turned down offer of $91K before us. Bank will only give us $82,000. We pray and offer it. Realtor says we are wasting her time. Realtor calls and says, “I can’t believe it. The owner said, ‘God wants them to have this house” and accepted your offer!” The owner, an elderly woman in assisted living, died just a few days after closing.
* Christmas 1995. Serving a mission agency dependent on charitable gifts. Three months late on mortgage, no food in the cupboard and only grandparents’ gifts for our three kids. We tell no one. We just pray. People invited us to dinner every night for a week straight AND insisted we take the leftovers home! Two days before Christmas, a mini-van packed tight with gifts stops in front of our house and the pastor of the little Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Hollis, Maine comes in. “Our church family has collected some presents for you.” I excitedly expected him to bring in a few packages but the entire van load was for us! Snow suits for each of our children, mittens, hats and long underwear. Pants, shirts, socks, school supplies. Sleds, puzzles, games and books. Box after box, sizes all correct. And then, the last box … a giant turkey and all the supplies for a Christmas feast. Our children still point to that Christmas as the best Christmas ever. And then, the week after Christmas, giving jumped and allowed us to become current on our mortgage.
* Deacons rewrite my job description at a church I’m serving to have me run children’s ministry. It’s not my calling and I have no idea what to do with little kids so I resign despite having no other job in mind. Two days later I meet with a couple business owners about web design. Small talk. “I just resigned. I’m a youth pastor, not a children’s pastor.” They tell me their church just voted to open a search for a youth pastor. I start there the day after my severance pay ends at my previous church. I spend six years under Arthur Evans Gay, the best senior pastor I ever worked with. He taught me so much about following Jesus and surviving ministry. I’d probably still be there soaking in everything I could had he not been called elsewhere!
* Liver disease. Sold house. Found great house within our budget. Big bills in 2011 and people send checks and cash from all over. We raise $10,000 in one week to settle with Florida Hospital! 2012 – Robin’s boss provides with a great health insurance plan to replace the $15,000 deductible policy we had on me alone. My son donates part of his liver and I now can make future plans. I have a new liver!
I could go on and on about my education and give you dozens more examples of my God stepping in and turning the conclusions of my studying upside down. But, I’m already much too long. My education has taught me that regardless of the crappy economy and lack of jobs, that God will step in and make it all work out for the best. (Romans 8:28). I know it down deep in my knower.
Down Deep in Your Knower
Before Coach, I didn’t know I have a knower. You’ve got one too. It’s not explainable, we just know. It’s beyond our mind even though our mind is part of it. I’ve heard people say “with every fiber of my being.” Maybe that’s it. My knower knows. You can try to talk me out of something but if my life education has planted it in my knower, you don’t stand a chance. Does that make any sense to you?
I mean, I can’t prove that God exists and that Jesus is alive and well but I know it like I know that fire is very hot. I’m educated and testing even says that I’m pretty bright. I’m not “clinging to my guns and religion.” Please don’t write me off as “a moron.”
If you dare, search down deep and come up with some answers to questions like:
1) Do I know that God is real, down deep in my knower?
2) Do I know that there is more than this life on earth, down deep in my knower?
My education has taught me so much that my studying hasn’t. Actually, my education has taught me that the reasonable conclusions of my studying don’t limit God at all.
Sure, Robin’s job is changing or evaporating. And yes, jobs are few and far between. But my education and my knower tell me that my God has us in His hand and He has it all figured out.
What do you know down deep in your knower? Email me, reply with a message … give me the chance to tell you the difference Jesus has made in my life. That would rock.