Saturday, December 05, 2009


Like many former players, I grew up not having a relationship with my dad. When I arrived at Florida State to play for Coach Bowden (class of 1987), I was a young man trying to figure out what it meant to be a man. I did what I thought men do in college...
It seemed that every time I was looking in one direction for the meaning of life in college, Coach Bowden would boldly demonstrate something completely different. He seemed to have no concern about what others thought concerning his views on life. He was going to be true to his convictions no matter how adamant the protest.
It was not unusual for Coach Bowden to bring in well known speakers such as Billy Graham to come and speak to the team. He didn't seem to care that most of us lived diametrically opposed to the message they would bring.
Typically during Bowl week, Coach Bowden would make it mandatory for the whole team to attend the FCA Breakfast. Many would come in hung-over resenting having to be there. That didn't stop him.
I recall one day, while the team was huddled by the tree, Coach Bowden speaking to us like he did most everyday before practice. Yet, on this particular day, Coach Bowden decided to talk to us about life; "Men," I recall him saying, "Do you know what fornication is?" We snickered, "Do we ever!" My friends and I laughed it off as yet another one of those quirky Bowden moments.
While Coach Bowden was determined to make us champions on the field, he was equally determined to make us champions off the field. I was not one who bought into his off the field philosophies, I was with the other group if you know what I mean.
Yet, when my dreams came crashing down and my pride was bruised and hope shattered, I was desperate for answers for my life. It was then, while sitting in the locker room of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (no I didn't make it :-), that all these crazy things that Coach Bowden said and did came flooding into my mind. Not having a clue what it really meant to be a man at peace, I cried out that day for answers. It was then, 21 years ago, that I encountered the God that Coach Bowden demonstrated and spoke of.
I am forever grateful! Because of Coach Bowden's quirky boldness and odd conviction for life, I can now be a man of similar conviction and passion. I am now able to be a faithful husband and a loving father to my four amazing children.
We all know that coach Bowden is a legendary coach, and many players would concur that Coach Bowden was like a father/grandfather to many of the fatherless. Yet even more than that, Coach Bowden is an ambassador of the living God, and his life and conviction for truth has brought life and purpose to many.
I can count over a dozen x-players that I personally know, who are now living lives wholeheartedly devoted to the purposes of God, and each would say that coach Bowden had something to do with it.
There was a day, a year or so after I finished at FSU, that I decided to write Coach Bowden a letter to thank him for the "seeds" he planted in my life. I didn't even know if he received it. It was sometime after this that my brother (who also shared similar convictions) invited me to go to an FCA breakfast where Coach Bowden was to speak. Other than the mandatory breakfast at the Bowl games, this was my first FCA breakfast. Little did I know the surprise that awaited me: In the midst of his talk, Coach Bowden pulled out a letter and began to read excerpts about an x-player. He added something like, "I enjoy seeing guys go on to have successful careers in the NFL, but this is what matters to me most..." He was referring to the change of life I had thanked him for in that letter.
When I played, Coach Bowden called me - along with the other 90 guys on the team - "Buddy". I honestly did not think he knew my name. Now, when ever I see him, the first thing he asks me is, "Are you still ministering?" He remembers what is dearest to his heart!
While there may or may not be a large celebration for Coach Bowden following his retirement (I am sure there will be), one thing I am confident of: there will be a massive celebration in heaven, with a large banquet room full of all the thousands of lives Coach Bowden impacted for the Game that matters most! I for one will be there to stand up and shout!

Coach Bowden, you are much more than just a football coach, you are a Life Coach! Thanks again, for the life you shared. I, and many, many others our eternally grateful!
Bart Schuchts #98 (class of '87)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I was recently asked the question: "So, what is happening?" It would have been so easy to rattle off all the challenges I am faced with being unemployed with a family of 6 (wife and I, and four children), yet what came out of me surprised me. The heat tends to bring up all kinds of "dross", and I have seen my fair share of uglies coming to the surface in this time of intense heat. I guess that is what motivated me to share the answer that came forth this day. Following such intensity, it was refreshing to hear something good come to the surface. Perhaps you can relate:

What's happening? More refinement, more waiting... more submitted and yielded to God... More hope of what is to come. More love for my wife and children following more intense refining. More faith in God's goodness and provision despite what we see...More ministry opportunities yet no more clarity as to what is next, yet more peace that God has us in the palm of His hand and all of our steps are ordered by Him. Less understanding yet more peace, rest and trust. More comfort in knowing of God's exceeding and abundant goodness despite what my eyes can see and my mind can comprehend. Less money and direction, yet great assurance in the awesomeness of God who is our provider and the one with the plan. More peace that surpasses all understanding as I rest and trust in His goodness. Less answers yet more rest in not questioning the one who is The Answer. More peace in knowing who is God and who is not. More rest upon the chest of Him who is my comforter and source of life.
More trust that it really is all about Him, and that He alone is Lord. More acceptance that I truly do belong to Him, and I am good with that, more able to rest in His goodness.
What will happen next? I don't know. He does. And I am OK with that (at least today, which is the only day I am living in).
I am realizing more and more that God just can't help Himself - it's who He is - He is just good and I am just going to have to accept that! :-)
So, what is happening with you?

Enjoy The Journey!