I Finished · 27 May 2017

Image courtesy of Keith Ferrin.

Not to brag or anything, but I am going to brag a little. I finished reading the Bible in four and a half months. (I know people read it faster, but it is my speed record.)

If you read my first post about starting to read the Bible rapidly, you might remember that my goal was to finish in less than five months. So I accomplished my speed goal.

I also accomplished much more than that.

I realized through reading the whole book quickly that Keith Ferrin was right. The Bible is a book written for the sole purpose of the reader falling in love with the Author. Not the human authors who got their writing orders from above. The divine Author who guided them and their quills. Reading the Bible in a short time period made me realize that it is not a manual to take out whenever life breaks down. It is a love letter that we want to read over and over again. A love letter from the Creator of the universe to all of His creation.

I also realized that the Bible is just one big story. It has a beginning, which even starts, “In the beginning.” And it has an ending. A huge climactic cinematic blockbuster ending. Full of mayhem and all the stuff even Hollywood could not invent. Like all stories, it also has a finish after the finish. And of course, there are lots of twists and turns throughout the middle of the book. Somehow, the Author keeps the story and themes cohesive. Which is something I knew, but never realized until I read the whole thing like one big book. When I stopped reading it like a manual.

I would encourage anybody, the curios who just want to know what the best seller of all time is really all about, the skeptical who want to find inconsistencies and mistakes, the believers who want to know God deeper, to read the Bible rapidly. Read it like one big story. You can even read it chronologically with a little help or with a chronological Bible. I just encourage you to read it in big chunks of time. Like you would any book. Just read.

I do have one caution though. It is the same caution I gave to a former student years ago. When you read the Bible, especially if you read it rapidly in big chunks of time and read it with an open heart, be ready to be changed. After all, it is a love letter written by the Creator of the universe to each individual person who has ever walked or will ever walk the earth. And that unrelenting love shines through.

I will continue to read my Bible quickly each year. It is certainly a great way to get the whole story. And even though I am not that much of a braggart, I can at least brag a little. After all, I finished reading the Bible in just four and a half months.

© 2017 Michael T. Miyoshi

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The Greatest Sport Ever · 20 May 2017

I only competed in the sport for one season (if you can call what I did more than thirty years ago competing) and have only coached it since 2010, but I must say that Track and Field is the greatest sport ever.

(Of course, I am biased. Track and Field (T&F) is the sport I am currently coaching. But there is more to my claim than just my own bias.)

If you think about it, T&F must be the ultimate athletic competition. After all, it is known as Athletics in the rest of the world. That must count for something. All the different athletic events – running, jumping, throwing – are pure athletics. Things that other athletes do as part of their sports, T&F athletes do as their sport.

But that is not why I contend that T&F is the greatest sport ever.

I contend that T&F or Athletics is the greatest sport ever purely from the coaching perspective. Where else but in T&F do you have coaches from competing teams give each other tips on what their athletes can do better? Even during competition! Where else can you get a five or ten minute clinic from another coach that has the potential to increase your athlete’s performance so that he or she might even beat the other coach’s athletes? Where else can you have another coach volunteer to come and give a two-hour clinic to your athletes to learn something at which he is an expert? Or where else can you tell your own athletes during a competition to listen to whatever another coach tells them because you need to go coach a different event? Only in Track and Field. Only in the greatest sport ever.

I have been the recipient of all those scenarios I just mentioned. I have had coaches tell me something that my athletes can do better during a competition. I have had short clinics with other coaches. I have had a coach come to our stadium to give my athletes a clinic on javelin technique. And I have told many athletes to listen to that same javelin coach when I have had to go coach another event.

Now, I must say that I was way out of my element when I first started coaching T&F. I had little knowledge of the events I coach so I went to clinics to learn. Those clinics where coaches can come together to learn from each other have been important, but those impromptu sessions at meets have been even more valuable to me. For learning teaching and coaching techniques, and for building relationships. And those relationships I have developed with other coaches amazes me each time I see them. They were all there to help me out in the beginning and they are still there to help me out now.

Relationships between athletes and great competition and skill development and all kinds of other factors are reasons why Athletics is the greatest sport, but those claims are best left to the experts. All I know is that T&F coaches want the best for all the athletes involved, not just their own. And that, in and of itself, is enough to support the claim that Track and Field (also known as Athletics) is the greatest sport ever.

© 2017 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Not a Professional Holy Man · 13 May 2017

Praying Hands by Albrecht Dürer
This work is in the public domain.

There are some days I wish I could be a professional holy man. Not many mind you, just every once in a while.

The head pastor at our church likes to say he is a professional holy man. Which means that he is educated about the Bible more than most and that he gets paid to work on Sundays (or whichever day happens to be the Sabbath). And all the other days too. Oh sure, he gets scheduled days off, but there are things that happen which need a preacher’s presence. After all, I cannot see any preacher telling anybody truly in need that he cannot visit because it is his day off.

So besides having to work on the Sabbath and essentially being on call all the time oh and having your life and the life of your family under a microscope all the time, being a professional holy man has some appeal. Not very often, but still…

The part that appeals to me is not having to worry about what other people think when you talk about Jesus. Of course, that should not matter much to any Christ follower, but it often does. Sometimes we get caught up in our lives and forget about the relationship that matters most. Or we think people might think us Jesus freaks if we talk too much about Him. But if we really thought about it, people talk about what they most value. Whether that be the new cars they bought or their families or whatever. We talk about what we are most passionate about.

Which is why I sometimes wish I was a professional holy man. For as I get closer to Jesus, I want to talk about Him more. And the more I want to talk about Him, the more I think I ought to do it all the time.

The thing is, you and I do not need to be professional holy people to do that. We can keep Jesus in our hearts and let the words and works flow out. The old song says, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Which is true. They will. But with people hedging their bets trying to work their way into a heaven they claim they do not even believe in, they still want to know what is different about Christians. They still want to know what it is that Jesus followers have that they do not. Which is why the Bible says to be prepared to give an answer for the joy that is within you. And that answer is: because of our relationship with Jesus.

Of course, people look at Christians and wonder why there is such a range of how they behave. Why would anybody want to be a Christian when it appears they just do what everybody else does, except they wear a cross around their necks or claim to be Jesus followers? There is a Biblical answer to be sure, but the answer I like to give is simply that everybody is a hypocrite, which just means that we do not always do what we say we are going to do. In other words, Christians are not perfect, just forgiven. Which is really the Biblical answer that everybody is a sinner. No one is good. No not even one. Until we accept the body and blood of Christ. Until we start that relationship with Him.

Personally, I like to speak truth into people’s lives. And maybe I am giving away one of my secrets, but I like to tell people what God says. I like to compare myself to Shakespeare in that I give people bits and pieces of God’s word, but I do not tell them where it comes from. I quote scripture like Abraham Lincoln, and then people think I am wise or even attribute the words to me. Or at least they might if I was quotable. (How about that, I compared myself to Shakespeare and Lincoln in a single paragraph. How’s that for an ego.)

Anyway, I have no aspirations to become a professional holy man. I like what I am doing. And God has not told me to do anything else yet. I may just be a hack with a website and a teacher and coach, but first and foremost, I am a Jesus follower. And we probably need more Jesus followers who are not professional holy people than who are. (Who would sit in the seats if it was the other way around?) Besides, that job is too hard. Which is why, even though I think about it every so often, I do not really want to be a professional holy man.

© 2017 Michael T. Miyoshi

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