My Legacy LetterApril 1, 2015 People of FOG
Hello, my name is Kendell Hale and I am a member of Fellowship of Grace in Kansas City. I am a coach at UMKC and have been coaching for 20+ years. I recently emailed a bunch of alumni and ask them to write a “Legacy Letter” to our new freshman players telling about what they enjoyed most about playing collegiate tennis and offering advice as well. It was very successful with some our players crying as they read the letters.
I thought it would be good to kick off the “People of FOG” by writing my own “Legacy Letter” to my friends and family, as well as my future family and friends!
As I look back on my life and see how God has orchestrated his plan for me I am in awe. Which leads me to my first words of advice and the most important …
God loves me/you and has a special plan/purpose for your life. I received Christ into my life at when I was 8 at Vacation Bible School. The pastor was speaking on Christ being a “Father to the Fatherless”. For those who know me, I had a father, but to say he was a great dad would not be accurate. He was an alcoholic and so was his father, and so was his father. Sort of ran in the family! I still loved my father with all I had until the day he passed away, but he was not the role model that I needed. So on that day, at Piney Grove Baptist Church, Christ became that Abba Father to me, and it has been THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION that I ever made. (Please read below if you want to know how to make this same decision, don’t wait!)
I get asked, “Why are you coaching? Why not go into the ministry like you went to school for?” When I came out of seminary, I felt God had prepared me my whole life to stay in tennis to make an impact on people’s lives using the game of tennis. It is hard to believe, but I have seen amazing things happen in my years of coaching that makes me feel that He knew what He was doing. God has given you unique gifts to minister to those around you. This is a bold statement, but I feel you will never be truly happy in life if you are not fulfilling your purpose.
The choices that you make determine who you are in the end. Every day of my life has been filled with choices that effect who I am. The choices I made in my teen years – I still am reaping the consequences today. Even though I have made bad choices, God still has been beside me to help me through the consequences to eventually learn valuable lessons so that I might be able to help others. I am often asked if I would change anything about my past if I could do it over, and I always answer quickly with “Absolutely not, because everything I experienced made me who I am today”.
Focus on the things that are eternal, not temporal. I spent the majority of my life trying to please people around me, instead of pleasing the only one that mattered – Christ. I get caught up in the same rat race as everyone else, working hard to chase the dollar and trying to accumulate “things”. But none of this will matter in the end.
Only relationships, and eternal things will matter! I have never heard anyone on their deathbed say they wish they had worked more, or made more money!
I have had some amazing victories and accomplishments in my coaching career, but nothing compares to the feeling that you get when a former athlete says, “Thanks for sharing Christ with me in my college years, Coach. It has changed my life.”
STEPS TO PEACE WITH GOD
1. God’s Plan—Peace and Life
God loves you and wants you to experience His peace and life.
The BIBLE says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
2. Our Problem—Separation
Being at peace with God is not automatic, because by nature you are separated from God.
The BIBLE says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
3. God’s Remedy—The Cross
God’s love bridges the gap of separation between God and you. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave, He paid the penalty for your sins.
The BIBLE says: “He personally carried the load of our sins in his own body when he died on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24, tlb).
4. Our Response—Receive Christ
You cross the bridge into God’s family when you receive Christ by personal invitation.
The BIBLE says: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
To receive Christ you need to do four things:
1. ADMIT your spiritual need. “I am a sinner.”
2. REPENT and be willing to turn from your sin.
3. BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross.
4. RECEIVE, through prayer, Jesus Christ into your heart and life.
CHRIST says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in” (Revelation 3:20).
The BIBLE says, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
What to Pray (example):
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen.