By Pastor Stan Russell - March 6, 2013
I remember when the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “I want to build a great high school to glorify my name.” Retrospect shows a great deal about whether the Lord has really spoken to us. Now, ten years later, after seeing Him do great things to make it happen, I am confident that He did speak. In that moment I wasn’t really thrilled, as this was not in my wheelhouse. I am not an educator, I am a preacher, and yet when He speaks, if we are wise and can truly discern His will, it is always best to follow. Many lives have been changed since we started Horizon Christian High School; students saved and called to be missionaries, pastors and fully devoted followers of Christ.
Something happened this weekend that makes me think of the wonder of it all and how hilariously fun the will of God can be at times. Following, when you don’t completely understand, being obedient when you are not sure you are really qualified to pull it off.
This weekend our Horizon Christian boy’s basketball team won their third state championship in the last four years by beating Blanchet Catholic 49-26. They also broke a state record becoming the first team in Oregon to play in six straight championship games at any level. Yes, that is correct. It is a state record and has never happened in Oregon before. This is unbelievable and even staggering when you consider that it was the first six years that we were eligible to compete and that we started playing two levels up, going to 3A instead of 1A where our student body numbers would have placed us.
For some unknown, yet very fun reason, God has chosen to bring himself glory through sports at Horizon. Multiple quotes along the way and through the years about God from our players and coaches have been in the papers and on the forums.
I think it is good for us to know that when God calls us, He sends the right people to help.
Matthew 9:38 “So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (NLT)
When He starts something, He brings the right people with the right gifting and experience. There are many He has sent to help us build His school here at Horizon, but it seems appropriate this weekend to tell the story of one such person.
Approximately a year or so before we started the high school, there was an article in the Oregonian about our desire to start a Christian high school. I still remember the title of the article because it seemed negative to me, it was “New High School Faces Obstacles to Growth.” The article proceeded to list all the reasons why we would have difficulty passing city and county inspections on our site and thus receive permission to build. We did not yet have the permits. That said, and somehow out of this negative article, God started one of His hilarious miracles. A retired coach from southern California had moved into the area a couple of years before and he was somehow moved by the article, so much so that he filled out his coaching resume and came by the church office to drop it off. I remember when my wife Karen, who is also my administrative assistant, handed me the application. The coaching resume was so impressive, that I really, truly thought it was a joke. It had the following contained in it:
527 wins (the third winningest coach in the history of southern California).
Once coached at the largest high school in the state of California.
Enshrined in the Coaching Hall of Fame in California.
You can see why I didn’t think it was real. We didn’t even have one student signed up yet. There is no way a coach with those credentials would apply for this job. We weren’t even asking for resumes. I thought for sure it was a staff member pulling a joke on me. I said to my wife, “Tell Alex or Roger that this is very funny.” She said, “What do you mean?” I responded, “This can’t be real. It’s too good to be true.” She said, “I saw the gentlemen who dropped it off. He was distinguished looking with grey hair and seemed pretty serious. I think it is real.” Unbelievably, when we checked it out, it was true. Over a year later he starting coaching our very first team; a JV team, as we had no varsity that first year. And then, yes, unbelievably in the next six years, he led the varsity team to six straight 3A state championship games and the team has won three of the last four state championships. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, he is a man of God who loves Jesus, is mature in the word and a great mentor to the students he coaches.
Dave Brown is that man. He later told me that he once saw a Catholic high school rise to become a prominent basketball program in the state of California in its first few years of existence and said to God, “If you ever have a scenario like that for me at a new Christian high school, I would sure like to work to see that happen for you, Lord.”
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (NLT)
I believe that God chose Dave and Horizon to somehow show His glory. He predetermined that He would like to see it happen.
Well, it is hard to believe this story, but we have all been excited and had a ton of fun watching God’s basketball miracle at Horizon for the past six years.
As you follow God, He will surprise you with His direction and the things He does. And sometimes it is really, really fun!
Grace and Truth,