God moments defined my 2014

I was driving home from work tonight, and almost started crying because I was feeling like I wanted to give up.

Yesterday, I wrote an emotionally-draining piece on a 73-year old track coach who died unexpectedly on Christmas Eve. I spent two hours interviewing former runners, coaches and people who had known him. I struggled to write it, but I needed a challenge.

Then today I found out today another person turned the job and now I am still left by myself to cover seven high schools sports. I felt stressed.

I wanted to just give up.

But while I was thinking and a few tears came rolling down my face, Oceans by Hillsong was playing. I love that song. And these lyrics struck me again, as they have numerous times this year:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Oh, Jesus, you’re my God!

I just knew God was right there.

And as 2014 comes to a close tomorrow at midnight and then 2015 rolls in, I have to stop and thank God for being so faithful and with me.

I knew that I couldn’t give up just because life was getting hard. Because God is there in good and bad times. I could feel God right there with me.

So in 2014, I felt God a lot. I learned to become still. I learned to say, ‘Spirit fall on me.’

God told me in 2014, I got you, Sam. Do you got me?

I could hear him say my name in Jeremiah 29:11-13:

For I know the plans I have for you (Sam). They are plans good and not disaster, to give you (Sam) a future and a hope. In those days when you (Sam) pray, I will listen. If you (Sam) look for me wholeheartedly, you (Sam) will find me.

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Yes, Lord, I got you. Thanks for being with me another year and can’t wait to be with you in 2015.

So in 2014, I took comfort in God. God gave me peace. & I know God has a plan for me. It’s going to be good. God’s taught me to live for today, and not for tomorrow. He’s taught me to be content in my circumstances and to be happy. He’s taught me to love people. To listen to people’s stories. I’ve learned that my family and friends are everything. (I love you mom, dad, bro, and my Bffs.) I love everyone in my life. God’s blessed me a ton. I’m so thankful for you.

I freaking genuinely love you guys. Yesterday’s story I wrote was a good reflection. Life can take you anytime. I know that my salvation is in Him and cannot wait to sing, dance and talk to my Daddy in Heaven. In my 23rd year of life, I have learned to cherish each day. Every year gets shorter it seems. I just want my loved ones to know I love and care about them. sam chase

So as 2015 awaits, I know that God will be me in every good situation and whatever challenges he has in store for me. & I can’t wait!

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders in 2015. I’ll go wherever you take me.

Happy New Year. May God bless you.

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P.S. I really do freaking genuinely love my God, my family and my friends. I wanted you all to hear that.

All I am is Yours, Lord.

Twas the night before Christmas (SPORTS EDITION!!!!)

Twas the night before Christmas,

Jameis became Publix and stole a national championship and crab legs

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Not a creature was stirring and then Richard Sherman said IMMA THE BEST CORNERBACK IN THE NFL!!

The stockings were hung at Metlife in hopes Peyton would win, but Russell won instead

T.J. Oshie was a hero, but EH it wasn’t good enough for gold

March came in like a lion when Mercer showed no mercy and  upset Duke (NOOOOOO)

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The children were nestled all snug in their beds but then Aaron Harrison hit not one, not two, but three game winning three-pointers

But Shabazz Napier complained to the NCAA he went hungry to bed and won the title over Big Blue Nation

Some horse set the Tone and spoiled Chrome’s quest for a triple crown

Los Angles were KINGS in hockey again

The Spurs aren’t too old to win NBA titles; He’s TIMMY after all.

USA yelled to the world, ‘I believe we can win,”

But in the end America remembered football is the real futbol.

Then Rory had the best break-up of his life or ever.

And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

Wait, don’t sleep because LeBron’s coming home and bringing all the Love with him and his best friend named Mike too

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When out on the roof there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter –

Yeah Jeets hit a walk-off in his last Yankee Stadium game.

Aaron Rodgers said R-E-L-A-X and Tom Brady’s too old???

Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson learned a lesson, it’s never okay to hit a woman or child

Away to the window I flew like a flash, the Giants aren’t Bums and neither is that Madison pitcher

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With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be the pink slip,

Now Bo is no Mo in Lincoln, Now Brady (c)Hoked in Ann Arbor (wink) and Now he’s Mus-chump in Gainesville

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Now Is Jim Harbaugh next? (HAPPY BDAY JIMMY) (PS please come to Ann Arbor?)

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack…

for chaos in college football because TCU and Baylor got left out and the Big 12 had no title game

and Ohio State got a gift because they were on their third quarterback.

Then Johnny Football became Johnny Clipboard, Johnny Bench, Johnny Starter, Johnny Interception, Johnny Hurt and Johnny out of the season

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And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the chimney, Tony Romo can win in Demcember?!

Then Marshawn went Beast Mode and said, ‘NAH THANKS FOR ASKING.”

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He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

On Epstein, on Maddon, on Lester

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle but I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

‘Go Cubs Go,’ is 2015 the end of the curse of the Billy Goat?

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And Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

give me more of Jesus this Christmas

Like any given Sunday night, I’m watching football.

The Patriots are playing the Chargers. I watched the game while sitting in the dark.

Actually there’s a few things on my mind. During week, I covered some high school basketball games. I realized how much I missed those days. And how life goes by so fast. Every year I get older, the days seem like they go by faster. I’m 23 now. Almost 24.

God’s blessed me a lot over the years. I graduated high school and college. Now I have a full-time job writing sports for a newspaper.

With Christmas and the New Year approaching, my heart is full of thankfulness. In 2014, God taught me a lot & more to come in next few weeks about all He’s done :).

Second, as I reflect on Christ coming, I’ve been reading the Gospels and Jesus coming again. Two things stick out to me in Luke 1. First, how God blessed Zechariah and Elizabeth with a son after being barren. God said in verse 37: ‘For nothing is impossible with God.’

I feel like this was me in the last year. I worked part-time for a year after graduating college and then God blessed me with a full-time job. He taught me that he will bless you in his timing.

Two, Mary’s response pierced my heart. An angel told Mary to not be afraid and that the angel will be with her. In verse 38, Mary said: ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.’

Then again in Mary’s song in verse 46: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.’

I love how Mary responded, trusted, and worshipped God.

God is good. So good. He works in mysterious ways, and is always worthy of our trust. I love you God. This Christmas, let my focus be on you, Lord. Help me invest my heart in You and in people rather than world, money and gifts.

After all, the world’s opinion doesn’t matter. I was talking to a friend about insecurities. God’s approval is all that is important. He looks at the heart. God, help me store up treasures in heaven as I prepare for your Son to come again. And thank you that your Son is the greatest gift I’ve ever received.

Love, Sam.

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I just keep trusting God.

God: ‘I have a plan. Do you trust me?’

Yes, Lord, I do trust you. – Sam.

So its been almost two months since I started at my first full-time job.

There’s been some long days and nights. Since, I’m a sports writer, I work the night shift from about 4 to midnight. I have to find stuff to do during the day. And it’s hard to meet people because were on different schedules. (My boss and employees are great and I’ve met a girl named Sam. Ha). I’ve adjusted, though. I have found a new hobby of reading. I go running. I watch Netflix. I watch a lot of football. I listen to Taylor Swift’s new album, 1989. (not ashamed). Most importantly, I’ve grown in my faith.

God’s teaching me that I am blessed. So blessed. It’s hard moving away from what’s comfortable for the first time in your life. And I’ve had my doubts. I haven’t always liked being alone from people these last few months (and I’m an introvert).

But I’m learning new tricks of my trade. I’m writing game stories, doing photography and page design. I’m finding what I am good at. More I think about it, at age 23, I’ve done a lot. I’ve worked at a newspaper, television station and radio station. That’s a lot of experience. Yet, I don’t know if what I’m doing is what I really want to do for the rest of my life. (I’d love to actually write about people’s faith stories, and write a book). I have to be patient for God’s plan.

{Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but someday you will.} — John 13:7 (NLT)

While I’m waiting,I do know this. I’m blessed. So blessed.

{And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.} — 2 Cor. 9:8

I have a lot of blessings to thank God for. He was with me before I got this job and he isn’t going to abandon me while I have this job. He’s right beside me, always in my presence. I’ve realized that I’m always going to be in his presence. I can lift a prayer up to him anytime during my day. God’s shown me to come to him when life is good and when life is hard.

He’s always going to be there. I need him. I need him every day. Not just an hour on Sunday at church. God’s given me a passion to spend time with him every day. He’s my best friend.

And I’ve grown closer to my family. My mom, dad and brother are everything. And my friends are always a text or call away. (I think all friends should have a group message!) My family and friends offer me the best encouragement.

So, God’s got me. I have him. All of me is his. I trust that he knows what’s best because he always does. My soul is well and I am thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

I’m happy. My happiness is all from God. 🙂

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How Jimbo Fisher finally got it right with Jameis Winston

Humble pie.

“Now here’s what you’ve got to do. Calm down,” Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher told Jameis Winston. “Don’t give them that over-exuberant look. Act very passive right here and get people back on your side. You understand what I’m telling you? Humble. Humble pie.”

Simple words of encouragement.

That’s what Winston needed. He needed to be humbled.

On the field, he showed why he was so good again, last Saturday night against Notre Dame.

Nowadays, after those big games, after winning the Heisman, national championships, athletes can get big heads. Feel like they are on top of the world. Like they can say and do what they want. They above rules and laws.

However, that’s not the case in society and Winston has learned that. His off-field image has been scrutinized a lot.

Finally, his coach is stepping in and telling Winston to be humble.

It’s simple advice that can go a long way. Too much hubris can destroy relationships. After all, the greatest servant of all, Jesus Christ came to earth and died on the cross for every sinner. That’s humility in the highest form. Today, Jesus calls us to take his example and live it out.

That’s what Jimbo did for Jameis.

Fisher realized as a leader of the the Florida State football team that his job was to encourage and uplift his team. To raise men of integrity and humility.

How can you be humble today? Who can you encourage?

All I am is yours, God.

can I be honest with you guys?

Well, I’m not going to lie, since graduating college in 2013, there have been times I wanted to just to give up on my passion in journalism. I was sick of being stuck. I was tired of rejection and failing. I hated hearing jobs say we are going in another direction or jobs not even taking time to call me back. I became frustrated, worried, stressed, and angry. I admit I even doubted God at times. Which is silly because God will never give up on us. So, why give up on him?

And in this time, I realized a few things. Success drives us and we want to be happy. We want what the world wants. We see others getting jobs, or married, and want what they have. It happened to me. Since, then, I’ve had to swallow my own pride and admit my selfishness. I have to choose to be happy for others. God wants us to love our neighbors. While I’m being happy for my loved ones, I have to trust that God will work things out according to his plan in his timing. After all, true happiness is found in Him. Happiness isn’t found in the world’s stuff. It’s all temporary. God’s happiness is eternal.

The other thing is since I accepted a full-time job as a sports writer, God’s stretching my comfort zone. I’ve moved away from what’s comfortable, and have taken a risk. I admit I’ve become homesick. I say this – it’s okay to miss that. I wish there was a way of knowing you were in the good ol’ days before you left them. (Thanks Andy Bernard and the Office). However, I needed this. I needed to get out the boat and risk the ocean. I needed to think on my own, learn new skills, and learn how to talk and meet new people.

I have to say, it’s hard living in a town alone. I work nights and have to find stuff to do while everyone is at work during the day.

This I do know, though. In the year 2014, God’s given me an overwhelming peace from his Spirit. I ask his Spirit to fall on me, and I can feel his presence. It’s the best feeling I’ve ever felt. Control isn’t mine. It’s his. It’s his plan for my life. I trust him and have surrendered all of me. All of my doubts, worries, stresses, and insecurities. He’s given me a song to sing, ‘O Lord, how I need you. I come, confess. Bowing here I find my rest. Without you I fall apart. You’re the one that guides my heart. Lord, I need you. Every hour I need you.’ (Matt Maher)

So, I want to thank God for teaching me these lessons.

Moses said, ‘should I go?’ God said, ‘I will be with you.’ God made Gideon a warrior. God chose David, a Shepard, to kill Goliath with a slingshot. God called Samuel three times before he finally got up and said, ‘speak now, for your servant is listening’ (1 Samuel 3).

I think (not because that’s my name), but I relate to Samuel the most. God’s always been in my life, and I’ve had struggled with a lot of things. I don’t always listen, but now, I am. I’m listening, recognizing, and responding to God’s voice. I’ve heard him say this many times this year:

Sam, be patient. I will work out all things in my timing. I have a plan. It’s going to be really good. Trust me. Give me control. I’m your everything.

I did. Finally. I said all I am is yours. So, I think his call on my life right now at age 23 is to listen, wait. Then, he told me to keep applying for jobs. Because I was confident in him, they offered me a job. And I took it because God wanted to me take a risk.

That was hard for me because I’m not much of a risk taker. I get afraid to try new things and to change. I’m an introvert. I’ve let doubt, worry, stress, and insecurities affect my thinking. I wasn’t happy when I was cut from my high school basketball team because I was too small. I also hated being picked last in sports. I used to let germs control me. I used to exercise because I didn’t like the way I looked. I didn’t like to fail.

I had to realize I will fail. & I love these quotes:

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. -Michael Jordan ronaldo (1)

I going to learn from my failures, just like MJ, or Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec.

There’s no shame in failure if you give an honest effort. – Ron Swanson

I am going to succeed because I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to give up on God’s plan for my life. God created me in his image and for his purpose. I had to get that in my head and trust he was going to work out all things according to his plan and purpose.

And it’s okay to wait, as Habakkuk 2:3 taught me:

This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” (NLT)

I’m thankful I have moved away and accepted a new opportunity. It’s been tough trying to go to a game, then taking notes and photos. I’ve had to learn how to multitask. To introduce myself to people, coaches and athletes that don’t know me. I had to learn how to be confident in myself. I knew I could because God was by my side.

God’s carried me all my life so far, and he’s not going to quit now as I’m embarking on this new adventure. He’s not going to abandon me. He’s told me to trust him wherever he takes me. He’s told me that I am good enough because his grace was good enough for me. He showed me that he won’t stop loving me. Ever.

God’s been working on me, mightily. I couldn’t be more happy. A lot of it is because of the people I surround myself with. I’ve been going to the Ransom Church for awhile, but have served there for over a  year now. God showed me that people care about each other there. They care as a church family, and as a community to save the broken. So, I found a place to use my talents in the tech booth, and got involved in a small group. Its rocked my socks off.

Next, really my family, friends, mentors and work have been amazing. My parents instilled my faith in me, and told me to never give up on my dream even though it will take struggles. My friends have never stopped encouraging, caring, and loving me to death (& I love them to death!). My mentors knew that the strongest part of me was my faith and it was going to lead me to pursue my dream. They were right, and their words of wisdom I will take with me everywhere I go. My part-time jobs in the media have taught me to listen, to be confident in what I know how to do, and to never stop chasing dreams. I worked a lot of late nights, and long days, and the experiences I will hold onto. The people in Sioux Falls sports media truly care. They are all competing, but when we are on the same sideline, there’s no rivalries. They are there to help you. Lastly, I’ve loved recognizing the hard work of athletes, coaches, and teams through stories. That was my favorite part of job. I would make interviews seem like conversations. I would talk about more than football with coaches. I would run into athletes and catch-up with them on the street. They sent thank you’s to me. I appreciated them, and they appreciated me. The feeling was sweet.

In conclusion, here’s the advice that God has told me over the last year:

Be in awe of the things God does. God has a plan, and trust it. Faith can move mountains. In every moment, God will never leave your side. God’s won’t stop carrying you. Be thankful for what you have. Don’t worry. Focus on God and let him take care of the rest. Be patient. Wait. God allows us to go through life’s troubles to make us better men and women. Be still and take a deep breath. God knows every detail of our lives. Make my relationship with God be a two-way street; listen and speak. Don’t be afraid to ask God what he thinks. God knows me better than anybody. Seek God more, and myself less.

Advice from others:

You work for opportunities, so take them, and go get them. Be confident. Just do it. Listen. Think on your own. Never stop finding ways to better yourself, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. You can do it and you will be fine, Sam. Dig deep, everybody has insecurities. Keep walking in His steps. What you want isn’t always what God wants. My agenda doesn’t matter. God’s does. Keep my mind open to His will because I will be more happy.

So, thanks guys. You mean a lot to me. I wanted to share how God’s been working me, and how much people in my life mean to me.

God is my everything. All I am is Yours, God. Love you. I care about you, and will pray for you.

Sam 🙂

(p.s. I don’t know everything. God’s still has a lot to do in me.)

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God taught me a lesson with a summer cold, & bad sunburn

I feel miserable tonight, suffering from a summer cold and bad sunburn.

It feels like the the weekend. I worked 42 hours from Wednesday to Sunday. It’s my Saturday. And it’s Monday.

I don’t have a hard job. I go to sports games, and set up a camera, and tripod. I press record, and zoom in on the pitcher. I wait for he or she to deliver, and then wind up, and throw to home plate. Strikeouts are nice, but a towering home run over the left field fence in extra innings of a 16U softball game is exhilarating.

It kind of sums up my life. I love sports. & I love metaphors and bad puns. (If you keep reading, I hope you enjoy them).

My story isn’t on pause. It’s recording every moment of each day I’m alive. I have God to thank for that.

To be honest, I’m still trying to hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth. I’m stepping into the batter’s box. Digging my feet deep into the dirt. Patiently waiting for a fastball to fly down the middle of the plate to whack over the center field wall. Then, to get mobbed by my teammates (family, and friends) after I circle around the bases.

 

In real life terms, I’ve gained a ton of writing, and video experience. I’ve learned a lot from my bosses. I’m trying to write descriptively, actively, and appealing to the reader. I’m trying to capture that home run in the bottom of the ninth (I did!). I think, though, I’ve gotten comfortable at these jobs because I know that they will be there. I love them, don’t get me wrong, but I need to throw the red flag and challenge myself. The media market is hard to get into, and may be a small market is what I need.

For example, if you didn’t know, back in February, I was offered a reporting job at a newspaper in Sydney, Nebraska. It’s a town of about 6,000 or so. It’s in Western Nebraska. I mulled. I prayed. I talked to my closest friends and family. And when I had to make a decision, I said no. Why? It was far away. I didn’t know anyone there. It was a new place. I got scared. But now, I think maybe I should have went. I don’t know. Or was it possibly God telling me, ‘Sam, are you afraid to get out of the boat? When will you walk on the water?’ Or ‘Sam, I called Samuel three times before he got up and obeyed. How can I get your attention?’

I think both of them did. Now, almost six months later, I’m ready. It may have taken a few lessons, but it’s time to stop being scared. I need to take risks. I’m an introvert, yes. Should I let that stop me? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I can act like an extrovert.

I’m 23. In fact, I’m almost 23 and a half in a few weeks. I don’t know when Jesus will come back, but I can’t sit around. I need to go around and put my faith into action. My faith has always been my strongest attribute. God’s always been my side. My parents have always 100% supported me. My friends got my back.

I can always, wherever I’m at, say, ‘Daddy, God, what’s up? Want to talk?’ I can always go home or call my mom or dad. I can talk to my friends wherever; in my living room, at the pool, out to eat, on bike rides, or downtown Sioux Falls.

I have a great support system, but I think I just get too comfortable. My pastor preached last Sunday about treating the Holy Spirit like a house guest. I think I do that. I don’t always realize that the Holy Spirit is God working in me (even when I don’t see or feel him). So, SPIRIT CONSUME ME. ALL OF ME. BREAK MY HEART FOR BREAKS YOURS. IT’S NOT MY WILL, BUT YOURS. FALL ON ME. LEAD ME WHERE MY TRUST IS WITHOUT BORDERS. LET ME WALK ON WATERS WHEREVER YOU CALL ME.

If there’s an opportunity that will grow me, or a person I should meet, help me not be afraid. God, you know my potential. I want to do great things and I can only do great things with you.

The count is 3-2, I’m ready to swing at the next fastball you give me. I’ll swing for the fences, and if I strikeout once, I will walk back up next time.

Failure isn’t an option. Risk the ocean. Be brave. Have 20 seconds of courage every day. Lean on God’s grace.

Thanks God for teaching me a lesson tonight, even if it took a summer cold and a bad sunburn.