Sunday, February 10

Celebrating Legendary College Coach Hank Norton (1927-2019)


I
t is with heavy hearts that we pass along the news that Ferrum's Legendary Head Football Coach Hank Norton has passed away. For all of us who have had the privilege of playing for him, our hearts are both sore and at peace that Coach has joined 'Momma Lucy' after she went to rest just two years ahead of him. We will always honor you both as 'your boys' Coach and Momma Norton!

On Saturday, February 2nd, Ferrum College held a Celebration of Life Service in grateful memory of Panther legend, former NCAA Hall of Fame Head Coach and Director of Athletics, Hank Norton, 1927-2019. Ferrum's President David Johns honored Coach Norton saying, “Ferrum College mourns the passing of Coach Norton, whose influence on our community and on generations of young athletes was monumental.”

In Coach's career, he was inducted into the NCAA Football Hall of Fame, and was a member of Ferrum College Alumni Sports Hall of Fame, leading Ferrum to win the National Football Championship four times (1965, 1968, 1974, 1977). Keith had the honor of playing as one of Norton’s Panthers on the 1974 winning team for the national title.

Ferrum sports fans and alumni athletes bid farewell to their dedicated leader, and tough, genuinely caring coach Hank Norton, on January 16. He was 91. As the Panthers head coach for 34 years, Coach Norton led Ferrum's football program to be hailed as one of the top college football programs in the nation, accumulating a record of 244-77-11.


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Tuesday, January 29

WIN THE PRIZE!

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14
      

  As you read this, we ask that you be mindful of the the fact that God is the Consummate Family Man. Everything He does, has ever done, and will do  is all for His Children... His beloved *Family*. God's will and passion for all of His Children is that each and every one of them walk in unity with Him, and walk side-by-side with one another in oneness in Christ Jesus. He is overjoyed when we are encouraging one another to wholeheartedly pursue becoming One IN Christ Jesus. This is, has been, and will always be Our Father's desire for us. For as long as we are here on the earth, we must, as Jesus Christ emphatically assigned Peter to do, commit our lives to loving, caring for, teaching, and raising up His Children to know their Father, to love their Father and to pursue becoming one in Jesus Christ.  

      "So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." (John 21:15-17)

      In order to be able to "feed God's sheep" the way that God knows will nourish, strengthen, and not poison them, we must first see His Children through His Loving eyes. The way we do this is by asking The Person of The Holy Spirit to meet with us in the pages of God's Holy written Word, and to teach us how to begin, and follow through with, the process of dying to our old sin-full nature.  Then The Character of Jesus Christ can be built up in place of our old nature.  As our old sin nature is, by the coaching of The Holy Spirit, burned away, and the building of our new nature IN Jesus Christ is under construction, we begin to see ourselves and others, more clearly, through our Father's Loving Eyes.  What comes as a result is both an increased desire to love and care for God's people AND, simultaneously, an increasingly righteous indignation toward any and all wicked spirits that come to harm Christ's body of believers. When we couple our newfound righteous anger that is growing in us, with satan's increased attacks against God's children and against us in our new nature, we begin see the clear reality that we must become proficient at fighting in the spirit.

           I once had a friend ask my Dad "What was Keith's strongest character quality from the time he was a kid?" his answer surprised me when he said.., "No matter what Keith did - in football, in business, racing his dirt bikes and hydroplanes, in playing music, in anything he wanted to do - he did it heartily with reckless abandon; with Keith, he strove to be the best he could be at whatever he was doing at the time. In short, he was passionate about winning."

           As admirable as the world makes "winning" out to be, when I gave my heart to Jesus Christ, I realized from the get-go that, if I was really gonna get to know The Lord, and fulfill the purpose for which He put me here, I needed to pursue my new-found life in Christ with that same passion as I did for "winning." Having said that, I have to also say that, to win at anything means preparing ourselves to fulfill whatever goal it is we set out to fulfill.

           If I had to point out the reason I understood how to be a winner, it was something I learned from one of my football coaches, early-on. One day my coach asked me, "Keith, did you know that 'practice does not make perfect?!" I can remember thinking how curious his question was. I flashed back to all the times I had been told by Dad and Mom to practice, practice, practice. In that moment, I remembered hearing how "Practice makes perfect" for most of my life. In the very next moment, what my coach said changed my mindset and gave me a brand new perspective on everything I would choose to do from that point forward. Coach said, "Practice does not make perfect; ONLY PERFECT PRACTICE makes perfect." I got it! I understood exactly what coach was telling me! If I want to be totally excellent at whatever I am doing, I will need to train harder, focus better, and dig deeper and be more disciplined than... the other guys. 

       Where football was concerned, I would need to spend more time in the weight room than the other guys, learn the play book better than the other guys, and work through the sprained ankles and body-aches that come from being hit by opposing players, sometimes hit so hard that "I'd see stars"! And as a side note, in becoming an effective warrior in The Army of The Lord,  may sports and music have prepared me like nothing else could; teaching me (among many things) that the pursuit of victory would often bring on spiritual attacks from the opposing side, attacks of the enemy that, at times, we will experience hits that cause us to "see stars" in our spirit's eyes.

           It didn't take very long for me to realize that, whether it be in business, music, sports or in the fight of faith, there is a prerequisite of pushing through the often-painful challenges in order to come through to "victory". And, back again to my challenging hits while playing football, there were many times that I should've stayed down to recover after being hit but, I knew that, if I didn't get  back up, brush off, and get right back in the game, it would cost me valuable playing time. Sometimes, when you get hurt so bad that you feel like you can't get up, you have to force yourself to crawl a few feet in order to gain enough momentum to be able to stand up again, and at times, it can be frustrating. But, you see, working through that frustration and pain is exactly what it takes for "winning", for finishing with excellence. We must stay all-in, stay disciplined, never willing to quit or give up, right up until the final whistle blows. I also should make mention here that, we had some extra motivation back when I was playing football, because the sentiment of the coaching staff was, "If you're not bleeding, you're not broken; get back out there."

           As we persist in our pursuit of oneness with The Heavenly Father, in putting off the old nature with all of its sinful ways so our soul can be re-built with the new nature, Christ Himself being constructed IN us, we learn the discipline of pressing in and pressing on In Him. Pursuing oneness requires that we keep pressing INto Him, more and more, to keep getting back up every time we stumble or get knocked down. Our pursuit of becoming One In Jesus Christ requires that we keep pressing in no matter how hard we get hit, no matter how much we get injured, no matter how much it hurts! We must learn that we don't run from pain, and we resist trying to escape from it too. We don't try and ease the pain because the pain is the very thing that God is blessing us with, to deliver us from this body of sin and death. 

         Much like a football coach keeps focusing us toward more "perfect practice", pushing us toward being a "winner" in the game of football, it is The Person of The Holy Spirit Who is our Coach now, Christ Jesus in the earth, leading us out of our old sin nature through "the fires of purification" in the spirit, to lead us through the destruction of our old soul'ish nature and INto the Nature of Christ and oneness with God. It is the process of becoming "one" with The Father in Heaven, as Christ Jesus prayed in the garden just before He was arrested and sacrificed on the cross for our sins and the sins of the entire world, "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they may also be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou has sent me (John 17:21)."

           God is the consummate football coach, the Ultimate Family Man, and the most gracious, merciful, faith-full Father to His beloved sons and daughters! If we will "press toward the mark", just like the grueling practices in  sports teaches us to push through the pain, our "being made new" from a life of mediocrity to one of excellence in Christ is "the prize" that awaits us in the end. As Paul said just before he was beheaded, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith... (2 Timothy 4:7)" we too must realize that, in order to be transformed into the likeness of Christ, and fulfill our calling in working "with" God to lead His Children into His loving and waiting arms, we too, like Paul, must learn how to fight.

           There is no greater joy on this earth than pursuing oneness In Jesus Christ and encouraging others to pursue Him as well. There is unspeakable joy that floods our hearts as we look outside of ourselves and fan the flame in the hearts of others, so that they too can enjoy doing the things they are called by God to do... with Him. 

           You'll want to write this final "Word" on the tablet of your heart, and prepare to walk wholeheartedly in it. It's the truth written within the signature verse of this message today, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which The LORD, The Righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing 2 Timothy 4:8."

           It is our prayer that, as the LORD looks on your life, He finds you...
Pressin' IN!


"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14

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We would like to dedicate this blog to honor our Dads, in honor of Our Father.

 On this day, two years ago, we said farewell to Dad Shealy, David Sease Jr, and we praise God for everything he did to provide for his children, and for his beloved family!


________________________________

We thank you for joining together with us for this message. All of what we share is intended to help fan the flame in your heart for Christ Jesus, His wonder-full ways, and His plan and purpose for us in this life. To make a tax-deductible donation to help in this work, or to request our current offer for Keith's "XII Smooth Stones" or any of our Toward The Mark books or CDs, or to share a testimony or prayer request with us, please  e-mail us, visit our website, or mail us a letter addressed to: TTM, Inc., P.O. Box 1152, Yorktown, VA 23692-1152.


May God bless you and write His Message for you on your heart. Thanks for taking part in His work with us, today. We praise Him, and are eternally thankful, for all He makes possible by the faithful support of our loving Toward The Mark Family of sponsors!
Your friends & servants in Christ,

We INVITE YOU ... 
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To Show GOD BIG in a World that Sees Him small… 
sums up the reason Keith stepped out in faith nearly 40 years ago, to focus on reaching the lost and strengthening believers everywhere, through Toward The Mark, Inc.  Keith and Brenda's prayer is that you will be encouraged and edified by the Secrets God shares with us from His Word.  The complete collection of Toward The Mark's original podcasts, music, blogs, books, CDs, and other resources are made possible by the prayer and financial contributions of the TTM Family of sponsors, and you are invited to come aboard TODAY!


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Every gift is appreciated and helps.


Mail Tax-deductible Check Donations to:
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Toward The Mark, Inc. © 2005 - 2019 | Privacy Policy and Terms of Use apply
P.O. Box 1152, Yorktown, VA 23692-1152 | (757)251-2440
TowardTheMark.com | Resources@TowardTheMark.com

Monday, December 31

Final Call 2018 Tax-deductible Gift... Year-end Donation

"The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few... (Matthew 9:37)."

We are excited to offer one final opportunity to sow a tax-deductible 2018 "seed" into the ready soil of Toward The Mark, Inc.  Up until the year's end, 11:59 pm today, December 31st, we invite you to team with us in bringing the Gospel that Jesus Christ preached to all people, especially those bound by the chains of life circumstances.  Needless to say, people need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ now, perhaps more than ever!  As Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 9:37, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few" and by sponsoring "us" you will be sending "willing laborers" into God's ready harvest.
Will you be a part, right now?  We THANK YOU in advance and pray God blesses you 100-fold for your generosity in giving!
In Christ Jesus,
Keith, Brenda, and the TTM Family

"The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it (Psalm 68:11)."

CLICK HERE to make a tax-deductible contribution securely by PayPal.
Every gift is appreciated and helps.
Mail Tax-deductible Check Donations to:
Toward The Mark, Inc., P.O. Box 1152, Yorktown, VA 23692-1152.



To Show GOD BIG in a World that Sees Him small… sums up the reason Keith stepped out in faith to focus on reaching the lost and strengthening believers everywhere, through Toward The Mark, Inc.  Keith and Brenda's prayer is that you will be encouraged and edified by the Secrets from God's Word that Keith recounts in our written and recorded products.  The complete collection of original podcasts, music, blogs, books, CDs, and other resources of Toward The Mark, Inc. are made possible by the prayer and financial contributions of the TTM Support Family.  We'd like to welcome you onboard TODAY!

We INVITE YOU ... 
See and hear, follow and share, more messages of God's Word, Will, and Ways:


Toward The Mark, Inc. © 2005 - 2019 | Privacy Policy and Terms of Use apply
P.O. Box 1152, Yorktown, VA 23692-1152 | (757)251-2440
TowardTheMark.com | Resources@TowardTheMark.com