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To Be Chosen - by Nate

The University of Colorado football is a program in turmoil. As late as 2001 The Buffaloes were close to the national championship game, finishing in the top 5. But after falling short of the national title game, Colorado kept falling. In 2003 a scandal broke that rocked school and made national headlines. Recruiters were using strippers and sex parties to recruit star high school players. The scandal was an embarrassment to the University and put a black mark on the football program.

Then to make matters worse, the same year female placekicker Katie Hnida made an accusation of sexual harassment against her Colorado teammates. In front of a national media press conference, Head Coach Gary Barnett made disparaging comments about her abilities as a player. His lack of sympathy made both him and the school a target of nationwide ridicule. The team did not fair much better on the field, falling out of the top 25 rankings after the scandals broke, and barely maintaining a winning record.

In 2005, Colorado fell to an uninspiring 7-6 record. Gary Barnett lost his last four games as head coach, losing the final two to Nebraska and Texas by a combined score of 100-6. In the end, he was fired prior to the Champs Sports bowl, another loss to the Clemson Tigers 19-10. The University of Colorado ended the 2005 season as a team in complete disarray.

On a recent broadcast of ESPN College Gameday, the state of the University of Colorado football program came up in the conversation. One of those commentators was former head football Coach Lou Holtz. Coach Holtz is a master builder of college football programs. He turned around programs at William & Mary, North Carolina State, Arkansas, Minnesota, Notre Dame, and at South Carolina. At all six universities, Holtz was able to bring each team to a bowl game in only his second season. When the ESPN crew asked what Holtz would do to turn around the University of Colorado football program, his answer was profound:

He said, "As a new coach, I would go into the school. I would gather the players. I would tell them that I understand that they wouldn't choose to be in the situation that they are in right now. Nobody would want to be in a situation like this. I would tell them that I understand that they probably wouldn't choose to have me as their head coach. But then I would tell them that I have seen their program. I would tell them that I know what sort of success is possible at Colorado. I would tell them that I came to the University of Colorado for a reason, that out of all of the football programs in the country, I came to Colorado. I would tell them that while you may not have chosen me as your coach:  I... chose... you. I came here for a reason. I believe in you."

Coach Holtz' inspiring words helped turn around 6 failing college football programs because there is no limit to what you can achieve when somebody believes in you.

Quite often our lives, we are rocked hard times and failure. Have you ever gone through a time where it seemed like everything you try in every avenue of your life, you meet only with failure, discouragement and hardship? Not everyone experiences this, but many of us do. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom like the University of Colorado before we realize that, like Coach Holtz, we have someone who believes in us.

The Bible says that before the beginning of the earth, God both knew you and loved you. It says that God knows all of your thoughts, He knows every hair on your head. He knows every word you say before you even speak it. He chose you as his child and he wants nothing more than to have a relationship with you. While you can get discouraged and feel failure in life; God made you unique, knows you by name, and has work for you that he has planned for you to accomplish. While life may hit you from all sides, and may make you feel like a failure. you are a success in the eyes of the Lord in heaven because the Lord chose you and he loves you.

As we begin this second half, remember the words from Romans chapter 8 as we think about the love God has for us.

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:37-39

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