“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight,” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
It was a cloudy and muggy Mississippi morning in early June when Charles and I traipsed through the long and winding hallway of the indoor practice facility on the Ole Miss campus, taking our time to study the life-sized photographs that line both sides of the corridor as far as the eye can see. The building is practically brand new, but you can’t possibly pass through without being moved by history depicted in the old photos. Surely, the players who walk past this virtual gallery several times a day are forever inspired by their heritage as part of a program that was in place long before they were born, and will likely be in place long after they leave here. History—all history—can have that effect on us if we are smart enough to pay attention. We all leave something of ourselves behind in the places we have invested large chunks of our time and talents. A legacy lives longer than we do.
When we were ushered into Coach Freeze’s office by Hugh Freeze himself, there was nothing pretentious in the décor or the manner of the man who invited us in and apologized for running late. What can I say except he looked like himself? Dressed in an Ole Miss golf shirt and Bermuda shorts, he was every bit as down to earth as he is every time some name-brand sports broadcaster sticks a microphone in his face.
You—Ole Miss fans and those who don’t even halfway like Ole Miss—are in for a treat this month. It’s as much about how God can mow down the obstacles and put someone in a place of influence if He wants to as it is about Coach Freeze. There is just nothing that is beyond the realm of possibility when a regular person chooses putting Christ above personal ambition! Sort of Biblical sounding, isn’t it?
Hugh Freeze makes no secret of his Christian faith, and yet, there are only so many sentences that can be devoted to such in the middle of the sports page or the TV interview. We hope we have been able to go a little deeper and been free to connect the dots between his faith and its impact on his everyday life.
My unexpected bonus in the interview was connecting with two men who have profoundly influenced Coach Freeze. Michael Catt, the pastor of the Sherwood Baptist Church of Albany, Georgia, is the genius behind a few recent box office hits like Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous. He was willing to write our “Pastor’s Perspective” column this month. For everyone who has a problem with the “contemporary” way of doing church, wait until you read his comments on how his church got into the film making business. I love stained glass, too, but his words gave me great reason to consider something else. (FYI, Michael Catt is a graduate of Mississippi College!)
And then there was this great visit with Ken Smith, an MSU graduate, fan of all things maroon, who loves Hugh Freeze and has been his mentor ever since they met years ago at an FCA camp.
But there’s a lot more to read. “Food for Thought” is tailgating—Lydia style. I may not be much of a cook, but with Lydia’s help, I have fooled a few people here and there!
And then, by all means, read our “This is My Story.” Marcia Johnson’s “The Art of Conversation” may be the next Etsy phenomenon. And it is definitely a “God thing” in art form.
I am way past my word count. My graphic designer will chastise me. Maybe we will make the print tiny or something, but as you can see—I really LOVE this issue!