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picture2Sid Huston is the author of “Securing Your Identity” a series of books including Detecting Deception and Fraud, Like a Rock, Be Light, and a commentary on 1st John called All we Need to Know. The new entry into this series is called Power in Your Hand, a unique book on the renewing of the mind, conscience development, and a very helpful identity counseling . These works are power packed seeds that have been proven to transform lives.

Sid has been communicating these principles for more than thirty years. He is known for his commitment to truth, his practical approach, his sense of humor, and the relational stories he tells.

 

Why I am Secure

  • I am chosen by the will of God
  • I am saved by the grace of God
  • I am held by the love of God
  • I am empowered by the Spirit of God
  • I am guided by the Word of God
  • I am protected by the hand of God
  • And I am wearing the CROWN Of God
  • Therefore I am secure in Him.

 

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  • People would be helped and changed by the transforming power of God’s Word, and our faithfulness in helping to apply it
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Who Sid Is From A Bible Point of View

  • The Disciple who is most like me is Peter; the disciple I would most like to be like is John.
  • My favorite Old Testament character is Joseph
  • My favorite woman in the Bible is Esther
  • My favorite story in the New Testament in The prodigal Son
  • My favorite story in the Old Testament is the story of Samson.

 

Sid Huston Bio

  • Came to know Jesus in 1975
  • Attended the University of Nebraska – Kearney earning a BS in Business Administration
  • Actively involved with Campus Crusade for Christ becoming Student President at UNK
  • Campus Crusade for Christ Director of Outreach at 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY (A Summer Ministry Project)
  • Attended Denver Seminary earning an MA in Christian Education in 1982
  • Denver Seminary class president during freshman and Middler years
  • Graduated Denver Seminary with wife Karen who earned a degree in Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Area Representative for the Colorado office of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Led Bible Studies and chapel services for CU football and pro teams in Denver
  • Developed outreach events to Colorado High School athletes, coaches and fans
  • Youth and College Pastor at Kearney, NE Evangelical Free Church
  • Youth pastor at First Baptist Church of Fort Collins
  • Wrote and implemented evangelism and discipleship materials reaching hundreds of students and staff
  • Camp and conference speaker (Nationally)
  • Attended Billy Graham School of Evangelism in Tacoma WA.
  • Received continuing discipleship training thru Moody Bible Institute’s Son-Life program
  • Sr. Pastor of a small Free Methodist church in inner-city Colorado Springs
  • Conducted community outreach and encouraged a strong prayer ministry
  • Developed sports related ministries leading hundreds of men, and children to Jesus
  • Developed the Scepter Evangelism Seminar
  • Served as a High School Bible teacher at a local Christian High School
  • Coached Boys freshman basketball, (2 years) s Softball (1 year) and Boys Golf (2 years)
  • Associate Pastor at Springs Community Church
  • Developed Dare to Believe 90 second daily practical apologetics radio segments
  • Continues to develop a writing and speaking ministry focused on building up Pastors, and Churches
  • Important facts about Sid:
    • He loves God, His wife and His children
    • He uses sports to do discipleship and evangelism (Golf, basketball biking and skiing)
    • He enjoys meeting people and loves life
    • He was bored only once that he remembers, and didn’t like it
    • He has a gift of communicating that comes from his own struggle to understand the issues of life
    • He is regarded as an excellent communicator and coach

 

MY “THUG BALL” STORY

basketballTHUG BALL

Romans 6:1, Galatians 4:3-7, 5:1

There were just fifty seconds left in the game, we were behind by two points, and then I intercepted the basketball and made an outlet pass to start a fast break. I received a pass back and drove in for a lay-up, the ball careened off of the bracket holding the rim to the backboard, I scrambled for the loose ball and in my frustration I slugged my opponent who had the ball. The officials kicked me out of the game, my team lost this Jr. Varsity contest and I was left on the end of the bench hanging my head in shame.

I overheard my JV coach talking with Coach Kropp, the head varsity coach, a legend who I longed to play for. He told coach Kropp how I lost my cool and cost the team the game. I remember coach saying if Sid is ever going to play for me; he is going to have to learn to play under control.

This experience made an indelible impression on my conscience, and God used it to set me up to see my need for life and a new identity in Jesus. My “Thuggish” behavior flowed naturally out of my poor self concept. My parents and all my brothers and sisters will testify that I was always punching, pinching and smacking them around. At this time in my life I didn’t feel good about who I was, I desperately wanted to be a good basketball player. I thought this would make me into a good person, at least I thought it would, and then I hoped to be able to like myself.

On the outside, I was an image of an All-American boy, but inwardly I was a wretched mess of negative thoughts, hormones, and selfish desires. On the outside I looked clean cut, I even wore short hair and for the 70’s anti-establishment culture this was my way of trying to project civility. But, on the inside, in my heart I knew I was corrupt. I knew the behavior I showed in that game wasn’t a momentary lapse, it was who I was. My behavior flowed out of my identity, it naturally erupted out of the way I saw myself. I can’t excuse it, and I knew I had to take responsibility for it. But, how could I change myself?

I saw myself as a bad person, my thought-life was full of evil and sensual desires, and I was trying hard to not be a failure. I didn’t want to cave into the negative thoughts I had about myself, but it was hard not to believe them. The scale didn’t lie, I weighed less than 130lbs, and I couldn’t even bench press my own weight. I got pushed around the basketball court. I couldn’t elevate and shoot a jump shot, or was I quick enough to get around my opponent to get a shot off. The only thing I could do was shoot set shots and to do so I had to use as much leg power and “kip”, to get enough lift under the ball.

I wanted to blame everyone for my terrible condition, my mother was a smoker, so she was a target because I had pneumonia in my lungs and I just couldn’t shake it. I would go to practice and spit up gunk after each set of what we called “killers”, we would run from line to line and then back on the full court. From a physical stand point I was weak, slow, and sickly, and I was depressed about it, because I didn’t know if I would ever get well.

In the other “performance” areas of my life I was failing too. I got kicked out of the Boy Scouts for mouthing off to the Eagle Scout teen leader, I had been kicked off the golf course for “playing through” a group of ladies, and I was forced to take a reading comprehension program with what I thought were the “retarded” kids. The only thing that kept me in school was the basketball team, yet I feared not making the grades and not being able to suit up for the games. Every class that required reading was a real challenge because I just couldn’t concentrate or remember anything. I kid you not; I could get less than a 50% on a true-false test. I stayed away from every tough class; especially the math classes and I knew I was woefully inadequate academically.

To make matters worse, I was always being compared to twin brother and sister Mimi and Jay, who were just a year behind me and they were brilliant straight A students who were gifted and talented. I remember well meaning teachers saying to me, “your brother and sister do well, why can’t you?” I wish I knew. But, the comparison wasn’t helping my cause.

There were a few bright spots in my life; my parents had imparted some basic people skills

To me, so I was enjoying my work as a “petroleum technician”, I pumped Gas and did a thousand other things at Don’s Skelly Service Station. I really enjoyed the customers, and the great guys I worked with. But, one day a customer came in for gas, she bought ten dollars worth of Gas, I filled up her car, checked a half dozen fluids and levels under the hood of her car, and even cleaned the windows, and she gave me a twenty dollar bill, I went to the cash register and got her a ten spot for change. She then told me she wanted two fives, I remember walking back into the lobby and when the door closed behind me, I remember announcing to everyone there what kind of a woman I thought she was, then I got the two fives, and put on a fake smile and thanked her for coming, and to have a nice day. She then took my hand and put a five dollar bill in it and said, son, this is for being one of the finest young men I had ever met. God was humbling my heart because I knew better.

I also enjoyed being an officer in the schools Letterman’s club, and having friends that invited me to attend with them the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings. Good seeds were being planted into my life, but I feared if I failed at anything I would lose these positions, and my identity was hanging on to this thin frayed thread. So I was horribly insecure about my status in life.

When it came to s, my thoughts were purely selfish. I thought if I date so and so then I would be somebody. I know why some guys desire the “trophy” wife, while other guys kill a deer or an Elk and hang its head on the wall, trophy’s mean identity. Even though I was starting to notice and desire a friend, my desire wasn’t about giving to a young lady a redemptive friendship, it was about using this person to help me feel like I was somebody. It was about taking, not giving. My lack of identity security, made me real shallow, and combining this with impure motives, it was good that I didn’t get into any serious relationship. I knew I had absolutely nothing to offer a young lady, and this reality made me feel insecure in my shoes, I had no solid sense of presence.

At the age of fifteen I bought a rental house with the money I had saved from delivering newspapers and caddying. I tried to parlay this accomplishment into a sense of identity. The local newspaper even wrote an article about how I was this young business man. I did learn lots of valuable lessons being a landlord, and being responsible for taxes, water heaters and keeping the thing rented. I learned how to use my friends to put a new roof on it, and then I tried to use my clout of home ownership to puff myself up. But, even though I could talk about how I was on my way to being a young millionaire someday, I knew in my heart that this was a shaky foundation for my identity. Looking back I can see how the “Identity Thief” was trying to get me to think that I could gain the whole world, so I would lose my soul.” (Matt. 16:26)

I poured everything I had into making the basketball team as a senior, I made the team and became known as the “ace-bench warmer.” I only played a few minutes my senior year, and learned the importance of bringing the best out of others and elevating the team. Looking back I can see how God was humbling me so I would be open to my need for Him. Thanks to my good friend Tom Lambelet I was invited to go out to the Colorado Rocky Mountains for a week of sports camp with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Everything in me changed as a result of believing the message I heard from these pro and college athletes and coaches.

During the course of this week in Granby I saw a quality of life that I wanted and soon realized that the Holy Spirit was drawing me in. I found my self nodding my head in agreement with the speakers, and engaging in great discussions with my huddle group. One afternoon I went for a walk with my huddle leader and he helped me pray to Jesus and begin my new life. Immediately I developed a love for the Bible and began to understand more and more of it. This was a real miracle in me; I was not a reader prior to this day. I was now enjoying peace with God, and was convinced that God would save my entire family because of the power of prayer, and because of His Grace. My out look about life had completely changed and so had my identity. I was now no longer a person striving for an identity, Jesus had become my savior, my Lord, my life and my true identity. The light had been turned on, I was now plugged into God, the switch had been flipped and I was starting to shine as a light. This “be-light” principle was now real in me, I like a caterpillar had been struggling out of the cacoon, and now I was a butterfly that was learning to be-light and beginning to take flight.

A few weeks after camp I entered college as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and majored in trying to make the basketball team and being a college student. Not only had I been born again by the Holy Spirit and had a new inner life. My outer, physical self was being transformed too. In just six months I had put on forty pounds and was now 6’1.5 and was close to dunking the basketball. I felt like a high performance muscle car, like an Old’s Cutlass 442, a GTO or a Road runner with a Hemi engine. I could now run the basketball floor with anyone, check people out, get rebounds and I felt I could score on anyone.

During the college tryouts there were sixty freshmen and sophomore guards trying to make the team, several of them were all state performers and here I was the ex-bench warmer. But, because I had been well coached in high-school and I knew the system, I was confident I could beat them out and make the team. Even though the coach would only keep five of those players I was chosen and enjoyed much playing time on the college JV squad.

I was thrilled, I was on the team, I had a strong sense of belonging, and I gloated. The team picture, with me on it was on posters all over town and I loved the recognition. I would go to class, read my bible, pray and go to practice and games. It wasn’t long before the Holy Spirit convicted me about how I should be finding and living out of Jesus my true life and identity.

One afternoon and man named Phil was walking the halls of our dorm and talking a spiritual life survey. I overheard him conversing with a student across the hall, so I barged in and told him about my camp experience and asked him to lay the survey on me. I wanted to see if I could pass for being a Christian. Now, I know Phil was put off by my arrogance, and my basketball strut, but he tolerated me anyway and helped me get started right in my new walk with Jesus. This A+ Senior English student, who was also a teacher’s aid, gave his time to help me get started on some basic discipleship. He taught me about Jesus, the Bible, prayer, and the importance of fellowship, friendships with other believers.

He took me to Campus Crusade meetings, taught me how to share my story, and even took me to his home church where he asked me to tell my story to the congregation. Even though Phil and I had absolutely nothing in common, he was a terrible basketball player; he took some time with me, and my friend Tom. God used this kind of mentoring to put my life, and my true identity into clear focus. And now the basketball identity was taking a back seat to Jesus.

So much had happened to me in such a short amount of time, it all felt so weird and wonderful at the same time. Something strange happened to me one day I was praying to get ready to practice in the team locker room, a light came on so to speak. I loved everything about basketball, I even loved the practice sessions, and I had some of my best experiences at practice. I loved to learn and improve, I loved helping my teammates, and I would even stay late to work on the extra things. I was often the first one to the gym and the last one to leave. But, on this winter day in January 1976 I was tying my shoes and I was tying the shoes of someone who was not a basketball player. My passion for basketball had just left me, it was like putting the needle in the basketball to pump it up, but instead all the air came out. I quickly realized my passion and my identity wasn’t in basketball. How weird, I was now on the team, ready to make my move, perhaps next year I would play on the varsity, there was talk about the three point line and I would love that. I had great relationships with my coaches, teammates, and even the managers and trainers. And surely all those long hours in the drive way and dribbling were to culminate in a college basketball scholarship? How weird it was, on one hand I wanted to see how far I could go in basketball, maybe even coach one day, and yet clearly I knew this was not my life.

In obedience to God, I gave it up, and concentrated on living for Jesus and finding my identity in Him. There were days it was really hard, like playing intramural ball, the other guys wanted a piece of the guy that used to be on the team. So, playing “street” ball became real chippy, but it was a good place to let my light shine. The irony is, in the next ten years I kept improving my game and abilities, and was able to do lots of neat things in basketball as a pastime and not as a passion. I’ve been able to play in many exhibition games, and in many great venues. Being around athletes was tough, I wanted to brag about my game, but the Holy Spirit has always impressed not to talk like an athlete, but to walk in grace.

The next three years of college were a very fruitful time in my life. I switched my major from basketball to ministry, and got involved in several campus ministries. I learned a lot of leadership lessons, and received an introduction into servant hood. In the classroom I finished a degree in Business Administration thinking that perhaps God could use me as a business man. But, with friends like Tom and others we evangelized many young men in the dorms and saw lots of lives changed. It was so satisfying to help some one come to know Jesus and then to help them grow like Phil, Miles, Wes, and others helped me. I was delighting myself in the Lord and making disciples was now the desire of my heart. (Psalm 37:4-5)

God was so gracious to me, during these years every member of my family came to know Jesus. And God also introduced me to Karen, who is a wonderful Christ-centered person, who by grace loves me. Karen is beautiful, kind, Godly, and the most faithful friend I could have ever hoped for. That December we were married and headed off to Denver for seminary where we both studied and graduated four years later. While I was still in school I was given the opportunity to work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes where our Redeemer used me to connect with other bench warmers and athletes on all levels, from middle school on into the professional level. During this time I was able to befriend Colorado Football Coach Bill McCartney and watch God put together a powerful Promise Keepers men’s outreach to men. This was an historic witness to men, an experience so God-sized I would draw encouragement from it all my life.

During these years I was able to understand my voice, and learned how to speak into peoples lives about our identity in Jesus. Many middle school and high school athletes could relate with my story of struggle, acceptance, performance, and identity. And I was able to share how Jesus didn’t come as a “Superstar”; He came as a benchwarmer, so He could identify with us. This message about His incarnation and how He can redeem us and give us new and meaningful lives became my message. I would leave the FCA and begin to Pastor youth and college students in both Nebraska and Colorado for the next 10 years. When I was called by Dr. Richard Mauer, Superintendent of the Free Methodist Church, to Pastor an inner-city church in Colorado Springs where there was a very needy community, but it had a gym in the church building.

I would like to think my preaching was my best out reach tool in this mixed race inner city area, it wasn’t, basketball was. In this simple gym I was able to play thousands of hours of basketball with hundreds of men, boys and children in this community. I believe in our culture sports, food and music are some of the best bridge builders. And for ten years we opened this gym up a couple of nights a week and played pick-up basketball with the men from the community till the “cows came home”. (Coach Kropp’s expression for a very long practice)

After an hour of spirited play I would take the basketball and sit on it near the foul line and relate the scriptures to our lives and the game of basketball. Often the guys would ask some questions, and we experienced church in our jerseys and shorts. I would learn from people in the community that many of the men who attended these “services” considered this their church. I loved giving the men a “slice from the bread of life,” a simple devotion from the Word of God. One of my major themes was our identity in Christ. And this gym was a real study in identity, often I was the only white guy in the gym. I was a real cross cultural missionary who know the language, the language of basketball.

Most of these guys thought I was a rich white guy, because that was their stereo type. I thought this was funny because they all had better gear to wear. I always had the worst shoes in the gym; I just couldn’t afford anything better. Even though Ray (Ray Bowen) and I established some clear boundaries for these guys, we had many identity issues to contend with. We witnessed guns, , wife-girl swapping, gang issues, and fighting. Several times we were surprised to find that Police Squad cars were called to the church parking lot to ease the tensions between the guys. We could watch the gym, but we couldn’t see everything. Ray had a great way of relating to these guys, we experienced real joy bringing life to these men in the gym, and our community.

While playing basketball most of the guys would try to see how much they could get away with and fouling, the trash talk was scathing. We didn’t have refs, so I tried to create a “respect” based environment. Our mantra was, “if you foul be honest and call it, if you get fouled call it and we will respect your call.” The two keys I stressed were respect and responsibility. Often these guys came to the gym with a chip on their shoulders, and after a few , it was a big old tree on their shoulder. Respect was so hard for these guys to give because they believed they grew up with disrespect, and you can’t give what you don’t have. Responsibility is hard when most all of your leadership preaches entitlement to you, but I’d try convincing them to take charge of their lives and not just be tossed around by circumstances, victimization and culture.

Regardless of how much I preached respect and responsibility, the behavior of the guys was thuggish. They would act like gangsters, and if we didn’t manage the tempers it could get ugly. I would often stop the games and say to the guys: “it’s not about how much you can get away with, it is about giving.” I would try to explain how behavior flows out of identity and try to get them to be Christ like in their words and actions. I’d say: “Turn the other cheek, be kind, and “what you sow, you reap.”(Galatians 6:7-10) But, there were days they would have none of it. They saw themselves, as victims, and they even admired mobsters, so thuggish behavior was natural. I knew this, remember I was the guy who got kicked out of a high school game. I understand “Thug Ball” and I am not surprised when I see a fight on an NBA floor, or an NFL field. Are you?

When people see themselves as victims they are not living as an overcomer (Rev. 17:14), consequently we see what we can get away with. No wonder they would steal from me, each other and even vandalize the church building. Sometimes they would even tear down the rim, and wonder why they couldn’t play ball! I found that my best tool for relating with them was my story, some of them listened real good, but others thought I was just good because it was my job, being a pastor.

I tried to explain to them that showing a gun was an identity crutch, it was a sense of power and control, but it was image only and not real character. I tried to explain to them that this kind of action was probably a cover up for insecurity. I told them that this gun carrying put a threat into our relationships and could be used in a rage and they could kill someone, and then they would have to deal with the guilt and a life-sentence, not the future they really wanted.

I also talked about other “false-fronts”, like the image of the gang, the pimp or the dealer. These guys had instant clout with them because they had image, money and control of people. I tried to get them think about humble servant leaders like Jesus. The Gang offered instant association, but I compared this to instant pudding and instant mashed potatoes, with no lasting benefit. The gang with its colors, intimidation was an instant identity for the gullible boy, or the person who saw themselves as a hoodlum. Jesus had a gang of sorts, but they went about doing good, I tried to encourage them to have the guts to be a disciple of Jesus.

I don’t know if I was courageous or foolish, but, I would ask them are you a thug and a slave or are you a freeman and living as a child of God? I loved to tell them that it was for freedom sake that Jesus came. (Galatians 5:1) But, we need to have settled once and for all time the “who” question. Who am I? As all our behavior follows after this. I was humbled to be able to present the good news of the wonderful new identity Jesus brings us into when we believe in Him. (John 1:12)

Today when I see some of these men out in community, we embrace because we respect each other, some truly got it. Then there were other’s who I would visit in the detention centers and prisons when because they failed to live out of their identity in Jesus they did wrong things. We would talk through the thick glass on the phone in the booth, and God’s grace flowed through that phone. I will always thank God for giving me the legs, the lungs, and the ability to play basketball with these guys just to plant the seeds of a new a powerful identity into the hearts and minds of men. I will always thank God that even though my background was different from the men in my community, God enabled me to relate on this very personal level. I think it is just like Jesus, as He left heaven and became a man, and associated with us so we could come to understand our true identity in Him. Jesus is the redeemer and He used my thug-ball life to help other men find life and a new identity in Jesus. I will never forget these experiences for God had prepared me to minister in this way. I truly loved every man who walked into that gym, and I considered it a high honor to share the love of Jesus with men in their “love-language”, the language of basketball. I will always thank God for the opportunity to “be-light” to those men in that dark community. 

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2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

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