(PALM DESERT) – Set aside, not set apart.

Such was the focus of dynamic instruction from SoCal Coyotes’ Hall of Fame head coach and non-profit founder J David Miller, who challenged men of all ages, races and walks of life from across the Coachella Valley to embrace a life that is ‘Above The Line’ at a men’s breakfast symposium hosted by Desert Springs Church.

Coach Miller, who has led America’s #1 Developmental Pro Football Program™ to six championships, and also serves as chairman of Coachella Sports & Entertainment Stadium Authority (CSESA), empowered men to take ownership of their thought life, marriages, homes, relationships, and ‘spheres of influence’ – by leaning into a daily, even hourly, one-on-one relationship with a loving Lord.

“If God can’t trust us with the little things, He can’t trust us with the big things,” Coach Miller said. “We have no idea what God has planned for our lives – but it all starts with our obedience – which is synonymous with freedom, and faithful surrender is synonymous with spiritual peace, and a lifetime of purpose and satisfaction.”

Coach Miller shared a gripping story about the Coyotes non-profit, which occurred when he told his family that he believed “God had bigger plans” for his family in the Coachella Valley.

That’s when, at the time, his youngest daughter Madison asked, “What’s God gonna do with a football team?”

“God’s so big,” Coach Miller said, “He doesn’t need your help. He needs your obedience. What’s God gonna do with a football team? Whatever He chooses, to the extent of our obedience.”

The rest, the coach said, is history. The Coyotes were named ‘America’s #1 Developmental Pro Football Program’ by an NFL executive, advancing more players to pro opportunities than any developmental program in the nation. Off the field, the Coyotes impact more lives in public schools than any other non-profit in the country.

“Blaming, complaining, and excuses puts Jesus back on the cross,” Coach Miller said. “He died for all of our sins. He cleansed us from all unrighteousness. Three days later, he was resurrected. The destruction of satan through the cross and resurrection was the single worst, most embarrassing, humiliating defeat in the history of all mankind. God destroyed satan – he lost at the cross. Jesus is no longer there.

“So let’s get off the cross – we need the wood.”

Over 200 men gathered at Desert Springs Church to kick off a three-part weekend series designed to inspire men to higher levels of leadership – and Coach Miller didn’t disappoint.

Joined by Coyotes’ all-time sack leader (88) and team captain Jake Sheffield, Coach Miller led participants through significant portions of the Coyotes’ award-winning ‘Above The Line’ leadership program, encouraging them to love their wives, nurture their children, and to be a difference-maker “everywhere we place our feet.”

Off the field, the Coyotes impact more 50,000 youth each year through their ‘Above The Line’ program, and today was no exception. Coach Miller and Captain Sheffield taught men to be ‘skillful, intentional, on-purpose, and driven,’ while eliminating ‘blaming, complaining and excuses’ from their lives.

“The Bible is filled with more do’s than don’ts,” Coach Miller smiled. “But if we’re not living in the Word of God, we have no chance.”

Calling Jake Sheffield “a product of the product,” he emphasized that his star 6’4″, 290-pound defensive end is also a decorated combat U.S. Marine, who graduated from Arizona State University and is only a few hours short of a master’s degree. Sheffield, in turn, challenged the attendees to “Do Your Job” – and led the assembly in scripture-study from the book of Colossians.

“Today was a tremendous success and ignited a movement,” said Al Hurt, Desert Springs Church Director of Men’s Ministries. “The Coyotes pierce the darkness, change hearts and lives, and make a difference in our community.”

Also in the congregation were partners of  the Coyotes and CSESA who are preparing to build the $500 million+ Shield at 1 Coyote Way, a 588-acre faith, sports, entertainment and medical campus soon to break ground on I-10 frontage.

CSESA Senior Vice President Ron DiGrandi was on hand, along with Dr. Ben Wehrli, Medical Director of the Shield, and popular former three-term Indio Mayor Michael Wilson, now a CSESA board member.

Jim Zeilenga, Pastor to Seniors and Groups, said that “the Coyotes have built an impressive culture. Desert Springs Church is looking forward to drawing more men to Jesus with events like today.”

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Probation Department and District Attorney’s Office rely on the Socal Coyotes ‘Above the Line’ leadership program to transform the desert’s most vulnerable youth.

The Coyotes – whose mantra is ‘Faith, Family, Football’ – will return to Desert Springs Church Saturday, March 21, 2020, as a part of the ‘SET APART AS MEN FOR CHRIST’ Men’s Conference 2020. Early reservations are highly encouraged. Register online at visitdsc.org.

For more information, email [email protected]. Discover more at www.csestadiumauthority.com; or www.thesocalcoyotes.com.

Began in 1994 under the leadership of Pastor Kevin Springer, Desert Springs Church found her current home in 2001. New lead pastor Mark Cedar was installed in 2006, with construction on the Family Ministries building completed the following year. Today, Desert Springs averages 800 each Sunday in season, with a loving commitment to our Lord and His Word. You’re welcome at Desert Springs!

The SoCal Coyotes are the national standard of American developmental football. The Coyotes non-profit organization provides elite athletes a professional environment that refines and showcases their skills through trademarked processes similar to the NBA’s D-league and MLB’s minor-league systems.

NFL executives have named the SoCal Coyotes organization America’s #1 Developmental Football Program™ for its national, scalable brands, community outreach programs, six-year operating track record, verifiable data, youth curriculum, sales, public-private sector alliances, and measured results.

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