Shared with permission from my brother in Christ, Stanton Lanier.  CHeck out Stanton’s amazing spiritually uplifting music and blog at 

What is an awesome “mountain top” memory you could call on today for encouragement?

Since this weekend is the Sweet 16 of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (it’s okay if you don’t care), I couldn’t resist sharing a story from my past that I call on from time to time. To set this up, you have to know I was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, home of the North Carolina Tar Heels. This gave me a love of ACC basketball, and I would later go to college at Georgia Tech during some great basketball years (1982-1986).

I played high school basketball in the Florida panhandle — what I like to call “football country.” We had a Florida state champion football team. Lots and lots of basketball practice, wanting to play in the ACC one day (which did not happen), and having some great teammates at Milton High School, led to two favorite “mountain top” sports moments.

My junior year I scored 30 points in a game. I was never more “in the zone” than that night, going 14 for 19 from the field and 2 for 2 from the free throw line (there was no three-point line to reward my long range). My senior year I didn’t have much playing time, but was blessed to be on a team that made it to the Class AAA Final Four for the state of Florida. We lost in double overtime in the semi-final, but it was still a mountain top.

MHS 1982

During college and early career years I learned that life would be a roller coaster, filled with some mountain tops, and more valleys. When my age matched my career high point total for a basketball game — age thirty — I discovered that the true meaning of success involved surrender, rather than striving to “score big.” It was the year that Joshua 1:8-9 would really take root in my life, and forever alter my game of life.

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

There is a basketball player inside me when I compose, record, and play concerts on the piano, seeking to offer God’s peace, rest, hope and healing to listeners. My prayer is that everyone who encounters the Scripture-inspired melodies would discover or re-discover a mountain top moment.

What is one of your “mountain top” memories, and how can this give you confidence and courage today?