SPORTSPASTOR


Christians in Sports – Florida Quarterback, Tim Tebow
November 9, 2008, 7:05 pm
Filed under: sports outreach, sportspastor | Tags: , , , , , ,

Tim Tebow is the quarterback for the Florida Gators. He was the first college football player to both rush and pass for 20 touchdowns in a season and was the first sophomore to ever win the Heisman Trophy. Since Tebow won the Heisman Trophy, he has sought to spread his message of faith as far as possible. Winning college football’s most coveted individual award has provided him with a broader audience.

“Because of my name recognition and because of who I am, I’ve been given an opportunity to go places where most other people can’t go,” Tebow said. “I can go into prisons and speak, and no one will say anything. I can go into schools and speak, and they’ll love to have me. I can go to all these different places because of who I am as a football player. That’s a platform the Lord has given me, and I think it’s my responsibility to take advantage of it.”

Please take time to read the following article by Mark Schlabach who covers college football and men’s college basketball for ESPN.com. Read the full article, “Heisman provides Tebow broader audience for message of faith” here.

This inspiring article is full of quotes from Tim Tebow and details his experience of leading 120 inmates to trust Christ during a recent visit to the Gainesville Correctional Institute, a minimum-medium security state prison in Florida.



Live a Life Worthy of the Calling You Have Received
October 26, 2008, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Life and Leadership, sportspastor | Tags: , , , , ,

“Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” These words are an exhortation of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:1b. What are the characteristics of a life lived in such a way that it is worthy of the calling we have received from God? To discover the answer to this question you must first identify your calling. I believe that God will give you the passion to do what he has called you to do. For example, I am passionate about the calling on my life to equip believers to make the most of every opportunity to reach out to people who are far away from God through the most creative and relational means possible. Now if that is my calling, then how do I live life in such a way that it would be worthy of this calling I have received?

Colossians 4:5-6 offers further insight into my calling and the answer to this question: “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” I looked at a number of Bible commentaries and based upon careful exposition have drafted a version of this selection of Scripture in my own words: Believers should live in such a way that they will attract, inspire, and convict non-Christians, giving them a favorable view of the Gospel and the church. Believers should have a verbal witness that is winsome, full of character and worthy of respect.

A healthy balance of faith and practice make a lasting, positive impression on a person who is far away from God. This means that we are responsible for living a life worthy of the calling we have received.



Over 900 People Trust Christ at Elevation Church!
September 10, 2008, 10:14 am
Filed under: church, evangelism, Gospel, Life and Leadership, outreach, pastor, sermon | Tags: , ,

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. At a young age, Steven realized God’s plan for him to start a life-changing church in a metropolitan city. Elevation Church was founded on the faith of eight families who risked everything — sold houses, quit jobs and moved to Charlotte believing God would turn their city upside down for His glory through the local church. That risk has resulted in a remarkable return.

At their two-year mark, Elevation grew to more than 3,500 in weekly attendance between its two portable campuses. In 2007, Elevation Church was named one of the 10 Fastest Growing Churches in America. And they are just getting started.

Pastor Steven’s challenging message and passionate desire to see “those far from God filled with life in Christ” has ignited a fire in Charlotte and beyond. Pastor Steven recently preached a three-part series on the gospel that was life-changing for over 900 people that gave their lives to Christ during the 3 weeks of The Gospel series. Visit the Elevation Church website and make time to listen to these sermons. Pastor Steven’s combination of boldness, conviction, and humility make him a gifted communicator that God is using to impact Charlotte in a powerful way. Pastor Steven is an inspiration to me and a constant reminder that the gospel is the power of salvation to all who believe (Romans 1:16)!



Primetime Passage – Philippians 4:8-9

What do the Olympic opening ceremony, a win for the home team in a baseball game, and your tax dollars at work on a July evening have in common? They are all reasons to have a fireworks show. This summer I watched the fireworks high above the city of Frisco, Texas, on a beautiful July 4th evening and they were amazing. The best part of every fireworks show is the grand finale. For a good while you watch the fireworks come and go in a variety of patterns and colors, but everyone knows when the grand finale arrives. The pattern goes from come and go to shock and awe!

When writing words of encouragement to the church in Philippi, the apostle Paul talks about the importance of maintaining Christian virtues, such as joy, gentleness, and peace. Paul’s words, as recorded in the New Testament book of Philippians, chapter 4, are nothing short of a fireworks show; in fact, they are the grand finale of his instruction:

Philippians 4:8-9
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Consider the impact of each of these words in the life of a Christ-follower and the light they can bring to those who don’t know Jesus. For example, think about the word noble. This word implies integrity, something worthy of respect. We must as the question, “Do our lives win the respect of outsiders?” Do they see in us something that is different? Do our lives make them consider their own lives and make them want to change?

Paul’s instructions are not only intended to direct my steps as a Christian, but he also recognized that when we live according to these virtues that other people will see the light of God in us. In other words, Paul is saying that believers should focus on what is morally and spiritually excellent. But he doesn’t end there. In addition to setting our minds on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, Paul encourages believers to remember everything they have seen in his life, and to put them into practice. We too must move this truth off of the pages of Scripture and into our lives in order to gain a credible witness from which to share the gospel.

Too often Christians today repeat everything that they have heard from Paul’s epistles (letters) and fail to actually put anything into practice. This only affirms the skeptical excuses of those that claim Christian hypocrisy is what keeps them from faith. One pastor has said that the greatest hindrance to the movement of Christ on the earth today is Christians. Another has said that the greatest cause of atheism is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, but deny him with their lifestyle.

So here is the bottom line. I believe that the only way that our words are going to have any impact is if they are accompanied by action. We have the amazing word of God, the fireworks, and we fail to put these dynamite words into practice. If we are going to change the world, we must start with our own hearts and lives. Maybe then, will outsiders respond in shock and awe.



Share the Gospel Using Sports Illustrations

Stonebriar Community Church’s Baseball/Softball Camp was this week and I knew today was the day that the gospel would be presented. I could not wait for the Sports Outreach Director to give me a call. I was the first person he called to tell me all about the exciting events of the day.

First of all, he began the camp day focused on explaining to the campers the concept of sacrifice. As a captivating illustration he told the story of the college softball player who hit a home run recently and tore her ACL while running the bases. The only way for her to get credit for the first home run of her career was for the players on the other team to sacrifice what ended up being their postseason hopes to help the other team score runs by carrying the injured player around the bases lowering her just enough to touch the base until they all reached home.

As Coach C was telling the story two coaches carried a college student around the bases allowing him to touch each base for what was a creative and amazing way to communicate sacrifice. Coach C knew that he would later in the day refer back to that illustration when he spoke of the gospel, the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

When it was time to communicate the gospel to the campers, Coach C continued Continue reading



Turning a Sports Conversation to Spiritual Things
June 15, 2008, 10:49 am
Filed under: evangelism, sports outreach, sportspastor | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Did you see Paul Pierce go down with what looked like a season ending injury in Game One of the NBA Finals? By the tears in his eyes and the expression on the faces of the trainers you just knew that his season was over – right when it mattered most. He was the lone ranger on a team that won only 24 games last season and now when it was his turn to enjoy being a part of a team that has a great chance of winning the NBA Championship – it looked like he would have to watch from the sidelines. But that is not what happened!

Three minutes go by in the third quarter and Boston begins to fade without Pierce, and then it happened – out of the tunnel emerges Pierce. The same guy that was carried off of the court, grimacing in pain, had returned from the locker room with the resilience of Rocky and the flair of a soon to be hero. What happened next was nothing short of amazing. Pierce immediately entered the game and hit back to back three-pointers as the Celtics never looked back on their way to winning one of the most dramatic games in NBA history.

Speaking of history, over 2,000 years ago, there was a man who walked this earth for 33 years. Many of his followers thought that his death on the cross marked the end of his ministry on earth. Without Christ, many begin to doubt, you could say they began to fade. They had seen their leader die an agonizing death and be buried in a tomb guarded by soldiers. 

They did not realize that only three days later there would be the greatest comeback in the history of the world, a miraculous return, and victory over death. Christ died, he was buried, and he rose from the dead. That is the gospel! God sent His only Son to die on the cross for your sins and mine. That is Good News!

This post is an example of how you can turn a conversation to spiritual things with anyone who follows sports. What a privilege to share the clear and simple gospel with them and ask them if there is anything that is keeping them from trusting Christ and following Him?