If they weren’t dragging yesterday morning they were this morning. The ‘County Fair’ is not where the guys wanted to arrive at 6:30 am on the upper field to do conditioning from station to station. The bodies were talking to them, their legs were moaning and lungs burning, everything a coach is tickled to see.
After an hour of intense workout it was time to lumber down to the dining hall for French toast sticks, bacon and cooked cinnamon apples. They are putting a hurtin’ on milk and juice and some kind of powder the trainers are putting in their drinks to replenish their bodies. This morning as the guys sat down I led them in the old camp song I have led a thousand times before… “On a day like this. On a day like this. On a day like this, Ohhhhhhhh I need the Lord to HELP me.” And they sang it like they meant it! Next the entire team says a verse with us just before praying at every meal, “I Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” Then we pray.
Yesterday I broached the gospel with the guys and generally said what it was. This morning after breakfast Don Callan spoke and again, because of the prayers of the saints, Don spoke so eloquently the words God placed upon his tongue and he shared some of his stories of travelling the world but also infused the gospel so clearly you had to be deaf to miss it. He shared that we are all sinners, that there is none good enough to make it to heaven on their own and that a person must be born again. He stopped on the phrase “born again” and talked about exactly what that meant. Don, through the power of the Spirit, spoke so precisely and so plain that it resonated with the guys. He said it in such a way that they appreciated what he said and as he finished everyone showed their appreciation with an ovation. The head coach was so moved he didn’t know what to say so he just asked the guys if they really appreciated what they just heard to show their appreciation again and so we had another ovation. The funny thing is Don felt as if he could have done a better job but we had prayed before that God would give him the words to speak and let me tell you… the Spirit was present.
After breakfast the camp staff takes the guys into the woods to various places where team building and unity takes place. I wish I could tell you or show you just how powerful it was. I do not have time nor the skill of writing to describe just precious this time is. Some of the guys are afraid of the woods because they are from the city and have only heard of the woods and seen television shows of what takes place in the woods. It is the first time they have seen God’s wonderful nature and they are mesmerized by it and the tranquility they find. In fact one young man said, “I have never heard myself think before.” Here is Southern Ohio there is limited internet and social media is not available. They are not on their cell phones or communicating with anyone outside these special acres. Do you know what they are doing? They are meeting God.
I want to take the time to tell you about the practice today but I need to get to what just happened following supper as it was my last opportunity to speak for a good length of time. I wanted to be bold and challenge the guys by sharing the gospel plain and simple. To make a long story short, after I was done speaking I did something the only way I know how, I asked the team to close their eyes and continued by asking if there were any that admitted they were sinners and recognized their need to have Christ in their lives to have His blood cover their sins. Many, many hands rose into the air and I asked if they desired to talk further to meet Don and I on the deck overlooking the lake after I prayed. I have to tell you that twenty two guys followed us out and after going through the gospel again and answering several questions about what salvation is or is not, each and every one of them confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and admitted their sinful state before an Almighty God and with tears streaming down their face and onto the wooden planks. It was a moving time and after the last person was done praying and I closed in prayer… The hugs started flowing and do you know what Don and I kept saying to them? We said, “Now when we say ‘hi brother’ – we actually are
Coach Harper. Offensive line coach and Sargent at arms! 280 lbs of ‘don’t mess’
Heather – one of my former teens and currently an intern with the training staff. She is great.
How do you stretch a 360 lbs lineman? With great difficulty!
Our last evening meal… a 12 oz. steak done medium. Not one complaint!!!
The gospel, Plain and True
They kept coming even after this picture was taken. Our new brothers.
brothers. They kept telling us how much they love us and we kept telling them how much we love them.
We know why this happened, it is because of the prayer of the saints and the power of the Spirit. Would you rejoice with us?! To God be the glory!!!!!