Tuesday morning was a rare treat unlike anything I have ever experienced and way outside our typical culture box. After getting the athletes up at 6:00 am for a 6:30 workout called County Fair because of all the various stations they had to attend (cruel play on words). The guys were drenched and lethargic as they came to breakfast and really dragging and some cramping up but each one I asked if they were surviving I received the unanimous response, “There is not anything I cannot conquer.”
At the end of breakfast I read Psalm 1 and spoke about the need to meditate on the Lord day and night speaking about what goes into the mind stays in the mind. Afterward I turned it over to an elderly coach who just came to help out specifically by taking video tape of practices. Because I heard him sing Monday night in the coach’s cabin and old spiritual with a voice sent from heaven, I asked if he might sing a song after I was done speaking at breakfast. Oh man, what an absolute treat as he did something I have never heard because it is not in our culture. He spoke a message to the guys mainly in song… while singing and he has a voice that I wish I could put into words but the words seem to be lacking. The guys were moved and stood up at the end for a standing ovation as he had basically repeated my thoughts of Psalm 1 in song. Unbelievable and I wish you could have heard it and been in the same room. It was a real moment of God for sure and one that spoke these athletes ‘soul’ language.
Following breakfast they broke up into groups of 15 and the Scioto Hills Camp staff took the various groups different places on the grounds for team building challenges… I will speak more to that tomorrow. That was followed up by looking at tape from the previous days practice and to listen to the coaches chide the guys and the efforts or techniques is quite eyebrow raising! Then came a fantastic lunch followed by 1 hour of free time (in which they have to memorize their play books) followed by treatment then practice.
This was the second practice of the season and the guys are sore and for the guys who did not come in the best of shape their muscles are tightening up and the lungs are heaving hard as they are drenched with sweat. I’ll show some pics so you can see them in action.
After supper it was my time to speak with the guys on another spiritual level… (I’ll remind you the athletes do not have to stay or attend – but not one is leaving!) I spoke from I Corinthians 12 about One Body with many members. I must tell you I began by asking for an defensive lineman, a defensive back and a linebacker to stand up by me and in front of all their peers I asked them which one thought they had the most important position. It actually worked out better than I had ever imagined because they all believed their position was more important than any other and they actually gave a serious explaination as to why they believed that. What a perfect lead in to I Cor. 12 (read it). After putting it in the football context and placed it back into the context of which it was written and that is the church. I explained to them what the church is, using some of Dr. Chris Miller’s message I heard this past Sunday, and asked, “Who is in the church?” Then came the gospel… the only people in the church are those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to have forgiveness of sins… Afterward a young man who is currently 360 lbs pulled me aside and said, “Pastor Brian I just feel really down and depressed because I try to live my life by doing good things but I feel like I just can’t get ahead of my bad things. I feel like God is not going to accept me because on the scale my bad actions and thoughts outweigh my good actions and thoughts.” What a sweet moment and I was able to explain to him the GIFT of Jesus and that salvation has nothing to do with our actions but rather what we have done with Jesus in our lives. He didn’t accept Christ but he was so thankful and said he would like to talk with me further. (Pray for Keenon)
Don Callan and I are having more and more opportunity to talk with the athletes and coaches as they get to know us better and trust us more and hear thing unlike they have ever heard before. In fact, one young man asked a question during my speaking time last night and said that he wanted to be saved in the church he was attending and went forward to give his life to Christ but instead they took him into a back room and tried to give him Holy Spirit Power. He said he just wanted to give his life to Jesus but was told he first needed Holy Spirit Power and be baptized first… You see, they have the lingo but just very messed up theology that we are privileged to straighten out.
Keep Praying, it is beginning to get really good!!!