“Strong and courageous!” Once again choruses of spiritual affirmation ring out through pool gallery. This time, there is a noted difference from earlier in the week.
The aim for the next twenty four hours is to push athletes to not simply a physical exhaustion but also a spiritual exhaustion. When you strip athletes of what they so deeply root themselves in, it takes a a slow fading of their confidence to begin to come to realize that all they have left is God. What would it mean to have at last confidence no longer in their own athletic ability, but in the almighty Lord? That is the question we hope to push throughout the marathon
“Go into the special with great expectation and prepare to meet God in a new way. Believe for the first time…that this could be an act of worship, not only go through these twenty four hours physically but also spiritually, and expect to meet God” – Kevin Cuz
Burning the Midnight Oil
“This is your opportunity to secure your legacies as men”
Those words seemed to reverberate off the walls of that locker room long after the game had ended. Like a a hammer striking an anvil those words sunk with a depth into the soul. Smelling of sweat, blood and grass, each one of us in that locker room knew what we needed to do. We walked onto that field, reinvigorated and assured of our goal. Yet what if we lost?
It is at this time we want the impassioned speech to be given. We are twelve hours into the SPECIAL and the athletes are looking for something, anything to inspire them to keep going. Many are questioning their choice in attending NTC, tired, sore and sleep deprived. We are burning low on the midnight oil, and it’s coming down to the thread of the wick, what will be left only God knows. Some, at the zero hour will finally understand not to give more of themselves but to receive more of God. The turn of the day oft brings a turn of the heart for many of these athletes. Like Jacob wrestling with God, some needed a prolonged struggle of the heart only to reach this breaking point.
Unlike the inspired football coach walking into the locker room at halftime, our speech is not to inspire a need to perform more. Our hope than in all this wrestling comes the understanding that you need God. Stripped of an identity in sport comes the push to a dependance on God. If even one athlete would change their trajectory of eternity by moving the external performance to an internal act of worship, that would be enough gain.
A Ministry More Glorious
“Would you come and show us something, something amazing through your word that we could apply to life and sport” – Dave Johns (In prayer)
We all know the smell, fresh cut grass in the spring mixed with the musk of sweat. The oder of hockey equipment pulled from beneath the basement storage. The smell of chlorine filtering through the pool doors.
For some these smells can inspire joy at the prospect of sport, for others a sense of frustration or dread from past experiences. When some hear the word ‘christian’ a similar emotional response can elicit. The Athlete Saint, should want to inspire a sense of joy and appreciation with everyone she interacts with. What would it mean for the christian teammate to have an aroma distinctly different than those around them?
Dave Johns, spoke again this morning on the importance of having a ministry more glorious than that of being simply good people. The Athlete Saint plays the game for reasons beyond the sport, but to bend their platform toward bringing those around them from slavery to sainthood. We want the christian athlete to be tangibly different, they do not play for the win, their coach, approval of others, but for the glory of God.