Archive for January 2, 2008
I grew up in a rough area of Florida with drugs, gangs and the occasional gun shot at night. But my mother did a great thing by moving me from that area in junior high into an environment where I could grow. We went to church, and I became very good at the religious act. At the time, I didn’t know there was a difference between religion and relationship.
At the end of high school, I was recruited by Coach Mike Davis to play at Carson-Newman College. The opportunity to go to college at C-N was a definite change for the better in my life. It was because of Head Coach Ken Sparks’ influence that I came to know Christ. He preached the Gospel heavily, especially the part about being saved. Coaching is his ministry, and he knew that God had put him in that position to bring young guys onto his team and show them the love of God.
In February 2003, Coach Sparks took our team to see the movie The Passion of the Christ, and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. That was when I truly came to know God. I was no longer trying to have my parents’ or friends’ salvation. Once I truly believed what the Word of God said, began to study it, and listen to and understand what He was telling me, my perspective changed. I used to tell people I was a Christian, and I acted like I was holy and religious, but my lifestyle showed something totally different. I was the opposite of what God calls us to be. (more…)
Who has helped me deal with anxiety? “I look to my spiritual mentors to help me deal with anxiety. If there is something I am struggling with, I can talk to them about it and receive prayer.”
Favorite Scripture that deals with anxiety: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)
Why I chose this verse: “If you told someone that your favorite sports passage was from Philippians 4, most people would think it was 4:13. I originally started reading that chapter every night before a wrestling match just for that verse. But I kept reading the entire chapter as I was dealing with anxiety, and it says exactly what to do. If you really give it all over to the Lord, then He is going to give you that surpassing peace.” (more…)
Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach
University of North Carolina
Favorite Scripture that deals with worry: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Why I chose this verse: “One of the things I worry about the most is the future. So, I remind myself of Jeremiah 29:11. I have to trust and believe that even though my circumstances might suggest otherwise, God does have a perfect plan for my life—a future and a hope. Many times we get so consumed with our lives and trying to figure it out ourselves that we fail to realize we have to commune with Him in order to know the plans He has for us.”
How I handle worry in my life: “I like to write a lot. Last year when I was playing for the Indiana Fever, my dad was sick with cancer; and I remember being in my apartment and feeling like I was about to break down. I released my worries and expressed what God had spoken to me by writing a song. The first couple of verses say, ‘Lord, every time I take my eyes off of You, I am like the disciple Peter; I sink into a sea of despair. Sometimes circumstances overwhelm me. A delusional perspective to the point of not knowing You are there. The pressure’s mounting and the water is rising to my knees. I am trembling from the fear of all my unfulfilled needs. And just when I was drowning in my failure to believe, You stretched out Your hand and offered Your grace to me.’ (more…)
Last fall, Drake, a private university in Des Moines, Iowa, entered the season as a team loaded with talented veterans. The Bulldogs were picked to win the MVC largely because they had a preseason All-Conference star, Jill Martin, and four starters returning from a team that finished second in the conference the year before and also boasted a respected recruiting class.
Then adversity struck. And it struck again and again and again.
Following a season full of injuries and illnesses, the Bulldogs limped into the Valley tournament, which they were hosting, with a 10-18 record. On paper, the situation looked dismal.
But in the hearts of the players and coaches, the situation was anything but a lost cause. Their hope was no longer in their own strength and numbers; that had been depleted. Their hope, now, was in the Lord.
“At the beginning of the year I came across a passage in Deuteronomy 8 about the way God uses blessing and adversity in our lives,” Junior Lindsay Whorton said. “I was convinced God was going to do something exciting either on the basketball court or off, and I was looking for it. The passage talked about how to use that adversity to remember the Lord and give glory to Him and be obedient to Him.” (more…)
Picked to finish last in the conference, the Tony Bennett’s Washington State Cougars placed second, tying a school record for wins with a 26-8 record, their best season in 66 years. They beat five ranked teams and made the NCAA Tournament for only the fifth time in their 106-year program history. A double-overtime loss to Vanderbilt in the tournament’s second round did little to lessen the shock. The Cougars finished ranked in the top 20 in both polls.
Bennett, who accepted Christ in eighth grade during an FCA Camp in Colorado, and his team are throwing college basketball convention on its ear—and not just during games. After a particularly poor Saturday practice earlier in the preseason, Bennett’s players arrived at the gym the next day, fully expecting to be chewed out and run mercilessly. Instead, Bennett gathered his team and said, “I don’t want to practice today. We showed a lot of weaknesses yesterday; but I want to honor the Sabbath as much as I can this year. Today, I want you to spend time with family and honor the Sabbath.” His players were stunned.
Bennett then organized a 20-minute chapel. Virtually the entire team showed up.
“Me and [senior forward] Rob Cowgill were looking at each other going, ‘Coach is the man!’” said junior forward Daven Harmeling, a Christian. “How many other coaches do that?” (more…)
STV’s Jill Ewert: First, tell me about your own FCA Camp experience.
Anthony Parker: It was great. This has been something that I’ve always wanted to get involved in. (FCA’s) Doug Pollock brought it to my attention. Unfortunately, I was overseas, and I couldn’t get involved. But being back, I definitely wanted to. It’s something that gave me the opportunity—especially as an NBA player—to share my faith. A lot of kids don’t get to see that side of professional athletics. So, it was an opportunity for me not only to do that, but also to grow spiritually as a Christian, myself.
JE: How did being at camp help you grow spiritually?
AP: Just by being put in situations where you’re speaking to a large group of people about your faith. Once you teach something, then you really learn a lot more about yourself and about the subject.
JE: Why did you choose to come to FCA Camp?
AP: To try to share my faith with the kids. To convert as many kids as we could and to help them see that we all fall short of the glory of God and that we need Jesus. People go to church and hear their pastor preach, and a lot of people think that’s only the pastor’s job to do that, but God called all of us to do that. And this is one of the ways that I can. The Lord has blessed me with the talent to play basketball; and I think we all are blessed with certain talents and gifts, and we have to use those for the glory of the Kingdom. (more…)
As he acknowledged in his first autobiography, Man of Steel, by 1974 Terry Bradshaw felt like he was bottoming out. His first marriage to Melissa Babish had failed, his shoulder had been injured, and he was often sullen and depressed. The turnaround came when, according to his memoir, Bradshaw, already a born-again Christian, had a revelation: “I had separated myself from God. I lived only for Terry Bradshaw, not for God. I tried to be one of the boys and went to every honky-tonk I could find and chased women and behaved in a way that was totally alien to anything I had ever known before … my whole life was out of control … I was trying to be someone else and was doing a rotten job of it.”
What happened to Bradshaw amounted to a second “conversion” experience. “I just put my head in my hands and began to cry and tremble all over and finally I blurted out, ‘Here I am, God. I’ve tried to handle it all by myself and I just can’t get the job done. So I’m placing my life in Your hands. I need some peace of mind and I know You can give it to me.’” The quarterback recalls feeling suddenly “stronger mentally and physically.… Being a starting quarterback didn’t matter.… What mattered was that I was myself again and I was determined to stay that way.”
The Following is interview from June 2007. Michelle McCool is a WWE wrestler/valet. She appears on SmackDown! on Friday nights.
Over the course of the last couple of weeks, Michelle McCool has been the subject of discussion amongst wrestling fans everywhere. Her recent push, as some may call it, has thrust Michelle into the spotlight, where fans of World Wrestling Entertainment from all around the world, took notice of the small-town girl, hailing from Palatka, Florida. Many are already well-aware that Michelle grew up in a home where wrestling was more than a sport, but a family pastime. A former all-star athlete, fitness and gymnastics competitor, gym instructor, and school teacher, etc… Just about everything Michelle had done prior to becoming a member of the prestigious WWE family, has helped mold her into the success story that she is now.
MM.NET: Many of your fans are well aware of your strong Christian faith; do you feel that God is using you, in the place that you’re in?
MM: I always feel like God is using us and gives us opportunities in our life to glorify Him. Not only is this a dream of mine, but hopefully I will be able to make a difference in other people’s lives as a result of this job.
MM.NET: If people didn’t know you, what would you most like them to know about yourself, that someone might not be aware of? MM: I get labeled alot before people ever get to know me. I am a very down-to-earth person. I love to laugh, make other people smile, goof off, dance, etc… I hate when people stereotype others. I try to find the good in everyone (honestly, you can ALWAYS find at least one thing great about everybody)! I live for sports and love the beach!
MM.NET: If someone were to go through your iPod, what songs would they find?
MM: Oh goodness….everything from alternative to country, rock to Christian, old school, etc…
MM.NET: How would you like to be remembered by wrestling fans?
MM: As good-hearted, all-American girl who always smiled and gave her best!