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Christian Olympians

Since our last post was so successful, it inspired this one.  I thought I would list a few Olympians who have shared their Christian faith.  This is not intended to be a full list so please feel free to add a comment, if you know others.  Thanks!

Gabby Douglas  Gabby Douglas, 2 Gold Medals, Gymnast

“I meditate on scripture” said Gabby Douglas to the reporter when asked about how she deals with the pressure and the nerves of being a gymnast on the biggest stage in the world

“I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to him and the blessings fall down on me.”

Allyson Felix Christian

 Allyson Felix, 3 Gold Medals, Track and Field (100 and 200 meters)

“It’s official…I’m going to London!! All glory to God! I’m so thankful for the love, support & encouragement,”

“My faith inspires me so much. It is the very reason that I run. I feel that my running is completely a gift from God and it is my responsibility to use it to glorify him. My faith also helps me not be consumed with winning, but to see the big picture and what life is really all about.”

David Boudia Christian

David Boudia, Gold Medal, Diving

“It’s all about glorifying God. I approach the practices and the competitions the same. I’m at peace when I’m doing those things and it’s for God and His glory.”

“Whatever happens at the end of this Olympic Games is completely out of my control, God is totally sovereign over everything.”  (This realization also helped him overcome depression)

 

 

 

William Reid Priddy Christian

 William Reid Priddy, Gold medal, Men’s Volleyball

“I believe that God is most glorified when I use the gifts He has given me to the best of my ability, whether I am on international TV or just training,”

Christians should be “to pursue greatness (no matter what you are doing) in the name of God and clinging to the strength He provides. Not with the end goal of winning – though it can be a goal and is part of the process – but rather to become more like God and glorify Him.”

Lauren Cheney Christian

Lauren Cheney, Gold Medal, Women’s Soccer

“We weren’t given these talents to be mediocre. Our God is great – He deserves greatness.”

(After losing the 2011 World Cup) “It was a rollercoaster ride, but it was neat to just see (God’s) hand on that (situation),” Heath said. “It’s more than just winning or losing. There are so many relationships that go deeper than that. He has a plan in it all. You have to trust that. Even though it’s not the ideal outcome—I mean, everybody wants to be winners—you have to trust that God has a greater plan for this even when you can’t see it.”

Jacob Wukie Christian

 Jacob Wukie, Silver medal, Archery

“I will be living my life for Christ, seeking to know Him more, and seeking to be used by Him to influence the lives of those around me so that they might know Him as well.”

 

 

Lolo Jones Lori (Lolo) Jones, 4th, Track and Field (100 meters)

“It’s just a gift (virginity) I want to give my husband. But please understand this journey has been hard. There are virgins out there and I want to let them know that it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

“As I arrive in London for the Olympics, I’m overwhelmed with emotions. Thank you Lord for another chance and for holding me as I waited.”

 

Ryan hall Christian Ryan Hall, DNF – injury, Track and Field (Marathon)

God as his coach.

“I like to start off every morning by asking God how He sees me,”

 

 

 

 

 

James Nieto Christian

Jamie Nieto, 6th place, Track & Field (Men’s High Jump)

“Your only limitations are what you believe them to be, and as long as you put God first, you can achieve   all things through Him,”

“I need God in every aspect to help me move forward in my career and being here at the Olympics is a testament.”

 

And a few others:

Brady Ellison, Archer – “Here we go four years of sweat and blood and hard work to prepare for today. Thank you Lord for lettin me [be] here this week. Lets do it.”

Jesse Williams, track and Field (High jump) – “Praise the Lord Jesus Christ he is good!”

Marquise Goodwin, track and Field (Long jump) – “All this wouldn’t be possible without you! #God.”

Bryan Clay, track and Field (Decathalon) – “God first. Family second. Track third.”

Creative Commons License
Christian Olympians by Westchester Men’s Ministry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://nymensministry.com/2012/08/13/christian-olympians/ .

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Casting Crowns – Courageous (Official Music Video from the Movie)

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Real Revolutions Start with Sacrifice

All true revolutions seem to have started with huge sacrifices, in many cases including martyrdom.  I believe it is because we have a sense of justice and rightness.  An inherit willingness to die for a cause or for someone we love.  This is just one of the ways we were made in God’s image.

A person or a small group of people see an injustice and can no longer keep quiet.  They have what Bill Hybels calls a “Popeye moment”.   That is they have a moment of holy discontent, they say “I’ve had all I can stand, I can’t stands no more!”  They decide that this is a cause worth fighting, a cause worth dying for.  They put on the gloves, they take up their cross and get to work.  This moment “prompts us not to indifference and not to despair, but a moment that empowers us to rise up and do something about it.”

Pastor and playwright Kay Munk lived in Denmark amid Germany’s occupation during World War II.  He drew the attention of the Gestapo because of his outspoken opposition to the persecution of the Jews in Denmark.  

In 1941, he preached on the Good Samaritan. In his sermon he stated that “Christ-ians follow Jesus by loving their neighbors as themselves. This is the truth that the Good Samaritan tale puts before us; it calls its hearers to face up to the needs of a flesh and blood neighbor.  To have a flesh and blood neighbor,” says Munk, “puts you in an either/or position. Either you may be a help to your neighbor or a burden.” Either you protect the sheep or you are one of the wolves.

Munk insisted on, and showed unflinching honesty about, what is helpful. To name the wolves so that the flock can protect itself better helps the neighbor in Jesus’ name. The wolves must be resisted for the sheep’s sake, and for their own sakes. Munk says: “It was not the task of the Good Samaritan to look up the robbers afterwards and compliment them for work well done. The goodness of God as we see it in Jesus is meek and long-suffering, but never compromises with evil.” 

Therefore he called for mercy for the Jews, striking workers, hungry in city and on farms, and for confused children in an unstable world.

He was executed by the Gestapo in January of 1944.  His body was found in a ditch by the side of the road, his Bible was next to him, along with this writing:

“What is, therefore, our task today?  Shall I answer “Faith, hope and love?”  That sounds beautiful.  But I would say – courage.  No, even that is not challenging enough to be the whole truth.  Our task today is recklessness.  For what we Christians lack is not psychology or literature…we lack a holy rage – the recklessness which comes from the knowledge of God and humanity.

 The ability to rage when justice lies prostrate on the streets, and when the lie rages across the face of the earth…a holy anger about the things that are wrong in the world.  To rage against the ravaging of God’s earth, and the destruction of God’s world.  To rage when little children must die of hunger, when the tables of the rich are sagging with food.  To rage at the senseless killing of so many, and against the madness of militaries.  To rage at the lies that calls the threat of death and the strategy of destruction, peace.  To rage against complacency.  To restlessly seek that recklessness that will challenge and seek to change human history until it conforms to the norms of the Kingdom of God.  

 And remember the signs of the Christian Church have been the Lion, the Lamb, the Dove, and the Fish…but never the chameleon.” (As found in Irresistible Revolution pg. 294)

His killers honored Munk’s outspoken resistance to the Nazi occupation by their ruthless but futile determination to silence him.  The people heard his message. Despite the danger from the Nazis who had killed Munk, four thousand Danes came to his funeral. They commemorated him with a lively courage and faith like his own, both then and throughout the war.

Good shepherds protect the sheep from the wolves. Munk insisted: “Jesus’ fight against the wolves continues through the church which will allow itself to be torn to pieces rather than let robber or wolf gain entrance to the fold.”

Will you answer the call and stand up for your family, your children, your wife.  Saying I see the wolves in our society.  The wolves of materialism and selfishness.  I choose to sacrifice my time and ambitions for the sake of my family and friends.  For “I’ve had all I can stand and I can’t stands no more!”

If your answer is yes, see www.NYMensMinistry.com/MENTOR

Material garnered from some of the following sites: 

http://www.pietisten.org/summer99/kajmunk.html

http://www.richfieldumc.org/20110417.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/weekinreview/23worth.html

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Men’s Retreat with PriorityOne

Great weekend everyone! We had our largest group ever, 16 people. One member of our group, Curtis, was baptized in the lake! We had a great time getting to know each other. It’s great to have good Christian friends. For those that couldn’t join us – we missed you!

Just posted some pictures on our facebook group. http://www.facebook.com/groups/43848377913/  Hope you enjoy. Here are just a few:

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Finally, in the spirit of the weekend, here are 10 things I learned:
(1) Alhassan can play a mean game of frisbee golf.  After one of my throws he said “you aren’t very athletic are you?”  Thank brother!
(2) A letter in Vinny Coniglio’s last name is silent. Do you know which one?  Hint: It’s not the ‘C’
(3) John snores
(4) If you take a long time to drink your milkshake … make sure no one is around to continue to bring it up all weekend.
(5) Alhassan once shaved his head and John would for a $1000, any takers?
(6) Robert can’t drive a nail while wearing a blindfold, sunglasses and a funny hat
(7) Although it may have felt like it, we didn’t set a world record for the longest time between sinking a ball (other than the cue ball) in billards.
(8) Yves is fearless – zip line, swing, rope course …. bring it on!

(9) When you get baptized in Lake Champion, the Holy Spirit turns your potbelly into a six pack (Curtis)!

and #10….
(10) Yes Vinny, the water fountain works!

Come join us for one of our small groups this week.  Either Thursday evening or Saturday morning.  Send a note to learn more.

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Why You Can’t Predict the End of the World

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Jesus: The Lost 40 Days

This Wednesday, April 20th at 9 PM EST, THE HISTORY CHANNEL is airing a new documentary about the forty days between Jesus’s Resurrection and Ascension…

              The History Channel: Jesus: The Lost 40 Days

Tim Keller, Eric Metaxas, Dick Staub, Fr. Jonathan Morris and others will be featured on the side of orthodox Christianity, along with notable dissenting voices such as Elaine Pagels, The “Jesus Seminar’s” Bart Ehrman, and others… Hope you can watch it.

Tim Keller

Eric Metaxas

Dick Staub

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Bonhoeffer – A Christian Hero

Eric Metaxas’ book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a very enjoyable read and very relevant today. Besides it has got rave reviews from the Wall Street Journal, Fox News and many others.

Here is a short video on Bonhoeffer:
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>Do you have Boundaries

>   I just heard a sermon and the Holy Spirit convicted me.  The sermon was on Daniel 3, the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  In the story the king of Bablon, Nebuchadnezzar, setup a golden statue and told everyone that they must bow down and worship it.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused and they were told that if they didn’t comply they would be thrown into the blazing furnace.  Without hesitation this is how they replied:

 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”



They didn’t have to discuss the matter.  This decision was made a long time ago when they decided who they would follow.  They were thrown into the furnace and God was with them.  Read the story in Daniel 3.

This got me thinking ‘do I avoid sinning because God said so, or because of the potential negative consequences.’  Furthermore, have I made a decision that no matter what the consequences, ‘I will not’ or ‘I will’ do certain things.  The answer for me was ‘no’.  I had not drawn those lines clearly.  Yes, there are some things such as murder that wouldn’t require any thought but do I have a clear line that I would not cross?

I decided to create a “Will Do” and “Won’t Do” List.   That is, lists that help me define the boundaries of what I will do, and won’t do at work, at home, at church and with my neighbors and friends.

I soon realized that it is very important that I be specific.  For example, it’s easy to say that ‘I will not break the law’. But this statement is much more effective: “I will not pay for any services in cash to avoid taxes.”

Have you defined the boundaries in your life.  If you haven’t, you might make the wrong decision when put under pressure.  Are you willing to take that risk?!

What’s on your list?  We would like to know.

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>Do you want to be Forgiven or Excused?

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I recently read a sermon by C.S. Lewis called “On Forgiveness” (From the Weight of Glory published by HarperCollins).  I thought I would share some of the brilliant insights from Lewis:

Forgive Everyone/Everything or you will not be Forgiven Anything
“We believe (as Christians) that God forgives us our sins; but also that He will not do so unless we forgive other people their sins against us.  There is no doubt about the second part of this statement.  It is in the Lord’s Prayer; it was emphatically stated by our Lord.  If you don’t forgive you will not be forgiven.  No part of His teaching is clearer, and there are no exceptions to it.  He doesn’t say that we are to forgive other people’s sins provided they are not too frightful, or provided there are no extenuating circumstances, or anything of that sort.  We are to forgive them all, however spiteful, however mean, however often they are repeated.  If we don’t, we shall be forgiven none of our own.”

Forgiven or Excused?
“I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality (unless I watch myself very carefully) asking Him to do something quite different.  I am asking Him not to forgive me but to excuse me.  But there is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing.  Forgiveness says “Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology; I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.”  But excusing says “I see that you couldn’t help it or didn’t mean it; you weren’t really to blame.”  If one was not really to blame then there is nothing to forgive.  In that sense forgiveness and excusing are almost opposites.”

Please Forgive Me but Understand …
“…the trouble us that what we call ‘asking God’s forgiveness’ very often really consists in asking God to accept our excuses.  What leads us into this mistake is the fact that there usually is some amount of excuse, some ‘extenuating circumstances.’  We are sp very anxious to point these out to God (and to ourselves) that we are apt to forget the really important thing; that is, the bit left over, the bit which the excuses don’t cover, the bit which is inexcusable but not, thank God, unforgivable.  And if we forget this, we shall go away imagining that we have repented and been forgiven when all that has really happened is that we have satisfied ourselves with our own excuses.  They may be very bad excuses; we are all too easily satisfied about ourselves.”

No Excuses
“When you go to a doctor you show him the bit of you that is wrong-say, a broken arm.  It would be a mere waste of time to keep on explaining that your leg and eyes and throat are all right.  You may be mistaken in thinking so, and anyway, if they are really all right, the doctor will know that.”

He Forgives!!
“A great deal of our anxiety to make excuses comes from not really believing in it (forgiveness), from thinking that God will not take us to Himself again unless He is satisfied that some sort of case can be made out in our favor.  But that would not be forgiveness at all.”

For more on forgiving others, pick up the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Weight-Glory-C-S-Lewis/dp/0060653205/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270923180&sr=1-1

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>Good Year for the Westchester Men’s Ministry

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The WMM had a good year in 2009. We hope to have a breakout year in 2010.

First a look back, in 2009 we…

  • had over 10 events including a golf event, hiking, multiple breakfasts and our Christmas dinner.
  • had our first breakfast with Grace Fellowship.
  • had multiple new people join our small groups or attend one of our events.
  • setup a blog, a Facebook group and a Twitter account. We have over 200 followers on Twitter and appear on 6 lists.
  • had nearly 2 dozen men for our Christmas dinner, our largest group yet, including a few new people.
  • just got started!

In 2010, we have big goals!

  1. We feel God is calling us to prepare for the harvest — so we plan to do leadership training
  2. We also feel God wants us to “do” his Word as a group — so we will be coordinating more outreach events.
  3. We will have our first retreat in the early Spring of 2010 (watch for more details)!!
  4. I believe we will have a small group of committed people step up in 2010 that will allow WMM to fulfill the role God intends for it. This may include 501c(3) status and a broader reach in Westchester county.
  5. The spirit of the Westchester Men’s Ministry is to be community based and support multiple churches. So my optimistic goal is to bring leaders from many churches together in 2010 to share our vision to bring hope to the hopeless and strengthen each other!
There are many people to thank for their support in 2009 including Dick Weidenheft, George Holladay, Peter Corfield and Fred Seiler among many others. Thank you guys!
We hope you have a very happy new year. Please pray that God will lead us and protect us because we can do all things through Him who strengthens us and conversely we can do nothing in our own power.