-On the Road Again-My children mean the world to me. They are my daily delight and it is a joy to be their father.
When I travel to minister sometimes I can bring some of them with me. Such was the case about two weeks when I was ministering in Springfield, IL at the regional FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) annual banquet. My 14-year-old son Marshall accompanied me. I was privileged and honored to be ministering that evening with coach Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts. Tony is the most famous and beloved of all Superbowl winning coaches in history.
One of the things I quickly came to realize was that Tony was not a Superbowl winning coach who happened to be a Christian; he was a Christian who happened to be a Superbowl winning coach. How refreshing was this... I have been around many truly famous in my thirty years of ministry and I can say without a doubt, he was the most genuine and humble of them all.
Coach and Marshall really hit it off too. Marshall is a very outgoing young man who will ply you with questions about what you do, your life, the Lord, etc. and he also has an incredible sense of humor and whit about him. During dinner, he was asking Coach many things about his career. At one point he was surprised to learn that Tony was actually a football player as well and not just a great coach. Marshall replied, "you mean you actually played football? You don't look like an athlete." Coach Dungy broke up laughing as the red slowly faded from my face. Coach leaned over to me and asked if he could mention Marshall during his speech. I told him to have at it. IMHO, Marshall was a highlight of the banquet (1,500 strong). People were actually coming up to him afterwards and shaking hands with him and greeting him. Very cool - not a bad way for a young man to spend a spring break.
My role that evening was to sing and proclaim the gospel; Coach's role was to give his testimony. The reaction, by God's grace. couldn't have been better. We really complimented each other well, in fact, the entire banquet was an evening of praise to the Lord. Hearing the testimonies of many of the students was very powerful as well. Kevin Elliot and his entire team at FCA did a superb job in planning and putting together this event. Also a special thanks to my dear friend, Pastor Dave Cunningham, for making the arrangements for me being there.
I was told before hand that most likely over 50% of the audience did not know the Lord. This was the largest banquet in their history and I was so grateful to be a part of it.
"For me to live is Christ;
and to die is gain."
and to die is gain."
Coach shared that evening on the theme which I used for this post: "our goal is to be champions; but our purpose is to be Christlike."He made the point to this astute audience that people confuse those things greatly in our day. When we make our life's purpose our vocation, making money, fame, etc. and maybe don't achieve all that we thought, it can leave us in despair, disappointed, broken, depressed; resulting in even turning to things to fill up that void with things that are usually sinful to help deaden the pain of an empty heart. BUT, when our purpose in life is to honor and glorify the Lord in all things - to be like Jesus, then even if we fall short of our goals in this life we have set for ourselves, we can rests in the confidence that God is still at work being glorified; that all is good because the main thing has remained the most important thing: living daily in light of the exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Well said Tony!
May I encourage you to please be in prayer for Coach Dungy as he continues to be a witness for the Lord and His gospel to many NFL players, coaches, news media, and reporters. He is the real deal folks and a rarity in our time: first a Christian; then a professional coach. A good model we can all learn from. Amen?
I would also ask for your prayers as events like this continue to present themselves to me. The next FCA function similar to this one is tentatively scheduled for late May in Chicago at Soldier Field with Coach Lovie Smith. Prayerfully, that should also be a tremendous time to proclaim the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in song and Word.
Sheltered in the strength of His grace,
Steve and Marshall
1 Tim. 4:12
1 Tim. 4:12