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A "New Breed" of Athlete is catching America's attention

By Jay Rogers
Published December 22, 2007

Suddenly, the American media seems to be interested in the spiritual life of some of the most well known superstars in sports. Some journalists have raised criticism and some have asked, “Is the playing field the place for preaching the gospel?”

Even so, evangelical Christianity has become a dominant force in the sport’s world. Baseball, hockey, football and basketball each have their own ministries dedicated to evangelizing the players and ministering to the spiritual needs of the players on every team.

For the last six years Athlete’s International Ministries has sponsored a Prayer and Praise conference in Phoenix, Arizona. According to executive director Larry Kerychuk, “Over 2,700 athletes and family members have been touched by this ministry.” The Phoenix ’91 conference featured well known sports personalities such as Rosey Grier, Ernie Shavers and Meadowlark Lemon, as well as Chicago Bears’ Mike Singletary, KC Chiefs’ Christian Okoye, L.A. Lakers’ A.C. Green and Philadelphia Eagles’ Reggie White.

Greg Ball, National Director for Champions for Christ, was formerly a full-contact karate kick boxer. Now he ministers to some of the most well known sports personalities in the country. According to Ball, “About seven years ago, there were so many athletes on university campuses giving their lives to the Lord that we saw a need for these men to be discipled, trained and given the real message of the kingdom of God. Many of them have now become effective preachers.”

Ball tells the story of how he and some other campus evangelists led A.C. Green to the Lord while he was a student at Oregon State. “A.C. was reached at the university level. He was discipled as a part of a local church there. As he went into the NBA playing with the Lakers, there was another church in the L.A. area which was networked with the church at Oregon State. It was a big adjustment to make but because of the church, he was able to continue to grow.”

Professional sports have always produced fiery preachers – partially due to the similarity of discipline required in training the body of an athlete to the type of spiritual training needed to be an effective witness for Christ. In the past, baseball players such as Billy Sunday and Tony Kubek were outspoken proponents of the faith. Yet they suffered ridicule by the press and were called “opportunists.”

Today, because of the input of more mature leadership provided by ministries such as Athletes International, Christian ballplayers have been getting more respect from the press and the television media. Although more widely accepted than ever before, outspoken Christian athletes are still criticized for their public preaching or their display of faith on the field. Some are merely letting their character, performance and drive on the field do the preaching. Off the field they are letting their lifestyle and character be a witness for Christ.

According to Dodger’s pitching ace Orel Hershiser, “I don’t preach. I have to play on this team, with these guys, so I just don’t do that. But I do let my pitching be an example and an influence for Jesus Christ.”

Some Christian superstars have even been criticized for their aggressive style of play, being thought of as a contradiction to the meek obedience taught by Jesus Christ. Says Philadelphia’s Eagle Reggie White, “A lot of people look at what I do and say, ‘That’s not Christian.’ A lot of people think that being a Christian means you’ve got to be a wimp. I think Christians should be the toughest athletes in the world. I think we should go all out at all times.”

L.A. Laker A.C. Green echoes this belief: “God wants his people to be warriors – to be battlers and fighters. And I don’t mean waging war or getting into fights … but a fight to get the rebounds and to score points. It’s that spirit of might that moves me. I don’t start anything, but I won’t back down, either.”

But whether they are criticized for preaching or their style of aggresive play, these men and women are living faithfully in simple obedience to Christ’s command: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15).


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Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

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Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine

Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese

Running Time: 28 minutes

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