Champions and Warriors
Champions and Warriors
San Antonio Christian High School soccer teams just went to the State Finals once again. Every year they advance all season long, win after win, and make it to the finals.
This season was especially exciting for the DeFrees family. Our 21 year old daughter, Dana, assisted in coaching the high school girl’s soccer team. Their poor team had injuries you would not believe. By the end of the season, they were short so many players due to injuries, and other odd circumstances, that they had no players left on the bench to even sub in during the game. By the last weekend, I think they had one girl who was able to come back and play, adding another strong player on the team.
Another reason for the excitement was that our junior in high school son, Trent, plays on the Varsity soccer team that was also going into the final weekend. Our oldest son, Mike, who teaches at the school, assists in coaching this team.
Bill and I love watching our kids do anything-it doesn’t matter what. Whether it’s playing a sport, singing in a choir, hunting, tubing behind a boat, or especially, ministering to others. We really, really love watching them play soccer and it’s been a real joy watching them coach as well. So, this weekend was special....but.....I’m here in Ukraine and it’s ok, that’s not exactly what I’m writing about.
Another cool thing that is going on is R.I.O.T. in the middle school. The 7th and 8th grade homeroom classes compete in ridiculous something something (whatever the rest of R.I.O.T. stands for) competition between each other. They dress up all week long with different themes (I’ll post the nerd day pictures, complete with pictures of teacher, Mike DeFrees, and my other son, David, who is in 7th grade). I love R.I.O.T., it’s a....well.....riot! The kids and teachers really get into the competition and fun and they unwind and have hours of fun. It’s as much fun to watch as it is to participate in.
As I was thinking about all this today and also wondering why God always allows us to lose the State Championships (yes, I actually think that way sometimes), He led my thoughts elsewhere. I am really bad about asking God why our godly, good sportsmanship team loses, yet that team that was so ugly out on the field gets to win. The calls were terrible, the team was this or that, or the fans were this or that. Hold that thought.
When Mike was a senior, they did win State. It was so exciting and tasted so sweet!!! At the completion of the game, our players looked like they just won a war. Broken bones, shattered eye socket, black eyes, torn muscles, huge smiles; I mean, they were a sight. We felt the excitement of their win for years. Every season, we taste it again and longed for another victory. Every pre-season, the team prepares for that big win again. They work hard, they sacrifice, they learn, they soak in all that the coach tells them, and they do all that is required of them. All year long, they work and play hard and try for another championship.
I was pondering this, and God just sort of spoke to my spirit.
Why don’t I get this pumped about leading people to Him? When I miss an opportunity to share Christ or show love, why don’t I question God about this instead of question God about why we lost a soccer game? When I share Jesus with someone and they turn away, why am I not as anguished about this loss as I am about losing in the playoffs?
I’m so burdened right now about these orphans, I can’t even tell you. Yes, I’m burdened about the lost kids in my school. My Christian school. The truth is right there in front of their eyes and some refuse to see. But these kids do not have enough people giving them hope, giving them homes, giving them love, giving Truth, giving them Jesus. “You can’t save them all” is what I hear here and at home. Hmmmm...... is that what you tell yourself when you lose that game? “You can’t win them all?” Hardly? No, you get out there and work harder for the next game, don’t you? You look at what went wrong or you look at what you need to improve on and you go from there. You don’t just give up and go home.
Did God tell Jesus, “You can’t save them all? Come on back home?”
People, I’m not preaching at you or the choir. I am the choir too. I’m pointing in the mirror and I don’t like what I see.
My pastor friend, Oleg, ministers to the elderly. That is huge; they, too are forgotten here. But how many of us minister to the elderly in the US? I mean, really minister? Yeah, we may take a field trip with our kids once a year so they can sing Christmas songs to them over at the nursing home, but is that ministering to them? Is that leading them to Jesus? What if they aren’t saved? Are we leading them to the cross?
Oleg shared a fantastic story about a woman in her 80’s who he shared Jesus with. She was a doctor who did abortions. She did 5-10 abortions a day for many, many years (like 30 years. THIRTY YEARS!). She said Jesus could never forgive her for all the murders she had committed so she knew she could never receive the grace and love and forgiveness of God. Oleg shared with her the Good News of Jesus Christ and this old woman received His forgiveness. She praised God and felt the guilt and stains removed from her soul. Can you imagine? WOW!
I can’t save them all but Jesus can. I can’t save them all but am I saving any? (and when I say “I”, I mean Jesus through me of course).
To be the champion soccer team or champion anything else, we know what sacrifices we need to make to be just that. To be a champion for Jesus, a soul winner, we know we need to do more than just be a good example and go to church and be nice. I don’t just want people to be “saved”. I want them to taste the victory they can have in Jesus. I want them to taste the freedom and the forgiveness He has for them. He offers grace and love and peace.
Who will go and tell them?