NEW Summer DigiMag now available for viewing

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Summer 2014 DigiMag #1 FINAL2What happens when Sports Spectrum rides bikes with Switchfoot? Or how about when a biker tries to attain his Motocross dreams despite only having one arm? Or how about when a golf coach locks his keys in his car before the biggest golf tournament of the season?

Our first DigiMag of the summer is now available for viewing. This issue has exclusive feature stories on alternative rock band Switchfoot and Motocross rider Jason Griffin, and a new column from staff writer Stephen Copeland. We also have several closeups and content from the K-LOVE Fan Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, including a Q&A with Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn.

Log in here to view. To receive 12 issues of Sports Spectrum magazine a year, three issues each season, subscribe HERE. Enjoy.

Freddie Freeman: Potter and Clay

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“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; per- severance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

Atlanta Braves 24-year-old star Freddie Freeman lost his mom to cancer more than 10 years ago when he was in his early teens. At first, he asked the question many ask when a loved one is lost: Why? Why did this happen? Why did she have to go so soon? Why? Why? Why?

Early on Freeman pushed God away, but a few years ago he came to the realization that God took his mom so she wouldn’t have to suffer any longer.

“My mom was in pain, and He took her to a nice place, and she’s not in pain anymore,” he told the Priority Magazine’s Robert Mitchell. “I finally truly believed that a couple of years later. Then I was just like, ‘I have to do this for Him because He did what’s best for my
mom.’ Faith plays into it a lot.”

Isaiah 45:9 also asks a great question in respect to asking God ‘Why?’: “Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?”

Trusting God that He knows what is best will get us through the difficult days. It won’t take away the pain, but it will, through His help, make the pain bearable and produce perseverance, character; and hope.

By Brett Honeycutt

Brett Honeycutt is the managing editor of Sports Spectrum. This devotional is taken from our most recent Training Table. Log in here to access our most recent Training Table. Subscribe here to receive 12 issues a year and a daily sports-related devotional.

Using Your Gifts for Something Bigger than Yourself

29691_404838853504_108094648504_4277118_5636922_n“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always hopes, always perseveres.” I Corinthians 13:4-7

Several years ago I lived in a world that didn’t make God happy. I played on good teams and was paid good money, but I wasn’t happy. It was a dark world with many fake friendships; people who liked me for what I had.

When I met my future wife, she helped me know the true love of God. In the moment that I accepted Jesus and gave my life to Him, everything changed. I received a new lease on life with trusted friends, and in my job as a soccer player I had more respect from, and for,
my teammates.

In return, God touched my heart to share His blessings with the other teammates. In feeling called to do this, I started to make gospel CD’s to give to other teammates, and every chance I told them about Jesus.

I noticed that God changed my life using soccer as a weapon to talk more about His Kingdom and glory. What weapons has God given you to use?

By Diego Jose Martins

Diego Jose Martins is a professional soccer player and contributor to Sports Spectrum magazine. This devotional is taken from our most recent Training Table. Log in here to access our most recent Training Table. Subscribe here to receive 12 issues a year and a daily sports-related devotional.

Louis Zamperini dies at age 97

Last week, the world lost a true hero and true example of Christ: Louis “Louie” Zamperini. He was 97. He ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he was a World War II hero and POW, and he spoke on forgiveness every chance he had — even going and witnessing, after the war, to the very Japanese prison guards who severely beat him for two years.

“I get so many letters from Christians,” says Zamperini in a story written by the Billy Graham Evangelical Association in 2011, “and some of them are having a tough time. I write back and share Scripture with them.”

He describes a letter he received recently from a man who had been fired from his job.

“This man was a Christian and forgave everyone else in his life, but he had a hard time forgiving the boss who fired him. He hated the man. But then he read in ‘Unbroken’ how I forgave the POW prison guard.” Now this man has not only forgiven his boss, he is praying for him.

Zamperini’s biography, Unbroken, became a New York Times No. 1 bestseller in 2010.

A movie by the same name will be released on Christmas Day of this year.

An American Revolution

2004_July_Aug_TimHowardCoverAs soon as he crossed the Atlantic Ocean, Tim Howard began to open people’s eyes. Here was an American goalie playing at the top level in soccer-crazy England.

The 25-year-old Howard, who spent nearly six seasons with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, signed with Manchester United of England’s Premier League last July, and he made an immediate impact upon reaching the United Kingdom. In fact, Howard helped Man U capture the coveted FA Cup on May 22 by shutting out Millwall 3-0 in the deciding game.

Click here to read the remainder of this throwback story on Tim Howard from Sports Spectrum’s July/August 2004 issue…

Fill Me Up

cha-081009-retirements“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

What does a satisfying life look like? This question is something I chased after for a long time. It was something that, deep down, I longed for; to live a life that satisfied my heart but also made a difference in the lives of others. It was not until I was in my early 20’s that I came to see that God created me to be in a relationship with Him, but that He also gave me gifts that could be used to honor Him and serve others.

I always loved playing soccer and competing, but for most of my life I did it for the wrong reasons. I only started to understand the life that God really had in store for me when I learned how to use my gifts to build relationships, bridge cultural gaps, and share the message of hope around the world.

For the past 14 years, I have had the chance to play soccer professionally, but more than that I have had the chance to travel the world and tell others the story of the Lord who changed my life.

Christ desires to give us a life that satisfies our hearts and impacts the world. My hope for you is that you first enter the most important relationship with Christ, and then secondly, see how God desires to use you. When these two things happen, I truly believe you will have the full life that Christ offers.

By Dustin Swinehart

Dustin Swinehart is a professional soccer player and contributor to Sports Spectrum magazine. This devotional is taken from our most recent Training Table. Log in here to access our most recent Training Table. Subscribe here to receive 12 issues a year and a daily sports-related devotional.

Finding Strength In The Lord

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Clint Dempsey was in kindergarten when he discovered that he loved soccer. The exhilaration of scoring goals was exactly what he needed to deepen his love for a game that has taken him all over the world and allowed him to play at soccer’s highest level in Europe and in the United States.

“My parents had started me in the sport to help me learn good people skills,” Dempsey says. “Little did I know that the sport I loved and the skills I learned would later play a role in my relationship with God.”

Dempsey was 21 when he turned pro in 2004, the same year that he made his first U.S. national team and also earned Major League Soccer’s Rookie of the Year for his stellar play on the New England Revolution. Since then he has played in England for Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur, helped the U.S. win the CONCACAF Gold Cup, represented the U.S. in World Cup play, and been named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year multiple times. Dempsey currently plays for the Seattle Sounders.

Though soccer has been a huge part of shaping Dempsey’s life, a tragedy when he was 12 years old changed his life forever.

“I grew up in a Catholic family and would go to church with my grandmother every Sunday. Through her, I learned that faith was important,” Dempsey says. “When I was 12 years old, my life took a turn that would change me forever. My sister (Jennifer) died (from a brain aneurysm) and I was faced with questions about why things happen and what role God played in it all. For a number of years, I struggled and put distance between God and me. But He was faithful and patient and provided gradual healing and strength.”

Though he knew about God, he wasn’t actively pursuing God. However, a team Bible study in college at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., helped him learn about God more and understand what an active faith really meant.

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“In college, I joined a team Bible study. God’s Word brought me peace and a desire for a relationship with Him,” Dempsey says. “I found that questioning Him and searching for answers through Scripture helped me grow and gave me direction. Now my faith in Christ is what gives me confidence for the future. I know that through both good times and bad, He is faithful and will watch over me.”

He looks back on his college days and thanks God that he was a part of the Bible study, but he also looks back on that time and is thankful for something else—life.

One day, two of his teammates, Greg Griffin and Chefik Simo, asked him to go to a concert with them. Because he didn’t have much money, Dempsey told them he couldn’t go.

His lack of finances saved his life.

On the way to the concert, the car that Griffin and Simo were driving was in a wreck and had flipped over. An 18-wheeler hit the car and killed Griffin. Simo was injured to the point where he never played again.

Despite past tragedies in Dempsey’s life, it hasn’t made him pray for safety more often. It has deepened his perspective of life—that we don’t know when we’ll be gone and that we don’t have much time to make an impact in people’s lives—and also deepened his desire to please God.

“Today, I pray for strength to walk the road before me,” he says. “I play to the best of my abilities and am thankful for the many opportunities and amazing success He has given me. Through it all, I want to do right, not make mistakes, and live a life that is pleasing to Him.”

He does that by reading the Bible, which has given him insight and direction.

“God provides strength, even when circumstances seem impossible,” he says. “In Genesis, God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many generations, but for years his wife, Sarah, was unable to bear children. Even as he approached one hundred years old, Abraham ‘did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God’ (Romans 4:20). Abraham’s faith was rewarded when God honored His promise and Sarah, at age 90, gave birth to their son, Isaac.”

By Brett Honeycutt

Brett Honeycutt is the managing editor of Sports Spectrum magazine.

Serious Call, Freeing Cause

Fifa-World-Cup-Brazil-logo-hd-2014-photo“Another disciple said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’” Matthew 8:21-22

As reported several months ago, the Brazilian government pledged to spend at least $900 million on security for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. They said that it would be “one of the most protected sports events in history.” A CNN article in 2012 said that the government plans on having one police officer per every 50 people at each soccer match and one per every 80 people at other viewing events around the country.

It makes sense. The last time Brazil hosted the World Cup was 1950. The last time a South American country hosted a World Cup was 1978. Times have changed. Hosting anything is a big responsibility, especially if it’s as serious as a World Cup.

This is only natural — the more responsibility, the more serious the call — but I think we look over this aspect in our spiritual lives.

Somehow, perhaps we’ve grown up in a predominantly Christian culture (especially in the Bible Belt, where I live) that has made Jesus their Savior but has not made Him their Lord. In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, “The Cost of Discipleship,” he calls it cheap grace and costly grace. Bonhoeffer says that the only man who has the right to say he is saved by grace alone is the man who has given his entire life to follow Christ. Bonhoeffer, who went on to die for the cause of Christianity in Nazi Germany, called it “the grace of martyrdom”. It was a gift of grace because it was God welcoming him into His purposes, even if it was viewed as costly in the world’s eyes.

Do you live your life with the foundation of cheap grace or costly grace? The call is both serious and freeing.

By Stephen Copeland

Stephen Copeland is a staff writer for Sports Spectrum magazine. This devotional is taken from our most recent Training Table. Log in here to access our most recent Training Table. Subscribe here to receive 12 issues a year and a daily sports-related devotional.

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