Closeup — Jacob Mulenga

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Soccer hasn’t always been at the top of Zambian national soccer team member Jacob Mulenga’s favorite sports list.

When he was young, he was addicted to motocross.

His weekdays were spent going to school, but his weekends were filled with motocross training and racing.

Soccer didn’t become a part of his life until high school. Even then, though, he said he “mainly just watched.”

Motocross was fulfilling his competitive desires. Soccer was for fun.

“I did not play for any youth teams or academies—just playing for fun at school,” he recalls. “I learned a lot basically from watching. I learned a lot from watching on TV.”

But after high school, he decided to get serious about soccer.

“After High School I thought, ‘OK, now before you decide what you want to do with your life, play football for a bit and see what happens.’…(former Zambian player and coach) Kalusha (Bwalya) saw me play…and said ‘You know you could be good at it.’ For me it was still a dream.  I would joke about it with my friends in high school, ‘One day I will play professional football.’”

Despite not playing soccer until late in his career, his rise to elite level was fast.

He made Zambia’s national team when he was 20, and he scored in his first game—a 1-0 victory against Togo in a World Cup qualifier in 2004. From there he went to the next two World Cup qualifying matches in Senegal and Mali and became a fixture on the national team.

But his rapid success didn’t turn into confidence.

“It was scary. I was nervous. It was a whole new world to me,” he says. “I had never been in front of the public eye that much before. I had no idea what playing for the national team was. You hear about it; you read about it. Now you put yourself in a position where you are ready to be criticized. Everything you do—good or bad—is going to be criticized and you are going to have someone say something about it.”

He gradually became comfortable, though, and in 2010 he scored two goals in two games at the Africa Cup. The following two Africa Cups, in 2012 and 2013, though, were met with disappointment. He didn’t play in either one, including in 2012 when Zambia won the title.

“For me it was really hard, you knew in 2010 you played a big role in the Africa Cup and now you could not be part of it,” he says. “That was a big blow for me…you are happy but every time someone talks about it, it reminds you of not being part of it.”

“I used to ask God so many times, ‘Why is this happening to me when I come to you, pray to you…and everyone else is okay? What did I do to deserve this? … For me it is always why? Why this? Why that? Stop with the why. First of all I learned…that you are not in control. No matter how much you try, you are not in control of things that happen…if I did not have Jesus…I would be so lost.

“I know that I am extremely blessed. I am someone who can do anything in football. I know my strength does not come from me. It comes from above….God won’t take you to the next level if you don’t know how to handle the pressure…the higher you go the worse (the pressure) becomes.

“Everything that is built without God is not worth building. I am not going to sit here and lie and say, ‘I live a perfect, God-fearing life.’ I have problems sometimes. My faith is tested…You have so many challenges. You have so many things that come to you. You want someone to talk to. I think when you bring someone to Christianity, you really have to help them understand, ‘Listen, God is going to be the center of your life.’…It is not saying you aren’t going to have challenges. You are going to have challenges as a Christian and you are going to have trouble as a Christian…But you know in all that, you are going to be victorious.”

By Brett Honeycutt

Brett Honeycutt is the managing editor at Sports Spectrum magazine. 

 

 

Closeup — Fabio

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Fans call Fabio “the blue wall” and consider him a hero.

But for Brazilian goalkeeper Fábio Deivson Lopes Maciel, who has won numerous titles and been on Brazil’s national team at every level, the road to the titles is what’s most important.

In 2007, his career was interrupted when he ruptured the ligaments in his left knee during a key game for his club, Cruzeiro, which was playing against its rival. Some thought he would never return.

“It was a difficult time but important for me to revise my way of living and it was essential so God could work in my life in a way that I had never allowed him,” he says. “God is the basis of my life.”

Adding to his troubles was the fact that people doubted that he was even injured because his right knee hit the goal post, but it was his left knee that was injured.

“People doubted my character, suspicious, said I was lying, that I was actually taken off the team,” he says. “The pain brought me closer to God. It was the pain of an injury, the recovery of the crowd, the loss of a title, to see the world commenting the atypical goal that I took from my back by doubting my character which has become the largest and best decision of my life: to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I gave my whole life to him.”

Despite doctors telling Fabio he would return in six months, he was back on the field in half that time.

The following season, Cruzeiro made the finals once again, and this time his team won.

“Many would say I was not going to play football and not return to Cruzeiro,” Fabio says. “But God put me down to restore me giving me the opportunity to walk with Him and to put me where I am today. God is amazing. Exactly one year after the hard times I went through, He restored me. The pain I went through turned into a great victory. I played in 200 games for Cruzeiro, I was a champion and considered the best goalkeeper of that tournament.”

One more title followed in 2013 and Fabio was named best goalkeeper of the Brazilian Championship. The experiences led him to the understanding that God is real and directs all things.

“Everything that happened in my life was planned by God,” he says. “He determined everything…My basis is God in my life. He waited to put me in places and give me things I never imagined. Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the life and blessed family I have today…He is a true God who makes it happen.”

By Brett Honeycutt

 Brett Honeycutt is the managing editor of Sports Spectrum magazine.

 

 

Closeup — Isaac Díaz

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From the time Isaac Diaz was a baby and had a soccer ball in his cradle, to playing as a professional athlete in packed stadiums, soccer has always been a part of his life.

And he succeeded despite being from such a small town of about 12,500 people.

“Our town, Fresia, is very small but did have a soccer academy for youth. In addition to playing locally, my father took me all over the country to gain experience in tournaments and regionals. I was fortunate to progress to the pro level, and to play in packed stadiums is a great thrill for me. “

Tragedy struck, though, and reality hit Diaz. The faith that meant so much to his parents and that they took so seriously wasn’t as important to Diaz. But after he had time to contemplate it, and after God revealed Himself to Diaz, he embraced it and committed his life to Christ.

“My family was always attending church, but honestly, I went primarily because my parents expected me to,” Diaz says. “I can still remember exactly where we sat in the pews. With my brother’s death, I finally realized how real God was to me—and all that He meant in my life. I believe 100 percent that no one can live without God!”

Even though Diaz’s faith carries him through each day, he understands that he isn’t immune to hardships. His faith doesn’t prevent bad things from happening, but it does help him get through tough times when they come.

“Sometimes life as a pro soccer player can be very difficult,” he says. “The environment of uncertainty that surrounds a club and the playing time decisions coaches make about players can often lead to self-doubt and anxiety. And then add to that the never-ending chants by crowds that are impossible to ignore. But I know that as long as my faith is in God, I can be at peace and follow the path He has laid out for me.

“I have learned that God will often do impossible things. I just need to trust in Him and His Word.

“King Solomon was incredibly wise. When he became king at a young age, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you’ (1 Kings 3:5). Of all the things Solomon could have desired, he asked for a ‘discerning heart.’ He knew that relying on God to lead him was the answer to a successful life. In Proverbs 3:5-6, Solomon wrote from personal experience, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.’ May you also come to trust in God and know Him with all your heart.”

By Brett Honeycutt

Brett Honeycutt is the managing editor of Sports Spectrum magazine. 

 

Closeup — José Luis Vidigal

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The second of 12 children, including four who played soccer, José Luis Vidigal understands what it means to fight and jostle for attention.

During an 18-year professional career, Vidigal spent the majority of his career in Italy and Portugal before retiring in 2009. In between he represented Portugal in 28 games, including seven on the U-21 team, six during the 1996 Olympics where Portugal finished fourth, and 15 from 2000-02.

That last stint included four games in UEFA Euro 2000, including the semifinal loss to France.

But the most memorable and most exciting game was a 3-2 comeback victory against England. Down 2-0, Portugal scored three goals and went on to win their Group going 3-0 in the process.

In the knockout round, Portugal won its first game, 2-0, against Turkey before losing 2-1 to France in the semifinals.

“I’ll never forget this game (against England) because we were in a pretty unfortunate situation,” Vidigal says. Although we lost 2-1 (to France in the semifinals), I still believed that something good could come out of it. Without a doubt, it was Jesus Christ who made the unfortunate situation of a great result. Jesus changed my life. From the beginning I thought I could do it all myself, in relationships with my family, and in my professional and social worlds. I believed in my own abilities, but it did not help.

“When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, then everything became brighter. I learned to forgive and help. My life changed. “

He played for nine more seasons after UEFA Euro 2000 and soccer was no more No. 1 in his life.

“I believe in Jesus because I know that my life does not end here in this world,” Vidigal says. “I do have a special place next to Jesus, and He accepts me. I want more people to have faith and realize that they should accept Him, because otherwise they will have a difficult time at the end of this earthly life.

“My motivation in everything comes from the Lord, because I live and work for Him. I want to be an example of God on Earth. If I did not do that, and if I was not motivated by God, it would be hard to tell people about Him.

“My favorite Bible verses are: ‘We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.’ (Romans 8:37)  and ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).

“The first verse is closely connected with my profession. I believe that I can spend my days in victory. I do not mean winning in soccer or any other sport, but in life. John 3:16 is the foundation of my faith. “

By Brett Honeycutt

Brett Honeycutt is the managing editor of Sports Spectrum magazine. 

 

 

Devotional of the Week — Impact Through Defeat

05coolrunnings_ringsblog-blogSpan“When the centurion and those with him who we regarding Jesus saw the earth quake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’” Matthew 27:54

Different isn’t always easy.

Remember the Jamaican bobsled team in the 1988 Calgary Olympics? Seems like an oxymoron, right? Jamaican bobsled?

To cement their involvement in the Olympics, a movie, Cool Runnings, was made about their exploits. The foursome of Devon Harris, Dudley Stokes, Michael White and Nelson Stokes had little practice and they had to borrow sleds from other countries.

And despite the fact they crashed and didn’t finish, their positive attitude and goodwill toward others won the hearts of the fans.

Having an impact doesn’t always have to come through success. Sometimes having an impact comes through defeat or perceived defeat.

God can use our ups and downs to help people see Him, especially when we have a godly attitude. Just like the centurion saw Christ as the Son of God because of the way Jesus took the ridicule and mocking of the self-righteous people and leaders.

Keep that in mind the next time things don’t go the way you would like. God could be using your circumstance to show people who He is so that they have the opportunity to choose eternal life with Him.

Devotional of the Week — Do You Believe In Miracles?

miracle_on_ice-eruzione_goal_celebration“Jesus said to him,‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’” Mark 9:23-24

Al Michaels’ phrase, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” will be forever remembered as the most famous call in Olympic or sports history. He uttered those words at the end of one of the most shocking upsets in sports history, a 4-3 U.S. victory against the Soviet Union in men’s ice hockey at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.

It wasn’t the gold-medal game (that would come a game later against Finland), but it was stunning and unbelievable because the Soviets had routed the U.S., 10-3, in an exhibition less than two weeks prior to the upset.

The victory was so unbelievable that a N.Y. Times writer wrote that unless the ice melted that no team stood a chance to beat the Soviet Union, which had trounced a NHL All-Star team, 6-0, in an exhibition before the Olympics.

The U.S. team went in believing they could win, but belief wasn’t enough. They also had to take action.

Is there something that God wants to do in your life, but the only thing in the way is for you to believe? If you’re struggling with a lack of faith, ask God to help your unbelief as Mark 9 shows us. He is willing to help. All we have to do is ask.

By Brett Honeycutt

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Airing It Out — Humility, we need more of it

Richard Sherman’s post-game rant after the NFC Championship game has been a lesson in believability, apologies that carry no weight and a reminder that humility is difficult, but that it’s what God says He desires.

He reminds us of this in Matthew 23:12 and tells us what will happen if we don’t, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Like some of you, I was shocked and disappointed when Sherman, a cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, screamed into the microphone during a post-game interview just after Seattle beat the San Francisco 49ers to advance to the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos.

Fox Sports sideline reporter Erin Andrews asked Sherman to take her through that final play of the game when Sherman tipped a pass that was intended for receiver Michael Crabtree in the end zone, and Seattle intercepted to seal the victory.

“Well, I’m the best corner in the game!” Sherman screamed with his deep voice that seemed to be slowly going hoarse from the strain of yelling. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get. Don’t you ever talk about me!”

“Who was talking about you?” Andrews asked, somewhat perplexed.

“Crabtree! Don’t you open your mouth about the best or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick!”

If this would have been an isolated incident, I would have still been shocked and disappointed, but I would have passed it off as adrenaline getting the best of someone and/or a player who didn’t care about sportsmanship, and then likely thought little about it.

But it wasn’t an isolated incident. Sherman is known for taunting players, from instigating a skirmish with the Washington Redskins to his infamous post-game rant toward New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

That incident is where my mind immediately went after watching his interview with Andrews. After the New England game, he ran up to Brady after Seattle won and began taunting Brady. Then Sherman taunted even more by tweeting a photo of him screaming at Brady with the phrase, “U MAD BRO?” written on the picture. Later, he went on Fox NFL Kickoff and laughed about it.

I also thought about the children who saw what he said after Seattle’s game against San Francisco and whether they were influenced to do the same. But then I thought about the parents who likely used it as a teaching moment about how not to act after winning and teaching them about humility and what God says about it: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Later, though, when I read that Sherman had apologized, I thought that he had had time to digest things and saw how wrong he had been (that’s what an apology is; someone realizes they were wrong, admits it and moves on).

He texted this apology to ESPN’s Ed Werder: “I apologize for attacking an individual and taking the attention away from the fantastic game by my teammates … That was not my intent.”

He even wrote the following in a column on Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning QB website on Jan. 30 (he has been writing a column since July): “If I could pass a lesson on to the kids it would be this: Don’t attack anybody. I shouldn’t have attacked Michael Crabtree the way I did. You don’t have to put anybody else down to make yourself bigger.”

But those were just words. Convenient, I guess, because of the firestorm he found himself in after the game.

How do I know that he still wants the attention and that his lesson to kids was as empty as a deflated football?

Because on his personal website he is still selling t-shirts with the phrases he uttered to attack people, “Don’t you ever talk about me” and “You mad bro?” and a copy of his signature and logo on each shirt, bringing attention to himself.

Humility doesn’t look like that. It looks like someone who Richard Sherman texted and wrote about (apologetic, sorry for a wrong committed, teaching lessons to children), but not what Richard Sherman is displaying by his past and current actions (his attacking rants and promoting and profiteering from what he said was wrong).

Humility isn’t just saying something, it’s putting into action what you say.

It’s difficult, but it’s required and desired by God.

By Brett Honeycutt

This column was published in Sports Spectrum’s February 2014 DigiMag. Brett Honeycutt is the managing editor of Sports Spectrum magazine. His column addresses topics from a biblical perspective. Follow him on Twitter-@Brett_Honeycutt

Feature Story — Michael Robinson: Peace Within The Storm

Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day

Dehydration.

Kidney failure.

Liver failure.

Rapid weight loss.

Job loss.

All were part of a whirlwind of bad news for Seattle Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson.

And though the seeming chaos would likely have been too much to handle for most, Robinson never feared in the midst of his trial.

Jump back to the morning of August 17, just before Seattle was to host a preseason game against the Denver Broncos, the same Super Bowl XLVIII opponent of the Seahawks.

Robinson had been taking Indocin, an anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by the team, when he says he began feeling dehydrated. That, coupled with oncoming sickness, led to near liver and kidney failure.

He lost weight and missed several weeks of practice.

From there, Robinson’s news got worse – Seattle released him on Aug. 31.

Sick, weak and without a job, Robinson had to think about recovering and gaining back the more than 30 pounds he lost (he dropped from 245 pounds to 212 pounds) before he could think about playing again – for any team.

“I went to the hospital three separate times,” he said during the week of the Super Bowl. “Two times they sent me home and just told me to keep getting fluids. I went two weeks without eating, so I lost a lot of weight.”

On the third time to the hospital, they figured it out.

“(The doctors) hadn’t seen anything like this,” he said. “Then, once we brought the liver specialist in and the kidney specialist in, they had seen these types of reactions before and they were all over it.”

Slowly, he regained his strength and weight, and later visited the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants, but circumstances brought him back to Seattle, which signed him on Oct. 22 when his replacement, Derrick Coleman, went down with a hamstring injury.

Before being signed, thoughts of playing in the Super Bowl didn’t even cross his mind because he quietly wondered if he would ever play football again – for any team.

When asked during the week of the Super Bowl if he would have been content with his career had he not played this season, he said, “Yeah, I think I would have been because I don’t want football to define me. I’m a man, a Christian, a husband and a father who just happens to play football, so I would have been okay with it. It would have been in God’s plan.”

“I didn’t fear it, but yeah I did think about it. I definitely didn’t fear it because football doesn’t define me. I think that’s the big problem with players in this league. When they try and transition out of this game, football defines them. They don’t know what else to do. I encourage younger players all the time in the offseason to think of this offseason as if you’ve played your last season. What are you going to do? Get involved in other things. Have a drive, have a motive to get up in the morning other than football.”

Many saw the tears he shed after the Seahawks won the NFC Championship against their rivals, the San Francisco 49ers and he’s been asked about them quite a bit.

“I’ve gotten a lot of questions about me crying and all that type of stuff, but it was just I had a long year being cut, being sick, not really realizing the extent of the sickness,” he said during the week leading up to the Super Bowl. “I didn’t know that my kidneys were failing and my liver was failing. I had no idea. I just thought I was getting a bug. But again, hindsight is 20/20 and I’m glad I’m here now. I’ve got my weight back, got my strength back, and it was an opportunity to come back (to Seattle) and I’m glad it opened up.”

It was tough, though, coming back to a team that had cut him, but he also understood the business side of the team’s decision.

“I wrestle with it, but it was easy when I looked at my relationship with the guys on the team,” he said during the week of the Super Bowl. “That’s why you play this game, and I feel like a big reason why we’re here is that every man in that locker room thinks the same way. We all play because of the guy next to you. You all perform because the guy next to you is counting on you. Peer accountability, the biggest thing is accountability, so that’s what we try to do.”

“I got released because I was sick early in training camp. It’s the business of the National Football League. If you can’t put a product on the field, you can’t be on the team. It’s definitely gratifying to be back here with the team and in the Super Bowl.”

By Brett Honeycutt

Brett Honeycutt is the managing editor of Sports Spectrum magazine. This article was published in the February 2014 DigiMag.

Super Bowl Predictions — Clyde Christensen: The Keys to Beating Denver and Seattle

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers

Clyde Christensen is the quarterbacks coach for the Indianapolis Colts, the only team this season to beat the Denver Broncos (the NFL’s best offense of all time) and Seattle Seahawks (the NFL’s best defense this season).

Sports Spectrum asked Christensen, “What are the keys to beating Denver and Seattle?”

HOW TO BEAT DENVER

1. Kidnapping Peyton would be the easiest way. But if you can’t do that, then a couple things you have to do is keep him off the field. That offense, the more snaps they get the more points they score, so you have to be able to run the ball on their defense, you have to be able to run the clock, you have to be smart with the ball, you can’t give them a short field, you can’t give them extra possessions. They drive the ball, but you have to make it take some time. You’ve got to give them a little chance to somewhat self-destruct, which they don’t do often.

2. You have to be able to have somebody to play (Wes) Welker in that slot; he just gnaws away at you. He just eats away your foundation. The ball comes out so quick to him. And if you’re not all over it, he just takes it, and he just kind of keeps slicing you up. You don’t lose any limbs, but you sure do bleed profusely. You have to have someone who matches up to him. Seattle actually does have good defensive backs; they’re very strong in the secondary.

3. Try and make Peyton and their offense single-dimensional. When they can get both (the passing and running games) going like they’ve been able to do this year, they’re extremely, extremely hard to stop. You don’t know which to defend. Both running backs are hard-nosed tough guys who get yards after contact, and if you let them have their way and start running their draws and start running around the corner and hitting the screens, combined with the passes, they’re going to have some trouble.

4. You have to not give them the big play. (Wide receiver) Demaryius Thomas, whether it’s a screen that’s thrown one yard over the line of scrimmage and then run for 90 (yards), or whether it’s a 90-yard bomb over top of everything. You just not cannot give them long balls. You’ve got to make them go the long way. Give them at least a chance to make them stop themselves and give yourself a chance to pop a ball loose.

5. You’re not going to win the game 7-6, or 10-7. It’s just not going to be one of those kinds of games. (Peyton is) too gritty. He’s been doing it too long. You have to be conservatively aggressive, if you will, offensively, because you know you do have to score points if you want to have any chance to win this thing. Again, it’s the end of the rope here; you’re playing to win the game. There’s no other consolation prize. You know you have to find some spot where you can grab a possession with an onside kick that you can get a turnover, where you can flip the field somehow with your special teams and get some help that way.

HOW TO BEAT SEATTLE

1. They play that good defense. You have to be able to get off the line of scrimmage with your receivers. They’re going to get hands on you. They’re corners are big, long, good players, and you have to get in some stacks and clusters and get some guys free to get up the field. If you can get off the line of scrimmage, you have some chances to complete some balls and you actually have a chance to complete a couple of big ones. They will gamble, they will take chances.

2. You have to control their pass rush. It will help having a neutral site. They’re hard to handle. (Like Denver) we had (Seattle) at home also, but they’re hard to handle at their place where their crowd is so loud and your offensive tackles can’t get off on the snap count. Denver will have a little advantage that they don’t have them in Seattle, but they have to control those outside guys. You can’t let Peyton get hit there. They’re excellent on getting the sack.

3. (Quarterback) Russell Wilson is a neat, neat, neat kid, and has had two great years. You have to keep him kind of contained. You can’t let him start getting 15-yard runs. On third down, you’ve got to control him and not let him run for first downs. He’s been a master of third-and-10; you’re almost off the field and he pulls that thing down and finds a way to get a first down.

4. (Running back) Marshawn Lynch, he’s probably one of the best in the business. It’s hard to play them not in your eight-man front because he breaks tackles, they have a good offensive line, and they run the ball well. Once they get running that thing, and all of a sudden you can’t get that ball back, the time of possession swings Seattle’s way, then they’re hard to handle also.

LEARNING IN THE DESERT

Two years ago, Peyton Manning was released by the Indianapolis Colts, and the organization made changes from the front office to the coaches and also within the team. Staying, though, was Indianapolis Colts assistant Clyde Christensen, who had been with the Colts since 2002 coaching various offensive positions. He is now the quarterbacks coach and is mentoring Andrew Luck, the young gun who took over for Manning, who is now leading Denver in the Super Bowl.

He shares with Sports Spectrum what God has been teaching him these last two years:

“We had such a neat bunch of Christian coaches…For whatever reason, the Lord just kind of moved everyone on…and it’s been a lonely couple of years for me. I lost a bunch of Christian brothers. I think what I have found is that God fills that void. It’s just been precious time with Him. He is the treasure. The relationship with Him is what sustains you. The brothers in Christ are the dessert, if you will, but He is the whole meal in itself, and so it’s been fun to spend my time with Him and not with quite as many brothers.

“And the other thing is that you don’t know what He’s up to. The Lord’s given us a neat opportunity to share around here and He’s brought some new faces, and believers, some unbelievers.

“I’ve been reminded that God knows what He’s doing and to just relax in Him and relax and know He’s got a plan. We don’t know what that is, it’s not all been revealed to us. You don’t know what He’s up to, you don’t know where He needs other people. You don’t know what he’s preparing you for here or this is preparation for doing something different, somewhere else, a different team, a different position. All our (former coaches and players) are out in the league now. Was it for us all to encourage each other, get strong, and then He sends us out in the mission field, in what we’ve been called, the NFL, to reproduce in Him and for Him at other franchises? I’ve been greatly encouraged.

“I get more and more peace that He’s so sovereign, so good, that He’s got such a magnificent plan, and just to make sure that I’m in it and getting myself and my ego and my selfishness, and all those things I continue to wrestle with, out of His way so that His work can be done.”

By Brett Honeycutt

Brett Honeycutt is the managing editor at Sports Spectrum magazine. This story was published in the February 2014 Sports Spectrum DigiMag.

Devotional of the Week — Are You Ready?

New York Giants Super Bowl XLVI Victory Parade

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

PGA golfer Tiger Woods once said, “Everyone knows what the Masters is, even if you’re a non-golfer. People know what Wimbledon is. They know what the Super Bowl is. There are certain events that people just know about.”

That’s true. Some events are just known, especially the Super Bowl.

As Christians we know about certain events that have taken or will be taking place, with one of them being the rapture of believers. However, I think we take it for granted that everyone knows.

According to statistics, two-thirds of the world’s population – more than 4.4 billion people – live in the 10/40 window, an area of the world that lies across Africa and Asia from 10 degrees latitude north of the equator to 40 degrees latitude north of the equator.

And of those people, statistics show that 90 percent of them are unevangelized.

You would think everyone would know about one of the greatest events in history, but they don’t.

Why? Because enough of us aren’t going, and enough of us aren’t telling others.
Maybe you can’t go to the 10/40 window, but you can tell someone about the hope you have in Christ. Others are waiting to hear.

By Brett Honeycutt

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