Saturday, July 11, 2009

When God Moves

It’s been a while since I spoke at an event. I all but dropped the speaking at extra-Providence engagements around four years ago when things got really busy at the church. My old friend Dwayne Sanders called me several months ago about speaking at an FCA football team camp and I hesitatingly told him I would.

Truth is I love speaking to kids…especially athletes…especially football players. There’s not a group before whom I feel more comfortable, and for whom I have more empathy. All the teams at this camp were from East Tennessee—about 300 (?) players from around eight teams. During the day they scrimmaged and worked on skills. I got three chances to speak to them. Something I like about speaking at team camps is that they have lots of kids who haven’t heard the Gospel.

I prayed much concerning this camp: about what I would say—and that God would work. The most critical meeting is the first night. It’s when I must make a personal connection with them and make the Gospel clear.

So I started by telling my “wild man wedge buster” story. It is an exercise in hyperbole about when I truly embraced the fact that football was a sport of aggressive courage—when I made the transformation from quarterback to wedge buster in order to make the high school varsity team. As the late comedian Jerry Clower would say, it’s not about telling a funny story, it’s about telling a story…funny. I go way over the top on telling this one. It’s always a hit and people call me “wild man” who hear it. It gets requested a lot.

After the “wild man” story, I talked about the facts of death and life. My text is Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16.

Sometimes God just chooses to move in an unusual way and call many people to himself. Last night was one of those times. As usual, I tried to explain the Gospel as clearly as possible, and I gave them an opportunity to respond. I led them in a prayer to receive Christ if they truly wanted to surrender their lives to him. I asked them that if they had done so—and were serious—to stand and walk out of the room (where I would meet them). At least 50 (I don’t know the exact number) indicated that they had been saved, and did so.

Wow. It was almost overwhelming for me to see God work. I get emotional when God uses me—an undeserving instrument. It is really humbling. Thank you God for saving people and for somehow using fools and weaklings to make known your truth and grace.


Bryan Parris said...

Awesome to hear! Also great to see you on a blogging roll! See you soon! -- Bryan

Chad Sparks said...

Look forward to see you too bro. More than you know! Yeah, I was getting some pressure to get going again.

Unknown said...

Wow! It is neat to hear how God is using you to touch people. Have fun on your vacation. I pray you go back more renewed than ever. Tell your wife I said hello.

Rachel said...

That's wonderful! I hope it is the beginning of true change in each of their lives, and that they will use their influence to share Christ in the coming years of their careers. I'm glad you decided to speak!