The summer has officially flown by and my baby girl is heading back to school tomorrow for her first day of the First Grade. On Facebook I received one of the throw back pictures of her when she was so very tiny, and now here she his tall, beautiful, and full of high energy starting her second year of school. Not only, does it make me feel old, but it’s depressing to realize how short the time God has given me to be a Dad really is. My constant prayer to God is that I am the type of father who reflects Christ to my kids in all that I do and say. Looking at how fast that time is going, really makes me want to be sure that I am reflecting Him well. My time as an example is short and I want to have maximum impact for Christ on my kids. I can’t imagine all the things that my daughter is going to have to face in school and life, so helping her get a Godly base now is so important. The Bible says in Ephesians 5:16 (ESV), “Making the best use of time, because the days are evil.” I have to make the best use of time with my sweet girl so that she can face all that life throws at her, both good and evil. That’s my prayer as a father and I hope that if you are a parent it’s your prayer too!
Greetings from KY. I have been absent from this blog for awhile, but I hope to change that with more regular posting. One of my friends asked me to contribute monthly to a blog that his church does. The post below is my first blog post for them that I wanted to share with you all. It gives insight into why I am so passionate about using sports for Christ and hopefully it will encourage you to do the same. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to your feedback!
Hello, my name is Andy Owens and I serve with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Central and Eastern, KY as an Area Representative. Even before, I went on full time staff with FCA God really gave me a passion for Sports Ministry, where you use sports and recreation as a tool to reach others for Christ. So, for the past 17 years in some form I have been working full time in sports ministry. For at least my first few blog posts I would love to share with you about how sports and recreation can intersect with your faith and family. How these things don’t have to become idols or distractions in your life and walk with Christ but powerful tools.
Most of you will probably agree we live in a culture where sports, athletes, and coaches are very often idolized. Our kids, and even adults, look up to these figures in sports like they are heroes. As a result, Christians tend to fall into two categories when it comes to sports and athletics.
The first is that you really can’t tell that much difference between them and the rest of the world. Even though they claim Christ as king of their life, participating in athletics or having their children in athletics is truly their main priority. It affects the jobs they take, their moods, how they treat their family and friends, their church attendance and much more. When it comes down to it, they do have a god in their life, but it is the idol of sports.
The second category that Christians tend to fall in to is that of separation. They see the danger of letting sports and athletics become a god or at the very least a high priority and so they choose to stay away and not participate. These people see sports and athletics as worldly and something that should be abstained from.
I would like to suggest to you that the proper way to view sports and athletics is in the middle of these two views. One of the things I love about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is our vision statement which says, “To see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of athletes and coaches.” Both categories I mentioned above will agree that sports have a high place of value in our culture. So rather than letting it rule our lives or staying totally away from it, let’s use it as FCA does, to impact our world for Christ.
In a sport crazed culture, those who participate are given a platform where there are people looking up to them as an example. Billy Graham once said that in a year a coach will have the opportunity to impact more people for Christ than the average Christian will in their entire lifetime. That is an opportunity to share Christ that we can’t waste on a poor testimony or choosing to stay away from. For the athlete, former NBA star Charles Barkley once said that people shouldn’t look up to him and that he wasn’t a “Role Model.” The problem with that statement is that in sports you don’t have a choice. You have a platform and therefore you are a role model! This is another platform that we as Christians must seek to take advantage of for Christ.
When you walk in any sports arena you see people of different ages, races, religions, and all kinds of other diversities. As you look at these people it become abundantly clear that sports cross all kinds of social and economic barriers. So, why as people that have been given the command to “go into the world and make disciples,” wouldn’t we use sports as a tool to obey the command that God has given us!
So, maybe you are reading this and thinking to yourself that you agree with me, but you are just not that into sports. How does this apply to you? Well, I would point out that as Christ-followers each of us has been given different gifts that give us each different platforms of influence in our world. Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Whatever plat form you have been given, use it to let your light shine before others and point them to Christ. If you are an artist, use your art to point them to Christ. If you are a musician, use your music to point them to Christ. If you are a talker who has been given the gift of gab, use those social skills to point others to Christ. If you are a coach or athlete, or just love sports, use the tool of sports and athletics to point others to Christ!
In our sinful sports crazed world, we must use the gift of athletics to reach the lost for Christ
Every so often I get the itch to start looking at getting a new Bible. My wife says I have a bad habit of collecting them. Currently I am mainly using a personal size ESV Study Bible that I love. The problem is that it is TruTone and starting to show lots of wear and has me worried about it’s ability to hold up. I would love to find something a bit easier to carry and with a quality leather cover that will last me a long time. I am really interested in either staying with ESV or possibly trying a new CSB that comes out in March. Does anyone have any suggestions that they use?
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting two new schools (new to me) that were either wanting to start an FCA Huddle or have been going with no FCA staff presence. In both of these situations I was blessed to meet teachers that genuinely care for their students and want to see them come to know Christ. In both situations I was able to leave one of our FCA Coaches Bibles with the teacher and it was great to see how they were so appreciative to not only have a copy of God’s Word, but one specifically designed to help them grow in their walk as coaches/teachers and reach their students. Coming out of the Christmas season I have given many gifts lately. However, it was so refreshing and just a blessing to me to see true joy that comes from giving and receiving gifts that will make an impact on eternity for Christ. I pray that God will give me more and more opportunities to share gifts of the Gospel!
The commute has started. For the month of July I am finishing my time with Kentucky Mountain Mission by commuting almost an hour each way from Richmond to Beattyville. The first week of my commuting has been a little more rough as I get more tired each day due to the fact that I am working at the Rec Center from open to close, since some of our staff are on vacation. While physically I am pretty worn down and ready to go hibernate after three weeks of camp, moving, and now commuting, emotionally and spiritually I am feeling very refreshed.
So, why am I feeling so refreshed. The hour long car rides have allowed me time to listen to some great podcasts and sermons over the course of moving and now commuting. Yes, I have enjoyed some fun sports and entertainment podcasts like the Bill Simmons podcast and The Watch. However the opportunity to hear some great sermons and podcasts from Andy Stanley, Southland Christian Church, Alistair Begg, and others have been a great encouragement and blessing to me. What better way than to start each day than by diving deep into God’s Word and hearing Biblical truths being taught and explained by some great Biblical teachers. In a season of high stress with moving, house selling and purchasing, and transitioning to a new ministry with FCA, having that teaching in my life has blessed me and kept me focused on my relationship with Christ.
There are so many radio stations that you can listen to out there, but if you have the ability I highly encourage finding some good podcasts to help you enjoy your commute!