Today the Rock was blessed to host four of its own professional Christian athletes to share their testimonies.
The premise for this message is found in john's vision in Revelation 12, when the devil is thrown down from heaven to earth and accuses Christians before God day and night. But verse 11 reveals the beleivers' victory: And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.
Although these four men have been very successful in their fields, they give glory not to themselves, but to Christ. They understand that Jesus is their real victory and they each use their athletic success as a platform to share Jesus' love and forgiveness with others.
Nick Hundley of the San Diego Padres
Nick grew up in a strong Christian household. He and his brother were raised by their believing parents, who read to them from the Bible, took them to church regularly, prayed with them, and treated each other with love and kindness. At the ages of 12 and 13, Nick and his brother were baptized. Though they didn't understand everything about God, they knew Christ's love and they admired and wanted to follow the example of their parents.
His encouragement today is to parents, future parents, and anyone in a place of authority or influence over children. As actions speak louder than words, living out your values and beliefs with discipined integrity can be an inspiration to a child.
Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox
In 2003, Adrian and his new wife knew they wanted God to be the foundation of their marriage and family, but they didn't know how to make that happen. Through their fellowship with five other couples who were believers, Adrian and his wife finally understood what it meant to have a relationship with Christ and truly give over control of their lives to Christ.
Just as things were beginning to take off in Adrian's baseball career and there were hopes of a trade that would allow him more play time, he received a big blow and was sent down instead of advancing. He was devastated and depressed for days, until he and his wife prayed and made a decision to trust God and believe that His will was best for them. No matter what came, he dedicated his platform to God's use.
God allows all of our lives to have ups and downs. He doesn't promise to make us happy, but holy. Will you allow God to purify you through the trials in your life?
Chris Byrd, heavyweight boxing champion
Chris became a believer shortly after his wife in 1993. After a member of her family had died, she took her questions about death to some Christian neighbors, who showed her what the Bible says about death and heaven. She was saved that day and began attending church. Chris could see an obvious difference in her, but for three months he refused her invitations to come to church.
He finally did attend, at first simply to please his wife, but after a few vists, Chris was confronted with the question, "Where will you go when you die?" He couldn't answer, and felt the burden of his own sin. When invited, he came forward and received Christ.
At a record of 27-0 in his boxing career, Chris was climbing the ladder toward a heavyweight title and was feeling pretty confident going into a fight with Ike Ibeabuchi. However, the Lord "woke him up" as he received a heavy blow that knocked him down and he lost the fight. Through that experience, Chris' perspective was altered; he realized he was not in control and he needed to serve God, not himself.
Whom do you serve? By our sinful nature, we all want to please ourselves. But Jesus paid for our sin, and in following him as disciples, we lay aside our desires to follow His will.
Jacques Cesaire of the San Diego Chargers
In April 2001, Jacques was in church when the pastor gave an invitation for everyone to pray to receive Christ. Though he had prayed this prayer quietly many time before, he had never felt compelled to go forward. This time, however, Jacques found himself at the altar in tears, convicted by the Holy Spirit and compelled to accept whatever calling God would put on his life.
Before Jacques was saved, he was on the path to destruction with drugs and drinking. At one game, after sacking the opponent quarterback, Jacques was feeling pretty cool and proud of himself. When the quarterback reached for help in standing up, Jacques slapped it away.
Upon arriving at home, his roommate told him that he should come to chapel. That day the chaplain had challenged the players to "not be like that guy who slapped the hand away," but be a man of Christ. Had it not been for the faithful conviction of a friend and an invitation to come to God, Jacques says he may never have gone ti church or come to Christ. Is there a friend into whose life you can speak the truth in love?