Pro-Golfer Zachary Johnson says, ‘I Thought Being a Christian Would be Boring, but it Has Been the Complete Opposite’ (Gospel Light Minute #206)

Zach Johnson

He is an American professional golfer who has a total of 12 victories on the PGA Tour and 28 total professional wins. He won the 2007 Masters Championship and the 2015 Open Championship. He is one of only two players to have twice shot a round of 60 on the PGA Tour. As a young child, he played multiple sports before settling on golf. He led both his high school and college team to state championships. His foundation is dedicated to helping children and their families in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

In an article about his faith for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he said, “I grew up in Iowa in a great Christian household where church was very important. I went to a Catholic school, so I had religion classes from first through 12th grade. My mom even worked at the church and the school. …So, I certainly grew up in a Christian household—Jesus was very much the foundation.

“For me, however, it felt like I was just following the footsteps of friends and more or less doing what I was told to do. So, after high school, I went my own direction. It was my agenda; whatever I wanted to do, I did it. My faith didn’t carry much significance. Continue Reading…

“Jurassic World” Actor, Chris Pratt, Shares How he Got ‘Born Again’ (Gospel Light Minute #205)

Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt

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He is an actor who is best known for his television roles as Bright Abbott in “Everwood” and Andy Dwyer in “Parks and Recreation”. He played supporting roles in films such as “Wanted”, “Moneyball”, “Zero Dark Thirty”, and “Delivery Man” among others. He was the lead actor in the blockbuster films “The Lego Movie” and “Guardians of the Galaxy”. He replaced Josh Brolin as the lead in the film, “Jurassic World”.

In an interview with Esquire magazine, he shared his “born again” story. He said,

“In Maui, about four weeks before I was discovered to go to California, I was hanging with my buddy. I wasn’t quite old enough to drink, so we got somebody to go in and buy us some alcohol.

This guy came by and was like, ‘What are you doing tonight?’ I was like, ‘Oh, I dunno. I was just gonna wait out here, my friends are gonna buy me a bottle of Carlo Rossi and a sixer of Milwaukee’s Best Ice.

So he’s like, ‘Will you fornicate tonight?’ I was like, ‘I hope so.’

‘And drugs and drinking?’ It’s like, ‘Most likely, yeah. Probably all three of those things. I mean, at least two of them, possibly all three.’

The guy was like, ‘I stopped because Jesus told me to stop and talk to you. He said to tell you you’re destined for great things.’ Continue Reading…

Racing Cyclist Amber Neben: ‘People Need to See Christians Live a Christian Life’ (Gospel Light Minute #204)

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She is a racing cyclist who won the UCI world time trial championship in 2008 and the U.S. national road race championship in 2003. She played soccer and ran cross-country in junior high and high school. She graduated with both an undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of Nebraska all while scoring a top 10 finish at the national collegiate cycling championships. She is the only active American female cyclist to win multiple UCI category 1 stage races, having won the Gracia Tour in 2002, the Tour du Montreal in 2003 and the Tour de l’Aude (Od) in 2005 and again in 2006.

She said of her faith, “When I was 4 years old, I was in the hospital with spinal meningitis. They told my parents I was going to die, but if I survived I would be brain-damaged and deaf. I made it through that, and during that time, I know my parents had some friends who were Christians who were praying for me. As a result, my family started going to a Christian church.

I went to a Christian grade school, so I was around really solid people who walked their faith and talked about Christ. Through that, more so than anything, God was working in my heart at a very young age. I remember as an eighth grader having a real strong faith already. Even in high school when I started dealing with my injuries, my faith was already really solid.

I played soccer and was a distance runner in high school, but I began experiencing stress fractures around the end of high school. I went to college on a track scholarship, but the injuries kept me on and off the field. I really knew that God had given me something special but I wasn’t getting the chance to use it. It was four years of just waiting, trusting, and as the Bible says, ‘rejoice in your suffering, because suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope.’ That whole process happened over those four years while I was struggling with the running.

Someone took me out for a bike ride when I was in graduate school, and I loved it. When I found out you could race bikes, I started racing. I missed the Olympic team in 2004 by 8 seconds, then made the 2008 team. I had to fight for four years to come back. During that time, I had a two-year stretch with three really bad crashes and a torn muscle, surgery on my hand and finger, a broken shoulder, a shattered collar bone and another surgery.

It was one of those times where I spent a lot of time talking to God, asking, “Am I on track?” With a lot of prayer and consideration, I knew I just had to run the race set before me and persevere through it. God’s going to be with us, and we use His strength in the midst of all of it to get through it. It’s why I am here and how I got here… it’s all because of Him.

One of my favorite quotes is always be a witness for Christ and if necessary use words. I think in sport just living a life that reflects Christ, walking in a way that honors God and is real, and being genuine in who you are is huge. People need to see Christians live a Christian life. Sport is the best way to be on that stage and to do that. When people have a chance to share how they got to the places they’ve gotten to, it has that much more of an impact.”

Her name is Amber Neben. Continue Reading…

Lauren Holiday: Giving God Praise in the Ups and Downs, the Wins and Losses (Gospel Light Minute #203)

Lauren Holiday

Lauren Holiday

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She is a professional soccer midfielder and forward who currently plays for FC Kansas City in the National Women’s Soccer League and the United States women’s national soccer team. She is also is a two-time Olympic gold medalist from both 2008 and 2012. Additionally, she also played in the 2011 and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. In 2014, she was named U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year. As a star player on the United States women’s national soccer team, she helped her team reach a record third World Cup with a 5-2 victory over Japan.

In an interview with Fellowship of Christian Athletes after losing the 2011 World Cup, she said: “I learned to give God the praise in the highs and the lows. That’s not easy. It’s not easy to lose the World Cup and say, ‘Thank You, Lord,’ because it hurts. But our lives are completely full of highs and lows, and I’m so grateful that my confidence is in Christ. My identity in the Lord will never be shaken. My career will come and go, but remaining faithful has made my relationship with Him so much stronger.”

“I try to think of the verse in Romans 12:1 every time I play. ‘Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.’ At the World Cup, I was playing in the biggest tournament of my life and playing a position I was unfamiliar with. I just remember thinking, ‘Lord, this is my act of worship.’ I try to keep in mind that He gave me this talent. This isn’t for me; it’s for Him. That gives me so much joy.”

She said, “Once you’re in the spotlight and profess that you’re a believer, people want you to fall. They immediately want to point out your flaws, and that’s hard because everyone’s going to make mistakes. But if I’m going to proclaim Christ’s name, I want people to see it. Making decisions by following the Spirit makes that a lot easier. That’s the most important part. That’s why God has given us this platform. And when I speak to a young girl, I hope she’ll see Christ in me the same way I saw Him in my coach so long ago and that she’ll want to have Him too. And that’s absolutely why I play the game.”

Her name is Lauren Holiday. Continue Reading…

Matt Holliday: Christ’s Coming is ‘What Gets Me Excited’ (Gospel Light Minute #202)

Matt Holliday

Matt Holliday

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He is a professional baseball player with the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball. He plays the position of left fielder. He and the Cardinals won the World Series in 2011 and he is considered a major part of the team’s success. He is well known for his baserunning, hitting, and leadership abilities. Previously, he played for the Colorado Rockies and the Oakland Athletics. He has been selected as an All-Star 6 times. In addition, he has been recognized with four Silver Slugger Awards and a National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award.

He said of his faith, “My walk with the Lord has come about very gradually. I had always recognized there was God, but I did not know about Jesus or how to have a relationship with Him. My dad was head baseball coach at Oklahoma State University. We did not go to church much because my dad was always working – including on weekends – and we were usually going to the stadium to support him and the team. However, I feel I was raised in a great family. I had an extremely blessed childhood.

Beginning in my rookie season, I had a lot of people come into my life sharing their faith with me. There were individuals who mentored me and helped me realize I needed Jesus, and that the only way to true life is through Jesus. My faith in Jesus has shaped how I handle my family, how I am a friend, how I am a teammate, how I handle all the things I do in my life and how I list my priorities. How you represent Jesus in the way you live your life is the best way to share Christ. Jesus puts all things in proper perspective. It has allowed me to live a lot freer. Continue Reading…

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