Monday, October 26, 2015

Changed hearts. Changed lives.

It was in the early 70's in Birmingham, Alabama. Volatile racial tensions exploded in outbursts of violence and revenge. Forced integration of public schools only ignited the fuse of the bombs - literal and otherwise - that tore the place part. But enter the power of the Gospel and the boldness of one individual who poured into the lives of a football team. Hearts changed and changed lives followed. Birmingham was not the same after that.

Having an afternoon free in Kansas City prior to some FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) training, I took advantage of the rare block of time. A movie theater within walking distance of the hotel had Woodlawn slated for a 2:15 p.m. showing. After providentially chatting with a couple I met, I slipped into the sparsely occupied theater. It was not hard to find a seat among the mostly senior citizens spending an afternoon at the movies.

In the darkness, my mind whirled with thoughts and questions, and just a little bit of excited anticipation. I had not wanted to come to this "bootcamp" on approaches to funding ministry. But as I prayed for a changed attitude, God had given me a surprise opportunity to share the vision of FCA with that couple at the ticket counter. The chance encounter turned into a 20 minute conversation and an interest in becoming a part of the ministry to Central VA coaches and athletes. What would come next?

As the movie began and the story unfolded, the tears could not be contained. God appointed an FCA staffer to be in the right place at the right time with the right message. Once the truth took hold, the change could not be throttled. Revival  swept over players, coaches, parents, and the community. Though challenged because of their faith, the impact of Christ continued to roll onto shore, dramatically changing the social and cultural landscape. But unlike a tide that ultimately drags it's captures out to sea, the swell had lasting effect. Hearts were not the same. Peace and harmony, godly lives, and unity prevailed.

The real-life plot was riveting, the message powerful, and the story inspirational. But it was more personal for me. I saw what God can do- and did - through the ministry of FCA. So I contemplate: I am FCA. Can He use me like that? Will God be gracious to use me to produce a mighty work in His people?

I watched the credits roll as others made their way out of that theater, lost in my own thoughts and thankful the lights remained low. I felt my resolve for ministry grow and my commitment confirmed. What a privilege to be called to speak into lives of coaches and athletes. May Jesus Christ be pleased to use my feeble words to change hearts and lives.

Postscript: Check out the Woodland website to learn more and view the movie trailer below. Then get out and take the whole family to see this movie. You will not be disappointed!
 

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