Ipoh B.U.G.
Official blog for Ipoh's BIG ULTIMATE GAMES.

IpohBUG's Mission : Loving the Youth for Jesus Christ.

IpohBUG's Mission : Loving the Youth for Jesus Christ.

Dear Friends and fellow BUGgers,

Want to take this opportunity to wish all of you Merry Christmas. As we come closer to the end of 2008, have you taken time to reflect on all the things happened this year. We know nothing happen by chance, GOD uses life circumstances to mold and fine tune us into the person that He wants us to be. There is still so much to learn. So lets prepare ourselves for the coming year and may we have another year of great adventure with GOD.

My sincere thanks to each one of you for your continuing support towards IpohBUG and the Malaysia Sports Partnership. May we love the young people even more in the coming year through the strength and unconditional love of Christ.

We have posted writing on Dwyane Wade previously on this blog. This Christmas Dwyane has another wonderful lesson for us.

May you have a wonderful holiday and a Blessed New Year too.



When Dwyane Wade heard the plight of a South Florida woman whose nephew accidentally burned down her home—and ruined all the family’s possessions—the Miami Heat star knew he had to do something. So he helped the family move into a new home, just in time for Christmas.

Wade presented Dawn Smith with the ultimate Christmas gift on Wednesday— the keys to a new house, along with some furnishings, clothing and gifts to make sure her family has a joyous holiday, something that didn’t seem likely just a few weeks ago. His Wade’s World foundation will make some payments on the home, while Smith and her family get back on their feet.

“That’s what I try to teach my kids,” said Wade, whose foundation has hosted several charity events this holiday season, mostly for needy children. “It’s not about what you’re going to receive—it’s what you can give to others from what you’ve received.”

Smith couldn’t hold back happy sobs when she saw the home for the first time.
“A big-time relief,” Smith said, clearly overcome by emotion. “Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Oh, God, thank you so much.” The NBA’s leading scorer this season had a simple message: “Hopefully, you’ll like it.”


Wade’s other holiday events this year included a party for 350 children on Monday, and hosting 100 kids at Tuesday night’s Heat game against the Golden State Warriors. He also donated $10,000 to each of three children’s organizations, but said he was particularly touched by being able to assist the Smith family. “We can help this family have a new beginning,” Wade said.

 

- This article is taken from Christians in Sport dated 5 December 2008 -

You want to stay among those you play with and be in the sport culture but you also want to be distinctive and different for Christ. But you know from painful past experience that sometimes when you’re in the thick of the fun and the banter off the pitch that you can say or do things that are not how Christ wants you to live. You feel torn. Should you just finish the game on the pitch and then go home – at least then you won’t be compromised but also you won’t be shining Christ’s light before men? Or should you stay stuck in but risk being no different to those you long to see in Christ? It’s a painful dilemma. How can you stay in the game when you’re off the pitch?

The reality is that Christ doesn’t want his people to come out of the world. He says in his great prayer in John 17: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one”. However equally he wants his people to be distinctive, only two verses later in the same prayer he asks God the Father to “Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth” (17:17). To sanctify something is to make it set-apart or distinctive. So Jesus understands the tension between being in the culture and being distinctive, but he prays for both!

How do we reconcile this tension? Is there really a way of being in the culture but not being compromised by the culture?

The key to seeing how this is possible is to see that with each part of Jesus’ prayer there is tangible help. First he prays “my prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one”. Jesus is praying that God the Father will protect each and every one of his people from the devil whose desire is to tempt us and coerce us into compromise. He must surely have in mind the great provision of God’s Spirit who not only helps us but actually lives inside us strengthening us when we feel weak, prompting us when we forget God’s standards, and picking us up when we stumble.

Second Jesus prays “sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth”. Jesus is pointing us to the second great help to stay distinctive; his word the Bible. In Ephesians 6 the Bible is described as ‘the sword of the Spirit the word of truth’. The word of God is like a sword in that it cuts through the confusion and temptations that swirl around us and shows us the clear and perfect way of following Christ. As we read the Bible it warns us to the challenges we’ll face, equips us to face them, and wonderfully shows us that even when we get it wrong Christ has died for us so that we’re forgiven.

Over the next few weeks we’re going to be taking particular issues that crop up in the sports culture off the pitch. Issues like drink, banter, sex, and money and we’ll be asking the question ‘how do you stay in the game when you’re off the pitch’; that is how do you stay in the culture to win the culture for Christ but equally how do you remain distinctively Christian? But underpinning all that we look at will be these two great helpers in the fight – the Spirit of God and the word of truth. So if you’re finding the fight difficult then make sure that you’re using God’s resources by reading his word and relying on His Spirit. And as we do that let’s stay in the game when we’re off the pitch, knowing that God’s given us everything we need to be distinctive for Him.

 




It was a September day in 2002, and Shaun Alexander was dialed in. Then a running back for the Seattle Seahawks, Alexander scored his first touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings from 2 yards out on Seattle’s first drive of the game. On the Seahawks’ next possession, Alexander rumbled 20 yards for another touchdown. And he was just getting warmed up. Before the half was over, Alexander would score three more times to set an NFL record for most touchdowns in a half. Alexander calls the game the most memorable one he’s played since entering the NFL in 2001. Alexander went on to become one of the NFL’s elite running backs for a time. In 2005, he won the league’s Most Valuable Player award and set an NFL record with 28 touchdowns during the season (broken by LaDainian Tomlinson the following year).
But football is a fickle sport. As quickly as Alexander rose to stardom, he descended into mediocrity. The Seahawks cut him after the 2007 season, and he recently signed with the Washington Redskins as a backup. Despite his accomplishments on the field, however – and the disappointments -- football isn’t Alexander’s highest priority. Yes, he enjoys it, and yes, he works hard at it. But when it comes to the most important part of Alexander’s life, football can’t compare to the God he serves. “Football is what I do, but my passion is Jesus – to learn about Him and to act like Him,” Alexander says.
Alexander demonstrates that passion in a number of ways. He has tried to live an obedient life and has stayed away from alcohol and drugs. He honored the Lord in his dating relationships by keeping himself sexually pure until marriage. When he signs autographs, he always adds the biblical reference Psalm 37:4 – what Alexander calls his life’s verse -- under his name: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
But one of the most consequential ways in which he displays his devotion to Christ is how he takes young men under his wing, mentors them and teaches them God’s Word. All across the country, dozens of teenagers and young men consider themselves to be Alexander’s “little brothers.” Through his intimate ministry to them, Alexander is changing the world one life at a time. “Many young males today have not had good examples to show them how to become successful men,” Alexander wrote in his book, “Touchdown Alexander.” “They want – and need – role models, and they’re just not there. Their primary role models, of course, should have been their fathers, but too often the dads just didn’t fulfill their roles. I call that the Great Curse – the Fatherless Plague.”
Alexander keeps in touch with his little brothers through text messaging, e-mails and phone calls. He’ll give them passages of Scripture to study. He’ll talk to them about resisting temptation and being faithful men of God. “True faith is knowing the Word and being obedient,” Alexander says. “You’ve got to know the Word and agree with the Word, and then be obedient.”
To some, he is indeed like a big brother. Take Jordan Shimon, of Waukesha, Wis., for instance. Shimon, 21, works with a local church youth ministry, and says Alexander has played a tremendous role in his development as a Christian. “Realizing what a man of God’s walk is, is where he came through and helped out the most,” Shimon says. “I knew about Christianity. I just didn’t know how to be a Christian so much.” Through his relationship with Alexander, Shimon has grown in his faith and feels confident in defending it, even in a university environment that is often hostile to Christianity. “I make it a goal to become friends with sinners, because I’m so comfortable with my morals,” Shimon says. “I’m armed with the knowledge where I think I could put up a good fight with people who are nonbelievers and basically try to show Jesus’ love to people everyday.”
To others, like C.L. “Shep” Shepherd, Alexander is more like a father. Shepherd grew up in Apopka, Fla., with nine brothers, six sisters and no dad. His father was a well-known drug dealer and spent time in prison. Shepherd didn’t even meet him until he was 14 years old. Not long after that, the young Shepherd met Alexander during a summer Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp, shortly after Shepherd became a Christian. From the moment he met Shep, Alexander was vocal about his concern and care for the teenager. “I had never heard a man tell me he loved me before in my life,” says Shepherd, who now works full time for FCA in Atlanta, Ga. “I never had a man in my life except for Shaun. Shaun was the only one who ever tried to reach me in a positive way.”
Dozens of other young men have similar stories. Some of them are going to college because of scholarships Alexander provided. Some of them have led their parents to the Lord. All of them will quickly acknowledge how life-changing their relationship with Alexander has been. “I think that the greatest thing that God has used me for is to give people confidence to be strong in their walk,” Alexander says. “It’s great to know that just by one word or one connection you can change a whole generation.”


 


Not in 50 years had Friday night lights burned so brightly for East Prairie (Mo.) High School. When the East Prairie Eagles defeated archrival Charleston 46-21 on Oct. 17, it was their first victory in Charleston in a half-century.The first words East Prairie coach Jason Aycock heard were from his pastor, Jon Archie, who yelled, "This is exactly what happens when your coach gets saved."Aycock lifted his hands into the air and praised God for the win. The stadium grew quiet. Down on the field, players had dropped to their knees in prayer.Prayer was a hallmark of the 2008 football season in this southeast Missouri farming community.

In September, evangelist Rick Gage had held a campaign in which 27 of the team's 37 players surrendered their lives to Christ. That came on the heels of a revival at Elm Street Baptist Church led by Oklahoma evangelist Clint Sinclair in which 43 made professions of faith.Aycock has read Gage's book, "More Than A Game," and agreed when Gage event coordinator Kerrie Stokes asked if the evangelist could speak to Aycock's team."What I figured is that he would talk about character, making right choices and how to make it to the next level," Aycock said. "I didn't have a clue that he was going to the heart of the Gospel. I got very nervous. I almost grabbed Kerrie's arm and said, 'You are going to have to stop this man because of the environment we are in.' "But I looked throughout the room and the kids were so engaged to Rick that I felt something come over me," Aycock added. "I decided, 'We've come this far, you go for it. I hope every kid here gets saved today.'

"Then another thought struck Aycock."Surely he is not going to ask kids to come up and kneel and pray," Aycock said to himself. "Surely he is just telling them about the Gospel."But Gage did lead students to pray for salvation and when he asked how many had prayed along with him, 27 young men raised their hands."Tears came to my eyes. I was stunned," Aycock said. "We had a doggone revival in the football locker room."

A LOST COACH

Aycock said he was a "lost duck" up until a year ago."All I cared about was winning and football," he said. "I cared about my family but God was never in the picture with me. I felt like football was my god."As a youth, he had been dragged to Free Will Baptist Church in East Prairie by his mother, Jane Aycock, he said. His brother, Billy, already had accepted Christ. "He always had something I wanted ... that happiness and peace in his life," Aycock said. "I knew it was Christ. I couldn't bring myself to do it."

An all-state defensive back in high school who went on to play college football, Aycock coached with a win-at-all-costs mentality. He would scream at his players and use foul language. He was not a players' coach. In September 2007, however, Aycock hit an all-time low. "It was about me, me, me. I was depressed," he said. "I was not only making it bad on myself but making it bad on my wife, Mandy, and our kids." He didn't coach in 2007 because of personal reasons. Then, one Saturday night in his workshop at home, Aycock asked Christ to be his Savior." I don't know where I am going. I need some direction," he prayed. "I want to ask you to forgive me of my sins. Please come into my life and let me live through you." That night everything changed." After I had done that all my tears were gone. I felt like a ton of bricks had been lifted off my shoulder," he said. "I felt an immediate happiness come over me. I didn't care anymore what I had done wrong or what people were thinking about me. All I cared about was I've got Jesus now."

In October 2007, Jon Archie baptized Aycock at Elm Street Baptist Church, where Archie has been pastor since 1999. "When things are good, a lot of folks don't have time for God and end up in the valley of life," Archie said. "God gets our attention. Jason was at a low place. [Now] he is a new person, a new creature in Christ."

BIG CHANGES

Players making decisions for Christ brought big changes. Young men gave up bad habits, counseled others about Christ and prayed for unbelieving classmates. The use of curse words fell off. Most importantly, students took the initiative to pray before and after games."They would be the ones to say, 'Let's pray,'" Aycock said. "They would be the ones in the middle of the football field, taking a knee and praising God no matter if we won or lost. They would bow their heads and thank Him." After the Eagles lost the district championship game to finish the season 6-4, players waited until Aycock finished media interviews to pray with him. They told him what he had been telling them: "We praise God, no matter if we win or lose." "That totally floored me," Aycock said. "I knew right then there was a change in our team, maybe not all of them but a majority of them." The change in the players reflected the transformation in their coach's life. "They definitely saw a change in me," Aycock said. "All of a sudden, I am calm and collected. I didn't go crazy at halftime in the locker room. I would say, 'This is what we've got to do to correct this.' They were waiting for me to explode on them. I never did.' "Christ has won the victory when he saved my life. One of the biggest blessings was the day my wife walked down the aisle and gave her life to Christ," Aycock adds. "Another thing this has given me is a Christian home. My two sons talk about Christ. They want to know Him. I pray every day that one day they receive Christ when they realize what it really means."

Aycock now coaches with the philosophy of Colossians 3:23 -- working for the Lord, not for men."I coach for the Lord. Now when I prepare for a game, I prepare because I want to represent the Lord," he said. "Whether we win or lose, we praise God for giving us the chance to play on Friday night. It's bigger than Friday night lights because Christ is in it."

 


I have been following the Professional Golf Association (PGA) tournaments for many years but have never taken note of J.P. Hayes until I read about this recent incident.

- This article was written by Tom Parsons for Baptist Press Sports (24 Nov 2008) -

Hayes was playing in a qualifying tournament in Texas a few days ago. He hadn’t won a tournament in six years and needed to finish well in order to continue to make a living playing golf in 2009. During the tournament, he realized on one hole he had played two shots with the wrong ball. He immediately notified the officials and took the two-stroke penalty prescribed by the rule book.

But later that evening, he realized that his error was far worse than he first thought. Not only had he played the wrong ball, but the ball he had used was a prototype that was not approved by the USGA for use in tournament play. No one else had to know that he made the mistake. He could have completed play in the tournament and nobody would have been the wiser. Given where he finished the round, he was in good shape to advance to the next stage of qualifying and secure his future in professional golf.

Instead, he did the only honorable thing: he turned himself in and was disqualified from the tournament. As a result, he lost his ability to compete on the PGA Tour next year. Those who do not play golf sometimes do not understand the game’s seemingly archaic rules about honor and integrity. In fact, the official rule book explains why this is an integral part of the game.

Here’s what it says:“Golf is played, for the most part, without the supervision of a referee or umpire. The game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other players and to abide by the Rules. All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they may be. This is the spirit of the game of golf.”

By calling this penalty on himself, Hayes has demonstrated his integrity as a player and as an individual. At a time when others might have been tempted to cheat, he abided by the rules and paid the appropriate price.

In the same way, Christians are called to live life with integrity (see Ephesians 4:1). If we live our lives according to God’s Word, we reflect glory upon Him. Each day we face countless decisions. Often such decisions are made without anyone around us knowing what we are struggling with. Often we are given the opportunity to behave in a less than honorable fashion. But we are to live our lives to please God and although no one else may know we have cheated, He will know. Through the work of the Holy Spirit we are convicted to live our lives according to His standards. James says that we are not supposed to merely hear the Word but to do what it says (James 1:22-25). If we follow through and are faithful to God’s Word, then He will be glorified. That is living life in a manner worthy of the calling we have received.

 

Starting Over

By IpohBUG

-This article was written for Christians in Sport -

It really seems ridiculous when you think about it. Six years ago Tiger Woods was already being almost unanimously declared as the greatest golfer ever with ‘the perfect game’ from tee to green and yet in 2003 with his coach’s help he started to overhaul his swing. Not just a few tweaks mind you, not even a few significant adjustments, but a complete overhaul. He started over. He completely rebuilt the swing from first principles as if he’d never played golf before. However Tiger Woods was insistent after the changes that his swing now was better than ever and he was a more complete player in 2005 than previously.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been looking at the core truths of the ‘good news’ that Jesus taught in his ministry on earth and still teaches through his word the Bible today, and the last thing that we need to consider is how we should respond. Often when people start to understand something of Christianity they wrongly conclude from talk of their moral failure before God that they need to respond by ‘trying harder’ or trying to be a bit better. However Jesus’ teaching is crystal clear that the response he’s looking for is something much more radical. He says we have to start over.

One of the most controversial phrases that Jesus used to describe what it means to start over is to be ‘born again’. In an incident in John chapter 3 where he is talking to a religious leader called Nicodemus he tells him that ‘no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again’. Nicodemus doesn’t grasp what Jesus is teaching because like so many of us he hasn’t really accepted what a radical conversion is required to follow Christ.

To make the point let’s pause to consider what Jesus means by being born again. Imagine I went along to an athletics club full of the desire to win the 2012 Olympic High Jump. Any coach worth his salt would take one look at my 5 foot 11 stature and limited vertical jump and conclude that I would have no chance. I could train as hard as I like and try to perfect the ‘Frosbury flop’ but no matter how hard I try I’m never going to win the Olympics – I just lack the physical attributes. What I need isn’t a good coach, an improvement in technique, nor a brilliant training program, what I need is a new body – preferably one that is close to 7 foot tall and leaps like a salmon heading upstream!

Similarly when Jesus tells us that the response he is looking for from us is to realize that we need to be born again he is telling us to stop trying to do it ourselves and to admit that we need to start over. Of course when we think about this we realize that it’s beyond our capabilities, and that’s Jesus’ point because if we can’t do it ourselves then we must ask him to do it for us. This is what the Bible means by ‘faith’, it’s a mindset change where you say ‘I can’t do it myself, and I have to trust in you Jesus to do it for me’. And of course that’s why Jesus died and rose to new life, because he was doing what we are unable to do – making us right with God by appeasing his wrath and giving us a completely new start.

So today Jesus’ command to you in the light of his good news is that the only way to enjoy the forgiveness of your moral failure and peace with God is to admit that you can’t do anything about it yourself and to trust him to give you a new start. And if you’ve never done that before – then his call on you is to do that today.

 

Beyond Greatness

By IpohBUG



- This article was written for Christians in Sport. -
Writing on the Olympic Games in Beijing the Times journalist Simon Barnes commented, ‘Greatness. Sport can bring us such a thing and do it more vividly than anything else on earth’. He wrote on the wonderful way that sport can redefine our understanding of the possible, citing Olympic champion and World record holder Yelena Isinbayeva; ‘a beautiful woman, a superb athlete, flying into the night sky, soaring like the human spirit, a perfect symbol of the hope we have for ourselves and for the world. Isinbayeva told us that all things are possible, that we can leave the base earth behind and soar to unimaginable levels of greatness.’
This is one of the most incredible gifts of sport isn’t it and surely why throughout human history (and long before 2500 years ago when the Greeks started to write on the virtues of sport) ‘sport’ was igniting the imagination of the populus? It stretches our imaginations, challenges our preconceptions of ‘limits’, pushes back our boundaries of how great life can be. Little wonder then that sports writers like Simon Barnes grasp at the metaphors of religious language to describe sport at its best.
Given that many resort to religious language of ‘soaring like a human spirit’ to describe sport at it’s best, it is strange that so many today are so disaffected and unenthusiastic about the Christian religion. We describe our best football managers as ‘Messiah’s’ and yet are bored by talk of a real Messiah and we compare the best moments of sport to ‘heaven on earth’ and yet find talk of heaven itself a dull conversation stopper. Why is this? Shouldn’t the claim at the heart of Christianity that the doors of heaven have been flung open-wide through Jesus’ death and resurrection at least capture our imagination?
Perhaps it’s because as some comment that eternal life isn’t very appealing, ‘when your life is hard and mundane then why would you want it to go on for eternity?’ Good point, if that’s what eternal life is supposed to be like, but fortunately it’s not. The Bible speaks about heaven or eternal life in two ways; through comparison and metaphor.
In comparison it takes the best things in life and then has the audacity to say that they are as nothing when considered alongside heaven: Jesus says that ‘the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he has and bought it’ (Matthew 13:45-46) and another time he asks us ‘what good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit his soul (the real you that lives for eternity)’ (Mark 8:36). The point is clear – heaven is so wonderful that anything in this world no matter how great it is pails into insignificance when compared to heaven, in fact all the best things in this world taken together when compared with heaven don’t stack up.
By metaphor the Bible makes a similar point; it takes the best things we can think of and extends them in metaphor to try and stretch our understanding of how good life can be. Often people say things like ‘I don’t want to sit on a cloud in a nighty’ but this is to completely misunderstand what the metaphors are doing. We’re told that heaven is like the greatest party the universe could ever host (Luke 14:15-16), it’s an experience of incredible intimacy with the God who made you where God himself will wipe away your tears (Revelation 21:4) and it’s as if the whole universe were to join together in one song filling every heart with unspeakable joy (Revelation 15:2-4).
Some of those comparisons may grab you and some may not. Some of the metaphors may capture your imagination and some may not. But please don’t let your limited horizons squeeze your understanding of heaven and trick you into disinterest. Instead like those great moments of sport (but oh in such a greater way!) realize that heaven should push back your boundaries and redefine your concept of greatness. For if heaven’s that important that the Son of God was prepared to die to make it available to you – don’t you think you should be excited about it?!

 

"Long John" Daly

By IpohBUG


John Daly started playing golf at the age of 4 and has since risen to become a true legend. His long list of achievements include being named the 1990 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and becoming the youngest active player on PGA Tour with two major Championship titles. Daly is known for his driving distance off the tee (earning him the nickname "Long John") and his rough-and-tumble personal life.

Many saw great potential in him. However, he chooses to go on a path that he knew was very dangerous but fun. His off-course life took a beating on his playing career.

Alcoholism - Daly claimed that he drank a fifth of Jack Daniel's (liquor) every day during the year he was 23 years of age. He has entered into various alcohol addiction programs. The latest on 26 October 2008, he was taken into custody by Winston-Salem police after he was found drunk outside an area Hooters restaurant.
Gambling - In 2006, he claimed to have lost between US$60 million over the past 15 years in gambling. He has been able to pay his gambling debts mostly through making more paid public appearances and through sponsorships opportunities.

John Daly....."Granted, I could go out and lose everything by gambling and drinking, but there is no sense in denying it. It's in my blood."



Daly, who used to make his money off the PGA Tour plus from big-time equipment manufacturers such as Callaway and Taylor-Made, is seen making money through selling his autographs on caps, t-shirts and golf-balls. As his game is no longer in decent shape, he struggles to make a cut.
John Daly is one of those guys who has thrown his career and life away. There were so much in it for him but yet because of his indiscipline lifestyle, he choose again and again to walk on the wrong paths. There are still many people who longed to see him make a come back. It is possible but first he needs to recognise he has got problems and get help. Put his off-course lifestyle back into order which will then allow him to concentrate on doing what he has been gifted to do - playing great golf.


 

Sport is one of the few activities that brings people together no matter where you are on the globe. Color, race, language, religion, age and gender are all forgotten on the sporting field, in the pool or on the court.

Many sports organizations, agencies and local churches have long known of the benefit of being involved in sport and serving sports people as a way to build a bridge to connect with their cultures. The sports of basketball and volleyball both were created for this purpose.

In 1985, the International Sports Coalition (ISC) was formed as a partnering body to help the different spheres of sports interests to interact with each other. By doing this each part benefits from the strengths of the other and in turn is built up. The main purposes of the ISC are to:
Model
Train
Network & Establish Partnerships

In 2003 the ISC partners saw the benefit in describing different strategic programs that had emerged out of this sports movement. Some of these programs are:

ACE Strategies Conference (ASC)
Church Sports (CS)
International Sports Leadership Training (ISLT)
Major Sports Events Host Partnership (MSEHP)
Major Sports Event Partnership (MSEP)
Proclamation by Sports People (PSP)
Serving the People of Sport (SPS)
Strategic Regional Coalitions (SRC)
Strategic Sports Partnerships (SSP)

The ISC is an international relational network that is only as strong as the partnerships in the network. The ISC has neither full time staff nor an office. A Facilitation Team provides oversight and is made up of men and women from approximately 20 countries who serve three-year rotating terms.

IpohBUG is affiliated to the International Sports Coalition. In Malaysia the sports partnership among churches and Christian groups are under the umbrella of Malaysia Sports Partnership which is part of the International Sports Coalition. We are doing lots of vision casting among churches and Christian sports people, to encourage them to join us in our endeavour.

Should you know of anyone who would like to know more, feel free to contact us. We would be happy to share more with them.

 

My kind of HEROES!

By IpohBUG



Millions of people watched the grand opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympic. Many more were busy tracking the daily events right from the opening ceremony till the closing. However, worldwide TV coverage failed to show us something just as spectacular in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic. If it were only given enough coverage, I am sure it would have won over many new followers. I have always been a big fan of the paralympic. Many people viewed it as just a bunch of disables competing among themselves. I see sportsmen and sportswomen of the highest calebre performing professionally and with great proficiency in the sports they are known for. Many when watching the events would shed tears out of pity for them. I shed tears seeing their great courage and true grit.

A paralympians commented after winning a Gold Medal, "I don't want anyone's pity. Don't cheer me for overcoming my disability, just cheer me for my ability."

This was very much the tone of this Beijing Paralympics, started by the President of the International Paralympic Movement Sir Philip Craven, a no nonsense 58 year old former wheelchair basketball player from Bolton who declared a sort of war on the word 'disability.' He told the world to focus on the ability of the athletes, admire their skills and ingenuity to compensate for the difficulties they face.

And so it was that as the swimmers first stripped off their tracksuits to reveal the plain truth about their bodies that often end at the shoulder or the knee. We were equally confronted with the plain truth that here are people who don't need pity because they are really gifted at what they do. And so the sport took over and the disabilities started to fade into the background as each athlete pitted their skill and strength against one another.

And perhaps this is the greatest gift to the world of the Paralympics, that they inspire us. For perhaps what really grips us about any great sport is that little glimpse where we see the glory of GOD shining through as athletes express themselves with their talents. And it helps us to be a bit more grateful to GOD for what He has given us and makes us want to get out there and use it as an act of worship to Him. So let's get playing and to GOD be the glory.

 

Wawan Hendrawan

By IpohBUG


One man who has contributed to Indonesia's dominance in world badminton during the last 15 years was Wawan Hendrawan. Born in a small town in East Java into a badminton-loving family, he started playing at the age of seven with his father as his first coach. He remembers watching the first Olympic badminton competition on TV in 1992 and being inspired. Hendrawan says, "I was 20. I was so excited to see Alan Budi Kusuma and Susi Susanti win the gold medals. My dream was to win an Olympic medal myself."

Hendrawan began playing internationally in the early 1990s but at first was overshadowed by a number of his countrymen who rated among the world's elite players. His results gradually improved, peaking at the end of the century with a silver medal in men's singles at the 2000 summer Olympics and the gold medal at the 2001 IBF World Championships.

“When I won the silver medal in Sydney, that was seen as a failure,” Hendrawan says. “Winning is all that matters. I too felt disappointed as my target had been gold. Because the Olympics is only once in 4 years, you do not get another chance for four years. “Yet looking back he takes positives out of that defeat. “My Olympic ‘failure’ spurred me on to go one better in the world championship the next year,” says Hendrawan, who won the world title in Seville in 2001. “If I had been successful in the Olympics, perhaps I would not have won the world championship.”

Hendrawan is a follower of Jesus Christ. With fame and success in life, why does he need Jesus? “I believe that career and fame will end some time,” he says. “Just like a river that dries up. Jesus taught that there is more than this life—an eternal life. That is what I looking for—not fame as a player or being recognized by people. Because I know Jesus Christ, I am certain that I have eternal life.

“In Jesus Christ there is the answer to everything and that answer is Jesus Christ,” he says. “When faced with problems—losing, sadness or disappointment—there is only one who can comfort me—Jesus Christ. He is my Savior and my guide.”

Hendrawan retired in 2003 but never left the game unlike his more famous teammates as he joined the national team as a coach. One thought helps him keep life in perspective, the certainly that his existence will not end with death. “Dying will be the greatest moment,” Hendrawan adds. “I want to be in heaven. That will be the fulfilment of my life on earth. I already feel that I have accomplished all my targets and challenges but I want to be in heaven and meet Jesus Christ.”

 

Sports and Faith

By IpohBUG

Mary bought her boyfriend, Bob, a video game to show her love for him. Bob really liked the game. He started breaking dates with Mary to play the game. Soon he spent more time playing the game than with her. He started to love the video game more than Mary. Eventually they drifted apart and broke up. What was a gift as an expression of love eventually destroyed the relationship.

Just as Mary gave Bob a gift, God has given you a gift of athletic ability.
God wants a relationship with us. He gives athletic ability out of His love. God wants us not to ignore Him with the athletic ability He has given us, but to honor Him with it. In a survey of over 120 high school students in Christian youth groups, it asked what hurt their relationship with God the most. By far the most common answer was sports.

If God gives us athletic ability as a gift, why does using it hurt our relationship with Him? If God has given you athletic ability there is a good chance He wants you to use it. But it is God’s will that you grow closer to Him. You should be able to do both at the same time. It is obvious in our culture that sports are too important. But also most people do not know how to play sports for God. Here are some pointers on playing sports the right way. Here are 11 practical ways to honor God in sports:

1- Show respect to your coaches and obey all rules. In Romans 13, the Bible tells us to obey our leaders and rules. Be on time to practice, don’t talk bad about your coaches, and do what they ask. God places authority over our lives to help shape us and mold us. Pray for your coaches each day. It is a hard, stressful job. Realize they make mistakes and have bad days.


2- Be a good influence on your teammates. Sport is more about relationships and influence than winning. The relationships you build will last a lot longer than the wins and losses. God has chosen you to be a positive influence in this world even before you were born (Eph. 2:10). God has placed people on your team that you have a divine appointment with to have an influence. You will have 2-3 special teammates whose lives you could impact. When I was in college even though I sat on the bench on the football team I was able to build relationships with a few guys and we ended up having a weekly Bible Study with about 20 guys on the team. I always felt if you haven’t made an impact on some people on the team, you have really wasted your season. You should try to lead as many people on your team to Christ as possible. You are on the team for a purpose and so are your teammates. And it is a lot more than winning and losing.

3- Make your motivation to please God and give 100% because Jesus did that in everything. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as for the Lord rather than men.” Notice the verse says to do it with all your heart. God wants you to do everything 100%: sprints, warm ups, drills, games, school work, chores. Notice the 2nd part of the verse says, “for the Lord.” Not for the coach, parents, friends, or personal recognition. The most common motive in sports is for personal recognition. People want self-glory. This creates a selfish, competitive spirit on the team, plus leads to an unsatisfied life. James 3:13 says that selfish ambition leads to disorder and every evil thing. The desire for personal recognition is a selfish ambition.

When we run sprints and have pain, focus on what Jesus did on the cross and the pain He had, yet didn’t quit. This will help you overcome pain in sports.



4- Change the environment and culture of your team. Your team is a sub culture that you live in. It will change you or you will change it. You will spend so much time in your sport that it will impact your life for good or bad. I played football in college for a Christian coach who ran his football program on Christian principles. He created the most positive, life-changing environment I’ve ever been in. Even though I sat on the bench it had a tremendous influence on my life. I’ve seen many kids enter a sports season and come out a worse person, developing habits of swearing, drinking, and drugs. I’ve seen some Christians enter a sports environment and die spiritually and never recover.

Matthew 5:13 says, “You are the salt of the world.” Back then salt was used to preserve food. It kept it from going corrupt. The more people on the team who live out a relationship with God, the more it will make the team less corrupt and make a more positive environment. God has called you to make your team’s culture and environment a better place. At the end of the season players should be better people because you were on the team.


5- Be an example of Christ on the team. Sports are a great opportunity to be an example for Christ. Be humble when you win, be a good sport, don’t lose your temper, be unselfish with your teammates, have the attitude of a servant, be honest, be on time, work hard, encourage others not to drink, do drugs, or swear, give 100%, don’t gossip. The opportunity to demonstrate the character of Christ is more important than winning and losing.

6-Winning is not determined by the scoreboard but by doing your best. Winning is reaching your full potential. Christians aren’t supposed to live by the world’s values and standards. The world value system defines winning as beating our opponent. God defines winning as doing things with all your heart. If you do your best, and represent Christ in your actions and lose on the scoreboard, you are a winner. If you win on the scoreboard, but don’t play to your best ability and don’t represent Christ, then you aren’t a winner in God’s eyes.

7- Use your position of popularity to influence others for Christ. Athletics is a platform that God has given you. People look up to athletes. This should be used for good to be a role model and set an example. Kurt Warner, David Robinson, Dwight Howard, Chad Penington, and Shawn Alexander a few of the many pro athletes who choose to be role models and use their athletic success to lead others to Christ. Being a high school athlete is one of the best opportunities in your life to influence others as the under classmen look up to the upper class- men.


8- Keep winning and losing in perspective. Winning and losing are only temporary. Ron Brown, an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska, after winning two national championships in football said, “Winning is like chewing gum. It tastes great but loses its flavor really fast.” Winning is a great feeling but the high won’t last. Losing is painful but the pain won’t last. In view of eternity it is very temporary. What we do for God is eternal.

9- Be careful not to build your identity or self worth in sports. My identity in high school was that I was a football player. When I got to college, I was on the football team but not very good. My identity and self esteem was destroyed. I became very depressed. Building your identity in sports is a sinking ship. It is just a matter of time before it is over. Since then I have found my identity in being a child of God, an ambassador of Christ, a light for Christ. This is something that will never leave me and is much more satisfying and gives me more security and confidence. You should be proud of your athletic identity, but you should be more proud that you are a child of the King, and a representative of Him.


10- We all have a need to belong. Having team unity is important. But belonging and having unity with God’s family is more important. God wants us to have unity with teammates, but our primary need to belong needs to be in a Christian peer group. My first three years of high school my main need to belong was met in the jock crowd. It was ok. But I never recall ever having a meaningful conversation. By my senior year my need to belong was met in a Christian peer group through Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Our relationships were so much more meaningful and caring. In the jock group when we weren’t playing sports we were just killing time. With the Christian group we were making a difference in our lives and the school.

11- God wants to be first in your life. Matthew 6:33 says to put God first your life. Mark 12:30 says, to love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. God wants us to love Him more than sports, and to put Him first before sports. This is hard to do with the busyness of sports. If you don’t make Christ a priority you will not have the strength to make a difference on your team and your teammates will change you. Some ways we can do this is by making a few Christian events a priority. Here are a few events:


1-Each day spend time with God in prayer and Bible reading. If you were to divide a day into 10-minute segments, there would be 144 of them in one day. If we give God two of those 10-minute segment each day for Bible reading and prayer, then the other 142 will go better. The reason we exist is for a relationship with God. We should make it the highest priority every day. God blesses us when we put Him first. Without a daily quiet time you wouldn’t have the strength and to impact your team and will just go with the flow and not make a difference.

2-Make it the highest priority to be involved in a weekly Christian meeting. The most exciting thing in a teenager’s life should be their youth group. There are 168 hours in a week; we should at least give one of them for a Christian meeting. Most athletes give 20 to 30 hours a week to sports. We should be able to give an hour to God. If you are too busy for God, then you have things in your life that aren’t necessary. Attending a weekly Christian group helps keeps you strong and stay focused. I’ve seen many people take off 3 months from youth group for sports and literally die spiritually and never come back. It changed the whole direction of their life.

3- Take at least 2 to 3 weekends a year for a retreat. There are 52 weekends in a year. Many athletes give 30 to 40 weekends to sports. Following Christ is like driving a car. People need spiritual gasoline during the year. Retreats are a great way to get filled up.

4-Go to a camp in the summer. There are 12 weeks or 80 days in the summer. You should give one week to go to a Christian camp or on mission trip. You need to get strong spiritually in the summer to get ready for the pressures of the school year. Most athletes give at least a week in the summer to a sports camp. You should also budget time and money for a Christian camp.

You will change your sports team or your team will change you! Any time a Christian enters a sports season there is a chance they might come out alive spiritually. Especially if they are around a lot of older athletes who are not good role models. But by following these 11 principals you can stay strong and impact your team in a positive way. God gave you athletic ability to honor Him not to ignore Him.

God wants to be first in our lives. He will bless us when we make Him a priority. There will always be conflicts but we must make God a priority. One of the themes in the Bible is that when we make sacrifices it leads to blessing. When we have conflicts with sports and choose God first, He will bless us for it. You shouldn’t miss a game; but if you have an open gym, team dinner, or optional summer sports activity, you should pray about it rather than automatically choosing the sport activity.

 





I was thrilled when my favorite football club, Manchester United, paid a huge fee for hitman Dimitar Berbatov. I had even greater joy when I read this testimony of him.

Berbatov said "I have done many stupid things because of my stubbornness, only because I didn't want to listen to my parents' advice. And then it always turned out that they were right......Besides, I am religious and I take the Bible everywhere with me. There are many good pieces of advice for those like me in the Bible."

Swearing has been as much a part of football as the goalposts. Yet Berbatov claims he would never swear at anyone. He said "This is a matter of good upbringing. I don't swear in my daily life. I try to do everything in style - not only in football. If I manage to give any positive examples for young people, then that is great."

So from all the Manchester United diehard supporters from all over, welcome aboard and hope you will score as many goals as Ronaldo did last season.

 



Paula Creamer started playing golf at the age of ten. She is among a group of young talented golfers playing in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) in the United States. She joined the LPGA in 2005 and was nominated as the Rookie Player of the Year. Since then she has set a number of records - one being the 'fastest' career earnings marks. Her earning past the USD3 million mark within 2 years 2 months and 19 days playing professionally.

However, the early success has not changed her. Instead she has started giving back to young kids the same kind of break she had received. She has established "Paula 4 Kids" - where she uses golf to teach youngsters core values such as honesty, sportsmanship, responsibility and confidence. She has also offered scholarships to local junior golfers.

Paula says "I have been given so many opportunities to try and achieve my dreams. One thing you truly can't have enough of is support, and hopefully we can give other boys and girls the same chances I have had."

I am sure she has brought pleasure to the heart of God who is on the side of little kids. We often gauge how religious we are as to how many meetings we attend, how many church committees/ministries we are on or how well we behave on Sunday morning. A true follower of Christ cares for others and live by God's standard in a corrupt and evil world.

Let us take time to evaluate our own Christian lives.

 







Riddle: Who do you get when you combine renowned success, confidence, consistent hard work, eight gold medals, an average annual income of six million dollars, broad shoulders, goggles, and water?

Answer: The legendary swimmer Michael Phelps.

This year, in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, 23-year-old Michael Phelps made history. Out of the 16 Olympic medals that Phelps has won in his lifetime, eight of those were awarded in this year's Olympics, making him the number one record holder for the number of medals won in a single Olympics and for the total number of gold medals ever won by a single Olympian, period.

Since age fifteen, Phelps has been consistently training under the professional coaching of Bob Bowman. When Bob was interviewed on Michael Phelps' phenomenal success in the sport of swimming, he fervently speaks about Phelps's intense commitment to his training. Bob remarked that in five years of training, Phelps probably didn't miss even one workout. Now that's commitment!

Can you even fathom never missing a workout in five years? That's 260 weeks, or 1820 days! And in order to become an Olympian, an individual would most likely need to train six days out of the week, if not seven. What an inspirational life to live...

Do you personally know of someone in your life is that committed to...well...anything? I know of one prominent historical figure that was even more committed to a cause than Michael Phelps.


Who, you ask? Jesus Christ.


Check it out:
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. (John 3:16 - The Message).

God had a lofty goal (to span the chasm of sin). So he came to earth as a baby born of a woman, fully human yet fully God, walked the very earth we walk every day, was tempted in every way, loved those around him, experienced pain and sorrow, was beaten bloody, died hanging on a cross crafted by those He loved, and then three days later rose again. Death could not hold him because he was so perfect! Christ believed in our cause-in mankind's cause-so deeply that He chose to die so that we all might come to know him personally and spend eternity with Him.
As Christians, we should be choosing to live our lives in the shadow and power of Christ's inspirational and empowering life here on earth. Like people take notice of Michael Phelps, others will take notice of Christ in us and desire to pursue excellence in their lives by Christ's authority and example as well. We are all part of something much bigger than us and that is God's mission - to train us to be more like Christ.

Use Michael Phelps' amazing success to help you launch a conversation about Christ and his commitment to each of us. Here are some questions to help you get started:
*Ask your friends if they have been following Michael Phelps or any of the other Olympians this season.
*Ask your friends if they have ever been or desired to be as committed to the pursuit of excellence in any area of life the way Phelps has been committed to his goals in swimming?
*Ask your friends if they would consider Jesus Christ an inspiration and why. Listen, and then tell them why you feel that His life was a life of excellence. Use the passage of John 3:16 (above).
Tell about your commitment to Christ because of His commitment to you. Ask if they would like to be a part of something great, something bigger than them. Would they like to commit to Christ today?

It seems so rare now-a-days to come across individuals with such passion, consistency, focus, and commitment as Michael Phelps. Take note, take heart and go out and make a difference in this hurting world by proclaiming Christ's love with as much fervor and dedication as Phelps has shown the world in these past few weeks!


(Extracted from Dare2Share - Written by Jeannae Flageolle)

 


Regi Harris has experienced the highs and lows of life. Raised in a Christian home, Regi learned values, morals and a biblical faith. Though he grew up in the church, it wasn’t enough to keep him from the luring temptations common to most college campuses.

Regi was a standout athlete at North Marion High School in Ocala, Florida, where he earned a basketball scholarship to Sam Houston State University in Texas. Going from his small Florida town to the big city of Houston was an enormous culture shock to the young athlete. Though he had never touched drugs or alcohol before his college days, the peer pressure to experiment with them became a powerful enticement. Deeming it a harmless social drug, Regi started smoking marijuana at college parties and other get-togethers. But his quest for an occasional “high” didn’t stop there.

While at Sam Houston, Regi earned All-Conference and All-America honors his sophomore year. His aspirations of playing professional basketball took a sharp turn when he injured his knee during a pick-up game. Having staked his entire future on his athletic abilities, his sudden setbacks led him into a state of depression. It was during this time that Regi turned to cocaine which eventually progressed into a deadly crack addiction. On a path to self-destruction, the hardwood superstar found himself on the wrong side of the law trying to support his habit. This ultimately landed him in a Florida state prison.

In his brokenness, Regi began to understand that his “biggest problem wasn’t a drug problem, it was a sin problem.” Being an avid church member growing up with perfect Sunday School attendance, he could see where his rebellion began long before his experimentation with drugs in college, it started as a kid when he made basketball his god, describing it as a form of idolatry.

During his prison term, Regi dedicated his life to Christ and made his priorities twofold; cultivating an intimate relationship with God and contributing to the advancement of His kingdom.

After leaving prison in 1997, Regi got involved with Breakaway Outreach, volunteering to share his testimony in juvenile detention centers, schools, and community-wide youth events. Today, Regi spends much of his volunteer time sharing the platform during Breakaway Xperience events, an extreme sports outreach hosted by Breakaway in juvenile centers all over the country. He is also a counselor for a summer adventure camp that Breakaway coordinates for children of inmates.

Ten years after being released from prison, Regi says his life-mission is all about showing kids a way out of a troubled past and into a relationship with Christ.


 

Change of Dates!

By IpohBUG

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Dear fellow BUG-gers,

Kindly take note that due to some unforeseen circumstances, we have to shift the Sept 1 "One Day Special Event" to Sept 28. We will still be having it at Harvest Haven. We are checking out the place to see what games can be played there.

We are planning to print T-shirts to give away to everyone on that day. Our dear bro. Matthew LaBrooy have provided us with a few designs to choose from. Kindly assist us by letting us know your preferred design.

-the saint-

 



Barcelona Olympics 1992 - Derek Redmond of Great Britain is in agony as he is helped to the finish line by his father, Jim, after tearing his hamstring muscle in the semi-finals of the men's 400 meter run. Redmond collapsed about half way through the race with the injury, but got up, determined to finish despite the pain.

His father came out of the stands and onto the track to help his son. Redmond initially tried to push him away, not realizing who he was, but then heard a familiar voice. "Derek, it's me" his father said. Redmond told his father "I've got to finish this race." His father said "If you're gonna finish the race, we'll finish it together."

With his father's help, Redmond made it to the finish line.



Luke 11: 11-13

"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"




 

808 China Blessing

By IpohBUG




Please pray these prayer for China on August 8th 2008 especially from 8:00-8:08pm.

Government
1. Blessed with good health
2. Lead with wisdom
3. Uphold justice
4. Put citizens' well-being as top priority

Social/Community
1. Grow as a harmonious community
2. Celebrate the uniqueness of the various ethnic groups
3. Develop a nurturing response to those who suffer
4. Create opportunities for all to experience a healthy, positive and purposeful life

Marketplace
1. Lead globally in environmental consciousness and best business practices
2. Champion ethical business standards
3. Steward their wealth wisely
4. Maximise education & technical advances to help build a better world

Olympics
1. Every athlete and official to feel fulfilled through giving of their best efforts
2. Every athlete and official will enjoy the Games through fair-play and mutual respect.
3. Every athlete and official will be blessed with well-facilitated Games
4. All will experience a touch of world peace and unity of purpose

Then we would like to encourage you to pray with millions all over the world on 8 August, 8:08pm this prayer.

"May the blessed glory of God fill China"

God bless!

 

Some updates!

By IpohBUG


This is BUG's very own football team. We have a wide range of players made up from primary to secondary to college right up to working age. The senior players would play matches among themselves for match fitness and team work. While the junior players would be put through some training and drill before playing. Though some of these young ones lack skills and football acumen but seeing them laugh and having so much fun makes it all worth while working with them.




Our Ultimate Frisbee gang. These group of young people have mastered the game. You can tell of their confidence from their pose. We shall be having our first friendly game on August 17 2008 playing the visiting team from Inti College, Nilai. We are looking forward to that day.



We take our game very seriously. Those who fool around during training or game time were severely dealt with.

People, please take note that we will be introducing a new game at BUG very soon. The game is called TCHOUKBALL. Yup, not easy to pronounce - it goes something like this (choke ball). With all you computer savvy people, just go on the net and key in "Tchoukball" and you will find all the information you need. Go read and see how the game is played. We have someone coming to show us how to play the game on August 24 2008. So make sure you turn up for BUG on that day!



Finally, we are at the last stage of planning for the September 1 one day event. We shall be posting more information soon. Please keep yourself free and remind your friends too of the special one day event. All we can say is that there will be lots of fun!!!!!!

-the saint-

 

Racing for Jesus

By IpohBUG



Here are the pictures to go with the earlier article Racing for Jesus. Could not upload earlier.

 

Racing for Jesus

By IpohBUG

NASCAR The faith of NASCAR drivers comes in all horsepowers. Yet few competitors can match the level of public Christian commitment geared toward a love for motorsports shown by redheaded sparkplug Morgan Shepherd. He has started more than 500 Sprint Cup events, and has at times even changed his own tires and filled his own gas tank to stay in the race. He unashamedly called his truck team "Victory in Jesus Racing."

The cops never caught up with Shepherd, son of a successful moonshiner, while he was growing up in 1940s-era North Carolina. By 1970, Shepherd had swapped the family still for racing. But the alcohol that launched his NASCAR career was killing his liver and his marriage. He came home from the 1975 Daytona 500 to find that his fed-up wife had stomped out. After a drunken, live-it-up bender with a girlfriend, Shepherd took an honest look at himself. He prayed for God to turn his life around. Over time, he determined that NASCAR would become both his mission field and a platform for ministry to the church.

In 1980, Shepherd won what today is the Nationwide championship (the sport's second-tier series). In NASCAR's top Sprint Cup Series (formerly Winston Cup), Shepherd won four races. Up until the mid-1990s, he perennially landed in the top-10 end-of-year standings. At age 51, he became the second-oldest winner of a Sprint Cup race.
Then, in 1998, hard times set in. A sponsorship deal went south, which, alongside other financial difficulties, wiped out Shepherd's fortune. He wondered: Without that weekly appointment on tracks across the country, who would listen to his testimony? Shepherd persevered, and today on the lower profile Nationwide circuit, he drives NASCAR's ultimate branded vehicle: the candy-apple green Racing with Jesus #89 Dodge.
Back in 2002, NASCAR was not as friendly to such religious endorsements. That
year, Shepherd showed up at a truck race with a brightly colored Jesus logo on his hood. NASCAR officials got complaints and ordered him to remove it—which put many fans, religious or otherwise, in an uproar. A few races later, officials told Shepherd he could put it back.

Some criticize NASCAR management for allowing chaplains to pray over loudspeakers in the name of Jesus at official races, which critics contend will make Jews and Muslims feel unwelcome. And many Christians themselves are ill at ease with NASCAR's family-and-faith marketing campaigns when the goal seems to be big profits, and when many NASCAR advertisers come from the alcoholic beverage industry. "[NASCAR] is just like America: open for business. You can't put them down for that," Shepherd tells me in the lounge of his car hauler. Even so, Shepherd observes, "There are things in it I don't like—the alcohol and such."

Shepherd decided long ago to refuse sponsorships from producers of harmful products. Shepherd, at 66 by far the oldest driver, found that getting angry or refusing sponsorships was not accomplishing enough.
Since 2001, Shepherd has created the racing teams Victory in Jesus Racing and Victory Motorsports, and today co-owns Faith Motorsports. Shepherd has had a handful of investors support these teams. He believes Christians in business have real power to change NASCAR by sponsoring cars. "We don't have enough people to stand up and put our cars on [NASCAR] locations," says Shepherd.

Funding a champion team takes millions. In the last decade, Shepherd's funding has come primarily through small sponsorships, fan donations, and prize money. For years, the necessary $10,000 for tires to finish a race fell well outside his budget. Shepherd did well just showing up on race day.

But in April in Talladega at a Nationwide event, the first race he completed since 2004, he led one lap and finished 13th. After the race, Shepherd congratulated Talladega winner Tony Stewart, who later featured Shepherd on a radio broadcast. "You had an awesome run this weekend," Stewart said to Shepherd, who replied, "I know—you looked in the mirror and saw [my] big ole yellow Jesus logo and said, 'Jesus is after me!'"

On NASCAR.com, Stewart said fans should appreciate Shepherd. "They don't understand that years ago he used to be one of the top guys in the Cup Series."
Earlier this year, driver Kevin Harvick, who won the 2007 Daytona 500, built Shepherd a car and gave it to him. The Hot Lap fan website started a "chip in" fund for Shepherd's tires. Stewart is also supplying tires.

The enthusiasm Shepherd generates is having an influence up and down the NASCAR food chain. They have made Shepherd a true competitor again—and Shepherd is grateful. "I get to have fun serving the Lord with what I love to do," he says. "I really love racing. But I love the Lord, and that's the reason his name is on the car."

 



All of us have running lanes that God has marked out for our lives and we are encouraged to run in these lanes with perseverance. Sometimes the race is difficult but the more we train, and with our perseverance resting in God, the race we are called to run becomes more achievable.

As the runners pass the baton of the Olympic torch to one another this year, the Olympic flame in Beijing comes closer to being lit. There in the stadium when the Olympic torch is lit, a beacon of light will be seen by many throughout the world. However, today in many places throughout China, there is a light already burning. It burns so brightly that no Olympic flame can match its glow.

It is the light of the gospel burning in the hearts of many believers in the underground church. This flame is their passion to love Christ, a flame that cannot be extinguished. We are inspired by their examples and honoured to run with them and pass the baton of truth to those who will follow.

(Contributed by John Wilson, Executive Director of The Voice of the Martyrs)

Dear fellow runners in God's team, as we watch the Beijing Olympics, let us not be so caught up with the intensity of the events and results that we fail to participate in the Olympics ourselves. Let us join our hearts and prayers with the thousands of Christians out there whom will be praying for the people of China. Each time as you click towards the Olympic games' channels be prepared to say a short prayer for the lost souls in China. We are targetting not only the local chinese but also the foreign tourists watching the games. We want to ask the Lord for a bountiful harvest this summer in China.

To God be the glory.


-the saint-

 

Eric Henry Liddell

By IpohBUG





As the Beijing Olympic games is fast approaching , many are gaining the Olympic's spirit. Each time when I think of the Olympic games I can't help but think of the movie Chariots of Fire. The movie tells us of Eric Henry Liddell's radical obedience to Jesus Christ.


In 1924 a world which idolised its sports stars reflected on Eric Liddell's radical obedience to Jesus Christ. Chosen for the 100 metres sprint at the Paris Olympic Games, he stunned everyone by refusing to run in the heats on a Sunday - the Lord's Day. He went on to run in the 400 metres race which was not his favorite event. As he went to the starting blocks for the race, an American masseur slipped a piece of paper in his hand with a quotation from 1 Samuel 2:30,
"Those who honour Me, I will honour." Liddell ran with that piece of paper in his hand and not only won the race but broke the existing world record with a time of 47.6 seconds.
Born to Scottish missionary parents in Tianjin, northern China in 1902, Eric Liddell became a completely dedicated disciple of Jesus Christ, and a man who could rest short of nothing but the introduction of those brought under his influence to the Saviour and Master who had come to mean so much to him.
At the core of his life Eric believed that God was his Saviour, friend and companion and that everything he did should give God pleasure. As a runner he was the fastest and had achieved the highest glory, and as a Christian he found that his greatest strength came from God.
Eric Liddell famous quote
"God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast and when I run, I feel His pleasure."
-the saint-

 

Dwyane Wade




Dwyane accompanying his mother, Jolinda Wade,

at the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Temple of Praise Church

Dwyane Wade play as shooting guard with Miami Heat in the NBA. Read the amazing story of how God touched this whole family.

Dwyane Wade sat in the first pew Sunday afternoon, looked at his mother, and simply couldn't hide his emotions. She had made him cry often before. This time, it was different.
"This is tears of joy," he said, beaming. "Tears of joy for my mother."


Before she was known as the mother of the Marquette University star, Miami Heat superstar and 2006 NBA Finals MVP, Jolinda Wade was known as an inmate, a fugitive, a drug user and drug seller. Her life turned around seven years ago when, after years of urging by her children, she got help and got clean. Along the way, she devoted her life to spreading the word of God, starting her first ministry while doing time in state prison. Now, that ministry has a new home, called the Temple of Praise. Jolinda Wade's very own church.


Her son bought it, and her children and her congregation gathered to dedicate it Sunday.
"I respect my mother so much, from the life that she used to live and to see her today in the life that she lives. I'm so proud of her," Dwyane Wade told the Associated Press before the service. "Everybody thinks I'm the miraculous story in the family. I think she is. I think what I've done means I've been very blessed, but she's been more than blessed. She's been anointed."
A few years ago, no one saw anything like this coming.


"Today is one of the highest of the highest moments in my life," Jolinda Wade said.
For so long, Jolinda's life was a waste, marred by abuse of alcohol and drugs. Whenever Tragil Wade, one of Jolinda's three daughters and the person who essentially raised her brother, would get word that someone died in one of their Chicago-area neighborhood's many abandoned buildings, she feared it was her mother — and even thought about saving for what she assumed would be a fast-arriving funeral.


"I can't even tell you what it was like," Tragil Wade said, choking up. "It's beyond words."
One day, in a teary tirade, Tragil Wade talked her mother into accompanying her to church. That moment, they say, is the one that convinced Jolinda Wade to make some radical changes.
She got sober, turned herself into Illinois authorities to serve a prison term that she skipped out on under auspices of joining a work-release program, and repaid her debt to society.
"My mother is a miracle to me and to our family, to see from where she came to where she's at now," said Tragil Wade, who at 30 is only four years older than the brother she has looked over for virtually his entire life. "I can't even describe it. It's like, if you didn't believe in God, this right here would make the belief strong."


Today, Jolinda Wade turns those tragic times into a powerful message.
"I feel reborn," said Jolinda Wade, who arrived for Sunday's service head-to-toe in purple, matching the newly redesigned decor of the sanctuary of the church that bears her name on the streetside sign. "Matter of fact, I feel reborn every day. There's always something new every day. I just thank God for the experience."


This is how she shows her thanks, preaching to people filling row after row of pews and hanging on her every word. They danced in the aisles and threw their hands in the air, shouting "Amen!" over and over, so many people turning out that the parking lot was overflowing and some latecomers had to park up to three blocks away.
"It's a blessing," Jolinda Wade said.


Her church, which was formed in October with just 47 original members, welcomed hundreds to Sunday's service, including the mothers of Shaquille O'Neal and Magic Johnson.
"All I can say: Hallelujah!" Tragil Wade said.
Since becoming a Baptist pastor, Jolinda Wade's following — she shares the title of pastor with LaDell Jones, whom she befriended when they began minister training together in 2004 — had to meet in a small rented room, one that didn't even give the NBA star's mother space to move around while delivering her testimony. But the new facility has plenty of room for dance and rejoicing — a move from "a space to a place," as Tragil Wade put it. "Today is the crossover," Jolinda Wade said. "We're in here today because of God's goodness and God chose to use the heart of my son to do this for us ... and he trusts the heart of his mama. Ain't that something?"
Somehow, he's always trusted that heart.


Wade never turned his back on his mother, not even when she was bouncing between jail and prison and she was at rock bottom. Since joining the NBA and amassing a small fortune, he hasn't been shy about showering his mother in lavish gifts, including a car and a house. Of course, he never planned to give her a church. Turns out, Jolinda Wade was trying to get loans for a church when she drove past the building that would eventually become her congregation's home. It was Jan. 21, when she noticed the run-down facility was for sale. Three months later, without ever asking her son for the money — he decided on his own to make the gift — they signed the ownership papers. Another month filled with work and renovation later, they were giving praise.
"My mother is not the kind of person who will come to me and ask me for this kind of favor. She's so thankful for even the little things I've done for her," Dwyane Wade said. "But it's the dream of every man, every boy, to be able to give their mother everything they want. So that was my dream and this is her dream. To me, that makes this perfect."