Tag Archives: love

Courage in the face of adversity

2 Timothy 3:12 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (NIV)

Picture the scenario. It’s the semi-final game in a soccer tournament. You are trailing by one goal with less than five minutes left in the match. You’re tired. You’re hurting. You have fought every step of the way, but just can’t score the equalizer. You leave nothing on the field, but the final whistle blows, and you can’t secure a win that would send you to the final. As the opposing team celebrates a hard fought victory, you sit in the grass, head down, while the brilliant rays of a golden sun slowly fade into twilight.

In that moment, you have to somehow put aside the disappointment of losing the battle, and turn your focus onto what is going to be shared with the other team. With tears in your eyes, you have to stand up in front of guys that have been cursing and hurling racial slurs at ¬†you the entire game, and share about Jesus and One7. It’s easy when you win. it’s a completely different story when you lose.

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We don’t win every game or tournament we participate in, so it’s inevitable that this situation will happen. There’s really no way to prepare for it. You go into every match thinking you will secure a victory. Not out of arrogance or pride, but with a sense of confidence in your self and the other members of your team. The guys you sweat, bleed, and fight with on the soccer field. Your brothers. Your family.

Our teams face persecution nearly every single game they play. It comes in many different forms. Other players cursing at them, purposefully trying to injure them, or just repeatedly tossing racial remarks in their direction. As hard as it is, our guys don’t retaliate. They play respectfully and with great sportsmanship. Then win or lose, they stand in front of their persecutors and share the Gospel. There have been some amazing, life-changing stories that come out of sharing with the other teams.

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Everything we do at One7 is for God’s glory. We understand nothing in this life is guaranteed. We have just a short time on this earth to proclaim the message of Christ to a lost and darkened world. While we have other avenues to accomplish this such as community outreach, discipleship, and serving others, soccer is our biggest stage. We will never take advantage of that fact and just passionately play the sport for our own glory,

God gave us the best Heaven had to offer when He gave us Jesus. We owe it to Him to give our best in everything we do.

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Living the Gospel

As we go through life, we often miss the everyday needs of people all around us. We see desperation the most when we deliver food or clothing to apartments, where so many families are in need, .

The last two days, One7 has delivered all the wonderful clothing and shoes, that so many people have generously donated, to a nearby apartment complex where many refugees live. When you drive in, it’s like entering a third world country. The moment anyone realizes that you are giving anything away, they come running. It’s not like what you see on the news, where people are trampling over one another to get the best deal on a laptop for Christmas. This is out of sheer desperation to gather warm clothing for their family. As soon as we started handing out clothes, everyone’s arms were reaching out, trying to get at least one article of clothing. Others were pushing their way through, trying to get closer to our trailer for a glimpse of hope and love. When our donations were all gone and there was nothing else to give, some of our leaders even took the jackets off their backs and gave them away.

Part of what we show our kids at One7, is even when their life is hard and their family is struggling, there is always someone else hurting and struggling more. We are to be the His hands and feet to those who don’t know there is a living God who loves each and every one of them. That’s how God uses us, to show the world His love.

Soccer Time!

Wow, what a weekend. We entered five of our One7 teams into the Charlotte United Under Armour Cup. Five teams, twenty games. It’s stressful and chaotic enough when we have one team in a tournament, much less five. Paperwork, player cards, socks, balls, and whatever else were finally secured at some point in the wee morning hours on Saturday. First game was at 8am. We utilized our three 15 passenger vans, one 12 passenger, one Nissan Altima, and one Doge minivan for transportation. It was pretty crazy.

We don’t just enter these tournaments to win games. Yes, to bring back a trophy for each team would have been nice, but we play for a much higher purpose. These events give us the opportunity to share Jesus with people we wouldn’t normally meet. After each game, one of our players shares with the other team about One7, God, and gives a brief, personal testimony. We also present the opposing team’s best sportsmanship player a Man of the Match award, which is normally an iTunes card. It’s always fun to watch their faces when we do that even after losing a game.

God uses our testimony on and off the field to touch people. After sharing, a lot of times the parents from the opposing team will give us gift cards, gas cards, and sometimes even cash donations. These are always vital because a tournament of this size isn’t cheap. Even if it doesn’t look like we will have the money to cover gas, entry fees, equipment, food, drinks, and everything else, we enter the tournament anyway, believing that God will provide a way.

People are so moved by what they see and hear from our youth that they can’t help but feel burdened to help in some way. Our U16 team made it to the final but lost to penalty kicks after fighting through a full match and two overtime periods. The parents of the opposing team clapped for and then hugged all of our players as we walked off the field. It was amazing to witness. These people, these strangers, see something in us, and they are drawn to it.

Out of our five teams, the U14’s won the final and were able to bring home a trophy. This was our U16’s team first time playing together, and they almost knocked off the number one team in the tournament. These boys aren’t just learning about winning and losing in soccer. The lessons they learn will carry over into their lives as they continue to become men.

As all of us at One7 will tell you, it isn’t anything we are doing. God is using this ministry in ways we could never have imagined. We follow God and trust that He will always have our back. We would like to give huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out to the various games to support our teams. That means more than you will ever know. Also, a special thank you to anyone who has ever donated money, time, or prayer to One7. We appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts.

We will leave you with some pictures from this weekend’s tournament. Hope you enjoy.

 

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Have a blessed day.