Friday, July 27, 2012

Sport Chaplains at the Olympic Games

Today marks the official beginning of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London with the Opening Ceremony this evening. Among the thousands of people in the Olympic Village throughout the event is a collection of our colleagues from around the globe. There are sports chaplains, carefully selected from a wide variety of ethnic, national and sport backgrounds, speaking many different languages and from both genders, who are officially recognized by the London Organizing Committee and provided uniforms and credentials. They work through the Olympic Village’s Religious Services Center and have already been in London for over a week. They will also stay beyond the Olympic Games to serve in the Paralympic Games.

Please pray for these, our colleagues and fellow-servants, as they serve our Lord and the people in sport in these days of exhilarating triumph, painful defeat and even crippling despair. Some of these people were themselves Olympic competitors in past years and are thereby uniquely qualified to speak to the hearts of competitors, coaches and support staff.

Solomon Gacece (Kenya)

Xavier Bharath (India)

Koffi ‘Magloire’ Pilabana (Togo)

Karen Zando (USA)

Silas Ngong (Cameroon)

Kjell Marksett (Norway)

Ashley Null (USA)

Nett Knox (Australia)

Ingrid Loya (Mexico)

Ross Georgiou (New Zealand)

Ruben Fernandez (Spain)

Madeline Manning Mims (USA)

Bettina Schellenberger (Germany)

Alex Ribeiro (Brazil)

Carl Dambman (Russia)

Cristobel Chamale (Guatamala)

Johnny Yiu (Hong Kong China)

Paul Kobylarz (USA)

Armenio Anjos (Portugal)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Redemptive Relationships

Below is the first of a twelve session discussion guide for groups regarding Jesus’ relationships with various individuals, groups and more from the Gospel of Mark. It is written to help sportspeople observe Jesus Christ’s interaction with these people and to thereby inform their relationships. If you would like a copy of the study, simply reply to this email and I’ll be pleased to send it to you directly. I hope it serves you well.

Redemptive Relationships

An inductive study of Jesus’ relationships with individuals,
groups and more from the Gospel of Mark.

Session 1

1) Read Mark chapter 1 aloud and pray together.

2) How would you describe the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth as seen in verses 1-11? What kind of a man does John seem to be?

3) In verses 9-12 a remarkable event unfolds.

a. What do you perceive about Jesus’ relationship with God the Father and The Holy Spirit?

b. How do they respond to Jesus’ baptism?

c. How does Satan respond to Jesus’ emergence upon the scene?

d. Why is it important that Jesus was tested in this way?

4) What ideas are central to Jesus’ message to those around His home town in verses 14 and 15?

a. How would people in your home town respond to you if you said similar things?

5) How does Jesus go about recruiting his first followers in verses 16-20?

a. How do they respond to Him?

b. How would you describe these men?

6) How did people in Capernaum respond to Jesus’ teaching in verses 21-28?

7) How does it seem that Jesus nurtures His relationship with God the Father? See verse 35.

a. Who goes looking for Jesus and interrupts His solitude?

b. How does Jesus respond to Simon’s interruption in verses 36-39?

8) How does Jesus treat this leper in verses 42-45?

a. How does the man respond to Jesus?

b. Why would Jesus give him this stern warning?

c. How well did the man comply with the warning?

9) Thoughts for contemplation and application: How do these snapshots of Jesus’ relationships inform your relationships with;

a. Those who have preceded you, such as:

i. Big brothers and sisters?

ii. Veteran teammates?

iii. Alumni from your sport program?

b. God the Father and the Holy Spirit?

c. Jesus’ first followers among your teammates, family and circle of friends?

d. Satan and all who would interfere with God’s plan for your life?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sport Chaplain Video Presentations

During the 2010 Fellowship of Christian Athletes Sport Chaplains Conference in Kansas City, Missouri we were able to videotape a number of presentations and to post the videos on line. Below are links to each. The first five feature Dr. John Ashley Null outlining the Foundations of Sport Chaplaincy. The final two presentations are about wise use of technology in your ministry in sport and building community among your sports team. The last one being shared by Johnny Shelton from Virginia Tech University.


I pray these videos are of value to you, your ministry with sportspeople and your colleagues.


Foundations of Sport Chaplaincy - Parts 1 - 5, Dr. John Ashley Null:

Using Technology in Sports Ministry - Roger Lipe:

Building Community in Your Team - Johnny Shelton:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Write down your thoughts, please.

What is the value of writing down one’s thoughts? How does the process of writing shape one’s ministry? About what would one write if he or she was so inclined? Is there anything unique about writing to a particular audience? How does today’s technology affect the process? While I won’t pretend to answer all these questions today, they are all worthy of your thought and consideration for action.


In the big picture, translating one’s thoughts to print enables them to be shared much more broadly around the world and beyond even one’s lifetime. When we read our Bibles we’re thinking the thoughts of men from thousands of years ago. Suppose you’re the prophet Obadiah, the faithful and less flashy contemporary of Elijah. His book is one page. That’s one more page than you or I will secure in the Holy writ. Suppose you’re Philemon, the wealthy friend of the Apostle Paul from Colossae, a letter Paul penned to you is read by Jesus’ followers almost two millennia later. Many of the most profound works of literature across the ages have very humble origins.


Please take a stab at writing down your thoughts, talk outlines, ideas and ramblings. The process is helpful in the formation of ideas and could prove to be of tremendous value to your family, friends, coaches, competitors and all those whom you influence.


Below is the process I’ve used for years to both write devotional thoughts for people in sport and to form talks with such people. I hope it is of some value to you.


Devotion / Chapel Talk Writing Process Outline


1) Study and pray

    a. Devotional reading

    b. Personal study of Scripture

    c. Sport related books and periodicals

    d. See the sport related situations in Bible texts

        i. Game-day situations in competition

        ii. Player to player relationship dynamics

        iii. Player / coach relationship dynamics

        iv. Leadership issues

        v. Pain / injury / loss / isolation

        vi. Victory / passion / excitement / community

        vii. Teamwork vs. individualism

        viii. Work ethic / sacrifice

        ix. Respect for coaches, teammates, opponents, officials

        x. Personal development

    e. Identify particular texts and their sport related “front doors.”

    f. Simply outline scriptural applications of the scripture to the sport situations.

2) Write and pray

    a. Develop a question or a series of questions related to the “front door” which will help the reader to recall an experience from his/her life in sport.

    b. Within the opening paragraph, write a sentence which builds a bridge from the sport situation in the chosen text of scripture to the “front door” situation which it illustrates.

    c. In a new paragraph, insert the Bible text in quotes and then paraphrase it in sport vernacular if it seems necessary or helpful.

    d. In a new paragraph, insert the simple outline of application points directly to the sport situation.

    e. Summarize in a final paragraph including a suggestion for prayer.

3) Notes

    a. Write in light of your readers and their particular sport culture.

    b. Write with a clear understanding of the mode of delivery. (Will this be read privately, read out loud or delivered by a speaker?)

    c. Communicate respect and passion for the sport as well as for the scripture. Help them love God and compete greatly.