[notice]A new monthly Christian sport column by Cobus Kruger, a professional triathlete who is passionate about evangelism, leadership and community development through sport.[/notice]
‘Go out to all the nations and preach the Gospel’. This was Jesus’ last command on earth to His disciples. In history we see the early church going out into the world to preach the truth of Jesus Christ and how Paul used active things in his community like sport to bring this good news through to people.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Cor 9: 24-27 NIV)
This is why I’m excited about this sports column – to report to you some of the stories of sport achievements for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Running for ‘more than gold’
Sunday, the 1st of June, was the day of the Comrades marathon. Early in the morning thousands of men and women lined up to achieve their goal. For some of these athletes the goal was to win the race, for others the goal was to run their best times, for some the goal was just to finish it and for some the goal was to run the best that they could run for “more than gold”, for the Glory of our King, Jesus Christ.
Two athletes from Spirit Wind Running Club completed the 2014 Comrades marathon. Simon Nisane from Central Gauteng completed the 89.28 km race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in a deserving 9 hours 39 minutes. It is his second Comrades marathon and he improved his time by 40 minutes, compared to his time of 10 hours 20 minutes in 2013. His category is master men, 50-60 years. The other athlete is Delany Hlongwane from KwaZulu – Natal. He completed the race in 11 hours 29 minutes in the category veteran men, 40-50 years. Altogether eight athletes from Sprit Wind entered the race.
Spirit Wind was birthed in 1989, when God gave a vision and calling for Christians to be both spiritually and physically fit and live disciplined lives, yet in freedom and liberty.
If we go to European soil we see that the following months will be a great Harvest field opportunity for the Kingdom of God. The Commonwealth Games takes place in Glasgow, Scotland. The best of the best, 6 500 athletes, in 17 different sports will compete against each other with officials from 71 countries overseeing the various sports events. The Commonwealth Games is held from July 23 to August 3, 2014. More Than Gold (http://www.morethangold2014.org.uk) will assist the church in Scotland to use this big sport event in their country to serve and to get opportunity to share the Good News with a lot of athletes and spectators competing and visiting this event. They have different programmes running during this time where they give the athletes’ families accommodation at Christian houses, they serve the organisers of the Games as volunteers, and through this they can be the hands and feet of Jesus for thousands of people who need the Truth.
In Brazil, The soccer world cup kicks off with Brazil vs Croatia on June 12 and the finals will be on July 13, 2014. The world will flock to Brazil to see who are the world champions and with so many players and spectators about churches all over the world plan to use this platform to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ through Global Community Games, Pro Sport ministry, serving as volunteers at the stadiums, big screen events with the emphasis on the “More” (Jesus) Than Gold.
Great opportunities to bring the ‘More’ to people
Rugby: Springbok rugby is on the go from the month of June again. The Boks will be taking on Wales in Durban on June 14, June 21 in Nelspruit and June 28, in Port Elizabeth. These are great opportunities to bring the “More” to people. We can share the Truth of Jesus Christ at the stadiums as we take our fellowship group to go and enjoy the rugby or in a bar where we can share the Gospel and love of Jesus by spending the 80 minutes with people that need the “More”, the Jesus, the Truth and the Life.
Richard Murray from South Africa came 2nd at the ITU World Triathlon series race that took place on Saturday, May 31 in London. Murray is now ranked 4th in the world series after competing in the first four races of the series. The four races took place in Auckland, Cape Town, Yokohama and London and there are four more races to come which are scheduled to take place in Chicago, Hamburg, Stockholm with the Grand Finals in Edmonton. The race is on to see if the world champion, Javier Gomez and Olympic Champion, Alistair Brownlee, can keep our South African champion away from the podium. Under the longer distance of Triathlon, Stuart Marais from South Africa, got his first IRONMAN 70.3 win in Pescara, Italy on June 1, 2014.
I, together with many other athletes and churches, am doing a lot of disciple work among top athletes. As an elite triathlete, I race and travel with some of the top athletes to some of the races. Athletes in Action, a ministry under Campus Crusade for Christ, and other ministries under the church and Sports Coalition, have pro athletes that they disciple in the World Cup teams, in the Commonwealth Games, in the Triathlon world, and in the Rugby world — in all of the main events that are happening over the next few months. Let’s keep all these ministry workers, athletes and coaches in our prayers, so that they will have the boldness to stand for the Truth of Jesus in these events. Let’s use all these events like Paul used the sports events of his time, for growth of God’s Kingdom, and let’s pray for all our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are already active in this field of darkness to bring the light of Jesus in to the sport stadiums.
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