I so appreciate the multitudes of you from all over the country who prayed for my recent trip to North Carolina to speak to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was a tremendous honor to be able to lead them in what their chaplain calls "the only weekly church service they attend during football season." I spoke about the "Characteristics of a Fallen Warrior." Using the life of David as my text, I explained the temptations he experienced as a result of being under the spotlight [place of recognition and authority].
The Lord prompted me to tell them how David had such a strong and pure walk with God until he was elevated to the position of King of Hebron. I showed them how David's heart began to stray - which led to his failure as a HUSBAND [countless wives, mistresses], FATHER [rebellious kids - a brother raped his sister] and LEADER [arrogance, disobedience, pride leading to 70,000 of his people being killed].
Initially, I wondered how I could relate to them since we had so little in common. However, God showed me that that our lives had some real similarities. They worked in stadiums, they stood in front of large audiences, and were often in the media - and so am I - albeit, on a much smaller scale. This led me to share with them the 3 challenges of being under a spotlight.
1. Spotlights bring INTENSE HEAT.This comes in the form of pressure, responsibilities, accountability and obligations.
2. Spotlights bring INTENSE LIGHT. Hidden things become exposed and a person lives under a microscope of other's opinions and expectations. One's life becomes an open book.
3. Spotlights bring INTENSE ATTACK. Array of BUGS. People come out of the woodwork and surround you. Some for pure motives and some for impure ones. One's lifeblood can get sucked right out! I relayed the story of a football stadium I spoke in one night where I was afraid I would be carried off the stage because every bug in the county was zeroed in on me.
I had about 30 minutes to speak to the Buccaneers and the players were very gracious to me. Six of them prayed to receive Christ!!!!!!!!!!! One of them has appeared in the NFL Pro Bowl several years and is a very well known player. I will keep his name private but most anyone who watches football would immediately recognize his name. Many came to thank me or say hello before leaving.
The head coach, Jon Gruden, was not in attendance but came in afterward to tell me he appreciated my speaking to the team and was very kind. I am so thrilled about these men praying to accept Christ and I hope you will keep them in your prayers! Ask God to help them to live out their faith as dedicated disciples of Christ and to use their influence for Christ and His kingdom. The environment in which they live can be a difficult and tempting place, unlike anything most of us will ever experience. "The brighter the lights the greater the temptations" is an accurate statement I have seen unfold in the lives of multitudes of men all over the nation.
I was privileged to get sideline passes and be invited into the Carolina Panthers locker room after the game. Steve Smith, a very famous receiver, was gracious enough to offer me his autographed game gloves to give to my oldest son, Lane. They also gave me several autographed game hats and other memorabilia items that went to my boy as well.
Thank you so much for your diligent prayers!! They were all sensed, felt and realized. Some of you even went so far as to fast a day for me and the Bucs and I will never forget these acts of partnership and love. Football is a team sport where everyone relies and depends on each other. Wins and losses, victories and defeats are shared by all. Thank you for joining our ministry team!!!!!!!!!!