All posts by Ken Cross

As a result of thirty-plus years of ministry (in positions of youth pastor, pastor, and church planter), thirty years of marriage and five children, Ken says of himself, “I have experience–which means I have made enough mistakes to learn from them and know the humbling hand of God in my life!

When Finishing Last Is Winning

Here is a story that reveals a real sportsman, a young man who immediately understood what was more important, a fellow competitor or a good time in a cross-country event.

Seth Goldstein ran a race in which he will never forget! Here is a bit of the article written by Geoff Calkins:

“A group of kids ran just in front of him. Many more had fallen behind.

“I was feeling good,” said Goldstein, 17. “That’s when everything happened in front of me.”

One of the kids in the pack dropped to the ground. The others raced onward toward the finish line. Goldstein did something altogether different.

He stopped.

He stopped racing. He went to the kid who had fallen, who by this time was in severe distress.

“His lips were turning blue and his eyes were rolled back in his head,” said Goldstein. “I was terrified. But then I thought to myself, freaking out isn’t going to help any here. … He stopped. That was the first thing.

“I’m a lifeguard,” he said, as if that explains it all. “It was obvious he needed help.”

Goldstein called for a parent to phone 911. Then he turned back to the kid — a student from Germantown — who had blood bubbling out of his mouth.

“He had bitten his tongue and was bleeding pretty bad,” said Goldstein. “I feared he was going to choke on his blood. I rolled him on his side so he wouldn’t asphyxiate.

It ended well!

“Before long, an ambulance arrived. The real EMTs took over. Whereupon, Goldstein posed a question to the group.

“Can I finish the race?” he said.

Only then did Chandler realize that Goldstein was another competitor.

“The EMTs looked at me kind of funny,” Goldstein said. “They’re like, ‘You’re racing? Well, sure, go ahead. I guess you can finish the race.’ ”

So that’s what Goldstein did. All the other runners were long since done.”

As a Sports Chaplain, you want your athletes to perform well in the sport, but more importantly to be men and women that live their faith at all times. The young man did that. If I was his Dad I would buy him a trophy of some kind to help him remember the best race he ever had!

Written by Ken Cross, Vice President of the Sports Chaplains Network.

Click here to read the original full article.

Beauty and Function – applies to Baseball Parks and Work

Here is an interesting article about an architect who takes his craft and faith seriously – one affects the other in wonderful ways.

He designed one of the best Baseball parks in our country, PNC Park in Pittsburg.

Here is a quote from the article, (Greusel likes to quote Winston Churchill): “First, we shape our buildings, then they shape us.

Music and Sports – Both of them Affect Us

I read this Blog from Tim Callies today and he linked this You Tube video. He made an interesting point – but it is not quite the point I would like to make. When I watched this video it reminded me that music – live music – gets people’s attention. I will never forget the first live band I saw at the tender age of twelve play the classic CCR hit - Proud Mary. It amazed me. The only instrument I can play well is the radio.

Did you notice the people taking their earplugs out and smiling? What a great scene. Music is a language that speaks to people and makes them respond.

Sports is also a universal tool. My friend Bob Dyar, sports chaplain at Joe Gibbs Racing, says that if Paul were alive today he would use both sports and music as universal ministry tools. Because Paul could be all things to all people. It’s amazing – all people respond to sports and music.

As Sports Chaplains, we have the privilege to speak into people’s lives as they are involved in coaching, supporting, or playing sports. While people are involved at some level of a game – we represent the one who has given us “all things to enjoy.”

Remember today why you are involved. Renew your passion to use sport and not to worship it.

I thought he would want me to remind you.

Every Chaplain Should Read This

Ed Stetzer is preacher, researcher, professor and president of Lifeway research. As a former church planter I have been reading his stuff for a long time and like his insights and honesty. I also appreciate his ability to present the orthodox position in a winsome way.

In this article, Ed reminds us that we are not called to just a relational ministry. We are called to also share the life giving word of life at some point. We must be wise to the timing but the talking is not an option. Cults can smile and be friendly. We have the truth that sets people free!

“Since we believe that the only God given means of transferring people from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light involves the preaching of the gospel with words, we should be compelled to speak such words to any who will listen. As the ones sent by God (that’s us), we should be ready to “tell the story

Dennis Rodman: “I want to be a good individual, father, and son.”

I just watched the acceptance speech of Dennis Rodman into the MBA Hall of Fame. Here is the video:

If you are in a hurry zip to 5:20 of the video. Here “The Worm” talks about a father that left him. From my perspective his whole speech was basically “I need a father!” He mentions coaches/men that if rolled into one would be a perfect dad. Dennis thanks his wife for raising his three children in attendance by herself and admits he is a terrible father himself. He doesn’t thank his Mom but truthfully admits she never showed him much love and he resented her most of his life.

He ends with a regret and a wish. The regret – “I wish I was a better father.” The wish – “I want to be a good individual, father and son in the future.”

My heart breaks for him. He is an orphan that acts like an orphan. He used what he can get his hands in excess because he is filling a void.

Orphans do not sleep well because the are wondering if they will have bread the next day. So in the orphanages in Europe after the wars there the wise care-givers would put a loaf of bread under the pillows. Then the children would sleep knowing they have a meal the next day.

From my perspective, Dennis is an orphan in need of a father, a heavenly Father. His pain is obvious. He hurts and hurts others.

Matthew 6 says believers can act this way too!

“O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

It is clear as I look at Dennis, and clear when I look at my heart. I tend to act like a orphan/pagan when I forget that I have a heavenly Father that cares for me.

Pray for Dennis. Pray for me. And I bet God prompted you to pray for someone else too. Stop and pray then preach the gospel to yourself and the other folks that act like orphans.

“Do What You Always Did!

Laurie Vidal is a Sports Chaplain for Powerboat Racing. He writes an occasional devotion called the “One Minute Gun”. In powerboat racing there is a “one minute gun” to warn the boaters that they have to be in position and ready to go. No one will wait on them. A great way to approach the Scriptures – get ready spiritually, the world, your flesh and the devil will not wait on you!”

If you are a Sports Chaplain and would like to send an illustration or a blog entry send it to KenCross@sportschaplains.org. Thanks Laurie.

“Do what you always did and get what you always got!

How to Pray for Christian Athletes

I read this article today and in it Ben Zobrist (7 yrs with Tampa Bay Rays,) responds to a great question.

How can we pray for Christian athletes? What particular needs or challenges do athletes have that require prayer?

Pray first and foremost against idolatry for us. It is easy to make success in our sport an idol when you want to be excellent. It is easy to set ourselves above others and most grievously above God when people treat you “special

Where do you look for your identity?

I just read this article by Paul Tripp. And if you are in the ministry at all – you will identify.
Here are two short paragraphs that hit me between the eyes.

You are most loving, patient, kind, and gracious when you realize you desperately need every truth you could give to another. You are most humble and gentle when you realize the person you are ministering to is more like you than unlike you. When you have inserted yourself into another category that tends to make you think you have arrived, it is very easy to be judgmental and impatient.

I didn’t realize that I looked horizontally for what I had already been given in Christ, producing a harvest of bad fruit in my heart, ministry, and relationships. I had let my ministry become something that it should never be (my identity), and I looked to it to give me what it could never give (inner sense of well-being).

As Sports Chaplains, we are on the front lines with athletes that know what it means to “play a role”. May our ministry not be “playing a role” but waking in freedom, as a needy child of God.