Ready, aim, Crossfire

By Jeff Schumacher | Jul 08, 2013

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Everywhere you looked, that’s all you could see. It was on T-shirts it was on the basketballs, and they meant it!

They told everyone in attendance that because Jesus died, they live. They told them there are dark things that God will throw your way, and that it isn’t because he doesn’t love you, but it’s because he wants to strengthen your faith.

If this would have been a church service, there would have been several “Amens’ and “Alleluias’” thrown in.

But it wasn’t. It was a basketball camp.

Gottcha, didn’t I? You thought I was laying out the sermon for the week. You thought I was talking about what I heard in church, and wanted to make sure you could see the importance of such statements.

While all of this is indeed true, and these statements are vital to our relationship with God, the fact that we have two dedicated missionaries who spread this word through the game of basketball is awesome. It can only be the work of God. No one can deny that. No one can argue that fact.

There is much uncertainty in today’s world, especially among our youth. But, two young fellows, co-founders, Randy Shepherd and Jamie Johnson of Crossfire Ministries, see it up close and personal. Both guys were great basketball players in their time; both college players in their prime.

But, it wasn’t enough. They knew there was more for them. So they started using their basketball talent to attract youngsters, who if you told them you were holding a week-long Christian retreat, wouldn’t move from their Xbox.

So, they use the gift of basketball to help our youth understand what Jesus Christ has done for them. That He was sent here so we can be the people we are, unholy sinners, not worthy of God’s love without our belief in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross.

On Friday, I had a chance to hear Randy and Jamie talk about their ministry. Their passion overwhelmed me. They had young assistants on their staff that had already given their life over to Christ. One such young man even gave up his basketball scholarship to join them in this mission.

What a remarkable pair these two young men are. They both speak of running with the wrong crowd, and doing some things they shouldn’t. And, they do so right in front of the athletes they are teaching. They do so to prove to them that no man is perfect, not them, not you.

As they were talking through their purpose, it was as if you could feel the warmth and the joy of Jesus Christ right there in that gymnasium. That’s how powerful of a message they bring, and that’s how strong their conviction is to the Almighty.

I won’t bore you with any more of the incredible things these guys are doing, not only in the United States, but suffice it to say these guys are a breath of fresh air.

All I can say is I am so grateful that God moved me in a way to enroll my youngest child in the camp. What a wondrous experience it was for him.

Randy and Jamie will tell you they are just two regular guys that love to play basketball.

I’m here to tell you they are true disciples of God meant to be right where they are, doing exactly what they do. They reach out to the youth of our nation; they work to heal and ensure the well being of the families these youth come from; and they deeply touch adults who, like me, could relate to their every word.

Athletes can, and some are known to be, self-centered and somewhat greedy people. But Jamie and Randy are different. They have listened to what God has told them. They did what he asked, and they are now doing their chosen job here on earth…making disciples, one at a time.

Now can I get an Amen?


Jeff Schumacher is the general manager at Mountaineer Publishing, Inc.

Comments (5)
Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Jul 10, 2013 12:30

No you may not get "an Amen"!

      As "We the people" of Western North Carolina prepare for the International celebration of Folkmoot, you would celebrate the proclaimation that only your shared opinion is true and worthwhile? Shame on you! Especially as We the people just celebrated OUR Declaration of Independance whereby  the colonists of multi-cultural, multi-denominational, multi-faiths or no faiths collectively and inclusively thru their elected representatives, embraced the deistic notion of Naturally inherent or otherwise inalienable rights.
    Equal protection comes from this "self-evident truth". Not just of body but of mind as Thomas Jefferson's Act For Establishing Religious Freedom established:
  The Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom

Thomas Jefferson, 1786

Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporal rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labors for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that, therefore, the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to the offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow citizens he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honors and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles, on the supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency, will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

And though we well know this Assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no powers equal to our own and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law, yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.



 Thomas Jefferson drafted The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom in 1779 three  years after he wrote the Declaration of 
  Independence. The act was  not passed by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia until 1786. Jefferson was by then in Paris as 
  the U.S. Ambassador to France. The  Act was resisted by a group headed by Patrick Henry who sought to pass a  bill that would have assessed 
  all the citizens of Virginia to support a plural establishment. James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance Against  Religious Assessments was, 
  and remains, a powerful argument against state supported religion. It was written in 1785, just a few months before  the General Assembly passed 
  Jefferson's religious freedom bill.  Both the draft  version of the Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom  and  the 
  Memorial and  Remonstrance Against Religious 
     You are on the ill-liberal road to the Inquistion.
                  Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Jul 10, 2013 13:05

       Futhermore, on page 58 of Thomas Jefferson's Autibiography, you will find this: "The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree,been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinions was meant to be universal. Where the preamble delares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read, "adeparture from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, whithin the mantle of its protection, the Jew and Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination."

            Once again a clear embrace of "equal protection".

            Shall only those that share your opinion support it by their subscription?


            Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by: Jeff Schumacher | Jul 10, 2013 17:38

I have no intention of coercing anyone into anything. I only profess what I believe, and you are free to do the same. That is what has made this country great for many years. We all think differently. But, I am going to continue my mission of proclaiming all the good that people do in this world, and stay true to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Jeff Schumacher

Posted by: Allen Alsbrooks | Jul 10, 2013 22:27

That's good for you.

I just become so annoyed when you people cry about being persecuted when those of us who want G-d in our lives but not in our government voice our opinions.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Jul 11, 2013 09:49

    Dear Mr. Schumacher;


     I fully support your Naturally inherent or otherwise inalienable right to religious opinion. However! You have a bully-pulpit few others enjoy.

     Personally I enjoy your paper. As someone who believes We are obligated to help others less fortunate, it is heartwarming to read of the several & various groups who do just that.

     While it takes time to research the Founding Principles OUR shared Constitution was created from, the North Carolina Religious clause is quite clear:

    "All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; and no human authority shall in any case whatsoever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience."

      Then there are the lesson's one Jesus of Nazareth taught:

      "Love your neighbor as yourself'.

       "Be not as the hypocrit who prays before men....."

       "Render unto ceseaur..."


         Your front page evangalizing violates not just OUR shared constitutions, but Jesus phylosophy. It quite well encourages those with different beliefs & as myself a self-admitted in your face kiss my fat but if you don't like it, defender of the cause of Liberty and the equal protection thereof, to want to obtain my news elsewhere, especially as it portrays what I and many(including many of the Founders) consider Jesus to be a man only whose life has been "prostituted" by too many that followed, most especially as Jefferson pointed out in his "bible"(The life and morals of Jesus of Nazareth), the apostle paul who gathered together the many stories and wrote them down while not witnessing anything himself; followed by the improper actions of Constantine who incorporated the trinity into his government & banned all outsiders including the Gnostics, the results of which were noted by Madison in his Remonstrance & duly noted by Jimmy Carter recently.

         My suggestion is put your religious opinions on a page whereby those not interested can easily avoid, let alone pay for. As was quite well pointed out during OUR Founding, Jesus ministry required no outside funding nor forced involvement("coercion").

          You ain't the only one who has experienced a celestial experience. The most impressive one I had was after being electrocuted while testing two 240 volt 3-phase fuses for continuity on a Valley 9 tower irrgation rig. Never wore a wedding band after that. I'll never forget the feeling of floating above myself & thinking "I bet that poor sucker is cold". I saw the rig and the field and the woods. Then my mother's mother. Cooking saugage and saur croute(sp). In her black & white checkered apron. Relatives. One of which stood out as I hadn't seen any pictures of him before. No pain whatsoever. Then I was back. Cold. Shaking. Spitting out dirt. Layed up for 36 hrs. Asked my mother who that one guy was. She went into shock. Cried for several days. He was "uncle Bud". Died in his twenties. Refused to have his picture taked. Joker. What I learned was there is Heavon & there is here. While here, I and I alone am responsable for my bills and my transgressions, while recognizing the obligation as a human being to stand for those oppressed or otherwise in need. Whether there is a God or if I will see Heavon again remains to be seen.


Chuck Z.

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