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.