January 27, 2008

How To Become a Christian…

Posted in Bahamas Tennis, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Camps, Christian Tennis Devotional Videos, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, christian tennis sport psychology, Coaching Articles, Cult Buster, Cults, Demon Possessed, Faith, Hope, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Tennis Ministry, International Christian Tennis Association, International Tennis Ministry, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Tennis Ministry, Uncategorized, USPTA, USTA, WTA Tennis tagged , , , at 11:40 am by Scott Paschal

When Denise Met Jesus

by Scott Paschal, ICTA Founder

Wow, I really don’t know where to begin.

I’m so excited as I type this!

A native Bahamian lady approached me on the beach to sell me a t-shirt… and she left a Christian.

How wonderful to be used by God; to have Him work through me at such a random time to bring her to a new life in Christ.

I have the best feeling in the world inside of me. I even gave her my favorite Bible. Awesome!

If you have a couple of minutes, grab a coke or something and get comfortable.

I’ll back up a bit and explain how all this happened…

A few weeks ago, I was invited by John Ippolitto, my friend and the owner of Sports Group International, to assist in running a top I.C. U16 junior team tournament being held at an “All Inclusive” top of the line resort in the Bahamas. Team USA, Team Canada, Team Bahamas, and Team Mexico played their hearts out in this action packed adventure in team competition.

As I was given a week free for myself and a couple of guests at this amazing vacation destination resort, I invited two of my fulltime Christian tennis academy students, Marek Czerwinski and Joe.  Marek is #1 B18 USTA.  

Since we were going to be there for a week and would have plenty of down time after matches, ICTA decided turn this into a mission trip to reach the locals in Nassau.

Marek Czerwinski and Joe Beck, two of my academy students, came with me. Though Joe could only stay a few days due to prior commitments. Marek hit with the teams, and Joe assisted me in my daily responsibilities.

One day, while I was sitting on the beautiful beach writing an article, a native lady approached. As she asked me if I would like to buy a t-shirt, I felt compelled to share my faith. I politely declined to make a purchase, then I looked directly at her and told her I needed to ask her a very serious question. She stopped and waited.

I then asked her if she was a Christian, if she had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She said no, but that lately she had been attending church and reading the New Testament Bible.

I asked her if she believed in God. She said yes. Since she believed in God, I asked her if she believed the Old Testament was true. She said yes, and then she sat down on the white beach sand next to my chair. I seemed to have caught her interest. The weather was beautiful. Sunny, 80 degrees, light wind coming in from a crystal clear blue ocean. Her name was Denise and she was wearing a red hat and a red shirt. Denise carried a pleasant smile and a caring, patient attitude.

As Denise believed in the validity Old Testament, I then explained to her how the Old Testament was filled with prophesies of the coming Messiah. I decided to follow in Paul’s footsteps to help open Denise’s eyes…

I asked Denise if she chose the city where she was born? She smiled and said no. I asked her if , before she was born, she chose her family? She smiled again and said no. I asked her if it would be a miracle if, before they were born, someone could choose the city in which they would be born ,and also choose the family where they would come from? She said yes and laughed!

I then told Denise that God used his prophets to announce where the Messiah would be born, the exact city, in fact, and which family line He would come from. She nodded quietly. I then told her that I have located not just one or two, but 425 “Old Testament” prophesies which have come true in the life of Christ!

We slowly went through about a dozen of them. Denise’s eyes watered up under her dark sunglasses. I went on to further explain that the odds of just 48 prophesies coming true in the life of one man isn’t just 1 in 10 or even 1 in 100. The odds of just 48 prophesies coming true in the life of one man is 1 in 10 to the 157 power.

She couldn’t comprehend that so I explained…

“Imagine red poker chips side by side covering every inch of this beach. Then, covering every inch of this island. Now visualize every inch of land in America, Russia, and China covered with these red poker chips. Now picture all the land in the entire world blanketed with red poker chips laying side by side. Every bit of land everywhere on earth is covered with red poker chips.” She pictured this and smiled curiously.

“Now,” I resumed, “on the back of one of these red chips is a fat, white stripe. This uniquely marked poker chip has been placed somewhere in the world with the white stripe down. And there is only on chip like it!”

Denise nodded.

“Now Denise, I’m going to give you just one chance to find that marked poker chip. You get just one chance. You can go anywhere in the world to try to find this poker chip, but remember, you only get one chance and you can only choose one chip.”

Denise smiled and said she could never find he poker chip with the white stripe. She said it would be impossible to find it with one try on his beach, much less the whole world!

I laughed and said, ” Well Denise, those are the same odds of someone’s life fulfilling just 48 prophesies! The life of Christ fulfilled over 400!” After I said this I looked around and noticed a small crowd gathering in the chairs around us. They were politely listening.

Denise became very quiet. Her eyes were fixed on mine. She wiped away a tear.

I then asked her if maybe God was trying to reach her today? She said yes. As she believed in God I decided to go a step further. Like Paul, I had established the legitimacy of Christ as the Messiah by his fulfillment of the prophesies.

Now, like Jesus, I wanted to use God’s laws to open Denise’s heart to understanding the need for Christ. This way of ministry I learned from a terrific preacher named Ray Comfort.

I asked Denise if she feels she is a good person. She said yes. I asked her if I could ask her a few questions so we could see if this was true. She agreed.

I asked Denise if she had ever told a lie, no matter how small or how long ago. She said yes. I said me, too. I asked her what that makes her? She said a liar. I asked her if she had ever stolen anything? She said yes. I asked her what does that make her? She said a thief.

I asked Denise if she had ever used God’s name as a cuss word. She said yes. I told her that was blasphemy and it was very serious. Lastly, I explained to Denise that the 7th Commandment of God is to not commit adultery, but Jesus took this a step further and said that if we even look with lust we have committed adultery in our hearts. I asked Denise if she had ever looked with lust, even just once. She said yes.

I told Denise that by her own admission she was a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart.

I asked Denise that when she stands before God on her judgment day, would she be found innocent or guilty. She quietly said guilty, as tears streamed down her face onto the fluffy, beach sand. I asked her if she would go to heaven or hell.

She whispered, “Hell.”

Her eyes never moved from mine. I said, “Denise, do you really want to go to hell?” She said no.

I asked her if she knew what to do to be able to go to heaven. She said no. I then explained how Jesus paid the fine for her sins… breaking the ten commandments. That through the death and resurrection of Jesus, her sins could be forgiven.

I asked Denise if she would like to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior. She said yes. I asked her to pray. I told Denise she must turn from her sin life, believe Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross to pay the fine for our sins, and He was brought back to life the 3rd day.

This she prayed as she wept.

I asked Denise if she had a Bible. By now a crowd of people had gathered in the chairs around us, most out of curiosity. All were quiet and respectful. Denise said she did have a Bible and she pulled a tiny new testament Bible from her waist pack. It was well worn and about the size of a deck of cards. She stared at her Bible. I told her she needed to read her Bible daily and do what it says.

In my Prince shoulder bag I had bought with me to the beach, I had all my stuff… pencils, paper, books, sunscreen. I also had my favorite Bible. One of my ministry buddies in Alabama owned a Bible I really liked. In fact, I had liked it for a long time and one day I asked him about it. He said he loved it.

It had a soft, squishy, tan leather cover and was a good size to hold easily. His wife sent one to me a week or so later! I was thrilled and I carried this Bible with me everywhere. One day, when I am able to preach, I looked forward to carrying this Bible with me.

Well, I knew my favorite Bible was in my Prince bag as Denise looked at her worn Bible. I reached into my bag and told her I would like her to have my Bible. Though I kind of didn’t want to lose my Bible, I felt God was asking me to give it to Denise. She took it quietly and nodded.

She held it closely against her chest, then she placed it against her face. I saw the leather soak in a tear. I looked around and noticed others had tears in their eyes. At least 30 people had gathered around us. I hadn’t noticed so many. When she first came over it was just me and Denise.

What a wonderful moment in my life. To be used by God in such an unexpected time.

As you read this, please know I am not trying to bring attention to myself. I am not trying to brag or say, “Look at me.” Maybe a few years ago when I was less mature as a Christian, I would have done something stupid like that, but I’ve grown a lot since and I’m working hard to not try to be the center of attention, which, as the baby of the family and a tennis pro, takes some work.

I’m writing about this because I am so excited to see God work at such a random time. And I’m excited because I didn’t shy away from following through on His call.

I am so excited because this doesn’t happen to me very often.

The majority of my time is spent on a tennis court with my students or behind a computer screen building and maintaining what the International Sports Coalition on MSNBC has called “One of the top 100 sports ministries in the world.”

I work 90+ hours a week and seldom have the opportunity to evangelize in person. I coach tennis, I cook for hungry teens, I develop large scale mission trips which reach thousands, I buy and distribute 1000’s of Christian books and Bibles, I train and disciple missionaries… I do many things such as these as I feel I am called to be the support system to help my students evangelize.

Though I love to evangelize and know one day I will be a fulltime preacher, in this season of my life I am called to disciple others and raise the funds to send them into the world to follow the Great Commission.

So as “Mr. Computer” or “Coach Scotty” I seldom am able to have such an awe inspiring opportunity to reach someone for Christ one on one and at such a random time!

On this mission trip to the Bahamas, God opened many doors for ICTA. In fact, Marek and I are still in awe with what happened each day. Both of us watched God work in and through our lives daily to show us He is real and that He is faithful.

I was just sitting on the beach reading my new book by the Newsboys called Shine: Make them wonder what you’ve got; and writing an article for an upcoming newsletter. The weather was perfect, the water crystal clear, the sun was shining., the food at the resort was great… it all seemed so neat. Yet, as nice as it was…

it became so much nicer when Denise met Jesus.

God bless,

Coach Scotty

Editor’s Note: This article was originally written and published in January 2006.

Advertisements

1 Comment »

  1. abidemi said,

    hello
    my name is abidemi enitan i am from west africa i am a junior tennis player and i want to became a christian tennis and if you can help me out i we appreciate this
    the LORD we be with us and if JESUS tarried we will spend many life in world in JESUS name {AMEN}


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: