November 15, 2008

Seven Principles That Must Guide International Christian Tennis Association In Our Mission

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:34 am by Scott Paschal

I loved living in Steamboat, where God dreamed ICTA into my heart...

I loved living in Steamboat, where God dreamed ICTA into my heart...

When remembering the last 10 years, since I dared to breathe life into my big dream, International Christian Tennis Association, in a small coffee shop called Off the Beaten Path in Steamboat Springs, Colorado while talking with my friend, Ryan B., back in ’98… and watching both ICTA and myself grow and mature as we trekked together on an unbelievable journey…

… to envisioning and dream casting the potential for International Christian Tennis Association as I strive to birth a true ministry headquarters complete with offices, player housing, tennis courts, school, staff… and as I strive to develop a professional, yearly tennis tour to the US OPEN for ICTA members & friends…

I would sit in here for hours and vision cast ICTA, while eating fresh pastries and drinking hot chocloate!

I would sit in here for hours and vision cast ICTA, while eating fresh pastries and drinking hot chocolate!

… while also developing a series of interactive ICTA web sites to designed to develop an online community of fellowship… and establishing the maturity of a team of professional tennis players who travel the globe sharing the fame of Jesus at pro tennis events… and connecting ICTA members with medical missions…

…as God is blessing the faithfulness of each person who remained dedicated to gutting it out to seeding and watering International Christian Tennis Association, I want to remind all involved about the only purpose of our mission.

These 7 principles can be developed as the foundation of not only International Christian Tennis Association, but truly any of passionate Christian ministries.

ICTA volunteers, ICTA members, friends, partner ministries, supporters are in this together.

Ryan... 10 years after telling me I should go for it and develop ICTA.

Ryan... 10 years after telling me I should go for it and develop ICTA.

We are in this blessed situation to share His fame, together.

“Remember always to live as Christians should, so that… you are standing side by side with one strong purpose– to share the Good News.”   Philippians 1:27 (LB)

Let’s take a look at the Seven Principles That Must Guide Us In Our Mission. (Thanks to my pastor’s recent sermon for this!)

“One day Jesus was teaching with Pharisees and religion teachers sitting around.  They had come from nearly every village in Galilee and Judea, even as far away as Jerusalem, to be there….  Then some men arrived carrying a paraplegic man on a stretcher.  They looked for a way to get into the house and set him before Jesus.  But when they couldn’t find a way in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof, removed some tiles, and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus!  Impressed by their bold belief, He said, ‘Friend, I forgive your sins.’

Ryan skiing in Steamboat Springs.  Hard core tennis and skiing!

Ryan skiing in Steamboat Springs. Hard core tennis and skiing!

That set the religion scholars and Pharisees buzzing. ‘Who does he think he is?  That’s blasphemous talk!  God and only God can forgive sins.’  Jesus knew exactly what they were thinking and said… ‘Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do this…’

He now spoke directly to the paraplegic: ‘Get up. Take your bedroll and go home.’  Without a moment’s hesitation, he did it- got up, took his blanket, and left for home, giving glory to God the whole way.  The people rubbed their eyes, incredulous-and then also gave glory to God.  Awestruck, they said, ‘We’ve never seen anything like that!'”

This part of the Bibles is full of good stuff!  Let’s look at this through the importance Jesus’ places on the friends…

I. They had a real concern for their hurting friend… the principle of Compassion.

“Then some men arrived carrying a paraplegic man on a stretcher.” (v18)

Conrad has a heart of compassion as he guides me.  Conrad, Stan Smith, and Jim Baker (PTL Ministry) attempted, but failed, to develop ICTA in the late 70s/early 80s.

Conrad has a heart of compassion as he guides me. Conrad, Stan Smith, and Jim Baker (PTL Ministry) attempted, but failed, to develop ICTA in the late 70s/early 80s.

*Key Truth: Every true mission must flow out of God’s love in us.

“We should all be concerned about our neighbor and the good things that will build his faith.” Romans 15:2 (GW)

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1 (NIV)

For me personally, few people gave me compassion after my dad’s suicide.  Those that did care about me were able to guide me towards Jesus.  After 12-13 years I developed a heart to help others in need.  That heart was used by God to seed the ICTA dream.  I think heart is what successful Christian ministries need to have success.  Junior and pro tennis players can develop a heart for others.  Your game can share His fame.  Take some time and ask God to soften your heart.  You will love the result…

2. They took the time to bring him to Jesus… The principle of Action.

“They looked for a way to get into the house and set him before Jesus.” (vs. 19)

*Key Truth: We must put feet to our words or they are just empty words.

“Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17 (NIV)

Over the years I’ve met a lot of junior tennis players who say they want to play professionally.  Yet, they are content to practice tennis just 3-4 hrs a week and play video games 35-40 hrs a week.   God often works when we do.  I have worked over 90 hrs a week since around 2002.  Constantly, I strive to improve ICTA.  My Christian tennis academy players learn to work hard, too.  In my experience success happens when we align ourselves with God and have the faith to do the work he assigns.  Pray God works in your life to strengthen your actions of faith.

ICTA Academy Students and volunteers at ICTA Outreach booth during world's 5th largest pro tournament!  Faith & Actions!

ICTA Academy Students and volunteers at ICTA Outreach booth offering free Christian materials to over 300,000 fans during world's 5th largest pro tournament. Faith & Action!

3. They believed that Jesus would save their friend… the principle of Faith.

“When Jesus saw their faith, He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’ “(vs.20)

*Key Truth: Our faith in God’s ability to save opens the doors of heaven.

“Jesus is able, now and always, to save those who come to God through Him…”  Hebrews 7:25 (GN)

“Without God, it is utterly impossible.  But with God everything is possible.”  Mark 10:27 (LB)

Faith can seem difficult.  Did you know the tennis ball basically disappears from your vision as you begin to swing to hit it?  It’s true.  We swing blind.  Look at pro players in tennis magazine as the hit the ball!!  Their eyes are looking forward to the last spot they were able to track the ball.  Some are better than other, they seem to be staring closer to contact.  But, not one sees contact!  That’s faith.  Yet, it’s faith based on experience.

Do you have a relationship, a close relationship with God?  The more experience you have walking with God through prayer, Bible study, missions… the closer you “track the ball to the striking point”, but at actual “contact” you have to have complete faith “the ball” will be there.  Ask God to help you follow Him closely so your faith is strong to do His will.

4. They didn’t let the barriers discourage them… the principle of Persistence.

“Let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.”  Galations  6:9

*Key Truth: We cannot give up as long as any are lost without Christ.

“… God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin, and no one to be lost.”  2 Peter 3:9 (CEV)

Vakulenko

This WTA player had been suicidal. Persistence reached her. Innovation & faith rebuilt her life. She went on to reach WTA #31 and earned $450,000+.

God always loves me and you, regardless.  That’s important to me.  When I make mistakes, I lean on his never ending love.  Building International Christian Tennis Association has taken persistence, a ridiculous tenacity to continue against all odds.  I have witnessed spiritual warfare at every step.  Any God fearing Christian ministry will be forced to endure.  People count on us not to quit.  So does God.

I am the first one to say I have no business leading an international ministry.  Yet, God picked me.  He is patient and loving as He develops me.  The world needs me and you to stand as His children and share His special news of Salvation through Jesus.  The original disciples were persistent.  You and I can be persistent, too.

5. The dare do something different… the principle of Innovation.

“When they couldn’t find a way in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof, removed some tiles, and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus!”  Luke 5:19 (MSG)

*Key Truth: The message doesn’t change but our methods have to.

“Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out.”  Hebrews 10:24 (MSG)

People change.  Me and you, we change.  Generations come and go… what’s in now will soon be out.  Tennis used to be all about touch and strategy.  Things changed.  I wanted to reach the global tennis fan population, yet what could an idiotic nobody like me actually do!?  My life was the Webster’s dictionary definition of LOSER.  So, I heard about Jesus… and I believed what I learned.

Then, I guess in some ways I took the International Christian Tennis Association dream and dropped it in to Him from the roof.  I get the need for innovation.  Breaking into the tennis cult of tournaments, academies… the good ol’ boys club of tennis… with Jesus as the main focus took innovation.  You and I always need to look for ways of reaching unreached groups of people.

World class tennis players competing on pro tour and sharing Jesus to those they meet.

World class tennis players competing on pro tour and sharing Jesus to those they meet. Innovation meets cooperation.

Whether its with a tennis racket or a chicken sandwich or a bookstore, your life is unique and can be used by God to change the world. Never doubt that.

6. They worked together to get the job done… the principle of Cooperation.

“…they went up on the roof and lowered the man on his mat through the ceiling into the middle of the crowd.”  Luke 5:19 (NCV)

*Key Truth: God isn’t interested in solo players. His work is for a team.

“We work together as partners who belong to God.”  1 Corinthians 3:9 (NLT)

“Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one…”  Ecclesiastes 4:9 (LB)

Unfortunately, I am all about wanting the remote control of my life.  It has taken a ridiculous amount of humbling brought on my life by God to open my eyes to the need for cooperation/friends.  God can use your life to change the world, but first He has to change your sorry butt.  From health to finances to confidence, God literally destroyed mine.  He took away my worldly based self and build a more Godly based person.  I’m still cow poo, but I do see where I’m doing better.

And God needs us to work together.  Others need what we have and we need what they have.  By working together we can do more, be more, reach more, share more.  All that I am doing right now has come through a lot of work and a lot of humbling.  Yet, I do get it.  Jesus came and served.  By serving Jesus was able to change the world and bring us eternal hope.  If you struggle with sharing your life for God’s will to be done, ask Him to step in and how you how to have a world class serve.

7. They were willing to pay for the roof… the principle of Sacrifice.

It's all about sacrifice... time, money, goals... to gain a new vision which keeps us focused on Him.

“We have demanded our rights.  Instead, we would put up with anything in order not to hinder the Good News of Christ in any way.”  1 Corinthians 9:12 (GW)

*Key Truth: To follow Christ will cost you something; but what a reward.

You will never understand what I’ve sacrificed for International Christian Tennis Association.  I can’t put it into words right now.  It’s too much.  Yet, as I look back… it has truly been is nothing.  A friend of mine died when I we were in High School.  I missed him greatly at the time.  Now, he is mainly a distant memory.  His life and death did motivate me to do more with mine.  Still do. The sacrifices I’ve made to follow Christ have been great, but they, too, are distant memories.  They have taught me to do more and be more and to not have let it all be a waste.

Jesus died, He sacrificed.  But, from death came life.  From you sacrificing your idols… you will find a better life.  By focusing on Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, your life will finally have purpose.  You will have a meaning and a reason for existing.  The pain and lonliness will be replaced by Jesus.

International Christian Tennis Association is a cumulation of sacrifices by many.

This ministry is God-blessed.  Of that I have no doubt.

To continue to walk with Jesus it’s important that myself now, and others steering the ship in the future, have a strong focus and determination to maintain these seven Godly principles.

Same could be said for you of your life.

Take some time and write these down.  Keep them with you.  Memorize the scriptures and apply them to your life.  Send me an email if I can help you in any way or if you have questions.

God bless!

Coach Scotty

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