June 28, 2010

Get Out Of The Boat!

Posted in Faith, ICTA Tennis, International Christian Tennis Association, Leadership, Scott Paschal Tennis, Sports Ministry, Tennis Athletes in Action, Tennis Devotionals, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 10:23 am by Scott Paschal

So blessed to reach 300,000+ for Christ at world's 5th largest professional tennis tournament.

To go from a fisherman to fishers of men.

The privilege, the honor, is mind blowing.

Jesus called for Simon and his bro, Andrew, to drop their fishing nets and follow him.  (matt 4:18-20) They did. Me, too!

Mexico, USA, Australia, Canada..ICTA is raising strong Christian leaders to impact nations.

Cool thing here for me to think about…Jesus knew that Simon, Pete, and I were ridiculously flawed.  Yet, he still wanted to bring us into his inner circle.

He didn’t ask for our grades in seminary, didn’t want 10 references, wasn’t interested in checking our credit score…and He def didn’t care if we made Him look good.

He said to drop everything and follow him. We did.

Pete even walked on water to follow Jesus. Lol…check this out…

“During the 4th watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’  they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come out to you on the water.’  ‘Come on,’  He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.”  matt 14:24-25 (niv)

I remember clearly when God called me to “drop the net.”  He put the words…International Christian Tennis Association…in my thoughts.

He then relentlessly developed my imagination to see mission trips to the world’s most famous pro tennis tournaments, a world class Christian tennis academy, pro tennis teams traveling the world sharing their faith, a global membership of believers…

The words…International Christian Tennis Association…were so clear that I dropped everything and my life changed. When you truly see God calling, you know. You might not exactly know what to do next…but you know that you know. 🙂

My wife, Mel (front left), leading 2010 ICTA Pro Team throughout Egypt. The team impacted Russian player, Lera (front right)...and countless others.

For a while I followed God in “my own little boat.”  Then, like Pete, I got out. And, like Pete, I sank, too, after a few steps as doubt crept in.

But, there was no doubt what happened for those first steps out of the boat.

The vision God gave to me, the way God created my new imagination, the “walking on water” steps He gave me…are all very real. Same with my flaws he recruited me with. Very real.

Now, eleven years later… ICTA has reached 2,000,000+ people at famous tennis events on large-scale ICTA Global Outreach mission trips. Our incredible tennis academy program has developed players full time from 23 countries and 16 USA states.

Our ICTA Pro Tennis Team has reached 1000’s for Christ at pro tennis tournaments worldwide from Israel to Italy to Nigeria and beyond! Christian tennis.net gains over 100,000 visitors yearly, this blog has had over 150,000 readers…and ICTA membership has exploded worldwide to reach over 2000 cities in 60+ countries.

People have come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.  Seeds have been planted. In what is a truly Jesus-less sport worldwide, He is becoming known

My mom! It is a blessing for all of us who have Moms who pray for us. I am fortunate, indeed!

Aisa..Buddhism. Middle East..Islam. Globally, tennis is 80% non-Christian. Our harvest field is huge.

The potential to impact nations is fantastic. Political leaders, business owners, celebrities…worldwide…from all religions…they play tennis as their source of recreation and physical renewal and stress relief.

ICTA is raising up teen leaders to impact a global population. ICTA is reaching 100,000’s yearly at famous pro tournaments. ICTA is challenging the hearts and minds of world class athletes worldwide to question their religions they were born into.  And, ICTA is confronting an over-churched, passive American Christianity culture to realize God’s plan for our nation.

Personally, I can tell you from experience that your life will change when you choose to follow Jesus.

And, when you follow, you will have your opportunities to “get out of the boat.”

Let me know how I can help.

I’m here for you guys. I know life is hard.  And I know following Jesus can be tough, too…

It’s tough partly because anytime we get out of a boat…we end up rocking the boat.

Others may become upset because our bold choices are rocking the boat they are routinely sitting in.

Also, we will probably make waves around us, which may disturb others comfortably sitting in their boats.

You may even feel like your boat will tip over as you step out, over the side and into the water.

And, let’s be honest here,  to those watching us…it can seem pretty insane for us to claim we’ve heard Jesus’ call…and are about to walk on water! Lol..!

Scott and Melody Paschal

But, that’s ok.  Keep focused on Jesus.

Focus on the One walking on the water calling you to come to him…!

Step out!  Rock the boat!  Make some waves! Go for it!

Send me an email or give me a call. I am here to help. I do care. You are important.

We can take some time, together, and make some waves..! Lol…

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association, President

Ultimate Impact Tennis Academy, Owner

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June 10, 2008

2008 Fall ICTA Tennis Tour Dates: ICTA Women’s Christian Pro Tennis Team

Posted in Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Faith, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, WTA Tennis tagged , , at 11:21 pm by Scott Paschal

God is using our International Christian Tennis Association Women’s Pro Tennis Team is such special ways, and in so many places worldwide! (click pic up to two times to make the pic really large!)

This wonderful, Christ-centered team of professional athletes was once just a dream of mine! Now, wowww… it’s a reality! God is so good!

Fall 2008 ICTA Pro Team Outreaches… Reaching…

  • 5 Continents
  • 6 Countries
  • 10 Cities
  • 11 Pro Tournaments
  • 80+ Days on Tour
  • 275+ Main Draw WTA Players
  • 350+ Pro Tournament Qualifier Players

For people who enjoy following our International Christian Tennis Association Women’s Pro Tennis Team, and for players looking for updates for the 2008 Fall Tour, here is an update….

Our tentative Fall 2008 Tour schedule is available now. The dates/countries are subject to change, but this is a pretty good guide for what’s to come.

The International Tennis Federation, ITF, has not posted details past Sept. about which cities will host the tournaments. At this time, only the countries are known, though we do have an indicator of the potential cities from the 2007 ITF tournament schedule.

Hotel, airfare, and transportation costs, and which churches and/or ICTA members we partner with for possible host housing will all be factored in to help us determine the finalized dates and locations.

If you are a female pro player (or junior capable of competing at the ITF $10,000-$75,000 level) who wants to be on a team, contact me as soon as possible.

You have to apply and be accepted (takes time), you have to pay base training and travel fees (takes time), you have to sign paperwork and release forms (takes time).

If you want to travel simply as a hitting partner or a support team member, you still must follow the exact same guidelines as everyone else. So contact me at least 4 weeks before a tour date, 6-8 weeks is best.

That said, get your paperwork in early :)!

God bless, Coach Scotty

386 793 0557/ballboy4Jesus@yahoo.com

Argentina:

  • Aug 25- Sept 1 City TBA
  • Sept 1- Sept 7 City TBA

Ukraine (Not a tournament, just hanging out at Anastasia’s house)

  • Sept 10- Sept 20 Kiev

Greece

  • Sept 22-Sept 29 City TBA
  • Sept 30- Oct 6 City TBA

USA

  • Oct 7-10 City TBA

Nigeria

  • Oct 12-19 Lagos
  • Oct 20-27 Lagos

USA

  • Nov 3-Nov 9 City TBA
  • Nov 10- Nov 17 City TBA

Pakistan (cancelled: replaced by Argentina and Ecuador!)

  • Nov 20- December 7 City Argentina
  • Dec 8- Dec 18 City Ecuador

Fall 2007-Spring 2008 ICTA Women’s Pro Team Outreaches… Reaching…

France-Israel-Nigeria-USA-Mexico-Canada (click pic!)

June 5, 2008

Roger Almighty: The Worship of Roger Federer

Posted in ATP Tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, ICTA Tennis, Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, Scott Paschal Tennis, Tennis Devotionals, Tennis Ministry, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:04 pm by Scott Paschal

ICTA Founder, Scott PaschalRoger Federer is arguably the best tennis player in tennis history.

Without question, Federer has been the best player over the last 4 years. Not only has he been an amazing player, but he is someone who seems in his own way to work hard to be a positive ambassador for the sport.

Ask junior tennis players who they want to be like when they grow up, and you often hear them reply, “Roger Federer!”

As kids, most of us probably had our sports idols. Me, I thought Roger Staubach, the Super Bowl winning quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys was amazing.

But, as I grew older, and hopefully wiser, I’ve come to realize people who compete at a high level in their sport, while achieving fame and fortune, are not necessarily worthy of being role models.

We tend to treat celebrities with a type of reverence. I guess it’s human nature. For some reason we readily give these sports idols the reigns to our life, and the ability to influence our history.

Do you want to know how many top 100 ATP players regularly have sex with multiple partners… nightly!? I can name a couple. Should these men advise your son… or daughter… on life lessons?

Scotty w/ Athletes in Action Trainee and ICTA student, Chris.

Chris is leaving soon to play college and is embarking in a life of Christian ministry. What a treasure and a joy to have had Chris as a part-time academy student, and full time friend, these last 6 years.

I remember a few years ago when Federer split with his coach. He said he didn’t need one. So, kids worldwide decided they, too, didn’t need coaches. To be “cool” they decided they were experienced and aware enough to develop themselves into top 10 ATP or WTA players.

Unfortunately, the kids, and the parents who supported their decision, were wrong. And we have an entire generation of junior tennis players coming up who are woefully underdeveloped.

In addition, this generation of junior player learned to believe they were superior in knowledge to tennis coaches.

As incomes dried up, and reputations were damaged… how many good coaches did we lose to this, both now and in the future?

And from this how many kids were robbed of the mentorship and accountability structure provided by a caring coach? Among the most influential people in my life have been the men of God placed in my life who have taught me not just sports, but have taught me about life.

Sure Federer gave several coaches select roles at certain tournaments for short periods of time, and even had coaches here and there for weeks at a time.  But, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m concerned that his overall public theme about coaches and mentorship is damaging.

I don’t know where I would have been without my coaches.

Those coaches in and of themselves by their examples and deeds have taught me how to have a relationship with my Creator, and how to live within an accountability structure, and how to plan and achieve goals, and so much more…

So, to the kid who worshiped Roger Federer and dumped his or her coach, I have to ask if they can see now their choice wasn’t such a good one. And to Roger Federer I would ask if he realizes the difficult impact his choice has had on junior tennis development and beyond….

In addition, kids are highly aware Federer isn’t married, yet travels with his girlfriend worldwide, shacking up in hotels and playing married?  Thus, kids believe it’s cool to do the same….

Honestly, I find it hard to believe she is the one who wants to stay unmarried. She has helped him earn millions of $ for years, and obviously loves him.  And Fed  probably doesn’t want a huge, public breakup where she is left with nothing.  Or a “forced” marriage from pregnancy….

Just get married, Fed.

What are your thoughts on this? Is this the message you believe should dominate the hearts and minds of your sons and daughters?

Should sex outside the bonds of marriage be promoted so outspokenly by one of the world’s highest profile athletes? Does this undermine God’s plan for marriage?

Do you feel good about Roger Federer’s highly publicized actions possibly guiding your children away from God’s views on marriage and sex and family?

Sure, he has his foundation which helps people. And without question, he strives to remain humble and approachable. I think we all really, really like him, right?

That said, I’m not questioning his likableness. Nor am I judging him.  I make mistakes and am the first to say I am not a good person.  I am simply asking you if Roger Federer should be an object of your child’s worship.

Or should you work to replace Roger with Jesus in your child’s heart?

Now, as Roger Federer sees his amazing career slowing, what will be his legacy? Sure, he will be known as among the tennis’ best. But, I’m asking what his real legacy will be.

What will be the Kingdom impact he will have for Christ?

If you are an atheist reading this… you probably want to puke.  Understandable. This may seem ridiculous to you.  That’s ok, your belief that nothing created everything seems ridiculous to me, too

Scott Paschal in Normandy

Fellowship of Christian Athletes Campus President, Emma Hustad, in Normandy, France w/ ICTA Founder, Scott Paschal, and ICTA Women's Pro Team Captain, Rachel Snelen, during 2007 ICTA foundation-laying outreach to Roland Garros

That said, a big question comes up when I talk with kids. I ask, “Who is your idol?”

I listen to what they have to say. Then, I ask them if they understand their choices in life have a huge impact on the direction and growth and quality of not just their tennis, but their lives. And not just their lives, but the lives of others?

Instead of giving my opinion on who they should idolize, I ask them to look at the Bible for guidance.

Like Roger Federer, Scott Paschal is flawed. I have my daily struggles, and I’m the first to say if God hadn’t guided me into Christian ministry, I have no business being here with my life story.

Additionally, I’m not an expert on what every kid should do. But, I am someone who looks to God’s word when I see something I need to improve in my life. Especially when organizing my life priorities!

That said, a question I ask myself is, “Who or what rules my life?” Is it tennis, family, career, ministry friends…?

What about you?

Who sits on the throne of your life?

Is it Roger Federer or Maria Sharapova? Or someone or something else? If so, let’s take a look at what God’s word says.

Jump Down… Off of Your Throne

“(The people of Tyre and Sidon who had sought an audience with Herod because they had been quarreling with him). On the appointed day King Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, ‘This is the voice of a god, not of a man.’ Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an Angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.” Acts 12:21-23 (NIV)

(Pretty gross, huh? Eaten by worms and died! Notice the order here. First eaten, then died. Not too pretty for a King….)

KEY QUESTIONS: “Who or What sits on the throne of your life? What is my priority?”

1. Is it self?

2. Is it success?

3. Is it stuff?

*A Man Called Doubting Thomas

“Jesus said he was going to Bethany and be with Lazarus even though the disciples warned him that some of the Jews tried to take his life the last time He was there). Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of disciples, let us also go that we may die with him’ .” John 11:16 (NIV)

“Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it’.” John 20:24-25 (NIV)

1. Didymus means twin.

“Thomas (called Didymus)….”

2. Thomas had the courage to go and die with Jesus.

“…let us go that we may die with him.”

3. Yet Thomas lacked the faith to believe in Jesus.

…I will not believe it.”

*Our Personal Struggles with Duplicity

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify you hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8

1. In some ways all Christians are two different persons

“I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin.” Romans 7:22-23 (LB)

2. Our greatest struggle is within

“So you see how it is: my new life tells me o do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin.” Romans 7:24a (LB)

3. The danger is falling back to our selfish, carnal nature.

“Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature?” Romans 7:24b (LB)

*Hopping Off of the Throne

“Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free.” Romans 7:24-25 (LB)

1. First, I must determine who or what sits on the throne of my life.

“So why do you call me ‘Lord’, when you won’t obey me?” Luke 6:46 (NLT)

2. Then, I must replace whatever is sitting on my throne with Jesus.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of man who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

3. Third, I must determine that Jesus Christ will be all of all of my life.

” Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus first appeared to them. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hands into his side, I will not believe it’. A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God! Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.” John 20:24-29

Closing Thoughts: A Wise Person Once Said…

“If Jesus Christ is not your LORD of ALL He is not your LORD at ALL!!

Can I say something that I think Roger Federer would be the first to agree with?

Federer is just a man, a regular guy with regular struggles. A guy who happens to be a celebrity. He isn’t in any way, shape, or form an answer to or a replacement for… Jesus.

Junior tennis players are a solitary bunch. They seldom benefit from a team atmosphere. Mom and Dad dedicate weekends to tournament travel. Attending church is forgotten. Sunday’s are dedicated for tournament semifinals and finals.

Scott Paschal in Africa

My student, Anastasia Kharchenko, and I spoke to the media/TV daily about Jesus while in Africa. Ana won 11 matches in a row to win 2 ITF Pro Circuit events in 2 weeks, which gave us a large platform to share our faith in Christ.

The family bond is filled with discouragement and pain and envy and emptiness….

I have seen so many divorces, eating disorders, heartaches, etc. caused from Christian families who believe in Jesus, but do not follow Jesus, and have placed tennis as their purpose of worship.

I am well aware of the spiritual battle parents and junior players are entrenched within. As I’m contacted from people worldwide, I work to bring them back to a singular focus on Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, with nothing added or taken away. Just Jesus.

Invading my life/house right now, and eating all of my food :), are my amazing tennis and missions academy students representing 7 countries. My heartbeat is to teach them to focus on Jesus as their source of purpose.

These kids, and their parents, are a point of encouragement for me as I seek His Kingdom. I treasure this time in my life. Yet, the kids and their families are not what I ground myself in. I strive to base my life in God’s word, to gain Kingdom principles.

Sure, tennis is important. But, tennis is simply the tool God has given us to share our faith and resources. Tennis is not the source of life or happiness. Tennis is just a tool, a Kingdom tool for following the Great Commission as written in Mathew 28 of your Bible.

My prayer is tennis fans and players worldwide would begin to understand the importance of placing Jesus on the throne of their lives. Tennis worshiped is destructive. Tennis as a Kingdom tool is constructive. Jesus must be clearly placed in view and made known as the source of life within your world view.

ICTA Women's Pro Team member, WTA ranked Anastasia Kharchenko, in Africa after winning match. Each precious child received free Christian gifts from ICTA.

When this happens, life begins to come into focus. And you will see your reason.

Roger Federer will soon be gone from the pro tennis scene. Another generation of kids will flock to worship another tennis great.

Federer will be old news to them. His ways, on and off the tennis court, will no longer be relevant.

That said, today please consider who and/or what is guiding your life. Consider the eternal consequences of your choices. Are you choosing to follow a trend? A sports legend? Or Jesus?

On the tennis court, Federer is mighty.

Yet, as amazing as he is as a tennis player, he is simply a person like you and me.

Jesus Christ is the only One worthy of worship.

He is the One that it is an honor to serve.

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

May 25, 2008

ICTA Christian Tennis Association Party @ Disney Hollywood Studios MGM

Posted in anastasia kharchenko, Athletes in Action Tennis, Christian Discipleship, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Camps, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, melody snelen, Parent Coach Relationship, rachel snelen, scott paschal, Teamwork, Tennis Devotionals, Tennis Ministry, Typical Parent Visit to ICTA, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 11:59 pm by Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association headquarters is based in Florida, and pretty near Disney World. During some down time in between ICTA mission trips and academy semesters, we decided to visit Disney Hollywood Studios!

What a great time we all enjoyed.

Pictured here to the right is me and Lindsey (she’s also pictured above pushing me in a wheelchair). Lindsey’s Dad, Kevin (pictured above) is my good friend of many years.

He is a medical doctor, and a solid 5.0 tennis player. I bought him his first Bible. What a privilege.

We are so alike it is ridiculous… same age, same weight, same height. God brought us together years back, and that’s when I met Lindsey! I’ve known her since she was just a little squirt in elementary school….

Now, Lindsey is a full time student at my academy and my house is pretty much a second home for her.

As Kevin and I are so much alike… and since I’ve known Lindsey for so long… I’m basically an adopted uncle.

Honestly, it is such a special honor to be involved in shaping and molding the lives of the next generation.

I know God placed special people in my life when I was a teen, and now it feels awesome to be able to be used by God to give back!

While some of my academy students won’t be here til the summer semester begins in a week or so, several are here and we all enjoyed hanging out together.

Anastasia Kharchenko (on left w/ Melody Snelen) is back home with me getting some rest after many weeks on the ITF Pro Circuit competing in pro tennis tournaments, and serving on the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team.

Ana is my “adopted daughter” from Ukraine and a new Christian. She loves Jesus so much and wants to share her knowledge of Him to other players on the pro tour.

This year, 18 year old Anastasia earned her WTA pro ranking, and won two ITF Pro tournaments. And a week or so ago she played a player ranked around WTA #180 and lost a close one… 6-2, 7-5, which gave her some confidence she can compete at that level.

Currently, Ana is on her way to South Carolina to begin a 6 week tennis and missions tour with the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team that will take them from South Carolina to Texas to Kansas to Boston. Please keep them in your prayers as they seek to share Christ with those placed in their path.

This neat guy is Aussie, a nickname we gave him because he’s from… you guessed it, Australia.

Aussie is awesome! What a special, unique personality he is. Aussie’s dad is a pastor, and they own a farm. I’ve coached Aussie full time for about a year.

He and Mark (Mexico) share a room in my house and have become like brothers. They have certainly formed a bond that will last a lifetime.

Aussie has amazing parents. They love our entire tennis/missions academy program, and are thrilled Aussie has grown in so many wonderful ways. Here is an email they sent me last week…

Hi Scotty,

Thank you so much for your email. Our communication with you is way overdue..sorry! We pray for you all daily. David is missed here also, but know without a doubt that he is where the Lord wants him, knowing he is being very well looked after, challenged and guided in life. Thankyou for all that you are doing for him and each of the others. We love to hear about everyone at ICTA.

We know David has mentioned this to you, but would like to ask if it is OK if his sister, Tish, can come and stay with you for a few days. They will fly into Daytona Beach… Tish is so looking forward to meeting you all – I hope having two Aussies isn’t too stressful for you!!

At your convenience, we would love to hear of David’s on and off-court progress, and any ways we can encourage and guide him from a distance.

Thank you again so much.

God bless you and all you do.
Rich & Eilie

So great to have healthy, solid Christian parents sending such special emails of support. It is incredible for me to realize International Christian Tennis Association is having such a discipleship impact for the Kingdom!

Pictured here is ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team captain, Rachel Snelen (left), with “Lucy.”

Lucy’s story is amazing! She came to me not quite a year ago… and she was highly suicidal. Coaches, and life, had treated her pretty horribly.

Boy have things changed! Lucy is on-fire for life! Every single aspect of her young personality has improved, and she is an inspiration to all of us.

She is even an inspiration to her atheist Dad! He is amazed at the transformation taking place in her! In fact, three weeks ago he flew in from Japan. We talked at length through a translator. He asked me to coach Lucy for the next 5-6 years, and was so grateful for my work. I was almost in tears…

He is even interested in investing in condos at a tennis facility we build, if ICTA ever builds one. Since he owns a bunch of Japanese restaurants in South America, I take his investment interest as a great compliment.

(pic of me looking at Walt Disney, one of my favorite people and examples!)

It has taken me nearly 10 years to build International Christian Tennis Association.

As I look around for the fruit of my labor, I have to look first to my academy/missions kids. What a treasure they have been in my life.

Generally, I’m not a person with much patience, and I prefer to have plenty of space around me. But, God invaded my life through kids from 15 countries and 14 US States… kids who have camped out in my house… and ate all my food… and constantly hang around me… and God taught me so much through them I can’t begin to tell you in a simple journal entry.

10 years is a long time. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve grown a lot. Hopefully, I’ve helped some people along the way.

Whatever God has coming up for me in the future, whether it’s with International Christian Tennis Association or not, the last 10 years have been good. Like I said, I’ve learned a lot.

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

May 21, 2008

Justine Henin’s Shocking Retirement: WTA Flaws Exposed by Tennis Star

Posted in christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Tennis Ministry, International Christian Tennis Association, Lindsey Davenport, Maria Sharapova, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Tennis Devotionals, Tennis Ministry, Uncategorized, WTA CEO Larry Scott, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:01 pm by Scott Paschal

Justine Henin, the #1 ranked WTA player, launched a huge, international statement directly at the WTA on Wednesday by quitting as a professional tennis player.

Without warning, the tennis world’s #1 female player looked straight in the WTA’s eyes and forced them to finally listen to her.

Never before in the history of women’s professional tennis has the #1 player walked away!

Magazines and newspapers and TV shows are quickly spreading the “shocking” news…

I wasn’t shocked.

Over and over during the last year, Justine kept telling the world she was getting fatigued.

The tennis gods refused to listen….

And it seems they’ve refused to learn, as well. Instead of looking inward to see what responsibility they have in this terribly embarassing situation, they smoothly moved Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic to the front of the line.

I wonder if they asked young, unsuspecting Ana Ivanovic if she wanted a blindfold and a cigarette.

As much as Venus Williams changed women’s tennis, Justine Henin also brought hope. She reminded us all that heart is important.

She was a tiny giant among towering tennis superpowers… such as Lindsey Davenport, Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jancovic….

The tiny giant brought the tiny female players worldwide back to tennis… the ones who had became discouraged and quit when height took over the sport. Yet, our tiny giant needed rest, and none was allowed by the tennis gods.

When a player becomes injured, the WTA protects their ranking while they heal from injury, thus when the player recovers she can pick up where she left off. I had written an article recommending the WTA allow a player the same protection for mental fatigue recovery, or physical recovery before a major injury occurs.

The tennis gods refused to listen….

Justine Henin’s Mom died when Justine was in juniors.

The tennis gods refused to listen…

She didn’t speak to her Dad for 8 years.

The tennis gods refused to listen…

I remember when she got married. I also remember last year’s divorce.

The tennis gods refused to listen…

Recently, instead of offering players more freedom to rest, the WTA chose to force top players to attend more tournaments by stiffly fining players who pulled out of events.

The tennis gods also made Indian Wells and Miami (world’s 5th and 6th largest pro tournaments) mandatory for players to enter. These two 2-week long events are played back to back.

Immediately after announcing her retirement, Justine Henin demanded her name be completely removed from the WTA ranking list! That statement was huge. Embarrassingly to the WTA, their heavily marketed Maria Sharapova was moved to the #1 spot without having earned it.

For once in a long, long time the tennis gods have been forced to listen….

Justine Henin’s statement is huge.

Professional tennis is about $. Anyone who thinks differently is clueless. The WTA and ATP worship the almighty dollar. Image is everything and players are simply the product. They are cattle to be used to feed the masses.

Troy Aikman, the Hall of Fame quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and winner of 3 Super Bowls, blasted the NFL in the ’90s by saying he believes the NFL players are nothing more than prostitutes for the NFL….

Could the same be said by female professional tennis players towards the WTA… that players are simply prostituted to the masses as a source of entertainment and revenue?

The WTA seems to claim to be an organization designed to represent the players’ needs. Is this happening?

The #1 WTA player in the world, and arguably one of the best female players in history, quit!

She demanded her name be removed from the WTA rankings!

As the WTA’s public relations people quickly move into position to keep the public from seeing the real issues, tennis fans worldwide will begin to see the WTA heavily pimp their next prostitu.., excuse me 😉 … promote their next player, which looks to be Ana Ivanavic.

I have little doubt Ana Ivanavic will be gone at 23 or 24 years of age. Her body will be broken down, her mind exhausted, her spirit broken. Like Kim Clysters and Anastasia Myskina, she will crave a real life and love from people who treat her like a human being.

So, what is there, really, with the WTA? New players simply replacing the old? What do tennis fans truly invest in… why even bother falling in love with a WTA player’s game when you know she’s soon worn out?

The #1 female player in the world just quit! She walked away and asked to have her name removed from the WTA computer rankings! She said “no” to millions of $ in prize money, said “no” to millions of $ in sponsor money….

The Women’s Tennis Association must stand up and take notice of their champion walking away, and they must be willing to take some responsibility for their part in her decision.

I’m no brain surgeon, but I do know that when a champion even hints they are tired, they should be listened to and help should be given. When a champion hints changes should be made to help the other athletes, they should be listened to.

When a young person is in trouble, those in a position to help should help.

Take away the facade of tennis.

A kid was hurting. Her mother is dead. She was estranged by her father for 8 years. Last year, her marriage fell apart in divorce. Basically, her only family is her long time coach, Carlos.

Young girls worldwide chase the dream of becoming the #1 WTA player in the world….

Why? Is it for fame and fortune? If so, they are chasing a rainbow’s pot of gold.

The vast emptiness at the top of women’s pro tennis is a wasteland of pain, isolation, and doubt. For the very few who reach financial security, it comes with a cost. Possibly a cost too steep to pay.

What is the answer? Easy.

Jesus Christ.

Without question, placing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of her life will change the lenses from which life is viewed.

It seems the WTA has worked diligently to allow a player’s sex life and sexual preferences take Center Court.

Yet, if one mentions Jesus Christ, or even the spiritual needs of players from all religions, the WTA gods quickly cry foul.

Did you know not even one Christian Chaplain is officially allowed in players’ areas at tournaments? Why? How can this be?

We talk all day about the technical and tactical game of tennis. We discuss nutrition and fitness. Mental training is a hot topic. But, as much, if not more, than any of these is a player’s spiritual fitness.

Without question, Chaplains from every major religion must be allowed access to the players, coaches, tournament staff, volunteers, media, and fans who want them there.

Terrorism, isolation, mafia, constant worldwide travel, lack of family stability… WTA and ATP players need guidance…. spiritual guidance. And the guidance shouldn’t come from the tennis gods….

When will the giants of tennis past step up and lead? When will our current and former Grand Slam champions reach out for the next generation with the message of hope that is Christ? When will Jesus take center court in tennis?

In America, when will hiding behind political correctness to protect your reputation be a thing of the past? Christians worldwide are being martyred at record pace… they’re being murdered daily for their faith in Jesus… they’re being tortured… and they refuse to back down!

That’s how the 12 disciples did it. That’s how Jesus did it.

Yet, in tennis, including past American tennis greats, we have a bunch of geldings worrying about their reputations.

It’s not supposed to be easy and it’s not supposed to be fun and it’s not supposed to be cool. You are a Christian, a follower of Christ… you are heavily involved in a spiritual battle… you have work to do.

Stop hiding, stop whining, stop being politically correct.

Stop trying to be “cool” hoping your “coolness” will “win people” for Christ. It doesn’t work. Worldly techniques can’t effectively fight a spiritual battle.

Tell this lost generation about Jesus. Start sharing the Gospel. The Holy Spirit will convict those you speak to. Start using your influence to bring the name of Jesus to all people groups worldwide.

Learn to understand how a small band of Jewish brothers sent the name of Christ global. Learn to understand how followers of Christ in Rome stood strong, spoke of their faith in Jesus, refused to waver in intense persecution… and conquered the most powerful nation of their day.

Honestly, I wonder if Jesus would be sitting in a box seat being celebrated during the US OPEN.

Without question, I understand I’m a little nobody in ministry and in tennis. Let me make that clear. I’m in no way the authority on anything, and I can see much improvement I need to do in my own walk with Christ.

And maybe in some ways I’m not seeing the whole picture here. But, that said, you can’t really make much of an argument that I haven’t worked my tail off with the resources and knowledge, however limited, I’ve had at my disposal.

I make mistakes, and I’ve worked to learn life lessons. I’m not even hinting at any type of perfection in my life choices.

What I am saying is when a large platform is offered, Jesus Christ should be the One being celebrated.

Players, coaches, fans… former Grand Slam Champions… should make Jesus’ name and story the focal point. Ask yourself why “sexual orientation” is all the rage, yet Jesus is viewed with hate and anger.

Justine Henin’s retirement shocked the world. Yet, there is a bigger picture here.

The tennis world is void of meaning. The purpose of tennis is void of life. $ and power last just so long, then a need for meaning becomes crystal clear.

If you have influence in tennis, you can have a real purpose beyond yourself.

And, if you are a nobody like me, you can have influence to. Just read the Bible and strive to do what it says.

It’s really that simple.

Read the Bible and strive to do what it says…

God bless,

Coach Scotty

International Christian Tennis Association

April 28, 2008

How to Kick Satanic Tail 101: Scott Paschal’s Rediculously Raw Look @ What Should Be Obvious to Every Christian

Posted in Africa Tennis, Athletes in Action Tennis, ATP Tennis, Benin City Tennis, Christian Discipleship, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Devotional Videos, Christian Tennis Outreach, Cult Buster, Demon Possessed, Faith, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Tennis Ministry, International Christian Tennis Association, International Tennis Ministry, Nigeria Tennis, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Serena Williams, Serena Williams Nude, Sex Slave Trade, Sexual Abuse Tennis, Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles, Sports Ministry, Tennis Devotionals, Tennis Ministry, Tennis Missionary Training Class, Uncategorized, Venus Williams Pregnancy Scandal, WTA CEO Larry Scott, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:59 am by Scott Paschal

As a teen, I had a few pretty straightforward questions…

“Why did my Christian parents divorce?”

“Why did my Christian dad commit suicide in my car during the weekend of my 17th birthday?”

“If God is so good, why is my dad dead?”

“Why do Christians talk about how great Heaven is… but no one wants to die!?”

“Why do Church kids treat me like crap?”

As my young life was being pounded, I asked these questions to people at my church.

(pic of me in Benin City, Nigeria w/ friends during ICTA Africa Outreach)

I quickly learned church people had no idea what to say. Mainly, they would give me blank, troubled, or dirty looks.

I was hurting and needed someone to step up to the plate and go to bat for me. I needed real, authentic answers.

Unfortunately, the people I spoke with had not been educated in spiritual warfare or the defense of Christianity in any substantial way, thus were at a loss to know how to guide me.

I was a lost, confused, hurting kid doing what he could to find answers… I didn’t turn to drugs, sex, alcohol… I turned to the church, and I was terribly let down.

I thought the church could help me uncover the answers, instead the church helped me uncover its own lack….

Can I say something raw here?

Do you, personally, have any idea why you are Christian?

I mean, do you have any real facts about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, or; are you simply a “believer” because your parents, friends, or pastor basically led you down that road without giving you the opportunity to question anything?

If that was the case, what if your parents had taught you to howl to a full moon and drink gopher blood to celebrate the birth of the Goomba god?  See my point here, right?

If you are a follower of Christ, thank God! I am so glad and thankful.

But, honestly, just being a “follower” isn’t enough, and it’s not getting the job of advancing His Kingdom done.  You’re in the middle of a spiritual war…

By knowing Jesus, you will understand the spiritual battle you are in, whether you currently see it or not.

And that is what this blog is all about… learning powerful aspects of how Jesus teaches us to advance His Kingdom on earth.

Most of you who know me have a clear understanding that I tend to wear my thoughts and emotions on my sleeve.

Much as it was easy to read Andre Agassi’s emotions as he played tennis, so it is with me in ministry….

In 20+ years as a tennis coach and nearly 10 years as the founder of a sports ministry, I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff, really bad stuff.

Basically, I’ve seen Satan running unchecked in tennis worldwide, and, as I began preaching and speaking to churches and groups, I’ve seen Satan masterfully taking control of the church as well.

That said, this fool, without a formal seminary education, or really any formal ministry schooling at all, is going Martin Luther on some satanic “Christian habits” which are trying to keep your eyes shut, ears closed, and hearts cold.

With the tenacity of Nadal, the raw honesty of Agassi, and the serve of Sampras, I hope to wake and shake up those people God places in my path. If you don’t like what I’m writing and teaching, honestly, I don’t care. I’m not doing this for your approval. And, honestly, you might be part of the problem….

The following is a summary of what I’m going to try to explain in How to Kick Satanic Tail 101. The full scoop will be laid out in its entirety over at ICTADevo2008 , when I’m finished writing The Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles.

For now, tell your friends that I’m beyond sick and tired of Christians who have no idea, first of all, of why they are even Christian; second of all, they aren’t being taught squat about how to not get blown to bits in the spiritual war; and thirdly, refuse to take their heads out of the trendy “Christian sand” in fear of offending someone heading straight to hell.

Below is the outline I’ve created to help get those interested in advancing His Kingdom and being successful in the Spiritual War better prepared to follow the Great Commission as written by Mathew in chapter 28.

How to Kick Satanic Tail 101:

The Nature of the War

Two Opposing Kingdoms

Satan’s Headquarters

Battle of Angels

The Weapons and the Battlefield

The Basis of Our Victory

Our Defensive Armour

The Full Armour of God

The Girdle of Truth

The Breastplate of Righteousness

The Shoes of the Preparation of the Gospel

The Shield of Faith

The Helmet of Salvation

The Sword of the Spirit

The Unprotected Area

Weapons of Attack

Taking the Offensive

The Weapon of Prayer

The Weapon of Praise

The Weapon of Preaching

The Weapon of Testimony

Preparing for the Battle

The Leader

The Passion

The Strategy and Tactics

The Plan

The Wounded

War Zone

Clarity

Purpose

Focus and Intensity

Defections

Injury & Death

MASH Units

Victory & Defeat

My hope is someone somewhere will benefit from my efforts to bring this outline to life.  The longer I’m in ministry, the more I see the vast need to equip Christians to understand spiritual warfare, or what I tend to call it… the Battle of the Great Commission.

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

April 17, 2008

Goat Intestine Soup

Posted in anastasia kharchenko, Athletes in Action Tennis, Benin City Tennis, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Outreach, ICTA, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, melody snelen, scott paschal, Teamwork, Tennis Athletes in Action, Tennis Ministry tagged , , , , , , at 7:04 pm by Scott Paschal

ICTA Founder, Scott PaschalWho knew God had planned for me to meet, tear down walls, and build bridges with two people in ministry that I hadn’t particularly gotten along with very well before! I’ll explain…

The end of last week and early this week ICTA Women’s Pro Team Outreach journied 210 miles south on I95 to the Ballenisles/USTA $25K Women’s Pro Circuit Event being held at the Ballenisles Country Club, home of Serena Williams.

Our mission team was already pretty tired from having been on the road for most of the last couple of months traveling to as far away as Africa, to locations in the USA such as Birmingham, Alabama and Jackson, Mississippi.

As such, we had basically canceled the Palm Beach Outreach so everyone could rest, go to church, and recharge their batteries. Traveling constantly isn’t easy. It’s hard for anyone.

That said, on Saturday… the day of check-in for the tournament… I felt God overwhelming my thoughts and urging me to go to Palm Beach Gardens. I’ve been in ministry for a while, and I know when God does this we needed to go, even if I have no idea of His plans.

I asked Melody Snelen and Anastasia Kharchenko, two of my longtime students and team members of the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team, if they would go with me. They agreed, quickly packed their suitcases, loaded the van with outreach supplies (bibles, Christian books, ICTA T-Shirts, etc.), and we were soon on our way. Sign-in was between 3pm and 6pm, we had to hurry as the time was nearly 2pm!

Along the way I felt God leading me to make a renewed connection in person with a ministry we hadn’t visited with in a while. From following His lead, God quickly provided over $6500 worth of Christian books and Bibles and CDs at a substantially discounted price to go with what we had already packed for distribution during the outreach.

We loaded the van with the new outreach supplies and on we went, arriving in time for sign-in with just 6 minutes to spare….

Though Ana was entered in the event, that wasn’t why we went. I told her she didn’t even need to play.

Ana’s body was still recovering from her match with former WTA #14, Elina Bovina, who is currently ranked in the 300s during her comeback from a foot injury.

Their marathon match in Alabama went to a tie break in the 3rd set with Elina taking the victory. Both girls were completely physically and emotionally exhausted from their encounter.

Elina pulled out of her upcoming tournaments, and Ana’s entire body was sore for the next 4 days to the point she couldn’t even train.

As we were not in Palm Beach Gardens for my players’ tennis, why did God want us there? I had no idea, but I did know something was going to happen.

After sign-in, Mel and Ana practiced for about an hour. And we gave another player and her coach/husband a book and a Bible…. Pretty routine stuff, so far.

After practice, we sat outside at the club and looked around at how amazingly perfect the facility looked, and we talked about it in comparison to poverty stricken Benin City, Nigeria where we had recently spent a few weeks.

I remembered one situation in Nigeria when we had basically ran out of the food we had brought from Florida. The hotel had a restaurant, think 3rd world here, which Mel and Ana visited to look at the menu. They discovered the soup of the day was made of goat intestines….

Both girls were pretty grossed out! You expect to hear about chicken or beef or potato soup, but not really about the intestines of a goat!

After laughing for a while, we left the club, ate dinner at a Chinese buffet, and checked into our housing.

On Day 2 in Florida the rains came! The day for tennis was basically washed out. But, the opportunity was prime for ministry outreach! Ana grabbed some books (Captured by Grace by David Jeremiah) and Bibles (a Bible magazine called Refuel) and began distributing them to anyone who wanted one… or two… or three….

Soon after, I was approached by a guy who thanked me for the gifts. Our tennis missionaries had given ICTA Outreach gifts to him and the entire group he was with. I quickly recognized him as someone I didn’t really much like, but, honestly, didn’t really know.

As we talked I felt God urging me to build bridges, that it was time to move forward and I needed to let the past go, and that God had much work to be completed and my idiotic ego was standing in the way. I soon offered well over 100 books and Bibles to him. He graciously accepted… and walls began crumbling down.

The next day he and a friend, whom I also recognized as someone I didn’t particularly like due to past experiences, from his group watched Ana’s second match of the day when she played Sheika Uberoi. After the match I invited them to meet with me. They eagerly agreed and we sat and talked. Again, walls came tumbling down as Jesus came into full view.

I enjoyed my time meeting with Ryan Fitzwilliams and Lindsay Sullivan. I enjoyed God helping me see them for who they are in Him.

Ryan coaches at a Catholic school, has an outreach to the pro tennis tour (mainly the men), and has a growing sports ministry called Match Point Ministries. Lindsay is nurturing the newly forming tennis aspect of Athletes in Action.

As we talked together, I felt God showing me that this was the reason He needed me in Palm Beach Gardens.

The entire visit was a big band-aid covering and healing old wounds. I shared the history of the International Christian Tennis Association (even from way back in the late 70s/early 80s when it was someone elses’ big dream!). I explained how I began in ministry and why I feel so strongly about championing different causes. And we talked about the future of International Christian Tennis Association…

We talked about mistakes made in the past, both mine and others. We discussed the need to not have competitiveness towards each other in ministry. And God allowed us each to begin, again.

I enjoyed being able to spend time with both Lindsay and Ryan. I’m glad God was able to use Ana to reach them as she was giving away ICTA Outreach gifts, and that through the faithful missionary dedication she showed… a God appointed meeting happened.

After we visited, Ryan and I loaded up his Toyota with ICTA Outreach supplies, and shook hands. I felt like God’s work had been accomplished and had a total peace that Ana, Mel, and I could now begin driving back to Palm Coast.

Sometimes in ministry, people can become possessive and competitive. I believe it is one of Satan’s tools to slow the Great Commission. I am as guilty of it as anyone. Especially when I first started. Now, I realize the importance of understanding that competition between ministries is a first sign of immaturity and insecurity in the ministry leader’s personal walk with Jesus.

Possibly all pastors/ministers go through it. I know I did. By nature, I am ridiculously competitive and like to kick butt in everything I do! But, now I focus my energy on kicking satanic tail… and part of winning against Satan means swallowing pride, apologizing, forgiving, and working together….

The main point of ministry in tennis… of seeing tennis as a harvest field for Christ… is to reach and disciple the lost. Millions of people from religions and cultures worldwide have no interest in Christianity, yet love tennis. Tennis is our common bond.

The field of work for ICTA and AIA and Match Point is intense. Tennis is without question the most difficult ministry field in all of sports.

As such, when someone in tennis is reached or is genuinely seeking Christ, they need to see a unified voice for Christ from caring ministries. They need and deserve to see all of us truly interested in putting self below Jesus to shine as one light in places God has assigned us to harvest and shepherd.

Through this divinely appointed meeting, I believe Lindsay, Ryan, and I have just had our serve cranked up by Coach Jesus, and are ready to look for Satan’s short returns we can smack into the open court for winners.

My heartbeat is for people worldwide to see Christ being reflected by the willingness our three ministries show to grow in unity; to support, lift up, and stand by each other as one body… and to pray for and offer grace to peers who continue to struggle with unforgiveness and competitiveness and jealousy….

Last Saturday night at Ballenisles Country Club after practice, as Ana, Mel, and I were thinking back to International Christian Tennis Association’s 3 week mission trip to Africa, I remembered how I laughed when Ana and Mel first told me the hotel restaurant in Nigeria was serving Goat Intestine Soup. They were grossed out, and it was funny to watch their expressions! I was pretty grossed out, too.

And now as I type I realize that as we sat on court after practice Saturday evening in Palm Beach Gardens and talked, I had absolutely no idea of God’s plans for the trip. We weren’t even planning to be there! Yet, God knew His plans. He is in control.

And He clearly showed He needs a unified voice for Him in tennis!

As my players and I left the tournament and drove north on I95, I felt a complete peace about the purpose and success of this last minute God breathed, God ordained ICTA outreach… I also smiled…

I felt God telling me that when pro tennis players and tennis fans, Christian or not, from countries worldwide think of Him they need to see a unified body of people who truly love Him reflecting everything that He is, that we should all be “serving” our best stuff that He has coached us in…

…and that we shouldn’t be “serving” Goat Intestine Soup!

God bless,

Scott Pachal

International Christian Tennis Association

April 2, 2008

The Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles

Posted in Christian Tennis Devotional Videos, Christian Tennis Outreach, Demon Possessed, Faith, ICTA Tennis, International Christian Tennis Association, Love, Scott Paschal Tennis, Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles, Tennis Devotionals, Tennis Ministry tagged , , , , , at 11:35 am by Scott Paschal

Just a note to let our ICTABlog family know things are happening and the party is rockin’ over at ICTADevo2008.

The Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles are in full swing! If you don’t know Spooky Naked Guy you are missing out! I know, I know… Spooky Naked Guy and “the party is rockin” might not sound too darn Christian, but it is and you’ll see what I mean when you cruise on in to ICTADevo2008!

ICTADevo2008 is an online hangout for people to enjoy Christian tennis devotionals… stories… videos, and it currently has approx 300 devoted readers after 3 months. Spooky Naked Guy, SNG, is based on a section of Luke 8, which has an incredible ability to impact my life and yours.

ICTADevo2008 readers have been clamoring for more Spooky Naked Guy Chronicles, so two more have just been introduced with a 3rd coming this week! What a blast to create these stories…

  • March 16, Spooky Naked Guy Answers Roll Call
  • April 1, Spooky Naked Guy Goes Hog Wild

ICTADevo2008 began the day after Christmas 2007. This online hideaway has gained a life of its own. People have contacted me telling of how SNG’s stories have applied directly to their life story, which, if you know me, you know gets me really, really excited and inspired.

One youth pastor mentioned he wants to make a stage play of the SNG Chronicles for his church when I’m finished writing the series! A mom said her son is making a storyboard of drawings w/ scriptures which follows Spooky Naked Guy on his journey!

And speaking of taking on a life of its own… let me give you some incredible numbers about ICTABlog….

Remember, in July 2007 we kicked off this new blog format. That month we averaged 1 visitor a day… probably my mom :).

The next month, August 2007, ICTABlog welcomed 446 visitors.

849 readers stopped by in November 2007. December 2007 brought 1547 visits!

And… (drum roll please)… March 2008 witnessed ICTABlog enjoying 2494 visits… approx 80 readers a day!

My original goal/hope was to gain maybe 200-300 visitors a month. Now, we get those numbers in 3-4 days and that simply blows my mind. God is growing awareness to important issues through International Christian Tennis Association.

Surf on over to visit Spooky Naked Guy! His story is amazing and awe inspiring and worth the price of admission…. which, as always, is free 🙂

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

February 11, 2008

ICTA Christian Pro Tennis Team Journies to Nigeria

Posted in Africa Tennis, anastasia kharchenko, Athletes in Action Tennis, Christian Discipleship, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, Christian Tennis Ukraine, Coaching Articles, Cult Buster, Florida Tennis, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Tennis Ministry, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, IMG, International Christian Tennis Association, Junior Tennis, Leadership, melody snelen, Nigeria Tennis, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Tennis Missionary tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:16 pm by Scott Paschal

The ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team is preparing for a 2 tournament tour of Nigeria, Africa.

Leaving this Wednesday, February 13, this special five member Christian tennis team will fly to Atlanta and then on to Lagos Nigeria arriving in the morning. From Lagos the team will fly to Benin City, Nigeria where they will stay for 2 weeks.

I’m going, too!

We have started a blog for you to follow the action in Nigeria. Click here. dscf3856.jpg

In other ICTA news, I thoroughly enjoyed Sarasota, Florida this past week as my student and “adopted daughter” Anastasia Kharchenko competed in a tournament in which the winner receives a main draw wildcard into an ITF $25,000!

Ana competed well. She won 5 matches before falling in the final.

A highlight for me was Ana’s semifinal victory over Courtney Vernon.

dscf3863.jpgCourtney was #13 G18 USTA before going on to a celebrated college tennis career at USF where she reached a national ranking of #54 in Division 1 and went 20-0 last season.

Courtney has a career highest WTA ranking of 637, and has recent straight set wins over top WTA players, such as WTA #239 Melissa Torres-Sandoval.

Ana won her semifinal match against Vernon 6-1, 6-3.

The wildcard tournament was a grueling event for all the girls. In order to compete, each entrant had to agree to play 2 singles matches per day.

Competing at the pro level is often more difficult than competing at the junior level. Players put more into each shot, and the strategies and tactics are more advanced.

I was highly impressed with Anastasia’s focus, drive, and determination as she competed in 6 matches in 3 days.

dscf3884.jpgEach match was a learning experience for Ana.

I would study her strengths and weaknesses during the match, then after the match ended we would spend some time on court talking and discussing ideas on what she did well and what needed to improve.

Ana and I have a very good friendship and bond. This helps tremendously as she knows she can trust that I always have her best interest at heart.

Though the semifinal match against Courtney Vernon was fun to watch, I really enjoyed the final!

Even though Ana lost in straight sets, I had a blast watching her compete against Alexis Gordon. If you don’t know Alexis, think nationally ranked #1 NCAA D1 player in 2004 and a perennial top 15.

dscf3874.jpgAlexis played an amazing match against Ana with blistering lefty forehands that painted the lines and a consistent 115 mph serve.

I was particularly impressed with Alexis’ ability to bring her best game to the final. She played by far her best tennis against Ana.

Though Ana lost in straight sets and only won 3 games total, I counted over 20 deuces and felt Ana improved from the experience…

…especially considering Alexis has had literally thousands of high level tennis matches to Ana’s dozens… and the 8 year age difference.

Ana’s ICTA Pro Team co-captain, Melody Snelen, drove Ana to the event.dscf3883.jpg

They both stayed with a friend, who we’ll call Nancy, who is arguably one of the best tennis agents in America.

Nancy has over 20 years of experience working for IMG with some of the most famous WTA and ATP players in the world.

It is so great for Ana to have a friend and mentor like Melody. And it is so great for Melody to have a friend like Nancy who loves her and believes in her ministry.

The whole experience in Sarasota is a great warm up for the outreach and matches to come in Africa.  I had a great time in Sarasota and can’t wait for the flight to Nigeria!

I’m excited God is using me to mentor and disciple such great people as are on our pro tennis team. I realize this is such a privilege and cherish this season of my life.

Just thinking about God growing my big ICTA dream he placed in my heart nearly 10 years ago leaves me humbled and in awe. Now, ICTA is traveling to Africa on an outreach to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Wow. I’m beyond excited to meet as many players and coaches as possible.

I look forward to giving them Christian gifts and offering for them to join the International Christian Tennis Association membership.

dscf3859.jpgPlus, I so look forward to seeing what God has in store for His will in Nigeria. Please keep our missions outreach in your prayers.

The 5 member ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team is such a rare group of missionaries.

They love Jesus and yearn to reach the players on the WTA tour with His love and grace.

I’m fortunate to be their coach and grateful to be their friend.

Our little team is going to Africa… awesome!

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

January 31, 2008

The Lost Art of Discipleship: A Christian Tennis Missionary Stands Up Old School

Posted in ATP Tennis, Christian Discipleship, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Camps, Christian Tennis Devotional Videos, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, christian tennis sport psychology, Coaching Articles, Cults, Faith, Florida Tennis, ICTA, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Tennis Ministry, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, International Tennis Ministry, Junior Tennis, Leadership, Parent Coach Relationship, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Sports Ministry, Teamwork, Tennis Athletes in Action, Tennis Devotionals, Tennis Instruction, Tennis Ministry, Tennis Missionary, Tennis Missionary Training Class, Tennis Week, Tennis Week Magazine, USPTA, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , at 1:46 pm by Scott Paschal

chris-ana-018.jpg

ICTA Founder, Scott Paschal, and his "adopted" daughter from Ukraine, Ana! Scott is Ana's legal guardian.

I’m pretty convinced discipling is a lost art in Christianity.

Discipling, real discipling, takes commitment from both the student and the teacher. And commitment in today’s buffet of quick fix lifestyles is rare.

Most of you who know me also know I’m pretty old school. But, that’s old school in my work ethic and commitment, not necessarily in my teaching styles.

It’s old school in that when I became a follower of Jesus, I read the Bible and worked to do what it said.

As I grew in my faith, I remember finding the Great Commission where Jesus commanded his followers to… “go and make disciples of all nations… and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you….”

I began changing inside. My purpose in this world was brought into clarity. One of my first reactions was to question why not one church I had ever attended had mentioned the Great Commission.

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Ana reached #1 G18 Ukraine and #5 G16 Europe. She has earned a WTA ranking and competes worldwide on the ITF Pro Circuit.

The Great Commission of Christ is at the end of the 28th chapter in Mathew’s letter for those of you clueless, of which, after nearly 10 years as a front line missionary, I believe are most, as was I.

As I read it, Jesus didn’t ask, he commanded.

Many people in the world today don’t like that. They most likely don’t want to be commanded, nor do they much appreciate me pointing out their lack. Jesus to many is usually some mix of religions, ideas, and Bible verses which, when combined, makes a person feel good. Their life revolves around them, they do what makes sense to them, and they cannot be commanded.

I understand. I really do. There is a big question of “What is truth?” in the world, today.

Let me give you an illustration of the confusion faced by today’s youth (and adults!) living in a postmodern world. Let’s say you are trapped and injured in a burning building. Smoke is everywhere. A fireman busts into the room! He see you are trapped under a heavy board, sees your leg is injured, and tells you he is going to save you. What is your normal reaction to this? Probably relief, right!? Sure. That is what my generation would say.

But, let me add to the scenario. Let’s say that as the fireman begins to walk over to you, another fireman rushes into the room. He tells the first fireman to stop! Then, he looks directly into your eyes and warns you that the first fireman is actually the arsonist who started the fire! Instantly, the first fireman points directly at the second fireman and says, “No, don’t listen to him! He’s lying! He’s the arsonist, not me!”

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Winning a Florida jr tournament.

This is the delima, as I see it, that today’s generation of kids are facing.

They don’t know truth.

And the adults around them don’t know how to reach them with truth.

I think God has given us the answer, very clearly!, to truly reaching this lost and confused generation.

I recently spoke to several friends of mine who are in Christian ministry, heavily, about an important subject. I’d like to share one conversation with you which pretty much reflects the direction of the other conversations.

A friend and I were talking one evening and I told him the main problem in Christianity, as I see it from the view God gave me, is people really don’t understand the Great Commission. He listened politely and intently.

Before I spoke further, I asked him if he knew about the Great Commission. He said sure. I then asked him to tell me where it was in the Bible. He said he knew it was in Mathew, but wasn’t sure exactly where. I asked him if he could quote the verse to me. He couldn’t.

Since he couldn’t tell me where it was and he couldn’t quote it, I asked him what he thought the whole thing meant… in a nutshell. He explained it basically meant to go “win souls”…. I then asked him what the word “disciple” meant. He explained it basically meant a Christian. I asked him about what he thought “to disciple” meant. He replied he believed it meant to go win souls, basically make people Christians.

I hear explanations like his a lot from Christians who are not full time missionaries….

I listened politely to his answers on the topic, as I had many times before to many different people, then I felt God calling me to teach… so I did. It’s important for Christianity’s front-line missionaries to reach out to our Christian leaders and guide them into having a strong understanding of the Great Commission.

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Ana's life has radically changed since she became a Christian here at ICTA.

It’s important to teach you, too.

As you can obviously see, I’m not much of a writer, so lean in and hang in there with me while I try to hit the right keys on the keyboard so this makes some sense….

In his Great Commission, Jesus didn’t command his followers to go make Christians.

He said go and make disciples. There is a huge difference between the two in terms of obedience, expectations, pressure, preparation, and ultimately, a successful outcome.

The Greek form of the word “discipulus” means pupil. Pupil, as in student. You can also chew on “discipere,” which means to grasp intellectually, analyze thoroughly.

Jesus is saying… “Go and make students….” He is saying to go invest your life’s knowledge of him in others.

Jesus then goes on to say, “… teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” It takes time to teach someone how to obey everything Jesus commanded. Oftentimes, it takes more than passing out a Gospel tract or going on a prayer walk, both of which are vital to seed planting, but not so good when it comes to the real need at hand as pertaining to discipling. True discipling, or teaching, takes time and commitment, which most have spent the vast majority of their lives avoiding.chris-ana-015.jpg

As a follower of Christ, I know I can’t make anyone a Christian.

What I can do is to teach about Jesus. That is where the missionary part comes in. I teach, the Holy Spirit leads them to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

A person following the Great Commission shouldn’t set out on their journey thinking they are going to “win souls” and “make Christians.” You can’t.

If you believe you can, you are quite possibly falling into the lie Satan believed and taught. That is, you can be God. Your mission trip, though filled with hope and expectations, will most likely fall apart, and lots of people on your missions’ team will become angry with each other. Generally, few you meet during your outreach will come to know Christ, and few, whether they accept Christ or not, will become disciples of Christ’s work.

Yes, I said “whether they accept Christ or not, will become disciples.” You do not have to accept Christ to be a disciple or pupil of his life’s work. The hope and prayer is that through teaching pupils, they come to an acceptance. But, that, in all ways, has nothing to do with you, except that you are teaching.

chris-ana-002.jpgThe part my friend mentioned about “winning souls” and “making Christians” is a pretty common theme here in America. It kind of resonates with our competitive culture….

To many Christians, going on a mission trip is like attending a NCAA football game! It’s about winning.

Church people, especially the Baptists down south (of which I am one), love their sports… NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR, NCAA… and they love competition. Winning and competing is a culture. But, does that competitive “winning souls” singular focus enhance or take away from missions? My experience with church people on missions is that it takes away.

Mission trips are seen as a football game, not training camp. Church missionaries are often like the “weekend warrior” who blows out his knee playing tackle football with friends, though he does no athletic training in preparation during the week…

Churches and mission leaders often keep a scoreboard of just how many points they’ve scored as they busily try to rack up souls during their big 1 or 2 week long game.

But, is this what Jesus meant in his Great Commission. I submit that it is not.

Though often well intentioned, the focus of church people towards missions is often misplaced. Successful missions outreach, in my experience, is not about “winning souls,” but I will say it can be about competition.chris-ana-012.jpg

That is, competition within oneself and with a team in preparation for excellence. Competition isn’t negative! In fact, properly channeled and purposefully planned competition can be seen as a necessity.

As a coach, I see strategies… strengths and weaknesses. As a follower of Christ, I see the same.

This Sunday, the NFL’s Super Bowl is being played! Coaches have planned, trained, and strategized every day for a year, or years, to get to this point.

chris-ana-001.jpgWhat I would give to see churches and pastors train for missions with such intensity and passion as is accomplished by the coaches and players of professional sports!

Pastors can be seen as the coaches, congregation and missions teams as the players, church support staff as the trainers….

All with an intent to share Christ and to make Satan seen as the opponent on a daily basis!

With strategies and tactics being devised and implemented daily, weekly, yearly by the church within their congregation until every Christian dripped with knowledge, and missions became like breathing the air at the summit of achieving the victory deemed impossible.

If I were coaching Team Satan, I’d spend my time and resources manipulating Christians into not offending others, and I’d force Christians into the closet. I’d make sin cool, I’d constantly split churches, I’d batter the confidence of pastors.

I would know the best way to extend my team’s time in the game would be to slow or stop the spreading of the Great Commission.chris-ana-008.jpg

If I were the coach of Team Jesus, I’d focus on instilling knowledge in my players about the facts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The entire team would learn about every known tactic Team Satan uses to win.

Our playbook, the Bible, would be proven valid beyond doubt and be studied constantly. Spiritual amour would be a lifestyle. Then, we would hone our skills in practice games locally in preparation for reaching the world.

If the focus in missions is on “winning” souls and “making Christians,” I fully believe we will find our efforts continuing to be relatively useless.

The church must get past looking at the Great Commission as a win or lose proposition. Yes, prepare like a champion. Yes, work fervently with amazing passion and excitement, as you truly are working for the God of the universe which, to me, is the definition of joy.

Yet, keep site of the fact that all pro sports teams practice much more than they ever play. Preparation is a main determining factor in success or failure. Missions is not about winning and losing. Missions is about obedience to following Christ’s command as laid out in Mathew 28.

chris-ana-005.jpgIn addition to attending a mission trip, possibly consider creating a mission life!

Jesus to me is clear… he tells us to go out and teach others about him. The coach in me, the missionary in me, and the ministry founder in me clearly understands the need for high quality preparation and a dedication for excellence.

My hope is that the ICTABLOG becomes a beacon for education and change.

Our ICTABLOG readers are like a whose who list… pastors and ministry founders; pro players, tennis coaches, and juniors; tennis industry executives from nearly every tennis clothing and racket company in the world; television and magazine founders and employees; employees from every section of the United States Tennis Association; ICTA members from over 1800 cities in over 60 countries including political leaders, industry executives, military leaders…

… you folks are literally the movers and shakers of the world. Your spheres of influence are large. If you choose to purposefully follow the Great Commission, either by discipling someone near you daily, or by attending a mission trip to a foreign country, or by founding a ministry… if you all discover the lost art of discipleship, the world will change.

Discipling others takes time and commitment. Most in today’s postmodern culture are afraid of both.chris-ana-006.jpg

Not me. I’m old school. I’ve got time because my time is Jesus’ time. My life is his. I took Galations 2:20 seriously.

When Jesus gave me my house and told me to keep the door open for the missionaries and travelers he sends my way, I make sure the door is open. My life is not my own.

All I have in this world is testimony to the fact I have nothing. My health, my ministry, my reputation… are not mine, but his to do with as he needs for his will to be done through my vapor life on earth.

I’m called to build and to disciple. This has included investing my life, my home, my money, of which I own none but am simply a manager of, towards investment in helping those God sends.

The joys and sorrows of investing in people brings the highest highs and the lowest lows. The Judases ordained by God to be in inner circles are very real, as are the Peters and Jameses. Discipling brings satanic attacks and miracles from heaven.

Yet, through it all, God gets the glory and I build up treasure in heaven whilechris-ana-007.jpg learning to walk in obedience and faith.

Personally, I feel incredibly grateful God sent people from 14 countries and 15 US states to the discipleship focused ministry I founded, International Christian Tennis Association, full time for me to invest in.

God has sent me on mission outreaches nationwide reaching over 1,000,000 in attendance at pro tennis events, and allowed me to preach internationally. And God created a missions team comprised of pro tennis players with a heart to reach and teach others about Jesus, the Savior of mankind.

God has brought me friends, and enemies, both of which have been specifically commissioned by him to grow and develop me past my every dream and expectation.

My prayer to you is that today God would begin a great work in you to open your life to discovering the lost art of discipleship.

That pastors will find even greater passion towards missions, such as NFL football coaches have towards competing in the chris-ana-017.jpgSuper Bowl, yet for a reason so much greater. That Christians realize they don’t need to win, but to simply share.

Today’s world needs a strong focused Christianity able to train the world in all that is Jesus.

Today’s postmodern generation of youth needs a big dose of Old School to pick ’em up and carry them towards Jesus.

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

Mathew 28: 16-21

16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

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