November 6, 2008

Shut Up, Stand Up, Grow Up and Show Up

Posted in International Christian Tennis Association, Teamwork at 2:37 pm by Scott Paschal

ICTA Fulltime Academy Student, Luke, from Costa Rica, Ripping a Forehand.

13 Year Old Fulltime ICTA Academy Student from South America Ripping a Forehand.

What would happen if today’s generation of youth realized they could make a difference in the world?

By this I mean if today’s tweener and teen generation had the opportunity to somehow view two different potential paths in life side by side, which path would they choose?

For instance, one path leads to a typical high school experience.  Then on to a typical college experience.  From there comes a marriage at a young age, children, and the race to acquire stuff.  Church is simply a chore to help the kids.  TV is god.  Tolerance of gays shows you are a hip person.  Soon, divorce appears… kids go to college…  2nd and 3rd marriage…. retirement.

High Performance Tennis Training Can Be Used as a Tool to Teach Generation Next How to Passionately Serve in a Fallen World

High Performance Tennis Training Can Be Used as a Tool to Teach Generation Next How to Passionately Serve in a Fallen World

OK, now I’m depressed, too.

Now, let me offer you another view.

The only word for it is radical.  Not better.  Not higher.  Radical.  Maybe another word we could use would be revolutionary….

Before I load the bullets and cock the hammer, I want to ask you something.

Why are you here?

Not here as in reading my trivia, but why are you alive on earth?  What is your purpose?

It’s a big question.

My purpose on earth?  I am here to be crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20.) I am here to spread the fame of the most controversial figure in history.  And I really don’t care who approves or disapproves, either.

Anastasia Kharchenko's New Backhand.  Ana's New Shot Is a Powerful Weapon.  It Is a Great Addition To the Christian Apologetics (Defense) She Passionately Studies

Anastasia Kharchenko's New Backhand. Ana's New Shot Is a Powerful Weapon. It Is a Great Addition To the Christian Apologetics (Defense) She Passionately Studies

My goal is to do what I can to destroy Satan’s plans by exposing his fraud.

How?

Through my sharing, and teaching others how to share, the victory of Jesus’ blood shed on a Roman cross.

Now that the vast majority of you, particularly American Christians, are now confused with what I just wrote, I’ll dumb it down for you.

I realize you’ve strayed far from the Cross.  You typically claim to follow Jesus… but you get a little uncomfortable about the thought of being “crucified with Christ.”  (Gal 2:20)

That’s a bit too radical for you, huh?

OK, I’ll add some sights and sounds and funny things here to entertain you, like you get with your TV god and wimpy, modern-day “feel-good” Christianity….

Anastasia Kharchenko is Totally Prepared to Explode into the Ball.  She Is Also Ready to Expose Satan's Lies...

Anastasia Kharchenko is Totally Prepared to Explode into the Ball. She Is Also Preparing to Explode into a Dark World for Christ.

That said, I want to now look at the other possible view/path Generation Next could choose.

Like I mentioned, it’s a radical direction for most of you.  You might have to ask Satan to remove his hands from covering your eyes for a moment….

Picture this….

From the birth of their kids, our future Pastors and World Leaders, Christian parents teach their kids facts about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

(I know radical for you.  Especially since you have no quality info on the subject yourself… )

As such, nationwide, a New Generation is intensively studying Christian apologetics, the defense of their Faith.  Imagine the global aftershocks of such focus!

Instead of kids becoming followers of Jesus simply because they have been brainwashed into it by well-meaning, but guilt tripping parents, friends, Pastors, Christian concert, etc…

… kids are taught hard core facts based on intelligence and proof.

Let’s say these kids are passionately armed with the ability to prove the validity of the Bible, and to use scientific evidence to show an Intelligent Designer created all things…

Wow!

Then, we send this generation worldwide to learn how to share their knowledge.

And to let them sharpen their skills as followers of Christ while they confront Christless cultures…

God would be able to work through them in reaching people who do not have the Holy Spirit living in their hearts, who do not know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.   Basically, people who are currently on a collision course with Hell.

Can you imagine a New Generation of 5-8 million youth empowered by God, educated about God, and sent by God fearing Churches to all nations and people groups!

As such, Christian kids have a purpose.  They have a reason for being.  Life is more than gimmee, gimmee, gimmee and video games and TV and “tolerance” and making Mommy and Daddy happy.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, this New Generation will interact with culture worldwide, and they will grow deeper in love with Jesus.

What If Luke, and All Generation Next Christian Teens, Focused on Impacting the World for Christ Just as Much as He Is Focused on Impacting This Tennis Ball?

What If All Generation Next Christian Teens Focused on Impacting the World for Christ Just as Much as This Player Is Focused on Impacting This Tennis Ball?

Persecution will come, as promised in the Bible, and Generation Next will become sharper and more powerful and reach a level of life they were designed for.

I know.  Many of you overprotective, Christian “hover parents” are pretty much freaking out by now and are feeling “uncomfortable” with this.

But, deep down you know I’m right.

About 3 months ago the father of a top female 16 year old player from S. California wanted me to start coaching his daughter full time.

This girl is currently coached by a couple of the USA’s top coaches, really famous guys.  So, I was flattered.

She is an amazing up and coming tennis star.

I told Dad I’m not currently taking new students, but to tell me what’s going on.

The problem is, according to Dad, her current coaches have no idea how to keep the world from infecting her, and they may be part of the problem.

Already, she is experimenting with alcohol… and Dad is concerned about the friends she is choosing.  And her tennis level is dropping… fast.

Definitely a common theme here in America, as well as Australia and Canada.

That’s where I come in.

Anastasia Kharchenko Returns Serve in Florida's Gainesville Super Series Junior Championships. Ana Lost Just 2 Games the Whole Tournament! Passion and Committment to Excellence Guide Ana as a Christian Missionary in Tennis.

Anastasia Kharchenko Returns Serve in a Florida Super Series Junior Championship. She Lost Just 2 Games the Whole Tournament! Passion, Commitment, and Dedication to Excellence Will Make Anastasia an Incredible Christian Missionary On and Off the Tennis Court.

I coach at the elite level needed to maintain and add value to the already great job her current coaches are doing.

But, unlike Godless mentors, I am trained and prepared to cut through and get rid of the worldly satanic crap infesting her thoughts.

I am used by God to give the kids (and parents) their lives back and to show them a higher purpose.

I know how totally without Christ is the global tennis industry.

And I am completely aware that “Christian-Tennis Coach” is an oxymoron.

I have seen Satan completely and totally destroy the lives, hopes, dreams, and Faith of kids worldwide.  I know Satan owns tennis.

Satan and I are locked face to face in a life and death stare down for today’s youth.

I would love to now give you an amazing story of how this girl’s life changed.  I can’t, though.

I never even got to meet her.

As I talked to her Dad, I told him he was the main problem.

I told him he is a wimpy Christian and it’s hurting his kid.

Even though his own Dad was a pastor… even though he grew up in a Godly home… even though he was a respected business professional… it was easy to see he struggles with being a “hover parent”, and a “churchy” Christian who struggles with control issues, places God in a box, and is unwilling to authentically let the girl go and grow.

He agreed.  And he appreciated the brutal honesty.

Luke Leaping to Smash an Overhead. Go For It! Give It Your All!  Some Balls Will Hit the Net.  Some Balls Will Go Long. Yet, Soon You Will Know How to Use the Weapon. Parents... the Kids Can Do Missions and Change the World for Christ. Let Them Compete!

Leap to Smash an Overhead. Go For It! Give It Your All! Some Balls Will Hit the Net. Some Balls Will Go Long. Yet, Soon You Will Know How to Use the Weapon. Parents... Kids Can Do Missions and Change the World for Christ. Let Them Compete!

I then invited the player to travel with our ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team to ITF Pro Circuit tournaments in the USA.

It would give her a chance to hit with better players, hangout with Christians, compete with the world’s top juniors and dozens of WTA ranked pros, and experience a Christian outreach mission trip.

He loved the idea.

We worked on a potential schedule where she would attend a few tournaments in the USA, then travel internationally.  He kept loving the idea.

We discussed his need to back off and be less dominant in her tennis.  He 100% agreed it was important and wanted to change.

Yet, she never came.  I never met her.

As the time for commitments came, he began to feel “uncomfortable” and felt if God was truly involved and if God truly approved of it all, then he should have an “inner peace.”

Inner peace!?  Inner peace!!?  Are you serious!!?

Obviously, Dad didn’t know about Jesus sweating blood before He was to be arrested and crucified.  Or the pain Mary must have felt as her baby boy was being slaughtered…

… or the despair of aloneness and abandonment Jesus expressed as his life faded.

Inner peace!?  All Christian activities have to give everyone warm fuzzies and “inner peace”?  What an idiot.

I basically just let Dad wishy-wash himself away, and I moved on to Christians who don’t still wear diapers and continue to breast feed…

My question to this Dad and to others like him is…

“I wonder how Paul’s ‘inner peace’ felt as he was shipwrecked and floating in the ocean on a piece of wood?”

“What about his ‘inner peace’ when he was beaten and stoned?”

“Or, when Jesus’ disciples were eventually crucified… or ran through with a spear… or beheaded… or stoned… I wonder how “comfortable” they felt.”

Anastasia Kharchenko Prepared to Stroke the Ball. You Have to Be Able to Focus on the Ball. Without Focusing on Christ, You Are Competing Blind and Have Already Lost.

Anastasia Kharchenko Loaded to Strike. To Hit World Class You Have to Focus on Seeing the Ball. A Christian Not Focused On Christ Is Competing Blind and Has Already Lost.

This actually gets to the heart of the problem.

We don’t have many people left who are interested in being crucified with Christ. (Galations 2:20)

Like Peter, they follow Christ.

But, when pressure comes, they run to their comfort zones of denial.  Regardless of what they know is right, the Cross terrifies them.

If wimp Dad can’t even let his kid go on a mission trip in safe middle America to compete in a tennis tournament… and Dad was invited to come to!!!… then what the crap?

It’s pretty sad.

And, unfortunately it’s infected our soon to be Pastors and Christian Leaders rising out of Generation Next.

We are stuck with wimpy, pathetically uneducated in Christian apologetics, thus unmotivated, “Christians” who claim to follow Jesus, yet have little evidence of it in their lives.

What hacks me off is this weak brand of Jesus Freak will soon be in charge of shepherding the Church.

And, if that happens, forget about the Great Commission.

And forget about preaching Jesus crucified.  Forget about preaching about Sin, or Hell, or demonic warfare.

Forget about mentioning the power of the blood of Christ which guaranteed the defeat of a pathetically weak and defeated Satan.

Pastors nationwide today are already passionlessly working to not offend anyone!  They are already being beaten up and controlled by lost congregations sitting in the pews, of which, according to Jesus parable about the sower, a possible 75% are not truly Saved.

Weak preachers, selfish parents, thoughtless TV and internet, “tolerance” of horrific sins as a lifestyle… wake up you morons!  Move your feet and look at the ball!  You look like idiots, not players.

If we are going to compete in the Slams, we need to develop world class players!!

We have got to reach Generation Next with the same passion that ignited the early Church.

Generation Next Needs Passionate Examples of Faith Being Lived Out. Are You Passionate?

Generation Next Needs Passionate Examples of Faith Being Lived Out. Are You Passionate?

Generation Next is the harvest field of harvest fields.

What would happen if today’s generation of tweeners and teens realized they could make a difference in the world?

Ok, yes, I get it.  Things aren’t supposed to get “better.”

The Bible teaches it’s going to get worse down here.  Persecution of Christians is going to max out as we near the tie break in the 5th.

I’ve read the studies which show more followers of Jesus have been martyred in the last 18 months than in all of history, since Christ rose from death, combined.

I can see, like everyone else, that the match is soon ending.

So what?

Blend in to avoid persecution!?  Literally, Hell no.

We are not called to blend in.  We are not called to wimp out.

We are called to preach Christ crucified.  So, quit whining and shut up about how hard life is.

Quit complaining.  Realize what a Christian is.  Hunger for knowledge of all things Jesus.  Reach out to the world by preaching Christ crucified.

Shut up, stand up, grow up, and show up!

Look in the mirror….

When envisioning the Roman use of the Cross, do you deny your adoration of Jesus?

Are you simply a McChristian basically looking for a “feel good” Happy Meal religion?

Or are you a child of the living God sharing in the Lord’s Supper as a member of the Body of Christ while serving as a Crucified Saint in following His will for your life during the vapor of existence you have been granted?

Make your choice.  Where do you stand?

God bless,

Coach Scotty

International Christian Tennis Association

September 27, 2008

International Christian Tennis Association to Hire Membership Director

Posted in Faith, International Christian Tennis Association, Teamwork, Uncategorized tagged , at 7:28 pm by Scott Paschal

Scott Paschal, ICTA Founder, on trash heap inside Nigerian National Sports Complex

Scott Paschal, ICTA Founder, on trash heap inside Nigerian National Sports Complex

A dream I have had for a very long time is to connect International Christian Tennis Association members with life-changing Christian mission trips designed to strengthen the faith of our members while benefiting people in need.

A great example for me is the church I attend, which hosts numerous mission trips worldwide for church members.

Like International Christian Tennis Association, my church is passionate about serving both locally and worldwide.

As such, they have a person on staff specifically to implement missions.

Melody Snelen, ICTA Academy and ICTA Women's Pro Tennis Team, with Nigerian youth after her match

Melody Snelen, ICTA Academy and ICTA Women's Pro Tennis Team, with Nigerian youth after her pro match.

As ICTA is a new, growing sports ministry, we don’t really have staff.  We have me and volunteers and players who serve hard to help ICTA remain viable.

Yet, though still in our infancy, the heartbeat of ICTA is pure missions outreach.

That said, ICTA is moving forward towards bringing a connector to link ICTA membership to both national and international Christian missions.

That connector, I pray, will be in the form of an ICTA Membership Director.

Picture this… let’s say, for example, that ICTA Membership has two dozen dentists, 4 dozen general health doctors, and a few dozen eye doctors.  Currently, there is really nothing ICTA can actively do with them, except send a periodic newsletter.

But, what if ICTA could send some of them worldwide together on medical missions!?  To me, that would be awesome!

Local Benin City beggar girl with her blind Grandmother in the market

Local Benin City beggar girl with her blind Grandmother in the market

And, think about this… what if we were to send a medical missions team to a city where the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team was competing, such as Benin City, Nigeria!?

In the early morning the medical staff could play tennis with our pro players, and others on tour, then in the later mornings and afternoons the medical staff could volunteer their skills to help locals in tremendous need who could not otherwise receive medical care.

That sounds so amazing to me, and I’d really like to see the day when it happens.  To see kids lined up down the streets in order to get their eyes checked, injuries healed, medicine, cavities filled!

To see adults receiving medical care and health education, possibly for the first time….

Wow, can anything be more motivating than such a dream!?

My friend and neighbor of many years has began taking over ICTA’s membership.  He is a former tennis pro, and is currently an ordained minister working full time in a church.

Anastasia Kharchenko, ICTA Academy and ICTA Pro Tennis Team, with Nigerian youth after match

Anastasia Kharchenko, ICTA Academy and ICTA Pro Tennis Team, with Nigerian youth after match

My prayer is ICTA may soon, possibly in 2009!, be in a position to hire him full time.

Until then, he and his son are working towards professionally organizing ICTA membership and continue to facilitate this awesome dream God has placed in my heart.

Thank you for your prayers about this need we have as God guides ICTA to be a positive light shining for Him and His glory in a Godless global tennis industry.

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

September 2, 2008

Rachel Snelen Leads ICTA Christian Tennis Outreach to Rome, Italy

Posted in Faith, International Christian Tennis Association, rachel snelen, Teamwork tagged , , , , , at 10:16 pm by Scott Paschal

Here are a few pictures from International Christian Tennis Association’s foundation laying Christian outreach to Italy.

The journey was a big success and Rachel Snelen, ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team Captain, did a fantastic job preparing and implementing this event to a safe and successful conclusion.  Currently, Rach is making blog specifically for her Outreach to Italy!  Pics and journal entries should be available this week!

My hope and prayer is other pro tennis players and world class junior tennis players will, following Rachel Snelen’s exemplary example, discover a passion for allowing God to use their lives and talents to make Him known as they travel to all parts of the globe competing in tennis events.

Nothing is more important than living for Christ.  Nothing.

God bless!

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

June 28, 2008

Casting Crowns

Posted in Teamwork, Uncategorized tagged , at 6:37 pm by Scott Paschal

Most of you who know me know I’m not really much into music.

I’ve owned maybe 5 CDs my whole life.  Two of them I actually bought… one back in the 80s.  The others were given to me pretty recently, within the last 4-5 years.

One that I was given was a Chris Tomlin CD. I listened to it so much it literally wore out in my Jeep Wrangler’s CD player, and it also basically wore out my CD player, which has been busted for over a year now. That CD was important to me and had an impact on my life.

Another Christian band has had an impact on me, as well.  This band is called Casting Crowns.  In fact, I’ve even been looking at new CD players at Walmart for my Jeep….

These guys are amazing, not just in the quality of music, but also in the message they represent and present. They are bold and they are focused on reaching the weakened faith in the church.

Their messages have captivated the teens I’ve come across like no other.  In a direction starved generation of teens and young adults who are begging for strong Christian adult leadership, Casting Crowns has stepped out and stepped up to purposefully light the beacon for all to see.

Unlike a flashlight which focuses intently on one issue, or an “all-encompassing” light which generically does little to give direction, a beacon guides and warns.  A beacon shows a location to come to or a location to avoid.

A beacon can be used as a flashlight and it can be used an an “all-encompassing’ light, but it serves a bigger bolder purpose.  It guides, it directs, it beckons, it warns….

I realize the vast majority of you are not Christian, or haven’t really ever heard about “Christian” music.  The audience for this blog reaches over 120 countries.

My hope is to introduce you to a guy, Mark Hall, and his band who wants to really make a difference in the world.

Check ’em out.  You’ll be glad you did.

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

Facebook Challenge Update:

I’m up to 159 friends!  You guys are awesome.  By next Sunday, 250!?   🙂

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

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

March 12, 2008

Huge ICTA Success Story: WTA Now Requires Criminal Background Checks on All Coaches of WTA Players!

Posted in Julia Vakulenko, Junior Tennis, Leadership, Rich Fanning, scott paschal, Sexual Abuse Tennis, Teamwork, Tim Heckler, USPTA, WTA CEO Larry Scott, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , , , , , at 3:32 pm by Scott Paschal

pacificlife2007day30212.jpgA big, heartfelt thank you, and congratulations, goes out to the International Christian Tennis Association members and supporters worldwide who have rock solidly helped me to champion women’s rights in tennis.

As many of you know, I have personally made a stand to protect the rights of sexually abused female athletes.

Worldwide, and I mean everywhere, sexual predators posing as tennis coaches stalk junior tennis players, particularly female players.

And in the hundred+ years of tennis history, every major tennis governing body had seemingly turned their heads away from dealing with the rampant sexual abuse and sexual slavery dominating tennis training and tennis academies, and destroying the lives of our youth!

As the International Christian Tennis Association membership grew from 5 members in Arlington, Texas in 1999 to thousands and thousands of members living in over 1800 cities in 60 countries in 2008, the ICTA voice began to be heard and accounted for!

Your voices have been heard as pressure has mounted on tennis’ governing bodies to finally do something to protect underage, female tennis players from predator, pedophile tennis coaches.

Last night, I gratefully received long awaited information that the WTA is now demanding mandatory criminal background checks on all coaches of WTA players! And not just the coaches, but everyone in the player’s entourage as well!

WAHOO!!

Congratulations to Larry Scott, WTA CEO, for making this pro-active, worldwide sport-altering decision to finally offer some protection to underage WTA players.

Larry Scott says to Reuters at the Dubai Championships, “As the leading global sport for women and a sport where we have a lot of girls under age, I feel we’ve got a serious obligation to be at the forefront of any measures we can to protect the players.”

scotty-bill-goofy.jpgBut, much more than a congratulations to Larry goes a congratulations to YOU, the International Christian Tennis Association member! You listened to my pleas and understood the need for change!

You sent ICTA newsletters to your friends, family, co-workers, church members, pastors….! At junior tournaments globally, you began discussing my hard-line, no compromise stance when it comes to protecting underage junior and female tennis players.

Now, the WTA has felt the pressure and change has occurred!

Let me add something to Larry’s stance…

The Bible says, “But if you give these children a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck.” Mathew 18:6 MSG

Why the WTA Tour took this long to make such an obvious decision, I don’t know. People who turn their heads to crime are guilty of crime.

Honestly, Larry, has the WTA Tour never, ever been approached by even one under-age WTA player who has been abused by a coach? And, if so, is not the WTA Tour responsible for subsequent acts of sexual and physical abuse towards WTA players… particularly if the WTA attempted to keep the issue swept under the rug?

While I applaud the WTA for making a long awaited move, I can’t help but wonder why other organizations, such as the USPTA, PTR, and USTA haven’t chosen to protect women and under aged player’s rights?

The United States Professional Tennis Association, USPTA, claims to be the oldest pro tennis certification organization on the planet. If so, then why in the world have they seemingly chosen to support the rights of criminal child pedophiles, while suffocating the rights of young girls?

Rich Fanning, USPTA Director, and Tim Heckler, USPTA CEO, both seem to be caring and professional people who truly want to promote and grow the sport of tennis.

The question, though, has to be asked as to why the USPTA with these two men at the helm is doing what seems like absolutely NOTHING to protect tennis players, particularly youth, from homosexual and heterosexual pedophiles!

What is the USPTA afraid of!? Losing money when the pedophiles/criminals hiding within the USPTA’s “professional membership” stop paying dues because they don’t want to be exposed?

IF WTA can do criminal background checks to protect our kids from pedophiles, then what is USPTA’s excuse? They have none! If a pro or potential pro isn’t willing to have a criminal background check done, then he or she doesn’t deserve a respected USPTA pro certification.

A USPTA background check would send a strong signal to current and potential tennis teaching professionals.

Same goes for Professional Tennis Registry, PTR. I wonder which of these organizations will prove their authenticity to the world first!

To wrap this up, thank you to everyone who supported the hard line stance I took in holding tennis’ governing bodies accountable for their actions.

My hard line stance was a direct result of the influence Gene Scott has had in my life, plus recommendations from friends that I NOT take a hard line stance as my friends were concerned I might end up getting bashed in the process of making a difference .

In addition, personally witnessing female players’ lives being destroyed by tennis and my being attacked by the abusers of those players massively motivated me to make 2008 THE year of change in tennis.pacific-life-2007-day-3-035.jpg

Yet, more importantly, God plainly telling me exactly what I was to do with my life chained me to the responsibility and drive needed to force tennis to wake up to issues.

God bless and buckle in… this rodeo is just gettin’ started!

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

March 6, 2008

3 Weeks in Africa: ICTA Christian Pro Tennis Team

Posted in Africa Tennis, anastasia kharchenko, Athletes in Action Tennis, Benin City Tennis, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, Christian Tennis Ukraine, Faith, ICTA Tennis Ministry, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, Love, melody snelen, Nigeria Tennis, rachel snelen, scott paschal, Teamwork, Tennis Ministry, Tennis Missionary, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , , , at 9:48 pm by Scott Paschal

dscf4301.jpgTrying to find the right words to explain the impact the Nigerian people have had on my life will be difficult.

(pic of me with Nigerians God sent to guide and protect us)

To witness the love of Christ unconditionally flowing from people living in 3rd world poverty has rocked me to my core.

The people I met and spent time with didn’t keep calling Jesus “awesome” and “indescribable” when speaking of Him like I so often hear in America. They worshiped Him in trembling and fear and total trust.

I was blown away by the power of their faith and trust in God under such extreme, harsh conditions. Starving kids, little electricity, few police, sparse sanitation….

nigeria-trip1-221.jpgIn Benin City, Nigeria, I personally battled with two thoughts on a constant basis… “I want to leave right now.” and “I never want to leave.”

(pic of me on trash heap inside Nigerian National Tennis Center)

While unbelievable poverty took my breath away, their love of Jesus under such conditions breathed it back in.

My spoiled rotten, pathetically American, Christian viewpoint was quickly confronted by the reality of the Gospel being lived through the Nigerians God placed in my path.

Daily I struggled to not vomit as I openly was exposed by a patient God to my own disgusting, obviously trendy American view of worship of Him.

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(pic of Rachel and Melody Snelen, and Anastasia Kharchenko, with highly select youth attending tournament)

I am truly horrified at my inner lack of true knowledge of what it means to love Jesus with all my heart, and I am grateful for the Nigerians in Benin City who live to serve Christ in trembling and fear.

My eyes have been opened to the fact that my life and my ministry have simply been spiritually dead, though it never felt that way until I was confronted with Jesus speaking through His African followers directly to the lies I had bought into and made a lifestyle, lies that many American Christians call their own.nigeria-trip1-217.jpg

To say I am ashamed is a gross understatement.

(pic of Benin primary school)

Please don’t feel badly for me or try to console me. That’s not what I want or need.

I’m just being open with God’s work in me these last 3 weeks and I hope someone, somewhere can learn from my mistakes.

What I can say is that I hope and pray every American can have the God-blessed opportunity to spend a day, a week, a month, or a lifetime in Benin City, Nigeria. You might come alive in ways you may never have known possible. God’s glory will truly be revealed to you as it was to me.

dscf4494.jpgHonestly, in the beginning of scheduling our ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team tours for 2008, I didn’t really want to go to Nigeria.

(pic of Anastasia Kharchenko hitting a swinging volley winner.)

It was too far away, too expensive, too dangerous, too different.

But, after prayer, I knew God was calling our ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team to go to Benin City, and he opened all doors to make it happen.

My role in the trip originally was to go for just 4-5 days to help the girls arrive safely. God had other plans for my time.

Upon arriving in Benin, after a 29 hour journey, it was obvious to see the love the people have of Jesus. Benin is a Christian stronghold, the last in Nigeria. It is also the country’s capital.

Two thing first overwhelmed me about Benin… the love they have of Jesus, and the unbelievable poverty.

During the first week, God led Nigerians to us to form a team. One by one Nigerians with special skills felt called to offer help. I curiously watched these people be placed in our path. As I know how God works, I knew He had something planned!

Let me first give a quick background of Nigeria and it’s capital, Benin. Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and the 11th largest in the world. It is the world’s 8th largest exporter of crude oil.

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(pic of Rachel Snelen reading the Bible to Nigerian youth)

Why such poverty then? The Nigerian government is ridiculously corrupt.

Nihu Ribado, the chairman of the EFCC, alleges past Nigerian leaders have stolen over 550 billion dollars of revenue since independence from England was established about 40 years ago.

To really appreciate this amount, realize it is 6 times the amount it cost to rebuild Europe under the Marshall Plan after World War II, with dollars adjusted for today’s inflation.

Basically, Benin should be one of the richest cities in the world… like Dubai.

Unfortunately, radical Islam has rooted itself in northern Nigeria. The Niger Delta region has 12 year old kids with machine guns claiming they’re sent by God to kill infidels, which is anyone non-Muslim.. The potential oil money from gaining control of Nigeria is huge. The money could wage an unbelievable Holy War.

dscf4436.jpgWhile coaching Anastasia during the two ITF Pro Tournaments and leading the missions team, I noticed something very troubling happening in Benin, particularly with the kids.

(Anastasia Kharchenko running forehand during match in which she qualified for a WTA ranking)

Radical Islam was seeking to gain a foothold in Benin using youth sports.

At first I doubted myself as to what I was seeing. I stayed quiet and kept my eyes open.

But God clearly opened my eyes further. Since I spread the Gospel of Jesus through sports, I recognized radical Islam using sports to further their agenda.

God then used Ana to show me a newspaper article, which tied everything together and gave me proof, the serious proof I needed.

I spoke with a trusted friend from Benin. He told me I am in great danger. He knew the power of my accusations, information, and logical argument, when combined with the proof I had gathered, would cause a surge of anger from Muslims in power and place me in harm’s way.

To make a long story short, the largest church in Africa has been alerted to my findings. They had know Islam has been attempting to infiltrate Benin, but did not know youth sports was a vehicle.

Islam wants the oil money and more radical teenage holy warriors. They are attempting to gain the allegiance of youth through daily gaining their trust through sports. It is a technique which has been used for centuries, and one that I use as well to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As such it was easy for me to see, much like it is easy for one tennis player to recognize another by the way they dress, speak, act, etc.

My last week in Benin was spent developing a plan in cooperation with Nigerian Christian youth sports leaders and pastors. I gave many TV interviews speaking about Jesus, formed a strong team to expose Islam through media, educated one of Nigeria’s foremost sports development experts, and helped plan an informative booklet.

Hopefully, it’ll help.

dscf4605.jpgOn another note, during this entire journey of deepening our faith and commitment to Jesus, our ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team team competed in two ITF pro tournaments.

(Anastasia Kharchenko holding her trophy for winning both ITF pro circuit tournaments held in Benin)

Rachel and Melody Snelen, Anastasia Kharchenko, and the rest of the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team held an amazing outreach in Benin. More about this will be written in our developing blog dedicated to Nigeria.

For now, thank you for your prayers and support of the International Christian Tennis Association.

I’d like to leave you with an email which was sent to me by the dad of one of my longtime students, Newbie. I did not have email access to read it until two nights ago when I returned home. The timing of when he sent it as compared by the amazing events unfolding in Benin gave me goose bumps and chills.

Thank you all for your prayers. Because of your faithfulness, an Islamic plan to militate youth has began to be thwarted. I think you’d all agree it would be much better for Benin youth to have tennis rackets in their hands instead of machine guns.

The danger we experienced was real, but God’s hand and provision was everywhere.

God bless, Scott Paschal

————————-

Hey Scotty:

A funny thing happened to me this morning. I was doing my workout and God spoke to me and said, “Pray for Scotty, right now.” It was about 9 am. I got down on my knees and prayed that God would be with you and cover you with the blood of Jesus to keep you from all harm.

I prayed too that God will pour out His love on you; fill your heart with all the love that is in His, because He loves you and delights in you. I felt too, that you were under attack, and that God wanted me to share these verses with you:

The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.
The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations….
Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.

For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Psalm 33:10-11 and 18-21.

He also gave me these verses from Acts for you: Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought, But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found to fight against God. Acts 5:38-39

For the past few days, you have been on my mind and in my prayers. God seems to be telling me that He loves you so much He wants to pour His love and peace into your heart until your heart is so full of God’s love that it just pours over into the lives of all those you touch.

God sees your heart, Scotty, and He know you love Him and want to serve Him. He is blessing you right now. He loves you more than anyone and you are more precious to Him than anything on earth. You are His son, and He loves you just as He does Jesus, your older brother.

He’s asking me to share this one more verse with you: Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. Luke 15:31.

I don’t know what this is all about, Scotty, but I do want you to know you are not alone, that you are loved and respected, and that I stand with you in all that you do.

In the Father’s love. Ken

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.”

January 15, 2008

Scott Paschal Confronts Suicide in Tennis

Posted in christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, Cult Buster, Demon Possessed, Hope, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Tennis Ministry, International Christian Tennis Association, Junior Tennis, Leadership, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Spain Tennis, Teamwork, Tennis Devotionals, Tennis Ministry tagged , , , , , at 10:10 pm by Scott Paschal

 

“If I had the kind of influence you gain by winning a Grand Slam, you’d see me sharing my Christian faith on every tennis TV show, tennis magazine, newspaper and at major tennis events worldwide… kind of like what Billy Jean King does as she promotes homosexuality, but with Jesus as the main focus instead of sex. What are people in tennis doing to truly support youth?” Scott Paschal

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pacificlife2007day30212.jpg

Few things hurt more than seeing young lives tragically end.

What I’m about to write will be considered shocking and controversial within the political correctness which is today’s tennis world.

Suicide fills the minds of today’s teens. 1 in 12 teens attempt suicide each year. You don’t want to know how many suicidal tennis players I’ve known, or how much I’ve had to do to keep these kids alive.

From junior tournaments to college tournaments and even to the 2008 Australian Open main draw, players are alive today and able to compete because of God working through my willingness to help young people who found death as their only answer.

I’m not saying this to pat myself on the back. I’m trying to point out that just about everywhere you look kids, and adults, have bought into the satanic lie that death is the answer to their problems. And I want you to know that one person with a willing heart can make a big, positive difference.

Teens today hurt. They hurt more than ever. Armed with laptop computers, cell phones, IPODS, video games, instant messaging, Facebook & MySpace, and high speed internet access 24/7, kids in today’s world are being taught isolation and are committing suicide in record numbers.

The stuff they think is fun is isolating them from Jesus. It shows.

I wonder if Satan is laughing?

He has taken sin to a whole new level. Now, more than ever before, sin is cool.

rach-087.jpgI was talking to one of my Christian tennis academy students who recently spent a few months at arguably the most famous tennis academy in Spain.

Among all players and coaches, he was most probably the only Christian on campus.

Aside from discussing their “high performance” tennis training which he described as pretty basic stuff, he filled me in on the questionable activities permitted the students by the academy owner and coaches. The tennis academy has about 100 full time students.birthdaydillo-105closeup.jpg

A quick rundown of shocking activities he learned of which are not found in the shiny brochures and cool web site… a female prostitute stays near the tennis academy property for sex with male players, coaches “unofficially” endorsing male players being with prostitutes to keep players from wanting full time girlfriends, players having sex with each other.

Players also leave their dorms and host homes late on Saturday nights and go to adult clubs until 7am Sunday morning. Players are having sex with people they meet at clubs, drinking alcohol & getting drunk, steroid use “unofficially” encouraged by select coaches for certain players, obscene language from players and coaches, players allowed to gamble in casinos….

The kid explaining everything to me isn’t some goody-two-shoes, holier than though junior. After his first month there, he got caught up in the mess, too. He is an amazing kid who trustingly went to Spain to improve his game, and got caught in a tornado of sin.

(In defense of the academy, I don’t know if any of the statements are true, though I do know the player well and have no reason to doubt him, and I have been informed about many of the same problems by other players, including a top 40 pro player I coached full time who competes in Grand Slams.)

I guess for teens raised in a worldly environment without hope, that all can look like a fun time. The tennis academy wants to make a lot of money, so they avoid confronting the players basically to the point of endorsing the lifestyle.

julia-scotty.jpgTo an already hurting and isolated generation add alcohol, drugs, sexual addiction, STDs, pornography, gambling, homosexual activity, eating disorders, physical abuse, and so much more… and suicide numbers increase dramatically.

What is the Christian tennis world doing to help? Nothing, really. They’re afraid to.

Even Christian former Grand Slam champions seem to be afraid to outwardly share their faith in fear of being rejected by the tennis establishment they have seemingly grown to adore being worshiped by.

If I had the kind of influence you gain by winning a Grand Slam, you’d see me sharing my faith on every tennis TV show, tennis magazine, newspaper… (kind of like what Billy Jean King does as she promotes homosexuality, but with Jesus as the main focus instead of sex.)

Christian tennis coaches quickly hide their Christian faith in fear of offending a person facing eternity in Hell. It gets ridiculous….

I wonder if Satan is amused? The thought of that hacks me off.pacific-life-2007-day-3-035.jpg

Not to long ago I was faced with one of Satan’s newest jokes. I discovered it about the time I was teaching some people the importance of serving in a strong, Bible based church.

First, before I tell you, let me ask you a question. If you were Satan and you didn’t want Jesus to come back and end your rule on earth, what would you do? Probably make sin cool and acceptable while teaching Christians the need to not offend others, right?

Sure, because that would slow the spread of the Gospel worldwide and you would have more time to lead people to Hell.

leadership-conference-miami-068.jpgThat said, want to hear what I’ve recently discovered… possibly his newest joke!?

I actually couldn’t believe it when a friend told me. I had to discover it for my self…

One of the hottest trends designed by mega-church pastors in the Christian world is to plant pastor-less churches all over America!

Yes, churches are being planted which have no pastor. People actually sit in a building and watch a “live” broadcast from a church far away. And it’s a hot new trend all the “cool” mega-pastors are doing.scott-speaking-trips-033.jpg

Honestly, I couldn’t believe it when I first heard about it.

I can just hear Satan chuckle.

My pastor in my teens and early 20s helped keep me alive! He hugged me, he fed me, he prayed for me, he advised me. Without him, I would be dead.

I’m living proof of the need for us to have a pastor serving a congregation.

Teens are killing themselves in record numbers, famous Christians in tennis hide their faith in Christ, and our trendy Christian leaders are planting churches without pastors.

What happened to Christians who boldly stood up and demanded to be heard!? Why are there so many wimps? Why have so many geldings been created who are afraid of a defeated foe? Why are we developing a generation of isolation?

Again, can’t you just hear Satan’s demonic giggle?

I realize there isn’t much I can do about any of this. Hopefully, when you read this you show some resolve and call or email me. I need your help.

043_43.jpgMy ministry could reach over 3,000,000 tennis fans at major pro tournaments, plus every major tennis academy worldwide, with enough prayer and financial support partners.

We could partner together to offer free Christian materials to literally millions of tennis players and fans worldwide.

Though there is a lot I can’t change overnight, one thing I can do is help the people God sends to me.

Remember my full time Christian tennis academy student, “Lucy”, the one who was at the world famous tennis academy and tried to take her life? She is doing very well. She and her family are amazed at the radical changes in her life. Her non-Christian family is becoming curious about Jesus!

A young teen bent on suicide who was a victim of abuse in tennis has overcome Satan’s attacks and is falling deeper in love with Jesus. Now, she’s pretty awesome to be around… and man, how inspiring her testimony has become.

Tennis is basically the sport of the richest people in the world. These people have influence.dscf2365.jpg

Reach them and you reach culture.

If you have ideas or thoughts to help partner with me to confront sin, please call me right now. 386 793 0557. Don’t wait.

My student is going back to Spain soon. We are busily preparing him to be an effective missionary to the tennis academy.

He is immersing himself in facts about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus… and the authenticity of the Bible. He’s getting back to a strong prayer life. We are working together to write a Christian booklet in English, Russian, and Spanish he will work to publish this month and then give away by the hundreds to other players.

Plus, I’m working him out on the tennis court at a much higher level than anyone at that academy receives so the kids will notice a drastically improved player than the one who left. This kid really wants to make a difference.zgroupnasseratlantamed.jpg

You can make a difference.

Confront.

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

2008 Christian Tennis Devotionals

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