WHAT GOD DID IN LONDON @ 2012 Olympics Outreach (featured in EMERGING EVANGELISTS)
It has been said: “GOING FOR GOLD” but recently I had the privilege to GO FOR GOD! This month, I had the privilege to spend 12 days in London, England for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Ironically, it was the XXX Olympiad and Dr Sam Mings of Lay Witnesses for Christ invited me to be the International Evangelism Chairman for the Olympic Outreach with “Olympian of the Century” Carl Lewis. What a privilege it was to represent God & Country and the blessing was we were on the ground not only ministering to some of our athletes (USA) but champions from around the globe. A few of my fellow chaplains got to connect with Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant among others from the “Dream Team” and I was blessed to connect with Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs) who played for TEAM FRANCE. A boxer from Zambia right before his fight against Australia asked for prayer and we literally met Olympians from over two dozen countries. While in London, not counting my day to day duties I was blessed to preach 13 times in ten churches in 12 days! At one service, when I gave the invitation we had over 550 come forward to the altar making various decisions for JESUS.
God showed up repeatedly and on the platform that night God gave me a word: Get a burden for the Lord, Lost and London and scores responded! PRAISE THE LORD!! After preaching at a church about an hour from Olympic Park the highlight for me came when a man approached me outside the church and said with the biggest smile on his face “I just left Islam after trusting Christ as my Savior tonight!” Friends, that is better than gold!
It was a treat to re-connect with my good friend and gold medalist Joe DeLoach. Carl Lewis won nine gold medals and one silver and ironically it was friend and fellow Christian Joe DeLoach that beat him for the 200 m in 1998 in Seoul, Korea. Joe beat Carl en route to his tenth gold medal. Below is a video of Joe and I together and we met the year before at the Texas Christian High School Athlete of the Year Awards in Dallas where Carl Lewis, Joe and I were all guest speakers at the black-tie gala. One thing Joe reminded me while in London is something that every minister and church leader should take heart.
Joe said regarding track and field “It is imperative that we run our race.” RUN THE RACE that God called you to. We are not wired or expected to run someone else’s race or calling. God made you unique for a reason. Secondly, Joe said in track: “If you step in another’s lane you get DISQUALIFIED.” That will preach! The grass is not greener on the other side (lane). If it is it may be located near a septic tank! #JustSayin
RUN YOUR RACE, be content in your calling and keep your eyes on the prize (JESUS). Thirdly, Joe at dinner said the reason jockey’s put blinders on race horses is for them to be FOCUSED and look straight ahead. In life and ministry, we must see those next to us as colleagues NOT competition. They are co-laboers not convicts hoping to steal your job, thunder or ministry. Plus, if we are way out front even the most seasoned saints may get prideful and boastful because we are temporarily “out front.” Equally, as bad if we fall behind we may get depressed, discouraged and quit. Lastly, he said the passing of the baton is so crucial. Like it or not, we are ALL replaceable and regardless if we are passing the baton in a promotion, demotion or transition how we do so says perhaps more about our character and walk with Christ than ever. We lose time, credibility and momentum when we don’t handle that properly. It is crucial to honor the Lord at all times not just when its convenient or easy.
On the platform after seeing 550 respond to the Gospel in one service, Dr Mings grabbed me and asked me to speak at the closing ceremony in London with Carl Lewis at the “Evening of the Olympians.” Over 2,000 people attended and media from around the globe was present and the translator that did serveral of Dr Billy Graham’s crusades overseas translated for our team that night. On the platform, I was told the service was aired to over 12 million in Korea. It dawned on me that all ministry is BIG when we serve the Lord with an obedient heart. My first church job was 1991 at First Baptist Church of Waldorf, MD and my position? Get ready, buckle up, are you sitting down? Drum roll please…………….I was the janitor at FBC Waldorf. Man looks at “titles” but God likes TESTimonies.
Honestly, I am still that janitor who prayed daily then that God would use me now. The Lord had me before even hearing USA gold medalist and kid of the King, Joe DeLoach’s wisdom in the UK: “Frank, run your Race, Stay in YOUR OWN Lane, Keep Focused and Run Straight Ahead and remember in passing the baton don’t drop it because starting is easy but leaving with class while living for Christ is where the rubber meets the road. In the words of Dr Johnny Hunt: “Stay close and stay clean” and in closing, the two things the Olympics taught me firsthand 1) People need the Lord 2) gold is temporal but God is ETERNAL.
** READ how God used our chaplain teammate RONNIE DEAN while in UK
** SPECIAL THANKS to Alex Dimatteo who caught film footage of the invitation above. He is a powerful preacher and he and his bride played a HUGE role serving during the outreach. PRAY about extending an invite to him or any of those on the team.