Do I Have an Extreme Sport for You!
My vivid memory of the intense mash-up of emotions and physical reactions is now a part of who I am…
I stood on the precipice of risk – focused intently on my objective. Though it seemed an infinite distance away, in reality the goal was merely a few steps from achieving.
Ah, but that first step – right? Heart pumping, pupils dilated, palms sweating, and adrenalines rushing as you muster up the mustard inside your spirit to step out in faith and experience something that no other aspect of life even comes close to providing.
And just what – exactly – am I describing?
Well, I’ll get to that in a bit, because it might not be what you think it is.
But for sure it is a common feeling among extreme sports enthusiasts – right? Whether you are parkouring through the concrete urban jungle, flying through the half pipe on your board, or launching off the cliffs of insanity – we all know the survive and conquer sensation that permeates our being when we *just do it*.
And speaking of Nike, do you know where this extreme sport megabrand got its name? Nike is the winged goddess of victory in Greek mythology (hence the “swoosh”). In battlefield encounters, a Greek warrior would say, “When we are victorious, we are Nike!” Later on, the Romans would send heralds back into Rome when the army was victorious to share the good news of “Nike” – and guess what? These messengers were called “evangelists” because they proclaimed the joyous report that the King had won.
And so the early Christians realized that when the King of Kings – Jesus Christ – conquered the ultimate enemies called sin and death, they were the ultimate “evangelists” who could share the good news of the gospel.
And that’s when one of the original extreme sports of all time was born…it’s called evangelism, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart:
Through the work of the apostles, many God-signs were set up among the people, many wonderful things done. Provoked mightily by all this, the Chief Priest and those on his side went into action, arrested the apostles and put them in the town jail. Bringing them back, they stood them before the High Council. The Chief Priest said, "Didn't we give you strict orders not to teach in Jesus' name? And here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are trying your best to blame us for the death of this man."
Peter and the apostles answered, "It's necessary to obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, the One you killed by hanging him on a cross. God set him on high at his side, Prince and Savior, to give Israel the gift of a changed life and sins forgiven. And we are witnesses to these things. The Holy Spirit, whom God gives to those who obey him, confirms every detail."
When they heard that, they were furious and wanted to kill them on the spot. After giving them a thorough whipping, they warned them not to speak in Jesus' name and sent them off.
The apostles went out of the High Council overjoyed because they had been given the honor of being dishonored on account of the Name. Every day they were in the Temple and homes, teaching and preaching Christ Jesus, not letting up for a minute (Acts 5:12; 17; 27-33; 40-42).
These early disciples didn’t even hesitate to risk life or limb to share the gospel, because the message of Jesus’ victory consumed their every thought and motivation.
And yes, just like 2000 years ago, evangelism is good news, but it is also still a risk to share it…why?
Because prideful religious people don’t want to humble themselves before Jesus.
Because arrogant “knowledgeable” people can’t exercise faith like a child.
Because, like the early Christians, you could be rejected, persecuted, and in many parts of the world, even killed.
And now you know what I was describing in my experience. It fits with the first time I leapt off a 60 foot cliff, but it actually is an account of what I felt the first time I jumped out of my mundane, private walk with Christ and shared my faith with a total stranger.
And trust me, I’ve thrown in with several extreme sport challenges, but nothing compares with the intense challenge of suiting up for THE Cause and taking a risk for THE King.
So are you ready? Perhaps your risk is simply starting up a spiritual conversation with a friend who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus? Or a challenge for you might be to love the unlovable, be generous to the needy, and encourage the embittered in your life.
And for all of us, to risk sharing the gospel when God grants us the opportunity.
There are many ways to involve yourself with the extreme sport of extreme faith, so what are you waiting for? Get your heart pumping for the lost, dilate your pupils on those God has put in your path, forget your sweaty palms, and use that adrenaline rush to step out in faith and experience something that no other aspect of life even comes close to providing…THE Cause!
Whether or not you are an extreme sports enthusiast, there are no excuses for not being one for the Kingdom of God. The risk of reputation and rejection from others is nothing compared to the joy and elation you will experience when you share the good news of the gospel. This week, think about what your fears and risks are, then step out in faith and start a conversation about Jesus with someone who needs Him.
Father, You have called us to an extreme faith that requires much risk. Holy Spirit, please empower us to throw caution to the wind as we put our personal comfort levels at risk and talk to others about you. Help us live for Your glory, Jesus, and for the salvation of our friends and family who don’t know You.
Romans 1:16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Evangephobia. This 30 day student devotional will help you get pumped and prepared as you face down your evangelism fears and fuel up your passion for sharing Jesus. Packed with daily insights and faith sharing ideas, it will help you build the muscle tone you need for the extreme sport of evangelism! Corresponding Evangephobia youth group curriculum is also available.