"In your hearts set apart Jesus as Lord. And always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. Do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
That verse is one of my life verses. This morning I began with a simple prayer, that God would be glorified today through His creation, His people and His Word. The tall, snow-capped mountains up against a beautiful, clear blue sky today displayed the glory of God. I hope that people noticed and acknowledged their Creator. He is an amazing God.
The LORD opened the door today for lots of conversations about faith, about my reason for being at the Olympics (their first reaction is always "I didn't know there were chaplains at the Olympics"), about my Canadian accent (yep, two different people heard me talking today and thought I was from here!), about my connection with the bobsled team, etc. On more than one occasion I was able to mention Lake Placid Baptist Church and our website so people can see for themselves where I am from and learn about our church and about Christ.
I had a great chat with Adam Pengilly this morning. He loves the LORD. Although he was hoping for a better finish in his skeleton race (he finished 18th in the world!) he remains steadfast in his trust in the LORD, knowing that God will work all things together for good for those who love HIM, those that are called according to HIS purpose (Romans 8:28). It's that kind of faith that causes people to ask questions about the hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15) that opens up witnessing opportunities. Adam is a tremendous witness for Christ. We had a great chat about Numbers 6:22-27, the blessing that Aaron was instructed to pray over the children of Israel.
22 The LORD spoke to Moses: 23 "Tell Aaron and his sons how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
24 The LORD bless you and protect you;
25 the LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD look with favor on you and give you peace.
27 In this way they will put My name on the Israelites, and I will bless them."
After meeting with Adam, I enjoyed a quick game of table-top shuffleboard with John Napier and then off to lunch and then to the two-man bobsled race.
Twenty-seven (27) sleds began the two-man bobsled race. There were a few crashes, but no one was hurt badly (thank you LORD for answering the prayer for safety!). All of those who crashed were disappointed though.
Pray that all of the athletes who are believers (and there are several bobsledders who are believers - praise God!) will be bold witnesses for Christ, whether they did well today or had a difficult day. May their hope in HIM lead to words of thanks to HIM in interviews and personal conversations. And may GOD be glorified tomorrow as the two-man bobsled finals take place.
I had the chance to watch the start of the bobsled race with John's mom and sister, and then they moved down to the finish line later on. I stayed behind and chatted with the others who were there. My knowledge of bobsledding (I'm constantly learning!) led into great conversations about all sorts of things - including my job in Lake Placid as the volunteer "chief of acetone control" during bobsled races, and chances to be a witness for Christ too.
It was nice to see how the volunteers at the bobsled venue handled two situations when there were bobsled crashes. In the first situation a spectator from the country that crashed was very broken emotionally. I think one of the athletes in the sled was his son. The volunteer came over and comforted him, asking if he wanted to get quickly to the finish line where his son was. It was very compassionate and caring. In another instance, the mother of one of the bobsledders was shaken up when her son crashed, and the volunteers immediately called for a shuttle to get her and her daughter down to see her son where he was, to see for herself that he was fine. Those stories won't make the headlines, but they are nice, personal touches that happen throughout the Games.
There are some friends from the Canadian National Baptist Convention who are in town for a couple of days, and I got to meet them last night. Also, a friend named Sid Hopkins from the Gwinett-Metro Baptist Association in GA (the county I grew up in!) is staying at the house with us for a couple of nights. Sid is highlighted in some of the videos and articles produced by the North American Mission Board about ministry at the Olympics. He is the master "pin-trader" (he must have a million pins!) and he uses pin-trading to witness for Christ. Here is a cool connection: my very first ministry job was as a part-part-part time children's minister at a church plant in Dacula, GA that Sid helped to get started! We go back 20 years, and it's been great to see him here.
Tomorrow is another day to set apart Jesus as Lord, letting Him set the agenda for my day, and following Him where He leads. I will be praying for my family and for our church family back in NY as they gather to worship and study His Word. I will be worshiping inside the Village with some of the athletes, volunteers and chaplains.
My prayer is that God will continue to use all of His people (people like the Christian bobsledders, people like Sid, people like us chaplains) to display hope so that we will have chances to witness for Christ, and that we would do it ALWAYS with gentleness and respect. May we share His Word - the Good News of Christ - with others.