Be Honest: Give Credit Where It’s Truly Due


English: Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thu...
English: Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunders at ARCO Arena. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here at Conqueror Ministries we love sports.  Athletes depict the Conqueror Lifestyle so brilliantly.  Last nights game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami was no exception.  At the top of the game the commentating  focused on prior dialogue between Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant.

 The emphasis was on D.Wade’s wrist bands titled “note to self(see them here)”  about comments KD made about replacing Wade in the top 10 list with James Harden. KD’s palpable drive to overcome his  2nd place status to the Heat in the finals and the MVP award to LeBron James.  The reference inferred KD’s inferiority to the Heat.  My attention to the game’s outcome heightened when, during the pregame interview with KD, he referenced Proverbs 27:17 “irons sharpen iron” as a way of spiritually demonstrating his appreciation for the heightened camaraderie between the Heat players and he.  We applaud Kevin Durant’s response. People can motivate people to rely on God’s sovereignty.

 Proverbs 27:17 (NASB) Iron sharpens iron,So one man sharpens another.


The game did not disappoint.
 The Thunder experienced a 20+ point deficit in the first quarter before taking their place as leading scorers.  The fact that the Thunder faced the stellar starting five – Wade, Chalmers, Bosh, Battier and James,- who were responsible for the championship win in 2012, made it seem that once again Miami was not going to lose an important game at home. Why was this game important to the Heat? Simple. They all have egos that demand a win against the #1 Western Conference team to supersede  their #2 Eastern Conference standing. It is obvious that the team is without their other star player, Russell Westbrook.  Therefore, the Thunder’s vulnerability to the Heat’s starting lineup  was a prime opportunity to establish momentum in their efforts to move to #1 in their conference.  However, the Heat failed miserably.

I am certain that the 2 stars Westbrook and Durant are sharpening other iron on their own team as well because the sudden rise of Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb, both sharp as tacks on offense and defense. And the veteran Derek Fisher just seemed  unstoppable in his 3 point shooting.  Ibaka and Sefolosha were both defensive dynamos as the Heat struggled in a cycle of turnovers that was ongoing throughout the second half.  As the Thunder’s went on to win it 112-95, Kevin Durant emerged once again as the star scorer with over 30 points. His leadership qualities as a  Conqueror made the post interview with Doris Burke a stellar MTAC moment.  When she asked Kevin “what goes into a streak of winning like you have had over the last 12 games,(see it here)” Kevin’s response was humbly “God – Jesus Christ.”  Doris was waiting for Kevin to take the credit for his athleticism and the victorious outcome and Kevin’s motivation  to BE HONEST AND GIVE JESUS CHRIST THE CREDIT HE DESERVES shut out any opportunity for vain egotism to prevail.  

Christians and MTAC’s worldwide watching this post interview should appreciate this opportunity to see the Conqueror Lifestyle in action publicly last night. If you missed it, check out the link above.  Kevin Durant gave us our Conqueror Shot for the day.

 Your honesty with yourself about your need for your Savior, Jesus Christ, should always be on display.

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When A Celebrity Is Conquered: Justin Bieber’s Self-Destruction


The celebrity lifestyle includes destructive behaviors.  It alarms us all when we hear of a celebrity who has been pronounced dead after a short lived life fueled with the excesses of drugs, alcohol, sex and the phenomenon of “more” naturally.  There are many people who are in position throughout the music, film, television, comedy and sports entertainment industries, all of whom are there strictly to provide the celebrity with “more” destructive devices.  These “yes people” provide the means for more opportunities to spin out of control and ultimately follow in the footsteps of legendary performers like Billy Holiday, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Len Bias, Michael Carl Blaze, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Chris Farley, John Belushi and countless others both well known and unknown.  Celebrities are so much more prone to the excesses to offset the absolute nature of insanity induced by a life absorbed in the abuse of alcohol and drugs. When will we – as a regenerated people – stand for what is right and oppose such tragedies?

Today is a day when such a stand is possible. Justin Bieber is not alone in his quest to “have a good time.” No! However, because of his recent arrest at 4am in Miami, Florida after allegedly being under the influence of drugs and alcohol and operating a Lamborghini in a drag racing scenario, his actions are enough to initiate all of the help opportunities we can as Christians.  Christians are in no way perfect. Yes, my book “A Conqueror In Training” intimately portrays the level of imperfection we experience in our Christian walk. But what we are not, when we are living the Conqueror Lifestyle, is “conquered by sin.”  Justin’s behavior and his recent arrest are all examples of how he is in the grips of the origins of being overtaken by drugs and alcohol. People who are conquered by sin manifest this spiritual condition through the excesses of drugs, alcohol, sex and music. The history of the entertainment business, including the sports world, is such that we as Americans know how prevalent these behaviors are and yet they continue on year after year. Dr. Drew has even taken the syndrome to the television medium to publicly portray all of the negative proclivities by which human beings can realize their affinity to self destruct. Justin is conquered by sin. One of the ways being conquered by sin becomes possible is when various worldly tactics are employed exposing the innocent to their natural phenomenon of “more” – no matter how talented or smart one may be.

The Conqueror Lifestyle will safeguard you from self destruction
The Conqueror Lifestyle will safeguard you from self destruction

 

The problem is this: talent is a human condition that is used as a form of capitalization. Capitalism promotes wealth. Wealth promotes the love of money. “The love of money is the root of all evil.”  Evil is released into the lives of these unsuspecting, innocent, unsupervised youth and early adults as they travel up the “ladder of success” at a diabolical rate of speed and velocity. Ultimately they are consumed by the distractions of the world and all its vices and become overwhelmed with the cares of life. The downward spiral ensues and there is no where else to end up – with all the riches, fame, notoriety and increased opportunities to be of service to others – but 6 feet under.

How devastated were you when you heard of the death of Michael Jackson? Justin Bieber is on the same path. The Conqueror Lifestyle is available to you Justin to help you realize all that God designed you to be if you would by faith try this way of life. This lifestyle promotes experiencing the phenomenon of “more” spiritually.  However, if anyone else is interested in helping Justin, or anyone else, by getting help through what we do here at Conqueror Ministries we will do all we can to be of service to you to help anyone develop and maintain the Conqueror Lifestyle. It is an antidote to a life conquered by sin.

 

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Athlete, Champion, Conqueror


Third seed Serena Williams, USA returns a shot...
Third seed Serena Williams, USA returns a shot during her 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 victory over Natalie Dechy, at the Family Circle Cup Tennis Tournament on Daniel Island in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The US Open, September, 1998 had my complete attention as a fan of the legendary Pete Sampras. Unfortunately, due to injury, Pete lost the final. The following year he would arouse the support of his fan base as he rose to victory at Wimbledon against Andre Agassi. My enthusiasm for tennis grew even greater as we watched the thrilling competition between these 2 American champions. It was so good that we looked forward to another duel between them in the 1999 US open. To me they were the reason for loving the sport.

Pistol Pete did realize the opportunity to win yet another Grand Slam title, making it to the final but was unexpectedly forced to drop out of the tournament due to a significant back injury. A physical setback that I am all too familiar with myself. His exit from the ’99 Open yielded a shift in my focus as a fan of the Americans. Women’s tennis infiltrated my life as I watched Serena Williams begin construction on a historical career as athlete, champion and conqueror.

She beat her sister Venus at age 17 and became the first Williams sister to win a Grand Slam single‘s title. All eyes remained on Venus as she too would excel to historical greatness in her own right. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Venus at Charleston and NYC later on in life. But unfortunately, I have not been able to see Serena play live yet. However, what I have had the blessing to realize, as a result of consistently following her career, is a heralding athletic example that personifies a conqueror lifestyle.

From ’99-’04 I sat in front of my TV and watched every tournament she played in, and there were many victories. The infamous cat suit at the US open was just one of the highlights of her invincibility. Everything about her was appealing to me – her look, her body, her game and her life. It was good to gain access into her budding life outside of the tennis world through various exposure outlets. But her career would eventually realize the strains of maturity as she had to learn to contend with injuries, game losses, family tragedy, personal heartache and failure.

We counted her all but gone as the start of the tennis season began in 2007 down under. When she took her place in the Rod Laver  arena again it was a bitter-sweet showing. As a fan I was happy to see her back where she belonged for our viewership and the value of her  entertainment would again be realized. Yet her blatant lack of physical training presented a Serena that was not the norm. Honestly, I, along with countless others, remained pessimistic about any real opportunity for her game to prevail. BUT IT DID! Against all the odds and the opposition of new players and old foes, Serena emerged as a CONQUEROR of the sport of women’s tennis to win the Australian Open for a 3rd time in her continuing career. She was not done.

Subsequently, Serena’s career would again experience a higher intensity of extreme setbacks, designed to alter the foundation of her monumental career. A verbal outburst would define a devastating loss on the all too familiar Arthur Ashe Stadium, where she vanquished her opponents 3 times prior. Sorrowfully we watched Serena explode in a display of anger that I understood. The issues – personal and professional were obviously affecting her standing example of grace under pressure. Growing pains have a way of manifesting outwardly to where onlookers – supporters and haters alike – clearly offer insights that destructively miss the mark. Yet those of us who have the gifts of empathy and compassion know that the best response you can offer to someone who is not handling the effects of growing pains well is to encourage them in the faith and pray for God’s continued grace and mercy to prevail.

The shift would continue with more physical injuries, some grave . Yet Ms. Williams maintains her pursuit to take part in the sport, which her dad introduced her to as a child, against all odds. I read an article in People magazine while I was at my doctor’s office. Serena made it clear her determination to walk back on a Grand Slam court again, even after surviving a PE and all the medical therapy associated with recovery. Shortly afterwards, Serena Williams, garbed in signature Wimbledon white attire gracing the freshly cut grass on Centre Court, would again experience all the emotional joy she came to know along her career. Yet this time her response yielded the infamous “tears of joy” that I identified to as I desperately desired a “win” in my life again. My personal anticipation received a boost while watching her once again show me what victory looks like publicly.

It’s a difficult task to perform and achieve what many have said is “the impossible” as they know of your struggles. Courage becomes a crucial reality. I know of many personal struggles life has acquainted me with during my lifetime where so many friends, family and loved ones counted me out.  But God’s grace shows up in so many wonderful experiences and the blessings continue as I see examples displaying how His power prevails.  Serena’s continued success is a beacon of light in my life and I hope so many others are getting the same lessons.

Every time Serena steps on a court to play another tennis match it is inspiring to the most troubled soul who is watching. As an athlete and champion, Serena offers every one of her millions of viewers confirmation of just how possible the impossible is. I have taken the opportunity to label her as a conqueror when I can, not because of her spiritual choices – I do not know how they work for her – but as I continue to write, teach, preach and represent Romans 8:37 “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” I continue to see how this declarative statement made by the Apostle Paul materializes through the example of an athlete in the career of Ms. Serena Williams.

Thank you Lord for giving us the realm of athletics, specifically individual head to head sports like tennis, to prove what your Son did at Calvary for all who would by faith believe.