Nelson Cook who established Coaches of Influence (COIN) 30 years ago in Los Angeles USA writes a monthly letter to the many coaches at professional, college and high school levels and the current correspondence touches the spot.
It has been my privilege since 1984 to have been hosted innumerable times by Nelson Cook in my years in sport ministry, the most recent was in 2009 where I addressed coaches over breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
In a recent Nelson Cook newsletter to his coaches he wrote and this is a Good Friday message:
Grace – What a wonderful word for the soul in deep need of forgiveness and freedom as well as the one who thinks they don’t need it because they are good enough!
LA Coaches Breakfast
Grace at Communion
A large prosperous down town church had three mission churches under its care that it had started. On the first Sunday of the New Year all the members of the mission churches came to the city church for a combined Communion service.
In those mission churches, which were located in the slums of the city, were some outstanding cases of conversations ─ thieves, burglars, and so on ─ but all knelt side by side at the Communion rail.
On one such occasion the pastor saw a former burglar kneeling beside a judge of the Supreme Court of England ─ the judge who had sent him to jail where he had served seven years. After his release this burglar had been converted and become a Christian worker. Yet, as they knelt there, the judge and the former convict, neither one seemed to be aware of the other.
After the service, the judge was walking home with the pastor and said to the pastor, “Did you notice who was kneeling beside me at the Communion rail this morning?”
The pastor replied, “Yes, but I didn’t know that you noticed.” The two walked along in silence for a few more moments, and then the judge said, “What a miracle of grace.” The pastor nodded in agreement. “Yes, what a marvellous miracle of grace.”
Then the judge said, “But to whom do you refer?” And the pastor said, “Why, to the conversion of that convict.” The judge said, “But I was not referring to him. I was thinking of myself.”
The pastor, surprised, replied: “You were thinking of yourself? I don’t understand.” “Yes,” the judge replied, “it did not cost that burglar much to get converted when he came out of jail. He had nothing but a history of crime behind him, and when he saw Jesus as his Saviour he knew there was he knew there was salvation and hope and joy for him. And he knew how much he needed that help. But look at me.
LA University ministry with Dr Mark Tronson
I was taught from earliest infancy to live as a gentleman; that my word was to be my bond; that I was to say my prayers, go to church, take Communion and so on. I went through Oxford, took my degrees, was called to the bar and eventually became a judge.
Pastor, nothing but the grace of God could have caused me to admit that I was a sinner on a level with that burglar. It took much more grace to forgive me for all my pride self-deception, to get me to admit that I was no better in the eyes of God than that convict that I had sent to prison.
- Titus 3:7 says we are justified by His grace …
- James 4:6 says He gives grace to the humble …
- II Timothy 2:1 says we are to be STRONG in the grace of Jesus …
I hope you’ve received this wonderful gift of God. Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8-9 says for by grace we are saved through faith …
Everyone in the entire world needs God's grace. Without it … we have no hope.
Let’s go onward and upward in His Gace.
LA Coaches lunch
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html