Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015 - Glory Road: The Journey of a True Champion For Christ!

Recently I have been keying a lot in my teaching on the Apostle Paul’s victorious attitude even while he was in prison. I’ve written about it here in the weekly devotions and I have taught about it at retreats. We see in Paul a guy that decided he was not going to be chained to life’s circumstances but instead would have his “chains… in Christ.” (Phil 1:13) He realized that even when life is dealing him a rough blow, he still could live with the same purpose and mission. In Philippians 1:12 he rejoices in the fact that his bad circumstances have resulted in the “furtherance of the Gospel.” Paul went as far as stating that for him “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:9) Paul was truly a MAD Man… (a Make A Difference Man.) He lived with a good perspective, a good MADitude. (How’s that for a new word?)

I write about it again this week for a couple reasons…

1.       We all need to be reminded daily to keep our MADitudes in check!
2.       Because I was reminded yesterday that it is still possible to live the way Paul did!

As I opened up Facebook last night I read an article about one of my favorite athletes. He only played as far as middle school sports but what a MAD Man! This kid not only Made A Difference in each sport he played (as a very skilled and effective player) but even more so in life like a modern day Paul.

This past year (season) of this athlete’s life I am going to call…

Glory Road: The Journey of a True Champion for Christ

Here is the text I read from the Statesville Record & Landmark newspaper:
'Matthew Bailey is home': 1,000 attend memorial service
By Amy Fuhrman | Posted: Sunday, February 15, 2015 9:40 pm
Matthew Bailey had a chance to meet Michael Jordan. Instead, he went to his friend’s birthday party.
That is who Matthew was.
The 14-year-old from Troutman passed away Thursday following a year-long battle with brain cancer, and on Sunday, more than 1,000 people packed into Troutman Middle School’s gym for a memorial service in his honor.
Matthew Bailey had a chance to score every time he touched a ball, but when he was asked to pass, he did. Every single time.
That is who Matthew was.
Matthew had many reasons to complain — goodness knows he deserved to — as cancer stole his sight and his ability to walk. Instead, he prayed for others.
That is who Matthew was.
And Matthew Bailey had a choice to be angry at God or to grow in his faith, even as hope of surviving the cancer faded away. He not only chose the path of faith, but also served as a leader for others on the same journey.
That, above all, is who Matthew was.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” — Isaiah 40:29
In a grainy clip from a church camp last summer, a bald Matthew Bailey stood before 1,800 teens and talked about having a real relationship with God.
“I know if I make God my everything, he will always be with me,” Matthew told the audience. “When I was doing radiation, I’d pray. It’s just me and him in there.”
Watermark Church Pastor Joel Settle showed that video to illustrate how, in his most difficult times, Matthew found comfort in his faith.
“In his hardest moments, when those steel doors slammed shut, Matt just turned to God,” Settle said. “He was Matt Strong because God have him that strength.”
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” — Matthew 6:21
Matthew was a celebrated athlete in several sports. And he loved to compete. But Settle said Matthew came to realize that what truly mattered could not be measured in trophies or cheers.
“Loving God and loving others, that’s what matters. Matthew knew that,” Settle said. “This was a selfless kid, the way his parents raised him to be, the way his Lord led him to be.
Watermark Youth Pastor Scott Stewart coached Matthew on matters of both football and faith. And he saw him do amazing things in both areas — from a game as quarterback where Matthew threw for 300 yards and five touchdowns to a message to his youth group that spoke volumes.
Toward the end of his illness, Stewart asked Matthew what he wanted to say to his church friends, who were missing him.
“Go back and tell them I’m praying for them,” Matthew asked of Stewart.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.” — Revelation 21:4
In the quiet moments, driving back from a treatment with his father Don, Matthew would sometimes share his feelings about the possibility his time on earth was near an end. Settle said his father told him, “God is going to heal you in this life or the next.”
“Matthew is in God’s Heaven today. He is healed,” Settle said. 
And even in her deepest sorrow over losing her son, Matthew’s mother Renee began to see God’s blessings, he said.
“She said, ‘This cancer could have done a lot worse things, made him suffer worse. God was merciful when I needed him to be,’ ” Settle recalled.
 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33
One year ago, when Matthew stood on that stage in front of 1,800 other teens, he told them God was his everything.
“He has to be your everything every day of the week, 24/7,” Matthew said. “Just know that God has a plan for you.”

Thank you Matthew Bailey for being a voice for Christ and an example to us all! You are loved and missed. Thanks for allowing us to see you in action during your road to Glory! Thank you for living with a good MADitude!


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