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Monday, July 7, 2008

Allyson Felix Blazes Her Way to Beijing

Co-author of Sex Secret Wars: A Battle Cry for Purity, Paul Felix,* is one proud father right now. Yesterday, his daughter, Allyson Felix, blazed her way onto the Olympic team, winning the 200 meters in 21.82 seconds at the US Trials in Eugene, Oregon.

There are nice perks to being a father. Just last week my daughter won her first softball tournament in a 12-and-under league. It was nerve-racking fun. They lost their second game and were moved to the consolation bracket and had to win their next four games to earn the championship. My daughter played catcher for the entire last three games. If you want to know what that feels like, the next time it is 90 degrees, put on a warm jacket and bend down in a squatting position for a couple of hours.

In the championship game, my daughter hit a ground ball to the pitcher, a routine out at first. As she powered her way towards first base, I don’t think I breathed the whole way. I have told her over and over again that she’s fast enough to beat infield ground balls, but to do that she had to run. Those words rang in my head, “don’t look honey, just run, don’t look, just run!” And boy did she run, and run, and run. The pitcher bobbled the ball seeing how hard she was running. She rushed to make the throw. The girl on first stretched to make the catch. It’s close. It’s too close to call. I’m still not breathing. The umpire yells, “she’s safe!” I exhale with a guttural yell. Yes, fatherhood has nice perks, and that was great fun. After our girls won, the dads smiled from ear to ear and high fived like we were 12 and under, and we had just won a world championship.

Now I can only imagine what it must have been like for Paul to watch his daughter blast out of the blocks and blaze (did I say “blaze” already?) her way to the Olympics. Beijing, here comes Allyson Felix and her chance to win perhaps three golds (in the 200, the 400 meter relay, and 1600 meter relay). It’s great being a father and even better when our children acknowledge their blessings come from God. As thrilled as Paul must be to know that his daughter made the Olympic team (a second time), I am sure his greatest thrill is seeing his daughter not run, but walk in the truth (2 John 4). That’s the greatest desire for every Christian father.

One of my favorite movies is Chariots of Fire. In the climax, Eric Liddell, who is a strong Christian, is warming up to run the 400 meters in the 1924 Summer Olympics. A teammate of his American rival slips him a note. It reads, “for those who honor Me I will honor,” 1 Sam. 2:30. That’s my prayer for Allyson, that God will grant her the grace to blaze a trail honoring Him by walking in the truth. The Christians at LACBC are very proud of Allyson and pray that God will grant her great success in the Olympics and before God.

*Paul Felix wrote the fourth chapter in Secret Sex Wars: A Battle Cry for Purity titled “Living According to the Will of God: An Ancient Battle Plan.” He is also the President of the Los Angeles Bible Training School and professor of NT Greek at The Master’s Seminary. Plus he officiated my marriage to my sweetheart, Naomi, 14 and a half years ago. God has blessed Paul with a super gracious and godly wife, Marlean, and two great kids, Wes and Allyson.

1 comment:

Tom Rios said...

Thank you, Pastor Scott, for reminding us of the joys of fatherhood and for the personal updates of Allyson's Olympic achievement and your daughter's championship. I keep up with Allyson's career and always thank the Lord for her faith and her parents. I also am frequently reminded of your own family and the joy they are to watch, but especially for the faith which you impart as you teach and live. Praise the Lord for examples like you and Paul.

I received an email this week from a young mother of four whose firstborn six-year old son has presented some significant challenges related to mild autism. He is a sweet boy, but all boy all the time. Many parents can relate to the exhaustion, frustration, and discouragement that comes along with raising one special needs child, but additional siblings add so much to the mix.

Well, her email was precious to read. Here is the main part of what she wrote,

"I have shared with all of you my frustrations on parenting my oldest child and today I wanted to share with you something very precious. I know you will rejoice with me because you have been through this journey with me by praying for us. Many of you know that a few weeks ago (my son) asked Jesus to be his Savior. Today (he) and (his sister) were in the backyard fighting over something and before I could intervene I heard (him) say, " can have it, just let me know when you are done." I let him know that I appreciated what he did and he told me, "I'm listening to the Holy Spirit mommy." Tears came to my eyes. I thought, he's getting it. This past month we have been talking about how we listen to the Holy Spirit with our hearts (rather than our ears, that was a little difficult for him at first) and He helps us make good choices. Thank you to all my friends who have heard my frustrations and lifted (us) in prayer and thank you for rejoicing in these precious little steps with me."

My sweet wife and I have known this mommy since she was young and her husband was a Sunday school student of mine when he was in Junior High and has been like a son to me. So we have grown up with them. They have watched God's faithfulness to us in our own family and have seen the fruit of diligent faithful parenting in our now grown children.

As parents we must teach our faith, of course, but by living examples like you and Paul and by abundant, merciful grace, even us, we make disciples of Christ as we go.

Continue to encourage men to be men of practical, persistent faith, faith that works and fathers to follow the example of our Divine Father Who is present and Who loved us first (1 Jn 4:19) and everlastingly. (Jer 31:3)

To God be the glory.

and of course,...Go USA! Go Allyson!