LISTEN: Novak Djokovic: ‘Before Being an Athlete, I am an Orthodox Christian’ (Gospel Light Minute #245)

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He is a Serbian professional tennis player who is currently ranked the No. 1 player in the world in men’s singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). To date, he has won 75 titles, including 16 Grand Slam singles titles (a record seven Australian Open titles, five Wimbledon titles, three US Open titles and one French Open title), five ATP Finals titles, 33 ATP Tour Masters 1000 titles, and 12 ATP Tour 500 titles. Following his victory at the 2016 French Open, he became only the eighth player in history to achieve the Career Grand Slam and the third man to hold all four major titles at once, the first since Rod Laver in 1969, and the first ever to do so on three different surfaces. He is the first and only male player to have won all nine of the Masters 1000 tournaments. His latest win came just last Sunday at the 2019 Wimbledon tourney in in which he successfully defended his title by defeating Roger Federer in an epic, grueling five set final that lasted four hours and fifty seven minutes, the longest in Wimbledon history. He is a six-time ITF World Champion and a five-time ATP year-end No. 1 ranked player, having held the spot for over 250 weeks. He has won numerous awards, including the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year (four times) and the 2011 BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year award. He serves as a Unicef ambassador for his native Serbia and has founded an eponymous foundation, which fosters education for disadvantaged children. 

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Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh on ‘God Being in the Driver’s Seat’ and the ‘Critical’ Habit of Spending Time with Him (Gospel Light Minute #157)

John Harbaugh
John Harbaugh

He is the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Before that, he coached the defensive backs for the Philadelphia Eagles and served as the Eagles special teams coach for nine years. While leading the Ravens to 71 wins since 2008, he is considered one of the best head coaches currently in the NFL. His 9 playoff wins are the most by any head coach in the NFL since 2008. He led the Baltimore Ravens to win Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans in 2013.

In an article for BeyondtheUltimate.org, he said of his faith: “I had always been more fascinated by church history than the Bible itself. When I arrived at Miami University (Ohio) as a freshman defensive back, two teammates invited me to a Bible study. I was intrigued by the Bible’s logic. Things started clicking about God, the universe, sin and Christ’s death on the cross. Before long, I surrendered myself to Christ. I remember walking home thinking, ‘If I fall on the ground and die right now, I’m right with God.’ I felt a real freedom.”

He went on to say, “My Christian faith brings me peace. It brings a certain peace that surpasses all understanding. I think if you have that, it gives you a chance to accomplish whatever it is you are supposed to accomplish. I think it’s critical to make time for God; it’s a way to honor and praise God. You just humble yourself before God and let Him know that these things that we do are for Him. The biggest thing I’ve learned faith-wise is that God is in the driver’s seat. That is what faith is. It’s the belief in the things that are unseen. It’s a certain trust in life and in God, our Creator.”

“More than anything else, I want God to stay close to me so I don’t get caught up in myself and basically embarrass myself. I used to pray for other reasons, and every now and then I’d pray for a turnover. But that’s selfish behavior. When you make yourself small and raise up the other people around you, that’s the Christian message.”

His name is John Harbaugh.

Oprah Winfrey: ‘I am a Christian… I Wouldn’t be Who I am Today Without My Faith’ (Gospel Light Minute #143)

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey

She is a media mogul, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. Her multi-award winning talk show was the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. Known as the “Queen of All Media”, she has been ranked as the richest African-American of the 20th century by Forbes, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and is currently North America’s only black billionaire. CNN and TIME called her “arguably the world’s most powerful woman” and TIME named her “one of the most influential people” from 2004 to 2011. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama and received an honorary doctorate degree from Harvard University. In fact, Barack Obama would not be president of the United States without this woman.

On April 23, 2012, while introducing her “Lifeclass Tour” to a Radio City Music Hall audience in New York City she made a public profession of her faith. She said, “I am not talking about religion. I am a Christian. That is my faith. I’m not asking you to be a Christian. If you want to be one I can show you how. But it is not required. I have respect for all faiths… My favorite Bible verse, because I am a Christian, is Acts 17:28. It says, ‘In God I live, and move, and have my being.’ And you want to know why I’m so successful? Because I knew that at four-years-old, I wouldn’t be who I am today without that.”

On June 1, 2011, after Oprah delivered her public farewell from her talk show, I wrote the following on a news site that our organization runs: “Evidently, Oprah got saved recently, now she needs to make that clear to her millions of fans. Based upon statements that Oprah made throughout last week regarding God and Jesus Christ, we believe that Oprah has recently truly accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour and has been born again this year.”

Now, I took a lot of heat for making that statement, but as I explained in my article, “some people are going to doubt Oprah’s profession of faith in Christ and some are going to say negative things about this because she has people of different faiths on her show and so forth. However, please understand that OWN is not a Christian network. It is a network for all people. OWN is Oprah’s business, and we as Christians know what that is like when you’re doing business in a secular world. So Oprah’s business side is going to be different, but it does not take anything away from her faith in Christ.”

For example, Mark Burnett, is the producer behind the popular “Bible” mini-series and the “Son of God” movie. However, before he produced those Christian-based works, he produced such popular shows as Survivor, The Apprentice, The Voice, Shark Tank, The Sing Off, and the People’s Choice Awards which have nothing to do with his Christian faith. Yet, based on his own words and on his life, I believe Mark Burnett is saved just as I am.

In fact, in the Bible, we see examples of these types of believers. Jesus had His public disciples, the Peters, Jameses, and Johns, but He also had his secret disciples, the Nicodemuses and Josephs of Arimathea. When His public disciples, Peter and the other disciples, forsook Him at His trial and His crucifixion, it was His secret disciples, such as Joseph of Arimathea, that stood with Him until the end. This Joseph took His body off the cross and placed Him in his own grave. All of Jesus’ followers are not out front; some are behind the scenes, but they are doing just as much for Him.

Based upon Oprah’s public profession of faith in Jesus Christ, she is saved by the grace of God through faith by believing in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, according to the Word of God. So instead of worrying about what she is doing or not doing, how about you? Are you saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?