“Life changes overnight for Coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team and state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant shuts down and hundreds of families leave their town, John questions how he and his family will face an uncertain future. After reluctantly agreeing to coach cross-country, John and his wife, Amy, meet an aspiring athlete who’s pushing her limits on a journey toward discovery. Inspired by the words and prayers of a newfound friend, John becomes the least likely coach helping the least likely runner attempt the impossible in the biggest race of the year.”
Overcomer by Chris Fabry
“What do you allow to define you?”
With the upcoming release of Overcomer – the movie – slated for later this month, I decided to read the book. Rarely does any book capture my attention like this one did. Even more rare does any book evoke an emotional response from me, as this one did.
It is difficult to write this review without spoilers, so I will only give my thoughts and impressions of the story and leave the reader to embrace the goodness and pursue their own journey of overcoming.
The Book is divided into 4 parts (The Coach, The Question, The Answer, and The Voice) that will take the reader through a year long journey of 4 distinct characters – John the Coach, Hannah Scott, Barbara Scott and T-Bone (aka Thomas Hill). Through these rich and relatable characters, we are reminded that sometimes God’s plan for our life doesn’t always follow what we want for our life.
We are privileged to journey through this particular year as these characters come to terms with disappointment at the loss of what was, disillusionment of what is coming, apprehension and trepidation of our expectations of ourselves and our lives and the burdens we all carry, both real or self-imposed.
“For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel and with the [blast of the] trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain [on the earth] will simultaneously be caught up (RAPTURED) together with them [the resurrected ones] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord!” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 AMP
In theological terms, the word RAPTURE is defined as: “the experience, anticipated by some fundamentalist Christians, of meeting Christ midway in the air upon his return to earth.”
While the exact word “RAPTURE” does not occur in the Bible. The term comes from a Latin word meaning “a carrying off, a transport, or a snatching away, or caught up. The concept of the “caught up” or the rapture of the church is clearly taught in Scripture.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 tells us that at God’s command, with the voice of an Archangel and the trumpet call of God, believers that have already died (the dead in Christ) will rise from their graves. Then the believers still alive on the earth will be “caught up” in the air with the dead in Christ to meet Jesus in the air. Together we will be taken to be with the Lord. These believers – both the dead and alive are called the Church.
“Now I say this, believers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit nor be part of the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable (mortal) inherit the imperishable (immortal). Listen very carefully, I tell you a mystery [a secret truth decreed by God and previously hidden, but now revealed]; we will not all sleep [in death], but we will all be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed], in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at [the sound of] the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [who believed in Christ] will be raised imperishable, and we will be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed]. For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us that is capable of dying] must put on immortality [which is freedom from death].” 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 AMP
“As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.”Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, Who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there, just as He told you.’”Mark 16:5-7
“He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Luke 24:6-7
“He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” Matt. 28:6
“He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” 1 Cor. 15:4
The crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ stand as the distinct crucial event in all human history that underpins and validates the claims Jesus Christ made about Himself – that He is the Son of God sent to take the sins of the human race upon Himself, so that all who believe on Him will have eternal life. These events are the foundation for the hope of the human soul.
”Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Sin wearies the flesh; it causes sickness and death in our soul. Bit by bit our sinful behavior destroys all that is, or was, good within us. Sin begins to cause our hearts to harden. Left unchecked, it destroys our peace, causing guilt, sorrow and shame. Sin consumes the mind and thoughts – weakening and darkening the soul.
With it comes fear and dread that our scandalous behaviors will eventually be exposed; knowing full well what will be left in its wake are shattered families and devastated innocent childhoods. Uncovered and exposed, the sins in our lives lead to death – perhaps not physical our death, though that is entirely possible, but certainly spiritual death. Most of all, unrepentant sin in our lives can shut down a relationship with God our Father.
Many years ago, I met a blessed Christian woman, Tanya, whose life mission was to minister to men on death row in some of the toughest prisons in our country. She asked me to take a look at the “mug-shots” of these men taken when they were arrested. She asked me concentrate on their eyes. I was troubled at the lack of light reflecting back from those eyes. It seemed as if death had already taken place, any light that may have been in them had been long ago extinguished, snuffed out by the magnitude of their sin.
Matthew 6:22-23 (Voice) tells us that “The eye is the lamp of the body. You draw light into your body through your eyes, and light shines out to the world through your eyes. So if your eye is well and shows you what is true, then your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is clouded or evil, then your body will be filled with evil and dark clouds. And the darkness that takes over the body of a child of God who has gone astray—that is the deepest, darkest darkness there is.” Continue reading
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44
I was widowed in early 2006. Some months had passed and circumstances had gone from bad to worse in the business and financial area of my life. The business that I had started with my late husband had all but dried up… the money that I was earning from another job had also disappeared when that job ended. I was a thousand miles from any family, alone and down to the last of my dollars.
It was Sunday morning while I was driving to Church that I felt such a burden on my heart because I was not able to give anything in the Church offering that morning. My checkbook had just $12.83 remaining after paying my other bills that month. Yet my car insurance bill had showed up in the mail and they wanted somewhere around $30.00. I had no idea where that money was going to come from. Things didn’t look good. I was without resources, business prospects or family to rely on… I was sad, alone and desperate. Continue reading
Dictionary.com defines “EMPTY” as:
- containing nothing;
- having none of the usual or appropriate contents:
- deprived of contents; to discharge:
- without knowledge or sense; frivolous; foolish:
- without force, effect, or significance; hollow; meaningless:
- without knowledge or sense; frivolous; foolish:
Synonyms for empty: dry, vacant, uninhabited, unfilled, unoccupied, hollow, deserted, devoid, desolate, bare, blank, barren, flat, worthless, meaningless, idle
So how can empty be a good thing?
Can God do this? Can God fix this? Can God move mountains? Can God do the seemingly impossible when all around you say that it is impossible?
The answer is YES!
Recently someone I know reached out to friends and family asking for “divine intervention and good intentions” in a very private matter. I messaged that I would keep them and the family in my prayers. The reply from my friend was “no divine intervention will help”. This hurt my heart as I know that somewhere deep inside, this person knows the truth. Yet somehow over the years a conscious choice to deny the truth of God’s realness, goodness and grace was made.
Some may think that life altering crises happen only to people that have made the conscious choice to ignore or reject God. Oh if that were only true. Time and time again, we see historical evidence recorded throughout the Word of God of the days, weeks, months, years even generations of chaos, calamity and turmoil that erupted in and around the lives of God’s children – divorce, death, adultery, sickness, prison, torture, disgrace, scandal, ridicule, demons, treachery and betrayal – to name a few. In each of these instances, God shows us that there are times the road to the miraculous travels through the ugly, wicked and evil – and it does so because of FAITH – faith that is sure and certain and confident.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” Hebrews 11:1-2 NIV
It is easy to go through life’s disappointments, failures, fears and uncertainties and lose whatever faith in God you might have. Once you begin to question His reason for the pain and turmoil in your life, you can very easily come to the conclusion that God’s really doesn’t care about you or your crises. And if He doesn’t care about you, then He is not a loving God and if He isn’t a loving God, then why would you spend your time believing in some fairy tale. Sound about right? Continue reading
Seven days ago, we had the privilege of attending “The Send” in Orlando Florida. It’s purpose -”The Send is a stadium gathering and national campaign to catalyze every believer into a lifestyle of Christ-like action.”
The intent was to bring together a gathering of 60,000 believers from all ages and walks of life to make a commitment to do whatever it would take to see the re-evangelization of America, and the nations of the world, and the finishing of the Great Commission. By some estimates there were only 59,000 believers, other estimates were upwards of 72,000 and on the day of the event with many more tens of thousands tuning in from around the globe as the entire 12-hour event was live streamed.
This 12 hour day with the sun shining brightly brought the thermometer to 92 degrees… in an open stadium in Florida. Needless to say, it was warm. But that didn’t matter. The entire infield of the stadium was filled, along with the stands… Video From The Send Instagram Link. Believers of every age attended this event; from the youngest in strollers with their parents, to others in wheelchairs, to others in the senior years of their lives . It was clear to me that morning as we waited for the doors to open that we Christians are hungry. We Christ followers are hungry for a mighty move of God; we are hungry for a fresh anointing from Heaven on our lives. We are hungry to know what He wants from us. We want Heavenly direction, we want purpose and clarity. Continue reading
God is shaking our world. He is revealing the hidden things to His people and we cannot be okay with what He is revealing. These things – abortion, pornography, sex-trafficking, same-sex marriage, the legalization of illicit drugs, and blatant contempt for anything remotely associated with Christianity are no longer being done in the shadows and darkness. Things that until now have been kept silent and hidden in the shadows are now being proclaimed loud and proud by leaders of this country. We, the children of God, cannot be okay with what is going on. God’s people can no longer be silent and complicit in letting it all just keep continuing; we must allow our rage and anger to finally come forth and stand.
Stand against the schemes of satan by standing for God’s righteousness and His glory. It is time to stand against abortion at any time, against pornography and sex-trafficking, against same sex marriage. It is time to stand against legalization of illicit drugs. Just stand. Continue reading