Friday, December 13, 2013

NBA Star Dwight Howard: "I Heard God's Voice"

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Dwight Howard, Houston Rocket forward-center, shared last week how an encounter, in which he believes he heard God's voice, has solidified his course in the NBA.

Howard, a 7-time All-Star in the NBA, made big news when he left Orlando and came to Houston recently.

Because of his stature in pro basketball and his success, people pay attention to what he says. People are paying particular attention to what he told a Houston pastor about his relationship with God and his explanation of how he "heard God's voice."

Howard explained to the 18,000-member church in Houston that God has been in his life since he accepted Jesus Christ when he was 12 years old.

He also explained how the Lord helped him through his decision to leave the Orlando Magic, where he had played since being drafted into the NBA directly from high school.

Dwight Howard is certain he is doing exactly what God has called him to do at this time in his life.

In fact, he says his teammates never believe him when he tells them the purpose behind his presence in the NBA.

He says, "I was going to church one day, on a Friday night, and I was in the house alone and I said 'God what do you want me to do with my life? What's my purpose, why am I on this earth'?"

Howard says, "All of a sudden, somebody calls my name out of the bathroom, 'Dwight'. And I'm like 'Hold up, I'm in the house by myself, nobody's here---who's calling my name'?"

He says he heard his voice called a second time---so he decided to move toward the bathroom area.

"God spoke," he says, "and told me what He wanted me to do, what my purpose is."

Howard admits he was a bit skeptical of the way in which he felt God had spoken to him, so he prayed asking that the Lord would confirm the message to him in another may.

At church that night, he says he was praying at the altar following the service when his pastor came up to him and told him "the exact same thing" he had heard at home.

The pastor said, "Your purpose is to preach God's Word in the NBA and bring light to Him and what He's doing for me [Howard] and everybody else."

And that's what Dwight Howard believes God has called him to do.

Jeremy Lin, a teammate of Howard, says he, too, is listening to God's voice and that the Lord is calling him to also share the gospel with his colleagues in pro basketball and with the world.

This past August, he shared his faith in Christ with tens of thousands of people in Taiwan. Take a look at this video.

There are hundreds of professional athletes from every sport sharing the message of the gospel with people across this country and around the world.

I have known many Christian athletes, some who are still active, and each has told me living out their faith and giving a public testimony to what Jesus Christ has done in their lives is sometimes met with scorn and career damaging criticism---but they feel called to continue to do so. And they do so joyfully.

Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson, whom I've mentioned before in this Blog, is very open about his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And his personal walk with God.

These are great stories of people with high recognition, telling their personal stories of faith and of God's faithfulness.

But has God not called all of us to share our story---our personal faith, with those whom we have contact?

I'm talking more about this on the radio today and will be telling a true story of a young man in East Africa who also heard God's voice and followed God's leading. In doing so, he spiritually impacted his home country in Africa, and I had the privilege of helping establish the result of his ministry.

You may join me live from anywhere in the world at 9 AM PT. Here's how.

I found myself singing "Joy To The World" yesterday. The lyrics of the second verse struck me as relating to my comments here.

"Joy to the earth! the Savior reigns; let men their songs employ; while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy, repeat, repeat the sounding joy."

Isaac Watts and George F. Handel gave us this song to remind us "Joy to the world, the Lord has come" and even as nature sings of His greatness, we are charged to "repeat the sounding joy"---"repeat the sounding joy."

The "sounding joy" is this:

The Lord has come, let every heart prepare room for Him, no more let sin and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground, He comes to make His blessings flow as far as the curse is found. He rules the world with Truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and the wonders of His love.

We may not have Dwight Howard's experience of hearing an audible voice, but I assure you, God is speaking and asking all those who name His name to "repeat the sounding joy."

Be Blessed. Be Bold. Repeat the Sounding Joy.