Archive for November, 2011

Jordan Juenemann (Photo:Kansas.com)

“God has me at KU for a specific purpose.”

“I want to be known for loving and serving Jesus.”

This past Tuesday night was the opening of the Kansas Jayhawks basketball season. The Jayhawks played Pittsburgh State in an exhibition game before the points and blocks count. This night wasn’t just a typical exhibition.Three of KU’s starters, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson and Thomas Robinson did not play in the game. Even Coach Self was a
little worried before the tip went off. One of the players who played 15 minutes and ended up with 4 points and 5 rebounds was Jordan Juenemann. I had the privilege of talking to Jordan after the game on Wednesday. We talked about what was really important in Jordan’s life, his spiritual walk with Christ.

Jordan was born and raised in Hays, KS and graduated from Hays in 2008. His dream came true in the fall of 2008 when he made a leap of faith and came to KU where he became a walk on guard for the basketball team. Jordan grew up a Jayhawk fan. His parents were both Jayhawk fans, his sister graduated from KU in the spring of 2008, he attended games at the Phog, and was a camper at several of Bill Self’s summer basketball camps. Jordan is now a senior and is majoring in Exercise Science with a minor in Business. The interesting part is that in first exhibition game, Jordan played more minutes than any other game he has played in since becoming a walk on. Jordan has another chance to play more and score more tonight when he plays his hometown college, Ft. Hays State and guards his best friend Jason Ball.

Jordan told me he is blessed with amazing parents and an amazing family. Both of his parents grew up Catholic. In 1992, his dad accepted the Lordship of Jesus and came to Christ. His faith was instilled in him by his dad who would pray with his family every night. His dad took the family to church and his love reflected the love of God. Jordan realized how important Jesus was at a young age. He spent time in the Word and around 3rd or 4th grade, he finally understood that Jesus died on the cross for him. In 5th grade, Jordan was baptized.

“My walk with Christ is a continual transformation.”

His family is the biggest spiritual influences in his life now and while he was growing up. At KU, Wayne Simien is a big spiritual influence in his life. Wayne is a great example for all the athletics at KU. Wayne has and is helping Jordan grow in his walk with Christ and helps him to be be disciplined in his walk. Jordan told me that Wayne is a great man of God and a
great example to follow. When he goes back to his hometown of Hays, he has several people there who encourage him spiritually. Jordan spoke highly of Jeff Willms who is a coach and is Jordan’s mentor that Jordan keeps in contact with
weekly.

This past summer, Jordan and Jeff Withey were part of the Athletes in Action basketball travel team, a global Sports Ministry working with college and professional athletes to use the platform of sports to help people with questions of faith. They traveled to Macedonia and Kosova where they spent time in bible studies, praying, sharing their testimonies and playing basketball. Jordan loved his experience playing basketball with a foundational spiritual setting. He unplugged from the world by having no cell phone and no computer and plugged into God word’s on a daily basis. Jordan grew closer to God during this opportunity and was re-baptized. He really appreciates all the hard work that Mike Sigfrids has put into this global ministry. He was challenged to go back to KU and give weekly devotionals and share his faith by walking in the footsteps of Jesus. Jordan plans to and hopes that he will get the opportunity to help out with this great global sports ministry sometime in the future.

The title of being a member of the Men’s Jayhawk basketball team is great but Jordan wants to be known for being a servant of Christ and loving Jesus. Being a collegiate basketball player and being a Christian is not always easy especially when you come from different cultures. Jordan’s freshmen year was a culture experience for a small town Kansas boy relating to those from Chicago and Philadelphia. God gave him the strength to stand up for his morals and his faith. His teammates knew he was different and respected his walk with Christ and accepted him for who he was in the locker room and in the dorms. Jordan didn’t ever want to act like he was better than everyone else, but instead wanted to keep his focus on basketball and his faith.

His teammates and coaches know that he is a Christian by the way he walks and talks and how he carries himself in the locker room, in the dorms and on the court. His faith is personal to him and Jordan wants to grow in his relationship with Christ every day. He spends time with other students on campus and even a few on the team who have the same focus of wanting to serve God and live for Him. He doesn’t go looking for temptations but strives to stand for God and honor God with his life. His teammates know where he stands and will act differently towards him. His strong morals were instilled in him by his dad and his family. He is in constant prayer and wants to live in full obedience to God and his word. Daily he lives for Christ. Even before we talked, his mother called him and prayed with him for a while. Playing basketball for 5 to 6 hours a day plus going to class and studying, Jordan still makes time for prayer, and bible study. Jordan also spends a lot of time reading books and recently books on the power of prayer.

One thing that really inspired me about Jordan is that when he plays a game, he is only playing for one person who takes up the whole gym, and cheers the loudest-God. Not only does Jordan spend time in prayer but the team does as well. He told me that Coach Self’s coaching philosophy has Christian values. They say the Lord’s Prayer before games, they pray before meals, and even pray before practices. Jordan isn’t the only Jayhawk who strives to live for Christ every day. According to Jordan, Jeff Withey loves Jesus and Christian Garrett is on fire for Jesus plus Tyrel Reed lives for Christ. The two passages that have helped Jordan in his walk are Philippians 3:14 and Colossians 3:23-24.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 3:14 ESV) This passage encourages him on the basketball court to keep pressing on after each play and forget about the last play or mistake.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24 ESV) This passage is written on his shoes and is a reminder of the inheritance that is in store for those who work for God.

Jordan serves Christ with his whole heart and so many have told me that he is a great young man. Even while watching the exhibition game the other night, the announcer talked highly about his presence on the court and his heart.

Jordan believes that the Jayhawks this season will reach their goals and will have a great year. He believes they need to workhard together as a team, do what the coaches want, come together as a team despite the adversity and give it their all. I believe if they follow this pathway, there is another Big 12 Conference title waiting for them. Jordan also gave my 10 year old son, who aspires to play for the Jayhawks one day, some advice. He told me to tell my son that you been given a gift from God and everydaywork hard to get better. Have a love for the game of basketball; and believe it with everything you got that one day you will make it to the next level. Jordan also told me to tell my son to look to God and seek his will for his life.

At the end of our conversation, Jordan was very thankful that we came to him about his spiritual walk but more importantly he was appreciative that this article will get Jesus name out there. Jordan wants to be known for his faith and his trust in God. He is thankful that every day is a gift from God and wants to honor God with his entire life.

I appreciate Jordan for sharing his inspiring story with me so that I can share it with the world!

When In Use For God, There Will be Persecution

Posted: November 4, 2011 by Ricky Keeler in NFL

(Photo Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Since we took a couple months off, the Tim Tebow drama has increased tenfold in the National Football League. In Week 7, Tebow was named the starter in Denver after the Broncos started 1-4 under Kyle Orton. In his first start of 2011, Tebow struggled for 55 minutes, but was the only QB in NFL history to lead his team from 15 points down in the final three minutes or less to win the game in overtime.

Last Sunday was not the ideal game for Tim and the Broncos. After an opening drive field goal, the Broncos gave up 45 straight points in a 45-10 loss. People are calling for Tebow to lose his starting quarterback job, but I respond with this? The Washington Redskins were 3-1 and then Mike Shanahan pulled his starting quarterback after one game for the young QB, John Beck. Beck has not won since, but Redskin fans aren’t calling for him to lose the job as their NFC East chances begin to go down the drain.

In the 2nd quarter of Sunday’s game, Lions’ middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch sacked Tebow and then proceeded to do a “Tebowing” pose which is bending on one knee in a praying motion. Tulloch has said that he was not mocking God when he did it, just the craze of it. However, Tebow did give that praying motion during the win against the Dolphins.

I have said this point in the two previous articles I have done on #15. You can criticize his throwing motion and his ability all you want, but criticizing his faith or the openness of his faith should be out of bounds. However, in a non-utopian society, that is not going to be the case. Tebow publicly said he did not feel his faith was being mocked by Tulloch:

“He was just celebrating, having fun with his teammates and I don’t take offense to that,” Tebow said.

As Christians, we have to expect that our faith is going to be mocked at some point because persecution is a given. In Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy, he tells him that “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Like we talked about yesterday, when you make the choice to accept Christ, we have to understand that the road is not going to always be on the up and up. The Lord throws us hardships that we have to try to persevere from by always looking at Him for support. Peter talks about this issue in his epistle:

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

Today, I exhort you to stay confident in your faith because persecution is going to be a given when we choose to accept Christ. People will mock our beliefs or what we believe will happen when we leave this world, but as long as God is for us, then who can be against us? The Lord helps to keep our paths straight, which is something that Tebow also talked about yesterday.

“Well, it’s kind of impossible not to hear everything. You’re walking by, you hear it. It’s everywhere,” Tebow said. “But you just can’t pay attention to it because if I let what people say about me run my life I’d be living a roller coaster and thank the Lord that I don’t have to do that.”

 

Making A Decision

Posted: November 3, 2011 by Ricky Keeler in College Football

(Photo Credit: Yale University via Bloomberg)

In every Christian’s life, they had to make the biggest decision of their life. It was not what college they want to go to, what their career is, or who they are going to marry. The decision was whether or not they were going to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their God and Savior and give their life to Him. When writing about this piece, I thought about a piece I saw on SportsCenter involving a college football quarterback.

Yale quarterback Patrick Witt transferred from Nebraska two years ago not because of football, but because he wanted to pursue academics and get his degree in history. After winning a football game against Columbia on Saturday, Witt found out that he was a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, which means he gets funding to study 2-3 years at Oxford University in London.

However, the interview for the scholarship is on November 19th. Why is that a problem? That is “The Game” where Yale plays Harvard for, potentially, the Ivy League Championship. The interview is in Atlanta at 8 AM that day, but the game is in New Haven, Connecticut at noon.

“If the Rhodes Committee is willing to work with me, in a perfect world, I can interview first thing in the morning and get on a flight to be back in time for the game on Saturday. But I don’t know if that will be possible”, Witt told the Yale Daily News

As Christians, when we do make a decision, we have to look to the Lord first and foremost! We have to see what His will is for us. In the book of James, James tells us what we should do when faced with a difficult decision: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

Sometimes, the decision might not be the answer we want, but we have to trust that God’s way is the best way! “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Both of these verses make an impact in my life because with having to juggle school and now a part-time job, it has been tough for me to do pieces on here. You have to make a decision sometimes on what is the most important thing in your life. From talking with friends and family, service to God has to be a priority to stay focused on and this blog helps me to do that.

Today, I exhort you to when you have a tough decision in your life, take it to the Lord. He will take the burden away from you and bring you. As a Christian, we have to let the Lord control our lives and allow Him to put us in the best position to spread His glory. It may not be always what you want either, but we have to come to terms with that. Solomon also says this in Proverbs 16: The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD” (Proverbs 16:1).